May 2018

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There is something truly rewarding about working in a profession which strives to make other people happy. This is what the restaurant industry is all about. For many, the combination of a shrewd business sense, and a love of food, brings them to the decision to look into restaurant management training. These programs have exploded in their popularity, and can fully prepare students for rewarding work in restaurants, casinos, resorts and on cruise ships.

With so many different options for dining in our country, it is hard to imagine a restaurant management school curriculum that can encompass it all. But that is exactly what this training does. With a range of culinary skills instruction, as well as specialized training, students are exposed to just about every scenario they could encounter in the field. Hands on instruction by patient, experience chefs will guide these students through the many nuances of the culinary arts. Most restaurant management schools cover wine studies, as well as food and beverage management, and coursework in all the behind the scenes work that is critical to the smooth running of a successful restaurant.

To be successful in managing a restaurant, you need to be a skilled businessperson. Even small, stand alone dining facilities work with very large budgets, and employee many staff people. Most reputable restaurant management training programs realize that this work is about more than just the food. In order to do a great job in the culinary world, you need to be skilled in dealing with budgets, paperwork, and people.

Your coursework will teach you about food and beverage ordering and inventory, to provide you with all you need to develop and implement interesting and diverse menu selections. Another chief consideration will be in the training, scheduling, and evaluating of your many staff, from the dishwashers, to the cooks, to the servers.

And, lastly, your restaurant management degree curriculum will address methods of effective marketing, advertising and sales, because, although you will strive to make your restaurant the best it can be, this is a very competitive industry. If this all sounds like the career for you, it is time to look into one of these many, comprehensive restaurant management training programs.

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There is no doubt that in the face of current market conditions, leadership in our business most likely will not sustain and grow their groups by maintaining the status quo. Change management must have a high priority in any Restaurant CEO’s or President’s vision. The question lies in how that leadership responds to the challenges of rising commodity prices, consumers who are less willing to part with their dollars, and a lending industry wary of where and to whom they make loans. There are those in the restaurant industry in executive positions who not only embrace change but who initiate the change necessary before the situation demands it, particularly in three key areas, Attitude, Focus, and People.

When I asked their approaches to managing change versus initiating it, here’s how some in the quick casual segment put it. B.J. Dumond, CEO of J&H Foods, a franchisor of the 240 unit Simple Simon’s Pizza, told me his attitude has to remain flexible. “You’ve got to be practical and have a common sense approach. But don’t be afraid to get outside the box.” Dumond told me. Seth Salzman, SVP of Corporate Operations for Stevi B’s Pizza sees his concept in a favorable position, given the consumers’ focus on value right now. “For the first time in company history, we’ve hired an advertising agency and we’re launching a system-wide marketing campaign.” Mike Shumsky, CEO of Dallas based la Madeleine sounded prepared for the current struggles when he told me, “You’ve got to get your organization right, lean and productive, regardless of the economic climate.” While the attitudes vary, the theme seems to be one of proaction and not reaction.

Focus is another area I asked them about. Shumsky said his group started making realignments back in February of 2008. One area of particular attention was to “maximize what we already have and use.” Shumsky went on to share how his group is rolling out a new web page for the company’s website to emphasize the franchising opportunity with la Madeleine. Salzman informed me that Stevi B’s marketing, which has in the past been mostly geared to highlight value, will change emphasis. “With everyone pushing price and value, we’re shifting our focus to quality in our marketing message. Everyone already knows the value we offer.” Dumond, of Simple Simon’s, who has seen an increase in the number of franchising agreements when compared to two years ago, is focusing on maximizing those increased inquiries from potential franchisees interested in taking control of their careers through ownership. “We’ve always found the most success swimming upstream of the market.”, Dumond told me. An increase in concentration on specific areas of opportunity seems to be paying off for those who recognize the needs and make appropriate and timely changes.

The people piece, which seems the most sensitive subject, also revealed different methodologies from restaurant leadership. Salzman’s immediate take is to “move people and shift or expand their roles for now.” “We need to be ready to bring the right people on board as soon as we can though.” Shumsky has a different strategy. The focus here is on where they invest in the people piece, and not so much the amount they’re investing. “We were pretty heavily weighted on the accounting, financial, and processing side as far as staffing was concerned. We automated many of those processes and focused on investing in marketing and service.” This is apparent by the $1 million increase in both the marketing and labor portions of their budget. Both strategies are a result of restaurant leadership understanding the need to manage and initiate change in the best interest of their companies.

So, as the restaurant industry moves through this time of economic flux, the most successful concepts will both manage and initiate many changes. Those leaders who have successfully managed change to take advantage of the opportunities available will find themselves in a much more enviable position than those who do not. As James Yorke put it, “The most successful people are those who are good at plan B.”

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From food trucks to back to the farm restaurants, as the restaurant industry climbs back from the abysmal years of the economic crash, there are investment opportunities galore for investing in restaurants. Investors who want to start investing in restaurants might want to take a look at predicted trends in the restaurant industry. Some formerly widely popular restaurants have peaked out, but there are some emerging trends that are slated to explode the next few years. So, what are the big ideas expected for 2011 and 2012?

Mobile food has been big business in 2010. Food trucks touting everything from tacos to sandwiches to Italian cuisine have found success with low overhead and the ability to take the food directly to a crowd of potential customers. Well-known restaurants have expanded into this area with catering and recognizable brand food trucks as well. 2011 is expected to bring increased governmental regulation of this niche of the restaurant industry which may affect profit margins. However, it is still expected to be a good bet for investing in restaurants.

Restaurants that show the farm sources for their food or are located on farms have also soared in popularity. Farmers have been made into celebrities; celebrities have become farmers in an attempt to follow up massive sales in books about returning to whole foods. Pleasing health food fans, environmental activists, and the tide of citizens wanting to return to real food rather than highly processed chemical equivalents, these types of restaurants or restaurant chains are expected to perform well for investors venturing into investing in restaurants.

Southern comfort food, soul food, and Old Italian favorites are also making a strong come back. When the economy has tanked and everything is feeling somewhat uncertain, people turn back to the favorites that marked their childhood memories (or, what they wished their childhood memories were). Investing in restaurants that specialize in these types of food can be very profitable. However, with any of these trends, investors should do appropriate amounts of research themselves. Some well-known comfort food restaurants are in heavy debt and have cut all expansion. Some food trucks do not maintain an efficient enough bottom line, even with low overhead, to sustain substantial profits. The location of a farm restaurant may not have access to a large enough customer base. There are exceptions to every trend, especially in the highly risky business of the restaurant industry.For more information on investing in investment opportunities usually or normally not found in the marketplace.

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One very important fact about the restaurant industry, is the fact that you absolutely need to keep consistent portion control. Ingredients are purchased in weight, count and volume. You will need to calculate the cost of all ingredients in a recipe. Total the costs and divide this by the food cost you want to charge for a menu item. This way you will have a price for your menu for this item.

In the restaurant industry, you will need to count all ingredients. As an example, a cheese burger with tomato, lettuce, and mustard on a wheat bun with a small bag of potato chips has a total cost of $2.10. If you want to get a 30% food cost for this item, you will need to divide $2.10 by 30 % (.30), which will give a menu price of $7.

Try to keep your food costs between 22 and 34%. If your food cost is 22%, it will mean you will be spending 22 cents of every dollar for food. This would leave you 88% of every dollar to cover labor and other expenses.

If you want to use the factoring method, you can multiply the cost of ingredients by three. This will only give you the cost of the menu item and not include other costs.

When you use gross margin pricing, the formula is profit minus the cost of goods sold divided by the net sales. For instance a gross profit margin of 33:1 means that for every sales dollar, you will have 33 cents to cover other expenses. This is the best for calculating a dish with a high ingredient cost in the restaurant industry.

The Prime Cost method works by adding the cost of labor and cost of food, then add a percentage for profit. This method is good in the restaurant industry for dishes that need a lot of preparation.

Competitive Pricing matches what other restaurants charge for the same product, with what you charge. Compare the prices by studying the menus, and price your product not much higher or lower than what others are charging.

The restaurant industry views combination pricing as a method that uses all methods- factoring, gross margin, prime costs, and competition. They try to balance prices of the competition with your costs and what you need to make.

ChefTec Software- will allow you to customize reports and print out inventory reports, recipes, make up ordering lists and analyze recipe and menu costs by portion.

PC-Food II- Is an inventory and marginal management system for use in all food service establishments. You can calculate and keep food costs down, and keep track of selling prices based on the margin you desire. You can generate displays and reports, export files. You can use already programmed recipes, or add your own recipes to the list and generate them whenever you want them. This and so much more is available on this software.

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Hamilton Beach has been renowned over the years for its impeccable quality and high standards when it comes to blenders of all shapes and sizes. Their range of blenders offers you versatility beyond comprehension and this has made them formidable giants in the restaurant industry. The Hamilton Beach Fury Blender is a technological advancement that will benefit the restaurant industry.

The Fury Blender is generally available for commercial use because of its power, precision and ease of use. These three factors combined helps any chef to achieve quick and reliable results every time. In addition to these factors, the Hamilton Beach Fury Blender includes a wave action system that provides a very smooth drink consistency every time. Each time that you blend the ingredients, you are assured that the drink will be smooth and clump free. If you are too busy to take note of the blending time, the convenient timer has an automatic shut off function. So once the time has run out, the machine will stop.

This unit is manufactured with a two speed function as well as a pulse button so that you can either blend the ingredients on a slow setting, fast setting or pulse it. The precision blending ability allows for a wide variety of drinks. The Fury Blender is manufactured with an all metal drive coupling and a powerful 3 HP motor.

The design features include sure grip feet which prevents skidding. This is a feature that many chefs find necessary as it makes the base of the blender very stable. Because a blender creates fast motion within the unit, that motion transcends outside of the unit and causes it to move. This can be dangerous if it is not stable. The 1.8 liter jug is large and stackable so if you have a number of these blenders, the jugs can be easily stored or stacked for washing. Plus it includes a removable dosing cup. It has a modern design with the clear glass container jar which indicates the contents measurements in ounces. You can clearly see the ingredients that you are blending and whether it is blended to your preference.

The Fury Blenders are certainly one of the technologically advanced blenders in the Hamilton Beach catering equipment family. They are powerful units that bring modern design and modern technology together in one furious blender. They are sure to be trend setters amongst chefs and in the restaurant industry.

CaterWeb stocks a full range of commercial kitchen products and we even offer free demonstrations as well as hands on training if necessary. Visit our website to access our online store or alternatively we welcome you to visit our new showroom.