Demystifying Restaurant Ambience: How to Create a Perfect One

Excellent food, price, service and location is what makes a lucrative restaurant business magic. But the trick is in details. It’s that unique dinner aftertaste, that distinct gesture of a savvy waiter that’s going to make you stand out.

But the ambience is that special ingredient that triggers people’s emotions. It will make them want to come back. It’s the distinctive character your restaurant emanates.

But what are the elements of ambience? It’s lighting, sounds, music, design, artwork and spacing. So, when coming up with your restaurant business plan, make some room for each of these. They’ll need some good strategies.

How to create this magic? No need to reach for illusionist’s devices. You’ll be fine with a few expert hacks from hospitality coaches, restaurant reviewers and interior designers. And that’s what you’re about to get. So sharpen your senses and enjoy the ride.

1. Let your Restaurant Design Do the Talking

Imprinting your restaurant brand into your design is how you will tell your unique story. Which will then be retold and spoken of by your customers, if you do the storytelling right. So, make sure the story is credible and relatable.

All the elements – colours and texture, furniture and fixtures – should fit in and complement each other.

Aaron Allen, a restaurant consultant and an industry analyst shares the following:

“The entire restaurant needs to be centred on the brand story and personality. As with anything, good planning helps with execution, so start by writing down the vision for the restaurant. From there, think about the decorations, lighting, fixtures and even the chairs and tables.

Remember, everything placed inside a restaurant must support its story. Every item should contribute to communicating the brand promise, positioning and personality.”

Design and ambience of the place are highly regarded even by foodies who primarily judge a place governed by their sophisticated palates.

2. Impress Your Customers With a Great View

Stunning restaurant views can go a long way in providing rare ambience for your guests.

Having one means having great visual dynamics. You can achieve different tones and atmospheres during a single day. And get added dynamics during different seasons.

A view will set a completely different mood depending on whether it’s opening to a central city or a country background scenery.

Gidleigh Park Hotel makes the most of its location in the English countryside. Its dining room boasts a view of the 109-acre garden, providing their guests with moments of ultra fine dining.

3. Optimise Your Restaurant Space

Your restaurant layout depends on your concept, but you should start with the idea of making the most of your space. Being eclectic is up-to-the-minute, so you’re allowed to experiment.

Maria Elena Holguin from Robb & Stucky Interiors offers her view on current trends:

“Communal dining experiences and open-concept restaurant layouts are very on-trend and translate well to smaller spaces. In open-concept dining, keeping the area open to the kitchen is a budget-friendly solution, as is an exposed ceiling with elements like ductwork and pipes visible and part of the design experience.”

Alexandra Morris of Morris Selvatico Interior Designs throws in some friendly advice. With no theatrically-interesting cooking to showcase, do not bother putting in an open kitchen. Although they’re the latest thing, it’s not a good idea letting your guests see into a kitchen with no real action.

4. Aim for Some Instagram-Worthy Table Settings

You can boost your restaurant visits with things as simple as your tableware and table linen. Your restaurant visuals set the stage for the entire dining experience. It should be designed with great attention to detail. Your table should be the central focus.

With food photo frenzy everywhere, if you do your share right, you’ll get your share on your customers’ social media space. The more picture-perfect your table presentation is, the more likely it will end up on Facebook or Instagram.

And here are some useful tips for choosing tableware:

5. Experiment With Lighting

The rule of thumb in restaurant design is you need to stay creative to stay exciting for your return customers. And the lighting is one of the most important elements in restaurant design and ambience.

According to Interior-Delux.com, it’s best to opt for flexible lighting so you can redecorate regularly. This will also allow you to dim or brighten the lights to set the mood when appropriate.

Here are some more of their valuable tips on how to use light to manipulate atmosphere:

“Light your restaurant by the different time of meals, and by the usage and space of your place. Fine dining in a restaurant has evolved to the point where subtlety in all details is the key. Direct lighting is valuable for areas where your food is displayed (for e.g. salad bars) whereas indirect lighting is used for creating the balance and making the place appear charming.”

6. Get Smart With Your Music

In a restaurant business, you need to engage all five senses to communicate with your customers. So make sure your visuals, smells and tastes go hand in hand with background music.

And when you enter technology into the equation, you are in for an even more intelligent game.

Startle Inc. offers state-of-the-art professional background music systems that enable you to change your music schedule with a click on your smartphone. This makes it easier to pick soundtracks that work in harmony with other atmospheric elements of your place.

Master Your Restaurant Ambience

What you do with your ambience will greatly affect the customers’ perception of your hospitality venue. All you need to do is be aware of each of the ambience elements and then soup them up. You’ve got enough expert tips to get started. And for some more awesome tips, check out Alsco’s 126 Expert Ideas For Your Restaurant Business Plan.

But you can also rely on us for your table linen. It’s what sets the stage for the fine versus substandard dining experience. By leveraging our 125-year textile experience, we know how to provide you with only the best possible linen for your business.

Plus we make it way easier for you with our rental program. That’s how you can breathe new life into your restaurant without paying an arm and a leg.

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Choose from our wide selection of rental services for the Restaurant Industry to suit your needs and budget. Our friendly staff will be more than happy to help with your choice, so call us now.


Photo courtesy of Flikr Images by Dennis Jarvis
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Office Etiquette Policy: What’s Yours? With Free Posters

From giving a handshake and sneezing the right way to using the office pantry – all this gets governed by office etiquette. Office rules are not purely a formal matter. They are established for legitimate reasons and by people who have given it a lot of thought.

Did you know that in Australia, influenza causes roughly 3,500 deaths? And about 18,000 hospitalisations and 300,000 GP consultations each year? Try to fathom how many people could be spared from disease by invoking a few simple preventative measures! Likewise, Australian business could save billions by improving office cleanliness. Good office hygiene etiquette is a good place to start.

But how to approach an employee who neglects personal hygiene? Or how to get your employees keep their workstations clean?

Do this the easier way, skip the talking – let office hygiene etiquette posters do the job for you! Alsco’s giving them out for free! Go and use them to promote good etiquette at your office.

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1. Cover Your Cough, Don’t Be a Menace

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Take an average working day. How many coughing people have you passed by on public transport, the convenience store, and your office? How many different viruses does your body need to fight off during a single day?

Most people don’t even take note of this. But this is mostly how we fall ill in the first place. So, cough etiquette is of utmost importance for public health.

Science has revealed the gross details of how far cough particles can travel in the air. Any guesses? Coughing droplets can spread as far as 6 metres at speeds of up to of 50 miles per hour! Leave your cough uncovered, and you’re most likely to get even the most remote colleague showered in 3,000 cough droplets.

Let your employees know this! Declare war on office germ intruders! Get this poster to remind them to always cover their cough!

2. Don’t Let it Out Into the Air

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Let’s get some things straight first. Sick workers trudging into the office cost the Australian economy more than $34 billion a year. The so-called presenteeism puts your entire team at risk of contracting the disease from heavily infected colleges.

You’ve got workers you’re not going to get much use of, except contaminating others. So do send them home!

But if they do have to come in, then absolutely let them practice these safety precautions. Use this poster to politely remind your employees to sneeze and cough into a tissue or use their upper sleeve.

And to teach them to avoid coughing into the hand at all costs. Serious respiratory illnesses can be spread by touching objects with contaminated hands.

Cold and influenza are preventable infections! So let everyone do their share in prevention!

3. Do You Know Your Dos and Don’ts?

Many office workers don’t get it straight what goes as socially acceptable in their workplace. Blaming others for your own mistakes and interrupting someone as they speak count as a big no-no.

Not using hand sanitisers may be frowned upon. Even worse, those who are neglecting personal hygiene are running the risk of being looked down upon. Same goes for leaving your desk messy.

View larger version

Unknowingly breaching those unspoken office rules can be quite embarrassing to new employees.

Making office blunders can get people on the wrong foot with their colleagues, too.

“It seems it’s the small things in the office which are the biggest nos. When you’re in a confined space with people, seven hours a day, five days a week it’s no wonder someone’s tiny quirk ends up becoming an office faux pas.”MobileSlots.com

That’s where office etiquette posters come in handy! So, put your office etiquette cards on the table (or rather on your walls).

Get this poster for some unambiguous office dos and don’ts. It’ll help you create a more pleasant workplace environment for everyone.

4. Mind Your Own Pantry

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What someone does in the office pantry is everybody’s business, since their actions can affect everybody around them.

Leaving a mouldy sandwich in the fridge will offend other coworkers not only by bad smell but by endangering their health.

Food that goes bad can go from bad to worse – and lead to food poisoning!

So make sure your employees mind their p’s and q’s in the office pantry! It’s similar if they don’t clean the dishes properly.

This way they’re serving their colleagues with some ‘germ side dish’ next time they use the same dishes.

Whereas not leaving the pantry sloppy and sharing a meal with your coworkers now and then is going to be well appreciated.

5. Golden Rules for a Gold Office Hygiene Standard

Download and print this poster

Losing time to illnesses can be a big drain on your business. Teach your employees these 7 golden rules of office hygiene, and your sickness absence rates are going to go substantially down.

The power of clean hands goes a long way in keeping your office healthy. So make sure you always have soap dispensers and hand sanitizers available and refilled.

They will do wonders for your office hygiene!

Here are 7 golden rules for Office Hygiene:

  1. Wash your hands regularly with warm water and soap.
  2. Consider wearing a mask in case of workplace epidemic.
  3. Drying hands is just as important as washing hands.
  4. Wipe your keyboard and your phone regularly with sanitised wipes.
  5. Maintain perfect personal hygiene.
  6. Regularly use sanitiser, especially after using the toilet.
  7. Keep your workstation clean and clear.

6. Fight Germs Where They Are

Download and print this poster

Germs know where to attack, and you should too! The office is one of the most germ-laden environments.

Did you know that typical office desk harbours more than 10 million bacteria? That’s 400 times more germs than on a standard toilet seat! So, remind your employees to sanitise their workstations and phones regularly. This useful poster will give them a heads-up not to neglect these hot spots.

Here are the golden rules of workplace hygiene to stop the germ invasion:

  1. Spread love, not germs – stay home when sick.
  2. Tissue sneeze or sneeze like a vampire with your elbow if you don’t have a tissue.
  3. Sanitisers are your friends – especially after using the toilet.
  4. Water, soap, sanitise. Repeat!
  5. When you’re healthy and you know it – wash your hands.
  6. No germs left behind. Clean shared dishes after use.
  7. Don’t want to eat germs? Wipe your phone with sanitised wipes.
  8. Break up a germ party: Wipe down your keyword.

Play it Simple

What can be as simple as placing a few posters around your office? It’s a polite and catchy reminder to your employees for practising some good office etiquette. And a perfect way to keep your workplace healthy and your employees safe and sound.

Yet, to stimulate better behaviour among your employees, your office needs to be fully equipped. You can’t ask people to throw their garbage in the bin if they can’t find any bins around, right? It’s similar to workplace hygiene. Keep those soap dispensers and sanitisers full! Then let your employees do their part.

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But let Fresh and Clean do everything for you! Our comprehensive hassle-free office hygiene services will help you make your office spotless in a breeze. Get in touch with us today to join 48,000 Australian workplaces who are happily keeping their offices clean with our help.


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6 Visible Danger Signs for Hazardous Conditions in the Workplace

Exposure to danger is involved in all walks of life – starting from the most benign forms such as slipping on a wet floor or suffering from computer-related injuries.

Regardless of your industry you never know when a work-related injury may occur.

However, the riskiest professions are the ones where the risk of injuries to workers lurks around every corner 24/7.

Here’s where you should exercise extra caution!

The problem is, most injuries require you to act immediately. But the real problem starts when you’re ill-prepared for such emergency situations.

So, being able to foresee danger and act in a way to prevent it effectively is the way to confront this serious problem. Aside from taking up corporate safety training, workplace danger sign posters will keep your staff safe from harm.

Visual communication is much more forceful than verbal! It’s a highly effective way to get your point across. A psychologist, Jerome Bruner exposed that people remember 80% of things they see in comparison to 20% of what they read and 10% of what they hear. Thus, danger sign posters are invaluable – for they are both visual and unmistakable.

Caution signs serve to warn people about milder threats in the workplace. Like tripping hazards or the required use of protective equipment. But danger signs are used to warn people of possible accidents that can be life-threatening!

Today we present to you Alsco’s printable high-resolution danger poster signs for different workplace implementations. They are designed to comply with the Australian Standard for danger signs. What’s amazing is that you can download them for free for a safer workplace and everybody’s piece of mind. Here’s our comprehensive list of danger signs.

1. Chemical Storage Area Danger Signs

Taking care of your employee safety is a matter of basic human concern. But being sloppy with your preventative safety measures can backfire and wreck your finances too.

According to the report from 2013-2014, there were 106,565 total workers’ compensation claims in Australia due to serious workplace incidents. In addition, employees affected by workplace accidents take an average 15 days off work. Which is a substantial loss of productivity. And then there are hidden costs in administrative expenses, medical costs and wage losses. Check out this informative infographic for more valuable workplace injury stats.

Click the image to view the whole infographic

However, one of the worst hazards can come from inadequate storage of chemicals. This can lead to serious accidents, contamination, fire, damage to properties, and even death.

Labelling chemical containers and identifying chemical reaction risks are some of the initial protection protocols. But marking areas that contain dangerous chemicals is also imperative to prevent disastrous events at your workplace. Alsco’s Chemical Storage Area Danger Sign will help you do precisely that! So, click here for your printable version.

Download and print this Danger Sign

2. Falling Hazard Danger Signs

Falling is some of the most common causes of work-related injuries. The Australian Workers’ Compensation Statistics reports that 90% of serious compensation claims were due to injury and musculoskeletal disorders.

And there’s a record of 145% rise in nerve and spinal cord injuries in Australian workplaces over the last 13 years. The highest rate of workers’ compensation claims came from labourers, healthcare and social assistance professionals.

Yet, falling injuries are preventable! You can instruct your team on some falling techniques or invite safety training professionals to train your staff. But until you do that, get our Falling Hazard Signs and install them in the areas that entail the highest risk of falling.

Download and print this Danger Sign

3. High Voltage Danger Signs

Even small amounts of current can be dangerous to human health. But having high voltage transmission lines at your company’s premises is a major health hazard.

Getting in contact with power lines higher than 50 volts can cause severe injury. From tissue damage, burns to heart function disorders or even death.

Even being in close proximity to high energy sources can be harmful. The electric arc coming from these sources can jump from a few inches to several feet depending on the voltage.

So, implementing control measures is obligatory in order to protect your personnel. So, print out our High Voltage Sign and create your own power-safety danger board.

Download and print this Danger Sign

4. Electrical Shock Hazard Danger Signs

High voltage electrical shock accidents can cause lethal injuries to your employees. More than 50 volts is enough to potentially lead to life-threatening consequences. According to the Health and Safety Executive roughly 20 people die from electric shock or electrical burns at work each year.

When not fatal, the injuries can lead to burns, amputations, and many other systemic complications. Electrical shock injuries mostly affect electrical workers, but you should make sure your entire staff is protected. You should instruct them to keep a safe distance from high voltage lines and put up Electrical Shock Hazard Signs.

Download and print this Danger Sign

5. Restricted Area Danger Signs

Restricted areas are reserved zones only accessible to authorised personnel in a company or organisation. It’s out of bounds to non-personnel for safety and security reasons. An area can be designated as restricted on many grounds. Those may be:

  • contaminated areas
  • medical biohazardous waste storage areas
  • classified document archives
  • military bases
  • restricted government facilities

Some restricted zones require safety or personal protective equipment. And others call for safety guards to enforce restrictive measures and keep the trespassers out.

Yet in most cases using danger signage will suffice. It’s an efficient way to isolate a potentially harmful area and safeguard people who are not qualified or are unaware of ways to behave in these environments. Alsco’s made it easy for you – you can access your Restricted Area Warning Signs in just a few clicks.

Download and print this Danger Sign

6. Radiation Risk Danger Signs

The risk from radiation is a serious health hazard you want to protect your staff and visitors from. There is some naturally occurring radioactivity such as terrestrial, radon and cosmic radiation we’re all exposed to at all times. But what you want to warn people about is artificial radiation. Although it’s no more harmful than natural radiation, at least the exposure to it can be controlled. However, medical radiation makes up for more than 50% of radiation Australians are exposed to.

Frequent acute exposure to ionising radiation can cause radiation sickness and even death. But they are extremely rare. While radiation from medical imaging is linked to increased risk of cancer. And you want to minimise these chances for your staff and visitors. So, use our Radiation Risk Warning Signs for maximum protection.

Download and print this Danger Sign

Comply With Health and Safety Laws

Your workplace is full of threatening factors to your workforce health and safety. And if hazardous situations are not handled properly – it’s an accident waiting to happen! Worse still, some instances of safety lapses can prove fatal to your employees and impose stiff penalties on your company.

Thus, make sure to put safety precautions at the top of your agenda because your people’s lives are on the line. It’s your human and legal responsibility!

So, assess the risks first and target the areas and then equip your premises with necessary danger warning signs. You can even print them out on metal or other durable, robust materials.

But what are you going to do in emergency situations? Let’s say a fire breaks out in your chemical unit! Signs won’t be of much help here.

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However, Alsco is there for you in this department too! Our First Aid Training and Emergency Response and Evacuations Training are there for your complete peace of mind. Using our Managed Training Services is an easy way to stay safe and WHS compliant. The training can be tailored to fit your specific business needs. We keep a detailed record of when retraining is due and take care of all your certificate updates.

Since 2011, Alsco has been an industry-leader in First aid and Warden Training. So get in touch with us now to ensure your workplace stays continually safe.


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4 Must-Have First Aid Books for Australian Workplaces

Accidents can happen anytime, anyplace. And knowing or not how to administer first aid care can be a matter of life and death.

The cost of work-related injury and disease to Australian economy amounts to roughly 5% of its GDP. So, shifting from the life-saving aspect, having trained staff at hand can reduce the severity of injuries and lower your medical costs.

All Australian workplaces are legally bound to ensure safety for employees and customers. Any non-compliance introduces severe penalties.

And did you know Australia has the lowest first-aid training rates in the world? With less than 5% of people trained? So, give your humble contribution to safer Australia by having your staff trained.

Today we introduce you to amazing must-have first aid books. Having them in your office or clinic can make all the difference when your first aiders are up against the wall. Not everything is going to stick with them after the training.

So these resources are an excellent cue to trigger their memory. Referring to one of those when emergency medical conditions arise can largely impact workplace accident outcomes and help save lives.

1. ACEP First Aid Manual, 5th Edition (DK First Aid Manual)

Your co-worker has collapsed, shows symptoms of a heat stroke or has had a fracture. What do you do?

The updated 5th edition of the DK First Aid Manual will keep you updated on more than 100 different conditions.

Responding effectively to workplace emergencies makes first aiders real-life heroes. But even heroes need to refresh their memory every so often. This handbook will help you provide immediate response in cases of faints, fractures, strokes, and more.

It will help you deal with an unforeseen emergency in the most clear-cut way. Faithful representations of real-life emergency situations in step-by-step photographic sequences will help you know exactly what to do.

Expect straightforward instructions, with the summary of causes, symptoms, signs and action plans.

Get this book on Amazon or skim through the book reviews. Still, you won’t make much use of the book if you don’t already have staff members trained in basic first aid.

So, go on and exhibit this poster in your common area to showcase the value of joining the team of lifesavers.

2. Responding to Emergency: American Red Cross

This textbook will help you prepare for the unexpected in a wide variety of emergencies. It will also let you in on lots of prevention strategies. Unfortunately, we tend to overlook the fact that healthy lifestyle can help prevent injury and sudden illness.

This book will give you the confidence to treat an accident victim until proper care is administered by a professional.

The revised 2012 edition of this hands-on and comprehensive manual is updated with the latest scientific research in emergency cardiovascular care and first aid.

Find your copy on Amazon.

3. Living Ready Pocket Manual – First Aid: Fundamentals for Survival

Is your company ready for an immediate response if any medical emergency should arise? With this handy pocket-size manual, it will be. Equally perfect for day-hiking and trips as well as urban disaster situations, this book includes response to:

This easy-to-read book will have a profound impact on your first aiders’ confidence in performing life-saving actions. Take a peek at an Amazon review showcasing its strengths:

“I am a retired military guy and combat veteran, familiar with many First Aid books, procedures, and styles. I found this to be an excellent book, in a compact form, that surpasses most other “fundamental” use-in-the-field “First Aid” books on the market.

This book is laid out to allow the reader to easily find various topics and specific subject material in a very expedient manner. Frankly, I find this to be a very sophisticated and informative book, written in everyday layman terms, for medical emergencies that one could expect to encounter away from medical facilities.”

So, lay your hands on this pocket guide and live ready.

4. Emergency First Aid Manual by John Haines (Australian First Aid)

This manual is the authorised workbook of Australian First Aid and Australia’s first choice when it comes to first aid guidebooks. It deals with 100 critical subjects and covers all major emergency conditions.

It’s an inspiring informative guide that will fill you in on everything you need to know. A good learning aid that will whip you into shape so you can gather your wits at a critical moment and effectively respond to an emergency condition.

It is signed by Mr. John Haines, a mobile intensive care paramedic and director of Australian First Aid and Medic Media International.

Freshen up your first aid knowledge with the hot off the press edition of this Emergency Manual.

Hope For the Best, Prepare for the Worst

All the books presented here are suitable for Australian workplaces. They will assist your first aiders to react properly when the moment calls. Browse through our hand-picked selection of first aid books for more similar editions.

With things like workplace safety, you can’t just bury your head in the sand. It’s what brings disastrous consequences. You need to have sufficient staff numbers with skills and knowledge to treat the injured immediately until further help arrives. Having someone at your workplace who’s trained in first aid responses can help turn touch-and-go situations into favourable ones.

Take the hassle out of the first aid training by getting your workplace staff trained by Alsco.

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Our First Aid Training offers a year-round support service to keep your company safe and compliant with the latest WHS laws. Our RTO-certified courses can be customised to fit your company’s size and industry. Also, our smart online system reminds you when your staff members should undergo refresher courses. You don’t have to take the trouble yourself.

Honing our expertise for over 50 years of our business history has established Alsco as an authority in First Aid Training. With us, you can literally prepare for the worst and hope for the best. So, call us today so we can work out your unique workplace safety plan.


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6 Ways to Wow Your Customers With Your Restaurant Menu

Acquiring customers is costing restaurants more and more dollars and effort each day. In the restaurant trade what counts the most is how you represent yourself, so having bright, crisp table linen and an immaculate restroom is a must.

There are many hurdles you need to overcome in order to run your restaurant business well. One of them is trying to deal with a stale and uninventive menu. If you don’t give your menu a little kick once in a while, your restaurant will go bland and lose bite.

Repetition is a killer of any kind of business. Only a well thought out, creative and off-beat menu will do justice to the amazing establishment you want your restaurant to be. This will make the entire venture pay off in the long run.

While this may come as no surprise, your menu is why your customers come to you in the first place! And they want something not only palatable but inviting to look at. So, if you’re looking to impress them with taste alone, you’re making a lapse in judgement. And if you don’t offer a menu that is impressive at first glance, people are just going to go to your competitor.

So, add some variety to your menu to appeal to a wider array of customers. And get some excitement in the air for your patrons as well – a pinch of character in your menu. The adjustments don’t have to be dramatic – slight but to-the-point changes will do the job.

But as wild or temperate you choose to be with your menu innovations, rest assured they are going to have a resounding success with your visitors.

Not sure which road to take and need a hint or two? Our experts are here to dispel your doubts and point you in the right direction. So, dear monsieurs and madams, on our menu today are some tricks of the trade for improving your restaurant menu!

1. What’s in a Name?

You don’t have to be Shakespeare for writing up an impressive menu. You just need to let your creativity flow!

So, start by putting some spectacular meal ideas on the table. And keep adding to them from time to time. Making exciting changes to your menu on a regular basis will wow your customers and boost your sales. A slight transformation to what you traditionally offer will add some intrigue and excitement for your regulars, too.

You can use fancy and sophisticated names in moderation. But be careful not to over complicate things. Your menu should be straightforward and simple so people can tell what they’re about to put into their mouth. Nobody wants frog legs written in a fancy French name ending up unexpectedly in their plate.

Yet your menu names should be enticing enough to be an adequate overture for your restaurants’ amazing tastes.

Always make sure to state the major ingredients of each meal. And if suitable, use ethnic names as they add authenticity to the menu description.

2. Think of Every Detail When Designing Your Restaurant Menu

Your menu reflects your restaurant and it can help increase your customer base. So, give it a lot of thought and consider all the aspects.

Lorri Mealey from theBalance.com says you should determine your audience before deciding which menu items to include.

Think Culinary advises choosing your menu layout, colours and fonts according to your restaurant’s theme. They also advocate for correct spelling. Because having typos in your menu is unprofessional and can lead to ordering mistakes.

iChef’s Kirsty and Matthew Krueger encourage restaurant owners to think outside the box when designing their menu. They offer the following suggestions:

  • Elicit menu ideas from your regulars – it’ll give them a sense of ownership
  • Use the specials board to single out your existing menu items

Another tip to keep in mind is from Murray Wright of MurrayWright.com. He says a good rule of thumb is to ensure your menus are neatly written and clearly understood.

With in-house printing, we can squeeze a lot on a A4 paper – but in the evening with lights low, and the more mature customer having forgotten their reading glasses, (or not wanting to show they need them) things get hard. Make sure the typeface is big enough. With descriptions, be careful of technical terms – if people don’t understand, they won’t ask and just order the steak or schnitzel. Ask yourself why the term is needed – is it to genuinely inform the customer or make myself feel good?

3. Give Your Best Dishes the Best Placement

Who would believe that the positioning of your menu items matters? Well, it does.

Murray Wright reveals people tend to memorise the first and last items in a list more easily.

So, reserve the first and last positions on your menu for the dishes you want to sell the most. You can also put your unique selling point items on those visible placements to set yourself apart from your competition.

For more savvy tips on boosting your restaurant menu, check out this video from BuzztimeBusines.

4. Know Your Best-Selling and Worst-Selling Dishes

Another fantastic idea from iChef is to rate each of your menu offerings. Tracking the sales of every item and keeping a tally will tell you how fitting they are for your menu.

This will help you ditch the items that aren’t selling well so you can trim down your menu for long-term commercial success.

Plus, you can keep record of your customers’ preferences and keep your costs under control. But make sure to keep a good balance of both low and high-cost items at all times.

5. Kick Off the Holiday Season With Holiday Specials

Creating a menu unique to holiday events will generate excitement among your restaurant visitors. It’ll help get your customers into the festive mood even if they’re not feeling particularly festive.

Plus, it will allow you to expand your meal selection while controlling your costs.

6. Boost Your Restaurant Menu With a Compelling Healthy Food Offer

Choosing healthy food options is becoming more and more frequent among restaurant visitors. So make sure to always have healthy food alternatives on offer for your health-conscious customers.

Adding vegetable, whole grain and fish dishes on your menu is yet another way to delight your customers with your varied offer.

Include low-fat, low-carb, low-calorie meal variations to your traditional offer. But don’t forget to add some excitement and fun with some trendy healthy recipes. Combinations are endless! So give it a go!

Vanessa Cullen of Forward Thinking Design has some valuable insights on future of healthy food offerings to share:

Wholefoods plant-based clean eating is in and here to stay, even with non-vegan or non-vegetarian consumers who are just seeking lighter, healthier and/or more sophisticated meals. Leading futurists forecast this as the top trend in the immediate and foreseeable future of food and it is being embraced by both the best chefs globally and small start-up ‘fast’ food companies popping up ahead of the curve.”

Healthy restaurant and eatery directory
Finding restaurants and eateries with healthy foods made easier through Gluten Free Eating Directory.

Take Your Restaurant to the Next Level

There are ongoing debates on what themes are favourable for a restaurant to leave an unforgettable impression. But that’s beside the point! Whichever of them you opt for or don’t, if you put a unique stamp on it, something truly yours – like a tweak or two in your menu – people are going to love it.

What’s important is for you to focus on the creative aspects of your business. With Fresh & Clean, your restaurant is bound for a bright future.

Why? Because we provide you with a comprehensive restaurant linen rental and washroom solutions, so you can take these things off your mind completely. It means no more worries about your tablecloth, napkins, serviettes, and tea towel supplies! No more washroom cleanliness issues!

Once you get those operational distractions out of the picture, you can put your mind and resources completely to keeping your restaurant in the frame for the big things.

And we’ve got a treasure trove for you here too: it’s Alsco’s fantastic list post with expert ideas for your restaurant business plan. 126 ideas to be exact! So, roll up your sleeves, dig into some research and make your restaurant business boom.


Photo courtesy of Freepik Images by Freepik

5 Common Injuries and Their Basic First Aid You Can Easily Learn Today

Accidents may occur at any workplace. Therefore it’s paramount to learn basic first aid.

Equipped with the right first aid knowledge, you’ll be able to preserve life, limit the condition from worsening, and promote recovery.

While at it, be observant, calm, resourceful, comforting, and cheerful. And above all, you’ll need a well-equipped first aid kit.

Ready to learn? Let’s get started!

First off, you have to always assess DRABC. That is;

Danger: Check out for any possible danger to you, the casualty and others

Response: Check the casualty’s response. If unconscious get help immediately, if conscious ask the casualty their name, or ask them to gently squeeze your hand.

Airway: Check if the airway is open and clear of objects. If clogged, open mouth and remove the foreign object with your finger, then gently tilt the head backwards.

Breathing: Check that the chest is rising and falling by hearing and feeling the breathing. If the casualty is breathing, keep on checking for continued breathing. If the casualty is not breathing, turn the person on their back and seek immediate help.

Circulation: Check for circulation signs by checking the neck pulse, looking for swallowing or breathing movement and also by observing the face’s skin colour.

Now let’s take a closer look at how to manage some of the common injuries in the workplace.

Remember this should not substitute first aid training courses offered by an accredited training provider.

1. Asthma Attack

An asthma attack occurs when the airway suddenly narrows making it difficult for one to breathe normally. It’s mainly triggered by pollen, dust, cold, smoke, air pollution, allergy, and stress. The signs include:

  • Increased wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Chest tightness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty in speaking
  • Blue or grey lips and nails

Taking quick action can prevent an asthma attack from becoming an asthma emergency. Here is how:

  • Monitor the lifeline DRABC
  • Sit the person in an upright comfortable position and ask them to breathe slowly and deeply.
  • Give four puffs of the asthma reliever e.g. Ventolin or Asmol.
  • Wait for another 4 minutes and observe if the person can breathe normally. If not, give another 4 puffs
  • If the person still can’t breathe normally, immediately call for an ambulance. State that someone is having an asthma attack.
    • Keep giving the reliever after every 4 minutes until the ambulance arrives.
    • For severe attacks on adults, you can give 6-8 puffs every 4 minutes.
    • Keep monitoring their breathing, level of response and pulse.
    • In case they lose responsiveness, follow the resuscitation steps as you wait for help.

2. Bloody Nose

The rapture of tiny blood vessels inside the nose can cause one or both nostrils to bleed. This can be caused by several factors. Read on to find out how to control the bleeding and open the airway.

  • Get the person to sit down, never let him lie down because keeping the nose above the heart reduces bleeding.
  • Get the person to slightly lean forward to ensure blood drains out through the nose. Never ask the person to lean backwards. This will make blood flow into their throat and possibly block the airway.
  • Ask the person to gently pinch the soft part of the nostrils while breathing through the mouth. Let this last for ten minutes, take a small break and then repeat until the bleeding stops.
  • Let the person avoid speaking, swallowing, spitting, sneezing or coughing as this may break the forming blood clots in the nose.
  • Seek immediate medical attention :
    • If the bleeding doesn’t stop after twenty minutes
    • If the nosebleed happened spontaneously
    • If the casualty experiences a headache, dizziness, ringing in the ear or vision problems

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3. Burns

Burns are caused by hot or cold objects. They normally occur on the face, back or arms. Let’s have a look at the different types of burns and how to manage them. It’s also vital to know the three levels of burns.

Dry Burn

Signs are:

  • Pain in the burned area
  • Blistering
  • Reddened skin
  • Difficulty in breathing(if the burn is on the airway)

How to manage dry burns:

  • If the person’s clothes are on fire, stop, drop and roll them.
  • Asses DRABC and attend to any urgent injuries
  • Flood the injured area with cold running water for at least 10 minutes
  • Monitor the casualty’s vital signs as you wait for help

Chemical Burn

Signs are:

  • Stinging pain
  • Peeling and swelling of the affected area
  • Blistering
  • Presence of chemical tins or bottles

How to manage chemical burns:

  • Asses DRABC (as outlined above)
  • Ensure proper ventilation, otherwise, move the casualty to a safer place
  • If the chemical is solid or in powdered form, brush if off the casualties clothing
  • Flood the area with cold running water for 10 minutes
  • Gently take off any clothing that may have in contact with the chemicals
  • Dress the affected area to avoid infection
  • Keep on checking the casualty’s vital signs as you wait for help

Electrical Burn

Signs:

  • Unconsciousness
  • Casualty has signs of shock
  • Brown coppery stuff on the skin (if burn resulted from high voltage)
  • Skin turns brownish, whitish or black

How to manage:

  • Turn off electricity from the main power source. To safely do that, stand on a pile of newspapers, or a wooden surface and use a wooden stick to switch the power off
  • Using a piece of wood, remove the casualty away from the danger.
  • Access DRABC and attend to urgent injuries
  • Cool the affected area with water
  • Dress the affected area
  • Treat for shock

4. Fainting

Fainting normally occurs when there is insufficient blood flow to the brain thus causing the person to lose responsiveness and often falling to the ground. Common causes of fainting are pain, hunger, exhaustion, emotional stress and standing or sitting for long periods. However, there are proven ways to help prevent fainting.

Signs:

  • Unresponsive casualty (briefly)
  • Slow pulse
  • Pale cold skin
  • Sweating

How to manage:

  • Kneel down next to the casualty and raise their legs and support the casualty’s ankles on your shoulders. This improves blood flow to the brain.
  • Ensure there’s sufficient ventilation by opening windows or asking bystanders to move away
  • Keep watching the casualty’s face for signs of recovery. Once conscious, reassure and help him to sit up slowly.
  • If the person takes longer to regain consciousness, open the airway, check their breathe and treat for unresponsiveness.

5. Foreign Object in the Ear, Eye or Nose

While at the workplace, a foreign object can accidentally enter and get stuck in the eyes, nose, ears, throat or skin. Often, it’s not alarming but if swallowed or inhaled they can obstruct proper bowel movement or cause choking.

Here’s how to manage the situation:

Foreign objects in the eyes

Be it sand particles or dust, irrigate with clean water. Also, advise the person to stop rubbing his eyes. If it gets worse send the casualty to the hospital for immediate medical attention.

Foreign objects in the nose

Don’t attempt to remove the foreign bodies out. Advise the casualty to breathe via the mouth while you take note of any breathing difficulty. Then immediately send the injured person to the hospital.

Foreign objects in the ears

Don’t attempt to remove the foreign bodies; it may cause damage to the eardrum or ear canal. If the object is an insect, flood the ear with baby oil to float it out. Then, immediately send the injured person to the hospital.

Swallowed foreign objects

These are either undigested or sharp objects in food such as bones. This causes swelling and obstruction of the airway obstruction. Don’t give the person any drink or food. Reassure the casualty and immediately send him/her to the hospital. Also, refer to Choking.

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Preserve Life

Your chief aim as a first aider is to preserve life. Always assess the situation to help you prepare psychologically, take care of your own safety, the bystanders’ and the casualty. Remember to seek professional help when and as needed.

Along with the helpful first aid skills you’ve learnt above, we’ve compiled an elaborate list with more common workplace injuries and emergencies as well as how to attend to them. Check it out and learn some more. You never know when your first aid skills might come in handy and give someone a fighting chance.

For a safer workplace, partner with Alsco and take advantage of our fully managed, cost-effective First Aid Kit rental services.


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons by Frank Schulenburg (Wiki Education)
Photo courtesy of Flickr Images by Andy Fitzsimon

7 Healthy Workplace Equipment Your Team Will Love

Your employees are key assets that drive your business’ success. So, making your organisation attractive to top-level talent should rate high on your priority list.

Creating a fitness-oriented company culture your staffers can resonate with is a huge step-up. So, make sure to devise a good workplace wellness program.

It will not only help you save on medical costs, it will also make your employees feel they’re in good hands.

Below is a list of healthy office equipment that will help make your team healthier and happier. A surefire way to boost your employee wellness and fuel their work performance in the long run.

1. Stellar Healthy Vending Machines

What does your team munch on during work hours? Chocolate bars, chips, soda and other sodium and sugar-packed items? Most probably. Sceptical about changing their eating habits? Shove good things under their nose and you’ll be surprised!

Having healthier foods within arm’s reach will help you reduce sick leave and boost productivity.

So, fuel your workforce with some real power food! Some nutrient-packed organic products, low-sugar variants, and gluten-free items.

All Real Food offers vending machines packed with healthy drinks, fresh mason jar salads and organic vegetarian wraps. It’s healthy, affordable food with traceable, locally sourced ingredients.

2. Big Fridge for Big Changes!

Small changes can make a big difference but a big fridge can bring big changes for your employees health. Especially if you give them a little push by adopting a bring-your-own-food-to-work policy.

Even if just a fraction of your staff are health-conscious, you should encourage home-prepared lunches over any other food choice at work. Having an office refrigerator allows your employees to do exactly that! They can conveniently store their home-prepared lunch and healthy snacks.

Instead of slipping out for another calorie bomb takeaway, your staff can enjoy a home a cooked feast that can be heated up in a jiffy. It’s a brilliant way to save money. Plus they’ll get some bonus time to stretch their legs or have a leisurely hang-out in the nearby park.

Specifying some rules won’t hurt. So, post this poster in your pantry’s fridge to remind your team of your office pantry do’s and don’ts.

View and download this free etiquette poster

You can also draw inspiration from mindbodygreen that’s placed wellness as its company core value. Their fridge is packed with complimentary coconut water, organic coffee and biodynamic wine.

3. Life-Saving Anti-Fatigue Mats for Jobs That Require Standing

A recent study shows that standing on the job is twice as bad as sitting for your heart. This doesn’t mean that sitting can be dismissed as one of the key triggers of the 21st-century health epidemic. It only means we should take prolonged standing just as seriously.

Professionals like cooks, baristas and machine operators are at an increased risk. But as far as this matter goes, your hands as an employer are far from being tied.

You can throw in some amazing ergonomic mats to improve the health and comfort of your workplace. This will have a direct impact on your employees’ health, satisfaction and performance.

Alsco has amazing anti-fatigue mats that are ideal for jobs that require prolonged periods of standing. They’re easy on your spine, knees and feet. They’re also good support for better posture.

Or pair an anti-fatigue mat with your height adjustable office standing desks. Is a match made in heaven!

4. Cobble Up Your Own Office Gym

Setting up an office gym can cost an arm and a leg. And although having an office gym is a ubiquitous corporate hype, let’s face it, many businesses can’t afford it.

Yet you don’t have to think big when planning for your office workout nook. All you need is a well-ventilated space and a bit of equipment.

Home Fitness Guru‘s two cents are to gear your small gym with an exercise bike, a treadmill and a rowing machine. A home gym system is great too, as it doesn’t take up a lot of space and provides a variety of useful exercises.

And remember, your office gym plan won’t work out without installing on-site showers and lockers too. And without spotless washroom hygiene. The reasons are more than tangible.

5. Inject Some Ping Pong Fun Into Your Office

Want to lighten your office atmosphere and get your team moving? The easiest and most affordable way to do it is to install a ping pong table.

Table tennis is far from being just a fun pastime. Neuroscience suggests it can improve motor skills, attention and memory.

Having equipment at their fingertips is the best way to engage your team in some physical activity. It’ll loosen up their bodies and sharpen up their minds.

6. Pilates Ball Chairs? Why not!

Using a Pilates ball instead of your office chair can bring striking benefits to your core muscles, legs and spine. When sitting on an exercise ball, what you’re actually doing is some isometric exercise. Without even being aware of it! Do yourself a favour and get one!

7. Wii Your Office On

You don’t have to leave your office to get some proper team building. Bring some real fun in without too much fuss. All you need to do is install a Wii console!

Then organise some Wii sports and dance tournaments. It’ll get your team up and moving. Plus, it’s loads of fun! We bet they’ll be pressing you to bring it on again.

Fit as a Fiddle, Clean as a New Pin

Perking up your office with equipment such as these will get your team involved in office activities in a blink of an eye. It’s a stellar way to improve employee wellness, have fun and achieve better work performance.

For more ingenious, offbeat ideas from wellness experts, check out Alsco’s massive list of employee wellness ideas.

And let us take care of your office hygiene the pro way.

Streamlining your practices through outsourcing hygiene services is a very smart idea! Our unrivalled cleaning services will keep your employees healthy and safe while engaging in fun on-site activities. Washroom services, hand hygiene, odour control?

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Count on us! We’ve been around for more than 50 years and have 48,000 customers to back us up. Give us a call now, and we’ll sort all things hygiene for you.


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Photo courtesy of Flickr Images by Lars Plougmann