Posted by: Jay Bandy | March 30, 2018

Integrating Technology in the Kitchen


“Work smarter, not harder.” A phrase that is becoming quite popular in kitchen management within restaurants. Technology in the kitchen is changing rapidly, improving kitchen safety, efficiency, and overall restaurant profitability. Restaurateurs are modernizing their kitchens creating more fluid and effective operations. From Bluetooth temperature sensors to robots flipping burgers (yes, it’s really possible), restaurants are embracing the technological revolution with incredible results.

What in the world is IoT?
The internet already transformed your day-to-day life and now it’s changing how kitchens operate. Internet of Things (IoT) is a technology recently introduced that allows restaurateurs to monitor equipment remotely. IoT syncs kitchen appliances to the cloud allowing machines to send mobile alerts when temperatures exceed or fall below the desired level (refrigerators, ovens, fryers, etc.). IoT also alerts staff when oil levels are low, filters need changing, parts need replacing, or when an excess of cooking oil is being used. Restaurant Technologies Inc.(1) has partnered with various clients to test IoT, resulting in a as much as a 40% reduction in oil usage, safer, improved labor efficiencies, and lower food costs.
Smart Machines
Remember the days of “86’ing” items from your cooler that went overlooked while placing an order? New smart refrigerators are drastically improving food purchasing for restaurants reducing those days of human error to a thing of the past. These refrigerators are yet another appliance that IoT syncs with to provide staff vital information for optimal kitchen management. Refrigerators can now record how long certain products have been stored and determine when they will spoil. Alerts are sent from the refrigerators to kitchen staff immediately when ingredients are low or need to be replaced. IoT also allows for refrigerators to alert staff when fridge temperatures are dropping, which helps restaurants avoid premature spoiling of food. Smart refrigerators can even order products automatically when inventory is low! Even more impressive is this technology’s ability to alert chefs when food allergies have been entered by the front of house staff or through online orders. These alerts can also suggest ingredients for chefs to use or to avoid, improving restaurant safety.

Think smart refrigerators are futuristic? Smart pots and pans have been developed that allow chefs to know exactly when food is done. Forget the days of losing an entire prep batch due to overcooking, smart pots and pans allow chefs to consistently deliver on their recipes. Guests are happier. Employees are more efficient. Food cost can be greatly controlled through the reduction of waste.

In addition to these smart technologies, burger flipping technologies have also been developed that can replace what is known as one of the economies most un-specialized, yet frequently needed jobs in the restaurant market. Miso Robotics created the machine called “Flippy” and claims that it can flip 150-300 burgers per hour, depending on the kitchen staff.

Kitchen production is not the only area enhanced with technology. Restaurants are also upgrading their safety procedures. Employees can now rely on advanced LED Alert Systems to help navigate loud and frantic kitchens. LED lights are activated in the event of an emergency, catching the attention of employees to provide a visual warning for staff rather than an auditory one that often goes unheard.

Frequently new technology is overlooked because of tradition. Restaurants are long stereotyped by the mantra “the way we always have,” however, in competitive markets it is important to stay up to date (1) Empire Casino Case Study by Restaurant Technologies Inc. with new advancements to maintain success and create growth. Kitchen technology is creating safer, more efficient, cost saving operations. Restaurants all over the world are embracing these new kitchen technologies simply because they want to compete…to stay on the cutting edge.

Curious about which technologies can fit your concept and budget? The team at Goliath

Consulting Group will help you navigate your options and upgrade your restaurant with efficient, profit-maximizing Next-Gen equipment and systems. Contact us today atGetResults@GoliathConsulting.com
Posted by: Jay Bandy | March 24, 2018

How to Hire First-Rate Staff for Your Restaurant


You could have a winning menu and an innovative restaurant concept, but without the right people to help you execute either, your business is bound to fail. Your employees are your biggest asset. Unfortunately, finding first-rate staff isn’t always easy. However, because your team is the lifeblood of your business, it’s worth investing in a hiring strategy to attract and hire the best talent from the start rather than suffer losses due to high turnover and negative customer experiences.

Here are some ways to hire the best employees:

Specific and Descriptive Job Ads

Taking the time to craft a detailed job description saves you from interviewing people who aren’t exactly who you are looking for. By describing your company culture and your restaurant’s concept, you’ll attract people who feel they are the right match for your restaurant’s distinct character and service style.

Productive Interviews

Structure and standardize all your interviews to get the most out of each encounter. This means having a set list of questions to ask that will help you create a better picture of the candidate’s prior experience and potential. Lead with these questions and end the interview by allowing them to speak freely. While not all the staff you hire will ever have to face guests, it’s key that all the members of your crew communicate effectively.

Contact Previous Employers and Character References

Many restaurant managers make the mistake of not executing this step especially when they feel an interview has gone well. However, many people can charm their way through interviews, but it doesn’t really prove their work ethic. People are rarely honest about why they left their last job. Calling their former employer may reveal that the candidate had attendance issues, took too many breaks, or was fired for misconduct.  

Different Interview Methods for Different Positions

Your back-of-house staff have very different responsibilities compared to front-of-house; interviewing them in the same manner makes no sense. Once formalities are out of the way, the best way to test positions that require training and skill like line cooks, sous chefs, and bartenders is by having them show you what they can do on the line.  When it comes to back-of-house, you’re looking for experience and ability to execute as soon as they join the team. Some training will always be involved, but it should be more of learning your menu or unique plating style.

Because wait staff and hosts are people you can train to get up to speed on how you do things, a sit-down interview to gauge their personality and willingness to face the fast pace of service is necessary. Prior experience and training are nice to have but because restaurants come in all shapes, sizes, and service styles, hiring wait staff based on potential and the right attitude is better than hiring someone who has years of experience who will a have hard time letting go of how they did things at their last job. In fact, many restaurant managers find that a clean slate is better than hiring an experienced employee who has difficulty deprogramming prior training that doesn’t apply to how you run your business.

When it comes to hiring first-rate staff, your gut feeling and instincts play a big part. The most successful restaurants are those that have teams that gel together well and work in tune. That’s why it’s crucial to establish company culture during the interview process to avoid miscommunications later on.

For more information on hiring the right staff for your restaurant, contact Goliath Consulting Group at getresults@goliathconsulting.com.

Posted by: Jay Bandy | February 24, 2018

Restaurant Service: 6 Most Common Mistakes


Service mistakes can cause any restaurant to lose customers and miss opportunities. Some of the most common mistakes that restaurant employees commit may seem basic and trivial. However, these errors could result in negative reviews or unsatisfied customers who decide to never dine at your establishment again.

Here are 6 of the most common mistakes in restaurant service that you should ensure that you and your staff are not making:

  1. Not Welcoming Guests with a Proper Greeting

Too often, we see employees immediately ask guests how many there are in their party or make them choose between the dining room or the bar, or worse, emphasize if a person is eating alone. Guests should be welcomed with a proper greeting before anything else. And while the hostess will be the first to encounter guests, all employees should be prepared to greet guests with a warm welcome.

  1. Avoiding Eye Contact

Greet guests with a smile and direct eye contact. Not making eye contact with people can be considered rude, inattentive, or insincere. When you look guests in the eyes when you speak to them, they feel appreciated and valued. Take orders attentively and nod to assure them you’re accurately taking down their orders.

  1. Not Being Able to Make Recommendations

Making recommendations means that you want to enhance the guest’s experience by suggesting your best dishes or proposed pairings. If a guest asks you for a recommendation and you cannot provide one, they will either think that you don’t know anything about your offerings or have never dined there and enjoyed the dishes yourself. Well-trained staff should not only know the menu in and out but have personal favorites.

  1. Not Accommodating Simple Requests

Not all guests are going to want the salad that goes with the meal and prefer mashed potatoes instead. Or they may want to have the sauce on the side rather than drizzled on top. Unless a guest is asking for a dish that’s not on your menu at all, most requests can be accommodated. And by saying “my pleasure” instead of “we’ll see what we can do,” you’re enhancing their overall dining experience.

  1. Interrupting the Dining Experience Too Many Times

It’s fine to ask the guests if they need anything else after the final plate has been delivered. However, returning to the table again and again to ask if everything is ok or refilling their glass when it is still fairly full too often can ruin the experience of diners who are deep in conversation or enjoying their meals.

  1. Taking Too Long Bring Them Their Bill and Close Out the Check

Once guests are done, they’re ready to pay their bill and leave. Keeping them waiting too long to either bring their check or return with their change, card, and receipt can ruin what would have been an otherwise wonderful experience.

Even the most established restaurants can sometimes make these mistakes. This is why it’s essential to train and remind staff regularly on what to avoid when ensuring that guests have a wonderful dining experience. For more information on common restaurant mistakes and training for your staff, contact Goliath Consulting Group at getresults@goliathconsulting.com.

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


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