Front Of The House

Clean Sweep

Photo by Josh Keown

Customers are restaurants’ biggest allies and their harshest critics. They are not shy about expressing their joy, concern or displeasure with an eating establishment. The wilting plant in the corner, the dust on the ceiling fan or the empty paper towel bins in the bathroom are details easily overlooked by operators and staff. But customersMore »

Buffets can bring in big business when done right

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2009 February: Boffo Buffets

When CiCi’s Pizza Buffet opened its doors 27 years ago, the concept of an array of pizzas offered all at once and not custom-built seemed novel and a bit risky. “It was not something that was normally done,” says CiCi’s President Craig Moore. Now, however, pizza buffets have become commonplace across the country and whileMore »

2010 April: This Little Light of Mine

2010 April: This Little Light of Mine

Dark dining, a trend where you eat in complete darkness, was introduced both in the United States and abroad about three years ago, but it never caught on. That’s because the right lighting enhances the dining experience, helps the staff, creates a sense of security, makes the pizza and other dishes look their best andMore »

2010 March: Tabels vs. Seats

2010 March: Tabels vs. Seats

Restaurant operators tend to think of capacity in terms of the number of seats, but this is incorrect, says Dennis Lombardi, executive vice president-food strategies for WD Partners, a design development fi rm in Columbus, Ohio. Instead, capacity depends on the number of tables. “The tables will get used up first,” he explains. “And ifMore »

On Ice: Ice machine cleanliness

Photos by Josh Keown

When restaurants get lax on ice machine cleaning, the results can be chilling — from a failed health inspection to gross news headlines about black mold clogging an ice machine at a local eatery to, in the worse-case scenario, sick customers. Experts say that’s because ice machines provide an ideal environment for microbes to flourish.More »

2012 December: Gluten-Free: The Front of the House is Key

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2012 December: Gluten-Free: The Front of the House is Key

As someone with celiac disease, I have certain red flags that I always look for when I dine out. And it all begins with the front of the house. Restaurants across the U.S. are introducing gluten-free options at a rapid pace. This new menu trend is especially strong among pizza parlors, which are ordering gluten-freeMore »

Pizza Presentation

2012 December: Pizza Presentation

When it comes to tableside pizza presentation, it’s easy to leave it and forget it. But serving pizza is an opportunity to add drama and a hands-on personal touch to the dining experience. Presentation styles and pizza stands vary widely: from the typical C-shaped riser, to the chrome pedestal, to double-decker stands, to custom builtMore »

Customer Complaints: The Flipside

2012 November: The Flipside

“Just say, ‘Yes,’” is the advice veteran pizzeria operator Jeff Cohen lends to handling customer complaints. Cohen, who opened Pizza Loft in Davie, Florida in 1975, applies a giving mentality to his shop. In fact, when customers walk in, they pass by a prominent sign at the front door reading, “Customer service is what weMore »

Carpet Care

A solid carpet care plan is essential, experts say, to keeping carpet looking good, particularly in a busy restaurant setting. There is guidance out there to help you find the right equipment and people. The Carpet and Rug Institute and the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration maintain databases of experts and equipment that canMore »

Location Selection

I’m looking at two locations. One is 3,000 square feet and centrally located in a busy shopping plaza. Rent is high and it will cost a lot of money to renovate. Parking is a bit of a problem in this busy plaza. The second location is across the street from a shopping plaza and isMore »