We know restaurant operators can’t be scouring other restaurants for ideas all the time. Fortunately for you, Restaurant Business editors not only cover the restaurant industry, we avidly use it. We keep our eyes open for great ideas as well as what’s not working.
This week, for instance, I stumbled upon three ideas that might just ease some frustrations.
1. Half-pour dessert pairings
Getting customers to order another glass of wine when they’re ordering dessert isn’t always easy. If those diners are anything like me, they think they won’t be able to finish a full glass in the time it takes to eat dessert. To get those extra dollars—and avoid an either-wine-or-dessert dilemma—Homestead in Chicago offers half-pour wine pairings with all of its dessert sweets.
2. Under-table foam
At Borgne, John Besh’s seafood spot in New Orleans, the underside of tables are lined with egg crate-style foam padding. The restaurant is large with hard surfaces, but it didn’t feel loud, so the foam did its job of muffling the sound in the huge space. And since it was hidden under tables, it didn’t detract from the décor. As an added bonus, all of the girls at my table commented that it made crossing their legs more comfy.
3. A test for job smarts
Hiring “good” people is a problem we have been hearing more about as the labor market tightens. Operators profess that they can teach book smarts from the manual, but it’s hard to judge the ability to handle real-life applications from a resume. So to test for on-the-job smarts, Freshii franchisee David Grossman subjects applicants to a real-world test that can last up to four hours. Managers put the prospects into a store and see how they react to various situations, pre-training. If a prospective employee does well, they may even be hired on the spot, he said during the Northern Illinois Franchise Association/Illinois Restaurant Association luncheon.