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Why don’t more restaurants have V.I.P. customers?

Why don’t more restaurants have V.I.P. customers?
Show some love to your best customers”
It is beyond me why most restaurants do NOT have a V.I.P. list of customers. One’s that frequent your establishment often. They really should be treated differently than the average customer who comes to your place 1 or 2x a year.
There is one such place by me, that keeps a tally of what you spend on a swipe card. Then they reward you with a free dessert or free appetizer. They also have special nights where the V.I.P. might get $2.00 hamburgers or $2.00 vodka drinks.
An idea I’ve only seen 1x was a monthly membership by a pizza place. So for $19.00 a month you got a free pizza a month. So if they have 200 members, then before they turn on the ovens or open the doors, they already have $3,800 in the bank (automatic draws).
If you owned a nice restaurant instead of a pizzeria, maybe this $19.00 is good for 2 drinks and 1 dessert. Or 1 entree when 1 is purchased. Or 2 appetizers and 1 dessert. It really could be a lot of fun to change up what you offer your V.I.P.’s!
Why don’t more restaurants have V.I.P. customers?
Start showing some customer love to your best restaurant customers. You will be rewarded with better loyalty, more repeat customers and a bigger bank balance to start the month!

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Food Spoilage – a Restaurants Nightmare.

Food Spoilage – a Restaurants Nightmare.
      Oct. 13, 2006 in Buffalo, NY 22 inches of snow fell in 8 hours, snapping trees and utility poles. Since the autumn leaves hadn’t fallen off the trees yet, the added weight of the snow did cause much damage. Many homes (mine included) and businesses lost power for 5-7 days and this is a nightmare if you own a restaurant.
   Since insuring restaurants is one of our specialties, we were able to reimburse most of our clients food inventory, once power was restored. Food spoilage in a restaurant is not always included in a basic insurance policy but we always make sure it is included in our clients policies.
   Food Spoilage – a Restaurants Nightmare.
   Another insurance coverage we include for our clients is off-premises power failure. So in the Buffalo October Surprise storm, if a restaurant didn’t have a physical loss to their building/restaurant, they might not have a claim. But if this added coverage of off-premises power failure – the electric pole on the corner from which it gets it’s power got snapped in 1/2, then the restaurant would have coverage.
   So food spoilage could also come from an indirect loss, that of the power pole on the corner. If their is no physical loss to the restaurant, then this insurance coverage becomes important, especially for food spoilage.
Food Spoilage – a Restaurants Nightmare.
   Restaurants need more specialized insurance coverage than most other small businesses. So if an insurance agency doesn’t specialize in insuring a restaurant, they could be missing some important endorsements and coverage’s that they need. Very important coverage’s to keep their business going.

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Why don’t more restaurants have V.I.P. customers?

Why don’t more restaurants have V.I.P. customers?
Show some love to your best customers”
It is beyond me why most restaurants do NOT have a V.I.P. list of customers. One’s that frequent your establishment often. They really should be treated differently than the average customer who comes to your place 1 or 2x a year.
There is one such place by me, that keeps a tally of what you spend on a swipe card. Then they reward you with a free dessert or free appetizer. They also have special nights where the V.I.P. might get $2.00 hamburgers or $2.00 vodka drinks.
An idea I’ve only seen 1x was a monthly membership by a pizza place. So for $19.00 a month you got a free pizza a month. So if they have 200 members, then before they turn on the ovens or open the doors, they already have $3,800 in the bank (automatic draws).
If you owned a nice restaurant instead of a pizzeria, maybe this $19.00 is good for 2 drinks and 1 dessert. Or 1 entree when 1 is purchased. Or 2 appetizers and 1 dessert. It really could be a lot of fun to change up what you offer your V.I.P.’s!
Why don’t more restaurants have V.I.P. customers?
Start showing some customer love to your best restaurant customers. You will be rewarded with better loyalty, more repeat customers and a bigger bank balance to start the month!

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Do You Offer Credit Card Payments in Your Restaurant?

Do You Offer Credit Card Payments in Your Restaurant?
If your restaurant is like 99% of them out there that offer payment via credit card, you must be careful. Cyber theft and credit card theft are pretty prevalent in our society today (sadly). Do You Offer Credit Card Payments in Your Restaurant? Read on….
Ever restaurant is a target, just like (no pun intended) Target department store was a few years ago. You say “yeah it happen to them but won’t happen to me” but could you afford even $20,000 to straighten out a credit card theft?
I’ll tell you my story, as this is very real and an inside job. I was at an insurance conference in Chicago and as usual, 8-10 of us go out to dinner to keep the conversations going. When the bill was presented, my corporate issued credit card was denied, much to my displeasure.
It turns out the dinner the night before, paid with that same card, got swiped by the server and they posted 10 – $100 charges to that card. And then 10 more $100 charges were posted to the card. I guess the thief thought $100 charges would go through easier than 1- $1,000 charge. Luckily, as I reported it and had my account froze, the credit card company reversed all charges.
Do You Offer Credit Card Payments in Your Restaurant?
But what if I didn’t get satisfied by the credit card company? I’d be going after the restaurant, maybe posting all over social media about this incident. How many other’s has this happened too also? So an inside job or an outside job could cost your restaurant money, time spent to reverse the damage and your reputation. If your restaurant had a cyber liability policy ($200 a year for $100,000 of coverage), you could now boast about your smart business acumen!
And turn to social media to tell your own story about it. People (customers) would look differently about your business since you are proactive, instead of being reactive like “How could this happen to me”? Stories go a long way in telling about your business and a “feel good” story is much better than a “woah is me” story.
Do You Offer Credit Card Payments in Your Restaurant?
So be that smart restaurant owner and get cyber liability coverage, which is never, ever included in a BOP or Restaurant insurance policy unless offered as an additional add on (like Hartford does).
An educated consumer is our best customer.
 
Tom Larsen

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What Restaurant Doesn’t Need Marketing Help?

   What Restaurant Doesn’t Need Marketing Help?
There is a FREE REPORT I wrote (go here) on why most restaurant owner’s suck at marketing. I’ll give you more real life examples I have witnesses. Local to me and my wife (within walking distance) is a restaurant we frequent a lot. Waiting for our take-out order while having a glass of wine, the bartender puts a current register receipt in front of us (the kind TGIFridays does). So if we order another glass of wine, the new slip then replaces the old one.
I asked the bartender what is going on with this “system” since we are well known in the place. We’ll “Ella” thought is was a good idea to start this system. This is a small tavern type place, good food and all local patrons. She is changing the uniqueness and family type atmosphere that they have now – not good.
What Restaurant Doesn’t Need Marketing Help?
A second occasion recently, came up to me and my wife stating “We think we are going to copy ******* and get wine glasses with lines for a 6 oz. pour and a line for a 9 oz. pour. She wanted our opinion, since we mostly drink wine. I told her, bad idea, you don’t want to be like everyone else,you have a very good and unique place here, don’t try to be like everyone else! (The bartender thanked me for speaking up and voicing my opinion).
This locally owned restaurant is certainly one that could use some marketing help.
What Restaurant Doesn’t Need Marketing Help?
I see many, many restaurants copy other’s like what they do is either gospel or just the way it’s always been done. Instead of studying other businesses and find out if that could fit for their model. Do you know why 70% of all fast food is sold through a drive-in window? A restaurant owner was going through the bank’s drive-in window and had an idea for the restaurant to do this too! You never know when a great idea will come to you too!
We insure many restaurants throughout New York and if you own one can (go here) for a quote on your insurance.
Or shoot me an email – tom@larseninsurance.com
Tom Larsen
(716) 684-3203
 

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Craft Brewery Insurance

Craft Brewery Insurance
Since craft breweries are popping up all over the place, insurance companies recognize the special needs these places have. Since the brewery uses special equipment, like pressure vessels, grain mills, holding tanks and unique refrigeration equipment, this is so very different than a typical restaurant exposure. Craft breweries could lose a whole tank of beer, due to electrical arcing or power surge in their business.
Here is one loss that occurred: “After a power outage, the point-of-sale system servicing the brewery sustained electrical damage from a resulting surge. Due to the extent of the damage, the system required replacement. Claim amount = $15,550”
Due to the sensitivity of the brewing process, spoilage and business interruption (loss of income) can result from equipment breakdown. This can happen in any stage of the production, since it is an entire process to brewing beer.
Craft Brewery Insurance
Product spoilage can also occur as a result of utility interruption, failure of an electrical process control or mechanical damage to a compressor. There is also the need for coverage for those craft breweries that sell product off-premises (maybe a trade show, fair or beer festival) and also need coverage for that. The breweries also use underground piping, flues and drains that could come into play in a loss or claim.
Not all insurance companies know how to handle craft breweries and their insurance needs but some insurance companies understand breweries. Patterns, molds and dies are also some of the items these specialty insurance companies understand need coverage. The insurance coverage should be very comprehensive for craft breweries and all the equipment they need to brew their beer. They have a lot invested in making a business out of a hobby of brewing craft beer.
Craft Brewery Insurance
At Larsen Insurance we do insure craft breweries, having several companies that do this.
 
Tom Larsen
tom@larseninsurance.com
716-684-3203

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Why don’t restaurants use mystery shoppers?

Why don’t restaurants use mystery shoppers?
I read a review yesterday in the newspaper about how good the food was at this cheap (everything under $10!) local restaurant. But this was written by a food critic, who gets paid to do reviews and give his opinion. But what if the restaurant got real, honest opinions from 5-10 different parties and not just the food….the service, the atmosphere, the music…everything.
It reminded me of our twice monthly meeting my networking group has at another local restaurant. They accomidate us by having a 4 choice paper menu at each seat, so you can chose which you want. Last meeting I chose the soup and grilled cheese sandwich – which was awful. One piece of cheese on each 1/2 a sandwich – might as well just served bread!
I made sure to tell the managing partner, who is very good at correcting issues like this. But what if I was not a regular customer, had this as my meal and decided to never, ever come back again? This restaurant would never know what occurred or why their business was down.
Why don’t restaurants use mystery shoppers?
At another local restaurant, they take reservations on a Friday, which is a huge fish fry night in Buffalo. They will turn away a walk-in table of 5 because they have tables already reserved. I had mentioned to the owner, “Why not give the turned away party something to get them to return? A free soup coupon, a free dessert coupon, a free glass of wine coupon?” He looked at me like “we don’t give anything away for free.” But that same owner will turn around and put an ad on Goupon or some similar website for 50% off your next meal. What am I missing here?
But this isn’t unique to this particular restaurant owner, I see it happening time and time again. Or they will put an ad in a local paper and say something like – 25% off, new customer discount. What about your loyal, paying customers? Why not know their birthday, give them a completely free meal on their birthday and who will show up alone, without family & friends? I just don’t understand the logic these owners use!
Why don’t restaurants use mystery shoppers?
I would be mystery shopping at the very least 1x a year but probably every 6 months. If I want a growing, thriving business, I need to know what the average consumer is thinking…not some food critic. I would want that honest feedback and know how my restaurant rated in many different area’s, not just food (although very important). You, Mr. (or Mrs.) Restaurant owner could learn so much from these reviews, that it could change the whole bottom line for you! Instead of struggling and maybe contemplating closing your doors, find out what is wrong and fix it!
Use mystery shoppers and I think you’ll find ways to improve your business…..and quickly too!
 
Tom Larsen, Independent Insurance Adviser, Former Restaurant owner.
 
 

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Why Don’t Restaurants Collect Email Addresses?

Why Don’t Restaurants Collect Email Addresses?
I have been known to take clients out for lunch, coffee or a drink or two. Having been a former restaurant owner myself, I enjoy te atmosphere of most restaurants. But of all the places I visit and/or work from (like right now), I am on only 2 email lists!
I find it hard to believe in todays “social media” enviroment, that more restaurants don’t do this. Don’t you want to promote your best customers to repeat their visit? Doesn’t your restaurant have a special to promote this Tuesday or Thursday? Why can’t you share a favoirte receipe?
Why don’t restaurants collect email addresses?
In my insurance business, I use a program called allclients to touch my clients weekly! For $19 per month, it is an inexpensive way to touch your restaurant customers/clients and it doesn’t always have to be about business!
Talk about your local sports teams, what is happening in the community, what charities you support or walks/runs you are doing. People want to deal with people in todays social media world!
Be a person not a restaurant business. Show them how involved you are in the community. The tools available online are making it easy to connect with your customers.
Make no excuse going forward for your restaurant and email addresses. Start TODAY to have your staff collect email addresses and then use an online program to monitor this on a weekly basis. the sooner you start, the better flow of business your restaurant will have.
Tom Larsen, New York Restaurant Expert

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Chef at a local restaurant

Loyalty Reward Cards in Your Restaurant

Loyalty Reward Cards in Your Restaurant
I just had a conversation about this yesterday with a restaurant owner in Buffalo. I was asking why more restaurants don’t use some form of a loyalty card, do they not work?
I had stated that a former restaurant – The Frog Hair – used to use these loyalty reward cards before they sold the business. Every time a customer bought something, the points kept adding to their card. They could be used for dessert or an appetizer or clothing. They also had overbought sometimes on certain items (I remember vodka was one) and would do specials just for reward customers.
Every restaurant should be doing this today. With so much talk going on in social media, it would be the perfect way to have others be talking about your place.
Loyalty Reward Cards in Your Restaurant
This is so easy, yet nobody I know in Buffalo is doing this. Panera on a national level does a good job of this and track it using your phone number – no need to carry the key tag. They give away free pastries, free coffee and free bagel, all for just being a regular customer (I currently have a free pastry coming).
Independently owned restaurants should be doing this in their local community. Something simple and yet cost effective and better than putting a 50% off coupon on YELP or some other social media site. Fifty percent off for a 1x visitor or rewards for the returning customer?
Your community involvement will help support efforts like reward cards. Maybe giving the Boy Scouts 10% of sales for the month of March, if they distribute these reward cards. You need to think outside the box to expand what your own restaurant can offer your community.
Loyalty Reward Cards in Your Restaurant, what are you doing?

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Social media and restaurants.

Social media and restaurants.
We go out to eat a lot, maybe too much. As a former restaurant owner myself, I love the people in the business and the consumer experience in a restaurant. It is the ultimate people business and I like people and where are people today? Social media.
Here is what I don’t get – why aren’t more restaurants using social media to their benefit? Posting something on Twitter on a slow Tuesday night like: “Come in today 4-8 pm and get a free dessert on us!” What did that costs you, a few minutes to create the tweet? Or “Just for today, Free Liter of Pop with every large pizza!” There are so many angles you could use this to your advantage….but no one is doing this.
Or create a business page on Facebook and use that for a contest. Post a trivia question and the winner gets a free meal on the house….and who comes to eat alone? Many restaurants I see will post “kids eat free on Monday”, why not post a coloring page on Facebook, have the child color it before they come in? Then post them all around your restaurants – grandma and grandpa would want to come in to see it too!
Social media and restaurants.
Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+….all ideal places you could be marketing your restaurant. Plus, doesn’t some of your staff have down time after lunch, like 2-4 pm? It wouldn’t take that long to do your posting but you also don’t need to hire an expert social media person either!
On Pinterest, you should be posting pictures of your dishes but also recipes too. People love to know how to make things and by giving away the “secret sauce” you’ll actually create more vibe for your restaurant. People would want to compare how their’s came out vs. how you make it.
Social media and restaurants.
The perfect space for restaurants to promote themselves is in social media, there has never been a better opportunity. If you have a restaurant and you are NOT doing any social media stuff, you are missing out big time. You need to have a staff person (or persons) be helping you out with this. It isn’t hard, doesn’t take a ton of time but is almost a must in your industry.
Stop doing the things other restaurants are doing and become a different kind of place – the one’s customers will keep coming back to!
 
Tom Larsen, Restaurant insurance new york

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Restaurant or bar, which are you? – for restaurant insurance quotes it matters!

Are you a restaurant or bar – for restaurant insurance quotes it matters!
The gross sales reported by your restaurant will matter on your percentage split between bar sales and food sales. For most restaurant insurance companies, this would not be a 50/50 split but something more like 42%/58% of sales…so are you a restaurant or bar?
Restaurant insurance companies will use either a 40% bar to 60% food ration or 35% bar/65% food ration to consider you a restaurant. This is important, as a true restaurant will be rated very, very differently than a bar.  A bar will be rated most times on gross sales and/or square footage for their liability charge. Where a restaurant could be rated on square footage (like a Deli, high volume but low square feet) or if on a B.O.P. (Business Owners Policy) can just be a flat charge for liability. Restaurants get a more favorable rating due to food sales, while a bar gets a higher rating, due to alcohol sales.
Are you a restaurant or bar – for restaurant insurance quotes it matters!
We have a restaurant insurance company that their flat charge for liability, for example a $1,000,000 limit is $105! You can see why rating an eating establishment as a restaurant and not a bar could be very important! Very inexpensive way to pay for liability coverage for a restaurant, as opposed to a bar.
Knowing how a restaurant insurance company charges for liability insurance is very important! You really need to know your rating basis or have it reviewed by a professional insurance agent. It could mean the difference of thousands of dollars.
Are you a restaurant or bar?
By Tom Larsen

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Co-Marketing with Neighborhood Businesses

Co-Marketing with Neighborhood Businesses
I hardly ever see a locally owned restaurant, co-marketing with another business. Like a hair salon can give out 10% off coupons for lunch at your restaurant. Or a realtor can give out a free appetizer coupon to their new (or existing) client. Maybe the local bakery can give our a free soup coupon to their customers.
Thinking outside your restaurant tables and chairs, will help you open up the possibilities of who you can partner with in your neighborhood. Start with other business friends of yours and see what you can come up with. If your restaurant is willing to pay Groupon (or some other service) a 10% fee and then give 25% off coupons, why wouldn’t you do that with strtegic partners?
Because this is the easy way out and besides….everyone else is doing it! Don’t be like every other restaurant, be unique, be yourself, start with a few partners!
Co-Marketing with Neighborhood Businesses
If you work with other local businesses, you’ll get “warm” customers coming to your place, already having a good view of it. If it is thru Groupon or another “coupon” service, you are getting a price shopper and maybe not a repeat, friendly new customer.
Tom Larsen

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