Restaurant Finance Tips the Pros Use

    Published By: Leon Tuberman  -  Friday, April 21, 2017

    Before a culinary entrepreneur starts setting up restaurant dining tables and ordering food, they've obviously thought of their finances. After all, falling short of necessary capital is one of the few things that can stop a restaurant in its tracks. Of course, worries about money don't simply vanish once an eatery has established itself. That's why the most successful restaurant owners out there follow very specific finance rules, and these certainly fall into the “essential” category.

    Don't Make Minimum Payments
    Whenever a restaurant owner gets their credit card bill in the mail, it's always tempting to just pay off the amount under “Minimum Due.” After all, this keeps more money in their pocket for the following month. Unfortunately, this also has serious consequences, which could eventually lead to selling the bar tables in a going out of business sale.

    This is because, when only the minimum payment is made, interest starts accruing. Personal and business credit cards work the same; if you pay off the full amount as soon as the bill is received, no interest builds up. This results in a business loan free of interest while avoiding spending more on commercial restaurant equipment and other necessities than they're worth.

    Don't Get Used to the Honeymoon Phase
    One of the biggest mistakes in the food and beverage industry is thinking the “honeymoon phase” is indicative of future success. Sure, the restaurant dining tables are full the first few months after opening, but this is typically because people are excited about the “new kid on the block.”

    The first three months are usually great for every eatery, but this excitement quickly cools down. Restaurateurs should not base their financial decisions on these first few months, and they certainly shouldn't go on spending sprees. This has proven detrimental for far too many eateries.

    Be Vigilant About Inventory
    Financing and food might not seem to have a lot in common, but they are actually undeniably interconnected. Restaurateurs must consistently take inventory to keep up with their food costs. Are they ordering more than they need? This could result in food getting thrown out. Is food disappearing? Employees could be sneaking it home. Taking inventory is a necessity for controlling food costs, and this means it's vital to restaurant finances.

    Keep Up With Prime Cost
    Unfortunately, far too many business owners don't know what prime cost is. In the food and beverage industry, this could result in owners spending more to get patrons at the restaurant dining tables than they're worth. The prime cost of a restaurant is how much money is being spent to run the place.

    Prime cost usually includes food and beverage costs, wages, benefits and payroll taxes in the calculation. Restaurateurs should figure out their prime cost every week. If it's over 60 percent of the eatery's total sales, something is wrong. At this point, it's time to look at costs and rethink the process.

    Running a restaurant is no easy task, and most that fail will do so because of their finances. Therefore it's important to keep track of expenditures and handle money appropriately. This is more difficult in the business world than most people's personal lives, but if a culinary entrepreneur hopes to keep the restaurant dining tables full, it's an essential aspect that cannot be overlooked.

    How Restaurateurs Should Manage Comps

    Published By: Leon Tuberman  -  Thursday, April 20, 2017

    Restaurateurs have a variety of customer service tools at their disposal. In a perfect world, well-trained servers would be the only “tool” necessary to keep patrons happy. Unfortunately, it's not a perfect world. If a restaurant owner hopes to keep their cafe tables and other furniture occupied, they sometimes have to give a little in the form of comps. If they're not careful with their “comping” practices, though, they could end up in hot water.

    Be Careful with Discount Promotions
    Sites like Groupon are a great way to get new patrons in the restaurant booths. Since these promotions are typically temporary, they're capable of introducing new guests to the eatery without cutting into the overall profits for too long. It's important, however, to be mindful when setting these promos up.

    Providing an online coupon for 50 percent off a meal, for instance, may seem like a great way to pack the cafe tables without taking a huge hit. It's essential to remember, though, that these websites get a cut of the profit as well. If restaurateurs don't consider this when creating an offer, they could end up accidentally going over their prime cost.

    Practice Great Record Keeping
    Whether comps are coming from online coupons or patrons not being happy with their meals, it's essential to practice good record keeping. All comps should be documented at the end of the night. These are essential records that will help calculate all of the eatery's costs. Far too many owners fail to keep good records and then wonder why they don't have enough reserve cash to purchase a new piece of commercial restaurant equipment at the end of the month. Always keep good records.

    Reconsider Free Meals
    If a manager has to visit one of the occupied cafe tables because a patron didn't enjoy their meal, their immediate response is sometimes to simply comp the dish. Instead, they should offer a replacement and potentially a drink, salad or dessert on the house. This will ensure that some form of revenue is still coming in, and the customer will leave the eatery satisfied rather than simply placated.

    Give Bartenders Leeway
    If the seating in a restaurant consists of a few bar tables, it's essential to give bartenders a little leeway with comps. Anyone who has held this job can attest to the fact that it's sometimes necessary to hand out a free drink. If restaurateurs don't set a limit for their employees to follow, the drinks will likely get given away for free anyway without any record.

    Don't Be Afraid to Say “No”
    Most restaurant patrons are good-natured people who want a meal. Unfortunately, we know all too well that some are just fishing for something free. If this is obviously what's going on, don't be afraid to say “no.” This is especially the case if it's not a repeat customer. They complained of the heat after choosing to sit at the outdoor restaurant furniture? They ate the entire meal before saying anything? In situations such as these, it's important to remember that this is a business.

    Comps are a part of life in the restaurant industry. Without them, a one-time mistake could result in someone never sitting at the cafe tables again. It's important, though, not to let comps get out of hand. Luckily, the aforementioned tips can help in that endeavor.

    How Restaurants Can Increase ROI on Social Media

    Published By: Leon Tuberman  -  Wednesday, April 19, 2017

    Regardless of the marketing method restaurants use, the main goal is to increase their return on investment (ROI). This equates to more patrons at the restaurant booths and makes promotional expenditures worth the cost. Of course, methods for increasing ROI vary depending on which platform is utilized. When it comes to social media marketing, restaurants can make their investments worthwhile with the following practices.

    Get Engagement by Engaging
    When people occupy restaurant dining tables, they're usually expecting a social experience. After all, if they wanted to sit silently, they could've just grabbed a sandwich. Since social media exploded in popularity, many are also taking their sociability to platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

    When someone takes the time to post to a restaurant's social pages, it's important for the restaurateur to take a moment to reply. Otherwise, several potential patrons seeking engagement will just go on with their day and not give it a second thought. Take the time to respond, and it'll increase the likelihood of that user walking through the doors.

    Balance Out Content
    People don't often sit at restaurant booths with the intention of indulging in only one food item. They want fries with their burgers or mashed potatoes with their steaks. Just like in the dining room, patrons don't want to be constantly inundated with the same thing on social media pages.

    Restaurateurs should obviously post about promotions or the restaurant in general, but this cannot be all they post about. People will feel as if they're getting spammed, and this can result in folks unfollowing a page. Balance out interesting and value-oriented content with promotions.

    Focus Efforts Where They Work
    Not everyone uses every social media platform. Whether it's Snapchat, Facebook or Instagram, certain individuals are more likely to flock to specific websites. Take this into account when rationing out time spent on social media marketing.

    Restaurants looking to fill their bar tables with Millennials, for instance, should put serious time into Snapchat. Eateries that appeal to a wider array of demographics should certainly spend their time on Facebook. Instagram is an overall popular social site when it comes to restaurants.

    Having a presence on all social sites is ideal, and restaurateurs with a dedicated social media manager typically pull this off well. But if resources are limited, focusing on specific sites based on the targeted audience is the best way to fill up the restaurant booths.

    Realize There's No Perfect Answer
    Some social media marketing strategies have proven time and again to increase ROI for restaurants. It's important, though, not to think that they will work for every eatery. If something isn't working, tweak it or try something else. If something outside the box pays off, keep running with it. A little trial and error can do great things when restaurateurs are actively paying attention.

    Just like every marketing platform, social media marketing can sometimes prove to be a crapshoot when it comes to return on investment. A few failed attempts, however, is no excuse to pull back resources. For culinary entrepreneurs who want to have their restaurant booths packed, paying attention to ROI on social media is essential.

    5 Servers Who Are Doing More Harm Than Good

    Published By: Leon Tuberman  -  Tuesday, April 18, 2017

    Most eateries have several things in common. These include a few servers on the floor, decent restaurant dining tables, a manager checking in occasionally, and at least a few amazing dishes on the menu. Unfortunately, many of them also share the fact that some servers are doing more harm than good. The waitstaff is the front line when it comes to keeping customers happy, but the following servers may be dropping the ball without even knowing it.

    Overdoing It with the Perfume
    Maybe an eatery has the fanciest restaurant dining sets in the city. Maybe their servers are dressed to impress. This doesn't mean, though, that their scent needs to be noticeable. Everyone knows a person who just doesn't understand when to leave well enough alone when it comes to cologne and perfume. This is overpowering to the patrons, so if it's going on, a manager should certainly talk to the employee about it.

    Getting Too Informal
    Not every dining establishment is the same. Some are strictly casual, and others obviously carry a sense of formality. Managers need to discuss this with their waitstaff. After all, what's right at an Applebee's most certainly wouldn't fly at the most exclusive eatery in New York City. Sitting across the restaurant dining tables or kneeling on the floor to take an order, for instance, creates a sense of informality that some guests may not be comfortable with.

    Servers Aggressively Pushing for a Tip
    Servers are always working hard for a tip, and the word “aggressively” may seem a bit much in this situation. That, however, is not how the guests will see it. Picking up the check at a bar table and asking if the customer needs change in a matter-of-fact way, for instance, creates an awkward situation for the guest. Similarly, if a server brings back the change in large bills instead of something more appropriate for a tip, the patron may feel obligated to leave more than they should.

    The Hot Topic Server
    There's absolutely nothing wrong with someone getting all of the tattoos and piercings that they want. Unfortunately, this isn't typically conducive to a business with restaurant dining tables and appetizers. If a server chooses to get some form of body modification while employed, they need to understand that it must be concealable. Otherwise, they might just relegate themselves to the position of expediter.

    The Insulting Receipt Server
    Thanks to the advent of social media and phone cameras, people are able to snap a photo and make it go viral in moments. Unfortunately, this has resulted in many restaurants getting bad publicity when employees thought they could write something insulting in the system and just erase it later.

    These have resulted in racist words, homophobic slurs and even insults to children being printed on receipts that customers got their hands on. This isn't funny, and it isn't witty. Employees need to be told of the dangers of creating offensive names on tickets to keep track of customers. This can save a restaurant from a PR nightmare.

    Every restaurateur is going to hire a few bad servers during their career. It's a simple fact of life. These mistakes, however, don't need to be permanent. Speak with servers who may be making patrons feel out of place. If they can't correct what's going on, maybe serving restaurant dining tables and booths wasn't the right career choice for them.

    4 Myths About Running a Restaurant You Should Ignore

    Published By: Leon Tuberman  -  Monday, April 17, 2017

    Whether it's getting the appropriate amount of seating for restaurants when starting out or consistently keeping up with inventory levels, culinary entrepreneurs' jobs are never done. It takes a lot to keep a restaurant running smoothly, and overlooking even one aspect can prove detrimental. Of course, worrying about unnecessary things can take your eye off the ball. That's why every restaurateur should recognize these common myths about running a restaurant.

    Owning a Restaurant Provides Flexibility
    Some people get into the food and beverage industry thinking their hours will be incredibly flexible. After all, when they were a server, they could often be at another establishment's bar tables before the clock struck midnight. Better yet, simply hiring great staff and knowledgeable managers should be enough, right?

    Wrong. Running a restaurant isn't a part-time job. For those of you considering opening an eatery and thinking that it all boils down to marketing, great food and maximizing the seating for restaurants, a stark surprise may be in store. You will undoubtedly manage to get a day off every so often, but don't count on having the weekends to yourself. This is a commitment—not a get-rich-quick scheme.

    The Owner Always Knows What's Best
    As someone who put in the long hours to start a successful restaurant, you might think that your way is always the best. Again, this simply isn't true. You must pay attention to what customers are saying both directly to you and online. The quickest way to empty out those restaurant booths is to ignore customer opinions because you “know what's best” for your restaurant.

    All Success Requires Is Great Food
    Awesome food is undoubtedly one of the most important aspects of running a dining establishment. If it were that easy, though, few restaurants would ever fail. You can have the best tasting hamburgers, seafood or any other type of cuisine in the area, but if you don't have effective marketing, well-trained staff, a strong reputation and great customer service, it'll be difficult to succeed.

    Offering Something New Will Boost Business
    Culinary entrepreneurs should always be looking for the next big thing that will fill up the seating for their restaurant. This is true whether they're just starting out or contemplating adding a new dish. It's important to recognize, however, that just because something isn't available in your area doesn't mean it's a good product to offer.

    If you're located in a hipster neighborhood, for instance, maybe there's a reason no steakhouses exist. Also, would anyone be surprised if a soup and salad bar doesn't exactly do well in a small country town whose economy rests on livestock? Do a bit of research before jumping headfirst into any new endeavor. It could save you time and money in the end.

    Running a restaurant is difficult enough without having misconceptions about the industry in your mind. If you're really focused on ensuring the seating for restaurants is consistently at full capacity, you need to focus on the tangible instead of what you heard might be true. Doing so might just help you craft a successful eatery.

    Turning Negative Yelp Restaurant Reviews Into Positives

    Published By: Leon Tuberman  -  Friday, March 31, 2017

    In a world where information travels at the speed of light, people are capable of discovering everything about a business even before visiting it. In many cases, they garner their information from online reviews. Unfortunately for entrepreneurs who are in the business of appetizers, stiff drinks and restaurant furnishings, even a single bad review on a site like Yelp can affect their bottom line. As it turns out, though, there are a few ways restaurants can make negative Yelp reviews a positive thing.

    Responding to Negative Yelp Reviews
    Potentially the most important thing any restaurateur can do when dealing with negative Yelp reviews is respond. Perhaps the individual said their steak came out undercooked. Maybe it was something as menial as a squeaky bistro chair. Whatever the case may be, it's imperative to take the time to respond to these.

    This is because it will show other potential patrons that the owners care. It's impossible for every single business transaction to go smoothly. In some cases, this is out of the restaurateur's hands. By taking the time to respond and trying to make things right, however, others online will take note. In the end, this could actually help the occupancy of all the restaurant furnishings.

    Learn from the Review
    While there's no magical way to turn a negative review into a positive review, Yelp does allow businesses to have testimonials removed. This tactic, however, is very rare. In fact, unless a competitor is the one who left the negative review, there's really no reason to waste time trying.

    The best way to turn this into a positive is to learn from what happened. By responding to negative criticism online, and providing contact information for the upset patron to get in touch, restaurateurs are doing much more than putting on a good public face. They're actually opening the door to solving the problem.

    By discussing the issue in-depth with someone—once they've had a chance to cool down after leaving the bad memories of those restaurant furnishings—owners can find out exactly what happened and start to rectify the issue. The best positive in a negative online review? If the issue is corrected, it'll help reduce the likelihood of another.

    Make It a Marketing Point
    This tactic certainly won't be right for all restaurants. A roadside diner or hipster hangout? Sure. A fancy dining establishment, however, might want to hold off. Recently, though, a restaurant in New Jersey put a message on their sandwich board: "Try the worst breakfast one man on Yelp ever had."

    Photos of this message quickly began circulating and went viral. Keep in mind that this isn't a tactic that should be used if negative reviews are consistently coming in. If that's the case, the owner should take a long look at what they're doing before their restaurant booths are permanently empty.

    Online review sites are here to stay, and unfortunately, they're often some of the first results when consumers are searching Google. Luckily, these don't have to result in the restaurant furnishings looking like a ghost town on Friday night. With a few proactive measures, even negative reviews can turn to gold.

    4 Websites Your Restaurant Should Be on But Probably Isn't

    Published By: Leon Tuberman  -  Thursday, March 30, 2017

    Any culinary entrepreneur hates to see servers occupying the restaurant furniture thanks to a completely dead night. Over the past decade, it's become obvious that an online presence is the best way to avoid this. Of course, most restaurateurs know that they need to be on sites like Facebook and Yelp if they're to be successful, but this is hardly where their digital signature needs to end. In fact, the following pages could help with search optimization and a host of other necessities.

    Zomato, once known as Urbanspoon, is one of the best places an eatery can be listed even though many restaurateurs fail to do so. Just like many other listing sites, claiming a restaurant here can boost search engine optimization and ranking. Of course, the site offers other benefits as well.

    For one, filling out the page will ensure visitors don't have inaccurate data about business hours, contact numbers and other information. Next, the site allows restaurant owners to upload their menu and even photos. Finally, Zomato allows replies to reviews, so the restaurant furniture won't necessarily go empty over one negative or false review.

    While it's true that Google undoubtedly knows about every local eatery, it doesn't mean owners shouldn't go the extra mile on the site. Google+ allows business owners to claim their page as well, and although the basic listing may seem informative, the best online marketers take the time to fill in their information and even link to their website. Being on any site increases SEO, but giving more information to Google is a surefire way to get more people seated at the restaurant.

    Having a presence on TripAdvisor may seem pointless, and this could especially seem accurate for restaurants that aren't in tourist destinations. As it turns out, though, this couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, searching “best restaurants near me” usually brings a local TripAdvisor page up as the first result.

    Fortunately, claiming a listing on TripAdvisor is as simple as doing so on sites geared specifically towards restaurants. Maybe some locals just want to occupy a bar table on their night off. Maybe someone is driving through on a road trip and wants a quick bite. Whatever the case, TripAdvisor is often the first site they see.

    When people are looking for new places to eat, they don't usually make their decision based simply on cuisine type and reviews. After all, they don't want surprises, so they'll typically look for an online menu first. In many cases, these individuals end up at Allmenus. People want to know what they're getting before sitting in a cafe chair, and since the site is owned by GrubHub, there are also various other tools restaurateurs can use to increase the number of diners they see daily.

    Nice restaurant furniture, great ambiance and good word of mouth can only go so far in the food and beverage industry. Fortunately, a digital presence can go much further. That's why restaurateurs should utilize the aforementioned sites to increase their online footprint as much as possible.

    Why Every Restaurant Should Be Using Instagram

    Published By: Leon Tuberman  -  Wednesday, March 29, 2017

    Whether it's photos of friends in cafe chairs or of the newest dinner offering on the menu, images can be a powerful tool in the restaurant marketing world. Due to the huge built-in audience, Facebook is where most restaurateurs throw these images up in the hopes that they'll get noticed. Many also use Twitter, but somewhere in the shuffle, some culinary entrepreneurs don't even consider utilizing Instagram. Here's a few reasons that's a mistake.

    Restaurant Instagrams Get More Engagement
    Images make for some of the most engaging posts on any social media outlet. Some research, however, suggests that images posted on Instagram get more engagement than on Facebook or Twitter. This shouldn't be that surprising considering Instagram is focused on visual imagery such as photos and videos. While using Instagram alone might not fill up the restaurant booths, it can certainly pick up the slack when it comes to image posting.

    Instagram Doesn't Stand Alone
    One of the biggest headaches restaurateurs face with social media is having to post on so many platforms. After all, who wants to go through five different sites while simultaneously worrying about getting cafe chairs filled? Luckily, Facebook developed Instagram, so this means it's possible to post to both accounts at the same time. Even more impressive, though, is the fact that Instagram will work with Tumblr, Flickr and Twitter. This makes it one of the simplest methods out there for cross-posting.

    Restaurant Patrons Become Instagram Marketers
    From sitting at the bar tables on Saturday night to trying out a new meal for the first time, people love taking photos at restaurants. Unless it's a special occasion, though, most individuals will only upload a single image on Facebook. This isn't true of Instagram, and this can work to a restaurant's advantage.

    Some eateries, for example, have created their own hashtags and asked patrons to upload photos of their meals. In doing so, they created a virtual menu that people could look through without ever entering the restaurant. With hashtags and the photogenic nature of Instagram, the sky is the limit on adding guests to the marketing mix.

    Create Instagram-Specific Promotions
    One way to increase demand for any product or promotion is to make it temporary. As it turns out, Instagram Stories has this feature built right in. Using this tool, restaurateurs can upload a series of videos or photos as a single “story.” The great thing about this? They automatically disappear after 24 hours.

    This means it's possible to create a very limited time promotion without having to go back and delete it later. This also means that patrons will want to follow the eatery's Instagram just so they can occupy the cafe chairs as soon as a promo is available. Require guests to show the Instagram post for the discount, and in the end, no one can complain about not getting the promo since the “story” is already gone.

    It can get hectic trying to handle multiple social media sites at a restaurant. In today's world, though, it's a necessity. While Instagram might have a smaller audience than Facebook or Twitter, it certainly has its place in filling up the cafe chairs and other restaurant furniture. And as more people sign up for the site, its benefit to the restaurant world will only increase.

    4 Benefits You Didn't Know About Restaurant Mobile Apps

    Published By: Leon Tuberman  -  Tuesday, March 28, 2017

    At any given moment, patrons sitting in the restaurant booths are likely playing on mobile apps while waiting for their meals. Consumers and businesses alike have found great ways to utilize these mobile programs, and many major restaurant chains have their own. As it turns out, restaurant mobile apps can also provide benefits for smaller eateries. While they're not right for everyone, having a mobile app does come with a few benefits.

    Easy-to-Track Loyalty Programs
    Of all the restaurant marketing practices in the world, running a loyalty program is undoubtedly one of the most powerful. Unfortunately, keeping up with these can sometimes be difficult. Many restaurants have phased out punch cards due to potential fraud, and keeping up with how many times someone has visited an eatery via email can get murky.

    With a mobile app, however, this can all be simplified to the point where Advil isn't even needed. Whether it's a patron's first time in the restaurant furniture or they're nightly guests, they can immediately start the loyalty program with just a swipe of the screen.

    Improved Customer Satisfaction
    Restaurateurs are always trying to improve their customers' satisfaction, and fortunately, a mobile app can pull this off. It's possible to create restaurant-themed games within these apps for the kids, allow patrons to order from their phones and even provide the ability to pay right from their restaurant booth via mobile device.

    All of these things take away the feeling of being rushed while in a restaurant. And while this is certainly a benefit for guests, it can also speed up table turnover time as the app expedites the entire process and allows the next party to take a seat.

    Utilize Location-Based Marketing
    Imagine an individual who is driving around town trying to figure out what they want for lunch. There are several places they enjoy, but they just can't figure out the best bang for the buck. Suddenly, as they're approaching a certain restaurant, a notification is received on their phone offering a 15 percent discount if for dining in within the hour.

    This futuristic imagining is actually already reality. People's phones are always connected to the internet, and if they have a restaurant's app on their device, a “push” notification can come through when they're within a certain distance of a restaurant. In the end, they're likely to be at the bar tables of the eatery that reached out via mobile app.

    Easily Take Reservations
    There are a multitude of apps out there dedicated to filling up restaurant booths by taking reservations. As it turns out, though, most people don't have these on their phones. This is why restaurateurs should consider making “Place Reservation” an option on the mobile app.

    By doing so, they already have a selling point to get current patrons to download the app. At that point, consumers will get access to all the other features they may not have known about. Add this to the fact that it reduces calls during peak times to reserve a table, and it's essentially a win-win for everyone.

    These benefits are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to restaurant mobile app benefits. As stated before, though, branded apps aren't necessarily right for every eatery. For those just starting out, an app is a luxury that won't likely be useful for a while. For owners who consistently have full restaurant booths and are looking to improve, though, they might just be the way to go.

    3 Ways to Improve Morale in Restaurant Employees

    Published By: Leon Tuberman  -  Monday, March 27, 2017

    As culinary entrepreneurs speak with patrons occupying their restaurant dining sets, they can sometimes become disconnected with what their employees are going through. Back of the house (BOH) workers see constant stress as steady orders come in, and front of the house (FOH) staff has to deal with upset customers typically on a daily basis. This can be a huge killer to morale. Fortunately, there are a few things restaurant managers can do to nip this in the bud.

    Treat Everyone the Same
    There's no doubt that every restaurant owner has their favorite employees. Fortunately, this doesn't become an issue unless the manager actually allows it to. Unfortunately, far too many actually do. If there's a rule about not sitting at the bar tables to roll silverware, it's not okay to overlook the rule for some and not for others.

    When servers, cooks and other employees see people receiving special treatment, their immediate and appropriate response is to become disheartened, upset and even angry. This can kill motivation, and if everyone from the BOH to the FOH isn't properly motivated to do their jobs, it's the entire restaurant that will suffer.

    Host Employee Gatherings
    Working in a restaurant is unlike being employed anywhere else. Whereas accountants can go to work, steer clear of colleagues and just go home, restaurant staff is in constant contact with each other. This builds friendships, but all too often they're left with going out at night when they have work the next day as their only entertainment option.

    Restaurateurs can help in this area by hosting occasional gatherings. Whether it's closing down the eatery early for a special party or holding a company picnic far away from any restaurant dining set, these little outings give employees something to look forward to.

    Work With Employees on Scheduling
    Since most aren't salaried, it may seem as if restaurant employees would prefer being at work so they can make money. It should never be forgotten, though, that they're human like everyone else. Make sure each employee has at least two days off, and go easy on scheduling the double shifts. If a worker requests a day off in advance, restaurant owners should strive to accommodate them.

    Host Competitions During Slow Days
    While cooks, dishwashers and other BOH employees may revel in slower days, this isn't true for the waitstaff. Most servers make the majority of their money through tips, and if they're just standing around looking at empty restaurant dining sets all day, they're not earning money.

    One obvious way around this is to schedule fewer servers and allow some people to head out early if they want. For those who remain, though, it doesn't hurt to hold little competitions to keep them motivated. The contest could focus on who sells the most appetizers, and the reward could be a free gift certificate, a meal on the house or even a selected day off.

    In addition to providing a little fun competition for the waitstaff, the restaurant itself could see improved sales even when restaurant booths go unoccupied.

    It's impossible to keep employees happy all of the time, but that doesn't mean that restaurateurs shouldn't try. By thinking about their employees more than they're worried about restaurant dining sets and effective marketing, it's possible to keep a consistently positive atmosphere at work.

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