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Hall of Famer Rick Parks of Ben E Keith, Oklahoma discusses great examples on how he is a true consultative DSR and partner with his customers. Parks shares his professional advice and recommendations on the importance of this ongoing review process.
It’s a never-ending process of consulting on products for the menu, with reviewing whether to keep, replace or remove items. By providing data through velocity reports, you can discuss if they should keep an item and how it could be made even better?
Rick uses data to conduct his menu reviews of which items are moving and which are not, reminding his business partners that “numbers don’t lie”. If a menu item does not have the numbers to stay on the menu, maybe it should be removed and try something else. Parks says just because they might remove it from the menu does not mean they can’t have the item in the inventory so they can take care of good customers who still order it.
One example Rick gave was a customer who was hand-breading onion rings. The customer believed his onion rings were the greatest thing ever. Parks had been reviewing his velocity reports and the numbers were not there to support it, so he asked the customer if they thought they would sell any more or any less if they changed it to a frozen onion ring. At the same time, he was pointing out to them the extra labor and time spent hand-breading them without a more significant return on that investment. With labor costs as they are today, that time might be better spent on a more profitable item plus using frozen onion rings could help ensure it’s done right every time.
Finding good kitchen staff and training them on 30 items versus 50 items helps with costs. You want to utilize the kitchen staff and not over burden them with too many items.
Part of his consultative role is regularly dining at his customers’ establishments to review how his products are performing and how the staff is performing with his products. If a menu item comes out great, or not so great, he notes that and makes sure the management and the person who prepared it are aware. He also reviews the performance of the wait staff on how those products are presented to the table. Make sure to tell management the positives as well as the negatives that need work or more consistency.
Parks says to be a good consultative DSR you must learn how to point things out that will help make them money and you need to be able to do this in a proactive way. Developing a good working relationship with your customers by always looking out for their best interest and helping them make more money builds their trust in you and their faith in your expertise.
Helping the customer to understand key aspects of making more money like raising the price on a few of the most popular items on the menu by 10 or 15 cents, or talking about the yield of a product, by saying, “I’m sure you know this…,” in order to point out the product they’re using is not really $1.98 per pound after they’ve cooked it.
Rick makes a good point that completing these reviews alongside the customer shows them the time, concern (for their success) and knowledge you have invested in their business, plus it helps teach them and creates trust in you because you worked it like you were an employee.
Never work these reviews on your own and just hand them the results the next day. The customer misses out on all it took for you to complete it, and you miss out on their increased trust and respect for you as a key partner in the success of their business.
DSRs, Be a Resource… and Sell Something!