Pricing Strategies for Your Restaurant Order System

October 14, 2014 by

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With food costs rising and an impending increase in minimum wage, a lot of you may be wondering—are my menu prices right? Whether you’re a new restaurant owner or you’ve been in the industry for awhile, reviewing your menu and setting prices can be a daunting task. Even as consumers we’ve often wondered, how did they decide on that price? This is how.

Food Costs

The most important factor when pricing your menu—how much does each dish cost to make? This includes the cost of every ingredient, from the protein to the vegetables to the spices. On average, food costs run about 33% of your menu prices, though this can differ (see pricing calculator below). For example, if you’re running a fine-dining establishment you’ll typically see higher food-cost percentages than you’d see at a quick serve establishment. Percentages will also vary from item to item where entrees often have higher cost percentages than soups and appetizers.

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When setting prices don’t forget to consider your sales mix, you can often increase prices on lower-cost items to offset the higher-cost ones.

Additional Costs

There are a lot of additional costs to consider when setting prices, chief amongst them: labor, overhead and giveaways.

Labor Dishes that require a lot of time, effort and talent merit a higher price point. Not only are the ingredients a factor but you also have to pay and train the staff to prepare the dish properly. Anything that is made from scratch in-house will cost more than something that simply requires heating and serving.

Overhead While these costs aren’t as prevalent, it’s still important to keep in mind. This includes decor, product presentation and marketing efforts that go into not only each dish but keeping your restaurant up and running.

Giveaways Often forgotten about but important to remember, keep in mind any free bread, tortilla chips, salsa, butter, etc., that is given out—be sure to include this cost and add it into your menu prices.

Competition

Keeping an eye on what your competition is doing is smart and they’re likely keeping an eye on you! Take a trip and visit a competitor—what are their prices? What are their portion sizes and presentation? Are they busy and during what times? You can learn a lot from seeing what a competitor has to offer and where you can incorporate, and even improve upon, some of their ideas.

What Has Worked, What Hasn’t?

What are your customers loving? It’s always important to answer this question on a regular basis. This helps you to not only understand your customers but it will also help you lower your overall food cost. If there are items you’re not selling, do away with them and save yourself the additional cost of stocking up on the ingredients specific to the dish.  For commonly used ingredients, research cost-saving options such as a cheaper vendor or substituting ingredients for similar but more affordable options.

Menu Editing Tool

Decided to raise your prices? If you’re a Breadcrumb user, save time and make changes to your menu on the fly using the menu editing tool!

Visit us for more information on Breadcrumb POS at Breadcrumb.com.

Following the Breadcrumb Trail with Founder, Seth Harris

October 7, 2014 by

View profile at Medium.com

The Breadcrumb trail

Top Whisky Drinks to Keep You Warm

October 6, 2014 by

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It’s official—we’re whisky lovers. With the days growing shorter and the weather turning colder, why not turn on the heat and impress your customers with some of these hot whisky-inspired drink recipes? Top 5 whisky drinks to keep you feeling warm and fuzzy inside:

Hot-Toddy

 

The Perfect Hot Toddy

Why start with anything other than the classic hot whisky drink? Not only does this one warm us up but anytime we’re feeling under the weather, this seems to pick us right back up! See the full recipe on Blue Apron.

Hot Cocoa & Kilbeggan Whiskey

Hot Cocoa & Kilbeggan Whiskey

Hot chocolate is a winter staple that deserves to have a companion—Irish whiskey. This recipe Serves 4-6, more at The Kitchn.

hazelnut whisky

Hot Buttered Hazelnut Whisky

Considering our love for the most hazelnut of hazelnut snacks—Nutella—this drink is sure to keep us warm and happy. May even replace our Nutella-and-toast breakfast routine. Recipe available on Adventures in Cooking.

Chai Toddy

Dirty Chai Toddy

Next time you’re craving a chai latte from Starbuck’s, or a hot toddy, consider this glorious union of both; it may put that extra hop in your step! Recipe available on Food52.

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Hot and Nutty Whisky Sour

Last, but certainly not least, another version on a favorite classic: the whisky sour. Martha Stewart, you’ve nailed it again with this recipe!

Michelin’s 2015 New York City Ratings Out!

October 1, 2014 by

 

Michelin came out with their ratings for New York City today and there were some notable ones that we’re huge fans of as well! No huge surprises this year but Brooklyn and Queens are gaining more and more notable traction in the culinary world. Find out who’s in (and who’s out) and where to start making reservations. (If you’re still not sure what all of this Michelin-hype means, your secret is safe with us, here’s a brief history).

Here are some Breadcrumbers we wanted to give special shout outs to—congratulations!!

Three Stars

Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare

Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare

Two Stars

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Atera

One Star

Delaware & Hudson

Delaware & Hudson

 

The Musket Room

The Musket Room

 

Telepan

Telepan

ZZ's Clam Bar

ZZ’s Clam Bar

 

Hot New Restaurants We’re Excited About This Fall

September 17, 2014 by

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If this fall is any indication, the polar vortex will be a distant memory. Grab a pen, pull up your notes app on your smartphone—these are the restaurant openings you can’t miss this season.

Berg’n Brooklyn has become the hotspot for young, ambitious chefs, and Berg’n is no exception. Smorgasburg founders Eric Demby and Jonathan Butler have opened their massive food and beer hall in Crown Heights. Inside the former garage are food counters from Mighty Quinn’s, Asia Dog, Ramen Burger, and Pizza Moto, plus a well-stocked beer bar and plenty of picnic tables. There’s also a coffee bar in the morning, oyster happy hours, weekend brunch, and the occasional DJ set.

Brooklyn Fare The Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, Brooklyn’s only three-starred Michelin restaurant, is coming to Manhattan! This local favorite that became a very well-known hit is setting another table. So, for those of you who don’t want to make the trek to the other side, you’re covered.

Mulino a Vino Another new welcome addition to Manhattan making some noise but this one is taking a unique approach—order your wine first then pick food that will pair well with it. Italian chef Davide Scabine, who runs the Michelin-starred Combal.Zero is behind the menu at Mulino a Vino where dishes will range from traditional pasta bolognese to a cacio e pepe bombolone.

DBGB Kitchen + Bar Chef Daniel Boulud has returned to the city he got his start in—in Washington, D.C.’s downtown’s CityCenterDC development. DBGB opened last week to rave reviews and is the first time Boulud’s company, the Dinex Group, has done a project outside of New York with no hotel partnership. D.C. is a tough city to make it in but we’re sure his menu—featuring everything from burgers to boudin blanc—will prove to be a hit.

Lazy Bear This is one of San Francisco’s most highly-anticipated pop-up restaurant and, judging by the success and word-of-mouth, there’s no chance of chef Daniel Barzelay’s life slowing down anytime soon. Lazy Bear’s brick and mortar is set to open September 25th in the foodie-saturated Mission district, mark your calendars!

Merchant James Beard Rising Star award winner Gavin Kaysen, former executive chef of NYC’s Cafe Boulud, is breaking out on his own with his new restaurant in his hometown of Minneapolis. This much-anticipated opening is back by some serious top chefs including Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller. Set to open in November, Merchant could give Thanksgiving a run for it’s money.

Butcher’s Bistro The space at 2233 Larimer St. in Denver—formerly occupied by chef Jeff Osaka’s Twelve—will be the new home of Butcher’s Bistro, a “rustic American” restaurant and retail shop focusing on Colorado-sourced meats like beef, lamb, pork, and poultry. Look for dishes like cassoulet, house-made charcuterie, bone marrow, short ribs, and sausage-sampler plates.

Stay up-to-date on the latest industry news by following Breadcrumb on Twitter or Facebook!

Got Whisky?

September 9, 2014 by

We took a look at the most popular adult beverages sold across Breadcrumb’s biggest cities (San Francisco, New York and Chicago). What do your customers want and how does your bar compare?

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Is Employee Morale Slacking? Improve the Mood with These Tips

September 8, 2014 by

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It’s not enough to have great food and a great venue—you need stellar staff to complete your customers’ experience. But keeping morale high with servers and bartenders can be tough. Here’s how to build the right foundation to keep your staff motivated and your customers happy:

Hire the Right People in the First Place

In the high-turnover world of restaurant work, it can be easy to hire the first stack of resumes that hit your desk. Instead, focus on hiring employees who match your values, bring positive energy to the job and share your vision. If you own a taproom, make sure your employees are well versed in beer. Lots of vegetarian options? Get servers passionate about vegetarian cuisine. Here are more great tips for hiring the right talent for your restaurant.

It’s the Little Things

In your shift-change meeting, share positive feedback from customers or comment cards. Call out employees who are stepping up and going the extra mile. Run contests to promote specials and offer prizes that cost you little to nothing but mean a lot to your staff, such as “no side work” or “picking your section.

Schedule Smart

Set up a standard process for requesting time off and then stick to it. Get your schedule out in advance and give your staff the opportunity to switch and adjust with plenty of notice. Use sales data to stagger your shifts so that no one sits around waiting and everyone feels that their time is valued.

Take Performance Reviews Seriously

Treat serving like any other job. Schedule performance reviews every quarter or twice a year. Discuss successes and areas of improvement. Offer opportunities for growth (such as training new servers or shadowing the manager for an evening). Give employees an opportunity to share feedback with their managers as well. Cultivate a respectful workplace and you’ll get the best work out of your staff.

Stay up-to-date with the latest industry news and trends by following Breadcrumb on Twitter and Facebook!

Precision Printing Now Available!

September 5, 2014 by

Breadcrumb Pro’s latest feature, Precision Printing, allows managers to now customize where tickets print from each iPad. This new feature is easy to use and will help you run your restaurant more efficiently. Watch this video to help get you started!

 

From Wine Bottle to Canvas

September 5, 2014 by
Amelia Sherritt

Artist Amelia Sherritt

Wine foils as art? Why not! This month we caught up with artist Amelia Sherritt who began creating art out of wine foils back in 2007 during a slow day at work behind the bar. Based in Seattle, she draws her inspiration from her surroundings in the city of Seattle and Washington state. Read on for more about Amelia, her art and her ideas that could inspire a commissioned piece for your restaurant!

How did you get involved in turning wine foils into art?

I was a restaurant kid for many years and spent quite a bit of time behind the bar. I always look for ways to be creative and find art in different forms. On a fairly slow day at work, I started playing around with several foils cut from bottles, smashed them flat and discovered they might be a fun material to work with. I made my first piece for a friend, titled “Pescatore.” I really enjoyed doing that piece and kept going!

"Pescatore" by Amelia Sherritt

“Pescatore” by Amelia Sherritt

 

Do you see this as a good industry to be in to support your art? Meaning, does it allow you the necessary freedom, time and money?

It’s true! I started at the age of 18 (I’m 31 now) and worked my way from hosting to serving and bartending and eventually to managing and working as an event coordinator. The restaurant business is great for those who attend school—I was able to go to school full time while working—or have another side project, especially when serving or tending bar, since hours are flexible and money can be made easily.

What inspires your work?

I find inspiration in all forms. Just walking around the city inspires me since there is so much to take in. I also love studying other artists (art history was my major in college) and seeing how another idea would fit into my medium. I am very close with my grandmother, who worked in the antique business for many years, and I have always been fascinated by old art and objects, which I love to integrate into my work as well.

What is your favorite piece? Why?

Since I don’t paint any of my work, I love to see how the color of the different foils relate when placed together on a canvas. I will often start a piece and change direction halfway because I don’t have enough of the right color to complete. “Otto” was an example of a happy accident for me. I originally wanted to make the background one solid color, but realized it was impossible and had to start a different pattern. The depth created by the different blue and green tones worked out to be much better than one solid color!

"Otto" by Amelia Sherritt

“Otto” by Amelia Sherritt

On average, how long does it take to create a piece?

Depending on the size and availability of foils, each piece takes anywhere from 1 week to several months to complete. I often work on several pieces at once while collecting the appropriate colors to finish them.

How many bottles of wine, on average, go into one piece? 

Each piece takes hundreds—if not thousands—of wine foils to complete. It more than 1,500 to create a piece sized at 24”x30”.

What was the most difficult piece to produce?

Any work that requires a lot of detail can be a challenge but I always enjoy seeing the final product of a laborious piece. I just finished a commission piece titled, “Welcome to P-Town” which challenged me a bit.

"Welcome to P-Town" by Amelia Sherritt

“Welcome to P-Town” by Amelia Sherritt

Where do you see yourself and your art in five years? In 10 years?

I have always dreamed of being a professional artist, so to be able to work full time on art is my dream realized. I just hope to continue to make great art that makes me happy and that people want to hang on their walls. I would also like to get some more permanent pieces in restaurants since I attribute my start to the business.

Which artists are most influential to you?

Gosh, where do I begin? My all-time favorite artist is the French painter Henri de Toulouse Lautrec, mainly due to his use of bold colors and influence from Japanese woodblocks in his poster work. I also love glasswork, so Seattle artist Dale Chihuly is someone I look up to with his unbelievably decadent work. I have a close friend named Amber Frederick who has done an art swap with me in the past. She paints some amazingly whimsical, colorful pieces and writes a story about each one. The depth of her creativity is fascinating to me and I am inspired by her vision.

You’re essentially recycling material that would otherwise be deemed as trash. Is there anything else you see going to waste that has the potential of becoming a work of art?

I like to say I’m turning trash into treasure. I see the potential to turn pretty much anything into art. We are such a single-use society these days, and it’s frustrating to see how much packaging is unnecessarily used. I collect the tags from bread products to use for a side project. I’ve already created one abstract piece with them and am collecting to do a larger version soon.

If you knew then what you know now, what would you do differently?

I honestly don’t think anything besides starting this project sooner! When I started creating wine foil art, I was giving away quite a few pieces to friends and family. Some people have told me I should have sold right away but I am glad to have given pieces to those who support me and love my work. It’s so rewarding go to someone’s house and see your art on their wall.

Bottle of wine you’re most likely to bring to a dinner?

Any Vinho Verde. I can’t get enough, especially during summertime.

Bottle of wine you’re most likely to save for yourself?

Facelli Pescaia Red Blend. Each vintage seems to get better and better!

Has working in the hospitality industry inspired your own creative outlets? Share your thoughts or experiences in the comments!

For more industry news and updates, follow Breadcrumb on Facebook and Twitter!

6 Tips to Make the Most of Football Season

September 4, 2014 by

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Are you ready for some football? Football season can be a sales boost to a variety of businesses. If the season snuck up on you, it’s not too late. Here are tips to help your business take advantage.

1. Become a watching spot If you’re a bar or restaurant with a TV or screen that people can watch the game on, consider becoming a watching spot for a specific team. Maybe it’s the local NFL or college team, or a college team with a lot of alumni in the area. Maybe the team you should choose is your own alma mater, that way you can network and increase sales. Offer specials and deals during the game and reach out to large groups to hold watching parties. Once people get used to coming to you during the game, they’ll be more likely to come back.

2. Create deals tied to the game If you live in a town with a popular football team you can create deals tied to the outcome of the game. The trick is to make sure the deals are only valid for that day. The more people who come in on any given day, the better the atmosphere.

3. Help people watching at home If your business involves carry-out or delivery, or anything home-related think about how you can tie it to people having game-watching parties. Offer specials for deliveries before a certain time on game day, or create advertising using the idea of people gathering to watch the game.

4. Change your staff’s dress code If you don’t want to be a hub for a specific team, allow your staff to swap out their normal uniform for a team shirt of their choosing. Letting your staff show their true colors can spark conversations with patrons and increase their tips.

5. Attract people not interested in the game It’s true, not everyone cares about football. If your business is totally unrelated to football consider running specials or sales designed to attract customers looking for something to do during the game. One caveat, make sure you don’t make your marketing for these specials and sales sexist. Women are one of the fastest growing audiences for football, so don’t alienate your audience by implying that no women want to watch the game.

6. Get a fantasy Fantasy football (where people create make believe teams based on real life teams) has become almost as popular as the NFL. You could consider joining a league with other local businesses. Doing so can create a great local interest story and generally generate buzz about your businesses. You might also consider encouraging your staff to create a league as a bonding and team building experience.

Does your business benefit from football season? Do you make an effort to do so? Share your thoughts in the comments.

For more tips to help you run your business visit our blog or Breadcrumb.com.


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