Restaurant Seating Blog

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How to Redecorate Your Restaurant for Less

money pits to aviodStatement making restaurant redecorating can be accomplished even on a small budget with a little creativity. Learn how to update and restyle for less.

Some very popular reality shows focus on restaurants and show how much of a difference restaurant redecorating can make. Some even highlight how costs can be kept low without sacrificing style or overall appearance. The following are a few tips and tricks any restaurant owner can use to update or alter the appearance and ambiance of their establishment.

Bring the style into the present. If the restaurant was last decorated in the 1950s, it is time to give it a fresher, more modern look. The best way to begin the restaurant redecorating process is to start with a blank canvas, so all the decorations will need to be removed. The light fixtures, wall coverings, floor coverings, the old restaurant furniture and window coverings likely will all need to be replaced or restyled. When removing items, bear in mind that some may be reused and some can be sold to help defray redecorating costs, so it is important to keep it all as intact as possible.
Save money by recycling and re-purposing  Some of the current décor may work if used in a new way or updated with paint. Brick walls can be painted or stripped of old, peeling paint. Wood planks can be re-purposed into tabletops, bar tops, room dividers and wall coverings. Old restaurant booths can be recovered and tabletops can be resurfaced. Special mementos of the restaurant’s history can be used in creative ways such as wall hangings and other items of décor with a little creativity applied.

Use discount sources for materials. Wholesalers, reclamation yards, junk yards and discount warehouses can all be great sources of materials, but they are not the only ones. If there is a business going out of business locally, great materials may be purchased from them for a very low price. General contractors and builders may have the inside track to getting cheap, quality materials from building and remodel sites, as well as other connections you can contact.

Make sure to put out the word while talking to your sources that you also have materials to sell or trade from your restaurant redecorating project. Check into donating whatever you cannot sell or reuse and writing that donation off on your business taxes. Your accountant will be able to tell you, in advance, about any rules you need to follow.

Keep it simple. The décor needs to look nice, but it also needs to be functional and easy to clean. When it comes to decorating a restaurant, less really is more. You want just enough to add visual appeal without making the restaurant feel cluttered, crowded or junky.

Use your budget wisely. Spend higher amounts of budget money where it counts the most such as on a quality flooring that is easy to clean and can withstand high traffic. The décor itself can and should cost less than the functional items needed for the restaurant such as seating and floor coverings.

When it comes to the restaurant redecorating project, creativity will go far in utilizing a small budget to make big, beautiful changes. Ideas seen on television and in other restaurants can all be implemented in unique ways to make your restaurant really stand out.

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Make Your Restaurant Food Allergy Friendly

As a restaurant owner, educating yourself and your staff about food allergies is essential.

Although the number of adults and children with food allergies is relatively small, restaurant owners should be more aware of this unique group of customers. Allergic reactions can result in death in the worst case scenario. Restaurant owners have a responsibility to educate staff about food allergies and to communicate to patrons about potentially problematic menu items.

While restaurant owners are now under a certain obligation to address the issue of food allergies for reasons of social responsibility and legal protection, some restaurants have taken their handling of the issue to another level.

Many local restaurants and popular nationwide chain restaurants, such as Red Robin and California Pizza Kitchen, have instituted special menus for customers suffering from allergies. Being an allergy friendly restaurant can help you win people suffering from allergic reactions and their families as new patrons. The following is some key information on food allergies that can help restaurateurs better and more responsibly serve this community.

In the United States, approximately 6% of all American children under the age of three and about 1.5% of all adults suffer from food allergies. There are eight foods that cause allergies and the FDA has mandated that warnings must be placed on the labels of products containing them. The food allergies which are considered the most common include the following:

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Restaurant Redecorating with Personalized Style

restaurant interior designCheap methods for restaurant redecorating can create excitement for owners and patrons. Designing an overall decorating theme that can be enhanced with accents.

Just as with your home, restaurant redecorating can be tastefully accomplished without breaking the bank. It may increase business as customers return more often to see the latest changes. Develop your personalized style and theme, and then create an overall plan. Some restaurant owners may prefer to implement their scheme gradually, while others prefer a one-time transformation. Seasonal accents are always popular and can be designed using inexpensive accents from nature. Regardless of how it is accomplished, restaurant redecorating cheaply will allow you to create new scenery that customers will appreciate.

Understanding where to scrimp and where to spend the majority of your budget will help create an overall plan for restaurant redecorating. The most important aspect of a restaurant is ensuring that customers are comfortably seated in sturdy durable restaurant chairs with ample space at their tables. This is important visually, for the comfort of patrons and from a liability aspect. This should be where the largest quantity of your decorating fund is spent. Determining the theme and the décor that you want to project with the restaurant, whether French provincial, Southwest, family dining, or any other, will dictate the style of furnishings purchased. Chairs are available in a variety of styles to match any décor and table. The tables themselves can be large or small, round or square, tall or low. Glass covered, wood, tile, wrought iron or covered with wood grain are all popular alternatives that will complement the theme. Benches and dining booths may be used to replace tables and chairs, particularly in small areas where they provide a more efficient use of space. (more…)

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Go Eco-Friendly to Save Money and Gain Customers

 There are many business owners today who are taking the principles of going green at home and applying them in the form of restaurant advice in order to become eco-friendly, save money, and gain more customers in the process. The following tips should spark some ideas on what you can do to create a greener dining establishment.

Start reducing energy costs by saving water in the kitchen – Installing boiler-less steamers, energy-efficient dishwashers, and pre-rinse spray valves in the kitchen will save water and lower monthly energy costs.

Go green when redecorating – One piece of restaurant advice that is overlooked is that finishes and paints with low volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions should be used when redecorating.

Install energy-efficient lighting – If incandescent light bulbs are being used, start switching them over to energy-efficient lights and compact fluorescent bulbs. For accent lighting, use energy-efficient LED fixtures whenever possible. According to the EPA, energy costs can be reduced up to 20% by doing this, which in turn could mean an additional 33% in profitability.

Go greener in bathrooms – Convert sinks, toilets, and urinals to high-efficiency models. Be sure that the fixtures that are purchased and installed exceed efficiency levels mandated by the federal government.

Use caution with cleaning products – Look for cleaning products containing a reduced amount of harmful chemicals. Paper towels and plastic products that are being used should be made from recycled materials. Be sure to replace those older, noisy hand dryers with newer models that operate at high velocity.

Install renewable flooring – One of the best pieces of restaurant advice to consider involves the types of flooring materials used. Bamboo is highly recommended because it exhibits the durability of most hardwoods while at the same time being renewable. It can be grown sustainably and can easily regenerate within a few years. Additionally, always look for flooring materials that are formaldehyde-free.

Increase recycling efforts – Rather than just throwing away those things that would normally get tossed in the garbage, consider recycling by:

o Bundle up recyclable metals along with paper and plastic containers
o Collect burned out fluorescent light bulbs and spent batteries
o Compost food products

Not only is this better for the environment, it will increase the restaurant’s revenue stream.

Replace counter tops – One of the more overlooked tidbits of restaurant advice involves the replacement of counter tops. Materials such as recycled glass and paper are oftentimes used to manufacture some very attractive and durable counter tops. When the time comes, consider replacing those old counter tops with ones made from recycled materials.

Practice greener grounds management – If the restaurant has a lawn area, work on reducing the size of it as well as the chemicals that are being used on it and the irrigation used to water it. Consider adding native plants and planting an organic kitchen garden.

The final bit of restaurant advice could generate additional customer traffic. On the back of the menus, print how the restaurant has taken the necessary steps to become eco-friendly and help to preserve the environment. This is sound advice for customers to take home and apply there as well.

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Restaurant Management Secrets – Overcoming Economic Hurdles

Restaurant management during tough economic times is challenging. Every customer is likely to be more critical of the food service establishment where hard-earned discretionary income is being spent. The staff is probably stressed about losing their job and/or they may be working more hours or jobs to overcome financial shortages. The owners are may be financially hypercritical. Finally, the suppliers could be less willing to offer discounts.

However, anyone who has been in the food service business is painfully aware that nothing ever easy for the administration of an eating establishment, even in the best of times. Consider saying, “I better put in some additional overtime this week,” when 65 hours is already your normal workweek. This concept basically defines restaurant management parameters. Accomplished restaurant managers are essentially married to the place, unless they have become enlightened to alternative methods of restaurant management. This can be accomplished by training in a manner that “transforms good intentions into great performance”. By educating in a way that says all employees are honest, dedicated and highly respected, the workload is evenly distributed and success assured.

 What Else Besides Location, Location, Location?

If there was a restaurant management bible hidden in a pyramid or vault, it must have stated: “Rule #1: location, location, location.” Making that statement surely comes through experiences over a long period of time. That is the only restaurant management advice I have consistently heard for 40 years.

Admittedly, I love the story of an exceptional man who was determined to become wealthy selling food. In the 1970s, he rented a 10-foot-by-10-foot corner storefront in what might be called a “red light district.” It was also a popular place for buying and selling marijuana. The man installed a bank cashier’s style bulletproof window with a one-way drawer under the cash slot. As the location was a corner, he installed exhaust fans blowing out into either side street. His sign read, “Fresh Donut Holes – 10pm to 6am – Seven Days a Week.” The first night he made his tiny donuts, there was a line around the block. This location was one factor making it possible for him to retire in two years. However, location was not the only factor in his food service success. (more…)

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Customer Service is the key to Successful Restaurant Management

Restaurant management can be very difficult in these economic times. Here are several ways to not only weather the storm but actually grow your customer base.

The first piece of advice financial advisors give clients is to boost savings by cutting back on discretionary spending. To be more specific, financial advisors usually recommend limiting restaurant meals in times of economic difficulty. With the US mired in ongoing financial hardships for the foreseeable future, how can restaurant management successfully turn a profit when customers are clutching their wallets so tightly?
 Startling Statistics for the Restaurant Industry

The numbers are depressing. The research group NDP reports that restaurant visits declined from 62.7 billion visits in 2008 to 60.6 billion visits in 2011. Chain restaurants have weathered the tough economic times better than independent restaurants, but the restaurant industry as a whole is serving fewer customers. As long as unemployment remains high and consumer confidence stays low, customers will continue to spend cautiously. With U.S. unemployment at 8.1% and news of economic turmoil spanning the globe, restaurant owners and managers should expect more tough times.

 Can a Restaurant Really Grow in Tough Economic Times? (more…)

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