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Monthly Archives: May 2011

One Advantage of Restaurant Tablet Ordering Systems to Consider

While I have been skeptical of the advantages of ipads in restaurants in the past the application offered by the SmartMenu system has a distinct advantage over anything you can get from a human server- at least in any realistic way- search.

That is to say, if I am on a diet (I’m not, I’m just sayin’ 🙂 )and want to know instantly what meals I can order, with what sides and what drinks, that will still stay at or below my target calorie number for the meal I can use the tablet to tell me instantly.

Even more specifically, you can tailor a menu item search for things like sodium or diabetic needs or other diet restriction. This is … Keep reading

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Stand Out Restaurant Marketing- How to Compete with the Big Chains

Here are a few ideas on how to compete as an independent restaurant against the massive advertising budgets and mindshare enjoyed by the big chain restaurants and franchises. The three presented here are not my favorites or at least I don’t think any of them are anything like a silver bullet or as easy and effective as some of the simple guerrilla restaurant marketing tactics we’ve covered in the past here.

The other issue is two of the three really require that you implement them from the start- like the point where you are deciding to start a restaurant point. While anything can be changed it is often a lot harder to change something after the fact and once people … Keep reading

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Restaurant Food Cost, Prices and Markups Explained

Here’s an interesting article on restaurant food costs and restaurant pricing. While as a very general rule of thumb you can expect the cost of food in a restaurant to average 30% of the gross sales, that number is of course only a very rough average. You can’t take each menu item’s food cost and multiply it to get the price or you would be losing out on some products and pricing others out of reach of what anyone is willing to pay.

The way you reach your average is by making significantly more on some items and less, or even losing money on others. This is why when you do your menu planning you have to consider your food … Keep reading

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How To Make the Most of Coupon Based Restaurant Marketing

Unfortunately, even as the economy comes back (slowly, slowly) the new shopping behavior from consumers isn’t likely to go anywhere- people have gotten very used to expecting discounts, coupons and lots of price cutting from retailers trying to win their business and they are still very much using price as a determining factor on where to eat.

Although you want to get away from discounting and couponing as much as possible you may still need to do it to some extent to attract new customers and ensure a regular flow of business to your location. But that doesn’t mean you have to just suck it up and take it!

Don’t think of coupons and discounts as simply a cut in … Keep reading

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Last-Minute Restaurant Promos for Memorial Day

OK, so I’m pretty late myself on this but the point is that you can A) use just about any holiday big or small as a reason to promote creatively and B) it doesn’t take much time or energy or ambition to come up with a few ideas that can turn any day into a special reason for someone to visit your location.

Holidays are usually good for the restaurant business because people are out of work  and in the mood to indulge themselves- they may have bought a new car, new furniture or just finally gotten out to the beach or lake and on their way back they want to top the day off with a meal out. This … Keep reading

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How to Start a Restaurant- Start Your Restaurant Right Q&A

how to start a restaurantLots of people have the dream but very few actually know how to start a restaurant because unless you’ve been through the process it can seem overwhelming and extremely complicated.

As a restaurant consultant I talk to people all the time with good ideas and original concepts who are still hesitant to get involved in starting a restaurant because they feel it is beyond them to make it happen.

In fact almost anyone can do it but it does require having experienced help and lots of planning if you want it to work out right. I provide the resources and tools to make it easy for anyone to realize their dream. If you have questions, just ask. What follows are … Keep reading

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Restaurant Business Plan Format

I often am asked about some of the basics of creating a restaurant business plan such as what the sections should be and in what order and more fundamental things like what font to use, the font size, etc. So I will give you my standard answers here:

Business plan format- sections:

  1. Cover page with contact info
  2. Executive summary
  3. Concept
  4. Business Info
  5. Market
  6. Operations
  7. Marketing
  8. Owners/Management Team
  9. Financial Summary
  10. Supporting Info

This is the layout I use but it is not set in stone. As long as you have all the information presented, the order isn’t that important. People expect to see the executive summary first and the financials last but beyond that it is really trivial how you … Keep reading

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Restaurant Industry Up, Smart Operators Way Up

Good news for the restaurant business overall as sales are up and there is an expectation of slow but steady growth through the rest of this year and into next year.

Restaurant industry sales are expected to grow 2.6 percent in 2011, according to Technomic, a Chicago-based consulting firm.

And, as I wrote about yesterday, the big trends don’t have to necessarily be reflected in what you are experiencing. Despite the last three years being a very difficult time for the industry overall:

Restaurant industry sales fell 3 percent, to $343 billion, in 2009, the worst decline in a generation. Paul noted that despite the 2010 gain and expected increase this year, the industry still is below the 2008 peak … Keep reading

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What Recession? Restaurant Empire Built in Last Three Years!

If you wanted more proof that the right time to open a restaurant is right now, regardless of when right now happens to be, look no further than the restaurant success story that is Xavier Cervera.

Conventional wisdom and the reality of the market might have indicated that the last three years have been a terrible time to start a new restaurant. That would make it a really, really bad time to open four of them. But then you would be wrong.

There is always going to be a market for the right concept in the right location even if other restaurants may be struggling or closing their doors. If you find the demand and have the supply to meet … Keep reading

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Restaurant Management Tip: Dealing With Employee Theft

I came across a list of suggestions for how to deal with employee theft as well as how to try and prevent it in the future. I have my own ideas based on firsthand experience with both my own employees stealing and helping other managers track down and solve their own theft problems. The bullet points come from the article but the added thoughts are mine.

Some tips on how to confront an employee who is stealing:

Make sure you have adequate proof. Yes- nothing looks worse and damages moral more than accusing someone of stealing only to find out they can prove they weren’t and you either made a mistake or blamed the wrong person. Be sure first, even … Keep reading

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