The Challenge:

Kent Rathbun Restaurants is a Dallas, TX based restaurant group with concepts ranging from casual dining, such as Kent Rathbun’s Blue Plate Kitchen, to fine dining, such as Abacus. The group has grown steadily over the last 17 years into the highly acclaimed group of 5 restaurants it is today.

When Johnny Carros joined Jasper’s Plano in 2011 as the General Manager, he brought with him years of experience running upscale restaurants across the Dallas market.

Johnny first revamped standards and elevated some of the offerings at Jasper’s Plano to better address what customers in the marketing were demanding.

Then Johnny took on a project to diversify the wine list to increase wine sales and match the wine offerings to the overall sophistication of the dining experience. When he made the changes though, Johnny soon realized that wine average check began to slip. Johnny turned to Avero’s restaurant solutions to help him identify opportunities to improve average check and track the impact of his work.

 
Time to Take Action:

Johnny leveraged Avero’s insights to deeply understand his service team’s opportunities and implement three key strategies to improve performance.

1) Targeted Wine Sales Strategy. Johnny knew that the change in the wine list was a major contributor to the decreasing average check. He also knew that wine was one of their largest profit margin items and served as a signature item to the Jasper dining experience. He drilled into Avero’s service category tools to see which servers were consistently selling less wine than their peers and which wines were being sold less overall. He then worked across the team on “go-to” pairings and descriptors. He held short quizzes to gauge wine knowledge and worked over several months to improve item per cover % of wine by 4%, which translated to ~$280,000 YOY in incremental wine sales.

2) Postings of Weekly Average Check Results. Johnny capitalized on pre-shift as an opportunity to work on the whole team’s progress. In pre-shift he would discuss the team’s rankings in average check with Avero’s service summary report and congratulate top performers. It was a positive and simple way to reward his strongest servers and to show how their work is directly correlating to increased tips for themselves and sales for the restaurant. Johnny believes the best motivation comes from seeing the tangible progress you are making and the weekly results highlight this monetary success.

3) Mentoring of Underperforming Servers. Johnny understood the power of working on team goals, but he also knew that certain individuals could benefit from additional focus. He easily identified servers that had the largest opportunities through Avero’s service summary report and took additional time to meet with them between shifts. He feels Avero made server conversations easier and more productive, because Avero made them about the hard numbers and facts, and removed any interpersonal concerns. He wanted his servers to make more money for themselves and he saw them transform through the insights he could provide them from Avero on weak menu categories and items.

The Bottom Line:

Johnny best explained his work with Avero when he said “you can take what you know from extensive industry experience to run a successful operation, but Avero gives you the resources to move the needle that much further.” Avero elevated Johnny’s success to the next level by putting tangible revenues behind the opportunities he saw for improvement and by giving the level of insight required to make impactful business decisions. Johnny’s work with the service team over the last 10 months has driven a 5% increase in average check YOY, resulting in just under $200,000 in incremental sales at dinner alone at Jasper’s Plano.

 

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