Author : Tommy Yionoulis

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Podcast – Interview John Lewis Denver Food Group

Check out our 2nd interview podcast where Tommy sits down with John Lewis, Owner at Denver Food Group.

John has spent the last 15 years working in the Food and Beverage Industry, both CPG and Foodservice, in several different capacities, including Brand Management, Research and Development, Innovation, Culinary, and Purchasing.  Most recently he worked for Wendy’s and Heinz Foodservice.

John has a passion for helping companies develop  and refine their positioning to ensure they are staying relevant and differentiated.

Denver Food Group helps their clients build the most craveable products in the world while remaining affordable.  By combining culinary experience and research experience, Denver Food Group are able to give greater direction to Marketing and Product Development teams in the Food and Beverage Industry.

What is Pokemon Go and Can I Make Money Off It

PokemonGo

Ron Ruggless posted a great article in NRN this week about how you can pay money to purchase 30-minute Lure Models and install them by a PokeStop location, which could be close to your restaurants, this will entice Pokemon Go players to come to your area. If you are interested in learning how to purchase and run those Lure Models, click here.

First, off let us answer this question; what the hell is Pokemon Go?  Pokemon Go is a very creative game that uses GPS and your phone’s camera to play.  You go and walk around the world and play the game.  Because the game knows where you are, they put Pokemon for you to catch in your local area.  The reason you care about Pokemon Go is that it had over 15 million downloads in the first week and counting, it is an app phenomenon.

Watch the Pokemon Go Demo Video

The reason you especially care as a restaurant owner is that they have put a lot of these PokeStop’s close to restaurants, and you can pay to have the game bring more players into your area for short periods of time.

The question I’m posing is should you try to capitalize off of PokemonGo?  Things to consider:

  1. Does it make sense for your restaurant?
    1. I don’t think this makes sense for every concept.  Obviously, if you are the Capital Grill or some other high-end restaurant, I don’t know that a van full of 3rd graders and their mom is your target customer.
    2. I think this could be perfect for quick serve restaurants and fast food.
    3. There are a ton of millennials playing the game as well, so consider trying to reach them.
  2. Are you close to a PokeStop?
    1. One way to find out is to play the game or find someone on your team that plays the game and ask them to figure it out.
  3. Are you set-up to handle a bunch of new customers that may not want to stop for a long time to dine?
    1. Grab and go or quick serve restaurants have an advantage.
    2. Any restaurant can make an impromptu beverage or grab and go station to handle these types of customers, get creative.
  4. If you are close to a PokeStop; who is primarily playing the game in your area?
    1. I live in the suburbs, and most of the people playing in my area are kids, we have seen several vans full of kids with their phones playing.  From what I’ve read in cities it is older kids and adults playing.
    2. It might just take a person to stand outside and watch the people playing; you should be able to tell easily because they will be looking at their phones and going to the same spot in your parking lot or near your location.
  5. Do you have to pay to capture Pokemon Go players?
    1. If you have a popular PokeStop close to your restaurant, you may be able to catch Pokemon Go players with a banner or by handing out coupons and not need to pay money to lure them to the area through the game.

Only you can decide if capturing Pokemon Go players are possible or worth your time.  This game is exploding right now but it could be a fad, or we could all be talking about how we are still playing it five years from now.  This has to be decided on a restaurant by restaurant basis. I can tell you that you need to strike today if you are going to try to capture these guys, so don’t make your marketing plans super elaborate.  Just execute and see what happens.

Also, if you do start capturing a lot of business from these players then please comment because I and the rest of the readers would love to hear about it.

If you want to learn how to pay to lure Pokemon Go players to your area, check out Ron’s article.

 

 

Audio Blog – Grow Restaurant Sales Through Better Operations

Below is the audio version of our very popular blog, The Only Way to Sustainably Grow Restaurant Sales is Through Better Operations.

Subscribe to our podcast Order Up – The Restaurant Ops Show on SoundCloud, iTunes, Stitcher, and Tunein.

Audio Blog – Interview with Ryan Gromfin The Restaurant Boss

The first Order Up – The Restaurant Ops Show interview is with The Restaurant Boss, Ryan Gromfin.

Ryan has vast experience in the industry and helps thousands of restaurant operators on a daily basis run better restaurants. He’s a great interview. Check it out below.

Subscribe to our podcast on the popular services: SoundCloud, iTunes, Stitcher, Tunein.

Reducing Food Costs and Running Safer Restaurants with Checklists

Busy Kitchen

Back in February we did a webinar with Ryan Gromfin, The Restaurant Boss, entitled Reducing Food Costs and Running Safer Restaurants. This is a straight training webinar on how to use restaurant checklists to run better operations and increase profits. Ryan is a cool dude and we kept it light with real world stories and examples. There is a special offer at the end of the webinar to schedule a meeting with us to discuss your restaurant checklist needs and to get some free coaching. We are honoring the pricing and the offers made in this webinar so if you want, you can sign-up and take advantage.

Please enjoy this webinar on using restaurant checklists to run better operations.

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTCdYs5rlEc&feature=youtu.be[/embed]

If the webinar doesn’t load in your browser, click here to watch in YouTube.

We have made several enhancements to the Inspector since this webinar was recorded, to see the latest functionality I invite you to click here to watch a short two-minute overview video.

My Non-Scientific Prediction that Chipotle’s Sales are Still Down

The title says it all in this blog post, this prediction, some could say a safe one, is based on nothing but my experience last week.  I live in Denver and happened to be grabbing lunch on Evans Ave over by my alma mater the University of Denver.  There on Evans Ave is a shrine to big burrito lovers everywhere the original Chipotle store.

IMG_4725

One block away, one block closer to campus, is a local Colorado burrito chain, Illegal Pete’s.  Illegal Pete’s is a Chipotle clone; they might disagree with that description, but they sell the same size and style burritos that Chipotle made a staple in American cuisine.  Illegal Pete’s claim to fame is that they mix up the burrito ingredients before rolling it up.

IMG_4726

I agree that this isn’t the greatest picture of the Illegal Pete’s store, but I wasn’t trying to capture the store front I was trying to capture the line out of the door.

Something that you can’t know from these photos, you would only know if you had eaten in these restaurants is that the original Chipotle is small.  The distance from the door to the counter is maybe 15 feet.  It seats maybe 30 people.  As an example of how small this restaurant is, they have a storage room in their basement and a trap door in the floor that they raise to go down and get dry storage items.

In contrast, the Illegal Pete’s is much bigger the line area is two or three times bigger than that of the Chipotle, and it has a full bar.

I’ve lived in the University of Denver area for about nine years total in my life.  I’ve eaten at both these restaurants countless times.  In my experience before the Chipotle issues last year, I never saw the Illegal Pete’s that much busier than the Chipotle.  As I said before this isn’t a scientific study of guest counts or sales, this is just my experience.

I love Chipotle; they are a Colorado restaurant company success story, so is Illegal Pete’s.  I want Chipotle to get better and get back to where they were.  I would be surprised if their sales have gone up all that much since last quarter.  I like the rest of the industry are curious how long it will take them to get back to where they were.

If you are interested in running better restaurant operations and driving sales.  I invite you to check out our restaurant checklist, inspection, and reporting app; the OpsAnalitica Inspector.  Click here to watch a short two-minute overview video.

3 Benefits of Labor Management & a Scheduling Strategy

photo-my ameego blog

Please enjoy this blog from our great friends at Ameego, the restaurant scheduling and labor management platform.

Aside from temperature compliance and food comps, what are some of the biggest ongoing challenges for restaurant managers? If your mind envisioned next month’s blank schedule calendar, the binder of handwritten time-off requests or the stack of month-end reports that show you’re spending too much on staff, you’re not alone. Scheduling and labor management tend to fall near the bottom of managers’ favorite tasks, somewhere in line with changing kegs during Friday night happy hour.

What if instead of dreading making the schedule, you looked forward to it because you had tools, data and insight to build a schedule that would keep customers, staff and your bank account happy?

Focusing on labor management and creating a scheduling strategy can have enormous benefits for productivity, and your team and guests.

3 Benefits of Labor Management & a Scheduling Strategy

1. Reduce labor costs

Mention the phrase ‘minimum wage’ to a restaurant operator these days, and watch his face wince.

Across North America, restaurants are facing increases in minimum wage. Even the smallest increases spread out over years will be painful because that money can only come from one place: the bottom line. At the same time, in many places, food costs are on the rise. And yet, with the influence and sharability of reviews, it’s more important than ever to dish up amazing food and service.

How can you possibly meet all those expectations and turn a profit? Schedule smarter. Scheduling software aligns clocked hours with daily sales so you can staff the floor according to sales, to the hour. It’s true. What time does that June Friday night happy hour rush ebb so you can send home your split-shifters? Could they start later or be cut earlier? Now you know. That’s the instant value of a scheduling strategy.

2. Increase staff happiness

When you find that star bartender or the server who can take 10 tables with her eyes closed, wouldn’t it be great to keep them around for a long, long time?

We all know what’s it like to go a few weeks understaffed. Servers are stressed and overworked. Morale goes down. And it’s not much better when you’re overstaffed, sending people home early time and again, or keeping them with not enough to do and not enough tips to make.

Now that you have insights about what triggers the need for fewer or more bodies, and to ensure you have stars on the floor when you need them most, you can create a schedule that will keep your team happy.

According to this University of Warwick study about the link between employee satisfaction and productivity, “…happier workers use the time they have more effectively, increasing the pace at which they can work without sacrificing quality.”

And, when restaurant staff are happy, so is someone else….

3. Deliver a Better Guest Experience

What difference does it make if table five gets their drinks in two minutes or 12? What’s really at stake when a table doesn’t see their server for half an hour? Two words: complaints and comps. Neither of them do your restaurant any favors.

In 2014, Consumer Reports conducted a survey about Americans’ most common restaurant complaints. ‘Slow service’ was a complaint for 51 per cent of respondents. Other all-too-familiar service and timing follies ranked high:

• Impolite or condescending servers, 72 per cent
• Tables not ready more than 15 minutes past reservation time, 50 per cent
• Feeling rushed to leave by the server, 61 per cent

With data-driven labor forecasting and scheduling, however, you know you have just the right number of staff on the floor to maintain the kind of elevated guest experience that generates rave reviews and return visits. When staff can not just stop by their tables but also truly listen to diner feedback, they’ll be able to build the kind of loyalty that makes a big impact on profits.

Scheduling mindfully creates this cycle where staff want to do their best and guests get the best. Both lead to a better culture that leads to more of the same: smiling faces and nice profits.

With the ability to access valuable information and plan effectively—not just for next week but next year—focused labor management and a scheduling strategy is kind of like your expediter for growth and success.

By Ameego
Ameego online restaurant scheduling software helps managers create the perfect schedule in minutes and increase restaurant profits. As a mobile-friendly online scheduling program with tools such as labor forecasting, POS integration, time tracking and team communication, Ameego truly is your restaurant’s best friend.

National Restaurant Show 2016

This was my second year attending the national restaurant show, and as show attendee veteran.  Here were my thoughts in no particular order.

  • Holy hell is it a big show.  I walked over 10 miles trying to cover the entire show. That was going up and down rows.
  • The technology is getting more advanced.  Last year we posted this video of the fry flipping robot. This year’s version was half the size, and it looked as if it could do more activities.
    • [video width="1280" height="720" m4v="http://www.opsanalitica.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/IMG_3560.m4v"][/video]

      NRA Robot 2016

  • Broasted chicken is so delicious.
  • The Vienna Beef guys gave at over 16,000 full hot dogs at their booth last year.
  • 3D printed edible sugar sculptures; they were beautiful.
    • NRA Sugar Sculpture 2 NRA Sugar Sculpture
  • Start-up Alley was cool as there were a lot of great young companies with cool stuff.
    • Including an automated salad machine that you can just put a bowl in and 20 seconds later a custom salad has been made and is ready to serve.

I’ve enjoyed attending both of these years, and if you are in this industry, I recommend that you try to get there one time to see how big our industry is and how much cool stuff there is for operators.  Wear comfortable shoes!