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Rob83's Profile

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"Waiters can and do spit in people's food ..."

Suggestion for those that can't get these horrible thoughts out of their minds if going out to eat. Watch the movie "Waiting". Happened to be on at a friend's house while ago. Funny--albeit sometimes gross movie, but has some truths to the industry. Having GMed restos for a number of years, I have NEVER seen this done. (Although I know it happens.) I like to think I am very observant of my kitchen, and also feel that those of you who have seen some of these things done--you should've reported it. That's almost as bad as the act itself. Maybe that person getting fired a few times will rethink their retribution process--or better yet, get out of the industry all together.

Jan 22, 2009
Rob83 in Not About Food

Is it right for restaurants to stop seating people before closing time?

Gryphon....I sympathize. I also see Jfood and others points of view as a paying customer. I was in a similar thread months ago. In the QSR segment of this industry and being a small, family owned business of 6 stores in the STL and about a dozen more in CA, we especially feel the pain of no late business. Economy is killing us in a number of ways. I have since put together what I think is a sensible solution to slow the bleeding, and took it to my area mgr, who in turn got on board and we proposed it to the owner. Have "winter" hours. Instead of closing at 9pm--all stores close at 8. I had all the GMs print out their sales figures using the 8-9 business hour going back to Oct. My store averaged $42 in that hour with a guest check avg of approx $12. Most other locations were roughly the same. Owner was not keen on idea, but is now coming around. Bottom line is, if customers like your food and service, they will come when you are open, no matter what the closing time is, as long as it is posted. I think more restos--even chains should look at this and take appropriate actions depending on their market's demographics.

Jan 21, 2009
Rob83 in Not About Food
1

How bad off is the restaurant industry?

In the STL, the restaurant industry as a whole is hurting. I run a rest. Not a national chain, but the owner has several in this state, and in a couple others. We don't have a national chain finances behind us. I just had a sandwich shop close 2 weeks ago that was next door. Without details, what I can say is, food costs in general have gone up close to 40% since last spring. Combined with less traffic, and people paying more attention to what places have good specials advertised, it is a tough go right now. We need to have moderate price increases, the owner hasn't been on board with that, but is slowly starting to see the light. This company has had only 1 price increase in 5 1/2 years, so it is time. We can leave our price leaders alone, but seafood and other high-cost "specialty" items can handle a small price jump. And right now, the public understands. They may not like it, I don't as a customer sometimes, but I understand why. As long as we treat our guests right, they will still come. That is what bleeding restaurants need to look at now, change suppliers without hurting quality, or raise prices.

Dec 16, 2008
Rob83 in Not About Food

How bad does accepting credit cards hurt small restaurants?

I felt compelled to respond after showing your post to my wife, who as previously stated sells Merchant Services for a major bank. She gets paid on signing deals and an EXTREMELY small % of what gets sold via CCs...She runs into your situation almost daily. Her primary amount of her commission comes from selling the equipment --especially through a lease. But telling a small business owner that a lease would ONLY cost about a $1000 for 1 year..It doesn't matter how you break it down, that is still a good chunk of change per month. She has become ethically torn--She wants to make money, but knowing that there is cheaper equipment out there, she has a hard time telling owners that that is their best route to go. She has, much to the chagrin of her bosses, were they to sit in on a call, agreed with most owners and in fact helped them find cheaper equipment and just sell them on the services, internet banking for them, etc. This is one reason that she is seriously wanting to move into the corporate card or high dollar merchant services area. To the naysayers, this is nothing more than a change to their convenience...nothing else. You can color coat it any way you want...contracts, laws, whatever...Bottom line is it alters their lifestyle a bit, and they can't have that happen!!!!

Oct 24, 2008
Rob83 in Not About Food

How bad does accepting credit cards hurt small restaurants?

I will throw a monkey wrench into this.......To the people that think "Credit is the same as cash" Well why does it cost a ridiculous amount of money (via either additional cash or most cases an extremely higher interest rate) to pull cash out on your card? CCs double dip you, costs to get it out, and interest to boot. And when you read the fine print, some of these can change at will, by CC company, without notification......Hmm but darn those small business owners!!

Oct 24, 2008
Rob83 in Not About Food

How bad does accepting credit cards hurt small restaurants?

You have a good theory for a business owner to try, but again, a small mom and pop that 25 cents (which, depending on how many low dollar swipes they have, won't do much for them) across the board might help--but again, then people start complaining about higher prices and the cycle perpetuates.....I honestly wish minimums would be legal as it soon will be. I would love to hear from some of these people then. If someone (like a frequent poster to this whole contract thing) wants to get technical...There are many states where if you get stopped and have no cash on your person, you could be considered a vagrant. Just a funny thought. Society wants their cake and eat it too....then eat the other guy's as well. Here is a suggestion for people that upset with minimums. You could counter some of that expense to a resto by bringing your own doggy bag, or own bag for take out or call in. Paper is a HUGE expense to restos.

Oct 24, 2008
Rob83 in Not About Food

How bad does accepting credit cards hurt small restaurants?

You lost me on the first paragraph or two, but you started to make a ;little sense. My point has been at the time the small biz signs on for CC processing, they have NO idea what will happen in the future with possible rate and/or exchange fee changes. Those are market-determined. But a small place doing 800-1000 a day--and 60-70% is CC.......that could be a huge percentage of profit gone depending on check avg. But if so many of these businesses stopped accepting CCs---This OP would be "Why don't more places accept CCs...this is so inconvenient for me" I find this almost funny--how spoiled we are, and how much society is me, me , me no matter what the cost. But that will change soon. Like I said, the people in the know I have talked to have said don't be surprised within a year or 2 that minimums will be completely legal and up to business owner's discretion. It's coming......

Oct 24, 2008
Rob83 in Not About Food

How bad does accepting credit cards hurt small restaurants?

Right, some of the points that have been getting pushed here are the reporting of minimums. I think that is selfish. If you really like a biz's goods or services, then you will remember next time to bring cash, or buy the minimum. If their goods/service doesn't natter to you--you can go somewhere else. Keep in mind this, when thinking about whatever frustrations jgg might have here. You go to cleaners to pick up clothes, and they don't take plastic or checks...very common here. So you have to go to a bank and get cash, hopefully it is close by, and it is your bank to avoid a possible 2-3 dollar service, drive back and try again. If your bank is close-great. If not, time and extra expense now, solely because of no CC acceptance. Just food for thought. I like what Family Video started doing....10 dollar minimum with CC--but if you don't spend 10--the diff goes in their computer and you have that much credit now on your account. That is taking a smart approach to rising costs of CC accepting.

Oct 24, 2008
Rob83 in Not About Food

How bad does accepting credit cards hurt small restaurants?

Logically, no, nothing wrong. Morally yes. Your comparison here is infounded. They willingly tell you there is a minimum CC charge, no fraud there. And you said it--you can decide if being a customer of a business is worth your money. In these instances, that is all you need to do--nothing else. To report these small business owners, almost hoping they will get into trouble (by the tone of your first post on this), You are helping the decay of this economy. Small business and their owners are a large part of the backbone of this country's business society. You actions chip away at that bone, little by little.

Oct 23, 2008
Rob83 in Not About Food

How bad does accepting credit cards hurt small restaurants?

Again, you have not answered my real question....Why go the extra mile? Why report them and possiibly--er probably cause pricing issues, which in turn will cost us and YOU more money?? Defeating your original purpose BTW. ??????

Oct 23, 2008
Rob83 in Not About Food

How bad does accepting credit cards hurt small restaurants?

But must you be the one to tuck them in ---permanently??

Oct 23, 2008
Rob83 in Not About Food

How bad does accepting credit cards hurt small restaurants?

LOL--What-- thought that a tool would be so upset at them about trying to stay afloat in a CHANGING MARKET that they would be reported???? When you sign the dotted line as a small business owner, you believe in your concept and your abilities. But no one can account for a changing market and depending on what changes, how that would affect your business, how long it would affect or potential outcome. Your take on this matter is beyond selfish...I'm not saying you shouldn't be irked by a minimum, but to go the route that you say you have gone in the past , is down right spiteful. Why not solely do what others here have stated, and do not patronize that business again? Just leaving it at that.?? Why go the extra mile??

Oct 23, 2008
Rob83 in Not About Food

How bad does accepting credit cards hurt small restaurants?

Again...on the nose CandC.

Oct 23, 2008
Rob83 in Not About Food

How bad does accepting credit cards hurt small restaurants?

so hypothetically, you would go in, see a minimum for CCs, contact Visa/MC and franchisor if applicable, they then would change policy, raise prices, lose business. and then be forced to close possibly creating another bankrupt company and maybe family as well (if they were a personal garauntor on any loans), thusly putiing a family in turmoil. Obviously I have stretched this to an extreme, but curious, jgg--how would that make you feel? Would you feel like you have won? "Vindicated"?

Oct 23, 2008
Rob83 in Not About Food

How bad does accepting credit cards hurt small restaurants?

simply, don't like minimums somewhere, remember the almighty dollar!!

Oct 23, 2008
Rob83 in Not About Food

How bad does accepting credit cards hurt small restaurants?

Not true, you cannot charge more for CC--but you can give cash discount to anyone at anytime. Got that from the horse's mouth.

Oct 23, 2008
Rob83 in Not About Food

Restaurants closing early when business is slow

LOL sounds like a version of the "soup nazi" from the Seinfeld series......

Oct 22, 2008
Rob83 in Not About Food
1

How bad does accepting credit cards hurt small restaurants?

Absolutely. My wife refuses to work for a 3rd party provider. She has done this for 6 years now and only for 2 of the top 5 banking companies--for a variety of reasons--number 1 being ethics on both sides of the table.

Oct 22, 2008
Rob83 in Not About Food

How bad does accepting credit cards hurt small restaurants?

There are a lot of Banks out there that don't spell out their additional charges during initial agreement or when monthly statements arrive...Many hidden costs. My wife deals with that on a regular basis when she is trying to earn a merchant's biz. They say they have this great deal already, but when my wife sees their statements--they had no clue the additional charge they were being hit with. I blame both sides there. Merchant provider for incomplete disclosing , and the merchant for not paying closer attention to statements and asking questions.

Oct 22, 2008
Rob83 in Not About Food

How bad does accepting credit cards hurt small restaurants?

Yes--good point. But one thing to remember from your earlier post and the other persons' that touched on calling to report someone in violation. I personally think that anyone that "reports" a merchant on violations concerning minimum purchases is pretty sad human being. More than likely this would be the same person who would be first and loudest to complain when minimums were removed, but with substantial increase in pricing. Merchants and/or public can't have it both ways--nor should they try.

P.S. If a place you frequent has a minimum---why not just use cash instead of taking time out of your day to report merchant?

Oct 22, 2008
Rob83 in Not About Food

Going "green" or being sneaky cheap?

I think you would too, if in that position--as would most of us......

Oct 22, 2008
Rob83 in Not About Food

How bad does accepting credit cards hurt small restaurants?

C+C--Great explanation! I am in the restaurant biz, and my wife is actually a Merchant Services rep for a very large bank. She said you were pretty much on point with the "non-qual" fees. People would be amazed how much extra expense to a business just for a customer using their credit card over the phone. That is why i will never take a card over the phone (also for obvious identity theft possibilities). Also id a card is unswipeable, and has to be hand-keyed....Extra charge on that transaction now! Visa/MC have their established rates, then there are "points" negotiated between merchant and bank based on various factors. Check avg, sales, machinery, etc. I think general public would be astonished if they knew what it cost a merchant for their business at their favorite places. Thanks again.

Oct 22, 2008
Rob83 in Not About Food

Restaurants closing early when business is slow

Having been in restaurant management for years, both private and corporate, and now running a business---I do see both sides of the coin. Corporate run stores rarely close early. Private restaurants do on occasion. I understand, and have on rare instances closed early myself. That is a business decision I make, based upon a lot of factors. Weather, obvious increase in food cost (along with gas) right now, current trends in my own business as well as surrounding demographics, etc. Bottom line is I make a choice in my mind to help keep the customers I know I have by not raising prices, providing great food and service, rather than worrying more about the customer(s) i MIGHT have had in the 30-50 minutes that I might close early. ---also which is already the slowest part of my day. It may sound callous to some, but I also know that A+ food and service and prices---those customers will come back as well. Carbs, I understand, but I do feel if you love their food as much as you say--you'll be back at some point. That goes to human nature.

P.S. Already been discussing with my wife --and have ordered signage addressing possible time changes.

Oct 22, 2008
Rob83 in Not About Food

Service Faux Pas at Vee Vee?

Well, at this point I.m beating a dead horse, no one knows that your only going to be 15 minutes. Maybe you like to linger for 30-45 minutes after you have finished. For the movie analogy, I do'nt think people are talking about after the actual movie has started. I think what the reference is, is when the lights have just been turned down, and its commercials and previews. Don't get me wrong, I like previews. Look, whether it is at a bar, or at a movie, that's fine split my family, we will see how long it lasts when the kids are going back and forth to bathrooms, or to see the other sibling, etc. Thats just one scenario though. Bottom line is, I feel good when I do something nice for someone, as is customary in human nature....I guess some people only care about their own well being.

Mar 08, 2008
Rob83 in Not About Food

Service Faux Pas at Vee Vee?

cc--absolutely, point taken.

Mar 08, 2008
Rob83 in Not About Food

Service Faux Pas at Vee Vee?

Your right, no one knows what transpired the 30-60 minutes before OP's party arrived. In thinking about it....I think maybe OP should've nominated a person in their party to go retrieve a barstool from the other side of where the couple was eating at the bar, and very politely asked if they could slides their seats down just a little bit so as to be able to fit this other stool in. No one would have had to move to another seat. Also is that the kind of mentality we need "Too bad, So sad" I mean my daughter used to say that. No one has been able to explain, I guess so I can understand, how it is going to lessen/worsen your dining/movie experience by moving 18 inches to the right or left. If approached by someone (not the restaurant), in a tactful, polite manner, even waiting so as to not interrupt someone mid-sentence, I just don't see the reason to pull out the "It's the principle of the matter" card.

Mar 07, 2008
Rob83 in Not About Food

Service Faux Pas at Vee Vee?

It is refreshing to read a post such as yours, amongst some of these , "It's my spot, go get your own" attitude of some. Curious though, if some of these people were on a date, how they would look to their date when they refused to move down. AND how that changes when we are dealing with spouses.....oh well for another forum and thread I suppose.

Mar 07, 2008
Rob83 in Not About Food

Service Faux Pas at Vee Vee?

And I'm sure so would the couples that might ask you, jfood or others if you could slide down a stool! But by some posts whats good for the goose.....

Mar 07, 2008
Rob83 in Not About Food

Service Faux Pas at Vee Vee?

Well, my opinion, (obviously we all have them...like other things.) is your wrong on 2 counts. First, I am an avid movie buff, both classic and contemporary, and in my mind a true "cinephile' would want others to enjoy a movie as much as myself. So what you are saying is, that moving 12-16 inches to one side or the other is going to change your movie going experience for the worse? Don't quite get the logistics there. In my case for reasons previously stated in other replies- no one would even have to ask me in a movie theater, it would be offered. That is "karmic" . Leads to second point. You have no idea why these people are just now trying to sit down, Maybe ticketing was slow, even more possible, maybe concession was slow. Maybe they got there and one of the kids had to go to the bathroom, then the other one wants to go too. There are several possibilities to this scenario, but you--assume the worst--that people are lazy, and demanding, and can show up any time they want and expect you to move. See, it is about kindness and generosity to others, something that I see dwindling by what I read here, and what I see everyday in our society.

Mar 06, 2008
Rob83 in Not About Food

Service Faux Pas at Vee Vee?

If I want to actually have a conversation with my spouse, then no, we don't go to the bar. Even your best restaurants, the bar is noisy to an extent. Maybe a different approach would have been to designate which 3 people in the group would take the 3 seats together while the 4th stood in between his/her group and the couple already dining...to see if they would offer to move. That can be intrusive.

Mar 06, 2008
Rob83 in Not About Food