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Lessons learned from eating at fast food places and casual dining restaurants
Tom Shay
Profits Plus Solutions
January 2017
Volume 18 Issue 2
Lessons learned while dining in Las Vegas
When I travel, I have a tendency to enjoy basic and comfort foods. The last trip of 2016 had me eating at Denny's on the Las Vegas strip for breakfast and Popeye's at the airport for lunch/dinner.

With each meal the experience was similar to many other eateries in the same category of basic foods. I ordered something simple, like a waffle and a glass of milk. The person waiting on me began to ask what else I wanted with my "slam" meal. The ordering was along the same lines at the airport eatery.

Now I like to do the add-on or sell-up effort when I am selling as much as anyone else. However, my observation is these places are creating these "deals" instead of teaching their employees how to sell.

The challenge when the employee responds with the "deal", the customer has to go back to the menu or the overhead display to read and understand what all is included.

Looking at us that are not in the food industry, the offering of a "deal" can help separate our business when the customer is price shopping. Think of a person going into the auto parts store and asking for replacement bulbs for their car. Telling the customer how some dielectric grease can help prevent a bulb from corroding in a socket is selling as well as helping the customer.

Deals may be the way some places do it; I'd just like to see people interacting with the customer to make the sale.

Sounds of Silence - Article for January

The article for this month goes along with the experiences I shared about the eateries. "Sounds of Silence" is a collection of interactions we have observed people having with other individuals whose job is to be selling products and services. The point of these lessons is that our competition cannot compete with us when we give great customer service, and we cannot compete when we fail to deliver great customer service.

Best Practices are Stupid - Book of the Month

Books to the contrary are my favorites. If we look at our competition and attempt to compete with them by simply duplicating what they are doing or trying to do it better, get lost in the shuffle. While not a book with specifics of what to do, Best Practices are Stupid, written by Stephen Shapiro, gives cause to question following the herd; doing things because people have cute quotations that say to do things a certain way. The book simply is a call to think.

"Open to buy" - Internet Tool for Your Business

Whether your business sells products and/or services, you will find that every product has a season to it. Pieces of equipment used by a service business have the same thing; a seasonality to the usage of that equipment. Using products we sell as an example, "open to buy" is observing from the past and detecting the seasonality of the sales of that product. You want plenty of the item on hand as the peak selling season begins. As soon as you hit that sales peak, you want the quantity on hand to diminish. Selling down that inventory, you can use the cash to buy inventory for a different item whose selling season is heading toward it peak. And, you may have a need for the shelf space as one item sells down and another increases in sales. So, we have multiple tools for you this month. A PowerPoint from a class we have created on "Open to Buy", a mp3 file you can listen to online or download to hear how "Open to Buy" works, and the Excel file we use as a template for the class.

Staff Incentive for Your Business

Friends and family tell me there are many times I am a somewhat blunt in the way I say something. My comment about enjoying the business has been that none of your customers nor any employees of your business can enjoy the business unless you do so first. Sometimes I ask if an owner is having a good time with their business. The answer expected, and traditionally received is a simple, "Yes".

And my response is, "You forgot to tell your face". When I say this during a presentation, I can count on a sizable laugh from the audience. I think this is because they all know so many individuals this comment could be directed to.

I believe it was Neil Bonnett, a NASCAR driver killed in a practice run in 1994 (NASCAR fans help me out here), who was known for looking in the mirror every morning and singing this piece from the musical, "Oklahoma": "Oh what a beautiful morning. Oh what a beautiful day. I've got a beautiful feeling, everything's going my way".

What a great start to the day. You, your staff and your customers will love it.

We want to recognize A Carrot A Day by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton, whose book provides the basis for each month's incentive idea.

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Profits Plus Solutions, Inc.
PO Box 1577
St. Petersburg, Fl 33731
(727) 464-2182
Fax: (727) 898-3179