Voice of the Restaurant Industry
(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…Continue
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…Continue
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:…Continue
Added by Paul Letendre on January 5, 2012 at 5:30pm — No Comments
Restaurant Owners’ New Year’s Resolution
Added by Paul Letendre on December 27, 2011 at 3:58pm — No Comments
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…Continue
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…Continue
Added by Paul Letendre on December 15, 2011 at 12:30pm — No Comments
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…Continue
Added by Paul Letendre on December 7, 2011 at 4:00pm — No Comments
Added by Paul Letendre on November 26, 2011 at 7:30am — No Comments
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…Continue
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…Continue
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…Continue
Added by Paul Letendre on October 21, 2011 at 9:30am — No Comments
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…Continue
Added by Paul Letendre on October 11, 2011 at 1:30pm — No Comments
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…Continue
Added by Paul Letendre on October 6, 2011 at 6:00am — No Comments
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…Continue
Added by Paul Letendre on September 30, 2011 at 6:51pm — No Comments
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. …Continue
Added by Paul Letendre on September 26, 2011 at 11:00am — No Comments
14 Crappy Reasons
It’s common knowledge in the…Continue
Added by Paul Letendre on September 22, 2011 at 9:30am — No Comments
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…Continue
Added by Paul Letendre on September 16, 2011 at 10:30am — No Comments
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…Continue
Added by Paul Letendre on September 9, 2011 at 6:30am — No Comments
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…Continue
Added by Paul Letendre on September 3, 2011 at 5:30pm — No Comments
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…Continue
Added by Paul Letendre on August 30, 2011 at 12:06pm — No Comments