There are different ways to look at numbers.

On your financial report whether it’s daily, weekly or his monthly P&L, add a column with each number on the report expressed as an amount per guest.

For example, if you serve 1,200 guests last week and beverage sales were $2,800, the average beverage sales per guest would be $2.34. Hourly labor cost of $3,400 would be $2.84 per guest.

What would be the advantage of looking at your financial reports this way? Continue reading

Tuesday the 14th is Valentine, turn a slow night in one of the busiest of the year.

What to do?

  • Promotion. Hopefully you have build up your database use it. Send your newsletter advertising this great event
  • Get rid of most of your 4 tops.Replace with 2 tops [that’s when it was wise to set up your table tops to be polyvalent]

Continue reading

Business Culture

The restaurant business has changed dramatically in the last 5 years.Labor shortages, minimum wage pressures, customers’ expectations on the rise, intense competition from the chains, and new technologies are some of the changes, which make the hospitality Industry more challenging.

The reason for remarkable success of  independents is Not Food, Not Service, Not Concept, Not Cuisine, Not Quality, Not Location.  The answer is with their strong and unique CULTURE!

What is a Business Culture?

Does it has to do with growing your own vegetables? It might be a good analogy after all. You as the captain of the ship (your restaurant,) is responsible to set the pace for a CULTURE Continue reading

A basic outlay of your Employees’ Manual should have at least the following chapters:

1. A statement to acknowledge an Equal Opportunity Employer

2. Background check notification (including a police check.)

3. Employee Classifications (be specific as how they will be employed, prep-cook, line-cook, sous-chef, dishwasher, hostess, bartender, back bar, etc..) Continue reading

Most Independent Restaurateurs Make those 8 deadly Mistakes 


The chef is an artist at heart.

1. Sharing your thoughts with friends, family members, customers and staff will prove to be much more fruitful  than trying to think alone. Ideas comes from rubbing brains against each other. Having someone to bounce ideas off and get an objective opinion is critical.

2. Why a Marketing Plan?
A marketing plan will help you to navigate through the constant decisions you will have to make on the route to success. There may many ways to market your business at very low cost. A good marketing plan implemented effectively, efficiently, and consistently, will always bring positive results. Soon to come on our site our Gorilla marketing Plan. Shots in the dark, such as adds in throw-away papers, are exactly what is sounds like throw-away $.

Take example from success, McDonald has ten of thousand of stores all over the world. This is a brand recognized my billions, why do they still advertise? The answer is: Whenever they tried to slow down on their advertising programs, their income dropped considerably. If McDonald needs to advertise to keep their sales up, what do you think you need to do, for your restaurant? Continue reading

Who Is Cooking?

Definition: Identifying your competitors and evaluating their strategies will allow you to determine their strengths and weaknesses in relation to your own restaurant.

A competitive analysis is critical to set up a winning Marketing Plan. With a thorough evaluation, you can establish what makes your restaurant unique, and what will be your marketing angle in order to reach your market.

Place your competitors in strategic groups according to how they compete for the share of the market dollar in your area.

For each competitor or strategic group, list their **cash-cow dishes, evaluate their service, their objectives as well as their current and past strategies. Evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, and *gross sales. Continue reading

What is the SWOT? do you need it? Where to find it?

It is impossible to make an accurate business decision without making a complete and accurate evaluation of the internal and external influences, which can affect your business.

The SWOT will help you to make the right decisions and lead you in the right direction to maximize potential gains.

By analyzing the four elements of the acronym. Knowing the positive and negative elements of each you will be able to evaluate the elements, which will help you to progress in your quests for NIRVANA.

Here are the acronyms for our example Joe’s Cafe:


Great chef, his savvy experience gives a unique advantage to thebusiness

Small staff — can change and adapt quickly to various changes: In economy as well as customers’ whims.


No training programs in place for the dining room or the kitchen.

Martha’s Joe’s wife has no previous restaurant experience Continue reading


“Here we go again, something to think about.” Martha drops herself on the sofa and look at her husband, “what is the story about USP?”

“It’s all very simple, it means Unique Selling Proposition.” Joe winks in Martha’s direction, “Do you get it?”

“I don’t understand, unique in what sense?”

“Well, actually it is a marketing gibberish. It simply means what makes our restaurant different than anyone else.”

“Different,” Martha wide eye, continues “What do you mean, how are we different?”

“This is what we are going to need evaluate. In what respect are we different?”

“For one, I am ME, different than any one else.”

“Yes, my darling you are different, and it might be our USP. Let’s look at all different possibilities.” Continue reading

Menu Engineering

Joe will cook a storm for you

There are much talk about menu engineering those days. What is Menu Engineering?

The answer has nothing of rocket scientist. M.E. as I will mention the subject for the rest of this jabbering.

Example Joe’s Cafe, an American experience. Joe and Martha want to open a neighborhood restaurant. Joe has ten year of experience, for the last four of those ten years he was the executive chef at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. Martha a hair dresser with twelve years of experience is a great communicator her best quality, she is a great listener. Continue reading

A Complete Flop [or more on leases]

Fellows wanna be restaurateurs listen to this one, it’s a good one.

I opened the Bicycle Shop Cafe in West Los Angeles in the fall of 1975.  In my possession I had only $25,000 cash to build a restaurant, even at the time it was not even enough to take care of the plumbing without including the rest.

When the restaurant opened at a cost of $180,000 I realized the mess I was in. Where did all the missing $ came from?

I borrowed from three different Banks, 2 Lenders, one Leasing Company and the guy who installed the air-conditioning.

With all those loans, my monthly payments was a mere $12,000. This was before I could pay the rent, the payroll and food, wine& beer purchases. My accountant gave me 2 months of life.

I could not go bankrupt, I had no alternative but succeed. I did it, through Marketing the restaurant by unusual ways, with the help of GORILLA MARKETING. Which I will explain in details in up coming posts.

First thing first, lemme tell you of the biggest mistake I did. Continue reading

The Money Part II

Let’s look at option 2

Why buy an existing restaurant? v.s. to start one from scratch.

The answer my friend is in the wind. The stats talk, 92% of new restaurants opening fail. If you buy an existing one opened for at least 5 years or more, you already are in the 8% of those who survived.

If you buy an existing restaurant you will need to do the following:

  1. The amount of cash, will be determined by the price of the business. The best plan is to give a down payment and have the owner carry the balance. You still will need cash for the rent and the basic expenses, a bond for the State Board of Equalization, food, utilities, payroll, a  bond or deposits for utilities and telephone, let’s not forget about the Workman Compensation. You also need a safety to allow extra cash for the unexpected. You bought an existing restaurant who knows about the plumbing, one of the stove giving up on a Saturday night, a toilet plugged in the middle of a rush hour. You also might loose business due to the fact regular customers not returning because the old owners are gone. This might drain your cashflow and not being able allow to reach a positive balance sheet for 3 to 6 months. During the first 6 months you will have to pitch $$ to keep the beast alive. Do not forget about the accountant and maybe your shark. You might want to keep the shark out of nibbling at your hard earned $.

Continue reading

The Money Part I


How much money do I need to start my dream restaurant?

There are two possibilities:

  1. Start from scratch
  2. Buy an existing restaurant

Depending on option 1 or 2, the initial capital are slightly different. I f this is so, why do I need to buy some one else joint, when I can create my own concept and be the top dude in my kingdom?

Let’s look at option 1

If you start from scratch you will need the following: Continue reading

Marketing your restaurant is not an easy chore, but the results will make all the difference between striving tomato ends meet or enjoying your life. Whatever your life might be, a family life single life or just l plainly a business life dedicated to a chief success in your endeavor. First thing first, you need tone organized and structured. In our competitive world there is no place for  dibble cable type of person half way involved and the other half playing golf instead of taking car of business.  After all, there’s a lot at stake when you’re trying to market your business. at the Bicycle Shop Cafe our gang of three has more than 120 years of restaurant experience. This is this conglomerate of experience that we are interested to share with the independent restaurateurs. Independent have an up hill battle against the chains. Continue reading

WOM (The word of Mouth is back, to sting you)

Most restaurants,  still depends on the WOM (Word Of Mouth) expecting the customers to spread the news about their dining experiences to family and friends. In our electronic age things fly faster and might hurt quicker and are more painful than ever.  The WOM is more  powerful than any press review through social media. An unhappy guest can leave a nasty review about your restaurant, wich will stay for years. A damaging review might cost the restaurant thousand of dollars income.

Reviews affect customers dining decisions, especially among the Millennials.