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Jun. 20, 2017

Side work duties can differ by the type restaurant your operate. Here’s a systematic way to identify your side work duties so you can develop your own customized checklists:

  1. Identify Opening Side Work Duties. Make a list of all the tasks and functions that must be completed in the front of the house before the restaurant opens. This would include all those activities and work that need to be done in the dining room, beverage stations, server stations and other service areas. Also include functions servers may help the kitchen with including filling salad dressing containers and plating salads and desserts.
  2. Assign Tasks to Server Stations. Dole out these tasks to each station for the first shift of the day. The tasks should be assigned to stations in a way that allows for efficient completion of the tasks and in a way that evenly divides the work amount all stations as much as possible. In many restaurants the time needed to complete opening server side work is about 30 minutes.
  3. Identify “Running Side work” Duties. Next determine what side work functions need to be completed during the meal periods. Running side work, as it’s usually referred to, involves keeping server work areas adequately stocked and minor cleaning functions. This work can be divided up among the servers and bussers.
  4. End of Shift Functions. Create a detailed list of all the tasks servers should complete before the end of the day-part shift. Assign these tasks to servers based on the in which servers are scheduled to leave. You don’t want to assign a server, who leaves early, those tasks that will have to be repeated again before the end of the shift.

    The goal should be to have as little side work as possible left for servers on the PM shift. Ideally, you want PM servers to begin their shifts with a check to see their tables are in order and the service areas are adequately stocked. This also, creates time and less distractions for pre-shift meetings.
  5. Closing Duties. Make a list of all the side work that should be completed at the end of the PM shift. This normally includes storing and refrigerating food products, cleaning server areas, beverage dispensers and dining room areas and refilling table condiments. 
Jun. 20, 2017

Food cost has a direct impact on a restaurants’ operating profit. Because no two operations are identical, it is necessary to calculate the food cost of your particular restaurant monthly. Industry averages cannot be used as an accurate standard.
The concept of food cost must be examined at several different levels in order to take into account any and all variables. For example, one variable is your menu sales mix. When one menu item sells better than another, there will be variances in your overall food cost and you should know how this affects your profits.
Essentially, there are four aspects of food cost that must be individually calculated for each operation:

* Maximum allowable food cost percentage
* Actual food cost percentage calculated for the income statement
* Potential food cost percentage – determined by the menu sales mix
* Standard food cost percentage – includes a waste allowance

Maximum allowable food cost
The maximum allowable food cost figure determines the food cost percentage an operation needs in order to achieve its profit objectives. It is calculated from the actual operating budget of the business.

To calculate the maximum allowable food cost percentage, select a representative accounting period and determine the amounts for:
• payroll related expenses (salaries, wages, taxes, and fringe benefit)
• overhead expenses (advertising, utilities, maintenance, other supplies excluding food costs).
• Also include a target figure for profits before tax.
Convert the dollar value for these three areas to a percentage of the total sales. Remember that food cost is not included. Now subtract these numbers from 100 to determine the maximum allowable food cost percentage.

If you are working with following percentages of sales, payroll 27%, overhead 20%, profit 15%, then the maximum allowable food cost percentage is 37 % (100 minus 63 ).

Actual food cost
The actual food cost percentage appears on the monthly income statement. This is the cost of the food consumed by your customers, and does not include employee meals or spoilage.

Although the actual food cost indicates what the food cost is currently running, it has little value unless the operator knows what the target percentage should be.

Potential food cost
Potential food cost is a theoretical or ideal percentage which indicates what the food cost should be in a perfectly run restaurant, given the sales mix. It reflects the fact that the most popular menu items will have the greatest influence on the overall food cost percentage.
To calculate the food cost percentage of each dish:

• Multiply the food cost per item with the number of portions sold
• Multiply the sales price by the number of portions sold
• Add both columns and then multiply the total cost by 100 and divide it by the total of the sales column.
This will result in the potential food cost. If then your total cost is $ 3,000.- and your sales $ 10,000.- your potential food cost percentage will be 30.0.

If the sales mix produces a potential food cost that exceeds the maximum allowable cost, profit objectives cannot be realized.

Standard food cost
Management needs to adjust the potential food cost to include waste and spoilage that occurs during normal preparation, as well as an allowance for complimentary or discounted meals to employees and guests. An acceptable variance will range from half to three percentage points of food sales.

The exact percentage is determined from management studies. The standard food cost percentage is calculated by adding this variance percentage to the potential food cost.

The difference between actual food cost and standard food cost reflects inefficiencies that should have been controlled by management.

How they relate
Bringing all four aspects of food cost together shows the importance of each in examining food costs

Assume that you have a maximum allowable food cost percentage of 35. The month-end food sales and inventory figures for the same period result in an actual food cost percentage of 34.0. If the food cost analysis stops at this point, one may conclude that the cost of food is in line because the actual food cost is slightly below the maximum allowable food cost percentage.

However, further analysis using the weighted sales mix analysis reveals a potential food cost percentage of 29.4. The variance that exists between the actual and potential food cost percentage is 4.6 percentage points, much too high for the existing menu sales mix.

Management has set a standards food cost percentage of 2 % to take into account as acceptable food waste, etc. The actual food cost percentage is still 2.6 percentage points higher than the standard food cost percentage. Thus minimum profit objectives are being exceeded, but they are not being optimized. Investigation is required and its results could improve the financial performance of the restaurant in the future.

Jun. 4, 2017

#1 Strategic location

Located in the center of ASEAN, Vietnam has a strategic location. It is close to other major markets in Asia, the most notable neighbor of them being China.Its long coastline, direct access to the South China Sea and proximity to the world’s main shipping routes give perfect conditions for trading.Two major cities in Vietnam are Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Hanoi, the capital, is located in the north and has extremely convenient trading opportunities. Ho Chi Minh City, the largest by population, is situated in the south and is the industrial mecca of Vietnam.

#2 Doing business is getting easier every year

Vietnam has made numerous amendments to their regulations to make investing in Vietnam more transparent.In terms of ease of doing business, Vietnam ranked 82 out of 190 countries in 2016. Compared to the previous year, the ranking improved by 9 positions.This rise was the result of improvements in some processes of doing business. For example, the government made the procedures of getting electricity and paying taxes easier, according to the World Bank report.Based on their economic models, Trading Economics predicts Vietnam to rank 60 by 2020. Hence, the future prospects of ease of doing business in Vietnam are very promising.

#3 Trade agreements

Another indication of openness to the global economy are the numerous trade agreements Vietnam has signed to make the market more liberal.

Some of the memberships and agreements:

  • Member of ASEAN and ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA)
  • Member of World Trade Organisation (WTO)
  • Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA) with the US
  • Free Trade Agreement with the European Union (comes into effect in 2018)

All these treaties show that Vietnam is eager to promote the country’s economic growth and will continue its commitment towards trading with other countries.

#4 Stable GDP growth

Over the last few decades, Vietnam’s economic growth has been one of the fastest in the world. This rapid development started due to economic reforms launched in 1986 and the rise has been continuous ever since.According to the World Bank, the GDP rate in Vietnam has experienced a stable growth, averaging 6.46 % a year since 2000.

#5 Openness to foreign investment

Geographical advantages and growing economy are not the only attractive features for investors. Vietnam has always been welcoming to foreign direct investment (FDI) and encourages it by constantly renewing regulations and providing FDI incentives.The government of Vietnam offers several incentives to foreign investors who invest in certain geographical areas or sectors of special interest. For example, in high-tech or healthcare businesses. These tax benefits include:

  • Lower corporate income tax rate or exemption from the tax
  • Exemption from import duty, e.g on raw materials
  • Reduction of or exemption from land rental or land use tax

In July 2015, Vietnam also implemented Decree 60/2015 which allows foreign investors to invest in more areas than before.Vietnam recorded $24.4 billion as foreign direct investment in 2016, according to the government. Giants like Samsung, Nestle, and LG are among the largest investors contributing to this number.

#6 Vietnam is the next China?

According to the World Bank, the economic growth of Vietnam has raised the country from one of the world’s poorest into a lower middle-income country over the past three decades. If the economic rise of nearly 7% a year will continue, Vietnam’s economic development could be compared to what Chinese economy experienced a decade ago, as predicted by economic analysts.Rising labor costs in China increase the prices of products as well, giving Vietnam a good opportunity to become the next hub for producing labor-intensive goods. Industries that used to flourish in China are now moving to Vietnam.For example, Vietnam is becoming the hotspot of manufacturing instead of China. In addition to top manufacturing sectors such as textile and clothing, Vietnam’s manufacturing is also taking a more high-tech direction.

#7 Growing population

With over 95 million residents, Vietnam ranks as the 14th largest population in the world. By 2030, the population will grow to 105 million, as forecasted by Worldometers.Together with a growing population, the middle class of Vietnam is increasing faster than of any other Southeast Asian nation.Steadily increasing economy means bigger income which, in turn, will result in growing middle class. A market research firm Nielsen estimates the middle class in Vietnam to grow to 44 million residents by 2020 and to 95 million by 2030. This will support consumerism making Vietnam a profitable target for foreign investors.

#8 Young demographics

Unlike in China where the population is aging rapidly, the demographics of Vietnam is young.According to Worldometers, the median age in Vietnam is 30.8 years in contrast to 37.3 years in China. Nielsen has also estimated that 60% of Vietnamese are under the age of 35.The workforce is young and large and shows no sign of decrease. In addition, the country also invests more money in education than other developing countries. Thus, besides being vigorous, the labor force in Vietnam is skilled as well.

#9 Relatively low setup costs

In contrast to many other countries, there are no minimum capital requirements for most business lines in Vietnam. You can start a business without having a great amount of charter capital in your back pocket. Just make sure you have enough funds to cover the planned expenses of your company set up and you are good to go.However, note that the amount of capital you stated must be fully paid in within 90 days of the date of your company registration.

 #10 Competitive labor costs

Despite the yearly increase of minimum wage, Vietnam is still a country with low labor costs. Wages in Vietnam remain less than half of what the wages are in China.The rise of wages in China has forced manufacturers to look for a market with lower labor costs. Vietnam with its low minimum wage and growing economy is a great low-cost alternative to China.


Feb. 27, 2017






If employees forget things you taught them back in orientation or, worse yet, they’re leaving in droves to seek other opportunities — chances are your outdated training program needs to change, and fast.

When was the last time you took a long hard look at your company’s training strategy? 

If employees forget things you taught them back in orientation or, worse yet, they’re leaving in droves to seek other opportunities — chances are your outdated training program needs to change, and fast.

So, how does your training strategy stack up? Is it stuck in time? Or are you keeping up with the ever-changing needs of today’s modern employee? Let’s find out.

Sign #1: You’re stuck in event-based training

Many companies still adhere to an old model of training: When employees get a new job, or when the company rolls out a new product or system, everyone is forced into a room for hours to train and learn new material. 

Maybe there’s a test or two, but then the training ends. The learning has stopped.

Employers who still hold true to this style may be horrified to learn that, according to Information Age, 80% of employees will forget what they learned in in-classroom settings within a month.

Let’s give your employees some credit: The majority wants to get better at their jobs and develop marketable skills within their industry. Rather than pouring information on them in one event, develop a training program that teaches them key pieces of information on a consistent basis.

For instance, implementing an eLearning program can work to deliver daily bites of knowledge after an in-person training session to reinforce the critical information.

Plus, eLearning is an effective way for you to adjust your training easily based on what you see in your company metrics. If there’s a specific key performance indicator that your company is lagging in, you should be able to tailor the next training module to focus specifically on this initiative. This gives you incredible flexibility and power in improving your workforce talent.

Sign #2: Rigid times and schedules are your norms. 

Here’s an email that employees dread to see in their inbox: “Training in Classroom A, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Tuesday.”

It’s not because they’re lazy; employees simply want to be able to learn in the setting that works best for them. For companies that employ people on a national or global basis, this means that flying in people from across the country to attend an in-person meeting isn’t only a huge hassle — it also may be ineffective.

Nevertheless, it seems that companies are slow to adopt. Capgemini Consulting found that IN 2014 80% of organizations still rely on “one-way communication tools” (such as in-person training sessions) for learning.

This is a huge missed opportunity for companies — whose employees are often devout smartphone users, often picking up their devices over 200 times a day. 

Companies should capitalize on that tendency to mobile by offering more flexible, on-demand training programs that allow their employees to learn whenever, and wherever they are. Some employees learn better in the morning, some at night; others at their desktop computer, with still others considering their smartphones the ideal way to watch and participate in training courses. 

Employees want to take ownership in their learning and development journey in the company. The more empowered they feel, the more engaged and motivated they will be while going through the training. 

Sign #3: You’re not innovating or using new technology. 

It comes down to this: If you don’t reach the modern learner in the ways that make the most sense to them, they’re likely to leave and move on to somewhere else.

PwC found that nearly 3 out of 5 employees considered the company’s technology setup when considering a job.Almost 4 out of 5 of those survey respondents said that access to technology made them more effective employees. According to another study, 36 percent of employees said they would leave their current company if offered a job at a more digitally progressive organization.

In response to this, companies are starting to take a step forward. According to Brandon Hall Group 2016 research, nearly half (48%) of organizations say exploring new or different learning technologies is a priority in 2017.

With those factors in mind, why wouldn’t companies set up an eLearning program to serve content to their employees in the ways that are most meaningful to them?

Employees don’t learn by listening to someone lecture for hours, or pouring through dated policy documents or just watching a static PowerPoint presentation anymore. They learn by engaging in short, bite-sized courses with videos and interactive quizzes and discussions. They like learning online, through apps, on- the go, from remote locations.

If you set a training strategy that allows employees to learn where they want, when they want — they’ll be more likely to be engaged and continuously improving their skills as they continue to work for your organization. To do this, you’ll need to adopt smart and mobile technology — which is proven to be one of the best ways to increase employee engagement.

How did it go? Do you think your training strategy is stuck in the past and needs to evolve? Or are you already on the right track?

Be brave and innovate, try new methodologies, new tools, and think out of the box. What has worked in the past won’t be effective today. It’s time to move away from the 'training for training’s sake' attitude. It’s time to evolve your training strategy to meet modern learner needs.


Dec. 30, 2016
Food & Beverage Trends 2016-17

thefoodpeople present the 2016-17 food & beverage trends predictions, including the social and cultural trends influencing the sector, the big 10 food and beverage mega trends and over 100 sub food trends, as well as the influencing cuisines map and the key sweet & savoury 'flavour markers' for the coming year