Thursday, April 30, 2009

In Vino Vita

Finally some good news, Forget the gym, I will have a glass of wine.

Eva von Schaper's piece brings sanity to a disordered world.

Half a glass of wine a day may add five years to your life, a new study suggests...

...Light alcohol intake was linked to lower cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and overall mortality in the study. Researchers had known that moderate drinking is tied to a lower risk of heart disease, possibly because of an increase in high density lipoprotein or so-called good cholesterol as well as a reduction in platelet clumping, making it more unlikely for clots to form. It is the first study to show that one kind of alcohol is superior to others in prolonging life, the researchers said.

Totally interdependent on each other.

The National Restaurant Association has set up a resource for restaurateurs to be in the know and also to answer the questions your guests might have regarding the ongoing developments in the influenza outbreak.

World Health Organization.

Black Swan's
are unanticipated outliers that totally impact your business and is completely beyond the realm of your control to influence.

Keep moving forward

Laura Holson's NYTimes piece about keeping Calm and carrying on offers this nugget:

Marea is one of a surprising number of high-end restaurants set to open this year. Their timing may be inopportune, but with leases signed and construction underway before the economy took its nose dive, the restaurateurs had little choice but to forge ahead. Some, like Mr. Cannon and Mr. White, have sought to pare their rent while maintaining their original vision. Others have cut prices or added new dishes to appeal to a wider array of patrons. Everywhere, there is anxiety, as owners learn to adapt to the new austerity.

The downturn has had benefits: Mr. Cannon said that some suppliers and contractors had shaved their fees, saving the restaurant about 30 percent on construction materials and labor. (They plowed those savings back into refined touches like hand-polished lacquer radiator covers.) The two also went back to their landlord three months ago to renegotiate their rent. The landlord agreed to defer a portion of the rent for two years, at which point, Mr. Cannon hopes, the economy will have rebounded.

There is opportunity for those with the courage to seize the day!

Wisconsin Marathon: Saturday 5/2/9

Saturday morning at 7:00am the inaugural Wisconsin Marathon kicks off in beautiful Harbor Park, in Kenosha on the western shores of Lake Michigan.

Come out and help cheer on the participants, support the event, maybe visit some of the great local restaurants and businesses and the incredible Harbor Market!

Who should be on your marketing team?

Rosabeth Moss Kanter advises that everyone should be in marketing.

So now what? When you can't (and shouldn't) cut any further, you can leverage the creativity of the people on your team. This is truly the time when employees are your most important assets -- for real, not just in slogans. In a recession, everyone should be in marketing. Motivated employees contribute to creative thinking that can help retain current customers and identify new ones.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Can't decide where to have dinner Bunky!

Here is help from the UrbanSpoon

Easy enough right?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Let's not go to a chain.

Have you ever had a conversation with friends about where to have dinner and one of your compatriots suggests that the choice not be a chain. The overarching reason for that statement is that chains by their nature are replications of each other. Perhaps the replication is too perfect in every aspect. People are much more comfortable with a little imperfection.

Recession v parking lot index

The parking lot at the mall looked awfully full given that we are in the throes of a recession. The rise in gas prices last summer and the subsequent reversion to the mean has individuals questioning whether we really are in dire economic straits or is it just another marketing ploy to regulate our habits. The trust level as a society needs work. People are tired of doom and gloom, Y2K, pandemics and all the variety of the end of the universe prognostications. People just want to have fun, so they went to the mall over the weekend.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Code of the Samurai

You must always advance in life, never retreat, endure no defeat, constantly strive for victory.

To get from where you are to where you want to be requires action.

Your enemies are within you: Fear, over analyzing, doubt and hesitation are your oppenents, know this and vanquish them.

The path is before you! Take the first Step!

How to increase demand.

An economist will tell you that a depression is a decrease in demand. Ok, were in a depression, so how do we increase demand? If your a car company you agree to buy the car back if the individual loses their job. The motivation behind that strategy is that if the main concern people have about making a large purchase is whether they can make the payments, address that concern and you should increase demand.

Restaurants have a similar issue in that customers are afraid of loseing their source of income so they are not spending discretionary income as a hedge. Some restaurants in acts of altrusim are offering the unemployed a complimentary meal.

How about using the car company model instead. If a customers loses their job within a month of eating at your restaurant, you will refund the cost of the meal! Try it

All the faces were aglow.

Last night was a perfect evening in Chicago, Friday night, 75 degrees under a starry sky. The shackles of the long cold winter which had constrained the residents of this lakeside beach town had finally been removed. The beer gardens and outside cafes sprung to life overnight.

Mary Ellen and I were immersed in the sights, sounds and smells of the evening, when we noticed the persistent glow on the faces of those around us. The number of people at the table did not matter, tables of two or tables of four were equally engaged in this quantum dance. The glow was all around us, much like the background radiation in the universe. Human beings, sentient creatures with the ability to think, discern and understand had made the effort to go out and sit at a table in a restaurant with another human being apparently for the expressed purpose of texting, tweeting or emailing.

The hum around us was the staff milling about, not the dim of conversation that was the bane of diners in some long forgotten pre-texting past. No the tables around us were eerily quite with diners focused entirely at their glowing devices nestled comfortably in their cradled hands. They were communicating to others or perhaps to their tablemates with the channel they are most comfortable with.

The question restaurateurs need to ask themselves is since this trend appears to be increasing, how can the restaurant help to facilitate the increase texting, tweeting and emailing that is occurring?

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Web 2.0 reality

The magnitude and power of Web 2.0 was made abundantly clear by the video postings of Domino's former employee's. Crisis management was once the realm of large organizations with multiple exposure points. Today crisis management is a skill set that is required by every individual and every organization irrespective of size.

In a matter of seconds, acts intentional or not can become the next internet sensation and destroy years of honest effort. You no longer have a choice about whether to participate or not. Social media occurs with or without you. The only option is to be continually engaged and respond immediately to any threat.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Ask, Learn and Ask again.

This simple three step process will resolve any question.

Use it often...Ask, Learn and Ask again.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Why indeed?

Mark Thoma’s post posed the following question;

Why take the time to think hard about the problem yourself if, in the end, you are going to adopt the view of the most respected and powerful voices in the field anyway?

Following the herd has no doubt provided some adaptive advantages throughout history, however is that what you want?

More Mexican Restaurants?

Mary Boltz Chapman’s piece offers a little insight into what ethnic influences customers are looking for.

In its 2009 New American Diner research, Restaurants & Institutions asked what types of cuisines consumers would like to see more of. Here are the Top 10 responses.

1. Mexican 43.5%

2. Chinese 39.4

3. Barbecue 38.4

4. Southern 30.3

5. Japanese 26.9

6. Greek 22.9

7. Spanish 22.8

8. Thai 22.3

9. Mediterranean 20.7

10. Caribbean 19.2

No #1 surprises me.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Is that keg in the closet wine or beer?

Eric Asimov's article details pouring wine from a tap.

THE bartender pulls the handle and the liquid pours forth from keg to glass with the distinctive gushing sound that has launched a zillion thirsts. Ah, yes, that fresh draft flavor — nothing like wine on tap.

Wine? On tap? Is this another attack by the same philistines who insist on screw caps, stemless glasses and other means of depriving wine lovers of their pretensions?

On the contrary, wine, stored in kegs and served through a method similar to a draft-beer line, may be the glorious future of by-the-glass pours in bars and restaurants.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Yes, of course we can do that.

What is so hard about saying, "yes, of course we can do that!" I am continually amazed when customers make a simple request, servers and untrained managers respond like a deer in headlights. The response is always one of surprise, confusion and stonewalling.

When confronted with a request say "yes", then find a way to deliver the request at a profit.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Chicago 2016 Games

Dear International Olympic Committee,

I vote Yes on Chicago hosting the 2016 Games!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Leaping into the unknown.

Chipotle is as pure a concept as I have ever witnessed. The tests of menu expansion is either a classic stroke of genius or the beginning of the end. Every great company bets the future on a single roll of the dice. Changing the simple menu is such a move. I applauded the courage to leap into the unknown.

The menu changes are the most significant Chipotle has made in its 15-year history and include:
  • New entrĂ©e options
  • Smaller-sized offerings at lower prices that Chipotle calls its “Low Roller” menu
  • Suggested “Featured Items”
  • A new kid’s menu
  • Chipotle’s signature burritos, burrito bowls (a burrito without the tortilla), tacos, and salads