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.
December 14, 2010
Better, earn, guests, income, increase, make more, Money, Restaurant, Server, tables, Tips, tips for improving your tips, tipsfortips, Wage
December 7, 2010
About the blog
David Hayden, LVRocks, LVRocks.com, The Dave Scott Show, tips for tips, tipsfortips
The Dave Scott Show
I mentioned this briefly on Saturday’s post, but it is official today. I will be on The Dave Scott Show this Friday discussing serving and the industry in general. It should be an interesting listen. I’ve never been a fan of my own voice (although I have been accused of loving to hear myself talk), but if you all want to suffer through I promise to try to make it interesting. He hosts a restaurant themed show every Friday. In recent weeks he has talked to consultants and managers. I think it will be a refreshing change to have someone who spends time with the guests giving a different opinion. Have I sold you yet? Here are the three best reasons I think you should listen in.
1) Someone is putting a server on the radio. There are so many talented server bloggers out there making their voice heard. I think this is a great chance to reach a larger audience. There are several people who I frankly think should be further ahead in line for something like this than me. I hope this goes well and gives many of them the opportunity to be heard as well. I will be dropping some names to him of people on that list. People I would much rather listen to on the radio than myself. I’ve never seen anyone who sits down at a computer to write about serving as a rival. This is a mighty fine community we have and what helps one of us helps all of us as I see it.
2) I will be making a big announcement about the future of this site. January 1st this site will no longer exist as you know it. For the last week or so I have been up to my eyeballs in uploading, installing, truncating, and redirecting. The Holidays are probably not the best time to do this. On Friday’s show I will be announcing a new home for the blog and a new format I hope you all will really like. Of course you will hear about it on this blog next week, but who wants to be the last to know? Only one group will get to know sooner and those are the people who are signed up for my twitter feed. They will get first crack at it on Thursday.
3) It’s the day before my birthday. Yeah, I will play that card. I am cutting my birthday celebration a bit short (who gives up a Saturday night shift in December?) to partake in the interview. Consider it my online b-day party and you are all invited. No present necessary. Sorry, no cake.
So if you are near a computer on Friday between 6-7 central time, I hope you will direct it to LVRocks.com . Dave seems like a great guy and hosts a very interesting show. His past restaurant shows can be found on his page. All are very good listens. I would be curious to hear what you thought of past guests. I will try to not embarrass all of you. Back to regularly scheduled posts tomorrow.
November 30, 2010
About the blog
feedback, tips for improving your tips, tips on improving your tips, tipsfortips, tipsfortips.com
This is your chance to let me know what you think
This blog is at a crossroads. Over the next month I will be fundamentally redesigning this blog and the content featured on it. Before I make any of these changes I really wanted to consult those of you who read it to get your opinions. You all are the reason I keep writing everyday. When I started this blog I really hoped to one day get up to about two thousand views a month. This month we quadrupled that number and it is only eight months in. The growth has been astonishing to me. It has made me incredibly grateful to all of you. It also has introduced some new challenges.
My advice to anyone who asks me about starting a blog now is, “buy the url first.” I have come about this advice the hard way. My negotiations for tipsfortips.com or any variation of it are over. My initial offer of $100 was met with a counter offer of $6000. I have watched enough Pawn Stars to know that not even Chumlee would accept that deal. Unfortunately, www.tipsfortips.wordpress.com does not quite roll off the tongue.
The other problem is my lack of focus. While I have managed to stay on track and post six times a week, but the topics are pretty diverse. This has in turn led to a pretty diverse audience. While a handful of folks are interested in anything I post on here, most are not. Each reader has their preference on what they would like to see posted. Some are interested in only posts about how to make better tips. Others come by only for the management posts. Many of you are foodies who enjoy the food related posts most. Others only drop in for the humor or weird restaurant stories. Then there are the folks from Kansas City who like the posts with a local flavor. All the other groups skip over the last batch.
I am interested in all of these topics. Some posts intended for one group is relevant to others, but very few of the posts are relevant to all of them. It also leads to many of my posts being less on the initial topic of “tips for improving your tips.” This is especially true with the multi part series of some topics. I feel that when I launch into a week long series on leadership that is relevant to managers, I risk alienating all of the other groups. My concern is that one blog trying to serve so many diverse groups serves none of them very well.
Now that I have framed the issue, here is my thought. My plan at this point is to break up the blog. Rather than having one blog with so many topics, I am considering a few blogs with more specific material. The downside of this is that there is still only one of me writing. This means that some of these blogs would only be updated once a week. It would also mean as a reader that you would be able to only be notified when something was posted to the particular blog you were interested in. If you were interested in two of the blogs (ie server and humorous topics), you would not have to scroll past the topics that don’t interest you (ie management or foodie topics). There would also be one blog that stays on top of all of the others to allow one spot for anyone who wants to follow all of the posts.
There is the situation as I see it. In reality though, that is just me trying to understand what you are all wanting. Before I put any of this into motion, I want to give you the opportunity to tell me what you want. Let me know what parts are relevant to you. Would you prefer more focused blogs even if it meant fewer updates? Are you a facebook fan, but tired of daily updates of posts that are not relevant to your interests? Are you someone who would rather see every post in the current format? I have been racking my brain trying to figure out what my readers want. It would be far easier for me to just get the information from you. The comment thread is open to all of you. Let me know what you think so I can make this blog better for you.
November 25, 2010
A Little Humor
Alice's Restaurant, anniversary, arlo, arlo guthrie, audio, best version, David Hayden, debate, download, draft, extended, forensics, guthrie, nixon, ocho the dog, prose, prose ideas, Ronnal Jackson, thanksgiving, tipsfortips, tournament, tradition, video, you can get anything you want
Yes, I do have it on vinyl. Hipster Rating +1
Happy Thanksgiving. Long time readers might recall me mentioning long ago a particular affection for Woody Guthrie. What you don’t know, unless you have known me for twenty years, is that it began with his son Arlo. Today, I wanted to tell you the story. Then I want to follow up the story with the best version of Alice’s Restaurant complete with the Richard Nixon story ending. Before I get there though I would ask that for proper understanding of this story you all remember the simple meandering guitar while reading the rest of this post.
You see it all started about 20 Thanksgiving ago, that is 20 years ago Thanksgiving, when myself, my buddy Glen, and our debate coach Ron had an idea. This was not just any idea. They had an idea to make a skinny debater into an actor. I real live bonafide cry on demand actor. The only problem is that I am not an actor. Their solution was that I wasn’t going to act.
Read the full post at Restaurant Laughs
November 23, 2010
angry customer, angry guest, complaint, demanding customer, demanding guest, hostile customer, hostile guest, how to deal with, how to handle a, Restaurant, rude customer, rude guest, Server, skills, Tips, tips for, tips on, tipsfortips, Waiter, waitress
There was a better solution
One of the most difficult situations any server faces is the hostile guest. I call them hostile, because they are angry with you long before you have even greeted them. Some people just bring all the hostility of their day in to a restaurant and dump it on their server. From the moment you greet them, they make it clear that they know you are only smiling because you have to and that none of your upselling mind tricks are going to work on them. The average server can spot this right away and provides adequate service while avoiding small talk at all cost.
This approach is the response the guest is accustomed to. It reconfirms their belief that the only reason you were being friendly in the first place was to get their tip. They peg you as a phony and the restaurant version of détente is underway. Most servers try to avoid this type of guest. In reality though these guests are the ones you can make the biggest impact on. Once you learn how to defuse these time bomb guests, you are well on your way to building a regular for life.
Read the full story at Tips For Improving Your Tips
November 11, 2010
A Little Humor, Foodies, Servers
bartender, bussers, cheap wine, cost, customer service, Foodie, free food, how much do servers make, Kansas City, livable wage, Money, profit, refuse to tip, Restaurant, Restaurant Customer, Restaurant Guests, restaurant server, Server, Server Blog, server pay, server wage, Servers, Service, Serving, tip out, tipout, tipping, Tips, tipsfortips, Waiter, Waiting, waitress
A reminder for all of us.
I still occasionally get the guest who will say, “I can buy this wine for half this price at the store.” Which is true, but it doesn’t come with a staff to serve it and a crew of chefs ready to cook you an incredible meal from a fully stocked kitchen. I wonder if the same people have ever priced grapes at the grocery store. If they want to get really serious about cutting out the mark up, that would be an even cheaper place to start. Better yet, if they buy seeded grapes they could plant the seeds and never have to pay for a bottle of wine again.
Most of you understand the absurdity of this logic. Those who do not understand have already stopped reading to go buy grapes. At each step along the process of making the bottle of wine the cost of goods and service, along with a healthy profit margin, are passed along to the next stage. From grape to cellar, farmers, vintners, bottlers, distributors, and restaurants all add to the price of the bottle in advance. There is one exception to this rule. The person who opens the bottle and pours it actually makes that wine less expensive. At the most basic level, the person who serves the wine pays for part of the bottle for you.
Read the full post at Tips For Improving Your Tips
November 6, 2010
A Little Humor
$100, 000, Anthony Spatorico, Arturo Betancourt, Backyard Grill & Bar, Best REstaurant, Best Restaurant in Kansas City, Billy Murphy, Bodfan Jenkins, California Pizza Kitchen, carbon monoxide, Charleston Police Department, Charleston steakhouse, comanche, CPK, craig williams, drive thru, eastland, Eddy estrella, election signs, Elephant Bar, Essence Food and Wine, ferruzza, FL, Fran Bixler, Ft Myers, Giovanna Makris, Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, Gus tinucci, Hands On Educational Services, Hassan Murphy, Houston, Jill Pelka-Wilger, Joe Ferguson, Joe Scavo, Justus Drugstore, Kansas City, Labor Minister, Laura Rapsys, lawsuit, liquor, Mario Olivella, Mayor George Pradel, McDonalds, Mick Bates, Naperville, Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce, Nick Sherry, operation crooked code, oystercatchers, Patrick Skaar, pier 5 hotel, randy moss, rexburg, Rich Schmidt, Ruth's Chris, Samatha Isaac, settlement, shirley pope, Show-Me's, Strange Restaurant Stories, sweepstakes, Tara Gilio, Tim Dyke, tinuccis, tipps, Tips, tipsfortips, tragedy, Weird Restaurant stories, William H. "Billy" Murphy Jr., won, Zagat, ZJ's Steakhouse
This week I ran across an article of particular relevance to this series. Most of the regular readers know that each week I give an award to the restaurant hero of the week named after Chef Jonathan Justus. I guess the bad review he received on yelp did not hurt him too much. His restaurant was recently named the best restaurant in Kansas City by the new Zagat survey. Congratulations to Justus Drugstore. What makes it noteworthy in this series is that the byline on the story is the namesake of the restaurant jerk award, Charles Ferruzza. Worlds are colliding. With that lets turn to the real news stories of the week.
Read the full post at Restaurant Laughs
October 31, 2010
blog stats, most popular, most read, most shared, most viewed, October 2010, october recap, october review, stats, tips for improving your tips, tips on improving your tips, tipsfortips, top posts
I hope everyone is enjoying their Halloween weekend. It is also the end of the month so I decided to do a quick recap of October around the blog. This was a huge month for the blog. It far exceeded my expectation for traffic and hopefully provided so interesting content for those who visited. I generally don’t post on Sundays, but may begin to take the first Sunday of the month to recap the previous one. Let me know what you think.
Over the last month I have posted 27 times in 31 days. That makes it a pretty busy month. I am not sure I will be able to hold the same pace through the holidays, but I will try to keep my focus on quality rather than quantity. I have some great topics in mind and some awesome new sources of inspiration. I am actually very excited about some of the posts coming up.
The ten most viewed posts written in October:
1) 10 Reasons Why Serving Is Not Like Your Job
2) Weird Restaurant Stories 10/9
3) Weird Restaurant Stories 10/16
4) Serving Sober
5) Weird Restaurant Stories 10/23
6) Tipping On To Go Orders
7) Restaurant Etiquette: Quiz Answers
8 ) Thank You!
9) Weird Restaurant Stories 10/2
10) Lobster Facts and Trivia
Of course very few people would have read those without some great bloggers referring them to me. If you haven’t checked out these fine folks, you absolutely should.
Top five referrers in October:
1) The Only Slightly Cranky Waitress
2) Tony’s Kansas City (natch)
3) Do You Do That At Home?
4) So You Want To Be A Waiter
5) Frothy Girlz
As far as overall traffic numbers this month should finish at just over 6400 views with an average of 210 a day. These are by no means stats that set the internet ablaze, but I am proud of them. This blog passed the six-month mark during October. I remember sitting by the computer just a few months ago hoping to break 200 views in a day for the first time. Now I average that number which I think is pretty darn cool. It also gives me excitement for when I can look back at these numbers and chuckle.
I try to say this often, but I do not think it can be said enough. Thank you so much for reading this blog and being a part of its success. It does not exist without all of you reading and sharing your feedback. When I started it, I never imagined it would get to this point. Your continued support inspires me to keep on typing. I appreciate each and every one of you. Thank you for visiting and telling others about it. This can only get bigger with such a tremendous group of readers.
I have a few ideas for November that I think will make for good reading. I have consulted some very wise folks to gain insight on how to appease some of the more difficult guests we all face. A few holiday themed posts are also in store. I am starting to get a much better feel for what you all enjoy reading and sharing. I will continue to cater to those wishes to the best of my ability. Tomorrow, I am going to try yet another Monday feature. I think I have all the kinks figured out and finally have a workable idea.
This would be a great time for you to chime in too. What do you want more of? What makes you click the link to come visit? What have you always wanted to know about, but haven’t felt like researching? What difficulties do you face at restaurants? This blog is intended to be a resource for you. Tell me what I can do to make it a better resource. The comment section is open for your ideas and I can also always be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.