We have been bombarded, assaulted, buried, suffocated and smothered with so much news about the economy it is a miracle anyone has survived. Now that it is getting better- if you haven’t heard, that’s the buzz – I am sure we will all see an upswing in covers, soon. And through it all, the resilience of owners, aficionados, waiters, kitchen crews, managers, and vendors is admirable. I still see brake lights flicker when a closed restaurant sports a “For Lease” sign. Obviously I am driving behind a restaurant owner.
The doors of most of the 850,000 restaurants in the country continue to open on a regular basis in an attempt to feed the masses, keep the lights on, and turn a profit. We all know that the network needed on a daily basis to accomplish this goal is overwhelmingly stressful. The joys that once came from our tables, for many, have long since left, only to be replaced by the feelings of treadmill gloom.
If that be the case, it may be time for a staff party, a new menu, or a restaurant reinvention. No, not intervention, re-invention.
Restaurants mirror life. When they are good, they are great. When they are bad, they are horrendous. But we are all in control of our own destiny or demise. And, depending on how we approach the problems we face; our actions shape our moods and personalities.
Boredom doesn’t become us. We are in the party business. People look to us to boost their spirits. And at times, that becomes tiring. Often, we get so frustrated hearing about other’s problems we stop asking questions that would provoke a response.
The flamboyant restaurant owner get bored quickly when dining rooms are not full, when bar stools are empty and when the staff is standing around rather than briskly walking from kitchen to table. If you fir into this category, it may be time to chase out the doldrums and inject a bit of frivolity in your staff and customers.
It may be time for a pre-holiday party to introduce your holiday party menu. If you have done this in the past, you know it works. If you haven’t done it, now is the time to try it.
Last Sunday night I had the privilege of attending a staff, family and friends party at Oak Hill Farms, in
Yearly they host a “Day of the Dead” party and invite their staff, friends, and family. This year’s event was bountiful in food and guests. The Red Barn, a long standing Oak Hill staple and the spot where their produce business actually began, was packed to the loft with people, food and flowers. The festive atmosphere brought enjoyment to everyone in attendance.
The following day I was in
2). Create a guest list of customers who have catered parties and events with you before and invite them.
3). Create a guest list of competitor’s customers who have not had catering events with you before and invite them.
4). Add a bit of spice to your restaurant. Change a room color or reupholster your chairs. Add an accessory in a spot people would notice.
5).Ask your staff for input. Make this their event also and let them know that catering business pays more for waiters. (More on this later.)
6). Print catering brochures. Simply design the menu and marketing tools on your computer and have then printed at your local copy store. Keep them simple, make them festive and make sure your phone number, address and a few marketing thoughts are in the content.
7). Make sure your chef has input into the holiday catering menu and that you both keep the budgetary restraints of your customer in mind.
8). Develop an event calendar to use as a catering sales tool. Decide ahead of time how many events you can handle in one night and whether they are to be on or off premise. If they are off premise do you have the staff to handle the event? Put a staff member in charge of catering sales if you do not have the time to accomplish your financial goal of booking a lot of catering at the party.
9). Send out the invitations through email, Facebook and other social media sites.
10). Have fun planning, developing and hosting the party. You want to alleviate stress by having this event and focus on turning a profit through catering sales.