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.

Spy Gadgets For Fun and Security

As a kid, were you intrigued by the enticing ads in your comic books? You know the ones I mean, gadgets that would enable you to see around corners, or listen to conversations right through walls? We could not resist the appeal, especially since they only cost a dollar or two. Before we knew it, we'd be sealing our hopes, as well as our money in an envelope, eagerly awaiting the day our special spy toys would arrive in our mailbox.

Since those days, we've enjoyed thriller spy movies, and endless crime shows on television, where investigators employ every trick in the book to solve the latest case. We are amazed by the speed and accuracy of intranet lab work, digital enhancements, and computer imaging. As cutting edge as all of this is, there are some techniques that have been around a long, long time.

Did you ever try using invisible ink when you were a child? This was a fun thing to do that rated right up there with magic and card tricks. By mixing up a special ink of milk, lemon juice, or sugar water, your secret message would only be visible when the paper was heated. Invisible ink is still used today, but instead of exposing the message to heat, a prescribed wavelength of ultraviolet light is used.

We all have a yard of spy satellites that circle the globe gathering information from high above the earth. Before satellites, airplanes were used for intelligence missions in World War II, which enabled military leaders the chance to monitor allied and enemy movements. It is astounding to think that even way back in the American Civil War, observation balloons were floated by both sides in the conflict, to observe their own, and enemy troop locations.

Movies are ripe with many measures taken by spies as they alter their appearance in order not to be recognized. We've seen hair being cut and dyed, women dressing as men, and in one instance in 1754, Chevalier d'Eon de Beaumont was sent to St. Louis. Petersburg posing as Mademoiselle Lia de Beaumont. As improbable as it may seem, the ploy worked, and Tsarina Elisabeth was persuaded to forgo a strategy with Britain, and side with Austria and France instead.

In some old films we see bandages being slowly unwrapped on a surgically rearranged face. Or in some flicks, complete latex masks with hair attached, completely change the facial appearance of a character. Today, with the use of facial recognition software, spies may have to forgo a mask or simple change of attire, and revert to plastic surgery once again.

Today, digital technology has resulated in devices that are so small and effective that the modern day spy can literally mostly on gathering information remotely. Without the agent absolutely has to, there is no need for elaborate disguises. Devices can simply be put in place and activated, which means that we can all become spies if need be.

Just about any everyday item can be used as a camera. A light fixture, a calculator, or a smoke detector can have a tiny camera inserted into it, so that photos can be taken without the slightest hint of what's going on. Spy Cams can help protect your business and your home. They can also keep people honest. Just knowing that areas are being monitored makes us all safer.

There are devices that can be installed on your computer to monitor what's being watched and messages that are being sent and received. The SIM card can be removed from a cell phone and inserted into a special device that displays all the deleted text messages. All these items have become completely affordable, easy to obtain, and use.

A really exciting development is the GPS tracker. With a personal tracker you can monitor your children, ensuring that they are safe at all times, and knowing their location if they suddenly need help. Then there is another version that you can use for your vehicles. Car theft is rampant and on the rise. If one of your cars is stolen, this device will greatly aid the police in returning your property to you.

Now that you are all grown up, with property and loved ones to protect, is not it comforting to know that spy gadgets are still available? This time, however, you will not need to consult the back pages of your comic book. Today, with just a few clicks of your mouse, you can access spy shop catalogs online, and order some neat spy gadgets conveniently from your computer.

Top Ten Reasons to Start an Online Business at Home

There are currently over 24 million people working from home and each and every day the list grows larger. Everybody makes the decision to work at home for a large variety of reasons; Here are some of the most popular.

10. Be your own boss.

Within the high pressure working conditions found in the cut throat modern office environment today, employees are taking a stand and walking away from the stressful life they are placed under. To work for yourself gives you total freedom and the drive to succeed.

9. No Alarm Clock

No longer do you have to report to your office at 9.00am, you can choose your own hours. Release the stress and tension and throw that alarm clock to the wall.

8. No morning and evening commute

Save all those hours spent traveling to and from work, plus save on those high gas prices and lower your car maintenance costs.

7. No business start up expenses

All you need to work from home is your computer and an internet connection, no business office rent to pay, no expensive outlay, no staff.

6. Nothing too Complicated

Business employees in today's modern office are usually highly trained in computer internet technology, this experience makes it far easier for you to adapt to an online business set up at home.

5. Work from Home or Anywhere in the World

Once you have set up your online business to run on autopilot you have the enviable position to be able to just log in and check your internet accounts from anywhere.

4. Travel & Vacation to Suit You

No longer do you have to go crawling to the boss, unfortunately seeking some time off. Now you can escape whenever and to where you please.

3. More Time with the Family

Employees today complain that they are spending long hours at work, coupled with very long commutes to and from the office. All of this time takes them away from their family and friends. By working at home you have the added benefit of seeing your children grow up and releases more time for fun and relaxation with friends.

2. Opportunity to Increase Earnings.

There is nothing to compare with the chance to earn money by running your own business. With everything in life, the harder you work, the greater the rewards. Obviously there is no guarantee as to the amount of money your can earn on the internet, in all business ventures some people will earn more than others. However it is interesting to note that whenever those lists of the world's richest people are compiled, not one of them is ever an employee. They are always business owners.

And the Number 1 reason to start your online business is:

To be Happier.

The History of Modern Furniture

It was in the 19th century after the industrial revolution had given birth to a new class of people that modernistic ideas evolved. The traditional dark, gilded or carved wood, covered with heavy richly patterned fabrics cave way to light and simple looking furniture. Between the nobility and the down trodden poor the middle class had emerged.

They cast aside anything that was related to the rich who had trampled the poor ruthlessly. Also influences from Africa, Asia and especially Japan had a lasting effect on designing of modern furniture. Functionality, practicality and economic feasibility were the new order in furniture. Technology and industrial advancement were already playing their role in making of simplistic yet practical furniture.

Michael Thonet an Austrian German cabinet maker was the first to experiment in making bent wood furniture and using glue for joining wood pieces. His coffee shop chair also known as 'Konsumstuhl Nr 14' became world famous and till 1930 over 50 million of these chairs were produced. Another famous chair of that era was the 'Tripolina chair'. It was made of wood, metal and canvas and was patented by Joseph Fendy in 1877. This chair was widely used by the British troops during the colonial period. The director's chair is a simple folding chair that uses a scissor action to fold and is made of wood and canvas, or any other strong material that can bear the weight of the occupant. The design of this chair dates back to the 15th century and the design has been taken from ancient Roman folding stools.

Some of the iconic examples of modern furniture are the Marcel Breur's Wassily chair. This chair uses lightweight tubular steel and leather straps. The exquisite and simplistic design of these geometric shaped planes almost makes the leather straps appear to be suspended in space. The Ellen Gray side table, the Barcelona chair and Noguchi table are some of the other icons of modern furniture.

Modern furniture is functional, practical and tastefully designed to give a feeling of comfort and lightness. It differs completely from the dark and heavily embroidered medieval furniture. Metals, plastics, glass are now used along with wood in making modern furniture and a whole new generation of fabrics and colors are used. The fabrics used are of bold and bright colors which make modern furniture look inviting and artistic. Contemporary furniture has taken many forms and shapes and furniture designers use geometric patterns to create modern furniture.

Most contemporary furniture is lightweight, easy to assemble and disassemble and importantly easy to maintain. Modern furniture also has an individualistic theme, designed to suit the type of décor people want for their homes and workplaces. Colors are popularly used to make a room or office appear pleasant and relaxing. Drab, dreary and heavy colors are no longer used. If a heavy color like black is used, it will be contrasted with white or shining steel. It is modern furniture that has changed the look of the home from a formal and staid place to a casual and relaxing environment.