Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Thinking Of Opening A Restaurant

There are a lot of decisions to make when you open a restaurant. Choosing items for the menu is one of the most important decisions you will make. The type of food you offer is just as important as how well it is cooked. You don't necessarily have to offer a wide range of foods to be successful. Sometimes fewer items makes better business sense. It will cut down on the amount of inventory and it will be less confusing for your customers. By offering a few choices that are proven favorites with diners, it is hard to go wrong.
Sandwiches are usually popular. Vegetarian options are also a good idea today. Of course, everyone's favorite is pizza. Selling pizza in your restaurant is a great idea because it is inexpensive to make, easy to prepare, and it is a favorite food of many. You can add your own personal twist to pizza such as unique topping combinations or dough recipes and create a signature pizza for your restaurant.
Once you decide upon a menu, you have to equip your restaurant so you can prepare the meals. For instance, you will need to look at pizza ovens if you intend to sell pizza. Wood fired pizza ovens are ideal. They add a great atmosphere to the restaurant. Plus, they are fun for guests to watch. They also bake great pizzas. They get much hotter than traditional ovens so you can get crusts that are super crispy and the pizzas cook much quicker too. Also, the wood imparts a nice smoky flavor to whatever you cook in the oven. By the way, you can use the wood fired oven to cook roasts, bread, and plenty of other foods besides pizza.
In addition to choosing the menu items and equipping your kitchen, you will need to outfit your dining area so it is attractive and enjoyable for your customers. The décor you select will reflect upon your business, so choose wisely. You probably don't want something that looks dated and shabby. On the other hand, you don't want to be so cutting edge that you alienate traditional diners.
All that is left is choosing your staff. Unless you plan to be in your restaurant every day, cooking every meal, you will need people you trust. Once you have selected your cooks and your staff, trust them to do a good job. Your trust in them will motivate them to do a good job. A happy staff is good for business. They not only prepare and serve meals they are ambassadors of goodwill. If your customers have a great time, they will return and tell their friends about you too. Word-of-mouth recommendation is the best form of advertising in the restaurant business.
Although it is a lot of work to get a restaurant off the ground and even more to keep it running successfully, it is well worth it. There is no feeling quite as good as making a success out of feeding people good food.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Best Event Catering for You

One of the most prestigious sectors of the food service industry is event catering. It averages approximately $7 billion a year and more than 10,000 catering companies exist in the US alone. This industry is dictated by the economic status of its clientele. When there is more disposable money for corporations and families the catering businesses experience an increase in revenue.
This industry can be an expensive but lucrative endeavor. There are many startup costs with any food service business. To begin in this sector one should have tens of thousands of dollars or a creative mind to cut these costs. For example instead of building your own commercial kitchen a future caterer can sublease a kitchen space from a bar or renovate his home to accommodate all the health concerns when preparing food.
Catering is used mainly for special events and the corporate world but over the past few years this business has evolved to include everything from bar and food services to decorations. Event catering can be conducted in one of two ways, on site or off site food preparation.
During an on-site food preparation catering event the staff is responsible for preparing the foods, the dining area set up and serving the guests. A full service bar may be provided or food may be served in a buffet type style. These types of events are usually found at weddings, banquets, bar mitzvahs or any other exclusive event.
Off-site food preparation catering is when all food is prepared before it is brought to the event. This type of setup is the most popular in the event catering world.
Corporate functions are usually served with lunch hors d'oeuvres or "finger foods". These functions are by far the cheaper of the two types of events. With this structure the catering staff most likely has nothing to do with the preparation of the food. Their main responsibility is to set up the dining area and serve the guests in a timely manner.
In addition to organizing the type of arrangement that the customer is requesting, the event caterer has numerous tasks to execute before and during the time that their services are needed. A caterer must make sure that there are specific foods available for patrons that have certain dietary needs. As the world becomes more visual customers are requesting more decorations and color schemes to be incorporated into the setup for the event.
With all these responsibilities being placed on one company it is not uncommon to see caterers joining forces with event planners which are businesses that prepare and negotiate every aspect of the occasion. As with any other industry this type of situation is sometimes ideal. It is always best for an owner to focus on what they do best and allow someone else to handle everything else.
Event catering has been a common way of life for the corporate world for many years. Even though the economy may not be its best there is still a need for catering services. According to all industry publications this sector is expected to grow more in the coming years as consumers become more accustomed to having their food prepared for them. Catering is and will always be a way for people to socialize, boost morale among employees and create a sense of happiness among the participants.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Waiters Secret to Improve Tips

This is the key element to pass the 20% tip mark. Now it is your job to get people to like you. If you follow what I tell you in the next paragraphs, you will be surprised how much your tips grow.
The approach
Tell the guest your name. If given the chance, ask for their names. Memorize their names and use them. Find something you have in common. It can be a simple thing like how you have the same name or their favorite sport. Complement on their attire or accessories. Make it personal. Become their friend. Do not just be "the waiter" but rather be "Alan," so on their next visit they say "Alan, good to see you?" find out if they have kids, pets, likes and dislikes. Do it, without crossing the boundaries. Do not forget to take your cues, if they are willing to accept you.
If the guest brings their kids, make sure you notice them. Kids are important as well. Ask for kids' names. When kids order make sure you come to their eye level and ask them directly what they would like. Put in the order at the same time as parents. (this will allow parents to eat in peace) If you feed kids first, they will finish their meal before their parents and get impatient and over energized when parents get their food. Offer to bring paper and crayons or crackers. Bring extra napkins.
Always up-sell making the guest think that you guided them to what they wanted. Make sure that if they said they like something rich, you give it to them and not something that is not, simply for being expensive. Provide different options. Give them choices, emphasizing your positive views on the expensive items. Make suggestions. Suggesting is a good way to get their trust. You suggest something good, they like it, they will trust you and order anything you tell them to. Try, try, try. Do not hesitate to ask. Asking is the only way they will say yes. Many times, guest are thinking about it, they want the second drink or that cheesecake, but will not say it until you ask. When your patrons leave, saying "Thanks for the recommendations." You have done it!
Down-selling is not always a bad thing. In fact, down-selling gets the trust of the repeating customers. Let your customers know when they have order too much. (Play it by ear. Old Ladies do not eat the same as big football players). Let them know when they have double ordered. For example: mention that the entrée comes with a salad, if some one orders an entrée and a specialty salad as a starter. Could be that they did not notice the side salad the entrée comes with. Another way of down-selling and getting their trust is to offer something of less value but of better quality or that meets their likings. For example: a guest asks your recommendation on a bottle of wine and he tells you what he likes. He asks about that "expansive one". If you know there is a bottle of less value, that is just a good or better, let them know their choices. Always put guest satisfaction before sales!
Allergies and special needs
Always be courteous about peoples allergies and needs. Try your best to accommodate their needs. Never say no or I don't know, before checking with your kitchen about it. People that have allergies or special needs generally are more grateful when taken care of. If you take care of them, they will take care of you $$$$. Never see a person with special needs as a difficult customer, but rather as a potential good tip.
Difficult guest
Leave your Ego at the door. Never fight with a customer; There are many reasons not to do so, but most important, they become a non-repeat and a bad review. They will spread the word about what happened, you will loose not only their business but their friends and their friends' friends. (remember, satisfied customers tell 2 people, while dissatisfied tells 2000)Not to mention that your boss will see you as the weak link. Fight complains with apologies. Fix the problem instead of making it bigger. 9 out of 10 times, you end up doing what they ask anyway. Most of the times, when the problem is solved, that difficult customer becomes a good customer. If the problem is getting big and seems to not have an end, apologize and hand it to management. Most people are nice people that want a nice night out, but there are some psychos out there that want to be noticed. When you see one, turn it to management, do not try to solve the unsolvable. Never ruin the neighboring tables' dinner who are watching the scene if you fight with a customer. (use your ability to flash a fake smile)
When having handicapped in the restaurant, do not stare. Do not make them feel uncomfortable. Remove items that could be an obstacle without mentioning it. Provide any items that could be of use and plenty of space. Make everything accessible (silverware, glassware and plates). Treat no different unless asked to be.
Dropping the check
When you drop the check, don't just drop the check, let them know that you will be there for them. Let them know if you will be their cashier or if they have to pay at a different location. Always drop the check at center of the table. Never assume who will be paying. If more than one is interested to pay the check, look at it as first come first served. If they are still fighting about the check, jokingly mention that who ever said they wanted it first should get it. Otherwise give them a minute to resolve who will pay.