Foodservice Consulting

New Business Concept Review

We do not presume to know everything but we have seen a lot of things – some that have gone very well and some that have not. In our experiences, working in various roles in the food industry, it has become evident to us that many elements of history do repeat themselves. And yes, as an owner myself, I have had some losing businesses as well as some winners. We can help you in your planning process to avoid many pitfalls while possibly expanding your ideas with things that can significantly improve your profit potential. This type of consult is usually highly beneficial in one or two visits after we complete a review of your concept, menu, service plan, location, etc.

While we are not real estate agents or advisors, we are sometimes able to point out some significant elements related to your target location(s) that may have an impact on your success level - before you sign a lease.

Some of the things we will discuss include:

  1. Profit Plan - setting your financial targets
  2. Feasibility check in – things like “what is the financial potential of your target location (ie seating, kitchen, bar)?”
  3. Elements of Success - Facility, Interior, and Exterior - Visibility, Access, Parking
  4. Menu and Service Level Concept  - Can your product offering and price points cover your expenses and produce your profit target?

ROI - Knowing if your ideas can pay the expenses and make you the profit you desire is best determined before you commit to an interior space, an address, or a building. Many mistakes simply make it more expensive for you to operate creating unnecessary challenges to profit. Some may even make it almost impossible to make a profit. Most mistakes create an ongoing form of stress and a lack of peace of mind that can last for a long time.

Integrating a Business Management Process as part of your Foodservice Concept

Many entrepreneurs start a new foodservice operation with little or no process established for running the business side of things before they open. In a list of priorities, many rank the idea of a proper business set up somewhere below image, décor, location, menu concept, hiring the crew, etc., - that is, if they have thought about it at all. Many think they will get this done after they get going. Some think about correcting the problem once they begin to realize they seem to have a problem - even though they are doing “a lot of business”. “Why are we making so little money? Everybody loves our food. We are busy all the time”...

1. Start Ups

If you are in the process of creating a new foodservice concept, we can help you get organized and set up with processes that will improve your likelihood of financial success - before you open. Being prepared with an established set of tools and a regular process for managing the business of your operation is as important as having a good location and a qualified culinary staff. In fact, some of your culinary staff should be actively using many of the tools and processes that will lead to your financial success.

2. Existing Businesses

A. Overall Review of Current Operations

We can provide you with a comprehensive overview of your current operation from an outsider’s point of view. This involves at least two visits to your facility acting as a customer, followed by one or two visits to your kitchen during meal periods.

We will provide you with a frank report that will document our opinions on outstanding positives, as well as issues and recommendations for improvements. We will point out anything we think has an impact on your business. Please contact us for more specific information on the scope and content of our typical operations report.

We will not evaluate your food concept or individual items unless you ask for our advice on these topics. As with most of the people we work with, we believe you are passionate about your concept. In most cases, we focus on operations, marketing, and appearance.

B. Overall Review of Current Business Reporting

If you are already in business and are not satisfied with your results, or with your current system of getting the information that you need to know when making informed decisions to improve performance, we can help you create a remediation plan, based on analysis, that could result in significant improvements to your bottom line.  After completing an analysis of your operation, we will help you utilize tools and establish processes that help improve your ability to meet your goals. We also work with all key players, training them, with you on their contribution to the financial success of the operation.

We work with you on the nuts and bolts of back-office business while you continue to put your passion to work on great food and service to your customers.

ROI - Knowing where your business is going is dependent on knowing where you are with key costs in relation to sales at the end of every day, week, month and year. Being set up at the start for accurate reporting allows you to both save and make money because you are aware of where the successes and failures are happening. If you are already operating, the value of establishing or improving your systems to get the most accurate information possible cannot be overstated. 

C. On-Line Presence

1. Regarding Operations - At some point following the first customer visit, we will take a look at your online presence. We look at your overall presence including elements that you project on your website, Facebook and other social media. We will check review sites - not because we necessarily believe what people say on review apps, but more to look for trends in perceived value, speed, service and any other reoccurring comments of customer perceptions. The main purpose of this report is to find information that might lead to recommendations for in house actions leading to improved operations and increased sales.

2. Regarding On-Line Marketing -  A more thorough Online Presence review for the purposes of evaluating and possibly improving the elements of your Online Presence itself is a separate consultation that we can arrange for you with our website designer and/or social media advisor/manager. This topic is covered in more detail here, Online Presence.

ROI - Maintaining a vibrant and up to date website and social media presence is now essential to maintaining and growing your business. Conversely, failure to do so sends a potentially damaging message to people who might become customers, as well as your current customers. Failure to have a clean website and excellent social media management can result in lost revenue.

"We worked closely with Mark Berry to renovate and design our existing kitchen at Two Brothers Tavern and in the creation of a brand new kitchen in our second restaurant - Notte Neapolitan Pizzeria. This was an $800,000 endeavor that needed very careful planning and consideration. At every turn, Mark's eye for design, efficiency and budget was instrumentally important to the success of these projects. He also added invaluable insights and support in helping us find the right professionals to help lead our kitchen team. While Mark is a consummate professional, he added a wonderful personal component that demonstrated that he truly cared about us as people and the success of our businesses. I can honestly say that we would not be where we are today were it not for Mark's professional help. Going forward, we will continue to use Mark and his wealth of knowledge and dedication to help us navigate the many peaks and valleys of this incredible industry."
Megan Brady, Holmes Jacobs & Beal Jacobs
Two Brothers Tavern and Notte Neapolitan Pizzeria - Middlebury, Vermont