Profitable Tips For All Restaurant Owners

What were the last three things you did to increase your restaurant profitability? Below profit protection is constantly on your mind, you will get hurt. Eroding margins, fickle markets, escalating food prices, rising utility rates, outrageous credit card fees, and a host of other factors eat into your margins daily, thereby reducing your ability to pay the bills, let alone yourself.

We recently consulted with a client that has not paid himself for 17 months. He called us out of sheer desperation saying, "I just can not go on working for free." The sorry fact is that there are many restaurateurs working hard for very little income, and we think it should stop.

In my profession as CEO of the leading restaurant consulting firm in the US, people rarely call me when things are going well. The kinds of calls that I receive daily are along the lines of, "Why can not I make any money" or "My food cost is through the roof" and this is the most painful one, "I can not afford to Stay open anymore, what can I do? "

Why do not you invest a few minutes into yourself right now and read over the tips below. In fact, print out a copy and share it with your friends that run an operation as well. Yes, some tips may seem obvious, but are you using every tool at your disposal to solidify and enhance your profits? Your restaurant owes you for risking your neck to get it open, so I'd like to suggest that you start holding it accounting.

1. Do not serve water automatically. Sounds simple, but water service does not increase your profits or sales. Put systems into place where you serve alcoholic beverages, coffee, tea, sodas, milk – anything but free water. Serve it upon request only.

2. Set up the dining experience on the first visit to the table. Tactfully done by the server, profitable items should be promoted, desserts can be suggested, and guests will appreciate a quick, "Run down" of the dining experience. Plus, server competency will be rewarded for taking responsibility for the positive experience that they will have. My wife's favorite server line is, "Want to split a dessert with coffee?" Not only have we just purchased a dessert that may have been too much for one of us, we've also bought 2 coffees. These additional sales make a big difference, and they're easy to execute. Having a hard time selling desserts? Encourage your servers to use this statement and see what happens.

3. Concentrate on improving product delivery systems to eliminate waste. For example, if your servers are throwing away iced tea lemons at the end of each shift, instead of at the end of the day, re-evaluate this system. By valuing everything, you may be surprised what gets thrown away. This includes portion control items such as creamers, crackers, butters, jelly and silverware as well.

4. Understand that guests dine on a budget, and be sensitive to it. Servers that sell beyond the dining budget will experience reduced tip income, and the restaurant will experience reduced visits. Ensuring that your guests come back repeatedly is much more important than increasing their check average for just one visit.

5. Selling a more expensive item does not always equate to increased profitability. Make sure that your servers understand which items are most profitable for the restaurant, and promote those. It makes no sense to promote items that may have minimal profit contribution. Tell your servers what items you want them to sell.

6. Use the best menu. Ensure that your menu is costed out properly; Current with market conditions, and designed to insure that the most profitable items are the ones being promoted. It makes sense to enlist a consultant to do this for you, as the return on investment will be immediate and lasting. This is your # 1 selling tool.

7. Work with your food vendors to insure that you are buying the right items for the menu specifications. Are you overbuying on an item that does not require top grade quality? An example would be the purchase of a # 1 quality baking potato, when a # 2 quality would suffice.

8. Buy key items in bulk. On the topic of food vendors, make certain that you are promoting menu items that you are able to bulk buy on a negotiated cost effective basis – and can sell at a premium. This simple step will quickly aid in bringing meaningful dollars to the bottom line.

9. Offer your guests a complete dining experience. This includes the sale of beverages, appetizers, salads, entrees, desserts, side items (such as a vegetable) and add-on items (such as sour cream or cheese). Make sure that you are not inadvertently missing out on the sale of key parts of the meal. Table tents, menu inserts, promotional signage, sales tracking, and staff pre-shift meetings are all ways that you can ensure that all meal parts are promoted and sold effectively.

10. Bundling meal parts together will increase the quality of your guests dining experience and maximize their dollars spend. Bundling may consist of an appetizer / salad / entrée combo or salad / entrée / dessert combo. Diners will not be surprised by the dollar value, and they can knowingly order within their budget.

11. Do not forget the grapes. Effective promotion of your wine offerings should be systematic and routine. Guests should be fully aware of the pricing and offers, both by the glass and by bottle. Wine service is a skill that every server should have.

12. Get an Operations Analysis. As operators, we frequently get caught up in the heat of the battle, and can not take the time to analyze our operation critically. Engaging a restaurant consultant to look for ways to improve service, enhance income, and reduce waste should result in immediate financial improvement. Do not skimp on this, thinking that you have your bases covered, because the food service industry changes daily. In cold hard terms, your restaurant should be a money making machine to benefit the owner (s). If it's not generating the kind of money you think it should, you must get the machine repaired!

13. Do not overlook slow day parts. If it's quiet in the afternoon, are there promotions that may make sense for you to utilize to generate more revenues during this down time? Do not tolerate your money machine sitting open, but not generating revenues. Put it to work.

14. Children's menus. Most of them are boring, and priced to reflect that. Is it reasonable to think that parents would pay a bit more for more interesting and nutritious meals? This is a good opportunity to re-evaluate your children's menu and pricing. It's dangerous to neglect this important item, as parents usually examine this menu closely.

15. Are you maximizing food sales in your bar / lounge areas? For many, it's more enjoyable to eat in a bar than drink in a restaurant. It makes logical sense to have menus, silverware, condiments and promoted specials available for your drinking guests. If they do not eat on the first visit, you will have planned the seed for them to consider eating in your establishment next time.

Simply remember that it's not what you make, it's what you keep that matters. Hopefully some of these tips will be useful. Still can not seem to make the numbers come out the way you want? It may make sense to enlist the services of an advisor to walk you through the complexities of making money in the restaurant business.

Top Five UK Restaurant Stories – July 2010

5. Skye Restaurant Named One of the Top 5 in the World by Famed Critic

A restaurant in Skye has been declared one of the best five places in the world to eat by famed food critic Frank Bruni. Staff at The Three Chimneys were ecstatic at the news that Mr Bruni rated them so highly, with the critic lavishing praise on the popular sea food restaurant in an article, stating that the restaurant was “an enchanting experience through and through. Some diners come by helicopter from Edinburgh or Glasgow: that’s how big a deal this restaurant is in Scotland. It’s intimate, beautiful, serves amazingly fresh local seafood, and does right by the local lamb as well.”

The restaurant is run by a husband and wife team, with Shirley Spear acting as Head Chef while running the business alongside her husband Eddie. She said that “We did not know it, but he visited us two years ago and obviously still retains fond memories of his experience here. To be selected as one of only five well-known greats such as Trattoria Monti in Rome or Hill Country in New York is staggering.”

The Spears took over the restaurant when they decided to make a lifestyle change and move their young children from Croydon to the comparatively quieter region of Skye.

4. EU Not to Ban Selling Eggs by the Dozen

In a move that food lobbyists in Britain will likely celebrate, it has been confirmed that the EU is not planning on banning the sale of groceries by quantity. Renate Sommer MEP responded to suggestions that shoppers might have to change their habits by stating that “There will be no changes to selling foods by number.”

Earlier in the month the European Parliament rejected an amendment that proposed that some foods traditionally sold by number could be exempt from the proposals to label food by weight.

However Ms Sommers confirmed that the new rules would simply allow for both weight and number to be indicated, requiring little in the way of changing the traditional method of purchasing. The law appears to have no actual effect on how goods are sold, and simply seems to enforce that each product sold should have its weight indicated.

British Labour MEP Glenis Willmott said “there is absolutely nothing in the new rules… that would prevent producers from selling their products by quantity – so to say that it won’t be possible to sell eggs by the dozen is plain wrong”.

3. Bromley Beats Out Birmingham to be Named UK’s Curry House Capital

The small town of Bromley has been named the UK’s curry house capital after a survey revealed that the town had one Indian restaurant for every 853 residents in the town in south-east London.

The town beat of stiff competition from a number of other locations, including Birmingham which has become renowned for its “Balti Belt”, a range of Indian Restaurants in the city centre. Other hotspots include Reading and Leicester.

There are currently believed to be around 9,000 Indian restaurants across the country, with Birmingham hosting a large amount of them but simply not matching the restaurant to person ratio of Bromley. The survey was released to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the UK’s first Indian restaurant, with one in five UK residents now claiming that Indian food is their favourite meal.

2. Radical Indian Restaurant Defies Normal Conventions

Chef Dev Biswal is looking to bring through wholesale changes to the Indian restaurant scene after opening a restaurant that doesn’t serve any curry dishes but does serve pork dishes. The controversial move comes attached to a promise that the restaurant will provide gourmet Indian food, however the use of pork seems to go completely against the halal traditions upheld by most Indian restaurants.

Biswal, who has worked as an executive chef in a Michelin starred restaurant, says the move is “something almost unknown in the UK’s 10,000 predominantly Bangladeshi-owned south Asian establishments.” Dishes are scheduled to change daily and will include a range of off-kilter Indian recipes.

He also intends to prove that wine can be matched to Indian cuisine, and is holding a tasting session to prove his point on the 8th August.

1. The Restaurant Show Begins Preparations for 2010 Event

The Restaurant Show 2010 is getting closer and closer, with event organisers promising everything from live shows to competitions and seminars in an attempt to attract visitors working in the restaurant and pub sectors. The show is now in its 22nd year and will run between October 11 – 13, boasting a line-up that includes some of the UK’s biggest chefs as well as tips from restaurant heads on how to succeed in such a competitive field.

Show organisers are planning a number of features, such as;

- A Centre stage to host the top chefs in the business as they provide workshops for interested foodies.

- A competition theatre that will see chefs from around the country go head to head to see which can create the best dish.

- A drinks quarter that allows bar managers to gain extra information and insight into stocking the right wines and spirits.

- Business seminars in which visitors can tap the minds of some of the biggest names in the industry.

Clair Bowman, features manager for the upcoming show, claims that “This year’s Restaurant Show is set to be the best yet – in fact I’d say it’s a must attend event for those working in the industry. We have a number of really exciting features, key industry networking opportunities and high profile competitions running over the three-day event providing even more entertainment for our visitors.”

An Introduction To Teacher Education

A teacher's job is a highly respected and specialized field, be it teaching kindergarten, grade school, high school, college, or post-graduate courses. Teachers are necessary in all fields of education, and in order to be teachers themselves, they need to be educated by experts in their desired fields.

Teacher education is a diverse field, covering numerous subjects and various methods of teaching. Teaching in any field is demanding and is a challenging task. Beyond regular education, some people choose to follow specialized paths, such as early childhood education or special education. These teachers need extra educational background in order to be certified to deal with their specific students. These teachers need to have intense patience and be friendly with toddlers. Innovative play way methods need to be adopted to ensure continuing interest among children.

Another specialized educational field is Montessori teaching. This style of teaching appears to be simple, but in reality, it is highly demanding. As this is a specific style of teaching, aimed at gifted or advanced students, with a degree of flexibility and customization not found in traditional curriculums, teachers will need to learn the best ways to work within the Montessori structure, and apply their educational background to This style of teaching.

Elementary or primary school is the backbone for all people's education. Thus, these teachers have to be able to convey basic principles, such as reading, spelling, writing and math, as well as cover basic science, social studies, and sometimes foreign language courses. Of course, all of this has to be taught in an age-appropriate fashion. Elementary teacher education focuses on methods that work best for young students.

High school teachers face challenges elementary school teachers usually do not. Because they teach teenagers who are dealing with the issues of adolescence and can often "act out," teachers need to learn how to engage and motivate this difficult age group. Subjects are taught in greater depth in high school, as well, so the teacher will need more specific knowledge. They also sometimes have to be ready to compensate for any gaps in elementary education, particularly deprivations in the basics – reading, writing and math.

Ultimately, the goal of teacher education is to provide future teachers – or teachers looking to further develop their teaching ability – with the skills that they need to convey essential information to their students. The training they will require depends on many factors, including the age group, subjects, and type of school that they will be teaching in.

Embedded DVR

In most surveillance operations using a DVR, the commonly used method is to link the DVR card to a computer containing the software. This has serious limitations in the event of a virus attack or power failure, because the surveillance system could be thrown off gear. In order to overcome these problems, a new type of DVR called the “embedded DVR” has been launched.

The embedded DVR works with very little or no help from the computer. It is a plug and play meaning that installation is very easy and recording can start as soon as the device is installed. Embedded DVRs can support 4-16 cameras, and a television screen can be added for viewing live pictures. Embedded DVRs provide all the features that come with computer based DVR systems including network support options that allow you to share the recorded data. The motion of the camera can be controlled based on motion and playback and search option are also available.

Embedded DVRs can be programmed to record at specific times. With an alarm facility available, fast detection of any intrusion can be detected. On integration with a web server, remote audio/video monitoring and recording is facilitated. Data storage is usually in MPEG format. If there is a problem with storage, a back up plan is activated where by the data is written onto CD disks. Embedded DVRs also have remote storage facility meaning storage of information can be done at a location away from where the input device is located. This can minimize data pilferage or theft.

Embedded DVRs are now used extensively in the transport sector. Specially developed embedded DVRs have in built features like impact resistance, shock & and vibration resistance are now found in trucks, school and city buses, airport shuttles, cars, taxis, etc. These DVRs are compact and take inputs provided by camera located in different parts of the automobile. It can also provide the driver with a view of the road andor passengers at all times. In such a system, the storage device is often a replaceable hard disk drive. In some cases, a USB mobile hard disk enclosure is also provided. Use of DVRs in public and private transport devices can increase the security of passengers and cargo.

With enhanced emphasis on security, embedded DVRs have become an irreplaceable component of industrial and corporate security systems. In the near future, the embedded DVRs may find new applications many areas. The full potentials of this device are yet to be realized and it may not be a surprise to see them used by everyday people for everyday living.