Saturday, June 9, 2018

Do Radio Ads Work For Restaurants?

Do Radio Ads Work For Restaurants?

Should you consider broadcasting a radio commercial?

If you’ve been thinking of ways to market your restaurant and get the word out to more people in your community, airing ads on local radio could be a great addition to your existing restaurant marketing mix.

Why A Radio Ad Could Be a Great Idea

Think Local
The number one reason to consider a radio ad for your restaurant is that it’s local. You know that if people are listening to your ad they must be relatively nearby. Also, they’re already in their cars so if you catch them when they are hungry they might just drive by!

They’re Already Half Way There
Effective radio ads play with a high level of frequency, creating a constant reminder about your brand. Getting the idea stuck in their head and reminding them to stop by when they are in the area.

Radio Engages The Imagination
Another factor that makes radio ads appealing for restaurant marketing is that they are cost-effective. Compared to a TV commercial you can get a lot of bang for your buck and tell stories that would be too expensive otherwise.

From outer space to the desert to the jungle, radio commercials can take the listener anywhere without the need for expensive sets, costumes, and props.

Identify and Hit Your Target
Radio stations keep a ton of data about their listeners. What they like, how they spend money, their age group and more. Working with the radio station, (they usually own more than one) you can determine the best time and station format to host your commercials.

There are so many different types of radio station formats, from talk radio to country, to pop to jazz, there is surely a local radio station that matches your branding and target demographic.

Mesure The ROI of Radio Marketing

To really know if your money is being spent wisely on a radio commercial you need to judge the return on investment (ROI). Tracking ROI means you can do more of what works and less of what doesn’t work, before it costs you too much!

Use The SMART System

S – Specific
Are your goals for this marketing campaign narrowly defined and specific? Not just “increase sales,” but what does that look like? Sales of a specific product? By a certain percentage? To a certain demographic?

M – Mesurable
How will you measure the results of your radio ad? First, you need a base-line to compare the results to. What would your sales projections be without making the radio commercial? Only then can you evaluate and measure the increase in business attributed to the ad.

A – Attainable
Do you have the resources to accomplish the goals you’ve set for the project? Do you have good actors and a good script? Are you willing to do the work required and know the right steps to take to hit your goals?

R – Realistic
Are your ambitions in line with the reality of the project? Do you have the time to get everything done? Are you setting realistic goals based on the scope of the project? How much of a return you expect should be based on case studies of similar restaurants.

T – Time-bound Return on investment (ROI) should be evaluated within a narrow time frame set at the beginning. If the data you’re using to evaluate the results of your restaurant radio commercial isn’t set to a specific time you add the potential for other factors to play a role and it’s harder to attribute gains and losses to specifically the radio ad.

Getting Your Ad On The Radio

Producing Your Commercial In-House
Radio stations make their money not just from playing pre-recorded ads they are sent, but also from producing the commercials in the first place.

For your first radio commercial, it might be smart to work with the station to get a full-service in-house production and air-time package. The studio will help you find the right voice talent, write a script, record and produce the final result.

Beware of the fine print however and make sure that you own the copyright for the recording and will be entitled to replay the commercial on other stations.

Producing Your Own Commercial
Alternatively, you may choose to do it all yourself or with the help of a different radio commercial producer. To produce your own commercial you’ll write the script or hire someone to do it, find actors, book studio time and pay to have the audio recorded and edited.

The steps are the same, but it gives you the ability to have more control. Since you’re not getting a package deal, carefully consider the cost differences between independent production and in-house.

Now you’re ready to make your first radio ad for your restaurant!

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Easiest Ways To Upset Restaurant Guests

Easiest Ways To Upset Restaurant Guests

What not to do if you want your restaurant to thrive

To ensure you are providing the highest level guest experience you can, think about the major disasters you can avoid. By designing your restaurant operations to avoid the top disturbances to guests you can make sure diners enjoy their time in your restaurant.

Make a good first impression

The exterior of your restaurant says a lot about what type of experience guests can expect.
  • Broken Exterior, Peeling Paint – If someone is expecting to have a nice night and pay their hard-earned bucks for it the last thing you want is a broken down looking building. This includes your sign. If it’s peeling or lights are out in the letters you’ve set a poor expectation going in.
  • Soiled and Warn Out Carpets – If you’ve rolled out the red carpet for your guests it’s a nice gesture, but not if it’s filthy. Visible dirt and wear are the number one way to stop a diner’s appetite in its tracks.
  • Difficult Parking – This could be a badly designed parking lot or one that’s too small. If you’re downtown and parking is a premium consider offering valet service. Starting off the night with the stress of difficult parking can leave a lasting impression.

Keep It Clean

Restaurant cleanliness is a top concern for diners. The impression of a dirty restaurant will especially offend self-proclaimed germaphobes. It’s better not to give them a reason to doubt.
  • Filthy Bathrooms – Make sure staff are on top of restroom cleanliness. A messy bathroom can be very unappetizing and put off guests. Controlling odor and not placing tables too close to bathroom doors is also important.
  • Tables That Aren’t Wiped – In restaurants where guests seat themselves the front may go neglected when it’s busy but a quick check goes a long way to ensuring guests are seated at clean tables. For full-service restaurants, there is no excuse for diners to have crumbs and grease left on tables.
  • Vermin Infestations – If you want guests to never return give them the impression you’ve got pests. Controlling mouse and cockroach infestations can be a challenge and expensive but no one would ever willingly eat in a restaurant with vermin, no matter how nice the rest of service is.

Put Yourself In Guest’s Shoes

To ensure the absolute best guest experience, even on busy nights it’s important to put yourself in their shoes. They don’t know all the hard work you do to make it through service, they only know if they are inconvenienced. Don’t expect guests to have to put up with a level of annoyance to “enjoy” your restaurant.
  • Not Enough Waiting Area Seating – If your waiting area gets packed you might think it’s good for business but you’d be wrong. A packed waiting area makes guests feel more like cattle than respected patrons.
  • Respect Reservations – One of the worst things a restaurant can do is overbook reservations. This leads to longer wait times and hungry, angry guests. In the mind of your patrons, this is why they had a reservation.
  • Overworked Servers – If you want to keep having regular business staff must have the experience to manage the needs of multiple parties without them feeling neglected, even on busy nights.
  • Inattentive Staff – Chatting with co-workers or on their phones; the number one complaint of restaurant patrons is being ignored. Servers playing games while guests suffer won’t just result in a bad tip. They won’t likely return.
  • It’s Just Too Loud! – It’s hard to enjoy a meal or your date if the restaurant is too noisy. This could be music that’s too loud, being seated close to the kitchen, poor acoustics or tables that are too close.

Maintain High Food Quality Standards

It’s important to know how much food your kitchen can push out every 15-13 minutes so that you can space out your reservations. This helps keep guest wait times down and makes sure cooks have enough time to serve quality food.
  • Food That’s Not The Right Temperature – Hot food coming out cold, cold food coming out warm; these are hard to avoid unless your kitchen is good at timing. But it’s incredibly important for guests.
  • Too Reliant On Packaged Food – Guests may not mention it to you but a kitchen that relies on packaged food and microwaves too much can’t achieve the food quality that diners deserve.
  • Not Getting It Right – This is an expensive mistake that can throw a whole service. Servers need to make sure they communicate well with guests and the kitchen.
To maintain a high level of guest satisfaction in this competitive industry avoid these common mistakes that restaurants make. Plan ahead and make service the best it can be!

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Use Gold Food To Market Your Restaurant

Use Gold Food To Market Your Restaurant

Some restaurants have found marketing success by creating a name for themselves by adding an aincent touch of class to decadant foods.

The Use of Edible Gold On Food

Far from a new trend in fine dining, chefs have been using gold to up the social cache (and the markup) on gourmet foods for thousands of years. Particularly popular in the confectionary traditions of India and Europe.
Following this tradition, chefs can use the application of gold to higlight the appeal of exeptionally decadant foods. What is new is the recent trend toward adding gold to foods more commonly seen as junk food or comfort foods such as pizza, ice cream hot wings and burgers.
It is critical however that edible gold is sourced correctly. While pure gold 22-24 carots is considered safe to eat is must not be mixed with other metals which could be toxic. Food grade gold is approved by the FDA and is non-toxic.
Edible gold comes in a variety of forms to be applied to food:
Gold Leaf - Chefs use extreemly thin sheets of pressed gold 1/8,000th of a milimetre thick to wrap the surfice of foods providing an opaque covering that gilds the food item in 24 carot edible gold. For the maximum “wow factor” use gold leaf.
Gold Powder - Dusted onto the surfice of foods or the rim of a glass, an otherworldly sheen is achived. Powdered gold is semi-transparent and is also available in spray cans which can make applicaton easier.
Gold Flakes - Gold glitter! Flakes are sprinkled on top to provide visable opaque gold that is especially well suited to food with an uneven surfice to it. Gold flakes shake out like sprinkles and add an impeckable lustere to dishes.

Demonstrate Your Restaurant Brand

Gold food is a very clear message to diners what your brand is. Gold is the ultimate “look at me” for those who can afford it. If your target market enjoys the finer things, food adventures and wants something to blog about to their friends then gold food has the potential to attract these people from all corners of the globe.
Likewise, the addition of gold food to your restaurant menu can get you a lot of free publicity from traditional media as well as social media exposure through likes and shares. This marketing tactic has been recently exploited to good effect with the recent additions of “gold donuts” and “gold hot wings” to the junk-food gilding trend that started a few years ago with the “glamburger” and “worlds most expensive pizza”.

The Economics of Gold Food

Gold food can be a serious boon to your marketing ROI but there’s another aspect to consider. While gold leaf can be considered “expensive” consider it in terms of contribution margin. A decitant sushi roll that would normally sell for $45 can become a $150 showpiece item with the addition of some well placed gold leaf.
When you consider that a 5 pack of 3x3 inch gold leaf goes for about $30 on Amazon you’re looking at a prestige pricing markup that nets an additional $75 in profit. Now that is why they say “who has the gold makes the rules.”
Maybe you’ll consider adding your own gold inspired menu items to your restaurant’s offerings? Depending on your target market, you’ll be making a statement that can attract the type of business you’re looking for. Either way, it’s something to talk about and could end up getting you a lot of free publicity.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Entice Restaurant Guests With Limited Time Products

Entice Restaurant Guests With Limited Time Products

Promoting temporary menu items can increase restaurant foot traffic

Fear of Missing Out and the Internet Age

These days the pace of change seems to keep getting faster. Everybody is looking for the next new thing with social media and online updates. The mindset has been called “FOMA” – The fear of missing out. Nobody wants to be the last one out of the loop. And indeed, being an early adopter brings those in the know a certain level of social street-cred.
Especially among young people, being ahead of the curve regarding what’s next drives many food adventurists to seek out new experiences try new restaurants. You can capitalize on this behavior without taking too much risk by offering limited time only menu items.
By triggering a sense of scarcity, especially when it comes to food, you are tapping into a deep well of motivation that is tied to our evolutionary biology. Limited time promotions done right can create a cult of followers. Just look at the enthusiasm generated by the pumpkin spiced latte and the McRib.

Give Them Something To Blog About

Imagine an Instagram post like this, spreading the news about your restaurant. “Look what I just ordered! Get down here right away!” Using limited time menu items creates a win-win-win scenario. Your customers get a unique experience they can share with their friends online and you get increased recognition and viral buzz.
A savvy social marketing campaign using limited availability menu items turns eating out into an adventure, a hunt and a social experience that increases the poster’s image online. In internet culture it’s highly prized to be a trend-setter and “in the know”.
If you already have a social media presence the introduction of limited time menu offerings function as powerful reminders to your fans that they’ve got to visit your restaurant again to try something new. For those diners looking for new experiences it can get them excited to come back if it’s been a while. And how great of an excuse for a date is it to say “Let’s go try the new dish at my favorite spot!”

Making Working In The Kitchen More Fun!

For those who are passionate about food, it’s all about trying new things in the kitchen. A chef is driven by their ability to provide an excellent and unique experience to diners. Without that opportunity a chef can get bored and lose some of that passion. By “taking the gloves off” and letting your chef experiment in the kitchen it can invigorate the whole team.
New menu items require new skills and a greater level of teamwork. Cooks are given the opportunity to expand their knowledge and learn. This inspires an over-all culture of improvement and pride in their work. The only thing constant in life is change. Keeping kitchen staff involved in the evolution of your menu can help reduce turnover and lack of engagement.

Give Em’ More Of What They Love

As you gain experience as a restaurateur you form a better picture of who your customers are. You started your restaurant and designed your menu with a picture formed in your mind. Now that picture is more detailed and you might have made different choices if you’d had it to do again.
Now it is your chance to try some of those ideas that have been rolling around in your head without risking what already is proven to work. Limited time menu items give you instant feedback about how to evolve your menu over the coming years. If you haven’t thought about how to update your menu as time goes on then you’re not planning fully for the future.
Consider your limited menu items as real world market testing and an opportunity to expand your current customer base by appealing to your guest’s tastes. You’ll know right away what’s working and what isn’t because they’re going to tell you, either through direct feedback or sales.
Since the majority of your customers will live within a 10-mile radius of your restaurant, it’s important to have a plan to evolve your restaurant as local demographics and needs change. Is the population getting younger or older? More affluent or less? The only way to know where to turn is to introduce new menu items in your restaurant and test.
Add a new limited availability menu to your existing restaurant offerings today and watch those social media posts take off! Maybe your restaurant will be the next viral sensation garnering a cult following!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Cell Phone Use Policies In Restaurants

Cell Phone Use Policies In Restaurants

With the ubiquity of cell phones in our modern lives, it’s no surprise that they can become a major distraction for restaurant employees. In a job that requires such a level of attention to detail any distraction is an unwelcome hindrance to productivity. The particular situation with phones, however, is how pervasive this distraction can be.

Cell Phones Are A Major Distraction In Restaurants

Young people often seek restaurant work as a first job. They are also very attached to their cell phone. Research has shown that in fact, many are physically and mentally addicted to their phones. Like any addict, they will tend to downplay both the frequency of their need to feed their addiction and the effect that this addiction has on their performance.
How can guests be properly served if they aren’t the primary focus of your servers? James Samara, general manager for Lucky Pie Pizza & Tap House, in Denver Colorado makes this point clear. “Obviously if guests see the cell phone they think the staff is less attentive, less interested in their needs.”
And how can kitchen staff maintain the high level of attention required to time foods and maintain quality controls correctly if they are trying to text their friends? The truth is they can’t, and the result could be worse than just slowing down service it could be a food safety issue if foods are not cooked properly, or someone could get hurt in the kitchen because of lack of care.

What Restaurants Are Doing to Combat Cell Phone Distraction

If you’re new to the restaurant business, you may think it’s harsh, extreme or unrealistic to limit or ban employee cell phone use in restaurants but it’s become standard industry practice for good reasons.
If you’ve already let a lax cell phone policy take root in your restaurant, you’ve seen the problems it causes, and that’s probably why you found this article. Rest assured, if you create a stringent no-use policy for cell phones you will have someone, even from valued employees. This is the nature of addiction.
But you have to make a choice about what’s most important. Running a profitable, high productivity restaurant that always provides superior guest service and high-quality food or paying your staff to entertain themselves on their personal devices unfocused and unproductive. Labor is easily the highest cost in the restaurant business, can you afford to pay people to be distracted?
Megan Dennison oversees 175 employees in four restaurant locations and addressed her staff’s cell phone use directly. “I said, ‘Okay, I am not asking you anymore. Either you lose you’re possible you lose the phone.’ ”

Enforcing The Rules Of Cell Phone Use In The Restaurant

  • Write The Policy–, handbooks should make your cell phone use standards clear, as well as the consequences of breaking the rules.
  • Tell Them At The Interview – When picking new hires to make sure they understand the expectations regarding cell phone use. If they have a shocked expression, they may not be the right candidate.
  • Get Managers Onboard – It’s hard to expect waitstaff and cooks to obey a higher standard of performance than your managers. If they are engaged in frivolous cell phone use or only enforcing the policy when they feel like it, this will only create resentment. Leaders need to set a good example.
  • Watch The Cameras – You’re probably doing this already, but now you have something else to look out for. Make sure to call out anyone who’s using their phones when not on break or using them to distract other workers. Remember, consistency is the key to policy enforcement. No one respects a rule that’s only followed when it’s convenient.
With simple changes to the expectations regarding cell phone use in your restaurant you can bring the focus back to where it should be – providing guests with the best quality experience possible. And away from where it shouldn’t be – being distracted by personal matters, games and social media.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

How Bilingual Skills Help Restaurant Managers

How Bilingual Skills Help Restaurant Managers

The Importance Of Learning a Second Language

Learning a second language can seem intimidating at first, but the benefits to your business can be great. Communication is the most important part of getting things done, and learning a second language ensures your ideas are clearly communicated to your team.

Advance Your Career With Another Language

If you’re a restaurant manager looking to set yourself apart from others or aspire to be a restaurant manager in the competitive restaurant jobs market, bilingual skills are a surefire way to make yourself an incredibly valuable member of the restaurant management team.
As a restaurant owner, the ability to understand more of what’s going on in your kitchen, conduct interviews in the native language of those you hire and provide training that is clearly understood is invaluable to improving restaurant operations and staff accountability.

Which Second Language Should You Learn?

According to QSR magazine 23% of restaurant workers are immigrants, and a full 45% of chefs in US restaurants are foreign-born.
The restaurant industry is as diverse as the cuisine offered. Languages heard in restaurants commonly are:
  • French
  • Italian
  • Chinese
  • Korean
And many others. But by far, the most common in North America is Spanish. If you are considering learning a second language to enhance your restaurant skills whatever the preferred language is for the type of restaurant you want to work in is the logical choice. But adding Spanish speaking skills opens the greatest number of opportunities for you in the restaurant industry.

Improve Kitchen Operations With Bilingual Skills

When training and coaching are accomplished in your staff member’s native language, you have greater assurance that policies and procedures will be followed as intended.
  • Increased Food Quality – Some restaurant workers may not have experience with US-style food safety practices. Your bilingual skills can help ensure that proper food safety guidelines are being followed by kitchen staff.
  • Better Kitchen Safety – OSHA is another regulatory body that may not be familiar to kitchen staff which has only recently immigrated. To ensure that kitchen safety rules are followed it’s best to communicate with staff in the language they are most familiar with.
  • Improved Teamwork – Kitchen brigades rely on a high amount of communication to accomplish a busy service. When you can effectively drive your cook’s priorities and expedite in their native language, they will be able to meet more of your demands as a restaurant owner or manager.
  • Enhanced Relationships – There is often a divide between cooks and servers, but communication between these two sides of the restaurant is crucial. As a bilingual owner or manager, you can be the liaison between the kitchen and front of house restaurant staff, facilitating the movement of high-quality food out of the kitchen and onto diners tables.

How To Start Improving Your Bilingual Skills

Language learning is a journey that is rewarding but can seem like an insurmountable task at first. Luckily, vocabulary required for working in a kitchen is only a small part of any language.
There are various online resources that can help you get started learning kitchen terms in the languages you’re likely to encounter in a restaurant environment.
Native speakers who you work with are also an important resource for learning how to communicate with your kitchen team. Learning to run your kitchen in their language can be fun and rewarding as well as team-building.

Take Language Learning To The Next Level

When you’ve got the basics of kitchen terminology down, and you’re ready to learn more, take advantage of free and low-cost advanced language learning resources available online and through your local library.
For iPhone and Android apps look for Duolingo and Babble.
For more traditional online language learning turn to Mango Languages or Rosetta Stone.
Learning a new language isn’t an “all or nothing” pursuit. As you start learning a second language, you’ll find that you’re rewarded for even the basics, by increasing mutual respect and understanding between management and kitchen staff.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Making Your First Restaurant Commercial

Making Your First Restaurant Commercial

How to film a commercial for your restaurant

Making a video to advertise your restaurant is fun and doesn’t have to cost a lot. It’s also a great way to get the word out about your restaurant, either online or through television.
So don’t be afraid to jump in and get started!

What you need to make your first restaurant commercial

You don’t need a whole lot these days to make a good commercial, but you must follow some tried and true guidelines.
An Idea For Your Commercial
The first thing you need to get started is an idea for a restaurant commercial. It doesn’t have to be too complicated, in fact, the simpler, the better.
The main thing that drives your concept for a commercial should be that it appeals to and communicates effectively with your restaurant’s target market. Present your restaurant the way you want to be seen by guests. Do something that will catch their attention and appeal to their likes.
An easy way to do this is to give people a taste of what it’s like to come to your restaurant. For example, if your restaurant has the relaxing vibe, you’ll use music and imagery that reinforces that atmosphere. If it’s a nightclub make sure to show lots of flash and flare!
Next You Need A Camera
Depending on the kinda of commercial you’re shooting you have some options here:
  • Using an iPhone – For many types of local ads, an iPhone’s built-in camera has good enough quality to work for you. Just make sure to follow the basics of good shooting, don’t move around and make sure to hold your the right way!
  • Use a Digital Camera – These days the pros don’t use “video cameras,” digital SLR type cameras used for photography all have a video mode these days and are the preferred type of camera used by professionals. You can change lenses to get different effects, and they work with a standard tripod mount – that’s great for getting rid of the jitters!
  • Maybe you don’t need a camera! – There is also the option of using animations or photographs for your commercial. There is also a lot of stock video online that you could piece together into a restaurant commercial. This is a cost-effective method that could be sufficient in some cases.
Another note about filming video is to make sure that there is sufficient and appropriate lighting. For that reason, it could be better to shoot scenes outdoors or near a large window. But be aware that too much light isn’t good either. Learning to see like a camera will help you choose the right amount of light.
Record The Audio Don’t forget the audio! Sound shouldn’t be an afterthought. After all, this is how your customers will “get the message.”
Audio can be recorded using your phone or camera but should be considered as a “backup,” for good sound you should use a microphone. There are two types to choose from.
  • Lavalier Microphones – These are the small headphone-sized mics that clip onto someone’s collar. They are a practical solution since many of them are also wireless and quite affordable.
  • Boom Microphones – A boom mic is a microphone on a long stick and held close to the person speaking but just out of the frame of the camera. Because they are bigger microphones, you typically can expect to get better quality audio from a boom.
You’ll also need a digital recorder. In the past, these were a specialized piece of kit, but nowadays you can just plug in your phone and use an app!
There are some important things to watch for however with recording audio.
  • Be aware of “levels” – The microphone’s feed should be displayed as bars that move with the volume of the speaker’s voice. Make sure your levels are adjusted high enough to capture enough volume to cover background sounds but not so high that sound is distorted. You’ll know it’s too high when you start seeing red at the top of the bars. Back off your levels when you see this happen.
  • Background sounds and echoes – Try not to record your video somewhere with a loud echo. If you must, make sure to keep the mic close to the person speaking to minimize it. Also, avoid a place that’s noisy. You’ll be amazed just how loud it is when cars pass by! These sounds distort the audio, and there is no way to remove it later, so get it right the first time!

You Can Always Get Help!

Every local community has people who are either professionals or hobbyists in the art of film and video. Depending on your budget and how much help you want you should be able to find a solution that suits you. Just look on Craigslist or the local classifieds. An excellent budget source for people to help you look your best and shoot a great commercial are wedding photographers who also make videos.
If you’ve always wanted to make a restaurant commercial, your best move is to jump right in. Even if you decide later it’s not what you envisioned, you’ve learned from the experience. You’ll be one step closer to achieving your dream, having gained from experience.