The Daily Rail: Johnny Rockets Pays Half a Million to Servers Over Tip Pool

Friday, October 20, 2016


Today's Specials: 


SOCIAL MEDIA: Google’s 'From the Menu' Lets Guests Upload Pics of Your Food to Local Search

If you haven’t noticed, Google has added a new feature to their mobile search for bars and restaurants. It’s called “From the Menu” and it features photos guests have taken of their food for any given restaurant.


WATCH: Admit It, You're Still Taking Guest Experience Cues from the Copacabana [How Hollywood Sees Us]

Clubs, bars and restaurants are still taking guest experience cues from the likes of Copacabana in the movie Goodfellas. Everything from VIP tables, bottle service, and separate entrances.


TECH BEAT: 5 Uses of Wearable Technology in Restaurants [NextRestaurants]

Wearable restaurant technology might be in its infancy, but it promises to improve the restaurant guest experience & staff productivity. Here are five ways it can revolutionize how you do business.





Owning a Restaurant Under the Cuban Embargo [VIDEO]

There are some plain truths that crossover into every restaurant across the globe. But there are other challenges that are specific to the region or country – like dealing with two currencies or trouble finding the right spices. This video shows what running a restaurant in Cuba is like.


Rebels with a Cause [STUDY]

Healthy eating is the new rebellious act for American teens. According to the University of Texas, teens see healthy eating as a “way to take a stand against manipulative and unfair practices in the food industry, such as engineering junk food to make it addictive and marketing it to young children.”


Do You Get #DebateHeadaches? [SOCIAL MEDIA]

The wonder drug, Excedrin, has fully embraced the Presidential debates in their latest social media campaigns. They created the hashtag #DebateHeadache, saying that “it’s almost unavoidable” but their pain reliever can help. They got roughly 46,000 mentions during the debate. Check out their fun online campaigns.



Why it matters to you: Illegal tip pools just aren’t worth it.

Two Johnny Rockets locations in the DC area have been ordered to pay servers $571,460 in back wages and damages to 55 servers. The order does not apply to the rest of the company. The two restaurants required servers to pool their tips with the back of the house, which of course is a big no-no as it violates federal law.

The over half a million payout also includes damages from failure to pay overtime, which occurred between 2013 and 2015. As tipping schemes continue to pop up in the news, our question is why? Everyone knows not to mess with a servers’ tip…



Why it matters to you: Market to your nearest trade area by targeting Airbnb locations near you

Among the most success, peer-to-peer tech concepts of the last 10 years is Airbnb. They have transformed travel accommodations from hotel and B&B only to an amalgam of options in less accessible neighborhoods than typical tourist housing. Along with the millions of people leveraging Airbnb for where they sleep, the company claims to have added $4.5 Bn in revenue to area restaurants as a result of their service. Their platform includes a recommendation engine with their services that takes the submissions of local favorites from the property owners own suggested favorites.

This is a tailor-made opportunity for you to market to these local property owners and ensure you are among their recommendations. It’s as simple as visiting their site and finding all the properties within a short or walking distance from your location and introducing yourself. One strategy might suggest you invite them in for a meal to showcase why they should be recommending your location. You can also offer to provide them with menus or even a larger discount to plus their guests. Since most restaurants draw the bulk of their traffic locally this is perfect opportunity to ensure you get your share of that $4.5 Bn.



Why it matters to you: Whether it’s election uncertainty or grocery store competition, times are hard in the restaurant industry

One of our premier subscribers is a highly successful chain headquartered in Huntington Beach California called BJ’s Restaurants. They are approaching 200 locations and are as creative and responsive an operator as you will find in the chain vertical. On their recent earnings call their CFO Greg Levin, pointed to election uncertainty as impacting their Q3 2016 results. He said, “Clearly the political calendar debates in particular, Olympics and general uncertainty on behalf of the consumer combined to produce a generally weak retail environment and the softest industry-wide restaurant performance we've seen in quite some time.”

The only thing that Levin excluded was the popular trope that blames lowered grocery store pricing as a challenging competitor for the full-service dining experience. It’s true enough that store bought foods have been enjoying favorable price comparisons with restaurant dining. This, in part, is caused by better commodity pricing and inexpensive oil. Whether you point to disruptions in consumer behavior caused by the election (and other distractions) or you believe you can’t compete with cheap grocery store food, you will be right. However, what matters is how you respond. BJ’s is focusing on growing their locations and improving their performance with existing guests. While most of you can’t grow your footprint, all of you can try a little harder to maintain the business you already have. Make every guest experience memorable and this trend will happen to others and not you.