Published By: Leon Tuberman
Saturday, January 14, 2017
From seeking out discount commercial restaurant equipment to improving
server retention, there are a variety of ways culinary entrepreneurs can reduce
their overhead costs. This is an
essential aspect to running an eatery, especially for restaurateurs just
starting out. One of the main expenses
associated with running a dining establishment, though, is food costs. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to
reduce these as well.
on Controlling Portions
While controlling portion sizes might seem like a menial task, it can
create substantial savings over time. And although many restaurants have decided to reduce the amount of food
they provide as patrons focus on lighter meals, this isn't necessary to control
portions. In reality, it all comes down
If the menu promises a four-ounce portion of grilled tilapia, employees
need to be trained to ensure that's what's doled out. Appropriate training followed with consistent
quality control can accomplish this. There's
nothing wrong with giving individuals at the bar tables what they paid for, but
making sure that's all they receive can easily reduce food costs.
Conduct Weekly Inventory
While it may seem like an added headache, restaurateurs with the lowest
food costs conduct weekly inventory. This allows them to keep track of what they're going through, and in the
end, this means more accountability for food that's being lost or potentially
Additionally, consistently keeping up with food inventory provides a
host of other benefits. This includes
making sure that food doesn't go to waste by ordering more than is needed. This additional bit of effort can free up
more money for new bistro chairs, marketing strategies or even the newest shiny
piece of commercial restaurant equipment.
Track of Purchasing Trends
Restaurateurs just starting out in the business often make the mistake
of thinking they can consistently place the same orders and be just fine. Unfortunately, this can easily result in food
going bad. If orders during the winter
are placed based on how much was sold in the summer, for instance, an eatery
could easily order too much food while also facing reduced patronage.
Restaurant Purchasing Groups
Individuals running independently-owned restaurants often see it as
them versus the world. After all, there
are undoubtedly dozens of local restaurants competing for patrons. This doesn't mean, however, that's it's not
smart to work together in some aspects.
By joining a purchasing group, a restaurateur will become part of a
larger unit that has higher purchasing power. This will usually result in restaurant suppliers offering reduced
prices. Even better is the fact that the
other eateries in this group might not even be local. This means the manager could have a price
advantage over all other restaurants in the surrounding community.
Getting good prices on cafe tables and commercial restaurant equipment
is often a great one-time purchase, but controlling food costs can consistently
save an eatery money. While they aren't
the only ways to succeed in this endeavor, the aforementioned tips certainly go
a long way in keeping food costs within reason.
Published By: Leon Tuberman
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Restaurateurs hope that everyone who occupies one of their cafe chairs
walks away happy. Unfortunately, this
isn't always the case. And since online
review sites have exploded in popularity over the years, these bad experiences
can be announced to the entire world by upset patrons. This occurrence, however, doesn't necessarily
have to create a permanent mark on an eatery's reputation.
and Foremost, Apologize
Many restaurateurs jump right into trying to handle a negative situation
created by a bad online review. In doing
so, they often forget how important the apology is. Whether someone is complaining about their
food being late or their restaurant booth being dirty, starting with an apology
sets the tone. Starting with this immediately
lets others know the eatery cares.
Time to Respond
Some restaurateurs don't even make it to the apology, because they opt
to simply not respond to negative reviews. This is also a mistake. An
eatery's cafe chairs simply aren't going to fill up if potential customers keep
seeing upset patrons getting ignored. It's essential to monitor popular review sites and take the time to
respond to those who weren't happy with their experience.
One of the biggest mistakes business owners make in general is getting
defensive over negative reviews. While
it's true that these reviews can hurt a company, that's no excuse to get snippy
with the patron. Business owners who
respond negatively immediately look unprofessional in the eyes of others.
Unfortunately for restaurant owners, this can be especially detrimental
since most people have an abundance of eateries to choose from. Even if the reviewer is rude and creates a
blistering testimonial with extra "facts" sprinkled in, it's
necessary to take a moment to calm down and respond in a professional manner.
While it may seem tempting to provide a lengthy explanation for other
consumers to see, this can sometimes do more harm than good. Most businesses simply apologize and then
provide a customer service number for the upset patron to contact. For those trying to fill up their restaurant
furniture, a customer service number might not be possible, but having the patron
reach out on social media or call the manager directly can work just as
Make Things Right
Having a patron reach out directly is great for gathering more
information, but it never hurts to publicly state how the situation is going to
be rectified. Patron upset about cold
food? Offer them a free meal for giving
the eatery another shot. Is there an
online complaint about long wait times? Apologize and explain how to make a reservation. Fixing the issue publicly is just as
important as the initial apology.
The internet has revolutionized the way the world works, and this came
with as many negatives as it did positives. Restaurateurs who hope to keep patrons in their cafe chairs have an
immense job in the online world. And
while marketing may be the most important, making sure to respond appropriately
to negative online reviews can prove just as essential.
Published By: Leon Tuberman
Monday, January 9, 2017
eateries, especially those just starting out, are only worried about getting
the tables for restaurants full in their establishments. As they grow, however, it becomes necessary
to consider expansion opportunities. One
idea that seems far more economical than simply opening a new restaurant is
offering catering services. While this
isn't for every culinary entrepreneur, there are distinct advantages to
providing this service.
the most obvious benefit of offering catering services is the revenue the
endeavor will bring in. For once, not
all of the money coming in will stem from those sitting in the restaurant
booths. Whether a father is trying to
feed 20 kids at a birthday party or the top professional in a city is hosting a
gathering of 200 people, this quickly turns into profit without weighing down
the actual restaurant.
fortunately, this increased revenue doesn't come at much of a cost. Yes, there are food and transportation costs
involved, but the restaurant itself doesn't have to suffer at all. Catering requests don't come in every day, so
when they do, the restaurateur should have plenty of time to plan out the event
and ensure the tables for restaurants at their establishment remain full.
Take-Home Catering Is an
the word "catering" comes to mind, most people think of driving food
out to an event and serving it to attendees. Fortunately, this doesn't have to be the case. In fact, a restaurant's entire staff could be
sitting in bistro chairs at a staff meeting while the event is taking place.
is thanks to a little something known as "take-home catering." Instead of offering traditional catering
services, a restaurant can simply provide party trays. This will remove the task of actually
catering an event while simultaneously reducing the cost to customers. It's a win-win for everyone, and the lower
cost is sure to attract more business.
Gives Employees a Break
From Daily Routine
restaurateurs have worked as servers before, so they understand that doing the
same thing every day can become mundane, tedious and a little
disheartening. Catering provides the opportunity
to let employees get out of the restaurant and do something different for a
can keep them happier than consistently being stuck indoors, and since studies
show that happy employees are more productive, everyone comes out on top in
Transition Slow Days Into
restaurateurs know the headache of slow days. In many cases, something specific about the location or town itself
could result in the same day being slow every week. If this is the case, it's possible to turn this
low-revenue day into a money-maker by offering catering services.
isn't something that has to be done every day, and the front doors of an eatery
don't need to remain open every day. When these two realities are combined, it's very possible to turn a
traditionally slow day into a profitable one by allowing groups to hold closed
events inside the restaurant.
is something that can do great things for an eatery, but restaurateurs need to
consider many variables before making the decision. These include local competition, whether the
kitchen can handle an influx of orders, and what will be required to take on
this endeavor. This might not fill the
tables for restaurants any more, but the benefits are often well worth the
Published By: Leon Tuberman
Saturday, December 31, 2016
for a health inspection should never be an overly difficult process. After all, if the restaurant furniture booths
get dirty during the year, it shouldn't be an inspection that motivates the
owner to clean them. Even eateries that
consistently focus on cleanliness, though, should do a few things to improve
their health grade. Because in the end,
a passing grade of 99 percent is much better than a passing grade of 95.
Perform a Mock Inspection
of the best ways to prepare for an upcoming health inspection is to perform a
mock inspection. While walking around
the restaurant to ensure cleanliness can be helpful, it's a much smarter move
to reach out to the local health department and see if they make their
inspection forms freely available.
access to these forms will tell a restaurateur exactly what the inspector is
looking for. Whether it's keeping cafe
chairs a certain distance away from trash cans or ensuring that refrigeration
units stay at a specific temperature, knowing these things in advance can help
even the tidiest restaurant make a higher health score.
Overcompensate When Necessary
are aspects of most restaurants that go against the grain when it comes to
health inspections. Fancy eateries, for
instance, never have their servers wear hats or other head coverings. Doing so would snag them a few extra points,
but it would also take away from the overall aesthetic they're trying to
there are areas where an eatery won't secure the maximum amount of points, it's
essential that they overcompensate in other areas. If the building is old and keeping the aesthetic
entails not replacing the concrete floors, which can be more difficult to fully
clean, having servers wear hats or making up in other inspection areas can go a
restaurateur cannot pass a health inspection on their own. In fact, everything the inspector gives a
good grade on will have been prepared, cleaned or maintained by an
employee. This is why proper training is
isn't just about learning to use the POS system and memorizing the ingredients
in certain dishes. It's also about
understanding OSHA requirements and basic hygiene rules. Hold periodic mandatory employee meetings to
reinforce habits of cleanliness and keeping up to code.
those comfortable restaurant furniture booths and great food readily available,
these meetings shouldn't be too taxing on the workers.
Accompany The Health
restaurateurs may think they're "all in" once the inspector arrives,
but this isn't the case at all. Accompanying the inspector during their walk-through can accomplish a
variety of things. First, the potential
to notice small problems and nudge workers to handle them is present.
importantly, though, is the fact that restaurateurs can see the restaurant as
the inspector does. This means minor
details that were overlooked become obvious, and this provides better
preparation for future inspections. Additionally, restaurateurs can dispute or explain anything they think
the inspector got wrong along the way.
reupholstering restaurant furniture booths to replacing commercial restaurant
equipment, there are a variety of things culinary entrepreneurs can do to
increase their inspection scores. Of
course, these drastic measures are rarely necessary. By following the simple rules outlined above,
restaurateurs can ace their next health inspections.
Published By: Leon Tuberman
Tuesday, December 27, 2016
a love for the culinary arts moves out of the home kitchen and into a
restaurant, budding entrepreneurs have to worry about much more than simply
making great food. On top of marketing
and customer service, they must find equipment that can keep pace with a
potentially hectic environment. Commercial restaurant equipment allows restaurateurs to get this job
done, but is it okay to purchase these appliances used?
Consider the Price
used commercial restaurant equipment is fine, but it's important to first look
at the price. One of the main motivators
of buying this equipment used is saving money, but in some instances, the
savings aren't worth it.
looking at used equipment, check new prices as well. If used units are selling for more than half
the price of new ones, it's likely smarter to purchase new. Restaurateurs wouldn't buy cafe chairs used
if they were nearly as much as new restaurant furniture, and the same should go
for commercial equipment.
Can Equipment Pass Code?
purchasing used commercial restaurant equipment, it's essential to verify if
the appliance adheres to local code regulations. Some outdated equipment does not meet modern ordinances,
but if the appliance was already in a previous restaurant when the regulations
changed, health inspectors may have overlooked the violation.
a restaurateur attempts to put that appliance in a new eatery, however,
inspectors will definitely say something. An appliance passing inspection in one restaurant doesn't guarantee it
will pass in another. Always make sure
the equipment is up to code before shelling out the cash.
Choose Equipment Case by Case
it's okay to purchase a variety of restaurant machinery used, there are a few
items that restaurateurs should be wary of. Oven ranges, convection ovens and Hobart brand items can typically be
trusted to last a while.
units, dishwashers and steamers, on the other hand, can accumulate considerable
wear due to constant moisture. While
these items can occasionally be purchased used with no problem, it's important
for restaurateurs to pull up a bistro chair, hop online and do their research
new commercial restaurant equipment comes with the peace of mind of a
manufacturer warranty. When
restaurateurs decide to purchase these appliances used, however, it doesn't
necessarily mean they won't have access to a warranty. They simply need to spend a little more time
truth of the matter is that some restaurants go out of business before their
equipment's warranty even expires. This
presents a great opportunity for restaurateurs looking for commercial
appliances. If purchasing from a
dealership, it's also imperative to get at least a 30-day guarantee. This is often long enough for any underlying
problems to come to light.
restaurant booths, perfect ambiance and great service mean nothing if the
equipment in the back doesn't work. While there are risks to purchasing used commercial restaurant
equipment, most of these risks can be mitigated with a little knowledge and
research. Purchasing used isn't always a
bad thing, and in the food and beverage industry, it can save thousands.
Published By: Leon Tuberman
Monday, December 26, 2016
a culinary entrepreneur sets up their first restaurant dining sets, they're
hopeful that their business will "hit it big" one day. Once they have a few successful eateries
under their belt, though, they're often left wondering what to do next. Franchising a restaurant is one of many
options, but there are some serious considerations to make before doing this. The following can help with this big decision.
Willingness to Negotiate
a franchise comes with several responsibilities, and one of these is the
willingness to negotiate. It's okay to
stand firm on franchising fees, but a restaurateur must be willing to work with
their franchisees when changes are desired.
doesn't mean franchisees need to be consulted every time new bar tables are
purchased. If a restaurateur comes up
with a new product or other innovation, though, they may need to work with
franchisees to ensure they're willing to accept the new direction.
people invested their money in a franchise, so they must be kept in the loop if
the chain is looking towards change.
Desire to Expand With
restaurateurs wonder why anyone would franchise when they could simply open a
new store on their own. After all, it
should be far more profitable, right? While this could be the case, the simple answer is that franchising a
restaurant costs far less than opening a new business.
a franchisee decides to open a restaurant under the umbrella corporation, they
have to pay a franchising fee. Additionally, they are the ones that lease the building, hire the
employees and set up service contracts. The main restaurant's owner, on the other hand, may have to do nothing
more than sit at their restaurant dining sets and sign the franchise documents.
a restaurateur decides to open a new eatery, there's far more to do than find
sturdy commercial restaurant equipment and nice cafe chairs. All of this could go to waste without the
right people at the helm. Unfortunately,
it's quite possible that a restaurant will hire and train a manager only to
have that individual leave the company.
is less of an issue when franchising. If
a person is willing to become a franchisee, which includes a huge investment on
their part, there's a very good chance that they're committed to the brand's
success. No longer will it be a
crapshoot to find great management that will stick around. Instead, they'll seek out the restaurant
Fully Vet Franchisees
should never be taken as an "If they have the money, they have the
restaurant" endeavor. Franchisees
won't just have a new location; they'll have the good name of the franchise in
their hands. Because of this, it's
important to fully vet a potential franchisee, including their desired
restaurant location and prior legal actions, before taking a chance with the
No culinary entrepreneur wants the restaurant
dining sets in their first location to be the only ones out there. The dream is to constantly expand. Unfortunately, this can be time-consuming and
expensive, but if franchising seems like the right thing to do, expansion
doesn't have to be an impossible task.
Published By: Leon Tuberman
Saturday, December 17, 2016
was a point in time when restaurant furnishings were almost the most
technologically advanced equipment in an eatery. Since science has evolved in leaps and bounds
over the past few decades, though, there are now tools that can make
restaurants incredibly more efficient. And while not every eatery needs a dedicated app like Taco Bell's, these
are a few technologies that every culinary entrepreneur should be
Make the Most of Apps
most restaurants don't need their own app, but this doesn't mean they shouldn't
use the technology. Signing up with
programs like OpenTable and Zomato is ideal. Patrons can do everything from leave reviews to make reservations using
these apps, and considering how much technology runs our lives today, many
would enjoy interacting with restaurants digitally.
apps, such as Meetup and Foursquare, don't offer the same services as the
aforementioned smartphone mainstays. They do, however, allow patrons to check in wherever they are. It seems like a great opportunity to leave
little cards at the booths for a restaurant announcing a 10 percent discount
for anyone who "checks in" via their app.
Wi-Fi for More Than
aren't many restaurants out there that don't already use Wi-Fi, but there are
still some that don't offer it to their patrons. The truth is that customers would rather
occupy restaurant furnishings where they can check their email and social media
without using up their data. If all
things are equal between an eatery without Wi-Fi and their competitor who does
offer the service, it'll be the competitor who lands the guest.
Electronic Point of Sale
restaurant once had the typical cash register where they'd ring up an order
after writing it down. Most fast food
and casual dining eateries, though, have moved past this. Electronic point of sale systems now allow
servers to put in orders on the fly, and they can even cash out the customers
course, some small town diners still do fine with the traditional written-down
ticket orders. If nothing else, though,
they should go electronic. A tablet with
an app like Breadcrumb allows restaurateurs to keep a catalog of their menu,
process sales and, on busy nights, immediately keep track of which tables are
every industry has recognized the importance of using the cloud, but for some
reason, food-and-beverage entrepreneurs have been slow to come around. Many likely wonder,
"How is the cloud going to keep my restaurant furnishings full?" It's a valid question, but this technology
can do this and much more.
start with, eateries can save money on purchasing licensed software suites by
utilizing service as a software (SaaS) via the cloud. Microsoft Word, for instance, is free when
using cloud technology on Google. Restaurateurs will also find that their
systems are more secure thanks to offsite backups. The cloud simply makes running an
establishment more efficient, and this will always result in happy customers.
is constantly evolving, and many of the tools we use today may not even be
around in a decade. While they're still
here, though, budding culinary entrepreneurs should make use of them. It's come to the point where nice restaurant
furnishings and great service simply aren't enough, but technology can
definitely pick up the slack.
Published By: Leon Tuberman
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
has evolved greatly over the years, and thanks to this, restaurateurs have to
do much more than advertise in the newspaper to get people at their cafe
tables. The world has moved online, and
so must restaurant marketing. And while
many may not realize it, online marketing effectiveness relies solely on
creating an active internet following. These tips are a great way to get started.
of the key ingredients to successful social media marketing is interacting with
followers. Fortunately, doing this will
also build rapport with online followers. When someone tweets or posts that they enjoyed a meal, respond that it
was great having them in. If they
comment on a certain post from the page, take a moment to engage in a little
builds a real connection with social media followers. Restaurateurs should also take the time to
respond to negative comments. If someone
didn't enjoy a meal, let them know how this will be rectified, and the whole
world will see. Social media interaction
carries a whole host of benefits.
Don't Be Afraid to Link
restaurateurs feel that they should only post blogs, photos and other content
that's created by or directly connected to their eatery. And while the main focus is to fill up those
cafe tables, it's important to remember that consumers want real value.
okay to post a food-related article written by a restaurateur 500 miles
away. It's even okay to post a link on
how to build a bar table. And when a
restaurant owner creates their own blogs, backlinks to reputable sources build
credibility. Even in the food and
beverage industry, people want real value in the content they consume.
Offer Freebies for
of the most important aspects of building an online fan base is getting people
on the restaurant's email list. Offering
a gift card or discount for everyone who signs up is a great way to build the
list, and once individuals are signed up, it's possible to send out event
announcements, promotions, and a variety of other content that recipients will
appreciate, and even feel privileged to receive firsthand.
what not to do when building an online fan base is just as important as knowing
what to do. With that in mind,
restaurant owners should never engage in underhanded tactics like buying "followers." Many websites have offers like "Get
1,000 Followers Overnight," but it is always inactive accounts they're
means when great content is posted, none of those new "followers"
will interact with it. Thanks to
Facebook algorithms, this lack of interaction will often result in the actual
customers not seeing posts. Big numbers
might look good on a restaurant social media page, but they'll never get people
in the restaurant booths.
An excited and involved online fanbase can do
great things for a restaurant. In
essence, these individuals turn into involved brand ambassadors. A bit of online success can remind a
restaurateur that people behind the keyboard are often just as important as
those at the cafe tables.
Published By: Leon Tuberman
Monday, December 12, 2016
bring in the bulk of their revenue from the individuals filling the bar tables
and restaurant booths. Others have
discovered, though, that offering a curbside pick-up service can also be
profitable. Most eateries have no
problem with taking phone orders and letting patrons pick up food inside, but
far fewer offer a "runner" who brings the food to their vehicle. This can attract new business, so a
restaurant owner considering the service should know how to pull it off.
Have Dedicated Curbside
it may seem enticing to offer curbside pick-up, it should only be done if the
restaurant can afford dedicated curbside staffers. Some eateries may attempt to just have a
server take the food out when they have a spare minute, but what if that spare
minute never comes? Making the customer
wait defeats the purpose, and an upset curbside customer is just as damaging as
an angry patron at a bar table.
one employee per shift in the curbside area. Their job should be making sure every order is right and getting it out
to the customer as quickly as possible. Nothing would anger a patron more than getting home to find that their
food has gotten cold while they were waiting at the curb.
Offer Curbside Discounts
first starting out, it might not be completely economical to always have a
dedicated staffer in the curbside area. This is why restaurateurs should strive to build excitement for this
service quickly. Studies have shown that
eateries with curbside service have seen 10 percent profit increases yearly
since implementation, but they have to get the word out first.
do this, take to social media and provide "curbside only"
promotions. On busy nights, patrons will
love being able to eat at home with their families instead of waiting 15
minutes for an open table. That's when
most will use these promotions, and once they try out the new service, they're
Have Reserved Parking
this might be one of the simplest things to do when offering curbside pick-up,
it's also one of the most important. Patrons need reserved spots right in the pick-up area. This ensures the staffer will see them and
the customer isn't stuck looking for a parking spot.
Get Better To-Go
someone enjoys their meal at the bar tables and then asks for a to-go box, they
have no illusion that their meal will be warm once they arrive home. This isn't the case for curbside customers. They want their food to be hot and ready to
eat even after the drive, and traditional Styrofoam containers won't pull this
why it's important to invest in quality containers that keep food warm and
won't leak. Applebee's, for instance,
provides durable plastic containers that snap tight to prevent any spills. This type of container is ideal, and it
ensures patrons will enjoy a hot meal without a mess, even when not occupying
the tables for restaurants.
pick-up might not be right for every restaurant, but for those who pull it off,
it's a definite revenue generator. And
even on slow nights, when the bar tables are empty and the restaurant dining
sets go unused, curbside service will ensure patrons are still stopping
Published By: Leon Tuberman
Friday, November 25, 2016
Every restaurateur hopes that each night they're open will bring with it full bar tables and a constant influx of patrons. And while keeping current customers happy is a great way to do this, it's also essential to consistently bring in new guests. While everyone knows the tried-and-true methods, such as offering Facebook discounts or hosting a happy hour, fewer culinary experts take advantage of the following underutilized tricks of the trade.
Discounts Connected to "Check Ins"
Social media has effectively taken over the world. If there are people at the tables for restaurants, they're no doubt occasionally checking their Facebook pages. Restaurateurs can take advantage of this social media saturation by offering discounts related to the "check in" functions on numerous platforms.
Advertising a promotion of 10 percent off for patrons who "check in" at a restaurant offers a variety of benefits. In addition to attracting new guests for the discount, all of the individuals following a "checked in" person will see exactly where their friend is. This can tip off consumers who may have never even heard of the eatery, and within days, they might just be sitting at those bar tables.
Send Out Birthday Emails
With the right marketing company or email client, restaurateurs can send out targeted messages to those on their email list who are celebrating a birthday within the month. Of course, this will only end up occupying the restaurant furnishings with patrons who have already visited, right? This isn't a terrible assumption, but it is an inaccurate one.
The simple fact is that no one goes out alone to celebrate their birthday. And if they do, they could probably really use that free drink anyway. In all likelihood, though, they'll have a few friends tag along. Some of these individuals may never have visited before, and this provides a prime opportunity to create a new loyal customer.
Bring In Live Entertainment
Some people could go their whole lives without ever coming across a local restaurant in print or social media. They're more likely to keep up with their favorite local band or up-and-coming comedian. Restaurateurs should take advantage of this fact. Offer to host these types of live entertainers and announce the event on social media.
Additionally, most local newspapers have "Upcoming Event" sections online. Make sure to post the upcoming entertainment there as well. Restaurateurs should keep in mind that they won't be the only ones advertising this happening. The performer will send the message out on their own social media pages, and this can result in droves of new patrons occupying the seating for restaurants.
There are a variety of marketing and outreach tips that restaurateurs can use to get new guests at their bar tables. It's important, especially for culinary entrepreneurs on a budget, to utilize any of these methods that don't break the bank. Fortunately, the aforementioned fall right in that category and can create new customers for life.