How to Upgrade Your Restaurant’s Service for Modern Consumers

Today’s restaurant industry has become more competitive than ever, and it’s important to understand why. Technology continues to advance, and with that advancement comes consumers who are used to a certain level of convenience. If a restaurant doesn’t have the right level of service, they’ll typically take their business elsewhere. It is essential now more than ever to do the research into current market trends and make some investments to remain competitive. Here are just four major trends that you should be aware of and consider implementing into your own restaurant.

Specialty Menu Items

In today’s consumer market, it seems like you can find as many diets as there are dieters. While some of it comes from trends and fads, it’s also important to realize that people are becoming more and more aware of allergies and intolerances that they have to various ingredients. Whether it’s for health reasons, ethical reasons, or even just to copy their favorite celebrity, however, it’s important that you are aware of the rising need for flexible menus. The very least a restaurant of today should be able to do is inform customers of potential allergens in their menus. Providing carb estimates for those with diabetes can also show your customers that you are concerned for their health and wellbeing. Where possible, try to find ways to customize menu items to fit the dietary restrictions that may come your way. 

To-Go/ Delivery

Another major change in the modern habits of consumers is that everyone is becoming incredibly busier and less social. Because of this, more and more restaurants are offering take-out options or even delivery. While delivery isn’t possible for everyone, it will increase your patronage if you can offer to-go plates that your customers can use to take their meal home. You can make this easier on your staff by identifying entrees and sides that are quick and easy to assemble, then offering the option of take-home plates for those.

Dessert Displays

Food is a lot more enticing when you can see it, and having displays of some of your more decorative dishes can be a great way to draw in newcomers. Deserts, in particular, are a common favorite to display. To combine two solutions in one, try offering deserts as to-go items and place them on display in a three-door commercial display cooler or other display refrigerator. A customer’s eyes are often bigger than their stomach, or so the saying goes, so chances are they may decide to take a take-home desert with them on the way out if they can see it sitting there waiting for them.

Order-Through/ Pay-Through App Options

Mobile apps have changed so many industries. The restaurant industry is no different. Nowadays, you can order a drink or food from your favorite coffeehouse or restaurant and pay for it before you’ve even left the house. Offering this kind of service, plus a convenient pick-up option, can help draw in customers who are in a rush or want to avoid long waits. This also helps to prevent long lines that may turn away customers during rush times. If you feel like your orders could become backed-up this way, consider implementing a tracker on your app that tells them how long it’s estimated for their food to choose a pick-up time based upon how many people are ahead in a queue. This will also allow people to order their food long in advance, giving you plenty of time to prepare it and eliminating the chance of them waiting in a line.

Restaurant managers who want to increase their sales need to know how to take advantage of modern technology. As the market becomes more competitive and startup restaurants rise and fall, it’s important to stay on top of the best industry trends. Even if you don’t have a major budget for new services, take a look at what you do have and find ways to cater to the new convenience and customization needs of the modern consumer.

Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.

Customers Are Sure To Cotton On To These Five Areas Of Employee Neglect

As an employer, you should be doing what you can to care for employees for their sake. The more efforts you put in place, the better work you’re going to see. The more benefits you offer, the longer people are going to stick around. You get the idea; caring is sharing when it comes to company success. As such, any efforts here are sure to be worth your while in their own right.

Sometimes, though, the way we treat employees trickles to other areas of business. If morale is low, for example, both productivity and quality of work will suffer. In extreme cases, employee neglect may also impact your customers. That’s because there are certain neglectful things you may do which are plain even from a distance. And, you can bet that customers who notice these won’t use your services again. If neglect is severe, they may even complain or spread the word.

That’s because every customer has probably worked under a less than ideal boss. Employee rights are something most people are pretty passionate about. If employee happiness itself isn’t enough, then, consider the five most common areas of neglect customers tend to notice.

#1 Extreme workloads

As a boss, it’s natural that you want to get the most work out of your employees. The more they produce, the more profit you stand to see. But, overworking staff is a form of neglect in itself. And, you can bet that it’s one your customers notice. If customers see that your team are overworked, it’ll be a big black mark against your name. it isn’t those shop staff that customers will get angry at for queues. It’s the manager who expected one or two people to manage everything on their own. This is terrible management and plain bad employee treatment. And, customers are never going to put up with it from you. In extreme cases, they may feel so sorry for your staff members that they stop coming to you altogether. Better that than put more work on already overworked shoulders. To make sure this doesn’t happen, ensure staff only ever experience workloads they can manage. That means opening all your tills instead of leaving one person to cope with busy periods. It means asking for one task at a time instead of getting team members to multitask all the time. It also means recognizing when a member of your team is struggling to keep on top. If you don’t, you can bet that your customers soon will.

#2 Lack of training

With a few exceptions, there’s no law which says that you have to offer extensive training courses to every member of your team. But, this is a benefit which you really should consider putting on offer. At the very least, well-trained staff can help to improve your business with the skills they learn. Training also ensures that no one ever feels thrown in at the deep end or unable to cope with demands. Even short training courses can go a considerable way towards providing the skills the most inexperienced employees need. One thing’s sure; it’ll soon be clear to customers if you skip this. It isn’t difficult to spot when employee’s haven’t received adequate training. If they have to ask others for help or struggle to complete basic processes, it’s sure to look terrible. This sends an unprofessional image of your business as a whole, and is sure to turn customers away. Again, though, they won’t take their frustration out on the employee in question. Instead, they’ll want to know why a manager would offer such poor training possibilities. At the very least, you should pair all new employees with existing team members for a minimum of a week to avoid this. If at all possible, it’s also worth looking out for proper training courses you can offer new recruits. This will work in your favor during employment. It’s also sure to look better where customers are concerned.

#3 Sickness

Sickness is always a tricky beast in the workplace. For obvious reasons, you don’t want staff taking sick days. As such, you may not want to offer sick pay in the hope it’ll encourage staff to come in no matter what. But, leaving employees with no choice but to work while ill can open a whole can of worms. For one, sickness can spread like you wouldn’t believe. Working rather than recovering could also see illness taking longer to clear. And, to top all that, customers are sure to see sickness from a mile away. If an employee is pale and coughing, it’s never going to look good for your company. At the very least, customers will avoid you because they don’t want to catch anything. More often than not, though, they’ll probably want strong words with the manager who forced said employee into the office. That’s why it’s well worth putting workable sickness procedures in place. Something as simple as sick pay can ensure that staff recover from most bugs in a matter of days without worry. That can reduce the spread, and see you losing team members for far shorter periods. You may also find that it’s worth putting something like this employee assistance program in place. This provides easy access to medical professionals for every staff member. This perk alone could see employees seeking help as soon as possible. That, in turn, can see them back on their feet in no time. All without risking your customer’s catching wind that they were ill.

#4 Disrespect

Disrespect is never something you want in your working environment. If you talk rudely to staff, there’s no way you can expect them to stick around. They may be your employees, but they deserve the same level of respect you would give to anyone else. More, if anything, because they’re keeping your company afloat. Sadly, disrespect from managers isn’t all that unusual. And, customers usually pick up on this pretty sharpish. This is especially likely if you’re operating in a forward-facing workspace. In a shop, for example, barking orders at your employees will never go down well. If you make this mistake, don’t be surprised if customers start complaining on your team’s behalf. We all hate to see rude managers, after all. Instead, you should always aim to speak to employees on equal footing. Never bark orders, but ask politely. Make sure that words like ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ don’t slip from your vocabulary. The moment they do, both your staff and customers could soon turn away from you. And, that’s never going to help you realize your business dreams.

#5 Exhaustion

Last, you want to make sure that you never push your team to exhaustion. In some ways, you could tie this in with the extreme workload of point one. But, even if you aren’t overloading your team members, you could still be pushing them too far. Long working hours and a lack of paid holiday, for instance, can often leave employees in burnout. Expecting them to pick up emails during their evenings also counts towards this. If they’re barely able to unwind, they’re sure to hit a wall pretty soon. And, you can bet customers will notice it. If team members are scarcely able to get the sleep they need, they’re going to make mistakes and look exhausted. Don’t let it happen. Offer paid holidays and make sure no one works during their evenings. That way, your employees will always look fresh when they’re dealing with your customers.

Opening a Bed and Breakfast? 4 Tips for Helping Your Guests Feel Right at Home

A bed and breakfast is one of the coziest lodging places a person can experience. As the proprietor of a bed and breakfast, you are responsible for giving your guests a place to stay that makes them feel as if they are not just a customer, but also something like a family member. These four tips will help your guests to feel right at home at your bed and breakfast. 

Cater to Requests 

When someone books a room at your bed and breakfast, you should ask them about any preferences they have. While most people will be fine with whatever default conditions you have, there will be some with special requests that need to be addressed. For instance, if you have a dog and someone is allergic to dog fur, you need to make sure they can keep their distance. Similarly, there are many who can’t or choose not to consume gluten. Ensuring you serve them gluten-free food will increase the odds they will write a positive review online and return to your establishment.

Parking 

Depending on where your bed and breakfast is located, there might be limited parking around. Make sure there is parking available in your garage or driveway. It should be cleared and roomy enough for vehicles or different sizes. When a guest books a room, make sure to ask them if they’ll need to park a vehicle and get things ready as necessary. 

Internet 

There’s likely to be people coming through on business trips. To give them the best experience possible, there should be customer Wi-Fi access. You can make this your own home network or a special one for guests. It should be password protected and from a reliable internet service provider. The last thing relaxing guests want to deal with is spotty internet service.

Cleanliness 

Few things can harm your reputation as an innkeeper more than a lack of upkeep in your bed and breakfast. You want to keep everything organized and free of dust and dirt. Don’t just do this after your guests leave for good. If your guests go out for the day, they should come home to made beds and dishes washed and put away. Your guests will greatly appreciate how much thought you’re putting into helping them feel comfortable. 

The quality of your bed and breakfast depends on how much you are willing to show your guests that you care. You’re going to meet all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds. You need to make it clear that you see them all as being equally worthy of your respect. These tips will help to make your bed and breakfast one of the top spots to stay in your town.

Guest author, Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball.  @LizzieWeakley