What a Restaurant Needs in a Website

What a Restaurant Needs in a Website

Restaurant patronage used to be based on a combination or word-of-mouth reputation and prominence on common travel routes. While you will always have your loyal return customers, new diners are finding their destinations in modern ways that have a lot more to do with online presence than on exterior decor or where your building is in relation to popular streets. When an individual, couple, or family is looking for a restaurant to try either near their home or while on vacation, the first place they look is the internet. Between Google and Yelp, most people make their decisions based on ratings, reviews, and the information they can gather before punching a location into their GPS navigation system. However, no matter how many positive local reviews you get, many people won’t even consider a restaurant unless they can investigate it completely via their website.

Building Your Restaurant Website

Most restaurants know that they need a website and even pay to have one built, but it’s astounding to see exactly how many have no idea what customers are really looking for in terms of features and information. Most restaurant websites include beautiful pictures of the dining room, the founder’s story, and a lot of really lovely visual assets without a single drop of useful information. Maybe you have a website, and perhaps you put a lot of effort into making it attractive, but does it actually have what it takes to bring customers in to dine or call for take-out?

What Your Website Needs:

  • Pictures of The Environment
  • Pictures of the Food
  • A Well-Written Menu with Prices
  • Accurate Contact and Delivery Information
  • A Careers Page
  • An Easy Online Delivery Interface
  • Regular Testing to Eliminate Frustrating Bugs

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures

While most venues miss at least one of the listed points, they usually understand the need for pictures. When a customer is deciding where to eat, they want a good idea of the kind of experience they’re getting into and what to expect from the food itself. This means clear pictures of the dining room and tables, along with a nice selection of photos of what real plated meals look like. If you want to really influence purchases, arrange your photos to include the entree, sides, dipping sauces, and beverages of a standard meal so that customers can understand exactly what they can get from your dining experience.

Clearly Written Menu

There’s nothing worse than getting excited about a local restaurant only to discover that there is no sign of an online menu. Many people want the chance to plan their meal ahead of time without the few awkward minutes of indecision at the table with a hovering waiter. However, even more frustrating than no menu at all is an enticing menu with no prices, leading customers to assume that they will only experience sticker shock even if they love their meal. A clear menu is especially important if you don’t want to drive away lucrative delivery orders.

Easy to Use Delivery Interface

It’s important to remember who your customers are and how the world is changing. While phone calls used to be the best way to take remote orders, modern young adults and introverts of all ages would much rather deal with an online form than try to explain their order over the phone. You can significantly increase your revenue from deliveries and take-out orders by incorporating a bug-free and easy to use online interface. If you’re on a budget, even the ability to type out their orders as simple text message is better than nothing.

Careers Page

Customers aren’t the only important people who will find you online. Most restaurants work hard to stay fully staffed with skilled team members and it’s important to never stop looking for talented new employees. This is why almost every business website on the internet includes a careers page which works a lot better than a ‘now hiring’ sign in the window for the same reason your restaurant website brings in more customers than foot traffic does. If you want to find talented waiters, delivery drivers, and kitchen staff, make sure to keep your online doors open to applications.

custom career page restaurant hospitality and retail

Sirvo can provide subscription customers with a careers page that can be easily inserted into their company’s WordPress website. Not only will your careers page showcase the culture and benefits of being employed with your business, but they will have access to all your current opportunities that are automatically updated so applicants can apply straight from your careers page with a seamless experience. Learn more and sign up here.

Test Regularly

Once you have a trendy interactive website for your customers and future team members to find you through, don’t forget to test it and confirm that they can successfully reach you through the site. Nothing is more frustrating than entering your menu order or filling out a job application only for the software to break at the ‘submit’ stage. Test your website regularly to keep it in good working order.

As the world moves forward into an almost permanently half-online state, every adaptive business is changing to keep up and restaurants are no exception. With a great website and active hiring policies, your venue should be rocking the online and in-house orders until the next big technological step forward.

What to Include in a Cover Letter

What to Include in a Cover Letter

After spending so much time on your resume, it can feel frustrating to find out you also need to write a cover letter. But rather than thinking of this requirement as a burden, view the cover letter as a platform. This is your chance to explain why you’re the best fit for a job and prove it, all in one place. If you think an employer might have concerns about your work history, you can use a cover letter to ease their fears.

That’s a lot of information to pack into one letter. Fortunately, there’s a standard template you can follow.

1. Contact Information

Begin your letter with your own contact information. Include your name, address, phone number, and email address. You can even include your Sirvo URL. If you do, make sure you’ve chosen a custom Sirvo URL that uses your name or a professional phrase, not just random numbers.

If you’d like, you can use the same header as your resume. Your resume header should already have your name and contact information, and using it for your cover letter creates a consistent look across your application documents.

After your own information, list the company or hiring manager’s information. A name, job title, company name, and address is sufficient. Including the employer’s contact information is a traditional practice that’s expected in physical cover letters. However, it’s not always relevant today. For example, in emails or when filling out an online form, you can skip your employer’s contact information.

2. Greeting

A greeting is so simple that it doesn’t seem worth mentioning. But what’s important about the greeting is that you use a person’s name. “Dear Sir or Madam” or “To Whom It May Concern” won’t leave your employer with a good impression. On the other hand, using a contact’s name is personable and demonstrates that you cared enough to do your research.

Finding a name isn’t always easy. The first place you should check is the source of the job opening. Some job ads include a contact’s name. If you learned about the job through your network, ask that person who will be reviewing applications for the job opening. But most of the time, you’ll need to do some internet sleuthing.

Begin at the company’s website and search for a hiring manager. If there’s no clear contact listed online or the company lists more than one hiring manager, your best shot is to just call the company. Don’t try to call the person you think will be doing the hiring. Instead, call the main line. Explain that you’re applying for this position and that you’d like to know the hiring manager’s name. They should be perfectly willing to help you out.

If none of that works you can always get creative and use something like, “Dear future superior,” or “Hello amazing hiring manager,”. That’ll get their attention!

3. Introduction

When you finally begin your letter, introduce yourself and state the position you’re applying for up front. Most people mention where they heard about the job, and this is especially important to do if you found out through a mutual contact. Being part of someone’s extended network automatically makes you more trustworthy than a general applicant.

Your first paragraph should also have a “hook,” that concept you learned about in elementary school English class. Capture the reader’s attention with information that leaves them wanting to read more. Examples are a time when you successfully did similar work, a skill that’s directly relevant to the job, or a connection to the company or its mission.

4. Body Paragraphs

After your introduction, include two to three body paragraphs dedicated to demonstrating your skills and knowledge of the company. First, paint yourself as a strong candidate for the job. Detail how your strengths would be an asset to the employer. Highlight past achievements by using concrete examples and numbers and feel free to organize this information into a list or bullet point to emphasize it.

The hiring manager might not know who/what ‘Bob’s Burgers’ is, or how that experience would be related to the position listed, so it’s your job to let them know what you learned and why it’s relevant.

Even if your past experience isn’t directly related to the position you’re applying for, you have transferable skills that apply to this job. The cover letter is your chance to explain how all your experience is relevant and makes you an excellent fit.

Either within your skills paragraphs or in the following paragraph, demonstrate your knowledge about the company and job opening. Connect your skills to what you know about the company and their pain points. For example, you might have noticed areas where they struggle and have ideas about how you can help them improve. Being well-informed about the company is an asset and places you ahead of the competition.

5. Conclusion

Before you close, briefly summarize why you’d be a great fit for this job, touching on your letter’s “greatest hits.” End the letter with a polite closing, and avoid saying anything that sounds too demanding or arrogant. Finally, use a formal closing such as “Sincerely” or “Best” when signing off. If you’re submitting a physical letter, leave space for your signature.

A cover letter doesn’t have to be a stressful task. Just follow the standard formula for a clear and professional letter.

You might also like…

Experience Sirvo for yourself

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

Problem Customers: How To Handle Them So That Your Boss Takes Notice

Problem Customers: How To Handle Them So That Your Boss Takes Notice

Customer service is a huge part of the restaurant business, and front-of-house restaurant employees need to keep their people skills sharp to stay ahead in this business. Particularly, you will want to practice dealing with problematic customers. Your shift manager will appreciate your ability to deal with these folks and diffuse tense situations because they can focus on other things. Here are a few tips for dealing with problem customers.

1. Graceful Conversation Enders

Some customers don’t mean to be in the way, but they are overly friendly. They think the waiter is a captive audience or that ‘waitress’ is another word for ‘date.’ Since you are actually working and can’t spend all day listening, you will have to come up with a polite sentence or two that lets you leave the chatterbox.

Some good ones: “That’s great, I’ll have to tell my co-workers. Excuse me.” And, “You know, that is fascinating, but I had better get you your drinks now.”

What are some of your best conversation enders? Let us know on twitter @gosirvo

2. Resolving Customer Complaints

I should clarify: a customer who brings a problem to your attention isn’t immediately problematic. It’s best to take the attitude that any complaint is genuine and serious. Always respond to a complaint with an apology and an offer of a solution to their complaint.

It’s best to give them the impression that you are taking it seriously. Ideally, you are taking it seriously, even if it seems trivial to you. Practice letting them finish their complaints and paraphrasing what you heard them say before giving your own reply. This ensures that you know the problem they want to fix, and it lets them know that you really understood their position. Sometimes just allowing someone to vent and feel heard can solve whatever their complaint was!

Practice looking attentive and not crossing your arms while you listen. Body language can speak volumes to an annoyed customer.

3. Practice Keeping Calm

Develop a mantra for when you are faced with an angry customer that reminds you that everyone sometimes has a bad day and that the complaint isn’t an attack on you. Practice keeping your voice low and calm while talking people through solutions. Your keeping your cool will keep things from escalating.

Additionally, people who are ornery by nature get off on seeing others flustered. Don’t give them the satisfaction.

4. Have A List Of Potential Solutions Handy

Customers who are having a bad time tend to collect complaints until their minor irritation snowballs into general hatred. To the extent that is possible, have a list of potential solutions to potential complaints in your apron pocket so that you can head off the snowball. Typically a free drink or discount coupon will suffice.

There will be times when you won’t be able to do something to head off a complaint. In those situations, it is helpful to have a script that you memorize to explain the situation. Practice calmly saying something such as, “I’m sorry, but we are out of…” and you will be able to clearly communicate your position. This can sometimes be enough to calm a customer.

5. Follow Up On Complaints

Customers want to be treated as individuals, and they want to feel like you personally care about whether they are having a good time. Take a few moments to check in on the especially grouchy to make sure that the solution you offered worked and that they are now in a happier frame of mind.

6. Know When To Call In The Big Guns

All these steps are ways to avoid having to pull in the manager to deal with a customer, but it is sometimes unavoidable. Your manager would rather step in before things get out of hand.

  • If you spilled something on a customer (we’ve all been there) and have potentially ruined not only their clothing but also their night… it’s best to call in a manager.
  • If a customer is insisting that you break a restaurant policy, get a manager. If he or she decides to bend the rules, you aren’t in trouble.
  • If a customer seems to be threatening or is clearly inebriated, the restaurant would prefer that you call for help in getting him or her out of there before the other customers get annoyed.

Knowing how to handle the particularly difficult FOH situations will help you stand out for your boss and further you in your restaurant career. Follow these tips to really impress with your people skills.


The Life of a Line Cook: Traits for Success

The Life of a Line Cook: Traits for Success

For many people, becoming a Line Cook is a dream. The idea of being able to practice cooking in an environment where they can get paid is very appealing to many people. However, this career path is often demanding, requiring long hours and a great deal of mental and physical fortitude. But for those who are determined to try to make it through to becoming a line cook, a little introspection is warranted: thinking about your own traits can help you to figure out if you have all of the necessary characteristics to succeed. Here are some commonly important traits for success in the life of a line cook.

Showing Up

This one sounds easy but too often employees, and especially cooks, just ditch out on their shift or no call no show. This type of attitude and lack of effort will prevent you from succeeding in both the short and long term. Just showing up to work and being a reliable teammate can make all the difference in not only your life but how management sees you. Afterall, as long as you show up to work and have a good attitude, you’ll beat out just about everyone else for that promotion!

Managing the Lifestyle

As previously mentioned, even though being a line cook can be very fulfilling, it has its fair share of difficulties. For some people, the long hours or physically draining quality of the work can prevent them from succeeding. After all, if you have a family, you probably want to be able to take time off from work to see them, too. And many cooks realize that the salary is not what they want. But for those who truly want to be a line cook, these issues often become immaterial.

Loving to Cook

This is a little self-explanatory but certainly worth reiterating: because you are working with food each day and preparing many different dishes, loving to cook is a must for any line cook. And further, having a working knowledge of different foods, techniques and technologies in the kitchen is important to succeeding as a line cook — and loving to cook is a good way to make learning about all of this easier.

Ability to Succeed in a Fast-Paced Environment

Working in a kitchen, especially at busy times of the day, can be hectic. Different customers have different requests for all of the different orders, there are many things going on at once and people are moving all over. Being able to succeed in this kind of environment is essential to succeeding in the life of a line cook. Similarly, being able to juggle multiple tasks simultaneously or multitask is important, too — it would be bad to forget a part of an order during a busy shift.

But beyond just being able to succeed in a fast-paced environment, the life of a line cook is just as much about thriving in that environment. After all, the best line cooks do not just make the food on time — they make it well so that customers are satisfied and return later for more. And in life beyond cooking, too, being able to thrive in a dynamic environment is good, because many different professions require this skill.

Attention to Detail

This is particularly important for line cooks. To make a good-tasting dish, there is a necessary recipe that must be followed. Deviating from this recipe can be disastrous, so being able to pick out the individual details and follow them is a necessary trait for a successful line chef. But being able to modify things while still paying attention to detail is important too: many customers want their dishes created in a certain way, and being able to accommodate that while still producing a good final product is very important.

Of course, there are other important qualities for line cooks to have, but these are a couple of the especially important ones that are necessary to finding success as a line cook. For some people, these requirements are onerous, but for many, love of food and cooking brings in enough gratification that whatever sacrifices come with the job are worthwhile. It takes a certain mentality to succeed as a line cook, but the work is satisfying when all is said and done.

You might also like…

Experience Sirvo for yourself

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

Tips for Newly Hired and Promoted Restaurant Managers

Tips for Newly Hired and Promoted Restaurant Managers

The National Restaurant Association (NRS) states that many new managers are often so eager to be endorsed and make others happy that they make common mistakes. They may institute changes too quickly, hold friends to different standards and think that relationships will remain the same. The following tips will help newly hired and promoted managers avoid common mistakes and achieve success.

Soft Skills

Research by Gallup reveals that companies that hire supervisors and managers based on their people skills and core talents will experience better employee engagement. The research shows that these companies may see a 17 percent increase in productivity, a 30 percent increase in employee engagement and 48 percent increase in overall profitability. Employee turnover rates may decrease up to 19 percent. All of these successful statistics depend on the restaurant manager’s strong interpersonal skills. Good leaders must be flexible and spontaneous to deal with random operational and personnel problems.  An authoritative demeanor and calm voice will help maintain stability in stressed kitchens. Being patient and organized will help maintain quality and efficiency.

Understand Motivation

Many restaurant supervisors may have strong professional skills, but they may lack human resources training or business administration experience. Managers must be able to analyze, understand and motivate their staff. The pressure is intense and the turnover rates are high, so understand individual motivations and collective goals will help restaurant managers maintain employee satisfaction. There are many well-known motivational theories, such as Sirota’s Three Factor Theory that states that employees’ basic needs should be met and that company and employee goals should be aligned. McClelland’s Human Motivation Theory states that employees are motivated by power, affiliation, and achievement. Regardless of the theory, restaurant managers should be able to understand motivation to cultivate respect and top performances.

Real-World Experience

The above-mentioned theories provide insights into the conceptual motivation of employee’s actions. Seasoned restaurant managers know that while employees will have different motivations, they will all follow Maslow’s basic two motivations of safety and survival. That is, employees most value their salaries and job stability. Restaurant manager should know how to create mutually beneficial and long-term relationships between the restaurant and employees. For example, performance reviews that randomly criticize issues without future goals and commitments are not as effective as continual communication and reinforcement.  Performance goals and expectations should be connected to salary increases and job opportunities.

In Defense of Delegation

One of the most important skills a restaurant manager must master is the science of delegation. Even a superstar cannot accomplish everything on their own each day. The best way to help both new supervisors and employees grow is through appropriate delegation. This starts with establishing individual roles and responsibilities. Restaurant managers should learn how to organize themselves so they can direct tasks, follow-up with staff and minimize poor performance. Organized delegation will free them up to focus on more important managerial tasks such as budgeting, marketing, and quality control. Restaurant managers who carefully match the right people with the right tasks and tools will enjoy better results.

Professional Feedback

Reality TV shows with vulgar celebrity chefs often glamorize and exaggerate the conflict and hostility in professional kitchens. While it is true that the restaurant industry runs on extremely tight budgets, schedules and performance standards, the best restaurant managers use their business acumen, HR knowledge, and respectful attitudes to provide feedback, identify problems and discipline staff. Giving real-time feedback in a loud and busy kitchen environment is difficult because many people are either too sensitive or indifferent. Employees need factual feedback to improve their productivity and performance. Constructive criticism that focuses on objective issues will improve issues and mitigate risks.

These tips will help new restaurant managers increase their professional competency and decrease their occupational frustration. Restaurant managers should consider avoiding these nine bad habits. It’s helpful to continually hone skills and seek knowledge through legitimate resources. A good way to find a restaurant management job is to use a job search site that allows you to follow companies, save jobs for later and apply with one click.

You might also like…

Experience Sirvo for yourself

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