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November 23, 2017, 05:12:10 am
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Author Topic: DECO Deli (Boston, between 4th and 5th)  (Read 5490 times)
Gaspar
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« Reply #15 on: January 21, 2014, 09:09:13 am »

Not really a soft open when you announce everywhere that you're open.

Soft open should be friends, family, investors and business associates.  People who will be brutal and honest.  You don't want a bunch of YES-people who are eager to please you or snuggle up for free food.

Also, and I tell this to every restaurant my little BBQ group has had the honor to consult with, DO NOT LET YOUR WAIT STAFF ASK CUSTOMERS "HOW WAS EVERYTHING?"  The phrase they should ALWAYS use is "Is there anything we could do better?" or "Is there anything we can improve?" or "What can we do to make your next visit even better?"

Most people, except me, will always reply to "How was everything?" with "OK" even if there were problems, because the question does not invite constructive criticism, and people are typically conditioned to be polite.  Having your waitstaff invite criticism empowers your customers by giving them the invitation to improve your business. It's almost magical in the way it works.  Customers who have a very bad experience will likely return if they are invited to offer advice that leads to change.  In a small part, it gives them ownership of your success, especially with a new restaurant.

Here is an excellent example, in 2010 a popular local restaurant was having a hard time competing, yet they had no complaints from customers.  They tried all kinds of new offerings and menu changes. The slow business caused a high turnover rate among waitstaff, and because of the caliber of their food, the typical hipster was not a candidate for hire.  This went on for almost a year.  We were invited to work with them on some menu choices after one of the owners had attended one of our cooking classes, and during our initial meeting I went through my above speech on "inviting criticism." 

The owner put this into practice immediately. In one week they learned things that no one had ever told them:

Tables were too close on the service floor (this is a huge source of discomfort, and ended up being the most important change they made).

Their menu was too complex and offered too many choices.

The salt & pepper shakers on the tables had holes that were too small to pass enough salt & pepper (the kitchen manager just figured they must be seasoning their meat perfectly because the shakers almost never required refill).

Water glasses were large, and the tables were small, causing a crowded arrangement once the food was served.

Waitstaff hung out and conversed by the beverage station (instead of employing the sentry approach) and this always causes customers to feel ignored, even if they aren't (weird psychological thing).

The size of the portions was slightly too large (even in Oklahoma, if your guests leave uncomfortably full or with take-home bags, they are less likely to choose your offering as a frequent option.  They may love it but not frequent it).

Customers felt fleeced by the waitstaff (waiters had been instructed to encourage add-ons, toppings, sauces, and other beverages, that many customers agreed to just to be polite, but felt they had been purposely overcharged for).  Nothing wrong with salesmanship, but be careful.


So, they removed one table from the service floor and recaptured 5-6 inches between the other tables as additional space, simplified the menu from about 20 entree choices to 6, changed the way the waitstaff operated on the floor, bought new salt and pepper shakers and smaller water glasses, reduced portion sizes, especially for side dishes, and several other changes that their guests suggested.  They were not only amazed that their business picked up, but most of the guests that offered advice returned frequently to experience the improvements, and took ownership in the changes.

A secondary effect was that the high waitstaff turnover stopped as tips greatly increased, and customers began to request specific servers that they had made a connection with. Servers began to own the process as well when they communicated suggested changes to ownership and saw the positive impact on the business.

In a little over a month they were back on track and more profitable than ever. 

When a restaurant first opens a soft opening is invaluable because of the honest criticism you receive that helps you to adjust process before opening,  but that does not mean that you should stop there.  Customers are the greatest resource of advice you can ever hope to have and they are far more valuable than an army of consultants, marketers, or clever gimmicks in increasing your business.  If you don't honestly ask them for criticism, then you spend your time spinning around in the dark trying to figure out what you're doing wrong, or worse, you rely on your ego to fix things, and offer poor excuses for your failures.

The restaurant business is not easy, and I don't envy those brave enough to shoulder it, but I also have very little pity for those who refuse to recognize that 2-way communication between their front line (servers) and their clientele should be their primary engine for improvement, evolution, and success. 


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CharlieSheen
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« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2014, 09:38:29 am »

Friends and family aren't going to tell you the truth Smiley
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Conan71
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« Reply #17 on: January 21, 2014, 10:16:43 am »

Friends and family aren't going to tell you the truth Smiley


You surround yourself with liars?  Shocked
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Gaspar
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« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2014, 10:19:51 am »

Friends and family aren't going to tell you the truth Smiley


Boy.  Mine do.  Even when I don't want them to.
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Conan71
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« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2014, 12:00:10 pm »

Boy.  Mine do.  Even when I don't want them to.

My mother is the worst: “Boy you really are putting on some weight, aren’t you?"
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CharlieSheen
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« Reply #20 on: January 21, 2014, 12:31:57 pm »

You surround yourself with liars?  Shocked

They think its not nice to criticize your business.  Now a lot of real amatures get really butt hurt if you say something bad about their business too.  (See Amy's Baking Company)
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Conan71
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« Reply #21 on: January 21, 2014, 02:15:21 pm »

They think its not nice to criticize your business.  Now a lot of real amatures get really butt hurt if you say something bad about their business too.  (See Amy's Baking Company)

Amy’s Baking..LOL!  They were just complete arseholes!  It’s bad when even Gordon Ramsay walks out on you.
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sgrizzle
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Inconceivable!


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« Reply #22 on: January 30, 2014, 08:22:04 pm »

Location(s) Being Reviewed: Atlas Life Building
Date/Time of Visit: 11:30
Quality of Food (1-5): 4
Menu/Food Options (1-5):  3
Quality of Service (1-5): 4
Atmosphere (1-5): 4
Overall Rating (1-5): 3
Price ($-$$$$$): $$$  (around $10)
What makes this restaurant unique:
Visited twice, first visit was bad but this is my review of the second.
This is the Atlas Grill branching out, and while they offer a wide variety of options at Atlas Grill, the options at Deco Deli seem more like variations on a theme. Unfortunately, they vary in ways that make the business harder. Virtually every sandwich comes on a different kind of bread but only a few different ingredients inside. All sandwiches come with a rather strong brown mustard, mayo, or house dressing which is also 50% mustard. I got the house made sweet potato chips which were bendable and kinda rubbery, but the regular chips were good. They have a small bakery case but it's limited options. Delivery time seems to be about 5 minutes per person so if 6 people ordered ahead of you, it's a 30 minute wait.

They advertise a "market" aspect but this part doesn't seem to be very fleshed out.
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BKDotCom
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« Reply #23 on: January 30, 2014, 09:01:13 pm »

I'll chime in with a favorable review.
I got a to-go order on Tues.
I got "the Kennedy" and the house chips
I'm not sure what made it a Kennedy, but it was very tasty and had a bit of a kick.
Actually, I thought it was one of the tastier sandwiches I've had in recent memory.
Price was comparable to the fast sandwich shop a block away.

Regarding the wait.   Since I went in expecting a bit of a wait, I pulled out my cellphone to get in some Tetris time.  I barely got going before my sammich was up.

I'll go back to the tasty sandwich shop


Completely unrelated and belongs in a separate thread:   I was in the Phil Tower today and noticed that a juice bar has gone in where that little "museum" spot was in the lobby.  www.jenniferjuice.com   apparently it's been there for a bit over a month
« Last Edit: January 30, 2014, 09:05:16 pm by BKDotCom » Logged
Conan71
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« Reply #24 on: January 31, 2014, 09:02:22 am »

I'll chime in with a favorable review.
I got a to-go order on Tues.
I got "the Kennedy" and the house chips
I'm not sure what made it a Kennedy, but it was very tasty and had a bit of a kick.
Actually, I thought it was one of the tastier sandwiches I've had in recent memory.
Price was comparable to the fast sandwich shop a block away.

Regarding the wait.   Since I went in expecting a bit of a wait, I pulled out my cellphone to get in some Tetris time.  I barely got going before my sammich was up.

I'll go back to the tasty sandwich shop


Completely unrelated and belongs in a separate thread:   I was in the Phil Tower today and noticed that a juice bar has gone in where that little "museum" spot was in the lobby.  www.jenniferjuice.com   apparently it's been there for a bit over a month

I think you mean “gallery” spot. 
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saintnicster
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« Reply #25 on: January 31, 2014, 10:54:10 am »

I got "the Kennedy" and the house chips
I'm not sure what made it a Kennedy, but it was very tasty and had a bit of a kick.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=276942572455979&set=a.272025046281065.1073741829.224323317717905&type=1&theater

Here's the paper menu they have.  It just means they renamed a bunch of fairly standard sandwiches
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BKDotCom
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« Reply #26 on: January 31, 2014, 01:18:55 pm »

I think you mean “gallery” spot. 

yup
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