Cheers May 2016

Cheers is dedicated to delivering hospitality professionals the information, insights and data necessary to drive their beverage business by covering trends and innovations in operations, merchandising, service and training.

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Page 17 of 51 18 • May 2016 As the saying goes, you can't please all of the people all of the time. That's why the hospitality business is so hard, according to Brian Warrener, a professor at Johnson and Wales University. Speaking at the recent Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show in Las Vegas, Warrener noted several reasons that restaurant server/guest interactions can go wrong: The proximity of customers (they're right in front of you); cus- tomizable orders (they want it their way); and simultaneous order/product delivery. What's more, success is determined by the guest. And when service problems do occur, most customers (96%) won't complain, Warrener said. Unfortunately, half of them won't give you a second chance. So what's the best way to handle service snafus? "An im- mediate and an appropriate reaction," he said. If a customer doesn't like the meal or the drink, take it away and get them something else and comp the order. "A free dessert is not appropriate when someone doesn't like their meal," Warrener noted. TRAINING AND EMPOWERMENT Perhaps most important, the server should never say "It's not my fault," Warrener said. That employee needs to be able to fix the problem. "I'll get the manager" is the worst thing a disgruntled customer can hear from a server. This means training and empowering front-line em- ployees to be able to fix problems with guests, Warrener said. He cited Disney as a model for service: Every em- ployee is trained on the company's high service standards and all have the authority to assess and fix problems up to a certain dollar amount. Even when a customer is extremely disgruntled, you have a tremendous opportunity if you can get them to give you a second chance, Warrener said. A "flipped" customer is typi- cally more loyal than others and is likely to spread the word. What if you didn't get a chance to recover and you get a bad Yelp review? It's best to respond, Warrener said. Contact the Yelp reviewer, find out what happened and get them to give you another chance. If you can flip that customer, he or she will update the review with you how responded and resolved the problem. This can be effective in attracting new guests who are checking the Yelp reviews, Warrener said. Many operators see the crowd-source reviews site as the enemy, he noted, but "Yelp can be your friend with a recovered customer." HOW TO RECOVER from SERVICE SNAFUS Do you know what it really costs you to pro- duce the food and beverages on your menu? Many operators fall short on recipe and cost documentation and that affects profits, according to Mark Kelnhofer, president/CEO of restaurant management consultacy Return on Ingredients. Kelnhofer, offered up several tips during a during the annual Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show in Las Vegas. The first step to engineering your menu for profit is to make sure you're accurately documenting recipes. This sets the expecta- tion for the cost, Kelnhofer said. "If you don't have recipes, you don't know your costs," plus the product quality and consistency can suffer, he added. And with- out accurate recipes, you won't know what to charge for your food and drinks to ensure steady sales and profitability, Kelnhofer said. "Menu pricing in some cases is not based on proper analysis and data." Recipes require detail, Kelnhofer noted. For example, it's not enough to say "pizza dough flour" in a recipe if your inventory order list shows three different pizza dough flours—which one are you using in this recipe? That's a factor in the cost and profitability. In addition to recipe ingredients, you should include the tools and equipment needed to make it, the prep/mix/cook time, methods, glass standards and so on. The more complete the recipe is, the more accurate the costing is, not to mention the quality of the outcome, Kelnhofer said. The accuracy of weights and measures is paramount to the process. And don't forget to include the yield or end result of the recipe— that's a requirement in costing. "When chefs document the recipes, they often forget to add the yield," he said. For cocktail recipes, costing gets tricky when you have call brands. You have to be careful about how to structure recipes with calls, such as a Black Russian with a choice of vodka, Kelnhofer said. Operators should also keep an eye on commodity prices and market changes for predictive costing—for instance, a looming bourbon shortage, or a disease that's killing the orange crops in California, Kelnhofer noted. "You should have an idea of where costs are going to go." TIPS FOR MORE ACCURATE MENU COSTING THE ANNUAL NIGHTCLUB & BAR CONVENTION AND TRADE SHOW WAS HELD IN LAS VEGAS MARCH 7-9; HERE'S A ROUNDUP OF CHEERS EDITOR MELISSA DOWLING'S COVERAGE

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