The Workforce of Generation Z

Start gearing up for the next wave of employees to follow the Millennials

By Sarah Ann Noel - September 21, 2018

Our restaurant consultants have spent a lot of time over the last few years researching Millennials and what their generational traits mean for business, both as guests and employees. Millennials have been a generation of strong characteristics, and they have made their mark on how we conduct business and approach practices in dining, marketing, and global living. What has made this generation is their coming-of-age in a digital era, seeing and utilizing the new social media tools, and expanding their reach and voice while the world gets generally smaller.

Now it's time to turn attention to Generation Z, however, as they come up in years and prepare to enter the workforce. This generation will be wholly unique because they've never known a world without these tools and social concepts. They are not a novelty to them, but a norm. Following in the Millennial's footsteps, a generation that serached for work and redefined moneymaking, the younger generation is going to seek a greater sense of stability. They are hungry to make money, and they're ready to work for it.

But they will also lack a sense of social grace expected from older generations. They've grown up on screens, and with role models who have made a living by carving their own paths. If Generation Z is to enter the traditional workforce, these traits will have to be taken into careful consideration, in terms of expectation and training. Young and old will have to work together to find a meet-in-the-middle ground. This generation isn't breaking out against tradition; they were raised without a sense of it.

The Wall Street Journal published an interesting take on this new workforce generation, calling on employers to be ready to adapt. We'll all be learning as we hire, and learning as we begin serving this wave of decision-makers and trendsetters.

What have you seen from Generation Z so far? How will you adapt in your business? Our restaurant consultants are devoted to following trends and making predictions about where to go next. Stay tuned for our end-of-the-year trends forecast; and until then, contact a restaurant consultant today to begin your Generation Z preparations. 

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Denver Food & Wine Festival 2018

National Restaurant Consultants checks out the 14th annual Denver Food and Wine festival

By Sarah Ann Noel - September 10, 2018

We were glad for the chance to send some of our restaurant consultants to the 14th Annual Denver Food & Wine Festival this past weekend. This is a great event for foodies and restaurant owners a like. It's a fun snapshot at the broad range of foods available in the Denver-metro area, with a particular emphasis on drink pairings, from whine to whiskey. 

Here are some photos from the things that caught our eyes. It's always great to get out in the community and celebrate how much a food town Denver truly is. 


Gender Neutral Bathrooms: A Follow-Up

National Restaurant Consultants shares results from polling patrons on the great bathroom debate

By National Restaurant Consultants - September 5, 2018

A couple of weeks ago, we blogged about gender neutral bathrooms and how to handle the bathroom debate when building out a restaurant. We polled a few people in person, guests at restaurants we visited, and then, we took to Facebook. (See here for our response to Facebook resonses.)

The responses were overwhelmingly against gender neutral bathrooms. For the most part, it made our pollsters uncomfortable, for a number of reasons ranging from hygiene to personal privacy, or safety for children. Most of the answers strayed from the social and political aspects underlying this conversation and reflected only personal preference.

A quick note, because several of our responders asked about single-stall unisex bathrooms as a solution for both sides of the argument. While many more modern restaurants are opting for this model, it takes considerably more space and more money to build out the separate units and run additional plumbing. While it's an option from a social standpoint, from the business perspective, it doesn't make much sense.

Our restaurant consultants are well-versed in the industry goings-on and trends, but we enjoy working with the public to take the temperature of issues and how they specifically affect our restaurant clients. If you need help making a decision that you're worried may go against the grain, just ask. You might fine that you can easily reach a point of agreement with those around you. Need some help? Contact a restaurant consultant today.

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How to Respond to Negative Social Media

National Restaurant Consultants has tips for interacting with social media bullies and the why behind the response

By Sarah Ann Noel - August 29, 2018

Last week, we blogged about gender neutral bathrooms in restaurants and opened up a discussion on Facebook. Comments quickly strayed from actual opinions about the topic to attacks on users with opposing views. 

These days, social media is an invitation to differing opinions and, unfortunately, meanness. The anonymity of the Internet empowers debators to interact in a way they might never dare to in person. That said, social media is an integral component of how people--potential customers--consume information. And there is a positive side to social media, as we've shared here and on other occasions. So what do you do when the conversation turns ugly? What do you respond to, how do you respond, and what's best left alone?

It's important to consider your medium. We turned to Facebook to open up a discussion last week. It's not just two-way communication--it's a multi-directional conversation for the purpose of collecting a broad view of ideas. It's important to not guide or silence these conversations (that would be to defeat the purpose); and your followers and customers need to know that you operate with neutrality and transparency. That doesn't mean you leave the way open for unkind behaviors, and so for this specific episode of name-calling, we stepped in and reminded people what information we were after and why they were there. It's important to stand up for people without squashing the headlining commentary. if you participate in the underlying discussion, you could be just as responsible for sidelining the goal.

Things look different on an app like Yelp, however. When you list your establishment on Yelp, you're opening yourself up to review--and that includes bad ones. Sure, you could log on and respond to every negative word, but what does that look like to a potential customer? Our Evergreen consultant recently came across the Instagram account for an upscale restaurant in town. The menu was enticing, the setting perfect, but she noticed the chef arrogantly clapping back at dissatisfied customers. It immediately put a bad taste in her mouth about the leadership of the place, and she chose not to visit. 

If you must respond to negative reviews, you need to do so from a customer service perspective. Someone is disappointed in the service--ask for a second chance with a discount on their next meal. A reviewer didn't like their meal--perhaps mention an upcoming menu change and offer a coupon for them to try. You won't recover every disgruntled guest, but you might get some. And other users observing the conversation will be happy to see that you're the sort of place that values its patrons' opinions. 

There are some times when things are just better left alone. Maybe your restaurant has an Instagram account and a meanspirited commenter criticizes your photography. It's really irrelevant to you, to your business, and to the purpose of your account.

You have to decide upfront how you prefer to deal with these "troll" comments, and then be consistent in your response. Some influencers are of the mind to mitigate comments. They may even say in a post or in their profile, "All negative or mean comments will be deleted." This is a surefire way to ensure that your Instagram is happy and positive, but it doesn't necessarily present the best picture in terms of tolerance and facilitation.

Another school of thought suggests that if you leave these comments up, your supporters will come to your rescue. In the end, the increased interaction on the post will work in your favor, affecting the algorithms, your following, and where your account appears in search pages.

Above all, when you're operating a business social media account, it's important to remember that it is a communication tool, nothing more, nothing less. It is a prevelant means for marketing, increasing visibility, and building both a brand and an audience. Every word typed, every photo posted should be done with a professional air and diplomacy. Consider the whole picture of your business, not just a single incident.

If you have more questions about social media for your business, contact a restaurant consultant today.

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On Gender Neutral Bathrooms

National Restaurant Consultants weigh in on the great bathroom debate and how to determine the best solution for your restaurant.

By David Kincheloe - August 24, 2018

It's one of the most recent debates concerning gender equality and fluidity--just look at all this news coverage. Sometimes it's about complying with the laws, and sometimes it's about listening to what the people want. Like it or not, gender neutral bathrooms need to be a topic of discussion for business planning. National Restaurant Consultants has a broad range of employees and experience, and so even within the company, views can vary. So, we took to polling a few people. We asked our families, we asked over dinners, we asked diners in restaurants: How do you feel about gender neutral bathrooms?

The first thing we noticed, people were quick to jump to one side or the other of the political conversations driving these changes. While that's certainly a part of the general argument, it doesn't have to be a component of your business practice. As we address gender neutral bathrooms from a business standpoint with our clients, that is what we're looking at.

Secondly, there was some misconception over what a gender neutral bathroom would mean. We're not talking about single-stall unisex bathrooms, or separated toilets with a common sink. When we are looking at gender neutral bathroom plans with clients, this would mean one room, with many stalls, available to any person, regardless of gender. Side-by-side, floor to ceiling stalls would all be housed in one room (mostly for the purposes of less plumbing materials), with a common sink, all behind one bathroom door marked as gender neutral. 

Finally, age seemed to play a major factor in the conversation. While there were people both old and young who either accepted the idea or disliked the idea, it seemed that younger pollers gravitated toward responses like, "This is just the way things are going," where older people asked broader questions about logistics, safety, and hygiene. 

All of these points are the legs of a growing conversation in our offices and across the country, and so, we want to know, where do you stand? We want to collect information and take a temperature on this issue. Feel free to contact us privately, if you wish; but if you're up for it, visit our Facebook page and chime in with your thoughts. 

Photo by Juan Marin on Unsplash

Engage Your Audience On Instagram Stories

National Restaurant Consultants says, beat the algorithms with Instagram Stories

By David Kincheloe - August 16, 2018

Like it or not, social media is the medium of the times, and our restaurant consultants think your restaurant should use it to your fullest advantage. Through hashtags and geotagging, Instagram is home to like-minded communities--communities of people who might LOVE what you have to offer, if only they knew. Sure, social media is confusing, time consuming, and a hopeful shot-in-the-dark; but it also has changed the restaurant industry

We've taken you through the gamete of the platforms you can use and what is best for restaurants. And like anything else rooted in technology, those things have changed. Transformed. Progressed. Phased out. Not too long ago, Instagram changed their algorithms. Users no longer view content in a chronological feed, rather are fed content from the accounts with which the have or are most likely to interact. The greatly affects the reach of your static account--your grid. You can pay to boost posts (a feature added since Facebook took over); but it's really most important to make sure your grid is a brilliant snapshot of your restaurant brand and experience. Pay for reach, blast fantastic content, and, according to Later, make sure you're set up like a business using social media: Enable the business account. Use the geotags. Engage users with hashtags and comments. 

Aside from a professional account, the next best way to increase your reach, in spite of the new Instagram algorithms? Use those Instagram Stories! More and more, social media is going the way of video. And with a more temporary life, disappearing video mediums, like Instagram Stories and Snapchat, you can be more personal, more casual, and really communicate a brand personality. You're not convinced? Here are 13 Reasons Why Instagram Stories is it!

Our branding and social media teams can help your restaurant with your online presence and Instagram strategies. Contact a restaurant consultant to find out more. And while you're at it, follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

Photo by Rob Hampson on Unsplash

Back-to-School Happy Hour

Kickoff the 2018 school year with a family-friendly happy hour menu

By National Restaurant Consultants - August 9, 2018

It's that time of year! In the Midwest, kids are heading back to class; near our Colorado offices, students have only a week or so before the first day; and maybe the east coast kids get until Labor Day; but the empty school supply aisles at Targets everywhere are telling: it's time for back-to-school.

While the summer season can bring restaurants big waves of new customers, with the return to the school year comes a sense of normalcy that is sometimes comforting to guests. You may see a more steady attendance at dinner time or filling up your weekend reservations. Diners will be more structured in their routines--and they'll also be busy with clubs, programs, and classes, which means grabbing a bite while they're out and about.

Have a little fun with this time of year, and offer a celebratory menu! May our restaurant consultants suggest an apple-inspired theme in honor of teachers everywhere, and something that will please both parents and kids alike. 

1. Pour a tall apple juice for the kids dreading the start of classes, and maybe something a little stiffer for the parents who are so ready to send them back. Here are a few apple-based cocktails to try, via Serious Eats.

2. Surprise your guests with a savory apple snack. Smitten Kitchen makes apple and cheddar scones that are crowd pleasers for sure!

3. Don't make dessert fancy, just go for that all-American tradition that makes everyone feel good: Martha Stewart's apple pie!

We found some bonus apple recipes on the A Night Owl blog, and don't forget our restaurant consultants' ideas for kid-friendly tables to keep the good times rolling. 

Whether you need great ideas for a special event or time of year, or maybe your restaurant business needs some everyday help, our restaurant consultants are experts in every facet of the industry. Contact us today!

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How To Keep Your Employees Happy

National Restaurant Consultants say, if you have high employee turnover, the problem could be you

By David Kincheloe - August 1, 2018

Our restaurant consultants know that one of the biggest challenges facing restaurant owners and managers, especially in big, transient cities like Denver, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, is hanging on to good staff. It takes time and money to interview, hire, and train employees, and if there is high turnover, that's a major loss on the business side.

Many managers are quick to blame turnover on bad, undedicated employees; but our consultants say, that's actually almost never the case with employee retention issues.

"Most employees want to do a good job," says NRC president David Kincheloe. "And the problem with employee loss usually has more to do with training and management."

Kincheloe says, if there is an issue with an employee, ask these three questions:
  1. Did this employee understand the expectations?
  2. Was this employee properly trained to meet those expectations?
  3. Has the employee received the tools necessary to carry out the tasks?
"When there is a problem, chances are, the answer to at least one of these questions is a no," says Kincheloe. "If you can't say that you've set your employees up in this way, then the problem isn't with the employee. It's you."

Recently, our Phoenix restaurant consultant shared an interesting AZ Central article by Paula Hubbs Cohen. Cohen write about the top 2018 companies to work for, and breaks down why they have high employee retention. Of course, articles about happy employees are nothing new, but our consultants were drawn to a list of key drivers included in the article, and how those ten items relate to the questions we tell restaurant managers they must be able to answer. Cohen's list included points such as:
  • feeling valued at work
  • having confidence in the leadership
  • being treated with respect
  • and making good use of skills and abilities
(Read the full article and list here.)

Managing employees, ultimately, comes down to leadership skills and operational systems. These are things our restaurant consultants are experts in. Save yourselves time and money by making sure you're adequately training and valuing your employees. Contact a restaurant consultant and stop your employee turnover today.

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The American Colony in Israel

A peek into our restaurant consultant's trip to Israel and a fine dining experience

By National Restaurant Consultants - July 26, 2018

Recently, National Restaurant Consultant president David Kincheloe took a tour through Israel. While the holy land tour was much more than a culinary experience, when your work is the restaurant industry, you can't help but take a peek into what's new in cuisine in different cultures.

At a recommendation, Kincheloe visited the upscale American Colony in Jerusalem. The restaurant has received high praise, and Kincheloe says it holds up. 

"We sampled the open-faced kibbeh and the best falafel I've ever tasted," he said. "Sure, it was on the pricey side, but it was well worth it for the experience. And the service was great."

Of course, our restaurant consultants talk a lot about how a restaurant experience isn't just about the food. That proved true especially at American Colony, where the real draw is the setting.

"What really topped it off," Kincheloe recalls, "was the courtyard and open-air garden."

Our restaurant consultants travel all over the world, and we take notes whereever we go. Our decades of experience spans the globe and all varieties of restaurants, and we are proud to use that expertise to help our clients succeed. Contact a restaurant consultant today and find out how we can improve your restaurant business.

Red Hen and Politics for Restaurants

National Restaurant Consultants shares advice after the Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Red Hen fallout

By National Restaurant Consultants - July 20, 2018

In the wake of fallout for the Red Head in Lexington, Virginia, after the restaurant refused service to White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, our restaurant consultants wanted to share thoughts and advice about the place of politics in a restaurant environment.

Obviously, as business owners and citizens of our respective countries, we all have opinions about the current political arena. But we have to ask questions about how we express those opinions, especially in our places of business.

National Restaurant Consultants president David Kincheloe says, first and foremost, consider the industry. 

"As individuals who have chosen the hospitality industry, it's important to remember that the profession is serving others. Politics should have nothing to do with how someone is welcomed and served in a restaurant. Politics should be checked at the door."

The fact is, drawing political lines around individual guests is bad business. The Red Hen actually closed for a two-week hiatus after their refusal to serve Ms. Sanders sparked and fueled an explosive, polarized debate about the political picture in business. 

A restaurant owner should be focused on the overall experience for all guests in the restaurant. "The sole goal should be to ensure that every guest that walks into the restaurant is treated with respect and given service with a smile," Kincheloe says. 

Our restauarant consultants stay on top of industry legislation and governmental developments that affect business; but that is the only necessary marriage of your business and politics. If you have questions about how to balance the political arena with your business, reach out to a restaurant consultant. We create black-and-white plans designed to make your business thrive.

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