Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Restaurant Self-­‐assessment Tool for Employing Youth

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has established special rules for employing minors. The following self-assessment is designed to identify some of the most common problems encountered in the food service industry regarding young workers. If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, you are likely not in compliance with federal regulations.

Do any workers under age 18 do the following?
  1. Operate or clean power-driven meat slicers or other meat processing machines? Minors under age 18 may not set up, operate or assist to operate, clean, oil, adjust, or repair, power driven meat processing equipment. This includes meat slicers, meat grinders, patty forming machines, meat and bone cutting saws, and food processors when used to process meats. Such minors may not hand wash any parts of power-driven meat processing machines, but they may run a rack of the disassembled parts through an automatic dishwasher if they do not touch the parts.
  2. Operate or clean any power-driven dough mixer or other bakery machines?  Minors under 18 generally may not set up, operate or assist to operate, clean, oil, adjust, or repair power driven bakery machines. This includes horizontal and vertical dough mixers, battermixers, bread dividing, rounding, or molding machines, dough brakes, dough sheeters, cookie and cracker machines, and cake cutting bandsaws. There are limited exemptions that allow 16- and 17-year-olds to operate certain small, portable, counter top mixers and pizza dough rollers. Sixteen- and 17-year-olds may hand wash the disassembled parts of power-driven bakery equipment. 
  3. Operate, load, or unload any balers or compactors? Minors under 18 generally may not load, operate or unload any power-driven balers and compactors. There is a limited exemption that allows 16 and 17-year-olds to load, but not operate or unload, certain scrap paper balers and paper box compactors if the equipment meets certain safety standards, there is a posting to this effect on the machine, the on-off switch of the machine has a key-lock or other type of lock-out system, and the equipment is inoperable while it is being loaded. 
To see all of the 22 items please click the link here to download the article.

8 Essential Elements of Payment Card Processing Costs

Most Americans rely on credit, debit, and gift cards for restaurant purchases, so it is critical that you understand how you are being charged each time you accept a card for payment. To help educate you and others in the restaurant industry, the National Restaurant

Association offers our “8 Essential Elements of Payment Card Processing Costs.” Use this information to navigate the tricky waters of card processing. Be informed. Know your rights. Keep every penny you deserve. And help your business grow.

Click the image below to open the 8 Essential Elements of Payment Card Processing Costs.

Information provided by National Restaurant Association.  

Good server interaction is better for business

This article is presented courtesy of a source of operational and business resources for independent restaurant operators.

It starts with, "Hi, my name is Jordan, and I'll be your server tonight."  When your customer asks, "What's good here?" the server replies, "Everything."  After the food arrives, the server asks, "How's everything?"

All of the above are clich├ęs that customers hear over and over again. Those expressions reduce the chances that any meaningful, relationship-building conversation will take place between your servers and their guests, and that can be bad for your business.

When servers initiate personalized, intelligent conversation, many powerful things start to happen. Brains become engaged, meaningful dialogue starts to happen, servers connect with their guests, and guests have a better time and feel appreciated and cared for.

How does that affect your business? Satisfied guests usually tip better, and they're inclined to come back to your restaurant more often.  Use your pre-shift meetings to discuss ways your servers can improve their interactions with your guests. Discuss antidotes to typical server sayings, such as:

  • "Hi, my name is..." Truth is most people don't care what the server's name is. Try a greeting such as, "Hi, welcome to The Crab House. I'm so glad you decided to join us tonight." This puts the focus where it should be, on the guest rather than on the server. Have your staff practice their table greetings with a bright smile and direct eye contact, and you'll be miles ahead of most of your competition.
  • "What's good here?" Coach your staff to describe two or three popular items that you do really well or better yet, have them recommend what they like.
  • "How's everything?" After the food is served, have your servers practice specific, intelligent questions that pertain to what your guests have ordered. "Is your tuna cooked the way you like it?" "Does anyone need more barbecue sauce?" "Have you tasted the lobster bisque yet?"
When there is meaningful conversation, human connections are made and guests feel valued and appreciated. Added bonus: they'll want to know their server's name so they can ask for them on their next visit!  Want to stake out a competitive advantage? Start by creating the most welcoming, sociable and conversational service staff around.

To control food costs, start at the cook line

The cook line is, perhaps, the most volatile area for controlling food cost. Whereas theft can occur anywhere, and vendor prices and proper preparation practices certainly can have an equally negative effect on food cost, it usually is on the cook line that many restaurants lose their profits. Common issues include incorrect portioning, waste and overcooked or cold food resulting from the kitchen getting slammed with orders, items being prepared without a food ticket, or unrecorded sales, and communication failures between kitchen and service staff that can result in incorrect orders.

Review these proven tips to control your food costs:
  • No ticket, no food. This is perhaps the singularly most effective policy for controlling food and beverage costs. By employing a policy that all orders must be rung up on the point-of-sale system or cash register before they can be made, you eliminate the possibility of unrecorded sales. If your POS or cash register doesn't have the ability to print orders to the kitchen and bar ‑ often called requisition printing ‑ then you may want to start shopping for one that does. It is common knowledge among POS vendors that restaurants using requisition printers typically enjoy as much as 5% or more in cost savings than those that don't.
  • Keep a waste log. Every restaurant experiences some degree of waste, but it is a controllable expense. Create systems to both minimize and record wasted product, such as meals returned by the customer, kitchen mistakes and spoilage. Keeping an accurate accounting of the value of wasted product can help to account for variances between ideal and actual food cos
  • Portion control tools. Poor portion control is one of the leading causes of food cost variances. Consider that your ideal food cost is based on the premise of exact portioning for each menu item, including the portioning of each ingredient within a menu item. If your prep and line cooks have gotten in the habit of "eyeballing" measurements rather than sticking to the exact recipes, chances are your food cost variance could be as much as 5% or more. Proven portion control strategies include the use of portioning scoops, scales and measuring spoons and cups. Pre-portioning can be effective in controlling costs by using portion baggies and a scale to pre-weigh product before stocking the cook line.
  •  Recipe quick-reference charts. The fast-paced environment at most restaurant kitchens makes it impractical to use the recipe manual for every menu item. Characteristically, cooks are required to memorize the proper portions and steps for preparing each item on their station. The recipe "quick reference" is used as the name implies ‑ providing the cook with an at-a-glance list of ingredients, portion size and proper portioning utensil for each preparation step. Optionally, recipe references can be accompanied by photos of the finished product. Proper portioning and adherence to recipes, along with a visual reference of the properly prepared menu item help to ensure consistency in both taste and presentation.
This article is presented courtesy of, a source of operational and business resources for independent restaurant operators. For more information, visit

Why Your Business Needs Business Insurance

Three Common Myths About Liability and Understanding the Value of Insurance
From Gregory Boop, former Guide
The first question often asked by the business owner is: Do I need business insurance?
The answer is, “yes!”
In ten years as an attorney, I have always advised my business clients to obtain insurance for the risks and potential risks facing their business. In that time I have heard every rationale for why a business owner believes they do not need insurance. And, before we go on, I want to address the most common myths that lead some business owners to choose not to secure insurance.
·       Myth #1: Nobody will sue me, my business does not make a lot of money, and you “can’t squeeze blood from a turnip.” My business is not collectible.

FALSE. Everybody and every business can be sued. Everybody and every business, once a money judgment is rendered against them, can have that judgment collected. Judgment liens do not “go away”. Judgment liens can be renewed. Wages can be garnished. Equipment can be seized and sold. Bank accounts and assets can be seized to pay the judgment. Everybody is collectible at the hands of a persistent attorney.
·       Myth #2: My business is a corporation. The corporate format protects me from liability, so I don’t need insurance.

FALSE. The corporate format does nothing but protect individual investors, owners, and officers from personal liability for the actions and debts of the corporation for corporate purposes. But, under the laws of all states, the “corporate veil” of protection can be removed – or, “pierced” – under some circumstances. When that occurs, the owner may be liable personally and must answer a judgment with personal assets: your house, your car or, maybe, your life savings. When this occurs varies by state. But, a simple rule of thumb is that the smaller you are the more likely this will be.
·       Myth #3: If I die or become disabled, my family and my business partners are friends and they’ll just work it out.

FALSE. Most small businesses do not survive the death or disability of a principal member. Most children do not follow parents into the family business. Most businesses do not have the cash flow necessary to pay the estate of a deceased member for its interest in the business and the business may be dissolved. Finally, in my experience, remaining family members and business partners rarely work things out after the death or disability of a member.
Once you understand that these myths are simply false, you will be more secure in your decision to purchase insurance and value insurance as an investment in your business.
There are other myths that I have run into over the years; but, to summarize, I have yet to find a business owner with a cognizable reason for not having insurance. Your business needs to be insured.