Monthly Archives: September 2017

  1. 4 Restaurant Kitchen Organization Tools You Need ASAP

    Restaurant consultant Donald Burns says it best: "Drama is great for movies, bad for restaurants."

    Probably the most chaotic and dramatic place in a restaurant is the kitchen. But why do tempers run so high?

    Put simply: many restaurant kitchens are not organized well. 

    To solve this, Toast created a Restaurant Back of House Guide filled with resources for restaurant owners, chefs, and kitchen managers. Included in the guide are:

    • Recipe Cards
    • Inventory and Par Sheet Templates
    • Kitchen Opening & Closing Checklists

    Download the free Restaurant Back of House Guide here, and read on for how to best use these free resources in your restaurant. 

    Download the Restaurant Back of House Guide for Free

    Now, when we talk about restaurant kitchen organization tips, we're not talking about organizing the setup of your kitchen - we've already covered that in our restaurant kitchen designs post.

    In this blog, we'll be talking about the tools and resources management can employ in the back of the house to keep operations running smoothly during every shift, no matter who is working. 

    Part 1: Put the Pieces Into Place - Kitchen Opening Checklists

    A kitchen opening checklist is a simple and effective tool for starting every day the same way.

    Ask any veteran chef and thy'll probably admit once or twice even they have forgotten a rudimentary step in their daily procedures. Therefore, creating a checklist is not only easy, it's almost essential

    Common kitchen opening tasks include the following:

    • Emptying out last night's dishwasher run.
    • Handling morning deliveries.
    • Removing food from walk-in freezers/fridges. 

    If your list gets too big, try breaking it up by section so employees can complete tasks systematically - such as food prep, cleaning/organizing, and general opening tasks. 

    Click Here to Get Your Free Kitchen Opening Checklist Template

    Part 2: Monitor Inputs and Outputs - Par Inventory Sheets

    For restaurants without an inventory management software, par sheets are one of the best solutions for tracking food inventory. 

    Par inventory is a way of setting minimum on-hand inventory quantities for your bar or restaurant. Every time you place a supply order, run through your inventory using this par sheet and determine what is missing from your par level. 

    For example, let's say you’re a sub shop and go through around 100 subs a day. Knowing you may get big orders and/or make some mistakes, maybe your par for bread rolls each day is 120 sub rolls

    In this scenario, let's say you only went through 84 rolls in a given day - meaning if your inventory was up to par, you now have 36 rolls left (120 - 84 = 36). Also, let's assume tomorrow is your busiest day. To prepare, you want an extra 24 rolls. Therefore, when you place your new inventory order to meet your par level, you'd order 108 more rolls (84 + 24 = 108).

    Par inventory sheets also have columns for emergencies, events, peak days, and other instances where a higher par may be required. Using the par inventory sheet in our Restaurant Back of House Guide, the quantities will automatically update when you enter your daily inventory quantities. 

    Click Here to Get Your Free Par Inventory Sheet

    Part 3: Control Quantities - Recipe Cards

    restaurant kitchen tools

    Recipe cards are designed to keep that one chef who "just likes to add a little extra" for every dish they make. 

    That "little extra" adds up, depleting your inventory and bleeding your restaurant's potential profit. Recipe cards keep a loose cannon in check and your inventory in control. 

    Some recipe card templates can be unclear or easily lost. Check out the free ones in our Restaurant Back of House Guide and give them a try in your kitchen.

    Click Here to Get Your Free Recipe Card Template

    Part 4: Set Up For Success - Kitchen Closing Checklists

    Never leave a kitchen messy. 

    With perishable food, hot surfaces, wet floors, and sharp objects, a kitchen left in shambles is an enormous liabilityBefore you close the doors to the restaurant, use a kitchen closing checklist in your back-of-house sweep. 

    Essential closing tasks include:

    • Turning off all lights, ovens, and equipment. 
    • Wrapping and labeling food for tomorrow.
    • Cleaning all surfaces and kitchen tools.

    Like the opening checklist, the closing checklist should be organized by section (surface cleaning, food prep, etc.) for efficiency. 

    Click Here to Get Your Free Kitchen Closing Checklist Template

    Download These Kitchen Resources For Free Below!

    In Toast's Restaurant Back of House Guidetemplates for opening/closing checklists, recipe cards, and par inventory are included - as well as tips for using them optimally. Start using these tools in your restaurant today and make way for a more organized, efficient, and profitable restaurant kitchen!

    This blog entry is compliments of Toast.

    As always, check out Restaurantsupply.com for all your restaurant needs.
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  • Google Analytics for Restaurants: 5 Tips to Get You Started

    If your restaurant has a web page, web site, or online ordering portal, you need to have Google Analytics on your website.

    Google Analytics is a free web analytics tracking tool and offers several out-of-the-box reports that are useful for restaurant owners. It can help you understand:

    • Who is ordering from your website.
    • Which device they are ordering from.
    • What time they're likely to order. 

    Read on for tips on setting up and optimizing this crucial tool for 21st century restaurants.

    Setting Up Your Restaurant's Google Analytics Account

    google analytics restaurants

    If you already have Google Analytics set up, you can skip this section. Otherwise, read below to learn how to set up a Google Analytics account and add the tracking to your website.

    Your Guide to Setting Up Google Analytics

    Start by navigating to https://www.google.com/analytics/ and click on Sign In > Analytics in the top right of the webpage. If you already have a Google account or Gmail address you can use that to login. Otherwise, you’ll want to create a new Google account.

    Whether you sign in or create a new account, start by clicking the Sign up link on the right of the Google Analytics homepage above. Enter the information, including your local time zone in the “Reporting Time Zone” setting.

    On the next screen, copy the Website Tracking code and enter in the footer of your site. (You may need to contact the Webmaster company that build your website to add this tracking code).

    Now you're all set up! Let's look at five areas of the site you can use to better understand your online customer base. 

    5 Tips For Every Restaurateur Using Google Analytics

    1) Visitor Traffic by City
    restaurant websites

    By navigating to AUDIENCE > Geo > Location Google Analytics, you can easily see a breakdown of website traffic by country. However, unless you have a fleet of drones like Amazon, you’ll want to focus on specific cities traffic.

    To identify city traffic, click on Primary Dimension: City underneath the global map of countries.

    This report is much more interesting - showing a list of traffic by city.

    Related Post: The Huge Guide to Google My Business & Local Search for Restaurants

    As a restaurant owner, this report will help answer some key questions. For example: Is your website traffic focused on where you are physically located, or are other nearby cities featured as well?

    If you see several visitors outside the city you're located, you may consider online ordering with delivery, as there are clearly hungry prospective diners!

    2) Traffic by Time of Day

    This report is not available as a standard report, but is especially useful to restaurants to identify times of the day when your restaurant's website traffic is highest. To create this report, navigate to CUSTOMIZATION > Custom Reports and click + New Custom Report.

    On the next screen select Sessions as your metric (in blue) and Hour as your dimension (in green).

    Completed properly, your custom report should look like this:

    restaurant google analytics

    Hit save and view your new report, showing traffic by time of day (where hour matches the local time zone configured in your Google Analytics account).

    restaurant website data
    This report will answer pressing questions about website traffic relating to your restaurant. Are you missing out on a potential lunch, or are visitors night owls looking at your menu into the wee hours of the night?

    For this example, noon to 3 PM is the sweet spot for traffic: we have some hungry visitors!

    3) Traffic by Device - Desktop, Tablet, and Mobile

    Depending on your restaurant website or online ordering platform, you may be turning off potential diners because your website does not receive mobile traffic. Or, maybe mobile visitors are coming to your site, but leave because they cannot find a menu or load anything within their screens.

    This report is another standard report, that you can find navigation to AUDIENCE > Mobile > Overview. This report is broken up by the standard device types: desktop, mobile, and tablet.

    restaurant google analytics

    Take a look at the amount of overall sessions and the percentage in gray - do you have a sizable amount of mobile traffic? You also want to look at Bounce Rate, which is the amount of users who leave your website after viewing only one page.

    4) Compare Your Device Traffic to Other Restaurant Websites

    Depending on the settings you used when creating your Google Analytics account, you can benchmark your site against others in the restaurant industry.

    The above device report is even more interesting with industry benchmarks. By selecting Industry Vertical: “Food & Drink” in the report under AUDIENCE > Benchmarking > Devices, you can gain even more insights on device traffic.

    restaurant site data

    Where is the biggest increase in New Sessions / New Users? If mobile, this highlights a need to build a better mobile website for your on-the-go visitors.

    5) Ensure Your Restaurant Website Loads Quickly

    Regardless of whether you have a restaurant website, single page, or online ordering portal, it’s important to ensure your customers can load the content quickly. How disappointed would you be to go to a restaurant's website only to find that the dinner or lunch menu doesn’t load at all?

    By going to another standard report in Google Analytics under BEHAVIOR > Site Speed > Overview, you can access a report that will show your website’s average page load speed. 

    page speed

    Doubleclick says that "publishers whose mobile sites load in 5 seconds earn up to 2x more mobile ad revenue than those whose sites load in 19 seconds."

    According to Google, site speed matters even more for mobile devices, where even a nominal increase in seconds can significantly increase the likelihood of a visitor abandoning your website. "As page load time goes from one second to seven seconds, the probability of a mobile site visitor bouncing increases 113%. Similarly, as the number of elements - text, titles, images - on a page increases from 400 to 6,000, the probability of conversion drops 95%.

    Empowering Your Restaurant With Data

    Google Analytics is a free tool and a must-have for your website. If you found the above useful, let us know in the comments below or on social media - we love to hear about how restaurants are using technology to improve their business!

    This blog entry is compliments of Toast.

    As always, check out Restaurantsupply.com for all your restaurant needs.
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  • Fast Food Industry Trends: What's Next for Fast Food in 2018?

    There’s no doubt that the restaurant business is constantly evolving, and that’s true for fast food establishments as well.

    We’re starting to see higher adoption of faster payment methods – such as contactless and in-app payments – as well as a blurring of the line between fast food and fast casual. Additionally, automation is ramping up in some locations, with more chains testing self-order kiosks.

    Let's see what trends are impacting the fast food industry and what that could mean for your restaurant. 

    Faster Payment Methods

    In fast food, getting the customer in and out quickly is key. That’s why many locations have implemented NFC (contactless) technologies, allowing customers to simply “tap” their phone or device to a compatible terminal. Other restaurants, like Taco Bell, Chick-Fil-A, and Burger King, offer apps for smartphones so customers can pay right through their phone. Some apps can even securely store customers’ card details for quick future ordering and payment.

    fast food industry news

    For fast food restaurants - and all restaurants - this means a speedier process at the cash register. No swiping, no receipt, no making change - just tap & go. 

    Pay in Advance

    Takeout and delivery-based fast food restaurants can benefit from implementing systems that allow customers to pay when they place their order instead of when they pick it up.

    Whether you enable phone ordering, online ordering, or in-app ordering, accepting payment by card at the time of order means that when customers come to pick up their food, they’re in and out more quickly. If the order is for delivery, pre-payment means less staff time spent per delivery and less cash carried around outside the restaurant.

    fast food facts

    It may even lead to more or larger sales. The Motley Fool reports that Papa John’s has seen an increase in ordering both online and by smartphone that has resulted in customers purchasing more often and spending more per order. The article further reports that Domino’s, Pizza Hut, and Papa John’s all receive about 40% of their sales from digital sources.

    Fast Food and Fast Casual Collide

    Fast food and fast casual both focus on providing quicker meals than a sit-down restaurant, but fast casual is typically not quite as speedy as fast food.

    This has started shifting, thanks to developments such as Panera drive-through. A few years ago, Panera tested drive-through at some of its locations, blurring the line between fast food and fast casual even further. While the company hasn’t rolled out drive-through nationwide, it’s shown that some customers do prefer the convenience of drive-through even at locations that aren’t traditionally fast food.

    Additionally, many fast casual chains have started offering combo or value meals, providing pre-set choices that can help speed up customer ordering times. While combo meals at fast casual typically aren’t as low cost as value meals at fast food restaurants, the ability to simply order “one” item (the combo meal) can reduce staff time entering the order.

    Fast Food Industry Trends

    On the flip side, fast food has responded to fast casual’s encroachment by offering foods once thought of as more fast casual fare. Artisan sandwiches, salads with specialty toppings, and fresh baked muffins or other pastries are now popping up at fast food joints that traditionally serve burgers and fries. Doughnut shops like Dunkin’ Donuts have expanded into offering wraps, cold cuts on bagels, and other lunch items not typically associated with fast food doughnut shops.

    Automation in Fast Food

    In an article earlier this year, I covered the pros and cons of fast food kiosks. Since then, more fast food CEOs have spoken openly about the likelihood of automation changing the industry in the coming years.

    Fast Food Industry Trends

    Yum Brands CEO predicts that automation could be commonplace in the mid-2020s, and had already implemented kiosks in some of its locations around the world. Wendy’s plans to add self-serve kiosks to 1,000 of its restaurants by the end of 2017.

    As technology continues to evolve and prices for that new technology continue to drop, expect to see greater use of automated tools like self-order kiosks in fast food establishments.

    Which  fast food industry trend are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments below!

    This blog entry is compliments of Toast.

    As always, check out Restaurantsupply.com for all your restaurant needs.
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  • Why Some Restaurants are Offering All-Day Dining (& Why You Should Too)

    all-day-dining

    Brunch is an experience.

    And it’s an experience that is so fixed in our culture that there are even books about its history.

    According to Brunch: A History by Farha Ternikar, the idea of Brunch came to the United States in New Orleans in the 1890s.

    The popularity of brunch, which is a meal typically eaten in the late morning that consists of breakfast and lunch options, shows that having the option to eat at off hours is significant to both diners and restaurants. 

    Enter: the idea of all-day dining in restaurants.

    All-day dining options are on the rise as consumers look to find a diverse range of experiences and places to hang out while they work or meet with friends.

    Why All-Day Dining?

    The reason for the increase in popularity of all-day dining is because of the economy, community, the love of breakfast food in the U.S., and the fact that diners want more control when it comes to their restaurant experiences.

    According to the National Restaurant Association:

    • 45% of consumers want to be in more control of where and when they sit at restaurants. (source)
    • 3 out of 4 consumers would dine at off-peak times if given a discount. (source)

    The point here is that more consumers want more control. And in my eyes, that means dining out when they want to.

    Breakfast for Lunch or Dinner 

    Meet diners where their demand lies! 7 out of 10 customers say they want restaurants to serve breakfast throughout the day.

    In an interview with Eater, Bonnie Riggs, analyst at market research firm NPD Group, says that “breakfast is the only bright spot in the industry.” The firm also predicts the consumption of breakfast will increase by 5 % through 2019.

    The Economy 

    When it comes to work, it’s not a surprise that companies offer some type of work-from-home benefit. In addition, the "gig economy" is growing. The gig economy consists of companies hiring workers for short-term employment. According to LinkedIn, 43% of the workforce in the U.S. will be made up of freelancers in 2020.

    Freelancers need a place to work - and working at a cafe or coffeeshop can be more productive than working at home, because productivity is contagious. So why not seek out an all-day restaurant to work, eat, drink coffee, and connect with others?

    Community

    The idea of an all-day eatery is also about community. If you can go to a place with like-minded individuals working remotely, then you have opportunities to connect with them. Restaurant owners have opportunities to connect with the diner who comes in at off hours.

    6 Examples of All-Day Dining 

    Restaurants in major U.S. cities are opening up spots to serve guests all day. Here are six examples of restaurants offering all-day dining.

    kismet

    Kismet

    In an interview with Eater, Sara Kramer, co-chef and co-owner of all-day restaurant Kismet in Los Angeles, says, ”The slower moments when restaurants might normally be closed really allow us to foster a more community-oriented, slower-paced vibe with our customers.”

    Alta CA

    Daniel Patterson, owner of Alta CA, tells Eater that the all-day restaurant “gives more opportunity to connect with people in different ways.” Patterson is also the owner of Atla on Market Street. Atla CA is his second location.

    Slightly Toasted

    Eater reports that this bar that serves food opened in January 2017. The owners, Tyler Mendoza and Art Mendoza, wanted to make a shift from their fine-dining restaurants. The idea for the bar is that customers can work or socialize no matter the time of day.

    The restaurant has favorable reviews, some of which note that wait staff is efficient and, speaking of breakfast food, the toasts are delicious.

    slightly toasted

    Brider

    This Denver eatery serves food (seen above) all day in a 3,400 square foot space, according to its website. The team at Brider serves food with made-from-scratch ingredients.  

    Lunetta All Day

    It’s in the name. This all-day eatery that serves sandwiches, baked goods and located in Los Angeles,  is a “casual modern diner,” according to the restaurant’s website.

    City Mouse

    The team who created the critically acclaimed restaurant Giant is now at the Ace Hotel Chicago with City Mouse. Ths all-day restaurant takes on a midwest theme with dishes like the Gas Station Sandwich.

    Your Turn: Do a Local Search

    To find all-day restaurants to dine in, consumers will most likely turn to local search. Restaurants serving food all day should optimize for local search, especially since 53% of consumers visit a business within 48 hours of search, according to new research by ReviewTrackers.

    Most local searches are performed on mobile devices, according to the researchers, and millennials are 50% more likely to search locally when on the go.

    If You Read One Section From This Article…

    All-day dining is on the rise and consumers are looking for places they can grab breakfast for dinner and/or work from an eatery. 

    According to LinkedIn, 43% of the workforce in the U.S. will be made up of freelancers in 2020. As the amount of freelance workers continues to increase, the amount of all-day restaurants will continue to increase as well.

    For restaurant owners, all-day dining is chance to connect to the community and become the go-to spot. It gives the restaurant owner an opportunity to be creative with the type of experience he or she provides to customers - and maybe that’s an experience the consumer hasn’t even imagined yet.

    This blog entry is compliments of Toast.

    As always, check out Restaurantsupply.com for all your restaurant needs.
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  • 3 Hard Truths Restaurant Managers Need to Hear Today

    3 Hard Truths Restaurant Managers Need to Hear Today

    Restaurant managers don't have it easy. If you are like 87% of restaurant managers out there, you might feel you were a little unprepared for the role you currently are in.

    Watching other managers, you might have had a sense that it was easy. Maybe you thought you could do a better job than that one manager who everyone hated, but then you were thrown into management and you soon realized: management is anything but easy

    Welcome to restaurant management.

    How you arrived at this position doesn't really matter. Nor does the training you probably didn't receive. What does matter is what you do from this day forward to take yourself from being just a manager to the being a leader.

    Yes. There are people who truly are leaders. Now, you will hear a lot of managers say they are leaders. Here's the first sign they are not: they tell everyone their title is the leader. True leadership does not care about title. They prefer their actions to speak for them.

    Before you can make the journey to leadership (which can make the trip to Mordor in The Lord of the Rings look easy), you'll need to face a few hard truths that you could slow you down. All great quests have obstacles that the hero must confront.

    Here are yours:

    1. You're Not Communicating Properly

    On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your communication skills with your team? Most people are very kind to themselves and tend to rate their skills around an 8 (psychologists call this Illusory Superiority).

    Ask your team to be brutally honest, and they would probably give you a 4.

    Communication skills are what separate managers from leaders. The latter are constantly working to improve communication with everyone they come in contact with. Everyone.

    How you talk to people is a habit. Habits become unconscious behaviors that will creep into your professional life. If you talk down to people in your personal life, chances are you will talk down to people on your team too. Bad communication habits are the cornerstone of bad restaurant management. You can talk a good game and act one way in front of certain people. It's how you act when those people you're trying to impress are not around that is the truth.

    Losing your temper in front of your team just tells them you don't have self control. Do you think people want to follow someone who has no control over themselves? You can argue that you're just passionate. No. You're just using that as an excuse to show the team you're not a leader. If you don't get your emotions under control, they will control you.

    2. You're a Hypocrite

    The battle cry of the manager is ,"Do as I say, not as I do." When your words and actions are incongruent, you create distrust within your team. Trust is an essential element to teamwork. You need trust to build a team. 

    If they don't see you leading by example, then you're just like the boy who cried wolf. They see you coming a mile away and think, "Here we go, another piece of fluff and nothing will change."

    If you want to be a leader, then you must stop talking about it and start living it. The path to being a leader starts with being consistent and having integrity with your words and deeds. 

    • You say learning is a core value in your restaurant. How many books have you read in the last month?
    • You say people are your most valuable asset. Do you treat them as such?
    • Do you feel a little uncomfortable now? Good. That is where the growth starts.

    3. You're Focused on Tasks, Not People

    The restaurant business is fast-paced and loaded with puzzle pieces that need to come together to create an outstanding restaurant.

    We have so many variables that need to be juggled simultaneously that many new managers quickly become overwhelmed. Once again, not as easy as it looks. 

    Restaurant managers have a tendency to revert to the checklist and not the individual. That person who just did your checklist wants to be recognized. They want to be appreciated. One of our greatest human needs is the need to feel appreciated. If you fail to acknowledge your team, high turnover is right around the corner. You can say it's them, not you. It's probably more on you for not being a leader.

    If you took the time to create a checklist, then you owe it to the team to verify that the quality and standards implied on that list are upheld. Not doing so robs you and your team of a valuable opportunity to be human. Connect. Communicate. Coach. Lead.

    Becoming a Better Restaurant Manager

    You made it into management based on your past skills, hard work, and character. If you desire to transform into a true leader, you'll need to leave behind some bad habits. You'll need to open your mind to learning. You'll need to embrace change. You'll need to accept personal accountability for everything you do.

    Will it be easy? Hell no. Will it be worth it? Hell yes!

    This blog entry is compliments of Toast.

    As always, check out Restaurantsupply.com for all your restaurant needs.
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  • The Magic of Credit Card-Linked Restaurant Loyalty Programs

    The Magic of Credit Card-Linked Restaurant Loyalty Programs

    How many times has this happened to you? You’re at your local coffee shop, bakery, or cafe, and the cashier pulls out a frequent buyer card. She uses a hole punch to mark your purchase and hands it over. “Nine more purchases and then you get a free one!”

    You smile, tuck the card into the back of your wallet, and completely forget about it at your next visit.

    Sound familiar? It’s a common scenario. Many operators are still clinging to woefully outdated customer loyalty and rewards program models. The old card-punch routine made sense in the days of Central Perk but there are better ways to delight guests these days with updated restaurant loyalty programs.

    Why Restaurant Loyalty Matters

    Before we dig into how credit card-linked loyalty programs work, it’s worth taking a step back to consider what a loyalty program can do for you restaurant business.

    A loyalty program that combines appealing incentives with a simple path to participation can:

    • Drive higher checks.
    • Turn guests into regulars.
    • Transform your best customers into your fans.

    Let’s break these three down.

    Motivate Guests to Spend More

    Customers enrolled in loyalty programs tend to have higher check averages overall as they approach their reward. Boston-based mobile payments platform, LevelUp, describes this effect as the "points pressure mechanism." Guests are more motivated by the reward as they get closer to it causing a spike in spending to achieve the freebie. One study found the effect to result in spending 39% more than usual. 

    Turn Low-Frequency Guests into High-Frequency Guests 

    In addition to spending more per visit, an attractive loyalty program can increase the frequency of visits. In a study conducted by Loyalogy, consumers said they’d increase their visit rate by 35% if offered a loyalty program that appealed to them. Targeting low-frequency guests with your loyalty program is a smart strategy according to restaurant loyalty and rewards platform Paytronix, as these guests offer the greatest revenue-generating potential.

    Transform Customers into Fans

    Peer recommendations and social validation are always powerful in the age of Instagram. Shareable and brag-worthy reward experiences are more likely to get your customers talking and posting about your restaurant - i.e. advertising to their networks. In the same Loyalogy survey65% of respondents said they’d recommend a restaurant to others based on a buzzworthy loyalty program.

    How Can Credit Card-Linked Loyalty Help You Achieve Your Goals?

    It’s clear a robust loyalty program has the potential to pay big dividends. Next, we’re going to dive into why card-linked loyalty can specifically help you achieve the results described above.

    How Does it Work?

    Credit card-linked loyalty is just what it sounds like: it's a loyalty program that tracks rewards and points based on a customer’s credit card use. Guests are asked to opt-in to the loyalty program once. From there on out, their point and reward accumulation is automated.

    The old punch-card method we described above puts the entire bonus to earn rewards on guests and is laden with pitfalls.

    Each time a customer visits an establishment, they need to both have their card on them and remember to present it. If their card goes through the wash before they’ve redeemed their reward, they rewind back to zero.

    loyalty punch card

    With credit card-linked loyalty, guests opt in only once and the rest is automated. Here’s how it works with Toast's restaurant loyalty program:

    1. Sally visits Fenway Cafe for the first time and pays with her card.
    2. When she pays and signs for her meal, Sally has the option to opt into Fenway Cafe’s loyalty program by providing her email address.
    3. Sally receives an email with her unique rewards number and QR code.
    4. Sally visits Fenway Cafe again the next day and automatically earns points towards her reward.
    5. If Sally wants to pay with cash or check on another visit she can use her unique rewards number, QR code, phone number, or email to still earn points.

    This automation makes earning rewards a seamless part of each interaction for both customers and restaurant staff. Neither party needs to remember to initiate the loyalty transaction - it just happens.

    Hungry for Data

    Besides creating an improved guest experience, credit card-linked loyalty programs provide businesses valuable customer insights. Data for all your loyalty participants can be aggregated to paint a holistic portrait of customer buying habits, trends, and rewards that drive spending.

    credit card loyalty programStuart Ward, owner of Moonie’s Burger House in Cedar Park, Texas shares, “My colleagues who have struggled with adoption of loyalty programs in the past are really impressed with Toast’s loyalty module. I can easily pull up our most loyal customers and see that they have spent $1,200 at our restaurant this year and have redeemed all those rewards!

    Having a loyalty program integrated into the POS system really improves adoption. We have 3,000 rewards accounts who love it. We even have a customer who has redeemed twelve free burgers."

    This blog entry is compliments of Toast.

    As always, check out Restaurantsupply.com for all your restaurant needs.
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  • 5 Ways To Keep Staff Safe When Managing A Restaurant

    5 Ways To Keep Staff Safe When Managing A Restaurant
    Managing a restaurant means you're the center of attention. Sure, the head chef and their team deservedly receive plenty of praise for the work they do behind the scenes, but it's your job to keep everyone - both in the kitchen and on the floor - happy.

    A happy team is best for business; as customers continue to flood through the doors, the restaurant makes a profit and there's a feeling of self-satisfaction that you're an important cog in a well-oiled machine.

    However, keeping a team happy and keeping them safe are two completely different things. If the manager is taking credit for all of the positives, then the manager must also take responsibility for all of the potential hazards. The manager has a duty of care over everyone in that restaurant, and that stretches far beyond the brand new waitress that was hired two weeks ago. Although it's already a demanding job, here are 5 ways to keep staff safe while managing a restaurant.

    1. TRAINING, TRAINING & MORE TRAINING

    Not everyone you hire is going to be an expert in that field. Some might have been working in the kitchen for over a decade, while another might be looking to earn some extra money after school as a waiter - everyone is at a different level and they're constantly learning. The manager must be responsible for them all to undertake training, as their development is crucial, but so is their safety. Sure, you could leave them be and let them move along at their own pace, but don't be surprised if things go downhill rapidly. They need to be taught the ins and outs of the business; make staff undertake refresher courses so they're always familiar with how to use the latest equipment safely. The manager isn't always going to be around, and if staff can't be left unsupervised because of the lack of training, then no progress will be made and they could be in danger. Training means fewer mistakes are made and it will minimise damages, proving to be a good long-term investment.

    2. INVEST IN EQUIPMENT

    Investing in equipment doesn't mean constantly splashing out on the latest trends in the culinary world, it's about equipment and attire that's going to keep your staff safe in the restaurant. Purchasing better materials results in staff remaining safe around inescapable kitchen hazards, such as the possibility of being scalded during a lapse of concentration or using cut-resistant gloves when using a knife. Footwear is a big issue, and managers should look to provide staff with slip-resistant shoes in case of spillage and other potential risks when walking around the restaurant. Since slips, trips, and falls are the most common workplace accident according to the Health and Safety Executive, then providing safe footwear can have short-term costs, but long term gains - as you won’t be shelling out on fines if preventable accidents occur.

    Then there's investing in their equipment. Not only can new equipment motivate employees, but you'd also be putting them at less risk where they don't have to deal with dangerous knives or broken plates, for example.

    3. WORKING CONDITIONS

    Staff can't improve their own working conditions, only the manager or owners can. Even if you're understaffed, trying to make a staff member work additional hours can cause fatigue and, in turn, affects the quality of their work. If it becomes a recurring issue, then it could be worth investing in more bodies so nobody has to work ridiculously long hours which could affect their health, while the standard of work remains high. Investing in things like fans and ventilation to keep staff cool during the working hours can combat exhaustion, as can encouraging them to remain hydrated throughout their breaks. Storing food safely is also vital, both for reducing the risk of contaminating food, as well as ensuring the shelving is stable so it doesn’t put any of your staff in danger when rushing around. 4. KNOW THEIR LIMITS

    Nobody is denying that this industry is demanding, but pushing staff further than their limits can backfire massively. Showing some compassion can go a long way; managing workloads mean tasks are completed efficiently, rather than to a low standard – safety should always prioritize over speed.

    The restaurant manager shouldn’t make staff continuously lift heavy loads either. It’s unclear whether some of them may even be able to carry such a weight and an oversight could see an unnecessary injury occur, and the blame would be on you. Not only that, but also cutting and chopping might look like an effortless task on the surface, but repeating that process excessively can also cause injuries because of the repetitive motions – your staff can’t function at 100% if they are pushed too far.

    5. PLANNED SAFETY MEASURES

    This point is a big one. You, as the restaurant manager, would have to remain ahead of the game in making sure you and your staff are following the safety protocol. Having a first-aid kit around the restaurant is beneficial, rather than having one stored away so far into a corner that nobody even realizes it exists. You never know when or where you’ll need one, so having a couple could go a long way. The same can be said for fire extinguishers, along with clear maps of the fire escapes in case of an emergency.

    It doesn’t end there either; being restaurant manager means you’ll be on top of relevant signs, alarms and even dealing with potential confrontations between customers and staff members; all of these things need to be pre-planned and the knowledge needs to be passed on to your staff beforehand. Those visiting your restaurant may not see the work you're putting in behind the scenes as a manager, but you can be sure that your staff will certainly appreciate the lengths you go to in creating a safe working environment for them.

    This post was contributed by: Tom Larkin, he is a Marketing Controller with Shoes For Crews (Europe) Limited. Previously Tom held senior marketing roles on the client and agency side for companies in both London and Dublin.

    Shoes For Crews (Europe) are one of the world's leading manufacturers of slip resistant and safety footwear. They are an industry leader in safety for over three decades and to date have kept over 100,000 workplaces safe worldwide. Shoes for Crews unique slip-resistant outsoles are developed with the distinct mission of keeping workers safe across multiple industries. A recent relaunch of its brand has seen more stylish and comfortable shoes being introduced, including new innovative features such as spill and trip resistance. www.sfceurope.com https://www.sfceurope.com or https://blog.sfceurope.com/

    As always, check out Restaurantsupply.com for all your restaurant needs.
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  • What is Bottle Service? Bottle Service vs. Table Service Explained

    What is Bottle Service? Bottle Service vs. Table Service Explained

    You might have heard the terms “bottle service” and “table service” being thrown around in the restaurant industry and nightclub scene. But what do these terms mean, and how do they affect your bar or nightclub?

    Defining Table Service

    Table service in the restaurant industry simply means that a customer’s dining experience is led by a server.

    The server takes the order, sends it to the kitchen, and serves it to the guest when it’s ready. Table service is basically anything that doesn’t involve the customer ordering at a counter (counter service) or having to serve themselves in any way. Table service requires much more restaurant labor when it comes to setup, clean up, and preparing and presenting meals.

    There are various levels of table service, ranging from super casual to white glove fine dining.

    What is Bottle Service?

    The term table service is often used interchangeably with the term bottle service in the bar & nightclub industry.

    Essentially, bottle service happens at tables in well-defined, elite, super VIP areas of nightclubs or lounges. These areas are usually roped off to the general public and are booked in advance. This means that the clubgoers paying for bottle service get to skip the line that other patrons have to wait in to get into the club. While bottle service is generally the more commonly used term, both terms still mean the same thing. 

    With this hot plot of club space, you’ll also get exclusive service. Hence the name, bottle service. Not only do you get to party in a posh, restricted location - you'll also get an abundant selection of spirits, mixers, and a dedicated “bottle person” to engage with patrons as they help pour drinks, make shots, and maintain the table’s drink inventory.

    Is Bottle Service Worth It?

    Of course, all this exclusive treatment comes with a price. Often, a very steep price depending on the club or lounge.

    Bottle service is priced using a “minimum spend” amount, where each table reservation is committed to spend a predetermined amount of alcohol sales throughout the evening (and into the wee hours of the morning, if we’re being realistic here). Plus, there are a number of factors that will impact how the minimum spend is determined.

    Attendees

    If the nightclub, bar, or lounge has a notable celebrity attending, or if a reputable musician or DJ is spinnin’ that night, the minimum spend will likely spike to accommodate demand.

    Time of Visit

    It’s not uncommon for the day of the week (obviously, weekend nights will have increased prices) or for the location of the table to affect the minimum spend. The closer the table is to the hoopla that’s going on, the higher the minimum spend.

    Markups

    One slight thing to note is that alcohol prices are marked up considerably... and by "considerably," I mean 1000% considerably. So it’s safe to say that clubs make it relatively simple to meet their minimum spending amounts, and then some! The concept of bottle service isn’t necessarily to increase alcohol sales, but more to create an environment that makes patrons feel secluded in a way that allows them to show off a little.

    The Appearance

    Bottle service is definitely an acquired taste, so to say. Sometimes it makes more financial sense to go up to the bar and buy drinks and shots as you go. Alternatively, if you have a big group of people who are willing to pitch in to the night’s festivities, at least you can use the minimum spend amount as a baseline for who will owe what at the end of the night.

    Keep in mind though, that minimum spends don’t include tax and tip! So just remember to add a reasonable gratuity amount and calculate tax into the mix when getting a quote for a table. It’ll save you and your party people from too much sticker shock when you get the final check.

    Should my Bar or Nightclub Offer Bottle Service?

    There's no real downside to offering bottle service aside from taking your staff out from behind the bar. To plan for this, you can staff extra or charge appropriate markups to pay for the service. 

    Additionally, if you have a bar POS system, it's easy for bartenders and servers to keep track of the running bill. Instead of memorizing orders and forgetting to input information, employees can keep the ongoing tab right on their handheld bar POS

    Plus, bottle service is fun! Whether a group of locals are out for a bachelorette party or it's the wildest night in the city, at least offering the option of bottle service doesn't do much harm. 

    As always, check out Restaurantsupply.com for all your restaurant needs.
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