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Want More New Customers? Make Your Restaurant Less Risky0

I’ve done it and you probably have too.

It happens often traveling with my family. While we try to frequent local independent restaurants, we sometimes find ourselves at a chain location not because we were looking for an exceptional meal but because we really just wanted to reduce the risk of having a BAD one.

While we don’t have proof, we suspect that every day millions of people choose a McDonald’s, Chili’s or some other chain operator over the possibility of a better meal experience at an independent restaurant, because they instead choose to play it safe. … Read more →

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Five key elements for a successful restaurant opening0

Having been in the restaurant business for most of our lives, we’re often asked, “What does it take for a restaurant to be successful?” In our opinion, Stuart Sargent provided a great answer to that question.

Sargent, president and founder of 10-unit Truluck’s Steak and Stone Crab Restaurant said five key elements are required for a restaurant to be successful: Great concept, great location, great management, the proper funding, and a lot of “magic.”

It was his reference to magic that we found most intriguing. Because, even if you’ve taken great care to make sure you’ve created a concept the market appreciates and wants, found the perfect location, hired the best management, and provided enough capital, you still need a little good fortune, luck or “magic” to make your restaurant the success you envision. … Read more →

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Avoiding Guest Complaints0

One definition of success is the attainment of popularity or profit. Success in the restaurant business is determined by the quality of the guest experience. If the collective guest experience is good or great, your restaurant will most likely be successful. If it’s not, failure looms closer with each negative encounter.

The White House Office of Consumer Affairs reports that a dissatisfied consumer will tell between 9 and 15 people about their experience – while around 13% of dissatisfied customers tell more than 20 people.

During my early years as a restaurant general manager, I used to cringe each time I had to make a table visit to address a guest’s complaint. Like many restaurant managers, I’d apologize, comp the meal and assured them it wouldn’t happen again. … Read more →

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What’s the Correct Procedure?0

Michael Gerber, author of the e-myth, and recognized by Inc. magazine as the world’s number one small business guru, says that all business boils down to three things; lead generation, lead conversion and client fulfillment. He goes on to say that you do not begin your business by focusing on lead generation; instead you must first focus on client fulfillment.

Perhaps the most thought-provoking point restaurants should glean from Gerber’s philosophy is that we should first focus on client fulfillment; in other words, focus on delivering a unique – and consistent – guest experience before plowing ahead with aggressive marketing tactics. The message here is simple, why in the world would we want to spend so much effort on lead generation marketing simply to gain first time customers, unless we are certain that we can deliver a consistent guest experience good enough to make them want to come back. … Read more →

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Is It Time to Raise the Bar?0

Every one of the highly successful restaurants we’ve had the opportunity to work with including Pal’s Sudden Service, Union Square Hospitality Group, Magnolia Pancake Haus, Zingerman’s Deli and others have many common characteristics that every independent restaurant would be wise to emulate. Each of these companies sets incredibly high standards and strives for excellence in every aspect of their business, every day.

What would your restaurant look like if you no longer accepted average and insisted on excellence? What effect would that have on your food quality, guest experience, cleanliness, cost control, word-of-mouth, customer loyalty, and profitability? I’m sure you’d agree that, if your restaurant achieved excellence in the execution of even the most basic tasks and activities it would dramatically improve your guest experience and likely transform your financial results. … Read more →