Thursday, May 20, 2010

Not So Easy…

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Recently, I got a call from a restaurant owner in need of someone to run his kitchen. He runs his restaurant and considers his staff as family. His chef, who had only been there for 9 months, was in the process of changing the menu to reflect the more economical desires of their customers. The owner didn’t like the look of a couple of the dishes and got in the kitchen to show the chef how he wanted the cabbage to be cut. RED FLAG on the play! You might consider the guy family, but you don’t go in to his domain and show him how to do it, especially if he’s the expert.

I guess that was the straw that broke the camel’s back; he couldn’t take the micro-managing anymore and gave his notice. If this owner goes into the kitchen to demonstrate how to cut cabbage, why does he need someone to run his kitchen? Not so easy… I see this often, management doesn’t educate their philosophy and then when the staff gets mixed messages, the system fails.

Roy’s Restaurants, headed by Chef Roy Yamaguchi, does this really well. His chefs are trained in his philosophy before they’re sent out to their restaurants. I believe there are only 5 signature dishes on every menu, the other selections are created by the location’s executive chef and kept regional. By knowing the philosophy, the food is an extension of Roy Yamaguchi vs just a copy.

Often the easy road is taken, “I don’t know what I want, but after I see it can tell you that’s not what I want.” What kind of leadership is that?

Be a leader or get out of the way.

Friday, May 7, 2010

#foodcalendar

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On Twitter, my followers love the daily food holidays that I tweet as #foodcalendar. As a restaurant consultant and chef, marketing is very important to the success or failure of a business. How many restaurants or businesses have you been to and thought that the food or products here are great, but they have no business? It’s an occupational hazard for me and I see it all the time.

One of the fun ways that my restaurant clients love doing is promoting items which they serve on special days. When you sit down at a restaurant and the server rattles off the specials, how many actually listen? Wouldn’t it be nice to hear: “Today is “National Cherry Cheesecake Day so save some room.”

May restaurants promote their daily or weekly specials with a small “s”. Shouldn’t a special come as a Special with a Capital “S”? It’s all about how you promote your product or service. Think about the last salesperson you dealt with, was he/she passionate about their product or service? Did you buy?

Remember: Stories Sell, so have one…

The food calendar I use can be found at:
http://www.statesymbolsusa.org/National_Symbols/American_Hollidays.html

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