Andy Swingley's Blog – March 2008 Archive (10)

Are you advancing someone’s future?

If I ventured to guess, I bet a large percentage of us got into the restaurant biz because it was a place to earn some extra cash while we worked our way through school to find a “real job” As time wore on, we soon discovered this was a dynamic business that engaged us with all kinds of people from all walks of life and that was exciting! Make good money; meet some great people, and next thing you know it is in your blood. Heck, you may have even ventured out to another industry to see if the… Continue

Added by Andy Swingley on March 29, 2008 at 9:52am — 10 Comments

Ever feel like a frog in boiling water?

Whether you own your own business or manage one, long tenure within an establishment can cause complacency and at times a leader can grow a set of blinders to the opportunities within the restaurant

A friend not too long ago shared a story with me about how over time one can lose sight of the simple and most important things in your business. If you walk in the same doors over and over again for years at a time the business can unintentionally deteriorate in standards of execution… Continue

Added by Andy Swingley on March 22, 2008 at 7:28pm — 8 Comments

What is Marketing for my business?

I sometimes struggle to explain to managers in the casual dining segment/National Chain how they can directly impact the marketing of the restaurant. They just see themselves as the "operators" of the business. I recently read from Jim Sullivan's book, Multi Unit Leadership, marketing defined simply and I am able to get more of my team engaged with his definition. Jim says there are three levels of marketing.

Preventative Marketing - what you do to keep the guests you already… Continue

Added by Andy Swingley on March 18, 2008 at 10:50am — 2 Comments

Great Service, the overwhelming answer....the follow-up

Thanks for the overwhelming response to the recent blog debating Great Food or Great Service, where to go first. Hands down the choice was Great Service. Two quotes I pulled came from within this community that made me think, so how DO you take the next step in your newly acquired mediocre restaurant.

Read this quote from Jeffrey Summers, Coach and Consultant from Restaurant Coaching Solutions:

"What I find amazing is that so many think that service is… Continue

Added by Andy Swingley on March 16, 2008 at 6:32pm — 24 Comments

Which comes first....Great Service or Great Food?

This topic came up recently in another blog and was a table thumper among some business colleagues recently. What is your opinion? Here is the scenario.

You recently acquire, purchase, or are transferred to a poor running restaurant and have to get it back up on it's feet as quickly as possible and moving in the right direction. All things being equal (assume both service and food are mediocre in your new restaurant) and your resources limit you to only work on one area at a time,… Continue

Added by Andy Swingley on March 15, 2008 at 3:40pm — 50 Comments

Convince me this is a good thing.....what's next?

In this week's Restaurant news, the headline reads, "Operators navigate challenges, rewards of self-order Kiosk initiatives".

It appears that some of our quick service partners have figured out a way to get even farther away from the people they choose to service. They are testing the use of self-service kiosks and some of the reasons they state are:

-Achieving greater guest through-put and satisfaction during relatively small peak business periods

-Help with… Continue

Added by Andy Swingley on March 12, 2008 at 8:30pm — 7 Comments

Make it about the business, not the employee!

As the owner or operator of a business, many times we get caught up in the paradigm that our managers and hourly employees miss the mark because of their work ethic, understanding, or knowledge of the business. We then find ourselves evaluating how the employee is performing and giving them direct feedback on what “they” could do better.

In reality, the restaurant business is a business of processes or basics that when added to some genuine concern and hospitality for the guest… Continue

Added by Andy Swingley on March 4, 2008 at 4:46pm — 13 Comments

Hiring made simple

I am often asked, “What is the most important foundation of running a great business?”

In my experience, there is no single answer rather two equally important principles to follow. First, a strong basis of practical execution, and second, hiring only the best candidates to represent the business. These candidates must deliver service that best displays the company’s product and image. Your future will depend on how the staff represents your business to the public and their ability… Continue

Added by Andy Swingley on March 1, 2008 at 9:29pm — 1 Comment

Gamechanger or Cultural foundation...

In these fast paced times of generational companies and the struggle between the baby boomers, Xers, Yers, and Millenials to understand each other, which is the best vantage point from which to sit. Stay in the same job for a long time and become a cultural foundation to the organization or move on every few years to be a "gamechanger" within the new Company you have joined?

No matter your outcomes, there are a few things I have found to be true for all of us. How can you make… Continue

Added by Andy Swingley on March 1, 2008 at 8:29pm — 1 Comment

It's all about the boss......right?

There are many phrases that come out when it comes to establishing a paradigm of great guest service. “The guest is always right”, “Never say no to a guest”, and most recently my favorite “The Guest is the Boss!” First, before continuing, I must agree with all of the statements above. I am a guest first operator and believe that you have got to take care of your most important client, your Guest!!

Working for a National chain often gives me the opportunity to speak on this topic,… Continue

Added by Andy Swingley on March 1, 2008 at 7:00pm — 1 Comment




Social Wine Club for Craft Wineries


The Sip

The Sip: Stay up-to-date on the beer, wine and spirits category with original content from SmartBrief -More

New food offerings helped Starbucks boost sales

Baked goods, breakfast sandwiches and the first price increases in nearly four years helped lead Starbucks to a 7% same-store -More


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National News

Jamba Juice Announces Expansive Franchise Recruiting Campaign in Key Markets

Jamba Inc., (NASDAQ:JMBA) announced the launch of a new franchise recruiting campaign focused on single store development in existing and new domestic markets. Jamba was recently selected one of Forbes Top 10 Best Franchises in America.

Starbucks Revenues Increase 11%; Earnings Per Share Surge 22% to a Q3 Record $0.67

Global comparable store sales increased 6%, marking the 18th consecutive quarter of global comp growth of 5% or greater

Here’s a Wild Thought for Fast-casual Food Establishments - Add a Waiter - By John Hendrie

The value of fast food dining has never really been about personalized service. Rather, the emphasis was on speed and convenience (price played in there, as well). We customers were thrilled to have our order turn out correctly and at the proper temperature. We may have appreciated the smile, when received, and the good wishes as we accelerated on with our lives.

Ward Whitworth Named President for On The Border Mexican Grill

On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina, which was recently acquired by Border Holdings, LLC, an affiliate of Argonne Capital Group, today announced the appointment of Ward Whitworth as President of On The Border.

The Melting Pot Targets Houston and El Paso, Texas for Franchise Expansion

Restaurants, Inc. announced today that it is actively seeking franchisees to expand its presence throughout the Lone Star State, naming El Paso and Houston as target markets for future franchise development.


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: Ze Frank: Are you human? - Ze Frank (2014)

Have you ever wondered: Am I a human being? Ze Frank suggests a series of simple questions that will determine this. Please relax and follow the prompts. Let's begin …

TED: Heather Barnett: What humans can learn from semi-intelligent slime - Heather Barnett (2014)

Inspired by biological design and self-organizing systems, artist Heather Barnett co-creates with physarum polycephalum, a eukaryotic microorganism that lives in cool, moist areas. What can people learn from the semi-intelligent slime mold? Watch this talk to find out.

TED: Shih Chieh Huang: Sculptures that’d be at home in the deep sea - Shih Chieh Huang (2014)

When he was young, artist Shih Chieh Huang loved taking toys apart and perusing the aisles of night markets in Taiwan for unexpected objects. Today, this TED Fellow creates madcap sculptures that seem to have a life of their own—with eyes that blink, tentacles that unfurl and parts that light up like bioluminescent sea creatures.

TED: Nikolai Begg: A tool to fix one of the most dangerous moments in surgery - Nikolai Begg (2013)

Surgeons are required every day to puncture human skin before procedures — with the risk of damaging what's on the other side. In a fascinating talk, find out how mechanical engineer Nikolai Begg is using physics to update an important medical device, called the trocar, and improve one of the most dangerous moments in many common surgeries.

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