Posted by: Jay Bandy | February 17, 2018

The Art and Science of Menu Design


Most people don’t realize how much work goes into designing a menu. But have you ever noticed how a poorly executed menu could make you think twice about ordering while choosing from a visually stimulating or well-written menu can entice and excite you to try everything it has to offer?

There’s a certain psychology involved in menu design and one that is thoughtfully created can be an effective marketing tool for your restaurant. By blending the artistic elements of graphic design and the science of how the human mind perceives colors, text, and images, you can develop a beautiful menu that has the power to tap into all the right senses.

Here are the main components of a winning menu design:

Strategically Placed Signature Items

Menus may come in different shapes and sizes, but they all have a spot that would be considered as “prime location” if we were talking in terms of real estate. This is the section where eyes naturally go to first. And because most people read menus like a book, they would typically start at the left corner for a multi-page menu.

For a single page menu, however, many menu engineers believe this “sweet spot” to be the top right corner. These sections should be reserved for your signature items.

Personality

Menus should stay true to the restaurant’s brand personality.  Your brand is so much more than just your logo and name; it’s much deeper than that. Your menu should exude that through your choice of colors, typography, copy, and overall design.

Menus that aren’t accurate representations of the restaurant can throw up the diner’s dining experience. If you’re eating at an elegant fine-dining restaurant, you’re certainly not expecting a menu with cheesy images, bright pops of color, or cheap-looking graphics.

Logical Section Divisions

Place a box or frame around sections to make scanning the menu more comfortable. Your guests should be able to navigate their way around your menu easily. Book style menus typically start in order of how a meal would be served beginning with appetizers, salads, and soups before proceeding to entrees and so on; desserts would be on the last page. Beverages may be separate if you have an extensive drink selection.

Omit Currency Signs

Guests know that the dishes they’re about to order will cost something. However, placing currency signs on items emphasizes the price, and you end up reminding guests of what they’re ultimately paying. By removing the $ sign, you’re downplaying the item’s actual cost while increasing the perceived value of the dish.

High-Quality Images

If you’re going to use photos of your dishes in your menu, choose the most photogenic ones and have a professional photographer take high-quality images. You may be tempted to involve a food stylist. However, don’t mislead your guests with expertly plated dishes if that’s not what you’re going to actually serve.

Well-Written

Your menu shouldn’t just be grammatically correct, but it should show off your brand personality. A professional copywriter who specializes in menu design may advise you on everything from typography to font size and color and write compelling menu descriptions for you. A professional writer will know how to describe dishes in a concise manner that will still make them sound irresistible.

For more information on what steps can be made to better design your menu, contact Goliath Consulting Group at getresults@goliathconsulting.com.

Posted by: Jay Bandy | February 4, 2018

RESTAURANT TRAINING: COSTS, CHALLENGES AND REWARDS


By Guy Pittman, Goliath Consulting Group Intern

Extensive employee training is a critical component to the success of any business. This is  especially true in restaurant industry due to the fast-paced environment, being labor intensive and direct customer engagement. Unfortunately, managers are spending less time training employees properly and instead, leaving the new hire to figure it out themselves. The employee training is often limited by managers so they can meet labor budgets. In the long term, this has the opposite effect, driving up inefficiencies and leading to lower quality products and service impacting sales growth.

Statistics from the National Restaurant Association state annual employee turnover is 72.9 percent—making this the second consecutive year it has topped 70 percent. Lack of proper employee training is a major contributing factor to the restaurant industry’s staggeringly high turnover rates. I can attest to this personally. It was not long before I left my first college job at the local sandwich shop due to a lack of training. This sandwich shop decided that adequately training its employees was not worth the time or money. As a result, myself and the other employees were left uninformed regarding multiple restaurant policies, procedures, and standards. Within my first month of employment, four fellow employees resigned. This organization’s first and most significant mistake was their belief that proper employee training was not important enough to use company time and resources. Lack of training led to frustration, which in turn led to the preventable loss of four hardworking employees—not to mention the incredibly high replacement costs associated with losing four employees at once.

According to the Center for American Progress, hourly workers earning less than $50,000 annually—which covers three-quarters of all workers in the United States—show a typical cost of turnover of 20 percent of their salary. With proper training, these costs are partially absorbed by a proper training program and the rest fall to the bottom line. Proper training leads to higher employee satisfaction, fewer costly mistakes, lower turnover rates, and ultimately thousands of dollars saved. The results are more efficient and fluid restaurant operations and higher revenue. When employees are trained properly they become confident, competent, and content in their work environment.

Sources:

https://www.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/CostofTurnover.pdf

http://www.restaurant.org/News-Research/News/Hospitality-employee-turnover-rate-edged-higher-in

Posted by: Jay Bandy | November 20, 2017

How to improve your restaurant’s customer service


The recipe for a successful restaurant requires a few ingredients; delicious food, a captivating ambiance, and, of course, reliable customer service. Unfortunately, customer service is an element that is often overlooked. Restaurant owners think that if they provide a menu of delectable dishes, they can make up for average customer service efforts. This is simply not true!

If your restaurant’s customer service strategy needs some attention, follow the four simple tips featured in this post.

Restaurant Customer Service Tips:

1. Provide thorough training – To improve your restaurant’s customer service, you should go back to the basics. Consider, how are you preparing your employees to interact with patrons? If you’re not instilling values into your employees from the start, you’re setting your restaurant up for failure.

When waiters, hosts and other personnel that interact with customers are hired, you should ensure that they receive extensive training. Have them shadow a knowledgeable employee who they can learn from, complete a restaurant training course and maybe even complete a comprehensive exam to prove that they are ready to start working. These experiences will prepare your employees to serve customers in a respectful and attentive manner, so that you can keep complaints to a minimum.

2. Use social media – Many restaurant owners don’t realize that social media can be a major asset when conducting customer service. You should consistently monitor social platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. By doing this, you can answer questions and interact with customers. If you aren’t active on social media, you could miss customer complaints and other issues that need to be addressed.

3. Ask for feedback – If you want to receive direct feedback from patrons, provide a URL that they can visit to complete a quick customer satisfaction survey. If customers take the survey, they are entered to win a gift card or other incentive. By doing this, it is essentially a win-win. You can get feedback from your customers about any issues your restaurant might be having, and they are rewarded for participating. Make sure that once surveys have been submitted, you address recurring complaints. If customers provide feedback, you’ll earn their respect, and hopefully they’ll frequent your restaurant in the future.

4. Provide convenience – Restaurant patrons appreciate convenience. People are always on-the-go, and typically will do anything to save time and effort. So, consider this when you’re refining your customer service strategy. If your customers complain about wait-times, want to place takeout orders easily or request delivery services, consider these comments. If you can implement new technologies or procedures that will offer your patrons a more convenient experience, they are certainly worth considering.

Without loyal customers, your restaurant cannot be successful. Show your patrons that you appreciate their business by executing the four customer service tactics featured in this post. You’ll be surprised at how your restaurant operations approve when you make customer satisfaction a priority!

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Blog post contributed by Katie Alteri, Fora Financial for Goliath Consulting Group.

Katie Alteri is the content marketing coordinator at Fora Financial, a company that provides small business loans to businesses across the U.S. Fora Financial can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Posted by: Jay Bandy | October 5, 2017

Chef Britt Cloud Joins Goliath Consulting Group


We’re excited to announce that Chef Britt Cloud has joined the Goliath Consulting Group as Consulting Chef. Chef Britt will head up menu development and food safety services including teaching ServSafe classes.

Chef Britt Cloud Consulting Chef

Britt is an accomplished, formally trained chef with twenty-five years of experience in the restaurant industry covering all facets of cooking and management. Special skills include opening new restaurants—five to date—from quick serve to fine dining.

Before attending the Culinary Institute of America for his AOS in Culinary Arts, Britt honed his restaurant management skills in a popular bakery café chain in Washington, DC. He transferred that knowledge into the kitchen, where he has managed teams of 25+ staff and ensured consistency and efficiency to meet customer expectations.

Britt brings to Goliath a solid background and interest in menu development, including wine pairing and integration of beer, wine, and spirits to enhance the dining experience. His culinary creativity is matched by his strengths in operational proficiencies, including managing P&L statements, production statistics, staff schedules, food waste logs, purchasing and inventory, and accounts receivable.

Most recently, Britt served as executive chef for two sister restaurants, creating seasonal menus in scratch kitchens based on a farm-to-table concept. At Goliath, he provides his back-of-the-house expertise to help clients achieve their restaurant visions.

Posted by: Jay Bandy | September 27, 2017

Want to Open a New Restaurant?


Restaurant Development encompasses all the stages of opening a new restaurant including: site procurement, design, branding, architectural design, FF&E (furniture, fixtures and equipment) and construction.

At Goliath we can guide you through the process with vendors we have vetted, that will work within your budget.

Contact us at: getresults@goliathconsulting.com

Visit our website: goliathconsulting.com

Posted by: Jay Bandy | September 23, 2017

Why Technology Consultants Are on the Rise


res· tau· rant tech· nol· o· gy – (noun)
Any piece of software or computerized tool used in foodservice establishments or to aid in overall operations. Examples included, but are not limited to, point of sale, inventory, reservations, etc.

If you look back 20 years, that term would be used to describe now archaic point of sale systems. The clunky old machines that, at the time, were cutting edge and would save your servers time and reduce the manual errors your staff would make using hand written receipts and knuckle busters. In those days, you had approximately 7 options to choose from. Flash forward to 2017 and at last count we are at 487. On top of the industry nearing 500 POS options, it’s advanced into inventory systems, reservation management platforms, analytic tools, onboarding, HR, training, branded apps, online ordering, delivery, food safety, geofencing, marketing and social media platforms, diner demographics…. the list goes on. While these tools were all developed to make your lives easier, you now face a new set of problems.

  • Which ones are right for you and your brand?
  • Do you really need to implement this tool to stay relevant?
  • What is product integration and why is it important?
  • How can you determine the ROI on something like this?

Unfortunately, most account reps you meet with these various brands will tell you that their product is perfect for you. To be fair, their job is to sell you on all of the benefits of their offering and help you see why their system is the best. Enter Break Bread Consulting. Born from the ever-growing need​ for clarity in an otherwise jumbled field, our technology consultants work with your brand to understand your specific needs, research appropriate tools and products, ensure fully integrated solutions, and negotiate fair rates. Consider us interim IT Directors. We act as a member of your team to ensure you are set up for success and can implement technology and use it for the reason it was built…to make your life easier.

At Break Bread Consulting, we believe that there is no one size fits all and that each restaurant has very specific needs and goals that need to be considered when looking at new technology. Because of that, we work with our clients one on one with a fully customized and individually catered program to help them reach their unique goals. While the end goal of each individual or group may vary, we strive to create fully integrated systems and work off of a holistic view of your business.

As our industry changes, you must adapt. And we’re here to help.

For more information go to: www.breakbreadconsulting.com/contact

About Break Bread Consulting

Break Bread Consulting was founded in 2014 by industry lifer Brianne Lane. With the restaurant industry finally catching up with modern technology trends a new problem arose. So many new options flooding the restaurant market on a daily basis make it incredibly difficult for restaurant owners to sort through the various point of sale systems, analytic tools, etc and find the best option for their concept.

Break Bread acts as your dedicated IT Specialist. We research products, attend demos, obtain price quotes and even negotiate with software companies to ensure you’re getting the best possible price.

Posted by: Jay Bandy | September 13, 2017

What We Do as Restaurant Consultants


Posted by: Jay Bandy | August 19, 2017

Cybersecurity and the Restaurant Industry


Cyberattacks are on the rise as the world economy has shifted to the digital age. For the restaurant industry, hackers aren’t just focused on payment card data, but now collect information on entire businesses and their operations. The customers, employees, reputation, and brand of a business are all at risk with today’s data breaches. Cyber criminals recognize the technological advancements made in the restaurant industry and are beginning to use these advancements as pathways to more profitable cyber-attacks. As these cyber-attacks evolve, so must the strategies for restaurant owners. Cybersecurity is no longer about playing defense; it is about planning offensively. It is crucial that restaurant owners take proper precautions to ensure cybersecurity.

The National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) Cybersecurity 101 Toolkit lays out the most common ways data breaches cost restaurateurs and what they can do to better prepare.

Often following a major restaurant cyber-attack, the greatest concern is the loss of customer information. As harmful as this loss may be to a restaurant, it is not the only looming issue that the business faces. Along with customer, employee information is also vulnerable. Valuable personal data including Social Security numbers and sensitive financial information can be obtained by cyber criminals through data breaches.

A data breach is also damaging to a restaurant’s bottom line. For example, the smallest suspicion of a breach can lead to a forensic investigation which can cost anywhere from $12,000 to $100,000. After investigations, if a breach has been detected it is estimated that the average small business may pay $36,000 to $50,000. Lawsuits related to security breaches can be as damaging to brand reputations as they are to the bottom line of a business. Once a breach has been detected, a business has a legal obligation to inform the media. This can lead to costly litigation fees.

Litigation and investigation fees are often only the beginning of the costs to a restaurant’s bottom line. Once a breach has occurred, there are unavoidable damages to a restaurant’s reputation and brand. Research has shown that 15 percent of consumers would cease doing business with a restaurant if there was evidence of a data breach. Harm to a restaurants brand name and reputation can prove to be the most expensive cost incurred by businesses that have suffered a data breach.

Fortunately, there are safety measures that can help reduce the risks of cyber-attacks. However, restaurant owners must take a proactive approach towards cybersecurity if they wish to reduce the risk of a breach. Heartland Payment Systems provides six bullet points to help with cybersecurity:

  • Follow the PCI DSS Standards.
  • https://www.pcisecuritystandards.org/pci_security/maintaining_payment_security
  • Use a PCI compliance vendor program to complete PCI compliance attestation such as Heartland’s Merchant Protection Program.
  • Leverage secure products such as Heartland Secure P2PE devices to minimize data.
  • Educate and empower employees to identify issues first.
  • Understand your risk and perform risk assessments to find vulnerabilities and gaps.
  • Prepare for a breach by implementing an incident response process.

Predictions reveal that losses from cyber-attacks will grow from $460 billion in 2016 to greater than $6 trillion in 2021. As technology continues to advance, cyber-attacks will become an even more pressing issue. Being proactive with cybersecurity is vitally important with the skills of today’s hackers.

For more information on what steps can be made to better secure your restaurant and training for your staff, contact Goliath Consulting Group at getresults@goliathconsulting.com

Sources
Heartland Payment Systems: https://www.heartlandpaymentsystems.com/blog/2017/04/14/data-breach-2017

National Restaurant Association: http://www.restaurant.org/Cybersecurity

Posted by: Jay Bandy | May 5, 2017

Building Sales beyond Dine-in


The goal behind the creation of any restaurant is to earn the maximum returns by providing a superior experience to the customers. However, in this world of increased competition, the restaurant brands need to come up with exciting new ways to enhance their sales and be in the top runner spot.

With the increase in the number of restaurants and prepared food points including grocery stores and convenience stores, the customers now have plenty of options at their disposal; hence, the restaurant brands need to incorporate new strategies to be the top preference of the consumer. Restaurant brands need to reach consumers and give them different opportunities to get their food apart from the traditional dine-in option.

In today’s restaurant business environment, 20% or more of sales for restaurants without a drive-thru are due to delivery, catering and take-out options. Most of the people who are running out of time to visit the restaurant of their choice, and instead opt for delivery and take-out options. If you are not offering any such option; you may lose out on sales as your customers will move to better options.

Most of the restaurants have now started to use technological tools for growth of their business and to reach out to maximum customers. Brands have now partnered with various companies, like UberEATS, Food.ee, Amazon and other companies that offer delivery services. These companies are helping both the restaurants and the customers by acting as intermediaries. While many restaurants are offering delivery services, partnering with a delivery company enables them to reach out to those areas where they may not be able to provide delivery services otherwise.

Technology has brought various opportunities for restaurant brands to reach more consumers. One such option is to go with online ordering. Online ordering through a website portal developed for your restaurant will allow users to order directly from it. Furthermore, you can also get a dedicated mobile app for your restaurant to reach your customer on their mobile device.

The basic formula for success, without any doubt, depends on the quality of food and service. However, the consumer is looking for more options on how to purchase your food. To grow your sales, you must find ways to make your food more convenient to purchase in a way the consumer wants to interact with your brand.

To sum it up, the success of a restaurant depends on a blend of various factors. The restaurant industry is feeling pressure from grocery stores and other points of distribution. Combined with the saturation of restaurants in many markets, restaurant brands are feeling the pressure on their top and bottom lines. If you are a restaurant brand and want to enhance your sales beyond the regular dine-in options; you need to think out of the box for coming up with effective strategies to provide your customers an easy and hassle-free way to reach you.

Posted by: Jay Bandy | January 12, 2017

TOP FOOD SERVICE TRENDS 2017


Happy New Year everyone! Every year groups of food executives, purveyors, chefs and writers try to figure out the food trends for the up-coming year. As a Certified Executive Chef, it is not uncommon to get questionnaires from anyone of a number of groups about certain foods and products that may be a fit for the menu, or ask about what may well be the current food trending right now. Trying to create recipes and flavors that will make customers’ mouths water — and watching out for that food cost — is challenging to say the least.

As an industry chef, I tried to predict what my customers were in the mood for on any given month. It is not the easiest thing to accomplish. Regional foods are somewhat defined, and many of the trends tend to use an ingredient or a flavor in many different ways to appeal to those vast regions and demographics. But, drawing from many sources, and having a feel for movement within the industry, I can say that these are my top picks for 2017 Food Trends:

1) Global Cuisine
Global cuisines are always going to draw curiosity of guests especially with food television shows exploring every corner of the world. With that said, we will have to continue to fascinate guests and push the flavor profiles on menus. However, the lady trying to eat a small live octopus was more entertaining than the food she was trying to explain.

2) Flavors of Japan
Asian flavors have and continue to draw attention. A cuisine that has picked up some momentum is Japanese. While ramen continues on, two noteworthy items are Okonomiyaki (a kind of pizza/unfolded omelet with toppings) and Katsu Sando (crispy pork fried sandwich). It is taking a hold on menus on the West Coast restaurant scene as well as food trucks.

3) Different Meats, European Techniques
European items are also having a unique influence, as French techniques are being used for many mouthwatering creations. Chefs are experimenting with different cuts of meat and offerings from lamb and goat (an ingredient to watch), to new beef cuts like Vegas Strip and Merlot Cut. These different animals and cuts of meat are not only becoming a customer favorite, but also a favorite to restaurants and purveyors who are cashing in on new names for menu items, and old cooking techniques.

4) Artisan Pasta
Another European item to watch is pasta. Italian restaurants have always had the same crowd pleasing favorites, but artisan pasta is becoming a new and popular item. Flavored pastas like saffron, beet, spinach, red pepper, mushroom and squid ink are turning up on menus in a variety of shapes, fillings and sauces. It is a food-cost lover’s dream, as the ingredients and quantity made per recipe come out to pennies per portion, depending on the flavoring and sauces, of course.

5) House Made Sauces and Charcuterie
“Hold the Mayo!” may not be the case much longer as restaurants are developing “House Made” sauces for sandwiches, dipping sauces and drizzles. Other items that are tying in to the house made trend are charcuterie items. Charcuterie, ranging from smoked and cured meats to forcemeats like sausages, pate and terrines, draws curiosity and excitement to the menu.

6) Sustainable Seafood
Sustainable is also another word that is coming up on trends nationwide, as people are becoming more aware of products that can become extinct. This year, as in many years past, sustainable seafood still seems to be a draw for many customers. Menu creators will often utilize the words “local” and “sustainable” on menus to describe environmentally friendly products, and draw the attention of the eco-conscious customer.

7) Homestyle and Comfort Foods
The front page of Atlanta magazine and from the front page for the U.K magazine Delicious – Comfort Foods. IN BIG LETTERS! I have seen magazines that have the same headlines around the holidays especially around the American Holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. Most of the magazines around the world will bait the American Audience with the Turkey and Ham, but I have not seen 2 different countries with the same headline. This is an interesting development because if you remember when fine dining started the nose dive it was during a very depressive time in American history, 9/11. People started wanting the feel good and comfort foods from childhood. Chefs reinvented cuisines for just this purpose. Be on the lookout for industry chefs playing around outside the box with comfort foods like Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes, Chicken and Dumplings, Hearty Soups in winter and lighter Soups in the summer. Look for some of your childhood menu items, but please draw the line at fruit cocktail in red Jello!

8) Take Away or Take-Out Foods
You will still see a strong business in people getting food delivered to the house by any means available. Also expect some restaurants that will to go orders on the phone or by phone AP and have it ready when they arrive. The continued trend of prepared food bars at grocery stores will also increase in sales numbers as working Americans will continue to look for convenience, and healthier alternatives.

9) Table Wares are becoming more modern and giving chefs a beautiful palate for the artistic expression of the food
So many more glassware designs and shapes are allowing chefs to use the bowls and plates to drizzle, drip and smear to highlight the course the chef is serving to the customer. A customer eats with his eyes first and then picks up the knife and fork.

10) Non-Alcoholic Drinks. I am a chef that has been to Walt Disney World way too many times
But as my wife and I sat in a Hotel on property with some sort of libation with a chunk of fruit and a bamboo back scratcher stuck it, we could not help to see kids with the same cups filled with a very similar colored liquid with a chuck of fruit and backscratcher. It was then I knew that Disney had a grip on a market. So when I could not help to over hear the guest with the kids say to his wife, “same price with or without alcohol.” This is grabbing the market in many places around the country. Utilization of freshly squeezed fruits and glassware for adults and children certainly can execute a kids menu with these drinks on it.

Honorable Mention) Children’s Menu Developments
Young families will be looking for places that they can enjoy dinner and take the children with them. Menu developers will focus of course on what children eat, but also appeal to Mom and Dad by having healthier items to choose from off menus specifically designed for them.

 

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