What comes to mind when you hear there is an expected surge of over a million possible guests entering your city for a weekend event? Disbelief? Excitement? Anxiety? How about all three? Having weathered major city-wide events in the past (BCS bowl games, March Madness, even one weekend that merged two huge NCAA football teams, a NASCAR race, and a comic/anime convention) we learned to remain cautiously optimistic towards promises of large influxes of people into our city – you can’t always guess where they want to go when they are in town.
But this was Super Bowl LIII – one of the biggest events in the country each year. Not every city can have an event of this magnitude, but there are lessons to learn for other major events that your city is hosting from conventions to NCAA events…even parades and outdoor festivals.
Nothing is more important than organizing, planning and knowing when to be flexible. The decision to plan early and think outside norms paid off huge dividends for us, leading to impressive profit margins and well-maintained inventories amid many other restaurants running out of product and staffing.
Knowing that major sponsors initiated their partnership search at the beginning of the previous year, “haste” was the team buzzword. Acting quickly enabled us to pair up with two major brands synonymous with the Super Bowl. These partnerships brought a critical cash influx to the restaurant to support purchasing and planning expenses while capitalizing on joint marketing to promote our brand and increase customer awareness. With these agreements signed and secured, we compartmentalized the restaurant into: menus, beverage program, FF&E and staffing.
A quick assessment of the kitchen demonstrated the line would prove to small to handle the anticipated guests and the menu too broad to efficiently maintain the demand. Working with the chef and suppliers enabled us to streamline the menu and showcase more profitable options. This included a plan for outdoor sale of wings, hotdogs, and other stadium fare. This led to the kitchen running smoothly and maintaining the targeted quality and inventory of product.
We believed that a full bar with 75-plus types of spirits would force delayed drink times and lost revenue as customers abandon ordering more rounds. A simplified bar strategy called for a well and one top shelf option of each liquor reducing selection to less than 20 brands. Liquor distributors submitted case discounts on popular brands and assisted in securing additional bottle openers, shakers, strainers, and other essential bar tools. Using the POS, we eliminated the ability to start tabs, requiring our bar staff to use a pay as you go system. These combined strategies eliminated walk-out tabs, reduced service bar drink times, and minimized bar comps. Bartenders quickly adopted the new protocols and retained efficiency during the restaurant’s busiest moments.
With the plan and layout in place, attention turned to tackling labor. A list of all staffed stations and estimated schedules created an ideal quantity of each position. The team also established a minimum quantity of each position needed. To hire additional staffing, we marketed a job fair across multiple hospitality social media groups and targeted job boards. Candidates submitted detailed hourly availability surveys and we quickly posted a schedule with additional staffing to provide a buffer for unexpected circumstances. A mandatory staff meeting with both temporary and established team members covered expectations, walk-throughs, and allowed employees a forum for a “Q & A” session. Restaurant management took employee support roles to help all the new staff feel part of the team.
All the planning meetings, coordination, and, most importantly, team work helped us realize a seamless and successful Big Game weekend. Any hiccups during the weekend were easily tackled thanks to alert and ready team members and management created an environment of clear communication. We conquered the weekend and are ready for our next big challenge.
Each new year brings new trends. In the Food Service industry, 2019 is bringing in its own wave of fresh trends!
The desire for convenience and the popularity of fast-casual dining remains important to diners in this new year. Time is an asset that everyone values, making it a major factor in consumer dining. To protect this asset, diners choose restaurants that serve quality food in an efficient manner. In addition, several fast-casual restaurants are now using “luxury ingredients” in their simply fashioned foods in order to provide quality as well as convenience. According to researchers from Restaurant Business, natural food enhancements will continue to grow in popularity among restaurateurs in 2019. These ingredients typically include natural remedies that enhance nutrients and their absorption by the body helping with vitamin and mineral deficiencies. These “natural remedies” are expected to improve the bottom line for those in the Food Service industry as well.
Use of local foods and flavors is also a Food Service trend that you can expect in 2019. Restaurants are continuing to embrace what many refer to as the “local food movement.” Consumers enjoy sitting down to menus that read “locally grown ingredients.” Local grown ingredients give diners confidence and peace of mind about their food. It also gives a sense of advocacy towards the local community. Some restaurants are going a step further with hyper-local foods. Restaurants that use hyper-local grown foods are growing specific ingredients such as produce in-house.
As social media platforms continue to flood the internet, restaurateurs are beginning to create innovative menus that adapt well to the funky images and elaborate styling seen on social media. Technologies inside and outside of the Food Service industry impact how restaurants operate and advertise. The same goes for the ever-changing preferences and behaviors of the customers. All of which affect how restaurants will operate not only in 2019, but every year following.
In addition to the typical Food Service trends this year, we will see some less obvious trends affect restaurant operations and the overall bottom line. For example, tariffs that the US and Canada face. These tariffs serve as an opportunity for some restaurant owners. Specifically, local restaurateurs could experience these tariffs as an advantage. As mentioned previously, the use of locally grown food and produce is on the rise. As larger chain restaurants suffer high import tariffs on produce and other products, they often begin raising prices to combat this incurred cost. Hometown restaurant owners who buy locally or produce in-house ingredients may well be able to maintain competitive prices.
A negative trend in the Food Service industry witnessed in 2018 is hitting harder in 2019--the record low unemployment rate. Unfortunately, for an industry with high employee turnover, the low unemployment rate can prove to be detrimental. Now that there are more jobs available in the restaurant industry, employees are often less inclined to remain loyally employed at a restaurant. As restaurants become desperate to keep employees, they may experience a rise in negotiations for higher wages from employees. Another continuing trend...competition for quality real estate and high insurance/real estate prices. These trends will continue to present concerns for growing chains in 2019.
Although trends in the food industry may vary from year to year, there is one thing that remains the same--the importance of customer preferences. No matter the year, consumer trends will continue to affect the Food Service industry, keeping it fresh and exciting!
Christmas provides a time of celebration through several different wonderful traditions. Traditions that surface from differing families, walks of life, and cultures. During the Christmas holiday season, food and drink are at the center of some of the most diverse forms of tradition and celebration. For some, the tradition may call for an eggnog recipe passed down from generation to generation. Or, perhaps a glass of mulled wine (a German Christmas tradition) is more your holiday style. Many families within the US sit down to a Christmas turkey or ham every year. Christmas food and drink traditions even vary state by state in the US.
Here are some of the most unique Christmas traditions involving food and drink from around the world.
A popular Italian tradition that many Americans have adopted is the “Feast of the Seven Fishes”. This tradition emerged back in the 1900s and remains prevalent to this day. Many perform the
tradition by serving seven different styles of seafood while others serve two or three different types of fish in seven different ways.
La Bûche de Noël is a French dessert that symbolizes the Yule Log – a wooden log which was traditionally carried into French homes, sprinkled with red wine and burned on Christmas Eve. The Yule Log tradition slowly disappeared during the mid-1900s at which time it was replaced by the Bûche de Noël dessert.
Christmas pudding is a dessert that originated in England and is served in several different homes across the world. Many refer to this dessert as figgy pudding or plum pudding which is most often credited to the famous Christmas carol, “We wish you a Merry Christmas”. This Christmas tradition dates back to the 15th century when it was referred to as plum pottage. Plum pottage was made of meats and dried vegetables and served at the start of most meals. Over the years the tradition has developed into a delicious dessert pudding that consists of suet, egg, molasses, spices, and dried fruits and is now commonly served with a brandy sauce.
Eggnog is one of the most common Christmas beverages consumed throughout the world and is prepared in an assortment of ways. Most argue that eggnog originated during the 13th century from the medieval Britain “posset” – a milky ale served warm. Milk, eggs, and sherry were considered foods generally consumed by the wealthy. Therefore, eggnog was often served in toasts to prosperity and good fortune. In Chile, they prepare a drink that resembles eggnog called Cola de Moro which is translated to “monkey’s tail”. Cola de Moro is made of milk, coffee, vanilla bean, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and usually mixed with brandy or rum. Lithuania also has a Christmas beverage similar to eggnog called poppy seed milk (aguonu pienas) which is a mixture of poppy seeds, water and honey. In Puerto Rico, they serve Coquito – spiced rum, condensed milk, coconut milk or cream of coconut, vanilla, and spices such as cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
Whether it is eggnog, a feast of fish, or some other special dessert, there is one thing that holds true across all these holiday traditions and celebrations. While the food and drinks may be part of the tradition, the one thing we all celebrate and enjoy most is the warmth and joy of being with those we love.
From all of us here at Goliath Consulting Group, we hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year!
Management companies provide restaurants with a franchise like operating system without having a franchise agreement. Management firms, like Goliath Restaurant Management, help restaurant owners reassess their food costs and supply chains, rein in bar costs and consolidate their liquor inventory to better suit their demographic, create marketing calendars and promotional materials to keep sales growing, and serve as a human resource department for recruiting, hiring, training and retaining staff. The right firm helps restaurants improve their financials, staff the restaurant with skilled workers, cultivate better vendor relationships, and maintain consistency in day to day operations.
After a detailed business assessment, the team creates a work plan for each department. Britt Cloud, Goliath’s Consulting Chef, directs back of house operations and works with the current chef/kitchen manager to restructure inventory, food costing, menu, labor, and health policies. With over twenty-five years of industry experience, Britt is skilled in problem-solving and uniquely tailoring back of house solutions to each kitchen. His vendor connections and negotiating clout will help reduce ordering costs while maintaining the highest quality product.
Front of House operations is a steady balance of guest needs, employee personalities, efficient strategies, and health and safety enforcement. With fifteen years of front of house management experience, our operation consultant, Colin Kopel, lives for training front of house management, empowering staff with pride of their restaurant, and developing beverage programs that work for each concept. Colin works hand-in-hand with management, teaching scheduling techniques to keep the restaurant staffed and employees satisfied. He works with liquor distributors to cut waste and capitalize on deals/specials that work for your concept without inflating your liquor cost with excess inventory.
Once the restaurant’s training, inventory, financials, and human resources are aligned, Clay Darden, Goliath’s Marketing Manager works within the community to drive sales and volume. Clay utilizes twenty-two years of experience to customize each restaurant’s marketing calendar, identify underreached markets and demographics, and cement the restaurants reputation as a destination spot in the community. He will manage social media accounts to create a noticeable online presence and create tackable promotions to increase the marketing budget efficiency.
With our customized team approach and decades of industry experience, Goliath Consulting is ready to handle every concept from fast casual counter service to full service fine dining. To schedule your site assessment or receive more information email GetResults@GoliathConsulting.com.
As the days grow shorter and the holidays approach, safety risks increase.
Maintaining restaurant security and safety is a constant concern for owners and managers. Restauranteurs must continually strive for the security and safety of not only the products, but most importantly the employees and customers. Issues concerning restaurant safety and security typically arise due to lack of management guidelines or proper training and adherence to guidleines that are in place. Owners and managers must collaborate to increase employee awareness of these guidelines ensuring the overall protection of a restaurant and those within its walls. It is equally important to create awareness of the main security risks facing restaurant operations.
Among those risks are the following: theft and burglaries, criminal damage, and employee theft. There are specific anti-theft/burglary guidelines that a restaurant can implement to lessen the chance of becoming a target for a thief. Of the most common restaurant thefts, cash theft occurs most often. Below is list of guidelines restaurants can take to reduce cash thefts:
• Always shut and lock the door behind you
• Never open office doors if there is a safe open
• Keep all exterior doors locked from the inside at all times
• Never count cash in front of guests
• Make cash deposits after busy high traffic shifts
• Refrain from leaving large sums of cash in restaurant overnight
• Contract with a cash management and security company like Brinks
Restaurants should also take the proper precautions to keep products secure. There are a variety of measures to take that will help ensure product security from both employees and outside individuals. Below are steps to consider:
• Limit the number of keys given out for storage rooms and offices
• Refrain from distributing keys to staff members (unless management or authorized personnel)
• Keep storage and office areas locked at all times
• Make sure back entrances are locked and alarmed when they are not in use
Above all, restaurant owners and management teams must consider the security of customers and staff. This entails protecting customers and staff from erratic, harmful behavior of individuals such as thieves, disgruntled guests, or unwelcome intruders. The best way to sustain a safe environment is by educating staff members on the proper guidelines and precautions.
• Be aware of surroundings before exiting your car or the building
• Maintain a well-lit parking lot and adjust timers for the time of year
• Use a buddy system for opening and closing the restaurant
• Have a two-person policy to maintain security and safety for back door use
• Make safety and security training a part of new staff orientation
• Require ID and verification of all people going behind the counter or into staff only areas of the restaurant
Operational safety is equally as important. Simple habits like regular inspections of equipment, reviewing the proper procedures for chemical use compliance with staff members, and ensuring the proper placards are in place to remind staff of basic safety protocols such as properly cleaning prep areas and safely lifting larger objects. Here are few operational suggestions that help maintain general restaurant safety:
• Keep equipment updated and replace faulty machinery immediately
• Do not use glass to scoop ice
• Place non-skid mats in high-traffic water prone areas
• Require employees to wear proper safety equipment (gloves, non-slick shoes, etc.)
• Use proper lifting techniques when handling inventory and equipment
• Never block exits or aisles/never leave exit doors propped open
• Install a CO2 monitor
If you wish to learn more about the steps your restaurant can take to ensure better safety and security for both your customers and employees, reach out to us at GetResults@GoliathConsulting.com.
CONSUMERS SEEK OUT “GREEN RESTAURANTS”
By: Guy Pittman
There is no questioning the positive impact recycling and waste reduction has on our environment. However, many are curious about the effect is has on their restaurant. Much debate has been circulating around whether the benefits of recycling and composting in restaurants outweighs the effort and expenses involved in the process. Nevertheless, in a growing environmentally conscience world, it is valuable to understand the benefits of both.
Believe it or not, the plastic straw debate is currently one of the trending topics in restaurant recycling. Although there is no concrete data on the exact number, multiple industry leaders suggest, Americans use up to 500 million plastic straws per day. The plastic straw debate has gained so much attention that places like Seattle and San Francisco are banning single-use plastic straws and other single use plastic products. Even Starbucks has started an initiative to completely eliminate the use of plastic straws by 2020. While Starbucks and a limited number of other restaurants are taking strides to reduce or eliminate the use of plastic straws, most restaurants have done nothing. For many, the concern with switching to an eco-friendlier straw is the price, durability, and overall impact on the quality of each drink. However, brands such as Melio Straws are proving that those fears may be just that, fears not fact. But do the costs outweigh the benefits?
What about reducing waste? It is nearly impossible for restaurants to avoid waste. However, there are steps that some are taking which reduce waste and improve restaurant operations. Tracking what areas of your restaurant produces the most waste is the first step managers should take. Lack of training in food preparation, dropping prepared dishes, inadequate cutting utensils, and poor inventory management are all contributors to restaurant waste. Taking initiatives like waste audits, allows restaurants to gain insights on waste generation and the most impactful steps that will begin reduction. Waste technologies have been developed which provide restaurants with the ability to track what recycling and waste management tactics are being followed and which ones need improvement. Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. As landfills continue to grow and American waste management companies feel the heat from China’s Scrap Ban, restaurants will be expected to focus more attention on the first R, reduce. Reducing the amount of waste in restaurant dumpsters will increase operation efficiency and help avoid annoying fines from waste management companies. Composting is becoming more prevalent in restaurants. New research has shown that Americans are throwing away nearly as much food as they are eating and the EPA claims that 60-80% of trash that restaurants create is food waste. Checkout the Georgia Restaurant Association website for tips on composting.
Researchers have found that most Americans are serious about the importance of recycling. Data from the National Restaurant Association revealed that 60 percent of Americans prefer restaurants that recycle over those that do not. Research also revealed that 51 percent of consumers dining out would be willing to pay the extra costs to dine at restaurants that are eco-friendly. The proof is in the pudding and the customers have spoken. Recycling and waste management programs for restaurants can have expensive initial costs. Yet, the benefits of putting these programs in place can outweigh any initial expenses. Green initiatives provide multifaceted success results for your restaurant. At the very least you are improving the image and brand of your restaurant which will increase customer traffic. Consumers seek out “green restaurants” and will support them in their recycling efforts. Also, restaurants can cut costs in the long-run. Recycling programs will lead to cheaper trash expenses, reduced purchasing costs, and less fees from waste management companies.
To learn more about steps you can take to improve or implement a restaurant recycling program, contact us today at GetResults@GoliathConsulting.com.
National Restaurant Assoication https://www.restaurant.org/Home
Wall Street Journal https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-recycling-companies-face-upheaval-from-china-scrap-ban-1533231057
Georgia Restaurant Assoication https://www.garestaurants.org/composting.html
Don’t Forget the Secret Ingredient: Hospitality
By Colin Kopel, Operations Consultant
When I was a teenager securing my first table waiting job, my future boss told me, “No experience, no problem. Waiting table is so easy I could train my cat to do it.” Mr. Feldstein was partially right. We can train almost anyone to follow a simple outline on service. “Just greet them within two minutes of the hostess seating them, get them some drinks, and take the order.” That was the extent of service training we received at that deli and it highlighted what the owner prioritized. Service was more important than hospitality.
Have you ever looked at your OpenTable, Google, or Yelp reviews and noticed a diner left a comment like this:
“Service started out promising, but soon dropped off. Our server was attentive but seemed distracted. It’s like he didn’t want to be working tonight.”
Your first impulse as a manager/restaurateur may be pull the employee aside and discuss what caused the table to go sour. And sometimes it is one employee having a rough day. It may also be time to update how your restaurant integrates hospitality into every aspect of a guest’s experience.
First, let’s define Service and Hospitality:
Service is what your employees provide to guests in a quantifiable form. The physical steps they take from a moment a guest enters the building to when they leave to go home. It includes the greet, the order, the food delivery, financial transaction, and farewell. Every restaurant uses a training method for these steps in some form, be it a training manual, printout on the steps of service, or in-person employee training.
Hospitality is the atmosphere and environment that your employees provide for your guests. It’s the smile and positive attitude that exudes from your staff. It shows itself when employees walk guests to the restrooms instead of pointing, deliver fresh napkins when a guest drops theirs on the floor without being asked. Hospitality is the general feeling that it is your staff’s pleasure to take care of all their guests’ needs…not their job.
Training hospitality is not about printouts and manuals, it’s about culture and leadership. Restauranteurs and managers must prioritize it in their every action at the restaurant and it will trickle down through servers and bartenders, bussers and food runners, and even back of house staff. Employees notice when management lays down their inventory clipboards to happily lead a guest to the restroom and they certainly pay attention when restaurant leadership interrupts a side conversation with them to open a door for a guest. These are simple, yet effective, methods in showing your staff that hospitality is the primary focus of any restaurant.
For the month of August, Goliath Consulting Group’s blog will focus on three main ways you can train your staff to make hospitality the centerpiece of all they do. We will hone in on the following topics:
If you would like to learn more about our innovative Hospitality and Service training programs, reach out to GetResults@GoliathConsulting.com. We offer customized solutions to help build teamwork, efficiency, check averages, and more.
Finding restaurant workers today is one of the biggest challenges for restaurateurs
By Colin Kopel, Operations Consultant, Goliath Consulting Group
How long have you been staring at the door to your restaurant for the perfect server, line-cook, manager or, even dishwasher, to strut in, place a golden resume in your hand and inform you of all the restaurants in the city, he/she would like to be your employee? How many times have you settled on a less than perfect candidate after sifting through resume and resume that was less than impressive?
Staffing is a different animal than it was a decade ago when there were fewer restaurants and a large pool of hospitality employees to draw from. The United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics pins the median age of Food and Beverage employees at between 29-34…also known as the Millennial Generation. When the employment pool is composed of a younger demographic, recruiting techniques must align with that demographic’s media intake. As Goliath Consulting’s recruiting manager, allow me to share a few tricks we’ve learned to target the right audience.
Facebook. You may have read in some business weekly or internet article that the social media giant is losing its relevance, and that’s true, among younger audiences. As it stands today, 88% of Americans aged 29-33 are active on the social network, checking for updates multiple times a day. In the past year, Facebook increased its presence on the job hunt scene by pushing their “Jobs” page and sending users daily openings and recommendations. Cities are organically developing their own Facebook communities for hospitality employees to connect with local openings. Here in Atlanta, the “GK Restaurant Workers/Metro Atlanta” Facebook group is nearing 10,000 members and sees multiple employment posts each day. These posts provide employers with free opportunities to reach out to the established hospitality community and receive a quick turnaround on resume submissions.
Online recruiting websites like Monster.com and Indeed popped up on employers’ radars over a decade ago. Hardly a Super Bowl went by where the public wasn’t introduced to the hottest new headhunting site. Eventually, employers and jobhunters were left scratching their heads wondering which site will net them the best applicants or the best positions. There are recruiting solutions that focus on the restaurant industry. Founded in 2012, Harri is one of those solutions for restaurant staffing. Harri integrates a social network feel with sleek restaurant profiles and phone apps to connect prospective employees to employers. Employers utilize “swim lanes” to organize and schedule applicants and can even email them onboarding paperwork to streamline and condense the orientation process.
This year at Goliath Consulting, we have seen an uptick of clients seeking our recruiting services to outsource this time-consuming process. The average job opening requires a minimum of 20 hours of dedicated labor to fill and hospitality managers are finding there is not enough time in their weeks to perform an effective talent search. Through our website, restaurantjobsatl.com and goliathconsulting.com/jobs, we’ve created an online portal to connect our clients with top talent. We utilize a series of metrics to rank potential candidates on standards ranging from qualifications to personality to potential career longevity.
Reach out to us at GetResults@GoliathConsulting.com to find out how Goliath can optimize your recruiting and help you find your next all-star employee.
Apps are everywhere and it seems there is an announcement of a new restaurant app weekly for both national and regional brands.
See how the statistics on apps add up:
• There are over 2.2 million apps available on the IOS marketplace and over 3 million Android Apps on Google Play
• “Games” are the most popular app download category ranging from 21-25% of the market share
• The average user will only use 9 phone apps per day
• $60 – average hourly rate charged by professional app developers
• 131 – average amount of hours to develop a successful app
• Too Many – amount of individual restaurant apps
After years of customers attempting to recite coffee drinks with more modifications than ingredients, Starbucks decided a mobile app would help make ordering simpler. The customers who downloaded the app received perks such as quick ordering, gift card/loyalty card storage, and mobile payment options. While customer after customer downloaded their app, Starbucks received endless data on customer trends and engagement. Seems like a win-win scenario. This led many smaller restauranteurs to wonder: Does my concept need a stand-alone app?
The simple answer is "No". Consider the stats presented above. The average cost for a presentable v1.0 app (first version app) is $7,860. After the money is spent on app development and testing, restaurants then must compete for screen-time with the millions of other apps available to consumers. Often, customers will download a restaurant’s app while inside the restaurant and never reopen it again. The next time the customer’s memory is running low, restaurant apps are among the first to be purged from users’ phones, leaving the restaurant with a hole in its budget and very little return on the investment.
What is a viable solution to remain relevant on customers’ smart phones and increase traffic to a restaurant’s website? Mobile Optimized Websites.
Mobile Optimized Websites enable customers to view your website on their smartphone or tablet without the clutter of a desktop version. Yes, the beautiful flash graphics you scrutinized and edited look beautiful on a laptop or desktop, but mobile users want streamlined content that is easy to navigate. When a customer Googles “restaurants near me” and your site pops up, a long load time or difficulty located a menu will almost immediately end in the user tapping the “back” button and finding a different restaurant.
Mobile Optimized Websites should feature larger, clearly labeled buttons guiding potential customers to the most sought-after information: “About Us,” Reservations, Menus, Address and Hours, and Contact Information. By slimming a website down, a restaurant reduces the percentage of users who give up on the site and look for other dining options. This is also a much more cost-efficient method of bringing a concept to mobile devices than investing thousands in a mobile app that most users view only once and remove from their devices as soon as they need extra space for the newest version of Angry Birds.
To find more information on transforming your digital presence into a sales building tool, email us at GetResults@GoliathConsulting.com.
ACCOMMODATING GUESTS AND THE BIG 8 FOOD ALLERGENS IN RESTAURANTS
“Excuse me, do you have any gluten free options?” “Is this salad dressing vegan friendly?” There once was a time where servers and chefs would snicker in private kitchen corners when they heard questions like these. That was then. Now there are an estimated 7.3 million adults following some form of vegetarian diet and 3.1 million Americans adhering to a gluten-free diet. This is the time for restaurants to embrace specific and alternative diets to shine above the competition.
As more and more Americans are turning to gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan, ketogenic, and low carb diets, restaurants are often asking themselves how to respond. Should a chef stick to his or her time tested classic menu and let guests worry about their own dietary restrictions, or should they use a little knowledge and creativity to stand above the competition and welcome these specific eaters with open arms. Successful restaurants around the country are realizing that these dieters are not one offs but are often part of larger communities and pass recommendations on to their like-minded eaters.
A chef’s ambassadors to his guests are the service team. Servers handle the influx of questions from guests, make recommendations, and communicate the orders to the kitchen with any dietary modifications needed. What servers may not know is: How many menu items already classify as vegan or gluten-free? What do low carb and keto diets look like? Most restaurants already have menu items that fit certain dietary restrictions and it is up to the service team to guide guests to those items. Sometimes the willingness to replace a side dish or a sauce will not only conform a dish to certain diet but make a lasting impression on a guest who has accepted dining out on their diet is a struggle. An educated, confident server will set a guest with a restrictive menu at ease and deliver an experience worth sharing.
Over the last decade lower calorie options found their way on menus across the country. They are usually indicated by an icon off to the side or located in an entirely separate section of the menu titled “lighter fare” or “on the healthier side.” It is time to take this same approach with gluten-free and vegetarian items. Make it easier for your guests to locate the items they can eat, and they will thank you for it with repeat business and positive feedback in their communities. Consider making your daily special gluten-free and you are sure to get an Instagram tag here and there. Diners with dietary restrictions are accustomed to struggling when making menu selections…take the work away from them and they will not forget the experience.
It is important to remember in hospitality we are here for our guests. Guests’ dietary restrictions, whether based on allergies or nutritional preferences, need to be embraced. This is a sector of guests who are used to choosing alternative restaurants or resigning themselves to cook at home to avoid mis-stepping their diet. View their needs as you would any other guest and the lasting impression will keep your tables full and the reservations coming.
Goliath Consulting Group is here to help you reformat your menu to highlight dishes that cater to alternative diets. Contact GetResults@Goliathconsulting.com today for expert advice on menu updates and service training.
Growing up, nothing made summer feel quite like summer until the annual family BBQ. Family was used loosely as friends, family, and neighbors would gather at the local park pavilion for a game of softball, playground shenanigans, and, of course, to feast on hot dogs, hamburgers, slaw, and potato salad. But how many picnic-goers know how to keep their outdoor meals safe from pathogens and foodborne illnesses? Goliath Consulting Group’s Serve Safe trainer and head chef (also an avid picnic aficionado) Britt Cloud wants to help you and yours keep their summer free of unwanted outdoor dining mishaps.
Let’s talk about TCS foods. Dangerous pathogens exist in foods that require Time and Temperature Controls for Safety (TCS). Picnic staples like potato salad, sliced melons, leafy greens, meats, fish, and shellfish are all susceptible to invasive bacteria that can ruin any outdoor meal. It is important to remember when foods stay in the temperature danger zone (41ᵒF-135ᵒF) for a prolonged amount of time, these pathogens are provided with the perfect environment to thrive. To prevent the growth of these dangerous pathogens, keep cold foods chilled to less than 41ᵒ until you are ready to serve and dispose of them within six hours. Hot foods must be maintained at above 135ᵒ and thrown out after just four hours.
Temperature storage is not the only time your food is at risk, the food prep process at your home kitchen is equally important. When cooling cooked foods, remember that foods must go from 135ᵒF to 70ᵒF in two hours and finish cooling from 70ᵒF to 41ᵒF within four hours. All fruits and vegetables need to be properly washed prior to cutting or slicing and all raw meats must remain in the cooler until you are ready to toss them on the old charcoal grill. When loading your coolers, try to keep raw meats separated from cooked food (and those fruits and vegetables meant to be consumed raw). Chef Britt also reminds us it is never safe to store raw meats on top of ready to eat food items.
A few more safety guidelines to remember:
• Always thoroughly wash your hands before handling ready to eat food items, especially after handling raw meats
• Separate cutting surfaces must be used when slicing raw and ready to eat items
• Do not allow food to sit in the sun for more than one hour (90ᵒF temperatures can bring your cuisine into the danger zone faster than most realize!)
Following Chef Britt’s safety advice will help you and your crew enjoy a smooth, successful summer picnic.
Summer is just around the corner. It’s time to break out the patio furniture and put the heaters away in storage. With the warmer temperatures approaching, every savvy restauranteur knows to retrieve their end of spring checklist to guarantee this season is as smooth as it can be.
Preventative maintenance is key to protecting your bottom line. From refrigeration to HVAC, there are multiple things you can do to ensure your restaurant operates free of preventable mechanical woes that stand in your way of a successful summer season.
When was the last time you had your coolers serviced? It is recommended that all refrigeration is professionally serviced twice a year and the cost of losing refrigeration, even for a few days, can be devastating to any restaurant. May is the perfect time to schedule a refrigeration inspection. As restauranteurs, we like to think we can handle every issue that arises in our buildings, but trained professionals know exactly which problem areas to inspect. Is the motor and compressor functioning properly? Are there any parts with wear that need to be replaced to prevent mechanical failure? Are the thermometers calibrated and the refrigeration levels adequate? These are a small list of services that should be completed on your unit prior to sustained warmer weather. It is also important to keep in mind that DIY repairs can risk your units’ warranties.
With your back of the house refrigeration maintenance scheduled, it is time to take a look at the front of the house preparation. Scheduling an HVAC service and inspection can save you more than you think in money and stress. An HVAC unit that is operating at subpar levels can cost up to 50% more than a serviced unit! Schedule a tune-up service with your specialist and they will help you reach the optimal operating levels. Also, make sure your filters, coils, and cooling towers are clean and ducts are free of dust and debris. Now is the time to make any repairs to create a hospitable and comfortable environment for your guests and employees.
Is your outdoor dining the most pristine it can be? It’s that time of the year to get down and dirty and deep clean all your outdoor furniture to prepare for the season. Outdoor dining is more than a fad; it’s become an important part of restaurant culture. Are your chairs free of unsightly wear and tear? Do your tables need to be adjusted to prevent uneven sides? Do you have umbrellas, awnings, or shade to keep the experience comfortable for your guests? A modern and polished patio is more than a mere seating area; it’s free sidewalk advertising for your business. Research by the Simons Advisory Group demonstrated that investing in well-designed al fresco dining can increase sales 30% or even more!
Schedule a consultation with us at firstname.lastname@example.org to make this summer your smoothest and most profitable yet.
In other parts of the world, food halls are quite common, particularly in Europe. London likes to take credit for being the first to introduce the food hall experience. Soon, they could be found all over Asia. Now, we see more food halls pop up in the U.S., and the trend appears to be growing as more Americans demand healthier food choices and extensive selections available in unique environments.
Put simply; food halls are a venue where artisan restaurants and food vendors serve food fresh and often cooked in front of you as you order. It comes as no surprise that the trend is finding massive success in big cities such as Los Angeles and New York. However, according to an article in the New York Times, the boom in food halls is anticipated to boom in the coming years, with a prediction of 200 food halls across the nation by 2019.
In fact, even Anthony Bourdain had big plans for the food hall market with his 155,000-sq.ft. facility in New York. Unfortunately, acquiring visas for all his employees and vendors led to many delays that he ultimately had to cancel the project. However, there’s much buzz on social media that The Bourdain Market may still happen sometime in 2019.
People have always loved food. But with the height of social media and the change in consumer behavior, dining experiences mean just as much. From food festivals to food trucks – people are always looking for next big thing. They are looking for variety and innovative eating experiences that are Instagrammable or worth tweeting and blogging.
At some point, the Oxford word of the year was “locavore.” Locavore means someone who prefers to eat food that is locally grown, raised, or produced. And that’s precisely what food halls have delivered to its patrons.
Food halls typically feature vendors who are from the community who source their ingredients from local farmers and suppliers. The fact that a word of the year is based on a preference for food only highlights how people in the past decade alone have become increasingly mindful of their food choices and experiences. They’re no longer settling for fast food chains when they know they can get food just as quickly and much healthier.
Food halls were once found exclusively in the trendiest cities. But with the demand for food halls on the rise, we can hope to see them everywhere. And with the boom, we can expect to see food halls evolve. We expect to see more than just trends in the menu but also food service and overall dining experience.
It will be interesting to see what food hall developers will do with space regarding design and ambiance. Will future food halls offer better facilities, seating, and charging stations? Are you looking forward to seeing how food halls will evolve or perhaps interested in knowing more about how to become a food hall vendor? We’d love to hear about it. Connect with us at Goliath Consulting Group at email@example.com.
To be a successful bartender, you need more than just an in-depth knowledge of mixing drinks. While your level of skill and ability to memorize hundreds of drink recipes is important, you also need personality and attitude.
As a bartender, you will find yourself in the center of a crowd of people all simultaneously placing their drink orders. And on slow days, you could be looking after a few individuals around the bar who need your attention as much. A good bartender will care about the art of mixing drinks as well as the connections they make with the people they serve. Sometimes, a carefully crafted cocktail delivered with charisma can have the power to bring customers back who ultimately become loyal patrons.
Here are some seven tips and tricks for bartenders who want to make better drinks and a bigger impact:
Know Your Stuff
Study bar terms and techniques. Some bartenders at smaller establishments learn as they go; however, it doesn’t prepare you for moments when a customer asks for something specific or relies on your expertise to make a suggestion. Also, recognizing the difference between liquor vs. liqueur and shaken vs. stirred are things all bartenders should know if they want to become successful.
It doesn’t matter how your day is going, greet your customers with a smile and a positive attitude. People come to the bar for different reasons and how you welcome your customers could make the difference between them having a great time or wallowing in their sorrows over a drink.
Clean as You Go
Keeping a neat bar shows people how professional you are. Also, no one wants to sit and order at a dirty bar. It’s understandable that things can get hectic when there are a lot of orders coming in; however, it can be managed by cleaning residue, spills, and crumbs as you go.
A good bartender knows how to make suggestions. Patrons will come to you seeking your professional recommendations on the best drinks for certain occasions. When you notice that someone is taking a long time looking at the bar menu, offer a suggestion; they will appreciate that you anticipate their needs.
Don’t be afraid to look like an amateur just because you’re using spoons and jiggers to measure down to the last drop. Not only will drinks taste as they should when they are perfectly measured, but you ensure inventory is monitored. It’s good business sense, and you’re not wasteful.
Don’t Play Favorites
Every bar has its regulars. And while you’ve already established a good relationship with loyal clients, it doesn’t mean you should ignore new customers or give them any less attention. You also shouldn’t play favorites on a busy night when multiple people are clamoring for drinks. Be attentive and treat everyone with the same amount of care.
Don’t Stop Learning
Be ready to level up. To make better drinks, practice and add advanced mixing techniques to your bartending set of skills. Whether you’re just starting out or consider yourself the master of mixology, chances are there’s still something new to learn. Be prepared to step outside of your comfort zone and learn new things; you never know when a customer will come in with a request that will demand your expertise or make you open your drink recipe cheat sheet.
For more information on bartending tips and tricks, contact Goliath Consulting Group at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You could have a winning menu and an innovative restaurant concept, but without the right people to help you execute either, your business is bound to fail. Your employees are your biggest asset. Unfortunately, finding first-rate staff isn’t always easy. However, because your team is the lifeblood of your business, it’s worth investing in a hiring strategy to attract and hire the best talent from the start rather than suffer losses due to high turnover and negative customer experiences.
Here are some ways to hire the best employees:
Specific and Descriptive Job Ads
Taking the time to craft a detailed job description saves you from interviewing people who aren’t exactly who you are looking for. By describing your company culture and your restaurant’s concept, you’ll attract people who feel they are the right match for your restaurant’s distinct character and service style.
Structure and standardize all your interviews to get the most out of each encounter. This means having a set list of questions to ask that will help you create a better picture of the candidate’s prior experience and potential. Lead with these questions and end the interview by allowing them to speak freely. While not all the staff you hire will ever have to face guests, it’s key that all the members of your crew communicate effectively.
Contact Previous Employers and Character References
Many restaurant managers make the mistake of not executing this step especially when they feel an interview has gone well. However, many people can charm their way through interviews, but it doesn’t really prove their work ethic. People are rarely honest about why they left their last job. Calling their former employer may reveal that the candidate had attendance issues, took too many breaks, or was fired for misconduct.
Different Interview Methods for Different Positions
Your back-of-house staff have very different responsibilities compared to front-of-house; interviewing them in the same manner makes no sense. Once formalities are out of the way, the best way to test positions that require training and skill like line cooks, sous chefs, and bartenders is by having them show you what they can do on the line. When it comes to back-of-house, you’re looking for experience and ability to execute as soon as they join the team. Some training will always be involved, but it should be more of learning your menu or unique plating style.
Because wait staff and hosts are people you can train to get up to speed on how you do things, a sit-down interview to gauge their personality and willingness to face the fast pace of service is necessary. Prior experience and training are nice to have but because restaurants come in all shapes, sizes, and service styles, hiring wait staff based on potential and the right attitude is better than hiring someone who has years of experience who will a have hard time letting go of how they did things at their last job. In fact, many restaurant managers find that a clean slate is better than hiring an experienced employee who has difficulty deprogramming prior training that doesn't apply to how you run your business.
When it comes to hiring first-rate staff, your gut feeling and instincts play a big part. The most successful restaurants are those that have teams that gel together well and work in tune. That’s why it’s crucial to establish company culture during the interview process to avoid miscommunications later on.
For more information on hiring the right staff for your restaurant, contact Goliath Consulting Group at email@example.com.
“Work smarter, not harder.” A phrase that is becoming quite popular in kitchen management within restaurants. Technology in the kitchen is changing rapidly, improving kitchen safety, efficiency, and overall restaurant profitability. Restaurateurs are modernizing their kitchens creating more fluid and effective operations. From Bluetooth temperature sensors to robots flipping burgers (yes, it’s really possible), restaurants are embracing the technological revolution with incredible results.
What in the world is IoT?
The internet already transformed your day-to-day life and now it’s changing how kitchens operate. Internet of Things (IoT) is a technology recently introduced that allows restaurateurs to monitor equipment remotely. IoT syncs kitchen appliances to the cloud allowing machines to send mobile alerts when temperatures exceed or fall below the desired level (refrigerators, ovens, fryers, etc.). IoT also alerts staff when oil levels are low, filters need changing, parts need replacing, or when an excess of cooking oil is being used. Restaurant Technologies Inc.(1) has partnered with various clients to test IoT, resulting in a as much as a 40% reduction in oil usage, safer, improved labor efficiencies, and lower food costs.
Remember the days of “86’ing” items from your cooler that went overlooked while placing an order? New smart refrigerators are drastically improving food purchasing for restaurants reducing those days of human error to a thing of the past. These refrigerators are yet another appliance that IoT syncs with to provide staff vital information for optimal kitchen management. Refrigerators can now record how long certain products have been stored and determine when they will spoil. Alerts are sent from the refrigerators to kitchen staff immediately when ingredients are low or need to be replaced. IoT also allows for refrigerators to alert staff when fridge temperatures are dropping, which helps restaurants avoid premature spoiling of food. Smart refrigerators can even order products automatically when inventory is low! Even more impressive is this technology’s ability to alert chefs when food allergies have been entered by the front of house staff or through online orders. These alerts can also suggest ingredients for chefs to use or to avoid, improving restaurant safety.
Think smart refrigerators are futuristic? Smart pots and pans have been developed that allow chefs to know exactly when food is done. Forget the days of losing an entire prep batch due to overcooking, smart pots and pans allow chefs to consistently deliver on their recipes. Guests are happier. Employees are more efficient. Food cost can be greatly controlled through the reduction of waste.
In addition to these smart technologies, burger flipping technologies have also been developed that can replace what is known as one of the economies most un-specialized, yet frequently needed jobs in the restaurant market. Miso Robotics created the machine called “Flippy” and claims that it can flip 150-300 burgers per hour, depending on the kitchen staff.
Kitchen production is not the only area enhanced with technology. Restaurants are also upgrading their safety procedures. Employees can now rely on advanced LED Alert Systems to help navigate loud and frantic kitchens. LED lights are activated in the event of an emergency, catching the attention of employees to provide a visual warning for staff rather than an auditory one that often goes unheard.
Frequently new technology is overlooked because of tradition. Restaurants are long stereotyped by the mantra “the way we always have,” however, in competitive markets it is important to stay up to date (1) Empire Casino Case Study by Restaurant Technologies Inc. with new advancements to maintain success and create growth. Kitchen technology is creating safer, more efficient, cost saving operations. Restaurants all over the world are embracing these new kitchen technologies simply because they want to compete…to stay on the cutting edge.
Curious about which technologies can fit your concept and budget? The team at Goliath Consulting Group will help you navigate your options and upgrade your restaurant with efficient, profit-maximizing Next-Gen equipment and systems.
Contact us today at: GetResults@GoliathConsulting.com
A Smarter Kitchen: Restaurant Hospitality
Restaurant Technologies Inc.
As we wrap up the first quarter of the year, we wonder what restaurant trends that were gaining momentum last year continued to pick up speed into the new year and which ones fizzled out. Which design concepts are now considered outdated and which ones are we going to see more of?
Here are some restaurant trends that industry experts say will redefine the dining experience and will stick around awhile:
Tailor-made lighting to create ambiance is growing in popularity. Imagine LED strips, lighter color palettes, accent mirrors, and pinpoint lights that make a room brighter and more attractive.
“Technology will be the biggest influence in lighting in 2018, giving the user ultimate control. Through remote controls and apps, restaurants will be able to control singular bulbs in any part of the space from switching on or off, dimming, and changing color.” - Anita Summers, The Johnson Studio’s associate principal
Old School Feels New Again
"Perhaps as backlash for how unstable we feel things are politically and socially, we seek comfort in what has stood the test of time. Not only do we seek comfort, we praise it. It becomes cool. The steakhouse reemerges, classic French cooking comes back into fashion, and the 'dad' and 'grandpa' aesthetic are seen on runways worldwide. . . . Go to any Houston's in L.A. It's equally populated by older people as it is tattooed hipsters. Dan Tana's. Lawry's. To me, it's all the same story. It's about a new demographic's appreciation, acceptance and delight of things classic." - Jonah Freedman, owner, and designer of Freedman's Los Angeles
Do It for the ‘Gram
It’s all about a restaurant’s “Instagrammability” these days. Think along the lines of colorful walls, patterned floors, murals and interesting artwork, lighting and quirky furniture that it worth sharing on social media and captioned with a thoughtful hashtag.
“The trend keeps driving a fresh, light, bright design, focused around plant life and natural materials, mixed with unexpected, ‘personal,’ or vintage elements, perfect for creating an Instagram moment.” - Sawyer and Krause
Goodbye to Boring White Walls
"At least in New York, I'm seeing a massive break from the sharp and clean aesthetic that took over the restaurant scene for the past few years. A return to the bold color schemes of the 60s—millennial pink and bright red, turquoise and jet black, forest green and muted gold, to name a few—has arrived on the East Coast." - Sasha Bikoff, interior designer, tells the Tasting Table
Go Green or Go Home
“There is growing interest in research on the positive health effects of seeing and being around greenery. We will likely see more ornamental plants integrated into interior design as an antidote to the machine-made world. At the same time, as farm-to-table philosophies evolve to be even more local, we will probably see more restaurants growing herbs and even some produce on-site.” - Ray Chung of The Johnson Studio’s Director of Design tells Architectural Digest
Are you looking forward to see how restaurants will take these trends and make them their own? We’d love to hear about it. Connect with us at Goliath Consulting Group at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most people don’t realize how much work goes into designing a menu. But have you ever noticed how a poorly executed menu could make you think twice about ordering while choosing from a visually stimulating or well-written menu can entice and excite you to try everything it has to offer?
There’s a certain psychology involved in menu design and one that is thoughtfully created can be an effective marketing tool for your restaurant. By blending the artistic elements of graphic design and the science of how the human mind perceives colors, text, and images, you can develop a beautiful menu that has the power to tap into all the right senses.
Here are the main components of a winning menu design:
Strategically Placed Signature Items
Menus may come in different shapes and sizes, but they all have a spot that would be considered as “prime location” if we were talking in terms of real estate. This is the section where eyes naturally go to first. And because most people read menus like a book, they would typically start at the left corner for a multi-page menu.
For a single page menu, however, many menu engineers believe this “sweet spot” to be the top right corner. These sections should be reserved for your signature items.
Menus should stay true to the restaurant’s brand personality. Your brand is so much more than just your logo and name; it’s much deeper than that. Your menu should exude that through your choice of colors, typography, copy, and overall design.
Menus that aren’t accurate representations of the restaurant can throw up the diner’s dining experience. If you’re eating at an elegant fine-dining restaurant, you’re certainly not expecting a menu with cheesy images, bright pops of color, or cheap-looking graphics.
Logical Section Divisions
Place a box or frame around sections to make scanning the menu more comfortable. Your guests should be able to navigate their way around your menu easily. Book style menus typically start in order of how a meal would be served beginning with appetizers, salads, and soups before proceeding to entrees and so on; desserts would be on the last page. Beverages may be separate if you have an extensive drink selection.
Omit Currency Signs
Guests know that the dishes they’re about to order will cost something. However, placing currency signs on items emphasizes the price, and you end up reminding guests of what they’re ultimately paying. By removing the $ sign, you’re downplaying the item’s actual cost while increasing the perceived value of the dish.
If you’re going to use photos of your dishes in your menu, choose the most photogenic ones and have a professional photographer take high-quality images. You may be tempted to involve a food stylist. However, don’t mislead your guests with expertly plated dishes if that’s not what you’re going to actually serve.
Your menu shouldn’t just be grammatically correct, but it should show off your brand personality. A professional copywriter who specializes in menu design may advise you on everything from typography to font size and color and write compelling menu descriptions for you. A professional writer will know how to describe dishes in a concise manner that will still make them sound irresistible.
For more information on what steps can be made to better design your menu, contact Goliath Consulting Group at email@example.com.
Service mistakes can cause any restaurant to lose customers and miss opportunities. Some of the most common mistakes that restaurant employees commit may seem basic and trivial. However, these errors could result in negative reviews or unsatisfied customers who decide to never dine at your establishment again.
Here are 6 of the most common mistakes in restaurant service that you should ensure that you and your staff are not making:
1. Not Welcoming Guests with a Proper Greeting
Too often, we see employees immediately ask guests how many there are in their party or make them choose between the dining room or the bar, or worse, emphasize if a person is eating alone. Guests should be welcomed with a proper greeting before anything else. And while the hostess will be the first to encounter guests, all employees should be prepared to greet guests with a warm welcome.
2. Avoiding Eye Contact
Greet guests with a smile and direct eye contact. Not making eye contact with people can be considered rude, inattentive, or insincere. When you look guests in the eyes when you speak to them, they feel appreciated and valued. Take orders attentively and nod to assure them you’re accurately taking down their orders.
3. Not Being Able to Make Recommendations
Making recommendations means that you want to enhance the guest’s experience by suggesting your best dishes or proposed pairings. If a guest asks you for a recommendation and you cannot provide one, they will either think that you don’t know anything about your offerings or have never dined there and enjoyed the dishes yourself. Well-trained staff should not only know the menu in and out but have personal favorites.
4. Not Accommodating Simple Requests
Not all guests are going to want the salad that goes with the meal and prefer mashed potatoes instead. Or they may want to have the sauce on the side rather than drizzled on top. Unless a guest is asking for a dish that’s not on your menu at all, most requests can be accommodated. And by saying “my pleasure” instead of “we’ll see what we can do,” you’re enhancing their overall dining experience.
5. Interrupting the Dining Experience Too Many Times
It’s fine to ask the guests if they need anything else after the final plate has been delivered. However, returning to the table again and again to ask if everything is ok or refilling their glass when it is still fairly full too often can ruin the experience of diners who are deep in conversation or enjoying their meals.
6. Taking Too Long Bring Them Their Bill and Close Out the Check
Once guests are done, they’re ready to pay their bill and leave. Keeping them waiting too long to either bring their check or return with their change, card, and receipt can ruin what would have been an otherwise wonderful experience.
Even the most established restaurants can sometimes make these mistakes. This is why it’s essential to train and remind staff regularly on what to avoid when ensuring that guests have a wonderful dining experience. For more information on common restaurant mistakes and training for your staff, contact Goliath Consulting Group at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Guy Pittman, Intern
Extensive employee training is a critical component to the success of any business. This is especially true in restaurant industry due to the fast-paced environment, being labor intensive and direct customer engagement. Unfortunately, managers are spending less time training employees properly and instead, leaving the new hire to figure it out themselves. The employee training is often limited by managers so they can meet labor budgets. In the long term, this has the opposite effect, driving up inefficiencies and leading to lower quality products and service impacting sales growth.
Statistics from the National Restaurant Association state annual employee turnover is 72.9 percent—making this the second consecutive year it has topped 70 percent. Lack of proper employee training is a major contributing factor to the restaurant industry’s staggeringly high turnover rates. I can attest to this personally. It was not long before I left my first college job at the local sandwich shop due to a lack of training. This sandwich shop decided that adequately training its employees was not worth the time or money. As a result, myself and the other employees were left uninformed regarding multiple restaurant policies, procedures, and standards. Within my first month of employment, four fellow employees resigned. This organization’s first and most significant mistake was their belief that proper employee training was not important enough to use company time and resources. Lack of training led to frustration, which in turn led to the preventable loss of four hardworking employees—not to mention the incredibly high replacement costs associated with losing four employees at once.
According to the Center for American Progress, hourly workers earning less than $50,000 annually—which covers three-quarters of all workers in the United States—show a typical cost of turnover of 20 percent of their salary. With proper training, these costs are partially absorbed by a proper training program and the rest fall to the bottom line. Proper training leads to higher employee satisfaction, fewer costly mistakes, lower turnover rates, and ultimately thousands of dollars saved. The results are more efficient and fluid restaurant operations and higher revenue. When employees are trained properly they become confident, competent, and content in their work environment.
2017 has been quite a ride so far for the restaurant industry.
New trends are constantly developing. As a restaurant owner, it’s a challenge stay up-to-date and well informed on issues affecting your business. Fierce grocery store competition and their deflating prices is an example of one of the negative trends impacting restaurant guest traffic. These trends, will in turn have effects on restaurant traffic. So... what is simply “the new trend”, and what can restaurant owners expect to see moving into 2018.
Time is a major factor in the decision to eat away from home. At home meal kits are growing in popularity. The at home meal kits movement is now a $2.2 billion industry and just beginning to take off. Amazon is hoping to accomplish something similar with their purchase of Whole Foods. The grocery industry is also moving towards better quality prepared foods, with Whole Foods as one of the leaders. These options allow the consumer to get restaurant quality meals on the go to take back to the office or home.
With competition between grocers increasing due to deflating produce prices, consumers are reaping the benefits. In response to the appealing low prices on groceries, the food-at-home index is up 0.4%. Considering the low prices and rising food-at-home index, the food-away-from-home index has still found a way to thrive, rising 2.4% in the last year according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Food halls are becoming a bigger player in cities across the country. The number of food halls has grown upwards of 37% since 2016 with over 100 across the country. This number is expected to double by 2019 according to the Wall Street Journal. Food halls are beginning to make their way into the south as their popularity continues to grow. The impact of food halls to neighboring restaurants can have a negative impact of 12 to 24 months. It’s not just one restaurant – but eight or more – that open. The results can be significant.
Are there too many restaurants?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more than 620,000 eating and drinking locations in the United States—that is a 13% increase since 2010. New eating and drinking locations are growing at a rate almost twice as fast as the US population. Due to this, the biggest obstacle that many restaurants are facing is over-saturation. Customers are still spending money dining out; however, the money is spread across more restaurants, this is resulting in flat to negative sales and guest traffic counts in restaurants across the country. As 2018 approaches, the issue of restaurant over-saturation doesn’t seem to be letting up any time soon.
The constant shift in restaurant trends is an ever-changing game. 2017 has brought expansion of food halls, home meal kits, and other alternative food-away from home dining experiences that challenge restaurant owners. Alongside these trends, the deflating grocery prices and over-saturation of restaurants will be factors as restaurant owners plan for 2018.
Blog post contributed by Katie Alteri, Fora Financial for Goliath Consulting Group.
Katie Alteri is the content marketing coordinator at Fora Financial, a company that provides small business loans to businesses across the U.S. Fora Financial can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.
Kitchens use more energy per square foot than just about any type of commercial space. And energy costs have increased over 40 percent in the lasts five years. Atlanta has the highest water cost in the country! Now is the time to invest in energy efficient equipment and systems. Remember, every dollar you save, goes directly to your bottom line.
First, audit your current operations for opportunities to save energy. This includes equipment, the building shell, and operational uses of your equipment. Next, target changes that have the fastest return on investment. Typically, 6 months or less. For example, if you change out a dishroom pre-rinse spay nozzle, it should pay for itself within six months. Based on our review of many kitchens; there is a huge opportunity to reap immediate savings.
You will be amazed at how much money you save when you select energy efficient equipment. And higher-end energy efficient equipment typically lasts longer and has opportunities to add labor saving features; such as automatic basket lifts on a fryer. Another hidden fact is that energy efficient equipment typically has a greater throughput of foods, read: faster cook times!
New technological trends here to stay include heat recovery systems. Heat that is generated by cooking is captured and used to heat building hot water systems. Heat from hot water discharged from dishwashers is used the same way. And cooking exhaust systems that adjust based on the amount of cooking at any given times, allow for great reduction in building HVAC costs. These examples are all systems that have fast ROI’s and are here to stay.
Now is the time to create a comprehensive energy savings plan. Goliath Consulting Group partners with Kip Serfozo’s team at Camacho Consulting to audit and create best equipment practices. Kip Serfozo is a LEED Accredited Professional (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design). He has worked on many LEED Gold and Platinum hospitality buildings around the country. He is an expert in kitchen design and operational analysis.
res· tau· rant tech· nol· o· gy - (noun)
Any piece of software or computerized tool used in foodservice establishments or to aid in overall operations.
Examples included, but are not limited to, point of sale, inventory, reservations, etc.
If you look back 20 years, that term would be used to describe now archaic point of sale systems. The clunky old machines that, at the time, were cutting edge and would save your servers time and reduce the manual errors your staff would make using hand written receipts and knuckle busters. In those days, you had approximately 7 options to choose from. Flash forward to 2017 and at last count we are at 487. On top of the industry nearing 500 POS options, it’s advanced into inventory systems, reservation management
platforms, analytic tools, onboarding, HR, training, branded apps, online ordering, delivery, food safety, geofencing, marketing and social media platforms, diner demographics.... the list goes on. While these tools were all developed to make your lives easier, you now face a new set of problems.
Unfortunately, most account reps you meet with these various brands will tell you that their product is perfect for you. To be fair, their job is to sell you on all of the benefits of their offering and help you see why their system is the best. Enter Break Bread Consulting. Born from the ever-growing need for clarity in an otherwise jumbled field, our technology consultants work with your brand to understand your specific needs, research appropriate tools and products, ensure fully integrated solutions, and negotiate fair rates. Consider us interim IT Directors. We act as a member of your team to ensure you are set up for success and can implement technology and use it for the reason it was built...to make your life easier.
At Break Bread Consulting, we believe that there is no one size fits all and that each restaurant has very specific needs and goals that need to be considered when looking at new technology. Because of that, we work with our clients one on one with a fully customized and individually catered program to help them reach their unique goals. While the end goal of each individual or group may vary, we strive to create fully integrated systems and work off of a holistic view of your business.
As our industry changes, you must adapt. And we’re here to help.
For more information go to: www.breakbreadconsulting.com/contact
About Break Bread Consulting
Break Bread Consulting was founded in 2014 by industry lifer Brianne Lane. With the restaurant industry finally catching up with modern technology trends a new problem arose. So many new options flooding the restaurant market on a daily basis make it incredibly difficult for restaurant owners to sort through the various point of sale systems, analytic tools, etc and find the best option for their concept.
Break Bread acts as your dedicated IT Specialist. We research products, attend demos, obtain price quotes and even negotiate with software companies to ensure you're getting the best possible price.
We're excited to announce that Chef Britt Cloud has joined the Goliath Consulting Group as Consulting Chef. Chef Britt will head up menu development and food safety services including teaching ServSafe classes.
Britt is an accomplished, formally trained chef with twenty-five years of experience in the restaurant industry covering all facets of cooking and management. Special skills include opening new restaurants—five to date—from quick serve to fine dining.
Before attending the Culinary Institute of America for his AOS in Culinary Arts, Britt honed his restaurant management skills in a popular bakery café chain in Washington, DC. He transferred that knowledge into the kitchen, where he has managed teams of 25+ staff and ensured consistency and efficiency to meet customer expectations.
Britt brings to Goliath a solid background and interest in menu development, including wine pairing and integration of beer, wine, and spirits to enhance the dining experience. His culinary creativity is matched by his strengths in operational proficiencies, including managing P&L statements, production statistics, staff schedules, food waste logs, purchasing and inventory, and accounts receivable.
Most recently, Britt served as executive chef for two sister restaurants, creating seasonal menus in scratch kitchens based on a farm-to-table concept. At Goliath, he provides his back-of-the-house expertise to help clients achieve their restaurant visions.
Cyberattacks are on the rise as the world economy has shifted to the digital age. For the restaurant industry, hackers aren’t just focused on payment card data, but now collect information on entire businesses and their operations. The customers, employees, reputation, and brand of a business are all at risk with today’s data breaches. Cyber criminals recognize the technological advancements made in the restaurant industry and are beginning to use these advancements as pathways to more profitable cyber-attacks. As these cyber-attacks evolve, so must the strategies for restaurant owners. Cybersecurity is no longer about playing defense; it is about planning offensively. It is crucial that restaurant owners take proper precautions to ensure cybersecurity.
The National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) Cybersecurity 101 Toolkit lays out the most common ways data
breaches cost restauranteurs and what they can do to better prepare.
Often following a major restaurant cyber-attack, the greatest concern is the loss of customer information. As harmful as this loss may be to a restaurant, it is not the only looming issue that the business faces. Along with customer, employee information is also vulnerable. Valuable personal data including Social Security numbers and sensitive financial information can be obtained by cyber criminals through data breaches.
A data breach is also damaging to a restaurant’s bottom line. For example, the smallest suspicion of a breach can lead to a forensic investigation which can cost anywhere from $12,000 to $100,000. After investigations, if a breach has been detected it is estimated that the average small business may pay $36,000 to $50,000. Lawsuits related to security breaches can be as damaging to brand reputations as they are to the bottom line of a business. Once a breach has been detected, a business has a legal obligation to inform the media. This can lead to costly litigation fees.
Litigation and investigation fees are often only the beginning of the costs to a restaurant’s bottom line. Once a breach has occurred, there are unavoidable damages to a restaurant’s reputation and brand. Research has shown that 15 percent of consumers would cease doing business with a restaurant if there was evidence of a data breach. Harm to a restaurants brand name and reputation can prove to be the most expensive cost incurred by businesses that have suffered a data breach.
Fortunately, there are safety measures that can help reduce the risks of cyber-attacks. However, restaurant owners must take a proactive approach towards cybersecurity if they wish to reduce the risk of a breach. Heartland Payment Systems provides six bullet points to help with cybersecurity:
• Follow the PCI DSS Standards. https://www.pcisecuritystandards.org/pci_security/maintaining_payment_security
• Use a PCI compliance vendor program to complete PCI compliance attestation such as Heartland’s Merchant Protection Program.
• Leverage secure products such as Heartland Secure P2PE devices to minimize data.
• Educate and empower employees to identify issues first.
• Understand your risk and perform risk assessments to find vulnerabilities and gaps.
• Prepare for a breach by implementing an incident response process.
Predictions reveal that losses from cyber-attacks will grow from $460 billion in 2016 to greater than $6 trillion in 2021. As technology continues to advance, cyber-attacks will become an even more pressing issue. Being proactive with cybersecurity is vitally important with the skills of today’s hackers.
For more information on what steps can be made to better secure your restaurant and training for your staff, contact Goliath Consulting Group at email@example.com
Heartland Payment Systems: https://www.heartlandpaymentsystems.com/blog/2017/04/14/data-breach-2017
National Restaurant Association: http://www.restaurant.org/Cybersecurity
The goal behind the creation of any restaurant is to earn the maximum returns by providing a superior experience to the customers. However, in this world of increased competition, the restaurant brands need to come up with exciting new ways to enhance their sales and be in the top runner spot.
With the increase in the number of restaurants and prepared food points including grocery stores and convenience stores, the customers now have plenty of options at their disposal; hence, the restaurant brands need to incorporate new strategies to be the top preference of the consumer. Restaurant brands need to reach consumers and give them different opportunities to get their food apart from the traditional dine-in option.
In today’s restaurant business environment, 20% or more of sales for restaurants without a drive-thru are due to delivery, catering and take-out options. Most of the people who are running out of time to visit the restaurant of their choice, and instead opt for delivery and take-out options. If you are not offering any such option; you may lose out on sales as your customers will move to better options.
Most of the restaurants have now started to use technological tools for growth of their business and to reach out to maximum customers. Brands have now partnered with various companies, like UberEATS, Food.ee, Amazon and other companies that offer delivery services. These companies are helping both the restaurants and the customers by acting as intermediaries. While many restaurants are offering delivery services, partnering with a delivery company enables them to reach out to those areas where they may not be able to provide delivery services otherwise.
Technology has brought various opportunities for restaurant brands to reach more consumers. One such option is to go with online ordering. Online ordering through a website portal developed for your restaurant will allow users to order directly from it. Furthermore, you can also get a dedicated mobile app for your restaurant to reach your customer on their mobile device.
The basic formula for success, without any doubt, depends on the quality of food and service. However, the consumer is looking for more options on how to purchase your food. To grow your sales, you must find ways to make your food more convenient to purchase in a way the consumer wants to interact with your brand.
In summary, the success of a restaurant depends on a blend of various factors. The restaurant industry is feeling pressure from grocery stores and other points of distribution. Combined with the saturation of restaurants in many markets, restaurant brands are feeling the pressure on their top and bottom lines. If you are a restaurant brand and want to enhance your sales beyond the regular dine-in options; you need to think out of the box for coming up with effective strategies to provide your customers an easy and hassle-free way to reach you.
When restaurants face nagging problems or about to enter a new stage of growth, it is time to consider a consultant. Operating costs, menu execution, customer service, marketing, supply chain or profitability have been troublesome or concerning without any sight of improvement it may be time to consider that assistance. In the long run, the ROI of a hiring a consultant can quite high by helping you resolve profitability issues and operational problem or avoid a costly mistake in the startup or expansion.
The consultant, being an objective outsider, can recognize issues more clearly. Then suggest and assist with implementing solutions more effectively than you, managers and your staff. When you’re close to a situation there is a tendency to being mired in the details and not be able to come up with a solid strategy and corresponding tactics to overcome the problems with the business. Consultants provide an objective point of view that is based on facts of the situation and the business.
A consultant brings to your business ideas and solutions that have been successful in other operations. Consultants have specialized knowledge, skills and experience to assist the operator with a combination of problem-solving, planning or implementation services depending on what the situation dictates.
Here are areas where a restaurant consultant will help you:
At Goliath Consulting Group, in most cases, we start with an operational assessment to provide you with insights on the underlying problems affecting performance as well as recommendations for solutions and the effect it is having on your business. Other engagements tackle a specific need: build a marketing plan, update the menu, develop a business plan for growth etc. We have the skills and experience to help you improve the situation you are facing.
Technology has radically altered the way we do business and live our lives. A lot of tasks have been automated and others, which still require human input, have been greatly simplified making life easier for the entire human race. The process has just begun but it has already affected all areas of our lives so the restaurant business is no exception. From the onset, it appears that the restaurant business has a model which is heavily dependent on people, starting from the chef to the waiter who delivers the food so the question which naturally comes to mind is how is the restaurant industry getting benefits from the incorporation of technology in its business? Let us show you how.
Ordering on the go. Smartphones have radically altered the process of takeaway for many popular fast food chains. Customers can simply open up the app of their favorite fast food chain on their smartphones and order anything from the entire menu to their liking. The app will tell them the approximate time it’ll take their order to be prepared. Once it is prepared, they can simply collect it from the counter or drive-thru. This saves the time customers had to spend in long queues when they ordered after getting to the restaurant. Also, it reduces the pressure on the kitchen staff as by giving them some space as the orders are not constantly pouring in.
Tabletop check-outs. Nobody likes it when the waiter takes away our credit card for what seems like an eternity, it makes us deeply uncomfortable as we’ve all heard stories of credit card fraud and identity theft after paying in a restaurant through our credit card. Some entrepreneurs have developed solutions for self-checkouts right on your dinner table. The device is essentially a tablet running a proprietary software which displays your bill and gives options to order other things before you leave. It saves a lot of time for the restaurant, allowing them to service more diners in the same night and the customers don’t get uneasy as the credit card doesn’t get out of their sight while the online payment process is protected by encryption.
Create your own food. Technology has really changed the food industry to the point where it has started to define how food is prepared and how customers too can participate in the process. The choices have also been significantly increased. One ice cream machine by the vendor MooBella can deliver a mind-boggling total of 96 variants pf ice cream using a standard set of ingredients and any of these flavors can be had in less than a minute. It reduces the need for staff and saves time in the delivery of ice cream, many cafeterias, and fast food restaurants have shown an interest in this.
Restaurant Management Systems. An important aspect of running of any restaurant is the proper utilization of its resources and for this many software solutions have been developed which can be easily installed on your tab and can give detailed views of all information related to tables, inventory, orders etc. in real time.
The question for most restaurant owners is “Where do we begin?” That’s where the Goliath Consulting Group team can help by sifting through all the technology available, choose the solutions that best fit your organization and develop an implementation plan to get you up and running.
As restaurant managers, operators or owners, we like to think that we can never fall victim to an outbreak of food-borne illness. As consumers, we like to assume that we cannot contract a food-borne disease while dining at a restaurant. While everyone likes to think that they are taking all the precautions to prevent food-borne diseases, the fact remains that these diseases occur way too often. A report published by CDC in 2015 cited that food-borne diseases are on the rise. As such, it’s now more important than ever before for food establishments to re-evaluate their food safety practices to reduce the risk of food-borne illnesses.
Ever wonder how these pathogens end up in restaurants? Unfortunately, there are several ways pathogens can find their way into restaurants including guests coming with them, the food supply etc. If a restaurant doesn’t adhere to safe food preparation protocols, these pathogens are likely to survive and with time, gain the ability to cause harm to guests. So how are restaurants doing when it comes to food safety? Believe it or not, CDC studies have found that restaurants are the most common sources of food-borne diseases. There’s a lot of room for improvement and a number of precautions that restaurants can take to reduce the risk of food borne diseases.
The food service industry and medical professionals are increasingly becoming concerned about the increased number of microbes that are now resistant to food preparation methods, antibiotics and storage methods. It’s even more unfortunate that few consumers hardly view their own food safety practices as potential hazards.
Other factors that contribute to increased incidents of food safety issues include change in consumer lifestyles and demographics, change in the food system where the lines between food service operators, retail grocers and food process are fading as well as advancements in science and technology have allowed for better methods of detecting disease causing pathogens.
Many restaurant owners and consumers begin to worry about effective food safety measures when an outbreak occurs. They somehow forget that prevention is better than the outcome of dealing with a food-borne illness outbreak that can have quite a negative impact on the public and the brand.
Types of food-borne diseases that impact the industry
There are more than 250 food-borne diseases caused by prions, metals, toxins, parasites, bacteria and viruses. The most common ones that affect the food service industry that also pose a dire threat to humans include norovirus, listeria, E. coli, hepatitis A and salmonella.
E. coli: Even when ingested in small amounts, these bacteria can cause damage to the intestines. Effects of the bacteria include violent vomiting, mild discomfort and in extreme
cases, death. It spreads by a fecal-to-oral route where contamination can occur at the farm and if not cleaned properly, the guests at a restaurant can easily ingest it.
Listeria: Unlike other bacteria that need high temperatures to thrive, listeria can survive on lower temperatures. It spreads through cross contamination in food and can be quite dangerous especially for individuals who aren’t immunized. For pregnant women, listeria can cause infant mortality.
Norovirus: Frequent outbreaks of norovirus have compounded a concern for food safety especially in the restaurant industry. The virus is highly contagious and often spreads through human-to-food-to-human contact especially as a result of poor hygiene practices in food service environments. And whether or not they show symptoms, humans can still transfer the virus.
Building the foundation of an effective food safety program
Having an effective food safety program in place is important for protecting the public and the employees in a restaurant. Considering that the CDC has attributed more than 1300 deaths, almost 56,000 hospitalizations and 9.4 million illnesses to food-related pathogens, the issue of food safety in restaurants is a matter of urgency. The success of a food safety program is highly dependent on several factors including ensuring that employees are trained and understand the importance of food safety.
A good food safety program should have a few essential characteristics some of which include:
• Identify the hazards and determine the risks involved
• Implement systems that can help combat the risks
• Prohibit your workers from coming to work while ill
• Follow the proper cooking instructions such as internal temperatures
• Provide an alcohol-based hand sanitizer for guests to use when they come into the restaurant
• Wash hands frequently, when preparing food or after visiting the washrooms
• Implement processes to prevent cross-contamination
Monitoring food preparation and service during every shift keenly is important if restaurant owners, managers and operators wish to minimize the risk of food-borne disease. Working with and not against local food safety departments is also a big step. All shift managers should also consider enrolling for ServSafe classes offered by Goliath Consulting Group or through your local restaurant association and the National Restaurant Association.
For more information on Food Safety in Restaurants, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
It is vital for restaurants to manage and monitor their reputation online for very obvious reasons. If you have a great restaurant, people will rave about you offline because of your amazing food you serve to them and the wonderful experience that they enjoy at your place. If you have a poor online reputation management strategy, or you have no strategy at all, you miss out on the chance to enhance your brand’s image. Measuring your brand’s online presence is of great importance.
The Importance of Social Listening Applications
You need to know what is being said about your restaurant’s brand on the internet. A strong online presence is a vital element of your marketing and should be part of your action plan. This is regardless of how small or large your business is and regardless of which industry your business belongs to. Outbound marketing will reinforce your brand and a web presence will help you represent the reasons why your restaurant is so great. Thus identifying and evaluating conversations about your brand, your services and your competition become vital.
Social Media Platforms to Monitor
Numerous social media platforms have come up in the recent past and it is necessary to monitor conversation on such platforms. There is Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn and Pinterest for example. There is no doubt that it can be quite hectic to monitor all these social media platforms. There are tools available that can help you keep track of conversation that centers on your restaurant. Google Alerts is a great tool because you will get notifications through email anytime appear somewhere on the web. You also get links to reference sites and you are able to recognize what is being said.
Importance of Determining Your Traffic Sources
Google analytics will help you determine your traffic source and you can develop advanced segments for your website as well as for your social media platforms. Google Analytics helps you track website visitors and also helps you determine which social media platforms to use to drive traffic to your website. Generally, numerous online platforms promote interaction among users regarding a specific product or service. Evaluating the influence of your restaurant online will assist you in understanding the influence of your brand online. Finding out how your brand exhibits itself to its audience and how its online reputation is perceived will enable you to create a favorable brand impression.
How Restaurants Can Handle Social Media Effectively
While many restaurants might be using social media, not many are using it productively. Some restaurant businesses have not made plans to use social media effectively and as a result, they are not getting good reaction online. The benefits of social media might not be seen instantly but raising online brand awareness will have a long term benefit and will increase the bottom line. A good presence online can have dramatic effects and bring about great success for restaurants. One approach to having a great online presence would be to have online competitions and to have insightful topical issues on food and nutrition. This can have a dramatic increase in your restaurant’s online presence. With more people talking about your restaurant online, this active engagement can bring about more customers walking into your doors. If you position your restaurant business online as a brand with healthy food for example, people will want to be associated with your business.
The Importance of Online Reputation Intelligence
To manage your online presence, you must control what appears when people Google the name of your restaurant. But this is not enough. You should essentially analyze the negative sentiments that appear online about your restaurant and you ought to address them. A majority of customers will probably read online reviews before making a decision to walk into your restaurant. What they read might determine if they want to do business with you or not. The simplicity of reputation management is that businesses learn what customers are talking about with regards to their experience with the specific business. Reputation monitoring will locate comments and observations from new sites, blogs and social networks and help you get the full picture of what people talk about your restaurant. Positive word of mouth will propel foot traffic into your restaurant. Negative word of mouth will on the other hand destroy your restaurant business. Knowing what is negative about your business can help you make key changes.
Dealing with Social Media Correctly
When you monitor social media, you will get information that you must respond to. Such information can be negative at times. You must respond to negative social media in an appropriate manner. Never try to justify yourself because that might hurt your brand. Everyone else reads comments both negative and positive. Never blame the person who commented and try to be balanced and professional in your responses. Always be brief and do not go on for too long or you will reveal too much. When you keep it simple, the customer might be encouraged to approach you directly and this might resolve a matter amicably. Comments should be treated as consumer research and this will help your restaurant. It is always important to think like the customer and put yourself in their shoes before making any replies. Social media can help your restaurant business but can also destroy you.