877-747-0111

Customer Service: 9-5 EST
Sales: 9-8 EST open late!
You are here: Home

The food service industry is highly competitive. As a restaurant, you do not only compete with other restaurateurs, you also need to be responsive to the changes in your customer’s needs and the ups and downs of the economy.

Your menu can be an excellent way for you to be at the top of your game and meet the needs of your diners. Here are some strategies you can use to spur sales and even improve your restaurant’s bottom line:

Offer kids’ meals

Providing child-friendly menu items can draw families into your restaurant. Even with today’s economic downturn, parents are looking at taking their family for a meal, especially during special occasions such as birthdays. By providing a kid-friendly menu and a kid-friendly environment, you can encourage parents to think about your restaurant each time they think about taking the family out for dinner. This is especially true if the items in your kiddie menu offer delicious and nutritious options. It provides a win-win situation for your customers – you keep the parents happy, knowing that their children are eating what’s good for them and you keep the kids happy  by giving them food that they like.

Why this strategy works. Parents will actually prefer kids’ meals for their children, since the smaller servings mean they do not have to pay for a full adult portion at full prices. The kids themselves can also be your ambassadors to their parents if you are able to offer them with something they enjoy. In the long term, you can be able to develop loyal customers who have grown up with your food. With a kid-friendly menu, you can also successfully target individuals who are watching their weight. These individuals prefer ordering from the kids’ menu because of the smaller portions these offer.

Offer menu items for those with alternative diets

Think of diners who are allergic to certain substances (i.e. nuts or gluten) or are committed to certain diets that steer clear of meat, grains and other main ingredients. Diners with dietary restrictions sometimes prefer to eat at home rather than risk dining outside and being faced with limited choices. You can become one of the first choices in their list if you are able to provide them with tasty meals that cater to their specialized needs. You can either have a specialized section of your menu dedicated to these dishes or allow diners to customize their meal by requesting specific ingredients removed. You can also have a dietary legend of your menu items, indicating whether these are gluten-free, vegetarian or free of a specific allergen.

Why this strategy works. Catering to alternative diets can only work if you are able to market it well so that you gain momentum and consequently, more customers.  There is the additional cost of having a separate commercial kitchenware and work station in the kitchen for allergen-free dishes. However, there are those who are willing to pay these premium prices.

Expand your drinks menu

Offer more alternatives in your drinks menu. For those who are avoiding soft drinks, add fresh juices and smoothies (such as those made from wheatgrass or vegetables). For those who are trying to go easy on the caffeine but crave the experience of sipping a hot drink, offer herbal teas.

Why this strategy works. From a production point of view, offering these drinks do not cost much and only require little space. There is also a very good profit margin for these drinks.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Blogplay

{ 0 comments }

Buffet restaurants have their own attraction. For diners, buffets provide the opportunity to indulge in as much food as you can! Unlike a la carte meals, diners get to try a wide variety of dishes at portions they want and only pay one price.  Buffet diners are free to indulge and try new dishes and decide which dishes they want.

For restaurateurs, the attraction is in the bottom line. The buffet restaurant business can be highly lucrative. Rather than waiting for the diners to choose from a menu and prepare each dish as it is ordered, buffet restaurants benefit from the cost savings resulting from preparing the dishes by bulk. Also, since buffet restaurants can open at set times (i.e. lunch time and dinner time) and manpower is concentrated in the kitchen and in the buffet spread, there are also savings in manpower costs.

However, a buffet restaurant also runs a risk of wastage. Food that stays too long in the chafers lose their texture and flavor. Often, these end up in the bin. The restaurant also needs to consistently meet the minimum number of diners at a certain period in order to be profitable.

If you are thinking of venturing into the buffet restaurant business, the key is not just in offering sumptuous dishes but also in planning key elements in the buffet carefully. Here are some tips in running a successful buffet restaurant business:

-          Keep careful statistics. Keep track of the flow of diners as well as the most-visited dishes. Also, record the amount and type of food that is being consumed and that is thrown out. These statistics can be used to minimize wastage of uneaten food. The statistics will help you plan which kind of food to put out and in what quantities to ensure that the food is fresh and has not been in the chafing dishes for far too long. Daily records of how each dish is consumed can help prevent over and under-production of the dish.

-          Know your food costs and keep it down. Make regular reviews of food items, as well as the cost for each of these items. This can help you determine what price you will set for the buffet. Generally, you take into account the cost of a portion of each dish. This portion is usually half the size of an a la carte portion. When introducing new dishes, watch how well they are received and determine whether it is cost-effective to keep them in the menu. Have a flexible menu where various dishes can be made using basically the same ingredients. This way, you keep your buffet interesting but also enjoy savings from buying ingredients in bulk.

-          Practice portion control. Again, you need to minimize food wastage by controlling the portions that diners can get of each dish. For dishes that use expensive ingredients, serve this through pre-plated portions. You can also assign a member of your staff to man this section of the buffet. Other strategies include using smaller plates (which results in more trips to the buffet spread), smaller serving spoons and shallow serving trays.

-          Rotate your dishes every hour. Generally, food in a chafing dish can last up to two hours. However, there will be changes in the texture and taste of food after an hour of being placed on the chafing dishes. To ensure food quality, provide fresh servings of each dish every hour.

-          Appeal to the eyes first, before you can delight the taste buds. As with carefully plated and designed a la carte plates, showmanship is important. Present your dishes in a way that draws the eye. When serving cuisine from a particular country or continent, use elements in that country to set the ambiance. For instance, the pasta station can bear Italian décor while Chinese dim sum can be served in bamboo steamer pans.

-          Ensure food safety. A case of food poisoning can be devastating. All measures need to be taken to preserve not just the quality but also the safety of the food being served. Here are some things to consider:

  • Staff training and personal responsibility. You must train staff to be committed towards food safety and to comply with sanitation regulations. There should also be safety policies and procedures that are put in writing that staff is required to read and understand.
  • Keep the environment clean.  The kitchen and buffet area should be regularly and rigorously cleaned.
  • Maintain ideal food temperatures. The food must also be kept at its ideal temperature, and only for up to a certain time. Food, especially acidic and moist dishes, is likely to spoil and harbour pathogens when its temperature is between 40°F and 141°F. As such, keep cold foods cold by placing the bowls and dishes in ice. Hot food should be kept in chafing dishes, preferably those that have glass lids so that the chafing dish is not opened more frequently. There are also chafing dishes where the lid automatically closes.  Staff can test a particular dish using a probe thermometer to ensure that the food is kept at the ideal temperature.
  • Prevent cross-contamination. Keep raw dishes (i.e. oysters or sushi) away from cooked dishes. When rotating the food, the staff should replace the entire plate with the new food, rather than simply adding the new food to a nearly-empty serving dish.
Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Blogplay

{ 0 comments }

Getting the Right Equipment For Your Restaurant

March 9, 2015

Outfitting your restaurant kitchen can be a challenge. You need to strike the proper balance between your budget and ensuring the quality of the wholesale restaurant equipment you buy. Big-ticket commercial kitchen equipment such as ovens and cookers can run to thousands of dollars. Thus, you need to carefully do you research before buying a […]

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Blogplay
Read the full article →

A Buying Guide for Portable Catering Equipment

March 2, 2015

If you are in the catering business, having portable catering equipment can help you expand your catering capabilities. Rather than doing all your cooking in your commercial kitchen, you can now cook up dishes on site. Indeed, some dishes are better tasting if they are cooked just before they are about to be eaten. And […]

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Blogplay
Read the full article →

Restaurant Storage Basics: Shelving 101

February 23, 2015

Shelves are an important piece of restaurant equipment. These enable restaurants to make wiser and more efficient use of your kitchen and storage area’s limited space. However, a restaurant also needs to have policies and procedures in place to safeguard various areas of the restaurant’s operations. This will make the storage and kitchen area safer […]

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Blogplay
Read the full article →

Developing an Appealing Menu (That Makes Money, Too!)

February 16, 2015

Your menu is central to your restaurant business. This is the primary product (aside from an ambiance or experience) your restaurant offers to its customers. The menu is a product of careful research – you do not simply piece together some personal favorites and offer this to the public. Like the central cog in the […]

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Blogplay
Read the full article →

Beefing Up Your Catering Business

February 9, 2015

As with all businesses, the challenge is to continue to constantly improve and innovate or face the risk of losing out on customers. As a business owner, you need to be aware of the trends and to regularly review your catering business operations to see areas for growth or change. -          Provide choices through theme-based […]

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Blogplay
Read the full article →

A Quick Buying Guide for Restaurant Smallware

February 2, 2015

When you set-up your restaurant, your initial budget does not just go towards the purchase of major kitchen equipment. You also have to allocate for smallware. These are wholesale restaurant supplies that you may need in a considerable quantity, not just for the kitchen, but for serving customers, as well as for other areas of […]

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Blogplay
Read the full article →

Restaurant Management 101: Safe Food Storage

January 17, 2015

The commercial kitchen is a busy place, producing meals for diners and guests.  Volumes of raw food and ingredients pass through the kitchen – from the delivery truck to the storage room, to the kitchen and lastly, to the plates of happy and satisfied customers. With the volume involved, it is necessary to ensure that […]

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Blogplay
Read the full article →

Holding a Birthday Party in Your Child’s School

January 12, 2015

Your child requests to have a party at school so that he gets to invite all his classmates. With a little careful planning, you can ensure that your child has an enjoyable party with his friends. Here are some of the things you can consider when planning your child’s birthday party at school: -          Contact […]

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Blogplay
Read the full article →