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.


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!



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.


Gecko Tells All - Turkeys for Tots Recap

Turkeys For Tots!

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


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.


Gecko Tells All - Halloween and Turkeys!

Turkeys For Tots!

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.


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

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


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.


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.


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.   


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.  


Helping To Transform Underdeveloped Bar Manager Into Competent Restaurant Professionals

Helping To Transform Underdeveloped Bar Managers Into Competent Restaurant Professionals.

Starting a new job often means launching into a career with none or very little experience. However, we all need to start somewhere and should try to ensure that we set off on the right foot from the very beginning. A new bar Restaurant Manager learning the ropes can benefit from some tips to steer them in the right direction, so that they can become successful in a busy bar environment.

Depending on an individual’s personality, stress and various emotions associated with anew job, can interfere with how a bar manager handles their responsibilities. The atmosphere in the bar area is usually cheerful and light-hearted and as much as you would like to be part of it, always remain level-headed and professional while carrying out your duties. When making decisions remember that the financial stability of the establishment always comes first. Also, have a friendly working relationship with staff without becoming close friends,because it can become difficult should circumstances force you to tell someone to leave.

Be aware of the competition and be proactive by remaining a step ahead with innovative marketing strategies. Keep in tune with an economy that fluctuates by adjusting prices and items on the menu, so that your targeted customers return on a regular basis. This helps you to rise above the competition that exists in the bar sector. If this is not done, the results could be detrimental for the business.

It’s all very well to have a business plan in place with all the numbers worked out,but if you do not have staff that are up to date, the whole venture could flop.They should be trained to be professional at all times, know how to mix and serve all items and maintain the general standards of the industry. This contributes to a pleasant experience for customers and limits any damage control that might be necessary   further down the line. It also emphasizes the need to properly assess and ensure that the people employed are exactly right for the job. The restaurant and bar industry has to adhere to strict laws and regulations.

By using the above advice, new bar managers can quickly boost their opportunities of becoming competent professionals.


Managing A Chain Restaurant: Some Tips To Aid Its Success

Managing A Chain Restaurant: Some Tips To Aid Its Success

Most of us are familiar with restaurant chains, such as T.G.I. Friday’s, Cracker Barrel, Olive Garden and Applebee’s that are found everywhere across America. Some of us dream of owning our own thriving chain restaurant and although it can be possible, it is by no means an easy venture to become involved in. Therefore it is worth taking note of some useful advice to ensure that it is a success.

Consistency is essential. A restaurant chain needs to maintain its identity by adhering to the same menu wherever they are situated across the States. Customers get to know they can expect the same level of service, food quality and ambience, regardless of where the restaurant is located. For a chain restaurant to prosper, it is this consistency that encourages diners to keep on returning.

Connect with the neighborhood. Having a chain of restaurants doesn’t exclude you from being part of the community. Add a local touch by decorating a restaurant with pictures, objects or ornaments that have meaning to the area, making sure that   each location of your chain represents its neighborhood. Perhaps you can be involved with sponsorships or donate to local school fundraisers. A restaurant located near the coast could display pictures of the sea or shore to identify with the specific area.   

Be flexible. Although it is important to be consistent, it is also necessary to be flexible and give customers what they prefer. For example, burger chain Smashburger, caters for customers who like their burgers done a certain way and will provide them accordingly. They also offer unique toppings that add a special touch, based on where they are situated. Many restaurant chains, such as Chipotle, offer meals that their customers can easily customize. Chain restaurants are regarded as being more accommodating than those that are independently owned. They are known for being child-friendly and can usually manage large numbers with ease. Catering to the needs of your customers by going the extra mile will encourage them to return to your chain.

Maintain a standard of excellence. The pressure of having to manage a chain in several locations is no excuse for not keeping up an a level of excellence. If you are to be successful it is vital that quality standards are kept up to scratch at each venue. One chain, Quaker Steak and Lube, is situated in over 60 locations and provides homemade food as often as possible, despite it being more expensive than fast food. The focus here is on quality, a factor that will attract repeat business as customers become regular diners. Applying the above recommendations can help to ensure that you have a recipe for success.


Skills That Restaurant Recruiters Need To Have

Skills That Restaurant Recruiters Need To Have

Although recruiters for the restaurant industry work mainly within this sector, they also assist job-seekers who wish to work in the world of hospitality. Finding suitable staff for positions in a restaurant or hotel is part of their job as the two are closely linked. Restaurant recruiters can be employed by companies that specialize in the restaurant and hospitality sectors or they can operate on their own.

Those who choose recruitment as a career need to have strong verbal and written communication skills, as well as good social skills in order to form solid relationships. Restaurant recruiters may have to meet and work together with clients on a daily basis, either face-to-face or via phone. They are also required to thoroughly screen candidates to ensure their credentials are genuine. Detailed checks of resumes are carried out and candidates are interviewed before being recommended for an available position in a restaurant or hotel. Restaurant recruiters are responsible for sourcing professional chefs and those who are experienced in restaurant management. Their work also includes networking with other recruiters and important individuals in the hospitality sector, where they can build a reputation and become known as someone who only selects top talent according to an employer’s specifications. This can lead to repeat requests from restaurants and the hospitality industry to fill vacant positions.

Although finding potential restaurant personnel is the main task of a restaurant recruiter, persuading a candidate to consider such roles is another important part of the job. Individuals already working at other hotels or restaurants are often approached or headhunted by restaurant recruiters and although they may be happy in their present jobs, it is not unusual for them to try and be persuaded by a recruiter to leave and accept a new position. It may take several attempts to persuade an experienced employee to change their mind and consider another position, especially if they have any doubts about moving from their present environment. A database of extremely talented professionals is usually kept by restaurant recruiters, allowing a restaurant or hotel to contact them as soon as they have any vacancies. This is especially relevant when new restaurants or hospitality businesses are being established or expanded. The employment of top staff from the very beginning can help to put them on a more secure footing.


An Overview of the Fast-Food Restaurant Industry

An Overview Of The Fast-Food Restaurant Industry

For many years the Restaurant Industry has been monopolized by the fast-food sector. This very American trend of conveniently being able to get a fresh meal almost immediately from a fast-food establishment is enormously popular and the market is now swamped with so many fast-food options. However, they are now faced with a new challenge of outlets dubbed “fast-casual” where fresh food of a higher quality and costing a bit more is attracting a lot of interest.

Investors who wish to add to their portfolio should perhaps be thinking about including a dining option. When it comes down to making the right choice and one with the least risk factor, would the decision favor fast-food or fast-casual? At the moment, it seems that the major fast-food restaurants are marginally more popular than the fast-casual sector. Despite Carrols Restaurant Group being the largest franchisee of Burger King Restaurants in the world, it is not known for its own brand of restaurants.

The strongest stocks in the fast-casual division are two major burger chains, The Habit Burger Grill and Shake Shack. They have a taste-target similar to McDonald’s, a longstanding leader in everything that relates to a burger. Although more expensive, they are more in tune with the latest trends, something which McDonald’s no longer seems to be doing. An interesting fact about the company is that for the first time in its history, plans are afoot to close more restaurants than it opens. All things considered, this may not be any big deal but it is showing the restaurant chain’s recent struggle to achieve growth. The feeling has been that McDonald’s has not caught up with the latest technology and is being left behind. While many in the fast-food industry have had mobile interaction for some time, the company has only recently decided to launch a mobile application.

The plans the company has of initiating all-day breakfast at every location is an event that investors in McDonald’s can look forward to. Breakfast attendance during the 12-month period ending in May 2015, was up 4% with cafes representing the fastest growing sector of the fast-food industry. It just so happens that the strong retail restaurant industry is not necessarily being supported by the fast-food and fast-casual stocks. The more traditional casual restaurant has become a leader in the industry with Ruby Tuesday, BJ’s Restaurants and Darden Restaurants all sitting at Rank #1. Although fast-casual chains have recently been thought of as being really ‘with-it’, it has not automatically translated into success on the market. Actually, a stock can sometimes be artificially inflated by this hype and lead to investors being let down in the future. At the moment, consumers are spending more money by eating out more often, which is contributing to a thriving retail restaurant industry. Looking at the situation from an investor’s point of view, the traditional casual restaurants are out-performing the rest. However, with regard to the close contest between fast-food and fast-casual, it appears that fast-food currently has the slight edge.


Restaurant Promotions or Competitions Can Help Increase Sales

Restaurant Promotions Or Competitions Can Help Increase Sales.

A restaurant can boost sales by arranging competitions or promotions that attract more customers to the business. Planning in-house contests is also a great tool to help motivate staff, especially if morale is at a low. Some ideas could include the following:

A “Perfect Guest Check” competition. The ideal guest check is one that includes a drink, appetizer, entrée and dessert.Each time a server achieves one of these, they qualify for an entry into a weekly or nightly draw.

The game of Bingo. This is a contest that is not only confined to senior citizen players. It can be just as exciting to create your own board and fill the squares with food or menu items you would like your employees to sell, such as a special cocktail, a new main meal or special dessert. The winner is the first one who completes a row of sales.

Exceeding personal expectations.This is where employees test themselves to see what they are really capable of.Once you have assessed how much each worker has sold during a shift, reward those who have gone the extra mile or exceeded their own personal expectations.By posting the results, members of the team can gain recognition.

Raffles and Earning dollars in the kitchen.Every time an employee receives some positive feedback from a customer, goes beyond the call of duty or gives assistance to a colleague, enter their name in a raffle for a future prize drawing.  Servers are not the only members of staff who can take part in a competition. The kitchen personnel are also included. They can participate in a contest where, a specific cooking time is given for every entrée. Ten to twenty one-dollar bills are then laid out and for every minute that a cook exceeds the cooking time set for a specific entrée, a dollar is redeemed by you. Whatever money remains belongs to them.

Team challenges. Organizing contests and challenges in teams helps to strengthen bonding. After calculating total sales, the team that has accumulated the most sales wins a prize. The rewards do not have to be extravagant. They can include gift vouchers, movie tickets, a small monetary gift or joining a class to learn more about a favorite hobby. Very often, just being recognized for a job well done is enough reward.


A Competent Restaurant Manager Should Have The Following Characteristics

A Competent Restaurant Manager Should Have The Following Characteristics

The aim or hope of many who work in the restaurant industry is to either own their own restaurant business one day or be in the role of a restaurant manager. To be at the helm of running a restaurant, a manager should possess specific traits in order to make a difference and for the process to be successful. To achieve your ambitions of getting ahead, some consideration should be given to the following advice.

Do not be antagonistic. When being a Restaurant Manager if you do something wrong, accept criticism gracefully. Trying to defend yourself by arguing will not help the situation. When corrected, it is better to listen and learn from your mistakes so that they are not repeated.

Exceed expectations.  At all times Restaurant Managers, try and exceed expectations by going the extra mile. Aiming for perfection in everything you do will give you the drive to go that little bit further when executing your responsibilities.

Be prepared for problems that can arise. Things can go wrong during the routine running of a restaurant. Many great Restaurant Managers have the skills to anticipate and prevent an incident before it happens, or to deal with it swiftly should it actually materialize.

Trying to solve a problem on your own. When being a Restaurant Manager if you run to your boss with every little problem that arises, you will become more of a hindrance than an asset. Learn to use your own initiative first when trying to sort out any issues within your own area of responsibility. Of course, if you are unsure about what to do, it is much better to ask for direction than to make matters worse.

Being serious about the job. Some Restaurant Managers may have extrovert personalities but there are occasions when one needs to be serious. This is especially relevant in a work situation where the job comes first. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to operate in a humourless environment. Hilarity is perfectly acceptable when appropriate, as long as it does not have a negative impact on your level of work.

Punctuality is essential. Restaurants rely heavily on their staff being punctual. If you are late, it is useless to offer petty excuses such as over-sleeping, the alarm didn’t go off or the car wouldn’t start. It is not acceptable and gives a very poor impression to those in the rest of the restaurant team who have managed to be on time.

Do not moan about everything. Try and avoid being known as a Restaurant Manager who complains all the time. You will only become unpopular with the rest of your colleagues. Try and solve any problems on your own in a diplomatic way and you will generally earn more respect.

Good communication. A good Restaurant Manager should have an outgoing personality and get along with not only the restaurant staff but the customers as well. The successful running of a dining establishment relies on a team effort. If you understand your boss’s temperament, you will know that when you are asked to do something, it must be executed immediately and not at your leisure.

Be discreet. If a fellow worker takes you into their confidence and tells you something, respect the fact that it must remain private. Breaking a promise not only damages your integrity but also causes hard feelings. Grudges can slow your progress and prevent you from moving forward as a Restaurant Manager.

Keep in touch. It is important to keep up-to-date with what is happening in the restaurant industry. By reading publications and looking at websites you can be informed about the latest trends and share the information with your boss and fellow workers. Constructive conversation about the industry can create new ideas and more efficient ways of working. It is also necessary, to get to know your peers so that you can learn from their experience and hear about the type of opportunities that could become available.

Don’t take things for granted. Do not make assumptions about specific situations before you know the facts. Always check first before launching into any accusations that could cause harm.

Dress code. Finally, always be professionally dressed as a Restaurant Manager. Smartness and neatness creates a good impression and shows that you care. Even if the dress code is casual, your outfit can still be stylish.


Essential Job Interview Advice To Bear In Mind For Restaurant Professionals

Essential Job Interview Advice To Bear In Mind For Restaurant Professionals

Job interviews can be a nerve-racking experience but it is important to try and retain your composure by being fully prepared in order to prove that you are the right person for the Restaurant Management position. It is an opportunity to find out more about the culture and core values of the company and whether the role available will suit you and allow for personal development. Therefore, there are some very important questions that you should ask in every interview.

What are the future prospects of the Restaurant Manager

This is a crucial question as it indicates that the candidate is looking for a role where they can progress and allows them to figure out whether the restaurant position will enable them to achieve their long-term career goals in the hospitality industry. It also helps to gauge the suitability of the management role with regard to promotion to more senior responsibilities and whether it matches their ambitions. If the interviewer cannot give a clear and concise answer it is probably a dead-end job. There is also the possibility that a Management position may develop in a different direction and become specialized. This would restrict a candidate’s opportunities to move forward as they would find it difficult to become employment material elsewhere.

In what way can the work I do contribute to the goals of the Restaurant?

This question will help to reveal whether or not you will be an important piece to the restaurant operations. If the role that you are applying for does not significantly contribute to the goals of the business, management may allocate fewer resources to complete projects and smaller budgets for pay raises and bonuses. It just means that the business regards these non-essential departments as being non-crucial to their survival and unfortunately, should there be a drop in business, this is the area that is the first to feel the effects of redundancies. Asking this question should help to give some knowledge as to whether you will be provided with the necessary tools to be successful a great manager and contribute to the growth of the company, or end up struggling and be in the position of working in another role with less job security.

How would you interpret success in this role as a Restaurant Manager?

Putting this question to the interviewer can produce an answer that reveals some important information about the Restaurant position that is not available elsewhere. You can get some idea or find out to what extent your career aspirations can be fulfilled by the role, learn more about its priorities and the specific managerial skills required, as well as the culture of the company and what it takes to secure the job. This can assist in setting a benchmark with regard to the standard of work the company expects and whether you have the right skill-set and qualifications to be employed by them.

What about the culture of the company?

Much of your time is spent in the workplace so it is important that you can identify with the culture of the company. To avoid any stress you need to establish whether the restaurant management role provides a healthy balance between the time spent at the restaurant and your leisure time. Do you have the opportunity to do flexible hours or will you always be completely restaurant-bound? Also, does the management staff usually work longer than the hours stated in their contracts or are they frequently asked to work more and on the weekends? If this is the case, these questions will give you some idea as to whether you can cope with the demands of the role and decide if it is the right one for you.

Is ongoing training provided for professional development?

This is another very important question as good companies will invest in their staff by   providing regular training on new skills so that workers can progress in their Management careers. Keeping up-to-date with different software and other skills helps to secure promotions and opens the door to new career prospects. If this facility is not offered by a business you can stagnate in the same role for many years, stuck in a rut and unable to move forward to a more successful future.

Why has this job become available?

By asking this question you can find out about some of the company’s background and any challenges it may be facing and whether the role has been newly created because the business is expanding. It could have become vacant because the previous holder was promoted to be the General Manager, which is a good sign as it indicates that there are opportunities for moving up the career ladder. Alternatively, the vacancy could be due to someone leaving or the company is downsizing by combining two roles into one. It enables you to gauge the stability of the company and whether it provides some form of job security.

To what extent does the role fit in with the general structure of the Restaurant?

The answer to this question should help you find out if the position you are applying for will suit your style of working. It can reveal whether you would be more comfortable working in a team or prefer to have full responsibility and control over designated projects with your staff. You can discover who you will be managing on a daily basis and the level of management you would report to.

Are there any concerns regarding me and the job in question?

This is a direct question to close the interview which may or may not reveal the reasons as to whether the job is yours or not. It could be suggested that you lack the management experience they are looking for of other candidates, but this is an opportunity to perhaps discuss your talents in more detail and clear up any prior misunderstandings before it is too late.                                                                                 


Innovations In Technology Changing The Way Restaurants Are Managed

Innovations In Technology Changing The Way Restaurants Are Managed


Many businesses are constantly thinking of ways to maximize their operations and the restaurant sector is no exception. By making use of the latest technology, owner/chefs can have the latest tools at their disposal to optimize restaurant bookings, streamline inventories, bookkeeping and other facilities that can generally help control most of the functions that keep the restaurant wheels running smoothly.

IT experts can create computer programs that are flexible and specific to the type of restaurant. Restaurant Managers are always thinking of ways to maximize efficiency and availability to allow their guests more opportunities to dine. Technology products can be designed in such a way that restaurants can configure them to fit the pattern of their restaurants, whether it’s one small dining room or several spread across three different floors, or be adapted for special occasions.

How can the business of paying for meals be made easier? A great deal of thought has been given to this aspect of the dining experience as the conventional way of awaiting the check at the end of the meal is the norm. How can a more convenient method be introduced without taking away the personal feel of the waiting staff? Well nowadays, once again technology steps in with the various apps that are offered, and a specific app for restaurants means that diners are now able to pay with their phones. No processing of credit cards or keeping customers waiting for the bill. The employees can instead concentrate on delivering great service and improving the guest experience. Introducing more diners and restaurants to this trend means that it will eventually just become an alternative method of payment.

In an extremely competitive restaurant market, ensuring diners can find a particular restaurant can be a challenge. New technologies and digital methods are addressing the situation where diners have the ability to connect with restaurants in their area. Dining establishments that have up-to-date responsive websites that are compatible with mobile devices allows potential customers to browse the internet for specific places while on the move. Apart from just searching for particular restaurants, diners also look for appropriate venues for special occasions like business luncheons or to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Promo pages of results can be created that catch restaurants matching those searches and can help diners who are looking near special landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge.

One of the most powerful ways for restaurants to reach their audience is via social media. Apart from announcing new menus and special promotions, social media platforms can provide exceptional branding opportunities. Instead of relying on traditional advertising methods, restaurants have instant access to the public domain to boost their unique concept. They are able to introduce the team that runs the restaurant and post assessments, plus apps are also allowing restaurants to be engaged in conversations and feedback surrounding meals, culture, and reviews. Also, getting immediate honest feedback from diners is extremely valuable as it can help to recognize outstanding staff members and recognize any weaknesses on the menu or other opportunities for improvement.

For a restaurant to thrive they rely heavily on repeat business with initial diners becoming regulars. A specific database can allow a restaurant to make notes and keep a history of their guests so that when they return, servers know exactly what their preferences are with regard to drinks, food and seating arrangements. This personal touch makes guests feel valued and is also excellent PR for the business. Also for restaurants to succeed, they want strong teams of hard-working professionals that are in the industry for the long haul. Culinary and hospitality sites can provide high-quality job-matching tools for job seekers looking for opportunities across the country and these facilities can also enable them to connect with peers and find inspiration from mentors.