Monday, July 23, 2012

Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators (MUFSO) Conference
Where Foodservice Leaders Meet... September 30 - October 2, 2012, Hilton Anatole Hotel, Dallas, TX
The 53rd Annual MUFSO. The newly expanded MUFSO Super Show will combine all four of the Penton Restaurant Group’s events—MUFSO, Menu Trends & Directions, WISE and FM IDEAS—into one event, making this gathering for foodservice leaders an unmatched educational and networking experience.

The MUFSO Super Show will offer an expanded educational conference with six “Conference Pillars” designed to benefit your whole management team.

    Hot Concepts! Presentation & Panel
    Keynote: Jobs & the US & Global Economy - Jon Huntsman
    Ideas & Innovations to Help Increase Customer Traffic & Frequency
    Keynote: Scott Stratten
    CEO Panel    

    Revenge of the Nerds: How Technology Is Immersed in Your Operation
    Restaurant Renovation - It's More than Just a Facelift!
    Supply Chain Best Practices
    Who's After Your Food Dollars & What Should You Do About It?
    Emerging Industry Issues: Facing What Scares You

Sponsored by:
U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance

    The State of the Plate
    What's Next on the Menu? Culinary Leaders Share Insights
    The Theory of Menu Evolution
    Drink Up Revenue Opportunities from Beverage Menus
    Creative Concepts: Interactive Discussion with a Culinary Maverick

Sponsored by:
Sweet Street Desserts
Ventura Foods

    How to Lead Marketing within a Franchise System
    Consumer Trends & Implications for Foodservice
    Real Social Media Examples of ROI
    The Right Media Mix in Multi-Media World
    Integrating Social Media into Your Operations

Sponsored by:
CSM Bakery Products

    Breaking the Mold of Typical Restaurant Models
    Winning Ideas from Successful Entrepreneurs
    Protect Your Assets
    The Business of Food Trucks
    Money Matters: Tips & Advice on Obtaining Financing to Grow Your Business

FM Ideas
    The State of the Plate
    The New Generation of Customers: What Do They Want?
    Commercial Concept Branding in OnSite
    Managing OnSite Operations with Real Time Data
    The Role of the Chef in OnSite
    Sponsored by:
    Taylor Company

More conference info...

NOTE: If you want to open your restaurant right or are new to this venture, get your hands on restaurant consultant, Frank Stocco's book, How to Open a Restaurant: Due Diligence. It gives you the knowledge, terminology, and process to open a successful restaurant within your budget. Check it out. Read reviews and excerpts from the book.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Five Uncommon Strategies for Restaurant Success

I saw this article in Restaurant News recently. This info of course is helpful after you do your Due Diligence in opening your restaurant or food service facility. Get the book How to Open a Restaurant: Due Diligence (from Amazon or NRD website) by food service consultant Frank Stocco of National Restaurant Design Inc., to follow the proper steps to cost effective design and set-up information, well before you open. Then you are ready to  implement the steps and tips featured in this article by the NRA.

"If you ask successful restaurant owners the secrets of their success, most will tell you to treat your staff extremely well, be ready to work very long hours, and be extra careful when choosing both investors and partners.
 But, most of them also will have one or more unconventional philosophies or strategies that have served as linchpins to their success. Recently, I interviewed 20 independent restaurant owners from across the country, and the following are five of the many interesting, out-of-the-box comments that caught my attention.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"Should My Restaurant Have a Website?"

I get these questions all the time. The answer is emphatically, YES! The real question is why wouldn't you have a website for your business, whether it's a coffee shop, a bowling alley, a fine dining establishment, a 5 and dime store...? Who doesn't look online for restaurants and retail, even services, organizations... from apples to zebras...? Who doesn't look for the operating hours and location, let alone the menu, pricing, online reservations...?

But, you still need to be convinced. Look at it this way... there are several reasons for a website.

The main reason to have a website is to have a 24/7, 365 days a year presence and a point of contact for your potential clients and customers. In this day and age without a website, people looking for your products or services will search the internet and find you in addition to your competitors who have a website.

Secondary reasons to have a website are:
  1. To provide information about your place, much like a brochure, with the advantage of cheaper and quicker updates than printing, and with more comprehensive information.
  2. To visually (with images and/or testimonials) showcase your business and reach wider audiences at no increased cost to you.
  3. To offer an invitation and provide an easy way to contact you for more information.
  4. To present a professional image which helps you look bigger than you actually are and give you the credibility that you deserve.
That said, you wonder about the cost. This varies so much that it is definitely worth the time to look into it. If you know someone that can design it for you, that may be the least expensive. You can look at other websites and at the bottom it often gives the name and link of the company that designed it. Here's an example:  So, by all means check out your options without delay and within a month or 2 you will have a website where more customers will find there way to your fabulous establishment! And when they come offer them an incentive to come back like a frequent customer card or multi-use business card...

Be sure to have a business card. You can use them for multi-purpose cards to hand out specials and coupons, or have a freebie for your regular customers.

Bottom line is creative and reasonably priced advertising to get the word out about your place through the media. Facebook pages work nicely too because your fans leave great comments.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Restaurant Space Planning

Restaurateurs rely today on restaurant/food-service designers and consultants, architects and interior designers to help draw customers to their restaurant. Restaurant space planning is one of the important factors in creating a thriving restaurant. The food-service designer/consultant helps the restaurateur capture their vision in the proper planning of the space.

Proper, expert food-service space planning, will help the success of a new restaurant.

Development of a strong idea, or concept is a major part of creating that successful restaurant. First, conceived by the restaurateur, then developed further with the food-service design team. The concept must encompass every facet of the operation with the objective of creating as much of an efficient space as possible along with a clear, consistent idea to the public.

As the concept evolves, the team makes decisions, regarding the menu, the service, the prices and mood of the establishment. The role of the food-service designer is to begin the process with a concept layout, then bring in a team with architect and interior designers if necessary, and an equipment company for a comprehensive development of the restaurant concept.  The food-service designer often manages all aspects of the process to progress on schedule.

The restaurant space plan needs to balance diner comfort and experience with operational efficiency, whether it's a newly constructed freestanding building or an existing tenant space. This is the role and focus of the restaurant/food-service designer. The architect knows structure and city code. The interior designer knows branding, and how to give the environment personality, but their expertise usually is not menu development, or food-service operations and efficiency. The food-service restaurant/designer will enlist the architect and interior designer, or the architect (in new construction) would enlist the food-service designer for the space planning of the business.

How does the food-service designer determine equipment needs, kitchen space or dining room, storage and service area space? The restaurateur's concept, income requirements, budget and size of the space will all determine this. In addition, the designer will carefully plan the traffic patterns for kitchen and wait staff, as well as for the diner.

How does the food-service designer determine the flow and space requirements for electrical and mechanical equipment? These design decisions are crucial and will highly affect the start-up costs if not taken into consideration. The food-service designer addresses and includes these in plumbing and electrical drawings. They understand the space required for water heaters, transformers, electrical panels and HVAC units, and meticulously place these items in areas that will not interfere with functional efficiency.

Opening a new restaurant can be difficult yet exciting. The way in which the space is designed can help or hinder the success of the restaurateur. The challenge is to open on time with a complete, well-designed and constructed project that meets the owner's vision and budget goals. This will give the restaurateur a step up as they establish their restaurant within their budget in a very competitive market.

Frank, Food-service Consultant / Designer, Author of  How to Open a Restaurant: Due Diligence
Book - How to Open a Restaurant

Monday, April 16, 2012

Restaurants to outpace national job growth, reach record sales in 2012

I came across this survey showing expectations for growth in the restaurant business... check it out.
Posted on the NRA website February 1st.

...Despite sluggish recovery by the nation’s economy, the restaurant industry is projected to expand in 2012, according to the National Restaurant Association’s 2012 Restaurant Industry Forecast released today.

Total restaurant industry sales are expected to reach a record high of $632 billion in 2012 – a 3.5 percent increase over 2011. In addition, overall restaurant industry employment will reach 12.9 million in 2012, representing 10 percent of the total U.S. workforce.

“As our nation slowly recovers from the economic downturn, restaurants continue to be a vital part of American lifestyles and our nation’s economy,” said Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association.

“We expect the nation’s nearly one million restaurants to post sales of $632 billion this year. Combine that with the fact that restaurant job growth is expected to outpace the overall economy for the 13th straight year, and it’s clear that the restaurant industry is once again proving to be a significant economic stimulant and strong engine for job creation,” she added.
In 2012, the National Restaurant Association expects the restaurant industry to add jobs at a 2.3 percent rate, a full percentage point above the projected 1.3 percent gain in total U.S. employment. The industry is expected to gain back all of the jobs lost during the recession by early 2012, while the overall economy isn’t expected to be back at pre-recession employment levels until 2014.
While the industry is expected to grow in 2012, the top challenges cited by restaurateurs are food costs, building and maintaining sales volume, and the economy.

“Because about one-third of sales in a restaurant go to food and beverage purchases, food prices are a crucial component for operators,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the National Restaurant Association’s Research and Knowledge group.

“Last year, we saw wholesale food prices post their strongest annual increase in more than three decades. In 2012, we will see continued increases in the cost of some commodities, while price pressures will ease for others," Riehle said.

However, opportunities are also present for operators to be successful by understanding and leveraging consumer trends to attract new guests and make current ones come back. The good news is, there is substantial pent-up demand for restaurant services, with 2 out of 5 consumers saying they are not using restaurants as often as they would like. With the right incentives, that demand can translate into sales.

the Association's news release.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Restaurant Business is Looking Up!

In his latest commentary, the National Restaurant Association's chief economist Bruce Grindy analyzes the latest employment trends.  The private sector added nearly 1.1 million jobs in the last five months, the strongest five-month span of job growth in nearly six years.  In addition, the restaurant industry remains one of the brightest spots in the economy, adding at least 20,000 jobs for the seventh consecutive month.

Read more... 

For restaurant design information, layout and equipment specs. contact Frank Stocco.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

US Performance Report Map
How is the hospitality industry doing these days?
The blue dots in this map from Deloitte shows the areas of the US where the market is picking up.
For instance, the hospitality industry in Chicago continues to emerge from the recession; in fact, economic indicators and industry data appear to suggest continual, albeit mild, improvement in the market.
Or Las Vegas, which remains one of the largest hospitality markets in the world attracting both leisure and business travelers. In fact, the tourism industry continues to show signs of a steady recovery, as the city welcomed 39 million visitors in 2011 (up from 37.3 million in 2010).
Learn more...