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

Kids LiveWell atwitter over Twitter party

In its continuing effort to promote more nutritious and flavorful children's menu options, the NRA will hold a Twitter party  -More

Starbucks could become top on-premise wine seller in U.S.

Starbucks is planning to slowly expand its evening sales of wine, beer and small plates to thousands of selected stores throu -More

The evolving nature of snacks

Snacks have shifted from an after-school treat to a meal alternative as meal times become more fragmented.  -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

Wahlburgers Announces Expansion Plans Including Franchise Agreement in Philadelphia

Wahlburgers has signed a franchise agreement with Hingham Associates, LLC that will bring five Wahlburgers to the metropolitan Philadelphia area over the next several years. The franchise group is actively looking at sites and is targeting a late 2014-early 2015 opening for its first restaurant.

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. First Quarter 2014 Revenue Up 24.4%

Comparable restaurant sales increased 13.4% - Restaurant level operating margin was 25.9%, a decrease of 40 basis points

Jamba Juice Announces Grand Opening of New St. Louis, MO Location

Jamba Juice Company announced the brand’s continued expansion in the St. Louis market with the opening of a Jamba Juice® store at 11477 Olive Blvd. on April 16, 2014.

Expert in Real Estate Analytics Joins Luna Grill

Luna Grill, the San Diego-based Mediterranean restaurant chain, is welcoming retail real estate industry veteran Greg Thorburn to its leadership team. Thorburn has been brought on board to fill the newly created position of Vice-President of Real Estate.

Rita's Italian Ice Awards Area Development Agreement for Kansas

Rita's Italian Ice has awarded franchise and area development agreements for Kansas and the Kansas City area, which extends to the Missouri side of the city, to franchisees and local residents Jay Miller, Jeff Miller and Pat Reilly.

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: 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.

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" that allows a telescope to photograph planets from 50,000 kilometers away. It is, he says, the "coolest possible science."

TED: Norman Spack: How I help transgender teens become who they want to be - Norman Spack (2013)

Puberty is an awkward time for just about everybody, but for transgender teens it can be a nightmare, as they grow overnight into bodies they aren't comfortable with. In a heartfelt talk, endocrinologist Norman Spack tells a personal story of how he became one of the few doctors in the US to treat minors with hormone replacement therapy. By staving off the effects of puberty, Spack gives trans teens the time they need. (Filmed at TEDxBeaconStreet.)

TED: Jennifer Senior: For parents, happiness is a very high bar - Jennifer Senior (2014)

The parenting section of the bookstore is overwhelming—it's "a giant, candy-colored monument to our collective panic," as writer Jennifer Senior puts it. Why is parenthood filled with so much anxiety? Because the goal of modern, middle-class parents—to raise happy children—is so elusive. In this honest talk, she offers some kinder and more achievable aims.

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