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Are you a real restaurateur?

"Maybe I'll open a restaurant."

Just about everyone, at some point in their life, utters those fateful words. And based on the number of new establishments opened every year, many of them actually do. 

Why? Well, most people can throw a decent dinner party, or even cook a great meal. Very few can pull it off night after night, and run a real business with real employees.

It's not so easy being a real restaurateur. Payroll, taxes, leases, purchases orders, grumpy guests, pesky pests, POP, HACCP, POS, GAAP, hiring, firing, evaluations, reservations, prime costs, prime cuts, marketing, branding, positioning, posturing.... Whew!

Are you a real restaurateur? Here's a self-assessment quiz. Answer the questions truthfully...no one but you will see your final score.

Add up (or subtract) your points, and read about your standings below.

  • You know your employee turnover ratio (+5 points)
  • You use guest comment cards (+3 points)
  • Your hostess greets guests with a question: "Two for dinner?" (-2 points)
  • You know who your competitors are (+3 points)
  • Your chef has a signature dish on your menu (+2 points)
  • Your servers have — and know — their job priorities (+2 points)
  • Your menu items are randomly placed and listed (-1 point)
  • You know how your sales compare to this time last year (+2 points)
  • You know something about your employees other than their W2 exemptions (+4 points)
  • Your waitstaff smiles (+2 points)
  • You ask your foodservice sales reps for help with business problems (+3 points)
  • You spend the majority of your market budget on existing customers (+1 point)
  • You have menu items over $10 priced at 25¢ or 75¢ cent increments (-1 point)
  • You offer seasonal menu items (+1 point)
  • You send Happy Birthday card to your employees (+2 points)
  • You think prime cost is how much a good cut of beef is priced (-3 points)
  • You're involved in at least one community activity (+1 point)
  • You treat kids the same or better than your adult guests (+2 points)
  • You've read the reviews about your restaurant...and burned them (-5 points)
  • You've read the reviews about your restaurant...and framed them (+5 points)
  • You only concentrate on marketing when business could use a boost (-2 points)
  • You've asked the last ten employees who've left why they've left (+3 points)
  • You use Mystery Shopping services once a quarter (+4 points)
  • You read non-foodservice business books and periodicals regularly (+2 points)
  • Your service staff knows how to upsell (+4 points)
  • Your employee interviews consist of one question..."Can you work nights and weekends?" (-1 point)
  • You treat take-out business as more than filling "doggie bags" (+3 points)
  • You break up weekly fights between servers and line cooks (-2 points)
  • You honestly let your employees act as leaders (+5 points)
  • Your menu is as descriptive as a J. Peterman catalog (+3 points)
  • You use menu graphics just to add color (-1 point)
  • You conduct cost control and quality audits at least twice a year (+2 points)
  • You've costed out every one of your menu items (+5 points)
  • You have a written policy for dealing with foodborne illnesses (+5 points)
  • You don't focus on appetizers because they have a low price point (-3 points)
  • You hold a staff meeting before every shift (+4 points)
  • Your servers must check with you to find out how to handle an accidental spill (+2 points)
  • You log onto the Monkeydish Web Site every week for a great business tip (+10 points)
  • Your staff knows how to accurately pronounce the wines on your wine list (+2 points)
  • You publish a monthly employee newsletter (+2 points)
  • You follow the Uniform System of Accounts for Restaurants (+4 points)
  • You and your chef determine menu items and set prices (-2 points)
  • You prepare weekly flash reports on food, beverage and labor costs (+4 points)

How did you do?

You should have been born a Brinker! You're doing great. Keep up the good work and you're bound to have your own TV show.

Not too bad. You're obviously working hard to move up the success ladder. Concentrate on the small things you can do each week to incrementally improve your performance and your profits.

Careful. You don't want to be another statistic. Act now and act diligently to get your operation on the right track.

Well, unless you're ready to prioritize and put your shoulder to the wheel, you might consider throwing occasional dinner parties.

There are lots of great Trade Secrets on this site regarding these topics. Be sure and take a look around, and see if you can't improve on your score.

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