Featured Blog Posts – January 2009 Archive (73)

Take Responsibility For Your Business

WOW! I can't believe all the whining that is going on in this country right now. Yes, times are very hard and a lot of people are struggling just to put food on their table. But what is all this blame that is being passed around through emails about everything from the economy to what Oprah tells her viewers?

We can all blame Congress for the deep recession we're in right now, but who really let our country get this way? We did. We're the ones that took out subprime mortgages. We're… Continue

Added by Matt Urdan on January 13, 2009 at 1:28pm — 5 Comments

Organic wine match of the day: Del Bondio Chardonnay & fish in beurre blanc

For a free subscription to the Organic Wine Match of the Day, visit the Denver Wine Examiner:

One Riesling producer has called it the “Vintichrist… a symbol of our degeneration into cholesterol-infused mania.” The New York Times has always been faintly damning, calling it “ubiquitous and brassy,” and understandingly appealing to the “generation raised on… Continue

Added by Randy Caparoso on January 13, 2009 at 12:36pm — No Comments

It is called Human Relations for a reason.

With all the talk about the economy and how to battle it by lowering costs and the next big marketing campaign, I think we have been losing sight at what we all can do that will put long term sales on the top line and increased profits on the bottom line. And best of all it cost nothing, but a little time and awareness on your part.

The smart operators are focused on the people. I am not talking about the people that eat in your restaurant, although they are important too. I am… Continue

Added by Robert Dominguez on January 13, 2009 at 7:58am — 2 Comments

Sexy Careers you never thought of. Career Builder thinking sexy?

I’ve never been the biggest fan of job boards, recruiters get lazy and for the most part they attract a lot of desperate job seekers. However, recently I’ve really been warming up to Career Builder- I’d date them over Monster any day. Especially after they created BrightFuse, a free professional networking site for professionals of all ranks and backgrounds — from interns to electricians to CEOs.

Richard Castellini, VP of Consumer Marketing for… Continue

Added by Amanda Hite on January 13, 2009 at 7:29am — 8 Comments

"Go" Get Organized

So it’s the start of a new year and the annual Get Organized (GO) Month. You are ready to tackle this one head on, right?

Some clues that you might be in need of organization:

You place accident reports outside of closets and storage areas.

You have several drawers in your office that you can no longer open.

Your file cabinet contains paperwork that dates from the last decade.

You discover food items from the past century.

You have several mittens and… Continue

Added by Leslie Howard on January 12, 2009 at 5:41am — 1 Comment

Mentoring with Structure?

Perhaps it’s time to think about corporate mentoring differently. Once an employee in my old business unit asked if mentoring was discriminatory, as she put it, for every person being mentored there were hundreds (perhaps thousands, depending on the size of the organization) not mentored, at least in a formal sense? It’s a good question, is mentoring, as many of us know it in large organizations as a formal process fair, does it optimize individual and organizational performance? Please… Continue

Added by Mark Frank on January 11, 2009 at 2:24pm — 3 Comments

Good Stuff Eatery goes online for buzz and sales

In my last post I promised to bring this discussion into the real world with examples of cool things that different operators are doing. So let me introduce you to Good Stuff Eatery, a new upscale hamburger joint right (my label, not theirs) in my backyard, Washington, DC.

They’re just a few months old, and I don’t get to Capitol Hill too often, so I hadn’t tried them yet. First stop was their web site (www.goodstuffeatery.com). The site is simple, colorful, fun. Nothing fancy but… Continue

Added by scott shaw on January 11, 2009 at 5:00am — No Comments

Oprah - What Were You Thinking?

While I applaud Suze Orman and Oprah for their sincere efforts in helping the average citizen free themselves from the chains of credit card debt, I must say that the pledge that they asked their viewers to take to abstain from eating out at restaurants for one month to improve their financial status, for at least some people, will have the exact opposite effect.

The restaurant industry in the United States, not to mention Canada and other viewing markets, is the nation's largest job… Continue

Added by Joe Erickson on January 10, 2009 at 9:32am — 15 Comments

A Little Over

"Do you mind if its a little over?" The question was a familiar one, as she'd been coming to this store for a lifetime. Now that the family had moved away, the task of gathering the holiday treats had become hers. It seemed that after several decades that she'd put both of the owner's two kids through college with the costs of all of those " a little over's" on that scale. It was even more salient now, as the trip back to the neighborhood shop was only to get a loaf of that great Italian bread.… Continue

Added by Joe Ferri on January 10, 2009 at 9:26am — No Comments

Restaurants: Get Consumer Feedback from Your Customers on the Internet

QSR Magazine writes in their latest issue about how to use feedback from blogs, consumer review sites, and other social media for your restaurant:

“Customer feedback found in blogs might reveal key information if you read between the lines…. Filtering through customer feedback on the various Internet blogs and social networking sites such as Yelp, BooRah, Citysearch, and others can be a very time-consuming endeavor, especially if your quick-serve restaurant boasts multiple locations.… Continue

Added by Eric on January 9, 2009 at 3:39pm — 1 Comment

The greeting can make or break you!

How do you answer the phone -- or maybe more to the point, how does your staff answer it? Are they warm and welcoming or bored and indifferent? Do they make someone want to make a reservation or do business with you, or turn them off totally?

I was thinking about this today when I cold-called an advertising prospect. A young woman answered the phone, sounding indifferent. I asked to speak with the person who would handle advertising or marketing.

"He's not here," was her… Continue

Added by susan holaday on January 9, 2009 at 8:45am — 15 Comments

Counterpoint - Rod Guinn - V is for Veto Vote

Rod made some great points regarding menu diversity and related costs, ( the "Law of Unintended Consequences").

There is another restaurant segment that bears looking at, however. That of the independent operator with a single unit competing with the chain restaurants.

A 46 to 60 seat restaurant positioning itself as a destination dining spot can offer something that the larger… Continue

Added by Paul Green on January 9, 2009 at 7:47am — 1 Comment

Changes in Protein and Dairy Production

The chart of the week is feed cost ratios for various agriculture producer sectors. A feed cost ratio is an estimate of producer profitability. As the chart states, a low ratio suggests poor producer profitability and a strong ratio suggests good producer profitability. The chart indicates that chicken, turkey and milk producer margins all suffered some in 2008. If pork and cattle were added to the chart they would depict low ratios as well. This is all mostly due to the rise in feed costs that… Continue

Added by David Maloni on January 9, 2009 at 6:54am — No Comments

V is for Veto Vote

I’ll admit this seems to be straying a bit from my usual field of restaurant finance, but stick with me, and see if it makes any sense.

Years ago (too many!) when I was first learning the restaurant business, I was told by many of my clients how important it was to eliminate the “veto vote”. Once I figured out that this wasn’t merely a failed attempt at a palindrome, I caught on, and for years accepted the conventional wisdom. After all, it’s among the reasons why places that… Continue

Added by Rod Guinn on January 9, 2009 at 6:00am — 2 Comments

A Toast With the Patron Saint of Beer

In much earlier times, beer was not something people drank when they wanted to get a "buzz" while watching a ball game. No, Europeans and others made beer because it was a way to make sure the water was safe to drink.

King Gambrinus, known as "the patron saint of beer," has long been a universal symbol of beer and brewing. Particularly during the late nineteenth century, the image of Gambrinus was used by countless brewers to promote their… Continue

Added by David Hottle, CPC on January 8, 2009 at 5:02am — No Comments

Staffing Questions 2009

In order to clarify your intentions, goals, and objectives when it comes to employee recruiting and retention in 2009, ask yourself these questions:

• How many new employees will I need to attract this year and how will I do it?

• How will I get more referrals for potential new employees?

• How many of our best employees who have left the organization will I try to re-recruit?

• What am I going to do to retain our best employees this year?

• What am I going to do to… Continue

Added by Mel Kleiman on January 7, 2009 at 9:54pm — 1 Comment

The "Cheers" "Diet Dr Pepper" and "Dessert" connection

A few weeks ago, Howard Appell wrote a blog about the commercial using

a GEICO client and a talking "Mrs Butterworth" syrup bottle.

I saw a commercial, using some similar "cross promotion" (for lack of a better phrase) techniques. While it isn't as bizarre as the GEICO/Butterworth ad, it is interesting, nonetheless.

The commercial starts with "Where Everybody Knows Your Name.." , which many will recall, was the theme song of the sitcom "Cheers".

The next… Continue

Added by Keith Bernhardt on January 7, 2009 at 7:29pm — No Comments

How many Area Directors get this kind of text message?

This past sunday, Albuquerque lost another restaurant. While I was reading the paper, getting ready to watch some playoff games, others were getting a TEXT MESSAGE saying not to come in, since the restaurant was closing. I won't give the name of the establishment. It's unimportant. The tragedy is the message and the way it was delivered. I'm fairly certain NONE of those people were hired by text message, so why were they notified that way? How many Area Directors, Vice Presidents, and CEO's get… Continue

Added by Stoligirl on January 7, 2009 at 7:23pm — 14 Comments

Steal from me will ya…..

Alright, so I hate to go there but theft, shrinkage, and stealing goes on in every restaurant. If you think it doesn’t you are having more stolen from you than realize. The best way to reduce your loses from theft is to first acknowledge it happens and then put controls in place to stop it. If your team knows your systems are so tight they are a lot less likely to reduce your inventory unethically. Here are just a few examples of theft happening right now in your… Continue

Added by Andy Swingley on January 7, 2009 at 6:59pm — 21 Comments

Diversifying - going out to get more business

In mid November, the story “Fine-dining Spots Adjust Ops to Add Delivery", ran in NRN. In it, Steve Coomes mostly wrote about restaurants in New York, but the article could apply to most restaurants.

His observation: New Yorkers are spending less, but they’re not about to cook for themselves a whole lot, either. For the customer, restaurants can be expensive because of the extras –… Continue

Added by Erle Dardick on January 7, 2009 at 1:00am — 7 Comments

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National News

Main Event Entertainment to Open First Center in the Rio Grande Valley

Main Event Entertainment, the fastest-growing family entertainment center in America, is celebrating its new center opening in Pharr, Texas, a suburb near McAllen in the Rio Grande Valley. Doors will open to the public at 9 a.m. on August 6.

Darden Announces Leadership Succession Plan

Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI) announced that Clarence Otis is stepping down as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Company. Darden's Board of Directors has appointed the Company's current Independent Lead Director, Charles A. Ledsinger, Jr., as Independent Non-Executive Chairman of the Board, effective immediately. The Company also announced that it has amended its corporate governance policies to provide for the separation of the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer roles.

National Restaurant Association Statement on NLRB Joint Employer Decision

Today the National Restaurant Association issued the following statement regarding the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) decision asserting McDonald’s Corporation is a joint employer of its franchisees:

National Restaurant Association Issues Support for Clearer ACA Definition of Seasonal Employment

The bipartisan legislation will align the definitions of seasonal employment in the Affordable Care Act and streamline the applicable large employer determination process.

Rising India, Inc. Announces Acquisition Strategy Toward a Sizable Slice of the QSR Pizza Pie

Rising India, Inc. (OTC: RSII), announces today it will immediately begin work toward the acquisition of up to 5 profitable stores in the popular Quick Serve Pizza Restaurant segment. Current targets are currently earning about $450,000 in revenues per year, per store. Acquisition of targets would provide immediate cash flow identified from profitable longstanding, absentee owner operations with proven model success.


If you are looking for capital to start or grow your restaurant, create the next 501c3, develop and launch the next app for the restaurant industry,or want to help your peers in some meaningful way, we want to know about it.


TED: Ze Frank: Are you human? - Ze Frank (2014)

Have you ever wondered: Am I a human being? Ze Frank suggests a series of simple questions that will determine this. Please relax and follow the prompts. Let's begin …

TED: Heather Barnett: What humans can learn from semi-intelligent slime - Heather Barnett (2014)

Inspired by biological design and self-organizing systems, artist Heather Barnett co-creates with physarum polycephalum, a eukaryotic microorganism that lives in cool, moist areas. What can people learn from the semi-intelligent slime mold? Watch this talk to find out.

TED: Shih Chieh Huang: Sculptures that’d be at home in the deep sea - Shih Chieh Huang (2014)

When he was young, artist Shih Chieh Huang loved taking toys apart and perusing the aisles of night markets in Taiwan for unexpected objects. Today, this TED Fellow creates madcap sculptures that seem to have a life of their own—with eyes that blink, tentacles that unfurl and parts that light up like bioluminescent sea creatures.

TED: Nikolai Begg: A tool to fix one of the most dangerous moments in surgery - Nikolai Begg (2013)

Surgeons are required every day to puncture human skin before procedures — with the risk of damaging what's on the other side. In a fascinating talk, find out how mechanical engineer Nikolai Begg is using physics to update an important medical device, called the trocar, and improve one of the most dangerous moments in many common surgeries.

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