New Years’ Resolutions for Restaurant Owners

Last year is gone and it’s time to usher in a new year. With it comes planning and resolutions, that will make it a good and profitable year. For restaurant owners this may still be your busy season with some people still being on holiday while the rest of them are returning to work. The New Year is good time to reflect on what has or has not worked the previous year and to plan for the year ahead.

Here are some new years’ resolutions for restaurant owners.

  • Assess the year that passed and be honest with yourself. What methods or processes did not work or caused confusion for your staff? Resolve to find methods that work well with your type of restaurant and that staff can understand easily.
  • Endeavour to try new recipes and be consistent with implementing the new recipes on your menu. Don’t delay changing the menu because you are busy. Set a deadline as to when you will renew it and ensure that it is done.
  • Speak to your customers more often and find out whether they are enjoying the dining experience at your restaurant. Listen to their complaints and resolve them. In most cases customers can give you valuable advice and suggestions that will help your business thrive.
  • Check whether your stock monitoring and ordering system is running efficiently. Most importantly you need to be sure that no old food items are stocked in the pantry. In the New Year ensure that the old stock is out and the new stock is in.
  • Communicate better with all your staff members. When you implement a new special or a new meal, ensure that everyone is aware of what it consists of and how much it costs. If they know better, they can sell better.
  • Make it a point to service the catering equipment at least once a year to ensure that it works efficiently. The last thing you want is for a breakdown to occur while you’re still serving customers. It could make your restaurant look unprepared.
  • Look at what competitors are doing differently. Is your restaurant still doing things the old way? Are there new systems or software available that will make your restaurant run more efficiently? Do they change their menus often or do they stick to unique menu items?

The New Year should be a time for new beginnings and exciting endeavours. It should be a time to reflect and set new goals that will take you to the next level in your business and in your personal life.

Sunflower Oil: Packaging Options for Restaurants

Cooking oil is the most common ingredient used in a kitchen. Restaurants always need to have stock of this versatile ingredient. Because restaurants use it so often, it is important that sunflower oil manufacturers package sunflower oil in the correct containers that are available in different sizes.

There’s no question that sunflower oil supplied in bulk options is a good idea for busy restaurants and cafés. It’s known that on a busy day, it can run out before the end of the day. If your restaurant is constantly cooking and frying food you should keep large containers of sunflower oil. The sunflower oil comes in large containers such as a 200 litre drum, a 1000 litre flexitank and a 36000 litre tanker load. Plus you don’t have to worry about it ageing because it maintains its nutritional value for a long period of time.

The drums are perfect for you if your restaurant serves potato chips or onion rings on the side. You have to submerge the vegetables in frying oil so you will require a lot of it. Having a drum stored in your kitchen will put your mind at ease the next time someone orders extra chips for the table, like every other customer does.

Many recipes need only a bit of oil to sauté onions or braise protein. It’s easier to use a lighter bottle so that you won’t accidentally topple the lot into the pot. So for such applications you can use a 375 millilitre bottle, a 500 millilitre bottle or a 750 millilitre bottle.

If your restaurant doesn’t use such a large amount of sunflower oil then bottles will do. You’ll find that they come in a 2 litre bottle, a 5 litre bottle and a 20 litre Jerry can. Many food places like to make their own condiments and sauces that accompany the table for the fussy eaters. Many places serve customers bread with chilli oil in a bowl. It may seem like a small amount but think of the other fifty tables getting the exact same thing. It would be only a fifty millilitre bowl minus about thirty for the chilli. It would total a litre for one hour. That’s just one self-made condiment.

Pubs make their own sauces in three-hundred and fifty millilitre bottles. You need sunflower oil to make it into a sauce or else it would be just clumpy spicy pieces. That is not enjoyable but with the sunflower oil it gives the sauces a completely new taste. Can you imagine how much of it you would need if you are not using bigger containers? It may not seem to be as much at one glance but it still is quite a substantial amount.

One of the worst ingredients to run out of in a restaurant is the cooking oil. Not only will you not be able to serve the chips, sauce or most dishes but you will also lack a specific texture. Always make sure that you have sunflower oil in stock and use it wisely.

Bad Service Can Ruin Your Restaurant’s Reputation

During the holidays I enjoyed the time off with some surf, sea and sand. As like most people on holiday, I love spending time with special people at wonderful restaurants. Most of the restaurants I went to knew what they were doing and their waitrons were on the ball. I commend such good customer service. However, there was this one restaurant that I went to that did not offer such a good customer experience. Bad service can give a restaurant a bad name.

Let me share my experience with you.

My companions and I decided to have breakfast at the beach. This particular restaurant is ideally situated on the beach, just a few metres from the sea so you can imagine the beautiful view we were looking forward to. While waiting in the queue to be seated, we were promptly informed that we needed to wait a bit. Once we were seated it took quite some time for our waitron to welcome us and provide us with the menus. When she did show up she advised that the restaurant is very busy and breakfast will take very long to serve. I thought it was good that she informed us of the wait but it felt like she was telling us not to bother with ordering at all. We didn’t feel welcome at this point but we decided to continue with our order. At this point I want to mention that the restaurant had many open tables and it was not full to the point where every seat was taken. It was at a manageable capacity. When our breakfast arrived, the order was interpreted incorrectly and the eggs were under done so we returned it to be cooked properly. The waitron gave us a look that made us feel ungrateful and, quite frankly, uncomfortable. For two eggs to be cooked, it took another 20 minutes. In the meantime we asked for tomato sauce from our waitron but she had forgotten about it. So we asked another waitron to assist with the tomato sauce. During this time I ordered a coffee and my companions ordered refills for their coffee. We continued to ask our waitron for sugar and milk for our coffee but, again, she had forgotten about it so we asked another waitron to assist us.

Furthermore, the milk jug was dirty. Restaurants need to take pride in their catering equipment and ensure that it is always clean. My coffee only arrived with the breakfast and my companions’ refills arrived after they had eaten their breakfast. In total we spent 3 hours at the restaurant for two breakfasts and three cups of coffee.

I am a person that is quite patient in a restaurant but when the waitron doesn’t welcome you politely and makes you feel like it’s a burden to have you at their restaurant that gives the restaurant a very bad image. Restaurant management needs to be aware of how their waitrons treat their customers, as it could mean the difference between returning customers or a bad reputation.

Small Innovative Catering Equipment That Make Your Life Easier

There’s a lot of catering equipment out there and, of course, the words catering equipment conjures up images of cutlery and crockery in your mind. It could also include kitchen equipment and appliances. Yet, there is a whole other world of catering equipment that many people miss or take for granted because of their small stature. Let’s take a look at the undermined and underestimated catering equipment that makes our lives easier.

  • Baking Sheets. These are so innovative and convenient during the baking process. It seems like such a simple sheet but it saves you buckets of time because you don’t have to scrub burnt baking trays anymore. The baking sheet acts like a non-stick layer between the baking tray and the food.
  • Ballers. What are ballers, you may ask? This little catering equipment is the size of one kitchen fork. It has a handle along the shaft and at the two ends of the handle it has a half hollowed metal ball. It is generally used to ball melons or any other fruit. You can create a fruit bowl of neat round fruit scoops.
  • Cake Dividers. These are round metal rings that have thin metal glides within the ring. It allows you to cut a cake into perfectly even slices.
  • Garlic Press. Are you still struggling with garlic preparation? Then look no further. The garlic press is a nifty invention where you can put a clove of garlic inside it and with the force of the two opposing handles you can crush the garlic in one swift move. Quick and easy.
  • Oil Tester. With this little technical invention you can place the one end of the oil tester in the cooking oil to check whether the temperature you require has been reached. No more adding ingredients to the cooking oil before the time.
  • Pizza Cutters. This is a wonderful piece of catering equipment if you eat or serve a lot of pizza. This round blade simply glides through the pizza slicing it perfectly.
  • Sharpening Stones. After a lot of use, knives tend to go blunt. Yes, they do. So you need to sharpen them if you want to slice the food with ease. A sharpening stone in your kitchen is quite handy for those moments when you need to sharpen your favourite knife.
  • Speed Pourers. Many people think that this is an unnecessary piece of catering equipment, but until you’ve used one you’ll never understand. The speed pourer inserts into the top of a glass bottle perfectly. It allows you to easily and without a mess pour olive oil or vinegar.

The Worst Advice We’ve Heard On Writing A Restaurant Business Plan

Starting up any business can be really taxing and stressful, but not having a good business plan in place can really set you up for a disastrous journey.

Fail to Plan
Plan to Fail

It rings true for anything you decide to take up in life.

A diligently prepared business plan not only provides clarity to the business owners in terms of the financial requirements, resource planning and the return profile of the venture, but it’s a roadmap that drives you forward from goal to goal. A business plan for a restaurant is particularly challenging, as it involves an industry that already has a large number of players and is highly dynamic. If you haven’t already created a restaurant business plan today, it’s never too late for you to start now.

Let’s hit the road running then, and start off with a real humdinger! We’ve rounded up some of the worst pieces of advice that we have encountered. They are in no particular order.

1. “Don’t research the neighbourhood layout.”
Really? What were they thinking? The neighbourhood is what is going to feed your income, grow your business, and ultimately keep your doors open. If you don’t know where your potential customers are, then how will you fill those seats?

Do your research on what the locals prefer, how often they frequent the restaurants around their homes, and what would be their draw card should a restaurant open up nearby. These are all aspects you will only know if you do your homework. Go talk to the neighbours, send out survey sheets, run an ad competition, or simply set up a little takeaway pop-up stall near the location you have chosen, to see if any customers come sniffing.

2. “Stick with a fixed menu or it will become expensive to maintain.”
Variety is the key to an abundant and exciting life. Provide your clientele with just that! Global restaurant consultant Aaron Allen, provides great advice on how often should you change up your menu. Restaurants on board the digital bandwagon nowadays have also converted to using e-menus for their restaurant ordering system. That way, you don’t have to spend big costs each time you decide to spruce things up. Avant-garde and rudimentary are also the trend nowadays. Just make sure the theme fits with your restaurant.

3. “Wing it till something sticks.”
In an industry that is highly saturated and dynamic, this is a really bad idea! Not having a foolproof menu, not planning for the right headcount, or not formulating a game plan when it comes to the year ahead, can just set you up for failure. Vague and ambiguous business goals like “being different”, “aim to become the best in the business” are merely lofty terms that inform nothing about the underlying business proposition.

4. “Social media is the trend today, so you need to come online now.”
Don’t get us wrong. Social media is indeed the trend today and most businesses are advised to break the barriers and establish their presence as far as possible. In fact, a popular advice given is to leverage on the trending topics and use them to gather eyeballs and customer attention. However, going overboard on social media without having thought through your PR or communication strategies can lead to more harm than good. How will your staff handle customers’ feedback online? Dealing with online negativity is yet another tricky endeavour, which can greatly affect the reputation of the business. If you need more guidelines on dealing with customers online, read this related article.

5. “Leave your personal goals out of the equation.”
Top-performing athletes and successful entrepreneurs from many fields set personal goals for themselves. Why shouldn’t you? Your personal goals are just as important and they should therefore be included in your business plan. You’re not only setting goals for the business, but also for yourself. Set these out upfront and you will see how they can tie in with one another down the line.

Here’s Why Service Is Better in Privately-Owned Restaurants

When people choose to dine out, there is no shortage of restaurants to choose from. Some of those restaurants are chains, owned by a large corporation that opens them in bustling areas to give people a convenient and decent place to dine out. However, it’s the privately-owned restaurants that chefs and lovers of food open to dish out their hearts to their neighbors, offering a true taste of love through food.

It’s in these privately-owned restaurants that you’ll not only find food that pays attention to the details, but also the staff as well. While chain restaurants certainly do their best to give a good experience to reflect the company’s manufactured image, privately-owned restaurants definitely have more to lose and will go above and beyond to earn your business. It is the goal of the privately-owned restaurant to please guests and want them to come back time and time again.

Owner operated restaurants will also bend over backwards to accommodate your needs, whether it’s a seating request for a special table or a dietary need that must be met. Chefs in privately-owned restaurants make food from scratch and don’t prepare your meal until you order it. Chain restaurants can accommodate your wishes to a certain degree, but there is a lot of chaos and confusion in those kitchens. For many working in those restaurants, it’s merely a stepping-stone to getting the experience they need in a kitchen or restaurant environment and quite often, is a job that helps them pay for college or culinary school. If you’re strictly gluten-free, you might be surprised to find that things can get mixed up or cross-contaminated in the kitchen of a chain restaurant. However, a privately-owned restaurant will specially train the entire team to prevent this from happening.

Additionally, these restaurants have so much more at stake because they have built their restaurant business with their own two hands. So making it stand out from the thousands of other restaurants in a busy city is crucial. By ensuring that customers are thrilled from the moment they walk in to beyond their departure, they are cementing their financial security by creating a customer for life. Training is also a factor for excellent service in privately-owned restaurants. They spend much more time getting their staff from the hostess to the servers to the kitchen crew to be on the same page for how to treat every guest that walks in.

When dining out at a privately owned restaurant, take note of the service you receive. You’ll likely discover it goes well beyond what you expected to ensure you’re met with a friendly face that is knowledgeable, communicates effectively, meets your needs and takes care of you while you dine.

Catering for Large Groups With the Robot Coupe Food Processor Combo

It’s a challenging job to cater for large groups of people at weddings, parties or corporate functions. There is little time to do a lot of food preparation and cooking. Plus delivery of the food to the guests needs to be fast and all within the same time frame. Therefore, every caterer needs as much help with the food preparation as possible.

The Robot Coupe Food Processor Combo is a wonderful piece of catering equipment for hardworking caterers. It takes the processing tasks out of your hands and is like your right hand chef. The Robot Coupe Model R502 Ultra is able to cut and slice vegetables for up to 300 servings. Catering for groups of 100 and 200 will be a breeze, not to mention 300 people. With this catering equipment you could add the potatoes and set the machine to cut it for you. You could do the same with carrots next. It would also be possible to slice vegetables such as cucumbers in a short space of time. We all know how time consuming cutting and slicing vegetables can be. By adding the vegetables to the Robot Coupe Food Processor Combo you can take the hard work out of your hands and trust the machine to do it for you.

The Robot Coupe Food Processor Combo has a power output of 1000 Watts and 400 Volts. It operates at a speed of 750 and 1500 RPM along with a pulse function. It is manufactured with a smooth blade vegetable slicer and a 5.5 litre stainless steel bowl with handle. The vegetable slicer, that has an ejection function, is equipped with two hoppers. The large hopper is 139 centimetres squared and the cylindrical hopper has a diameter of 58 millimetres. There are optional cutting discs that you can choose from depending on your requirements.

Caterers generally spend a lot time travelling to venues with some of their catering equipment. It’s good to know that the Robot Coupe Food Processor Combo is small enough to travel with. It measures 665 x 380 x 350 millimetres in size so it can easily fit in a van and is easy to carry.

The Robot Coupe Food Processor Combo is a great piece of catering equipment for a busy caterer that caters to large group functions on a regular basis. While you focus on creating those delicious recipes the machine can cut and slice the vegetables for you, thus saving you time and relieving you of the pressure of time.

How Your Restaurant Can Stay Ahead of the Game

The restaurant industry is a very competitive one. There are franchises and take away restaurants everywhere, and around every corner. If you have a restaurant that is not part of a chain it can be quite challenging to stay ahead. One way to stay ahead is to have a niche, something that is different from the others and that will draw customers in.

This is how your restaurant can stay ahead of the game.

Have a unique set of dishes on your menu. Make dishes that no one else makes. There is a particular restaurant in my area that offers Mediterranean dishes with a high flavour twist and in large portions. The meals are delicious and people return to try all the other dishes.

Add a value service. This could be anything that you offer for free. This could be a free cup of coffee with a breakfast meal or unlimited refills of cool drink when the customer orders a particular lunch meal. You could run a buy one get one free promotion that encourages people to come in groups. By enticing them with an offer you will notice that they will also order other items from your menu, thus increasing your sales.

Be child-friendly with a playground. Most people have families, mostly with small children. Add a safe playground area with a supervised nanny who can watch the children while mommy and daddy enjoy their meal. A playground could make the difference between a family choosing your restaurant or another one nearby.

Offer a reward scheme. Encourage customers to sign up to a loyalty scheme with your restaurant where they receive a free meal on their birthday or a discount on their tenth meal.

Update your restaurant. Decide on an interesting theme for your restaurant that people will enjoy escaping to. There’s a restaurant that has a 70’s diner crossed with modern decor theme. It creates a comfortable setting that is fun and light hearted. Customers return to enjoy the ambience.

Invest in quality commercial catering equipment. If you have the best catering equipment to slice, dice and prepare your food, customers will notice. The right catering equipment will ensure that you have consistency with every meal because you will be able to control the timing and portion size for each prepared meal.

In such a competitive industry it is essential that you stay ahead by taking a long hard look at your restaurant and making the necessary changes to attract more customers and ultimately stay in business.