Why Your Restaurant Should Focus on Kids (Hint: To Increase Profits)

Why Your Restaurant Should Focus on Kids (Hint: To Increase Profits)

Want to increase your restaurant’s bottom line?  Consider making your eatery kid-friendly. According to Bloomberg, Americans’ spending on dining out has outpaced their spending on groceries for the first time. This includes parents taking their children out to eat in restaurants. With dining out becoming more popular, catering to families makes financial sense. Kids might not eat as much as adults, but making your restaurant kid-friendly can increase your overall volume.  

Include a Variety of Kids’ Options on the Menu

Recent surveys by the American Culinary Federation show that healthy, locally grown menu items are a top choice when eating in a restaurant. This applies to parents as much as anyone else, particularly when they read news stories about the dangers of childhood obesity. Offering healthy menu items for children does not mean that you have to ditch the hot dogs, French fries and macaroni and cheese, but it does mean that adding items like sliced fruit, whole grain bread, low-fat milk and lean meats are a good idea. Parents are more likely to return to a restaurant where they know that they can feed their kids a delicious healthy meal.

With dining out becoming more popular, catering to families makes financial sense.

Pay Attention to Service

Remember that kids are customers, too. They should not just be an afterthought. Respect all customers, regardless of age. Warmly greet parents with children in tow and give them a larger table so that they have room to store all of their gear. A larger table also gives parents room to move items out of kids’ reach if necessary. If appropriate, ask the parents if their kids would like a high chair or booster seat.

Children, depending on age, want to be treated like adults and appreciate being asked directly what they would like to order. Serve kids’ meals quickly, even if the adult food is not ready. Parents very much appreciate speedy service. Show flexibility when it comes to food items, since many children these days have food allergies. Be ready to offer substitutions and give information about food ingredients if needed.

  • Make sure every bathroom has a changing station. Put a short stool under the sink so that children can stand on it when they wash their hands.
  • Offer an online menu. Parents appreciate knowing what options are available for their kids ahead of time.
  • Have kids-eat-free days. Offer a free child meal for every adult meal purchased. This is a simple way to attract more families.

Ensure that Children Have Plenty to Do 

Children become bored easily and quickly. Ensure that they have plenty to do while waiting for their food to keep them from acting out. Provide child-friendly appetizers, paper tablecloths, coloring books and crayons. Make the menus colorful, entertaining and even interactive. They might have a word search game, a crossword puzzle or a fun worksheet on the back. You can also hand these out to kids and their parents while they wait for a table.

Remember that kids are customers, too.

Consider creating a kids’ corner. It should be a place that is visible from every angle in the restaurant so that parents can see their kids at all times. Add pillows, coloring books, drawing papers, Lego blocks, reading books and other kid favorites to give children a place to play while waiting for their meal. While these areas can often be tedious to manage, they serve as great ways for parents to offer their kids distractions when patience runs short. Rotate the toys out to avoid old ones getting grimy.

Making your restaurant a child-friendly place takes a little work but is worth the effort.  Parents will appreciate it, and children will, too. They might even become lifelong customers.

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Work Culture: Creating A Place To Love Not Leave

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A great work culture not only makes your business more fun and less stressful for you and your employees, it is critical to your competitive success. Find out why it’s good business to be a happy business in our latest post!

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Restaurant Minimum Wage – What Now?

Restaurant Minimum Wage – What Now?

The Colorado Restaurant Association has been doing great keeping us all up to date in regards to Amendment 70 and how that affects our industry, here is the latest new brought to you by our friends at CRA.

Regardless of how you felt about Amendment 70 (Colorado’s minimum wage ballot initiative), most of you will be impacted by it. We have received many questions from our members about how other restaurants plan to react.

First, to clarify, Amendment 70 is a constitutional amendment that increases Colorado’s minimum wage to $12/hour and the tipped wage to $8.98/hour by January 1, 2020. The passage of this amendment raises Colorado’s minimum wage as follows:

  • January 1, 2017: $9.30/hr. Tipped Wage = $6.28
  • January 1, 2018: $10.20/hr. Tipped Wage = $7.18
  • January 1, 2019: $11.10/hr. Tipped Wage = $8.08
  • January 1, 2020: $12.00/hr. Tipped Wage = $8.98

After that time, wages will increase annually according to the Boulder/Denver/Greeley CPI. They will not decrease in the event of a recession.

What are restaurants doing to cope with these increases?

Each of you will have to determine the right mix of how you will manage this increase. When we surveyed our members on a similar increase in 2015 they responded as follows:

  • 89% will increase prices
  • 72% will reduce hours for employees – ex: keep a smaller staff for traditionally slower times
  • 71% will reduce # of employees – Some restaurants have told us that they are eliminating bussers or runners for example
  • Some may decide to add a service charge
  • Some have mentioned trying tip pooling as a way to help with pay equity

What is a service charge? What is a tip? What is a tip pool? How can I use them legally?

Under both Colorado and Federal law any charge that is automatically applied to the bill and the customer must pay, even automatic gratuities for large parties, is considered a service charge. There are very distinct differences between tips and service charges, here are just a few.

Tips:

  • Are given freely from the customer to the employee, where the customer, in his/her sole discretion, decides whether or not to tip and how much belong to the employee, not the restaurant
  • Management cannot direct the use of that money
  • Sales tax is not applied to a tip

Service Charge:

  • Is anything automatically applied to the bill
  • Is considered revenue of the business
  • Management can determine how the money will be used
  • Funds can be given to the employee but must be done through the payroll system
  • Any money given to the employee from the service charge cannot be counted towards a tip credit
  • Restaurants must collect appropriate sales tax

Tip Pool:

  • Employers may run a tip pool but they must comply with certain requirements
  • The employer must provide written notice to all employees who will be participating in the tip pool prior to their participation
  • Only employees who customarily and regularly receive tips can participate in the tip pool. According to federal law, servers, counter personnel, bussers, and service bartenders can clearly participate.
  • Those that can’t participate are owners, managers, supervisors, janitors, dishwashers, chefs, cooks, and food prep personnel
  • If you are thinking about organizing a tip pool, please contact the CRA to ensure you are administering it correctly

Is there a chance that we can correct the flaws with amendment 70 by altering the tipped wage or adding a learning wage?

We believe that to be nearly impossible. Only one time in the last 100 years was something added to our constitution and later removed – prohibition. In order to change the constitution – as we saw with amendment 70 – we would need to raise millions of dollars just to get it on the ballot – and another several million to educate the public.

For this issue – many of our members who were adamantly opposed to it didn’t give to the campaign to defeat this. Meanwhile, the unions who initiated this have very deep pockets and would fight it heavily.

Going forward…

While this will be a difficult adjustment for a lot of businesses, it is what it is and those who have already started the process will be ahead of the game. It is always a struggle to balance the cost of doing business and providing a fair and liveable wage. We want our staff members to have a good quality of life, but we also want to make sure our doors are open to do so. These are interesting times right now for the industry and despite it all, we will go forward.

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Experience Sirvo for yourself

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

Modern Day Job Listing Advice for Hospitality Employers

Modern Day Job Listing Advice for Hospitality Employers

One of the main ideas we emphasize when training new restaurant and hospitality employees is the importance of making a great first impression with guests, but are we living by that same rule when it comes to our hiring practices? Are we making an effort to provide job seekers with that same great first impression?

Most job listings read the same way and it’s hard for job seekers to differentiate one group from the next. With an influx of a new generation of workers, newly arrived residents, and an expanding restaurant market, we need a renewed focus on how we brand and market ourselves to this vast amount of applicants. Here are a few key points that will help make your open listings as attractive as possible.

Be specific about the position

Posting a job for “All Positions” will do you more harm than good. It scares off a lot of potential applicants who see through the guise of posts like these. You may have a need to fill several positions at once, but your typical applicant may fear being pushed into a position in which they will not be happy nor successful.

Stop trying to hire for today and start hiring for tomorrow.

Why is this important? Because you don’t want to invest in a “maybe”, you will be wasting time and money trying to pawn off less attractive positions to applicants who are not interested. Need a Dishwasher? Then create a listing for that specific position, there is someone out there looking for that type of work who has the background you need.

Emphasize your culture

What makes you different than everyone else? Do you throw employee parties a few times a year? Are you a “green” restaurant that that has a good sustainability program? Then say so because job applicants not only want to know these things but these are the aspects that make one job more attractive than the next. You have invested a lot of time creating and fostering that culture, so tell your story and engage the type of individuals you want to work for you.

Learn more about Sirvo’s tools to increase your candidate reach and engagement.

We need to come to one realization above all else, WE ARE COMPETING FOR TALENT. While you may know that your group is the best to work for, job seekers will have no clue unless you market yourself that way.

Focus on compensation & upward mobility

We understand that compensation isn’t always something a company wishes to reveal. No one wants to write an open check to an unknown entity in fear that it may be exploited. However, you should be confident in the incentives that your group offers.

If there are opportunities for advancement and higher pay, advertise that within the job listing. Do you have employees who started as support staff and are now in management? Tell those stories! Paint that picture in your listing and show job seekers that there are ways to move up within your company.

Often times most job listings read the same way and its hard for job seekers to differentiate one group from the next.

Need-based hiring vs. effective hiring

We need to stop trying to put a band-aid on our hiring issues and instead put a long-term plan together. Everyone keeps looking for that quick-fix, meanwhile, labor costs are rising and our turnover rate is through the roof! We need to reevaluate our hiring practices and plan for the future. Stop trying to hire for today and start hiring for tomorrow. It will pay dividends in the future and ultimately save you a lot of headaches and money.

The days of simply saying “Now Hiring Line Cooks” and watching applicants pour in are over. Now it’s time to modernize hiring efforts so that the focus is on retention, and Sirvo can help.

While you may not have taken advantage just yet, online hiring platforms like Sirvo offer employers the tools and reach they need to effectively recruit in this day and age. That said, job listings must speak for themselves and sell job seekers on your company. Need some help? Use our job listing templates to get started. Your new hires are waiting for you, so post your open jobs today! 

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Experience Sirvo for yourself

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Developing Your HR Strategies for 2017

Developing Your HR Strategies for 2017

With the new year just around the corner, it’s time to review the numbers from the last 12 months, identify where to improve and set goals and expectations for 2017. As you look at this past year, metrics relating to human resources, including hiring, scheduling and the like, will most certainly be under the microscope, as they should be. The hospitality industry as a whole suffered from a 72% turnover rate in 2015 and while numbers haven’t been compiled yet for 2016, we anticipate an increase for a sixth year in a row.

With this in mind, your HR strategies moving forward need to be optimized and that’s why we’re laying out a few of the best digital solutions to help you make this next year a great one for business.

RSI’s goal is to free operators from behind-the-scenes activities, such as payroll and inventory, so that they can focus on their guests and employees. RSI has a variety of digital solutions, HR and otherwise, that can help ensure the success and financial wealth of their clients.

Their HR-related software includes payroll and taxes as well as staff performance and knowledge, which ranges from onboarding and training to HR compliance. RSI’s tools can optimize your staff-related programs so that your customers are satisfied and your cash register full! Check out their restaurant solutions here.

As the name suggests, ZUUS’s software is focused on staff scheduling with the main goal of reducing your customer wait times and driving profit. ZUUS not only provides restaurant and hospitality employers with a staff scheduling tool but does so by incorporating customer and sales demand forecasts for ultimate precision.

ZUUS also includes performance management reporting so you can optimize regardless of business changes. ZUUS can help improve staff morale, reduce staff turnover and maximize revenue. Learn more about their platform here.

HyprLoco is all about personalizing the customer experience by understanding who is in your store in real-time, then providing staff with intelligence so everyone is treated as a regular, whether it’s their first or hundredth visit. HyprLoco’s software analyzes customer data and integrates with your POS systems, mobile apps and digital menu boards enabling team members to provide personalized service from upsell items to promotions.

This not only delivers an exceptional guest experience but also sets your staff up for success and successful employees are happy employees! Find out how HyprLoco can help your HR strategies here.

While RSI, ZUUS and HyprLoco provide solutions for current employee strategies, Sirvo focuses on securing your future employees. With the goal of increasing employee retention and reducing cost per hire, Sirvo provides hospitality-related businesses with intuitive and robust recruitment services.

On the Sirvo platform, hiring teams can post open positions to their media-rich company pages, which are automatically distributed across Sirvo’s partner networks including Indeed, Glassdoor and Zip Recruiter, ensuring your jobs have high visibility. In addition, employers are able to source potential hires by utilizing the search candidates feature, maintain a streamlined process with the applicant tracking system and speed up candidate communication via the messaging hub.

Beyond the app, Sirvo can also turn your website and Facebook page into recruitment tools with a custom career page and Facebook jobs tab add-on. See what Sirvo’s hiring services can do for your restaurant, retail or hospitality business.

Regardless of your specific HR goals for the year ahead, utilizing these software solutions can help your business achieve its bottom line. From hiring and onboarding to scheduling and performance, there is always room for improvement so why not make this upcoming year one in which you optimize your strategies and grow your company!

Learn how Sirvo can help you!

Cut costs and increase employee retention with Sirvo’s tools and services.

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Complying with the Food Safety Management Act (FSMA)

Complying with the Food Safety Management Act (FSMA)

To assist food chain businesses, the FDA issued these final rules for the Food Safety Management Act (FSMA). And even if you’re not an importer, you should study up because you want to know that the people from whom you buy food are following safe food practices.

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Recent News on Federal Overtime Regulation

Recent News on Federal Overtime Regulation

U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant in Texas has placed a temporary injunction on the Department of Labor’s new federal overtime rule postponing its implementation until a ruling is made or the federal government appeals the injunction. This is welcome news for thousands of business owners across the country and unwelcome news for millions of salaried workers. 

New rule and injunction

In short, the new overtime regulations set to go into effect December 1, 2016, would have raised the threshold for overtime pay from $23,660 per year to $47,476 per year, requiring employers to pay overtime wages (40+ hours) to salaried employees who made less than the new threshold. There were about 12 million salaried employees who would have benefited from this regulation.

It gave the employer three options:

  • Raise minimum salary threshold above $47,436
  • Or pay overtime when a salaried employee worked over 40 hours per week
  • Or limit salaried employees’ work hours to 40 hours per week or less

In addition, the rule also provided for triennial adjustments based on the 40th percentile of weekly earnings of full-time salaried workers in the lowest-wage Census region. A few days after consolidating two lawsuits challenging the rule, Judge Mazzant granted the request for the injunction to halt implementation. Click here for more information about the lawsuits.

What now FAQ

Do I as a business owner need to do anything come December 1st?

No, it is business as usual and no payroll needs to be adjusted at this time.

What should I do if I have already made payroll changes to accommodate the new rule?

If you have already reclassified employees to nonexempt status or increased employee salaries in order to maintain their exempt status, experts advise keeping this in place as it would be difficult to take back.

Can the Department of Labor challenge the injunction?

Yes. The department said in a statement that it is currently considering all of its legal options.

Is there still a chance that the new rule will go into effect down the road?

As this is a temporary hold, the same rule or a revised rule could still be implemented. Things are a bit unpredictable with a new administration set to take office January 20th, 2017.

We suggest that you stay up-to-date on any new developments and to make sure you have a plan of action coordinated with your payroll department, be that in-house or contracted. To gain a full understanding of the overtime regulation, click here. As always, we here at Sirvo are dedicated to keeping our users informed about all things hospitality.

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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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Work Culture: Creating A Place To Love Not Leave

Work Culture: Creating A Place To Love Not Leave

A great work culture not only makes your business more fun and less stressful for you and your employees, it is critical to your competitive success. Find out why it’s good business to be a happy business in our latest post!

read more

Experience Sirvo for yourself

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