Monday, February 21, 2011

Say Thank You for chossing to dine with us at the start of the interaction.

Why wait until the dining experience is concluded. Start with "thank you for choosing to visit us today!", at the start of the interaction with the customer. 

Having the best horse is a start

"I have set my life upon a cast, I will stand the hazard of the die"  Richard III

The movie "Secretariat"  offers a lot of lessons.

1)   Having the best horse is only the start.

2)   You need someone to champion the cause

3)   You need a trainer, coach, whatever to bring out the best in your resource.

4)   Finally you need to be able to risk it all on a single throw of the die 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Time to celebrate

It is time for winter weary residents of Chicago to celebrate. Chicago Restaurant Week

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Who needs a waiter

 Rafe Needleman introduces us to the future of ordering lunch or dinner.

Storific turns your iPhone (other platforms in development) into an order-taking waitbot. You step into your restaurant and as you're seated you get a code for your table. You put that into the app, and then you can see the establishment's menu on your phone, pick things you want, and have those orders delivered to the kitchen. You can also ping the system to send over water, a salt shaker, and so on. 

It may appear that this business is about making things better for diners, by making it easier to send orders in. It may also look like it's good for waiters since it makes them more efficient (they can come by to chat up customers and don't have to come back to take an order unless the diner wants that) and thus could improve their tips. But the real benefit of this app is bottom-line financial. It brings impulse buying to restaurant dining. Want another order of fries? Press the button. A second mousse, rapidement? Click.
Storific saves you from having to actually talk to a waiter.
Storific Founder Michael Cohen tells me that, "Curious customers order more. There's nothing to stop them." Since the service launched, he and his customers have learned that keeping the menu always accessible to the customer (on their smartphones) and making it easy to order, simply increases the size of the check.

Here's a prediction: At some point, somebody's going to roll up these dining apps, and likely make a little money doing so. For ordinary people, it's too much to use Yelp to find a restaurant, Open Table to book it, Taxi Magic to get there, Foursquare or Facebook to tell your friends where you are, and then Storific to order food. Some of these apps are already linked (Yelp with OpenTable), but there's more room here for integration. Siri, which Apple acquired, is the beginning of this, but there's more opportunity here, for a start-up, or for one of the giant data aggregators like Google.

Monday, February 14, 2011

You have a phone call at the hostess stand.

The statement "you have a phone call at the hostess stand" was heard quite frequently in restaurants not to long ago. The fact was emphasized when I was watching a movie the other evening where a restaurant diner was directed to the hostess stand because he had a call.

The world has changed in a very short time. No one calls the restaurant to see if so and so is there. They text, call on cell phone or check location based services to determine where the individual is.  

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Utilize opportunities when the calendar presents them

This Valentines Day is a restaurateur's dream. The day falls on a Monday, so restaurants will likely see a spike on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Be ready. Staff heavy.

There is nothing so disheartening as a restaurant that fails to take advantage of a calendar gift

Friday, February 11, 2011

Discipline to Cut Losses

The one thing that large organizations do better than quick nimble entrepreneurs is they cut losses in a discipline fashion. When a unit has not made it's numbers for (X) consecutive quarters, then the unit is shuttered, period. The metric is (X), the action is closure, end it, cut the loss.

Individuals on the other hand consider sunk costs. Sunk costs is what you have invested in the project already, be it financial or emotional. Those sunk costs cloud your decision making process. "I have too much invested in this now to give up", is the mantra that leads to success occasionally, however in most cases it leads to further loss.

There is a time to reap and a time to sow. There is also a time to cut the loss.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Continuing lesson from the blizzard - Deal with it.

It snowed again in Chicago on Sunday and Monday. 3 inches on Sunday and 2 inches on Monday. After dealing with the blizzard last week these two relatively minor snowfalls represented the "straw the broke the camels back,"  to the winter weary residents of this sleepy little hamlet.

Guess what? The weather does not care that residents of this Midwestern city are weary and the marketplace does not care that you are weary! If you are opened for business you had better bring your "A+" game to every interaction with a customer. The customer has a need that they believe you can resolve. Do not disappoint because they do not care about your weariness.

Continuing lesson from the blizzard - Comparative Advantage

There is a concept in economics that each entity be it individual, business or nation needs to maximize it's comparative advantage. Example, if you run a restaurant than it is probably a good idea to hire a plumber to handle water and waste issues at your establishment rather than spend the amount of time required to master the skill necessary to fix it yourself. Your skill or comparative advantage after all is running a restaurant.

The concept also applies to snow shoveling. Would it be best to hire out the process or do it yourself. Here is where the problem lies and it is a simple cost analysis. You need the walkway in front of your business shoveled now, however the organization that you have hired is not available now because they are of course swamped with other clients. Do you A) offer them more money to come to your establishment first or B) do the work yourself? Most business choose to do the this work themselves because they view the cost associated with waiting or incurring more expenses as an avoidable negative.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The definition of a customer

Seth offers this,

But what if you define "best customer" as the person who brings you new customers through frequent referrals, and who sticks with you through thick and thin? That customer, I think, is worth far more than what she might pay you in any one transaction. In fact, if you think of that customer as your best marketer instead, it might change everything.

Nuturing the root

Jon Gordon offers this,

How about you? Do you focus on the numbers, the outcomes and the fruit?
Or do you focus on the purpose, people, innovation, culture and root of your success.
Always remember the amount of fruit we produce is just an outcome and measurement of how well we are nurturing our root.

If we take care of our root we’ll always have an abundant supply of fruit.
Ignore the root and say goodbye to the fruit.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Goal Setting 101

Forget 5 year plans. Forget 1 year plans. Start with 1 month plans, or 1 week plans or 1 day plans. Start accomplishing something today. Momentum will build on it's own

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Lessons from the Blizzard


TEAM (Together Everyone Achieves More)

Help your neighbor.
Work together.
Break the task in smaller sections.
Breakthrough and isolated the work that needs to be done.


TEAM (Together Everyone Annoys Me)

Plow your neighbors in.
Kick customers out of your lot because they are going to a neighboring store.
Be unfriendly, grumpy and down right nasty.
Frown, scream and shake your head repeatedly.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Blizzards and prognostications

Happy Groundhog Day. The groundhog in Chicago will definitely not see their shadow at first light today. An early spring perhaps? About six months ago we talked about how weather forecasters had gotten a beautiful string of summer weather wrong. Today they got it right. There is a full blown white-out blizzard outside. You have to love Chicago in the winter.