Blog Post: “How to Become a Regular” (Jul.2006)

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excerpt:
“Being a regular earns you a lot of benefits for only a few conscious behaviors, mostly just good manners. Visit frequently, follow these tips, and within a short amount of time, you’re in.

Wikipedia describes a regular as…

A person who appears often at a certain location and may know others who are also there often, whether out of want or occupation. For example, a regular can be one who goes to a certain coffee shop everyday, so often that the employees know him or her…”

source: “How to Become a Regular” by Greg Cerveny (urban monarch, Jul.31,2006)

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Article: “Purse snatchings hit cafes” (Aug.2006)

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excerpt:
“…Workers at some outdoor cafes say they recently have had some suspicious customers, such as people who ask to be seated and then disappear moments later. Not long after, a customer will complain of a missing purse.

Meanwhile, alarmed customers have been finding creative ways to tether their bags to their bodies, wrapping straps from the bag around their legs, a chair, or underneath a high heel. Some restaurants have been supplying hooks under the table for bags to be hung.

“…Some of the restaurants on Newbury and Boylston, they are seemingly friendly and feel like the suburbs; people forget this is a city,” she said. “Sadly, the very people you wish would have a good experience in Boston are the ones losing their purses and wallets.”

source: “Purse snatchings hit cafes” by Matt Viser (Boston Globe, Aug.15,2006)

Article: “Customer service with a snarl” (Aug.2006)

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excerpt:
“Customer service has eroded over the past decade for a variety of reasons — low wages, lack of training, exponential growth, to name a few. Few companies have the blend of corporate culture, training and opportunities for advancement that makes employees surpass expectations…

…In the restaurant business, quality is difficult to gauge because most customers don’t complain — they simply go elsewhere. To amp up its service, Furio began a day-after-dining program to gauge customer satisfaction: The Scottsdale restaurant picks diners at random from the reservation book and contacts them about their experience.

“We look at every single comment,” says Stephanie Eglin, director of marketing for Anthem Restaurants, which owns Furio. “When somebody gives negative feedback, the owner himself makes the call if he’s able to. This type of endeavor is not costly, and we’re able to gain a lot of valuable feedback…”

source: “Customer service with a snarl” by Marija Potkonjak (East Valley Tribune, Aug.14,2006)

Article: “Survey of Top On-Premise Wines Released” (Aug.2006)

excerpt:
“The Restaurant Wine newsletter, published by wine consultant Ronn Wiegand MS, has released its annual ranking of the 100 best-selling wine brands in restaurants as well as the 60 most frequently ordered wines. Beringer Vineyards of Foster’s Wine Estates tops the list of brands, followed by Franzia, part of The Wine Group portfolio. Rounding out the top five are: Kendall-Jackson; Yellow Tail, from W.J. Deutsch & Sons; and Inglenook, part of Constellation Brands’ Centerra Wine Company portfolio. The Restaurant Wine survey covers the entire spectrum of U.S. restaurants, from casual dining chains to fine dining restaurants.

The report found that case sales in the on-premise segment grew 6 percent, or 4 million cases, to reach 64 million cases sold. The value of on-premise wine sales now exceeds $12 million. In terms of the overall market, on-premise sales account for 22 percent by case volume and nearly 50 percent of dollar value…”

source: “Survey of Top On-Premise Wines Released” by Mary-Colleen Tinney (WineBusiness.com, Aug.8,2006)

related link: “Restaurant Wine Newsletter” by Ronn Wiegand

Article: “Chowhound: Rave reviews’ smell suspect” (Aug.2006)

excerpt:
“Chowhound.com, a popular online message board devoted to those in search of good food and drink, has banned mentions of a Cambridge restaurant from its site.

Chowhound alleges it was receiving a suspicious number of rave reviews of the 4-month-old Conundrum in Harvard Square, many of them coming from the same computer connection.

“We’ve had a blitz of postings with rapturous praise for Conundrum from many, many posters, all of whom are utter newcomers to the site, and our users have been complaining that it seems like we might be getting played,” Chowhound co-founder Jim Leff said. “I’m not trying to do anything but run an honest food discussion, and it’s my job to defend that discussion when we feel like it’s being taken advantage of.”

source: “Chowhound: Rave reviews’ smell suspect” by Donna Goodison (Boston Herald, Aug.12, 2006)

Article: “Fusion with flair, if you’re patient” (Aug.2006)

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excerpt:
“Stunning design and excellent food by themselves do not automatically make a great restaurant, however. Three months after it opened, the 200-seat Kampai still is plagued by poor service and a kitchen that sometimes seems incapable of turning out more than one exquisitely plated dish at a time.

…On our first visit, the server kept rebellion at bay by stopping regularly to check on us and apologize for the kitchen being so backed up. He was friendly and professional. As the evening dragged on, he brought a free pot of tea to keep us happy.

At a later dinner, a different server all but abandoned our table after bringing drinks, and there were no reassurances. He appeared undertrained and overwhelmed. The starters and entrees straggled out one at a time, and the rice we asked for earlier in the evening didn’t arrive until we were almost finished eating. The manager, eventually noticing our discomfort, tried to speed things up and offered a $5 gift card toward a future meal as compensation, but it wasn’t enough to mollify us by then.

…Kampai House has the food and the setting. Now, all it needs is some attention to service to become a restaurant worthy of a return visit.”

source: “Fusion with flair, if you’re patient” by Aleta Wilson (Mercury News, Aug.13,2006)

Article: “The Wireless Touch: Casual restaurants adopt wireless POS with service in mind” (Jul.2006)

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excerpt:
“Wireless point-of-sale (POS) systems started gaining attention in 2001, but are just now starting to pop up more often at the tables of casual-dining restaurants. This market represents an estimated 41 percent of the wireless POS market, according to 2005 research from Mercator Advisory Group, a research firm for the payment industry.

With benefits such as turning tables faster, delivering more accurate orders, and maximizing server productivity and customer satisfaction, there’s no question why restaurants are remaking themselves with wireless handheld systems…”

source: “The Wireless Touch: Casual restaurants adopt wireless POS with service in mind” by Vicki Powers (Hospitality Technology, July/August 2006)