Category: Restaurant Consulting

Why Restaurants Fail, And How To Prevent It

Developing and opening a new restaurant is exciting, often the culmination of a personal dream or a company strategy. Regardless of concept, brand, cuisine and design, there is one thing that these projects always have in common: the founders strongly believe that the venture will be a success. Unfortunately most have fatal flaws that caused the restaurant to fail. It’s not that the idea wasn’t great, or the food wasn’t yummy. It’s not that the service was bad, or that the interior design was lame. The flaws are hidden in the disconnects between each element of the project. All the… read more

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Embracing Failure: Sure, You Can!

$709.2 billion. Now, that’s a number! As reported by the National Restaurant Association, $709.2 billion is the amount of U.S. restaurant industry sales we’ve seen this year. It seems as though that number represents an amazing quantifier of restaurant success in the U.S., right? Well for as much success as our industry has, there are most likely just as many (if not more) failures. You may ask yourself: with a number in the billions, why didn’t my last venture work? Why did my restaurant not survive more than a year? Why did my restaurant fail? What did I do wrong? We’re here… read more

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Growing Your Business: Dan Simons Talks Successful Partnerships

Over the years VSAG co-Founder Dan Simons has learned the restaurant business from the ground up. From his front of house-service start to transitioning to a seasoned restaurant consultant and ultimately as concept developer and operator, Dan has learned the value of a great partnership and what they can do to propel the growth of a restaurant concept. Recently, Dan was asked to talk to his experience in a lively radio interview on KFGO radio, out of our client Farmers Restaurant Group’s partner North Dakota Farmers Union territory of Fargo-Moorhead, North Dakota. He was happy to tell his story and that… read more

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6 Tectonic Shifts and Challenges Facing Restaurant Owners and Operators in 2018

The excitement of working in the restaurant industry lies heavily in the constant state of activity, the constant challenge to execute consistently and the relentless need to stay ahead of the curve. From servers dodging oncoming trays and knife-wielding kitchen staff prepping for a busy dinner service to the ever-changing industry regulations, trends, and technologies, there are always new things to learn, improvements to be made, and tactics to apply to generate more success. As restaurant consultants, it’s our job to navigate change by researching, analyzing, strategizing, and forecasting … and in the end – always keeping our clients’ best… read more

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VSAG On Watch: The Great Tipping Debate. Where Do You Stand?

To tip or not to tip? That is the restaurant industry question du jour. So, we ask you: can we decide the following in this one conversation … Will service suffer if we eradicate tipping? Is tipping fair or does it perpetuate inequality among restaurant workers? Will guests welcome a menu pricing increase in order to forgo the extra steps (& a math problem) at the end of their meal? Why don’t restaurants pay servers and bartenders just like other employees get paid? The short answer is “No” we can’t solve all this in one short conversation. But, we’re aiming… read more

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Kudos to VSAG Founder Dan Simons on Recent National News Coverage Inclusion

A big VSAG shout out to our VSAG Founder, Dan Simons, for being quoted recently in national restaurant industry news coverage for The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Even as a seasoned restaurant professional, it’s always a thrill to be asked to impart your experiences in the media. Hence, we wanted to share Dan’s coverage. The New York Times recently approached Dan to share our company culture and thoughts on advising our restaurant client, DC-area’s Founding Farmers, where Dan is also the concept developer and one of the owners, regarding the timely topic of providing (and labeling)… read more

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The Art of Successful Negotiation

Our negotiation tactics start young. Negotiating with our parents that if we eat our vegetables, we then get dessert. Negotiating with our teachers that if we fail an assignment, we should then be able to complete an additional assignment for extra credit. It only increases with age as daily negotiations with coworkers and superiors (& spouses!) can prove taxing. In our business, we negotiate all the time: better prices with vendors, delivery timetables with purveyors, contracts with developers, work schedules with staff, and the like. And no matter how often we poise ourselves to make our point, there is an… read more

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Global Food Trends: Ethnic Cuisine Making its Mark

What does our restaurant consulting team do for fun? Besides gathering to eat the best foods we can find – we find joy in seeking out trends and advising our clients on how to translate them into effective, long-term business strategies. One such trend we’ve been watching: Ethnic Cuisine. Sure, Americans have their traditional favorites (i.e. Italian, Chinese, Mexican), but we see the market going global. With four out of five people surveyed saying they eat at least one type of ethnic cuisine every month and 84% preferring to eat ethnic cuisine at restaurants that focus specifically on that type… read more

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Back to School: Healthy Kids Menu Options & Ideas

Our nation’s children head back to school in droves this month. As many of us hold gold memberships in the ‘busy parents club,’ we know just how especially hectic this time of year can be. And as food & beverage consultants, we also know that as errands and carpools are run, families can often find solace in gathering and enjoying a casual meal together at a local restaurant. So, each year we remain mindful that a healthy body promotes a healthy mind and aim to post a back to school piece: celebrating our nation’s kids, our support of programs we’re… read more

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Time is Money: The Benefits of Creating an Effective Daily To-Do List

We’ve all been there. Not enough hours in the day. Days in the week … You know the drill. Time is precious. Working within the fast-paced realm of the restaurant & hospitality industry as food service consultants, we put out fires (sometimes literally!) daily. Within such a busy and demanding environment, daily tasks constantly get placed on the backburner. But, we fortunately have a Founder, Dan Simons, who is a little (dare we say?) obsessed with time management and how to BEST utilize your time. We love the methods and tactics Dan shares with us during restaurant staff training sessions… read more

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