Category Archives: F&B Insights

Restaurants that got rid of tipping are bringing it back.

Because, as I’ve relentlessly insisted, tipping works better for everyone: the server, the customers and the establishment.

From our friends at THE RAIL a great industry publication:

CAN’T END TIPPING
Why it matters to you: restaurants have not been able to successfully end the tipping system. 
The tipping debate has caused controversy in the restaurant industry for years now. Some establishments believe that tipping is an unfair practice that puts servers ahead of the back of house staff whereas others believe the tipping is a fair practice that shouldn’t be changed. It’s been less than a year since the Oregon-based restaurant, Le Pigeon and Little Bird Bistro decided to enforce a no-tipping policy and as of last week, they have reinstated tipping. The original deal was that they would raise food and beverage prices an average of 20 percent to include tip, but unfortunately the higher prices were too much for some diners. The prices are now reduced to not include the tip and it will now be given manually.

This restaurant made a vast effort to change the system which is incredibly noteworthy. Unfortunately, the tipping system is so ingrained in the restaurant industry that it becomes incredibly difficult to interject a new structure. According to a tipping expert and professor at Cornell University of Hotel and Administration, there is really no obvious solution to the problem. “The biggest reason for restaurateurs to keep tipping is that it allows them to reduce menu prices, which increases demand.” He goes on to recommend that restauranteurs look at the level of difference between employees specifically BOH and FOH, and replace the tipping system if this is where “the highest pay discrepancies exist.”

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#TBT People love our food so much they take photos to send their friends!

~~ Imagine how thrilled we would have been 15 years ago if a customer had brought a camera to our restaurant, taken photos of our food and mailed the pictures to all their friends with a note on how delicious it was and what a good time they were having?  #TBT

~~ So how NUTS are restaurant managers, owners, chefs and service staff to complain about people snapping food photos at dinner and sharing them?

~~ Food (pictures) for Thought.  — TTBG

 

The Last Tolerated Bias ~ Ageism

~~ In the latest Rolling Stone, Madonna tackles the issue of age discrimination, which is pervasive in business and life for both women and men.  It’s definitely a widespread hidden bias in the nightlife/hospitality world where I work.  If someone continues to be as fit, creative and effective in show business or the nightlife world, why should it be OK to degrade or dismiss them due to age? Good question, and Madonna tackles it in her typical daring style ~~

“No one would dare to say a degrading remark about being black or dare to say a degrading remark on Instagram about someone being gay,” Madonna continues. “But my age – anybody and everybody would say something degrading to me. And I always think to myself, why is that accepted? What’s the difference between that and racism, or any discrimination? They’re judging me by my age. I don’t understand. I’m trying to get my head around it. Because women, generally, when they reach a certain age, have accepted that they’re not allowed to behave a certain way. But I don’t follow the rules. I never did, and I’m not going to start.”

~~ Read more here in Rolling Stone and watch the video of Madonna’s interview.  I say Bravo Madonna.  Age is only important in wines and cheeses.

~~ Have a great week and stay ageless my friends — TTBG

Top 10 Reasons for Bar / Restaurant Failure and 5 Solutions

UPDATED :: In over 10 years as a key player in more than 40 successful openings and long term success of bars, restaurants and nightclubs, I have seen a lot of competitors fail.  As much as I’d like to claim we “killed the competition,” often they actually kill themselves, sometimes before they even open.

Following are the Top 10 key reasons bars, restaurants and nightclubs fail. We are currently offering a free consultation to help in any areas needed!

TOP 10 REASONS FOR FAILURE

(1) The restaurateur/owner does not understand what business they are actually in. Their fantasy does not match the reality of running a successful operation. No one thinks they can hang a sign and have a dental practice with no training because they brush their teeth every day, but many people think they can launch and run a restaurant or bar because they like to go out for dinner and drinks, or maybe they worked in a bar for a while.  There’s much more needed to succeed.

(2) Typically when developing the restaurant too much is spent on construction, equipment and decor and not enough on staffing, training and marketing. Many new owners love to spend on “things” and are reluctant to spend on people which are the #1 key to a good guest experience.

(3) Careful research is not done prior to opening on politics in the community, and vital relationships are not forged with people in local power positions (over your liquor license and inspections for example!) Particularly, beverage driven venues can set themselves up for constant trouble from authorities once they are open. “Connected” experts are needed on the team, as no single person or owner knows enough about the various players and issues. This is survival stuff that all too few pay enough attention to!

(4) Concept Development is not led by someone with a successful track record of launching multiple bars and restaurants, so the right concept is not chosen to fit the demands of the market and the team fails to maximize the best opportunities to make money at the particular site and in the various desired target markets.

(5) Four walls marketing (inside the venue) and generating repeat business are given minimal attention when they should be the most important two parts of the marketing mix after opening.

(6) Lights, music, atmosphere (temperature/comfort) are not consistent and appealing. These are simple basics yet hard to maintain. Circling back to point (1), many who open restaurants don’t realize it’s the details that make or break you.

Continue reading Top 10 Reasons for Bar / Restaurant Failure and 5 Solutions

Consumers’ Cautious Optimism Underpins Restaurant Industry Expansion in 2015

“Technomic is forecasting nominal restaurant sales growth of 4% this year, and much of that increase will come from the opening of new locations among the largest chains, with some inflation in menu prices also factoring in.

Brands, especially high-end ones, are putting more restaurants in the pipeline because they are banking on consumers’ optimism and a sense that things are generally getting better. Technomic’s survey of consumers and their expectations for 2015 found that 44% of people agreed with the statement, “My personal finances will improve,” and 27% agreed with the statement, “Our household will be able to spend more when we dine out”—both of which were up 7 percentage points from a year earlier.”

Frequency-a-concern

Thanks to Darren Tristano for the nice summary in Forbes of trends going into 2015.

How Samuel Adams Founder Jim Koch Pays It Forward

I am proud to be a part of this great program to support food and beverage startups, Brewing the American Dream. It was founded and is operated by Jim Koch, a great guy and the founder of Boston Brewing Company, maker of America’s favorite macro/micro craft brew, Samuel Adams Boston Lager, as well as the breakout hit of 2014 Angry Orchard Cider.
If you are not familiar with his wonderful program of micro loans and mentorship to F&B startups, read about it here, and for an update on this year’s National Finals, Time Magazine blogged a story 2 days ago.
It has been great to work with Jim and the Boston Brewing team over the years and I look forward to doing much more great business with them, as well as supporting BTAD in any way I am able.
Cheers! — TimTheBarGuy

P.S. – Jim also has a secret to avoid getting tipsy when drinking beer, which he shared with me and also explained in an Esquire Magazine interview.  You can read about it and get the Esquire link here.

10 ways to know if your bar or restaurant social media sucks.

UPDATED 8-16-16

Your “social media manager” or outside company is doing a horrible job if you see these things when you go on your social media pages:

1. Almost all posts are from you, your social media manager or company. Very few from your customers and staff.
2. Most everything in online photo albums is uploaded memes and few photos of your crowd or your bar.
3. Any photos of your bar/restaurant and crowd are from your opening party or before you opened.
4. No delicious looking photos of your food and beverages, taken in your establishment, rather than stock or studio photos.
5. Posting old corny jokes and “cartoons” that look like greeting cards or seem to predate the Internet.
6. No videos
7. Few or no posts relating to current events your customers are talking about.
8. Very few comments and shares from staff and customers.
9. You are only on Facebook and not other sites such as Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter, etc.
10. You don’t have a social media marketing manager at all, in house person or out of house company. It’s just one of the operations managers’ dozens of jobs.

For more tips on jump starting your social media, reach out to us.
Cheers!

 

#socialmedia #facebook #twitter #restaurants #bars #marketing