Front Of The House

The Service Command Center

Steel City Pizza Server station

Server stations keep the kitchen and dining room flowing When Aaron Baumhackl, chef and co-owner of Solstice Wood Fire Café, relocated the restaurant to Hood River, Oregon, in December 2013, he consulted an expert about where to put the server stations. “I needed more input from the floor manager,” says Baumhackl, who moved the eateryMore »

Now serving: Adding a bar

bartender making cocktail Tutta Bella

Incorporating the sell of alcohol into a pizzeria operation comes with obstacles, but the rewards may be too big to ignore its revenue potential. Darryl Meadows, co-owner of Manhattan Pie Company in Georgetown, Texas, sought to add a bar long before it become a reality in May 2012. But, Texas had rules against bars beingMore »

Sign Language

Pitfire Pizza, exteior, sign

Signage plays an important — but often overlooked — part in restaurant success   A restaurant’s sign spells out more to customers than just its name. It says who you are and what customers can expect when they walk in the door. Casual or fancy, kid friendly or not, pizza or more, a sign isMore »

‘Move over, darling’

pizzeria, interior, dining area

Dining room expansion gives you plenty of options Eight years ago, when competing pizza chains choked his business, Jim Jacobs renovated his dining room, adding a lunch buffet at Pisanello’s Pizza in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. The result was magic. Customers on lunch breaks crammed the place. Ironically, that triggered a new challenge: “People I knowMore »

Engaged: Five critical moments of service

2013 February: Engaged

I was traveling the interstate close to midnight when I stopped by a restaurant still open in the small community of Canyonville, Oregon. My 18-year-old waiter, Kyle, graduated last year from his small high school in a senior class of 12 students. He was not the best in the technical aspects of formal tableside diningMore »

Give Your Interior A Spruce

Photo by Josh Keown

When Sara Griffith, husband Joe and partners Shawn and Barb Griffith bought a Sam & Louie’s franchise location in Omaha, Nebraska, in August 2012, Sara was looking to update the pizzeria’s interior. She found inspiration from Pinterest, a visual-based social networking site, to use chalkboard paint to cover the entire wall behind the order counter.More »

Dinnerware: Permanent Solution

Pie dinnerware

Serving up the right dinnerware impacts restaurant image In the restaurant world, there are no easy decisions, because every choice from the menu to the lighting impacts the restaurant’s image, the guest experience and the ultimate success or failure of the establishment. So, it makes sense that choosing between disposable and permanent dinnerware is aMore »

Sound Check: Live Entertainment

music guitar on stage

Sleeping at the base of the snow-capped Wallowa Mountains on the Historic Oregon Trail is Baker City, a picturesque town of 10,000 people. But on Friday nights in summer, this hamlet wakes up to music on the outdoor patio at Paizano’s Pizza. Two-and-a-half years ago, owner Kina Allen invested $30,000 of her business profits intoMore »

Pushing Appetizers

2011 February: Pushing Appetizers

When San Ramon, California-based Straw Hat Pizza wanted to increase appetizer sales, they turned on the TVs. The 61-unit company partnered with Coca-Cola and created a three-minute video showcasing the chain’s Snack-A-Tizers and Coca-Cola products. Store owners bought television sets that they placed on the order counters, and customers watched the Snack-A-Tizer loop –– which,More »

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Compliance

wheelchair ramp at enterance

Minding the complexity of the Americans with Disabilities Act may make your head spin with worry. Face it –– this law creates frustration for many, not only because of the business cost it incurs, but also because of fear that an unhappy customer will sue you for an overlooked incursion. But take heart, because theMore »