Sunday, June 29, 2008

Talent Management Challenges:

Tammy Erickson’s post lists the top talent challenges facing organizations

Attracting and retaining enough employees at all levels to meet the needs of organic and inorganic growth

Developing a robust leadership pipeline

Success as a restaurateur rests almost entirely on the critical talent acquisition decisions you make. A restaurateur can not operate a restaurant solely, the hiring front of the house and back of the house staff is necessitated. People are your competitive advantage

QSR is still the option:

A recent survey highlighted in QSR magazine focuses on the recessionary resilience of QSR’s.

More than half of fast food visits are with family members (52 percent); 29 percent of these visits with a spouse/partner; and 23 percent are with children under the age of 18 which points to the potential influence that children can have on deciding where to eat.

Fast-casual restaurants (i.e., Chipotle, Panera Bread) have the highest sales per occasion while Dunkin' Donuts and McDonald's are among the restaurants with the lowest average spend per visit.

"Our research found that not only did Chipotle and Panera Bread have the highest spend per occasion but their customer tended to dine in compared to getting carry-out. While their meals tend to cost more, having a 'captive' audience may be creating additional sales opportunities for these chains," Kleijngeld explains.

Panera and Chipotle both continue to report increases in same store sales while most other segments are retrenching.

Pitching Other People’s Money

T. Craig Bott has an illuminating post about elevator pitches:

•What’s the model you plan to use to make money?
•What markets are you targeting?
•How are you going to generate sales?
•How are you going to attract talented people to work for you?
•Who do you network with?
•What mentors have you found who are willing to help you, work with you, or give you their time?

People whom you pitch for money have heard every scheme, angle, spin imaginable; the deciding factor will be how much passion do you have for your project? Other people will gladly give you their money if you can demonstrate to them that you actually have a plan and that every fiber of your being exists for the sole purpose of successfully launching and operating this business.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Leftover magic:

Kerry Bryne’s post profiles how Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse parlays leftovers into a word of mouth advertising strategy.

Even opulent steakhouses are searching for ways to help customers battle rising food costs.

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar sends leftovers back to the table in elegant, shiny take-home bags with a note signed by chef Jason Carron. He invites guests to check out the steakhouse chain’s new Web site,

There, diners will find tips for turning last night’s leftovers into today’s breakfast, lunch or dinner.

How great is that?

Grilled Chocolate:

“Life is short, eat dessert first”

LA Times piece on grilling desserts is worth a nibble:

EVERYTHING seems to taste exponentially better when seasoned with fresh air and stars -- and smoke -- and maybe because it's unexpected, this is especially true of dessert…

…Cinnamon toast is intriguingly transformed on the grill; the mixture of butter and sugar and cinnamon gets deep golden brown, almost slightly charred. It's served with a mound of strawberries macerated in a lavender simple syrup. Pound cake -- slices of it with Nutella sandwiched in between -- undergoes a similar transformation from familiar to festive when you apply the magic of playing with fire.

That works for me!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Journey around the sun!

We shall never cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time.

T. S. Eliot

The fragile blue planet has completed an entire journey around the sun, since I began this voyage of self discovery called “Can I Have That With”. The blog is one year young today and has been read on every continent other than Antarctica.

Happy Continuation Day!

Thank you for visiting!

Observational Data:

Seth Godin’s post offer’s this little nugget:

DATA is observational. What do people actually do? Wal-Mart uses data to decide if an end cap is working. Google Adwords advertisers use data to decide which copy delivers clicks and sales. The library can use data to decide which books to buy (and not to buy). Paco Underhill uses data to turbo charge retail. Data is powerful, overlooked and sometimes mistaken for boring. You don't have to understand the why, you merely need to know the what.

Too often we ignore the wealth of data in the restaurant. Chefs and entrepreneurs are so focused on what they think will work that they ignore what the menu sales data is telling them. Never start a P& L review until you have reviewed what the product sales mix tells you customers are buying. P & L information means nothing until you understand what is selling.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Raising pay for restaurant employees:

Am I the only one who thinks this is a bad idea? The Boston Globe did an article on tipped employees.

“At the state level, some efforts have been made to help workers dependent on tips for part of their income. The Delaware Senate approved a bill this month that would raise the minimum wage for service workers and others who depend on tips. Supporters say it would help low-wage workers struggling in the current economy. In April, the Missouri House of Representatives rejected legislation that would have lowered base wages in the state for tipped employees.”

The reason tips are down is because traffic is down and revenue is down. Legislators think the way to solve this is to raise pay for tipped employees: How do they expect the restaurant to pay for the extra wages they are legislating? The end game of this enlightened thinking is that the restaurant will close, thus reducing sales tax, unemployment tax and income tax collections, the employee will be without a job which will increase unemployment benefit payouts which leads to further fiscal insolvency.

More Profit:

Tim Ferriss has a great primer for any business:

The financial goal of a start-up should be simple: profit in the least time with the least effort. Not more customers, not more revenue, not more offices or more employees: more profit.

The way to more profit of course is to create customer advocacy

Change, Change, Change:

Guy Kawasaki interviews Ariane de Bonvoisin about change:

Question: Why is getting good at change so important?

Answer: Every day we experience changes in the economy, the stock market, politics, business, the environment, education and healthcare systems, technology, and our family and home life. Change is the only constant in life - the one thing that is guaranteed to happen.

Everyone you meet is either struggling with a change, secretly wants to make a change, or is helping someone else through a change. Everything that has happened in your life, all that is currently taking place, and all that will eventually occur to you personally and professionally sits under the umbrella of change. You may have just graduated, started a new job, fallen in love, been laid off, gotten divorced, or received a troubling health diagnosis, and so on, it's all change.

Getting good at change simply means getting good at navigating life. When we become comfortable with change we are equipped to handle any transition that is thrown at us and will be able to initiate any change in our own lives. The way you approach change is a mirror for the way you deal with life: with your work, you're loved ones, and yourself.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Future of Dining:

Janet Franz tackles future shock in the article: here is an excerpt:

Q: How will the dining experience be different?

Cantu: I think it's going to be a lot more interactive. . . . Maybe you'll make a phone call, and an alien ship will deliver the food to the table.

Achatz: Like now, many types of restaurants will exist. The fast food will become faster. Ordering your meal choices via handheld device before you arrive will allow you to go through one of several lines for fast-food pickup. Payment will be made at the time of order so there will be no need to fumble with cash or credit cards. Many high-end restaurants will actually go almost unchanged. People 25 years from now will want the same level of human connection via service that we have now. That will be lost in everyday life in the future, so it will become a luxury.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Goal Based Time Management:

Every self help process begins with goal setting, and the enabler of those goals is time management. There are two methods available 1) block specific times for work on specific goals; 2) block specific goals to work on during specific times. Method 1 blocks time however the practice produces no measurable results. Method 2 places the focus on the goal, do not take your eyes off the goal and persist. Method 2 creates the mechanism for measurable sustainable goal achievement.

Monday, June 16, 2008

What does TypeFace got to do with it?

Jeremy Caplan’s post illuminates the suggestive power of fonts;

"In a paper that will appear in the October issue of Psychological Science, Hyunjin Song and Norbert Schwarz suggest that small changes in menu fonts can significantly alter people's perceptions of dishes' complexity and value.
"People infer that if something on a menu is difficult to understand or hard to read that it takes great skill and effort to prepare," says Song, a Ph.D. candidate in psychology at the University of Michigan. "When I go to an expensive French restaurant, I can hardly pronounce the words on the menu, so I take for granted that it's expensive because it's not comprehensible."
Similarly, Song says, using an offbeat typeface to obscure a dish's description may signal hidden value to an unsuspecting diner on unfamiliar ground. That may explain the implicit logic employed by restaurants offering exorbitant entrees described with elaborately scripted fonts in microscopic print."

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Yes and!

“Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly at first” Brian Tracy

The magic of improvisation is the understanding that that whatever happens the only acceptable response is “yes, and …” Here is a home work assignment for today. Whatever happens today, your response needs to be “yes, and …” Try it for twenty four hours, See what happens.

Yes, and…!

Be interested:

One of the aspects of creating customer advocacy is to connect with your customers. There are many things that need to happen 1) get noticed (Purple Cow); 2) if you are noticed you will get remembered; 3) if you are remembered you will get customer visit (business); 4) get repeat visits and the way to do that is to be interested in your customers, not by being interesting. Jim Collins advanced this concept in “Good to Great”.

The paradox is that to get noticed you have to be interesting, however to succeed you need to be interested in your guests.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Branding 101:

Karen Klein’s post outlines a key aspect of branding.

“If you have not specified your company's brand, don't spend another dime on marketing until you do. … small companies can also develop potent brands and market them successfully, says Steve Manning, managing director at Igor, a branding and naming firm based in San Francisco.

"A brand creates an image in the mind of the consumer. It says something is different at your firm, something worth more than business as usual. If your firm is a commodity, your customers will choose you solely on the basis of price or getting something for free. If you've got a brand, you're selling a lifestyle and you can sell anything you want," Manning says.”

Sunday, June 8, 2008

There is a space:

"Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." Victor Frankl

Stephen Covey’s book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” was built on the foundation of Victor Frankl’s quote. How this applies to a restaurateur is simple. Black Swans will occur to your business, to you, actually to every aspect of your life. In all that disruption, you have a space between stimulus and response. That space, that power to choose determines the quality of your life and the success of your business.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

In vino, veritas:

I’ll have a bottle of red wine! The NY Times article highlights the anti-aging properties of red wine.

Red wine may be much more potent than was thought in extending human lifespan, researchers say in a new report that is likely to give impetus to the rapidly growing search for longevity drugs.

a mere four, five-ounce glasses of wine “starts getting close” to the amount of resveratrol they found effective”

This is healthy habit I can really appreciate! I’ll have another bottle of red wine!

Friday, June 6, 2008

The need for speed:

Brian Tracy highlights speed as differentiator and as a business opportunity. ( think McDonalds, Dominos Pizza and Jimmy Johns) Americans love quickservice, and the entire industry has been created because we want things faster. Look around your restaurant, is there something that you can deliver faster and would that give you an advantage over your competitor?

Keys to a successful business lunch:

John Mariani’s post offers tips on using the resource of a restaurant to close a business deal.

“The key to any successful business transaction is to do your homework,” he says. “You want no surprises. I would never go to a restaurant without knowing the layout, which tables are available and which are saved for regulars. My advice is to become a regular at two or three restaurants.”

The key to remember is that a restaurant is not a place where people go to eat, it is a place where people go to solve a problem they have. Solve problems for your clients and you will never go hungry!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Stairway to Heaven

David Armano has a visual to help explain customer advocacy:

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Innovate and provide value:

Jerry Hirsch’s interview with Starbucks CEO offers this nugget on how to navigate through lower traffic counts.

We have to be ultrasensitive to providing value for our customers. And 50 million customers a week are coming through Starbucks stores.

We have to innovate and provide more value to the customer, but the customer comes into Starbucks not only for coffee, [but also] the sense of community, the sense of humanity in our stores. We really have become this third place between home and work. We have managed through different downturns in the economy before, and we will again.