Advice Guy

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Question: 
I’ve been asked to cater a high school graduation party at a private home. The host wants food for 50 and margaritas for the adults (25 people). We agreed, and I suggested wristbands for those who are going to drink. She is ready to book, but doesn’t want guests to have to wear wristbands. I don’t want minors drinking and the alcohol is a per-person charge, so I want to keep track of it. If not wristbands, what’s another good approach to this matter?
Answer: 

Ah, graduation season! You are right to be concerned about controlling who is served at a party that includes minors. Not doing so could hold you liable and you could...

Question: 
When launching a new concept, how important is it (Or is it important?) to private label everything you sell in the store? It is costly and volumes have to be large, so is it essential to building the brick-and-mortar brand?
Answer: 

One of the key considerations with private-label products is whether an established brand will be more preferable to consumers than your own brand. If, for example, you...

Question: 
You mentioned that restaurants are protected from liability if they donate surplus food. Our manager says we don’t donate excess food due to liability reasons; if someone gets sick, they can sue us. But I know other restaurants donate food. 
Answer: 

Last week’s column on policies for letting employees...

Question: 
One of my coworkers got fired for taking food home. It was cooked stuff from a party that the sous chef told us to toss. It doesn’t seem fair. What do other restaurants do?
Answer: 

For someone like me who loves food and appreciates all of the effort that goes into growing, preparing and serving it, seeing it go to waste is painful. And when taking...

Question: 
Is it possible to hold servers accountable for sales? What is the best way to do that?
Answer: 

Last week Sanjiv Razdan, COO of Applebee’s, and I spoke on a webinar...

Question: 
How do I train employees when they have never really worked at a restaurant before? I have one employee that is making lots of mistakes but I really want to keep him and love his attitude.
Answer: 

When I first started working in culinary and hospitality education, I convened a group of employers to give us feedback on what they were looking for in our graduates. I...

Question: 
With a lot of restaurants deciding to do away with tipping, I need to ask what that will do to customer service. I have servers that go the extra mile and some that do as little as they can get away with. Is it really fair to have them both receive the same amount? 
Answer: 

It may not be fair that under a no-tipping arrangement—or a tip pooling arrangement for that matter—a great server would earn the same amount as a mediocre server. But...

Question: 
I told a cook not to use his smartphone during service. Now he’s on that smartwatch. What should I tell him now?
Answer: 

Managing employees can be very rewarding. There’s nothing more gratifying than developing someone who comes to you needing work and seeing him or her emerge as a leader....

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