Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Question. Do you know what your guests want?

Have you observed, analysed or worked out what your guests want from your restaurant or cafe?
If you’re operating currently in this competitive industry, seeing through your guest's perspective is indispensible.
Your guests can see shortcomings that you yourself might not. Details can be missed, such as a staff member with a poor attitude. 
Don’t assume that because your restaurant/cafe is doing well, your guests are happy.
Today I’ll examine five things that your guests are looking for in your restaurant/cafe.

What do guests want?
Guests need change based on a large amount of factors, including location, season, and even personality. However, there are factors that all guests are looking for.
I have assembled five examples of factors that your restaurant cannot be without: 
  1. Your guests want to feel welcomed. Your restaurant has eight seconds to make a first impression. Generally, it is your reception person or wait staff member on the floor who accomplishes this task. With the first point of contact, the wait staff can set the tone for the entire dining experience. Is someone waiting to greet your guests? Are guests standing around, looking for someone to take notice of them?
  2. A clean and well-organized restaurant. You may forget the impact that your building has on your guests. Are the acoustics in your restaurant too loud? Is it too cold or too warm? Is your décor sending the wrong message? These little thoughts can have a big impact on attracting return guests. Paying attention to all the details, both big and small, shows your guests that you take pride in your restaurant/cafe and care about their experience.
  3. Thoughtful, suggestive and kind wait staff. The appearance and behaviour of your service staff stands out to your guests. Service is a crucial factor for your restaurant. How many online reviews have you read where the guest cannot forgive bad service? You need to make sure that your servers are trained well and have a strong focus on guest satisfaction.
  4. A clear and concise website. Potential guests want to be able to find out information about your restaurant/café - and quickly! A great website has the ability to draw guests in, while a cluttered, non-mobile friendly, site can deter guests completely.
  5. Value! Guests are looking for value with the food, beverage, the location and the entire guest experience. However, value does not mean cheap. Your guests want to be sold on the whole experience, guests are willing to spend more when there is quality and value to the experience you are selling them. 

It is important for you to find a way to take time to see through your guest’s eyes. By connecting with your guests and giving them what they want, you will improve their experience. People have a better experience when they are enjoying themselves. They are more likely to become a return guest and recommend your restaurant/cafe to their friends, family and to their online social contacts. 
However, in the restaurant business, it is very difficult to separate yourself from your own business. The answer is to see it through the eyes of a mystery diner - someone with the expertise to recognise the good the bad and could be better in your business.

Bill Shirley Training is now offering you this mystery diner service. For further information please contact me at or +61 2414 992 404

Thursday, October 9, 2014

A New Risk-based Licence Fee Scheme

For those considering taking out a liquor licence make sure you know the licensing fee scheme. 

From the 2014/15 financial year, every holder of a perpetual liquor licence will be required to pay an annual risk-based licence fee. The fee payable by each venue will be calculated using a risk-based model comprising:
  • base fees, plus 
  • risk-based loadings that reflect the level of risk posed by a venue and its operation.
The scheme is designed to provide venues with a financial incentive to adopt and maintain safe, low-risk practices, with a renewed focus on the Responsible Service of Alcohol, in return for a lower annual licence fee.
The base fee will be set according to the licence type. It will range from $100 to $2,000 as follows:
  • Hotel licence (full hotel)- $500; hotel licence (general bar)- $250; Small bar licence- $200
  • On-premises licence- $400
  • Package liquor licence (less than 4 outlets)- $500
  • Packaged liquor licence (more than 9 outlets)- $2,000
  • Producer/wholesaler (small scale)- $200
What will licensees pay?
Once a year, a licensee will pay a base fee of between $100 and $2,000 for each licence held (indexed to the CPI annually). Licenses which pose a greater risk or compliance cost will also pay risk-loading according to the type and level of risk. In the first year of the scheme only the trading hours risk loading fee is payable. From the 2015/16 financial year onward, licensees will be assessed for all risk-based loadings.
Risk-based loadings will be calculated according to:
  • authorised trading hours; 
  • compliance history; 
  • patron capacity; and 
  • venue location.
Risk-based loadings will escalate to reflect the level of risk that a venue poses. High risk business operators with a large, late trading venue located in a major entertainment precinct and with poor performance history will attract the highest fees.

Trading hours risk loading
A loading of $2,500 will apply to venues authorised to trade between midnight and 1:30am on any day. Venues authorised to trade after 1:30am on any day will incur a loading of $5,000.
This risk loading does not apply to:
  • an on-premises licence relating to a restaurant provided that it does not have a primary service authorisation (PSA)
  • an on-premises licence relating only to accommodation and/or a catering service
  • a packaged liquor licence
  • a small bar licence
  • a limited licence (multi-function)
It is possible to apply to the Liquor Authority to reduce trading hours after midnight to reduce the risk and lower or avoid the trading hours risk loading.

For more information on “compliance history risk loading”, “patron capacity risk loading” and “venue location risk loading” 

Call Dru Gillian - solicitor
Direct: 02 8215 1584  
Web site: 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Social Media and Restaurant Design

With social media changing the way people enjoy their dining experience, more restaurants are incorporating the 'Instagram-factor' into their design.

Good restaurant design has always been about finding a balance between customer comfort, functionality and style but with more and more Aussies Instagramming and Tweeting their dining experiences live from the table, it's becoming increasingly important for restaurants to think about the visual impact of their design and decor.

The restaurant Din Tai Fung in the new Central Park Development in Sydney has a younger generation market who is led by social media, the space has been designed to be highly Instagrammable with supper graphic branding and an authentic hawker street bike cart which can be shared through social channels.

Diners love to see their food prepared and this photo below of the chefs in full swing at Chefs Pantry in Sydney gives the diner a sense of theatre and again very popular on social channels

Restaurant or bar features are also a magnet for social media grabs and is so important when marketing the venue.

Social media has a huge impact on a restaurants success. Word of mouth, which can happen through social media can accelerate the success and interest in a venue. People express their thoughts based on their experiences and their perceptions of the environment, and that creates an enthusiasm in others to want to come down and experience the place for themselves.

However at the end of the day, the right design for any given venue is the one that attracts the demographic you're after, be it a smart phone happy crowd excited by 'visual noise' or those who are prepared to let your food do the talking.