4 Ways to Attract Millennials to Your Restaurant

We’ve been hearing that word lately – millennial. They are now the youngest of the workforce (feeling old yet?) as well as the largest generation – with 53,000,000 workers worldwide.

They also have the largest restaurant spending. They spend an average of 10.6% more than any other generation.

They are now the new primary target market.

What they bring about is a new culture in the workplace. Millennials are tech-savvy, more so than any generation before them.

This changes things for everyone – a shift in priorities and preferences along with a more adventurous spirit hits businesses, especially the food industry.

You know very well that keeping a customer is at least just as important to a business as pulling in new ones. Keeping these millennials is the new challenge for restaurants, and here are some tips that may help you do just that.

Add the option to customise and be creative

Millennials love having options. The more casual chains like Boost Juice and Domino’s Pizza reveals the importance and the impact of them feeling involved in the process of creation and customisation, even with food.

The sense of accomplishment a millennial gets from being able to produce a nicely customised meal that they can call their own (and enjoy eating, of course) helps create mental brand retention – they remember your restaurant because of the service they got.

Additionally, the millennials are always in pursuit of new adventures and experiences – including food. Regularly adding new menu items regularly would definitely entice your millennial customers to keep coming back, looking forward to what you have up your sleeve the next time they return.

Stay up to date, because they are

They’re techy. That matters, and you can use that to your advantage. As e-commerce are booming, people are now gravitating towards shopping from the comfort of their homes. To our point, research has revealed that 39% of millenials have, at least once, used technology to order food from restaurants.

That said, having this sort of technology would resonate more with them as it is part of their identity. Technomic, a consulting firm for the food industry in the US, said that food delivery would boom in the next decade, growing to as much as a $5 billion market in that span of time.

This new online platform has given them an unprecedented level of interconnectivity. Websites like Facebook, Google Reviews, and others make it easy for a millennial to learn about a restaurant from another’s experience. Embrace this, and use it to your advantage. Let your food and décor be Instagram-worthy, and your service deserving a 5* review.

Yes, they care about quality

Healthy eating has become a larger thing today, and these aware millennials will demand to know about what they are putting in their mouths. They want to know if their food came from a local farm which used only organic fertilizers. If your food is devoid of preservatives, artificial flavouring and GMO’s, that might be better for the more conservative ones, too.

Additionally, they have a bigger preference for food that comes from companies which are highly sustainable, with higher ethical standards. Cage-free chickens or grass-fed cows, for example are very welcome in their plates and their stomachs.

Give your menu a shakedown

We have talked about healthy eating above. The more health-conscious millennial generation prefer it if you give them options that adhere to these standards. They will be willing to ignore the higher price tag, and if they are satisfied, they’ll come back for sure.
No, you do not have to remove the less healthy items from your menu. Simply adding low-fat, low-carb, low-calorie options would definitely be beneficial to your business.

Here are a few examples of healthy dishes that you can add to your menu:

  • A vegan veggie burger or falafel wrap with the option to get gluten-free bread
  • A vegan cheese option which allows you to convert pizza and Mexican-style courses
  • A tofu or lentil vegetable stir fry, hot pot, casserole or curry, etc.
  • Raw vegan desserts and non-dairy based ice creams that are becoming more and more available

That said, it would be advisable to trim down your menu. Track the sales of every individual item, and remove those that aren’t selling well.

Also, try to keep the prices balanced – options between high-cost and low-cost dishes are always a good thing for a millennial who is craving for your food, but it’s still a few days to go before payday. Adjust your menu to meet food cost targets, and possibly, remove the ultra-high food cost items on slow months. This allows you to save more on your food stocks, too.

Make it enticing and rewarding to be a loyal customer

Some restaurants have started offering membership cards to their customers. These cards would gain points whenever the customer purchases food. It’s smart, doesn’t cost much, and it encourages your customers invite their friends.

A good example for this would be Starbucks. If you aren’t familiar with the craze that their planners get at the end of a year, you might be amazed when you see it.

Studies show that it is 6-7 times more expensive to get a new customer than to keep an old one. From another study on 2,000 businesses with loyalty programs, it was recorded that from 14,000,000 visits from 1,000,000 customers, only 20% of these customers visited at least 10 times. However, that 20% amounted to 80% of the total revenue, and 72% of the visits.

It is definitely worth it from both a cost-effective investment standpoint, and a revenue boost standpoint. Consider how you can apply this to your business if you haven’t yet!

Embrace the new millennial trend

The millennials are the present, and they account for as much as $2.45 BILLION in spending. Make your business future-proof by planning around this generation, because the next generations to come in the next few decades will be quite similar to the millennials.

Alsco provides free resources to help you achieve that. You can get 126 expert ideas for your restaurant to help you attract and keep millennials loyal to your business right here!

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Photo courtesy of Unsplash Images by Suganth
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3 Effortless Ideas for a 5-Star Restaurant Washroom

Front of restaurant.

One of the things people consider when they give an assessment of any particular establishment is the washroom.

For sure, you have labelled some places that you will never enter again because of the unkempt, smelly washrooms they have.

Yes, washrooms make up a big part of a person’s first impressions on your building… And this is even more so in restaurants.

Even if your dining area is sparkling clean but your washroom leaves a lot to be desired, that customer probably won’t be coming back. They might not be able to even eat the food they were in the middle of eating before having to go to the washroom.

It cannot be understated how restaurant washroom must be shiny clean and well-maintained at all times, or news will spread faster than a wildfire on social media, and you’ll have some bad rep on your brand. So to stop that, here are 3 ideas on how you can keep your washroom spotless.

You may want to consider providing paper towels

Most establishments use automatic hand dryers, some provide paper towels, and some provide both. The automatic hands-free hand dryer may be appealing, but it can be slow so some customers would prefer to use a paper towel instead.

This may be news to you, though. A research team recently discovered that there are 18 to 60 different bacterial colonies, not to mention fecal matter, are located on the surface under hand dryers (the part that catches water), in a study of 36 washrooms. Icky, right?

Paper towels, on the other hand, can dry hands and remove bacteria more effectively without any risk of airborne contamination. People can wipe their hands down, and all the bacteria and dirt go to the waste bin, where they belong.

If you want to provide paper towels instead of hand dryers, it’s also important to present them in a manner that can contribute to the clean atmosphere of the washroom. Look for well-designed and durable dispensers that can last for a long time.

Fresh & Clean’s hand care programs can be customised for your business’s specific needs. It’s a worthy investment, because Fresh & Clean would supply and refill your soaps, paper towels, and sanitisers!

Invest in new clog-reducing tech

People also have negative impressions on clogged toilets, and that eventually reduces the credibility of any food-related establishment.

Try to keep customers from spreading bad word about your restaurant’s washroom and your restaurant itself – simply by purchasing paper products that help reduce clogs.

Advanced biodegradable toilet paper, thanks to modern technology, now have the ability to eat away dirt inside pipes. It’s no rocket science, but the toilet paper releases dirt-cleaning enzymes that reproduce to multiply their cleaning effect. When they finish their job, they biodegrade and are flushed away without any residue or odour.

There are also paper towels that dissolve in water to effectively reduce clogging.

You can avoid expensive plumbing repairs and prevent your customers from being hassled by an out of order sign when they really have to use the toilet.

However, these cases still happen one way or another. Luckily for you, Fresh & Clean offers a managed washroom service that maintains every little detail in your washrooms. Running out of liquid soap? We got you. Overflowing sanitary bins? We have your back.

We can design a program that is tailored to your company’s specific needs.

Maintain a clean and reliable brand

If one part of your restaurant is dirty, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine that even the kitchen is also dirty. If they see a dirty washroom, they immediately lose trust in your brand, and that is a no-no. You do not want your restaurant’s reputation to be tarnished, do you?

We wouldn’t want that for you either, so here are some maintenance tips that you can use on your washrooms.

  1. Stick to a regular cleaning schedule – Ensure consistent cleanliness by having your employees follow a regular routine. Specify what tasks need to be done on a daily basis, such as wiping surfaces and mopping floors, and conducting checks at the end of every business day.
  2. Keep a record – log the time spent on important tasks like cleaning the toilets, the floor, etc. Let the employees sign off on the log when they finish their assigned tasks, including the time and date.
  3. Implement a training program – through training can be provided by your managers so that what is expected of everyone is clear to all employees. Focus on the best practices and the way to use the equipment properly, ensuring that no detail is missed.
  4. Restock cleaning supplies before running out – Fresh & Clean has you covered here because if you partner up with us, we’ll take care of your supplies regularly. Your washrooms will be fresh & clean every day. No pun intended

Cleanliness is next to godliness, so they say

We will keep beating on this because it is of utmost importance – a clean washroom is a must for any restaurant or establishment.

Keeping a high standard of cleanliness across your entire restaurant, and the epicentre of all the difficulty is the washroom. All the dirt, all the bacteria, all the icky stuff are there.

For a restaurant, it is a hassle to handle all of that, especially during the rush hours.

Worry not, however – The Fresh & Clean range of services ensures that your washrooms are clean, pleasant and safe places that provide peace of mind for you and your customers alike. It’s an awesome investment because we can take care of everything for you, including the nitty-gritties, leaving everything spick and span.

Call us up today and we’ll set up the perfect program for your restaurant – and give you a free month to start! Alternatively, you can click on the link below to learn more about Fresh & Clean’s services.

Photo courtesy of Pexels Images by Igor Starkov
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Restaurant Business Plan Ideas: Bonus Tips

Ten simple ideas for your Restaurant Business Plan

1. Daily reports

Tracking important information on a daily report helps you and your restaurant manager to operate each shift more efficiently. Reports make it easier for managers to manage labor costs and inventory while meeting the sales goal for the day.

A daily sales report, a menu item sales report, and an hourly staff labor report are the most important items that need to be tracked on a regular basis.

2. Know who your target audience is

A good restaurant business plan should make it very clear what type of target audience you want to attract. It hurts your business to attract lots of customers and then be unable to satisfy all of their needs.

Define who your restaurant’s target audience is by answering the following:

  • What are their consumer criteria (what do they want)?
  • What are their professions?
  • What are their (relevant cultural) interests?
  • What type of menu are you offering?
  • What is the atmosphere of your restaurant like?
  • Where is your restaurant located?
  • What is the price range of the items in your menu?

Make sure that your restaurant’s style, concept, location, and price range matches with that of your target customer as these are big factors in determining who comes through your door.

3. Keep your menu description short and simple

Food descriptions in your menu should be enticing enough to make a guest want to order it but it’s also important to keep it short and simple. No one wants to read an overly long menu item description.

4. Avoid price increases on your menu

Raising your prices should be your last resort. Keep your prices as consistent as possible – be aware of your competition and make sure you remain affordable. Customers notice when your prices have increased.

Think of other ways you can maintain your profit margins rather then increasing prices.

Work on your menu by reconstructing a dish using ingredients that are less expensive. Control portions, order wisely, manage your staff and vendors. All of these can contribute to your overheads so make sure everything is in balance and optimised.

5. Take your employee recognition program online

Did you know that you can improve your business’s reputation simply by sharing your employees’ achievements online? This doesn’t just encourage your staff to appreciate and inspire each other, it also amplifies engagement with your customers.

People spend a LOT of time on social media. You can reward your employees’ achievements with gift cards and encourage them to post about it on social media.

Engagements like these get employees excited about getting rewards and motivated to work harder.

6. Cross-train your staff in related job functions

Keep your restaurant business as versatile and adaptable as possible by teaching your staff how to perform multiple roles.

Your prep cook can be trained to saute or handle the grill. The busboys should also know how to run food to tables when the servers are busy. This way, your restaurant and your staff are able to adapt quickly and efficiently when things get unexpectedly busy.

7. Set aside strategic tables for single diners

Just because they’re alone doesn’t mean they’re not as important as a group of guests who will order more food. Single diners can be placed in small tables or at the bar if they’re okay with it.

Avoid placing them in large tables, near the bathroom, or facing a wall. Instead, have them seated near to windows or on those little private corners in your restaurant/cafe. Let them choose from the options available.

8. Create a customer database

Having a customer database helps you provide customers with personalised attention or special treatment every time they dine, increasing turnover and loyalty.

Know a guest by their first name, get them a spot they would like, and remember the usual meals they order and ask if they would like to have them again. When a customer sees that you know and remember them, they feel comfortable and ‘at home’ and will come back again and again for that personalised experience your restaurant offers them.

Make sure that all waiters are polite, efficient, and show how much they enjoy their work. Adding this kind of personalised attention into the mix will guarantee that customers will keep coming back.

You can even get your staff directly involved.

Contributed tip from Howard Tinker of restaurantprofits.com.au

9. Do regular furniture inspections

Maximise the life of your restaurant furniture and other fixtures. Constantly monitor for signs of wear and tear by doing regular inspections and repair before it gets expensive to fix.

Make sure all bolts and screws are secure and that chairs’ legs are still stable and sturdy. Check for dents, chips, and torn fabric. For minor scratches, you can touch up and smooth them over with paint or varnish.

10. Use the right cleaning solutions

Cleaning a commercial kitchen is a different proposition to cleaning a domestic kitchen. Hygiene standards you need to follow are far stricter so ensure you’re using quality cleaning solutions – chemicals that are specifically designed to keep your workplace sanitary.

Need help in keeping your workplace healthy and hygienicFresh & Clean has smart, hassle-free solutions tailored to your specific business needs. Get in touch with us today.

Want more ideas for your restaurant business plan?

Get 126 expert ideas for your restaurant business plan and work out how you can create a restaurant you always dreamed about and make it a success.

How to Skyrocket Your Restaurant’s Curb Appeal

elegant dining table

Why do you think people come to your restaurant? For a meal? Yes, partly due to your excellent cuisine. But, is that the only reason?

People go to restaurants because they want to have a nice experience.

In most cases, people will go to a restaurant they already have in mind.

They’ve either already had a nice experience with that venue or it has come recommended. However, there are those who don’t have a set idea of where to eat.

That is exactly why you need to step up your curb appeal. Make your restaurant a place that people notice and walk into. How you ask? Here is some good and sound advice from those who have been in the restaurant business for years.

Make the Entrance Spotlessly Clean

There is nothing more off-putting to restaurant patrons than dirt. All your effort to create the perfect menu, excellent interior and amazing service will go to waste if your restaurant looks shabby and dirty from the outside.

You only have one chance to leave a good first impression and your customers’ first impression is what they see from the outside. Be sure to:

  • Clean the driveway and the facade regularly
  • Make sure any bins are emptied frequently and are out of sight
  • Have spotlessly clean doors
  • Have spotlessly clean glass windows and other glass elements
  • Ensure a perfectly clean entrance by using entrance mats

Get Visible and Interesting Signage

Once your potential customers enter the street in which your restaurant is located, they should not have to look twice to find it. You need smart, well-designed and interesting signs pointing patrons to your restaurant. They also need to be in style with the rest of your theme.

Neons signs can be fun. They are effective and you can either go with a contemporary or vintage theme. On the other hand, your restaurant doesn’t have to have flashing bright lights in order to have a nice storefront. You can achieve a similar effect in other ways. Which leads us to this next idea:

Introduce Some Wall Art If Possible

This will work for some restaurants but won’t for others. Urban, contemporary and modern restaurants could certainly benefit from displaying trendy street art both outside and inside their establishment.

If you are going for a classy, elegant, red carpet entrance theme, you should go for a more classical design that your patrons expect from your type of establishment.

Add Greenery to Your Entrance

This is an excellent choice for restaurants located in major metro areas. Also for those that have small windows or are not obvious from the street. Greenery will also tone down dark colours and sharp, minimalist lines.

Be sure to take care of your plants. They need to be lush and lovely. Dried out and half-dead pot plants are a big no-no. Alternatively, you could opt for artificial plants, as there are some very life-like options now available.

Display Your Menu

Your menu should be on display next to the entrance mat that leads into your restaurant, so that any potential patrons can decide if your establishment is right for them. This allows them to see your price range and make a decision on the spot.

What you gain from displaying your menu on the street:

  • You save time as the customer usually already has some idea of what they want to eat upon entry.
  • You save time on seating customers who later decide your menu doesn’t appeal to them.

Roll Out a Welcome Carpet or Mat

What beats the red carpet? Nothing! A red carpet placed at the entrance of your restaurant is bound to attract customers. Especially those that are looking to enjoy some fine dining.

Alternatively, a more subtle entrance mat can also work really well.

The red carpet and entry mat idea is a welcoming gesture that adds class and improves the overall dining experience of your patrons.

We recommend that your welcome mat is also an effective dust control mat, which will help prevent people from walking dirt into your establishment.

Don’t overlook the help you can get from companies like Alsco. We can take care of your entrance mats and restaurant linen so you can focus on what you do best!

How to Optimise Restaurant Maintenance Costs and Reduce Spend

chef preparing dish

Consider all your restaurant or cafe expenses and overheads. Wages, rent, electricity, gas. Food, kitchen equipment, aprons, work uniforms, table cloths, tea towels, POS…

The list goes on and on, ad infinitum.

Now consider this: among these constant expenditures that your business has to cover, how much do you spend on repair and maintenance?

An American study on the 2 million-plus multi-site US businesses that need repair and maintenance work revealed that they spend US$100 billion annually. What’s worse is that $20 billion of that is unnecessary. That’s 20% of the total spend down the drain, wasted.

We’re not aware of any such study in Australia, but we imagine that Australian eateries must spend a proportionally similar amount to their US counterparts. Wouldn’t you like to get back your share of all that wasted money?

Well of course, but how?

The goal is to optimise repair and maintenance efficiency without sacrificing quality of service and customer experience. For your restaurant(s), this is important – all of your services rely heavily on your equipment, after all.

This is good for your restaurant – the less money you spend on repair and maintenance costs, the more you can invest in upgrading the quality of your food and services, improving customer experience, and ultimately, growing your business.

Here are a few strategies you can use to get back that wasted repair and maintenance spend.

Regularly Check Your Commercial Kitchen Equipment

Standard business equipment and décor such as light fixtures, floors, ceilings, and HVAC units require repair and maintenance, some more often than the others.

However, the more important equipment to check is the vital commercial kitchen equipment. Every experienced restauranteur knows that walk-in freezers, refrigerators, and ovens must be consistently maintained to be fully functional.

Track the status, warranty, and work history of each asset you have in the restaurant accurately, especially the refrigerators. For example, if one of your fridges leaks, inspect the historical repair information and make a decision based on your findings. If you have had to get that fridge repaired for the fifth time in three years, it’s time to replace that fridge. Maybe choose a more reliable brand?

Prevention is Better Than Cure

Cars have this thing called “PMS”, or a preventive maintenance schedule, where regular work is done, such as changing the oil, checking the brake pads, wheel alignment, etc. Miss one of these and your car might break down at the most inopportune of moments.

The same goes for your restaurant’s equipment – preventive maintenance is done to deal with issues that may be building up before they break down. It’s simply more cost-effective to perform preventive maintenance than to pay for full equipment repair or replacements when the worst happens.

Avoid hassling your customers by scheduling your preventive maintenance checks outside of your peak trading hours. If you plan on getting your air conditioning checked, do it during the cold season, when it’s not really being used.

Utilise Facility Management Analytics

With all the complex assets you have to deal with, facility management analytics is more important for restaurants than most other business types.

You can use facility management analytics to analyse your spend data. Armed with that data, you can forecast trends, create goals in advance, and determine future facility management spend. You can also tell how much you are spending unnecessarily for repair and maintenance.

Develop cost-saving strategies with the help of a facility management analytics tool. Check out which service providers may be able to give you more bang for your buck, determine the best possible PMS, and switch out inefficient, money-draining assets for more efficient ones.

Contractor Invoicing Processes Can be Automated

Time is money. Yes, that’s a cliché, but it doesn’t take away from the truth that time is very valuable, whether it’s yours or someone else’s.

Many restaurants manually do the invoicing for repair and maintenance work. It’s incredibly inefficient and vulnerable to human error. The processing costs may be higher, too.

Automate your invoicing processes to further reduce your facility management spend. Invoices can be automatically grouped, scheduled, and sent directly to service providers. This then reduces possible accounting issues, processing costs and ultimately, improves efficiency.

Choose More Sustainable Equipment

Most modern appliances use technology that is focused on improving their efficiency and reducing their energy consumption without affecting performance. Modern refrigerators and air conditioners use various inverter types to cool more air for much less, while LED light bulbs are now almost ubiquitous… Generally, the endless quest for energy efficiency is pretty much the norm.

Here are some tips to help your restaurant become more cost-effective with its energy use.

1. Use energy-efficient lighting – LED bulbs and fluorescent tubes provide the same amount of light compared to compact fluorescent and halogen bulbs for much less power.
2. Don’t need lights yet? Keep them off – Try intelligent lighting that turns off when its area doesn’t need artificial lighting.
3. Turn down the thermostat – Turning your thermostat down a degree or two makes a huge difference in energy costs over time.
4. Use a wood-burning stove or oven – Electronic and gas stoves use a lot of energy, especially when it’s cold. The classic wood-burning oven not only gives your restaurant a more rustic feel perfect for pizzas and slow-cooking meats, it saves a lot of power (although the wood smoke is a pollutant).
5. Drinks don’t need to be frozen – Set your refrigerator at a temperature that only cools drinks to the optimal drinking temperature, instead of freezing them.
6. Update your fridges – New refrigerator cooling technology is far more cost-effective and efficient than older models. Maintain them well and they will save you money in the long run
7. Invest in an efficient HVAC system – your refrigerator has a fancy inverter thing that you probably don’t really understand. You just know it’s efficient and costs less to run than the old one. That same cash-saving inverter technology is also used in modern air conditioners.

Invest in Cheaper More Effective Options

Repair and maintenance costs can be high, but they can generally be covered. But when things inevitably break down, replacing your equipment is a significant capital expense that you may not be able to afford.

Which is why many businesses choose to lease their equipment and avoid the large capital outlay and associated business risk.

The same goes for your food and beverage linen. Why buy when you can rent?

Alsco’s Managed Linen Rental Service is the cost-effective alternative to buying. We eliminate the need for large cash purchases and keep all your linen and work uniforms, from table linen and tea towels to aprons and glass wipes, maintained and up-to-date. All starting from just $1 a day.

We provide regular deliveries as well as emergency, on-demand servicing.

Because we know that when you need a hand, you need it fast. It’s just the nature of your industry.

Contact us today for a fast obligation-free quote tailored to your needs. It’s the easiest decision you’ll probably make all day!

How to Keep Your Millennial Workforce Happy

Happy millennial workforce happy

At this point, Millennials make up almost 50% of the workforce. By 2025, Millennials will make up to 75% of all employees. If you still plan on running a successful business then, you need to find a way to make your Millennial workforce happy.

There is a common misconception among employers of the earlier generations that Millennials can be hard to please and that they are unmotivated. However, the truth is a little different.

The generation gap is a common issue and it has been for a long time. So, what is the problem today? It seems that the generation gap is larger due to the increased tempo of our lives.

When everyday life for the younger generation is so drastically different than it is for the older generation, misunderstandings are inevitable. Their values, desires, motivation and life goals are different, so some friction between them is bound to occur.

To make things more complicated, it seems that the parents of the Millennial generation have much more in common with their parents than with their children. To some degree, it can be said that Millennials are misunderstood.

If you want a happy and productive workplace, you should definitely make an effort to understand your growing workforce. For starters, you will need to provide a healthy, green and hygienic workplace. Here are some ways to keep your Millennial workforce happy.

Nurture A Positive Work Environment

This doesn’t mean that you need to have video games and beanbags all around your workplace. However, it does mean that you need to consider the relationships within your workplace and the way your employees feel.

A positive working environment involves respectful and timely communication, acknowledging your employees strengths and where there is room for improvement. It also involves healthy leadership and humane working conditions. Avoid putting unnecessary pressure and stress on your employees as much as possible.

Provide Frequent and Regular Feedback

Providing regular feedback on the work your Millennial employees are doing is, for them, a natural part of a positive work environment. They expect it. Generic, quarterly reviews just won’t do anymore.

This doesn’t imply micro-management. Just a simple little question about their project and a helpful word or two of feedback will be much appreciated. Your employees will understand that you care about what they do and they will reciprocate by being more involved with your company. It’s a win-win situation.

Make a Real Difference

If there is something the younger generations are eager about, it’s making a difference. Get involved in both local and global charities and movements. For example, you can make a real impact by going green. There are so many opportunities to do this type of work. Here are some examples:

  • Use every opportunity to recycle.
  • Replace electronic devices with energy-saving alternatives.
  • Offer incentives for your employees to organise carpooling.
  • Use environmentally friendly ways to clean your car parts if you run an automotive shop.
  • Buy your supplies in bulk.
  • Partner up with sustainable and socially responsible companies, like Alsco Australia.

Another way to make a difference is to get involved in global and local charities. You can organise events and fundraisers yourself. Even raising enough funds to buy equipment for the local children’s playground can be enough, as long as it’s making a positive impact on society.

Embrace Technology

Millennials are digital natives. This means that they don’t understand a world without the internet and mobile devices. A big part of their lives is online, so don’t underestimate new technologies and the importance of these in your employees’ lives.

It is quite easy to judge and to tell nostalgic stories about the old days when people only talked face to face and all business had to be conducted in person. The times have changed and those days are gone. That’s the truth. The world of digital natives is here and learning what’s involved is a matter of business survival.

This doesn’t mean that all your meetings should now be over Skype. It only means that you should not dismiss the input of your Millennial employees when it comes to technology. Take the time to listen to them and implement some of the advice they give you. If anything, it will give you a head start over other companies.

Offer Training and Professional Development Opportunities

There are some big companies that can afford to put some of their employees through their MA studies. You don’t have to go that far. It is enough to offer training and professional development opportunities that can help your employees advance in their careers and even enrich their lives.

Why not conduct a survey among your employees and see what sort of training opportunities they are interested in. Here are some suggestions that you may want to offer:

Leadership Training

Nobody wants to be stuck on an entry position job. People want to advance, and that usually involves being in some sort of management position. Your employees will rarely have experience in leading others and this training will be invaluable to them.

Communication Skills

Everybody knows how to communicate, right? Well, not really. Communication skills improve the workplace environment and make businesses successful and more productive.

Language Classes

Learning a foreign language can be very fun. Almost everybody has a language that they would love to learn. If you offer this as training, it may become one of the favourite training programs among your employees.

First Aid Classes

When you ask your employees to pick training options they would like, not many of them will list Managed First Aid Training. However, if you offer this type of training in a list of possible options, a lot of people will opt for it.

People know that First Aid is something everybody should learn. It could mean the difference between life and death for somebody they know or love. Therefore, as a part of safety improvement in your workplace, this type of training should be included in your schedule.

Alsco Australia has years of experience in providing such training to different companies. We offer Managed First Aid Training which means we don’t just come over and teach your employees CPR. We will adjust our training to match the needs and disaster plan of your company.

We will remind you when your First Aid Certificates are about to expire and we will also train any new staff that you hire. There are many more advantages to using Alsco’s Managed Training.

Call Alsco Australia today and find out how we can help your business grow.

8 Things Your Customers Hate About Your Bar and How to Fix Them


Have you ever noticed that you can have two conceptually similar bars in one street, almost next to each other, but one bar is full while the other one is empty?

They are almost the same, but there is something that drives customers into one bar and renders the other one completely uninteresting to them. How and why does that happen?

There can be many reasons for that, but if you ask regular bar patrons about what they would like to change about their favourite bar, you will get similar answers and a lot of them will have to do with your washroom hygiene.

Here are 8 things bar patrons hate about your bar and how to change them.

1. Sticky Bars and Tables

Keeping up your hygienic standards on a busy Saturday night is very difficult and challenging. If you are lucky, your bar is swarming with people. When that happens, drinks get spilled, a lot of stuff ends up on the floor and it dries off just enough to become sticky. That is a nightmare, but it happens from time to time.

There is not much that you can do to clean up the mess on the bar floor when your night is at its peak. However, you can hire more people to wipe the tables and quickly clean up any mess that happens. They don’t have to be hired for everyday. They can be only weekend, part-time employees. In that way, you will prevent the sticky counters, tables and bars.

2. Uncomfortable Bar Stools

Of course, we all know how the bar stool looks like. It is a tall stool with a little seat that you have to balance on. Moreover, there is usually not enough room to leave your purse, a bag or necessities. You can leave them on the bar itself, but they will be on the bartender’s way and you will have no place for your drink.

You can do two things to iron out this issue. First of all, don’t buy stools that you haven’t tried yourself. Sit on them for a while and see if they are really comfortable. The ones with a little backrest usually provide a better support than those that don’t have it.

As for the bags and purses, there are little hooks that you can buy and install below your bar which can be excellent addition to hang stuff that gets in your way.

3. The State of Your Washroom

Again, it is next to impossible to keep up the impeccable state of your washrooms when you have a ton of people in your bar. However, there is a big difference between a temporarily not-so-perfect bathroom stall and the obvious buildup of dirt in your bar washrooms. Expecting from your staff to replace professional sanitary services is not realistic.

You need professionals. Washroom services that you get from Alsco can also include deep cleaning of your toilets, as well as the intensive biological treatments. If these hygiene services are performed often enough, it will be so much easier to keep the hygienic levels to the maximum in the meanwhile.

4. Not Enough Soap and Towels

The consumables are spent fast on a busy Saturday night. Some of it is even wasted, but that is to be expected. There is nothing more annoying for a bar patron than when they use the bar toilet and they don’t have what it takes to wash and dry the hands.

If this happens regularly, then it means that you should consider replenish your consumables more often or even install more soap dispensers and paper towel dispensers. If its is necessary, make sure that at least one of the persons responsible for the washroom hygiene is present at the peak nights to replenish these consumables.

5. Low Quality Drinks

It is a real art to find that sweet spot between serving drinks that are good quality, but not overpriced. However, if you start serving low quality drinks in hope to attract more customers and cut your costs, you may want to rethink that strategy. It will probably attract people who are interested in cheap drinks only and that can easily backfire.

This problem is easily solved by talking to the experienced bartenders and taking their advice. If you have a good and certified bartender, they already know all the secrets to the trade. Moreover, they usually know who are good and honest suppliers that you can contact.

6. Low Quality Service

It is not necessary to have a certified bartender, but it most certainly helps. People hate being served by impatient, rude or condescending staff. Yes, things in a bar can get a bit too much and the patience of your staff can be tested from time to time, but that should not influence their professionality.

This also a solvable problem. You should provide your staff with proper training about all the possible scenarios in your bar and how to deal in such situations. However, you also need to pay your staff adequately for the job they perform, to keep them motivated to overcome the challenges.

7. Unannounced Events

If you plan on organising bar trivia night, karaoke, or even a live music night, make sure you announce it far and wide. These events are great for bar promotion, but they have to be announced. The first reason is that a lot of interested people will be there, but even more importantly, people who don’t want to be there will avoid it.

Imagine wanting to dance the night away with your friends celebrating only to find out that it is a poetry slam night and there is no music whatsoever.

8. No Feminine Hygiene Bins

Feminine hygiene is challenging in public bathrooms. Therefore, it can be very annoying if the bar washroom doesn’t provide an easy way for tampon disposal. If you want to avoid clogged toilets and pipes, give your female visitors a discreet and effective feminine hygiene disposal units.

All those possible issues with your washroom can be overwhelming. It may sound like a lot of work and like big investments. But, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Alsco Australia can offer deep cleaning, hand washing and drying systems, washroom sanitizers and even feminine hygiene bins. You don’t have to make capital investments. All you need to do rent all these items from Alsco and stop worrying about them. We will install them and stock them up for you.
Moreover, included in your monthly fee is also regular restocking of your consumables. Contact Alsco today and see what we can do for you. Together we will make your bar a cleaner and nicer place.

Three Ways a Managed Laundry Service Can Save Your Business Time

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Every business has challenges to meet every day – sometimes, running your own café or restaurant could feel like it takes every minute of the day! If you’re that busy, then managing your own textiles, from purchase, to quality control, to laundering and ironing, is just one more time consuming operation.

Much of the time, it can seem like something that is a small part of the time that you allocate to your business.  But when you add it up, it can be hours and hours – and that’s hours and hours that isn’t adding any value to your business, and is taking you and your team away from your customers.

That’s why reaching out to a trusted laundry service provider makes perfect sense – through the scale they can deliver, you will get the best of both worlds.  High quality, crisp linen, managed by their expert team, and delivered to you when you need it. 

So we’re agreed – the right managed linen service partner can be a powerful tool for you to manage and grow your business.  What are three of the benefits?

Why Hire a Laundry Service?


The first benefit is the ease, and the peace of mind. By having a partner that you hand this time consuming task off to, you can rest assured that you will get what you need, without needing to do it yourself. 

The right managed laundry service will mean that your staff won’t need to feel overwhelmed by extra work and tasks to just get the basics looking right in your business. Taking away the workload of washing, cleaning, ironing and presenting means that they can do the things you really hired them to do – serve your customers.

For instance, if you have a restaurant and are trying to do it all yourself, then you’ll have to have your own staff wasting their valuable time and effort in the whole linen process. Adding this kind of pressure to their roles, when they’re already working hard, can push them past the point they can stay. 

With a managed service, again, there’s that peace of mind. Your staff just send off what needs to be laundered and returned, and receive regular replacement high quality ready to use linen. Your restaurant, then, is always ready for your next customer.

Time Saving

The saying goes, “time is money”. That’s very true -and it’s true for you, and your staff, just as much as for anyone else. You will have your operation to run, and the team you have working for and with you will have critical tasks that they need to complete to help your business do what it needs to do, for your customers. 

One of the things that can be a time hog in businesses is managing textiles. It is a utility, something that has to get done, but is often bolted on right at the end of everything else someone has to do. But the working day has a finite amount of time – and your people can only fill 100% of anything! That means, even if it is just 5% of their day that they spend on back office operations that don’t add value, that is 5% of their day that they’re not doing what you really want them to do.

That is why selecting a laundry service, you’re gaining time back in your business. Your team ends up with that bit more time and energy to focus on the much more important tasks that you need them to focus on.   

Responsible Economies of Scale

As with any process in your business, the cost is greater than just the time spent in the completion of the task. If you’re handling this yourself, then the cost is financial as well – you need to take into account all of the chemicals, machines, and the energy and water bills, that you need to pay for. All of this can be expensive for a single business to manage.  

In addition, we are now in an era of environmentally conscious business, and that will only grow with time. That can be a real challenge to manage as a business owner – especially when you have to consider the safe management and disposal of chemicals, and your energy footprint as a business.

As with any outsourced service, the economies of scale that your managed textile and laundry partner can gain in purchasing of equipment, chemicals, and utilities, means that they can manage your whole linen process for you, at a lower cost than you could manage. And, additionally, you can still help to reduce the impact on the environment by making sure your laundry service provider incorporates environmental impact management into their operations.

Choosing Your Partner

So, the benefits for finding the right partner for your laundry services are there for all to see. What are some of the considerations, then, in finding the right partner for you?

1 – reliability.  As with all your partners, you want to find a managed laundry service partner that you can trust.  They are taking on part of your business operations, so you need to know that they will be there, when you need them, with what you need.

2 – not just the cheapest!  In the same way as with every purchase, don’t be purely motivated by finding the cheapest price you can!  Your business relies on this service; and if you go with the cheapest option, there’s a reasonable chance you will get what you pay for.

3 – scale.  One consideration is to look for a partner who has been there, and done it, before, for thousands of customers. Larger providers will typically have better back up processes – which means you won’t have a single point of failure when it comes to this critical element of your business.

As every business grows, more and more work will need to be outsourced to help you keep your day-to-day activities in control. And when it comes to whether or not a laundry service would be of much use, it is pretty obvious that the advantages easily outweigh the disadvantages.

Incorporating a laundry service into your business operations will help smoothen your workflow, make it easy for your employees to focus on their other tasks, reduce your carbon footprint, and save you a lot of time and money.

Alsco offers steam laundry services to small and large businesses all over Australia. And if you need fresh, clean, and quality linens, we also offer a comprehensive range of linen for rent to suit your needs. Call us today!

10 Tips to Make Your Restaurant a Powerful Customer Magnet

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Can you think back to the time when you were first dreaming up the idea of your restaurant business? Your own restaurant, regularly jam-packed with people and ever bursting with activity.

Yet very soon you realised that sustainable success is far from being easy to achieve.

In today’s economy, you want your business to thrive. You must make sure your restaurant is insanely attractive to people! Maybe your own entrepreneurial aspirations will not make you push the envelope. But your competition will. After all, you’re all scrambling for the same thing – customers.

Once they’ve set their foot in your restaurant for the first time, it’s time to start making a good first impression. New customers are good to win. But winning repeat customers is what’s going to make your restaurant flourish. They can exercise great influence as online ambassadors for your establishment. They’re worth their weight in gold.

Excellent food and perfect restaurant hygiene are the prerequisites for a prosperous restaurant business. Yet, unparalleled customer service is what will distinguish you from your competitors.

Want to turn your restaurant into a powerful customer magnet? We’ve got some expert advice from experienced restaurateurs and restaurant marketing experts that can help! Adopt some of these ideas and turn your age-old restaurant dream a reality.

1. Figure Out What Your Customers Want

Start by sorting out the underlying reasons why your customers keep returning to you. Business owners cannot make heads or tails of it because emotions are hard to understand. The majority of emotions that urge your customers to make their buying decisions work on a subconscious level.

Uncovering the hidden logic behind how your customers emotionally connect to your brand will bring you success. Because once you learn it, you can tap into these emotions and cater to your customers’ needs.

“Companies in financial services, retail, health care, and technology are now using a detailed understanding of emotional connection to attract and retain the most valuable customers. The most sophisticated firms are making emotional connection part of a broad strategy that involves every function in the value chain, from product development and marketing to sales and service.” – the Harvard Business Review

2. Provide Quick Restaurant Service

Slow service is the ultimate turn-off for your restaurant customers. If your restaurant is on the slow side, your customer base will reduce very quickly. Whereas, a quick service is what’s definitely going to earn your restaurant some bonus points.

“Improving operational efficiency in every part of your business. You cannot be price competitive and profitable without developing world-class operational efficiency… even in a small business.” – Donald Cooper

3. Get Past the Stigma of Solo Dining

Nobody likes a restaurant where they get weird looks if they enter the place on their own. So, make sure to treat your solo diners with care and make them feel welcome. This will entice them to make a return visit.

4. Provide a Great Wi-fi Connection

In the technologically driven world of today wi-fi becomes a must in restaurants. Your guests are not likely to abstain from using their gadgets while having a meal.

Having a strong wi-fi signal is going to help work-related communication for locals. But it will also assist your foreign visitors in getting around the city. It’s a convenient way for them to check maps and other info online.

5. Incentivize Your Customers to Return

Cultivating consistency in your kitchen lays the groundwork for your customer retention. Yet, offering freebie incentives will get your customers to commit to a long-term relationship with your restaurant . The Restaurant Times touts making small gestures like this is will make it happen.

  • Tempting your customers to return by giving out cash vouchers which can be redeemed during later visits.
  • Giving out free starters for second-time visitors.

6. Keep Track of Your Business Score

Get a regular peek at TripAdvisor and TheFork websites. Here you’ll get invaluable insight into both positive and negative customers’ feedback.

Your business score on these sites can be a great eye-opener. Here you can get info on what your customers really think about your place. And whether it’s a good value for money or they’ve got a feeling of being ripped off.

A reality check like this will help you determine if your prices match the quality of your offering.

7. Can They Get Some Satisfaction?

Conducting a satisfaction survey will help you spot your restaurant’s weaknesses. Navigating a business with an emphasis on continuous improvement is what’s going to keep it running.

Grading their dining experience will help you pinpoint any shortcomings and then smooth out the rough edges.

Make your surveys short and send them as part of your monthly email campaigns.

8. Collect Customer Feedback in a Leisurely Chat

How do you gain the most detailed insight into your customers’ satisfaction? In direct conversation. So, elicit some feedback in a friendly chat.

This will bring you a twofold advantage. You’ll gain your customers’ respect for being appreciative of their feelings and you’ll learn exactly where to improve.

Next, encourage them to leave an online review. Regular tracking of your online ratings will help you to improve drive footfall and turn newcomers into regulars.

9. Develop a Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Build the kind of business that you love

Eric Cacciatore of Restaurant Unstoppable advises restaurateurs to come up with a unique selling proposition. A USP is a unique individual quality that sets you apart from other businesses in your niche.

When determining your USP, think about who your target audience is, what appeals to your ideal customer and how will the customer be perceived by society when they align themselves with your restaurant’s brand?

A USP will help you build interest and curiosity, help you attract and retain customers and reduce client churn. It’s a way to make a name for yourself, based on relatable values that will get people connected to your brand.

10. Stand out to Attract Customers

You want to become a powerful customer magnet. But first you need to become visible in a competitive market. Having something unique to offer will do the trick. So, think about:

  • Providing the best possible service
  • Offering added value
  • Specialising in regional or exotic cuisine
  • Or picking an exciting theme for your restaurant

A great tip from Murray Wright is to spice things up with a signature item. It can be a unique dish, beverage, décor, service approach, uniforms or all these together.

Be famous for one thing that gets people so excited that they talk about it to their friends and recommend you, or if they see it being served in the restaurant they want to order it.

Be Dedicated to Your Customer Retention Goal

Attracting new customers and enticing them to return to your restaurant is no easy feat. It takes sweat, determination and hard work but the payoff is worth every effort.

Keep finding new strategies for improving your restaurant and you’ll keep your business in the black. Check out our 126 Expert Ideas For Your Restaurant Business Plan list post to really kick it up a notch.

To allow you to be a truly customer-centric business, consider outsourcing some services. Otherwise, they’ll drive you away from your top priority tasks. Partner up with Alsco, we can conveniently take care of much of your operational difficulties.

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Restaurant Linen
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Chef Uniforms
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Tea Towels
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Need a laundry service? Restaurant linen and uniform rental? A comprehensive solution for your washroom? We’ve got it all! And we also boast more than 50 years of experience in providing commercial services to Australian businesses.

So contact us today!

Photo courtesy of Freepik Images by Freepik Exclusive Victors

Washroom Services: 6 Ways Paying for it Saves You Money

person washing hand

When it comes to workplace washrooms, SafeWork Australia lists some requirements that are to be respected by all workplaces.

If you have more than 10 employees, you will need to provide separate toilets for male and female employees. An additional toilet should be installed for every 15 females or 20 males.

There are many more requirements that your workplace should meet. That tells you how important workplace washrooms are from a legal point of view.

However, there is much more to it than just meeting the legal requirements. It is also about saving money and improving employee satisfaction.

You need to make sure your washroom has all the elements it needs, including hand washing and hand drying systems, different consumables and regular washroom cleaning.

Alsco Australia offers excellent washroom services that you should consider if you feel that workplace washroom management is a bit too much. Before you roll your eyes thinking about how this will cost you a lot, here’s 6 ways outsourcing your washroom services actually save your company money.

1. Decreases the Workload for Your Cleaning Staff

Running a company means having cleaning staff. There has to be somebody in charge of cleaning the washrooms and providing hygiene services for your company. They will tell you that deep cleaning your washrooms takes up the most of their time.

Therefore, if you choose to have washroom services in addition to the efforts of your cleaning staff, you will be able to reduce employee numbers. This means paying less in terms of salaries and other expenses.

2. Gives You More Value for Your Money

While there is no doubt that your cleaning staff can do their job very well, it is unlikely that they have the industrial-level tools and the special know-how that people like Alsco have to offer.

The people we send are trained to perform services such as deep cleaning, biological treatments and other extremely thorough cleaning methods. This means that for a similar price, you get unmatched sanitary services. In other words, you will get more for your money.

3. Boosts Employee Productivity and Satisfaction

There are numerous studies and surveys that show how much employees all over the world appreciate sanitary workplace washrooms. Some of them even go so far as to claim that a big part of your employees’ satisfaction with their workplace has to do with their satisfaction with the condition of the washroom.

This may seem like a far fetched idea, but just think about it for a moment. How do you feel when you are in a situation in which you cannot use a washroom properly due to poor hygiene? Miserable, of course. So, how does all this save your money? In employee productivity. When people feel comfortable in their workplace, they are more productive during work hours.

4. Reduces Workplace Infections

You need flawless hygiene systems in place in order to reduce workplace infections. Most viruses, bacteria and other germs spread because of poor hand hygiene.
For this to work well, good hand hygiene conditions must exist. Of course, your washroom needs to be squeaky clean for this to happen.

Poor hygiene means more workplace infections. More workplace infections means more sick days. More sick days means more burden on your budget and decreased productivity.

5. Saves You Time for “Real Work”

As you can see from the previous points, workplace washroom hygiene is critical for the success of your company, your employee satisfaction and the state of your budget. Maintaining a clean workplace washroom at all times will take a lot of work from your side.

You have to think about a cleaning schedule, the quality of the cleaning, the state of the consumables in it and all of those little things. It may not be a lot, but it piles up, and sooner or later, you’ll end up thinking about your washroom too much.

All that time is time not used for your “real work”. You should be making new deals, running the company and be in meetings, instead of thinking about cleaning. That’s how washroom services saves you money by saving you time.

6. Reduces the Cost of Consumables

This is where Alsco Australia comes in. With our flat rate, you don’t just get cleaning services. We can regularly stock and restock all your consumables. All for a monthly fee.

We can offer soaps, paper towels, hand sanitisers and even sanitary waste disposal. There is a wide range of consumables that we can supply you with. It is much cheaper to have that covered by your monthly fee than to go around and shop for those supplies.

Now that you understand that a workplace washroom service can save you time and money, it is time to consider improving your efforts in that department.

Alsco offers washroom services at a fixed monthly cost that you agree upon. You can always increase or reduce the number of services you require, thus directly influencing your monthly price.

Contact Alsco Australia today and get the best possible quote for your company. Our representatives will work with you to tailor an excellent offer based on your requirements.

Once you agree on your monthly fee and the services you get for it, just sit back and watch how Alsco improves your workplace experience. Call us now.