What is in this article?:
- Top buzz from the 2013 Aspen Food & Wine Classic
- Employees, marketing and more
This is part of NRN's special coverage of the 2013 Food & Wine Classic held in Aspen, Colo., June 14-16.
Employees, marketing and more
• To train and retain employees, the best restaurant operators leave nothing to chance. Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill, for example, sets aside 15 minutes of every day to do a quick training session. “It can be anything from someone talking about their love of beer, to how a dish was prepared.” Beyond that, Bayless takes a group of employees to a region of Mexico for four days to explore its cuisine. “Everyone comes back exhilarated and excited about what they’re doing.”
• Marketing your brand is no longer enough. Restaurants must get involved in cause marketing, which benefits a worthy cause. But never jump on a bandwagon without doing your homework, The Cheesecake Factory president David Gordon advised. He said Cheesecake spends up to six months researching a charity before committing to a partnership.
• Predictions about the death of tasting menus are premature. “Every night we sell 80-90 tasting menus at Le Bernardin,” Eric Ripert reported. When they are done right, he explained, they allow a to tell a story, and customers get it.
• There is no shortage of good employees, even if you operate a restaurant in a college town, ski resort or out-of-the-way location, said Bobby Stuckey, the co-owner of Frasca in Boulder, CO. “Everyone kept telling me I wouldn’t find the talent I need to operate an upscale restaurant in a college town, but I saw examples all around that it can be done. Look at Thomas Keller and what he’s done in Yountville, [Calif.,] in the Napa region.”