Are Your Ready To Love Your Job?

Are You Ready To Love Your Job?

69 percent of job seekers would not take a job with a company that has a bad reputation--even if unemployed

The average time spent at work is 40 hours a week, so why not find a career that you love? When you are happy and love your job, you are much more productive, more generous, and healthier! In the United States, only a little over half of the entire population say they really love their job.

You may feel like you’re doing great in your position, you reach all of your work goals, your co-workers appreciate what you do, and your boss likes how efficient you are, but do you still feel like that’s not enough?  Below are some questions to ask yourself to re-evaluate your current job…

  • Can I receive a pay increase? When asking yourself this, make sure you are being reasonable. Do your research to see what the average is. Do you believe that you are worth more than the average pay? Make sure to provide examples as to why you are worth it.
  • Is there an opportunity for growth? Higher-level positions often mean more responsibilities. If you ask this question, make sure you can handle the load!
  • Will I be able to manage a group of people and not just myself? Managing yourself is easy because you know yourself best. Managing a diverse group of people can be difficult as everyone works best in their own way.
  • Does this position give me a sense of pride? Are you able to go home and say I made a difference?
  • Do I get excited when I think of work? If you sit in your car and beg for mother nature to sweep your workplace away each morning, it’s probably not where you need to be.

If you said no to all of these on the list above, you may need to ask yourself why you are still at your job. Your next step should be to try and find a career that fulfills your interests and desires. You may want to ask yourself some questions for your new career such as:

  1. Am I in search of specific benefits?
  2. Can I succeed in what the company expects from me?
  3. Can I grow within this new company?
  4. Why was I unhappy with my last job and how can I avoid that in my next career?
  5. What do I want to get out of this career?
  6. Do I see myself at this new career in 5 or 10 years from now?

While it may seem like starting a new career will be hard, just ask yourself, would I rather be stuck where I am now or would I rather work my dream job and be happy and much more productive? When you are looking for a change in your career, look before you leap! Do your research before you quit what you already have. You do not want to be stuck in another job where you are unsatisfied just because you didn’t take your time to find the perfect position for you.

These questions and guidelines can help you focus on what is most important to you in a job and get you thinking about how your future can be. Finding a new job can be scary, but if it’s your dream job it will all be worth it.

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Sometimes Money Does Buy Love

Sometimes Money Does Buy Love

Show Me The Money

Valentine’s Day is the 2nd busiest time for restaurants, the 1st is Mother’s Day. For Valentine’s Day, about 81% of reservations are made for two people, this means it can get a little crowded! Americans are expected to spend about $20 billion on everything that is included for Valentine’s Day, this is a little over 1 billion more than the year prior.

When Valentine’s Day falls on a Saturday there are usually more walk-ins rather than reservations. Couples should book their reservations at least eleven days in advance to ensure a spot. This ensures you are able to reserve a spot at your favorite restaurant. When Valentine ’s Day doesn’t land on a weekend, couples tend to prepare early, celebrating the weekend before or after.

Good news for servers - tips tend to be higher around Valentine’s Day. This is because the person who pays the bill doesn't want to look cheap with whom they are impressing! The popular types of restaurants to dine at on Valentine’s Day are Italian (27%), French (18%), and Spanish (16%) restaurants. When picking out a restaurant for the special day, 42% of people pick their significant others favorite restaurant. The average cost of Valentine’s Day dinner nationwide is about $150.00.

Preparing For The Big Day

Preparation for Valentine’s Day could be as simple as changing tablecloths to red, lowered lights, and playing romantic music. Many restaurants get in the holiday spirit by trying to create a “heart” in the food the customer orders. Restaurants can shape almost anything into a heart such as pizzas, sushi, cakes, and fruits.  People between the ages of 25 and 44 are more likely to dine out than any other age group.  Preparing for this holiday includes planning, prepping, training new staff, and presenting your menu before anyone else. Done right, a restaurant can make about triple the revenue compared to any other night.  Creating a special one-day promotion such as Bonefish Grill’s surf and turf dinner for $29.90 per person offers an affordable option for those who are on a budget but still want to have a nice Valentine’s Day dinner.

For some restaurants, Valentine's Day is a make or break period. Preparing for a holiday that is this busy can only help restaurants on the big day. This Valentine's Day, it is expected that more couples will spend more this holiday than any other year, showing that sometimes money does buy love.

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New Job Jitters

New Job Jitters

The first day at a new job may seem scary but don’t panic! New job jitters are common and are easy to overcome. Following these steps, you should feel more prepared for the new job ahead.

Preparing

You just got the hospitality job you wanted and you want to celebrate, just don't drink too much. On your first day of work, you do not want to be too tired from the night before, your jitters may exemplify and you may not feel as confident. Make sure you get enough sleep to charge yourself up for the next day. If you really want to get a head start on your morning, lay out your clothes and place all of your belongings that you need for the next day in an area where you won’t forget about it. Dress to impress, but dress conservatively until you get a feel for what style and culture your workplace is. Plan your route for the best possible way so you can plan ahead for traffic and detours that might get in your way of getting to work on time.

Arriving On Your First Day

Always arrive 10 to 15 minutes before you start your work day. Arriving late is not a great first impression and will set you up to fail before you walk through the doors. On your way to work listen to music that will pump you up for the day. This will help your confidence while walking in. Make sure to take a breath before, to relax yourself. Before going into your new workplace, make sure you keep an open mind and prepare mentally for the plethora of information headed your way. Working at a restaurant, there will be many rules unsaid. Make sure you take the initiative to do your part.

Learning The Job

The first day will feel like everyone is throwing an immense amount of information your way. Keep a notebook and pen handy to make sure you write down all the information needed to complete a task. Just remember that it does take a few weeks to really understand the information you’ve been given. Try not to feel like you need to know everything the first week on the job, as that will overwhelm you. Another thing to remember is that everyone in the restaurant was also a newbie at one point. The same mistakes that you made, someone else most likely did the same thing. Do not be afraid to ask questions to your fellow peers.

Remaining Confident (On The Job)

While your job jitters can get the best of you, just remember that the company compared you to other candidates. Keep reminding yourself that you are the most qualified for the job. They hired you because they saw that your qualifications and your personality would fit in well with the company’s atmosphere.  Many people in the restaurant business make multiple mistakes and while you may feel defeated after your own mistakes, you just need to remind yourself that in the beginning, it’s okay to make mistakes.

Meeting Co-workers

During appropriate times, it is nice to go up to your co-workers and make small talk. Everyone needs to eat, so an idea to get to know a fellow co-worker is to ask them to eat lunch with you. Something to keep in mind if you are going to bring a lunch from home is do not bring foods that stink up your workplace or breakroom area. This can give you a bad reputation as the stinky co-worker. While you work in the hospitality industry, not everyone you will work with is hospitable.

Knowing The Unwritten Rules

One of the common unwritten rules is to never ask to leave early. While you may have come in early, your fellow co-workers only see when you leave. Your boss or co-workers may think you’re lazy for leaving early constantly. Never assume food in the break room is up for grabs. To be safe on your first day bring your own snacks to make sure you don’t take someone else’s food. Never be the person to take the last of something that is shared. The best way to learn these unwritten rules is to observe what goes on. After you have established a friendly relationship with a co-worker, you can ask for a more detailed list of the unwritten rules. Each workplace is different, so working at a restaurant before may help you , but the unwritten rules change from place to place.

Working in the hospitality industry is very stressful, but can be rewarding at many times. Your new work jitters will disappear after a few weeks and your confidence in what you are doing will skyrocket.

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100 Years Of Trends In The Hospitality Industry: Hotel Edition

100 Years Of Trends In The Hospitality Industry: Hotel Edition

Hotels have gone through many trends over 100 years. In each decade, styles change and hotels try to stay on top creating the most up-to-date looks. Styles go in and out in the blink of an eye.

Here is a look at the evolution of hotels and their amenities in the past century.

1900s

Walking into the lobby of a hotel in the early 1900’s felt rich, and what we would say today, classical. Guests were greeted by staircases with red carpet running down the middle and gold leaf touching everything in sight. The front desk had wooden details, with metal keys behind the counter with tassels hanging off of them. Since there was no electricity, people would use candlelight to light their way in the dark. Just a few years later St. Regis in New York City was the first hotel to have controlled heating and cooling in each guest room.

Guest rooms mainly had flower-detailed wallpaper and brass bed frames. Each room would have ornate ceilings lined with crown molding. In 1908, phones and built-in radios became extremely popular and were put into most hotels. By 1912 electricity was introduced for cooking purposes only and guests still needed to light their way by candlelight. The price for all of this was $2.00, which is equal to $67.24 in 2016.

1910s

Guests in the 1910’s were still very interested in the detail in hotels from the 1900’s. Fireplace rooms drew in many guests that liked to be sociable and meet new people. Many of the colors in the lobbies and rooms changed from gold to different shades of green. The outside of hotels started to change with time. Many hotels removed balconies from each room to create a smoother looking building from the outside. Stone façade became popular to create dimension to the now flat outside. While the ornate details on the ceiling and trims were still there, the walls became bare. What started to trend in the 1910’s, was black and white mosaic style hex tiles. Amenities offered included a mosquito net large enough to cover the full bed, a fireplace, and a vanity table for women to get ready.

1920s

The 1920’s was an exciting era since people were able to have more leisure time and a paid vacation from work. Having extra time to travel helped the hotel industry boom. Many hotels decided to change the way the rooms looked. Instead of extreme details and pattern on pattern, they decided on the idea that “less is more”. More hotels during the 1920’s decided to change the style to art deco and step back designs. In 1925, the first motel broke through the industry, offering a night’s stay for just $2.50 which made traveling easier to afford. Just a year later, Route 66 was complete, and motels became the go-to place for travelers to rest for a night. The economy was booming, but by the end of the roaring 20’s in 1929, the Great Depression hit.

1930s

With about 20% of the population unemployed, people were trying to get back on their feet financially. Hotels started to change the way they looked again. Detailed flower couches, black and white tiles, and ornate door trims became popular to see in many rooms. Rooms included large radios, phones with long cords that reached across the room, and in some hotels, baby cages. Baby cages were popular around this time because rooms were much smaller and there was no space for a baby. The baby cage would attach to the window and would allow the baby to have fresh air and gave the family more space to move around.

Hotels had less than 50% occupancy and most hotels went into bankruptcy. Many people did not have much money but were still paying for movies and listening to the radio. Hotel room rates jumped from $2.00 in 1920 to $5.60 for the same room just 10 years later. This was a huge risk for the hotel industry since a lot of the country was out of the job.

1940s

After many years in debt, the economy started to boom again when World War II began. A few years earlier most hotels could barely keep 50% occupancy, but now the occupancy rate was at 90%. The war had created many jobs and people were able to take paid vacations again. Many of the hotels in the 1940’s kept the same simple structure of the rooms from the 1930’s, but now with bold pops of color and wood panels. New inventions such as the vibrating beds were put into hotel rooms.

In 1946, casinos were the main focus inside of hotels. This ended up changing the entire layout of what a normal hotel looked like. Instead of the focus being the grand chandeliers and high-end items in the lobby, the first point of contact for guests was the casino. Guests would have to weave their way through the casino to check into their room at the front desk. Many eyes would wander and people would spend money before they even checked in. By this time hotel prices dropped down to $3.21 a night, which was much more affordable price than just ten years before.

1950s

In the 1950's more and more people began buying cars, resulting in more people traveling across the country for both business purposes as well as leisure. Sewing kits and booklets with names and numbers were some of the amenities added to rooms specifically for women during this time. Chocolates on pillows started in the 1950’s because Cary Grant requested a trail of chocolates from the room door to the pillow. The manager heard about this request and thought it would be a great gesture to put a chocolate on each pillow after the bed was made and the idea spread.

1960s

Hotels started to introduce mini bars in each room to increase revenue. The hotel industry started to notice that being wheelchair accessible in hotel rooms was a benefit and accessibility became the main focus. By 1966, hotels start to add in more amenities, like ice and vending machines in guest hallways, retractable drying lines in guest showers, and business lounges in the main lobby. Hotel bathrooms in the 1960’s provided guests with small shampoos, lotions, and mouthwashes. Some hotels created an outside entrance to their in-house restaurant so people not staying at the hotel could dine without having to walk through the lobby. In 1968, 24-hour room service was introduced, and was a huge hit for guests to be able to order meals over the phone and have it delivered straight to their room.

1970s

In the mid 70’s people started to understand the need to conserve energy. Hotels started to request guests to turn their lights and air conditioning off when not in use. While televisions made an appearance in the 1950’s, it wasn’t until the 1970’s, when televisions started to have color, that they became popular in hotel rooms. Many hotels started to offer HBO and other movie channels. Pulling up to a hotel, guests would see large, colorful signs with flashing lights to grab their attention with mentions of cold air conditioning and a heated pool. Carpet in the bathrooms started to become popular as well as fun shaped bathtubs. Many of the walls had wood panels instead of wallpaper because it gave an eco-friendly look to the rooms.

1980s

Hotel companies were moving forward and began offering the option to pay by credit card. Electronic key cards were first given out in 1983 and have slowly gained popularity since then. By 1986, telephones became popular and were put into each guest room. Hotels started becoming more family oriented and were able to accommodate for children that were traveling with their parents. In 1989, Camp Hyatt started which helped parents relax, and children to have supervised fun. The styles in the 80’s were very bold with a different pattern on each surface. Many of the colors were very ‘in-your-face’ and your eyes could not focus on one item at a time.

1990s

The technological boom of the 1990’s enhanced the hotel industry and gave hotels the ability to provide more for their guests. Hotels could create their personalized website on the internet so guests could reserve rooms in the comfort of their own home.

Many more people also started traveling for business purposes. Radisson hotels were the first to introduce business-class rooms in 1993 followed by many other hotel chains. By 1999, guests were wanting more with their stay, so by this time a few hotels started to introduce personal computers in each guest room. Some of the top amenities offered in the 90’s were free food, free liquor, and free breakfast. The style of the hotel rooms had very basic features. Brass was the new feature that was on many furniture pieces  in the room. Many of the colors you would see were off whites, soft pinks, and blues.

2000s

Early 2000’s, hotels had the technological equipment to provide guests traveling for business with an easier time working on the go. In order to catch the eye of potential guests, hotels were enticing people with free wi-fi in their hotel rooms. The hotel's focus was on the needs of the businessman, with the additional flexible spaces for meetings. Wi-Fi was now an essential amenity for hotels to have in order to draw in more transient guests. Large meeting spaces became more popular when Videoconferencing made a breakthrough in the industry.

2010s

Today, guests expect a lot from hotels including free wi-fi, a 24-hour business center, on-demand entertainment, bathrobes, hair dryers, and flat screen televisions. Some of the newer amenities hotels started to acquire are Tesla charging stations, mobile phone charging stations, and a rain shower head in bathrooms. Many of the hotels now are what we would consider modern with straight sleek lines. Each room normally has handpicked artwork to go with the theme of the hotel. Many hotels built in the past ten years have been built a certain way so almost every room is a “good view” room. Pet-friendly hotels are starting to become popular, and for an added fee you can bring your family pet on vacation. With so many different trends over the years, it's hard to imagine what the future of the hotel industry holds.

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Gecko Tells All - Happy New Year!

Happy New Year From Gecko Hospitality!

Top 10 New Year's Resolutions for 2017


1. Lose weight

2. Become more confident

3. Stop procrastinating

4. Learn something new every day

5. Give more effort at work

6. Stop eating out so much

7. Pay off credit card debt

8. Save more money

9. Exercise more

10. Buy less coffee

 

Top 10 Reasons people leave their jobs after the New Year

1. Not valued in the company enough

2. Didn't get the promotion/raise

3. Poor communication

4. Work/Life Imbalance

5. Too few growth opportunities

6. Bored/Unchallenging work

7. Management promotes someone less qualified

8. Location changes

9. Subpar benefits

10. Lack of recognition

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Food Trends Of 2016 and What’s To Come In 2017

Food Trends Of 2016 and What’s To Come In 2017

Food trends in 2016 are at an all time high as more adventurous eaters emerge.

With more people willing to try new foods, restaurants are trying to stay up-to-date with the hot new items. Many people are keeping up with food trends either to stay healthy or showcase what new sensational food they tried.

Top Food Trends

Coffee in a cone, booze-infused s’mores, sushi burgers, and chia seed drinks are some of the hottest food trends right now. Coffee in a cone is the most instagrammed coffee in the world. If you grab one of these on your way to work, you better drink it fast as it only lasts in the cone for ten minutes! As the colder months are rolling in people are wanting to take a classic item to the next level. This is how the booze-infused s’more was introduced. These sweet treats can be made with any basic liquor but is best with flavored vodka. Sushi burgers have been peaking interest as they combine all the best parts of sushi in a burger format. While some people may not like the chia seed drinks because of texture, they do give a source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, antioxidants, and calcium.

Clean Menus

More people are staying true to their New Year’s resolution (months late) by eating healthier. What some restaurants are doing to change their menus to become healthy are keeping the classic dishes but switching out an ingredient. One restaurant, Silver Diner, has done this by using a gluten-free pancake mix and adding in quinoa topped with coconut shavings. Instead of hash browns as the typical side to the dish, Silver Diner has made it the new standard to use strawberries and mixed fruit instead. An alternative to putting sugar in your oatmeal or hot tea is adding honey. Honey is a great alternative since it helps boost your immune system and enables you to go that extra mile while at the gym since it’s a natural energy booster.

Healthy Kid Items

One of the ways restaurants are making the switch to healthier options for kids is by using whole wheat items for pastas and sandwiches. The kids are still able to eat their favorite meal without really knowing that this version is better for them. Another item that is usually on a kids’ menu is the hotdog. While this may be a classic favorite, restaurants are changing them up by using turkey. Most kids can’t taste the difference and is a much better option. The switch from chicken fingers to grilled chicken strips is a difference of consuming 297 calories and 190 calories respectively. Many restaurants are making this a standard so parents are comfortable bringing their child to their establishment for healthier foods.

Ethnic Flavors

2016 has really put many ethnic flavors front and center. Adventurous eaters are searching for the next best flavor. Some popular spices that create these ethnic flavors include cocoa, cinnamon, nutmeg, and the spice of the year, turmeric. Turmeric has always been part of many ethnic dishes but many people are just now discovering its full potential. This spice gives off a bold flavor and has many antioxidants. Some dishes that include turmeric are butternut squash and coconut curry and chicken tikka masala. While many people use this spice in foods, many beauty stars on YouTube have started putting turmeric in facial masks to help their skin glow.

Food Items Not Making It To 2017

Carbohydrates are becoming a thing of the past which means pasta is on its way out. For many restaurants that mainly serve pasta products, gluten free pasta and veggie pasta is a great alternative. The craze for kale is over as some of the super foods taking over are cauliflower, kelp, and collard greens. Another trend, souping, has also replaced the previously popular juicing. Souping keeps all of the best parts of the vegetable or fruit in the bowl compared to juicing which removes some of the key parts of the vegetable or fruit that can be good for your body.

Every year there will be a new food trend to explore. Some items that are big trends this year will start to decline next year. While many can predict the next up and coming food trends, we won't actually know until the time comes.

 

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How To Maximize Profit During The Holiday Season

How To Maximize Profit During The Holiday Season In The Restaurant Industry

 

For many businesses, the holiday season is a make or break period. It's a big mistake to start prepping for the busiest time of the year only a month or two in advance. It is never too early to start preparing your restaurant for the holiday season.

Planning Ahead

Do some research and try to forecast what items you will need. Inventory planning is critical as you do not want to sell out early on main dishes or have too much product by the end of the holiday season. During the holiday season vendors also have a busy schedule, so it is best to expedite deliveries to make sure you receive the product on time. Constantly keeping a close eye on inventory within a couple weeks before the busiest part of the holiday season starts is key to make sure you have everything you need before the big rush.

Marketing Strategy

Online ads are probably the easiest way to market your brand as they can now target customers by location, age, and gender. This is crucial in a business because you’ll be spending money on ads directed towards people that are most likely to spend money at your establishment. Another way you can market yourself is by giving back to the local community by donating your time or resources. Your old ads that worked in the past can be recycled again by adding some holiday-themed touches. When marketing your restaurant, it is best to have a clear strategic message. Doing this will maximize the restaurant’s return on investment. While you can’t always beat your competitors with price, you can market yourself by how unique your restaurant is.

E-mail Lists

The best way to set yourself up for success is to gather e-mail addresses early on in the year. You should be sending e-mails throughout the year and not only when the business is in need closer to the holidays. Sending out e-mails is a better way to market your business if you do not want to spend a lot money on ads. By doing this, customers start to recognize your brand early on which generates loyalty and customers come to you first. Within these e-mails, when minor holidays pass by, update your e-mail campaign to have unique words to emphasize the holiday. Encourage your employees to gather e-mails at the end of each cover to gain loyalty through future e-mails.

Holiday Theme

While you don’t have to create an entirely new menu, you can feature dishes that go with that specific holiday. Matching your menus with eye pleasing window decorations will create a cohesive theme throughout the restaurant. Having employees get in the holiday spirit will heighten the experience for the customers. If your restaurant has a retail part, make sure you put key items front and center. If there are some products not selling, try to pair that item with a best seller. Remember to decorate the retail section to match with the rest of the restaurant.

Employees

In season, there is always a need for extra help. Higher traffic of customers requires more staff, so a few months before the big holiday season hire new employees. This is so you will be able to train them when it's not as busy. A lot of the time restaurants change their menus according to each holiday so it is essential for employees to be re-trained on what is expected of them. Make sure you can provide structure for your employees so the season doesn’t overwhelm them or you. Something to try out is incentives for employees with the best feedback from customers.

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Gecko Tells All - Christmas Movies

Gecko Tells All - Top Christmas Movies

  1. A Christmas Story
  2. Elf
  3. The Nightmare before Christmas
  4. The Santa Clause
  5. The Polar Express
  6. Home Alone
  7. Jungle All the Way
  8. The Grinch
  9. A Christmas Carol
  10. It's a wonderful life

Catching up with Christmas Plans and Christmas Wishes (Presents)

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Food Attitudes Are Changing The Face of The Casual Dining Industry

Food Attitudes Are Changing The Face Of The Casual Dining Industry

In an innovative and very competitive restaurant industry, the introduction of new concepts in food to please diners is an ongoing process. Five years ago, the fast-food industry was quite different than what it is today, but is now undergoing a metamorphosis. The Five Guys franchise was at that time mainly a regional operator and the “better burger” had yet to launch. Chipotle had begun to make news with its commitment to sustainable food, plus eco-friendly packaging was starting to make waves and coffee was grabbing more of the limelight.

However, that scenario is no longer relevant. Five Guys, with its focus on producing food with quality ingredients and attention to detail, has become a prominent national and international fast-food business and introduced the “better burger” category. Chipotle has become a major supporter of locally grown food, inspiring others to overhaul their menus. The promotion of greener packaging and special varieties of coffee are now a given at many companies. Likewise, today’s up and coming restaurants could be the big names of tomorrow, their growth stimulated by a new set of patrons. With today’s customer looking for a different dining experience, the following food items are predicted to profit the most during the next five years.

The Creation of the Eco-Burger or “Better Burger” This is an attempt to produce healthier options for those trying to adopt a more nutritious eating regimen. In a recent article in The New York Times, it was reported that Americans are the biggest meat eaters on the planet. However, according to the Vice President of market intelligence for a Chicago-based marketing agency, that situation is starting to change. She added that the “Meatless Mondays” movement plus a commitment to eating less meat will permanently change the face of the quick-service burger industry, within five years.

Although the sale of meat is on the decline, no one is under the impression that burgers will disappear off the menu, but instead said that they will evolve. Although the idea of a “better burger” is already well talked about in the fast-food system, the prospect of a “cleaner burger” is very likely. Epic Burger, a chain based in Chicago, uniquely promotes their claim of purity on their website as, “Our menu is all about what is NOT on it”, and explains what is missing such as, “hormones, antibiotics, trans fats, food coloring, preservatives, and yellow mustard”. Even chains like Shake Shack and Burgerville make eco-friendly products an essential part of their brand identity.

Asian Food Concepts Despite China and India being the most highly populated countries in the world, the introduction of Asian food into the casual dining industry in America has been limited. But change is on its way. According to the Director of Foodservice Research for Mintel Menu Insights, the time is ripe for an Asian concept with a mid-market price range and semi-upmarket ambience. He compares it to a similar situation when Chipotle was beginning to become well known a few years ago. At the time, there was a very high-end and low-end for Mexican casual, but Chipotle sort of changed all that by offering something in-between. A situation that Asian food finds itself in now. Again, it is possible that the founder of Chipotle will get their foot in the door first.

As the taste of Asian food becomes more popular, other chains are aiming to be part of the same scenario. Within the next few years, Chutney Joe’s, which serves Indian fast food and has two outlets in Chicago, has plans to expand to other markets via the franchise route. Other businesses that also intend to develop the Asian segment of their varied menu include Noodles & Company, a fast-casual based in Colorado. Customers are definitely trending eastwards and introducing their taste buds to Asian food.

Fresher Ingredients Fresh has been a buzz word for some time, emphasizing the health benefits of including a variety of fruit and vegetables in a balanced diet. Starbucks has always been proactive when it comes to staying ahead of its competitors. Their latest offering, the Evolution Fresh juice bar, is a taste of what we’ll be seeing in 2017. It is a sign that there are more concepts in the pipeline, delivering a key message that it is a “juice and food experience”. The brand was acquired by Starbucks in 2011 and its first store was launched in March. The price for a 16-ounce juice is a hefty $7.99, with the experience being branded as “super-premium”.

Customers are willing to pay more, knowing that what they are doing is for their own good. Although there are other brands on the rise, Jamba Juice remains a leader in the juice race. Beautiful Brands International recently added Roxberry Juice - which has eight stores in two states - to its portfolio. Daily Kitchen & Wellness Bar, which is newly established, also offers fresh juice blends. An important factor that contributes to the new juice frenzy will be offerings on-the-go. Similar to those provided by Evolution Fresh, ready-to-go drinks and food will continue to build in popularity. Because of time constraints, many people make use of the smaller convenience stores for their purchases. Many of these products are doing extremely well in retail stores, which shows there is an opportunity in the market for developing smaller, even faster portions for people who don’t want to sacrifice eating healthy just because they are in a hurry.

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Gecko Tells All - Thanksgiving Leftovers

Gecko Tells All - Thanksgiving Leftovers

We have the top 5 things we like to do with our leftover Turkey

Starting with number ….

  1. Turkey Lasagna
  2. Turkey Casserole
  3. Turkey Pot Pie
  4. Turkey Soup/Chili
  5. Turkey Sandwich

Thank you to all that donated and participated in our 2nd Anual Turkeys for Tots!!

We were able to raise $1,600 that Gecko Hospitality matched to make $3,200!! That gave us enough money to buy over 275 turkeys that we delivered all throughout Southwest FL!

 

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Ways Of Effectivetly Managing Time In A Busy Restaurant

Ways Of Effectively Managing Time In A Busy Restaurant.

Running a busy restaurant can be very hectic at times. For the wheels to continually run smoothly, an establishment relies heavily on the effective management of time. Restaurant managers have many responsibilities that include looking after the needs of both customers and staff, checking inventories, ensuring that service and food quality is up to standard, as well as carrying out front of house and back of house duties. The list of tasks to be carried out is endless and can be overwhelming. The reputation of the restaurant could be at stake as the pressures and extreme fatigue could take their toll and negatively impact productivity and customer service.

This is where time management becomes an essential tool in ensuring that the stress level of a restaurant manager is kept to a minimum. This can be done through the following strategies.

Establish what the priorities are for a specific workday.  Of course, circumstances in the everyday running of a restaurant are never static and can change in a second. However, if restaurant managers have a master plan or check list in place at the start of their working day, highlighting the most important activities that require their attention, they will have something to refer back to, keeping the business running smoothing.

Keep meetings to a minimum. Yes, some meetings are important when it comes to keeping staff informed and the lines of communication open with regard to the smooth running of the restaurant. But, too many meetings are time-consuming and time is something a busy manager does not have too much of. Only call a meeting when absolutely necessary and keep them to a minimum.

Without delay, attend to employees who are not pulling their weight. Employees, who are not performing well in their jobs, need to be dealt with as quickly as possible. They can absorb a great deal of a restaurant manager’s time and also have a detrimental effect on the restaurant business as a whole. It is important to have strict employee-performance procedures in place to manage these issues and to always be consistent.  

Delegate Restaurant managers are often guilty of overloading themselves with tasks and responsibilities that are more than they can cope with. By delegating, staff members have the opportunity of showing how they can take over certain responsibilities that are impacting on the key duties of the manager.  The restaurant manager needs to trust and have confidence in the team, knowing they can always be relied upon when needed.  

Keep unexpected sales calls to a minimum. Sales calls from suppliers and vendors that have not been prearranged also waste valuable time. Although selecting and assessing specific suppliers is an important factor when running a restaurant, it is sometimes better to refuse calls that are unexpected or arrange a time to call back when convenient. A staff member can also be assigned to field calls and identify those which would be relevant.

Allow for some breathing space. In a busy restaurant it can be difficult finding the time to take a break. Once again, fitting in some time away from the restaurant helps to recharge your batteries and make you feel more productive.

Learn from your mistakes. If particular methodologies are not working or yielding the desired results for your business, stop repeating them. Learn from them and then make some changes.

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Gecko Tells All - Turkeys for Tots Recap

Turkeys For Tots!

https://www.gofundme.com/turkeysfortots2

Don’t forget to check us out on Facebook and find out more about our awesome fundraiser.

Top 5 must haves for your Thanksgiving dinner are this year:

10. Turkey

9. Corn Bread

8. Green Bean Casserole

7. Mac and Cheese

6.  Mashed Potatoes

5. Ham

4. Sweet potatoes with Marshmallows

3. Gray

2. Stuffing

1. Pie

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Reinvent Your Restaurant with Simple Marketing Techniques


Owning or managing a restaurant involves many responsibilities that can have an impact on whether customers become regular visitors or give the establishment a miss. Managing employees, ensuring the food is up to standard, handling supplies and looking after the administration of the business, are activities that need to be streamlined so that they do not impact a customer’s experience. This leaves very little time for developing an effective marketing strategy, but there are simple techniques that can be initiated that will save time and are cost-effective. 

Look after loyal customers. The cost implications of attracting a new customer to a restaurant are 5-7 times higher than selling to an existing one. In most cases, loyal customers will spend 10 times more over their lifetime. Offering customers an incentive to earn rewards when visiting your business helps to retain the most profitable visitors. It allows resources that may have been wasted on acquiring customers, to be diverted and allocated to more worthy activities.

Own an up-to-date website. In our digital world it has become essential to have a responsive website that is compatible with mobile devices. Nearly 50 percent of restaurant website traffic occurs on these gadgets, therefore businesses that offer this up-to-date and user-friendly facility, can realize as much as a 64 percent conversion rate. With the help of top quality DIY websites like Squarespace and Wix, restaurant owners can create their own mobile-friendly sites. Keep website content short and concise, describing yourself, your restaurant, and menu types under clearly defined headings. A simple, well-designed, functional website that is user-friendly can help to boost the customer base of a new restaurant business.

Boost your number of customer reviews. The reputation of a restaurant can mean either success or failure. It’s not so much the number of reviews that actually matter but whether they are positive or not. The complimentary opinions of customers are particularly significant for a business in a competitive environment. Likes and dislikes about food, ambience, or customer service can be expressed via sites such as Yelp, Urbanspoon and Zagat. In a survey carried out by Dimensional Research, it was found that people who had a poor experience were more likely to share it on social media like Yelp, than those who had a more positive outcome. To keep in touch with the reputation of your business, it is recommended that all reviews receive a public response.

The use of social media. Customers have several choices with regard to social media outlets, but it is better to concentrate on the ones that are more important. As soon as a Twitter handle and Facebook page has been created for your restaurant, focus on the job of collecting more “Likes” and “Tweets”, by urging customers to talk online about their visits. To assist with the management of your social media presence, several social media management tools are available, that include Sprout Social, Buffer, and Hootsuite Media.

Learn more about your customers. Despite living in the 21st century, there are still some restaurant customers who casually hand over their business cards or give email addresses with their contact information written on paper. There are even some restaurants that do not collect any information about their customers. In a highly competitive digital world of online activity, there is no alternative when it comes to gathering facts and statistics about your customers. To move away from the conventional way of collecting data, offering a digital loyalty program can help to attract more online customers. The results of the accumulated data on customers then enable you to make decisions that will be of benefit to the business.

Use mobile devices for restaurant promotions. In a world of mobile devices most of us would be lost without our smartphone or tablet. This is an ideal opportunity for a restaurant to use the facility as a medium for engaging with customers and increasing conversion rates. By partnering with loyalty apps or offering their own app, restaurants are seeing an increase in activity and greater loyalty. Take for example Tropical Smoothie, by offering a special promotion, they were able to halve the gap between their customer visits. This was achieved by using their loyalty program and emailing customers to pay a visit for the chance of winning a free smoothie. An additional perk for customers is being able to book reservations online. A restaurant that does not have this should consider signing up for online reservations like Open Table. A restaurant with its own user-friendly website can have online booking tools included in the site, giving both new and existing customers a quick and easy method to make or change reservations.

Endorse the local fresh produce market. A restaurant that does not offer locally produced food could be losing out to other food establishments that do provide farm-to-table produce. As far as the food is concerned, providing locally sourced products indicates to customers that you are offering fresh, high quality ingredients which would normally command higher prices. From a sales point of view, offering fresh local produce creates the perception that your food is of a much higher quality. Also, by supporting small local farmers, you can help to cultivate goodwill within the local community at the same time.

Provide food options with allergy-free ingredients. To further increase your customer base, alongside your normal menu, offer a special selection of food items to cater for diners who are sensitive to certain ingredients, Sourcing allergen-friendly options would enable a family who have one member with an allergy, to visit your restaurant and enjoy a meal together. These alternatives can be made in-house or obtained from accredited allergen or gluten-free suppliers.

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Gecko Tells All - Halloween and Turkeys!

Turkeys For Tots!

https://www.gofundme.com/turkeysfortots2

For everyone who does not know what turkeys for tots is, we are raising money to purchase turkeys for families and charities in Southwest Florida so they can enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner. We have started a Gofundme page to collect any donations in any amount to help this great cause. Last year we raised over 600$ and for every dollar we raised Gecko Hospitality matched it, bringing our grand total to 1200$!

This year, we hope to exceed that amount and we will be matching all donations again. We want to spread the love to different charities that were able to give the turkeys out to families and children who are unable to buy their own.

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Gecko Tells All - “Falling” In Love With Halloween Candy

Gecko Tells All

Top 5 Halloween Candies for 2016

  1. Twix
  2. Reese's
  3. Skittles
  4. Kit Kats
  5. M&M's
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Gecko Tells All - The Attempted Pizza Murder

Gecko Tells All - Horror Stories

  1. The Blue Blob
  2. The Attempted Pizza Murder


Top 5 Pizza Companies in America


  1. Pizza Hut
  2. Domino's Pizza
  3. Little Caesar's
  4. Papa John's
  5. Papa Murphy's International

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New Techniques That Can Attract High Caliber Candidates

New Techniques That Can Attract High-Caliber Candidates.

Methods of recruiting are changing with many hirers using more modern ways of drawing the very best talent to fill positions. The business of wading through piles of resumes and cover letters is being swapped for more interaction with candidates on a personal or digital basis. Recruiters are adopting new approaches when it comes to the selection process.

Listing a job as being open-ended, without a title or specifications, is a trend that may or may not catch on. It does however remind recruiters how important it is to hire people, not skills. A candidate who is enthusiastic about a company and its mission is frequently regarded as being more valuable than their level of experience in a particular field. When filling open positions, recruiters should look further than the education specifications. Skills can be taught but a person’s temperament is more difficult to change.

These days, with the advantages of modern technology, it is no longer necessary to physically conduct face-to-face interviews when several candidates are competing for the same job. Once they have been whittled down to a shortlist, the remaining contenders can be interviewed by using video technology such as Skype, Google Hangouts or video software that is specifically designed for recruitment. Unsuitable candidates can then be sifted out and one-on-one interviews arranged for the remaining top qualifiers to attend in person.

Another method recruiters can use in their search for top talent is to attend career and networking events. Although being present in person at these venues can be beneficial, they are time-consuming and expensive. It is for this reason that recruiters are once again turning to technology and going online for networking activities. It gives access to a wide range of candidates, without wasting time getting to a location and talking to individuals who are not a proper match.

Social media and recruitment appear to be the ideal partnership. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are excellent locations to find potential employees, develop relationships with recruits and share job postings. Employees can also be encouraged to recruit people from their own networks. Sourcing candidates via social media is one of the easiest and more effective ways of improving recruitment procedures. Studies show that they are more likely to be offered employment and will stay longer in a role than those discovered by other means.

Another tool that is simplifying the work of a recruiter is the availability of specific computer programs. Instead of having to go through masses of correspondence to search for suitable candidates, special software is being used that can analyze and filter thousands of applications and resumes according to qualifications and skills. The results mean that only the best candidates are put forward and the bespoke technology enables the final selection process to be as painless as possible for the recruiter.

Some companies are being more adventurous by developing completely new ways of managing recruitment in order to find out what method works best for them and in so doing are creating their own unique hiring procedures. Technology has revolutionized the recruitment environment over the past decade and its progress is never ending. Despite all these advances, it does not detract from the fact that recruiters still have their special skills, which include the ability to see beyond the jargon, tweets and interview questions and identify that special individual who is the right match and cultural fit for a company.

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How to Manage The New Overtime Regulations

Changes to the overtime rules, recently released by the Department of Labor, reveal that the salary threshold to qualify has been raised from $23,600 to $47,476 a year, more than twice the previous figure. When taking into consideration the overhaul of overtime and the countrywide rise in minimum wages, it is anticipated that the restaurant industry will be facing considerable labor costs. As expected, the National Restaurant Association is against the new rules and will be challenging the situation. The NRA stated that even though there was extensive opposition to the final regulations, the DOL went ahead anyway. Employer and non-profit groups have been joined by lawmakers in their disapproval of the DOL for failing to accurately assess the impact of the rules and anticipate immediate legislative efforts to defund, block or nullify the rules, plus possible litigation against the DOL over its process for issuing the final rules and some of its mandates.  

Should the amendment to the overtime rules remain, there are action plans that can be implemented to make it easier to cope.

Being short-staffed will become more costly. When an employee phones in sick or just does not show up for work, a business immediately becomes short-staffed. A more experienced employee or even a manager will sometimes become involved and assume the duties of the missing person. With the hike in the overtime limit, it means that more of the senior staff will qualify for overtime, causing these understaffed episodes to become even more expensive. Making use of technology that can help keep availability data up to date and encouraging workers to cooperate when it comes to filling gaps in shifts at the last minute can help employers to lower incidents of understaffing.

More effective scheduling will become essential. Some employers are still using old methods such as pen and paper or spreadsheets to create employee schedules. This is according to a recent WorkJam survey of more than 500 service industry managers, where 67 percent of employers fall into this category. These dated techniques are time-consuming for managers trying to accommodate both the needs of a business and the requirements of their employees. According to sixty-eight percent of employers, the trickiest part of the scheduling process is coordinating shifts with staff availability and business needs. The recent change in overtime rules means that management time has become even more valuable. It is therefore important, that in order to lighten the administrative load of managers, employers should consider adopting automated scheduling techniques.  

Allowing employees to independently manage their schedules. It is inevitable that employees will want to make changes to their schedules and make frequent contact with each other. However, without the necessary tools that will allow them to communicate and collaborate with each other, it is left to the managers, whatever the time of day, to try and sort out the various requests via emails, phone calls, text messages or by other means. This adds to a manager’s workload and emphasizes the need to streamline methods of communication. To reduce the amount of time that managers spend on organizing shift swaps and cancellations, it makes sense to consider adopting self-service tools for employees.

Cutting staff turnover should be top of the ‘to do’ list. For businesses in the service industry, having to constantly replace staff becomes a very expensive exercise, as newly hired employees take a while to get up to speed. Recruiting, hiring and then training each new employee occupies a great deal of a manager’s precious time and is now even more costly. Figures show that 47.5 percent of hospitality workers left their jobs last year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. By providing a pleasant work environment that encourages, motivates and rewards loyalty, employers can help lower this figure and enable managers to have more control over their schedules.

Content workers enhance a business.  Although many employers will find the changes in the overtime rules to be a harsh adjustment, a happier workplace can be created by setting up an employee engagement program. By implementing better employee self-service facilities, the administrative workloads of managers can be reduced. Under the new overtime rules, investing in employee engagement will not only help to keep costs low, but also allow an employer to see a return on their investment  in the form of increased sales and better customer service.

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Qualities That Make A Restaurant Manager Successful

Numerous restaurant managers based within the U.S. are faced with the difficult situation of having to work in order to keep their heads above water. In order to balance the books or even show a profit, all managers need to possess a specific set of skills and various traits to drive their success.

Managing Stress and Multi-tasking.  Running a restaurant requires a manager to be adept at executing several restaurant-related chores which can lead to a great deal of endless stress. Checking the inventory, managing cash flow and coping with any employee conflicts can all impede a smooth-running business if not handled efficiently. Restaurant Managers work long hours, as much as 12 to 15 hours a day and need to be able to manage stress effectively. Managing staff, keeping customers satisfied and answering phones are just a few examples of a restaurant manager’s duties. This means that being able to multi-task is extremely important when it comes to remaining organized.  

Enthusiasm.  Passion and enthusiasm are ingredients that are necessary in order for a restaurant to thrive. Restaurant managers must be determined to succeed.   Without these emotions, the business could be doomed to failure. 

Maintaining Employee Documentation.  It is a requirement of the U.S. Department of Labor that all employee records are kept up to date. This also means being aware of the labor laws as far as the minimum wage and overtime pay is concerned and keeping track of hours worked and pay received for every employee. It is also necessary to monitor staff availability and any absences.

Being Creative.  Introducing new ideas helps prevent a restaurant settling into a rut of serving the same menus day in and day out. Being imaginative and creative encourages staff motivation and helps to attract new customers in a very competitive restaurant industry.  

Customer Relations and Responsibility.  All managers must be responsible for serving food that is both safe and hygienic, as stated by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. Another important aspect of restaurant management is to build and nurture good customer relations. Customers who are made to feel welcome will return and are more likely to become regular diners at the establishment.   

Product Knowledge.  It is vital that a manager has a thorough knowledge of all the products being provided in the restaurant. Mingling with the chefs in the kitchen and tasting the food is necessary in order to be aware of what the customers are consuming and ensuring that standards are being maintained.   

Return on Investment. When running a restaurant, making a profit becomes a priority. The initial investment of establishing a restaurant can be very high, therefore good managerial skills are required to recoup some of that expense. If the kitchen needs a revamp, consider carefully if it is worth it as the cost involved could negatively affect projected profit margins, leading to greater loss. It is better to defer the project until a later date and concentrate on taking small steps at a time to reach specific goals.   

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Coping With Higher Wages

Coping With Higher Wage Rates.

The fact that the minimum wage rates are on the rise is a situation that cannot be ignored. The implementation of recent legislation means that within the next few years, the minimum wage in California and New York will be $15 per hour, with other cities and states most likely following close behind. This means that those who run businesses in the restaurant industry will have to manage these higher labor costs with a certain amount of dexterity, to prevent them having an overall negative impact. Feedback from the industry indicates that many operators will have to raise menu prices, or even cut jobs.

However, there are other methods to cover the cost of higher wages, without having to reduce staff or inflate menu prices. Even though independent restaurants are faced with the same demands as chains, the larger operators can spread their extra costs across the system, a facility that many independents are unable to employ. Compared to chains, independent operators have the advantage of being more flexible, as they have the freedom to be more creative when compiling a more efficient menu.   

To accommodate rising labor costs, the first step would be to give the menu an overhaul. This would include adjusting the ingredients, recipes and presentations. It may be possible to reduce expenses in a way that is unnoticeable to customers. Simplifying the menu without compromising on quality can also assist with the reduction of costs and perhaps be easier to produce.

Do your calculations and check to see if the operational activity of the restaurant can be improved or made more efficient. The way some dishes are prepared could be having an impact on profitability, while other items, although lucrative, can slow down the service and other kitchen activities because of the amount of space required for preparation and cooking. Any obstacles having a negative impact on the running of a restaurant need to be identified and eliminated.

If menu prices need to be tweaked, do it gradually over a period of time instead of all in one hit. Cost of living expenses are on the increase, therefore altering prices in smaller increments is less painful on the pocket. For quick-service operators, covering an increase in labor costs requires a 1 to 2 percent increase in menu prices for every dollar rise in the minimum wage. Customers are unlikely to ignore these sudden leaps in prices, which can affect the frequency of their visits. If a competitor is applying mark-ups of 2 percent, those working on 5 percent are bound to lose out.

In both chains and independent restaurants, there is a limit as to how much people will pay for a product. For example, the ceiling price for a burger is around $10. Depending on the ingredients, customers usually have a benchmark price to gauge what an item should cost. If for instance, pasta and chicken in a cream sauce is being offered, they will have some idea of what they should be paying for it. But by being more creative with items on the menu and using ingredients that are not as well known, diners are unlikely to have a frame of reference for price and will probably not even flinch at any price rises.

To help with running costs, a restaurant should consider changing its operating hours. This is where independent operators have the advantage of flexibility. If a restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, it may not be necessary for it to remain open for business between 3 and 5 in the afternoon. Compared to chains, independents also need to learn how to recognize and hold onto their loyal customers, reaching out to them via social media or point-of-sale data. They need to provide incentives to entice them back for return visits. This can be done by offering discounts on meals, in the hope that guests will go back and frequent a restaurant during its quiet periods. It is also advisable not to cut staff as this can have an influence on the overall restaurant experience. Coping with a minimum number of employees will have an impact on the level of service delivered. If it is not up to standards, the general image of the restaurant can be damaged.  

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