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The Secret Ingredient for Staying Popular & Profitable | FoodPower is a restaurant consulting firm that coaches industry leaders to leverage strengths, create concepts, refine menus & identify opportunities to increase revenue & capatalize on the changes in today's dining out patterns.

FoodPower Phyllis-sophy for 2014
I'm back with more Smart Moves for 2014 and this time, I've rebranded them as part of my Phyllis-sophyI am a professional observer, a detail-aholic when it comes to restaurants… every nuance, every new idea lights my fire. 
I am what they call an early responder… one who wants to try the new spots early… and pick up tips.
I have been writing about my observations and Smart Moves for years. Go on my website FoodPower.com - check under "Resources" and you can find my Webinar about Smart Moves for Independent Operators When Every Move Matters.
(L-R, visible kitchens at Fig + Olive and Red O in Orange County, CA) 
CUTTING THROUGH THE NOISE
"The challenge is not necessarily to quiet a restaurant but to successfully manage its sound level, and, in the process, allow the ambient nose to be a complementary part of the mood communicated by the food, the chef, the location, the entire dining experience."
- Amy Scattergood, Los Angeles Times

The volume has been cranked way up in our restaurants.  The truth is that some like it hot – way up – especially in the bar where the folks meet to drink, eat and be part of the scene.  A lively bar and restaurant is a real profit center and the energy attracts. 

However, for most restaurants, it's ideal to have a warm restaurant with a pleasant ambient noise that is perfect for conversation with friends, a place to close a business deal, or have intimate dialogue with a significant other.

Two Orange County newcomers, Fig + Olive and
Red O (L-R, shown in the photo above), have figured out how to reduce the noise from their large kitchens with treatments to keep the energy from the kitchen alive in the dining room, while eliminating the sound. 
TIPS TO REDUCE NOISE
1) Enclosing the Kitchen - as demonstrated by Red O and Fig + Olive above, it's important to keep those kitchen noises out of the dining room - chatter from your Chefs and staff, the clanking of dishes and silverware, etc.  Fig + Olive features small windows that reduce noise transfer and Red O features a tinted glass wall the eliminates sound completely!
2) Identifying Noise - you can measure the decibel levels in your restaurant with ease by downloading the ClapIR Acoustics Measurement Tool (available on iTunes for your iPhone HERE). This app helps you identify noisy and quiet areas and teach the staff to be discerning of the guests.  ClapIR is a great tool for measuring the acoustic properties of a room - it's acoustics engineering made easy!
3) Sound Absorbers - many restaurants utilize foam to absorb sound that can travel off hard surfaces. By placing pieces of foam discreetly under seats and table tops, you can reduce a significant amount of noise that can interfere with conversations. 
4) Quieting Hard Surfaces - there are many hard surfaces, especially in a bar area. With tableclothes becoming more and more scarce, it's more necessary than ever to utilize coasters under drinks and something to break the sound of dishes and silverware clanking.

EATING ALONE, TOGETHER

In recent years, more and more folks are dining out alone, so it's not surprising that the popularity of communal dining tables in restaurants has hit an all-time high. These are great for every diner - from the Millenlials who are on their computers and phones, to the older diner, who craves company during their meal. Of course, communal dining must be done right in order to attract - in Orange County, you can find busy tables at noted GM & Pastry Chef Shelly Register's  A Market in Newport Beach (pictured here)! Save me a seat!
 

SETTING THE STAGE

How you communicate with your guests before they even walk in your door is so important. One of my favorite restaurants in Southern California is MB Post in Manhattan Beach. Every time I make a reservation with them on OpenTable, I get a confirmation with some insight into how the restaurant works. This will, no doubt, cut down on confusion when guests arrive at the restaurant, and does a great job with managing expectations with their limitations to seating or large parties. Here's how it reads:

--- A Message from Manhattan Beach Post --- 

For future visits keep in mind that 40% of the space is set aside for walk-ins on communal tables. Reservations are held for 20 min (30 min if a Guest calls & are running late). Parties arriving past the time designations will be placed on the top of the waitlist for a communal table. This policy ensures the integrity of reservations made later in the evening. 

Reservations of 5+ Guests are subject to placement on a communal table due to limited options in the dining room. All Brunch reservations (Sat & Sun 10am-2pm) & Friday Nooner reservations (Fri 11:30am-5pm) with 5+ Guests are booked for seating on our low communal tables.

Thank you for understanding & we look forward to seeing you dig in and get down!

Visit 
www.eatMBPost.com for info, future reservations & 'Like' MBPost on Facebook for updates!

www.facebook.com/ManhattanBeachPost

Warm, friendly and informative - plus, you are encouraged to connect on Facebook before you even visit the restaurant. You can see why they're a favorite!