Archive | May, 2013

Ways for Restaurants to Increase Sales

26 May

By Stuart Leventhal
First off, let’s make it clear that gaining sales does not equal gaining profit. A restaurant needs to be running on all pistons before it considers going after bringing in more sales. But, alas that is a whole other topic. For this article we are going to assume every little aspect of the restaurant you own or manage is running like fine clockwork and you feel the whole staff from front to back is ready to handle additional business. Many restaurant owners and managers think; more advertising, more promotion, more community awareness is the cure all for a slow restaurant. Wrong!
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Attracting more customers to a mismanaged poorly run restaurant is like pouring fuel on a fire. You are pointing a spot light on incompetence. Showing off your faults is never a good sales building strategy. Do you really want to brag about the fact you have a rued impatient hostess? Let’s face it, the best form of advertising for any restaurant is word of mouth. Do you want them talking about your waiters who can’t answer a simple menu question like, “Is the seafood casserole spicy?” Are the words coming out of your customers’ mouths, “Don’t eat at Julio’s!” or “The service is so slow in there.” or “Last time I ordered takeout from Chen’s, my food arrived late, cold and they forgot my brown rice!”

If those lines remind you of your restaurant, it’s time to get your act together. Don’t bother reading further, because the added traffic these tips will bring in will only add to the problems your staff can’t handle already. You think you have issues now? Wait until you see the mistakes a poorly trained crew is going to make once you double or triple their work load. Lesson #1 – Fix the problems in your restaurant and your sales will increase on their own. Customers will come back! Customers will notice the improvements and speed of service and shout your praise! Customers will dine with you more frequently! And the word of mouth will flow like magic!

Now, let’s get into the business of restaurant sales building. First we’ll talk about the basics so everyone is on the same page when we sit down to build our new sales building plan. Sales building plan? Yes, we are going to need a plan that spells out our objective, goals and each step we intend to implement. Why? Because restaurants get very busy. The best of intentions get miss laid, brushed aside, de-prioritized in a fast paced restaurant atmosphere. Also, we are going to want to delegate tasks and responsibilities out to our staff, if we really want to make an impressionable, noticeable, impact on our sales growth. Therefore, we need the plan formally written down, if we intend to hold people accountable for doing their part. We will want to track our results, so we know what is working best. Then, we can put all our efforts where we get the most back from our time, labor and money spent.

*Now, don’t bail on me just because you heard the word money! I got plenty of great advice coming for building your restaurant sales that cost you nothing but some time invested to implement.

The easiest way to start your new restaurant sales building plan is to copy and paste portions of this fine article and portions of other fine articles on this website. Share them with your team. Post the stuff you like on your walls in the break room. Pass out whole articles at your weekly and monthly team and management meetings if you wish. That is why I wrote these tips in this easy to share format.

Setting GOALS: When you make your sales plan be specific. Post the past two years sales figures for the upcoming 3 months. Leave them posted in plain sight of all the staff and management and fill in the current sales for each day, week and month right next to the last years’ figures, as you get the new numbers. Do the math and post the difference good or bad. Leave comments about why you feel the restaurant got the results it got. For example say; this went well in the back of the house but… Or, this week I saw improvement with this and our sales reflect everyone’s extra efforts. We messed up here and our sales numbers show the loss! It is important to praise and criticize everyone as needed based on whether you are meeting, exceeding or failing to achieve your posted goals. Talk about what you can improve on during your weekly meetings, shift meetings, one on one coaching and during counseling sessions

1. We obviously wish to increase the number of new customers. Attract more customers, gain more sales. This is the generally the most dominate goal of any good sales plan. Naturally most of our efforts will be dedicated to finding and finessing new potential customers to try us out. But, you should realize 80% of additional sales growth on average comes from the existing sales base. So, if you are looking for results quick, always put most of your efforts into marketing to your existing customer base. And, that leads us to our next two goals.
2. Convincing our current customers to come back more frequently. That may mean, talking our lunch regulars into trying us for diner. It may entail, developing a specially priced family pack take home menu, packed in microwavable containers with fast reheat instructions supplied.
3. Enticing our current customers to spend more. Upsell! Upsell is the big restaurant word. It means, if someone orders apple pie, are your waitresses and waiters automatically replying, “I can heat that up and put a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top for just 75 cents more.” Or “Would you like to add a side of our Sicilian style meatballs or our hot Italian sausage to your eggplant parmesan? How about a slice of carrot cake to go?”

It is much easier to squeeze more money out of your existing customers than it is to get new people to try out your restaurant. So, therefore, part two of this article is more geared towards teaching you how to do the harder stuff, attract new customers! But don’t forget the 80/20 rule – You will gain more bang for your buck if you go after the 80% which are your current customers. So, invest in keeping the customers you already have happy. After all, building long term customer loyalty is our ultimate goal! (Continued in part two)

*If your restaurant caters or is considering catering check out this website for great catering sales advice: http://www.cateringsalestips.wordpress.com Adding catering or expanding a restaurant’s catering services is a fantastic way for any restaurant to build sales and profit. Here, you’ll find out the effective ways to grow a strong catering business.
*If you are having trouble creating your business advertising copy and marketing text try browsing through some of the business writing tips at: http://www.anewtale.com/business.html

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Choosing an SEO Marketer

4 May

By Stu Leventhal

SEO and SEM is tricky stuff. Having a great website is only the beginning. The next important step is Optimizing your website so people can find you. The internet is a complicated weave of people, companies and organizations sharing information and thoughts. Everyone is competing for each-others’ attention. New fads become popular daily as well as new technological advances. One day your website is ranking first page in the Google, Yahoo and Bing searches, the next day your website is nowhere to be found.

It is no wonder restaurant owners and managers are pulling their hair out when it comes to maintaining their online marketing campaigns. It takes a very big person to admit when they are in over their head. Being embarrassed to ask for help with search engine marketing can be the death of your career or business in 2014. Picking the wrong SEO/SEM service can cost you a lot of money, aggravation and wasted time. Philadelphia Restaurant Consultant is one of the best Philadelphia Search Engine Optimization and internet marketing firms in the Philadelphia Arena. Let’s look at why Philadelphia Restaurant Consultant’s style of approaching internet marketing is so successful.

Philadelphia Restaurant Consultant Knows How to Grow Your Hospitality Business!

We write articles that engage Philadelphians! Relevant food and beverage articles that get your customers’ mouths watering! SEO Keyword Optimized articles to move your web real estate to the first page of Google Searches and attract interested local readers!

Internet Traffic Cop

INTERNET TRAFFIC COP!

We have been packing restaurants and bars in Philadelphia and the surrounding area with crowds for years!

*They key is to tailor your promotional events and marketing pieces to the particular Philly neighborhood you do business in. Each area of Philadelphia has a unique persona and her residents have a particular personality with certain likes and dislikes. Blanket marketing just is not as effective in Philly as specialized GEO targeted marketing.

We Are Experts In: Internet Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Content, Hospitality Industry Promotion, Website Design and Maintenance, Reputation Management and much more. Contact us for a free consultation: anewtale191@live.com

Building a Restaurant – Restaurant Branding – Hospitality Sales

3 May

By Stuart Leventhal

The most effective way to expand any business, especially a business as service oriented as a restaurant, bar or entertainment venue is to take the time to really care about the intended expansion. Whatever your hospitality related expansion or improvement plans are; don’t go about the change willy-nilly. Be committed!

Whether you are a restaurant that has decided to increase sales by adding a takeout service, a diner that is considering staying open 24 hours to capitalize on overnight revenues or if you are considering adding catering to your mix; you need to make your expansion plans your top priority. Everyone in the organization has to know how serious you are about the plan. Now is the time to talk the talk and walk the walk!

If you are a manager or owner of a restaurant that is fairly successful and has been in operation a number of years, with a seasoned staff then you’ve really got your work cut out for you as far as getting anyone onboard with any new idea. You and I know there is always room for improvement. Let’s assume your dinner shift does the majority of your business. For years you’ve struggled to build lunch up with little success. You’ve advertised, gave out coupons, discounted meals, dropped complimentary samples off at all the local nearby businesses; only to receive a small spurt in sales that dwindled the next week. Is it any wonder your staff is ready to throw in the towel on the lunch trade?

Restaurateurs, It’s time to go to war! And, your competitors aren’t the only enemy. No matter how you wish to expand your restaurant operation, even something as seemingly simple as adding live music on certain nights, you have to be prepared to go all out. You can’t just announce a change then forget about it. Because, that is what everyone else will do forget about it. You have to post signs all over the establishment. Someone opens a menu and an announcement about your new service or product should fall out into their lap. People driving by should see the announcement on your marque or a banner should be stretched across your awning. You need to have daily meetings with the crew about your new expansion. Discuss what everyone is doing to turn it into a success. What can we do better?

Restaurant Management 101

Praise and reward your best ambassadors of the cause. This could be giving your servers who are showing the best efforts in promoting the new service or products, 1st choice of what section of the dining floor they work. For example: Ambassador of the week for the new vegan menu could get first preference of what shifts they work all next week. Slacking employees will quickly get the message that you are serious about the new catering menu or building lunch and they will hopefully jump on board when they see the rewards you are shelling out for crew members choosing to participate whole heartedly in the promotion.

When you are trying to make a change in an established routine, you have to change the whole culture of the restaurant. That’s not easy! You need to keep the mission exciting. Create promotion specials. Have sales contests. Sales training may be needed. Don’t assume everyone knows what you want them to say to customers. Write scripts for your staff who answer the phones and great your customers at the door. Role play; you and your managers play the customer so the staff can practice on you and you can give them feedback.

Even the best running restaurant can run better. Involve all your key employees. Seek out their input. When you make a move, be decisive! Follow up. Stick to your guns and you and your organization will reap the benefits. *Special Tip – In order to become successful and permanent, any expansion of a restaurant’s services or products, must be listed on the menu (preferably on all the menus) big and bold. Your customers and employees look to the menu to define what the restaurant is. This is not the time to be cheap. Reprint the menu, whenever implementing any new change no matter what part of the restaurant it involves.

Bigger Tips for Waiters and Waitresses

1 May

by Stu Leventhal

Welcome new waiters and waitresses as well as seasoned professional food and beverage servers to the fantastic, dynamic, multi-billion dollar Hospitality Industry. Whether you have a part time or full time waiting gig, are paying your way through college or covering the bills until you get discovered by Hollywood agents or perhaps you are seriously preparing for a challenging yet satisfying life long career in the; restaurant, bar, catering, tourism, cruise ship, casino, entertainment, industry. If your job is service oriented, we’ve got some basic serving advice that will help you endear yourself to your guests and in return get the best thank you possible, bigger tips!

*If you are in management, clip this article out and post it in the crew break room. You’ll be pleasing your customers, your staff and your bosses when they see the spike in sales and revenue that results.

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Food servers’ attitudes represent and reflect the whole dining establishment they are employed by. This is because they are on the front lines, addressing customers personally. Waiters and waitresses are the number one part of a restaurant’s ambiance. Customers rank service as more important than décor or menu selection. How the wait staff conducts themselves sets the tone for the entire dining experience

The most important thing for new service personnel to learn in order to be successful is how to think like a customer. Let’s face the music, most of our customers could have stayed home and made themselves a sandwich for a lot less money than they are going to spend dining out with you. They came to your place of employ because it makes them feel better. They have time on their hands and money to burn! They’ve chosen you to spend it with, out of all their other many, many choices. Shouldn’t you feel honored and privileged? That alone should make you want to prove to them you are worthy of their patronage.

Common sense goes a long way towards knowing what to do and how to act. Think about how you like to be treated. Be polite, courteous, respectful and attentive. It’s not rocket science. Just put yourself in your customers’ shoes. There are plenty of behind the scenes jobs in a restaurant. Once you make the choice to go into the service end of the business, paste on your smile and concentrate on making your customers happy! The size of your tips is your report card!

Let’s start at the beginning:

The customer’s first impression of an eating venue starts outside in the parking lot and on the sidewalk. If the outside isn’t enticing the customers will keep driving or walking past. Therefore, as a waiter or waitress it is in your best interest to help make sure the outside of your place of employ looks its very best at all times. If you are on your way into the restaurant or on your way out, look around. If you see something off such as; trash, light bulbs burnt out, letters missing on the marque, fix it right away, if you can. For something more major, be sure to tell a manager immediately, before you start working and it slips your mind.

When you step onto the business property, you should already be in full uniform and have your game face on. Appearance is everything! So, make sure your uniform is clean and you are well groomed. Look and act like you deserve a bigger tip and you will get bigger tips. Look like a slob and you will be tipped accordingly. If you meet customers coming or going, greet them hospitably even if you haven’t punched in yet. Regardless of your company’s policy or if there is no formal policy towards breaks and your off time, always remember customers don’t want to see the staff huddled outside talking or smoking. Whenever you enter the building, make a show out of going to wash your hands. Never start work, even to help a co-worker in dire need, without first washing up. It is against the health code and leaves a very poor impression with diners.

If one of your friends arrive early and they wish to wait for you to get off work, make sure they know not to hang around the restaurant’s lobby or even outside in the parking lot. And they definitely can’t sit at the counter or a table unless they are ordering something.

When you are working your shift, you are the authority. Everyone else’s paycheck is relying on you. You are the liaison between your customer and everyone else. Act the part! Take control. Communicate whatever you need to whoever you need and do it clearly and with authority. Your customers’ satisfaction comes first, above your coworkers’ feelings. Tell the cooks what you need done to make the customer happy. If the customer asks for something you are not comfortable with, run it by your manager. Management almost always bends the rules to please customers. Never just assume. Always allow the manager the choice to okay or turn down even the most outrageous requests. Management will generally bend over backwards for a customer and that means a huge tip for you!

Waiter and waitressing basics (101)

  1. Always take the time to politely introduce yourself and inquire how everyone at the table is doing today, no matter how busy the dining room is. Block out all distractions and give your guests your total attention. Make at least one dining suggestion before you even lift your order pad as if you are ready to take the order. It is simply just rude to jump right in with, “Okay, What can I get you guys?” It all starts with showing common courtesy and creating a rapport.
  2. Study your menu and know it backwards, forwards, upside down and inside out. You can’t represent your guests’ best interests if you don’t know what each menu item tastes like, how it is prepared and what goes into making it. You need to be able to answer your guests’ questions with confidence. You need to know how to offer suggestions and additions to whatever they order that will enhance their experience and meal, as well as enhance your tip! If they order the salmon steak you should be quick to suggest. “Baked with dill seasoning is my personal favorite but the Blackened salmon fillet is our most popular. You can also order that pan seared topped with our chef’s lemon, pepper and garlic sauce or broiled and topped with sweet curry peach sauce or perhaps lightly brushed with olive oil.”
  3. Take a course in short hand or develop your own way of using symbols and abbreviating things in a way you’ll understand and be able to recall what you write quickly. It takes too long and is exhausting to write everything all the way out for a table of eight. While we are on the subject of taking orders, always carry extra pens, a backup order pad and some scratch paper. If your pen runs out of ink and you are forced to leave the table in the midst of taking a large complicated order, it will be brutal for you to remember where you left off as well as it being a much unwanted distraction for your guests.
  4. Never refill drinks over the table. You are tempting fate and deserve a disastrous, embarrassing spill. Never reach over one guest to serve another. Again, risking fate.
  5. Check your order over thoroughly before you bringing it out to the table and are embarrassingly informed by your guests that something was made wrong or something is missing.
  6. Once the order is delivered, ask if there is anything else you can get them. Then allow your guests to get situated and adjusted to start digging in. After just a minute or two, stop back and check if everything is to everyone’s approval.
  7. Never prejudge guests! Don’t worry about your fellow servers who roll their eyes at you or cackle in reference to the haggard looking couple who just got seated in your section. Every dinning guest deserves your utmost attention and deepest courtesy. With experience you’ll realize it is impossible to distinguish, with a glance, who the big tippers are going to be. Even attempting to figure that out is waste of time and counterproductive.
  8. Always be professional and keep your cool when confronted by angry customers. Mind your manners. Remember, other customers may be watching and you represent the restaurant. Serving can be very stressful. Hang in there and be polite

Remember, the waitresses and waiters who make the most tips have put the time and effort into cultivating a slew of regulars who routinely request to be seated in their station. Do something special, over and above the call and you will quickly gain customer loyalty too.

More Tips For Bigger Tips

Besides basing the amount of a tip on the quality of the service, most people also decide how much they are going to leave you based on a percentage of their total bill. Thus, the bigger their bill, the bigger your tip will be. Therefore, it is in your best interest to suggest high end, pairings to go along with every order. Again, this goes along with knowing your menu. Don’t just suggest add-ons, “How about broccoli with that?” You have to describe the complimentary flavors that gets their mouths watering. This goes double for suggesting specialty beverages and desserts.

Act like an expert, carry yourself like a pro and you’ll be tipped appropriately. Talk and act with confidence. It’s all in your demeanor. You are the most influential ingredient to the ambiance of your guests dining experience. Set the tone, set the mood for a fantastic meal!

Be personable, read your guests, figure out what the occasion is that brought them here. Trying to oversell to a table full of businessmen stressing to catch a quick lunch break is pointless and can be annoying. On the other hand, suggesting and pointing out the menu items which your kitchen excels at preparing fast, is quite informative and helpful and will be appreciated in the size of the gratuity they reward you for your quick thinking and understanding. If your guests are obviously celebrating a special occasion, you need to recognize that, make a fuss. Perhaps this is a good time to suggest a bottle of your best champagne.

There is a big difference between being an order taker and being a salesperson. High earning waiters and waitresses promote food and drinks. They are enthusiastic about adding to their customers’ experience. They are ambassadors for their chef’s newest creations and the specialties of the house. They push for add on soup, appetizer and dessert orders because they are passionate about assuring their customers have a memorable time.