Business Builders

Crowd Pleasers

Leveraging Awards

After winning quality contests or readers’ polls, smart restaurateurs leverage the honor by informing their patrons. Sit down restaurants can tastefully display framed photos and/or awards where guests can see them. On the other hand, reaching delivery customers is more challenging since they may not visit the restaurant. So when Clive Brown’s pizza placed first in the local “Invitational Pizza Masters Competition,” he placed colorful stickers announcing the victory where delivery customers couldn’t miss it – on the inside of their pizza box lid!

Clive Brown, Owner Pizzability Sooke, BC


“Bucket Bash”

Recently, Jerry and Lea Bradley hosted a “bucket bash” fundraising dinner. The goal was to raise $10,000 to help Hospice fulfill “bucket list” wishes for terminally ill locals, like sending a plane ticket to a distant loved one to bring them to visit.Hospice volunteers organized and ran the actual event, from preselling dinner tickets, arranging entertainment, and soliciting donations (displayed in buckets) from local merchants, to selling raffle tickets toward winning each prize “bucket.” Contributing the venue and great food made the Bradleys feel good and helped deepen their community roots!

Jerry and Lea Bradley Jerry’s Pizza Mount Pleasant, IA


Selling Live Basil

To emphasize his ingredients’ freshness, Vinny Desiderio sells small basil plants to his customers. Using clean, empty #10 ingredient cans filled with potting mix for planters, Vinny raises the plants from seed. Then, once the seedlings mature, Vinny displays the “planters” in his restaurant for sale at $5 each. Enthusiastic customers snap up the fragrant herbs for use in their home kitchens and are reminded of Linguine’s every time they see (and use!) their emerald green leaves.

Vinny Desiderio, Owner Linguine’s Italian Restaurant Bowmansville, NY


Pay for Proficiency

When Jason Black and his partners first launched their upscale Atlanta pizzeria, DaVinci’s, eight years ago, their goal was to create ultra premium artisan style pizzas. But the question remained how to properly motivate and train their kitchen team to embrace quality as well. Their solution was to create a self training system which rewards those employees who sharpen their skills and learn new ones. To do this, Jason broke down kitchen functions into a dozen “stations” and wrote simple, brief self study manuals on how to do each properly, including specific guidelines for preparation consistency, flavor, and appearance. For example, prospective pie makers must produce a consistent series of test pizzas according to tight “visual esthetics,” including the exact quantity and distribution of toppings, pie roundness, crust brownness, evenness of the cuts, etc.

Mastering stations earns employees small wage increases. More importantly, repeated recognition and rewards for excellence earn peer respect and foster even greater pride in their work quality!

Jason Black, CoOwner DaVinci’s Atlanta, GA


Casters Assist Deeper Cleaning

In restaurant kitchens, it is not always easy to clean as deeply around stationary obstacles like large equipment, prep tables, storage racks, etc. That is why restaurateur David Boston first installed heavy duty casters on virtually every piece of kitchen furniture and equipment not otherwise bolted down.

Making “obstacles” mobile means his team can regularly sanitize in, around, under, and behind nearly every large object in the kitchen. Not only did this impress his health inspector (who began recommending casters to other eateries), it has also made accessing equipment for repair or maintenance much easier.

David Boston Boston’s Bistro and Pub Dayton, OH