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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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Proper money management

Proper money management has become a critical issue for most business owners based on the current economy.  Here are some suggestions for better money management.

The Importance of Money Management

Money management is a key concern of most people today because of the instability of the economy over the past three or four years. This has made it necessary for many individuals to become a lot more disciplined with how they budget their money. Improper money management and not living within your means in the current economy may result in some dire financial consequences later on in life.

5 Steps to Better Money Management

There are numerous ways for an individual to manage their money wisely in order to prepare themselves for the future. Here are 5 steps to better money management that you should consider:

Create and develop a budget – preparing a budget is easy. Sticking to it is oftentimes another story and that is the most vital part of money management. The basis for creating and developing a budget is knowing exactly how much money is coming in and being spent each month. To start living within your means, this step is a must before going any further.

Make a thorough list of regular monthly expenses – start by accounting for every dollar that is spent on autos, food, maintenance, wages and utilities. Next, include related expenses such as dry cleaning, credit card payments, entertainment, insurance, loan payments, savings, and taxes.

List all monthly income – this includes investment income, income tax refunds and any other source of income or revenue that is earned.

Subtract the total expenses from the total income – this creates an overall picture of income versus outgo and helps the consumer improve on the ability to live within their financial means.

Are all the expenses covered? This is the first question to answer after budgets have been prepared and the four prior steps above have been followed to the letter. If all expenses have been covered, then the budget is working. If not, additional money management steps have to be taken to either earn more or spend less.

Additional Precautions and Suggestions

Preparing a budget is an essential component of proper money management and requires being realistic while the goal is to live within one’s means while at the same time preparing for the future. Once that budget is set in stone, stick to it without wavering.

Balance all bank and financial statements down to the last cent. Clean out all unused items in the storage and have a sale. Pay a bill or two with the money that is earned or just save it and put it in an account at the bank. Finally, start saving change by just throwing it in an empty coffee can or jar. It’s amazing how much will have accumulated once that can or jar is filled.

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3 Tips for Maximizing Restaurant Business During Summer

With peaks and valleys in business throughout the year, restaurant owners must find a way to maximize earning power during their busiest months in order to cover tougher periods in which they lose money.

As a general rule in North America, restaurants are far busier in the summertime than in the wintertime. This is mainly due to winter weather conditions discouraging people from going out and partly due to the holiday season encouraging people to stay home with loved ones. While marketing and promotions to encourage people to frequent a restaurant during winter can have a small impact on changing this trend, the money put into such campaigns does not always justify itself. Some habits, such as staying home during the wintertime, are just too deeply culturally ingrained in us, and advertising’s effects on changing them tends to be limited.

Rather than trying to squeeze more out of the winter months, restaurant owners might be better served trying to take advantage of the busy summer months. So, here are a few tips on maximizing your business during summer:

1) People tend to venture out to eat far more in summer than in winter. Children are out of school, tourism increases and more daylight can mean longer business days for restaurants that cater to a daytime crowd. With that in mind, there are three groups to target with promotions during the summer months – families with children, tourists, and the twilight happy hour crowd. By coming up with your marketing campaigns with these groups in mind during the summer, you will find that your advertising is much more focused and effective. (more…)

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4 Tips to Bring the Millennial Generation Into Your Restaurant

The technologically-savvy and sophisticated younger generation poses a new marketing challenge for restaurant owners trying to keep up with the times.

Restaurant owners are faced with the constant challenge of adjusting their menu, design and marketing strategies to bring new demographic groups in as patrons and to stay ahead of ever-evolving trends. Recognizing and attempting to characterize new demographic groups is the first step in attracting them as customers.

The latest generation which is now coming into its own and establishing itself as a market force to be reckoned with as its buying power increases is the so-called Millennial Generation.

The youngest members of this generation are still in high school, while its more senior members have just entered their 30s.

While it is impossible to generalize and expect that such a large group of people will have common characteristics, there are some indicators that restaurant owners can use to target the Millennial Generation. The following are a few tips for restaurateurs on how to get Millennials into their establishments.

1) Feature more diverse ingredients from world cuisine

As a whole, Millennials are more educated about and aware of a greater diversity of foods than previous generations. With the advent of the Internet, the world has become a much smaller place for Millennials. They grew up with more exposure to different cultures and an increased desire to try a variety of world cuisines. To target Millennials, restaurateurs should consider incorporating into their menus different flavors and exotic spices. As a group used to constant stimulation, the same old fare just won’t cut it.

2) Offer healthy, organic and environmentally-friendly choices (more…)

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How Buying Locally Keeps your Restaurant Relevant in the 21st Century

Today’s generation appreciates restaurants that support the local economy; the secret is cost-effectively integrating local food products into your menu.


Restaurant owners seeking to attract new clientele and stay relevant as the next generation comes of age are integrating more and more food from local suppliers into their menus.

A common first reaction of restaurant owners to the prospect of local sourcing is that it will likely cost too much money. Naturally, a restaurant is a business and in order to survive its first consideration must be the bottom line.

However, in the new millennium, with a new, eco-conscious generation at the helm, the costs and benefits of buying locally have changed considerably. Getting 100 percent of food products from local outlets is probably not likely. Integrating in just the right amount of local produce, meat and seafood to make your business most profitable is what restaurateurs must explore. Those ignoring the rising trend of local sourcing altogether are likely to be left behind.

While adding local food products into the kitchens of fine-dining and casual local restaurants is a no-brainer, even quick serve restaurants which demand a mass volume of food are beginning to local source. The fact is, quick serve restaurants that can boast the use of local produce rightfully win the reputation of being fresher, healthier, more environmentally responsible and better for local communities. Local sourcing is basically a way for quick serve chains to address all of the issues that fast food restaurants have been knocked for over the years.

Customers today demand a certain ethical practice from restaurants that never entered the equation in the past. They feel much more comfortable giving their patronage to an establishment that supports local, sustainable farms. This produce is fresher with fewer preservatives and it fosters better relationships in the local community. (more…)

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