Paul Letendre's Blog (23)

Social Network Marketing for Restaurant Owners/Managers

(or, Sink Like a Stone)

 

You are a restaurant owner sitting in your office.  Every day it’s becoming more apparent that you will need to get deeper involved in more aspects of social media.  Those newspaper, radio and Yellow Pages ads just aren’t bringing in new faces anymore. 

You leave the office and are walking through the…

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Added by Paul Letendre on January 26, 2012 at 3:00pm — 3 Comments

Restaurant Owners Wearing Rose-Colored Glasses?

Restaurant Owners Wearing Rose-Colored Glasses

I was watching one of the restaurant make-over shows the other night; either Restaurant Impossible with Robert Irvine or Kitchen Nightmares with Gordon Ramsey.  I don’t even remember which one it was.  At the beginning of the show, the guru sits in the dining room and tries five or ten entrees.  Of course, they all suck, that’s what the show is about: going from being a totally suck restaurant to being…

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Added by Paul Letendre on January 20, 2012 at 9:30am — 1 Comment

Bean Counters, Pea Cookers

Counting Beans, Cooking Peas

1st owner: A restaurant is a business.  When push comes to shove, it is all about the bottom line.

2nd owner: A restaurant is part of the hospitality business.  It is all about the customer experience. 

Of course, they are both right, and of course, they are both wrong.  The reality is: it’s about balance:…

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Added by Paul Letendre on January 5, 2012 at 5:30pm — No Comments

New Year's Resolution

Restaurant Owners’ New Year’s Resolution

  1. 1.   Every day in 2012, make one small improvement
  2. 2.   Every day, keep a focus on doing the right thing – right thing for the customer, the enterprise, the employee  
  3. 3.   Commit to securing one new customer each week – a customer that will come back regularly
  4. 4.   Ask for staff feedback on improving plate…
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Added by Paul Letendre on December 27, 2011 at 3:58pm — No Comments

Bumming, Winning

It’s almost Christmas.  For restaurant owners in many parts of North America, this means that next week there might be a few good days, then for the next three to four months, there will be gloom.  There will be too many bills and not enough customers.  You’re getting bummed-out just thinking about it. 

This discouragement …it’s part of the ballgame.  It happens.  At this time of year, it’s especially…

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Added by Paul Letendre on December 22, 2011 at 5:30am — 1 Comment

Playing the Downturns

Which Downturn?

Over the weekend, I re-read an article called “Moving Upward in a Downturn,” an article by Darrell Rigby in the Harvard Business Review of June 2001.  (No, that’s not a typo, 2001 is…

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Added by Paul Letendre on December 15, 2011 at 12:30pm — No Comments

A Time to Wow

We all enjoyed being wowed from time to time. 

We especially like being wowed when we are not expecting to be. Who hasn’t been dragged to an event that we expected to be a yawner, and have benn pleasantly wowed?  It’s nice.

I’ve spent the better part of 20 years managing food service sales reps.  In that time, I interviewed hundreds of candidates for those positions.  I never…

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Added by Paul Letendre on December 7, 2011 at 4:00pm — No Comments

Independent Restaurant - The Food Advantage

The Food…

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Added by Paul Letendre on November 26, 2011 at 7:30am — No Comments

The Independent's Advantage

Restaurant Stuff- the Independent’s Advantage

You are the owner or manager of an independent restaurant, café, deli, food place …whatever.  The chain restaurants are eating into your livelihood.  They are big, you are small; big has many advantages.  We know what these advantages are, we think about them often.  Let’s forget about them and focus on the…

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Added by Paul Letendre on November 16, 2011 at 12:30pm — 1 Comment

Holiday Blues - Fighting Back

Face it, the odds are against us.  Whether we own, manage, or work in an independent restaurant, the odds are roughly 2:1 that the business will be closed within a few years.  Drive around …of the restaurants that you see, how many have been around for 10 or more years?  Now think about those that have come and gone during that same ten years.  Like it or not, probability is that you are going to go out of business and lose a bundle of money doing it. 

On the plus side, once you get…

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Added by Paul Letendre on November 10, 2011 at 6:00am — 1 Comment

re-Butting the Seats

It's Always about Butts in Seats

Owning or managing a restaurant is tough stuff.  For all the things that you are responsible for: the menu, prep, inventory, safety aspects, health aspects, constant cleanliness, temperature monitoring, dining room ambiance, staff…there’s so much stuff.  The bottom line is -it’s really all about butts in the seats: if customers come, you are successful…

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Added by Paul Letendre on October 21, 2011 at 9:30am — No Comments

Balcony View

Balcony View                       

There are so many ways to lose money in a restaurant and so few ways to turn a profit.  Above and beyond food costs, there are loads of things that can bury us.  Although many fail in this industry, many do very well over long periods of time.  We expect to do well, that’s why…

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Added by Paul Letendre on October 11, 2011 at 1:30pm — No Comments

Doing it Wrong, Making it Right - True to Herself

True to Herself

We’ve heard them all: “The customer is the #1 concern.”  “We care about the customer.”   “The customer comes first.”  “The customer is always right.” -They have all become clichés; they have become all but meaningless words.  “Thank you,” more often than not means “sign on the dotted line and move along so I can go do my next task.”  “Care” is handed out as…

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Added by Paul Letendre on October 6, 2011 at 6:00am — No Comments

Lessons from the Red Sox

The Perfect Mix

Yes, the restaurant looks great: it’s clean, it’s inviting, and it’s comfortable.  Lighting is just right and conversations can be had without whispering or screaming.  The parking lot has easy access from the street, the lot is well-lit, and parking spaces are well laid out.  The menu seems to be iron-clad: tried and tested.  Yet, the customers are staying away in droves.  Sales are…

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Added by Paul Letendre on September 30, 2011 at 6:51pm — No Comments

INDEPENDENT RESTAURANTS ADAPTING FORMULA a guest post by Cosmo Nicastro

This is a guest post from Cosmo Nicastro.  Cosmo is the founder and senior advisor of the Food Service Advisor.   Their services include management and financial consulting, training for front of house and training for back of house.  Their training modules are among the best in the industry and deal with all aspects of food service challenges.   …

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Added by Paul Letendre on September 26, 2011 at 11:00am — No Comments

14 Crappy Reasons for being in “the Biz”

14 Crappy Reasons

It’s common knowledge in the…

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Added by Paul Letendre on September 22, 2011 at 9:30am — No Comments

More Butts in Seats

Keep Them Coming

The previous two guest blogs were from folks who are pretty savvy when it comes to getting more “butts in seats.”  Getting guests in the first time and getting them to come back, again and again - that’s basically what the restaurant business is all about. 

Chain restaurants are very good at this, -getting them in, getting them back; the numbers would suggest that they are…

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Added by Paul Letendre on September 16, 2011 at 10:30am — No Comments

A Thing Done Well

A thing done well

John Updike, when referring to baseball great Ted Williams,  once wrote: “Williams is the classic ballplayer of the game on a hot August weekday, before a small crowd, when the only thing at stake is the tissue-thin difference between a thing done well and a thing done ill. Baseball is a game of the long season, of relentless and gradual averaging-out.”

I think that…

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Added by Paul Letendre on September 9, 2011 at 6:30am — No Comments

Labor Day - Important Matter

Labor Day

In our industry, Labor Day, more so than any other day of the year, traditionally signals the end of one period, start of the next.  It’s a time of change.  Urban areas are gearing up; seasonal areas are gearing down. Seasonals are getting ready to wrap up the year: probably working short-handed for a few more weeks, with very slow weekdays and crazy busy weekends, -“weather…

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Added by Paul Letendre on September 3, 2011 at 5:30pm — No Comments

cheap food

Outperforming the Competition -not

About 6 weeks ago the local paper did an article on a new pizza-grille opening in town.  We are a two-restaurant town so this was newsworthy.  The new owner was interviewed and stated that he knew what the public wanted - “cheap prices for food.” He claimed that he would have the cheapest chicken nuggets…

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Added by Paul Letendre on August 30, 2011 at 12:06pm — No Comments

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DEPARTMENTS

Social Wine Club for Craft Wineries

Smartbrief

Restaurants may feel the pinch of pricier coffee later this year

Prices for arabica coffee futures hit a 26-month high amid a drought in Brazil, which produces a third of the world's coffee  -More

McDonald's rules out all-day breakfast in push to simplify

McDonald's breakfast menu accounts for 25% of the chain's U.S.  -More

Easy ways to use 5 uncommon spring greens

As light, crisp greens arrive at farmers markets and grocery stores, chefs are finding creative ways to add them to spring me -More

JOBS & CAREERS

Posting a job or finding a job starts here at FohBoh. Call us about special $25 posting packages to syndicate across all major jobs boards.

National News

National Restaurant Association Offers Training DVDs on Harassment Prevention, Social Media Use, and Customer Service

The National Restaurant Association has released three new DVDs that offer best practices in dealing with harassment and discrimination, customer service training, and the first of its kind video guide on the use of social media.

Yum! Brands Reports First-Quarter EPS Growth of 24% Excluding Special Items

China Division System Sales Increased 17% with Operating Profit Growth of 80%; Yum! Reaffirms Full-Year Guidance of at Lea

Souplantation & Sweet Tomatoes Certified As Nation's Largest 'Green' Restaurant Chain

National Group Salutes Country's Only Large Restaurant Group to be 'Certified Green Restaurants®'

National Restaurant Association and EatStreet Release Online Ordering Guide

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.

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: Hamish Jolly: A shark-deterrent wetsuit (and it's not what you think) - Hamish Jolly (2013)

Hamish Jolly, an ocean swimmer in Australia, wanted a wetsuit that would deter a curious shark from mistaking him for a potential source of nourishment. (Which, statistically, is rare, but certainly a fate worth avoiding.) Working with a team of scientists, he and his friends came up with a fresh approach — not a shark cage, not a suit of chain-mail, but a sleek suit that taps our growing understanding of shark vision.

TED: Michel Laberge: How synchronized hammer strikes could generate nuclear fusion - Michel Laberge (2014)

Our energy future depends on nuclear fusion, says Michel Laberge. The plasma physicist runs a small company with a big idea for a new type of nuclear reactor that could produce clean, cheap energy. His secret recipe? High speeds, scorching temperatures and crushing pressure. In this hopeful talk, he explains how nuclear fusion might be just around the corner.

TED: Sarah Lewis: Embrace the near win - Sarah Lewis (2014)

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?

TED: Matthew Carter: My life in typefaces - Matthew Carter (2014)

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.

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