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Please pass your book report to the front of the room

These two quick and easy reads will be helpful to any restaurant manager.  There are a lot of ideas out there, but if you are pressed for time, these books will be particularly useful.To say I am an avid reader would be an understatement. My office is filled with stacks of books. Airline magazines I read never arrive intact. Amazon.com has become my favorite place to shop. Clients and colleagues know that periodically my tome-of-the- month will appear in their mailbox.

My own personal challenge is to take the words of wisdom from experts in the fields of advertising, business, marketing, management, trends and service excellence, and apply them to our own world of foodservice. After all, ideas, especially good ones, are meant to be shared and used.

I've picked two books to share with you this week, The Pursuit of Wow! and 1001 Ways to Reward Employees. Both are quick and easy reads. Every manager and owner will find hundreds of great ideas in them. Big improvements can come about with little, incremental changes. So, I challenge you to pick just one idea from each book and use it improve your business.

The Pursuit of Wow! By: Tom Peters
{mosimage} Reading a book by Tom Peters is, in a word, fun. He's honest, he's out there, and his words pack a punch. The Pursuit of Wow! challenges you to build a business that's not just excellent, but stellar, if you want to stand out from the crowd. New stores and restaurants and bookstores and even churches pop up every day. What does it take to survive, let alone succeed? According to Peters, it's all about WOW... "stepping out and standing out from the growing crowd of look-alikes."

Peters offers dozens examples of companies and people who have managed to Wow. One such company is a San Francisco deli called Khuri's. As you may or may not know, San Francisco is a world full of deli's, but Khuri's has managed to stand out. The "ebullient" owner (Khuri himself, of course) was the reason. He offered samples of dish after dish, told the history of his small business, how his cooking style differed from his mother's, gave the lowdown on catering, and lectured on nutritional value. And when he was complemented as a fantastic salesman, he claimed that "he was no salesman, just an announcer for the marvelous food that he loved so much."

Do you take so much as 60 seconds share your enthusiasm for your own food and service? Do you compel your guests to love it as much as you do? Take a lesson from Khuri, and all the others who have mastered the art of Wow!

1001 Ways to Reward Employees By: Bob Nelson
{mosimage}If a lack of time, money and inspiration are your excuses for not rewarding your employees, look no further. 1001 Ways to Reward Employees is full of low-cost rewards, incentives, strategies and contests to keep your employees happy and keep them from leaving.

In his preface to the book, Bob Nelson states that "it is a rare manager who systematically makes the effort to simply thank employees for a job well done, let alone to do something more innovative to recognize accomplishments." It's true that it is an effort, but one which is well worth it.

This book is full of examples of companies who have developed proven ways to reward their employees. From things as simple as writing a "Thank You" on a post-it stuck to a pay check, to awarding a paid vacation day to top performers, there's no end to the ways you can show appreciation to your most important asset.

Pick up your copies today. Remember, the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.

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