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Don't Let Bar Tabs Slow You Down (& Be a Downer for Your Guests Too)

Last Saturday night I was New York City for the New York State Restaurant Show. In a little Italian restaurant just off Broadway, friend and colleague Bill Marvin, the Restaurant Doctor, and myself started off having a few drinks at the bar while waiting for a table.

Sixty minutes later our table was ready and we asked the hostess if we could transfer the bar tab to our table. The answer: No.

The bartender was slammed and we were starving so we then asked if she could be so kind as to seat us and then bring the tab to our table. She was nice about it but the answer was still: No. As we waited nearly 10 minutes to settle our bar tab, our table sat vacant to say nothing of the slight downer it was to our mood.

The policy of requiring that all bar tabs be closed at the bar might have made more sense in the days of cash registers, but today's point of sale systems can easily transfer bar tabs to specific tables and provide detailed and summary totals of what transactions originated at the table versus the bar. Servers can then tip-out bartenders for those drinks that they didn't serve.

Even without a POS with these capabilities, the hostess can seat the guests and bring the bar tab to the table for settlement later. It's a simple procedure that can result in quicker table turns and, even more importantly, happier guests.


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Download: Bartender Checklists

Use the Bartender Checklists as a guide to create your own unique, comprehensive checklists for bartenders to use before, during and after their shift. The file contains separate daily lists for opening, shift change and closing duties. It also has a weekly checklist for periodic cleaning and maintenance of the bar area and equipment.

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Download: Bartender Checklists


Draft Beer: Are Your Profits Going Up in Foam?


Bar operators love draft beer also, and not just because it tastes good. They also like the fact that they can turn a better profit margin on it. But along with the opportunity to prosper, draft beer also brings a whole new set of problems for the bar manager.

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Download: Customer Comment Card

It's crucial you know what your guests are thinking. It's estimated that only 1 in 20 people will complain where they have a problem in a restaurant. The problem for the operator, is that many of these people simply don't come back. A well-conceived Customer Comment Card system will give you immediate and ongoing feedback of how your guests' perceive your restaurant, both good and bad. While it's always nice to hear the accolades, it's actually better to get the bad news - so you can do something about it! If you respond to a complaint quickly and show you genuinely care, you have a good shot at retaining customers before they decide to leave and never come back.

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Download: Customer Comment Card


How to Maximize Labor Productivity Without Lowering Guest Service


Every restaurant operation and every restaurateur has a different way of defining productivity. Yes, for every unique restaurant concept, there is an optimum level of sales per labor hour and number of guests served that achieves the highest level of efficiency while satisfying the greatest number of guests. The challenge for the independent operator is to establish that benchmark for his or her own unique operation.

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How to Maximize Labor Productivity Without Lowering Guest Service




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