• The Art of Pitching: Is it Overrated - or Essential?

    Pitching… that thing we force notoriously introverted geeks to do for funding. The main idea is that an entrepreneur — unless his name is Elon Musk or Tony Stark — has limited resources and needs the financial support of pockets that are substantially deeper than his own.

  • What to Expect: New Changes Coming to Lease Accounting Standards

    The upcoming revision to lease accounting standards was one of the topics discussed by the HFTP Hotel Advisory Council in their February 2018 meeting. The surprising conclusion from the council: The hotel industry in general is not prepared for the changes, and there is no viable off-the-shelf software that any of the members were aware of that would assist with the accounting for the new standard.

  • HFTP GDPR Guidelines: Hospitality Organization Flow Charts

    This document is a set of flow charts illustrating data flow scenarios, involved parties providing hospitality services, steps of the guest journey and more. Four scenarios are presented: independent hotel, independent hotel with third party agreement, branded hotel and branded hotel with independent control.

  • Job Description Template: Club Accounting Positions

    The HFTP Americas Research Center has developed example job descriptions for club accounting positions. The process involved reviewing sample job descriptions, and compiling the information into standardized job descriptions.

Three Things Operators Overlook When it Comes to Food Safety

Modern Restaurant Management·25 April 2018
Your equipment is like your technology. When it’s working, it’s good on both sides of the counter. But with equipment, the stakes are higher when malfunction occurs, leaving you to wonder if your food is safe to serve. It’s never worth the risk; if a disruption is suspected, the inventory must be dumped. That nearly happened to one Chick-fil-A operator in the Southeast, but good luck put him at his restaurant when one of his refrigerators began to fail; he noticed the glitch before the food went bad. Would you be that lucky? Here, the top three things to consider when it comes to refrigeration and food spoilage: How Cold Is It? Always have a number. You can track refrigeration in different ways, including using sensors that are easy to attach, but trusting your instincts or going by “feel” are big mistakes. As a general rule, refrigerator temperatures should be under 40 degrees or lower.

Make Your POS System Less Vulnerable to Cyber Attacks

Modern Restaurant Management·25 April 2018
In just the last few years, the retail industry has been a prime target for a multitude of cyberattacks. Point-of-sale (POS) systems have been particularly vulnerable, with debit and credit card readers being targeted in an effort to steal confidential financial information. While some of the most well-known victims of cyberattacks on POS systems have included Michaels Stores, Target, and Neiman Marcus, small business owners are just as vulnerable when it comes to malware on POS systems. When such an attack occurs, it can have a significant effect on the confidence of consumers in the safety of financial information at POS terminals, eventually affecting sales. While the increase in cyberattacks on POS systems can certainly be worrying to business owners, the good news is that there are steps that businesses can take to thwart cyber criminals from obtaining access to confidential financial data.

The Holy Grail of Retention: Five Steps to Building New Young Leaders in Your Restaurant

Modern Restaurant Management·24 April 2018
Restaurant managers are noticing a problem that has been growing over the past few years, in not just their own, but every industry: there is a big leadership gap. Many are asking themselves, “How are we supposed to find those people who have sufficient technical skill to be in charge of a restaurant, but are also suited for leadership?” There are a lot of people who are committed to their work, but are reluctant to take on supervisory roles. This is the Holy Grail of retention: identifying and building new leaders. It’s not just retaining the best technically skilled talent. Rather, it is retaining those with the best technical ability who are also willing and able to take on leadership responsibilities and helping them step into those roles successfully. How many people have both the specialized skills and the desire and ability to lead?

Outside the Box: Why Restaurants Need to Rethink Delivery

Modern Restaurant Management·23 April 2018
As a restaurant owner myself, I entered the world of delivery hopeful that we would see significant incremental sales and profits through the channel pushed open by millions--now billions--of dollars in marketing from GrubHub, UberEats, DoorDash and others. I was hopeful that this would be the case, because that’s what I was told in the countless emails I received promoting the various delivery services. And then reality struck. 30 percent? You want 30 percent? Why? Do you know anything at all about the restaurant business? Do you have any idea how thin our margins are? (These loud thoughts banged around inside my head as I reviewed the thick contract sent by the first provider I chose.) The sales rep patiently explained to me, as I’m sure she does to countless restaurateurs around the country, that that’s what it costs for the service to recruit new customers and also to recruit drivers. If I didn’t want to pay it, no problem.

MRM In Conversation: Storytelling as Restaurant Marketing Vision

Modern Restaurant Management·23 April 2018
MRM In Conversation delves into challenges restaurateurs face by offering problem-solving case studies. In this edition, we talk with PR pro Karen Schloss Diaz about the importance of storytelling in restaurant promotion. Send any suggestions for MRM In Conversation to Barbara Castiglia at bcastiglia@modernrestaurantmanagement.com. Karen Schloss Diaz Schloss Diaz and her husband/partner,

Underemployment: The Hidden Underbelly (Infographic)

Modern Restaurant Management·20 April 2018
Snag� released its annual State of the Hourly Worker Report, shining light on a record number of employed Americans not making a living wage. Findings reveal 38 percent of workers earning $20 or less an hour consider themselves underemployed and underemployment is most prevalent among restaurant employees over any other industry. (The report defines the underemployed as those who are currently employed hourly or rely on gig work as their primary source of� income,� but still need

FLSA Amendments: Congress Extends Tip Sharing to Back of the House Employees

Modern Restaurant Management·20 April 2018
On March 23, 2018, Congress amended the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to remove the prohibition on tip pooling, subject to certain circumstances. Under the FLSA, an employer is permitted to pay a reduced hourly wage to tipped employees, provided the employees receive enough tips to bring hourly wages to the federal minimum wage. Employers may claim credit for tips the employees have received both directly and as a distribution from a tip pool.

Concept Testing: Does Menu Pricing Matter?

Modern Restaurant Management·19 April 2018
Whether to include the price in early stage concept testing is an important question. Some people argue that price needs to be presented, so that people can make an informed decision. Others say that price can’t accurately be known at the time of early stage concept testing, and that putting a “fake” price on the concept could result in misleading feedback. To find out what the effect might be, we ran a test, using concepts for potential menu items for a globally prominent quick service restaurant (QSR).

Why Your Menu Holds the Key to Marketing Success

Modern Restaurant Management·17 April 2018
Menus and recipes are usually the job of a chef hired to run your kitchen, but hiring a restaurant consultant can be a great option as creating a menu goes beyond just creating the food.. Not all chefs/kitchen managers/restaurant owners also have the skillset to be creative writers/mathematicians/recipe developers. Creating a menu goes well beyond just creating the food. And with the mneu being the the top marketing tool, no one can afford to take shortcuts on it. It is also the planning tool and is responsible for: Getting customers in the door or getting online orders Cost and prices of the items Profitability of the items Kitchen layout Storage capacity Labor You may be opening up “just” a tiny hole-in-the-wall coffee shop, but if done correctly, it can be a goldmine if you understand how to offer the right items at the right price that both sound and taste incredible.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: Evaluate the Impact for Your Restaurant Business

Modern Restaurant Management·17 April 2018
For restaurateurs, there are a lot moving parts to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to consider. When the Act was ratified, high-fives were the order of the day. To many it signaled a possible end to sluggish growth, or a golden ticket out of irrelevancy. But savvy restaurateurs are evaluating exactly how the Act impacts their overall tax position. To help you navigate through some of these moving parts and identify how best to maximize potential benefits or minimize potential costs arising from it, continue reading to see some things that have and haven’t changed, and what you should consider when evaluating the impact the Act may have on your restaurant business. So, What Hasn’t Changed? For starters, the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC). This beneficial-but-often-ignored federal credit is for the hiring of certain classes of employees (low income, students, veterans, ex-cons). Previous WOTC provisions remain unchanged under the new tax law.

Navigating Online Comments and Reviews to Boost Customer Retention

Modern Restaurant Management·16 April 2018
It takes twice as much work to earn a new customer as it does to please an existing one, so don’t let one bad experience spell the end of a good customer relationship. If you think online reviews don’t matter, consider the fact that consumers now find a restaurant’s star rating to be the number one factor in choosing a place to dine, according to recent findings by socialmediaweek.org.

Food Traffic: Using IT and Big Data to Increase Sales

Modern Restaurant Management·16 April 2018
In today’s digital world the quantity of data being collected and stored on a global level is almost inconceivable and will only keep growing. Referred to as big data, organizations take advantage of this by analyzing the accumulated data for insights that lead to better decisions and strategic moves – making it a critical asset to countless businesses. The vast volume of structured and unstructured data at an organization’s disposal helps corporate America understand more about its consumers purchasing preference.
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Sliding into Impossible at White Castle and Teeny Soft Serve

Modern Restaurant Management·13 April 2018
TGI Fridays selected SessionM to enhance the omnichannel Fridays experience. Orchestrating data from across all guest touchpoints, SessionM will enable TGI Fridays to build stronger relationships with friends of the restaurant through more personalized and genuine interactions.

Common Restaurant Tax Problems and How to Solve Them

Modern Restaurant Management·13 April 2018
New businesses commonly face tax problems and restaurants are no exception. By the time you pay your waitstaff, your vendors, and your rent, you may have a difficult time paying your taxes. Sometimes, restaurants have less profit during their first year in existence, and so they have a relatively small tax bill. If business improves as more and more diners find your restaurant, your profits may increase, and you might find that you have an unexpectedly large tax bill with seemingly no way to pay it. Many restaurant owners fear an IRS audit, but more commonly, restaurant owners are contacted by the IRS because they have not paid their taxes, and specifically have not paid their payroll taxes. Effectively dealing with the IRS is especially important in this situation because if it is not resolved, the IRS can close your restaurant and padlock its doors. Payroll taxes: Payroll taxes are perhaps the most common tax problem faced by restaurant owners. Payroll taxes that are withheld…
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How Do Demand Charges Impact Your Electric Bill

Modern Restaurant Management·12 April 2018
As a restaurant owner/manager, you accept that there are some fixed operating costs. Lot rent, electricity, water, sewer, staffing costs, etc. all are things you cannot avoid. Once you have established operational hours, electricity costs should remain relatively fixed, or at least one would logically assume so. However, in many cities across the United States, this is not the case thanks to demand charges. These charges can greatly affect your restaurant.

Compromise and Uncertainty on Tipping in the Appropriations Act

Modern Restaurant Management·11 April 2018
The past few years have been tumultuous for tip pooling regulations, leaving restaurants with some confusion and unresolved questions. Nearly 300,000 businesses across the United States employ tipped workers. In 2011, the Department of Labor under the Obama Administration passed regulations on tip pooling. These regulations specified that tips were considered the property of the service-facing employee (such as waiters, bartenders, and others who directly interact with customers in the chain of service), and employers could not require service-facing employees to share their tips with back of the house employees (i.e. kitchen staff who would not interact with customers directly in the chain of service) who would not traditionally receive tips.

Top Five Social Media Practices for Restaurants and Cafes in 2018

Modern Restaurant Management·10 April 2018
When making a decision about where to eat, people of today’s generation go online first. People spend two hours a day, five years in a lifetime, and spend more time on social media than eating/drinking. Most people (85 percent), search for local businesses online. If you do not show up in that initial search, then you might as well not exist at all. By understanding the span and reach that social media has in present day, you will be able to attract customers in a whole new way. Tangoo has developed the five best social media practices for proprietors and they are as follows: 1. Know Your Audience If you don’t know who your audience is, then it will be impossible to know who you are targeting. It is important to be very detailed with who your audience is. This will help guide where you should be advertising, the exact vernacular to use, and what content will be the most engaging. You should make detailed and specific examples of who your target audience is.

Five Things to Consider When Buying a Restaurant

Modern Restaurant Management· 9 April 2018
Last year, the restaurant industry saw record high sales and brought in over $790 billion — a $30 billion increase compared to 2016. There is no question that the restaurant industry is trending upward thanks to consumer demand, and many hungry entrepreneurs are cashing in on the fact that going out to eat has become a staple of everyday American life. We will let you in on a little secret: running a successful restaurant begins long before you fire up the fryers. Feed your entrepreneurial spirit, and keep these top considerations in mind when scouting out restaurants to buy. Real Cash Flow Financial records can be misleading and personal estimates can be outright wrong. One of the most important metrics of a restaurant's profitability is real cash flow. Real cash flow is a figure adjusted for inflation and it better reflects the change in money value. Real cash flow is a concrete metric of a restaurant’s profitability, and when it comes time to broker a deal, the sales price…

Guest Feedback: How Natural Language Processing Enhances Your Marketing, Menu and Customer Experiences

Modern Restaurant Management· 6 April 2018
Natural language processing is a technology that combines big data and artificial intelligence together and brings it to the table. Today guests have choices like ordering delivery and meal kit services that threaten to disrupt margin-accretive dine-in business. Because of this, a deep understanding of guest expectations is more important than ever before. Natural language processing helps you automate key guest insights to give you the upper hand. Natural language processing helps you automate key guest insights to give you the upper hand. Voice feedback is cost-effective and fast to add to your pay-at-the-table tablets by simply allowing guests to enable the microphone, which will work together with software development kits. Voice feedback uses natural language processing to deliver real-time manager alerts, rich qualitative assessments of your menu and operations, and sentiment scores about both the total guest experience and nearly every subtle aspect of the guest…

Touchscreen Technology and Your Restaurant

Modern Restaurant Management· 6 April 2018
Restaurant touchscreen technology is easy to maintain and makes sense to deploy and implement within your hardware portfolio. Touchscreens are increasingly common in our culture today, and have skyrocketed in popularity in industries worldwide. Everywhere we turn, we as consumers and business owners are using them on a daily basis. Our cell phones, computers, tablets, TV’s and even cars now depend on touchscreen technology to function properly. Touchscreen technology is easy to maintain, and when it comes to the restaurant industry, it only makes sense to deploy and implement it into your hardware portfolio. Before determining which type of touch screen monitor is right for your business, you must first think of the following factors: How will your customers interact with the technology? How harsh is your restaurant environment? Does this touchscreen need to be spill, grease and waterproof? What type of accessories do your employees use/wear while using the technology?

Sexual Harassment Prevention in Your Restaurant: Ignorance Could Cost You Your Business

Modern Restaurant Management· 5 April 2018
There has definitely been a tipping point in the U.S. when it comes to sexual harassment in the workplace. It’s been in the news with big movie stars, big media companies, big business, small business and famous restaurateurs all feeling the reaction to the #MeToo movement. It’s not that it’s all of a sudden happening; it’s that it’s finally coming out of the shadows. The truth is sexual harassment is rampant in the restaurant industry. It’s just that we as an industry seem to be looser with what warrants a claim.

A Menu for Restaurant Startup Costs (Infographic)

Modern Restaurant Management· 5 April 2018
The restaurant industry is notoriously hard to break into. There’s tremendous pressure on new establishments to turn a profit, and turn one quickly, which is why it’s so important for budding entrepreneurs to understand initial start-up costs. According to 2016 research from the National Restaurant Association, there were 620,807 registered restaurants in the United States—a slight decline from previous years. Quick service eateries such as Subway, McDonald’s and KFC are among the most successful restaurants. However, they can be the most expensive franchises to operate with an estimated cost of $1.5-3.5 million. For those seeking to start a casual or fine dining experience restauranteurs best serve themselves by carefully considering any and all start-up costs. This data examines initial costs, from purchasing and leasing space to hiring quality staff, marketing and attracting customers.

What Does it Really Cost to Open a Restaurant?

Modern Restaurant Management· 4 April 2018
Before jumping straight into opening a restaurant, every aspiring restaurant owner needs to know the fundamental costs of starting one. But just knowing isn't enough. In this article, the team at Oddle explores the typical expenses restaurant startups face, uncovers the areas frequently overspent on and reveals tricks on how to prevent the mindless splurging. When it comes to opening a restaurant, many potential owners dream of having a mouth-watering menu and a large space filled with tasteful decor. But let’s take a step back. Before jumping straight into opening your restaurant, you need to know how much it’s going to cost you - you need a budget plan. Without a budget plan, chances are, you will overspend. In our ultimate guide to starting a restaurant, we revealed that a restaurant’ startup costs vary widely due to the many cost components.

Essential Leadership Skills for New Restaurant Managers

Modern Restaurant Management· 3 April 2018
All managers — including restaurant managers — need good leadership skills to succeed. Defining leadership can seem ephemeral at times. There is no one trait that anyone has identified that makes a person a great leader. Each industry or job requires specific traits and skills, considered in the aggregate, that exemplify a good leader for that sector. Leadership may be inherit, but the right candidate can learn to be a good leader by honing those specific abilities relevant to his or her business. This list of essential leadership skills for new restaurant managers can help you succeed in the foodservice industry. Communication Learn to communicate effectively and efficiently with your staff. Communicate your expectations, and ensure that each member of your team understands his or her role. Learn to listen. Ask for feedback and digest it. While you don’t always need to explain the reasons behind a decision, you should do so whenever possible and appropriate.

MRM EXCLUSIVE: Building an Efficient Restaurant App

Modern Restaurant Management· 2 April 2018
A good mobile app keeps the customer engaged and the business relevant. Done right, it can bring in new clients and maintain current ones, increase sales and help improve product. But for that, it needs to be useful to the customer and efficient to the business – so what is it that makes a good mobile app for a restaurant? Here is a little checklist to help you make a useful and engaging mobile app. Reward Your Customers A good app stays with the customer and keeps the customer loyal to the business. A restaurant has a range of tools to reward its mobile app users, such as exclusive deals and a points loyalty system. Racking up points can be satisfying, and encourage the user to choose your restaurant over competitors – after all, there will be a sweet reward in the end. Bring in New Ones Incentives for referring friends and family for additional points or store credit can go a long way in bringing in new customers and keeping old ones. Giving extra points for referrals or…

Servers to Servers - Integrating Technology and Wait Staff

Modern Restaurant Management·30 March 2018
As much as we love fries with that shake, nothing compares to an efficient restaurant with interactive customer service and perfect orders every time. The challenge is we live in a world that expects quick service no matter how busy the restaurant gets and our waiters to have our undivided attention at a moment’s notice. While these aren’t new challenges to the restaurant industry, they have contributed to driving technology adoption to overcome them. Based on our observations of evolving trends and hearing about what irks our clients, we have outlined the benefits technology can have on restaurants, both fine dining and casual options. Fine Dining Solutions Many fine dining establishments offer specialty menus, like drinks, desserts or wine pairings, to their patrons. By incorporating tabletop tablets to host these menus, restaurants can provide relevant product information and peer reviews (like Wine Spectator), as well as update menu items in real time.

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