Of all the issues that one can single out for criticism in a ‘professional’ kitchen, the topic that irks me the most is the misuse of equipment. I’m not talking about the occasional sheet pan drafted into use as a deep fryer cover; it’s the wholesale misapplication and underutilization of the tools of the trade that gets to me.
Rolling-pin-tenderizer-users aside, who’s responsible for (not) training people this way?
I won’t mention the patently dangerous,… Continue
Added by Joe Ferri on May 31, 2011 at 3:36am —
Added by Richard Saporito on April 2, 2011 at 6:30pm —
A popular topic lately in a couple different restaurant discussion forums I participate in is the question of who owns the recipes your restaurant uses?
Let's look at a couple possible scenarios that could affect your restaurant.
- Your executive chef or kitchen manager quits. Maybe one or two members of the kitchen staff leave with her/him. Your chef keeps extensive recipes written down in a book they've had since long before they…
Added by Brandon O'Dell on June 7, 2010 at 2:10pm —
This article will be one of the most important I've ever written for restaurant owners and managers in other food services. In this article, I'm going to do something you won't see from another consultant. I'm going to share with you the exact steps of an action plan I created to help a restaurant create a food cost fitness program, along with some helpful commentary from me. These steps would be the same for liquor costs, but would focus on different employees in a different area of the… Continue
Added by Brandon O'Dell on June 3, 2010 at 7:27pm —
Challenging times require... less whining! Recently a national organization of C.P.A.’s advised clients to save money by spending less on dining out. As if the suggestion from the accountants wasn’t enough, Suze Orman and other personal finance gurus are giving their clients the same advice. I don’t particularly like this advice, but I do know from personal experience that it’s sound. Much of the restaurant industry response, so far anyway, is to point out how vital we are to the economy, how… Continue
Added by James Kohn on February 23, 2009 at 9:04am —
Sometimes I wonder: even if my services were free, how many restaurants would hire me? I don’t think the money is the issue. Sure, the perception is probably out there that to hire a consultant is going to cost many thousands of dollars, but I don’t think that’s the problem. I think it’s something else, and I think it’s going to require changing the way we think about the relationship between management the consultant.
I have some experience with paradigm shifts. For example, back in… Continue
Added by James Kohn on February 13, 2009 at 10:06am —
The restaurant industry suffers from an extraordinarily high mortality rate. We’ve all heard all sorts of crazy numbers about just how high, but let’s just settle on “very high”. That’s the bad news. The good news is that we know why most restaurants fail, and it turns out that there are two major reasons. The first reason is lack of sufficient working capital. Now there’s an obvious and a not so obvious side to the working capital challenge. The first thing we think of is “sure, you need… Continue
Added by James Kohn on February 9, 2009 at 3:01pm —
It seems like everyday there becomes available some new technology for restaurants. Today I read about two new iPhone applications that enable customers to place restaurant orders from their iPhones.( http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/02/04/mobile-restaurant-ordering-finally-hits-the-app-store/ ) I'm wondering how you keep up with it, and how you decide which to adopt. I'm amazed at how slow most restaurants have been to exploit social media and effectively manage their online presence, and that's… Continue
Added by James Kohn on February 6, 2009 at 7:32am —
Susan Holaday's excellent Blog post here on FohBoh yesterday referenced a now much talked about Frank Bruni article in the NY Times. ( http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/04/dining/04note.html?emc=eta1 ). The gist of the article was now that the stuff is really hitting the fan some NYC restaurants, including some marquis names in the fine dining segment, are bending over backwards for customers in an effort to build revenue. Some of them (gulp!) are even trying to be especially friendly, or… Continue
Added by James Kohn on February 5, 2009 at 4:16pm —
High failure rates for restaurants. Yes they're exagerated, but they're still high. According to recent studies from Cornell and Ohio State universities, 59-60% of restaurants fail within the first three years. As many as 75% may fail within the first five. Why are they so high? For a list of the six biggest reasons, see The biggest mistakes restaurants make, and why they have a high failure rate
Added by Brandon O'Dell on December 19, 2008 at 7:00am —
This may be the most important question you can answer when designing a restaurant concept. It is definately the most important question to answer when creating a marketing plan.
One of the biggest mistakes restaurants make
is trying to appeal to everyone. If you think that your target market includes everyone, you are setting yourself up to fail. If you want to be successful in any business, especially… Continue
Added by Brandon O'Dell on December 15, 2008 at 7:45am —
One thing I'll never forgive formal culinary schools for, is teaching new impressionable would-be chefs to use a budgeted cost percentage to price food menus. Chain restaurants share an equal responsibility for perpetuating this bad practice by focusing their managers on food cost percentages without letting them in on the secret that the cost percentage is a management tool
, not a pricing tool
Though most culinary programs teach many different methods for pricing… Continue
Added by Brandon O'Dell on June 29, 2008 at 9:42pm —
One of the primary reasons that some businesses training programs work, and some don't, is in the method their managers and trainers use to teach new skills. This seems to be especially true in restaurants and food services, due to the prevelance of leaders without formal educations. Sorry if that offends anyone, but it's true.
While proper teaching technique is not something that comes naturally to everyone, it is easy to learn following a simple multi-step… Continue
Added by Brandon O'Dell on June 4, 2008 at 7:30pm —
Long ticket times are a common problem in restaurants, and nothing will scare a potential regular customer away like having to wait 45+ minutes to get their food.
There are many factors that can increase ticket times. In this post, I would like to cover one of those issues, overloading a kitchen station.
Part of designing a menu that works is making sure you are not overloading one station in the kitchen, or one piece of equipment. Your menu needs to be designed with… Continue
Added by Brandon O'Dell on May 30, 2008 at 12:09pm —
Who are we?
What do we want our restaurant to be known for?
What style of service do we offer?
What kind of food do we cook?
What can our customers get from us that they can’t get anywhere else?
How can we make our customers FEEL?
What is our color scheme?
These are all questions you should ask yourself about your restaurant long before you open your doors. The answers to these questions will determine whether potential customers will ever make… Continue
Added by Brandon O'Dell on May 16, 2008 at 3:44pm —
This is one of my favorite quotes. Maybe because I'm the one who made it up.
It could also be that I love this quote because it deals with another major reason for failure in the restaurant world, and really, in every industry. Most managers don't know how to delegate. That is a simple, but true, observation from years of seeing managers and owners struggle to scratch out a profit (or more commonly not making a profit), while losing their personal lives to their… Continue
Added by Brandon O'Dell on April 10, 2008 at 8:07pm —
The restaurant business is tough. Everyone in it knows it. Everyone looking to get in it ignores it.
The cold fact of the matter is that opening up a restaurant may be one of the worst investments you could make with your money. That's a horrible, sobering statement coming from someone like me who's in the business of helping restaurants succeed, but it's the truth. Most restaurant fail. Oh, the failure rate isn't the "90%" you may have heard from friends and family, but according to… Continue
Added by Brandon O'Dell on March 31, 2008 at 7:22pm —
Case study: You're not comfortable with the level of effort your staff is putting forth lately. You get the urge to give the "it's your restaurant too" speech. Is it a good idea?
I don't know if I'd want my staff thinking they owned my restaurant. While it's nice to think we can motivate people to behave like they owned the place, without actually owning some place, they simply can't know how to behave that way. Most employees see owners as lazy, and as someone whose… Continue
Added by Brandon O'Dell on February 1, 2008 at 9:52am —
See "Unique selling points - vol. 1"
I hear all the time from owners and operators that companies like Applebee’s are successful because of their big advertising budgets. I say “bull”. Applebee’s, for example, is successful because of it’s branding. It’s the effectiveness of their marketing that gives them their competitive advantage, not the number of…
Added by Brandon O'Dell on January 31, 2008 at 7:59am —
Alex Markels a writer for US News & World Report made the following observations regarding the success of Chipotle Mexican Grill, a high volume fast casual concept. Continue
A Tested Recipe: Five Ingredients
Five lessons for start-ups from Chipotle Mexican Grill
By Alex Markels
Posted January 9, 2008
It's the food, stupid. Its hip surroundings and green ethic notwithstanding, Chipotle succeeds because its food tastes better than the competition's.…
Added by Brandon O'Dell on January 15, 2008 at 11:39am —