MAKE 2015 AWESOME: Happy New Year from Kid President!


Streaming hasn’t killed the radio star

We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again. Old-fashioned broadcast radio is a remarkably resilient medium.  This chart is taken from a survey of 2,016 American adults conducted by Morgan Stanley in November and released to investor clients this morning (Jan. 13).

Radio reigns supreme. The old-fashioned wireless remains the audio service used by the most Americans.
The above numbers also suggest consumers still overwhelmingly prefer free music services (internet radio provider Pandora and even TV music channels are quite a bit more popular than other services). And when they want to hear a particular song on demand they find it on YouTube.

The enduring strength of radio is probably best explained by the automobile (which Americans also still love). About half of all radio listening takes place in the car, where radio remains dominant relative to satellite and internet services.

To look at it another way, see the chart below showing which of these services respondents have never heard of.

Almost everyone has “heard of” AM/FM radio, which is a relief, since the medium has been around for almost a century. (Though we wonder if the 2% who haven’t are very young or very old.) Most people have heard of YouTube, Pandora, and satellite radio company Sirius. Spotify also seems to have decent recognition, befitting its status as the biggest on-demand streaming service out there. But its direct rivals, including Beats, Rdio and Deezer (the last of which, to be fair, has only just arrived in the US) remain pretty unknown.

Why Our Brains Love Lists and How to Make Better Ones

By Jane Porter
It’s no secret that people love lists. Ten ways to do this, five ways to do that. Lists are soothing. They’re simple. They provide instant gratification and purpose.

Psychologically, the list enables us to digest information in bite-sized form rather than tackling a giant tempest of tasks all at once. Lists gel well with the brain’s cognitive penchant for categorization. They minimize choice and make it easy to process data. As Maria Konnikova put it in the New Yorker, processing information in list-form is “a bit like sipping green juice instead of munching on a bundle of kale.” It’s just easier to digest.

But how to make lists more useful in our lives?

Often our to-do lists leave out a lot of tasks that occupy our attention. There’s a method to this approach—the list will help us focus on what we really need to get done so that the other stuff doesn’t distract. But your brain hangs onto those distractions and if you don’t get them all down on paper, you very well may be setting yourself up for derailment.

David Allen, author of Getting Things Done, known to many simply as GTD, says the first step in making an effective list is to capture everything—that’s 100% of what is competing for your attention—so that it’s all in one place. Once you’ve got it all down, you can then sort through your list and break it into categories, getting rid of what you can’t do anything about, breaking what you can do into actionable steps, and filing what you don’t need to do as urgently in a reference list for later.

Every to-do list has those perennial repeats—the things we want to do, intend to do, but never actually get done. The reason for this, of course, is we simply don’t know where to start.

If you have something like “do yoga” on your to-do list and you’re not someone who’s ever done yoga, you’re going to have a much harder time tackling that task than if you broke it into many simple steps—find yoga studio, sign up with studio online, buy yoga mat, go to class on Monday at 6 p.m. The tasks you break your list into might be embarrassingly simple—”pick up phone and call yoga studio to ask for class recommendation”—but the simplest actionable step to get you moving forward should be the first thing on your list.

Research in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology has shown that unfinished tasks act as cognitive distractions that negatively effect your performance overall. In the study, participants did worse on a brainstorming task when they were not allowed to finish a simple warm-up task first. That said, those participants who were allowed to make a plan for finishing that initial task where freed from the distraction of having not completed it.

The lesson here: if you can’t finish what you started, before moving on, write down what you have to left to get done in an actionable step on your to-do list. If the act of figure that out seems like it might take just as long as simply finishing your task—well, you know what you need to do. Get to it.

The Valentine’s Day Dining Dilemma

By Christian Carlson

We’re a month away from Valentine’s Day, the second most popular holiday to dine out after Mother’s Day, and 35% of people will eat out that night.
Likelihood to enjoy a special Valentine’s Day meal at a restaurant:
– 35-44 year olds 39%
– 18-34 year olds 33%
– over 55 year olds 27%
So, you’re a restaurant or hotel, how do you get more diners because of Valentine’s Day?  Here’s the dilemma…
Valentine’s Day is a Saturday Night this year!
You’re already going to be busy, so how do you get more tables, more turns, more sales?
– You’re they’re favorite restaurant already
42% make their decision on that alone. Use your customer database to book regulars in advance to contact your regulars instead of waiting for them to choose you.  No need to discount, but offer them the chance to make reservations before the general public on those nights if they book by February 1st, before most people are thinking about it anyway.
Celebrate Valentine’s Week, Sunday the 8th through the 15th
More chances to turn tables.
Create a special “experience”
82% of people said they’d like an “experience” rather than a gift.
21% of diners choose a romantic atmosphere…if you don’t have one normally, how can you change that for one night to tap into that market? Dimmed lights, mood music, table service?
White Castle goes full-service with tablecloths, table service, flowers and free dessert.  Chick-fil-a does too.
A client of mine in Niles does heart-shaped pizzas.
Partner with a neighbor business to offer flowers, desserts, fruit baskets, hotel rooms, etc. to diners to help guys give their ladies a complete experience.
Do a singles event or special
You’re limiting your options if you’re only catering to couples.  Have a lock and key event, where women get a random lock and men get a random key and they have to find the matching set to win prizes.
Carryout special for two
Let guests enjoy themselves at home while you sell their meal without losing a table or turn in the restaurant
Special menus
Another 13% will choose a restaurant because of your special menu offering
Invite new diners to give you a try
A full 11% will try something new on Valentine’s Day.  How will they decide to choose you? ADVERTISE  Social Media won’t work, they don’t know you.  Word of mouth won’t help, who wants all their buddies from work going to the same place they’re at with their significant other.  Find a market of people you haven’t talked to enough to be their favorite restaurant and dominate that market until your reservations are full.
Bounce back offers
They’ve been their once, have them fill out a survey on the experience and give them a bounce back gift certificate towards their next meal.  Now you have a chance to bring them back, plus you now what they thought of you too.  Is the cost of the gift certificate worth the “free” secret shopping of your place?  I bet it is.

There’s No Lying in Customer Service!

By Shep Hyken
Here is a short version of the story. On a recent trip I met a number of my fellow professional speakers for dinner at the hotel we were staying at. Sometime during the dinner someone asked if all of us brought down the five dollar discount coupons that were in our registration packet. Two of us, myself included, had not. When it came time to pay our bill we asked the server if we could pay the bill, get the discount, and we promised to bring the coupons back once we all got up from the table. I jokingly said I would provide collateral, if necessary. She laughed and said it wasn’t necessary.

Several minutes later one of the restaurant managers came over and said that unfortunately she needed the coupons when we paid. She said there was a code she had to enter for us to receive the discount. It was only five dollars, so I thought to let it go. I didn’t want to leave my friends for the ten minutes it would take to go back to my room and come back down. No big deal.

Well, it was “no big deal” until I noticed that the coupons didn’t have a code on them. They were just pieces of paper that had the name of the restaurant with the five dollar offer for hotel guests. The manager had lied.

When the server came back, I asked to speak to the manager and I told her why. Our server was shocked and obviously very uncomfortable. I assured her that she was awesome and I’d recommend her for a promotion. She laughed and went to get the manager.

A short time later a different manager came back. She listened to my story and was also shocked. She apologized profusely and insisted on taking care of us and buying us a drink. She was truly upset.

The issue wasn’t about the five dollars. It wasn’t about the coupon. It was about a lie. The manager lied to me. No matter how perfect everything was up until that point, the experience ended in a crash.

Sometimes a company may have a policy or procedure I don’t agree with. I can live with that. But, don’t lie about it. A lie is a lie, and that is unacceptable for anyone or any company. It instantly destroys confidence and trust. One person’s lie can reflect on all of the employees. Customers will walk away and say, “I don’t want to do business with them. They lie to their customers.” It wasn’t that they lied. It was a he or a she that lied. It was just one person, and maybe that’s the only person in the entire company that ever lied. But at that moment, that one person represented all of the other employees.

Back to what I stated at the beginning: There’s no lying in customer service!

Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE is a customer service expert, hall-of-fame speaker and New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. He works with organizations to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. He is also the creator of The Customer Focus, a customer service training program that helps organizations develop a customer service culture and loyalty mindset.

QSR Report: Same-Store Sales Up Big in 2014’s Q4

– 2014 aggregate growth of 0.8%, up from -0.1% in 2013

– Q1 2014 = worst since Q2 2010

– Q2-Q4 2014 – same store sales up 1.3%
– Dec 2014 – same store sales up 3.1%, best in six years of tracking
– Dec 2014 – best month since Jan 2012
“Performance during Q1 of 2015 is expected to be positive based on current economic and consumer trends and the fact that sales were so weak during the first quarter of last year,” he continues. “However, as was the case in 2014 the winter weather could play an important part reversing this trend.”

Three Tips to Bust High Turnover

By Andrew Lisa
Of all the things that can hurt a restaurant’s quality, reputation, and bottom line, high employee turnover is among the most widely discussed and hardest to remedy. High turnover means servers and kitchen staff are constantly in training, learning the menu, learning the POS system, and making mistakes. There are few things a diner wants to see less than two servers walking over to the table, one in charge and the other in training.

Turnover is, unfortunately, the nature of the industry. Good employees aren’t necessarily hard to find, but they are hard to keep. Follow this guide to lowering turnover in an industry synonymous with the phenomenon.

Train Managers to Be Staff Members
During World War II, General Omar Bradley was known as “The Soldiers General” because he led from the front and asked his men to endure no hardship that he himself wasn’t already enduring. He rejected fancy officer’s quarters and slept where the troops slept, ate what the troops ate.

There is nothing that gets a good server to go home and log onto the jobs section of Craigslist faster than a manager who spends more time trying to assert his or her dominance than he or she does helping to get the job done. There is nothing that makes an employee want to work harder and stay longer than a manager who rolls up his sleeves and washes dishes, busses tables, runs food – does whatever is needed whenever it’s needed to make the place function.

Your manager isn’t the boss. He’s the senior staff member on the floor on any given shift.

Honor Seniority
If you constantly hose the new guy, the new guy won’t be there for very long. But by initiating a fair and consistent system in which your senior servers get the best shifts and best tables more often, you set a good precedent. Your senior employees will know that their loyalty is recognized and appreciated, and your newer workers will understand that if they stick with you, good things are on the horizon.

Create a Sense of Family
You own a restaurant. Once in a while – maybe every quarter – close it down and invite the staff to forget titles and just hang out. Don’t let them bring their girlfriends or roommates; this is just for the staff – the family. Bring the kitchen and the front of house people together, get some of the surplus food that isn’t selling anyway and – God forbid – maybe even crack a few bottles of the booze that isn’t selling. If you really want to up the ante, see to it that you and your managers are the ones serving them.

Workers are much less likely to stray if they feel like they’re part of something intimate that outsiders can’t enjoy.

Employee turnover is bad for business. Customers like familiar faces, and the place runs better when it’s in the hands of staff who know the routine, know the menu, and know the politics. As much as getting the best possible deal from your vendors, finding and keeping good employees is key to keeping your business afloat.

Andrew Lisa is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. He writes about the restaurant industry and profiles prominent businesspeople.