The Daily Rail: Restaurant Operators Grapple with the Implications of Increasing Minimum Wages

BUSINESS: 5 Reasons Restaurants Should Have Rotating Menus

Diners often decide whether to eat at your restaurant based on your menu alone. If one of the dishes catches a patron’s eye, they’ll give it a shot. But if the offerings are uninspiring, they’ll likely dine elsewhere. While menu design is an art in itself, this post will focus on the benefits of rotating menu items. In other words, why it’s beneficial to alter your menu based on the season or time of year.


Trademarking Out of Spite

Campbell’s Soup trademarked the word chunky because people kept making fun of it. For reals. In their USPTO application, the soup giant referenced several parodies of their product and commercials, including The Simpsons, Family Guy, The Onion, The Daily Show and a host of other TV shows. The company denies that was the reason. Either way, it seems silly to get a patent for the word chunky which, as one patent attorney put it, “How else would you describe liquids with solids? That’s what they are: chunks in liquid.” Now competitors can only use the phrase “chunky-style.” (◔_◔)

US Has Work to Do

During the 2018 midterms, women ran in record numbers and a historic number won seats in the House and Senate. As successful as the elections were for U.S. women, there is more work to do and that momentum needs to be maintained. According to the inter-parliamentary union, the U.S. comes joint 75th worldwide by share of women in its lower house of parliament with 23.5%. Rwanda is still top with a 61.3% share.

Infographic: Trump Lauds Women In Congress But U.S. Has More Work To Do | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

NBC Launches IndyPass

NBC launched a new subscription service aimed for racecar fans. It’s called IndyPass and will air qualifying sessions, practices, replays, and shoulder program but not, alas, any live races. Current cost for the year is $50. And while not great if you’re only wanting live races to show guests, this could make for some great side content if your bar has a heavy Indy race-fan crowd.


Why it matters to you: Recent reporting indicates that digital sales grew 42% over last year.

Over the three years we have published The Daily Rail, the folks at Chipotle have been a regular source of entertainment for our team. They have endured every manner of self-inflicted wound and stupid gaffe one can imagine; yet they are still standing. Whether that is due to America’s love of comebacks or the patience of the Millennials that facilitated their ascendancy is anyone’s guess. However, they really have made a demonstrable comeback. Take their recent financial reporting that included a massive sales increase of 6.1% over the previous fourth quarter as proof they have emerged from the long night of their self-destruction. So, how did they get there?

To start, they deliver a reasonably priced and complete meal in an on-demand method. And speaking of on-demand, they also reported a 0.9% increase in transactions over the previous year. This is significant because this is their version of traffic and most operators have seen sales increases, but traffic declines. Chipotle quickly pointed to the 42% increase in their digital sales as explanation for their recent turnaround success. They are now doing almost $500 million annual sales that are transacted exclusively through digital means. If Starbuck’s success in digital sales wasn’t enough proof, let Chipotle’s be the impetus you need to review and improve your guests’ access to ordering your food digitally. For no other reason than to compete, this should be a 2019 priority for any operator that wants to continue to grow.

[Source: Nation’s Restaurant News]


Why it matters to you: Real operators grapple with increasing minimum wage and its implications.

None of the social movements over the past few years have been as disruptive to our industry as the Fight for $15. With some states and several cities mandating a $15/hour minimum wage, operators have had no choice but to adjust. The real complication comes when that minimum wage is applied to both BoH and FoH employees. It creates an inequity that is almost impossible to manage.

Take the thoughts of Boyd Hoback, CEO of Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar. “People in the back of the house tend to work much harder than the front of the house. Because of federal labor laws, we can’t pool tips,” he said. Well, actually Boyd, you can!

While Federal rules do prohibit forcing your tip earning staff to share with anyone other than other tip earners, that doesn’t mean you can’t change your paradigm and simply add a service charge. Make it 18% and then distribute that money to all of your staff equal to their share of the load. Sure, no-tip models have proven to be less than optimal for both guests and staff, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a solution that works.

One thing is for sure: this conversation will continue until we either find a solution or prices will skyrocket as labor costs can no longer increase without and operator response. Either way this problem isn’t going away. What are you doing to manage the new labor cost paradigm and the economic realities it imposes? Let us know and we will share with everyone on the Daily Rail.

[Source: FSR Magazine]