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Bistrot Zinc has been a popular Chicago restaurant for 16 years, and we count a lot of regulars among our customers. Many of them come back for the bistro classics— Steak Frites, roast chicken, sauteed trout—so we never take those off the right side of the menu. But...

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Rappahannock is a farm-to-table restaurant, and we want everyone to know exactly where the food is coming from. Therefore, the entire team takes farm trips at least once or twice a month. These tours help educate our staff, which in turn helps to educate our guests and...

Whether you provide a service or a product, customers want to know what they can expect.  Investing time and resources to properly train and educate franchisees and employees goes a long way to ensure they have the know-how to deliver consistency—the key to repeat...

Summer is the time when Maine lobster is most abundant and cost effective. To make the most of it, I boil the whole lobster and take it out of the shell. The knuckle meat is very tender and sweet but there’s not a large amount, so we chop it up fine and use it in an...

I’ll never stop trying out new ideas—that’s how I invented the Cronut. But I learned early that you should use an idea when you come up with it. When I started in a professional kitchen at age 16, I worked 16-hour days for $25 a week. I finally saved up enough money to...

You have to look at everything with the customer’s eyes. There are things you can’t see unless you’re looking at the menu while sitting in a chair and relaxing for a minute. It’s not just looking at price points but the sensibility of the menu. [For example,] are there...

When it comes to getting national recognition, social media, especially Instagram, has given us the best return. But to reach out to local customers in my neighborhood in a cool way, I decided to try USPS direct mail. To promote our new wine list, I had a local artist...

We always have our new employees sit down to a full seven-course dinner with beverage pairings. By experiencing the “grand menu,” they learn what fine food tastes like and excellent service feels like. This, in turn, inspires them to perform at a higher level and take...

Since we operate multiple concepts, we use an inventory system with automatic updates, synced with both our point-of-sales system and our analytics platform. This allows us to run a daily analysis of food costs and labor costs. Daily diligence is the only way to keep...

Atlanta diners are not too adventurous, but I want to get my customers to accept new trends that start in New York or San Francisco. It spurs my creativity in the kitchen. There’s a particularly steep learning curve when it comes to menuing seafood. We can’t serve a...

We change our menu specials weekly and like to constantly alert our regular customers to encourage return visits. Sending out weekly e-blasts to our guests who have opted in is the most effective way to do this. Nothing flashy or wordy—just a simple blast of the weekly...

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