While we had hoped to discover some new dining destinations the day turned out to be an epic failure. If you are in the industry, thinking of entering the industry, or considering buying a bar or restaurant, here’s what you need to be aware of:
- Use salt when cooking. It makes the food taste better. Please trust me on this.
- A clean bar/restaurant is a good thing. Walking into one smelling like a bleach factory makes me wonder what you’re trying to hide. Only Fatso Fogarty’s in North Arlington is allowed to smell like that.
- If your web site says things like: finest, freshest ingredients, versed menu, delicious desserts or innovative cuisine you need to realize you are as generic as the term “beer.” You’d do yourself a favor by listing who you get your ingredients from, who’s making your desserts, or what makes your cuisine innovative. By the way, truffle risotto is not “innovative.”
- If the restaurant is open but looks closed your potential customers will assume you are closed. Keep some staff near the door and make sure they know part of their job is to greet people. Enthusiasm helps.
- If you are tending bar and haven’t perfected your “flare” moves don’t try them on the only two customers in the place. Especially if your idol is Ronnie from “The Jersey Shore.”
- Sutter Home, Mondavi, Barefoot, and Yellow Tail do not make you a wine bar. If you’re going to call yourself a wine bar make sure you’ve consulted someone other than your distributor.
- Pay attention to the details in the dining room. Polish the glasses, make sure the silverware is clean, the linens are not written on, and the tables don’t wobble.
- If you are printing menus in-house make sure they don’t have water stains on them and try not to give out the most dog-eared of the bunch. It might be worth it to print 4 or 8 more of the spring menus while finalizing the new summer one.
- Please make the staff wear shirts with sleeves. Yes, even the kitchen staff.
- Spend a couple dollars and turn on the air conditioner instead of leaving the door open. Your customers don’t like dining with the flies.
- Don’t ever leave the dining room unattended. Your guests might need something (like a clean soup spoon).
- Make sure you have adequate change. You shouldn’t leave your guests waiting while you run to the corner store for change. Speaking of change, don’t ask me if I need it. Just assume I do and tell me you’ll be right back with it.
- If you’re going to hold yourself out there as a fine dining establishment, please don’t allow screaming children. I can get that at any chain restaurant or pizzeria. I chose your restaurant because I want to enjoy a quiet meal with my companions.
I know this sounds like I’m just a nit picky customer. In reality the details count and can make or break the decision to return sooner rather than later. Or not at all.