Sunday, February 10, 2013

What comes first The Wine or The Food?

      Ok this is something that has bothered me for years, and yes i am wearing my chef coat as i write this lol. You go out to dinner, "dinner" being the key word here and the first thing the server does is give you the wine list and offers to start you off with a bottle or glass of wine. You order the wine and then order the food with little or no thought put into the pairing of both.
     Now hear comes the chef rant! I first realized working in San Fransico learning from a great Master Sommelier Perter Granoff, that wine is meant to be drank with food and that when paired properly they enhance each other much more. I know this first hand after going to many wine classes and tastings over the years i discovered my palette never taste all the flavors in the wine until i ate some food then i was able to identify the charatneriscs and nuances of the wine. So when you sit down and you order a bottle of Pinot Grigio then some of your guest order steaks you can see how the pairing would taste terrible and ruin both the wine and steak.
    So my suggestion and i have been doing this for years with my service staff is to let the guest order their apps and entrees and then try to match up the best wine to complement the food. I know what your gonna say what if a four top orders all different entrees, easy don't push a bottle and suggest individual glasses you'll end up probably selling more wine because each person will drink two glasses each because they can drink at thief own pace not worrying about if they are taking too much from the rest of the table. More importantly everyones food will be paired properly with their wine and create a much better experience for your guest. So next time your dinning at your favorite restaurant let your server know food first then ask their wine suggestions that best match your choices or better yet ask the chef what he suggest, he created the food! Thanks as always for reading.

Chef Rocky

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Do You Want To Make More Money!!

Often in the restaurant business we are always looking for the next big thing to increase profits or to wow our guest to come visit our restaurant when the ability making more money is right under our roof, in three words Training Training Training! I cant tell you how many times i have gone into a failing restaurant and gotten them back on track through some good old fashion training. Here are my Top 3 training classes

Service / Check Average
   Re focusing the staff on what great service is, attentive, courteous, anticipating guest needs, accuracy of orders, warm welcomes and fond goodbyes. Doing these simple things for your guest equals repeat customers. The Second piece to training the service staff is driving the check average. Teaching them how to read the guest needs and make sensible suggestions like sharing appetizers or grab a fellow service member walking with food and show it to the table nothing gets guest excited like seeing the food on the plate. Suggest all aspects of your food and beverage to your guest. It is proven that when a server is taught or taste a product before service their sales go up in that category. Want to sell more coffee train, cigars train, dessert train, specials train! Getting the picture.

Vino Vino
Just to show you the power of wine sales continue to read my sales equation. 2 appetizers -$7 + 2 desserts -$7 + 2 cups of coffee -$3 = $34 One bottle of Kendall-Jackson Reserve $38 Now ask yourself what is easier to sell to your guest and what one has a better profit margin. Training can be as simple as having a wine tasting with your menu items, or as in depth as having a outside trainer come in for a two hour class either one is good, but keep this in mind the more educated your staff is the the more wine sales your restaurant will do.

Daily Food Specials
Ok i have my chef hat on for this one as i have witnessed this over my chef career many times i have witnessed servers fumbling at a table with a guest trying to recite the specials for the night. Now let me say this first, it is the chefs job to teach and educate their service staff. The chefs biggest fans should be your staff and if they not, they are not going to sell your specials that you work so hard on which also means they are not going to drive more revenue for the restaurant. Now having said all that the chef must take interest in the education and training of its staff. I personally like to do post service one on one trainings with staff members that struggle throughout the night to help them do a better job of selling. They also seem to respond to the personalized training and usually bounce back the next shift with great sales.

I hope this is helpful and i promise good training will equal more revenue for your restaurant. As always thank you for reading


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

How do you market your restaurant?

Let me start by telling you a story. Two new restaurants open in your neighborhood. Restaurant A puts a flyer in the mail for 10% off the purchase of an entree. Restaurant B sends you an invitation to attend a neighborhood free h'orderves & cocktail party. Now which one would you go to first? 

I can tell you from experience that people will go to Restaurant B first for a few reasons: 1) It's a personalized invitation to come in, 2) It's free and no cost to the guest, 3) It's genuine and not a marketing gimmick. Guests can see right through that and sometimes are turned off by flyers, and 4) It's different. Good marketing needs to stand out from the normal techniques to be effective.

Now which marketing plan is cheaper? I'm sure all you restaurant skeptics are saying the flyer! I can hear you now. "I'm not giving away free food and drinks. I'll go out of business!" The biggest marketing tool you have in your restaurant is food and beverage. I can throw a party for a 100 people for a buck a person. To do flyers you have to pay for graphics, postage, buying of zip codes and when it's all said and done your marketing looks like every other restaurant marketing program. I have been doing this type of low cost guerrilla marketing for years and it is the most effective marketing from a cost and return on investment perspective.

So when marketing in 2013 utilize your food and beverage. Get out there and hit the streets or a simpler way is to hire ROCinc to do it for you. Thanks for reading everyone. Stay tuned for more tips!


P.S. Do you know how much you spent on marketing in 2012? You should!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Happy Holidays!

As a French chef once told (yelled) at me one time when he asked why i was working in his kitchen? I replied "i want to be a Chef!" He laughed out loud and said,  "you must sacrifice!" with a bewildered 18 year old look on my face he continued " when your Drunk, Broke & Divorced then your a chef!" "you must sacrifice!" Years later i always remembered those words to remind myself not to let the restaurant business to consume me like it does to a lot of us. Keep a healthy balance of friends and family over the holiday season the restaurant will still be there in the morning!

I hope all my fellow restauranteurs have a great holiday and a Happy New Year!!

Rocky (Not Drunk or Broke, two out of three isn't bad lol)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Early Bird Gets the Parties!!

Getting ahead of the competition for New Years Eve is crucial to getting guest to come to your restaurant over your competitors. Establishing your menu, promotion, entertainment and hours of operation before your competition does allows you to get the early party planners out there who like to have everything wrapped up before xmas. Before you establish your night you have to do your homework here are your study notes:

  1. What are the competition doing around you? Make sure your in line with what your competitors are doing or better yet below their price point if you can. Guest shop restaurants to find the best deals and prices.
  2. History Homework! - Study your own history from the previous years on what worked what didn't and where you need to improve your business from years past. It only helps you become more efficient and provide a better experience for your guest.
  3. Chefs Study the P-mix. - Chefs don't go all crazy on the big day for the most part guest just want great upscale food well cooked! Not Foie Gras french toast with poached duck egg, cured wild boar bacon and truffle syrup (not kidding saw this a few years back on a NYE menu). Look at what sold last year and build around it. Keep in mind that you need something for everyone on your menu, one couple who can't fine anything on your menu that they like can veto your restaurant for the entire party. (P-mix= Product Mix of sold items)

Getting out in front of the holiday clearly gives you advantages over the competition. Simply put think of how many guest call, visit or social media your restaurant from now until NYE 100's ? 1000's? Those are potential NYE guest you can tell and promote your big event to. As always send questions and thanks for reading.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Biggest Day of the Year!!

New Years Eve is usually the biggest day of the year for restaurants and often filling the reservation books and staffing up and some decor is all you need for a big day. However if you do that, your leaving money on the table! On big holidays the key is optimizing your sales, what can you do to take a great day to a record setting sales day for your restaurant. Heres some of my best holiday tips to drive your sales on the big day.

  1. Optimize Your Seating - Sitting a 2 top at a 4 top just cost you two seats and two diners sales. Mapping out your reservations properly to fill all your seats is just as important as filling them. Also shy away from large parties (10p or more) they can take up your seating and you can loose a table turn throughput the night.
  2. Drive Your Check Average - Creating a set menu for the special day to guarantee a set check average from your customers helps assure you will receive top dollar for the big day. (Note- be sure to add value by upscaling your menu for your guest, they are willing to pay a little more for this day but they want something different then what they usually get at your restaurant)
  3. Be Creative - Think outside the box, add some temporary seating, create a late night cocktail party for your dinner guest with a open bar for a set price. Pre sell bottles of champagne by suggestive selling when guest make their reservations all these things add up to $$$

I hope these tips help start your New Years off to a profitable year in 2013!

As always feel free to contact me with your questions.