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Mobile technology is changing society in a big way. Just 20 years ago computers were big and bulky and just beginning to enter average homes for business and pleasure, while any mobile phone that could do more than call someone was reserved for wealthy business professionals. Now almost everyone is carrying a small computer around in their pocket, and that has created some unique problems for restaurants.

Customers tend to take longer to order and linger longer in restaurants than they used to because they can’t put their phones down. Some may even spend so much time taking photos of their food that they request it be sent back and reheated (ugh, seriously?). It can be challenging for a restaurant to deal with this new pattern of behavior, but there are things you can do to increase customer engagement.

You could just embrace it. If they want to take photos of their food and you have the time to spare, let them take fancy photos in your kitchen, or you could provide a food photo booth. It adds to their experience and makes it memorable.

Otherwise you can work to decrease distractions, such as asking if they take photos that they don’t use a flash. Or you could have a section of your restaurant reserved for those who intend to use technology heavily, and maybe provide outlets for laptops and charging stations.

If you really don’t want mobile distractions, offer a discount to those who keep their devices stashed to encourage human interaction.

Read the full article here: Building genuine customer engagement in an Instagram world

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Working in the service industry is demanding no matter if you work a temporary position or make it a lifelong career. Food service often sees high turnover, and here are some reasons for that.

Unpredictable income (or not enough money in general) is a big reason people move on. Being on your feet all day can result in foot and back pain, and doing repetitive tasks gets tiresome. A lack of real weekends and difficulty getting time off also has a negative impact.

For more, read the full article here: 16 Reasons People Quit the Service Industry

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If you’re not constantly trying to improve your restaurant, you risk stagnating, and that’s not good for business. These tips can keep you on top of the game.

Start by focusing on your staff by training and treating them well. When your staff is happy, so are your customers. Don’t be afraid of technology – embrace it! Tablets can increase efficiency.

Make sure your restaurant’s atmosphere is inviting – lighting and music matter!

Finally, focus on customer loyalty. Give your regulars a reason to keep coming back with special discounts or rewards.

Read the full article here: Restaurant: Profitability: Easy Tips To A Better Bottom Line

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January is the time to reflect on the past year and predict what the future months hold, and if you’re in the restaurant biz you can use these predictions to determine what to focus on to entice the most customers this year.

If you haven’t jumped on the mobile train yet, you should consider it. Mobile technology is changing the way dining is done, from marketing to ordering to payments. People like the convenience, especially the younger generation.

Consumers are also looking and advocating for locally sourced protein and produce. Striving for lower food miles and sustainable practices and advertising that fact can increase revenue by attracting these savvy diners. They’re also looking for interesting and unique dishes and flavors, especially Eastern ethnic foods, spicy fare and creative beverages.

We’re also likely to see food service operators popping up in a variety of different locations, such as department, drug, and even grocery stores.

Read the full article here: 9 Fast Food Trends for 2015

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The things you do tend to come back to you, or if you prefer old timey idioms, “you reap what you sow.” Going that extra mile for your restaurant co-workers can benefit you in a big way.

Something as simple as asking kitchen staff if they want a beverage refill, or taking on someone else’s side work can make a big impression. Always smile and be dependable.

If someone does cover your shift, thank them with a little extra cash to show your appreciation.

For more tips, check out the full list here: 10 Ways to Get Your Co-Workers to Worship and Adore You

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One of the big food trends for 2015 is a surge toward healthier food options. Boston Market is capitalizing on this trend with a menu featuring over 150 meals that contain 550 calories or less.

The menu includes both tried and true favorites as well as exotic and adventurous flavors. Their website also features tools to help their consumers make healthy choices, including a list of their 550 calorie meals, a nutrition calculator, and an allergen menu.

Read the full article here: Boston Market Offers Health Conscious Consumers More Than 150 Meals 550 Calories or Less to Help Keep New Year’s Resolutions

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Regulars are incredibly important to your restaurant business. You could have the hippest, craziest style and food choices to attract customers, but if you can’t keep them coming back your business will fail.

A survey found that between 60 to 75% of sales on average are attributed to regulars, so you need to do what you can to make sure your customers happy. Here are a few tips to help you show them that your restaurant is worth returning to.

First impressions mean a lot, so always greet your guests to ensure they feel welcome. This is especially important for regulars because if they’re recognized it strengthens the bond between them and your brand. If you can, get to know them by name and have a genuine conversation once in a while. Become part of their life.

Toss your regulars a freebie once in a while, like a drink or an appetizer, or maybe some memorabilia. Everyone loves getting free stuff. On that same note, send out discounts for birthdays or special events.

If you have a social media presence (and you should!), make a habit of interacting with customers on it and answer questions and concerns. Taking the time to do this can make a bigger impact than you might realize.

Maybe next time they’ll bring a couple friends!

Read the full article here: 6 Tips To Keep Your Regulars Happy

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Food prices are continuing to rise, especially protein sources like beef and pork. Finding a way to balance rising costs and reducing expenditures will be important in the new year, and there are some things you can do to prepare.

Changing up the menu can help. Remove more expensive items and take advantage of seasonal deals. Buy foods that don’t spoil quickly in bulk, and shop for quality seconds or different brands at other markets that may offer a discount.

For more tips, read the full article here: How to fight rising food costs before they hurt your business

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Looking for ways to appeal to consumers and create a lasting impression and positive experience? These tips can help!

Start by instructing your staff on going the extra mile. Service with a smile is a good place to start, but take it a step farther and cater to individuals. Ask for feedback and respond to it while taking their ideas into consideration.

Keep your menu fresh and unique and focus on marketing that, but don’t compromise quality.

Read the full article here: Exceed Customer Expectations In Your Restaurant With These 6 Tips

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If you want your employees to respect you and do their job well, you have to respect them and do your job well. A big part of that can be summed up with one word: communication.

Good bosses trust their employees to do their jobs without their constant supervision, but that doesn’t mean you should pull yourself away from them completely only to interact when absolutely necessary. Be accessible and approachable if they have any problems and work together for a solution. If you notice a problem, bring it up, but be tactful and understanding.

Greeting everyone individually with a smile and a hello will go a long way to boost morale, as well as establish your position as the leader of the team. Acknowledge when someone does a good job, and if you notice someone struggling, do what you can to instruct and help them. How you come across determines how your staff sees you, and you want to be seen in a positive light.

Remember that you are only as strong as your team, so be sure to express gratitude for the work they do. A simple “thank you” goes a long way!

Read the full article here: 5 Tips for Being a Good Boss From Restaurateur and Baking God Joanne Chang

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