Article: “A menu of tasks” (Jul.2006)

excerpt:
“About a quarter of U.S. restaurants fail within a year, and 50 percent to 60 percent by the third year, according to three studies cited by the California Restaurant Association.

Many owners underestimate the start-up costs and do not do enough market research or staff training, said Jordan Traverso, the group’s director of communication.

Experts said problems can arise if the quality of the cooking slips.

Mark Smallwood, owner of Harvest Moon restaurant in Modesto, said this is not a problem in his restaurant because he makes sure the kitchen crew knows what he wants…”

source: “A menu of tasks” by John Holland (Modesto Bee, Jul.30,2006)

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Resource: Restaurant Resource Group’s Archived List of Featured Articles & QuickBooks Tips

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RRG – Restaurant Resource Group provides financial management tools and support services. The site contains fee-based information, services, and products, but their site also has a free “Tips & Articles” section with many interesting pieces.

Here are samples titles:
“10” Restaurant Financial Red Flags
Counting Your Beans with Confidence…A QuickBooks Primer for the Startup Restaurateur
How To Win The Menu Pricing Game
Restaurant Marketing: An Art and Science

link: RRG’s Archived List of Featured Articles & QuickBooks Tips

Newsletter: “MarketBrief” from AMEX/Technomic, Inc.

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excerpt:
“For full-service restaurants, an increased focus on strategies that drive check averages, such as promoting sides, appetizers, desserts and adult beverages can help to drive not just revenue growth, but also profitability, as many of these items have higher average margins than do the main entrées. Align the incentives of servers and line managers with selling activities that will drive profits.

For those not in the Top 100, unit growth remains important to drive to a position of better economies of scale. In addition, look hard at opportunities to improve processes in the back of the house. While smaller chains do not have the buying power of large chains simply due to size, they do have the opportunity to hold a tighter rein on operations due to size. For many chains, there is significant opportunity to take cost and inefficiency out in this area, which can be a major profit-driver…”

source: “Public Company Reports” by Technomic (MarketBrief, July 2006)

“MarketBrief provides chain restaurant operators with research-based analysis of key industry developments. Access to past issues is offered free of charge by logging into this section of our site.

MarketBrief is produced by Technomic, Inc., the leading provider of consulting and consumer research to the restaurant industry.”

link: Amex MarketBrief Newsletter

Article: “Ads With That?” (Jul.2006)

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excerpt:
“Bringing outside advertising to your customers can bring revenue to your restaurant.

OOH (Out Of Home) Vision Networks (ovn), an advertising and marketing firm, has partnered with Helius, Inc., a business-class data broadcasting company, to pump video advertisements into more than 100 retro diners in the Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey areas.

OVN CEO and President Craig Presser doesn’t mince words about the possibilities of this new advertising strategy. “It’s an exploding market, not even an emerging market,” he says. “Whether you’re in casual or quick-service, you’re going to see place-based media on screens.”

The chrome diners, which seat about 200 and are located in affluent areas, have been outfitted with five liquid crystal display televisions strategically located in order to grab the attention of as many patrons as possible.”

source: “Ads With That?” by Quinn Bowman (QSR, Jul.16,2006)

Article: “Offer & Promote Summer Catering to Boost Revenue & Awareness” (2006)

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excerpt:
“Aside from holiday time at the end of the year, summer is the best time for restaurants to provide catering services. Catering is a great way to increase revenue and introduce your food to a new audience.

Catering can be done either on site at your restaurant or off-site via delivery or pick-up. If you have a room that you can use for on-site parties, great. If not, offer off-site catering. If you don’t have a delivery vehicle (often a car is fine), look into local delivery services or just offer pick-up…”

source: “Offer & Promote Summer Catering to Boost Revenue & Awareness” by Joyce Weinberg (About’s Restauranting, 2006)

Article: “When restaurants exceed the tipping point” (Jun.2006)

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excerpt:
“By now, tip overage preauthorizations should be a thing of the past. In 2004, Visa U.S.A. established a 0% tip-authorization policy for restaurants. Likewise, MasterCard International stipulates that restaurateurs must not add a tip without the cardholder’s prior knowledge and agreement.

Yet the issue still arises, with misinformation abounding, particularly in the case of a newspaper blog where some discussion participants last August thought restaurants were actually billing extra for tips that were never left. Their ire illustrated the downside of the practice, particularly for debit card users who keep their account balances low. A one-week hold on funds never spent can be frustrating…”

source: “When restaurants exceed the tipping point” (The Green Sheet, Jun.28,2006)

Article: “Restaurateurs’ diet now includes fuel surcharges” (Jul.2006)

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excerpt:
“Jeff Raider knew it was time for a change when he noticed the shipping costs on the vegetables, seafood and other tasty foodstuffs that arrived at his restaurant were often higher than the costs of the products themselves.

Raider, the executive chef at the Valley Restaurant at the Garrison, decided he needed to seek out other sources of product, instead of taking shipments from all over the country. The restaurant now depends more on purveyors from New York City and the surrounding areas.

In return for the steady stream of business, those suppliers agree not to tack shipping charges onto his costs, Raider said.

The near-record cost of gasoline and diesel fuel may be the last thing on the mind of a restaurant patron cutting into a juicy steak or cracking open the shell of a scrumptious lobster. But those high fuel prices are putting pressure on restaurateurs in at least one way and possibly two.”

source: “Restaurateurs’ diet now includes fuel surcharges” by Allan Drury (The Journal News, Jul.7,2006)