5 Ideas for Your Restaurant & Bar

If you own a restobar, which the Oxford Dictionary defines as…well, a restaurant and a bar combined, then you know that it’s not as easy as it sounds.

It’s not as simple as inviting people in to enjoy a refreshing cocktail, watch a game, talk to old friends or meet new people.

Maybe your bar is profitable. But is it running as efficiently as possible?

If you also own a restaurant, you probably already know that managing a bar is entirely different from running a restaurant.

There are a tonne of new things to focus on, and one bad slip could cost you a lot, faster than your regulars can chug their beers.

With that said, Alsco is always here for you, so here are 5 tips that you can implement in your restobar to make it run as smoothly as a brand new Lamborghini.

Make sure your staff are up to the task

There’s a saying that goes, “hire character, train skill.” That’s fine until one of those mates causes you big trouble by constantly spilling your drinks, overusing your ingredients, and wasting your inventory.

One of your bartenders may be pouring too much, which will eventually hurt your profit margin.

Even worse, one of your staff may be voluntarily giving away too many “on the house” drinks. Giving away one or two glasses can be okay for your brand rep, but if this happens too often, you stand to lose a lot.

Why not ask your trusted manager keep a close eye on his/her workmates. That might solve the last problem, but not others – you can’t really afford to fire people left and right, only to train new ones who might also do the same things, right?

It falls on you, then, to provide a constant, ongoing training program. Train them up on proper techniques, stress how important it is to pour the exact volume consistently, teach pro tricks, build up good habits, and reward great performance. Take care of your staff, and they will take care of your business.

Invest some effort into your marketing

Having a weekly happy hour is awesome, but practically every other bar in town does that.

It can work, sure. Your regulars love that, and they keep the business flowing. But does it provide growth? How much – or how little?

You probably know this by now, but when you are growing your brand, you must think of what makes your business unique. Discounts during happy hour does not make your business special.

Are you offering a special snack to go with your wine? Are you holding special promos every now and then? Have you partnered up with a local pastry shop to offer some yummy bread and cakes? Create a special menu that you can switch up regularly.

Speaking of partnerships, you could try partnering up with local companies and/or artists so you can occasionally host special events.

Let the people know – they’ll be interested to try you out, and you’ll get old-timers coming back. How can you do this? Well…there’s the internet. Social media is an awesome marketing tool! Post Instagram-worthy photos, share your events and invite people to join. A hashtag for your brand also makes you easier to remember.

Pro tip: Create an email marketing campaign. It’s still a very powerful tool, and it’s useful for attracting new customers and retaining new ones.

Here are the basic things you need to run a successful email marketing campaign for your restaurant:

  • Build and manage your contact list
  • Think of a creative mailing strategy
  • Create effective content and attention-grabbing calls to action
  • Measure and analyse the results

Organise your inventory properly

Showing off your liquor bottle collection for every customer to see is awesome, and it gives your bar a well-established feel. Most top bars have at least 120 different liquors on display.

Yeah, it looks cool, sometimes you can even colour-coordinate them, but can you ensure that auditing is simple when it’s time to do a count?

If there is no specific method to how you stashed your bottles, then your own bartenders might have trouble locating the liquor your customer specifically asked for. That means trouble – you can’t really tell your customer, “Sir/Ma’am, your wine will take 15 minutes to prepare. Are you willing to wait?” That would be disastrous.

Here are some tips on how you can segment your bottles:

  • Keep 10-12 drinks with the “highest volume” in an easy-to-access place. 60%-80% of your investments probably go to these bottles, so you want them to be easily seen.
  • Keep 60 or more “medium volume” wine in another easy-to-spot location. You order these at least every other week, so you would have to count them often.
  • Find a safe place to keep your 40 or more “low volume” liquor. They’re probably the most expensive, and you’ll only be ordering them twice a year, more or less. Very few customers would order these.

Track all of your expenses

It goes without saying. All the money that goes in and out of your bar must be accounted for – especially the liquor purchases.

It is of utmost importance to check the prices before buying, as some suppliers take advantage.

Look out for price spikes every time you purchase. It’s easier to do this with technology! If you find that your regular supplier is taking you for a ride, it’s time to find a new one.

Pay close attention to your stocks

There is an important thing to consider when doing your counting – the variance. Variance is the difference between what you think you have in your stock, and what you actually have. Yeah, it’s like one of those ideal versus reality memes you see on Facebook.

Managing this is important to the profitability of your business.

No, you don’t have to check everything, only a few specific things: your high-usage items. Identify any variances regularly, track the biggest losses and identify the problem. You can refer back to the first point to help prevent huge differences in your variance.

Use modern tech well

All of the additional variables that factor in when running a bar compared to running a restaurant is not simple. There’s good news for you, though!

There are some solutions that can make life easier for you. While no software or app can train your bartenders how to handle their mixes well, or plan your next marketing campaign.

Modern tech helps you track your costs, keep yourself updated on prices, and ultimately, saves you money.

It isn’t simple, but it is rewarding

Running a restaurant bar can be more exciting than running just a restaurant. It has its ups, and its downs – just like everything else.

To help you stay mostly on the ups, Alsco has prepared free resources for you – this time, a treasure trove that contains 126 ideas that can help you grow your business.

Simply click here to learn more!


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Photo courtesy of Unsplash Images by Felipe Benoit Photography

Laundry Services – Are they Necessary?

Hiring a laundry service to take care of your linen and laundry related needs is incredibly helpful.

Doing your own laundry can take a fair amount of time out of your day which prevents you from getting on with other things.

By hiring a laundry service you will save valuable time and cost, so you can focus on what you do best.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the advantages of using a laundry service.

 

Benefits Of Laundry Services

Be Part Of The Green Movement

For the last decade, going green has become a sign of pride, a badge of honour among many companies. This shows that you care about the environment, that you really want to make a difference.

And this is where laundry companies come into play. A good laundry service uses the best possible machines and appliances to clean your laundry. And these appliances, along with finding a company that is also going green, is a surefire way for you to save money, and do right by the environment, all at the same time.

Save Time

Time is money. A cliché, sure, but like most clichés, it’s true. Deadlines, work, guests, the kitchen, housekeeping – you need to juggle these things, and more, to run a good business.

With a dedicated laundry service your employees will have more time to focus on other things, and you will have one less headache to deal with.

Save On Hygiene and Cleaning Products

Another great advantage of having a dedicated laundry service is that you can save a lot of money on cleaning products. This may not seem like much, but the cost of these really adds up, especially if you’re using some of the high-end stuff.

But, a good laundry service gets this stuff in bulk, for an affordable price. They are guaranteed to fix up and clean your linen using the best detergents on the market.

Practicality

This is the big one. There may be the disadvantage of having to pay a company to do your laundry for you, but this is heavily outweighed by the level of convenience that you get in return.

If you utilise these services your employees will have one less task to worry about.

Let’s take restaurants for example. If the restaurant does not use a laundry service, then they will have to deal with cleaning linen and uniforms themselves.

However, if the restaurant does use a laundry service, then employees will simply send the dirty linen and uniforms away to be cleaned, and receive clean linen and workwear.

Laundry Services – yes or no?

So, the decision is yours. If you simply have too much laundry to clean, maybe the best idea is to hire a good laundry service and get them to do this for you. Outsourcing may just be the best option for you, especially when your business starts to grow.

By incorporating a laundry service into your business needs, you will be able to create a smoother workflow, take a lot of pressure off, minimise your carbon footprint, all at an incredibly low price.

Need fresh, clean and quality linens every day? Alsco offers a comprehensive range of linen to suit your needs. Contact us now.

7 Ways to Improve Your Restaurant and Café Menus

Lady looking at restaurant menu

Part of your restaurant’s overall appeal is the look of your menu. It’s a great way to make a good first impression. It promotes your brand as well as the level of service your establishment provides to its patrons.

Menus have always been one of the most effective marketing tools for any restaurant or cafe. They have the ability to influence a customer’s decision on one of life’s most debated questions – where should we eat?

Here are 7 things to consider when looking to improve your menu.

Keep menus short and sweet

If a hungry customer wants to dine at your place, they do not want to be handed a huge brochure with lots of pages and long text. Instead of appetising, it can be confusing.

Design your menu so that your bestsellers or specialties stand out.

The ideal menu consists of one or two pages, although restaurant brochures can be a little bit longer. If you provide a catering service, then it is totally acceptable to present customers with a full-sized brochure that includes everything that you have to offer.

What is your restaurant’s target demographic?

As with any business, it’s important to define your target market and then create your menu based on your chosen demographic. Do you want to target millennials? You may want to include a Wi-Fi password on the first page.

Over and above the design, the content in your menu matters. Understanding your demographic will allow you to cater to their preferences, which will then affect the content of your brochure.

A family restaurant brochure could include a colourful page for the kids, filled with pictures of food that kids love to eat when they’re out with their family. You can adjust the wording accordingly as well so that the little ones can clearly understand what you have to offer. They might not understand what “sautéed” means, so it may be better to use “fried” instead.

If your goal is to exude an exclusive and elite vibe, make sure your menus look and feel is first class.

Table arrangement

Location, location, location

The location or placement of everything on your menu must be purposeful.

  • Statistically, items placed on the right side of a menu are purchased more often than the ones on the left
  • The first and last dish on a page are also proven to be the ones that are ordered the most

If you are not confident in your graphic design abilities, it would be wise to hire a professional graphic artist to design your menu for you.

Make sure your restaurant branding is consistent

To avoid any confusion your menu must stay true to your restaurant’s model. Make sure you’re fully acquainted with your restaurant’s overall concept, like personal tastes, a local ingredient, a unique experience, anything. Make sure your menu reflects this – from its design, to the text itself.

If you own a Japanese restaurant, avoid saying things like chicken and egg bowl, say “oyakodon.”

Your bestsellers are your best weapons

Call attention to your bestsellers or your limited-time special. Make these so easy to see, that your patrons won’t miss them. Why not dedicate one page to your current promo, your bestsellers, and add some mouth-watering images of the dishes to drive them home.

However, avoid promoting too many dishes. If everything on your menu is special, then nothing is special.

Be creative

Release the creativity in you. Make the dishes on your menu sound absolutely delectable by including terms such as:

  • Crisp
  • Delicate
  • Succulent
  • Smoky
  • Tender
  • Zesty
  • Rich
  • Sumptuous
  • Hand-picked
  • Locally-sourced

Again, if you’re not very confident with your creativity and writing skills, you can always hire someone to do it for you. Just remember, the goal is to make your customers feel hungry even if they’re not and terms like these can help get their taste buds going.

Price Placement

If your special is an incredibly good deal with so much value in it for so little cash, then make the price (as well as what they are saving) stand out from the page.

For the more expensive dishes on your menu why not try nested pricing? This is a when the price is listed at the end of the dish’s description using the same size font.

Invest in your restaurant image

These things are all part of what makes your restaurant stand out from your competitors.

If you want to learn more, take a look at Alsco’s 126 Expert Ideas for Your Restaurant Business Plan.

Need a laundry service? What about Restaurant linen and uniform rental? Or a comprehensive solution for your washroom? We’ve got it all! We have over 50 years of experience in providing rental services to Australian businesses.

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Restaurant Linen
Crisp, clean and elegant napkins and tablecloths. Find the perfect style for you.
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Chef Uniforms
We supply a quality range of chef jackets, chef pants and aprons, which can all be customised with your logo.
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Tea Towels
Highly absorbent, clean and bacteria-free tea towels, essential for any restaurant or café.
Learn more…
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So contact us today, we’re here to help!


Photo courtesy of Pexels Images by Bruce Mars
Photo courtesy of Pexels Images by Expect Best

9 Amazing Perks From Super Large Companies

For the vast majority of us, happiness at the workplace boils down to having a nice place to work at with proper lighting, a pantry, fresh and clean washrooms, and maybe a fridge and a microwave.

Of course, there are the mandated perks like healthcare and social security.

But otherwise, we don’t expect much from where we work as long as we’re paid.

Many of us are also pretty cool with sick leave and even vacation time as added benefits.

But did you know there are companies that are happy to give new parents a year off? One whole year off and it’s fully paid too. If that weren’t enough to get you thinking, we’ve found 9 companies that give the best perks in the world (all of these are based on Glassdoor surveys.)

1. Spotify

As one of the most popular and famous music streaming services, this company really knows how to treat its employees. New parents get six months of paid parental leave, as well as lots of flexibility when they come back to work. This allows parents to ease back into the workforce. They even cover fertility assistance (if necessary).

2. World Wildlife Fund

When working for a non-profit, you don’t expect much in the way of perks given that these organisations rely on external funding to keep them going. WWF is, in a way, no exception. To compensate, they give employees every other Friday off. These “Panda Fridays” might not seem like much, but ask anyone who has had to endure a week’s worth of stress and they’ll tell you that long weekends twice a month are a pretty amazing perk.

3. Netflix

Netflix received a pretty high rating on Glassdoor. That’s because the TV-streaming company offers one year paid leave to all new mums and dads. They still have the option to work part-time or full-time within that year, but they’d still be able to take time out and away should they need it.

4. AirBnb

They say that the most effective way to work for a company is to fully understand how it works. AirBnb employees get to experience first-hand the way their company operates. AirBnb gives their people USD $2,000 annually to let them travel anywhere in the world. The only condition is that they stay at a place listed on Airbnb—a small trade-off, really, all things considered.

5. Salesforce

While they’re not a non-profit organisation, this software giant is all heart. Its employees get six days out of a year that they can spend volunteering for the charity of their choice—all of that being fully paid for by the company. This, in turn, passes on the spirit of giving to their employees. If that wasn’t cool enough, Salesforce also gives their employees over USD $1,000 to pass on to their charity of choice.

6. PwC

Here we have a financial company that deals with auditing, assurance, tax services, and all types of consulting. Anyone who works for PwC gets $1200 to put towards their student loan. This makes PwC a company you would consider working for from the moment you enrol into university.

7. The Walt Disney Company

The famous and magical Disney Company gives it’s all to be as magical to its employees. If you get a job working for Disney, you’ll get discounts on all Disney merchandise and heavily discounted rates for hotel accommodation. You’ll also get free entry in to Disneyland, free tickets as well as special secret perks. If you want, you can spend every day at the happiest place on earth.

8. Twitter

First of all, if you work for Twitter, you get free meals every single day. Imagine how much you could save! Also, you get on-site acupuncture sessions, improv classes, or whatever else you feel would help you deal with stress. Or, you can just go back to the free buffet and chow down!

9. Facebook

Just like Spotify, Facebook cares about their families by giving new parents $4000. This can really relieve a tonne of headaches when you become a parent. Four thousand dollars is nothing to scoff at, and can really get you a lot of nappies and pacifiers.

 

If you’re a company looking to up the ante when it comes to employee perks—but can’t quite go too far like these 9 —then give Alsco a call.

Alsco can make your workplace greener, healthier and safer. Those are not perks that people take lightly, especially if they spend a big portion of their day at their office.


Photo Courtesy of unsplash Images by Austin Li