Restaurant manners and playing with food

This is from PJ O’Rourke’s “Modern Manners”, which is thoroughly recommended by the team at simpleERB.

 

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The table manners you have in a restaurant are very different from those you have in the home of a friend because, in a restaurant, you’re allowed to play with food. If you eat enough expensive meals and drink enough expensive liquor in a restaurant, you’re allowed to do anything. But in the home of a friend, no matter how much you eat and drink, it won’t excuse you for “restoring” a Renoir with potatoes au gratin.

 

 

PLAYING WITH FOOD

 

Playing with food is the main reason that dining in restaurants has become so popular. Playing with food is a psychologically powerful way of attracting attention to yourself. And restaurants are better places to attract attention than friends’ homes are, anyway. You usually know who’s going to be at a friend’s home. But practically anybody could be at a restaurant. If you attract enough attention in a restaurant, maybe a rich, beautiful person will give you money and sex.

Playing with food is easy. There are so many wonderful props right at hand. Breathes there a man with soul so dead that he’s immune to the theatrical possibilities of a plate full of fried calamari? Even bank presidents and Presbyterian ministers have been known to put the tentacle parts up their noses and pretend the garlic bread is Captain Nemo’s submarine, Nautilus. But playing with food must be done exactly right or it will lead to social disaster.

The secret to successful sport with foodstuffs is correct attitude. Playing with food has to be fast, loud, and enthusiastic. You must make your high spirits contagious before anyone has time for second thoughts. Second thoughts always consist of calling the police.

But if your attitude and timing are right, you can put a lettuce-leaf lion’s mane around the neck of your date, hold her at bay with your chair, command her to leap upon the table and rear up on her hind legs, and everyone will think it’s great fun.

Here are some other things you can do:

  • Use steamed mussels as castanets, slip sugar bowls over the toes of your shoes, and do a flamenco dance on your chair.
  • If everyone is having beef dishes, run around the table and try to put the cow back together.
  • Use any roast whole bird as a hand puppet. You can achieve remarkably realistic effects by jamming your thumb and forefinger into the wing sockets. Point out that the bird has lost it’s head, so it has no sense at all, which is why it’s flying around the table squeezing people’s noses.
  • Illustrate Persian Gulf battle strategy on the napkin in someone’s lap. Asparagus spears are capital ships; chunks of bouef bourguignon are air-to-surface missiles, et cetera.
  • Hang a grilled brook trout on the wall like a trophy, or, better, stand on the table and re-enact landing it with an umbrella and shoelace.
  • Gather up veal scallops and have an impromptu game of cards- sauce Milanese is trump.
  • Use a raw oyster to show someone what a French kiss would be like if she’d married a reptile.

 

The list is endless. Let imagination, rather than taste, be your guide.*



How do you deal with email on vacation?

Email vacation

Thanks to the most excellent PHDcomics.com

Original here



Mobile payments being looked at seriously by the restaurant industry.

“Restaurants of all types are looking seriously at implementing electronic payments, and customers in all restaurant types will increasingly see and use payment technology. Although the restaurant industry has been cautious in adopting electronic payment technology, that is due to change, as explained in a new report from the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research (CHR). The report, “Customer-Facing Payment Technology in the U.S. Restaurant Industry,” by Sheryl E. Kimes and Joel E. Collier, is available from the CHR at no charge. Kimes is a professor at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, and Collier is an associate professor at Mississippi State University.
“The U.S. restaurant industry is now focusing on mobile technology for many purposes, as they see the success that some operators have had,” said Kimes. “Our survey found that almost all restaurant operators were aware of consumer payment technology, and about half of them were seriously thinking about installing this technology in the next year or two. At the moment, though, only about 12 percent of the restaurants in our survey used mobile payment technology.”

What do you think?

Our view at simpleERB is that it is best for the independent operator to wait for the dust to settle.

Venmo will be big in the US with its 8,000 fragmented banks.

The 4 big UK banks will have their own solution.

And who knows what Apple have in store, (the iWatch?) but with 1 billion stored credit card numbers in their iTunes and App Store databases whatever they do will be relevant.

 

 



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Catherine Hanly of the most estimable “Hot Dinners” blog tells us that when asked about how chefs view critics, John Favreau, director of the movie “Chef”  said:

“I think the frustration they’re railing against isn’t critics – it’s really the internet/blogosphere – the Yelp people who write about the restaurants. That drives the chefs crazy. And then they write them back. I mean I know I’m a public figure. Chefs don’t know and then they write the kind of things that get picked up by food blogs and these wars begin.”

You  can read the full interview here.

(Need we remind you that simpleERB can help you get negative reviews that might have gone to Yelp to go directly to you and help you get good ones published where they can be seen? 🙂 )



This is a video for a CRM company.

It’s lovely.

I think it is possibly the best homepage video that I have ever seen.

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Big companies have CRM systems. That stands for Customer Relationship Management. The best at it are people like Amazon;  they know what you like,  they send you tailored recommendations, they send you requests for feedback, they post your reviews on their site so that other people can be guided, they keep you loyal and reward your loyalty with benefits like faster shipping.

And they use all that information to get you buying more.

Most companies don’t have a CRM system.

Most restaurants don’t have a restaurant CRM system.

Why do you need one?

Watch the video again.

“I like it when he gives me the business.”

simpleERB helps you “Give your customers the business”.

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Useful infographic from GoDaddy.  Is your restaurant discoverable? Some time taken on making sure that your restaurant is correctly listed will be time well spent! Don’t forget to include your booking widget from simpleERB to convert those views into bookings! (click to make infographic full screen)

godaddy-infographic-e1399987795524



Attention admin.bookings administrators!  “Hotels are missing out on restaurant booking revenue” Micros.

According to a Micros study few hotels offer online booking for their restaurants when customers are booking their rooms. (See below for excerpt*.)  This is a missed opportunity.

simpleERB  gives hotels an easily implemented solution to get people booking your rooms, booked into  your restaurant. Do admin.booking for your restaurant as well as your hotel 🙂

  • Be up and running in 30 minutes.
  • Free trial. No credit card required. Up to 20,000 covers per annum free.
  • Free widget for your website.

Used in 25 countries and built by 5pm.co.uk, a company with 12 year track record which has processed millions of restaurant bookings.

Get started by setting up your own restaurant here.

*The Micros study said:

Only 6% of the hotels allowed us to make a restaurant  reservation during the online booking process. Not all of the hotels had a restaurant and many others that did suggested that the guest could e-mail or phone up to book a table. However, only 6% allowed the guest to book a table online as part of the online room booking process. Again, for hotels that have dining facilities, this is a missed opportunity to ensure that guests eat in the hotel rather than going elsewhere.

Update April 2014:

simpleERB is now used by Cromlix House,  tennis star Andy Murray’s hotel, voted Scottish Hotel of the Year 2014

 

 

 



 

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.”

 

Research

 

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.

 

Accessible

 

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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