Creating excitement with seasonal dishes

There are benefits to serving a seasonal menu that can increase revenue, loyalty, and visits per year from regulars. With summer right around the corner, many restaurants are taking advantage of having more local ingredients available. In the Okanagan, we see new exciting dishes that are crafted with care with the freshest ingredients.

Having seasonal menus does not mean that you must come up with a whole new menu every 3 months, but rather tweaking the menu in order to keep the regulars coming back.  Adding a couple of seasonal dishes on the menu creates interest and exclusivity which is an advantage for an establishment. The fear of missing out can drive sales as seasonal dishes are only available for a limited time.

Changing up the menu is vital to keeping your establishment feeling fresh and exciting. Regulars appreciate the change and get excited to come back and try the new dishes often so they don’t miss out. For those that fear change, there are still the favorite dishes that stay as a staple for your establishment. Many people value the opportunity to sample local cuisine and beverages when visiting the region.  Even locals appreciate seeing local offerings within their favourite dining establishments. 

This allows for more creativity in the kitchen and keeps servers on their toes. No time to get complacent and creates excitement amongst the staff which is passed on to customers. Excitement is contagious and with so many possibilities to choose from, it is easy to add some local selections to the summer menu.  It can be as simple as adding a fresh local fruit crisp to the dessert menu or offering local wine on the drink list. 

Another way to increase excitement is to limit availability. When a server tells you that there are only 2 specials left, doesn’t it make you want it more?  Limiting the quantity or time frame a dish is available, increases the feeling of scarcity which is effective at driving up sales. 

If you are still unsure about the benefits, then specials are a great way to test any new dishes you are considering adding to the menu.  If you are selling out of a specific special all the time, the dish may be something you should consider when developing the next menu.  Specials are also a great way to use up items which are coming to the end of their shelf life.  By incorporating these items into specials, you are generating revenue and effectively reducing your food costs.

On top of all the other benefits in having seasonal menus, it gives a restaurant the opportunity to keep customers and potential customers engaged in your marketing. Having new dishes to post on social media keeps you top of mind which can be a struggle for most establishments.

Try it! It does not have to be scary, just start out with trying out local ingredients and seasonal dishes as specials. Being innovative will pay off. Seasonal dishes and menus are a win for all, the community, regulars, potential customers, employees, and the business.

Verbal Communication : What are you really saying?

The previous issue was all about non-verbal communication and the impact on a successful restaurant operation. Verbal communication is the focus of this issue, both (verbal and non-verbal) are essential when providing an exceptional customer experience. Verbal communication plays a vital role in the impressions that are portrayed, both to the customer and team members. What you hear, is as important as what you see. If you have not had the chance to check out the whole article on non-verbal communication here is the link: https://www.scienceofservice.ca/wp/non-verbal-communication-in-the-restaurant/

 Keys things to remember is tone, speed, and volume of your 
voice when interacting with guests and co-workers alike. 

Speaking quickly can imply being in a hurry and appears to be an unwillingness to listen.  Talking slower with clear pronunciation makes for a more inviting atmosphere for a conversation and makes the other person feel important and valued, opening the lines for communication. An easy experiment for this is to try this on the phone. Although smiling is a non-verbal portion of communication, it applies to verbal as well. When smiling on the phone, it can be heard.  Experiment by answering the phone without smiling and then try it while smiling.   Even though the person cannot see you, they can hear the smile.  Miscommunication is more frequent than you may think and using these tips can minimize those miscommunications and makes for a better experience all around. Can you remember a time that you felt someone was short with you or not listening?  Think about how they delivered their words.  Could they have been more conscious about their delivery or perhaps just adjusted their tone, speed, and/or volume?  Would that have changed your outlook on the situation?

Tone of voice seems obvious, but some are unaware of their tone or how it comes out. For a quick look into your tone of voice, just record yourself and have a listen. Feelings often come out in the tone and can be off putting to anyone. Tone has much to do with choosing words wisely. If a guest asks for an extra napkin rather than replying “ya” try “absolutely”, “I’d be glad to get that for you”, “of course, I’ll be right back.” This shows respect and creates a welcome and positive environment and connection that is appreciated. The more professional and positive the response, the better the chance that words will not be misconstrued.   When seating a guest instead of saying “table for only 1?” try “how many in the party today?”  When using the word only, it can start the guest experience off on the wrong foot and in some situations, have a negative connotation. 

Another one that is used a lot is “you guys.”  Some people can get very offended using this term so try not to use it.  More formal options would be “folks” or “everyone”, or “ladies and gentlemen.” It seems so simple but makes a difference on how your words are interpreted. Volume should be specific to the situation. Depending on the what type of establishment you are in determines what volume is appropriate. Whispering to a guest in a night club, will have just as much of a detrimental effect as speaking too loudly in a small and quiet café.
The key to making verbal communication effective is paying attention to the situation and always being aware of surroundings and guests. What is appropriate at one establishment may be inappropriate in another. By following these simple tips, you can be a more effective communicator.

Need more help with communicating effectively in the workplace? Find out how we can help at www.scienceofservice.ca

Non-Verbal Communication in the Restaurant


If you would like more information or have comments or questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We would love to hear from you.

We will be covering this in detail in our next workshop Serving Like a Pro with hands on practice to prepare you for a successful and happy server career. If your staff could use the training, why not reach out and have your restaurant professionals do the training for you? Saves you time and time is money. Group and individual training are available. Contact us for more information at contact@scienceofservice.ca.

Be Prepared and Control your Income

Every server should have:

One of the most integral parts of being a successful server is being prepared.  A server that is prepared exudes confidence and looks more professional to guests and co-workers alike.  Although it depends on the type of establishment, the following items are recommended to have on your person before every shift:

Being prepared in a restaurant

Single-use plastics soon to be a product of the past?

More and more restaurants have opted out of using plastic straws and replacing them with the paper equivalent.  Although there are challenges with the paper product breaking down and becoming mushy after extended use, it has not deterred restaurants from making the switch.  A & W has been a leader by being the first fast-food chain to ban plastic straws within their restaurants.  That means there are 82 million fewer straws reaching our landfills each year from their restaurants. They have made the switched to a paper straw which is sustainably sourced and biodegrade within 3-6 months. Other restaurants have also set goals to reduce their waste such as McDonald’s, who is planning to source 100 percent of its packaging to be renewable, recycled or supplied from certified sources by 2025.  Subway and Starbucks have also gotten on board by promising to eliminate plastic straws from their operations.

As Canadians, we use about 57 million straws per day and considering only 20 percent of these get recycled, it seems like a no brainer that businesses are getting on board.  It comes at a higher cost for the business but with the social pressure growing and the environment suffering, many businesses feel they have no other choice but to comply by reducing their waste and eliminating single-use plastics.

Although straws are a large concern, it doesn’t stop there.  Other things to consider are plastic cutlery and foam take-out containers.  Some businesses have made the switch to wooden cutlery however it comes with mixed reviews due to the different texture.  Businesses are looking at all alternatives to offer sustainably sourced items which are biodegradable causing minimal impact to our environment.  With take-out containers used so widely, many businesses have made the switch to biodegradable and/or compostable options made out products such as sugar cane which can break down in a home compost in as little as 90 days.

There are many cities dedicated to phasing out plastic bags and other single use plastics to reach the goal of zero waste circular economy.  Vancouver has voted to ban plastic straws which is effective June 2019 and Victoria was the first municipality in BC to ban plastic bags last July.  These are just two of the many cities who have set goals to ban things such as plastic cups and foam take-out containers.  Vancouver’s strategy also includes reducing the amount of plastic bags and plastic cups being offered by businesses by eliminating the option or charging more for these items, with the eventual goal of a complete ban by 2021.

It will not happen overnight but we are seeing changes that hopefully will help our environment and our wildlife.  Everything we do each day to improve our practices means a brighter future for the next generations.

Verbal Communication : What are you really saying?

Newsletter pic March 2019

The previous issue was all about non-verbal communication and the impact on a successful restaurant operation. Verbal communication is the focus of this issue, both (verbal and non-verbal) are essential when providing an exceptional customer experience. Verbal communication plays a vital role in the impressions that are portrayed, both to the customer and team members. What you hear, is as important as what you see. If you have not had the chance to check out the whole article on non-verbal communication here is the link: https://www.scienceofservice.ca/wp/non-verbal-communication-in-the-restaurant/

Keys things to remember is tone, speed, and volume of your
voice when interacting with guests and co-workers alike. 

Speaking quickly can imply being in a hurry and appears to be an unwillingness to listen.  Talking slower…

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