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For Hospitality Professionals and Food Connoisseurs
Issue #49 February 15, 1999
In This Issue
* Feature Post - Service
What Happened To The Server?
It seems to me that the server position has been deemed as a job for fly by night actors, students getting through college, and models. Each cohort having their own agenda in life while restaurant owners feel the negative percussions of lousy service to the customer.
It is up to the owners of finer establishments to put their foot down and bring back the respectability that waitering deserves. It is time to make this everyday job a bona fide career. Restaurant owners should create an association where they open up a server school for mid to fine dining restaurants. Allow for certification, by setting industry standards for the ones who want waitering as a career. Eliminate the gratuity from every restaurant and create a salary position; offer profit sharing options for the servers.
Until restaurant owners become serious about this industry, it will never change. The server is the most vital component in the relationship marketing mix when it comes to creating customer loyalty. Not everyone has what it takes to be a waiter and it is up to the foodservice industry to implement a system to decipher which actor, student or model has what it takes to truly be a certified server.
**Next Post - More on Jack Mauro's Service Article
Wow, I feel like a carpenter! The nail that Jack was driving has been impaled in my forehead. Being that my family and I will be opening a fine dining establishment in the wine country of Eastern Washington in the near future, these words ring soooooo true. People are the key to your success, whether staff or customers. Gone are the days of the professional waiter. Gone are the days of professionalism in the kitchens of your local haunts. The culinary/restaurant occupations these days are only transitional careers! Too bad! Let's all put as much heart into what is left and make a decisive change in the industry. It's really not that difficult...if you consider yourself and your staff professionals.
**Next Post - Promotions
Just another restaurant manager who would like to share a successful promotion with you!
I have written here before to ask for advise on different subjects and have had some response to help me, and I would like to give some help back.
I live in Pittsburgh PA and work for a locally owned restaurant (chain.....yes we are growing). I decided to lease a bus and go 2 hours north to go to Punxsutawney for the festivities for Groundhog day.
Well I started promoting the trip around the holidays, not really thinking that I would get a real response, but I wanted to put the taste out there.
2 weeks before the trip, I had not sold one ticket, but I asked for key management and employee support, and after one day of doing this, I sold 8 tickets. (The trip only cost everyone $20, which included a appetizer buffet, alcohol was extra).
Well in the long run, the trip sold out because of the support that I got from the employees and management, I ended up selling out the trip with 21 guests and 23 employees and all had a great time.
I also got local air time from KDKA Radio and TV, because I called up the broadcaster the day of the trip and told them of what we were doing and got a radio interview and a TV spot on the new on Groundhog day. We also took a banner along with our name on and had one of the inner circle say "Good Morning North Park Lounge" to the crowd of 25,000.
As an afterthought, I would like to thank the people that really helped me on this trip, and they know who they are!
Jeffrey D. Cox
**Next Post - Re: Post last issue about alcohol & intoxication
To learn more about alcohol service:
- Check with providers of responsible alcohol service training like TIPS, TEAM, TAM. Educational Foundation of NRA has a program called Barcode. You can find EF at 1-800-765-2122. They may also have a summary of jurisdictions that require alcohol service training. Many states have training criteria but most mandatory training is operated on local level.
- Also check with NRA in Washington, DC and your state restaurant association. They regularly lobby concerning bac legislation.
- There are two types of state approaches to alcohol regulation. Direct regulations, i.e., states that sell beverage alcohol (ABC states) and licensing states. Each type has an association of regulators. Not sure of the names.
- Beer distributors and distillers have community relations alliances and departments that can provide additional perspective. One of the distillers groups is called DISCUS. They have a web page.
Keep in mind that a crash is alcohol related if an involved party had 1/10 of 1% BAC which is 1/10 of drunk driving rate in many states. Discussions regularly quote the alcohol related crash rate and then leap to conclusions about drunk driving. In general, incidents have been going down and the public is more cautious than a few years ago about drinking and driving. Habitual abusers and underage drinkers still tend to be a disproportionate part of the problem.
Good luck. Discussions on this subject will be greatly aided when the participants generate more light than heat.
**Next Post - Re: Post last issue about bacteria
Just reading your article and thought you might be interested in visiting my site (linked below).
Also, if you have Powerpoint installed on your computer I can send my file for you to view. I own a restaurant with my wife and we are also worried about bacteria and the importance of a clean environment and staff that practice sound sanitary practices. With that in mind and my present background working for a chemical manufacturer and distributor of scientific apparatus, I decided to start a company that could at least start to deal with some concerns that we as fellow restaurant owners share.
**Next Post - Re: 86'd menu item
Delmonico was a fine restaurant in New York city around 1875 giving 15 years before and after when it closed.It was not the first restaurant to open in this country.Charles Ranhofers the master chef of Delmonicos Restaurant also wrote a cookbook called (the Epicurean).I presume it had to be in an old New England Inn near Boston, opened way before Delmonico or Sherry restaurant and the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. As far as the menu is concerned, it was changed every day.
The number 86 means out of any item you have run out of during service.
Sincerely an old chef,
**Next Post - Re: 86'd menu item
To add another dubious explanation, I had heard that during prohibition, in speakeasys, if someone was getting too drunk too fast he was 86ed (down to 86 proof from 100 proof)
Dave Evans - Portland, ME
**Next Post - Re: 86'd menu item
I grew up on 86th Street in Manhattan and my father also grew up on the Upper East Side. He claims that the term "86'ed" derives from the fact that 86th Street used to be the end of the line on the old subway trains...So if something was "86'ed", it was all over...
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Recently I was consulting with a restaurant that had been losing 40 cents on the dollar for a number of years and the owners were tired of writing checks! The challenge was how to sensitize the staff to the situation without creating mass panic among the troops or revealing figures that were likely to find their way into a feature article in the local paper.
Before we started my first meeting with the staff, I asked them all to write down what percentage of the sales dollar they thought was profit. Then I gave them each $1.00 in change and we started to talk restaurant economics. The dollar represented a dollar in sales (they understood that) and they also understood that there were expenses against it. Reading from the NRA's Restaurant Industry Operations Report, we started "paying the bills" using median figures for full service restaurants -- 35 cents to food, 30 cents to labor, 5 cents to benefits and so on by dropping the coins into a cup. They were shocked to end up with 3 cents...and that was pre-tax profit!
Then I had them take the money out of the cup and talked about the results that their restaurant was achieving. We started with 50 cents for food and 50 cents for labor. Then I said, "OK, now we have to pay the rest of the bills -- utilities, telephone, rent, etc. -- so we need another 40 cents. Drop it in the cup. If you don't pay your bills, you can't stay in business." As their eyes got wide with panic, I gave the situation time to settle in before pointing out that when the income doesn't cover the expenses, you have to use your own money to stay in business...and that the owners were tired of it. They got the message loud and clear and started asking what they could do to help stop the bleeding.
I pass this along in case you want to conduct a little economics class of your own. In my experience, unless you educate them to the contrary, most restaurant workers think you make 25-50 cents on the dollar! By the way, the person who guessed closest to the right answer on profitability got the dollar's change from everyone at the meeting...and the restaurant's profitability picture has improved markedly in less than a month!
I am a Front House Manager for a popular Italian-American restaurant chain in the Chicagoland area. Part of my responsibilities include all aspects of the liquor/beer/wine end of our operation. I'm looking for suggestions on how to increase L/B/W sales in the dining room, as well as increase bar patronage. We are, for the most part, a "family orientated" concept. We currently stock a very wide variety of beers from all over the world, mostly in bottles. I do have draught beer as well (i.e. Bass Ale, Guinness, Killlians, Miller Lite, etc.). We also have house specialty drinks. Our wine selection is conducive to the local market, including Italian selections. The bar area was originally designed as more like a "waiting lounge", but does have a bar atmosphere (popcorn machine, TV, etc.). What kind of promotional ideas can anyone suggest on how to increase my bar business? I may be somewhat limited, since I have to stay within the limits of a "family atmosphere" for the most part. Please help!
Thanks in advance for your ideas!
I am considering hiring a mystery shopping service for my restaurants. Does anyone have any recommendations on good companies for this? Also, when you use a shopper, what types of reports can you expect, how extensive is their look at your business and how much does it cost? Finally, what are the positives and the negatives of using such a service?
MD - HMR2G@aol.com
I have been reading your Restaurant Report for almost a year now and I find it very helpful! I often pass on articles to co-workers and recommend your mailing list to friends. I have recently started working for a hotel. Do you know of any publications similar to yours that might help me? Could you recommend any websites?
Thank you very much for all your info!
I have been in Corporate Foodservice B & I top management position for the ten years that I have been in this country. My heart is really in marketing and promotions and I was a PR/Promotions/Guest Relations Manager for a 5 star hotel in the Philippines.
Can anyone point me in the right direction on how to find my niche in the California Bay Area? Does any hotel even hire Guest Relations/Promotions Directors here in the US? Back home, hospitality is an attitude, a way of life, second nature.
If you have any leads, Please email me.
My resume is ready - and it sparkles!!!
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