Article: “Tip for that? Paying extra for carryout service inspires variety of responses” (Jun.2006)

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excerpt:
“It’s the age-old question: Should I tip for takeout?

After all, nobody sets your table, fills your water glass or listens to you whine about the spots on your butter knife. The kitchen does most of the work.

On the other hand, somebody goes to the trouble of packaging the food, utensils and napkins, and double-checking the order — hopefully — before ringing it up.

Understandably, opinions on the subject vary…”

source: “Tip for that? Paying extra for carryout service inspires variety of responses” by Gary Seman Jr. (ThisWeek, Jun.22,2006)

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Article: “Independent Restaurants, Lose the Chains” (Jun.2006)

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excerpt:
“You’re ready for the grand opening of your all-American burger joint when you learn McDonald’s is moving in next door. What do you do? Don’t panic. There are a number of steps you can take to give your independent restaurant the edge it needs to take on a chain.

“The number one way small businesses can compete with chains is by nurturing the relationships they have with the customer,” says Joe Erickson, editor of RestaurantOwner.com, an online resource and networking tool for independent restaurateurs. “Collect their names, birthdays, anniversaries, and their specific likes, and use that [information] to start a direct mail campaign….”

source: “Independent Restaurants, Lose the Chains” by Douglas MacMillan (BusinessWeek,Jun.29,2006)

related segment:

An Edible Game Plan

There are a slew of ways to compete with franchises, according to 10 independent restaurateurs around the country…(click here for more)

Article: “Designs on menus” (Jun.2006)

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excerpt:
“Diners may regard a menu as little more than a restaurant’s bill of fare, but chefs and owners know these deceptively simple-looking lists are layered with significance.

…Experts agree.

“The menu is probably the single most important piece of marketing [a restaurant] will ever produce,” says Isidore Kharasch, president of Hospitality Works Inc., a restaurant consulting firm in Deerfield. “What they do with it can make a big difference in how people spend money, how they perceive the restaurant–it’s really the whole package.”

source: “Designs on menus” by Janet Franz (Chicago Tribune, Jun.29,2006)

Article: “The bad aftertaste of dining out” (Jun.2006)

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excerpt:
“Calls continue to come in re garding customer concerns and complaints over common dining challenges. Challenge is polite lan guage for a whole parcel of often appal ling and outra geous situa tions.

Because there’s usually some measure of “he said, she said,” some of these calls and e-mails are edited. The concerns still stand – and so, I hope, do my observations.

Loud, noisy restaurants

Why do restaurant owners equate dining, both fine and moderate, with frenzied? We frequently feel as though we are sitting inside a steel drum that is being played on our heads…”

source: “The bad aftertaste of dining out” by Joe Crea (The Plain Dealer, Jun.28,2006)

Blog: “Encouraging Demanding Customers” (Jun.2006)

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excerpt:
“In customer service parlance, however, “demanding customers” mean people who feel comfortable telling you what they want. You make them know that you want them to be fussy and tell you their requests. If you have this kind of environment, you attract customers with high expectations who are willing to pay for what they want.

Phil Wexler gave one example of how you can encourage your customers to be demanding. He featured Max’s Laws of Max’s Deli in San Francisco, which has 20 laws their customers must abide by and not their employees.

  1. This restaurant is run for the enjoyment and pleasure of our customers, not the convenience of the staff or owners.
  2. You get gree round of drinks if anyone on our staff comes up and says, “Is everything all right?” When we aske questions, they’ll be helpful ones…”

source: “Encouraging Demanding Customers” by Meikah (Customer Relations: The New Competitive Edge, Jun.25,2006)

News: Recent Restaurant Technology Headlines 6/29/06

Article: “Service Standards: The Key to Becoming Like the Businesses You Love” (Jun.2006)

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excerpt:
“What is a service standard, exactly? One very successful business’s read: “We will endeavor to greet people in the way we want to be greeted. Once they’re with us, we will treat them with respect and the knowledge that they know our business almost as well as we do. In return, we will expect to get the kind of feedback that will allow us to continually improve and change anything that is not working in our organization.”

Many organizations already have service standards, but most don’t actually practice them even intermittently throughout the organization. Your service standards need to be a part of the business’s fabric, and those running the organization need to make the standards something their people do on a regular basis.”

source: “Service Standards: The Key to Becoming Like the Businesses You Love” by Marsha Lindquist (Pizza Marketing Quality, Jun.26,2006)