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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Utilizing Specials

When the walkin cooler gets overloaded with one or more perishable items, the chance you won't turn your inventory dollars into tomorrow's profits increases. Several tactics may be employed to deal with this issue. My least favorite is the blowout. A blowout is typically the top special promoted aggressively by the waitstaff. It is common to offer the special at a discount to the median entree price.

Most blowout menu items involve an ingredient about to spoil. You're actually motivating your sales team to sell an entree made with ingredients well past peak. This picture is very different from the ideal special.

Specials can be excellent devices for testing new menu ideas. Many chefs try to promote super fresh, seasonal items using their top special of the night. On the customer side, lots of people like to try new items and everyone can be persuaded to order a popular seasonal dish.

As you ponder the use of a blowout as your special of the day, try to imagine the impression you will make on the customers. Those customers who frequently order a suggested menu item are statistically most likely to be disappointed. Unlike the customers who normally order off the main menu, they may be less forgiving of one substandard meal.

Too many competitors are effectively utilizing specials. A poorly executed blowout could cause negative word of mouth and hurt future business.

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