Tips on How To Be a Successful Restaurant Owner

Behind every great restaurant is a great restaurant owner. In order for your restaurant to become a success, you'll need to be an effective leader for your team. Here are four key pieces of advice on how to be a successful restaurant owner: 

Listen to your staff.

Your staff, especially the front-of-house team, interact with customers on the daily. They have a first-hand account of what the dining hall is like, and what can be improved so that they can serve guests better. Hear your employees out by holding sessions where they can voice out their concerns. Stay close to them, so they feel comfortable enough to share their ideas.

Your guests are equally as important.

Like your staff, your customers' feelings should not be overlooked. Include a suggestions/comments card along with the bill, so that diners can rate their experience, the service, the food and other items that you want to know more about. Gather the cards and analyze them to see if there are any particular patterns. Publish the results, then have your staff go through them. Review the information as a group, as well, so that everybody understands what needs to be fixed.

Leave room for growth and expansion.

Keep in mind you cannot rush success. It is possible that your restaurant can expand in physical size/scale and you might need to hire more staff. Also, realize that at a certain point, growth and sales will slow down. Be sure to have a back-up plan or ideas on how you can help grow the business. Maybe consider opening a second location, or even relocating. If not, what about reworking your restaurant's concept, menu, etc.?

Remember your role as the leader.

As the restaurant owner, be sure that you lead by example. Conduct yourself as a person that is hard working and dedicated to the restaurant. When your employees see that, they will be encouraged to be so too. You want your staffers to know you as somebody that is strong and dependable.

Looking to hire in Hospitality?

Discover top talents on Harri

Follow Harri on Facebook and Twitter
for real time job posts and industry news.

Most Consumers Not Ready to Stop Tipping


NEW YORK, Feb. 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- According to Horizon Media's latest Finger on the Pulse Survey — the agency's proprietary online research community comprised of 3,000 people reflective of the U.S. population — the majority of American consumers are not yet ready to embrace tipping bans, a phenomenon that is becoming increasingly popular in restaurants across the country. Millennials and Generation Z, however, are more open to change.

Tip banning - eliminating tipping in favor of paying servers a higher wage – is a becoming a hot issue as popular restaurant owners likeDanny Meyer of Shake Shack have begun instating the practice in their eateries. The change in practice isn't limited to the coasts. National chains like Joe's Crab Shack as well as independent establishments across the nation have also joined the ranks. This "service included" approach to the bill is already common in other parts of the world, including Europe.

Yet Horizon's latest Opinion Pulse data suggest these restaurants may be getting ahead of U.S. consumers' appetite for change: 81% of adult restaurant-goers are not yet ready to welcome built in tipping. These consumers want status quo -- the decision to tip within their control and dependant on a positive service experience. For over half of these restaurant-goers, the main drawbacks of built in tipping come down to expected effects on service: 55% say they would be forced to pay the same amount no matter how good or bad service is, and 52% say it should be up to them to decide how much to pay for service.

While older consumers are hesitant to embrace the change, Millennials and Gen Z are more ready for a tipping revolution: 29% of people aged 18-34 say tipping is an outdated and unfair practice versus 18% of people aged 35-49 and 13% of people aged 50-64. Just 44% of 18-34 year olds say they are against tip being built into an item price, versus 6 in 10 of the older crowd (61% of 35-49 and 59% of 50-64). But just because they are more forward-thinking on the practice doesn't mean they think the change will happen quickly. In fact, they are more skeptical: 70% of Millennials and Gen Z say they think tipping practices will be the same as they are now in 5 years' time (versus 60% of 35-49 and 53% of 50-64).


"There are real economic and life stage realities at play for the younger crowd," said Kirk Olson, VP, TrendSights at Horizon Media. "Many Millennials still face underemployment and Gen Z-ers who've begun working are often working service jobs dependent on tips. Considering the rising popularity of Bernie Sanders' "living wage" stance among the same group, it makes perfect sense that they show greater interest in seeing tipping evolve," continued Olson.  "They're also more global and connected. They know 'service included' is the way it's done elsewhere and think it would be better for the U.S., even if they're not convinced it will become a reality any time soon."

Regardless of age, those who are interested in switching to a built-in tip structure are passionate about the benefits – primarily as a way to better predict cost; those who prefer built-in tipping are over two and a half times more likely to say the cost of the entire meal would be clearer prior to ordering (70% vs. 26% who want tipping left as is). Fairness is an important motivator as well: 62% of those who welcome built-in tipping say it would ensure the servers earn a fair and liveable wage (vs. 32% who want things to stay as is), and 45% say the current tipping structure is outdated (versus 15% among those who want things to stay as is).

"While the research suggests consumers aren't quite ready to abandon tipping per se, it does portend that in the future convenience will likely trump control," said Rich Simms, EVP, Managing Partner at Horizon Media. "Tomorrow's restaurant-goers may find that not having to think about the tip is a core benefit of the whole transaction. Hospitality brands making the change now may be at the forefront of something that will become standard practice in ten more years."

How much more are they willing to pay per menu item to have tip built in? One third (34%) say they would pay up to 15% more per item, with an additional 1 in 10 saying an increase of 18-25% would be fair in order to change tipping practices.

Finger on the Pulse empowers the agency to connect directly with 3,000 consumers, diving beneath the surface of beliefs and behaviors to uncover critical insights.

About Horizon Media Horizon Media, Inc. is the largest and fastest growing privately held media services agency in the world. The company was founded in 1989, is headquartered in New York and has offices in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Chicago. Horizon Media was chosen as 2011 Independent Media Agency of the Year by Mediapost, 2010 U.S. Media Agency of the Year by Adweek, Brandweek, and Mediaweek as well as by Ad Age and as one of the world's ten most innovative marketing and advertising companies by Fast Company in 2011. In 2012, Bill Koenigsberg, President, CEO and Founder, was honored by Advertising Age as Industry Executive of the Year. Most recently, in 2014, Bill Koenigsberg was named 4As Chair of the Board and is the first person from a media agency to hold this prestigious position in the 100 year history of the 4As, the marketing industry's leading trade association.

The company's mission is "To create the most meaningful brand connections within the lives of people everywhere." By delivering on this mission through a holistic approach to brand marketing, Horizon Media has become one of the largest and fastest-growing media agencies in the industry, with estimated billings of over $5.3 billion and over 1,200 employees.

The company is also a founding member of Columbus Media International, a multi-national partnership of independent media agencies. For more information, please visit

(via PRNewswire)

8 in 10 Diners are Against Eliminating Tips


Danny Meyer was one of the first restauranteurs to announce the elimination of tips at his establishments. The 'Hospitality Included' trend has been gradually picked up by other owners and operators in the industry as well.

Although restaurants are trying to change the status quo, diners seem to still prefer the standard practice of leaving gratuity.


Recently, Horizon Media surveyed 3,000 people about tipping. The study found that 81% of restaurant patrons aren't ready to forgo the "established" practice of tipping. Responders said that they preferred having the choice to tip based on the quality of service provided. They weren't very fond of the gratuity-included idea, which they believed would lead to poor service.

However, results showed that younger people were actually more accepting of the new trend. 29% of people ranging from the ages of 18 to 34 thought tipping was dated, as compared to 13% of those aged between 50 to 64.

The remaining 20% claimed to be supportive of the change. 34% said they would pay up to an additional 15% per dish. 10% percent were a little more generous and said that 18 to 25% would be a reasonable amount.

Kirk Olson of TrendSights at Horizon Media said younger diners were more welcoming of the change because they understand the challenges of financial burden. He said, "Many Millennials still face underemployment and Gen Z-ers who've begun working are often working service jobs dependent on tips. Considering the rising popularity of Bernie Sanders's 'living wage' stance among the same group, it makes perfect sense that they show greater interest in seeing tipping evolve."

Olson mentioned how millennials are more aware that tipping is no longer accepted in other parts of the world, like in Europe. They think that restaurants with service included into the prices of meals would just be a better practice in the US.

(via Eater)



Follow Harri on Facebook and Twitter
for real time job posts and industry news.

NYC Restaurants' 'Hospitality Included' Movement


The movement to get rid of tipping in New York City restaurants has been slowly picking up steam since Danny Meyer announced in October that he was going to do away with the practice at his Union Square Hospitality Group’s 13 full-service restaurants in the city.

I mean, restaurants aren’t exactly lining up to upend their business models and try to change the cultures of their servers as well as their customers, but more restaurants are trying it than I would have expected. After all, so far even USHG has only implemented the “Hospitality Included” approach at one of its restaurants, The Modern.

That approach differs from the more common practice of tacking on an automatic service charge. Instead, the actual prices on the menus are raised.


Meyer told me shortly after announcing his plans that he thought raising menu prices was a more honest approach, and also that the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs might frown on such service charges being redistributed to anyone but servers — something his lawyers warned him about.

And the main point of getting rid of tipping is to put that money elsewhere — mainly in the hands of underpaid kitchen staff.

There are other reasons: Creating a more professional working environment for servers, eliminating the discriminatory tipping practices of customers — such as tipping scantily clad female servers more or servers with foreign accents less — and generally allowing restaurant management to regain control of the roughly 20 percent of the restaurant’s income that comes from tips.

Rising costs of doing business has resulted in menu prices going up for years, and as those prices go up, the disparity between what servers make — coming mostly from tips which are mostly a percentage of their customers' bills — and kitchen staff make, has widened, worsening an already not awesome cultural divide between front-of-house and back-of-house, and making it harder to recruit kitchen staff.

These and other issues we’re being considered and discussed before Meyer decided to pull the trigger with The Modern, but since then, other operators have come on board, including Will Guidara and Daniel Humm at Eleven Madison Park (but not at their other restaurant, The Nomad), Andrew Tarlow, who runs five restaurants in Brooklyn (and implemented Hospitality Included at one of them, Roman's, on January 18), Gabriel Stulman of six-unit Happy Cooking Hospitality (he got rid of tipping at one restaurant, Fedora, at the beginning of January), and Nate Adler, who went all in with Hospitality Included on December 14 at his single restaurant, Huertas.

Stulman and Adler recently joined Leah Campbell, from Andrew Tarlow's team, and USHG chief restaurant officer Sabato Sagaria on a panel at Journee, a new club for education and networking among hospitality workers, to discuss what they’d learned.

What they learned is that getting buy-in from their servers wasn’t that hard. Or it might be more appropriate to say that they suspected what they needed to do to get buy-in from servers and they did it. They of course gave them raises to at least $9 per hour, which became the statewide minimum wage this year, anyway, and implemented a revenue-sharing program in which a certain percentage of top-line sales was shared with servers — 8 percent or revenue at The Modern, more at some of the other restaurants. Adler also gave raises to line cooks, who now get $12, and other back-of-house workers to $11, and he implemented revenue sharing across the board. The other panelists are hoping to be able to share revenue with kitchen staff eventually, but they're not doing it yet.

They also have included their servers into the planning process. Sagaria said they laid out a roadmap for career progression for front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house staff. Others have tapped their servers’ motivation to make more money through revenue sharing to brainstorm new money making ideas, which is why Roman's is introducing pizza brunch.

All of the restaurants have implemented the revenue sharing on a weekly basis, and are doing it across the board, so whether the servers are working on a slow Tuesday lunch or a crazy Friday dinner rush, they share equally, based on how many shifts they work.

Adler said that once he explained his plan and reasoning behind it, the servers actually encouraged him to implement it.

But has service gotten worse now that servers don’t have direct and immediate motivation to be gracious and speedy with their customers?


Not according to Sagaria, who has gotten about 1,000 comment cards at The Modern since they got rid of tipping — a staggering number — and they have been largely positive. Furthermore, their Open Table scores on food, experience, service, etc., have gone up in “almost every single category,” he said.

He said Yelpers have been mostly silent about the change, except for the occasional tangential bit of snark, such as, “When the bread came out it wasn't warm, probably because there’s no tipping.”

However, it’s proven a bit more difficult to convince customers that a $25 entrée with the gratuity included is basically the same as a $20 entrée if you need to add a tip.

Stulman said he’s seeing his customers ordering less — skipping appetizers or splitting entrées. Since he raised the price of his steak from $34 to $39, sales have plummeted, even though customers would leave a $6 or $7 tip on that $34 steak, meaning they'd actually be spending less under the new system.

“I think there is a problem with value perception,” he said.

Sagaria said he has seen less of that with food, which he said people order with their stomachs.

“You’re saying, 'O.K., what am I hungry for?’ It’s not ‘Do I want the $40 chicken, or the $30 chicken or the $20 chicken?’”

But wine’s a different story, he said, and people used to buying and $80 wine and tipping $20 balk at buying a $100 bottle without tipping.

He said to try to address that they’re putting their “Hospitality Included” message on every page of the wine list rather than just the front page and table of contents, but Stulman was skeptical.

“Messaging is something we put a ton of effort into,” he said. “When you go to Fedora’s web site, bam! We’ve replaced the first picture with a message that says ‘Gratuity Free.’ We use Resy as our reservations platform. When you go on Resy there is a message right on our restaurant’s message that says ‘Gratuity free. No need to tip.’ When you make a reservation, in your email confirmation, we inform you that the menu prices reflect all service and you do not need to tip. Then, you get a text message 30 minutes before your reservation that reminds you that you have a reservation in half an hour, and that text message says, ‘No tipping.’ When you arrive, we have a wonderful graphic ... on the front and back of our cocktail list. Either side you flip it, you see it. That [gratuity free] logo is on the dinner menu. I, personally, have been the maître d’ for half a dozen of the last dozen shifts. When I seat every guest myself [I tell them] ‘I just want to let you know that we have eliminated tipping at our restaurant and our prices reflect that change. Please, no need to leave anything else.’’

But people still don’t want to buy the steak that used to be a top-selling item.

It’s early days yet, and maybe people will adjust. But there’s a reason $8.95 is a more common menu price than $9. Value perception is a tricky thing, and time will tell if customers will come around.

(via Nation's Restaurant News)

Tips for Job Searching During the Holidays



Based on past trends, December is historically a slow hiring month. You can still find a short-term gig, holding a position that is limited to just the winter and year-end holidays. However, if you're not interested in such jobs, use your time productively when demand is not so high, and prepare for the upcoming job hiring season ahead.

Here are some tips to help you with job hunting for 2016:

Refresh your profile, experiences and skills.

You may have been busy the few months prior, so this is a great time for you to update your Harri profile. Add any new work experience and include any extra skills you have learned. Did you take any photos or videos of your work? If yes, showcase it on your Harri gallery.

Reconnect with contacts and references.

Reach out to the people you have met and connected with throughout the year. Whether you are contacting them because you want to say a simple hello or thank you, aim to email them a few days to a week after the new year. For one, they will most likely be occupied with urgent priorities during the holidays. You certainly do not want your message to be lost in a sea of other emails. If you want a reference, have a draft email prepared and ready to send out.

Clean up your social media.

Like how you do research on companies, employers may do a background check on you. They could possibly see your social activity on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Make sure to clear off anything that could hurt your chances of earning a job. To be safe, make changes to your privacy settings.

Look through job boards and career pages.

Even though you don't see the job you want listed just yet, you can get a head start by skimming through the job boards. Go through the jobs and read the descriptions that seem similar to your dream job; keep note of such job titles. This will be really helpful when you do another job search in the future. Also, you should sign up for notifications for the types of jobs you want to apply for. On Harri, we make it easy for you, since you receive automatic alerts on certain jobs, including front-of-house or back-of-house specific positions, and more.

Best of luck to you and your job search in the new year!

 Looking to work in Hospitality?

Discover who’s hiring on Harri

Follow Harri on Facebook and Twitter

for real time job posts and industry news.