Advice Guy

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Question: 
I am planning to use a U.S. food manufacturer to make some of their products under my private label. If I choose a known manufacturer, would their certificates/insurance cover me too? 
Answer: 

As operators look for more ways to diversify revenue streams, getting into packaged goods via in-store merchandise or licensing can be an appealing option. Because...

Question: 
I had to pay credit card swipe fees as a server. Are the fees tax deductible?
Answer: 

Some states and municipalities prohibit restaurants from passing swipe fees for credit card tips on to servers. Other restaurateurs, even when it is allowed, consider...

Question: 
If requested, do companies need to release Caliper assessment results to applicants?
Answer: 

Caliper is the brand name of one of a number of pre-employment screenings that can be...

Question: 
We have a POS system in place. I’m not sure how long we should keep the merchant copy sales receipts. Do you know if there is a rule of thumb for the hard-copy receipts? 
Answer: 

In our electronic age, it seems bizarre to have stacks of paper piled up. But, for the most part, it’s a case of “better safe than sorry.” Fred Kaplan, director at...

Question: 
A culinary student asked me for a summer internship. I told him I didn’t have a position in the budget, but he said he wants to learn and offered to work for free, so I agreed. One of my cooks said that if he gets hurt, it’s on me and not the school. How does that work?
Answer: 

The U.S. Department of Labor does specify how an unpaid internship can be legal, but most restaurant...

Question: 
Great reply on the prime vendor question (about partnering with a single vendor). I couldn’t agree with you more! Any prime vendor contract any of my peers ever entered into turned sour pretty quickly. Most of the time, it ended up with price creep, and there are a lot of folks in our business that don’t track the cost of what they’re paying for stuff as well as they should. I was at a conference this past March and one of the presenters started off with a question: How many of us knew what our plate cost was for everything on our menu?
Answer: 

I am not used to much mail from readers—of either the hate- or fan-mail variety—so I’m glad to see...

Question: 
Your advice [to work with multiple suppliers in Feb. 16’s “Putting a squeeze on distributors”] couldn't be more wrong, especially in this day and age. Partnering with a broadliner has always been smart, and is more advantageous now than ever. Using distributors back and forth, nickeling-and-diming them to death, does not promote a business relationship. Without a relationship and loyalty, the salesperson and their company after a while are going to realize they are only being used and will be less likely to help in a time of need. It's not about saving money, but making money. My company is competitive (as most are), but more importantly likes to help and show customers how to be profitable and make money. You put dollars made in the bank, yet a restaurant can "save" itself right out of business. Anyone can take an order and have groceries show up the next day, but a company that is willing and wanting to partner with a customer to help them succeed, improve profitability, grow sales, improve their menu and show better-quality products is the one that will succeed. If you were in the restaurant business at one time, maybe there is a reason you are writing columns now.  
Answer: 

I am not surprised that a broadline distributor would object so strongly to my recommendation for the restaurateur in this case to keep his options open rather than...

Question: 
Is it OK for wok cooks to wear shorts?
Answer: 

Welcome to the season of swamp a**. Summer is bad enough without factoring in kitchen heat. To combat the summer heat, cooks improvise all sorts of creative ventilation...

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