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.

Avoiding Negative Chef Stereotypes

Avoiding Negative Chef Stereotypes

There are plenty of stereotypes surrounding the role of the chef–and all too many of them are negative. You, however, want to break out of those stereotypes and create a kitchen that’s fun to work in while still maintaining the expectations of the restaurant’s customers. By learning to recognize these familiar stereotypes, you can avoid the trap of becoming one of them.

Stereotype #1: The Angry Chef

You’re probably familiar with the angry chef from comics and television. This typically male character is often the one standing over a new employee, bellowing at them–or perhaps chasing a server who dared ask for a customer’s requested substitution on a meal. In your kitchen, this plays out as a chef who is quick-tempered, hard to please, and who can quickly bring down the mood of the entire evening.

Avoiding the Stereotype: If you don’t want to be the angry chef, there are several things to keep in mind. First and foremost, respond–don’t react! By controlling your responses to everyone else in the kitchen, you’ll quickly deescalate what could otherwise be a negative situation. You can also follow some of these tips:

  • Always take a minute to think before responding in anger. Is that response the one you really want to give the person in front of you?
  • Remember that some things aren’t within the control of your coworkers. Blasting a server for the customer’s order won’t help!
  • Take a break and calm down if you need to. Just make sure the kitchen is covered!

Stereotype #2: The Stressed-Out Chef

Being a chef is a difficult, demanding job. You’re constantly moving, constantly trying to get orders out, and the danger of making a mistake is high. Not only that, many kitchens are stiflingly hot or packed too full to be comfortable. As a result, this stereotypical chef is constantly running on high-stress levels, rarely able to calm down.

Avoiding the Stereotype: You know just how stressful a bad day at work can be. There are days when the crush of the kitchen can get to anyone! That doesn’t mean, however, that you have to live in that heightened state of stress. Instead, try this:

  • Arrange your kitchen so that things run smoothly most days. Know who to ask to take care of specific tasks, have adequate staff on hand to take care of the orders you know are coming in even on busy days, and do as much prep work as possible ahead of time.
  • Let go of the need for perfection. Take a deep breath and be willing to laugh at yourself when things go wrong.
  • Be a little silly, as long as it doesn’t compromise safety. Humor will always defuse tension!
  • Separate life stresses from work stress. Learn not to bring life stress to work, and don’t take work stress home with you.
  • Take adequate breaks throughout your shift so that you can calm down and regain perspective if needed.

Stereotype #3: The Perfectionist

This stereotypical chef is an artist. Everything must be exactly so: the recipe followed perfectly, the plates arranged exactly the same way before they leave the kitchen, and everything moving at exactly the pace he’s set. If things don’t go his way, he’s right there in the middle, micromanaging the little details and insisting that perfectly adequate work be redone until it’s up to his standard of perfection.

Avoiding the Stereotype: Ouch! Did The Perfectionist sound just a bit too familiar? Fortunately, you can learn to let go and avoid micromanaging every aspect of your employees’ performance. Try this:

  • Delegate, then let people do the jobs they’ve been assigned. Don’t hover over them every moment.
  • Don’t insist on perfection. Keep in mind that most people won’t notice many of the differences you’re stressing over.
  • Give your staff freedom. Trust that they know what they’re doing and will come to you if there’s a problem–most of the time, they will!

You don’t want to be a stereotypical chef. You want to be a great, memorable chef with a staff who enjoys working for you. By avoiding these key stereotypes, you can shift the way you respond to your kitchen staff and your customers, making yourself more than a stereotype ever could be.

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Tips For Ensuring The Safety Of The Kitchen Staff

Tips For Ensuring The Safety Of The Kitchen Staff

Working in a kitchen is rewarding, but it does present some dangers. Between sharp knives, hot oil and crowded work conditions, you are daily risking your health. So, you want to stay in this job without injury for as long as possible. How do you do this? Well, it’s actually as simple as following some safety guidelines.

The Right Shoes

The first element in safety is equipment, and one of your most valuable pieces of equipment is your shoes. Invest in non-slip, comfortable work shoes that can take you standing in them all day. The non-slip part will prevent you from slipping on the inevitable spills that kitchens are notorious for. The comfortable part will spare your back, legs, and feet from stress injuries.

You will also want something that repels water, as standing in soggy shoes for hours after mopping up a spill threatens your toes with fungus. Such slip-resistant, water-resistant and comfortable shoes may take time to find and cost quite a bit when you find them, but the investment will save you a lot of money lost in time off and doctor’s bills later on.

Cover Your Arms

Hot water and hot oil flies in kitchens, and they can leave burns worse than actual fires. To limit the damage that hot oil splashing out of a pan and landing on your arm can do, wear sleeve protectors. These are cloth coverings that cover your wrist to your elbow. This will put an easily-removed barrier between you and the heat.

Find The First Aid Kit

Every restaurant should be equipped with a first aid kit that the kitchen staff can quickly access. Bandaging an injury immediately prevents infections and other future complications. If your kitchen doesn’t have a first aid kit or the one you have is running low, get one. An emergency could happen at any time, and you don’t want to be scrambling around for gauze in the middle of a shift.

Handle Knives Correctly (And Generally Be Aware Of Your Surroundings)

Remember what you learned about knife safety when you were learning to be a chef. Tuck your thumb under the hand you’re using to hold something still when cutting. Hand knives to people handle first (or put it in front of them handle first if possible.) Don’t run, especially not with sharp objects in your hands, and just be aware of your surroundings. Busy kitchens can get crowded and have lots of cutting edges. Don’t fall victim to them.

Change Up Your Tasks

People tend to associate injuries caused by repetitive motion with factories and offices, but any job that requires you to make the same motions over and over stresses the joints and muscles in your body. The stress causes inflammation which leads to pinched nerves, weakness and pain. The best way to avoid this is to change activities and give the stressed group of muscles a rest. Let the line cook take an afternoon off of frying to chop vegetables. Give the prep chef’s hands a break by letting them do the dishes. Variety is both the spice of life, and a dose of prevention in this case.

Watch The Heat

Kitchens get hot. Restaurant kitchens can get particularly hot because they are crowded and have sources of heat running all day long. They should be properly ventilated, with a screen door that allows hot air to leave and a fan to move the heat along. A line chef, of course, doesn’t have much control over that, but he or she can take along bottles of cool water to sip from throughout the day and dress in layers. Try to wear breathable clothes as much as possible, and make sure any ventilation available is on.

Every great job has its risks, but you can mitigate them with a little care. Follow these guidelines and you will enjoy a long, safe career in the food industry.

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Restaurant Delivery Is On The Rise

Restaurant Delivery Is On The Rise

Restaurants have unexpectedly found themselves in the middle of a recession. For whatever reason, people just aren’t eating out anymore. In some cases, it’s a lack of time. In others, it’s a concern about high-calorie count, large portions, or even the noisy restaurant atmosphere. The result for restaurant owners, however, is the same: they’re experiencing decreased income and a struggle to maintain their businesses. Fortunately, many restaurants are finding a new solution: restaurant delivery.

What’s the Rush?

Today’s customers are busy. They’re after convenience and speed–often over price. They’ve spent long hours at work or with the kids, and when dinner time rolls around, the last thing they want is to have to step away from their current activities to prepare a complicated meal. This is the reason many meal delivery services, like HelloFresh or Blue Apron, are flourishing: they offer simplicity and convenience all rolled into one. However, restaurants who offer delivery can extend even more convenience to customers by delivering fully-prepared meals straight to the customer’s door.

 If your restaurant is struggling to stay afloat during this restaurant recession, offering this one key service is a great way to decrease those difficulties.

This restaurant delivery service is something that many customers are demanding with greater volume than ever. When they don’t have time to go out and get a meal themselves, they want the restaurant to bring it to them–and they’re not quiet about their requests. Many fast food restaurants and casual dining locations quickly find that the primary request of their customers is that they offer delivery on their food. If your restaurant is struggling to stay afloat during this restaurant recession, offering this one key service is a great way to decrease those difficulties.

The Real Cost of Delivery

For many restaurants, delivery services can be difficult to implement, especially at first. Let’s go over several key challenges:

Customers aren’t ordering as much through delivery as they might if they were eating in the restaurant–especially of high-margin items like drinks and desserts. Preparing for those issues ahead of time might include offering free dessert or a percentage off an appetizer for initial delivery clients. Once they’re used to seeing those items come through their doors with their meals, they’ll be more likely to order them in the future.

Offering delivery increases complexity. There’s additional insurance to be purchased, delivery drivers to manage, and a kitchen to balance. You don’t want delivery customers to have to wait too long for their food, but you don’t want to decrease the service you’re offering your in-restaurant customers, either. Finding this balance is critical to beginning a successful restaurant delivery service.

Third-party services don’t allow the restaurant full control. Unfortunately, if delivery drivers who aren’t part of your specific restaurant offer poor service, from slow delivery times to poor people skills at the door, customers are going to link that behavior with your restaurant. If you’re going to work with a third-party service, it’s critical that you vet them fully before beginning the partnership in order to ensure a more effective outcome for both your restaurant and your customers.

Whether you decide that setting up a delivery service is far too difficult or you’re ready to dive in and see if it will work for your restaurant, it’s important to note that many other restaurants–especially chains–are already jumping in. From partnering with Uber Eats, like McDonald’s, to teaming up with DoorDash, like Wendy’s, many restaurants have already taken the plunge to see how delivery will work for their restaurants.

In order to remain competitive, many restaurants may find that restaurant delivery is the best way to keep their corner of the market and ensure that they’re providing the best possible service for all of their customers. So, if you aren’t already thinking about delivery services, it should definitely be on your radar!

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Lessons from Las Vegas

Lessons from Las Vegas

In the aftermath of the horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas, it’s important to refresh yourself and your staff on the best practices that have been in place for many years.

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Marketing Tips for Your Restaurant’s Best Mother’s Day Ever

Marketing Tips for Your Restaurant’s Best Mother’s Day Ever

According to the National Restaurant Association, more than one-quarter of American adults celebrate Mother’s Day by dining out. This, as well as Valentine’s Day, results in one of the busiest days of the week for many restaurants. Get your share of this all-important market by following a few tried-and-true tips and convert new guests into loyal customers.

Brunch

Brunch is still the most popular meal for people who are age 65 and over. To target this audience, consider an exclusive Mother’s Day no-holds-barred brunch. What draws this crowd in? Quality often surpasses quantity and traditional items hold nostalgic memories. Consider a unique twist on the classics such as salmon with eggs benedict, lobster frittata, roasted chicken on crispy waffles, or challah French toast. Incorporate fresh herbs and edible flowers into soups and salads. While some restaurants offer an a la carte menu of favorites or a buffet, others choose prix-fixe three-course brunch specials. Choose the format your restaurant is best set up for in order to make this day a success.

Treat Mom Special

Treating mom special is what this day is all about. Consider bottomless mimosas or sparkling apple cider and don’t forget to hand out the flowers. As florists find themselves on the brink of crazy, be sure to place your order early. Your mother’s day goal: to convert first time customer’s into long-term loyal repeat guests.  To this end, consider giving out special Mother’s Day cards that offer a complimentary appetizer on their next visit.

You only get one chance at a first impression, so be sure mom and her family are pleasantly surprised when they enter your establishment. Make flowers the motif of the day and choose colors that go with your ambiance. If your design is such that most colors work well, consider classic combinations such as violets and yellows.

Kid Friendly

This holiday is a family outing so expect an over-abundance of little tykes. To help your adult guests enjoy their outing and keep the little one’s from going stir-crazy, consider a special area designated for kids. This section has little tables with paper tablecloths and massive crayons as well as etcher-sketchers, coloring books and blank cards they can color for mom. You’ll need one staff member to keep an eye on the little people’s section, but your guests will truly be impressed that you went the extra mile for them. And don’t forget a kid-friendly menu with easy finger foods such as chicken tenders, raw vegetables dipped in ranch, and anything cheesy.

Get the Word Out

Be sure to use your social media platforms to get the word out. In addition to traditional Facebook posts and twitter tweets, consider Instagram and Pinterest as ways to actually show your delectable offerings. “A picture paints a thousand words. “ —Arthur Brisbane.

Other advertising portals include Urbanspoon, Yelp, and OpenTable. YouTube is the place to post a video of kids playing in their designated area, your chef preparing a delectable item and happy customers enjoying a relaxing shared meal.

Traditional marketing methods still work, despite digital marketing’s overbearing presence. Consider making classic flyers regarding your special offerings and ask your local floral shop to display them (the one you’ve ordered your flowers from). Other display venues include office buildings, libraries, community centers, and gyms. Make sure you’ve got your specials posted out in front of your restaurant well in advance to attract passer-bys.

Make your Mother’s Day special stand out on your website and, if you don’t already know the importance of blogging in your marketing strategy, now is the time to start. Blogs are less about advertising and more about sharing valuable information. Consider a blog on the local activities your community is sponsoring for Mother’s Day.

Specials

Consider going in with a local business to create “Mother’s Day packages.” This can include a massage at the local spa or tickets to the local theater, museum, planetarium or botanical gardens. As a special offering for your mother’s day guests, and to promote another stream of income, consider branding items that your restaurant commonly uses and that people rave about, whether it’s your homemade salsa, blue cheese dressing or scented lotion you supply in your restrooms.

If you’ve been in the restaurant business for any length of time, you know the worst feeling is having your business full to overflowing and not having the necessary staff to care for your patrons. Make sure you’re prepared for a busy Mother’s Day—providing the service and quality food and ambiance your regular customers have come to expect and your new clients will come to cherish.

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Lessons from Las Vegas

Lessons from Las Vegas

In the aftermath of the horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas, it’s important to refresh yourself and your staff on the best practices that have been in place for many years.

read more

Experience Sirvo for yourself

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