Advice Guy

An industry expert answers questions on improving restaurant operations

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Question: 
Dear Advice Guy,We are currently redesigning our menu. What are your feelings on using lots of photos of food on our menu?
Answer: 

Proceed with caution. Photos can be great menu merchandising tools, especially for casual concepts. If the big groups are doing it, it may seem logical for an independent...

Question: 
Who should write a recommendation letter? HR? Supervisor? What if it is negative?
Answer: 

We have previously covered risks and challenges of writing...

Question: 
I need cooks. There’s been a lot of talk about that. How do I attract and keep them?
Answer: 

Social media has been busy with...

Question: 
One of our bouncers asked a man walking into the lady’s room to leave—only to later discover that the guest was in fact a woman. Now the woman and her friends are blowing up our social media and Yelp reviews saying we are homophobic and prejudiced. I don’t think it’s hurt our numbers but I’m worried it could.  I can take care of the employee discipline issue but what policies can we put in place to prevent this from happening?
Answer: 

Gender is a social construct and has been evolving. There are people who identify as men and women but also people who do not, are transitioning, or are gender non-...

Question: 
Where can I get seasonal soup recipes for soups of the day?
Answer: 

I think you’re asking the wrong question. There is no shortage of places to get great recipes for foodservice, including our own...

Question: 
Dear Advice Guy,I got a bad review from our local food critic (the only game in town). Business has been OK since but is this the end? Or does it not matter?
Answer: 

Restaurant reviewing is in a very interesting state.  With the rise of consumer review sites, in some ways everyone is a critic. Big critics certainly dominate the food...

Question: 
Dear Advice Guy,We offer 40% off staff meals but how do I record that for accounting purposes?
Answer: 

It is important to properly account for employee meals for a few reasons: to accurately calculate food-cost percentages, to paint a more accurate picture of revenues, and...

Question: 
Dear Advice Guy,I hired a bus person a couple of years ago. He wanted to do more, but his English skills are weak. I told him if he learns English he can move up quickly, but until then, he’s busing and running food. He is a great busser but refused to learn English and is now leaving for a server job at another restaurant. Am I wrong to expect him to learn the language? 
Answer: 

I don’t think you are wrong to expect employees—especially front-of-house employees in the US, and in a very international city like Washington DC—to have a good command...

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