Pro Forma

Pro Forma: Latin for ‘as a matter of form’. In the restaurant business it can mean a document that captures and measures financial success (or failure). When I meet with consulting clients, and they are in desperate need of figuring out why they can’t make ends meet, the first thing I ask them for is to…

Take a Seat!

I always feel that it is a good idea to crawl inside the skin of your customers once in a while. Walk around in their shoes for a bit. Look at things from their perspective. Okay, enough with the clichés. It is important for the owner–or the manager–to try to see what it is like to be…

Empower the Employee

At the Ritz-Carlton, they allow the employees to spend up to $2000, if necessary, to take care of a customer’s problem. Without management approval! That is the way to do it. No micromanagement here. That is the main reason that their labor turnover rate is less than a third of most hospitality places. Get them to…

What, No Mustard?

I ordered a burger the other day at a place that someone told me had the best burger in town. No, it wasn’t in Portland. When the burger was put down in front of me, I asked if they had some Dijon mustard. The server came back apologetic, apparently no Dijon. “That’s fine, can I get…

Tourists

Boy, what a pain they can be. They are on vacation, having a good time, and you are stuck there taking care of them. What a drag…or is it? All depends on your perspective. If they are your customers If you work at a place that attracts tourism, it seems to me that it would…

What Are You Going to Do About It?

When I meet with consulting clients, they are all about solutions. A take that I find quite refreshing after years in the restaurant business. Too often, in the passive aggressive world of restaurants the emphasis is put on blame, not on solutions. Solutions I teach on many different subjects–all relating to the restaurant biz–and a…

Save For That Rainy Day

Too often in this business, proprietors celebrate and live it up during the busy times. That is great, and you should be doing that, but you also have a responsibility to your employees to keep the place open and to take care of the joint. Slow in January? Well, let’s see now…You have been open for five years…

#200

Seems like it was just yesterday when I struggling to find something appropriate to write for my 100th post. My how time flies when…   This 200th post is coming out with little fanfare, but on a subject that all restaurateurs, at least in Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, or any other city…

It’s All in How You Handle It

What a difference a recovery can make. Taking an angry, unhappy customer and turning them around in to one of your best regulars. Spokespersons for your restaurant. People want to like you. I have said many times, it is not the mistakes you make, but rather in how you handle them. Examples While serving the…

Say Goodnight, Gracie

My last post talked about the importance of saying hello to your customers, right away, as soon as they walk through that door. Customers are a sensitive lot, and it doesn’t take much to set them down the path of ‘lost forever’. It should be done as close to immediately as possible. I am now…

I’m Baaack

Did you miss me? Let’s see which of my dining experiences over the holidays should I share with you this time? I do need to remind myself that this is not the forum to rant, but rather to educate. I’m trying… No hello I am writing an Ebook (a few, actually) about service, and this…

I Don’t Believe in Bumper Stickers

But if I did, they might say something like: Thank the Kitchen Learn the Food OMG, Another Customer UGH (Sigh) Work Clean, Work Small The Unawareness Zone Address it Now Date Night Someone Pleeze Say Hello Are You the Owner? Am I Too Late? Which Would You Do? Harshest Critic Mixologist Be a Presence in…