Know How to Handle Restaurant Health Inspections

What to Do During and After a Health Inspection

Restaurant Health Department Inspections

Restaurant owners generally view a visit from the health inspector as an inconvenience – or worse – as opposed to an opportunity to learn. Most restaurant owners dread health inspections; however, as we previously discussed, preparing for these inspections means that there is no reason to fear the inspector’s visit. Proper food storage, careful personal hygiene, meticulous attention to cleanliness, ongoing training, and self-inspections are all part of the “before.” Now, we’ll talk about how you should act during, and after, the health-inspection process.

Frequency of Health Inspections

The more complex the food-service operation, the more often the health department will visit. A restaurant where meat and fish are prepared and served could be visited two or three times a year, whereas a coffee house or a small bakery will require inspections just once annually. However, other factors can affect the frequency of an inspector’s visit. If, for instance, you regularly receive low inspection scores, you can expect to be inspected up to four times a year. Similarly, if someone reports your establishment for a foodborne illness, or for substandard operating procedures, the health department is authorized to come out and inspect based on that complaint.

Continue reading Know How to Handle Restaurant Health Inspections

Knowing How to Handle Competition for Your Restaurant

How to Compete with Restaurants in Your Area

How Your Restaurant Can Keep Its Competitive Edge

The restaurant industry is highly competitive; even with a star chef and a unique cuisine you may have to struggle to stand out in the crowd. Gaining a competitive edge requires a detailed analysis of the demographics of the surrounding area and the nature of existing competitors. And, even if you are successful at first, new competitors could enter your market at any time to steal your clients. The trick is ensuring that you shoot to the head of the line – and stay there.

Easier said than done…

It’s a Diner’s Market

Diners have plenty of options these days. According to Franchise Times, an estimated 1 million restaurants are open for business in the United States. And, according to the National Restaurant Association, roughly 60,000 new restaurants open each year—and 50,000 close. As a result, the net gain is about 10,000 new businesses in a typical year. However, U.S. restaurant trends in terms of real dollars spent on dining out has only increased by about 3 percent over the last few years, and you and your competitors have no choice but to fight for every one of those dollars.

Continue reading Knowing How to Handle Competition for Your Restaurant

Train Staff to Always be Ready for a Health Inspection

How to Prepare Your Restaurant for a Health Inspection

How to Work with Health Inspectors

How you interact with health inspectors can go a long way to securing the health of your customers and the reliability of your license to do business. If, as a restaurant owner or caterer, you view your local health inspector as a nemesis, the time has come for you to rethink this position. Health inspectors are not your enemy; if anything, they are your partners, and the goal is to work together to prevent foodborne illness and ensure your customers’ wellbeing.

Why Restaurant Inspections Are Important

Health inspections are not designed to cause stress to restaurant owners and caterers; rather, their goal is to ensure safety for your customers. According to Food Services of America, more than half of all foodborne illnesses are acquired from eating at restaurants. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that half of all produce has chemical contamination. Faced with these challenges, it makes sense that the food in restaurants and catering facilities should be stored, thawed, and cooked according to strict regulations, and that the kitchen, freezers, and storage areas kept sanitary and sterile.

Continue reading Train Staff to Always be Ready for a Health Inspection

Tips for Opening a Catering Business and Making it a Reality

Starting a Catering Business is a Multi-Step Process

So… You Want to Open a Catering Business

Even if your muffins are divine and your tempura chicken is to die for, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve got what it takes to run a successful catering company. By following a step-by-step, pre-launch plan, however, you can determine in advance how likely it is that you’ll be able to pursue your dream of starting your catering business and making it work.

Research is Your First Step

The first step in launching a catering company is to assess who else is offering catering in your area. Check out your competitors’ menus, their list of services, prices, and – if possible – their customer base. Visit their website and see if you can quickly find their unique selling points. Successful caterers sell more than just food; they also sell the reasons that customers buy food from them instead of somewhere else. To be a successful caterer, you’ll need to promote convenience, affordability, unique menus, and a specific style; food is just part of what you’ll be offering.

Find a Niche for Your Catering Business

Chances are you’re going to start your business by offering “off-premises catering”: serving food at a location away from your food production facility. There are three major markets for off-premises caterers:

Continue reading Tips for Opening a Catering Business and Making it a Reality

Follow These Guidelines to Train Your Restaurant Wait Staff

Your Restaurant Wait Staff: An Essential Piece of the Puzzle

Training your Restaurant Service Staff for Success

In the restaurant and catering business, you are only as good as your personnel; therefore, priority must be given to the professional training and development of your wait staff. Service is such an integral part of the dining experience, that even excellent food preparation and presentation will not support a restaurant without a well-trained and attentive wait staff to showcase it. At the end of the day, the success of your restaurant may depend on your ability to ensure that professional, courteous service ranks right up there with skillfully prepared dishes and delicious cuisine.

Start Early to Train Wait Staff

Training restaurant servers should start before your business opens, or ahead of a new employee’s first day of work. You want all employees thoroughly trained before you make them the public face of your restaurant. Training includes being ready to interact with customers, knowledge of the menu, and familiarity with any tech equipment your wait staff has to use.

Every person learns in a different way. There are no 100% correct methods to train all your wait staff, nor do you have the time or resources to custom-make a training system for each employee. But by starting early, and paying attention to the way an employee learns best, you can more efficiently convey information.

Continue reading Follow These Guidelines to Train Your Restaurant Wait Staff

Be Prepared When a Food Critic Walks Through Your Restaurant Door

What to Do If You Recognize a Food Critic

What to Do if You Recognize a Food Critic

Even in this era of online reviews written by faceless patrons and amateur foodies, a real, live food critic can cause a restaurant owner’s knees to shake. The most confident restaurateurs will still get nervous when they see a well-known food journalist cross the threshold. This seemingly anonymous character is actually loaded with the ability to make or break a restaurant. Plenty of articles have been written about how to recognize a food critic; his signature behavior, which usually includes questions galore and a highly focused attention to detail, will alert staff to his presence. However, in this post, we’re going to focus on what to do when you recognize a food critic. (Also in this post, we’re going to refer to a food critic as “he.”)

Continue reading Be Prepared When a Food Critic Walks Through Your Restaurant Door

Modernizing Your Restaurant’s Look with a Fresher Décor

Updating Your Restaurant’s Décor to Stay Current

How to Update an Out-of-Date Restaurant

In this era of online restaurant reviews, you may be amazed at some of the criteria by which your restaurant is judged. You would expect comments about food and service; even criticism regarding noise levels probably wouldn’t surprise you. But did you know that a restaurant’s outdated décor can negatively affect a diner’s experience? In this day and age, all the senses must be satisfied at a restaurant. A Cornell University study found that ratings for food, décor, and service are all associated with a restaurant’s top-40 rating on Zagat’s listings, and it takes a combination of all three to land a restaurant in the top 40. Therefore, for the price of a good meal, today’s discerning restaurant-goer wants top-notch service, fantastic food, and an environment that has not been left back in the last century.

Continue reading Modernizing Your Restaurant’s Look with a Fresher Décor

How to Regulate and Control Noise Levels in Your Restaurant

http://www.lionsdeal.com/jr-9930.html

Controlling Noise Levels in Your Restaurant

When you are deep in the process of creating the perfect restaurant – one that will draw a multitude of repeat customers – you will no doubt place an emphasis on ambience. A restaurant’s ambience can be created through lighting, music, décor, and spacing; but no less important is the noise level. Controlling the noise level in your restaurant is a critical ingredient in your restaurant’s success, no less than the freshness of the fish in your Bouillabaisse or the quality of the cheese in your Eggplant Parmesan. Noise can affect everyone in the restaurant – customers and staff alike – so keeping it under control is a top priority, especially when your restaurant is in the planning stages.

Noise as a Health Hazard

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines noise as a serious health hazard; it can lead to “cardiovascular and psychophysiological effects, reduce performance, and provoke … changes in social behavior.” What you’ll be trying to avoid when you are planning your restaurant’s décor are surfaces and spaces that make sounds bounce and echo, and that cause you and your restaurants guests to have to shout to be heard. Noise pollution in general, and noise levels in restaurants in particular, has become such a major issue that Continue reading How to Regulate and Control Noise Levels in Your Restaurant

Follow these Steps to Handle Customer Complaints Productively and Effectively

Handling Customer Complaints to Everyone’s Satisfaction

Handling Customer Complaints

Just about everyone working in the food service industry – restaurant owners, caterers, chefs – will at some point have to deal with unhappy customers. Customer complaints are an inevitable part of running a food-related business and the quicker you learn how to handle them, the better off you will be. Complaints are a double-edged sword: They are hard to hear (often downright painful, depending on the tone and attitude), but they can be instructive and helpful if addressed the right way. The way you relate to both the complainer and the complaint can make a big difference moving forward – for you and your business.

Customer complaints are a common thorn in the side of many business people (not just restaurateurs), as Forbes discusses in its article, “7 Steps For Dealing With Angry Customers.” But, although this type of guide can be helpful, we want to deal specifically with the food industry because the issues are unique. The National Restaurant Association addresses the sensitive subject at length, and all restaurant owners and professional caterers will benefit from checking out their advice.

Continue reading Follow these Steps to Handle Customer Complaints Productively and Effectively

How to Balance Work and Life in the Food Industry

Tips for Finding Work-Life Balance in the Restaurant and Catering Business

How Restaurant Owners and Caterers Can Balance Work and Life

In today’s dog-eat-dog world it’s becoming harder and harder to find the right balance between work and life. The demands of a career in the food industry – as a restaurant owner or caterer – can easily bury you under a workload that precludes the possibility of leading a normal life. In the March 2014 edition of Harvard Business Review, the cover article asked one of this decade’s most urgent questions: Is a work/life balance achievable or is it a complete myth? This question is more relevant than ever in the restaurant and catering business, where being on the scene almost around the clock can lead to burnout or, in the very least, a very skewed version of the life/work balance. Nonetheless, is there a way to cope with the relentless demands of the food industry? We think so, so read on.

Continue reading How to Balance Work and Life in the Food Industry