Category: Restaurant Consulting

Out in Front: Dan Simons Talks Restaurant Trends

As co-owner in VSAG client Farmers Restaurant Group’s growing Founding Farmers farmer-owned brand of restaurants, Dan Simons is asked to represent VSAG and our clients on a regular basis. Dan loves getting involved and participating in restaurant and hospitality industry conversations that lead to open discussions, and in turn shared education and progress. Recently, Dan was invited to join Pennsylvania Secretary of Transportation Leslie Richards, and a  handful of other experts, in a lively panel discussion about industry trends targeting the future, and development of, suburban areas such as Pennsylvania’s King of Prussia district. Why King of Prussia? Because the… read more

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Are Reservation Cancellation Fees Good Business or Bad Karma?

A great best practice: assessing and evaluating business decisions, forecasts, and plans regularly to make sure you’re in line with your goals. Bonus here: making adjustments before issues arise. One business practice that has snagged our attention recently is restaurant reservation policy, specifically reservation cancellation fees: FRIEND or FOE? Let’s be clear. Restaurants aren’t the enemy. As owners and operators, you’re running a business. Sure, to feed people great food, but let’s be honest, to also make a profit. Even the leader in online restaurant reservation systems, OpenTable, has weighed in on this topic revealing that no-shows and last-minute cancellations… read more

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Summer Food Feature: Part Two

We’re holding on to not only the last few weeks of summer, but also the tasty, seasonal dishes our culinary teams have been offering up to clients this season. Where do we start this summer food feature? With one of the season’s light, yet most versatile dishes: fresh summer salads. As a starter or entrée, we love us some easy summer recipes like fresh-from-the-farm salad. From unique greens and vegetable combinations to sliced fruit dripping with flavor, summer salad options seem endless. One of our most popular salads is packed with flavor… and many vegetables. The name says it all:… read more

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Giddy Up! Effective Time Management Tools We Should ALL Live By

Time waits for no one. Ain’t that the truth? Especially true of the incredibly faced-paced restaurant & hospitality environment. Every guest, every dish, every interaction, every table turn time… it all adds up. Quickly. As BIG believers in not only how to improve time management skills but also in applying ‘em to improve time efficiency, we train staff, impart smart, daily time management tips, and our management teams take their influencer roles to heart. Our BIGGEST time manager fan? Principal, Dan Simons. Our staff loves attending his insightful, energetic, everyone-participates classes on topics such as, yeah you guessed it, time… read more

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VSAG on Watch: Pros & Cons of Offering a Restaurant Delivery Service

You decide. We’re breaking it down. Is offering delivery service worth it for you? What are the pros? The cons? Are the projected added costs of hiring drivers/increased insurance/the chance you take with food quality, issues you’re willing to tackle? As background, we recently explored the uptick in delivery-only restaurant concepts making its mark on a new generation of restaurant owners and operators. Sure, these online restaurant prototypes are a sensible way to run one’s operating costs, since there’s no design/brick and mortar space/running restaurant operating costs, etc., but if you’re looking to expand your services (and your brand), eventually… read more

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Simons Says: Our Clients are Open For Business with OpenTable!

Dan Simons is a huge fan of data. As a matter of fact, Dan says, “I love the people, but I love the data.” It’s all encompassing for Dan and his team. The process of collecting it. The knowledge that comes with it. The power that it can yield. The direction it points you in to make your business better. In fact, Founding Farmers Marketing Director Meaghan O’Shea adds, “Anytime you can make a decision that’s based on the facts and not necessarily just gut instinct, you’re going to feel more confident with it.” Where does that confidence come from? A successful… read more

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How OpenTable Works For Us

My epiphany with OpenTable struck in the fall of 2008. Mike Vucurevich and I had just opened our first Founding Farmers in Washington, D.C. The restaurant opening had all of the usual panic, fear, and excitement, but magnified by the world dangling over the economic precipice as markets cratered and the Great Recession set in. I knew we were birthing our little company in a recession. I knew that meant our odds of failing as a business just went into the stratosphere. We were going to need to think differently, act differently, and we’d need to challenge ourselves to develop new… read more

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Taking Your Brand Global

Taking your brand global is a huge, and many times complicated, undertaking. As markets and businesses expand globally, we asked our Vice President of Conceptual Projects Val Zweig for some intel as to when a restaurant operator should take that leap and take their brand global. Specializing in researching and developing our U.S. and international restaurant projects, we knew Val would be the perfect resource to shed some light on knowing if, and when, a restaurant brand is ready to translate on a larger, global scale. Know who you are. When gearing up to expand globally, the first step is to… read more

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Dan Simons Out Front with Forbes: Formula for Leadership Model Success.

Dan Simons was recently approached by Forbes magazine to discuss his business leadership style and recipe for success. When a business industry media giant like Forbes comes calling, what’s one to do? You set forth and provide contributor Jeff Boss with an honest, hard-hitting account profiling your business leadership style – the highs, the lows, the lessons learned.  The result: Why This Leadership Model Simply Cannot be Argued With. Now garnering media and industry attention, Dan wanted to share some snippets from the article outlining our work with longtime VSAG client, Farmers Restaurant Group. “The seed from which a business… read more

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Let Your Restaurant’s Artwork Speak for Itself

Choosing artwork for your restaurant may seem an arduous task you feel you’re bound to fail. Fear not. We’ve gone straight to our Creative Director Leah Frankl for her aesthetic expertise. As an interior designer and LEED Accredited Professional, Leah’s art & design experience and well-trained eye allow her to guide clients on creating fully functional, cohesive, sustainable design spaces. As artwork is oftentimes an investment, we were interested in exploring this concept. How to choose restaurant art that fits within the design and feel of a space? Are there any general rules of thumb when choosing artwork? How to… read more

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