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      It's all about the Sizzle!     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Why do patrons go back to restaurants? Why do they recommend to their friends and post on social media? What does it really take to make a restaurant great? Sometimes it can be the food, often the service, and usually the atmosphere. More often than not, it is a combination of all of the above, sprinkled with a little extra  SIZZLE !   Sizzle  is what helps a restaurant stand apart from others and be successful! Let’s try to define  Sizzle . If you review the trendy and popular restaurants, you will find that they all have something in common - that little special something, magic, or  Sizzle,  that makes all the difference.  Take the art world, for example. You can look at a painting, one that has lots of good qualities, is accurately painted, has a great background, has good color, depth, and even nice highlights, but it can be missing that magic that makes it pop! It can even be missing some of those qualities. But, if it has the  Sizzle,  it can make up for some shortcomings because it has something that sets it apart from the crowd.  Think about your restaurant this way: the menu, the food quality, the service culture, the atmosphere, the cocktails and when you put them all together, how does it feel? Is there any magic or S izzle?  What would be most memorable about a guest’s experience? Why would you go back there, and what would you tell your friends? Take a poll, look on Yelp, Open Table, and other social media, and review what people are saying - read between the lines. Is it good, great, or amazing? Good is not enough. In this day-and-age where there are restaurants on every corner and you could try a new one each day, why would you go a second time? You need to give your customers a reason to come back. What is yours?  My advice would be to then create your own  Sizzle   team - a hand-picked team tasked with reviewing and evaluating your operation and creating that special  Sizzle ! It might consist of managers, servers, cooks, regular guests, owners or anyone that has a vested interest. However, it must be comprised of individuals who will have honest input and, hopefully, creative ideas, so that you can create a new vision for the Brand that is your restaurant. It might be lighting, music, curb appeal, pricing, menus, or any of the myriad of things that make the difference. Evaluate everything.  You may not get it the first time, but keep tweaking until you find the special magic, and one day, it will just happen!  Russ Blakeborough, Managing Director at Focus - F&B is available to evaluate your operation and assist in creating the  Sizzle  for your venue. Visit  www.focus-fb.com  for more information

Why do patrons go back to restaurants? Why do they recommend to their friends and post on social media? What does it really take to make a restaurant great? Sometimes it can be the food, often the service, and usually the atmosphere. More often than not, it is a combination of all of the above, sprinkled with a little extra SIZZLE!

Sizzle is what helps a restaurant stand apart from others and be successful! Let’s try to define Sizzle. If you review the trendy and popular restaurants, you will find that they all have something in common - that little special something, magic, or Sizzle, that makes all the difference.

Take the art world, for example. You can look at a painting, one that has lots of good qualities, is accurately painted, has a great background, has good color, depth, and even nice highlights, but it can be missing that magic that makes it pop! It can even be missing some of those qualities. But, if it has the Sizzle, it can make up for some shortcomings because it has something that sets it apart from the crowd.

      Who would you like to fire today?     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
              Would do you like to fire someone today?     “It’s not the person you fail to hire that destroys your restaurant; it’s the person you fail to fire”. I read this last week and thought that it was all too true in many cases! We knew better but failed to act! The renowned  Osmond’s  song above implies  one bad apple doesn’t spoil the bunch , but we know from experience, it’s quite the contrary.  In this world where we endeavor to be supportive and understanding, living in an environment where we never want to upset anyone, we sometimes miss the boat on what our staff really needs from us as leaders, and that is making those tough decisions. Believe me, the rest of the team usually knows what needs to be done and wonder why you are not addressing it.  I am not suggesting that you go after your team with a vengeance. Simply evaluate if there is anyone you are keeping around that should not be there. When you read the title of this article, who did you think of? Is there someone in your organization that can be rotting the rest of the barrel?  Staff will often complain that they do not like all the rules and regulations and being held accountable, but if they don’t see that accountability happening, they get the impression that no one cares. In turn, some of your best staff who work really hard, will be leaving your establishment in a heartbeat! Who wants to work in an environment where no-one cares? We all thrive when we know that someone cares, is watching what we do, that hard work will be recognized, and those who don't work hard will be dealt with swiftly.  Your team deserves this, and although at times this may seem like an unnecessarily harsh reality, it is what will keep your staff around feeling proud of what they do and staying motivated.   So, don't be afraid to lay down the law, hold your team accountable, and drive [gently] the team towards the goal. Being afraid to upset the apple cart has never been a great strategy. Remember these three things:  o   Involve the team in creating the rules, when practical  o   Communicate the rules to all ahead of time – along with the consequences  o   Hold everyone accountable, including your best team members, and yourself!  If you do this unemotionally, timely, and fairly, you will lead your team in the right direction resulting in an outstanding and positive work environment.     Russ Blakeborough | Managing Director | Focus - F&B

Would do you like to fire someone today?

 

“It’s not the person you fail to hire that destroys your restaurant; it’s the person you fail to fire”. I read this last week and thought that it was all too true in many cases! We knew better but failed to act! The renowned Osmond’s song above implies one bad apple doesn’t spoil the bunch, but we know from experience, it’s quite the contrary.

 

In this world where we endeavor to be supportive and understanding, living in an environment where we never want to upset anyone, we sometimes miss the boat on what our staff really needs from us as leaders, and that is making those tough decisions. Believe me, the rest of the team usually knows what needs to be done and wonder why you are not addressing it.

 

 

      Just give a little love!  | A Message to Hotel GM’s     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


        How to get the most out of your food and beverage team.  As a consultant, I work with many hotels, different brands, different management companies, franchised and managed properties. Generally speaking, all of the property teams do a great job and have a great staff who care, want to be successful, and do the best they can for the hotel and for the guest. One simple thing that can be done in many hotels is to increase the level of support, encouragement, and attention given to the F&B team. Just a little love can go a long way!     The success of the hotel F&B division can be strongly influenced and affected by the attention they receive from their hotel general manager, executive committee, and corporate teams. By attention, I mean not talking about why the payroll is so high, the guest service scores low, or food cost out of control. I am talking about asking: “how can I help?”, “what issues are you having?”, “thanks for taking care of our group last weekend” or “how is your daughter doing?”. Pick up a tray, chat with a guest or associate, stay involved - 15-30 minutes per shift can be all it takes.     Now I understand that if you ask these questions you may feel the need to get involved, and some can be intimidated by that.  However, ignoring the issues will not make them go away. Blissful ignorance is not sustainable. I have been there and get how it happens. It is OK that you may not know F&B and have all the answers. Being willing to try can make a huge difference and make the team feel that you care about what happens and that you want to help support their efforts. They want and need, to see that you care about what they do, understand how hard it is, and that you're as passionate as they are about the quality, service, taste, and cleanliness.     Profit, food cost, labor cost, and financial metrics are, of course, important, but remember the  Main Thing:  the reason we are all here is the guest. First, get that down, focus on providing the team all that is needed to be able to serve great meals, awesome drinks and memorable service. Simultaneously, you can work on fiscally responsible systems that ensure that margins are controlled, the staff is productive, and the food is not wasted.  Focus on increasing the top-line, by providing a great product, and the bottom line takes care of itself. This is the case whether you are a first-class, industry-leading food and beverage facility, or a simpler restaurant where you just have to do the minimum to keep the brand or owner happy.     The success of your F&B team comes down to the positive direction and influence that you, as general manager, executive committee member, or corporate leader, gives to the team. By inspiring them to be greater and helping to take steps to get to the next level, you  will  always see increased scores and improved results. So, spend a little time walking talking, asking, and being excited about what is going on! This will go a long way with the team and you will see performance greatly enhanced.  Russ Blakeborough | Focus - F&B | Global Consulting for the F&B and Hotel industry.         

Just give a little love!  | A Message to Hotel GM’s

 

How to get the most out of your food and beverage team.

As a consultant, I work with many hotels, different brands, different management companies, franchised and managed properties. Generally speaking, all of the property teams do a great job and have a great staff who care, want to be successful, and do the best they can for the hotel and for the guest. One simple thing that can be done in many hotels is to increase the level of support, encouragement, and attention given to the F&B team. Just a little love can go a long way!

 

 

      Getting Culinary & Service Teams United     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      Getting Culinary & Service Teams United         Before you begin  Where to begin? The first thing to do before you even think about training is to evaluate where you are, and where, and what, you want to be, as a restaurant. Then, create the vision and roadmap with steps to get to that vision. Try to be clear in what it is that you really want your team to work on and the steps that will bring you closer to that goal. Only then can you start the journey to making that vision a reality.   It’s not as easy as it sounds, though. First, let’s take a look at what you want your restaurant to be.  Answer these questions. Describe your service vision [there is no right or wrong]  a.    Casual                       …..1…..2…..3…..4…..5…..      Formal  b.    Approachable          …..1…..2…..3…..4…..5…..      Reserved  c.    Know the basics       …..1…..2…..3…..4…..5…..      Knowledgeable  d.    Get it out fast           …..1…..2…..3…..4…..5…..     Leisurely  e.    Jeans & T-shirt          …..1…..2…..3…..4…..5…..      Jacket & Tie  f.     Fun & Sassy              …..1…..2…..3…..4…..5…..      Mad Scientist  g.    Grandma’s House     …..1…..2…..3…..4…..5…..      Emily Post Book of Etiquette  Just a little fun to get you to think about what your vision really is! Many restaurants start training without giving it much thought. Write down the vision of what your restaurant will be.  Build & Plan Your Training  Now that you have started to create your goal and vision, bringing the team together and sharing that vision is the next step. Service teams and Culinary teams must work together and support each other to be successful. Too many restaurants have two separate teams, which seem to work in spite of one another. This is not sustainable. Working as a  united team  is the only way to achieve your goals. This involves team meetings, team building activities, constant discussions, a clear set of goals, and a vision. Build your vision with all of the team; get them excited and passionate, use their energy, ideas, and experience to incorporate these ideas into the vision!   FOH—Server:  Once you’ve thought about what your server role should be, then you can start to look at what your training plan around that will look like.  First outline the job responsibilities. Again, use your team; they usually know, are willing to help, and can be key in developing your plan. Look at side-work, station set-up, cleaning, and equipment pars. Build the day out from the time the staff arrives until they clock out.  Then begin designing your plan around teaching the team each of those basics tasks. Once you have the fundamentals, you build from there into the fun training topics that will lead on-the-floor efficiency, quality of interactions, and service expectations. Consider the following topics:  - Engagement training  - Food Service Etiquette  - Steps of Service  - Table Setting  - Voice and words  Depending on your content, this can take from a couple of hours to two days to teach. If closer to the latter, try to split it up over a couple of weeks, otherwise you will lose and bore the team!   BOH – Culinary:  This is an area that I often see never even thought about, let alone discussed. One quick session of debate and discussion can avoid years of agony and frustrations. Develop training that includes communication styles, standards, recipes, hygiene practices and storage, as well as, training on customer satisfaction and agreed upon standards. For instance:  -What our standards are for: splitting a meal, substitutions, dietary questions, hurry tickets, appetizer times, entrée times, receiving feedback?  -Etiquette: How to talk to servers, guest, managers and each other. What language is ok?  -Kitchen code: establish what it is - be clear  -Food preparation, portions, and recipes  -Hygiene, storage, and food preparation guidelines  Just Do it!  You have your training plans put together. Now get started. You will need a quiet room without distraction and the ability for the room to be darkened. Use a power point slide show, or similar, and gather all handouts, props, and tools. Most importantly, who is presenting? Is it you? It does not have to be, but it should be someone that understands the material and can deliver with passion and energy! Make sure to do some hands-on training after the power point using role play to let them practice. Don’t forget that along the way, you all have fun! Have snacks, drinks, food, whatever your budget will allow, but have, at a minimum, water, and dry snacks.  Some other tips that can help:  ·      Get everyone started all together so that everyone is on the same page. If able, I would recommend that you train your FOH and BOH teams on both [each other’s] areas. This helps to build that compassion and understanding for what each team does.  ·      After initial training, you will need to complete a condensed version for each new staff member, and then hold annual, or semi-annual, tune-up or refresh sessions.  ·      Establish job coaches within your ranks [and pay for them extra for it] so that each new staff member has on-floor training and is taught by your best and brightest.  Follow Up  Lastly, training is great, but it is a complete waste of money if you expect now that you have told everyone, they will do it consistently, and you are done! Your management team  must  be on the floor to assist, redirect, and coach the team until the new culture is in fact  the  culture. This will take some time, and even after being firmly established, must be constantly embraced and monitored. This requires your team to be passionate about it and talk about it every day; it must be a new part of the daily life. But it will make a difference and the end result will be an operation that you can be proud of!  Focus – F&B can provide on-site training, training tools, and on-going assistance for all of the above sessions and more. We would be happy to customize your training plan for your needs.  Author, Russ Blakeborough, is the Managing Director of Focus – F&B, and a 30-year industry veteran who is passionate about Food & Beverage and travels the country sharing his experience.   

Before you begin

Where to begin? The first thing to do before you even think about training is to evaluate where you are, and where, and what, you want to be, as a restaurant. Then, create the vision and roadmap with steps to get to that vision. Try to be clear in what it is that you really want your team to work on and the steps that will bring you closer to that goal. Only then can you start the journey to making that vision a reality.

 It’s not as easy as it sounds, though. First, let’s take a look at what you want your restaurant to be.

Answer these questions. Describe your service vision [there is no right or wrong]

a.    Casual                         …..1…..2…..3…..4…..5…..      Formal

b.    Approachable             …..1…..2…..3…..4…..5…..      Reserved

c.    Know the basics         …..1…..2…..3…..4…..5…..      Knowledgeable

d.    Get it out fast              …..1…..2…..3…..4…..5…..     Leisurely

e.    Jeans & T-shirt           …..1…..2…..3…..4…..5…..      Jacket & Tie

f.     Fun & Sassy …..1…..2…..3…..4…..5…..      Mad Scientist

g.    Grandma’s House      …..1…..2…..3…..4…..5….. Emily Post Book of Etiquette

Just a little fun to get you to think about what your vision really is! Many restaurants start training without giving it much thought. Write down the vision of what your restaurant will be.

 

      What's HOT in 2017     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
          
             
                  
             
          
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


         What to expect in Food & Beverage - Let’s look at the trends    Cuisine  – We are seeing movement from overly manipulated food to simpler, cleaner preparations with lighter food, maintaining flavors that are  bold and edgy.  Here are a few trends we will see more of:  ·      Chef-centered concepts  ·      Locally sourced, but not necessarily organic or health foods  ·      Reasonable portions – walk away satiated, but you can still walk!  ·      Underutilized meats and seafood – rebirthed with sexier names  ·      Exotic grains and seeds  ·      House-made ingredients – from pickles to condiments, charcuterie, and beyond. Let the Chef create!  ·      Ethnic spices, ingredients, and fused dishes  ·      Sustainable seafood [but really this time!]  ·      Lightly sweet, sometimes savory, and smaller sized desserts  ·      Grown-up street food  ·      Still more forms of bacon, which continues to dominate the taste buds  ·      Healthful kid’s meals, but ones that are still attractive to kids  ·      All day breakfast inspired meals  ·      Shared plates designed for grazing  ·      Take home kits – all you need to take with and cook at home   Beverage  – The art of  Crafted Cocktails  continues to grow, but with an emphasis on the individual bartender’s skills and passion. These passionate individuals are hard to come across and are almost Chef-like in their approach to the art of mixing and of blending flavors. Trends to look out for:  ·      Barrel aged in-house  ·      Flavored [but not sweet] beers  ·      Dessert Cocktails for after-dinner – or not!  ·      Better wine apps are leading to more thoughtful and appropriate menus and pricing  ·      Boutique Rums continue to grow  ·      Food components as ingredients – cucumber, fennel, tomato, herbs  ·      Spicy or sharp cocktail ingredients – cayenne, chili, wasabi  ·      Lunch cocktails are back – for a light afternoon pick-me-up  ·      Quality boxed wine is making a comeback   Restaurants  – New concepts are tending to be specific in design, yet vague in menu. These concepts tend to be an adventure telling a story with a style, feel, and design of a cuisine that links to the type of style of preparation, food ingredients, and décor, all the while offering broad menu choices. They are using a mix of authentic and fused dishes with key ingredients laced throughout the menu - appealing to all. Other Trends to watch:  ·      Native American Fusion  ·      Basque Cuisine  ·      Hawaiian influenced menu items  ·      Southern Nouvelle  ·      Gluten free and meat free – without being touted  ·      Delivery – restaurants struggle to incorporate the growing demand for delivery service into their daily business model  ·      Hotel restaurants are making a comeback  ·      Ingredients terms: Burnt, bubbly, washed with, spiked, adorned, teased, crafted, scorched, salubrious   Styles  - light and airy seems to be the design of choice with little clutter and clean lines. Natural elements adorn the walls and tabletops. Color palette focuses on white [or light] with splashes of color.   Service  - Genuine, authentic, and knowledgeable service staff. We are seeing a new breed of wait-staff. Great news -  Bohemian  is in. The lifestyles fit together, and thus we are experiencing a resurgence of passionate and skilled servers into the restaurant scene - along with tattoos, piercings, and larger than life characters!  Two Fun Concepts to look out for:  ·      Chefs create, or finish, at your table – a modern twist on the classical style table side cooked meal  ·      Guest immersion - entertainment in the restaurant: movies, singing, poetry, vignettes, who-done-its, even gaming  Author, Russ Blakeborough is a Food & Beverage Consultant with Focus - F&B.  He enjoys designing new concepts for restaurants of all types, creating the story, and focusing on new trends to help you elevate your offerings.  Contact him at  www.focus-fb.com .

What to expect in Food & Beverage - Let’s look at the trends

 

Cuisine – We seeing movement from overly manipulated food to simpler, cleaner preparations with lighter food, maintaining flavors that are bold and edgy. Here are a few trends we will see more of:

 

·      Chef-centered concepts

 

·      Locally sourced, but not necessarily organic or health foods

 

·      Reasonable portions – walk away satiated, but you can still walk!

 

·      Underutilized meats and seafood – rebirthed with sexier names

 

·      Exotic grains and seeds

 

·