35. Group chats
To encourage dialogue among staff, Brother Luck, chef and owner of Four and Lucky Dumpling in Colorado Springs, Colo., set up private group text chats for back-of-house and front-of-house employees to give encouragement and feedback to one another. “[The group chats] are where the communication happens. This is where they switch schedules, where we give high-fives and where we do corrections,” Luck said during the National Restaurant Association Show. “[The employees] hold each other accountable. They’ll post a picture [in the group chat] and say, ‘This is not how we set up this coffee station’ … and all of a sudden, they’re talking back and forth.”
38. Gum disposal
The White Chocolate Grill in Naperville, Ill., provides slips of paper that say “gum” in the sugar caddies for patrons to dispose of their gum before eating. Gross? Maybe. Necessary? Yes. No more wasting the restaurant’s sweetener packets looking for a place to stash gum.
To make the popular breakfast option feel and even sound more like a dinner spot, Black Bear Diner launched a nighttime-only menu of four homestyle entrees, with additional options on the weekends. After 4 p.m., servers sport different uniforms, lights are often dimmed and restaurants play what headquarters describes as “ambiance-setting evening music.”
When guests are seated at Granite City Food & Brewery, each diner gets a coaster printed with an icebreaker such as “What’s the worst lie you ever told your mother?” that the server must ask the guests to answer. It’s one of several things servers have to do under the concept’s new image, designed to be more “fun.”