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August 2011 Ideas Index

Pricing: Instead of discounting, add value. Brown’s Chicken offers incentives the more you spend on catering.

Marketing: Look into a new generation of apps as possible replacements for loyalty programs. They can give you a cutting-edge aura.

Site selection: Use Google Maps to scope out a site instead of traveling there for a look. Keep the selection process in few hands. You want those making the decisions to be experts and objective.

Purchasing: Price cannot be your primary reason for choosing a vendor. The vendor’s ability to meet your needs should weigh more heavily.

Lease negotiation: Set financial penalties for landlords who don’t deliver.

Motivation: As a perk, spare servers from side work. Leave that to the busboys. Market a shift to staff as a stage production, with assigned roles instead of shifts. Make them feel like they are performers.

Recruitment: Pose server jobs as steps to bigger things, whether those steps are inside your organization or outside. Get good service someplace? Carry recruitment cards to hand out to people who show great customer service.

Marketing: Groupon’s standard program might work for some, but doesn’t work for all. Don’t be scared to set your own terms and conditions with the coupon service.

Training: Trying to develop an employee’s skills? Focusing on making them stronger where they are weak seems natural, but isn’t always effective. Find out what they are naturally strong at and focus there. You might see better, faster results.

Management: Simplify by having one key for all locks at home, at work, at all your units. Pal’s does it.

Value boosters: Boosting the quality of secondary ingredients—say, the buns on a burger—can differentiate and add value.

Service: Bottled water is getting greener. But if you still want to hold off, try some of the upgrades now available for your tap system, like carbonation.

Operations: Test-drive a new cold display case before buying it. Check the ease of maintenance by taking out and moving the shelves, and consider scenarios like the compressor needing repair.

Green: The newest eco-bling? An electric vehicle charge station at your restaurant.

Marketing: Get customers on your website by creating a scavenger hunt, hiding your mascot on a page of your site.

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