Erle Dardick's Blog (21)

Happy Holidays From MonkeyMedia Software (2011)

We wish you all a happy holiday season.  This year, we had a fantastic staff event in our own community.  Hope you enjoy the video.

 

Added by Erle Dardick on December 19, 2011 at 1:30pm — 2 Comments

Taking small and scaling it big

In North America we've been really good at taking uniqueness and enthusiasm and scaling it over a large number of units. Starbucks has done this really well, and any QSR chain that's a household word has excelled at it too. It's always difficult to bring about original brand value over a large number of units. It's not just a matter of economies of scale. It's also a matter of driving entrepreneurial spirit and brand value.



To start with, there has to be something of special value in… Continue

Added by Erle Dardick on September 15, 2009 at 3:30pm — 1 Comment

13 cases of bananas later

Delivering on scarcity is one key to business success. If people are thirsty, open a drink stand. If healthy options are in demand, but aren't being delivered, add them to the menu. We all know this.



We sell software, but we're closing our booth at the Western FoodService and Hospitality Expo in San Diego, conspicuous because we delivered 13 cases of bananas to prospects and onlookers.



In the center of a very busy tradeshow where people are borderline burnt out on… Continue

Added by Erle Dardick on September 1, 2009 at 11:00pm — 6 Comments

What to do when the customer changes the deal?

A deal is a deal. 'Fair' is the deal point in a consensual arrangement. When it is violated - and we've all had this happen - something must be done. Or not.



Sometimes, the customer unilaterally changes a deal you worked hard on. This is almost always unnerving, and usually feels like a violation. It can come in many forms - in a restaurant, the customer for no good reason refuses to pay a tab, or just pays part of it. Or dines and dashes. Does the manager leave the busy restaurant… Continue

Added by Erle Dardick on August 18, 2009 at 10:00pm — 4 Comments

Turning an uptrend in home dining to your advantage

We’re in a great industry: no matter what, people have a great love for food. And their love for food is like the air in a balloon – you can crush it on one end, but it comes up somewhere else. Which can be good news.



People are dining out less in many restaurant segments; in others, the growth has slowed to a crawl.



No use whining about it. The love of food is showing up in other areas, and if we follow where people are going, and… Continue

Added by Erle Dardick on August 4, 2009 at 9:37pm — 5 Comments

Why run a commissary?

If you have competing sales channels in your restaurant space, building a commissary can yield many benefits:

  • It can better handle volume
  • It’s not hardwired to being designed to deliver plate service, and
  • It can be designed from the ground up to have more efficient workflows.


When I morphed my deli/restaurant business to handle business-to-business catering, my restaurant kitchen just wasn’t built service that capacity, especially the high volume… Continue

Added by Erle Dardick on July 21, 2009 at 4:24pm — 1 Comment

Thinking distributed: regional foods in national chains?

Burgerville, the 39 unit Oregon based QSR chain, supplies food that is home on the range. Local, seasonal and organic food options like theirs can be considered a supply for a small niche of regional demand. But it could be part of something bigger.



To reduce food costs, many of us have applied, in some form or other, the breakthroughs by Wal*Mart in global-sourced supply chain management and optimizing… Continue

Added by Erle Dardick on July 7, 2009 at 11:30am — No Comments

~ transparent

Gone are the days when you could put up a site with stock photos and pretend you’re a billion dollar, multi billion dollar enterprise.



I don’t know if this ever worked, anyway. But now it really doesn't work. People know better.



We're all for transparency, as long as we look good. It seems to me that we just have to get better. As fellow Canadian, business writer Dan Tapscott says: in an age of transparency, "you'd better be buff."



Here goes - our company… Continue

Added by Erle Dardick on June 23, 2009 at 7:49pm — 3 Comments

The social media side and the food side can't be separated

To my mind, the Kogi truck story ( see video below) is one of the most exciting movements in the restaurant industry in months. Why? Because 1) it’s a winning, dynamic story about the restaurant industry and the society it serves that is in extreme change and 2) Kigo’s success has been about delivering to the new imperatives of social media.



In this economy, food companies have to continuously find the wave, ride it, and find another one. Because consumers really are in… Continue

Added by Erle Dardick on June 9, 2009 at 11:30am — 2 Comments

How do you show up in their world?

"So often, you are not the customer for your product. Yet you market it as if you were. Showing up in your world (or the board's world your staff's world) is not nearly as important as showing up in the world of the person you're actually trying to reach."

- Seth Godin



We met so many quality individuals in Chicago last week. It was really, really encouraging. Attendance seemed down at the NRA, but that simply gave us more time to spend… Continue

Added by Erle Dardick on May 26, 2009 at 9:30am — 3 Comments

Remember to tip the category

People go to your place because:



a) The business you're in - the market category - is worthwhile, and

b) Your company has a worthwhile offering in that category



We all promote our businesses. But let's talk about promoting the category. It's not only when you're a pioneer that you need to promote the category. When the marketing category is threatened, category promotion can be just as vital. Because relationships and alliances precede sales and… Continue

Added by Erle Dardick on May 12, 2009 at 12:00pm — No Comments

Looking to Chicago

If networking is about wearing a nice shirt, keeping secrets, pushing a business card and hard selling, it gets tired pretty fast. And in a connected world, it’s unsustainable, because reputation matters more than ever.



“We no longer care what you say. We care a great deal about what you do…If you network to get, and not to give…. Then we already know who you are” - from Seth Godin's “… Continue

Added by Erle Dardick on April 28, 2009 at 2:30pm — 4 Comments

Helpful useful remarkable valuable

There have been so many good posts here from FOH experts that focus on delivering over-the-top good experience. These posts are important. It’s the hospitality business, after all, and being remarkably helpful to people is what it’s about.That has to be the full and honest intent of your business. It also just happens to make your company’s story spread.



Good service IS marketing, of course. But there is a lot of the standard marketing stuff we do from the marketing department.… Continue

Added by Erle Dardick on April 14, 2009 at 11:30am — 6 Comments

Are you Incentivizing?

Beneficial investments that can be made, should be made. For instance, if an ad will bring in revenue that more than pays for itself – and it can be done – it should be done. Because it’s a net positive investment. That's what business is all about.



The same applies to staff. As a business owner, right now I can say, “Supply and demand are on my side, when it comes to hiring.” But if employees only have a negative incentive, i.e. they get to keep their jobs if they work hard, the… Continue

Added by Erle Dardick on March 31, 2009 at 10:27am — 2 Comments

Shrink with Morgan Stanley - or not

A securities analyst for Morgan Stanley (remember them?) recommends that restaurants shrink now.



I'll try to rise above the difficulty I have listening to Morgan Stanley these days after their… Continue

Added by Erle Dardick on March 17, 2009 at 9:54am — 3 Comments

When trade associations fail

‘Whenever a trade association raises the barricades and tries to lobby their way into maintaining the status quo, they are doing their members a disservice. Instead of spending time and insight and effort reinventing what they do and organizing for a better future, the members are lulled into a sense of security that somehow, somehow, the future will be just like today.’



I didn’t write this.… Continue

Added by Erle Dardick on March 3, 2009 at 2:26pm — 3 Comments

Why Cater Now?

Catering Builds on Your Existing Business.



For the past few years, you've invested a considerable amount of time and energy building your retail clientèle. You're still around, meaning you've been able to deliver a consistent and predictable experience. And you have nailed down the service, quality and experience equation. You've got some customer retention and have built up your brand equity.

Now what.



Especially in these times, it's good to characterize your… Continue

Added by Erle Dardick on February 17, 2009 at 9:29am — No Comments

Train for change

Change is something you have to work at. It takes a strong commitment to create and set off on a new direction. I don’t have to suggest to anyone here that taking on a new direction takes a lot of fortitude, and a little luck as well. But as a career entrepreneur, I've come to realize that it also takes a sustained commitment to looking at things differently in order to develop the aptitude to change the game. And this aptitude doesn't fall out of the sky: you have to train for… Continue

Added by Erle Dardick on February 2, 2009 at 4:00pm — 5 Comments

Diversification through food manufacturing

We’ve been in San Francisco this week, visiting the Fancy Food Show. Fancy food manufacturing is a potentially lucrative activity for restaurant brand extension. We’ve seen this at the enterprise level. For instance, Wolfgang Puck, The Cheesecake Factory and the California Pizza Kitchen all make products for resale in supermarkets.



Now we're seeing the same phenomenon among mid level and small businesses.



Last post, I began to talk about catering as a potential new sales… Continue

Added by Erle Dardick on January 21, 2009 at 8:54am — 2 Comments

Diversifying - going out to get more business

In mid November, the story “Fine-dining Spots Adjust Ops to Add Delivery", ran in NRN. In it, Steve Coomes mostly wrote about restaurants in New York, but the article could apply to most restaurants.



His observation: New Yorkers are spending less, but they’re not about to cook for themselves a whole lot, either. For the customer, restaurants can be expensive because of the extras –… Continue

Added by Erle Dardick on January 7, 2009 at 1:00am — 7 Comments

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