Tag Archives: Marketing

Tasting Success: Careers in Restaurant Consulting

27 Apr

Illustration by Holly Siemon

Like any good entree, a successful restaurant requires a precise blend and balance of the right ingredients. But getting those ingredients to work in harmony, and in turn pleasing customers and making a profit, is a difficult task. (In fact, nearly 60 percent of restaurants will close or transfer ownership within three years of opening, according to a 2005 study published by Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly.)

Behind many of those restaurants that do survive and thrive, from neighborhood bistros to billion-dollar chains, stand restaurant consultants: seasoned industry veterans tasked with creating and updating the eateries we know and love—and rescuing the ones we don’t.

What They Do
“Restaurants fail because they’re underfunded, poorly planned, or mismanaged,” says Danny Bendas, managing partner at Synergy Restaurant Consultants. “Before launching a new restaurant, it’s our job to ensure the concept is viable for a particular market and that it’ll generate the numbers required to keep operations up and running.”

Beyond helping fledgling eateries get off the ground, restaurant consultants pull ailing restaurants out of the red by streamlining operating procedures, cutting food costs, or rebranding to attract a larger or different clientele. They’re also hired by the likes of McDonald’s and Cosi to save a few pennies on each order of French fries (which adds up to big money savings) or incorporate healthy options into the menu. Some consultants specialize in one aspect of a restaurant—menu development, marketing, finance—once they’ve come to understand all the components of a successful restaurant.

Kitchen Smarts
Typically, the first step to becoming a restaurant consultant is completing coursework in culinary arts or hospitality management, either as an undergrad, post-grad, or through a certificate program. But the most important degree, according Mark Mollier, president of The Recipe of Success, is from the school of hard knocks. “You can learn all you want in college, but if you don’t have some real restaurant experience, you won’t be taken seriously by a client, and in turn, a restaurant consulting firm.”

A keen understanding of the back and front of the house is required; those specializing in menu revamp should know how scheduling is handled and be able to analyze a profit and loss statement, while finance gurus need to understand service procedures and kitchen management. Less technical but just as important is common sense, Mollier says. “Perhaps a new elaborate entrée would generate buzz, but if the kitchen is cramped, it doesn’t make sense to add some dish that takes up three burners at a time.”

Getting In
Though there are many entry points into restaurant consulting, two paths in particular stand out. Mollier suggests going the corporate route, working for a chain like Macaroni Grill or Applebee’s, which generally have great management training programs. But keep in mind that smaller, independently owned establishments can offer a great learning environment. Plus, working in a hip restaurant will help you earn street cred in the culinary community, which goes a long way in this industry.

While you job hunt, mentor hunt as well: Find a successful consultant who’s willing to open doors and offer advice. It’s in his best interest: when your cooking puts a corner cafe on the culinary map, his firm stands to benefit too. In no time you’ll be specializing in menu development, you star chef, you.

Emily Callaghan



14 Mar

Although we live in a digital age where everything is electronic, I cant help but go back to my roots… PRINT! There is nothing like a well designed + well printed, identity. The feeling of high quality paper, elegant details of embossing, or unique spot varnishes is what makes you stand out! I stumbled upon this and I had to share: 

10 Creative Ways to Use QR Codes for Marketing

20 Jan


Ekaterina Walter is a social media strategist at Intel. She is a part of Intel’s Social Media Center of Excellence and is responsible for company-wide social media enablement and corporate social networking strategy. She was recently elected to serve on the board of directors of WOMMA.

According to comScore, 20.1 million mobile phone owners in the U.S. used their devices to scan a QR code in the three-month average period ending October 2011. In the big scheme of things, this isn’t a large number. However, the number of people using QR codes is expected to grow.

1. Reinventing the Shopping Experience

Global supermarket giant Tesco solved the problem of enticing hard-working, time-strapped Koreans into its stores by bringing the shopping experience to them, with virtual stores based in subways and metro stations.

Shoppers were encouraged to browse life-like images of

supermarket shelves with their smartphones and scan the QR codes on products to add them to their shopping carts, all whilst waiting for the metro. Their purchases would then be delivered to them at home, with no need to carry heavy bags.

2. Enhancing the User Experience

Some savvy museums and art galleries have been quick to realize the potential in QR codes for enhancing user experiences. Art galleries such as The Cleveland Museum of Art place QR codes next to exhibits to direct visitors to online or audio tours, or to provide more in-depth information.

3. Streamlining the Customer’s Visit

Stores like Starbucks are using QR codes to streamline the way they interact with customers. Rather than waiting in a long line to pay, customers can now integrate their pre-loaded card and their phone app to pay more quickly, as well as learn more about the products and stores.

4. Noting the Things You Enjoy

In a restaurant and enjoying your wine? Rather than scribbling the name of the winery on a napkin, restaurant-goers can now scan QR code wine labels to find out more about the vineyard, the grape, and ordering details.

5. Give Customers Something They Want

Mountain Dew and Taco Bell partnered on a promotion in which customers scanned QR codes on drink cups to get free music downloads. They knew their customers: younger people interested in popular culture. The campaign earned the companies over 200,000 downloads.

6. Providing Real-Time Information

QR codes can take customers to real-time updates anywhere where there is a constant flow of information, for instance, train stations, bus stops, department store sales, live events, restaurant specials or airline booking.

Frankfurt, Germany recently introduced smart posters in train carriages, which provided commuters with travel information, transport connections, special events and points of interest, as well as special offers for travel card holders.

7. Initiate Share-worthy Competitions

Verizon recently ran a successful campaign that increased sales by an incredible 200%. In-store customers scanned a QR code that shared their competition entries on Facebook. If a friend used that link to buy a Verizon mobile, the original customer would win a smartphone. Verizon saw a $35,000 return on a $1,000 investment, plus brand awareness on 25,000 new Facebook profiles.

8. Personalized Gift Giving

This past holiday season, retailer JCPenney allowed customers to add a personal touch to their gifts. When you purchased a gift from any JCPenney store, you received a “Santa Tag” with an accompanying QR code. By scanning the code, the giver could record a personalized voice message for the recipient. The the giver stuck the code on the package like a gift card.

9. Help Your Customers Grow Their Businesses

Google identified over 100,000 businesses in the U.S. as “Favorite Places on Google,” based on Google users’ interactions with local business listings. Each business received a window decal with a unique QR code, which passersby could scan to find information about that business, read reviews, star the business as their favorite and much more.

10. Share Modern Day Mixtapes

If you would like to convey a musical message to your special someone, create a modern day mixtape through Spotify. After creating a special playlist on Spotify, send that special person a greeting card with the QR code, the scan of which leads directly to the mix.