What’s the Net Easy Score (NES) for your restaurant or cafe?

You’re probably heard of NPS or Net Promoter Score, a simple measurement of how likely people are to do business with you again. Another way to measure your business is with the Net Easy Score or NES. Based on work by Sue Barrett, it looks at all the ways your business is easy, or difficult, to deal with. Here’s a version for restaurants, cafes and foodservice.

Score your business on each of these factors from 1 to 10 – 1 for very difficult to deal with, through to 10, which is for being frictionless, delightful, and extremely easy to deal with. To keep the list manageable, some points contain a couple of service factors.

  1. Finding the business on Google or Apple Map, or a Google search – clear description and useful information with correct opening times, useful photos and website links. How does the search work on a mobile phone? Parking and public transport access to the business is easy to find and close.
  2. Phone calls get through to someone who can help me straight away. Phone messages and email inquiries are returned promptly with useful information. Texting is used for quick responses.
  3. Online reviews give me a clear picture of the business. Google, Facebook, Trip Advisor etc. The main social media channels are informative and friendly.
  4. The website is informative with accurate menus, opening hours, directions and a good impression of the business.
  5. The menu is easy to read, and can be accessed in advance online and on a phone. There are good explanations of the food and beverages. It’s easy to get food for my dietary needs eg vegetarian, vegan, gluten free – doesn’t feel like the choice is very limited.
  6. It’s easy to order online for delivery or pickup – menu on familiar ordering platforms, easy to understand. Simple payment including Apple/Google Pay to avoid the ‘get off the couch’ issue – when you need to go to find your card. Booking is easy to do via online booking system or with a phone call
  7. Speed of service, response times, welcome, ordering, delivery and finalising the account – this cuts through most of the items on the list. The speed is appropriate to the situation – not rushed for fine dining, definitely speedy for drive-through or takeaway. Never frustrating.
  8. Helpful, efficient staff who can answer questions and give prompt, friendly service. When things become complicated, how easy is it to sort them out? Walking in to eat or drink, it’s easy to obtain a table, and the system is clear – all the seats are in good locations.
  9. Toilets are accessible, clean and safe. Obvious attention to cleaning, hygiene and Covid safety routines.
  10. Payment is easy and safe at the counter, or when I’m ready to leave – cash or card, tap and go. If there’s queue for service or payment, it moves quickly.

How did you go? A score above 80/100 puts you in the Nice & Easy category – a preferred place to do business in today’s difficult climate… we will definitely be back!

🤚 Check the weekly discoveries on Hospo Reset – information & inspiration for restaurant, cafe & foodservice operators.

How to Use Google Alerts for Restaurant and Cafe Marketing

Google Alerts is a content change detection and notification service, based on the Google search engine. It sends emails to the user when it finds new results—such as mentions on web pages, newspaper articles, blogs, or research. It’s a great way to find out who is talking about your business, and it works away in the background, automatically. Over time, you’ll find the Alerts that are most useful, and ‘train’ it to create profitable opportunities. Let’s get started…

1. Watch mentions of your name or your business name – go to Google Alerts and set up your business name – most places have two or three words in the name, so make sure to include them in double quote marks eg “Cafe Troppo” – that way you will be alerted for the exact expression. Choose if you want the alerts to come daily, weekly or ‘as it happens’. You can also choose the region to watch (eg your country) and language.

2. Create Alerts for Sales Opportunities. If you offer catering or meeting space in an area, set up an alert for: catering OR conference OR meeting huntingdale (notice the use of joining words like OR, AND etc – they’re called Operators and help make the search more useful. Learn more here).

To track future weddings, engagements, anniversary, birthday parties in your town of Huntingdale, set up an alert for: wedding OR engagement OR engaged OR anniversary OR birthday huntingdale. These could turn into attractive party bookings with the right follow up.

You may get better results by making sure the words ‘new’ and the type of business are next to each other in the items Google finds. This can be done by putting quotes around both words: “new insurance office” huntingdale

If you sell catering or services to other businesses in Huntingdale, look for the words new, the type of business you sell to, and the name of your local area: new insurance office huntingdale

Another great way to find new businesses that may need your products is to look for the phrase “opening soon” eg “opening soon” shop huntingdale

Any business that is expanding must be doing something right. Try finding these as a source of new customers: expanding business huntingdale

To be alerted to how coupons or discounts are being described on the competitor’s website, use the relevant words for your alert term: coupon OR discount OR deal site:cafezero.com

New menus, services or promotions can be found with words like: new offer OR accouncement OR special offer OR new menu Café Zero

3. Watch the competition – set up alerts for: Site:[competitors url], or the business name, plus common phrases that might be used eg “I think” [competitor name] and “Has anyone tried” [competitor name]

4. Monitor Discount and Coupon Programs – they may be offered by competitors can be monitored by searching for words like coupon or discount plus a business name: eg coupon OR discount OR deal Café Zero.

5. Watch leading local businesses and people – just as you’re tracking your own name and competitors, set up Alerts for local businesses that provide you with customers or opportunities, so you know what’s happening. You can also create Alerts for well-known local people – set up the Alert for ‘As it Happens’ so you can send congratulations or a friendly message.

6. Track local news and events that could have business opportunities, sometimes called ‘news jacking’. Eg if there’s a well-known local product, celebrity or sporting star, an Alert for their name will remind you every time they’ve done something newsworthy. Then add a post to your social media or newsletter, reminding people of the link – it won’t take long for people to wonder if you have a secret source of information!

🤚 Check the weekly discoveries on Hospo Reset – information & inspiration for restaurant, cafe & foodservice operators.

Plan B for when the next COVID lockdown hits your cafe or restaurant

As COVID controls and vaccination helps business return to some type of normal operations, government policy in Australia and New Zealand now seems to be using selective lock-downs to control spot fires and outbreaks.

Your Lockdown Plan B needs to be permanently at hand, so you can move within hours to protect your business, and alert customers, staff and suppliers. Here’s a bunch of areas where you need to have emails, social posts and communication at the ready – almost like a putting the fire drill into action…

  • Alert your customers – through email, text message, social media posts and signs on the window. Hopefully you’ve been steadily building your email and SMS list (here are 10 ways to do that quickly). Spend some money to boost your social media posts in the local area, so you make a greater impact. Use Canva to design catchy signs – look sharp and professional.
  • Alert staff about roster changes and different work needs – through group email, texting, their private social media group and the messaging service. Stand down those not needed, and understand your rights in this situation.
  • Contact function & event bookings, if there are restrictions on group size or service style. Your event contract should now allow for rescheduling and deposit arrangements in the event of health-related restrictions.
  • Increase delivery and takeaway – expanding the services you are already using.
  • Simplify the menu and reduce stock – most operators are now much savvier with their numbers and cost of goods. Use your digital system or menu app to slim down the offer. Is there equipment you’ve delayed purchasing that will be part of your backup plans? Eg fridges and freezers. If equipment needs to be shut down, follow the correct procedures.
  • Alert suppliers about reduced needs and hours of operation.
  • Alert finance companies about what’s happening, You may not be delaying payments, but keeping them in the loop increases trust in case you do need to negotiate.
  • Alert landlords – they’ve been through the wars in 2020, and although they don’t love the idea of rent reductions, your regular communication can prepare them for possible concessions.
  • Build your diversification – it’s not an instant change, but the more you can diversify sales and add multiple income streams, the stronger you will be. Here’s a great list of options.
  • Prepare reopening promotions – it’s called Disaster Recovery Marketing, and there are lots of options using the communication channels you’ve developed. Move quickly and sound positive.
  • Strengthen your administration system – many operators have a new appreciation for working from home. Is your PC or Mac up to date, with a good backup for data? Is it time for a larger screen or a better office layout? Do you have POS integrated with bookkeeping, rosters and payroll?
  • Encourage COVID vaccinations for everyone – led by the owners and managers! Show staff how to book for their ‘jab’ and arrange for time off. Maybe even a bonus for doing it?

Fingers crossed this remains theory! 🤞

🤚 Check the weekly discoveries on Hospo Reset – information & inspiration for restaurant, cafe & foodservice operators.

Social & Environmental Issues Calendar for your Cafe or Restaurant

There are special days and months all through the year, to celebrate and commemorate important themes and social issues. There may be ways to include them in the calendar of events at your cafe or restaurant, on social media or just as a reminder to staff. Customers respond very positively to your support for social issues.

January – suggestions welcome.

February – suggestions welcome.

March
March 8 — International Women’s Day. Here are some ways to celebrate the women you work with.
21 March – Harmony Weekcelebrating the diversity of cultures and races in Australia.
21 March – Clean Up Australia Daycommunity campaigns for reducing litter
22 March – World Water Dayhighlighting the importance of sustainable water supplies.
Share the Dignity Month – giving those experiencing period poverty the dignity they deserve. Twice a year the public is asked to donate pads, tampons, period underwear, incontinence pads etc. to Dignity Drives across the country.

April
April 22 — Earth Day, supporting environmental protection.

May
May 9 — Mother’s Day. Celebrating the mothers who raised us, mothers who work with us, and the women who raise children in the face of difficulties. There are many ways to celebrate this throughout the week.
11 May – International Nurse’s Day – on the birthday of Florence Nightingale, founder of modern nursing
17 May – Day against Homophobia and Transphobia
31 May – World No-Tobacco Day. Highlighting the health dangers of tobacco, and an opportunity to support your staff to Quit. Hospitality workers smoke at more than twice the rate of the general population.

June
27 May – 3 June – National Reconciliation Week – a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements
June 20 Refuge Weeksupporting the needs and achievements of refugees in Australia and internationally
Pride Monthsupporting Gay, Lesbian and Trans Pride with events and celebrations

July
4-11 July – NAIDOC Week. Celebrating the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders in Australia.
Dry Julysupporting people to go alcohol-free in July, and raise funds for cancer support.

August
Share the Dignity Month – giving those experiencing period poverty the dignity they deserve. Twice a year the public are asked to donate pads, tampons, period underwear, incontinence pads, menstrual cups etc. to Dignity Drives across the country.

7 August – Aged Care Employee Dayhonouring the people who look after our family as they grow old

September
September 5 — Father’s Day – celebrating the fathers who raised us, other fathers in your family and the many fathers who work in hospitality. Make it more than just a day for a packed booking diary.
September 9 – RUOK Day. Supporting mental health, when people are urged to support colleagues and friends struggling with life’s difficulties by asking ‘are you OK?’
September 21 — International Day of Peace, supporting the end of war and violence.

October
Breast Cancer Awareness Monthraising awareness and funds for breast cancer support and treatment.
7 October – Teachers Day in Australia, often extended into Teacher Appreciation Week. Dates vary internationally.
19-25 October – Gambling Harm Awareness Week. Talking about the harms associated with gambling and the effects they can have on communities, families, friends, workplaces and individuals.
31 October – Grandparents Day. To celebrate the bonds between grandparents and grandchildren.

November 2021
Movember monthgrow a moustache and raise funds through sponsorship to raise awareness of men’s health issues and suicide.

December
1 December – World AIDS Day. Raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic, and remembering those who have died from the disease.

We will keep adding to this calendar, and your suggestions very welcome. Many more dates are listed on the Social Justice Calendar and the Health Events Calendar.

🤚 Check the weekly discoveries on Hospo Reset – information & inspiration for restaurant, cafe & foodservice operators.

How to use QR Codes for restaurant marketing and management – dozens of easy examples

Everyone understands QR codes, now that they’re compulsory for COVID check-ins. Point your smartphone camera at a QR code, and a website or app will pop up.

In fact QR codes have been around for many years, and widely used in Asian countries – now that they’re understood here, you can start to leverage them for restaurant & cafe marketing, recruitment and daily operations. How many of these ideas can you use?

It’s easy to create your own QR codes – for a web page, WiFi access, a feedback form or to check off a worklist. Use a web service like Scanova.io or BeaconStac or QRcode-monkey.com, or a QR generator phone app. The Chrome web browser now automatically generates a QR Code for every web page you visit – click on the right side of the URL address bar. Download the square code you create and add it to signs or stickers – easy.

📸 .. Check dozens of ways that QR codes are being used on this special Instagram Account – new examples added all the time.

Put your Front Window to Work: a couple of QR codes can lead to a welcome video from the owners, a downloadable copy of the menu, TripAdvisor reviews or more information about opening hours and bookings. Now you have a 24/7 billboard – place the codes on a poster or on a digital slide.

Boost your recruitment with a link to your main recruitment page, and liven this up with some one-minute video testimonials from staff, or an overview of daily work routines. From this page, people can click and fill out a job application form ready for you to respond.

Include a code in printed marketing material: flyers, postcards and posters can all have a QR code added for contact details, Facebook and Instagram accounts or special Coupons.

Take-Away Menus: print a QR Code on table tents, front door posters or where you’ll catch a customer’s eye. Scanning the code directs them to a digital version of your menu on the web, or as a PDF. Take it one step further and integrate this with an ordering app, so they can browse, click, choose and pay.

Share Recipes and Food Stories: put a small QR Code on your menu next to key dishes. Smartphone users can then scan the code and be taken to a recipe, or even a video of it being made. Too many codes could look unsightly, so have one that leads to a page where more links can be clicked.

Information about Wine and Cocktails: distributors and wineries often have detailed information on their websites – the QR code could lead straight to this, or to pages you’ve set up (so you don’t have to show the supplier’s pricing).

Feedback Surveys: place a QR Code on the receipt, and ask for instant feedback. This works even better when staff remind customers that it’s just 3 questions – put them on a Google Form or with a free app like Wufoo. Take it one step further and give the option to join your email list to receive promotions. Surprisingly, with compulsory check-ins now a part of every visit, most venues are not turning customer sign-ups into newsletter subscribers. Even a ‘thanks for visiting’ email can make a difference!

Nutritional Information: there’s a wide range of information available online – now you can link directly to it for the people who are interested. This avoids your menu becoming like Wikepedia – the facts are there just for those who want them.

Download a phone app: if you have your own app, or want people to use one for ordering, a QR code can be set up to go to the Apple or Android app store, according to the phone being used.

Ordering lists, instruction sheets, operating systems and food safety routines can all be accessed online with a QR code – generate it for the web page or relevant documents. Dymo Printers or A4 label sheets can be set up to print the labels with a description underneath, so there’s no confusion.

Opening and closing routines, COVID and food-safety checklists can be set up in Google Forms or specialist apps like iAuditor – a QR sticker on the wall will trigger them for each location or time of day. Even those hourly checklists behind the bathroom door can be a thing of the past!

Need equipment repairs? Have a QR code for repair information and manuals, all on one laminated sheet on the kitchen wall or in a folder.

When you need to generate bulk quantities of QR Codes on labels or as images, there are services to do that eg QR Batch, or it could be part of the software you are using eg Shopify.

🤚 Check the weekly discoveries on Hospo Reset – information & inspiration for restaurant, cafe & foodservice operators.

QR code examples

10 Ways to Reduce Noise in your Cafe or Restaurant – and Bring Customers Back!

Why don’t people come back, after they enjoyed your food and the service? It could be the noise – too loud to talk with friends and feel relaxed.

Here’s a bunch of ideas for noise reduction, if you have to do it after your venue opens. The fact is, most architects and designers give little thought to effective noise reduction, creating hard-surface boxes with all 6 sides reflective so the noise bounces like bullets to kill our enjoyment.

It’s good to understand some of the technicalities of noise and how it’s created and reduced – the excellent Acoustical Surfaces blog is full of great articles such as Soundproofing vs Sound Absorbing – What’s the Difference? and Noisy restaurant solutions- when peace and quiet are not on the menu. Noise is measured in decibels, and the different levels are listed below. Measure it with a noise meter app from the iOS or Google App store – they’re good enough to show you the level of pain, which can quickly move into the danger level (above 80 dB) in a noisy venue.

Here are some easy ways to reduce noise in restaurants and cafes…

  • Acoustic panels – attached to walls or ceiling. These can be the expensive sound baffles like they use in a recording studio (they absorb sound) or simpler ones from a hardware like Bunnings. Even egg crates can be combined in an interesting way if your look is ‘cheap and cheerful’.
  • DIY acoustic panels – foam stuck onto plywood cut to size, covered with interesting fabric. In Australia, Clark Rubber has foams of all thicknesses and grades that they will cut to size.
  • Hang attractive floor rugs from the walls. There are many varieties at markets that could double as interesting art, and IKEA has a wide range at low cost
  • Hessian coffee sacks, filled with padding and hung as interesting wall features – another idea for a casual environment.
  • Padded panels between tables, to create more intimate spaces and reduce sound. Better in a more formal space with a large area.
  • Cushions and padding on chairs and benches – it all helps.
  • Tablecloths! Out of fashion in many places, but they do the job very well. Avoid padding under tables – it makes a slight improvement but feels a bit creepy when if you reach underneath.
  • Carpet! In my Cafe Troppo days, we had commercial carpet tiles in a charcoal grey and sound was never an issue. Steam cleaned once a month and very few spills to worry about – people don’t notice what’s on the floor. Artificial grass is also an option, and could be used in strips or as a feature – it’s done effectively by the Cafe 63 group in Queensland.
  • Turn down the music – it’s often up loud because of all the other noise, and people can hardly hear it anyway! You don’t need stereo in a large space, but you do need quality sound. Small speakers spaced around will be sufficient rather than a couple of big stereo speakers. If good music is a special feature at your place, it’s important that people can hear and enjoy it.
  • Reduce noise from the bar – blenders and appliances can be intrusive, best to have them with shields and covers.

Understanding noise levels…
Loud noise causes damage in two ways: the actual volume, and the length of time exposed to it. A noisy venue could result in occupational health and safety issues – attention clubs and entertainers!

Here’s a detailed chart of noise levels, and a quick summary of decibel levels:

140 – Jet engine at 30 m
130 – Rivet hammer (pain can be felt at this threshold)
120 – Rock drill – level at which PAIN BEGINS
110 – Chainsaw
100 – Sheet metal workshop
90 – Lawn mower
80 – Kerbside heavy traffic – level at which sustained exposure may cause HEARING LOSS
70 – Loud conversation
60 – Normal conversation

🤚 Check the weekly discoveries on Hospo Reset – information & inspiration for restaurant, cafe & foodservice operators.

Seen behind the bar in a Las Vegas nighclub…

How the H-Word Boosts Restaurant Sales and Cuts Costs

People expect a lot from us – fast, friendly, good value, available, and more. That’s why the H-Word can add power to your reputation, and even bring down costs with suppliers. Not magic, but it works – you do it, now all the staff need to get with the same program…hands180

The H-Word stands for Helpful, and it may sound a bit low-key. Like ‘nice’ and ‘tasty’ – not much power in it.

But think about when customers describe staff as UnHelpful – they won’t be flexible with a reservation, assist with a diet request, help with the needs of a child, or they make you sit in the uncomfortable corner… hmmm, let me dive onto Facebook and tell 150 of my best friends… 😮

Maybe we need to think about how we can be more helpful and take a close look at what this means to your staff. They sometimes find it easier to be unhelpful – just follow the rules and don’t make it inconvenient for me. It’s often about little things.

Helpful with Diets – it’s the price of being in business these days, gluten-free, vegetarian, low-sodium and so it goes on. Smile and work out ways to make this a drama-free part of the menu.

Helpful with Kids – oh yes, it sometimes feel parents check-out when they visit and let the little monsters run free. But your help, flexibility and understanding will keep happy families coming back for YEARS – now we’re talking real ‘long term value of a customer’. Some of your staff aren’t so good with kids, and some are wonderful – choose carefully.

Helpful with Parties – we know the right menus to fit your budget, and how to organise the timing so drinks won’t run out. We can supply a sound system, a photographer, a room for the bride and an excellent DJ. We’ve done this a hundred times before – making parties run smoothly is our second nature!

Helpful with Business Customers – quiet corner for a sales meeting, no problem. Free WiFi, for sure. Snappy service for a quick lunch – easy. Friendly but not familiar.

Helpful with First Dates – you’ve got the all-important ‘distraction factor’ available, with plenty of people watching and conversation starters. It’s not every place that has this – your staff usually know who rely on it 😉

Helpful with Gift Ideas – Gift Vouchers ready for ‘friends who have everything’, and surprise parties a specialty. Gift wrapping or shipping for the t-shirts and preserves – not a problem. And when it’s Christmas shopping season, take the initiative and solve gift-giving problems – the magic question after you’ve made the first sale is ‘who else is on your list?’. Kaching!!

Helpful with the Neighbourhood – offer the function room for the community meeting on park development, free coffee included. Help out with the school fundraiser, and work experience for culinary students. It doesn’t take long for helpful places to become ‘owned’ by their neighbours.

Helpful to Suppliers – paying bills on time, ordering according to the agreement system, flexible if there’s an unavoidable change to a product. They can be helpful too, with an urgent delivery or super deal on end-of-line products. So keep cranky-chef in his box – a friendly relationship with suppliers can pay big dividends.

Thanks to marketer Tim Reid for inspiration for this post…

Love Problems at Work: Is Your Restaurant at Risk?

Many people found a partner where they worked, and we need more happy relationships in this industry, not less!

But in the steamy, late-night world of hospitality, love and lust often flourish and they can cause problems. Legally, it could be regarded as discriminatory to say ‘no relationships between staff’, but clear rules need to be in place to avoid disruption.

Harassment and discrimination. Your duty of care for staff means you should make sure both parties in a workplace relationship have chosen it freely and willingly. Interview them separately to check. But blanket rules banning relationships could fall foul of local anti-discrimination laws – check with your legal advisers.

Conflict of interest. Relationships between senior staff and those who work for them could easily result in a conflict of interest. Anything involving salary reviews, promotion or work allocation may need someone else involved. The onus is on the senior person to show that they are not favouring one party over another. Transfer to another department will simplify matters, but that may not be possible.

Discussion of Sexual Health and Pregnancy. Casual sex can lead to unwanted results. It’s more openly discussed now, and becomes prime-time news if things go wrong. What information is appropriate to display in your staff area? To have no mention of this at all seems short-sighted.

Online Dating and Website Access. This should be covered in your general policy on computer access: keeping up to date on who’s available and other ‘hot’ issues should be done at home, not work. How will you monitor and enforce this? You need Guidelines for Staff on the Use of Social Media – a tough one to keep on top of.

Decreased Performance. When relationships break up, the drama can be very disruptive… for the business. One cafe owner mentioned how she lost two good staff, both of whom were great performers before they formed a relationship, but their work deteriorated badly after they split. Her rule now is ‘No fishing from the company wharf’!

A decline in performance could lead to warnings and even termination – let’s hope that doesn’t happen but if you mention this possibility in your interview with the new lovers, you help to protect yourself from allegations of harshness.

Public Behaviour. The public don’t want to see staff making out together, and maybe neither do their colleagues. They also don’t want to hear the steamy details of a young punk or princess’s love life. Cover this in your general rules about staff modesty and acceptable behaviour. Your policy might start with something like:

‘All staff have the right to a happy, loving and supportive relationships. However, if you form a relationship with a person working here, there are several issues you need to be aware of etc… (then repeat relevant issues from the above).’

Boys & Girls, Girls & Girls, Boys & Boys – gay, bi and lesbian relationships are now openly accepted by most staff and customers, but there may be pushback from some people on religious grounds. You’ll need to make sure local Anti-Discrimination Laws are understood and followed.

Check Your Legal Right to Direct Staff Behaviour. As you can see from the above, it’s a complex issue with personal, management and legal implications around areas of privacy, discrimination and moral judgements. Make sure you discuss your plans and policies with your legal advisor. Industry associations usually have excellent experience in this area.

There’s no escaping this – it’s called human nature! Take a stand, be fair, and make sure all your policies are in writing.

How to Share (and Receive) More Love in your Cafe or Restaurant

Customers want fresh, not stale; inspiration, not gloom.. One way to do this is to think about all the things that we love, our staff love and our customers love! We all need to find more ways to keep a smile on our faces and share our love of food, customers and business success.

It’s easy to share stories, photos and events – post them on Facebook, on a corner of the menu or add to your newsletter – they create great word-of-mouth and conversation starters. Suddenly there’s a personal connection between staff, managers and customers. Here’s a whole bunch of themes to get you into the groove for sharing some love!

The locals love to be acknowledged. Has a neighbourhood community or business completed a mammoth project, or students achieved excellent results? Offer a special treat for winners of the school sports carnival, debating competition or best achievers in exam results. Ask local bosses to nominate a winning worker for special commendation.

Staff love to be acknowledged. How do you recognise this? At Silver Chef we have our 10 minute ‘daily huddle’ and at the end, there’s an opportunity to acknowledge the work of others – how they’ve helped you or the business. Setting up systems for this will make it much more likely to happen, and leaders should model the process.

People love to be inspired. Share the story of one of your workers who’s overcome the odds to hold a job or achieve something special – customers give extra points to you for supporting them. Or how you support a local non-profit. Put a photo and a brief story on the noticeboard, and get staff to wear name tags so connections can be made. If there’s a local organisation you support that’s done something special, ask them to share a story.

People love the business owners. If you’re an independent or family-run business, when’s the last time you shared a photo of your family, or one of you (without grey hair) when you opened all those years ago? Pictures make stories easy to share, with milestones, awards and staff events. Add a news diary (blog) to your website and keep adding more. People love to hear ‘how we made it stories’ – they won’t make the TV news, but you do make thousands of people happy each year. Share your pride.

Many people love their town or local area. Regular support for sporting teams, the school and charity groups keeps customers loyal and connected. Get behind local causes like parking issues, over-development and conservation – now you’re one of us.

People love photos. Snap, snap, snap with your mobile phone or a camera kept at the shop to record food, parties, special customers and behind-the-scene activity. But don’t post them up without checking and editing – easy to do with on your phone or an app like Snapseed. Take several shots of each scene and choose the best, then brighten it and crop out the garbage bin on the side. Post them to your Facebook page – this will drive constant visitor traffic.

People love to laugh. Add a weekly quote about food on the noticeboard – like the one from baseball player Yogi Berra “You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat eight” or “There’s no better feeling in the world than a warm pizza box on your lap”. Google for restaurant or cafe quotes and jokes – there’s no shortage!

Many people love animals. No, don’t bring them into the shop, but whether customers are a ‘cat’ person or a ‘dog’ person, people love hearing about them, seeing them and even getting life lessons from them. Could Henry the dog be the one that offers a Tip of the Week on your noticeboard? Could the best pet photo earn a prize in a random competition for one month?

People love events. Beyond the usual ones on Valentine’s Day and Mothers Day, every month has possibilities. Here are a few ideas for October, so you can be prepared:

Oktoberfest – think German flavours and great beer.
World Teachers Day – every year on October 5. Make friends with your local schoolies.
Halloween is on 31st October – find new ways to be creative with pumpkin!

Staff fall in love with each other – it happens! Some businesses have strict ‘no fraternisation’ policies, which will always be hard to police. Better to recognise that a lot of great relationships have started through working together – just make sure your staff manual covers issues about conflict of interest and the different power that supervisors may have over others.