Category Archives: Red Book Connect

We’re going to be doing a little redecorating around here, but it’s all good!

 

New URL

On April 23rd, when you come to the blog, you will be redirected to our new parent company blog on www.redbookconnect.com.  Don’t worry though! First of all, you won’t need to do anything differently – you’ll just automatically go to the new location. Second, we know you have come to enjoy and depend on the content we publish here and our goal is to continue to provide interesting, thought-provoking and helpful blog posts from industry-leading experts as well as our staff. The only thing that’s changing, really, is the URL.

 

For our dedicated audience who request the Better Managers Blog be sent to them via email, we will continue to do so. No change is necessary on your part. Also, we’d love to stay engaged with you on our social media platforms as well.  Follow and like us by clicking on the icons below.

 

Thank you for your loyalty to our brand, products and blog.  We’re excited to bring you more great content, news and helpful advice from our new location!

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The High Turnover Challenge

help wanted

In the restaurant and hospitality industry, high turnover is the norm and one of the most challenging aspects of management.  Yet, it can be extremely frustrating not being able to retain good employees and continuously deal with the stress of trying to fill positions with good candidates.  It can be a lengthy and costly process, and one that we would all love to avoid.

So how do you lessen your turnover rate and retain your best employees?

1. Provide Recognition and Rewards for Good Job Performance

Employees like to be recognized for their hard work and going above and beyond their call of duty.  It is important to promote from within so that your employees have something to strive for and don’t feel like they are in a dead-end job.  Also during staff meetings, recognize employees for their hard work.  You can even start a reward program.  After receiving a certain number of recognitions, they get a small prize.  It is also great to get them involved and have them nominate a fellow employee each month.  Giving your employees this task can lead to positive and respectful relationships amongst each other.

2. Offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

EAP’s are intended to help employees with personal matters that might affect their work performance, health, and well-being.  Providing the option of an EAP shows your commitment to them and gives them a sense of security.  Offering an EAP can lead your employees to feel a sense of loyalty to your business.

3. Develop Relationships

Getting to know your employees on more than a professional level shows that you care about them.  Asking them about their family and personal interests can help build a strong relationship between you and your employees.  If you create a sense of family among your employees, it will lead to a great work environment, and they will feel a sense of commitment to you.

4. Motivate and Educate

Providing an educational environment for your employees can motivate them to flourish in their job.  Teaching your employees about different aspects of your business that aren’t necessarily part of their job can show that you care about their success and regard them as an important part of your business.  Encouraging employees to come up with new ideas for your business and taking time to listen to their ideas also gives them a sense of self-worth and importance.

 5. Community Charity Events

Sponsoring community charity events that your employees can participate in, such as 5K runs, walk-a-thons, etc., can create a sense of family and can be a team building experience.  It will bring you and your employees closer together, and provide a sense of belonging.

All the above suggestions can lead to creating a respectful, loyal, and family oriented environment for your business.  By creating this type of environment, I believe you will retain your best employees for a much longer period of time.

To help lessen turnover in the first place, employ a hiring system that helps you identify the best, most qualified and engaged candidates.  Systems that have ranking questions and are paired with an assessment tool can really help employers hone in on the best candidates who are more likely to fit the job and the culture, thereby reducing turnover in the first place.  If you are interested in learning more about such a system, visit http://redbookconnect.com/solutions/hire.

Jodi Sabol | Marketing Consultant | Red Book Connect

Manager’s Red Book Goes Digital

digital RB

For the last several months, we’ve been talking about and beta-testing our new Digital Red Book product, and I was really excited when I saw it get launched for “GA” (general availability) earlier this month.  The DRB, as we affectionately call it in house, is based on the Manager’s Red Book, which has been helping restaurants run more efficiently for more than 20 years.  When I was initially introduced to the Manager’s Red Book, I only mildly impressed, which only goes to show how little I knew about it.  Turns out, those books are a huge (and I mean HUGE) improvement over most shift management systems, and for good reason.  Not only do they consolidate tons of pieces or random paper, including notes between managers, employee requests off, maintenance details, personnel performance information and more, they can also be custom built for each brand so that the tasks and check lists are specific to the location.  Awesome!

We then took all this customization and consolidation of information to the next level by taking it online.  The Digital Red Book app is a highly customized online shift management solution that you can download right from the iTunes store.  We’ll set it all up for you (it takes us about a day to do that) so that when you login, you are using the DRB custom built just for you. Managers can collect and store all the same information they would in the books, such as – temperature checks, store deposits, sales info, etc.  Then they can track it, assign it, and comment on it. Once data is input, it’s stored there forever, so you can search for it later using simple keywords or phrases.  At the corporate level, users can login and see how stores are performing, review notes, see uploaded pictures and videos and more.  And they can see all that as soon as the data is entered – real-time, instantly.

The icing on the cake with this cool app is the iPad and uber tough enclosure you can get with it.  It takes ruggedized to a whole new level – to “kitchenized”.  Drop it, slop on it, spill on it, and like a Timex, it keeps on ticking.

I’ve been working in the “technology for restaurants” business for several years now, and I’m pretty excited and impressed by this incredible new tool. Take the Digital Red Book for a test drive and see if you aren’t as enthusiastic as I am!

Mary Kay Hyde | Sr. Director of Marketing & Communities| Red Book Connect

Don’t Get Frozen By ICE

ICE

Ensuring all I-9 forms are compliant when onboarding a new hire can be an excruciating task.  However, maintaining compliance is necessary, otherwise it can lead to hefty fines.  According to the Associated Press, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) fines have skyrocketed to over $10 million.  ICE also issued over 3,000 Notices of Inspection (NOI) in FY 2012.

What industries does ICE target?  Primarily restaurants, retail, and hospitality due to high turnover rates, hourly workforce wages, and hiring a large number of immigrants, as well as high school diploma or below – educated employees.  If I-9 forms are not completed accurately, it may result in a fine of $110 to $1,100 per employee, depending on the percentage of non-compliant or missing forms. ICE also has the right to increase or decrease fines based on employer size, good faith of employer, and violation type.

Here are just a few examples of businesses that have been fined by ICE these past few years.  In California, a small Mexican restaurant, La Hacienda Mexican Cafe was fined more than $22,400 for not completing I-9 forms for 24 of their employees.  In Maryland, Tandoori Nights who maintains around 39 employees, faced a hefty fine of $90,508 based on 10 non-compliant forms.  In Colorado, Empire Dairy received a fine of $49,500 based on 62 non-compliant forms, with a total of 76 employees.

As you can see, these fines can be detrimental to your business.  So, how do you avoid fines?  Here are 8 ways to reduce your risk of I-9 non-compliance.

  1. Make sure all employees complete the form I-9.
  2. Review and make sure all sections of the form have been completed properly.
  3. Ensure section 1 is completed by employee no later than the first day of employment.
  4. Complete section 2 within three business days thereafter.
  5. Examine documents provided by employee validating their identity, and record the information on the form I-9.
  6. Use E-Verify to ensure legal workforce.
  7. File and retain form I-9 for three years from the date of hire or one year from the date of termination, whichever is later.
  8. Use a secure, online onboarding system such as GoHire, which ensures completion of form I-9, provides the option of E-Verify, and stores all forms virtually.

Being compliant is important and should be taken seriously.  Paperless onboarding your employees with a system like GoHire provides the security of form I-9 completions and proper storage of forms so that maintaining compliance is stress-free.  Take the next step at ensuring compliance so you don’t get frozen by ICE.  Go paperless and onboard online with GoHire!

Disclaimer: The content of this post does not constitute direct legal advice and is designed for informational purposes only. Information provided through this website should never replace the need for involving informed counsel on your employment and immigration issues.  To learn more about I-9 compliance, go to http://www.uscis.gov.

Jodi Sabol | Marketing Consultant | Red Book Connect

New Year’s Resolutions

man jumping over 2014

I always think of a new year as a time that brings new hopes and goals. It provides me with an outlet to stop and think about what I want to achieve throughout the year. However, in my experience I’ve learned if my goals are too unrealistic, it has led to failure. Yet, when I’ve developed reachable goals, it has given me a better chance to succeed. As you know, making realistic New Year’s resolutions is also important in business. Here are 6 ideas to assist you when making your New Year’s resolutions.

1. Management/Leadership
Example: “In 2014, I would like to improve my relationship with my staff.”
Sir Winston Churchill once said, “The nation will find it very hard to look up to the leaders who are keeping their ears to the ground.” I believe this quote applies to all type of leaders. I once worked for a company that had their employees anonymously write-up an evaluation on their managers. I always thought this was such a great idea. I mean, how else would a manager know how to improve their leadership skills? Listening and receiving feedback from staff provides a better understanding on which management skills need improvement. Taking the extra time to work on becoming a better manager or leader is important for everyone. There are even social online classes that teach management skills including how to organize and plan ahead, how to communicate effectively, and how to motivate employees. Learning from and talking with peers is also a great method.

2. Customer Service
Example: “This year I want to receive better reviews from customers on our service.”
With so much competition in the restaurant and retail industry, having great customer service is vital. So, how do you obtain great customer service? We know that ensuring proper training of staff is key. This not only includes training new staff, but also ongoing training for the entire staff either with in-store training and/or social e-learning courses. Secondly, I’ve experienced that how you treat your staff can have a direct impact on customer service. Creating a good work environment where the staff feels respected and rewarded helps attribute to providing great customer service. Another important way to improve customer service is to listen to customers and receive their feedback. Bill Gates once said, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” When I eat out at restaurants with my family and the manager walks over to our table and asks, “How is everything?” My husband always makes it a point to give them feedback instead of just saying, “Good.” And as I’m sure you’re well aware, there are many customers out there just like him. Sure, many times all you will get is a “good”, but whether it’s positive or negative feedback, it is always helpful to hear what is working and what can be improved. Last but not least, it’s always nice to go that extra mile for customers. If they leave your business feeling like they had a wonderful experience, they will become loyal customers and refer your business to others.

3. Technology
Example: “In 2014, I want my restaurant to run more efficiently.”
A new year calls for new technology. Technology is becoming more and more popular with both restaurants and retail. Nowadays, in order to compete with other businesses, adding technology has become quite the necessity. I have interviewed many restaurant managers who have raved about how technology has allowed them to spend less time in the back office, and more time on the “front lines” engaging with customers and spending time with their staff. They say that it helps their restaurants run smoothly, improves staff morale, and most importantly, increases profits. Whether it’s improving inventory count, back-office organization, shift scheduling, or hiring, technology can be a managers’ best friend.

4. Marketing
Example, “This year I want to increase traffic to my business by 10%.”
Speaking of technology, marketing has become more affordable and easier these days. Developing a marketing plan for the New Year can help maintain current customers and establish new ones. Affordable marketing tactics include social media marketing on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and FourSquare, mobile and email marketing to your opt-in customers, and loyalty programs to retain customers. Keeping your business top-of-mind within your community and customer base through marketing can easily help generate increased revenue.

5. Community Involvement
Example, “In 2014, I would like my business to be more popular among locals.”
Community involvement is also a great way to keep your business top-of-mind. Sponsoring community events, junior sports leagues, and school functions not only provides recognition for businesses, but also creates a positive image. Community involvement is a great way to obtain new customers. I’m always a sucker for it!

6. Time Off
Example, “This year I don’t want to get burned out, and I would like to spend more time with my family.”
We all need a little time off to get re-energized. I admit, I am guilty of prioritizing myself and my health far behind work and family. However, planning a vacation or some time off is important to maintain sanity in ones’ personal and professional life. It can provide that quality time we all need to take a step back and reflect on our goals. Not only will it benefit yourself, but your staff and business as well.

If you’re interested in learning more about social e-learning courses or restaurant technology, visit Red Book Connect at www.redbookconnect.com.

Please share with us your New Year’s resolutions in the comments section below.
Red Book Connect wishes you a happy and prosperous New Year!

 

Jodi Sabol | Marketing Consultant | Red Book Connect

Five Companies with One Mission

It has been about a year since Red Book Connect brought together 5 companies that focused on hiring, training and scheduling employees, inventory management, business intelligence, loyalty programs, and shift management solutions.  Though we’ve been featured in a lot of news stories since then, I thought I’d provide an insider view of what’s been happening.

First, we hired an amazing CEO and leadership team.  Larry Abramson, our CEO, came over from Oracle, and he is committed, passionate and scary smart.  Additional great minds soon followed to assemble a powerhouse of thinkers, leaders and doers. We’re also hiring like crazy under each of these new leaders.  If you’re looking for work and want to join an amazing company that is rocketing to the moon, check out our careers page!

Second, we held onto great leaders and team members that were already in place.  Sure, we had a little bit of natural attrition, but the team that built the original companies – the ones that know the products inside and out and have spent years building relationships with our customers – are still here, in leadership positions helping to drive us to the top.

Third, we started focusing on platform integration in earnest.  Most of our products can already be accessed with a single sign-on, but we hadn’t done so much to make them look and feel like an integrated whole.  We’re doing that now and the UX/UI team is having a blast.  Watch for more to come later this year!

Finally, we launched the digital version of our Manager’s Red Book earlier this year.  It’s an amazing shift management app that makes creating a consistently flawless guest experience easier and the perfect shift more attainable.

This is all just the very beginning. We’re moving fast to enhance the most amazing suite of restaurant technology apps ever known to this industry or any other. Just wait til you see what’s coming next!

 

Mary Kay Hyde | Sr. Director of Marketing & Communities| Red Book Connect

On The 12 Days of #Tipmas…

tipmas

For the holiday season, Red Book Connect encouraged acts of kindness to the hard-working staff in the restaurant industry and called it #Tipmas. During the 12 Days of Tipmas, from December 9 through 21, we asked our co-workers, colleagues, friends and family to be generous with their servers and urged everyone they knew to do the same. It is not just about giving back financially either; we tweeted and posted #Tipmas suggestions from compliments to the manager to leaving a dessert for your server to enjoy (see full list of options below) with the goal of spreading the word and igniting the #Tipmas movement!

So what happened you ask? Check out our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages to find out. The outpouring was nothing short of amazing! There are so many great stories and pictures it’s hard to believe. We even got a shout out from celebrity Yvette Nicole Brown (@yvettenbrown) who jumped on the bandwagon – how cool is she!!

In fact, #Tipmas was such a success, we’re not going to let it end. Treating the service industry peeps like the rock stars they are really should be a year-round initiative, so we’re making it one! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to stay in tune with our plans for 2014!

12 Days of #Tipmas Missions

  • Day 1 (Dec 9): #SecretServer
    Secretly ask for a manager to tell them that your server has done a fantastic  job.
  • Day 2 (Dec 10): #SharingIsCaring
    Share the story of the excellent service you received online and tag it with #Tipmas
  • Day 3 (Dec 11): #HolidayHero
    If you know your server will be working the holiday (Xmas eve/Xmas/New Year’s) leave them a Christmas card/holiday card from your family.
  • Day 4 (Dec 12): #LetterToServer
    Write your server a letter and leave it at the restaurant.
  • Day 5 (Dec 13): #MilkAndCookies
    When you go out tonight, order dessert. And leave dessert for your server (i.e. candy bar, candy cane, etc.)
  • Day 6 (Dec 14): #ElfOnTheShelf
    If you notice another server working hard, besides your own, mention them to the manager as well!
  • Day 7 (Dec 15): #FastBreak
    When you visit, buy your server a meal they can quickly eat on their break, such as an appetizer.
  • Day 8 (Dec 16): #WarmFuzzies
    “Like” or “Follow” the restaurant on Facebook/Twitter then share your warm fuzzies about your server on the restaurant’s Facebook and/or Twitter pages.
  • Day 9 (Dec 17): #ShareTheLove
    Recommend the restaurant and the server to your family and friends through a Facebook Recommendation.
  • Day 10 (Dec 18): #MerryTipMas
    Tip extra today.
  • Day 11 (Dec 19): #TipMasMAS
    1+1 means tip extra, extra!
  • Day 12 (Dec 20): #GiftCardGreeting
    Purchase a gift card for your sever to use for the holidays. Itunes, Amazon, Visa gift card, etc.

For more fun Tipmas stories, check out our blog at http://redbookconnect.com/category/blog/.

Mary Kay Hyde | Sr. Director of Marketing & Communities| Red Book Connect