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Restaurant Report E-mail Newsletter

For Hospitality Professionals and Food Connoisseurs

Issue #44 January 11, 1999

http://www.restaurantreport.com
newsletter@restaurantreport.com


(This publication may be freely redistributed in its entirety)

In This Issue

* Feature Article
* Reader Feedback
* Bulletin Board


Feature Article

Could you please direct me to the shoe department...
by Bob Bradley

One of my basic rules of dining out includes the avoidance of restaurants with gift shops, and I just discovered that this rule can easily apply to related areas of the dining out process...such as coffee. A recent trip to Starbucks was a shock to my sensibilities. Everyone tells me that they serve wonderful coffee and almost overnight, they have placed a Starbucks on what seems like every corner of every city in the country, so they must be doing something right. I went for a simple cup of coffee, and instead, found Bloomingdale's.

Starbucks sells all kinds of coffee, but they also market tons and tons of neat things like Mugs, Books, Posters, CDs, T-shirts, Calendars, and Teddy Bears. There's the Geometric Mocca Press where you can brew your after-dinner coffee right in your own home, and the ever-popular Basic Press Gift Pack. There are chocolates and all kinds of bakery items including a host of incredible bagels. And for less than four hundred bucks you can have your own Starbucks Barista Espresso Machine (One pod, four minutes, perfect espresso every time.) There's literally something for everyone, and I could be wrong, but I believe that gift-wrapping is available.

A quick crowd study indicates a preponderance of the popular term -"upscale", and there's certainly nothing wrong with that. These folks appreciate the good things, and food, wine and good coffee represent a big part of their reason for being. They drive Volvos and BMW's, and shop at places like Eddie Bauer and the Gap. Owning a dog is an absolute pre-requisite - and their favorite non-alcoholic drink of choice is only available at Starbucks. Visit almost any Starbucks location in the country, and I can guarantee you that the cute couple in front of you is probably named Oliver and Jenny, and their order usually includes something called a Frappuccino or something even more sophisticated. And once again, there's nothing wrong with any of this.

And please be advised that when it comes time to order, don't use the pedestrian terms like small, medium and large. Small at Starbucks is "tall" - medium is "grande" and large is "venti". You won't find Maxwell House or Chase and Sanborn - Starbucks is about blends from exotic places like Yemen, New Guinea and Hawaii. Simply order by saying "I'll have a tall coffee of the day to go". You will also notice that your server, while not in any rush whatsoever, will be smiling. It's amazing and gratifying that servers today can smile continuously for hours on end while waiting on customers.

You will also notice that most people pay by credit card. This is probably because the average order is somewhere around fifty-four dollars. And the average transaction takes approximately twelve to fifteen minutes, so if you happen to be third in line, and there's a parking meter in question, allow for at least 45 minutes. I will say that the music is very relaxing, and none of the customers appear to be in any kind of hurry. There are newspapers available and even a play area for your children. And please believe this - if you happen to be in any kind of hurry, try another spot.

The coffee is good, the marketing is intense, and all that merchandise is terrific, but it's simply too much. And of all the really neat things now available at Starbucks, my personal favorite is a 288-page book called "Pour Your Heart Into It". For a mere $24.95, you can learn the secrets of success from Starbucks Chairman and CEO, Howard Schultz.

Excuse me Mr. Schultz, can you just tell me how I can get a simple cup of coffee?

*****

Any reactions? Send us your thoughts and comments about Bradley's latest rant -- newsletter@restaurantreport.com


SPOTLIGHT

** FREE E-mail Newsletter for Hospitality Professionals **

It's called "Management Tip of the Week" and here's what you'll get...

- Tips covering topics precious to the restaurant industry such as: employee theft, tax savings, payroll and labor costs, overhead reduction, food cost, and many many more.

Visit the link below to fill out the easy, one line subscription form.
http://www.restaurantreport.com/managementtips/index.html

*****
Communicate with 6000+ targeted readers! To find out how, please write newsletter@restaurantreport.com or call 1-888-595-8085.


Reader Feedback

**Next Post - Re: A recent question about Tip Sharing

Pooling tips seems to be a more equitable way of rewarding those employees in all areas of your operation that are often not compensated the same way as those employees who have direct contact with your guests.

Your concerns however, Jeff, are quite reasonable. It has been my experience, overall, that initiating tip sharing not only may reduce employee morale and loss of employees, but also often reduces the effort of your staff: "Why should I bother to work so hard now." Some employees are, quite frankly, just better than others and deserve higher tips for a better level of service.

An alternative plan that I often suggest to stimulate a higher performance level by both the front and back of the house is "Tip Partnering". This involves partnering a wait staff member, for example, with a cook or a dishwasher. This not only improves the morale for those who do not directly receive tips, but also inspires the front and back of the house staff members to cooperate and work more efficiently together.

I suggest that you pair these partners carefully. Take your best wait staff member and pair them with the banquet shift kitchen supervisor. If another wait staff member improves on the floor--based on average check/per guest, total number of covers, wine sales, or other standards you use to determine performance, they would replace the incumbent banquet waiter--moving that member to be partnered with another member of your banquet kitchen staff or gaming area that is not as productive. This can also be handled on a rotation basis, experimentally, to determine the most effective partners.

As part of your implementation of this new program, I would also suggest announcing the best team weekly at your staff operations meeting and any new "promotions".

I hope you find this an effective alternative.

P.S. Don't worry about employee "theft" of larger portions, extras etc. This subtle rivalry will cause your employees to be carefully monitoring each other to the point where EVERYONE in the house will know what everyone else is doing. Trust me.

Respectfully,
Maren L. Hickton, Hospitality Consultant: mareninc@aol.com
Pittsburgh, PA

**Next Post - Re: Last Issue's Internet Tip "Insider Information"

The Pillar House restaurant in Newton, Massachusetts, does an especially good job of making web site visitors feel like insiders. They not only have photos of the owner and staff, they publish a beautifully formatted, quarterly newsletter that's loaded with Chef's recipes, tips on wine selection, what's happening with the staff, etc.

And be sure to visit the History section! A horizontal scrolling timeline is peppered with snapshots from 1828 to today. Very personal, fun and informative. I especially like tracking the increasing cost of a prime rib dinner over the years.

Website link: http://www.pillarhouse.com

Linda Wolf

**Next Post - International Slang

I read your report with interest as it contains things that are still new for me after being 35 years a chef. But please, what is it when a food item is 86d on a menu? I'm an Austrian chef and neither me nor any of my colleagues or managers have heard of this. Is this something specific to the US, then please clarify and don't forget that not everybody is familiar with slang of another country...

Respectfully yours,
Benedikt Morak
Executive Chef, Moscow, Russia

Editor's Note:
Dear Benedikt & Other International list members:

The term "86'd" refers to an item that has been deleted from the menu. For example, the XYZ dish was 86'd last year.

**Next Post - Re: a request in the last issue about menu software

MenuPro is a Windows program that creates very appealing menus. You can find out more about it at http://www.AllianceTechnologies.com

Allan Doe - ATDOE@aol.com
Alliance Technologies, Inc. - 413-585-9919

Send newsletter feedback and comments to us at newsletter@restaurantreport.com


Bulletin Board

I am in the process of purchasing a restaurant and was wondering if you knew of any restaurant equipment (new or used/refurbished) dealers in the Northern Virginia area or on the Internet that have catalogs available? Any other helpful hints on opening/purchasing a restaurant.

Thank you,
WHSURCHF@aol.com

**Next Post**

My name is Daniel Primmer, I'm Chef de Partie at the Sheraton Hotel in Perth, Western Australia. My fiancee is a Restaurant Manager and we are both wanting to gain sponsorship for work visas in America (temporary).

If you could provide any advice or knowledge of people who would like australian/asian influence in there hotels or restaurants, it would be appreciated if you could contact us.

Thank you very much
D.A.Primmer and Melanie Farmer - prim@space.net.au

**Next Post**

I am very much interested in pursuing a Culinary Career. I always have the passion for preparing food. It is really the field I would like to work in for the rest of my life.

To tell you a little bit about myself, my name is ALine Cristina O. Santos. I am 4 year degree graduate in Bachelor of Science major in Hotel & Restaurant Management at St. Scholastica's College in Manila, Philippines.

I would like to have further culinary education or work full-time in one of the hotels and/or restaurants in the USA.

Sincerely,
ALINE SANTOS - aline@mail.ang.sequel.net

**Next Post**

I am looking for liquor optics with different brands besides Irish whiskeys brands. i.e.: Jack Daniels, Seagrams and so on. Any help would be great.

Brian Finegold - ZA31198NE@AOL.COM

**Next Post**

I am taking a class and I need to get information to help on building a coffee house. I don't know where to start, what type of equipment or anything like that. If you have ANY information, please write me at tbaumgartner@genesee.uidaho.edu


*****
Note @ the Bulletin Board: If you can lend advice/assistance/comments etc. please respond to either the individual directly or to us at newsletter@restaurantreport.com We'll summarize and post responses that we receive that would benefit the group.


NOTE: Please feel free to pass this newsletter along to anyone you feel it would be of value. You have our permission to print it out or email it to others as long as it is sent in its entirety including this message and the copyright below.

Copyright 1998 Restaurant Report
http://www.restaurantreport.com


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