February 27, 2012
Kansas City, Managers
Kansas City history, Kansas City Jazz, Kansas City Restaurant, Kansas City Steakhouse, Kansas City Steaks, restaurant website, restaurant website designer
When you read as many restaurant industry bloggers and commenters as I do, you notice a common theme. Everyone hates most restaurant websites. They complain about everything from the flash animation to the lack of availability of pertinent information. There are many complaints out there. I have even added to the list. This made for an interesting challenge when I was asked to build the website for a Kansas City Steakhouse.
I should start out by noting that it was not difficult for the owner to contact me. He signs my paychecks, I take his calls. It also explains why I really disliked the previous website. I felt like the restaurant was underserved by the website he had up. Almost from my first day I was bringing up the idea of changing the website. When he gave me the opportunity, I jumped at the chance to build something I think better represented the restaurant.
Most of the local readers of this blog are familiar with The Majestic Restaurant. It is truly classic Kansas City Steakhouse. This became the focus of the design. I also wanted to accent the live Kansas City Jazz and the quality of the Kansas City Steaks. These are the things The Majestic is known for. What most people don’t know is the history of the building. In the process of writing about that, I found some great information on the history of downtown Kansas City. I think it is a good read for anyone looking for a quick primer on the Quality Hill/ Garment District area.
All of this is nice, but it doesn’t solve any of the complaints most people have about the functionality of restaurant websites. For this I went to some of the harshest restaurant website critics in town. The DLC and Meesha were both incredibly helpful with this project. I sent them preview versions and they told me why it still failed. They are the reason you can find the hours, address, phone number, and reservation link on every page.
For the jazz lovers, you can find a jazz calendar on the site as well as videos from the Kansas City Jazz Club. For the lovers of fine beef, you can find a number of pages of great steak information. Love whiskey, there is a complete listing of the 100+ whiskeys available. Want to pick out a wine in advance so you can look like an expert? The entire wine list is online. Do you love it when your phone freezes because you tried to open a pdf file? Too bad. The website contains no pdf files. All the pages are composed of real live searchable html.
So now it is time to face the public. I feel like a food critic opening his first restaurant. I have mocked many restaurants’ websites. I am now opening myself up for the criticism. Take a look and tell me what you think. I can still improve upon it. What would you do to make it an even better restaurant website?
August 22, 2011
About the blog, Kansas City, Managers, Servers
David Hayden, david haydon, Hospitality Formula, Hospitality Formula Consulting, Hospitality Formula Publishing, Kansas City, Server, The Hospitality Formula Network, tips for improving your tips, tips for tips, tips2, tips2: tips for improving your tips, tips4tips, tipsfortips, Waiter
- You should be over here right now
Recently I have noticed a small spike in subscribers to this blog. That is great. I appreciate you choosing to subscribe. I hope to reward you with outstanding content that will make you glad you did. The problem is that this is not where I am doing that anymore. In December, I transformed this humble blog into The Hospitality Formula Network. The network consists of five specific blogs that each focus on a different facet of the hospitality industry. There is a blog for restaurant servers, restaurant managers, restaurant guests, and even one filled with restaurant humor. You can learn more about The Hospitality Formula Network here or just visit the home page for previews of the content available on each of the sites.
So I am not going to ask you to take the time to click a link without giving you some reason to do so. Here are three reasons why I think The Hospitality Formula Network is worth visiting or revisiting if you haven’t in a while.
Weekly Skills Focus: For the last 6 weeks, I have been laying out what I believe are the fundamental keys to improving sales, tips, and creating return guests. We are currently on week 6 of an 8 week series. I have dug back through the archives and am spotlighting on key post each week. I am adding further explanation on the server blog, but doing much more on the manager blog. Each lesson at The Manager’s Office is also accompanied with key teaching point to make this your pre-shift meeting topic of the week. In addition, I am including a “lesson plan” as such to explain how to teach the topic throughout the week to increase understanding and server buy-in. I fully believe that restaurants that follow this plan for all eight weeks will see a dramatic improvement in revenues, morale, and guest happiness.
In-Depth Knowledge: When I started this blog, I felt it necessary to cover the big picture issues first. This lead to a lot of posts that introduced philosophies that create the paradigm by which I analyze the restaurant industry. This is where topics like the 10 Rules of Serving and my Leadership vs Management series for managers came from. Now I am able to simply reference and link back to those posts when discussing more situational topics. This blog provided a great deal of background information, the current posts deal more with the real world applications of it.
The Writing is Better: If I am going to be honest with you, I cringe when reading some of the early posts on this blog. I never claimed to be a great writer. I have found though that writing like most other skills is something you get better with the more you practice. 300+ posts and over 250,000 words later, I think my writing has improved a bit. I have a stronger voice and feel more confident writing in it. I address a number of topics now that I was scared to when I started this blog. The transition was most apparent to me when shortly after starting the network I began a final round of rewrites and edits on my book. The blogs and the book both benefited greatly from the efforts that began trying to peck together posts for this blog.
Speaking of which, did I mention that I released a book? My first book Tips²: Tips For Improving Your Tips was released just two months ago. I truly believe it is the finest book available on the topic of the skills servers need to make exceptional tips. I do not say that because I wrote it, I say that because I have spent some time looking into other books available on the topic. I did not write the book to make a quick buck. I did not slam some information together and print it up on a Xerox machine. I did not release an eBook and hope to sell a few copies. I spent two and a half years writing, testing, editing, rewriting, copy editing, designing and publishing. I am not looking to sell a few copies while I am working a desk job. This is not just another product I can sell my consulting clients.
This book is my manifesto on serving. After 16 years in the business and countless misguided server training programs, I distilled the information that has allowed me to be a successful professional server into a simple format that servers can benefit from immediately. I founded Hospitality Formula Publishing to help provide this information directly to the hospitality industry. I have two more books in developement and am on the lookout for other strong voices within the industry that I can help be heard. This is not a way to market myself. This is my attempt to fundamentally change the way that servers are trained.
I take seriously the fact that I am not just some consultant who wrote a book. In less than five hours I will be tying on an apron to start another week serving at The Majestic Restaurant in Kansas City. I have to say it is a bit odd at times living the double life of author and server. Over the last two months I have received a bit of publicity. I have been featured on/in KSHB, KCTV, KCUR, The Pitch, The Kansas City Star, The Employee Lounge, and Tony’s Kansas City. This leads to the inevitable, “Hey aren’t you that guy who wrote a book?” If you ever really want to increase the pressure of serving, try to be the server who wrote a book on serving. There are no more off nights. You are expected to bring the show to every table every night. I refuse to be a hypocrite about the things I write about. I know they work because I do them.
So thank you for visiting this site. I hope you enjoyed the post, now get over to The Hospitality Formula Network and let’s change this industry together.
April 28, 2011
About the blog, Managers
The Manager’s Office joined The Hospitality Formula Network as the smallest blog. I had tried to avoid discussing issues related to management on tipsfortips. To the extent that I did discuss them the posts were designed to provide greater understanding of how restaurants worked to servers and foodies. After I started the site, I realized that I had a great deal to say about restaurant marketing and leading servers. I have managed for three different companies. Understanding restaurants from both an hourly and salaried viewpoint provides an interesting perspective on how they are run.
This is also the blog that I am most looking forward to developing. I have several posts already written for this site. There are numerous topics that I am looking forward to addressing. The human resources aspect of a manager’s role is next up on the agenda. I am also working on a way to revive the “Restaurant Industry Insider” in a new format. This site is ripe for a major overhaul in layout that should be unveiled in the next few weeks.
Read the full post at The Manager’s Office
December 15, 2010
About the blog, Managers
The Manager's Office
(Note: Still keeping up the double duty on writing this week. A great new post on the five most common restaurant scams and how to avoid them is now posted at the new site www.themanagersoffice.com . On a related note, if any of you are considering a major project like launching five new websites and doubling your writing output, I would recommend waiting until after the busy season.)
The Hospitality Formula Network now has a home for managers. The Managers Office is where you will find posts directly related to the interests of managers. This is valuable information on how to lead and motivate your staff. The series on both topics that were previously found on this blog can be found at the new site. This provides a place where managers can find information specifically for them without sifting through posts for servers or foodies.
This will also be the home of industry related news and analysis. I have really wanted to get deeper into some of these topics, but have feared losing the casual readers. This will allow for future posts related to all aspects of management. Future topics will include improving your pnl, the best ways to reduce controllables, inventory practices, and marketing. The Managers Office will soon be required reading for those wanting to get the most out of their staff and optimize profits.
Here is a peak at what is already hosted on this site:
Motivating Your Staff
Why Contests Don’t Work
How Money Motivates
What Motivates Servers: Autonomy
What Motivates Servers: Mastery
What Motivates Servers: Purpose
Ways To Motivate Servers
The Keys To Leadership
Leadership: Creating A Shared Goal
Leadership: Empowering Others
Leadership: Leading by Example
Leadership: Improving Others
Sergeants and Generals
Management Mentality Mistakes
Understanding Restaurants: The Other Perspectives
Understanding Restaurants: The Guest Perspective
Understanding Restaurants: The Manager’s Perspective
Understanding Restaurants: The Owner’s Perspective
A Tale of Three Burgers
Independent vs Corporate Restaurant Priorities
The Evolution of Free Bread
Extras and Upcharges
Supply, Demand, and Chicken Wings
Cost vs Profit
A Food Critic Intervention
Set Schedules As A Manager
Aspirational Dining Defined
Aspirational Dining in a Recession
Hot Schedules Reviewed: Part One
Hot Schedules Reviewed: Part Two
Thank You Mister Robinson
December 9, 2010
12/4, 12/4TMO, dave scott show, Harry Truman, leadership, leadership skills, LVRocks, LVRocks.com, manager, Manual on Military Leadership, Restaurant, Rosabeth Moss Kantor, self improvement, Thane Yost
It took far more than 26.2 miles to make it to the finish line
“Good leaders develop through a never-ending process of self-study, education, training, and experience.” -Manual on Military Leadership
Over the last few weeks I have addressed several important facets of leadership. In these posts I have discussed the power of leadership and how to harness it. In the conclusion to this series, I want to address the ongoing commitment you must make to yourself to grow as a leader. No single series of posts or book will turn you into the ideal leader. In order to continuing to develop as a leader you must maintain a commitment to self-improvement.
Read the full post at The Manager’s Office
November 29, 2010
angry, complaint, customers, guests, hostile, how to respond to a complaint, pacify, people, respond, response, unreasonable, win
(Note: in order to get the most out of this post you should read parts one and two. They create the foundation for this summary post and will be referenced frequently.)
My friend Marcy has the innate ability to intimidate people. She is a beautiful 5’8” blonde attending law school. She is aware of having this effect on people, but neither of us truly understands why. While other people see the surface, I have seen her trip over her own feet and know that she occasionally enjoys cold marinara as a salad dressing. This makes her far less intimidating to me. Where others are intimidated by her appearance, I know that there is a health portion of inner dork beneath the surface.
As a server, you must be aware of your intimidation factor. There are most likely traits that you have which will intimidate your guests and create hostility. While you cannot change these, you need to be able to counterbalance them by relating to your guests in a way that overcomes them. Remember the third rule of serving: generic servers receive generic tips. The key to winning over a hostile guest is to not be a generic server by showing that you are professional, human, and similar to them.
Integrating these characteristics into a serving routine is not as difficult as it appears. Over the course of a meal there is time to convey all of these traits to them. They are not contradictory, but rather compliment each other nicely by creating an image of you as a well-rounded person. To win over hostile guests you must be more than a one-dimensional person reciting the same lines you do with every table. You must exceed the guest’s preconceived notions of you and become someone more relatable. Tripping over your own feet is optional.
Here are the steps to integrating the factors discussed in the first two parts of this series to win over hostile guests.
Read the full post at Tips For Improving Your Tips
November 24, 2010
angry, complaint, complaint responses, customer, Dr David J. Lieberman, Get anyone to do anything, guest, hostile customer, hostile guests, how to respond to a complaint, John Maria, John Paul Maria, Kansas City, Lieberman, omaha, rude customer, rude guest
Like the old saying, "you catch more fly honeys with vinegar..." or something like that.
Years ago I had the good fortune of working for a man named John Maria. I have had many bosses over the years, but none had a better fundamental understanding of human nature than John. One day he gave me a book and told me to read it. He said the answer to almost every life problem was found in this book. It was a pretty bold claim, but I did learn a great deal from reading the book.
I pulled out the book recently and read the chapter regarding this topic. The book is called, “Get Anyone To Do Anything” by David J. Lieberman, PhD. While the title is a bit of hyperbole (hence me writing this blog rather than living in Bill Gates’ mansion with Alyssa Milano) there is a great deal of wisdom in it. Dr Lieberman gives incredible insight into human nature and how to use it to your advantage.
In the book, Dr Lieberman makes a very convincing argument that there are two important factors that primarily determine whether or not people like you:
Read the full story at Tips For Improving Your Tips