Friday, September 28, 2012

Five Basic Steps To Developing Teamwork

  1. Spend Time with your employees and lead by example.
  2. Listen to your employees
  3. Keep employees informed
  4. Include employees in solving problems and making decisions
  5. Create an atmosphere of support and cooperation

These five basic steps will engage your employees in your day-to-day operations and will substantially improve your profits.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

15 Keys To Operational Success

The manager is the single most important position in your restaurant. Managers influence the attitude and behavior of all restaurant employees. In order to ensure a successful operation, it is imperative to select a manager that possesses 15 Key attributes.

Key #1 Be a role model: What you do speaks louder than what you say. The manager must demonstrate to the staff the components of excellent service.

Key # 2 Hire Competent Staff: The manager must possess "people sense" and make the right hiring decisions. According to Elton Statler, the three most important factors to a successful restaurant are "location, location, location". Using this approach, the three most important factors in successful service are "Selection, Selection, Selection". In addition to role modeling, managers must identify individuals that possess people skills and hire them. No matter how much modeling or training is provided, a service person that does not enjoy people, and cannot demonstrate enthusiasm for them, will be unable to give hospitable service.

Key # 3 Respect Employees: Managers must be fair in all their actions and, most of all, demonstrate a deep-seated respect for their team. It has been said, "All employees come with a brain at no extra charge, so why not use it."

Key # 4 Communicate with StaffManagers must know that employees must understand exactly what is expected of them and have the linguistic ability to affect the right behaviors.

 Key # 5 Train Employees: Managers must be able to train employees so they are unconsciously efficient in the necessary functional tasks. Outstanding service personnel have their tasks so "sanitized" that they can focus more on the individual needs of their guests. Managers explain, demonstrate, let employees try (and make mistakes), redirect their behavior, and "habit" employees' skills so that they may perform their duties in such a way to exceed guests' expectations. 

Key # 6 Coach from the Dining Room Floor:  Successful managers spend time in the dining area where they can provide moment-to-moment feedback on employee service. They set a standard decorum for the rest of the staff, greet guests, and remember and use their names when they enter the restaurant. The manager's job is to assist the service crews in creating a bond of loyalty with the guests. Coaching means that managers provide positive reinforcement. They tell people when they have done "it" (good service) right.

Key # 7 Give Constructive Criticism: Managers know that employees cannot remain enthusiastic about a task unless they are challenged by it. In order to assist their crew in becoming better workers, managers must make the staff aware of their mistakes and help them change. Do it in a positive manner!

Key # 8 Get the Most out of Your Service Staff. Managers recognize employees as individuals and credit those who excel at providing memorable service.  

Key # 9 Facilitate Service by Supervising and Adapting Systems and Procedures so the Staff has no Obstacles to Providing Good Service: Competent managers are aware that well-designed systems are vital to achieve the company's service philosophy. However, no system is perfect and even the best of systems must adapt with change. Managers need to recognize that their systems should be, "Designed for the convenience of the guest rather than the convenience of the organization." 

Key # 10 Maintain Clarity of Purpose:  Managers must remind employees in words AND actions that guests are the operations first concern and that systems and procedures are not the end-all; they are the methods used to achieve/exceed guest satisfaction. 

Key # 11 Schedule for sufficient coverage: Managers must not focus on keeping labor costs down. Rather they must focus on keeping service standards high, which translates into higher profits.

Key # 12 Pay Attention to Details: A manager must recognize that it’s the smallest details that make a restaurant great. 

Key # 13 Recognize and Develop a Relationship with Your Regulars: A savvy manager knows the value of recognizing and welcoming “The Regulars.” The guests appreciate the fact that they are recognized for their patronage.

Key # 14 Established FLEXIBLE Complaint Procedures: Errors occur. It’s the nature of the business. But how a manager handles a guest complaint can be an effective marketing tool. Guest’s complaints are opportunities to show how much you care about guest satisfaction. A manager must enforce and establish procedures that empower staff members to correct errors immediately.

Key # 15 Observe and Evaluate the Operation: An effective manager knows the importance of continually evaluating the operation. Managers must remain flexible in order to accommodate change when it’s called for.

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Why You Need A Weekly Budget

1. Provides hours worked guidelines for staffing.

2. Provides Short-term and long-term guidelines for purchasing.

3. Provides a quick method of evaluating management.

4. Assists in detecting possible employee theft.

5. Establishes a basis for implementing discounted sales programs.

6. Provides quick financial results for evaluating any new discounted sales programs.

7. Monthly and/or annual budgets are difficult to quantify into useful information for managers.

8. A One-week period is a natural accounting in a restaurant.

9. Because of the high volatility if restaurant sales and costs, you need to have budget information weekly to accurately monitor results.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Best Advice I Can Give

The best advice I can give any restaurant operator/owner (after they have chosen to be a restaurant/operator) is to calculate your Ideal Food Cost.

I am amazed at how many restaurant operators/owners have no idea what their Ideal Food Cost is. If failing to do the basics in a restaurant was a sin, this one be mortal.

Ideal Food Cost, also known as Theoretical Food Cost, is the cost expected for a given sales mix over a period of time, assuming proper portioning, zero waste, and proper yields.

In order to determine Ideal Food Cost you must know the the portion cost for each ingredient of each menu item. As food costs fluctuate, so will your Ideal Food Costs.

Make a concentrated effort to analyze your Ideal Food Cost. It is one of the most important tools you have to Improve You profitability.

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Some Rules of Thumb

The development of any restaurant requires a careful look at the financial projections. With that in mind, here are a few Rules of Thumb:

Sales to Investment
(Annual Sales/Start-Up Costs)
Lease Hold Improvement - at least 1.5 to 1
Own Land & Building - at least 1 to 10

Food Coat
Generally - 27% - 32%
However, some very successful restaurants have food costs as high as 40%

Prime Cost
Full Service - 65% of total sales
Limited Service - 60% of total sales

Occupancy & Rent
Rent - 6% or less of total sales
Occupancy - 10% or less of total sales.

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Friday, September 7, 2012

Focus on the Guest Experience.

Successful operations focus all of their energy on the guest experience. Anytime the attention focuses away from the guest, the chance for a return visit is diminished.

Some servers place their focus on the amount of money people are spending in order to maximize tips. The danger of this is obvious. It interferes with the server establishing good rapport with the guest.

Focus on the guest experience......and everything else will magically fall into place.

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Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Importance Of Knowing Your Trade Area

"The belief that populations change slowly in times past is pure myth. Or rather, static populations staying in one place for a long periods of time have been the exception to the rule. In the twentieth century it is sheer folly to disregard demographics. That basic assumption must be that populations are inherently unstable and subject to sudden sharp changes—and that they are the first environmental factor that a decision maker, whether a businessman or politician, analyzes and thinks through."—Peter F. Drucker

The above quote from the late Peter Drucker re-enforces the need for analyzing you local trading area. Do you know what demographic changes are occurring, or have occurred in the area in which you conduct business?

When you are developing a marketing plan, focus on what changes may occur. When changes do occur (and they will), it may signal the need for a new direction in your marketing efforts. It may also indicate the need to develop a new product / service mix.

Use demographics as an additional tool. It can help you to improve sales and your profitability