The Battle of the Chains

 In 1. David Scott Peters, service, The Numbers, Training

By David Scott Peters

Chili’s is taking on Applebee’s. Are you taking on either? See this article to understand what I mean?

Before you take on either chain in your own neighborhood with an offer like this, make sure you have three key things in place:

1. Know the food costs of what you’re offering. Put together recipe costing cards for each item on the menu, even for specials. Don’t lose money just to get butts in seats.

2. Get your employees on board. Show them the benefit of any special promotions, especially when it threatens to eat into their nightly profit, i.e., servers’ tips.

3. Train employees. Portion control and upselling. Make sure the kitchen isn’t overloading the plate(s) and that they are following the recipe costing cards. Work with the servers to find opportunities to upsell. When a customer is buying a meal with an ap, main course and dessert, where can they use their upselling techniques to increase ticket average and improve the customers’ experiences?

I say it over and over again, but I just can’t help myself. It’s what I do. The chains have the systems in place to make sure these kinds of moves are not charitable, but profitable. The benefit of being an independent restaurant owner is you can mimic the things that work in your restaurant and do so quickly. You’re flexible and you make the decisions, not some bigwigs at a corporate office. But you have to make sure what you offer is good for your business.

David Scott Peters is a restaurant expert, coach, trainer and speaker, specializing in systems for independent restaurant owners. He is the nationally acclaimed restaurant coach whose unique “SMART Systems” approach to boosting profits has earned him the title of, “The man who can walk into any restaurant in America and find $10,000 in undiscovered cash before he hits the back door – Guaranteed!” Visit for more.

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