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H.J. Heinz Company Funds Scholarship for Women's Foodservice Forum's 2014 Annual Leadership Development Conference
WFF to launch celebration of its 25th Anniversary at this legendary event . . .
Give Your Employees a Clue About Basic Restaurant Economics
We believe that restaurant employees should know that they work in a low margin business. They won't instinctively figure this out unless they're told. To validate, just ask a few restaurant employees how much money they think the owner makes and they're likely to say "LOTS." That's because employees see, what many believe to be, large amounts of cash coming into the restaurant every day but most of them have no concept of what it costs to operate a restaurant and how much profit remains after all the expenses are paid. . . .
Great Service: It's All about Fundamentals
If you've ever watched a professional baseball team practice you probably recognized that they do many of the same things little leaguers do. Even the superstars take routine grounders, catch fly balls, and practice bunting drills because they know that if they don't execute the fundamentals properly, they won't win ballgames. . . .
Three Interview Questions to Help Your Hire Customer-Friendly Staff
During job interviews, typically restaurant owners focus on the applicant's experience, rather than his attitude toward customer service. Having worked in a restaurant is not enough to make a decision about whether to hire someone. You can learn a lot about how a potential employee approaches his employment, prepares for work and interacts with customers by asking some questions like these during the interview. . . .
Skimming: Just Don't Do It!
First, skimming is against the law and the penalties are extremely severe if you're ever caught. The government gets extremely testy about tax evasion so they've made it a felony offense with significant fines and even jail time it you're convicted. And there are more reasons. . . .
BONUS CONTENT - How to Influence the Value of Your Restaurant
If I ask you to estimate the value of your house, you might research listings and selling prices of comparable properties in your neighborhood or town. Depending on the current state of the housing market, you might be elated or dismayed over the value of your home compared, let's say, with what you had projected its value would be today three years ago; however, in the latter case I doubt you would say, "I poured my heart and soul into that property, and, the market be damned, I expect to be compensated for it," or "I'm getting divorced, and I need to get enough money to pay my alimony." . . .
Offer Regular, Profitable Specials (Then Help Your Waiters Sell Them)
Making specials a regular part of your offerings is a good idea for a lot of reasons. They keep things interesting for your kitchen staff, waiters and customers; are a great way to use product that might otherwise go to waste; improve relations between the front and back of the house; and, perhaps most importantly, give your waiters a foot in the door to start conversations and establish rapport with customers. . . .
Ten Ways to Increase Your Menu Profitability
Let's look at 10 things you can do, all focused on your menu, to increase your profitability that won't lower the quality of your customers' experiences but will, in one way or another, actually increase it. . . .
Menu Makeover: Do-It-Yourself Menus
(and the Case Against Them): Benny's Bar & Grill, Potomac, Maryland
The more work you do on your own menu -- unless you are a designer-turned-restaurant guy -- the more likely your menu will not look as good as a professionally designed menu. It's just that simple. And while there are tricks you can use to help you get a custom design and still make your changes, the more you want to develop your own menu, the simpler the end product must be.
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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? . . .
Thrilla From Manila:
Manila Resto of Oshkosh, Wisconsin
Mario and Patricia Ambas have never lived in Manila, Philippines, but they have been influenced by its collision of cultures that started with nearly 300 years of Spanish rule, a Mexican settlement and a powerful Japanese invasion, which ended with the United States governance of the Philippine Islands in 1898 through the Treaty of Paris. . . .
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. . . .
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? . . .
'Accrual' Accounting and Why It is Preferred for Restaurants
... using the cash basis of accounting in most restaurants would result in potentially significant expenses that are incurred in one month and recorded when paid in a subsequent month. This would render the financial statements of most restaurants useless as tools to monitor and manage the real-time costs, expenses and key margins of the restaurant. . . .
Flatware Selection Considerations
Larry N Andersen, FCSI, principal of Independent Foodservice Design Consultants (IFDC) in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, believes that there is no single consideration upon which to base a selection. The choice of flatware, he contends, "is a combination of these points which are weighted according to the client's particular needs. Cutlery is generally a restaurant's first impression. . . .
Why Many Independents Are Focusing On Catering and How to Do More in Your Restaurant
More and more independent restaurants are realizing that they can offer a unique, "home-grown" catering experience that can't be matched by the chain operations. Here are a few ways independents are marketing their catering services and capitalizing on a new, highly-profitable income stream.
In-restaurant marketing. Spread the word to current customers. Make brochures available to customers, and create washroom signs and table cards promoting your catering services. Your customers don't automatically know what you're doing. You've got to tell them in multiple modes. . . .
Takeout Orders are Just as Important as Dine-In
While getting an incorrect order can be annoying when dining at a restaurant, failing to realize the order isn't right until you arrive at home can be particularly frustrating to your guest. Although admirable, the fact that the manager replaced the meal doesn't diminish a problem that continues to plague takeout business in general. Incorrect orders and sub-par food quality can kill your restaurant's takeout business. . . .
The Customer Comes Second
In their search for excellent customer service, many restaurant owners often invoke the old adage, "the customer comes first". Yet many operators are left scratching their head, when the more they repeat this mantra, the less their staff seems to put it into practice. . . .
Your Restaurant Does Not Have a Sales Problem
Insufficient sales are a symptom, not a problem. You might say that this is just semantics but the difference between labeling a condition like low or declining sales a problem versus a symptom is a key and very critical distinction. . . .
Keep a Running Inventory of Your Key Products
Keeping a running inventory of some of your key products is one of the most fundamental and effective of all inventory controls, yet many operators don't do it. Doing so cuts your food cost and can help you start making more money immediately. . . .
Improve Your Cash Flow and Reduce the Risk of Catering No-Shows
A potential downside of engaging in catering and banquet functions happens when the number of guests is less than expected, causing customers to want to renegotiate the final bill. Another is trying to collect the balance of your money after the event takes place.
Using a simple, yet well-crafted catering contract can virtually eliminate no-show and collection problems. . . .
BONUS CONTENT: How Restaurant Owners Can Prepare for Storms and Other Weather Emergencies
Man pitted against the elements is a story as old as the Earth and as current as the storm headed your way. But keeping a restaurant intact in the face of the foulest weather requires more than instinct. As one operator put it, "The phrase natural disaster is a contradiction in terms because no disaster is natural. Disasters are unnatural." . . .
And Baby Makes Three:
Wagshal's of Washington, D.C.
'We didn't want to replicate what we have, because that can be risky, so we asked ourselves what would happen if the Deli and the Market had a baby'… . . .
Duke University, NRA partner up on zero waste project
Graduate students from the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University have teamed up with the National Restaurant Association to examine how best to deploy a zero-waste program for restaurateurs in Durham, N.C. . . .
Come for the Wings, Stay for the Steak
C.W. Coop's of Alliston, Ontario
Alliston, Ontario, is a town of about 15,000 people just north of Toronto, Sandra Lambie is the general manager of C.W. Coop's, a bar and restaurant in Alliston, which is one of several Restaurants by the same name. And while not exactly a chain, all units of the concept have the same logo and generally the same foods. Sandra asked us to revamp the menu for the Alliston Unit only. . . .
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