Monthly Archives: February 2013

Burkett Colleague Connect

Burkett is revamping our online attitude. We want to give you a better look at how we operate and who is working behind the scenes to make your buying experience the best. Allow me to introduce the Burkett Colleague Connect. These blog posts will highlight the professionals here at Burkett that are working with and for you.
This month’s Burkett Colleague Connect features Todd Norton, our resident Internet Marketing Manager. Todd and I recently sat down to discuss how he feels about Burkett now, and what he hopes to see in the future.

  1. How long have you worked for Burkett Restaurant Equipment? Close to seven and a half years.
  1. What has changed the most in that time? Our corporate structure. Also, a better utilization of data analyses to make informed decisions.
  1. How would you describe Burkett’s culture in three words? Young, Energetic, Motivated
  1. What is something about the Burkett environment that someone wouldn’t notice at first glance? How strongly passionate we are about seeing the company succeed.
  1. Why is Internet Marketing important to our business?  Most companies in our industry do not have a web presence and being able to leverage the market through search engines and other web portals is a significant advantage when trying to increase product awareness.  Online purchasing is much more relevant year after year being that it takes less time and effort to make a purchase online, instead of going to a local shop where all you get is what they have in stock.  Every year there are new websites that customers may flock to; Burkett must be marketing where the customers are, or where customers are most likely to find us.
  1. Where do you want to see Burkett’s Internet Marketing strategy going in two years? Real Time Data analysis.  Anything in real time will become much more important in the future, and will allow us to make changes and see successes or failures at a moment’s notice. Through the use of technology, we could see industry data and tie that in with our own data to make better and well informed decisions for advertising and promotion.  We will also need to promote in many more diverse segments and services in order to continue to be a knowledgeable and respected leader in the foodservice industry.
  1. What do you look forward to at Burkett? I am excited about the opportunity of utilizing new technologies to advance our company in the industry.  I don’t feel our industry is quite advanced as it ought to be when it comes to pulling new and accurate product information, pricing, and shipping information from vendors.  This will eventually lead to an enhanced customer experience.

10 Tips: Bounce Back from a Bad Restaurant Review

Ever get a bad review on Yelp or Urbanspoon? Have a patron leave play by play tweets about poor service? Get slammed by a local restaurant reviewer? Negative press can escalate quickly with social media. The Local Consumer Review Survey in 2012 reported that approximately 72% of consumers surveyed said they would trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Thankfully, as a restaurant owner, you can respond and make amends to disgruntled customers and save your reputation.

Below we’ve listed 10 tips for bouncing back from a bad restaurant review.

  1. Fix the Problem: It’s important to take the initial steps to fix the issue at hand. Give yourself and your business the street cred you deserve by fixing the problem before you respond to any bad press and negative reviews.
  2. Get on the Same Page: Keep all of your employees in the loop. Waitstaff, chefs, and managers should know exactly how to handle questions regarding bad press. If you prefer that they defer any questions to management or a designated spokesperson, communicate that with them. Also, do your best to ensure your employees are not making matters worse by propagating the rumors.
  3. Respond Immediately: Ignorance isn’t always bliss. Prolonging your response decreases the opportunity to recover your reputation. Respond quickly and via the same media (Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, etc.) as the customer’s original review.
  4. Apologize: Don’t argue – if you’ve made a mistake, own it and apologize.
  5. Encourage Discussion: As much as you want to move beyond this PR disaster, be open to discussion and encourage it. Give yourself the opportunity to drive the conversation and reinforce your business’ good qualities.
  6. Reinforce Your Original Brand Concept: Despite temporarily being connected with the negative review, increase marketing to reinforce your restaurant’s merits and positive selling points.
  7. Step up Your Philanthropy: Being a community contributor on a consistent basis will eventually overcome any negative press. Be a good neighbor, and then brag about it. Sponsoring a food drive? Utilize social and local media to vocalize your contributions.
  8. Re-Focus Your Marketing: If you’re consistently getting bad reviews about your burgers, you might want to re-focus your marketing strategy from “World’s Best Burgers” to something new. Avoid promoting anything that is currently the center of controversy.
  9. Learn from Your Mistakes: You can’t predict when or why a customer will leave a bad review, but there’s a good chance that it resulted from a flaw in the way you run your business. Fix the problem, but learn from this mistake – be ready to make changes to avoid it in the future.
  10. Humanize Your Business: Utilize social media, video, and review pages to respond with sincerity. Don’t be afraid to add humor, but be real, concise, and empathetic – it’s a great chance to right a wrong and earn a customer for life.

NAPICS 2013: A Recap

This weekend Burkett Restaurant Equipment was at the North America Pizza & Ice Cream Show. Sunday and Monday, eight Burkett Restaurant Equipment representatives spent time walking the Columbus Convention Center, meeting vendors, watching demonstrations, testing the latest wares, and tasting some of the best pizza and ice cream around.

NAPICS 2013 had plenty to show off. Our staff appreciated the smaller vibe this year; it offered more time for in-depth conversations with vendors and visitors, and the chance to view all 175 of the exhibits more than once. NAPICS is a great show for both new and veteran pizzerias and ice cream shops. It’s a great way to learn about the industries’ newest POS systems, food and beverage, novelty items, and equipment suppliers.

Are Smartphone Apps Right for You?

It’s no secret that being online increases your company’s visibility. Burkett Restaurant Equipment can attest to that. In 2002 we created our first online store and spurred 1,200 percent sales growth in four years. With the rapid development of mobile technology, developing an “app for that” seems like a no-brainer.  Let’s discuss if it’s the right choice for your restaurant or franchise.

According to the National Restaurant Association, 40 percent of consumers said they would use a smartphone application to view a menu or place an order.  Another 44 percent said they would utilize a self-service ordering terminal, and 27 percent noted that mobile or wireless payment options appealed to them.

For consumers, ordering via mobile apps is easy, faster, and more accurate. For restaurants, it means not having to man the phones, not putting your customers on hold (or yelling over the weekend crowd) and increased business. With over 1 billion smartphone users worldwide, what drawbacks could there be?

Depending on your menu and target market, maintaining a mobile app can be expensive and time-consuming. Most mobile apps have to be built to run on specific devices, so if your target market is operating a bevy of devices (iPads, iPhones, Android devices, etc.) you’ll have to budget for additional development costs for each platform. The average app costs between $20K and $40K. Yikes!

Keep in mind, once your app is built, you’ll be paying a developer to make any changes to your menu, contact information, and so on. For those of you that feature daily specials or multiple menu changes, this can quickly turn into exorbitant spending.
Lastly, think about your target market. While over 46% of adults (age 18-35) own a smartphone, only 18% of seniors have the technology – as statistic that has remained fairly static.

So if you’re a small, single location business, what are your options? Consider mobile-optimized websites. You can format your content to display on a variety of devices and web browsers. Additionally, you can create a consistent looking website that is flexible if changes need to be made. Also, find a designer that offers “responsive design”, allowing your website to scale from iPhone screens to larger screen sizes.

Bottom Line? On average one-third of sales in a restaurant go towards food and beverage purchases. It’s important to creatively manage costs without increasing menu prices.  Try adding a customer loyalty program tied to a patron’s phone number, update your google+ and local listings, and make sure Yelp and UrbanSpoon have accurate information. Finally, make social media like Facebook and Twitter a priority.

Is Valentine’s Day a Friend or Foe?

A recent Zagat Valentine’s Day Survey found 43% of couples are planning on going out to dinner to celebrate, with an average expected bill of $142.11. Those are big figures. What’s bigger you ask? I’ll tell you; the number of blog posts and articles encouraging people to stay home for Valentine’s Day. So I ask, Valentine’s Day: friend or foe?

It’s a double-edge sword to be sure. That kind of business has to be a bright spot in the post-holiday spending hiatus most people seem to take. Then again, have you ever worked in a restaurant on Valentine’s Day?

Imagine half of the people in the city you live in going to dinner on one night. Now imagine that all of those people are going to want to have drinks, appetizers, savor their meals, and top it off with a decadent dessert. Instead of encouraging your staff to turn those tables, you’re balancing the fine line of giving each couple a great Valentine’s Day dining experience while being mindful of reservation times and waiting patrons.

As a former waitress, I know how daunting Valentine’s Day can be. The tips from that night are almost worth the hassle. Trying to give each couple a romantic, intimate night out while also being attentive and giving them great service…decidedly not worth that hassle. Now do it all over again, 20 more times (with a smile, of course).

With all that said, when the night is over it’s a great feeling. You’ve given people a special night that they will remember and share with their friends and family. You experienced firsthand the magic that happens behind the scenes in an efficient kitchen. You can cross it off your list, “I survived the Valentine’s Day rush!”

So you tell me, is all this hype about avoiding crowds and restaurants true for you? Or do you live for the nights when the stream of people filing into your restaurant seems non-stop? Better yet, if you wrote a Valentine’s Day survival guide, what tips would you give to fellow restaurant owners and employees?

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