Monthly archives of “April 2016

reputation management
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Protecting your online reputation: what you need to know!

We live in a digital world.  Your customers will be posting their pictures and opinions of you on Instagram, Google, Yelp, Facebook, and more!  While we hope that everyone is a fan, it’s easy to have issues (or unhappy customers) who can hurt your reputation and influence whether future customers frequent you – or your competition.

Even though it’s time consuming and sometimes no fun at all, it’s very important to protect your online reputation.  Here are some tips to help you stay on top of your game:

1/ DON’T offer free items to make the problem go away.  It’s easy to respond to a negative review with an offer for a free beverage, meal, heck, anything to make the customer happy.  But it’s a much better idea to find out WHAT the problem was and try to fix the issue and apologize (if warranted).  That way, you are improving the success of your business and guarding against future (false) negative reviews from folks looking for a freebie.

2/ DON’T ignore negative commentary.  Even though it’s no fun, it’s very important to respond to unhappy customers online.  There may be an easy fix to the problem, and even if someone really ‘dropped the ball’ on food or service, at least by responding you are showing your dedication to the customer and that it’s important for them to have a good visit.  Avoid long, drawn out public conversations and provide a phone number or email for follow up, and make sure to get to the bottom of their issues whenever possible.

3/ DO respond to positive commentary.  A 5 star review is a wonderful thing to have.  Make sure to take a moment to say thank you when someone goes out of their way to say something nice about your business!  I simple ‘thank you’ goes a long way and helps to reinforce the positive relationship.

4/ DO Know your rights and manage your online presence.  If someone is being unnecessarily vulgar, abusive, or even works for your competition and is writing false reviews, you have every right to flag and remove them .  Get to know the terms of service for Yelp, Google, and Open Table so that you can flag anything that doesn’t belong or is dishonest.  It’s also important to find out where your customers are talking about you – stay on top of social media trends and monitor your restaurant pages across as many sites as your customers do to ensure that you don’t miss the conversation.

5/ DO encourage people to talk about you!  Most of your customers are biggest fans – that’s why they are in your restaurant!  Engage these people by letting them know your Instagram handle and other social media presences, as well as asking them to review you.  By asking for reviews, you’ll ensure that the happy people take some time to write about you: unhappy people are more likely to take to the internet if they feel the need to report an issue.  And of course, encourage your front of the house staff to ask for feedback often so that any problems can be fixed (hopefully) before they make their way online.

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Farm to Table – why is it important to your customers?

As the world become more and more health-conscious every day, it’s time to turn your focus on to where your food comes from. Oftentimes, our fruits and vegetables are exposed to many chemicals and environments that may not be the best for our health. Because they shipped from around the world, the produce we see in some supermarkets and other similar establishments have been harvested ahead of time to increase shelf life.

However, when choosing locally sourced ingredients this summer, you’ll find your produce to be more robust on both flavor and color, but also size. Locally sourced farms also tend shy away from harmful growth hormones and antibiotics. Healthier ingredients make for healthy meals which ultimately make for happy healthy people. Be sure to enjoy your apples, apricots, avocados, blackberries and more, this summer GMO free!

Of course, the number of farms you find depends greatly on where you live.  But overall, it’s not difficult to source from local providers.  Independently owned and operated farms are thriving all over the country.  Putting the name of your sources on your menus and signage will also give your customers the satisfaction of knowing you’re looking for the best and keeping things fresh and health for them.chicken

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Thinking about opening a restaurant? Here’s what to know before you sign the lease.

It’s great to have a dream, but what does it take to capitalize on it?  Below are some tips for first time restauranteurs from some of the best in the Industry.  And of course, don’t forget to get the best deals when you shop with Restaurant Supply!

opening soon word under torn black sugar paper1/ Don’t go in underfunded.  Restaurant legend Bobby Flay offers this as his number one tip for new time restaurant owners.  “It takes twice as long and costs twice as much money as you think to build  restaurant.”  Do your research and get the capital first, then build upon that.

2/ Trusts your instincts with design.  Again-  from Bobby Flay.  Sticking with the designer’s vision won’t allow your own brand to shine through.  Don’t be afraid to offer your input and make sure your own execution is apparent in the restaurant concept.

3/ Listen to your staff and support them as they are supporting you.  Your managers, chefs, servers, bartenders and baristas are the backbone of your business.  Make sure you’re accessible to them and listen to and value their input.  They are onsite every day and will know your business like it’s their business.

4/ Play to your own strengths.  As the business owner, you’ll be involved in every part of day to day operations.  Don’t be afraid to play to your strengths and delegate the rest.  If marketing is your thing, then great.  Otherwise hire a marketing firm.  If you’re great at numbers, then do your own book keeping.  But make sure that you don’t overtask yourself or underutilize your staff when you’re planning your role in your own business.

5/ The right equipment changes everything.  Having the correct tools is fundamental to running your business successfully.  Make sure you invest in equipment that will last and is high quality.  (and yes, we recommend you buy it from Restaurant Supply – of course!).

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What’s your favorite kitchen tool? It’s your knife, isn’t it?

winco knivesA chef is only as great as the tools he/she possess. A great chef is quite aware when it becomes time for a new knife set. They are also more than knowledge in the difference between each knife as well as the similarities when shopping for multi-purpose materials. To receive the full potential of what a knife has to offer: Remember to always sharpen your knives before use, never place in them inside of the dishwasher and also dry them immediately after cleaning. These tips will help to decrease the dullness as well extend the lifespan of your knives.  Shop our collection of knives here!

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Top 5 Restaurant Trends to Watch in 2016

trend alert

 

Restaurants business is all about anticipating your customer’s needs before they even know what they want.  Here are some of the most in demand trends so far this year, according to Baum + Whiteman:

1/ Uber type delivery service.  In the digital age, customers want speed and convenience, and often that means service that comes to you.  Whether it’s through a delivery partner or an innovative app, restaurants are finding ways to cater to their consumer base through delivery

2/ Clean food.  Less is more.  Kale is still king.  And chemicals are out.  Customers want to connect to their food and feel they are eating ethically sourced and pronounceable ingredients.  Fast food is particularly impacted by this trend, but it is a great asset to local companies who work with local partners to source fresh ingredients.

3/ Pasta is trending… down!  Carb heavy and delicious, pasta is striking out with health conscious diners.  Although Americans are still plating up more spaghetti then Europeans, sales of pasta are down across the board.

4/ Vegetables are trending… up!  A high cost of animal protein and a focus on healthy foods means that vegetables are less side dish and more center plate in 2016.   This broad category is blossoming into its own in a variety of creative ways with chefs across the country.

5/ Raise prices… raise wages?  The debate rages on.  Whether it’s arguing a $15 minimum wage or eliminating the tipping system entirely, this is a tricky balancing act to strike between the restaurant and the consumer.  Don’t expect this complex issue to go away, anytime soon.