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Many business operators can augment or enhance their chances of keeping potential workers by ensuring each candidate aligns their objectives and expectations with the position and the organization. Having prospective staff members who have not only undergone sufficient training but are also welcoming is fundamental to a positive restaurant experience. Clients will develop an interest in your restaurant hence choose it over others. So, you need to ensure you hire restaurant staff who not only possess good qualities but have also undergone sufficient training.
However, starting a new restaurant is not an easy task, let alone finding the prospective staff members. There are many processes you have to undergo before getting to succeed in the restaurant business. You need to have a business permit, know the ideal location, atmosphere, and the perfect target audience. Additionally, you need to ensure your business complies with all the set rules and regulations. Contrariwise, if you are looking to start a new restaurant and do not know where to find restaurant employees, do not worry about it. Experts from Essay Kitchen recommend you consider the tips below on how to hire employees for restaurant.
Strategize to Staff Your Business
Working in the restaurant business is not an easy thing. There is stiff competition as every restaurant is looking to attract as many clients as they can. Hence, when you are looking to start an excellent restaurant, you need to ensure you have a strategy to staff your business. You are the sole individual who wants to see your business thrive. Additionally, you put much effort, interest and time to set it up. And even though running a business alone may be hard, you need to ensure you do all that you can to ensure it succeeds. So, plan to staff your business in a strategic manner.
Build an Employee Profile
Another restaurant hiring tip is building an employee profile. This will help you know what to look for in prospective clients. And to create an employee profile, consider the following;
Experiences. Analyze each position on the basis of the experienceyou need to perform each role in a successful manner. Past work experiences can be critical for certain roles than others.
Qualities and personae. Define and explain what an ideal employee looks like for each position. List the talents and capabilities they exemplify. Do not discriminate people on the basis of their race, religion, age, disability, sex, and color among other things.
Core ethics. A particular individual’s skills and experiences may complement their job profile. However, they may lack the values to fit in a successful team. As a person looking to hire employees, articulate your mission statementto help identify if an applicant is ideal for the role.
Personal and career objectives. Having an employee turnover is not good for your business. So, retain quality talent by ensuring that every applicant’s objectives and expectations align with the position they are applying for and the company.
Establish a Recruiting Strategy
As a person looking to embrace the smart hire tactic, you need to develop a recruiting approach. “Do not hire any random applicants who are looking for a job,” says Ben Hadfield, HR at EssayWritingService. Instead, conduct thorough research about them. Identify and recognize their skills and experiences. Do they embrace the right qualities for the position? Do they personal and career goals to meet? Knowing this will help you know the strategy to sue to hire your staff.
Also, you can check on restaurants looking to hire and see the tactics they embrace. If there are any which impress you, use them.
Develop a Hiring Process
As a person in the fast food restaurants hiring business, you need to choose potential employees who fit in your hiring profile. And to do so, you need to develop a hiring process. So, consider the following;
Recommendations. Look for recommendation programs. These can help you incentivize your current employees to refer high-quality talent candidates to you and reward them later.
Applications. Ask the applicants to complete some forms as they reveal something essential about them such as their capabilities.
Social media. You can also use social media platforms to hire people by posting job promotions.
Attitude surveys. Conduct attitude surveys to assess the type of people you intend to hire.
Hiring schedule. Ensure each step of the hiring process has a deadline. This will help to ensure it has a consistent flow.
Conduct Systematic Interviews
Also, as an individual in the local restaurants hiring industry, you need to conduct systematic interviews. This will help you determine the ideal candidates. Additionally, you will get to discover their characters, abilities, and their performance levels. And to do so, consider the following;
Identify their body language, professionalism, and tone of voice.
Ask them questions which do not relate to the job to put them at ease.
Review their work background. Ask them about their previous positions and responsibilities.
Allow them to elucidate how to complete a particular task. This will help you learn about their skills.
Ask them how they interact in a work environment. This will enable you to learn how they will conduct themselves regardless of the situation they face.
Once the interviews are through, ensure you notify those candidates who do not qualify. This will help them know what to improve on if they want to learn how to get hired at a restaurant.
Embrace Familiarity with Hiring Regulations
There are certain rules and regulations you need to be aware of before you hire people. For instance, a conducive environment and atmosphere. Some hiring restaurants fail to comply with these rules and regulations hence cease to operate. So, it is upon you to embrace familiarity with these rules. If you do not know what they incorporate, look for any restaurants that are hiring and consult with them. Ask them what are the requirements before you begin hiring people. Also, identify if there are any other necessities you need to have and provide.
Maintain Ideal Staffing Levels
There are different positions people apply for in a restaurant hiring business. And when hiring people, you need to ensure you maintain optimal staffing levels. You need to ensure you hire prospective candidates for each post. A waiter cannot do the task of an accountant. Hence, it is up to you to ensure you choose the ideal candidate. You can also seek help from other hiring restaurants to get the techniques they use.
In conclusion, when hiring people to work in your restaurant, you need to ensure you choose prospective applicants whose objectives and expectations align with the position they are applying for and the company. Even though starting a new restaurant and running it alone is not easy, there are certain process you need to undergo to guarantee your prosperity. Also, you need to know the type of candidates you hire. Above is a hiring guide you can use to start and run an excellent restaurant. You can also gain some tips from restaurants which are hiring near you. Do not sit and ask, “Are there restaurants hiring near me?” Look for any restaurants that may be hiring near you or somewhere else and see the tactics they are using.
The days when going to a restaurant was simply about eating food are history. Customers expect eateries to provide them with experiences rather than just the basic fare. And why not? Experiential marketing is a great way to increase customer loyalty and engagement, as well as improve brand awareness.
Did you know that 77 percent of marketers use experiential marketing as a vital part of a brand’s advertising strategy?
When it comes to providing unique and memorable experiences to customers, restaurants need to understand that their job starts even before patrons walk into their establishment. Experiential marketing is more about how they treat their guests rather than what they serve them on the table. From the venue to the menu, everything plays a part.
Here’s how you can leverage experiential marketing to grow your business.
There’s no doubt that customers want to enjoy a hearty meal and impeccable customer service at restaurants. With increasing expectations, however, a third element has been added to the mix, and that’s exclusivity. After all, who doesn’t like feeling special?
An increasing number of customers are expecting exclusive dining experiences that redefine their idea of eating out. No wonder then, that pop-up restaurants are gaining immense popularity.
Just as the name suggests, pop-ups are temporary dining concepts that open for a limited period of time. This could mean anything – a one-time dining experience or a few weeks of culinary festivals.
The short-term nature of a pop-up’s existence creates a sense of exclusivity and urgency. Pop-ups offer guests unique and exciting experiences through their specialized themes, menu, and even tastings.
Thanks to social media, pop-up events are going mainstream and finding acceptance among customers. As they crave different experiences, pop-ups allow them to indulge in new, interactive, and exhilarating experiences.
Samples for the Senses
Eighty percent of guests said that live demonstrations and free samples significantly help define their purchasing decision.
Product sampling can be a powerful tool in the experiential marketing kit. It enables them to get a good look and feel of the offerings before buying them.
Go Beyond Food
An increasing number of customers are laying more importance on distinctive experiences rather than things. This applies to food as well. It is not what they eat, but rather what they experience during their time at the restaurant that matters to customers.
A few great ways to give them the experiences they crave include arranging upmarket outdoor dinners, wine tasting/pairing feasts, conducting food trials featuring experimental cuisines, delivering cookery masterclasses, or organizing special appearances by celebrity chefs. You can also offer customers a tour of your restaurant’s kitchen, a local produce farm, a winery, or a grain mill.
Ensure that the experiences you offer allow consumers to experience the products and services will all their senses. Creating the smells and tastes may be easy, but you also need to focus on producing the sights, sounds, and textures. Only then will your experiential marketing initiatives result in activations.
The most important thing to remember is to go beyond just food offerings, and add value to the experience. This can mean providing them with information on cooking techniques, engendering positive emotions through the cooking process, giving them high-end and useful cooking products, or even a chance to hobnob with celebrities. These are some ways which will help you take your customer service experience up by several notches.
Using social media to talk about the experiences to potential customers will help you create awareness about your experiential events (more on this in the next point). Social media platforms present tremendous opportunities for you and your patrons to click and share food photographs.
Start a conversation around the images/videos you post. Use hashtags to promote your offerings and encourage your customers to take photographs with your restaurant’s name in the background and post them on your page.
Partner with Complementary Brands to Conduct Events
Eighty percent of marketers believe live events are critical to their company’s success, while 95 percent agree that live events provide attendees with a valuable opportunity to form in-person connections in an increasingly digital world.
Additionally, 93 percent of consumers claimed that live events had a larger influence on them than TV ads.
Events are an integral part of experiential marketing, and restaurants can do this by partnering with complementary product companies or even venue providers. Everyone wants their slice from a successful experiential marketing pie. Everyone loves food. Collaborate with brands that want to market their offerings, and organize an event that is mutually beneficial.
Think a communal dining event with common seating where attendees choose to share their dining experience with complete strangers.. Other ideas include theme breakfast or brunch events, spirits and mixology dos, and vegan or organic food events.
The “foodie” culture is getting bigger by the day, and customers are increasingly spending money on different and interesting culinary options. Restaurants can use this to their advantage through experiential marketing.
Tracking numbers may be the part of your business that you are most afraid of, or the most bored by. The fact of the matter though is that you will be responsible for certain figures whether you are afraid or bored or not. When you keep good metrics and learn how to use them, you will learn to take comfort in them and use them to have more confidence in your business decisions.
Tip #1: Get the right people on board
Some people get really excited by a good graph or a report; we call them bookkeepers, accountants, and tax attorneys and you should make a goal to have one of each on your team. As Jim Collins taught us in Good to Great, it is important to get the right people on your team if you want to succeed.
Tip #2: Know what to track and how to track it
Just because you have the right people in place doesn’t mean you don’t have to think about your finances anymore. You are responsible for knowing what to do with the information the people on your team give to you and how to act on it. You should have a monthly financials meeting with responsible parties and the decision makers in your organization. At this meeting, plan to go over the following reports:
Budget & Variance Report
Cash Flow Forecast
Accounts Receivable Aging
Cost of Inventory
These reports make up your dashboard. At first it may feel like a lot of different numbers and a lot of new terms, but stick with it and ask whatever questions you have. You are ultimately responsible for what each report contains. Over time you will learn how to interpret what the numbers tell you and how best to plan and adjust. Then you will better appreciate how these metrics help you run your business.
In today’s world, guests care more about the environment than ever. This can even affect their choice of restaurant. If your restaurant isn't practicing sustainability, this could affect your guests choice. Some customers have already changed their diets to protect the planet. Others will go so far as to research your recycling habits before ordering a meal.
Because of these trends, it’s essential to reduce your restaurant’s carbon footprint. Sustainability isn’t just good for the planet; it’s also good for business. Use these tips to go green for good.
Plant the Idea
Vegan eating is one of the fastest-growing trends in America. What’s more, 48 percent of Americans would gladly change their spending habits to reduce their environmental impact. That means you can charge the same amount for a veggie burger as a beef patty, drastically improving your profit margins along with guest loyalty.
Make sure you include several vegan and vegetarian options on your menu. This makes it easier for large groups and even appeals to meat-eaters craving a lighter meal. Use your Point of Sale system to track which of these items are the most popular and the most profitable. This way, you can strike a balance between these two qualities. Guest satisfaction and high profits should go hand in hand.
The Recycle of Life
Fifty-one percent of guests research recycling practices before choosing a restaurant. To capture their business, be sure that your recycling strategy is as eco-friendly as possible. Also, make sure you advertise this strategy on your website so guests can find the information they’re looking for when researching.
The good news is, proper waste management can increase your restaurant’s profit margin. By using as much of your inventory as possible, you cut down on unnecessary overhead costs. If you’re able to donate items you can’t sell – such as day-old pastries – you may even get a tax break. These numbers add up to long-term success for your restaurant.
Light up Your Life
Energy-efficient equipment can save restaurants up to 20 percent in overhead costs. It may be a big investment, but this savings is hard to pass up. Going green can even reduce labor costs, as this equipment requires less regular maintenance by your staff. (For example, LED light bulbs last much longer than incandescent bulbs.)
When you lower your electric bill, you can use extra funds to invest in your community. Host a workshop on sustainable foods, or start a neighborhood composting project. Focusing a little of your newfound energy on long-term sustainability will show guests how much you care.
It’s safe to assume that environmental issues will always relevant to your guests. This trend has been steadily growing for over a decade, with no signs of slowing down. It’s time to make long-term investments in equipment and recipes that keep our planet green.
This edition of Modern Restaurant Management (MRM) magazine's Research Roundup features Mother's Day dining results from the team at QSR Automations, top restaurant industry concerns, technology's effect on day-to-day restaurant operations and 'The Truth about Dining Out."
Happy Mother's Day for Restaurants
Sales Stumble, Staffing Woes Remain
The upward momentum in restaurant sales halted again during April. Same-store sales growth was -0.4 percent, hence sales growth has now been negative during two of the last three months. Although these results were undoubtedly disappointing for restaurant operators, it is too soon to start worrying about a true downturn for the industry. These insights come from Black Box Intelligence™ data from TDn2K™, based on weekly sales from over 31,000 locations representing 170+ brands and nearly $72 billion in annual sales.
“April was a soft month for restaurants. Putting these results in context helps us remain cautiously optimistic about the current state of the industry,” said Victor Fernandez, vice president of insights and knowledge for TDn2K. “First, the industry was lapping over one of the strongest months in same-store sales growth last year. When taking in a longer-term view of sales, the two-year growth rate of 0.9 percent during April still reflects a growing industry. Furthermore, all months since October of 2018, with the exception of February which was plagued by extremely bad weather, have reported positive same-store sales growth when compared with the same month two years ago. The average for two-year sales growth during the previous twelve months was -1.6 percent.”
Additionally, April was negatively impacted by the Easter holiday. This holiday translates into decreased restaurant visits for many brands and in some cases, closed restaurants. This year Easter was celebrated in April but in 2018 it fell in March. As a result, same-store sales growth approached -2.0 percent during the week of Easter. This negative sales growth was the worst for the industry since the last week of February when winter storms severely hurt sales in large portions of the country.
Declining Guest Visits Remain the Norm For Most Brands, Guest Checks Accelerating
Same-store traffic growth during April was -3.5 percent, a decline of 1.6 percentage points from March. However, the Easter effect also needs to be taken into consideration for traffic. The third week in April also experienced the worst traffic numbers since the end of February. The holiday shift aided March’s guest counts but negatively impacted April’s.
These poor traffic results again highlight how restaurants continue to rely on their guests spending more per visit to try to grow their sales. Average guest check growth has been accelerating since the fourth quarter of last year. This is likely a result of restaurant brands raising their menu prices at a faster pace and a favorable shift in product mix driven by a more confident consumer.
Fine Dining and Family Dining Favored by Easter Holiday Shift
Fine dining and family dining were the two best performing segments based on same-store sales growth during April. These segments were also the most favored by their incremental Easter sales. Quick service was the only other segment that achieved positive growth during the month, despite a soft Easter week.
Consumer Spending Softened, Positive Economic Outlook Remains for Restaurants
“Despite what looked like a strong first quarter expansion in the economy, there were some warnings in the latest GDP report,” commented Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors and TDn2K economist. “Most importantly, the growth in consumer spending was the weakest in four years. There has also been a decline in the year-over-year growth in retail sales at restaurants. Is this softening worrisome? Maybe not. Incomes are still expanding moderately, consumer confidence is high and job gains remain strong. Thus, personal income growth is solid enough so that restaurant sales should improve. What is likely happening is the rebound in demand that began in 2018 and accelerated this year, is simply moving back toward sustainable levels.”
“Barring an all-out trade war, the economy should continue growing solidly the rest of the year. As labor markets tighten further, wage gains and household demand should pick up. Indeed, the only dark cloud is the elongated poor weather patterns that have restrained typical spring spending patterns. Since no one really knows how to forecast the weather, if we assume normal summer conditions, restaurant sales should accelerate.”
Rising Employee Vacancies Pose Threat to Restaurant Performance
Employee staffing issues give restaurant operators little reason to celebrate. TDn2K studies continue to feature service as the one consistent differentiator for top performing brands based on sales growth. Even if other attributes of the restaurant experience, such as food and ambiance, have fluctuated in relative importance, superior execution on service remains at the heart of what successful restaurant brands do consistently.
Yet, most companies are facing the toughest challenges in their history when it comes to staffing their restaurants, unquestionably at the cost of subpar service levels. According to TDn2K’s Workforce Index, vacancies have increased at a relatively consistent rate over the past several quarters as the number of unfilled unit level positions across restaurants escalates. During the first quarter of 2019, 35 percent of companies reported an increase in their unfilled management positions, while only 12 percent were able to reduce their vacancies. 38 percent of companies had an increase in their unfilled hourly employee positions and only 10 percent of them made any progress reducing their vacancies.
The drivers behind these staffing difficulties continued their pressure on the industry during March. Rolling 12-month turnover for both restaurant hourly employees and managers increased again, adding to the already historically high turnover rates experienced by the industry in recent quarters. Additionally, the industry continues to create new jobs that need to be filled at a rapid pace. Year-over-year growth in the number of restaurant employees grew by 2.7 percent during March, an uptick from the 2.6 percent growth rate reported for February.
‘Jittery’ Consumers Among Top Industry Concerns
Even though to date the economy remains relatively strong, the chain-restaurant industry in the year ahead faces a consumer base that is starting to show signs of possible fatigue plus multidimensional labor issues made even more complex by the strong economy of recent years—in particular, low unemployment—itself. Those are among the findings in a survey of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers, released today by AlixPartners, the global consulting firm.
On the labor front, the survey finds that 59 percent of consumers are in favor of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, which is more than double the current federal minimum of $7.25 per hour—and which would undoubtedly cause restaurant operators to rethink business models whose profit margins are already razor-thin. Moreover, a whopping 68 percent of millennials, the poll finds, are in favor of such a wage hike, indicating that the “Fight for 15” (and perhaps more) issue is unlikely to go away anytime soon.
Meanwhile, results from the survey reveal several signs that financial concerns seem today to be taking precedence when it comes to decisions both about dining-out to begin with and how much to spend when they do. For instance, among those who expect to dine-out less often in the year ahead, consumers were given the option of pick as many reasons as applicable among 15 in total. The result? Those choosing a financial concern—as opposed to such things as restaurant service or predictable food—was up eight percentage points net versus responses to the same question in an AlixPartners survey fielded a year ago. In particular, in this year’s survey 49 percent said they plan to reallocate savings toward purchases other than restaurant meals, 30 percent said restaurant meals are too expensive, 30 percent said their current finances mean they need to cut back on spending, and 15 percent said they’re concerned about their future financial situation.
In addition, the survey finds that millennials may be impacted more than older generational cohorts by economic worries, as the percentage who plan to spend $10 to $30 per meal is down in this year’s survey (to 55 percent, from 57 percent in last year’s) while the percentage that plan to spend $10 or less per meal is up (to 42 percent, from 40 percent). The survey also finds 38 percent of consumers plan to use discounts, such as coupons and promotions, to reduce their restaurant spending in the year ahead, down from 46 percent in the survey of a year ago—a sign that discounts are perhaps losing their allure. And, in perhaps another sign of caution, the survey also finds that among those planning to reallocate their restaurant spending on other things, 35 percent said they’d reallocate toward retirement (of the eight options available), up two percentage points from last year’s survey—while 38 percent said travel, down three points from the year-ago survey.
“The restaurant consumer today is jittery, and for good reason,” said Adam Werner, global co-head of AlixPartners’ Restaurant, Hospitality and Leisure Practice and a managing director at the firm. “The economy—which, of course, drives so much of restaurant spending to begin with—looks great in the rear-view mirror, but what lies ahead is uncertain, and our survey results reflect that consumers are very aware of that.”
“Whether it’s the minimum wage, staffing and hours, or even automatic gratuities, labor issues in this industry are only going to get thornier and more complex,” said Kurt Schnaubelt a managing director in AlixPartners’ Restaurant, Hospitality and Leisure Practice and one of the authors of the survey. “Operators need to use strategic pricing to put value right on the menu to begin with, and they need to have a toolbox of strategies to deal with all the labor issues coming their way. Given the pennies-on-the-dollar margins in the industry today, there is no alternative.”
The Tech Effect
US Foods Holding Corp. released the results of a survey of 500 independent restaurant decision makers to gauge their outlook on critical operational decisions. Although half of restaurant decision makers think technology is a way to address food waste, manage staff and drive customer traffic, only one-third of them are implementing it.
“This gap between the promise and adoption of technology to run restaurants successfully is an important one to close,” said Adam Stinn, director of business solutions for US Foods. “There is a universe of technology solutions that can reduce the operating headaches. But that’s also the problem – the number of choices and the time it takes to sort through them. Through our CHECK Business Tools program, we have taken the guesswork out of the equation by helping operators diagnose the opportunity and invest in the right solution. Whether it’s a website upgrade, online ordering or back of the house efficiency, we have vetted hundreds of solutions to bring our customers the right technology to solve their biggest challenges.”
There are three primary areas in which independent operators have identified the biggest opportunities: driving customer traffic, simplifying staffing and reducing food waste. US Foods’ survey further explores restaurant decision makers’ views on these topics.
Driving Customer Traffic
It’s no surprise that in today’s shifting digital world, the way restaurants attract new customers has changed. According to the survey results, a quarter of restaurant decision makers feel that attracting customers has gotten harder in the last year.
Compared to a year ago, marketing decision makers are investing more into how they promote their restaurants, with 75 percent offering more specials for customers, 68 percent spending more on digital advertising, 67 percent hosting more events and 51 percent using third-party services. Most marketing decision makers (80 percent) said keeping up with the competition’s marketing efforts was important to them.
To help drive online and in-store customer traffic, US Foods offers a suite of solutions through CHECK Business Tools, including menu design support to drive profitability, online ordering capabilities for to-go sales and website design support.
Staffing Can Be Stressful
Thirty-five percent of restaurant operators say that they currently have job openings that are proving hard to fill.1 So it’s no surprise that US Foods’ survey found that half of restaurant decision makers named hiring, training or managing staff as their greatest sources of stress.
Forty-nine percent also expressed concern about a labor shortage in the restaurant industry, and only 59 percent felt confident in hiring skilled employees. Further, only 20 percent said they were increasing their recruiting efforts and only 30 percent were creating robust employee training programs.
To help solve for these staffing challenges, CHECK Business Tools can help operators optimize key restaurant staffing processes including team management, scheduling and staff training so operators can recruit quality candidates, track labor expense, simplify payroll, and attract and retain quality staff.
Fighting Food Waste
Waste is a costly part of running a restaurant. More than a third of food in the U.S. is lost or wasted, which amounts to 133 billion pounds or $161 billion worth of food each year.2 According to the US Foods survey, 79 percent of restaurant decision makers are at least somewhat concerned about food waste in their restaurant, but they struggle to prioritize and act on their concern, citing inefficient food preparation (36 percent), the inability to accurately forecast demand (35 percent) and portion sizes (34 percent) as the main drivers of waste in their restaurants.
Three in five (58 percent) food decision makers say they are tracking some things related to food waste but know they could be doing more to meet their goals. Meanwhile, only about a third (30 percent) have a formal process in place to track their goals.
'Truth about Dining Out'
Fourth revealed the findings of its first annual “Truth about Dining Out” survey. With the goal of providing restaurant operators an inside look at how Americans prefer to eat out, the survey, conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by Fourth, shows that quality of service is oftentimes more important than the actual meal among respondents who dine out. The survey results reinforce that engaged staff are happier, provide better service, create loyal customers and increase sales.
Americans Love Eating Out
With a strong U.S. economy, consumers continue to spend money eating out rather than cooking meals at home. In fact, the survey results showed that more than half (56 percent) of respondents who eat out – which includes eating in restaurants, ordering food to-go and delivery – eat out at least 2-3 times per week. Additionally, 10 percent of Americans said they eat out 4-6 times per week, and 6 percent of consumers cited they eat out every day.
When broken down to gender, the survey found that men typically spend more per week eating out ($82) while women spend $69. In fact, 10 percent of men eat out every day compared to only 2 percent of women.
Respondents who earn between $40,001 – $50,000 per year spend the most money eating out, averaging $117.82 per week or between 12.25 percent to 15.31 percent of their yearly income.
The survey also examined, through multiple-answer questions, why consumers eat out at a restaurant. Forty-seven percent of respondents selected “social, spending time with family and friends” as the main reason, followed by “special occasion” (41 percent), “it’s convenient” (40 percent) and “I enjoy the atmosphere” (33 percent).
Gordon Ramsay – America’s Favorite Celebrity Chef
With the ongoing popularity in celebrity cooking shows and competitions, the survey asked respondents to select their favorite celebrity chef. According to the results, Gordon Ramsay took the number one spot with 11 percent of the votes, followed by Anthony Bourdain (7 percent) and Bobby Flay (6 percent).
Gordon Ramsay was the favorite celebrity chef among respondents between the ages of 18-54. Surprisingly, Emeril Lagasse was the top pick for respondents who are 55 and older.
When broken down to region, respondents in the West selected Anthony Bourdain (13 percent) as their favorite celebrity chef with 13 percent of respondents citing “known celebrity chef” as an important factor when selecting a restaurant.
Customer Loyalty Begins with a Smile
As restaurants compete for customers, providing superior service is no longer an added bonus, but expected. More than half of survey respondents (53 percent) cited “good service” as the second most important factor when selecting a restaurant following “food quality” (62 percent), which received the most votes.
When determining a server’s tip, 58 percent of respondents cited “friendly and pleasant demeanor” as the most important factor followed by “attentiveness” (50 percent) and “accuracy of order” (44 percent).
Nearly a third of respondents (30 percent) cited “rude restaurant service” as their biggest frustration when eating out at a restaurant.
When asked to pick one thing that you would generally change in restaurants, the majority of open-ended responses included complaints around bad service.
When discovering new restaurants, 59 percent of respondents rely on “friend recommendations,” followed by “social media” (46 percent), reinforcing that great customer service and maintaining a good online reputation is key to driving sales.
Third-Party Delivery Services are on the Rise
To accommodate consumer demand, restaurant operators are turning to third-party delivery services to manage the ordering, payment and delivery of meals. But with so many options available, it can be hard for a restaurant operator to keep up. Understanding this pain point, the survey asked respondents to select which delivery services they used most often. According to the results:
Among third-party delivery services, Uber Eats was selected as the most popular (31 percent), followed by DoorDash (27 percent) and GrubHub (24 percent).
When asked what your main reasons for using third-party delivery services are, 50 percent of respondents cited “convenience,” followed by “ease of payment” (42 percent) and “good customer service” (40 percent).
A quarter of respondents (25 percent), cited that they use third-party delivery services because they’d rather place their order online or via an app than talk to someone on the phone.
Surprisingly, the restaurant’s in-house delivery service was the second most used delivery service (29 percent) among general respondents and the number one delivery service used by respondents in the Southeast (28 percent) and Midwest (35 percent), proving that in-house delivery is still popular.
Room for Improvement
Although Americans enjoy eating out, there are a number of factors that can contribute to a negative experience. To enable restaurant operators to better understand the expectations of today’s restaurant patrons, the survey asked respondents to disclose their biggest frustrations when eating out at a restaurant and having food delivered. The survey results showed:
When eating out at a restaurant, the top five frustrations for survey respondents include “the time it takes to receive their order” (35 percent), “the price of the meal and getting an order wrong” (34 percent), “not being satisfied with the quality/taste of food” (31 percent), “rude restaurant service” (30 percent) and “restaurant cleanliness” (25 percent).
When having food delivered, the top three frustrations were “the time it takes for the food to be delivered” (20 percent), followed by “the condition of the food” (18 percent) and “missing items from my order” (14 percent).
“Having been in the hospitality industry for more than 30 years, it’s interesting to see how quickly customer expectation can be changed,” said Simon Bocca, chief operating officer at Fourth. “It’s clear from the survey results that customer service and a tight back-of-house operating system are key to optimizing profits. We’re excited for the future of the industry and to continue to help restaurant operators enhance guest satisfaction and scale profitably by ensuring they have the right amount of labor and inventory on hand to deliver a great guest experience – every time.”
The report combines insights from a new survey conducted in partnership with Technomic, a leading foodservice industry research firm, with data from millions of orders placed on the ezCater Marketplace. Technomic surveyed more than 450 foodservice leaders representing 45,000 restaurant locations on their attitudes about, experience with and investment plans for catering.
Key findings include:
Catering is growing: Catering is growing 50 percent faster than the overall restaurant industry, with business catering driving much of the growth.
Catering is important: 90 percent of restaurants consider catering important to their business.
Catering is worth the investment: 91 percent of respondents who reported increasing catering revenues are investing in their catering operations, with top investments in personnel (34 percent), technology (25 percent), and marketing (24 percent).
Catering is in demand: Demand for catering is coming from a wide range of industries, with healthcare, finance, IT/technology, advertising..
Handling electronic data is an unavoidable part of operating a business today, but what would happen to your restaurant if that sensitive information was the target of a cyberattack? The cost of an attack can be devastating. On average, a data breach costs a business $148 per record, meaning a breach of just 1,000 customers’ information could cost a business $148,000.
Improving data security may not be at the top of many restaurant owners' to-do lists, but it should be. With the increasing use of credit card payments, delivery, and mobile and online ordering—where customers are providing their email and physical addresses—restaurants are a lucrative target for cybercriminals looking to profit from customers’ personal data and payment information.
While data can never be 100 percent protected, you can make it more difficult for cybercriminals to access sensitive information by avoiding these five common mistakes.
Mistake #1: Using the same password for multiple accounts
Once a criminal has the password for one account, it’s easy for them to log into other accounts and steal data.
Don’t use default or common keyboard patterns for passwords (e.g., 123456, QWERTY)
Create strong passwords by mixing upper and lowercase letters, using numbers and symbols, and avoiding common words
Use different passwords for different sites—you can use a password manager to keep track of them.
Mistake #2: Opening suspicious email attachments
Phishing, or posing as a trustworthy entity to trick the recipient into revealing sensitive info, is one of the most common ways criminals breach security. Phishing attachments can lead to malware, ransomware and stolen usernames and passwords.
Before opening an email, consider whether the message is from someone you know and if you’re expecting the email. If not, you may want to delete it or report it to your email provider
Look for spelling errors or strange email addresses in the message, which may be a sign of a phishing attempt
Do not click on any suspicious or unsolicited email attachments
Mistake #3: Sending sensitive data electronically
Emails and instant messages containing private information need to be protected because cybercriminals can intercept them and steal sensitive data, including customers’ credit card numbers or employees’ personal information.
Password protect documents. Provide the password to the recipient in a secure way
Encrypt emails containing social security numbers, financial data or passwords. Refer to your email provider for instructions
Use OTR (off-the-record) messaging to automatically encrypt sensitive info sent via instant messages. Some messaging services have this feature built in, or it can be added as a plug-in
Mistake #4: Not securing Wi-Fi networks
Wireless networks allow multiple users to connect at once, making them a goldmine for criminals looking to access data. Restaurant owners are increasingly at risk as they frequently offer Wi-Fi for their customers.
Provide a separate Wi-Fi network for customers and designate a private network for business activities, so customers can’t easily tap into any sensitive information
Secure both Wi-Fi networks with different passwords
Hide your business’s private Wi-Fi network name—it won’t show up when customers are looking to connect to a network and tempt them to tap into it
Mistake #5: Not training employees on data security
Without a policy or training on cybersecurity, employees might not know what to do if they notice suspicious activity on company computers.
Have a policy in place so employees know what constitutes a cybersecurity threat
Encourage employees to report any suspicious activity, no matter how small it seems
Remind employees about the dangers of weak passwords and the risk of online accounts being compromised
The takeaway? Awareness and action are the best ways to protect data and avoid a costly data breach, which can be devastating to a restaurant’s reputation and bottom line.
Restaurant owners who want an extra layer of protection should consider adding cyber liability coverage to their current insurance plan. A good cyber liability policy will include data security and privacy coverage, plus response services from the moment a breach is suspected until it has been resolved. With some extra caution and a cyber liability policy as an added safeguard, you can feel confident that your restaurant won’t be toppled by a cyberattack.
The beer-and-pizza combination is one that’s near and dear to the hearts of millions of Americans — but we’re here to tell you it may be time to rethink your approach. Have you ever heard the saying, “if it grows together it grows together”? It’s the reason that we nestle strawberries and rhubarb together in one pie, and the inspiration behind risottos with peas and asparagus.
Well, the same principle can be applied to pizza. While — sadly — there aren’t an abundance of pizza trees sprouting up, pizza and wine both have Italian roots. So it’s natural that we should pair them together for the perfect Italian dining experience.
There are countless wine and pizza combinations, but pairing your glass with your slice is an art. Tomato sauce is acidic, so you’ll want a complementary wine with high acidity. When considering the tannins of the wine, opt for a wine with a lower tannin content. Wines with a high tannin content can actually taste metallic in combination with tomato sauce.
Become your own sommelier and try out these perfect pairings for every palate.
At 19, Adam Guild may downplay his achievements but he is having an undeniable impact on some of the top restaurants across the country.
It has not always been easy for him, nor is he some sort of a child prodigy. He has overcome countless struggles and persevered through painful challenges, such as depression, near-obesity and loneliness throughout his life.
And, succeed he has. He has already built and sold two tech companies with more than 10,000,000 users and writes for publications such as Forbesand our very own Modern Restaurant Management.
This is his story of success through perseverance, pain and grit.
Loneliness Became the Mother of Invention
When Adam was in sixth grade, there were days when pain was a constant. He was lonely and with few friends. “I was lost. Without purpose,” he says.
He went through his days, longing for a way to connect with his fellow students. He realized he was different, but to a middle schooler, being different is not always prized – it is often source of pain. As a result, Adam just wanted to fit in. He viewed being different as being ‘less than’ the other students.
“I had very few real friends and it was difficult for me to naturally connect with people,” he says.
At the same time, he noticed his classmates were eager to visit a hot new website called Facebook. There was just one problem, though. None of them were allowed to join Facebook, which enforces a minimum age of 13 years old. And their parents wouldn’t let them on either.
So, Guild saw an opportunity to connect with his peers. He scrambled to find open source services so that he could develop a Facebook-like platform. He quickly learned and created what he called Centipedes Connect, complete with the basic profile and messaging services of Facebook; however, he built it specifically as a (safer) platform for his sixth-grade class.
He shared it with his classmates, and within 24 hours of the platform’s launch, most of his 60 classmates were on it. “I saw building Centipedes Connect as a way to connect with my peers and escape feeling alone,” he says.
Unfortunately, Centipedes Connect and Adam’s sense of connection was short-lived. Within a few weeks, the vice principal called him and his mother into the principal’s office.
“It ended because my elementary school’s vice principal, forced me to shut it down because it was a security issue to have our entire class connected on an open social network online. [It was either that] or face expulsion,” Adam says.
The incident was devastating to Adam, but it taught him a valuable lesson: Launching Centipedes Connect showed him that his self-worth was not in the hands of others. “It started to put the power of how I felt about myself back into my hands,” he says. "Once you realize you can shape your outlook and how you feel about yourself, you immediately unlock the power to live a life on your terms.”
Rejection Became A Blessing in Disguise
While Adam recognized that he could alter how he felt about himself, life continued to present challenges for him to overcome. For one, his parents divorced, and it was brutal. He became depressed, had no friends, and was relentlessly bullied. He began stress-eating, gained weight and neared obesity. That began a cycle of negative feelings that only compounded. Due to his hopelessness, he could not focus on school work and his grades suffered. That meant that he was unable to gain acceptance into the prestigious Los Angeles school that he wanted to attend. That only made him feel worse.
Once you realize you can shape your outlook and how you feel about yourself, you immediately unlock the power to live a life on your terms.
“I had been conditioned to believe that getting in there was absolutely vital to living a successful life – that getting in there was an indicator of intelligence and that not being able to [get in] started the cycle of a life of failure,” Adam says. “And I had just failed at that.”
In retrospect, Adam realizes that not being accepted into the school was a blessing in disguise, because he believes it would have taught him to be a conformist. And, he has illustrated that he is anything but that. Yet, at the time, he believed he was destined to live a failed life.
Dejected, Adam again poured himself into his projects. They were an escape from the feelings of sadness and helplessness. Pristine Technologies, a holding company for his consumer technology, cryptocurrency and gaming projects, was created. One of those projects helped facilitate and create multiplayer experiences for Minecraft. It ultimately devolved into a commercialization agreement with Microsoft, eventually reaching millions of users, and was acquired.
“It was launched at the darkest time in my life and working on it was my solace in a world which was otherwise filled with pain,” Adam says. “Its role, both as a source of pleasure and as an escape of pain, built serious obsession and was probably why it succeeded.”
At the time, it was one of the only things going right in his life. And that built an obsession within him. He built the company into a team of over 50 people and reached more than 10,000,000 users when it was at its peak. However, he says not many people outside of his online life knew much about what he been was doing with his time.
“So initially almost everyone was skeptical of me because, to them, I looked like a friendless loser who spent way too much time on my computer. But they were finally kind of impressed when they realized I was earning a six-figure income at 15 years old, which they figured out by noticing the constant stream of payment notifications on my phone,” he says. “At that point, I cared a bit less about what they thought of me.”
Grit and Perseverance Are the Ultimate Gifts
With Adam’s growing self-confidence, and his success with Pristine Technologies, he began to let go of some of the negativity that had filled his mind. He realized that he was more in control of his life than he had realized, and slowly, his depression was dissipating. He began to make changes in his life, working to overcome the sadness and lose the extra weight.
Still, there were tensions in life that weighed on him, but he was focused upon working to overcome them. He absorbed himself into his next project: Helping his mother attract customers to her Los Angeles dog grooming store. “My mother took the brave initiative of pursuing her lifelong dream of opening up her own business,” he says. “She invested a year of her time and her life savings in creating an amazing customer experience and business model. Despite her hard work, though, it was really difficult for her to get new customers initially.”
So, she went to Adam, desperate for help. “She knew that I was achieving great marketing results on my various consumer technology projects, and she asked me to help her.”
Adam’s work in the gaming and technology worlds had spoken for itself – and her request was acknowledgement of that success. He agreed to help her attract new customers online to her grooming salon. “Within three months, she reached her three-year annual revenue rate projections and – to this day – she is booked every day at full capacity with double the team that she initially planned to have.”
Placepull works by converting the thousands of people searching for restaurants in every city into new customers for their partners. It currently has more than 200 locations across the United States and has driven an additional $657,797 in estimated revenue for its restaurant partners.
It is through the experience of helping his mother that Adam was compelled to start his latest venture, Placepull, as a way to help bring restaurants more customers. “Once I understood the impact that I could have on her life as a business owner, I realized that there were thousands more I could help and I became thrilled at the idea [of doing so],” he says.
Just as Adam helped his mother, a small business owner, he is showing his desire to assist others whom he calls heroes of their communities – the restauranteurs who put their blood, sweat and tears into their businesses. And in the process, he and his team are helping restaurants succeed by using the marketing technology that worked to attract millions of users to his past projects.
They’ve built a technology which, at the time of this writing, drives an additional $657,797 in estimated revenue to the restaurants they’ve worked with. It works by converting the thousands of people searching for restaurants in every city into new customers for their partners. Speaking of their partners, Adam’s customers currently have over 200 locations across the United States
But, Adam downplays his success and is much more at ease talking about the challenges he has yet to face in life than he is discussing the past.
All of the adversity he has faced in his life has taught him grit, humility, and perseverance. It has also taught him empathy for others, and has helped him understand people on a much deeper level.
Adam’s come a long way from the sixth-grader struggling to fit in and find himself. Yes, his life has included sadness, loneliness and hopelessness, created and compounded by his parent’s brutal divorce and the resulting depression, near-obesity, and the bullying he endured. But, what he – and they — may not have realized was that all of that pain and rejection was only creating within him grit, perseverance, and desperation to improve – empowering him to succeed in spite of the pain. The millions of users he has attracted to his businesses and the great results his marketing efforts have brought countless restaurants speak for themselves.
While choosing which restaurant to buy isn’t quite as simple as choosing what looks best to you on the menu, it doesn’t have to be terribly difficult either. In fact, if you’re already certain that you want to buy a restaurant, choosing the best one for you can be boiled down to five key factors, in order of importance:
Location is the Most Important Factor
No matter how fantastic the food and service is, if a restaurant is not ideally located, it will struggle to succeed. The number of other choices available to customers is simply too great to force them to deal with the inconvenience.
Some things to consider when judging a prospective restaurant’s location include:
Is it within convenient walking and/or driving distance of a large enough population to easily support it?
Does the local population line up with the demographic you’re targeting? (i.e. if you’re trying to open a high-end, fine dining experience, do the local customers have enough discretionary spending money to support it?)
Is there adequate parking outside and seating inside to support the kind of crowd you need to serve at any given time?
How might the neighborhood change in the foreseeable future, and how might that impact the above questions?
When evaluating a restaurant for purchase, one of the first questions to ask is, “why is the current owner selling?” If the answer indicates the location is less than optimal, that should probably be a deal breaker.
It’s important to note, too, that location is the only one of the five keys we’re discussing here that matters regardless of what you plan to do with the restaurant once you buy it. If your plan is to find an existing restaurant to purchase so you can completely mold it into your own brand new restaurant, then you can probably skip the rest of these keys as you’ll be in complete control of them, because you’ll be starting from scratch. However, even in that case, location is the one factor you can’t overcome with a more clever idea, more effective planning, or better execution.
For the rest of these keys, we’ll assume your plan is — at least to some extent — to continue with the current owner’s overall operation.
Why the Menu Matters
Second only to where it is located, the menu is the most important factor to consider when buying a restaurant. After all, the food is really the only thing your customers are interested in when they step through your door. Service, ambience, entertainment, and more can add to or take away from the customer’s overall experience, but they’re coming to you for the food and will stay away if it’s not to their liking.
The menu includes three distinct items to consider:
Ingredients and recipes
To a large extent, the kinds of foods that appear on the menu and how they’re presented are what create a restaurant’s identity. You should be able to tell the difference between a casual dining experience serving classic American fare and a gastro pub with Greek influences, just by glancing at the menu. If the restaurant’s identity isn’t that clear, or if certain items jump out at you as being out of place, that’s a problem.
Likewise, the pricing should fit in neatly with the identity a restaurant is portraying and the clientele it serves. It’s not going to be easy to sell a cheeseburger for $39.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, is the quality and taste of the food you order off that menu. So, for any restaurant that makes your short list of possible purchases, make a point of visiting several times and ordering a meal. Perhaps take some friends or family with you and grill them with questions afterward. You’ll learn more as a customer than you ever could as a prospective buyer.
Evaluating the Current Staff
Something else you can evaluate better as a customer is the skill and experience of the current restaurant staff.
Of course, you’ll be making note of how your server(s) interact with customers, and you should probably make some special requests or even test their handling of unique situations while in the guise of the customer as well. You can also make a point of visiting on several different days and times of the day to make sure you’re experiencing the work of different kitchen staff as well. Take notes to discuss with the owner — if and when you get as far as a face-to-face conversation — during the due diligence stage of your possible purchase.
As part of that pre-purchase investigation, you’ll also want to review:
The level of turnaround the restaurant has experienced. It’s normal for any restaurant to have a revolving door for servers, hosts, and dishwashers, but if they haven’t been able to keep a head chef or assistant manager on duty for more than two months, there may be something fundamentally wrong.
Who among the current staff are your “go to” people who make up the core around which the restaurant’s daily activities revolve.
The staff’s pay and how it compares to the restaurant’s local competitors, since that’s who is likely to lure your best workers away from you.
It may sound cold, but the staff is always replaceable. As a new owner of an existing restaurant, your responsibility when it comes to the current staff is to determine who best fits with the restaurant you want and need to operate, and make sure those individuals are willing and able to support that vision.
A Restaurant’s Reputation is Tough to Live Down
It may not be fair, but simply putting up an “under new management” sign is rarely enough to undo serious reputation problems caused by a previous owner. If the public connects the restaurant you’re considering buying with any kind of scandal or negative situation, there’s a possibility that nothing short of a completely new restaurant will suffice to make a success of it.
To the extent that’s possible, speak to current and former staff, as well as people who live and work nearby, to try and obtain an unvarnished account of the reputation the restaurant has in the area. Another good source of information is online reviews and social media channels. As you gather this information, it’s important to recognize that this factor isn’t necessarily fair. The current owner and staff may not deserve the reputation they have. Unfortunately, though, that doesn’t change the impact it has on your chances of success if you plan to buy the restaurant and keep using the same name, branding, decor, and menu.
Finally, Review the Financials
In most discussions about buying a business, the business financial records are considered the most important item to get your hands on during due diligence. And, the importance of the restaurant’s financial records shouldn’t be downplayed because they’re an important indicator of how well it’s been doing and the starting point you can expect if you go ahead with the purchase.
But, in the context of the other four factors we’ve considered, the business’s balance sheet and cash flow are actually the least important. If you’ve already thoroughly investigated the first four factors and found everything to be very positive, it’s highly unlikely you’ll find anything unexpected in the financial records. What’s far more likely is that something you’ve already come across will have planted some serious apprehension in your mind, and a review of the financials will confirm that the previous negative factor has hurt the restaurant’s financial wellbeing, as it should.
So, if you’re considering buying a restaurant , you now know the five keys to selecting the perfect one for you.
Online reviews are perhaps more important to restaurants than any other industry. We look at three easy ways your staff can get those reviews for you, boosting your online profile for increased restaurant sales.
It’s no secret that your restaurant’s reputation can live and die on the merits of your online reviews. In fact, according to GoDine, 62 percent of diners said that reviews were the top thing they considered when choosing a restaurant.
And it’s not just whether your reviews are good or not, it’s how many reviews you have. The search engines will rank you higher above your competition if you have more reviews. In the eyes of Google, more reviews means more people are talking about you, making you more likely to be relevant to the user’s search.
We take a look at three ways you can get your staff to get more reviews out of your customers, to boost your presence online and get more customers through your door to increase your restaurant sales.
1. Just Ask
Yes it seems absolutely obvious, but honestly, you’d be amazed at how often customers just simply aren’t asked to leave a review. Bake it in to every table turnover  just as you would asking if they would like another drink.
From restaurant marketing experts Placepull: “People love to have their opinions heard and validated. And in 2019 with everyone plugged into the internet, they have a voice that can reach literally thousands of people. Really make an effort to appeal to their ego in that you genuinely value their input. Make them feel like an expert and they will absolutely jump on their phones ASAP to give you a review”.
Don’t forget to have added touch points to remind your customers you’d love their review. That could be a few words on the napkin, or even an iPad at the register that has Yelp loaded. More reviews equal more exposure for an effective way to increase your restaurant sales.
2. Make It a Competition
“Do you want fries with that?” is that cliche up-sell that is so played out you can feel the boredom in the voice of the person asking it. If asking for a review is simply part of the sales process, you risk your wait staff overlooking it as just a formality.
Have a competition with your staff each week or month to see who can get the most mentions in Yelp reviews. A meal/drink voucher or even a paid night off can be in the offering for the winner. All they need to do is have customers review the restaurant and mention the staff member’s name. The staff member with the most mentions wins.
Trust that your wait staff are very skilled in sales and will quickly find the best pitch to get what they need out of the customer.
The added bonus, according to DCR Strategies, is that 77 percent of employees would work harder if they were better recognized. More reviews, harder working staff and improved restaurant revenue – it’s a win-win-win.
3. Encourage Complaints
No, we haven’t lost our minds here. Remember, we want more reviews, not just good reviews, to be in favor of the search engines. So why not ask your customers if there was any nit-picking they could think of? If so, tell them that’s a wonderful observation and they should share it online in a review, as that would be super helpful.
There are also other benefits of a bad review:
According to consultancy Glance, 70 percent of unhappy customers whose problems are resolved are willing to shop with a business again.
An objective perspective should always be appreciated – after all it is the customer you are trying to please.
By fixing the problem, you genuinely make your restaurant a better business.
When answering the review, say something like “Thank you, Bryan your waiter approached us about this when you left our restaurant. We’ve already done x and y to rectify the situation and we sincerely appreciate you observing this so we could make Restaurant Z a more enjoyable dining experience for everyone”.
You’ve just increased your reputation, your dining experience, and ultimately, your restaurant revenue.
It’s natural to think that you’d only want good reviews; it makes you look good and reassures you that everything is going well. But if you want more reviews (and you most definitely do), you need to embrace getting all the reviews. Pull out all the stops to get more reviews and watch your reputation amongst customers and search engines–as well as your sales– soar.