Front Of The House

2009 December: Hurry Up & Wait

waiting area, seating

It’s a busy Friday night, people are lining up at the hostess stand, and someone asks you the question, “How long do we have to wait for a table?” You want to tell them 20 minutes and hope you’re right. If you underestimate and they end up waiting longer, they might walk out the door,More »

2009 October: Quick & Easy

bar seating, seating, place setting, dining

In June, Pizza Hut announced it would spend $5 million to renovate its locations in Jacksonville, Florida. The investment would pay for a “transformation to a more contemporary look and improved customer experience” in the seven dine-in and 23 delivery and carryout restaurants in the area. If you want to update your restaurant’s look andMore »

Laundry: Hang to Dry

2009 August: Hang to Dry

For some pizza restaurant operators — such as those who use front and center items like table linens or who have extremely high-volume locations — whether or not to do the laundry in-house or use a laundry service is a no-brainer. In these instances the vote comes down squarely in favor of turning this aspectMore »

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 »