Tipping point?

Back in December 2014, I wrote a blog about the archaic and confusing practice of tipping serving staff in restaurants.  I suggested it was time to end the frequent ‘bill shock’ and the lottery of who actually gets the money.  A few months later, the media was full of stories about the big restaurant chains withholding or deducting tips (for ‘admin fees’ or to 'share' with the wider team) and in some cases, actually [...]

Deep Fried Crickets and Beetroot Yogurt, Anyone?

One of the things I love most about working with the hospitality sector is their constant drive to innovate. Bars and restaurants are always on the hunt for the Next Big Thing, and even those extreme ideas, which start life in the scientific kitchens of chefs like Heston Blumenthal, eventually filter their way down to more everyday establishments. I’ve been looking through some trend reports to see what’s predicted for 2015. Baum & Whiteman’s excellent summary [...]

To Tip Or Not To Tip? That Is The Question…

A recent survey claimed almost two thirds of Britons were “unwilling” to pay a service charge and many are confused about tipping etiquette. There’s worse news for bartenders, as 98% would never tip for a drink. Is it a cultural thing, or is it down to a generation growing up with fast food and takeaways? I know I always (inwardly) question exactly why I’m tipping my hairdresser or taxi driver, when all they’ve done is [...]

Who’s Menu Is It Anyway?

We’re all creatures of habit, apparently, regularly ordering the same coffee, lunchtime sandwich or even dinner at a smart restaurant. But how annoyed would you be if your favourite item wasn’t available anymore? Would you just order something else, or feel that your day had been ruined? A New York Times writer recently lamented the demise of her favourite sandwich at her regular lunch spot, fondly remembering her husband making a special trip to get [...]

Want Great Restaurant Service? Then Pay Attention!

I just read a fascinating piece about a New York restaurant, whose owners couldn't understand why they kept getting such bad online reviews. The food wasn't a problem, but clearly the service was - how long it was taking, wait times for tables etc. But as they'd recently shortened the menu and employed more staff, it just didn’t add up. To help them understand what was happening, they watched some 10-year-old CCTV tapes, and compared [...]