Survival Guide: Food and Beverage Industry Edition

Survival Guide: Food and Beverage Industry Edition

Up to 60 percent of restaurants do not survive past the first year.  Running a successful restaurant and surviving in the food and beverage industry may be challenging because of intense competition, shifting demographics, rising food costs, high turnover rates, changing labor laws or constant health hazards. However, talented managers and decision makers can use their business skills and experience to make better decisions that lead to success and profitability.

Use Financial Tools

All business decisions will require accurate financial data, food costs operational information.  You may not need a comprehensive accounting performance audit, but you must continually review and revise the costs of sales, labor and major expenses. If necessary, consider employing a financial consultant to analyze the books to uncover minor issues that may lead to major future problems. Continually review every menu item to understand the meal costs compared to the supplier prices. If the cost of producing a dish is too high, adjust the ingredients or choose another supplier. A very small restaurant may get away with using a spreadsheet to track supplier prices and menu costs, but the standard solution is to use food service management software.

Quantify Customer Feedback

Restaurants often receive a steady stream of both positive and negative feedback. They are both important sources of information that should be quantified and analyzed. Consider performing a regular review of online complaints and social media comments about your restaurant. Social media platforms are the best way to elicit feedback and engage customers. Always respond to negative social media comments within 24 hours. Take advantage of this opportunity to apologize and invite them back. Categorize and rank complaints, identify reoccurring problems and take appropriate action to resolve them. Use positive feedback for advertising content and marketing purposes. Re-branding decisions for existing organizations should be intuitive to changing customer demographics. There are many inexpensive, online survey services available, such as SurveyMonkey, which allow organizations to quickly understand consumers.

How to Cook Up New Insights

New tools, such as sentiment analysis and predictive analytics, are being used by restaurants to understand trends and drive performance.  For example, Big Data and advanced analytics will optimize menus by streamlining selection and profitability. Menu engineering refers to using analytics to enhance profits, operations and customer satisfaction. Understanding demographic segments will help to personalize promotions. Analytics will help with demand forecasting, staff optimization, and HR management by breaking down customer numbers by the hour and measuring individual performances. Advanced analytics may improve operations, service speed, and customer experience by predicting product usage, adjusting inventory and reducing food waste. Comprehensive evaluations of different time segments, such as lunch, dinner and post-dinner periods, will provide deeper insights and accurate metrics.

Create a Recognizable Food Identity

Food products make up a restaurant’s identity. Anyone who wants to survive in the food and beverage industry must present themselves in a definable and memorable way for customers. Failure to properly establish a food identify means you will be indistinguishable from the competition. If the local area is already inundated with similar bistros or Italian restaurants, the food must be uniquely differentiated from the competition. First, attract potential customer’s attention with original dishes that will inspire experimentation and stimulate appetites. Second, use local farm produce to broadcast the fact that you support the local economy and use the freshest ingredients. Third, if you purchase the best ingredients available, but go with a mediocre chef to save money, you will not be successful. The best investment you can make is to hire the best chef and staff.

Choose people who are passionate about the industry and customer service. They should possess a sense of urgency, a pleasant attitude and a willingness to be part of the team. After the food quality, the service experience is the next important factor that will guarantee an excellent dining experience.

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Creative Beer Marketing Ideas

Creative Beer Marketing Ideas

Beer is now more popular than ever. Whether you’re selling the latest craft beer or traditional leading brands, people are consuming beer in bars, restaurants, breweries, festivals, and off the shelf at supermarkets and specialty stores. This also means, however, that there’s more competition than ever. How do you stand apart and sell more of your own products? Here are some innovative beer marketing strategies you can use to outsell the competition.

Tell a unique story.

As you learn in Marketing 101, most people make buying decisions emotionally rather than rationally. This is more true of beer than many other products. People drink beer to relax, unwind, and have fun. Think of the most popular beer commercials run by industry giants such as Budweiser. They don’t give you a list of ingredients or describe the brewing process. They tell stories that show how much fun everyone is having while drinking their beer. Each beer has a slightly different ideal narrative that varies according to your target audience. Do you want to cultivate an image that’s hip and youthful, salt-of-the-earth, or upscale and sophisticated? In all of your marketing efforts, focus on telling stories that will appeal to your demographic.

Partner with influencers.

Influencer marketing involves getting well-known people, especially those with large social media followings, to recommend your products. This is more subtle than hiring a celebrity for a TV or radio commercial. You want to find people who genuinely like the kind of beer you’re selling and who are highly regarded in the world in which your customers live. You don’t need A-list celebrities to do this effectively. Focus on people who are locally known in realms such as food, entertainment and, naturally, beer. Connect with influencers at tastings or festivals whenever possible. Reach out to them by offering them samples of your products. Once you’ve connected, think of ways to partner with them.

Connect with influencers at tastings or festivals whenever possible. Reach out to them by offering them samples of your products. Once you’ve connected, think of ways to partner with them. For example, you could help promote them on your own website. To be able to arrange mutually beneficial partnerships, it helps to build up your own website traffic and social media following, which we’ll discuss shortly. Even without this, however, it’s possible to get an influencer to recommend your beer if he or she really likes it.

Connect with your audience online.

Because beer is so hip now, it’s relatively easy to connect with internet savvy customers who like your products. There are many ways to do this, including SEO for your website, social media, and email marketing. Here are a few basic ideas to keep in mind.

  • Make sure you have a compelling website. Add content, such as blog posts, images and videos regularly. While this sounds time-consuming, if you devote a few minutes every day to posting at least one piece of content, your site will soon have plenty of content for the search engines and your audience to discover.
  • Be active on social media. Choose a couple of sites to focus on. A Facebook page is an important tool for building your brand. If you’re targeting youthful customers, Snapchat is a great way to reach them. Post fun and interactive content, such as coupons for your beer, contests, and information about upcoming promotions.
  • Build a mailing list. An email list, which you can promote on your website and social media pages, is a powerful way to engage with your audience. When you have people’s email addresses, it’s easy to blast out messages whenever you want to promote a sale, new product, or event.

These are just some of the ways to stay in touch with your customers and prospects. With increasing interest in beer, people are eager to learn about the latest products, news, and trends in this industry. Reach out to your audience using a variety of methods, from live events to social media. Find out where your customers get their information and make sure you’re active on these platforms. 

 

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Lessons from Las Vegas

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Sirvo Stories: Sirvo Spends Some Time with Chris Kobayashi of Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen and Bar

Sirvo Stories: Sirvo Spends Some Time with Chris Kobayashi of Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen and Bar

The highly anticipated arrival of Tupelo Honey Cafe in Spring of 2017 brings the talents of Chef Chris Kobayashi to Denver. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and a two-time semifinalist for the James Beard “Best Chef Pacific” award, Chef Kobayashi fits well with Tupelo Honey’s belief in using local and sustainable food products on their menu.

Chef Kobayashi has been the Chef/Owner of Kitchenette and Artisan in California since 2006. Before that, he worked as Executive Chef and Executive Pastry Chef for Robin’s and Brix, also in California.

We were lucky enough to squeeze in a moment or two with the talented Chef to ask him a few questions as we prepare for the Tupelo Honey Cafe arrival in Denver in 2017.

So Chris, where are you from?

CK: Bishop, CA

What’s your favorite dish on the menu at Tupelo Honey and why?

CK: The fried chicken! Who doesn’t like crispy breading and skin?

What do you look for in a Sous Chef or teammate?

CK: Organization. Being organized is the key to any successful service. Front or back of house.

What’s your favorite ingredient to work with?

CK: Although there are many… my go to ingredients usually contain something cured or fermented. Something like miso or fermented chilies are readily accessible and add complexity and depth without [needing] a lot of ingredients.

Name the person you would most like to cook for and why?

CK: The person who I like cooking for the most is my 10-year-old son. Being in the industry it’s tough to get in some quality time. He’s at the age where he wants to participate in cooking and really gets into helping out. What’s really funny is when he goes to a sleepover and is trying to give his friend’s mom cooking tips on how to execute a better breakfast.

Do you have any kitchen/ restaurant pet peeves?

CK: When part of your team doesn’t work to the best of their ability. Everyone makes mistakes, but when someone doesn’t try, that’s just lazy.

What was your nickname at the restaurant (and how did you get it)?

CK: Koby. Short for Kobayashi. This name has followed me around from kitchen to kitchen. Since there are so many people with the name Chris, it’s always been a good shoe in. As a matter of fact, the Sous Chef’s name is Chris and the Executive Sous name is Crystal.

What’s the best and worst thing that Food Network has done for the industry?  

CK: There is no doubt that the Food Network has put the cooking industry in the spotlight. We were all just a bunch of misfits and a dysfunctional group of people. It was considered a second rate job that was for the lower socio-economic class. The Network broke the stigma and made chefs rock stars. Which was also the worst thing. Kitchens are a tough working environment and that is not what is portrayed on TV. However, the Network has elevated the craft and has made food a priority in many households. This country is based on so many cultures and the best way to portray our ethnicities is through food. Food Network has made this accessible and possible for chefs to make a living.

What did you have for dinner last night?

CK: Pork collar dumplings with first of the season sugar snap peas!!! And rice grits.

Last weekend on earth – what city are you eating in?

CK: On my last weekend? I would finish out in Hong Kong. Noodles, dumplings, chilies, fermented vegetables and did I mention dumplings? #dimsum #forever

If you got $5,000 how would you spend it?

CK: Let’s pretend I didn’t have a mountain of culinary school loans to pay off! I would definitely go on a trip to Asia and eat my way through. There definitely is a lot to be learned about food through experiencing different cultures. I feel that there is a lot that I could learn from the Asian cultures to incorporate techniques used in my own cooking style.

What are you reading now?

CK: Mostly trade publications in the form of magazines and net. *Lucky Peach! Food smut.

You can catch up with Chris and find out what he’s up to on Tupelo Honey’s Facebook and Instagram pages. Tupelo Honey will be bringing its long-awaited Southern Revival scratch-made menu to the Platform near Denver Union Station in May 2017. Stay tuned to Sirvo for hiring announcements and more on Tupelo’s locally sourced, seasonal menu and cocktails.

Interested in working for Tupelo Honey? Check out their open interviews!

When:     Daily 4/11/17 thru 4/21/17 @ 10:00am – 5:30pm
Where:    Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen & Bar (1650 Wewatta St. Denver, CO 80202)

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Survival Guide: Food and Beverage Industry Edition

Survival Guide: Food and Beverage Industry Edition

Running a successful restaurant and surviving in the food and beverage industry can be challenging because of intense competition, shifting demographics, rising food costs, high turnover rates, changing labor laws or constant health hazards. However, talented managers and decision makers can use their business skills and experience to make better decisions that lead to success and profitability.

read more
Creative Beer Marketing Ideas

Creative Beer Marketing Ideas

Whether you’re selling the latest craft or traditional leading brands, there’s more competition than ever. So how do you stand apart and sell more product? Here are some innovative beer marketing strategies you can use to outsell the competition.

read more

Experience Sirvo for yourself

Sign up now to find hospitality jobs and hire top industry talent.

Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen and Bar Comes to Denver Spring 2017

Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen and Bar Comes to Denver Spring 2017

Gracious food with southern roots arrives in Denver this Spring. Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen and Bar will be bringing its long-awaited Southern Revival scratch-made menu to the Platform near Denver Union Station in May.

Hailing from the beer mecca of Asheville, N.C., Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen and Bar has found rapid success by focusing on their mission to stay committed to responsibly sourced products, working with local vendors and enhancing their employee’s experience.

View Tupelo Honey Open Jobs →

The Asheville location first opened back in 2000 and was known as a late-night favorite for the local crowd. The original Tupelo Honey was one of the first farm-to-table establishments in Asheville and the cafe quickly found success. It’s now spread to 13 locations in 5 southeast states.

The Denver location will be the first to open outside of the south with CEO Stephen Frabitore planning more westward ventures for the future.

Tupelo Honey 1

Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen and Bar is known for a locally sourced, seasonal menu which changes from region to region, keeping with their commitment to seasonal quality products and vendors. The menu also offers 50 craft beers (also emphasizing local breweries), cocktails highlighting Southern craft spirits, and responsibly sourced sustainable wines.

 

With plans to also promote Denver artists on their walls and to support local charities, Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen and Bar plans to quickly establish themselves as a pillar of the city’s community.

Along with their dedication to quality and community, Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen and Bar also puts emphasis on ensuring their employees are always satisfied and well taken care of. Plans are to open with a full-time restaurant staff who are immediately eligible for the company’s amazing benefits package.

Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen and Bar also puts emphasis on ensuring their employees are always satisfied and well taken care of.

This package will include basic health care costs, as well as other benefits specifically added to ease employee’s lives. Besides health care, employees will find tuition reimbursement, child care reimbursement, and paid volunteer hours, encouraging employees to give back to their local community.

 

The restaurant company has a genuine interest in developing their employees instead of simply hiring for the moment. The tuition reimbursement benefit is also available for culinary programs and employees are even encouraged to submit their own recipes at each location. Additionally, the staff can participate in beer, wine, and cocktail appreciation courses to further their knowledge and experience.

The tuition reimbursement benefit is also available for culinary programs and employees are even encouraged to submit their own recipes at each location.

With plans to open near Dallas, Texas (in the Cowboy’s training facility, The Star) and looking at other possible locations, working for Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen and Bar may be the start of a long and successful career!

For more information on joining the Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen and Bar team, click here to view their open positions and apply today!

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Lessons from Las Vegas

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New Ruling on Tips in Colorado

New Ruling on Tips in Colorado

A recent Tenth Circuit Court case decision changes the rules on tips depending on if you take the tip credit or not. Our friends at The Colorado Restaurant Association are on top of the story but due to the complexity of this issue, we suggest you read the full story here before acting!

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How To Make Your Business Profile More Attractive To Candidates

How To Make Your Business Profile More Attractive To Candidates

Making your business profile attractive involves a bit of strategic thinking and includes standing out in print, online, and through good old word-of-mouth. There are a number of ways to do this and, depending on your business strategy, it can get very in-depth. For now, we’re just going to touch on the three major components to drawing attention to your business while making sure talent flows your way. These are your website, your social media profiles, and a well done Sirvo profile.

Without further ado, let’s dive right in!

1. Make sure your website is on point.

These days, your website should be displaying more than just your hours and menu.

You want it to show exactly what your establishment is all about. People want to see appealing high-resolution shots of your food, cocktails, and the atmosphere. The foodie culture wants to engage in it all. Customers and employees have a lot of choices these days, so all of these things can help influence their decision.

People want to see appealing high-resolution shots of your food, cocktails, and the atmosphere. The foodie culture wants to engage in it all.

For more help on what you should include on your website, check out our blog post: Five Tips for Taking Your Restaurant Website From Good to Great.

2. Be present on social media.

Remember, social media is a way to interact with and engage with your community. Build your following on all relevant social sites and stay active. Keeping your social profiles updated daily is a great way to make your business stand out.

Most businesses understand the need for a social profile, but very few actually use it correctly. Whether we admit it or not, social media is a powerful marketing tool that you can use to take the temperature of your community, stay on top of trends, network with other business owners…the list goes on and on.

The trick is managing your social media well. If you’re not clear on how to do this or need some extra help, contact us. Sirvo offers a marketing package specifically for restaurants to help manage their social media – just shoot us an email at [email protected] for pricing.

3. Set up the perfect Sirvo recruiting page.

With the first two requirements complete, your Sirvo profile becomes an easy task. Let’s be clear, the first two take the most work, but they’ll allow us here at Sirvo to focus on placing the right talent into your business so you can worry about running your business. Filling out your business profile on Sirvo is a very easy process.

From the Home Page, log in or register for a business account.  To create your business page, select “Pages” from the left side menu and then select “New Page”.

You’ll be taken to a screen that looks similar to your personal profile dashboard. From here you can customize everything. We’d advise you to put a high-resolution image in your background header that highlights an aspect of your business you’d want others to know you for or be impressed with. Add your business logo for the main profile picture to complete the header.

Add a high-resolution image in your background header that highlights an aspect of your business you’d want others to know you for or be impressed with.

Make sure to give a short but interesting synopsis of the establishment. Describe the atmosphere, vibe, food, etc. Use this space to really attract the type of person you want. A good rule of thumb is to use the same branding on your Sirvo profile as your website and social media.

 

NEXT, THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. Head over to the Settings Page to add your business address.

If you plan to post jobs on Sirvo (which you should be!), then making sure you have the proper city or address is vital! Since we push out your jobs to other affiliated job sites and social media feeds, whatever city and state you have listed in the settings is attached to your job listing across the web. Jobs that do not have address information receive far fewer applicants than ones that do (by a lot!!!).

Jobs that do not have address information receive far fewer applicants than ones that do (by a lot!!!).

If you’re business or concept with multiple locations, simply create another Page for free and specify the location in the Page Setting and by using an identifier in the Page Name (ex: Bobs Bakery – Boulder). This will allow you to specify jobs with different addresses and allows for better organization between hiring managers.

The last piece of the puzzle it to make your job listing stand out. Luckily, we know how to do that, too!

These days, it’s all about your online appearance. That can be as important as your business’s actual appearance. Looking good in the right places feeds into bringing the right kind of people into your building and to making you’re the place everyone wants to be.

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Open Call: Comida at The Source & The Stanley Marketplace

Open Call: Comida at The Source & The Stanley Marketplace

Big news: Comida is hosting an open call on Nov. 2nd-3rd and Nov. 9th-10th and hiring talented individuals for two of their locations, The Source in Denver and The Stanley Marketplace in Aurora!

Comida at The Source

Nov. 2nd-3rd, Nov. 9th-10th

3350 Brighton Blvd, Denver, CO 80216

1:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Please bring a resume or print your Sirvo profile

Comida will be hiring for the following positions with hiring managers on site conducting interviews: Bartenders, Bussers, Dishwashers, Foodrunners, Hosts, Line Cooks, Prep Cooks, Servers. Job descriptions can be found on their Sirvo pages at Comida at The Source and Comida at The Stanley Marketplace.

Comida is “Mexican-inspired street food made from sustainable, quality ingredients and an extensive cocktail menu in a festive indoor/outdoor space.” Started as a taco truck back in 2010, this amazing concept has grown tremendously over the past few years, and is now hard at work preparing for their newest location opening soon at The Stanley Marketplace.

“Stanley Marketplace is about community, and it’s about fun,” says owner Rayme Rossello. “I like both of those things a lot!”

If you are looking to work in a creative, energetic atmosphere and have a passion for hospitality, then be sure to attend Comida’s open call Nov. 2nd-3rd & 9th-10th. Don’t miss this amazing opportunity for you to put a face to a name, showcase your experience and get your foot in the door with one of the best restaurants in Colorado.

“What if I’m not able to go to the open call?”, then just login to your Sirvo profile and apply to the number of positions Comida has listed on our Sirvo.

See you there! 

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Experience Sirvo for yourself

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