Heston perfection(Heston Blumenthal is a British chef with 3 Michelin stars and a perfect 10/10 from The Good Food Guide  for his restaurant The Fat Duck.)


When he announced plans to open a restaurant in Heathrow’s new Terminal 2, it was widely reported to be a casual cafe serving British fast food favourites.


Which technically is the truth. However, a new article has revealed the scope and attention to detail behind the Perfectionists’ Café, due to open with the new terminal in June 2014.


A pizza oven shipped from Naples, fifty different fish batter mixes, five months perfecting a burger bun and prototypes of staff uniforms, are just some of the examples of the amount of research that has gone into developing Heston’s new venture.


“Perfect” dishes


The concept is a restaurant which promises to offer customers “perfect” versions of popular dishes – the perfect pizza, the perfect burger and the perfect fish and chips, in a similar theme to Heston’s 2006 cookbook, In Search Of Perfection.


“We wanted to strip every dish back as far as we could and understand what makes it perfect,” said Ashley Palmer-Watts, group executive chef of Heston Blumenthal’s restaurants, in an interview with Caterer and Hotelkeeper.


“The book represents a massive amount of work by a lot of people but we just used it as a starting point. That is how much we want to get this right.”




The result was a staggering amount of research, which included Palmer-Watts, along with head chef Julian O’Neill, taking a trip across Naples to consume 15 pizzas each in the space of two days in their quest to create the perfect pizza.


The perfect fish and chips research involved the aforementioned fifty batter mixes, the consumption of fifty whole fish and the decision to run the batter through an espuma gun to create thousands of air bubbles which expand when they hit the oil in order to protect the flesh of the fish.


The perfect burger was determined to include brisket, rib cap and chuck served with iceberg lettuce, onion, cornichon, a sauce made from ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard and served with a bun made with whipped cream and butter. According to the restaurant, a person’s bite is the size of their middle three fingers so the perfect burger is no thicker than this when squashed together.




The twist on all this painstaking work? The dishes will be served in the 125 seat restaurant by the typically perfect time people want to eat, within 10 minutes, at accessible prices, with pizzas starting at £9 and fish and chips £14.


“The amount of work and research that has done into this is perhaps, commercially speaking, not the best way of going about things,” Palmer-Watts told the magazine. ‘But the results will be perfect.”


Is he setting himself up for a fall with these bold claims?


How much customer feedback are you aware of?

According to the Location Based Marketing Association:

Historically, merchants have been primarily concerned with structured feedback (online reviews) from review sites like Yelp and CitySearch. In fact, unstructured data is growing at a faster pace and outnumbers structured data by a factor of 100:1. For the average merchant, greater than 99 percent of total customer feedback is unstructured data from sites like Instagram, Foursquare and Facebook, while traditional reviews make up less than 1 percent.”

simpleERB allows to you to increase the number of reviews that you get and get the good ones and only the good ones onto Social Media.

Instructions here 🙂

Deal seeker simpleERB tag

Experian did a great piece of research and came up with 6 categories of “deal seeking consumers”.

Deal-Seeker Influentials —always seeking the best deal and the next hot thing.

Offline Deal-Seekers —best deals, traditional media.

Deal Thrillers — love their deals, but are brand loyalists too.

Deal Takers —social, but not influential.

Deal Indifferents —deal or no deal, give them what they want.

Deal Rejectors —get in, get out: convenience rules

If you send the same piece of marketing to all of these customers you are throwing money away.

Use simpleERB to tag your customers and send the right stuff to the right people!

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New Zealand  pizza chain Hell Pizza, (yes, “Hell Pizza”) are promoting themselves for Easter with a special rabbit pizza on a billboard made from rabbit skins.

The display features the tagline “Made from real rabbit. Like this billboard.”


After a bit of Twitter storm, Hell Pizza posted a note on its Facebook page to  bunny lovers, noting that they “sourced these rabbit skins via a professional animal tanning company, who in turn sourced them from local meat processing companies where the skins are a regular by-product.”

The company says that rabbits  are a “noted pest” that cause problems in the New Zealand environment. But, they also taste good.

Is this Myx-omatosis-ing it on social media? (No. You’re sacked, Ed.)




The Independent ran a piece today  about modern restaurant etiquette ,  (for diners and restaurateurs.)

e.g. for Diners

4. Thou Shalt Not Do a Stupid Squiggle in the Air

Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 09.08.11Once, to ask for the bill, you snapped your fingers and yelled, “Garçon! LaddEESHee-on!” Now you sketch a rudimentary signature in the air with a languidly imperious hand. Waiters are liable to ask if you’re having a fit. Just call one over and say, “We’d like the bill please.”

…. for Restaurants

1. Thou Shalt Not offer Only One Dish

Steak-only restaurants are just about OK. Schnitzel restaurants serving three different meat schnitzels, we don’t mind. But we’re bored by the five places in Soho serving only ramen noodle soup. And we don’t like the sound of the risotto-only joint. What next? The Paella Palace? The Calves’ Liver Cave?


“At 3:30 p.m., in the back office of Eleven Madison Park, maître d’ Justin Roller is Googling the names of every guest who will come in that night. It’s a well-known tactic of the restaurant, an effort to be as familiar as possible with the diners.”

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An article in New York magazine  describes the lengths that this high end restaurant will go to give knockout service to their customers.

“Even small details are useful: “If I find out a guest is from Montana, and I know we have a server from there, we’ll put them together.” Same goes for guests who own jazz clubs, who can be paired with a sommelier that happens to be into jazz. In other words, before customers even step through the door, the restaurant’s staff has a pretty good idea of the things it can do to specifically blow their minds.”

With an Electronic Reservation Book like simpleERB all this guest info can be easily recorded and kept for future reference when it’s needed: at the moment the customer arrives.

You too can have high end Restaurant Customer Relationship Management, and at an affordable  price.

Taste of London got a fancy toque for Duck and Waffle chef Daniel Doherty.doherty_octopus

I came across this in the letters page of New Scientist  magazine

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“Shocking Discovery

From (name with held)

When I was an apprentice electrician many years ago, my fingers strayed across live positive and negative terminals, and I cursed myself for being so careless. However, I suddenly realized that my raging hangover had vanished.

Given how well the voltage cure has worked for some (New Scientist, 22 February, p34), I now believe that the shock is what obliterated my hangover. I never dared to shock myself again deliberately in order to test my hypothesis.”

Albion, Victoria, Australia

Have you ever had a restaurant audit? Aaron Allen & Associates have written a great article on some of the top mistakes and missed opportunities in the day to day running of a restaurant. They conduct 100s of restaurant audits each year and see the same issues crop up time and time again, so they know their stuff.

Here are some of my favourites on the list that cover restaurant service mistakes and missed marketing opportunities.


“Number 2: Greeting with “May I help you?” – I often respond “uh, yes, I would like a haircut please” to this”

Obvious, but very true. Think about how conversation works, although this feels like a natural way to welcome someone in a semi- formal manner, it demands an obvious answer; they’re in your restaurant, they’re obviously looking to dine!

Instead, give the customer a warm welcome and then ask them if they’re looking for a table of 2 or expecting more people, for example.

If you want to make super sure you’re staff are greeting your customers properly, write a note to remind on simpleERB. You can set up a message that staff see every time they take a booking.

“Number 9: Failing to recommend a favorite or popular item”

Your staff should know what dishes have been getting rave reviews, what’s the most popular dish that day, if the special is proving really popular – this is all information that should be communicated to your customers.

When a customer is presented with a menu, it can sometimes be an overload of information, staff helping highlight popular dishes helps them filter through it and provides a valuable insight.

What’s more, if the customer is a regular you can record within simpleERB when they make their booking, their preferences and likes/dislikes. This information is then available to anyone who takes the booking and serves them in the future. For instance, if it’s recorded in simpleERB that the customer is a big seafood fan, you could point out new seafood dishes on the menu.


“Number 67: Website is deficient or an afterthought (33% of customers visit website before choosing a restaurant to go to for the first time)”

Can’t agree with this more. As 1,000s of people have said before me, your website is your online shopfront. People will judge your business by it and choose whether to spend their money with you or somewhere else so it needs to be up to scratch.

Does your website take online booking? You need to capture people at the website level and make it easy to book from there. simpleERB gives you a widget to add to you website allowing you take restaurant bookings that will then go straight into your restaurant diary.

“Number 70: Programs to build customer database absent or lacking – don’t know who their customers are”

“Knowing” your customers harks back to my point above; simpleERB acts as a CRM system for your restaurant. It lets you save the diner’s contact details, including their email address, their preferences, whether their a VIP, friend of the owner, etc., how many times they’ve dined before and so on. This means that whenever anyone takes a booking, even if that server has never met that particular customer before, they know their history.

What this also means is that you can use your customer database within simpleERB to market to your customers in the future. simpleERB records and stores their email address, have you every thought about sending your customers an email to drive future revenue?

Read Aaron Allen & Associates original article and full list of 80 here – are you guilty of any of them?

Sign up for the latest from simpleERB!

I found this interesting article in The Restaurant Manifesto called  Critics Under Review – quote below – is this fair?

“But new restaurants are like toddlers that need time to shed their baby fat; they must learn to crawl before they can walk or—in the most hyped cases—learn to fly up to their lofty expectations.

The unfortunate result is that many restaurants with real ambition never get a chance to grow into adulthood without judgement already having been passed.

In most cases, if the quality of a new restaurant improves after review season has ended, it will happen without much recognition from the press or restaurant critics.

With as many technological advances in mobile communication it’s puzzling that a critic’s views would not evolve over time.  Is it really fair to file one definitive review based on a few early experiences and be done with it? Isn’t this akin to reviewing a piece of theater based on the quality of its dress rehearsals?”


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