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2012 March: Ask Big Dave

2012 March: Ask Big Dave

I haven’t updated my menu in a couple of years except for price adjustments. Is it worth it to pay a professional company to do this for me? Austin Rodigero Phoenix, Arizona I’m rarely stopped dead in my tracks. A few years ago, however, I did a double-take as I passed an exhibitor’s booth atMore »

2012 March: What If…

2012 March: What If...

Catastrophe — it’s one of those words you try not to utter in the restaurant industry. But it’s hard not to think about “what if there’s a fire, someone gets hurt in my place, the delivery driver has an accident?” or the infinite number of other scenarios that could take place. That is when yourMore »

2012 March: Return On Investment

2012 March: Return On Investment

There are a variety of gauges a business can use to measure the success of its marketing. But to really measure you must first know your goal. Was it money in the bank, build a database, find a new customer or create TOMA? All are noble goals of a marketer. To declare success we haveMore »

2012 March: Deal Breakers

2012 March: Deal Breakers

While the recession is coming to an end, many operators are still struggling. The good news? Your landlord is feeling the squeeze, too. According to the National Association of Realtors, retail vacancy rates nationwide were at 12.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011, and retail rents actually declined during the year. With empty spaceMore »

2012 March: In The Know

2012 March: In The Know

You receive a notice in the mail that an ex-employee is filing for unemployment. But he quit the company and one doesn’t receive unemployment for that. He wasn’t fired; he wasn’t demoted and sulked off in dejection; he wasn’t harassed into submitting his resignation. Even though you believe that, in these tough times, ex-workers needMore »

2012 February: Ask Big Dave

2012 February: Ask Big Dave

Tim Ridout, via Facebook Big Rounds Ravenna, Michigan Hey, Tim. Without exception, I can’t think of any ingredient that has gone down in price. Since cheese is the costliest ingredient on our pizzas, and we buy so much of it every week, it comes to mind first. The wholesale price of mozzarella is fixed everyMore »

2012 February: Turn Around

2012 February: Turn Around

If your sales are increasing, give yourself a big pat on the back. If your sales are flat, and you are barely breaking even, welcome to the new normal. If you are afraid of what the future has in stock for your store, the clock is ticking. The longer the restaurant runs unprofitably, the lessMore »

2012 January: Profit & Loss

2012 January: Profit & Loss

At Proto’s Pizzeria Napoletana, the Profit and Loss report is more than a lengthy chart with boring numbers. The P&L is an important topic in quarterly meetings with general managers. Pam Proto, founder of the six-location company, says she and the managers use the P&L, which summarizes sales and expenses, to see how the ColoradoMore »

2012 January: Debt Management

2012 January: Debt Management

Owning a restaurant means incurring debt — it goes with the territory. But not all debt is created equal; certain kinds can move you forward, other kinds can tilt you towards disaster. What spells the difference between good debt and bad? “Debt isn’t inherently bad or good,” explains Chris Alberta, senior managing director of ConwayMore »

2012 January: Ask Big Dave

2012 January: Ask Big Dave

Banks aren’t lending. Where do I go for growth money?Louis Phelps Kansas City, Missouri In the current economic freefall we’ve been destined to play out due to very bad decisions made by ‘too big to fail institutions,’ you are suffering. When all else failed, I borrowed from friends, family, my distributors and even secret fraternalMore »