Featured Blog Posts – March 2011 Archive (22)


Non-Operator
A Report From The Front Lines

 

Greetings from the just-concluded Restaurant Leadership Conference, where your humble servant was a panelist.  More about the panel later, but first some overall impressions.

 

Ron Paul of Technomic reported broad-based signs of strengthening performance for…

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Added by Rod Guinn on March 31, 2011 at 3:30am — 2 Comments


Operator
Of Superman and Authentic Customer Service on Twitter

The staple of the superhero mythology is, there’s the superhero and there is the alter ego. Batman in reality is Bruce Wayne, Green Lantern is Hal Jordan, Spider-Man is really Peter Parker. When that character wakes up every morning, he’s Peter Parker. He has to put on a costume to become Spider-Man.

And it is in…

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Added by Ty Sullivan on March 29, 2011 at 7:00pm — 3 Comments

Social Media Tools Are Killing Their Own Value



I officially have conceded to the app developers and the contra-browsers mavens that are developing so many different ways to do the same thing, that I have lost not only count, but interest. Do we really need…

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Added by Michael L. Atkinson on March 29, 2011 at 3:00pm — 12 Comments


Non-Operator
Do You Treat Your Car Better Than Your Managers?

A new car is all crazy-fresh-n’good when it rolls off the lot, but more than anything you hope (darn well expect) that it will go for miles and miles without trouble. Granted, it is going to need some more gas, an oil change and, at some point, new tires. And if you get in an accident, you might need to straighten the frame, or give it a coat of paint. Would you say that your odds are better at having your car last longer/go farther if you stay current with all the maintenance and service…

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Added by Chase Leblanc on March 29, 2011 at 9:30am — 2 Comments

America's Next Great Restaurant: Where Is Social, Technology?

During the first four weeks of America's Next Great Restaurant, we've seen some of the…

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Added by Josh Hersh on March 29, 2011 at 3:00am — 1 Comment

DAWG Talk: Industry Wisdom: Responses

Recently, I had a simple request and you did not disappoint.  I asked you to share your industry wisdom.  Whether you led a giant organization or washed dishes in a single location.  Whether you managed a team or took direction.  Or, whether you ever discovered something as a guest, I asked you to…

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Added by David Rose on March 28, 2011 at 7:07am — No Comments


Non-Operator
The Brand Killer

 

What do marriage and customer service have in common?  Let’s start with the obvious.  They are both about relationship.  They both require interaction.  They are about human emotion and feelings.  I’m sure you can add to the list. 

 

Just for fun, let's begin by examining the 3 phases of marriage. The following account is based on hearsay not…

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Added by Bill Campion on March 28, 2011 at 5:49am — 6 Comments


Non-Operator
The Cost of Nutrition Analysis: Local Spotlight

Hi all, a busy week at the office, so I took some blog material from the FoodCALC consumer blog Dining by Numbers, I hope you like it:

 

As someone who works in the restaurant industry, I know that a big complaint among restaurant operators when I ask them about providing calorie information to their customers is simple: cost.  You see, the traditional method that…

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Added by Alyson Mar, RD on March 24, 2011 at 7:54am — No Comments


Non-Operator
Private Equity Firms and Restaurants: Motivations and Results to date

 

Recently, the press has been full of reports of private equity (PE) firms receiving outsized returns on prior restaurant investments. Examples include the reported Sun Capital 13 times return on its 2003 Bruegger’s investment, Olympus’ Partners reported 8 times return on its  K-Mac predominately Taco Bell franchisee group, Falfurrias selling Bojangles (unit counts up 30% since 2007). CKE Restaurant’s is now working a dividend via new debt for its owners, as did Dunkin Brands…

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Added by John A. Gordon on March 23, 2011 at 7:16am — No Comments


Non-Operator
The Cost of Last Minute Reservations

Eat Metrics is a restaurant advertising and analytics company. We publish articles about restaurant technology, marketing, and advertising, often using aggregated data from our restaurant users.

 



Restaurants record when reservations are made, but rarely have an ability to see when customers want to make reservations. Many…

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Added by Eli Chait on March 21, 2011 at 1:00pm — 3 Comments

Is poaching fair game?

For many years, restaurateurs have checked out the competition and no one so much as commented on those activities. Chains coming into a new market would routinely have managerial personnel visit existing operations, observe the service, and sometimes make offers to particularly talented servers/bartenders/etc.



This happened recently in Boston, where national chains in the past often found it difficult to open new units. Today, with a number of real estate opportunities, we've…

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Added by susan holaday on March 19, 2011 at 5:42am — 10 Comments


Non-Operator
Who Will Buy your Burritos?

There’s good news and bad news regarding the prospects for an economic recovery. This should not be a surprise, especially since the news has to do with the findings of economists, perhaps the only subspecies of humans needing a third hand to settle arguments.  (You know the old joke: arguments which often include the phrases 'on the one hand...' and 'On the other hand.....’).…

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Added by Rod Guinn on March 17, 2011 at 3:30am — 2 Comments


Non-Operator
Are You Ready?

   The horrific recent disaster in Japan has reminded all of us here in the Seattle area about a relatively minor, but destructive, earthquake here a decade ago. Since that time, I have made it a priority to ask my clients about their disaster preparedness plans. I usually get a shrug or a blank stare. Sure, they all have the required fire extinguishers and first aid kit, but frequently that is…

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Added by Dorothy Frisch on March 16, 2011 at 1:39pm — 1 Comment

Checking in at SXSW

Checking in at SXSW in was nearly a full-time job. This being my first time I was a bit overwhelmed. If you don't know, SXSW means South-By-South-West, a conference held annually for the past 25 years in Austin, Texas. It started out as a music festival and now, more than 125,000 people attend during its 10 days. This place is nuts. It's where Interactive, film and music intersect. Tech executives, geeks, musicians and movie stars collide with movie buffs, authors, fans,…

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Added by Michael L. Atkinson on March 15, 2011 at 1:32pm — 2 Comments

Do It Yourself Meals: Blame the customer?

Sunday was the second week of America's Next Great Restaurant. The NBC restaurant reality TV show will pick a winning fast-casual concept to open in three American cities this summer - in Los Angeles, New York, and Minneapolis.

 

The idea behind the show intrigued me more than…

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Added by Josh Hersh on March 15, 2011 at 7:39am — 1 Comment


Non-Operator
Nutrition Information in Restaurants: Attitudes are Changing

About three years ago I walked into a room of restaurant professionals to talk about restaurants providing nutrition information.  During my talk I was laughed at, walked out on, and later told that both restaurants and consumers are not interested in knowing the nutritional value of foods served in restaurants.  My, how the times have changed. 

 

Last week I had a chance to attend and speak at the International Restaurant and…

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Added by Alyson Mar, RD on March 9, 2011 at 6:30pm — 3 Comments


Non-Operator
On The Fast Track – Practical Professional Development for Hospitality Managers

Over the years, I have been hounded by tribemates looking for a raise in pay (not unwarranted, but alas, still pervasive). If you want a pay increase to materialize at a faster pace, you must do some homework in addition to your work duties. What follows is the hospitality- manager response I have given to those on the money hunt: Whenever you are being evaluated for hiring, a promotion, or a raise, start with the most significant accomplishments you can cite from your recent…

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Added by Chase Leblanc on March 9, 2011 at 9:20am — No Comments


Non-Operator
Loyal Customer Not Safe at Safeway!

 

If you live on the west coast Safeway is a household name!  For my friend in northern California, he had been shopping at the grocery chain for 27 years - until last week!  

 

You have to know a little bit about the subjects in this story to get the picture.  First you must know the names have been…

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Added by Bill Campion on March 9, 2011 at 8:00am — 4 Comments


Non-Operator
Social Media: Cutting Through The Facebook Noise







Now that Facebook has updated their algorithm to only show the updates from the pages and people your fans engage with, how does your message cut through the…

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Added by Bj Strawter on March 9, 2011 at 6:30am — 1 Comment

Top 5 plugins every restaurant should install on a WordPress website

WordPress Plugin Power

If you’re using WordPress as your backend to your website, then here are some third party must have plugins that will help you improve your search engine optimization or your website.



 

1. All in One SEO Pack

This plugin is key to making sure you optimize every page and post of your website. WordPress… Continue

Added by Robert Vasquez on March 3, 2011 at 1:41pm — No Comments

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National News

Ward Whitworth Named President for On The Border Mexican Grill

On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina, which was recently acquired by Border Holdings, LLC, an affiliate of Argonne Capital Group, today announced the appointment of Ward Whitworth as President of On The Border.

The Melting Pot Targets Houston and El Paso, Texas for Franchise Expansion

Restaurants, Inc. announced today that it is actively seeking franchisees to expand its presence throughout the Lone Star State, naming El Paso and Houston as target markets for future franchise development.

Encore Restaurants Purchases 8 Existing Five Guys Restaurants, Plans to Develop 45 More

Encore Restaurants, LLC, a subsidiary of Dallas-based Encore Enterprises, Inc., has announced the purchase of eight existing Five Guys Burgers and Fries restaurants across central California including Elk Grove, Fresno, Lodi, Natomas, Roseville, Stockton, Tracy, and West Sacramento.

Takeout Orders to Hotels Jumped 125% in Popularity in Last Three Years

For many Americans, hotel room service is considered a travel luxury; however, data from PFK Hospitality Research1 suggests that room service revenues fell 9.5 percent from 2007 to 2012, with some hotels shuttering unprofitable operations altogether.

National Restaurant Association Praises House and Senate Commerce Committee Passage of Travel Promotion Act

Yesterday the National Restaurant Association (NRA) praised the House passage and Senate Commerce Committee markup of the Travel Promotion, Enhancement and Modernization Act of 2014. The bipartisan legislation reauthorizes Brand USA, the nation’s first global marketing campaign, to promote the United States as a destination for international travelers.

CROWD FUNDING

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 TALKS VIDEO

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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