Category Archives: Food & Beverage

Quote of the Day-Sept. 6, 2015

“Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.”
Henry Ford

Henry Ford (July 30, 1863 – April 7, 1947) was an American industrialist the founder of the of Ford Motor Company, and sponsor of the development of the assembly line technique for mass production.

Effective Recruiting Ads…for Employers

Recruiting is advertising. You need to sell your opportunities.

To many ads have job descriptions in them. Concept of job descriptions was to satisfy internal HR record keeping and help in relating similar positions for pay purposes. Later EEO drove development of job descriptions. Have you ever read one that didn’t put you to sleep?

Come on. If you want me to get excited about your employment opportunity don’t bore me to death.

Majority of employers do good job interviewing candidates with what, how, when, where, and for whom questions. Employers strive to learn about the accomplishments of the candidates and how those accomplishments mesh with the employers immediate needs.

Candidates want the same information. The best candidates will be hired by the employers who provide the information the candidates want.

Candidates want to know what the challenges are in this job or what the goals are. How the employer wants to see them accomplished. (Can I fire as many as I need to build a better team? Or am I restricted to the existing employees for at least several months?)

They want to know how the employer expects them to do the job? Phase things slowly? Or move fast?

When is the candidate expected to show results? Tomorrow? Or is the time frame realistic?

Where are the greatest challenges for this job?

Who does the job report to? Where are the hidden reporting relationships? (Position reports to Department A, but Department B has lot of say in how A operates.)

Put real information in your ads so people can tell you how they will benefit you.

Getting Personal with Your Communications

We hear a lot about the importance of appealing to the personal interests of your audience when using Social Media. Isn’t it just as important in all aspects of communications…marketing materials, PR, job postings, internal bulletin boards, emails, etc?

All communications need to be narrowed to the exact audience you are trying to reach.

Big companies use ‘landing pages’ in social and electronic media to guide users to those sections that appeal most to the user.

Each of us need to do the same thing when we communicate. We are in the employment business. We see many companies writing very broad based ads when they have specific skill sets they need. Then they wonder why most of the candidates that apply are unqualified.

Identifying the right audience is critical. I talked to F&B Director at hotel that has outside entrance for their outlets. They have email lists of local customers that frequent each restaurant and lounge. Each week they go out with a very short email telling customers what is going on in the outlet they frequent most, with links to their blog about what’s happening in other outlets. Then they write something similar for their blog. Last they prepare a simple 8 1/2 x 11 flyer to distribute at the Front Desk when guests sign in for the weekend. That sheet describes what is happening in each outlet. Four different communications, but all with similar information so preparation is quick.Results? Sales for 2011 in F&B outlets were up 40%.

What can you do today to better target your communications to make your job easier? (And ‘wow’ your boss?

Attracting Millennials to your Hotel

Millennials are more social than Baby Boomers. Staying in their room working all evening, or watching a movie doesn’t hold a lot of appeal. They would rather work in the lobby or an open business center, even if they are not conversing with others. A key is a roomy business center. They are not interested in seeing how many people can be crammed into a 10′ x 10′ “business center.” They’ll work in the lobby first.

What can you do to encourage them out of their rooms?

  • One hotel started offering popcorn from 4:30-7 PM weekdays. Guests checking in came back downstairs. Business travelers enjoyed the popcorn. The popcorn encouraged conversation. So this select service hotel got a permit to sell beer and wine. First month on the program beer and wine sales topped $10,000. Now they are looking to add simple sandwiches. Word is spreading, and the hotel picked up additional 221 room nights in Feb. They now lead their market segment by 20 points. (They were third in the segment.)
  • Another hotel had a very small lobby. They moved their fitness room which had been just off the lobby and next to the pool. They converted that room to a “great room” with a big screen TV, 3 computer work stations, 3 game tables, complete with decks of cards, backgammon, cribbage, etc. They also added 3 vending machines. First month, vending machine sales topped $1100. Now there are typically 5-10 people in the room from about 5-10 PM weekdays. Families use the room on weekends when kids games replace the cards, etc. No increase in repeat bookings yet, but no attrition either
  • Another hotel knew a retiree who loved to make homemade donuts. They convinced her to make her donuts in the hotel from 5-6:30 PM weekdays. She always baked up few so the smell greeted guests checking in. Then she would fry up donuts and dip them in the frosting of the guests choice. The program was so successful it quickly attracted local business people. She now has taken over two rooms and the donut operation is available from 6 AM to 6 PM. Occupancy in Feb. was up 11 points over 2009 and ADR was up $3.

Share your success stories with us.

Tom’s Take: Using Facebook to Drive Business

I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a lot of time to spend researching all the social networking sites. I want to use them to drive business…now, not three years from now.

Following is one of the first articles I’ve seen that gave me specific ideas.

Excellent ideas on how hotels, restaurants, lounges, spas and recreational facilities, etc., can use Facebook to quickly, easily drive revenues without increasing costs.

Businesses turn to Facebook for word-of-mouth advertising
Updated 8/5/2009 11:33 AM
Bartender Beau Dieda, hanging with Michelle Hicks, helps drive traffic to Baja Sharkeez through Facebook. He lets 650 of his closest friends in on drink specials, discounts and events.
By Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY
Bartender Beau Dieda, hanging with Michelle Hicks, helps drive traffic to Baja Sharkeez through Facebook. He lets 650 of his closest friends in on drink specials, discounts and events.
HERMOSA BEACH, Calif. — Bartender Beau Dieda does more than mix and serve drinks every night at popular nightspot Baja Sharkeez: He is also instructed to sign up friends and fans for his company’sFacebook page, as well as his own. Before he leaves the restaurant, he sends bulletins to his collective fan base inviting them back in for specials, discounts or events.

“It’s one of the best ways we can reach a vast audience,” he says. “After my shift, I can blast it to 650 friends in 30 seconds. I don’t have to go around to each person, or call them up.”

Facebook, with 250 million members, has gone beyond being just a place where you can alert friends about the music you’re listening to, who you’re dating or what movies you like. The social network’s expanded Pages feature lets businesses, organizations and public figures in on the action. They can create profiles that let them sign up fans, issue status updates and send messages. Businesses like Baja Sharkeez that cater to young people and big companies like Pizza Hut and Coca-Cola are finding it’s profitable to be your Facebook friend.

What also is enticing marketers: 120 million Facebook users log on at least once a day, and 30 million of them access Facebook on mobile devices. And those with major purchasing power — ages 35 and up — represent the fastest-growing demographic.

There are more than 100,000 small-business pages — 300,000 total business pages — on Facebook, says Tim Kendall, the company’s director of monetization.

Some large companies have attracted huge followings. Coca-Cola and Starbucks have over 3 million fans; Adidas shoes has 1.9 million. Pizza Hut is closing in on 1 million fans, whom it regularly updates about specials and new menu items.

“It makes us very relevant to the audience, and lets us communicate with them where they are, in a way that our website can’t do,” says Bernard Acoca, Pizza Hut’s senior director of digital marketing.

Sprinkles, a small chain of cupcake bakeries, is itching to get to 100,000 Facebook fans. Co-owner Charles Nelson started in April sending quizzes, free cupcake offers, contests and other enticements on Facebook to bring people in.

Back then he had 8,000 fans. Now he’s at 27,000 and is staging a contest to get to 100,000, offering free cupcakes and a trip to Beverly Hills to the winner.

“A website is you speaking out, but a Facebook page lets our customers come in and give their feedback,” he says. “It generates business, and it’s also a great community builder.”

Targeted advertising

In addition to a free profile page, Chicago-based T-shirt marketer Threadless uses Facebook’s advertising program. Advertisers can choose pay-per-click ads similar to Google‘s auction-based ad program, bidding on words and paying when someone clicks on their ad, or traditional ads based on “impressions,” or the number of times an ad is presented.

Cam Balzer, director of marketing at Threadless, bids on words relating to video games, music and zombies. “This works phenomenally well,” says Balzer. “You can target your ad better on Facebook than anywhere else. I know my customers’ age, where they live, what their interests are, and only the people who fit my target see the ads.”

Facebook declined to disclose financial specifics, but Kendall says the local ad program is “ahead of expectations,” and the number of advertisers has tripled since 2008.

Marketers increasingly are gravitating to Facebook because they can advertise to a targeted audience, says Emily Riley, an analyst at Forrester Research. She says marketers can pick and choose consumers based on public information they share on their Facebook profiles, such as the city they live in, the college they attended, their group affiliations and their fan pages.

“You can literally find a book lover in New York who is a fan of Stephen King,” says Riley. “That is gold for a local book seller.”

To sign up (, advertisers commit to spending a minimum of $5 per day. An ad campaign can be turned off and on with no monthly minimum. Kendall says businesses using the ad program successfully are those who depend upon word of mouth, like real estate agents and wedding photographers.

“Brides tell their friends they’re engaged, and wedding vendors can run ads specifically targeted to them,” he says.

Sharkeez doesn’t spend money on Facebook ads for its five Southern California restaurants. Jeffrey Tyler, director of marketing for Sharkeez, says Facebook attracts enough customers for free.

His restaurants — with 50 TV screens playing the latest sports, low-priced drinks and a young singles crowd — are usually busy, but Facebook has helped “tremendously” in the soft economy, he says.

Restaurant patron Amber Mather of Hermosa Beach came into Baja Sharkeez on a Thursday afternoon specifically because Tyler sent her an invitation with a 2-for-1 Happy Hour special. “You let your clientele know every day if something is going on — new deals, new specials. That’s how I know what’s happening at Baja Sharkeez,” she says.

Tyler agrees. “We can drive sales so much more. It’s probably the best thing that’s happened to us in the past 10 years.”

Contributing: Jon Swartz in San Francisco

Tom’s Take: Increasing Sales—Today

Start a discussion today with your employees. Ask them what your hotel/business can do today to increase sales equal to a $1 per employee.

The goal of course is to get your employees thinking about small ways they can help increase your revenues. Hopefully those ways can become consistent revenue producers.

Very few of us are smart enough to come up with an idea that will increase sales by $10,000 or $50,000. But we each can think of small things that can help revenue…starting today. 

A few ideas:

  • Put a special on some item in the gift shop that has been hard to sell.
  • Put something else on a salad or desert that costs almost nothing and increase the price a buck.
  • Put top selling (or bottom selling) spa items at the Front Desk as a “Close out special” or “Favorite products from our spa.” 
  • Have couples checking in tomorrow? Call and find out if they would like to provide surprise flowers, candy, a bottle of wine, etc.
  • Have singles checking in? Ask if they would like to take a gift home for someone special. A small stuffed animal for a child perhaps?

     As a parent, I always had to take back a small present for our daughter. It was often a pain on a busy business trip to find something I hadn’t already bought in other hotel gift shops. A small stuffed animal with the hotel logo, or hotel name as the name for the animal would have always worked.

  • Housekeeping employees can tell you guests most frequent requests. What could you charge for that would be welcomed by the guest? Have perceived value to the guest?

Guests appreciate suggestions that appear spontaneous and caring. Guests dislike having their arms twisted in an “up-sell.” Guests also dislike having the above delivered by rote, or as an obvious canned sales pitch.

How much would your revenues increase over a year if your hotel averaged an additional $1 per employee per day?  Your profits? A $1 per employee per day is doable. Get creative. Encourage employees with contests, drawings, gift cards to Target, Walmart, or a grocery store.

The path to enhanced success starts with a single step. Let’s jog!

Are you a Talent Attractor?

Even hourly employees need to be highly skilled to enable hotels, clubs, restaurants, and other hospitality companies to succeed. Our industry does hire a lot of people at minimum wage. Those minimum wage employees still need to have the skills and attitude that our guests can identify with and appreciate. Most organizations emphasize skills for their management employees. Service businesses need highly skilled employees in both areas. 
Characteristics of People who are Talent Attractors:

  • Have personalities that people “naturally” are attracted to. Good attitudes, ready smiles, and a true interest in the well being of employees and guests.
  • Daily demonstrate the ability to teach employees core competency skills and attitudes. Talent attractors help people develop their skills fully. It’s not enough to teach/demonstrate the basics. Talent attractors take the extra steps to assure their employees are developing skills to take them to the next step in their career.
  • Talent attractors get people excited about their jobs, even if the job is dishwasher. How? By making sure each employee knows they are important to both the mission, and to the talent attractor. Employees find it easy to get excited about doing their best when they know their boss is excited and truly cares about the employee.
  • Measure the performance of their employees, explain the measurement and why it’s important, and then talent attractors give employees praise and feedback on how they can do better.
Talent attractors run Departments and businesses that “feel good.” The operation appears to run like a well oiled machine. 
Organizations with talent attractors have less turnover and feel the impact of economic downturns less. 
How? Because employees are motivated and excited, service standards are superior to competitors. They have more business to start with, and they lose less of that business in a downturn. Many find that business actually increases. Satisfied customers come back, even if the cost is slightly higher.
How do you become a talent attractor?
  • It starts with a “can-do” attitude.
  • Next develop the strategic direction for your Department or business. Part of that strategic direction is how people develop and gain additional skills.
  • Then be sure you understand the overall goal of your hotel, restaurant, etc.
  • Last, be sure you understand where to recruit to get the skill sets you need in your employees.
Each new employee needs to improve your profits every single week by a minimum of 10% their annual salary.  (Sales people by 20%.)
Different jobs respond to different recruiting techniques. Different generations respond to different information in recruiting ads. If you don’t know which recruiting techniques to use, reach out to organizations, like Securemploy to find out.
Talent attractors are in very high demand as employees. They are always ranked by employers in the Top 20%. Improve your promotional opportunities by improving your skills as a talent attractor

Are You Cultivating “Brand Sirens?”

“Brand Sirens” drive bottom line.

What are “Brand Sirens?” Satisfied customers who sing your hotels praises.

Hopefully they are singing your praises on your own hotels blog, but singing your praises on Facebook, Twitter, etc., is also valuable.

Do you have a comments section on your website? This is a great place for satisfied customers to sing your praises. Encouraging customers, employees, and vendors to sing your praises on other websites can help drive additional guests to your hotel, help attract employees, and encourage vendors to give you the best discounts available.

What is your hotel and company doing to build “Brand Sirens?”