Advice Guy

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Question: 
My wife and I own a restaurant in Miami. It is a small restaurant, so generally there are one or two of us waiting tables. Some days when we are busier, we have a busser helping. Basically, we are getting the tips. I read some comments on the internet saying owners and managers can’t get tips. So, how would that work?
Answer: 

In this column, we have previously addressed whether managers...

Question: 
I am a server at a microbrew pub. The brewer did a training of new beers and I attended and drank, of course. I’m 20 and the next day I got put on probation [at work] for drinking and being under 21. The manager said I should have refused the beers we were given to try. My feeling is they know how old I am so if they are going to have us train, it should be allowed for us to taste. It’s not like I was hanging out all night at the bar.
Answer: 

There’s no question that product knowledge and tasting is key to providing great service and sales, especially in an environment like a brewpub.

Laws vary...

Question: 
We have a no cellphones at work policy, but it doesn’t seem to apply to managers, including for personal use. Is that allowed?
Answer: 

We previously discussed cellphone policies for restaurant...

Question: 
I’m in the fried chicken fast-food business. Should we add social security taxes when calculating our labor cost?
Answer: 

Yes. When calculating labor costs, you want to make sure you are including all applicable payroll taxes as well as employee benefits to get...

Question: 
We are closed Sunday through Tuesday, and we try to change most of the menu weekly. That means I am often left with product on Saturday nights that can be donated. How can I connect with someone who can pick it up on a regular schedule?
Answer: 

We have discussed opportunities to donate leftovers and...

Question: 
I paid for my employees to take ServSafe, but told them if they didn’t study and failed they’d have to pay to take it again on their own. One employee, whose English is pretty good, failed—but he said if he took it in Spanish, he would have passed. He said the trainer we used should have told him he could take the exam in Spanish, and that I should pay for a retest in Spanish. Is he right? 
Answer: 

ServSafe from the National Restaurant Association is just one of many safe food handler certifications, but it is probably the most...

Question: 
I was charged for ringing in the wrong entree that was given back to the kitchen and then resold for profit. My question is, can a restaurant do that? I didn’t even get to eat the food that I had to pay for.
Answer: 

Your question is really threefold:

  1. Is it allowed for a restaurant to ask employees to pay the costs of errors?
  2. Should they?
  3. And, if they do,
  4. ...
Question: 
How do I calculate my prime cost?
Answer: 

Continuing with some restaurant accounting fundamentals from last week: ...

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