Featured Blog Posts – January 2010 Archive (59)

What Questions Should You Be Asking In 2010?

So far this year I've spent a lot of time asking questions and doing some soul searching.

This is a question I was asked by Kathleen Wood, a Business and Leadership Growth Strategist who is doing some work with our team. It's a question that I think we should be asking ourselves for our business and our careers in 2010.

If you were to reinvent your business or career today based on… Continue

Added by Amanda Hite on January 12, 2010 at 9:43am — 4 Comments

Join the War Against Indifference!

During my career I’ve studied lots of research about service particularly in the restaurant industry. I’m always interested to learn what influences consumer behavior.

I spent 14 years with one of Applebee’s largest franchisees and I remember one study that stated the number one reason people won’t return to a casual restaurant. The answer was simply – “Employees Indifference”. I have no idea if this response was aided or unaided nor do I think it matters. This is a fascinating fact… Continue

Added by Bill Campion on January 10, 2010 at 3:29pm — 1 Comment

Meet your restaurant's toughest competitor for the next 10 years

Your toughest competitor for the next 10 years isn’t going to be a rival brand, a new channel or trend. It’s the suddenly massive US household debt. The pain it will put Americans through as they divert spending to hack down their card balances will rob you of guests far more effectively than could any competitor. Here’s why – and how smart companies are preparing.

About once a quarter for the past five years, our own Joe Dion would walk into my office glowering at a… Continue

Added by Max Israel on January 10, 2010 at 7:55am — 4 Comments

You Look Like That Guy In Psycho

I am clearing off this table tonight and I see a man gesture over at me from a table in the other section. Finished what I am doing I walk over to see if everything is alright.

He said sure but he thought I looked like a famous figure but couldn't put his name on it. Then he says I look like that guy Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock's thriller Psycho from the 50's. You know the guy who stabs the woman in the shower. Well him and I couldn't think of the actor's name who played the… Continue

Added by Steve Nicolle on January 9, 2010 at 6:25am — 2 Comments

New Stanford Study Shows Posting Calories on Restaurant Menu Boards Lowers Customers’ Calorie Counts per Visit

I grabbed this off the SBS research site and found it both interesting and amazing how they conducted their research. FInd the site here.

Starbucks’ customers purchased 6% fewer calories per visit at chain outlets that posted calorie counts without substantially affecting revenue say Stanford Graduate School of Business researchers Bryan Bollinger, Phillip Leslie, and Alan… Continue

Added by Michael L. Atkinson on January 8, 2010 at 9:13am — 3 Comments

Menus For Money; or, Should We Post The Nutritional Values of Dollars?

The New York Times recently printed an article (December 23, 2009) detailing the efforts of Danny Meyer and other restaurateurs -- from Huddle House to the highest of high-end dining -- to manipulate their menus in order to keep customers coming in, spending money, trying new items, and generally combating the wave of consumer reluctance which has been an obvious and unavoidable corollary to the current portion of the economic cycle. It’s a valuable article, including commentary from… Continue

Added by Rod Guinn on January 8, 2010 at 3:00am — No Comments

DAWG Talk: You Talkin' to Me?

I live by the philosophy that you can say anything to anyone as long as you are honest and your intent is positive. There’s no question that tact and timeliness affect our ability to be successful communicators. And, as our society and workforce become more inclusive, we find ourselves exploring new channels to deliver a consistent message.

People receive information differently. For a message to be communicated successfully, the… Continue

Added by David Rose on January 7, 2010 at 6:26am — 2 Comments

What the Others are Doing

I’m always thinking about different ways that restaurants can appeal to the ever growing crowd of health conscious diners. There’s the obvious salad with dressing on the side and grilled chicken breast or salmon filet; but good business, especially in the food industry comes from innovation. It also comes from what I call innovative reproduction (AKA taking ideas from others and doing it better). I found an article on health.com titled… Continue

Added by Alyson Mar, RD on January 6, 2010 at 9:53pm — 1 Comment

Why I Cannot Be a Dining Room Manager

An opening has just come up for a dining room manager just 8 minutes from our place. It has an extensive wine list , nice white tablecloths , people with some money eat there etc..

But I wouldn't even apply for it now whereas one time I might have. You see the hours I would work will double what I am working now. I would be away from seeing my kids , it would interfere with my wife's schedule and the family take home pay would actually drop.

All good reasons I remain a… Continue

Added by Steve Nicolle on January 6, 2010 at 9:00pm — 12 Comments

How To Write a Great Subject Line for your Restaurant Email Marketing Campaign

You're all set up, ready to go with your restaurant email campaign. You've got killer content, a mailing list full of customers hungry to hear from you and an eye-catching email layout. Now, all you need is a great subject line.

All too often, the subject line is a last-minute decision when sending out an email newsletter or promotion. A quick scan of my restaurant email folder in my email, and I see ho-hum lines like "Thank You" and my personal favorite:

"confirm… Continue

Added by Erin Martin on January 6, 2010 at 11:51am — 1 Comment

Inventory Forecasting: You Can't Manage If You Don't Measure

Last week I kicked off a series of articles on controlling food costs.

I had the opportunity to work for one of the most respected CEO's in the restaurant industry who mastered the art of controlling costs. He was always saying, "You can't manage what you don't measure". It is an old management adage that is accurate today. Unless you measure something, you don't know if it is getting better or worse. You can't manage for improvement if you don't measure to see what is getting better… Continue

Added by Jim McGinty on January 6, 2010 at 9:10am — 4 Comments

Ok, Back to Work

The Wall Street Journal says today that our economy is looking promising, based on a number of indicators. I like the odds so far, but that’s me.

On the social media front, there’s a lot cooking. Even with Twitter membership leveling off and Yelp continuing to increase their negative publicity rating (oh, those pesky sales people at yelp), life is good and cheap. Useful Web 2.0 tools are falling like leaves from technology trees. We’ll start to share these over the coming… Continue

Added by Michael L. Atkinson on January 6, 2010 at 7:16am — 2 Comments

New Year's Restaurant Marketing Resolutions

Resolutions.png First of all, Happy 2010 to all of you.

As the new year starts, many of you are making resolutions. Perhaps your restaurant is not very full, business is slow and you could do with many more customers, or perhaps you just want to improve your business: streamline operations, reduce expenses and improve your marketing.

Here are some ideas for your new year's resolutions:

√ Do you have a restaurant website? If not, this is the time to create… Continue

Added by Jose L Riesco on January 6, 2010 at 4:00am — No Comments

What should an operator do ?

I was commenting today on another group to a question raised by one of the group members " Wondering What Owners Want or Need to Market their Restaurant. Would restaurant owners chime in and share with me one thing? If I handed you a magic wand and you could do, get or have anything you needed to make your restaurant successful what would you get from this wand? "

After reading many comments written by others, below is my comment to this question. Feel free to add your… Continue

Added by Ola Ayeni on January 5, 2010 at 8:00am — 2 Comments

H1N1: Scarier Than Cancer and Obesity.

To follow up the discussion I started in the Gateway ProClean group last week over hand washing habits, it looks like recent numbers have even indicated that flu cases reported in November 2009 were actually lower than November of last year. Apparently, large scale efforts to raise awareness of proper hygiene have paid off. This elevated sensitivity paired with the H1N1 vaccination roll-out has caused less sick days in the workforce. Not all was good news. There was a 1.7% to 5.4% one-month… Continue

Added by Meghan Reed on January 5, 2010 at 6:13am — 3 Comments

White table cloth? The Top 3 Rules for Feedback

Note: Customerville works with retailers and restaurant chains. Though this post was originally targeted more at retailers, several white table cloth restaurant operators pointed out that much of this applies to them as well. Enjoy!

As we wrote last week, luxury retailers everywhere are fighting to reconfigure themselves to survive and – in a few cases – prosper in the new, austere economy. One of the first things they’ll need to do is overcome a historical discomfort… Continue

Added by Max Israel on January 5, 2010 at 4:57am — No Comments

Be Honest - How Many Service Jobs Have You Had Up to Now?

My longest time I worked with a company was in the 90's when I did 5 contracts of 6 months each with Renaissance Cruises. The longest I have worked anywhere after that was about 2 1/2 years at a couple of places.

I have never been fired from any job and have gone back to work for a few. Not to toot my horn but I can only think of maybe 1 where I left on not such good terms.

Altogether I can probably name off the top of my head 36 jobs and then you can probably add on a few… Continue

Added by Steve Nicolle on January 5, 2010 at 12:00am — No Comments

Always Keep An Eye On This Customer

Being the hospitality professionals that you all are, I know I’m probably preaching to the converted, however, it’s always helpful to be reminded sometimes of those things that seem less important in the grand scheme of things, yet can have a big impact on your business.

I’m talking about the customer dining alone, the solitary figure in your bar or dining room. This is the customer you need to pay that little bit more attention to. He’s… Continue

Added by Barry Chandler on January 3, 2010 at 9:45pm — 4 Comments

A front row seat at the ‘ballet’: a New Year’s education

Even those of us who’ve been writing about the foodservice industry all our lives often don’t realize what it takes to make the dining experience happen seamlessly, but last night I had the amazing opportunity to have a seat at the table and simply watch as the extraordinary ‘ballet’ of New Year’s Eve took place before my eyes in my neighborhood restaurant, Navy Yard Bistro.

We’re lucky – those of us who live here because not only is it a beautiful, historic and special place to be,… Continue

Added by susan holaday on January 1, 2010 at 7:28am — 3 Comments

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National News

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The National Restaurant Association and EatStreet have released a free educational guide focusing on online ordering and emerging restaurant technology trends.

Boyd's Coffee Launches Single-Cup Coffees For Retail And Foodservice

The coffees come in a variety of roast levels and include organic and Rainforest Alliance Certified™ options: French No. 6®, Red Wagon® Organic Coffee, Good Morning™, Hi-Rev® (delivers more caffeine), and Lost Lake™ Decaf Organic Coffee.

Arby's Announces Development Deals With New And Existing Franchisees

ARG recently sold 14 company-operated restaurants in Tampa, FL to Mosaic Investments, Inc. (Mosaic), a fully integrated investment firm based in Atlanta. In addition to remodeling existing locations slated to commence at the end of 2014, Mosaic has committed to build 13 new Arby's restaurants in the Tampa area over the next nine years.

Smoothie King Appoints Vice President Of Business Development To Drive Brand's Expansion Across The U.S.

Prior to joining Smoothie King, Bruno served as vice president of retail sales, operations and franchise development for Fannie May Fine Chocolates, a division of 1800Flowers.com, where he oversaw a $69.5 million retail division that included 100 corporate stores and 45 franchised stores.


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.


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At her first museum job, art historian Sarah Lewis noticed something important about an artist she was studying: Not every artwork was a total masterpiece. She asks us to consider the role of the almost-failure, the near win, in our own lives. In our pursuit of success and mastery, is it actually our near wins that push us forward?

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Pick up a book, magazine or screen, and more than likely you'll come across some typography designed by Matthew Carter. In this charming talk, the man behind typefaces such as Verdana, Georgia and Bell Centennial (designed just for phone books -- remember them?), takes us on a spin through a career focused on the very last pixel of each letter of a font.

TED: Jeremy Kasdin: The flower-shaped starshade that might help us detect Earth-like planets - Jeremy Kasdin (2014)

Astronomers believe that every star in the galaxy has a planet, one fifth of which might harbor life. Only we haven't seen any of them -- yet. Jeremy Kasdin and his team are looking to change that with the design and engineering of an extraordinary piece of equipment: a flower petal-shaped "starshade" positioned 50,000 km from a telescope to enable imaging of planets about distant stars. It is, he says, the "coolest possible science."

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