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by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

5 Books to Read this Month: January 2023

5 Books to Read this Month: January 2023

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

This month’s engaging and informative book selections will help you hone your culinary, beverage, and operational skills to dial in your business.

To review the book recommendations from December 2022, click here.

Let’s jump in!

The Vegan Chinese Kitchen

Today, people have certain ideas that flash before them when they hear or read “plant based.” For many, it’s a phrase that indicates a food item is an impossible meat alternative that attempts to go beyond it’s animal counterpart, hint hint.

However, plant-based also means…plants. Just plants, that’s all. The Vegan Chinese Kitchen, Chef Hannah Che’s plant-based cookbook, dives into traditional and modern Chinese vegan cuisine. Remember, plant-based doesn’t only mean “meat alternative made with plants.” Buy here.

Tea: Wine’s Sober Sibling

Have you ever considered drinking tea as an alternative to consuming wine? I know I hadn’t until I came across this book.

There are more than 70 recipes in Tea: Wine’s Sober Sibling, several of which are Dry January-friendly. Along with best practices for restaurant operators, there are also pairings, like tea and cheese, and tea and chocolate. Grab this book and consider using tea in different ways at your restaurant or bar.

Conversations Behind the Kitchen Door: 50 American Chefs Chart Today’s Food Culture

Where is the culinary world headed in 2023? Chef Emmanuel Laroche and his colleagues have some thoughts.

From Amazon: “Emmanuel’s podcast Flavors Unknown, as well as his worldwide search for new foods and flavors, are at the core of Conversations Behind the Kitchen Door. Scores of chefs offer essential insights and entertaining observations about the food scene today—information that will be of interest to new and aspiring chefs, as well as foodies and home cooks who follow trends in restaurants and recipes. Readers will walk away from Conversations Behind the Kitchen Door with a deeper understanding ofthe minds and creative practices of famous chefs, as well as a map to begin to create sensational dishes of their own.”

Pick up Conversations Behind the Kitchen Door from Amazon.

Build: An Unorthodox Guide to Making Things Worth Making

I’m willing to bet that you’ve heard of the following products: the iPod, the iPhone, and Nest thermostat. And I’m certain you realize an entire team of people was the behind the creation of those devices. Tony Fadell, the person who ran those teams is the author of Build.

You don’t have to be in tech to benefit from this book. Really, Build is about leadership, decision making, mentorship, bouncing back from failure, and more. Essentially, this helpful and informative book is “a mentor in a box.” One of the key takeaways of this book should motivate you to read it: “You don’t have to reinvent how you lead and manage.”

Your Table Is Ready: Tales of a New York City Maître D

Author Michael Cecchi-Azzolina was the maître d’ at several of New York’s hottest restaurants for decades. Scoring reservations for some of these destinations was viewed as more important than landing a table at one of NYC’s top-tier nightclubs.

Cecchi-Azzolina tells stories of a (mostly) bygone era while also providing his take on the restaurant industry. For some, this book will be amusing and relatable. Others will find this representative of an era best left behind as we move the industry forward. Order Your Table is Ready today.

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

5 Books to Read this Month: November 2022

5 Books to Read this Month: November 2022

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

This month’s engaging and informative book selections will help you hone your culinary, cocktail, and leadership skills to dial in your menus and operations.

To review October’s book recommendations, click here.

Let’s jump in!

Shaya: An Odyssey of Food, My Journey Back to Israel: A Cookbook

The next time you visit New Orleans, plan to dine at least once at the James Beard Award-winning Shaya. I’ve had the opportunity to do so and the experience was stunning. Of course, you’ll also want to check out Domenica and Pizza Domenica while in NOLA. To give you an idea of what to expect, pick up the Shaya cookbook.

Chef Alon Shaya’s personal journey through cooking is truly unique, embracing Israeli, Italian, and American Southern cuisines. Shaya tells Chef-operator Shaya’s moving story and more than 100 incredible recipes. Pick it up at Amazon.

Turkey and the Wolf: Flavor Trippin’ in New Orleans

After moving to New Orleans and working in fine dining, Chef Mason Hereford opened his own restaurant and put his stamp on the scene: Turkey and the Wolf. Both the restaurant and this cookbook focus on creative and enticing takes on Southern cooking.

Fancy deviled-egg tostadas? Fried bologna sandwiches absolutely heaving with potato chips? How about purposely burnt tomato casserole? Well, you’ll find these recipes and 92 others in this book, along with photographs and illustrations. This is sure to get you salivating and get your creative wheels turning. Grab Turkey and the Wolf here on Amazon.

Last Call at Coogan’s: The Life and Death of a Neighborhood Bar

As those of us in the industry know, restaurants and bars are the cornerstones of the communities they serve. Last Call at Coogan’s is the true tale of a neighborhood bar that, unfortunately, closed its doors for good during the pandemic after more than 30 years in operation.

From Amazon: “This book touches on many serious issues facing the country today: race relations, policing, gentrification, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Along the way, readers will meet the bar’s owners and an array of its most colorful regulars.” Purchase here via Amazon.

Spiritual Coffee

Bar co-founder, bartender, brand ambassador, and author Martin Hudak’s informative and exciting cocktail book is available now for purchase. Hudak is one of the brilliant minds behind Sydney destinations Maybe Sammy and Sammy Junior. Also, he’s a brand ambassador for Mr. Black, the ridiculously tasty coffee liqueur.

Spiritual Coffee focuses on coffee cocktails, a passion of Hudak’s. However, you’ll get more than recipes when you purchase this entertaining book. In these pages you’ll also find a wealth of coffee history, knowledge, and stories. Buy here!

The Future Is Analog: How to Create a More Human World

This book, from award-winning author David Sax, asks poignant culture questions about our rush toward a digital world, an undertaking that was supercharged during the pandemic.

“Is our future inevitably digital? Can we reject the downsides of digital technology without rejecting change?” Sax asks. “Can we innovate not for the sake of productivity but for the good of our social and cultural lives? Can we build a future that serves us as humans, first and foremost?” Purchase here via Amazon.

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

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5 Books to Read this Month: October 2022

5 Books to Read this Month: October 2022

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

This month’s engaging and informative book selections will help you develop next-level leadership skills and dial in your F&B menus.

To review September’s book recommendations, click here.

Let’s jump in!

Down and Out in Paradise: The Life of Anthony Bourdain

First things first: This biography by author Charles Leerhsen about chef and modern philosopher Anthony Bourdain isn’t authorized. However, this book purports to offer a deep dive into the late, revered chef’s life, from childhood to his final days.

Just be forewarned that this book is already and for good reason considered controversial.

Down and Out in Paradise will be available on October 11. Click here to pre-order this book today.

The Ethical Leader: Why Doing the Right Thing Can Be the Key to Competitive Advantage

Written by Morgen Witzel, The Ethical Leader addressed ethical behavior in business. Far too often, for far too many business owners and leadership team members, behaving ethically isn’t a non-negotiable. Rather, doing the right thing in business is “nice,” not “necessary.”

For this leadership book, Witzel explains why gaining and maintaining the trust and respect of team members and customers is crucial to the success of any business. “Trust engenders loyalty and good reputation, which in turn builds brand value… Ethical behavior is the key to trust-building, but it needs to go deeper than something managers do out of a sense of moral duty.”

Pour Me Another: 250 Ways to Find Your Favorite Drink

It may not happen every shift but bar team members and servers do encounter the restless guest from time to time. Their go-to drink, for whatever reason, just isn’t cutting it during a particular visit. Of course, this is an excellent time to improve their visit and the guest experience. And it’s the perfect time to introduce a guest to their new favorite drink.

JM Hirsch’s Pour Me Another helps people find that new favorite. Bar professionals and servers will find it useful for guiding guests through a cocktail discovery process. Click here to pre-order this book for its October 4 release.

Twist: Your Guide to Creating Inspired Craft Cocktails

The classics are a litmus test for any bar professional. It’s all well and good to invent and craft signature drinks, but if you can’t nail the classics there’s something wrong. Author Jordan Hughes, over the course of 75 recipes, combines the classics with creation in Twist.

This new book, set for release on December 13, teaches the classics. However, Hughes also helps the reader develop the skills to riff on these timeless recipes to put their stamp on the industry. Pre-order today!

Boards and Spreads: Shareable, Simple Arrangements for Every Meal

So, you’re familiar with how much people on Instagram love a good cheese and charcuterie board. In fact, you have some artisanal, eye-catching boards just waiting to be photographed and posted to social media by your guests. But do they really just sit around until someone orders either cheese, charcuterie, or a combination thereof?

It doesn’t have to be that way. Yasmin Fahr’s book Boards and Spreads provides plenty of other uses for your fancy Instagrammable boards. Oh, and there just happen to be several dip and spread recipes to refresh your menu.

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

2022 World’s 50 Best Restaurants: 51-100

’22 World’s 50 Best Restaurants: 51-100

by David Klemt

High-end plate of food

Just a week away from their big 2022 reveal, numbers 51 through 100 of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants is now available.

As one expects, these restaurants represent the pinnacle of dining. The 2022 list also represents a number of changes in comparison to 2021.

For example, a number of restaurants in the Middle East are among this year’s 51 to 100 rankings. Notably, these restaurants were not included on last year’s list. In fact, nearly half of the restaurants are new entries on the 51 to 100 list.

Additionally, the 2022 list represents six continents. This year, four “new” countries and a sovereign island city-state make the 51 to 100 rankings:

  • Argentina
  • China
  • Germany
  • Singapore
  • UAE

The regional breakdown is as follows:

  • Asia: 14 restaurants
  • Europe: 13 venues
  • North America: 11 concepts
  • Middle East: 2 restaurants
  • Africa: 2 concepts
  • Oceania: 1 venue
  • South America: 7 restaurants

Just six American restaurants are on the list. Three are in New York, two in San Francisco, and one is in Chicago. Disappointingly, zero Canadian restaurants are among the 51 to 100 rankings.

Restaurants one through 50 will be revealed on Monday, July 18. Numbers 51 to 100 of the World’s 50 Best Bars will be revealed Tuesday, September 27.

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022: 51 to 100

  1. Alcalde (Guadalajara, Jalisco, México)
  2. Sud 777 (Ciudad de México, México)
  3. D.O.M. (São Paulo, SP, Brazil)
  4. Lyle’s (London, England)
  5. Azurmendi (Larrabetzu, Biscay, Spain)
  6. La Colombe (Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa)
  7. Trèsind Studio (Dubai, UAE)
  8. Alléno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen (Paris, France)
  9. Sazenka (Tokyo, Japan)
  10. Rosetta (Ciudad de México, México)
  11. La Grenouillère (La Madelaine-sous-Montreuil, France)
  12. Ernst (Berlin, Germany)
  13. Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare (New York, NY, USA)
  14. Fu He Hui (Shanghai, People’s Republic of China)
  15. Le Du (Bangkok, Thailand)
  16. Sühring (Bangkok, Thailand)
  17. Evvai (São Paulo, SP, Brazil)
  18. Kjolle (Barranco, Lima, Perú)
  19. Cosme (New York, NY, USA)
  20. Zén (Singapore)
  21. Mingles (Seoul, South Korea)
  22. Atelier Crenn (San Francisco, CA, USA)
  23. Kol (London, England)
  24. Blue Hill at Stone Barns (Pocantico Hills, Mount Pleasant, NY, USA)
  25. Samrub Samrub (Bangkok, Thailand)
  26. Neighborhood (Hong Kong)
  27. Table by Bruno Verjus (Paris, France)
  28. Lasai (Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil)
  29. Estela (New York, NY, USA)
  30. AM par Alexandre Mazzia (Marseille, France)
  31. Brat (London, England)
  32. Sézanne (Tokyo, Japan)
  33. El Chato (Bogotá, DC, Colombia)
  34. Gimlet at Cavendish House (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)
  35. Raan Jay Fai (Bangkok, Thailand)
  36. Mikla (Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey)
  37. Orfali Bros Bistro (Dubai, UAE)
  38. Mishiguene (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
  39. Máximo Bistrot (Ciudad de México, México)
  40. Wolfgat (Paternoster, Western Cape, South Africa)
  41. Oriole (Chicago, IL, USA)
  42. Indian Accent (New Delhi, Delhi, India)
  43. Hertog Jan at Botanic Sanctuary (Antwerp, Belgium)
  44. Burnt Ends (Singapore)
  45. Meta (Singapore)
  46. Maní (São Paulo, SP, Brazil)
  47. Benu, San Francisco, CA, USA)
  48. Tantris (München, Germany)
  49. Flocons de Sel (Megève, France)
  50. Wing (Hong Kong)

*Bold denotes new entry

Image: Delightin Dee on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

WCK Shares Chefs for Ukraine Update

World Central Kitchen Shares Chef for Ukraine Update

by David Klemt

Ukraine flag blowing in wind

World Central Kitchen has been on the ground helping refugees since Russia first invaded the sovereign nation of Ukraine.

I mean that quite literally. In their video update, it was revealed that a WCK team arrived in Poland within hours of the invasion.

Maggie Leahy, director of donor relations at WCK, spoke with WCK CEO Nate Mook to share the details of the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization’s #ChefsForUkraine campaign.

Mook shared that the WCK activated a fast-response team which is informally referred to as the Tip of the Spear. When the team arrived at the Poland-Ukraine border, they had gotten there so quickly that they weren’t certain what they’d find.

Assessment and Coordination

In fact, WCK wasn’t certain if their humanitarian efforts would even be needed. However, as we all know now, they certainly were in demand. The United Nations, as it turns out, wasn’t even on the ground yet.

Shockingly, Mook shared that WCK hadn’t encountered a crisis at the level of Ukraine’s invasion for many, many years.

For the past 12 years, WCK has responded to crises all over the world. From natural disasters like massive floods and earthquakes to, unfortunately, shootings and warzones, the humanitarian organization has provided nourishing meals for those displaced and in need.

So, assessing the situation in Ukraine quickly was of the utmost importance. Some refugees crossing the 24-hour pedestrian border at which the first WCK team had arrived hadn’t eaten a meal in two days.

Responding as fast and efficiently as possible, the organization connected with catering companies and local restaurants in Poland to feed those fleeing Ukraine.

However, that was simply a quick fix.

Systems in Place

Mook shared the following anecdote to explain WCK’s commitment to fast responses in its humanitarian efforts.

Chef José Andrés, who co-founded World Central Kitchen his wife Patricia, says that they’re the world’s largest non-governmental organization, or NGO. Going further, Chef Andrés says this is because they have chefs and restaurants around the world WCK can activate to respond to crises…even if those chefs and restaurants don’t know it now.

Getting the refugees crossing into Poland fed quickly was just one step to providing assistance. What WCK really specializes in is coordination and setting up systems, per Mook.

Speed is just one element of WCK’s humanitarian efforts. Reliability, consistency, accountability, and efficiency are the other keys.

Without systems in place, WCK simply wouldn’t be able to do what they do, which is provide nourishment, stability, and a sense of dignity to those in crisis.

Millions of Meals

Soon after arriving and setting up in Poland, WCK teams arrived in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Moldova, and Romania.

When refugees started heading west, WCK teams set up in Germany and Spain. And while it wasn’t clear initially if teams would be needed in Ukraine directly, WCK has indeed set up inside the war-torn country.

There are WCK teams serving and supporting people in communities hosting refugees, liberated Ukraine cities, and even cities under fire.

Currently, WCK’s mission is providing hundreds of thousands of fresh meals to those in need. The organization is also providing tens of thousands of meal kits.

WCK has provided a staggering amount of meals. As of June 22, the day Leahy and Mook provided the #ChefsForUkraine update, they’ve served more than 54 million meals in response to Ukraine’s invasion.

It’s results like that incredible amount of meals that inspire our continued support of WCK through our KRG Cares program. We encourage you to support WCK as well.

Image: Daria Volkova on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

5 Books to Read this Month: May 2022

5 Books to Read this Month: May 2022

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

These engaging and informative book selections will help you develop next-level beverage skills and motivate you throughout May, 2022.

To review April’s book recommendations, click here.

Let’s jump in!

Rum Rebels: A Celebration of Women Revolutionizing the Spirits Industry

Written by authors Martyna Halas and René van Hoven, Rum Rebels raises a glass to women in the rum world. Readers will learn the inspiring stories of Lorena Vasquez from Zacapa, Joy Spence of Appleton, and more women driving rum forward and shaping this iconic spirit’s flavors, aromas, and textures.

In addition, this book serves as a masterclass in rum production, from tasting to aging. And since that’s enough for these incredible and ambitious authors, Rum Rebels also contains rum cocktail recipes.

Drink Lightly: A Lighter Take on Serious Cocktails

Operators, bar managers, and bartenders should see value in the driving ethos behind this cocktail book. Drink Lightly, authored by Nitecap bartender Natasha David, pairs precision drink-building techniques with a relaxed drinking experience.

Drinking lightly doesn’t mean sipping drinks bereft of complexity and depth. Along with 100 recipes, readers will enjoy a foreword by Alex Day of Proprietors LLC, whose concepts include Death & Co. and Nitecap.

Call Me Chef, Dammit!: A Veteran’s Journey from the Rural South to the White House

Hospitality is rooted in sacrifice and a commitment to serving others. Chef Andre Rush and his story embody service. Call Me Chef, Dammit! is the inspiring story of Chef Rush.

The storied chef has led an incredible life which includes a career in the US Army that spanned 24 years, advocating for military personnel and veterans, and winning multiple awards as a chef. Oh, and Chef Rush and his 24-inch biceps have also worked in the White House for four US presidents.

While there are no recipes in this book, there is one hell of an inspiring story in these pages.

The New Kindred Spirits: Over 2,000 All-New Reviews of Whiskeys, Brandies, Liqueurs, Gins, Vodkas, Tequilas, Mezcal & Rums from F. Paul Pacult’s Spirit Journal

Anyone looking for a spirits bible need search no further. F. Paul Pacult’s The New Kindred Spirits includes over 2,400 in-depth reviews spanning a wide range of spirits. This tome evaluates a massive number of brandies, gins, liqueurs, rums, tequilas, vodkas, and whiskeys.

This all-encompassing compilation of spirit evaluations doesn’t just cover the usual suspects. The New Kindred Spirits also takes a deep dive into the craft side of the beverage industry.

Drinking & Knowing Things

Author and certified sommelier Michael Amon would like to know a couple things from those considering picking up Drinking & Knowing Things. “Do you want to uncork a bottle of whoop-ass on every winedouche and uppity sommelier?” And, “are you too lazy to spend any time whatsoever learning things?”

Anyone who answered “yes” to either or both questions needs this book. Amon says that readers who commit to spending five minutes reading the weekly wine recommendations found in Drinking & Knowing Things will give sommeliers a run for their wine-knowledge money. Wine intimidation? Not after reading this book.

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

5 Books to Read this Month: April 2022

5 Books to Read this Month: April 2022

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

This month’s engaging and informative book selections will help you develop next-level culinary, beverage and marketing skills throughout 2022.

To review February’s book recommendations, click here.

Let’s jump in!

My America: Recipes from a Young Black Chef

This book is scheduled to be released on May 17 of this year. I anticipate this cookbook by Chef Kwame Onwuachi, which includes 125 recipes, to come flying off the shelves. In addition to more than 100 recipes, Chef Onwuachi connects his personal journey to food, culture, and places. Pre-order My America now!

Paddy Drinks: The World of Modern Irish Whiskey Cocktails

Jack McGarry, Sean Muldoon, and Jillian Vose are back with their latest Dead Rabbit book. The trio’s latest release, Paddy Drinks, shares Irish whiskey drink recipes you’ll find on the actual Dead Rabbit menu. However, that’s just one portion of this informative book. Inside are whiskey flavor wheels, tasting notes, illustrations depicting whiskey production, and more. And if that’s not enough for you, David Wondrich provides the foreword.

Founder Brand: Turn Your Story Into Your Competitive Advantage

In Founder Brand, Dave Gerhardt explains why your brand’s story is one of the most valuable assets you own as an entrepreneur.

From the Amazon listing: “This is a tactical guidebook that first shows you how to tell your story, then how to put your story to use as a marketing strategy. You’ll learn how social media provides a bridge between you and your customers, the platforms that are appropriate for your business, and how to measure results to truly determine value.”

Finding Mezcal: A Journey into the Liquid Soul of Mexico

You don’t have to be a veteran bartender or spirits expert to know that mezcal continues to rise in popularity. Written by Ron Cooper, founder of artisanal mezcal brand Del Maguey, Finding Mezcal includes 40 cocktail recipes from bartenders and chefs; photographs; Cooper’s own artwork; and much more.

Bar Hacks: Developing The Fundamentals for an Epic Bar

Industry expert and KRG Hospitality president Doug Radkey wrote this informative and conversational book. This is the perfect read for aspiring or seasoned bar, pub, lounge, or even restaurant owners, operators, and managers looking for that competitive edge in operations. If you’re looking for both fundamental and in-depth planning methods, strategies, and industry focused insight to either start or grow a scalable, sustainable, memorable, profitable, and consistent venue in today’s cut-throat industry, Bar Hacks is written just for you

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

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Incentive Economy: What are You Offering?

The Incentive Economy: What are You Offering?

by David Klemt

Chef's knife and honing rod crossed on cutting board

You know about the gig economy but are you familiar with the incentive economy?

It’s quite simple, and there are myriad ways for operators to engage with it. In fact, you likely already participate in the incentive economy in some way.

To put it succinctly, the incentive economy is all about the perks of a job beyond a paycheck.

The Old Ways are Out

On episode 53 of our Bar Hacks podcast, Chef Brian Duffy addresses the need for changes in our industry directly.

First, he tackles the lack of transparency in leadership by some operators. As Chef Duffy says, “That’s an old school way of doing it. That was an old school way, that was the Eighties.”

According to the chef, and we wholeheartedly agree, we now find ourselves in a “different phase” in the industry.

Then, Chef Duffy takes on how leadership in the industry treats staff.

One effective recruiting and hiring incentive Chef Duffy offers on the podcast deals with scheduling. None of his cooks close both nights of a weekend. He also posts schedules two weeks in advance so there are, A) no surprises, and B) if staff need to swap or drop, they have time to do so without impacting the business.

This simple scheduling incentive is attractive to new hires and existing staff. Why? Because working unpredictable, erratic hours is stressful.

“That ruins your life,” explains Chef Duffy.

If operators want to attract new hires, keep their team together, and reduce turnover, listening to staff about scheduling is crucial.

Things Need to Change

Chef Duffy shares a story on the podcast about his daughter and her experience working at a restaurant operated by a hospitality group.

No, he doesn’t name the group or the concept. The who isn’t the point here, it’s the what.

That what is how leadership bungled not only a scheduling issue but also how they botched Chef Duffy’s daughter’s two-week notice, her final shifts, and her final pay.

For more context, his daughter wasn’t a new hire who bailed after perceiving she had been treated poorly. She had worked at that restaurant for a year, there were ongoing issues, and she finally left.

As we all know, we’re down about a million jobs in this industry. That loss isn’t simply because of the pandemic. Our industry is undergoing a seismic cultural shift and we’re losing people who won’t return to hospitality.

Things need to change if we’re going to reverse this trend and strengthen the industry. KRG Hospitality president Doug Radkey addresses the change we need in his latest book, Hacking the New Normal. Chef Duffy addresses some of the necessary changes on our podcast as well.

“We can complain as much as we want, but we created it,” Chef Duffy says. “We as owners and operators and managers, we created what’s happening right now.”

Get Creative

The only limits to incentivizing your staff are your imagination, staying consistent with policies and procedures, being respectful of your staff and guests, and the law. Remain in those confines and get creative.

An incentive doesn’t need to be a grand gesture or prize. In many instances, something that makes a shift more fun and breaks up the monotony is enough to energize the staff.

“I want my staff, I want my front-of-house staff, to know what my sales goal is for the day,” says Chef Duffy. “And then I want to run a contest with that.”

One of the chef’s favorite contests is simple and highly motivating: Follow the Twenty.

Chef Duffy puts a twenty-dollar bill into play against a particular item or menu category. For example, either a specific dessert or any dessert.

Whenever a team member sells a dessert, they get the $20 that’s in play. If a different person sells another dessert, they get the twenty. Follow the Twenty incentivizes the first person to sell more of an item to hang onto the money, and the game motivates the rest of the staff to outperform their coworker to get the prize.

The last member of staff to sell a dessert that shift or day keeps the money.

Offering another creative incentive he’s seen, Chef Duffy shares that there’s a restaurant out there offering a free tattoo to kitchen staff that stays for at least 30 days. Will some staff leave after they get their tattoo? Possibly. Hiring wisely, implementing training policies and procedures, treating staff with respect, making scheduling easier and more flexible, ensuring clear communication is embedded in the fabric of your brand’s culture, and offering further incentives can prevent that turnover.

Offer Ongoing Education

“We live in an incentive world now,” says Chef Duffy. Explaining that he doesn’t operate large kitchens, large bars, or employ large teams, he admits he can only do so much in terms of incentives.

However, his approach to incentivizing staff to stay starts with this example of true leadership: “The one thing I can do is treat my employees well.”

With decades of experience in the industry, Chef Duffy’s knowledge is something he can offer his staff. A big believer in education, passing down information that can enrich team members’ careers and lives is an incredibly valuable incentive.

During a recent training session with a very young kitchen staff, the chef started with the very basics of education.

“Hey, guys, here’s a knife. This is a knife,” he said to the kitchen staff. “There’s seven different parts to a knife. Here’s the most powerful part, here’s the most precise part. This is how you hold it, this is what we do…”

Just reading that, it may seem like Chef Duffy was being condescending. That’s not the case. He wants to share as much of what he’s learned over the years to pass on his collected knowledge.

“I want people to feel as if they’re gaining something from me and the knowledge that I have rather than, ‘Go cut those onions and I’m gonna yell at you if you do it the wrong way,'” says Chef Duff.

Make Meaningful Change Today

Making impactful change can feel overwhelming. Let’s face it, it’s easier to just stay the course. But these days, staying the course can cost you your staff, then your guests, and then your business.

One way to start making change is to look inward at yourself, and at your leadership team.

Are your staff gaining anything from you beyond a job and paycheck? Is your leadership team mentoring and incentivizing staff? Are you, your leaders, and your team happy at work?

If the answer to those questions is “no,” do what’s reasonable to improve your brand’s work culture.

As Chef Duffy says, “The whole dynamic of it has to change and we have to take better care of our employees.”

Image: Steve Raubenstine from Pixabay

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