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No Dumb Questions
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Chris Tripoli

Real-life questions from independent operators like you. When starting or growing a restaurant there are really no dumb questions.

These are just a sample of the No Dumb Question installments in Restaurant Startup & Growth magazine!

If you have a question you'd like addressed in "No Dumb Questions," please contact the author at alacartect@aol.com.

No Dumb Questions
We operate three Italian restaurants. The first two have done well, but the third has been open 18 months and is slow. Where should we look to make improvements? We cannot afford to lose money. . . . keep reading
No Dumb Questions: Why Does My Food Cost Fluctuate So Much?
Question: Why does my food cost fluctuate so much? I am always higher than industry standard. What should I be doing differently, if anything? . . . keep reading
No Dumb Questions: Camera Surveillance Systems
Question: I am considering installing a camera surveillance system, but do not want my staff to feel I have become "Big Brother" watching their every move. . . . keep reading
No Dumb Questions: How to Manage Underperforming Restaurant Staff
Question: I am a new manager of a very established restaurant. I inherited a long term kitchen staff member who underperforms and creates trouble. How do I handle this situation? . . . keep reading
Food Cost Fluctuations
Food Cost Fluctuations Question: Why does my food cost fluctuate so much? I am always higher than industry standard. What should I be doing differently, if anything? . . . keep reading
Should I Hire Experienced-only Servers to Avoid Having to Train Wait Staff?
Should I Hire Experienced-only Servers to Avoid Having to Train Wait Staff? Question: I am opening a little Italian restaurant and plan to hire only experienced wait staff so I won't have to provide training. Shouldn't this work better? . . . keep reading
Retailing Your Products
Retailing Your Products Real-life questions from independent operators like you. When starting or growing a restaurant there are really no dumb questions. If you have a question you'd like addressed in "No Dumb Questions", please contact the author at alacartect@aol.com. . . . keep reading
Construction Budgeting
Construction Budgeting Real-life questions from independent operators like you. When starting or growing a restaurant there are really no dumb questions. If you have a question you'd like addressed in "No Dumb Questions", please contact the author at alacartect@aol.com. . . . keep reading
I have some success with wait staff contests and motivational pre shift meetings, but it doesn't seem to last. What else can I do to enhance "up selling"?
Chris Tripoli
I have some success with wait staff contests and motivational pre shift meetings, but it doesn't seem to last. What else can I do to enhance "up selling"? Those everyday pre-shift "alley rally's" and once in a while service staff contests are good and should continue because they create the awareness needed to build your guest per person spending average (PPA). In addition to those items, there are a few other measures I recommend for you to consider. . . . keep reading
I am considering installing a camera surveillance system, but do not want my staff to feel I have become "Big Brother" watching their every move.
I am considering installing a camera surveillance system, but do not want my staff to feel I have become "Big Brother" watching their every move. Answer: This has become a very common concern as we see more and more systems being installed. It is important that you remember two things: . . . keep reading
I am a new manager of a very established restaurant. I inherited a long term kitchen staff member who underperforms and creates trouble. How do I handle this situation?
I am a new manager of a very established restaurant. I inherited a long term kitchen staff member who underperforms and creates trouble. How do I handle this situation? Answer: A difficult situation with one employee can sometimes be a good opportunity to set the standard for all staff. First, try addressing the group with your expectations of the entire kitchen. Stress the importance of consistency and teamwork. Remember to be specific when you are listing the areas of responsibility and job duties. . . . keep reading
Am I in trouble for deducting the cost of uniforms, breakage and shortages from my staffs paychecks?
Am I in trouble for deducting the cost of uniforms, breakage and shortages from my staffs paychecks? Restaurant operators often wonder what costs, if any, they can legally pass on to their employees. For instance, can you deduct from your employee's paycheck the cost of his uniform or safety equipment? What about your bartender's cash drawer shortage? Can you require a waitress to reimburse you for the cost of a skipped check? How about charging the dishwasher for those plates he broke last week? . . . keep reading
Question: I am considering installing a camera surveillance system, but do not want my staff to feel I have become "Big Brother" watching their every move.
Question: I am considering installing a camera surveillance system, but do not want my staff to feel I have become "Big Brother" watching their every move. Answer: This has become a very common concern as we see more and more systems being installed. It is important that you remember two things: . . . keep reading
Question: I am a new manager of a very established restaurant. I inherited a long term kitchen staff member who underperforms and creates trouble. How do I handle this situation?
Question: I am a new manager of a very established restaurant. I inherited a long term kitchen staff member who underperforms and creates trouble. How do I handle this situation? Answer: A difficult situation with one employee can sometimes be a good opportunity to set the standard for all staff. First, try addressing the group with your expectations of the entire kitchen. Stress the importance of consistency and teamwork. Remember to be specific when you are listing the areas of responsibility and job duties. . . . keep reading
My wife and I cannot agree on a name for our restaurant. How important is the name anyway?
My wife and I cannot agree on a name for our restaurant. How important is the name anyway? It's pretty darn important. We like to say that the menu is the heartbeat of any restaurant, but it is the name that makes the first impression. Names paint a picture and help the guest develop their expectation. . . . keep reading
I am trying to save money on kitchen labor and am looking at cleaning companies to use. Does this really work?
I am trying to save money on kitchen labor and am looking at cleaning companies to use. Does this really work? It can, but not always. I have polled many clients and found that some are saving labor dollars by engaging a cleaning company, while others tried and found it actually cost more. The difference seems to be in the management of your hourly staff. For example, If two line cooks stay two hours each night to clean equipment, floors and walls you may be spending between $280-$300 per week on cleaning (more if these hours take them in overtime).

. . . keep reading

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