Monthly Archives: July 2016

How To Find The Right Contract Furniture For Your Restaurant?

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In today’s world choosing the right contract furniture for your restaurant, cafe or pub is essential to match your company’s branding, your clients’ expectations, and attain the right capacity for guests. In this article we will examine some of the steps you will need to cover in your search for the right furniture for your hospitality business.

The first thing to consider is whether the different contract furniture providers on the market have a range that suits your brand values and image. It is always a good idea to ask your chosen provider or shortlist of providers to show you some sample products, whether one of their standard range of chairs, tables and accessories, or a custom design made for another client or restaurant chain. Consider the build quality of the products, but importantly also consider the design. If you do not believe the design will fit your brand, it may be best to look elsewhere. Don’t forget that the manufacturer may be able to produce custom designs to your specification, so ask for some initial plans to be drawn up before a prototype is made.

The next thing that you will need to know is how big your restaurant is and how many people you want it to seat. This will require you to get your restaurant measured up, which should be done by an experienced interior designer to ensure these measurements are accurate and taken in the correct way. If you are leasing a new retail unit for your restaurant, your commercial property agent may already have detailed diagrams of the floorplan. If you can acquire these, it can either save you money or leave you with more funds to install high quality contract furniture.

Once you have a floor plan with accurate measurements and a rough idea of how much capacity for guests you need, the next step is to work with an interior designer to draw up some initial plans of seating layouts. However there is much more than just client capacity to take into account when planning to purchase contract furniture. You must also consider other elements of the design. Do your customers usually come in large groups, so should you dedicate more space to booth-style bench seating for larger groups? Is your restaurant mainly targeted at couples, in which case should you dedicate more floor space to tables for two? Or if your restaurant is used by both customer types, would it be best to have movable furniture to accommodate larger or smaller groups when required?

Finally, another question is how much walk-in traffic will you get, or do you expect most customers to book a table in advance? This is an important question to ask when planning a contract furniture fit-out, because if you anticipate lots of visits from people who’ve not booked tables, you will need to dedicate more space to a reception area or other area for customers to wait for a table, for example at a bar. This may mean having to take away some seating area, however it could result in better business as giving people a place to wait for their table should mean less people being turned away at the door, and less need for them to have to wait outside.

Category: Business

How to Manage Your Restaurant

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Implementing Sales Techniques in Your Restaurant

Do you think that sales happen by magic? In a sense you are right, because you create the magic by your guest’s positive impression of your restaurant’s food and service.

Management and employees need to drive sales. Your Service Staff are your primary sales persons. The Kitchen Employees should be motivated to provide quality food for your guests. Management needs to keep both areas on track and make sure the atmosphere for each customer is a positive experience. There are two key items we see as the magic that can keep staff on track and positively motivated: the “WOW Steps of Service” and the “Pre-Shift Alley Rally”.

First each server must realize that they are sales people and they will create more tips and happier guests by selling the menu. This means every server must know the menu inside and out. This happens by proper server training and motivation from your managers.

How many times have you visited a restaurant and the server was completely oblivious in menu knowledge? Does that create the magic you want in service? How about the server who quickly responded about your questions regarding the menu? That is the WOW service magic that you must create in your serving staff.

WOW Steps of Service

There are many aspects in training your waiters and waitresses. These are basically summed up in the easy-to-remember format of the WOW Steps of Service. Do your servers know and use the WOW Steps of Service? If so, you are ahead of the game. Here is a summary of those commonly used steps:

    1. Greet – Seat: Make sure every guest is greeted as soon as they come into the restaurant. You can even add more flair by opening the door and welcoming them as guests. Seat your guests as quickly as possible. Customers hate standing at the door when there are lots of open tables in sight.

    1. Tell- Sell: Tell the guests about the menu to sell the menu. This is a key factor for all service staff. The waiters and waitresses should be informed immediately of any changes in the menu and if there are special promotions. They must know the menu completely. They should be able to answer any guest questions. They should also know what they personally like on the menu, and what are popular items on the menu. They should sell the menu. Plant the thought in the guest’s mind by suggesting a menu item. If the guest says they don’t like that item, then they should ask the guest if they like a certain type of food – spicy or mild, fried or grilled, and such. Their questions spur thoughts in the guest’s mind and create a sense that the server sincerely wants to please that guest-which should always be the case anyway.

    1. Ring-Bring: Ring in the food immediately. Each server should be trained on how you ring in the orders or place the orders to the kitchen. If you have a Point of Sale (POS) system, they should each be trained so they know how to ring in the order. If you use paper checks, make sure you have developed a system, so that the flow from the guest to the kitchen, back to the guest, and then to the register is smooth. The clearer the check and information to the kitchen, the better the kitchen is able to prepare the food in the way it was requested. Children’s food should be prepared and served first, whenever possible. The waiters and waitresses should give any special instructions to the kitchen staff. Then as soon as the food is ready it should be brought to the table-hot food hot, cold food cold. If it sits, then the temperature won’t be as it should be, and this can create customer complaints. Who want a cold steak? Serve it fast. Teamwork is ideal-every person should deliver food to the table. If that server is busy and can’t deliver it fast, then someone else should deliver it, then that server checks back as soon as possible to make sure the guest has received everything.

    1. Check back – Refill: After two bites or less than two minutes the server should check back to make sure the guest is happy with the food. Even if the guest says it is fine, the server should read their body language and expressions and ask questions if they are in doubt about the guest’s level of satisfaction. Refill drinks when the glass is half full. Don’t wait to see an empty glass or the guest to ask for a refill. The server should be proactive and refill before it is asked. They should also be checking back throughout the meal and removing any empty plates or glasses.

    1. Tell – Sell Desserts: Before the guests are finished eating the main dish, the server should suggest a dessert item. Plant the idea in the guest’s mind by saying, “Save room for one of our delicious desserts.” Servers should not just ask if the guest wants desserts. The server should say something like, “We have these moist delicious chocolate cakes that are baked from a local bakery. It is my favorite dessert item. Wouldn’t you love to try it?” If the guest says no, they can also ask about the guest’s favorite dessert. If the guest says they are too full for dessert, the server can suggest a carry-out box to have the dessert later. If desserts are ordered, they should be brought out right away. If no dessert order is placed, the server should make sure the guest check is ready.

    1. Check back – Check down: Within two bites or within two minutes the server should check back on the dessert with the check already tallied. If the guests are happy with the dessert or didn’t order dessert, then the server can put the check down. If you have server check pads, place them upright. This serves two purposes, it is easy for the guest to see the check and it is also easy for the server to know if the guest has payment ready when the check pad is no longer upright. Make sure that the server has supplied carry out boxes, if requested, or suggest them if there is a lot of food leftover. The server should bring those carry out boxes immediately.

    1. Receive – Reset: The server should return to receive the payment. If it is a credit card, they should process it immediately and return it to the guest for signature. The server should also invite the guest to return to the restaurant and thank them for their visit. Then once the guests have left the table, the server should reset the table within two minutes so that the next guests may be seated.

These steps are easily learned by your staff. Different restaurants may vary in their service style, but these steps can be used or adapted for any restaurant. Consistently implementing these steps will create the right impression on your guests and they will want to return.

Pre-Shift Alley Rally

Management is ultimately responsible for driving sales in your restaurant. They must properly motivate your staff and communicate effectively.

Fifteen minutes prior to any peak period management should conduct an alley rally to keep the employees informed. Always make sure the alley rally is upbeat and positive, as negative comments will only bring the crew down and ultimately will affect guest service.

  • The focus of the day
  • The feature or special of the day
  • Suggestively selling a specific item
  • Recognize any employee that performed over and beyond duties
  • Uniform compliance
  • Server and/or cook contest
  • Guest reservations in large groups scheduled

Management needs to project a great and fun atmosphere for the shift.

Reward the employees with:

  • Free meals
  • Movie Tickets
  • Lottery tickets
  • Gift card

Believe it or not, your guests will be listening and observing management and the staff. Good interaction between management and staff leave a positive perception of your restaurant.

Happy employees who love their job and actual want to come to work and will be more proficient and will project a positive aura in the view of the guest. Happy employees give a positive impression on your guests.

No matter what–the guests are always right, even if they are wrong. Make sure every guest leaves satisfied. Your atmosphere, the food served, and the service staff will all make an impression on the guest. Each customer’s positive impression of your restaurant is ultimately the magic of repeat business to drive sales–happy customers lead to higher sales!

How To Choose Restaurant Marketing Ideas

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Restaurant marketing should be no more difficult than marketing any other type of service, but the problem is that it cannot be handled effectively by any marketing firm, as the methods may differ. Traditionally restaurant owners would make use of the conventional marketing methods, such as advertising in the yellow pages, or distribution of flyers. Buying ads in local newspapers and buying radio or television commercials are some of the other methods that restaurants owners will usually consider. While those methods may still be used, there are many newer and even more cost effective methods that can be used to broaden the reach of your gourmet marketing efforts.

There are several disadvantages to the use of traditional methods, and what has now become pronounced, is that with the use of traditional restaurant marketing methods, there are characteristics that can make them inefficient. The characteristics that must be dealt with, are there is a time lag involved before any results can be noticed, and the results are very difficult to quantify.

Restaurant owners cannot expect to place advertisements in the media, and expect to see immediate results. While the time lag feature is inherent in other methods of restaurant marketing, there are alternate methods where the results can be monitored and measured, and they can be deployed for more immediacy.

One of the methods that has become popular as restaurant marketing method is the use of mobile marketing strategies. Even the well-recognized restaurant chains that operate globally have included some form of mobile marketing as part of the campaigns.

If you need more customers to your restaurants, instead of considering the traditional marketing methods, it may be to your advantage to find a firm that is involved with restaurant marketing using mobile marketing strategies. There is a seemingly natural link that has been developed between the act of social networking and restaurants, because the social networks were developed to bring people close together by sharing information.

Your gourmet marketing methods must include a heavy component of social networking. One the ideas that can be used in the marketing methods for your restaurants, is to encourage your visitors and customers to post reviews and many of the restaurant review sites on the Internet. There are scores of restaurant review sites, and you can offer discounts to your customers for posting reviews at some of the sites such as Urban spoon, Yelp, Menu Pages, Google+ and others.

These methods are effective, because reviews are one of the resources that prospective clients or customers look at when doing research or try to find information about service providers. Diners no longer just visit a restaurant. For whatever reason, they now feel compelled to tell others that they have visited the restaurant, and will often go into great detail to become a critic to tell others of their experience, by describing the meals, prices and the service. By having reviews at review sites potential customers are reminded of your business, making it one of the more cost effective gourmet marketing methods.

 

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Tips when Buying a Restaurant

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The restaurant business can be very volatile and this will often be reflected in the number of restaurants available for sale at any one time. As the failure rate can be so staggering you need to get to the bottom of the reasons behind the sale and conclude whether you will be successful as the new owner.

One of the first things that you should think about when looking over the documentation is the lease arrangement. Location is everything when it comes to a restaurant and very often its proximity to a pool of potential and repeat clients can be key. These days landlords are looking for security and will often heavily question the credibility of a new owner. Communication with the landlord should start early on in your due diligence process, to make sure that other alternatives are available in case a difficulty arises.

Placing a value on a restaurant can be quite a challenge. Basically, there are two methods that can be used: cash flow multiple or asset-based. If the business you are considering has been dormant, or you are just purchasing the equipment then it is appropriate to use the asset-based method where you simply attach a value to the assets and that is what you pay. If, however, the business is ongoing you can get a good idea of its value by calculating a multiple of the owners benefit. Traditionally, the benefit can be calculated by adding any owner salary or perks to depreciation and interest expenses, coupled with the business net income. Self-service restaurants can specify two times the owner benefit for consideration, while full service restaurants can specify two to three times this figure.

Bear in mind that the hours of operation of a restaurant have a great impact on the owner benefit. Take into account the sheer number of work hours required and compare to the benefit figures to see if the deal is indeed attractive. Some analysts use a rather general rule of thumb depending on the number of meals and/or the number of days the restaurant is open each week. If the restaurant is open five days a week, specify 70% of gross annual revenue; six days a week: 60%; seven days a week: 50%.

You may find it difficult trying to value revenues as the industry is notorious for not reporting income. Sellers will expect to be paid for the total profit, but often cannot prove it. The devil’s advocate might say that if they have been “cheating” and benefiting tax wise, they should not expect to reap the benefits a second time during the sale process. It may be possible to re-create the financial picture, but you should ask yourself whether you’re willing to believe the final outcome of this exercise, whether the process is realistic and whether you want to go through with it, anyway.

The two most significant expenses in a restaurant business are food and labor. While costs will vary greatly depending on the type of restaurant and whether liquor sales are involved, as a general rule of thumb the combined total of labor, rent and food costs should not exceed 65% of total revenue. Pay close attention to this rule as you do not want to operate in the red.

Many believe the typical breakdown of costs should be as follows:

Food costs: 30 to 33%

Labor: 20 to 25%

Rent: 6 to 10%

Again, you should not exceed approximately 65% when combining these items.

The exercise of due diligence is important whenever you buy a business and is especially true when you are considering a restaurant. This critical stage can lead to a review of 125 separate items and you should maintain a critical checklist as you proceed.

When reviewing equipment, bring in an expert. A nearby restaurant supply store can provide you with names to choose from and remember that there is a very large market for used equipment so you should be able to replace any faulty products at reasonable cost.

When you’re looking into the reputation of a restaurant, check out the public records to see if its been consistently performing above health department standards. You should also include a “representations and warranties” section within the purchase agreement, to document that there were no previous health violations resulting in a fine, closure and so on. Health concerns are of the utmost of importance when it comes to your restaurant’s reputation, and there certainly isn’t a faster way to end up closing the doors permanently than by having to face a public report in the newspaper that says your place of business has serious bug problems or isn’t meeting the minimum standards for health regulations.

You should learn everything you can about purchasing a restaurant, particularly if you don’t have much experience with the business. Don’t become one of those negative statistics and make sure that you buy well and build a successful restaurant in this highly competitive environment.

Category: Business