New Restaurant Blues

 In 6. Tracy Yandow, Operations

Authored by Tracy Yandow

Hi, this is Tracy Yandow of The Manual Solution wishing you all a Happy New Year!
If you don’t know already, I live in a pretty small Norman Rockwell-ish town in upstate Vermont – a stone’s throw to Canada. We have maybe five stoplights in the whole town, and even fewer good restaurants. So every time a new restaurant opens up, Tony (my husband) and I are one of the first ones to try it out.

For instance this past summer we fell upon a wonderful Thai restaurant that had quietly opened up on the other side of town. We LOVED it! The food was outstanding and service was quick. In fact we went back every other day for lunch and told everyone we knew about it to try to spread the word. Unfortunately they closed their doors due to lack of business. (I guess we didn’t have enough friends – ha!)

Then just last week (in the same location) we went to the next restaurant to take its spot. This restaurant’s theme is an 80s flashback – with memorabilia on the walls and movies of the past playing on screens around the restaurant. It was kind of like walking into a teenager’s bedroom with David Hasselhoff’s poster plastered on the ceiling.

Anyhow, we gave it a try. We were handed menus – with cleverly made up menu item names all with an 80s twist – that gave us a good laugh. But then we sat… and we sat… and we sat. We watched the waiter come and go through the kitchen door, hand out checks, make change, and deliver food to other tables. Even once she glanced up at us… but did not acknowledge that we were even sitting there – let alone give us the “be right with you” line. We were about ready to leave when the equally disappearing host/waiter came up, “apologized” and took our order – FINALLY. The food was OK… service started out bad and ended up OK – but will I go and spread the word? Probably not. I wonder how long this one will last?

As we drove home that afternoon, Tony and I discussed how we are not surprised so many restaurants seem to fail with such blatant lack of experience, training, and marketing. We see this all too often in our small town.

That is why I am very excited that David Scott Peters and I are going to start working on a New Restaurant Development Manual this first quarter of 2008. This will be the next item to add to the independent restaurant operator’s arsenal of restaurant tools. This manual will help to ensure that when opening their first or their fifth restaurant, operators will have a tool to help them get off on the right foot. Pair that with the SMART Restaurant Operations Manual and Management Training Program, and not to mention the Full Service Employee Training Program, and they will have no reason not to succeed.

So, keep an eye out for our new products in 2008!

Tracy Yandow, President and Chief Instructional Designer

Tracy Yandow is the founder and chief instructional designer for The Manual Solution, a professional documentation writing, instructional design service and partner in product. The Manual Solution provides a wide range of documentation and operational solutions to companies across the nation. Find out more at

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