Social Media Changes Every Restaurant Owner Should Know

Over the last few years, social media has become one of the most important marketing tools for restaurants. Last year, a reported 90 percent of all restaurants in the United States used social media to reach new customers and increase customer loyalty. If you are currently using social media as part of your restaurant marketing strategy, or if you are interested in deploying social media marketing for your restaurant, there are a few changes to social media networks Yelp and Facebook you should know about. We’ve broken these changes down by social network so you can see how leveraging each channel can boost your business. Yelp! Yelp! is an online review platform where customers can leave both positive and negative reviews about all types of businesses. While Yelp’s collection of reviews can benefit a restaurant, it can also create problems for restaurants as many people use Yelp to complain, but don’t turn to Yelp to leave a review when they have a positive experience. Yelp has added a video feature allowing patrons to leave video reviews of restaurants. The feature can benefit restaurants that take pride in their ambiance and atmosphere, as a video can show far more than a photo ever could. On the other hand, the feature also allows hotheaded patrons to vocalize their disappointment when the food or service is not just right. There is no way for a business owner to moderate which reviews show up on Yelp, but it’s important that you take the time to respond to reviews and encourage happy patrons to also leave reviews on Yelp. The new video feature is...

Understanding the Value You Have in Your Service Provider

This time of year, a lot of us are evaluating our service contracts with our current vendors.  Whether its perishables, dry goods, or R&M, we all have criteria that are important to us.   Most of our decisions to stay with our current provider, or go with a new vendor, are based mainly on the level of customer service, the quality of the product, and price.  The best decisions are made when you trust that the vendor you have chosen is able to deliver on all three characteristics.  I am assuming the customer in the example above got a smokin’ deal on his tattoo; I’m not too sure he’ll be happy with the quality. Here are a few suggestions in determining the value of service providers: Understand the market. There are always numerous companies out there that provide similar services.  In such, the price of the service is driven a lot by what your competitor is willing to do it for.  Do some research.  What you will find is that there has been a market value set for the product or service.  Get a few bids from different companies.  Understand why one company’s price may be higher than another.  Understand how it is that another company can offer a much lower price. Check References. If a company is promising the moon, make sure they can deliver.  Who better to ask than some current customers of this company?  If what they are saying is true, there should be no hesitation in them providing the name and phone number of one, or several, of their current satisfied customers.  Next, give them a call. ...

The Importance of a Great Customer / Vendor Relationship

Nurturing good relationships in business is a lot like doing the same in our personal lives. Just like in our personal lives, a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to any type of relationship usually won’t work. A vendor relationship is perhaps one of your most important in business. It’s easy to fall into the, “I’m a customer, and they must do whatever I want” line of thinking. At the same time, there is a reciprocal need on the part of the customers to try to keep the relationship happy. Here are a few things you can do to help maintain the best relationship possible with your vendors. Learn the Marketplace When dealing with a vendor, it’s important to know what the marketplace for their services or goods is like. Not that you should be hanging it over their head if you have options, but it is good to know what the norm is and whether you really have any choices at all. For example, if your vendor has a one-day response time but other vendors have four-hour response times, you can use that as leverage for quicker service. In other cases, you may learn that your vendor is the only one you can get the services from at all, so it is in your best interests to play nicely with them. Know Their Responsibilities and Scope of Service One of the keys to having a good relationship with a vendor is to know what they must do — and to not expect them to do anything more. Your contract should lay that all out very clearly. If it does...

What to look for in a Restaurant Service Company

Find an experienced company, you need an experienced and knowledgeable company to handle your restaurant service needs. Since many problems can arise with your HVAC / Refrigeration systems, and cooking equipment, it is important that a company has all the proper tools and equipment as well as the technical knowledge that is required for repairing or maintaining your systems and ensuring that it is performing efficiently.   Emergency service. If you have cooking equipment go down right before or during your peak times you are losing revenue or if your coolers are down you are in jeopardy of losing hundreds if not thousands of dollars of product. It is imperative you have a company that offers service 24/7 and that has an after hour’s answering service that communicates quickly so your down time is minimal.   A company with a solid reputation. Be sure to check with the BBB of any company, and ask for references. Good companies will be happy to provide you with as many references you need. Also be sure they have a current state license and insurance. General liability of at least $1,000,000.00 with an Umbrella or $5,000,000.00, Auto Liability of at least $1,000,000.00, and Workers...