Customer service is one of the deciding factors for the success of a restaurant. Wait staff pagers are slowly cropping up as a better way to serve customers, but are they the right way to solve the puzzle of smoothly running the dining room? Waiter call buttons are a useful way for customers to let wait staff know they are ready to order, need something, or want to pay the bill. Restaurant pagers are also an efficient way for chefs to notify restaurant staff that dishes are ready to be delivered to tables. However, restaurant pagers may be uncomfortable for customers to use, eliminating the personal contact and challenge of getting the attention of wait staff, and replacing bad customer service with a foolproof technological solution.
Customer Service and the Restaurant Ambience
Top notch customer service is a very impressive characteristic for venues to have. Hiring caring and attentive restaurant staff is a sure-fire way to improve customer loyalty. Restaurant pagers enable customers to notify staff when they need something, providing the table location to wait staff for the fastest and most efficient service possible. However, to some extent, restaurant pagers also eliminate the challenge of providing good customer service, making it less impressive to customers. If waiters know exactly when and where a table needs service, can serving those tables quickly be labeled as good customer service? On another note, when a venue is packed and wait staff are obviously having a hard time juggling all their tasks, pressing the call button may be uncomfortable for customers, but they may not have a choice. If restaurant pagers are present, wait staff will not necessarily check on a table if not summoned by the call button, making use of
Food selfies are taking over Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media sites. Chefs and culinary professionals have mixed feelings about the trend and, in some cases, chefs have banned taking pictures of food in their venue, while others have gone to the other extreme, offering free food to those who take pictures of their food and tag the venue on Instagram. Food plating and presentation has always been viewed as an important aspect of running a restaurant. However, with food photography ballooning in popularity food stylist worthy dishes should be a key focus for venues. By pulling out those garnishes and squeeze bottles, and giving customers dishes worthy of the best food photography, businesses can get effective and free restaurant marketing from customers’ pictures of food.
Making Customers the Food Stylist
Let’s face it. The majority of customers do not know how to photograph food on a professional level. They lack the artistic knowledge and equipment. However, the widespread restaurant marketing that can result from customers uploading their pictures of food in a venue can bring in new restaurant business, and draw back old customers. Restaurant marketing is often at the forefront of the minds of managers and owners. Luckily, with the rise in social media and smartphones, as well as an appreciation for culinary culture, much word of mouth restaurant marketing is being done for businesses, for free, by the customer. Venues can easily get in on this type of restaurant marketing by persuading customers to take pictures of food and mention the venue. Offering prizes for the best food photography each month, or offering discounts for mentioning the venue, along with pictures of food, on social media sites, can get the trend started. Instead of worrying about food photographers or learning how to photograph food, venues can benefit from customers’ food pictures. Customers a likely to get a wide range of shots and, even better, flaunt them to their friends, giving a venue great restaurant marketing.
The food industry is plagued with high restaurant job turnover rates. Though cooking jobs seem ideal to many aspiring chefs, history has shown that newcomers to the field often do not stay in it for long, and experienced chefs tend to move around from venue to venue. Rarely does a cook dream of working in one venue for his/her whole career. Usually he/she does so in order to gain experience in the hopes of eventually starting a restaurant business. If a restaurant kitchen is lucky enough to have an outstanding cook or chef, it should go out of its way to keep him/her on staff.
How to Spot a Good Restaurant Kitchen Employee
A good restaurant employee is responsible, clean, talented, and motivated. With the frequency of issues such as restaurant theft and the high restaurant turnover rate, a restaurant kitchen with good employees should hold on to them. The person in charge of restaurant hiring should keep an eye on restaurant employees, especially restaurant kitchen staff, and take note of the qualities of each one.
How to Keep Employees Happy
Cooking jobs are tough. But coping with the stress and sweat of a restaurant kitchen can be enjoyable, especially for motivated employees. In order to reduce the restaurant turnover rate of excellent restaurant kitchen staff, the business owner, chef, and manager should make sure that employee satisfaction is as high as it can be. An employee satisfaction survey is a great way to get an honest idea about how happy employees are, while allowing them to do so through a safe, anonymous platform. An alternative to an employee satisfaction survey is to have an open, close relationship with restaurant kitchen staff, discussing issues with them and showing that that they are trusted and appreciated. Having such a relationship will make a restaurant kitchen employee
Tabletop marketing is different than traditional restaurant marketing because it focuses less on getting the word out about a venue, and more on convincing those who are already familiar with the business to return in the future. Tabletop restaurant marketing is an almost-free restaurant advertising strategy, but it must be done right to be effective. There is a fine line between being persuasive and pushy, which must not be crossed in tabletop restaurant marketing, in order to preserve a pleasant restaurant ambience.
Tabletop Restaurant Marketing Platforms
There are a few ways that a restaurant marketing plan can incorporate tabletop marketing. Firstly, for venues with electronic menus, direct links to the business’ social media advertising pages can be available, allowing the customers to “like” the venue or join the mailing list at a touch of the screen. In general, the synchronization of social media and restaurants is extremely helpful to restaurant marketing, since it can help spread the word about a venue through reaching people that customers are connected to on social media platforms. Restaurants may even consider offering customers a discount or customer reward for joining the customer loyalty programs, especially while dining in the venue. Another popular way to do in-house restaurant marketing is with tabletop menu cards. Simple cardholders can hold
In the third quarter of 2013, tourists purchased about $903 billion worth of goods, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The tourism industry is huge, and, luckily for restaurants, includes dining out. In fact, culinary tourism is gaining momentum. More and more, tourists are choosing dining locations for the purpose of learning the food and culture of a country or region. Authentic restaurants, as well as high-end venues, can benefit from this trend directly. However, any venue can create a restaurant marketing plan that will focus on bringing in tourists and getting a piece of the profits that can be had from the tourism industry.
Here are 5 tips for drawing tourists to your venue:
1. Get a Tripadvisor Business Listing
Tripadvisor business listing and other tourism marketing sites are great ways for tourists to hear about your venue and read reviews written by past customers. Consumer apps that show menus of venues in different areas are also effective in getting the word out about a restaurant. Venues should get intact with these platforms to find out how to get listed. If a venue serves good food and has a high level of customer service, such free restaurant advertising sites can be extremely effective tourism marketing by making the venue seem appealing.
2. Have a Website and/or Social Media Page
Once tourists have read about a venue on a tourism
Chefs like Eméril and Paula Deen are now the faces of branded retail chef products. Wolfgang Puck has his name on dish sets as well, and Taco Bell co-Branded with Doritos to make the popular Doritos-flavored taco shells. For budding chefs, who have yet to make a name for themselves, chef products will not succeed based on name alone. But, in regards to restaurant brands, is it worth it for more modest businesses to pursue branded retail food product lines? The answer depends on the business’s goals, interests, and funds or investors.
Going Big in Food Branding
Selling branded retail food products in supermarkets is not as simple as it sounds. Businesses will need to make sure they have all the proper licenses for operating a food manufacturing business, as well as ensure they are aware of all the food safety regulations related to preparing and packaging retail food. Though homemade food such as artisan bread and homemade sauces are great additions to a restaurant, restaurant brands of retail food will be subject to a lot more regulation and requirements. In addition, supermarkets will usually only buy from suppliers that have the ability to keep up with their demand. This means that a business must be prepared to invest in equipment to facilitate large quantities of production. For some restaurant brands, projecting an appearance of offering homemade food is extremely important. However, even retail food marketed as homemade sauces or artisan bread will
Casual venues can significantly increase restaurant traffic by making the venue exciting for customers every day. Offering daily deals will keep customers thinking about the venue and make it worth their while to choose to dine at the venue, rather than somewhere else. Whether a venue chooses to hold a “daily deal month”during the slow season, or simply offers a different deal each day of the week, the restaurant deals will have customers flowing in and, when done right, will increase restaurant profit.
Which Restaurant Deals are Worth Offering?
Restaurant deals should offer customers a bargain, while still leaving room for restaurant profit. For venues offering weekly deals, discounts should be focused on making the most of the ingredients available and limiting food waste. For example, fresh fish is often not available on Sunday and Mondays. However, if a venue does not use up their fish from the previous week, it will go to waste, which means lost restaurant profit. Offering (cooked!) fish dishes as happy hour specials or as part of restaurant deals, on Sundays and/or Mondays, can help increase restaurant business and restaurant profit by bringing in customers and making sure to minimize food waste. Other daily restaurant deals can include a daily flavor of soup, buy one get one free on soft drinks, desserts, or appetizers, and “children eat free on Wednesdays,” for example. Restaurant deals should offer customers a bargain, but make sure that restaurant profit is maintained as well.
Restaurant Marketing for Your Daily Deals
Restaurant marketing of daily deals can be done in a number of ways. Tabletop advertising (on the menu or using table tents) will help current customers know about the restaurant deals. Social media advertising can also be used, announcing the special deals of the day and reaching out to customers
Restaurants are often plagued with an inevitable, rotating cycle of slow business versus high restaurant traffic. Business owners search for ways to balance these periods to help ensure adequate restaurant profit at all times. Event catering is a great way to start. It has a major advantage of allowing business owners to choose when to take on events, increasing restaurant profit and workload, while exposing guests of the event to the culinary skills of the kitchen staff, thereby providing restaurant marketing. However, at times of high restaurant traffic, even catering can make running a restaurant and catering service simultaneously a very hectic task. By staying organized businesses can manage wearing both hats.
Catering Ideas for Restaurants
Many of the event-throwers who will choose a restaurant as their catering service will be drawn to the idea by their observation of the restaurant’s menu and staff’s culinary skills. Therefore, some of the same dishes should be offered on both the restaurant menu and the catering menu. However, as with all event catering, style of plating and event type will have to be taken into consideration. If the event is a Bar Mitzvah or a sweet sixteen, for example, dishes that will appeal to young, amateur palates should be offered, whereas
A “chef ‘s table” meal combines the ideas of open-kitchen restaurants and the tasting menu. A “chef’s table” meal allows parties to dine in the restaurant kitchen, being served a chef menu that should flaunt the culinary skills of the restaurant employees, while meeting the chef. A tasting menu is a great way to build a reputation, but having the meal take place in the restaurant kitchen, similar to open kitchen restaurants, demands that kitchen staff know how to cook with finesse and impeccable cleanliness, while being sociable. Guests of chef’s table meals will pay a higher price for being able to see the commercial kitchen appliances being operated, learn about a day in the life of a chef, and speak with the restaurant employees. Chef’s table meals can be a great way to boost business during off-peak hours, but important factors must be considered to make them successful.
Restaurant Kitchen Layout
For chef’s table meals to take place comfortably, they must be accounted for in the restaurant kitchen layout. The commercial kitchen appliances must be as attractive and high-quality as possible, and be extremely well-maintained. However, they must also be able to fit into the restaurant kitchen, while still allowing room for a table, for chef’s table meals to occur. Therefore, the restaurant kitchen layout must be planned to meet these requirements and accommodate guests comfortably at a table or at the kitchen
Technology is starting to play a large part in food preparation in a commercial kitchen. From convection ovens with steaming options, to in-kitchen smokers, technologies are being developed that help boost the level of a commercial kitchen. Part of the fun of working as a cook or chef is learning how to prepare new dishes, use a variety of equipment, and be exposed to new ideas. The cutting edge home and commercial kitchen equipment below will expand the possibilities and convenience of preparing dishes in a commercial kitchen, raising the culinary level of the business and keeping work interesting for kitchen staff.
The Thermomix is an all-around kitchen gadget that can weigh, chop, mix, blend, grate, grind and knead, while heating or steaming ingredients and specific temperatures. The multifunction appliance allows for foolproof preparation of greatly feared dishes such as Hollandaise sauce and lemon curd. Though the price often prevents it from being found