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
How to Update an Out-of-Date Restaurant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 But did you know that a restaurant’s outdated décor can negatively affect a diner’s experience?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
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
Do Proper Wine Glasses Really Matter
Most wine aficionados will tell you that the glassware we drink our wine from is almost as important as the wine we put into it. The wine glass you use – its shape, material and size, – will have a considerable impact on your wine-drinking experience. So if you are the average wine drinker looking to stock your liquor cabinet with wine glasses for the reds, whites, and bubblies that you drink regularly, you will want a supply of glasses to fit those types of wines. . So, let’s explore how choosing the right wine glass can enhance your wine-drinking experience.
Continue reading How the Right Wine Glass Can Enhance Your Wine Tasting Experience
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 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
Disposable Dinner: A Viable Option for a Wedding?
The price of weddings and other festive events have been spiraling out of control lately, and many believe it’s time to scale back, in terms of food, décor, and accessories. A budget is not illegal, especially when you consider that the less you pay for the wedding, the more you’ll have for your nest egg. In addition, rare is the guest who will have less of a good time if there is one less type of sushi at the smorgasbord, roses instead of orchids in the centerpieces, or chicken instead of beef as an entrée. So, as we head into a more frugal era of wedding planning, the up-and-coming trend is disposable dinnerware. Before you bolt, understand that we’re not talking about the flimsy paper plates you’re used to seeing at picnics and barbecues; rather, we’re referring to gorgeous china-like disposables that will save you tons on rentals and will make a beautiful impression on your guests at the same time.
Continue reading Choose Disposable Dinnerware at Your Wedding without Sacrificing Elegance
Venue Criteria: How to Find the Right Event Space
When you are hired to cater an event, you – and your client – are faced with a long list of decisions, ranging from date, to décor, to food, to timetable. Before anything else connected to the event can be decided, however, choosing the venue is priority #1. Since your clients already chose you to cater and manage their event, this means that you must play the role of psychologist, adviser, and friend from the time your involvement is established to the morning after the event (and, often, beyond).
Guide your Client to the Perfect Event Venue
From the outset, you have to follow your client’s lead: Some customers want and need just a little guidance, while others will rely on you for everything. Be prepared, patient, and knowledgeable – no matter what is expected of you – and you will be able to add one more satisfied customer to your resume.
Continue reading Help Your Clients Choose the Right Event Venue with Ease
When planning parties big or small, formal or casual, very often the décor or theme can make all the difference. An experienced caterer can throw a party in the starkest of venues – rec halls or church basements – and he or she can transform it by using colorful accessories and little unexpected touches. Color combinations can create a mood and set a tone, but perhaps the most important factor in turning an ordinary table into something special is the centerpiece, that all-important design element that can change the look and feel of a venue in an instant. Don’t underestimate the power of the centerpiece – words to live by. Continue reading Spend Less on Centerpieces and Get Fabulous Results
The National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) “What’s Hot: 2016 Culinary Forecast” included not one, not two, but three ethnic cuisine-related trends in its Top 20 roundup. Continue reading The Ethnic Cuisine: What Restaurant Owners Need to Know