Sunday, September 30, 2007

September Wanes!

Fiscal Periods are always a riveting discussion. Today is the last day of September. New startups tend toward simple, and the most understandable fiscal period is monthly. The advantage of tracking revenues and expenses on a monthly basis is that you are familiar with months. If a transaction occurs in the month of September it goes into September’s profit and loss. Landlords, utilities, lenders, and vendors for instance require payment based on the month not on the fiscal period. Today would be the last day of the September Monthly Fiscal period. Monthly basis is weaker when you try to do year over year comparisons, because dates fall on different days. For example if you compare Sunday September 30 this year with Saturday September 30 last year the data is skewed, you are comparing apples to oranges.

If you want to achieve it measure it”, is an oft used cliché that has relevance here. You compare year to year to determine whether the enterprise is moving forward, sideways or backwards. The essential ingredient in measurement is to consistently use the same metric. When the enterprise matures the accounting period is usually one item that is tweaked to better reflect the fundamentals of the business. This enables better year to year comparisons and aids in the ongoing business planning process.

There are a variety of fiscal periods divided into a Jan –Dec calendar year. The most prevalent divide the year into quarters with a 5-4-4, 4-4-5 or 4-5-4 combination of weekly periods. The advantage is that you will be able to compare week 21 of one year with week 21 of another year and they represent the same Monday – Sunday weekly period.

Restaurants weekly periods can also shift. An example would be a café in a downtown office building is probably closed on Saturday and Sunday, so a Monday – Sunday fiscal week is perfect. A tourist restaurant which has high weekend traffic would choose a Wednesday – Tuesday fiscal week.

As the sun sets and blends into night, the fiscal periods for many are ending as September Wanes!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Organic Farming:

Utopia or Armageddon, two articles, two perspevtives.

Elizabeth Finkel of Cosmos Magazine does an interesting piece on the latest hot trend: Organic Farming:

“Popular or not, it's clear that organic food is not necessarily healthier, nor more sustainable or better for the environment. With the Earth's climate changing fast, and the human population heading for nine or 10 billion, we need solutions based on scientific evidence rather than faith and good intentions.

The boutique organic foods café is a great place to enjoy the romantic idyll of traditional farming and natural foods, but when it comes to the reality of feeding the world, one would have to agree with Roush: "If improving sustainability and reducing the environmental footprint is the goal, we need to be prepared to use the best tools we have."

The University of Michigan study reaches a different conclusion: Organic Farming Can feed the world

Organic farming can yield up to three times as much food on individual farms in developing countries, as low-intensive methods on the same land—according to new findings which refute the long-standing claim that organic farming methods cannot produce enough food to feed the global population.”…

…For their analysis, researchers defined the term organic as: practices referred to as sustainable or ecological; that utilize non-synthetic nutrient cycling processes; that exclude or rarely use synthetic pesticides; and sustain or regenerate the soil quality.

Perfecto said the idea that people would go hungry if farming went organic is "ridiculous."

"Corporate interest in agriculture and the way agriculture research has been conducted in land grant institutions, with a lot of influence by the chemical companies and pesticide companies as well as fertilizer companies—all have been playing an important role in convincing the public that you need to have these inputs to produce food," she said.”

I suspect the truth lies somewhere in between. The key question from the perspective of your restaurant should be “is organic viable in my area?”. If your restaurant chooses to emphasize organic farming, is there enough of a supply in your area to sustain it. Trust comes into play here. The worst thing that can happen is for your guests to expect organic and you not being able to deliver based on supply considerations.

Utopia or Armageddon, the question remains for Organic Farming!

Friday, September 28, 2007


Creating Customer Advocacy is all about Trust.

Patrick Williams at the Selling Sherpa Blog lays out the elements of Trust:

“• Never ever exaggerate, mislead, or lie

• Show your customers that you really can help them handle problems.

• Ensure every promise you make is kept.

• Stay in constant contact with your customers.

• Concern yourself with the success of others. (If you do, your success is virtually assured!)”

Continual honest communication is the key to Trust!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

How to Grow Step 1:

Becky Carroll, “Coffeehouse Blues” post did a very good job at tackling a common growth scenario. She looked at the project from the point of view of the customer and you must also.

They are profitable, they are well-known locally, and they have a group of loyal customers from which to build. By taking some time to understand the needs of their best customers, as well as how they can improve their customer experience, they have the foundation necessary to keep and grow existing customers as well as bring in new customers via word of mouth and customer advocacy.”

Only by understanding “why people frequent your restaurant” can you ever hope to build and grow. Let your guest tell you why they come to your restaurant, do not guess. Knowing that you do not know is wisdom, thinking you know is arrogance. It may be that the best thing about your restaurant is the location and this concept will not work anywhere else. It is easy to fool oneself into thinking that you are a great restaurateur. Until you ask the guest and they tell you “why”, you do not really know.

Forget about other projects until you understand How to Grow Step 1.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Up Sell:

Servers who Up Sell are happier, receive higher tips, and have a greater following as a rule. Why then is Up Selling not a religion for people in the restaurant business? Why are so many resistant to the notion that Up Selling done with integrity is a positive. I am mystified.

If a guest asks for vodka, simply respond “Absolut or Ketel One”. If they ask for a glass of Merlot, simply respond “we have a fabulous appetizer special this evening that is perfectly complimented by the Merlot”. If they ask for a cup of coffee ask them “ if they would like a freshly toasted bagel with cream cheese”. Please be sincere. If you are not honest with your guest, they will deduce the subterfuge and not only will you not Up Sell but you will antagonize the guest as well.

Up selling is the easiest way to raise your check average, start a conversation with the guest and begin the process of creating customer advocacy.

Up Sell!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Robert Cialdini’s book “Influence, The Psychology of Persuasion” describes scarcity:

“Limited time offer creates a sense urgency that people respond to”

It is fascinating that rational human beings are continually manipulated by clever marketing. Doubtless responding to scarcity serves some evolutionary need and those who possess that trait have survived. Today’s Special, Lobster Week, Shrimp Fest, early bird and night owl specials all work at generating traffic because you are artificially creating scarcity. Items are much more valuable in limited supply. Sale is the most used word in marketing.

People respond to the thought of Scarcity!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Memorable Event:

Every day guests come into your restaurant, is it a memorable experience?

Tim Ferris asked a question on his post:

“If you were holding a party for 100 VIPs in SF or NYC and had no budget (or no more than $1,000, whichever you prefer), what would you do to make the event memorable and fun?”

Restaurants generally have less than the $1,000 to spend on atmosphere daily, however there are things that do not cost much which can have a powerful effect on creating customer advocacy.

Find ways to make your guest remember their visit to your restaurant as a Memorable Event!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Autumnal Equinox:

Sunlight and Starlight, Day and Night, Balance and Counterbalance. The Daylight Map of the world normally, a bell shaped curve is a perfect rectangle. The seasons march on, the earth continues her journey around the sun. Time to evaluate menu’s, prepare for the upcoming holiday season and bring a little order to the chaos that is a restaurateurs life

Balance is the "Special Of the Day" on the Autumnal Equinox

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Social Proof #2

Jonah Lehrer at the Frontal Cortex mentions Information Cascades, a fancy name for Social Proof:

Information Cascades. Imagine two restaurants that open next door to each other. The first hungry customer doesn't know which restaurant is better, so he flips a coin and hopes for the best. A little bit later, another customer arrives. He also doesn't know which restaurant is better, but he assumes that the restaurant with at least one customer must be better. When the third customer shows up, he sees two people in one restaurant and none in the other, so he also goes to the popular place. The cycle continues in this manner until most customers end up choosing the popular restaurant, even though the other restaurant might serve better food. This is irrational behavior, but it's wired into us. One of the ways we deal with an uncertain situation is to follow the lead of others. We find comfort in numbers.

Economists refer to this process as an "information cascade".

People need to be with other people. The restaurateur’s mission is to facilitate that need.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Busted Budgets:

Tyler Cowen at The Marginal Revolution Blog comments on the factors inherent in every construction project

“That's by Barry B. LePatner and the subtitle is How to Fix America's Trillion-Dollar Construction Industry.

“The key problem is that building or new construction owners become completely dependent on information provided by their contractors. The contractors experience cost overruns and the commissioning owners have to suffer delays, cost increases, and the general feeling of having been screwed over. Opportunism and recontracting are rampant.”

Restaurateurs are only involved in construction during the build out phase. Most do not want to be involved at all and outsource the entire phase. Running a restaurant is easy, building is the hard part. Costs escalate rapidly and you are left with an unfinished space and Busted Budgets!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Visual Appeal:

Roger Dooley at the Nueromarketing Blog has a great post about how we react to the sight of food:

“Chefs and food critics alike will underscore that visual appeal is important in appreciating food. (I should point out that this study looked only at sight and taste, while it is certain that smell is a critical component of enjoying food and is probably at least as potent as the other senses.) Skilled chefs take care to present their dishes in an attractive and appetizing manner - they understand (without neuromarketing input!) that enhancing the visual appeal will make the food taste better.

Food marketers should follow the old maxim that “a picture is worth a thousand words” - showing people a picture of a food they crave bypasses conscious thought and directly activates the brain.”

Presentation and architecture influences how a meal will taste. Fundamental in this discussion is the fact that dining in a restaurant, coffee house, deli or bookstore is not about the act of eating. Restaurants are places where people go to interact with other people, dining out is all about sociability.

Menu items to be successful need a Visual Appeal!

Customer of the Month:

Patrick Williams over at the Selling Sherpa Blog talks about “Customer of the Month

“After a session with one of my consulting clients, we walked up the street to a coffee shop to continue our conversation. We entered and the place was buzzing with conversation, energy, and activity.

On the counter near the register was a prominent frame with a picture of one of their regular patrons noting his selection as “Customer of the Month”. I was impressed by this and wondered how one achieves such an honor.

I asked the barista about the selection criteria and she informed me that it’s a group decision by all who work there.”

Creating Customer Advocacy is all about putting your guest front and center in your restaurant. Who is your restaurants Customer of the Month!

Municipal Help:

New York City is helping restaurants navigate the web of regulations necessary to get a restaurant license. An article from Associated Press:

“The program — apparently the nation's first city-sponsored restaurant training workshop — is meant to help would-be restaurateurs navigate the city's notorious red tape in opening a restaurant.

"If you want to open a restaurant in New York City you may be visiting up to a dozen different agencies," said Robert Walsh, commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services. "In a complex situation where you have an outdoor cafe in a landmarked building, you could need up to 50 different permits. That is a time-consuming, maddening effort."

Run by New York City's Department of Small Business Services and Seedco, a nonprofit organization that promotes job training and entrepreneurship, the seminar consists of lectures and PowerPoint presentations plus the chance to network with fellow students.”

Just an “Average Joe” observation here, would it not be easier to enact laws and regulations that make sense and are not shrouded in mystery. Governments enact unintelligible laws and then help its citizenry understand them.

It is good to know that when the rules and regulations become so convoluted that everyone is confused, you can count on a little Municipal Help!

Demographic Labor Challenge:

Augmenting the immigration challenge of the previous post, the demographic shift of baby boomers retiring stands to disrupt labor patterns even more. Some boomers have already taken early retirement, however the first of the baby boomers will reach 62 next year, so it begins in earnest and will continue for several years. The pool of available workers in the restaurant will be smaller. Also impacted will be the amount of workers that provide support services to restaurants. (i.e. there will be less plumbers, electricians, delivery drivers, bakers etc.). Interestingly this shift will impact the immigration debate discussed earlier because immigration is a readily available solution.

These demographic factors will affect how you are able to receive, prepare and deliver products and services to your guest. Restaurateurs who innovate around these factors will prosper. In a future post I will discuss how the demographic shifts will impact your guest as their dining patterns change as a result of retirements.

Restaurateurs already beset with daily challenges, now they face the looming Demographic Labor Challenge!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Labor Challenge:

Immigration has always been an issue in the restaurant industry. A recent post on the Creativity Exchange Blog points to:

this incredible interview with British economist Philippe Legrain, author of Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them. Legrain points out the economic value of immigration and of diversity and of the absurdity of current US policy.”…

…“In any case, the US does not just need highly skilled workers, it still relies on low-skilled ones too. In fact, they account for over a quarter of US jobs. Every hotel requires not just managers and marketing people, but also receptionists, chambermaids and waiters. Every hospital requires not just doctors and nurses, but also many more cleaners, cooks, laundry workers and security staff. Many low-skilled jobs cannot readily be mechanized or imported: the elderly cannot be cared for by a robot or from abroad. And as people get richer, they increasingly pay others to do arduous tasks, such as home improvements, that they once did themselves, freeing up time for more productive work or more enjoyable leisure. Thus as advanced economies create high-skilled jobs, they inevitably create low-skilled ones too.”

Many areas of the country are already feeling the impact of the anti immigration sentiment. Undocumented workers are becoming scarce in hospitality. The impact will be exasperated by the passage and enforcement of a law that shifts responsibility to the employer if workers social security number does not match federal records.

Restaurateurs will be forced to review processes to compensate for the Labor Challenge!

Sunday, September 16, 2007


“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man” Heraclitus

Successful management of a restaurant requires that the staff, vendors, and almost everyone that crosses your path, question everything all the time. Every restaurant has processes in place. Exacting recipes are followed to prepare menu items, purchases are handled in a predetermined fashion, record keeping follows a preset daily schedule. The question that must be asked continually is “is there a better way?”

The criteria for the answer to the question is simple, will this make it easier for the restaurant guest to buy from us? In reviewing any process, determine the guest perspective first. If the guest experience is enhanced, do it. If the guest experience is not enhanced, however you save money, do not, repeat do not do it. The notion that you can save money without enhancing the guest experience is a fallacy.

Restaurants need to question processes all the time for two reasons. One, there is always a better to do something, find it. Two, your competitor is developing a better process. If you do not improve, they will.

No woman ever steps in to the same restaurant twice, for it’s not the same restaurant and she’s not the same woman. All is change, all is Process!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Rent a Restaurant:

Zipcars and Flexpetz allow you the flexible use of a car or a pet. Dinner By Design offers a slant on this idea by providing home meals prepared in their kitchens. (excerpted from their web site)

”We make it simple and fun for you to prepare healthy home-cooked meals to your family's taste. We do this by creating family friendly monthly menu selections, having high quality, whole-some ingredients, and preparing all those ingredients for you, even down to providing the appropriate measuring cup. We save days of shopping in grocery stores, debating and hunting for items, preparing, chopping, and cleaning up.”

High end restaurants routinely offer take out or curb service on many of their items. Corporate catering and home delivery already are in place. The restaurant prepared home meal is a growing segment of the industry. The concept being discussed is an actual outsourcing of a home kitchen on an as needed basis.

There would seem to be a marketing opportunity for being able to utilize the facilities of a restaurant on individual timetable.

If you can now rent a car for an hour, there would seem to be a need to Rent a Restaurant!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Making Change!

Bob Bly wrote this little piece on simple things that can be done to improve the customer experience.

If you run a retail business, teach your cashiers NOT to give change the way most cashiers do - handing them the receipt, coins, and bills all at once.

Reason: The customer already has one hand occupied holding the item purchased, making it awkward and difficult to separate these three items.

A better practice for your cashiers:

1. First, put the receipt in the bag for the customer instead of handing it to him.

2. Next, give him the coins, and wait until he puts them in his pocket.

3. Then, hand him the bills, which he will put in his wallet.”

During a busy lunch at your café you might think that the extra time necessary to perform this action is not worth it. To create customer advocacy, the focus needs to be on things that make it easier for the guest to buy from you, not on processes that make it easier for you. The point Bob makes in the little blurb is to think about everything you do from the perspective of your guests.

Understand the customer perspective even when Making Change!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Cash Sources:

Ben McConnell, Church of the Customer Blog post pointed to

Michael Rosenwald's piece in the Washington post called “Check Please

“Opening a restaurant can cost from several hundred thousand dollars to several million dollars, and Popovsky had several options to choose from. There's his money, of course. There's the bank's, of course. And there is an increasingly popular third option: restaurant goers themselves, particularly those with deep pockets and a desire to reap not only big investment gains but also the psychological income that comes from being part of the action.”

Restaurateurs are always looking out for new sources of cash, how about sitting down and talking to your guests to replenish your Cash Sources!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Recession Coming:

Greg Mankiw’s post showing the graph that a recession is now likely in 2008 presents a great opportunity. If economists are confident that there will be a recession, than in all likelihood we are in a recession already.

The best time to open a restaurant is during a recession. There will be plenty of available locations to choose from, build-out costs are more reasonable, there is a lot of very talented labor looking for opportunities and the revenue trends have no where to go but up.

The best time to start is now because there is a Recession Coming.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Non Linear Mindset:

“If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way.”
- Bertrand Russell

Nassim Nicholas Taleb book “The Black Swan” addresses the issue quite well. Human beings overestimate the likelihood of improbable events (winning the lottery), and underestimate the likelihood probable events (starting a successful business). Successful entrepreneurs are better able to handle the ambiguity that Black Swans introduce into the dynamic because they expect a positive outcome.

No business would ever get started if the restaurateurs considered all the things that can go wrong. Restaurateurs look to the completion of a project and not the minor obstacles or the major Black Swans that present themselves along the way.

Successful restaurateurs understand that everything will not go smoothly because they are imbued with a Non Linear Mindset!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Build it and they will come:

A NY Times article by Joe Drape, “No, the Restaurant isn't called Coming Soon” details the trials and tribulations of the build out process.

“Murphy’s Law rules the insane world of New York City restaurants. Community boards can kill a liquor license. City codes must be met. Chefs and investors fall out and money just disappears.

“You take everyone’s word — lawyers’, architects’ and contractors’ words — about how long it takes and you end up blowing timelines and budgets,” said Jehangir Mehta, the pastry chef who is opening the 18-seat Graffiti Food and Wine Bar. “In my case I lost about $50,000 in rent waiting for my liquor license, which I just got. It didn’t make any sense for me to open a wine bar without any wine.””

Build-outs are non-stop fun. There are new challenges every day. The thrill of creating a concept and then seeing that concept come into fruition is priceless. The process however is Non-linear, there are an infinite number of twists and turns. The complications arise mostly because a restaurateur is navigating the uncharted waters of the general contractor. The skill sets for the two are a little different and requires a very quick education on the part of the restaurateur. The ability of the restaurateur to master the GC skill set will vastly impact how over budget the project becomes. Dealing with city codes and licenses is a process that defies understanding. The key is to find out what exactly what the licensing bodies want and give it to them. DO NOT try to understand why they need this or that or even worse fight them about this or that, simply discover exactly what they want and give it to them.

Build it and they will come!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Highly Ineffective People:

The Positivily Blog has a great post about steps that make you highly ineffective:

Not showing up.

Maybe you’ve heard this quote by Woody Allen:

“Eighty percent of success is showing up”

One of the biggest and simplest thing you can do to ensure more success in your life – whether it be in your social life, your career or with your health – is simply to show up more. If you want to improve your health then one of the most important and effective things you can do is just to show up at the gym every time you should be there. “

Highly Ineffective People do not show up. They find every excuse on the planet not to show up. Next time you are presented with an opportunity, show up.

If you do not show up, you will be considered one those Highly Ineffective People!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Are you talking to ME?

Guy Kawasaki post on Steven Smith book “egonomics” is worth the read.

Question: How can humility survive in a capitalistic, “dog-eat-dog” market?

Answer: That’s the cool thing we discovered in our work, and the perceived “weakness” of humility is the assumption even in a question like this one. Humility is the only real way to become great, everything else being equal. As a trait, humility is the point of equilibrium between too much ego and not enough. Humility has a reputation of being the polar opposite of excessive ego.

In fact, the exact opposite of excessive ego is no confidence at all. Humility provides the crucial balance between the two extremes. When Jim Collins did his work in Good to Great, humility was one of only two characteristics he discovered that separated leaders capable of leading good—even very good—performing companies, and leaders who made their companies great performers. And all of those leaders who lifted their companies to greatness and sustained them for over fifteen years did it in the same dog-eat-dog world everyone else was in. Humility was custom made for the dog-eat-dog business world.”

The restaurant universe is awash in ego. Chefs who believe the world revolves around their culinary skills, to restaurateurs who are certain the next project will be successful regardless of what happened to the last. Confidence is integral to survival in the restaurant industry, however the effects of inflated ego’s have left untold carnage in its wake. Rarely is success the product of only one person’s efforts. Ego eventually comes around to understanding that a successful restaurant is the work of many hands working in unison.

Yes, is the answer to the question, “are you talking to me?”

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Ready Fire Aim:

Business Plans are wonderful tools. Sometimes they become crutches. Entrepreneurs can always find a reason to delay, adjust, refine, or redirect a project, however the most important aspect of business is motion. Do something, get started today.

Tim Berry’s post on a Business Plan Addict details how over planning can lead you astray. Then he lays out a workable strategy.

  1. “If you're in the startup mode and working on business planning, don't suspend business life until the plan is done (because it never is) or until you're financed. If it's a good idea, get going. Keep working the plan. If you need to get financed, keep at it, but take small steps in the meantime.
  2. If you're working on a startup, take my advice and think about cinder block offices and such in the more economical locations. If your business isn't about receiving clients or customers, wait for the luxuries until after you have more revenue than costs and expenses.
  3. Sorry, this one is so obvious, but as your business rises in the world, make sure you bring along the people who got you there.”

Tim also mentions how some people are serial Business Planners, not serial entrepreneurs. Nothing happens without motion, motion can only occur if there is friction.

Ready Fire Aim!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Thirst for Milk:

It looks like all the milk mustache ads are starting to pay dividends for milk producers. The NY Times has a story about global milk prices.

“Driven by a combination of climate change, trade policies and competition for cattle feed from biofuel producers, global milk prices have doubled over the last two years. In parts of the United States, milk is more expensive than gasoline. There are reports of cows being stolen from Wisconsin dairy farms.

“There’s a world shortage of milk,” said Philip Goode, manager of international policy at Dairy Australia in Canberra.

But the biggest force driving up milk prices is the same one that has driven up prices for conventional commodities like iron ore and copper: a roaring global economy. Rising incomes in emerging economies from China and India to Latin America and the Middle East are lifting millions of people out of poverty and into the middle class.

It turns out that, along with zippy cars and flat-panel TVs, milk is the mark of new money, a significant source of protein that factors into much of any affluent person’s diet.”

How does this affect you Mr. and Mrs. America? I picked up pizza last night and the proprietor Frank asked me “Joe you’re a consultant what is happening to the price of cheese. It went up early this year and it hasn’t come down. When do you think it will come down?” I answered “Frank there are a couple of dynamics at work, one there appears to be a growing demand for milk, two we are following misguided priorities if we start to use food for fuel. If farmland and dairyland production is being converted into biofuels rather bread and butter, we have a problem. The yahoos running the show are totally out of touch”. Frank responds ”cheese prices are killing my margin”, as he points to my pizza. “I can’t sell pizza at this price if cheese does not come down soon”.

Yes, milk is popular again and this time there is a global Thirst for Milk!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Social Proof:

Robert Cialdini’s book “Influence, The Psychology of Persuasion” offers a great primer on social proof.

Advertisers love to inform us when a product is the fastest growing or largest selling, because they do not have to convince us directly that the product is good, they only need to tell us others think so and that is social proof…

Human beings are social animals, we like being in restaurants that are frequented by other people, that reinforces are decisions. Restaurateurs have known this little tidbit of information for some time. That is why window seats are almost always seated first. The impression is created that the place is full because people walking by see only the people at the window and no one else. Many times a large restaurant will seat only a section. This sometimes creates a wait for people getting into the restaurant. When you are finally seated and notice the extra tables that are available, you wonder why you had to wait. At times lack of staff coverage creates this manufactured wait for tables, also creating the illusion of popularity. Restaurateurs will often ask friends to come populate the restaurant, again creating the illusion of popularity so that when paying guests arrive they will feel more comfortable that others are reinforcing their decision to visit your establishment.

If you have to wait for a table or service, it must be popular, if it is popular that is more than enough Social Proof!

Monday, September 3, 2007

“Summer’s lease has all too short a date” Shakespeare:

Marking of seasons occurs the first Monday every September. Officially the day is called Labor Day, however unofficially it is a rite of passage. There are really only two seasons in life, summer and not summer. The seasonality of your restaurant influences whether the day brings joy or trepidation. If summer is your high season you mourn its passing, tallying whether the debts and credits are sufficient, if summer is your low season you are happy that you have survived to battle another day. Summer is really a state of mind, a playful sun filled day of sand and surf. Everyday cares are washed away in the ebb and flow of the warm tides. The labors of the kitchen and the fruit of the vine taste much better under a starry summer night. Dreams flower ever brighter, hopes soar ever higher.

Alas, ‘Summer’s lease has all to short a date”!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Word of Mouth Worthy:

Jackie Huba’s post on Church of the Customer Blog offers insight that can easily be utilized in any restaurant setting.

“A rogue pilot at stodgy United Airlines is creating his own, word-of-mouth-worthy experience for fliers…I just treat everyone like it's the first flight they've ever flown," the very smart captain told the WSJ in a highly valuable front-page story. "The customer deserves a good travel experience."

Treating everyone like it is their first visit to your restaurant is a wonderfully simple idea. Restaurateurs and their staff always seem to do a little extra if they know that the guest has not visited before and is unfamiliar with the menu or the location. Why not treat every visit with that kind of positive energy. The guest will certainly recognize it and they will make your restaurant Word of Mouth Worthy!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Urban Development and Restaurants:

Graham Bowley writes about the rebirth of New York.

“In a discussion paper titled "Consumer City," Glaeser and co-authors Jed Kolko and Albert Saiz call this "the demand for density." People now want to live in dense areas because dense areas offer what people want to consume - opera, sports teams, art museums, varied cuisine. In France, for example, he and his fellow researchers found a robust correlation between the number of restaurants and the growth of cities.

Chicago’s Lincoln Park and the West Loop areas have had a similar resurgence correlated with a vibrant restaurant scene. High density explosive residential growth followed pioneering restaurants on Lincoln Avenue and on Randolph Streets. Real estate developers include amenities in their developments, with the certain knowledge that such variables increase the price per square foot that a unit will sell for. A well worn joke in Chicago is that developers should offer a commission to restaurateurs in the West Loop for vastly increasing the value of their offerings.

The redevelopment of many suburban downtown centers is tied directly to reintroduction of residential units above retail on the ground level. The 60’s and 70’s saw “people living above the store” concept virtually disappear as suburban sprawl separated residential and commercial. The thinking went that people did not want the “noise” of commercial establishments. The dawn of the twenty first century brought the realization that the “noise” of high density provided by central cities has been an economic driver for centuries.

A neighborhood is anointed “up and coming” if Starbucks stakes out an outlet. Restaurants generally precede urban growth. The Museum Campus development in the South Loop of Chicago is one of the most incredible urban renaissance stories in the country yet residential per square foot selling prices lagged the Gold Coast area simply because it had limited availability of varied cuisine. That is changing as more restaurants are staking outposts in the area.

A wonderful recipe for success, Urban Development and Restaurants!

Can I Have That With!

Can I have that with! (note the exclamation point). The title of this blog refers to the expectation in all transactions, touch points and relationship interactions. When a customer utters the title they are not asking, they are customizing. The reason you are in restaurant business is facilitate that customization. This blog is here to provide a repertoire of ideas, resources, and humor to help you create customer advocacy!

Can I Have That With!