New Year’s Resolutions for Restaurants

New Year's Resolutions for RestaurantsYour patrons’ New Year’s resolutions may focus on eating and drinking less, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t focus on what you can do better in this upwardly trending industry (See the earlier blog, Restaurant Sales Up.) You’ll be in good company if you make a few New Year’s resolutions for your restaurant. queried restaurateurs in Philadelphia to see what some of their resolutions were in “Should Old Recipes Be Forgot?

The answers covered all aspects of the industry, from creating better relationships with suppliers (growers, ranchers and fishermen) to understand the ingredient before its delivery to developing food more consistently (with one hoping to reduce covers to increase perfection) to updating equipment.

In thinking about improvements beyond food, training and education certain struck a chord with several participants. While training is expensive and there’s always a concern about its ability to hit the bottom line, one restaurant found its wait staff nominated for a “Best of Philly” award in that category at the very time the owner was debating the value of training and education. Ultimately, they choose not to cut a single penny from this overhead expense.

Hand in hand with training and education is growing the staff – encouraging and leading cooks to think more like chefs, and having everyone on the team be mindful of costs and expenses as well as the entire guest experience.

From the Diners’ Perspective looked at resolutions from the diners’ perspective of what they wanted to see in an improved restaurant experience and developed this list (New Year’s resolutions for restaurants):

1)    Don’t read the specials. Print them and be certain to include the price (often excluded from a verbal recitation of the specials). Easier on the patron and the wait staff. The laser printer you already own will probably do just fine.

2)    Don’t ask: Are you still working on that? That phrase can have a negative connotation. How about, “Have you finished?”

3)    Salt and pepper should be on the table. Food may get cold quickly while the wait staff is trying to locate it.

4)    And consider leaving a pepper mill on the table as well.

5)    Ditch the chocolate lava cake – it was a novelty at best.

6)    Ditto for beet and goat cheese salad.

7)    Don’t offer the worst seat in the house when the restaurant is not at capacity.

8)    Never verify who ordered what when meals are delivered. It’s your job to know that beforehand.

9)    Bring all entrees at the same time, so no one has to sit and wait while others begin, or conversely, while no one’s food gets cold politely waiting for the remainder of the dishes to be served.

10)  Don’t make parents wait for a child seat.

11)  Keep water glasses refilled.

12)  Learn how to make tea rather than delivering a pot of hot (quite possibly only lukewarm) water and a selection of colorful tea packages.

13)  Keep an eye on the table and bring the check appropriately. Don’t make patrons have to chase you down to ask for it.

With these items in mind, make some New Year’s resolutions for your restaurant and enjoy greater profitability this year.