Profitable Tips For All Restaurant Owners

What were the last three things you did to increase your restaurant profitability? Below profit protection is constantly on your mind, you will get hurt. Eroding margins, fickle markets, escalating food prices, rising utility rates, outrageous credit card fees, and a host of other factors eat into your margins daily, thereby reducing your ability to pay the bills, let alone yourself.

We recently consulted with a client that has not paid himself for 17 months. He called us out of sheer desperation saying, "I just can not go on working for free." The sorry fact is that there are many restaurateurs working hard for very little income, and we think it should stop.

In my profession as CEO of the leading restaurant consulting firm in the US, people rarely call me when things are going well. The kinds of calls that I receive daily are along the lines of, "Why can not I make any money" or "My food cost is through the roof" and this is the most painful one, "I can not afford to Stay open anymore, what can I do? "

Why do not you invest a few minutes into yourself right now and read over the tips below. In fact, print out a copy and share it with your friends that run an operation as well. Yes, some tips may seem obvious, but are you using every tool at your disposal to solidify and enhance your profits? Your restaurant owes you for risking your neck to get it open, so I'd like to suggest that you start holding it accounting.

1. Do not serve water automatically. Sounds simple, but water service does not increase your profits or sales. Put systems into place where you serve alcoholic beverages, coffee, tea, sodas, milk – anything but free water. Serve it upon request only.

2. Set up the dining experience on the first visit to the table. Tactfully done by the server, profitable items should be promoted, desserts can be suggested, and guests will appreciate a quick, "Run down" of the dining experience. Plus, server competency will be rewarded for taking responsibility for the positive experience that they will have. My wife's favorite server line is, "Want to split a dessert with coffee?" Not only have we just purchased a dessert that may have been too much for one of us, we've also bought 2 coffees. These additional sales make a big difference, and they're easy to execute. Having a hard time selling desserts? Encourage your servers to use this statement and see what happens.

3. Concentrate on improving product delivery systems to eliminate waste. For example, if your servers are throwing away iced tea lemons at the end of each shift, instead of at the end of the day, re-evaluate this system. By valuing everything, you may be surprised what gets thrown away. This includes portion control items such as creamers, crackers, butters, jelly and silverware as well.

4. Understand that guests dine on a budget, and be sensitive to it. Servers that sell beyond the dining budget will experience reduced tip income, and the restaurant will experience reduced visits. Ensuring that your guests come back repeatedly is much more important than increasing their check average for just one visit.

5. Selling a more expensive item does not always equate to increased profitability. Make sure that your servers understand which items are most profitable for the restaurant, and promote those. It makes no sense to promote items that may have minimal profit contribution. Tell your servers what items you want them to sell.

6. Use the best menu. Ensure that your menu is costed out properly; Current with market conditions, and designed to insure that the most profitable items are the ones being promoted. It makes sense to enlist a consultant to do this for you, as the return on investment will be immediate and lasting. This is your # 1 selling tool.

7. Work with your food vendors to insure that you are buying the right items for the menu specifications. Are you overbuying on an item that does not require top grade quality? An example would be the purchase of a # 1 quality baking potato, when a # 2 quality would suffice.

8. Buy key items in bulk. On the topic of food vendors, make certain that you are promoting menu items that you are able to bulk buy on a negotiated cost effective basis – and can sell at a premium. This simple step will quickly aid in bringing meaningful dollars to the bottom line.

9. Offer your guests a complete dining experience. This includes the sale of beverages, appetizers, salads, entrees, desserts, side items (such as a vegetable) and add-on items (such as sour cream or cheese). Make sure that you are not inadvertently missing out on the sale of key parts of the meal. Table tents, menu inserts, promotional signage, sales tracking, and staff pre-shift meetings are all ways that you can ensure that all meal parts are promoted and sold effectively.

10. Bundling meal parts together will increase the quality of your guests dining experience and maximize their dollars spend. Bundling may consist of an appetizer / salad / entrée combo or salad / entrée / dessert combo. Diners will not be surprised by the dollar value, and they can knowingly order within their budget.

11. Do not forget the grapes. Effective promotion of your wine offerings should be systematic and routine. Guests should be fully aware of the pricing and offers, both by the glass and by bottle. Wine service is a skill that every server should have.

12. Get an Operations Analysis. As operators, we frequently get caught up in the heat of the battle, and can not take the time to analyze our operation critically. Engaging a restaurant consultant to look for ways to improve service, enhance income, and reduce waste should result in immediate financial improvement. Do not skimp on this, thinking that you have your bases covered, because the food service industry changes daily. In cold hard terms, your restaurant should be a money making machine to benefit the owner (s). If it's not generating the kind of money you think it should, you must get the machine repaired!

13. Do not overlook slow day parts. If it's quiet in the afternoon, are there promotions that may make sense for you to utilize to generate more revenues during this down time? Do not tolerate your money machine sitting open, but not generating revenues. Put it to work.

14. Children's menus. Most of them are boring, and priced to reflect that. Is it reasonable to think that parents would pay a bit more for more interesting and nutritious meals? This is a good opportunity to re-evaluate your children's menu and pricing. It's dangerous to neglect this important item, as parents usually examine this menu closely.

15. Are you maximizing food sales in your bar / lounge areas? For many, it's more enjoyable to eat in a bar than drink in a restaurant. It makes logical sense to have menus, silverware, condiments and promoted specials available for your drinking guests. If they do not eat on the first visit, you will have planned the seed for them to consider eating in your establishment next time.

Simply remember that it's not what you make, it's what you keep that matters. Hopefully some of these tips will be useful. Still can not seem to make the numbers come out the way you want? It may make sense to enlist the services of an advisor to walk you through the complexities of making money in the restaurant business.

Building Your First Website? – Some Things to Consider

If you have, or have had, a website on one of the free hosting services you are aware of the limitations. Your choices of layout are limited to the templates provided and you are allowed only so much space. Your URL is not distinctively yours and, very likely, there are ads put there by your provider. So now you are thinking of starting a website under your own domain name so that you can personalize it to suit yourself. If you are planning to do business on the web it is crucial to have your own domain name and unique look.

Stop. If you are going to do it yourself, rather than hire someone to do it for you and you have little or no experience, there are a few things you need to know and some planning you need to do first. Sure, you could just charge ahead learning as you go (and there will still be some of that) but things will go a lot more smoothly if you take an honest inventory of your knowledge and skills as they apply to the planned content and format of Your site.

Basic Computer Skills

Anyone who uses a computer is familiar with the way folders and files are organized. Casual or recreational users usually do not take advantage of this structure to keep their own files organized but you should definitely do this with your pages. As you develop your site (and especially when you are ready to upload to your host) a well organized structure will reduce the amount of effort required to find, link to and upload pages.

A strategy many find useful is to build the entire site on their local file system so that it can be thoroughly tested prior to launch. This is a simple matter of creating a folder to serve as the root or top level of your site and subfolders as necessary to organize the content. For example, you might make a folder called mysite to serve as the root and a subdirectory called images to hold all the graphics you will use on your pages. One big advantage of this strategy is the ability to use your computer's file manager to determine the storage space required for your site. This will help you in choosing a hosting plan that has enough but not way too much allocated file space.

It is advisable to use relative path names for all internal links of your site as in./images/picture1.jpg or ../adobefiles / helpfile.pdf so that they will not need changing when you upload to your host. The single dot is shorthand for the current directory (the one where the page that contains the link is located). The double dot representations directory one level up.

As you build your pages and links you can test them by double clicking on the index.html (the default first page of a site) in your file manager which will start your browser and display your page. You can name this first page anything you like provided you use the.html or.htm extension and specify this name in the ultimate URL of your site but that will require visitors to type something like www.mydomain.com/firstpagename.html to get To your site or you will have to do a redirect to it from your top level. If you leave the default name they can just type in the domain address and it will automatically load. At launch time the entire site can be uploaded via an FTP client (file transfer protocol) and be 'live' in minutes.

You will need to be comfortable with and know how to find your way around the web. Also, you definitely need to know how to download and install software as well as how to use an FTP client to upload and download files and directories. FTP client software is not something that most of us use in routine computer use so you may need to just learn this when the time comes to attempt your first upload. One good (and free) FTP client is FileZilla. You will also need to know a little HTML as that is what makes the web work.

HTML

Most people these days use some form of WYSIWYG editor (what you see is what you get) for most of their page development. Many, if not most, hosting services provide a simple one similar to what you may be accredited to on the free services. To break free of the lookalikes, though, you should acquire and learn to use one of the more general purpose editors. A very good one is SeaMonkey from Mozilla and it is free for the downloading. It also works directly in HTML so that you do not have to convert from the editor's native format to HTML before uploading. SeaMonkey is actually a 'Browser Suite' and includes a browser, a WYSIWYG editor and a viewer / editor for the HTML text file. However, some basic knowledge of HTML and a text editor like the one in SeaMonkey or even Windows Notepad will allow you to tweak things if necessary.

How much HTML should you know? Well, you should certainly know how to define a link so that you can link your pages and how to insert images. You should also know some of the text formatting tags for bolding etc. And how to specify text and background colors in hexadecimal (there are pages on the web with charts of colors and their hex equivalents). Metatags are another thing you should be familiar with. There are many books and online tutorials where you can learn about HTML.

Hosting

In order for your site to be visible on the web, you will need a domain name (your URL) and a host. Your host will be providing the space to store the necessary files and web access to those files so that browsers can find and display them. Most hosting services provide a convenient interface for you to access your pages for maintenance, etc. And most will also register and host your domain name.

You will want to consider two main things when picking your plan; Storage space and file transfer limits. All the other stuff is nice and some of it is important but these two are critical. Your storage requirements are pretty easy to estimate as stated above. Your file transfer requirement is not so easy because it depends on how many visitors come to your site and how much they look at. One "rule of thumb" says to buy a minimum of five gigabytes or ten times your actual storage usage whichever is larger.

In Conclusion

Designing and building your own website from scratch can actually be enjoyable. So brush up on your skills and get to work. Share your hobby with the world or put your business on the web. There is a lot of satisfaction in doing it yourself. Most of all have fun with it.

The Importance of Shoes

Shoes have become an important part of our everyday lives. Shoes were originally designed to protect our feet from cold weather, sharp objects, and uncomfortable surfaces. The early version of the shoe is thought to be a sandal of some form. As man’s knowledge of tools and the working of leather grew, so did the sophistication and quality of the average shoe. Shoes are shaped by the physical and economic environment of their surroundings. For example, the ancient Egyptians wore flip-flops woven from straw while the Dutch wore shoes carved from wood to protect their feet from damp marshy land they worked in.

With the passing of time shoes have become an integral part of daily lives. Shoes have passed on from being an item of luxury to an item of necessity. Fashion also played a role in the evolution of the shoe. The human psyche craves for an individual and unique identity. The nobility and upper classes saw shoes as an opportunity to fulfill this desire. The shoes got more and more extravagant. Cloth, velvet and tapestries began to be used. This was the birth of the shoe industry as we know it today. Today shoes are classified according to their use. They are casual and dress, work, sport and corrective.

All shoes fall in the casual category due to their characteristics. The differentiating factor is the purpose of the shoe. Casual shoes are designed and intended to convey an attitude of relaxation and informality. Casual shoe design has evolved with the passing time. Today’s casual shoes resemble formal dress shoes in many aspects. The distinguishing factor is the color of the shoe. Casual shoes range from flip-flops to sneakers and boots. The materials used in the manufacture range from leather, canvas and rubber to the modern petrochemical derivatives like plastics and xylenes.

Formal dress shoes are of two varieties – laced and lace less. Traditionally they are made from leather and tended to be expensive. The use of plastics and modern manufacture methods has brought down prices. The upper classes still prefer leather over what they consider cheap plastic. Women’s dress shoes may be a variant of pumps or sandals. The style of clothing decides the category of the shoe in case of women. Unisex shoes are a new product in the shoe market.

Sport shoes are specialized shoes designed and created to enable better performance in a particular sporting activity. Sport or athletic footwear is used in a number of sports like football, basketball, cricket, and track and field events. Climbing shoes are also a specialized type to footwear unsuitable to any other sport and even to walking due to its design. It is usually donned at the base of a climb. Basketball and tennis shoes have rubber soles to enable better grip on their respective courts. Sports like football, soccer, baseball and hockey use shoes with metal spikes on the under sole to give better grip for quick starts and stops. Hiking boots or trail boots are designed to support the ankle to prevent injury and to give good grip on rocky surfaces.

Compare Policies to Find Cheap Car Insurance

The idea of ​​a low cost car policy is something that has certainly been convoluted by the variety of bad advice and recommendations that are so littered across the internet. Unfortunately, most people make the mistake of looking for a car policy that costs the least and totally forget that a car policy product is supposed to carry some basic features to be really useful. The result of such a choice is that the buyer ends up regretting his / her choice and wishing for a more complete product. In order to find complete car policy that is also cheap, you need to compare multiple policies available online and this comparison process should include almost all the relevant aspects of policy to make it truly comparable. Here is a list of those aspects.

1. The service provider:
The provider of the insurance instrument is critical for you to find a policy that is really useful because it is the provider who has to approve or reject your claims. In different words, since the provider has to honor the claims, it is important that you find one who is respectable and genuine. Therefore, you should go through different reviews and comments posted online and try to tie yourself to only the best provider.

2. The coverage of the policy:
It is also very important for you to find a policy that has decent cover. Decent cover for every buyer would be different because the needs of every buyer are different. For example, you might be a bachelore which would mean that you will not really need co-passenger cover. In contrast, if you are a married man, then you would need a product that provides cover to your co-passengers. Here, understanding your specific requirements and finding a policy that matches them is something you should not neglect.

3. Network of garages or workshops:
The purpose of a car insurance product is to make your life easier in every way possible. This means that it should not only provide the right compensation but also do so in the most convenient manner. This is why the policy provider should have a vast network of workshops and garages. A wider network would allow you to get your car repaired and also have your claims honored as conveniently as possible.

4. Additional benefits and bonuses:
Finally, there are many providers online and offline who really try to attract potential buyers by adding value to their products. This value usually comes in the form of discounts and bonus benefits. For example, the no claims bonus feature is a very common value addition tool that is used by online providers. This feature would allow you to reduce the premiums that you have to pay if you have not made claims on your previous insurance policies. Needless to say, these added features are a wonderful way to not only make your policy more useful but also reduce the cost of buying it.

Cheap car insurance is a lot more than an empty policy which costs nothing. A cheap car insurance policy should ideally be able to protect and serve you while not costing a fortune.