New Client Offer from Maguire Promotions for Restaurants and Small Businesses

By: Patrick Maguire

Book Chapter: Introduction

Posted: 06/2/2016

I’ll be publishing a new blog post soon offering Suggestions (“Do’s” and “Don’ts”) for Bartenders. Feel free to email me your suggestions/submissions if you’d like them to be included in the post. In the meantime, today’s post is a timeout from Server Not Servant to promote my restaurant and small biz consulting business.

After hearing from several prospective clients, I’m offering an Annual Subscription Package for new restaurant and small business clients. This year-long social media/marketing partnership, or ‘independent audit’, is a way to ensure that you, your staff, and affiliates are maximizing the potential to market your business. This candid, up-front and ongoing feedback, will ensure that your restaurant/business is at the forefront of social media marketing, you’re “in the game,” and that you remain current with what is happening in our industry, and potentially impacting your business and income.

This offer is not intended to disrupt any successful, existing relationships you have, but to supplement them. However, too many restaurants and small businesses are over-paying  for PR and social media consulting firms that are over-promising and under-delivering. For those of you with no outside contracts for PR, marketing, or social media, this affiliation, through coaching and candid feedback, will enhance what you and your team are currently doing on your own.

As this Inc. piece states, “Social media marketing is far more than an online popularity contest, and the better business owners understand that, the better they can use it for their companies.” In 2016, effective, consistent social media campaigns need to be an integral part of your game plan.

Maguire Promotions Annual Subscription: Cost: $600 per year. ($50/month)

Services include: 

•Audit/analysis and evaluation of your most recent 3 months of social media posts/content. This includes every aspect of your company’s online presence. This is the honest feedback you need that your friends and family won’t give you for fear of offending you. The initial evaluation will be performed by me personally (not an intern), and the results will be presented in writing and in-person.

•A copy of the “Maguire Promotions Social Media Strategy Guide” is included with our partnership.

•A copy of my “jm Curley Social Media Strategy” is included with our partnership and will be included in the initial meeting with you and your team. (jm Curley was named one of the “50 Coolest Small Businesses in America” by Business Insider when I was managing the social media and promotions.)

•A copy of my “Instagram Strategy for Restaurants and Small Businesses.”

•A copy of my “Free Content Checklist.” With this, we’ll implement protocol for communicating (Internally and externally) and humbly sharing reviews and all media, blog posts, Zagat mentions, etc. praising your restaurant. Most restaurants have no strategic gameplan for sharing great news.

•A copy of my “Social Media Daily Checklist” for restaurants and small businesses.

[After emailing all of the highlighted items above to your team, I will meet and review specifics with you, your internal social media team, and your designated affiliates (in one meeting). Average initial meeting time is 2 hours.]

•After the initial kickoff meeting, I will perform ongoing audits/analysis of your social media content every 60 days and share the results via email.

•Boost your current social media by leveraging my personal network and voice in the Boston restaurant community. Includes retweeting or “liking” tweets, “liking” Facebook and Instagram statuses I support, and favorably commenting when inspired. (Please note, FTC regulations require that I use #ad or #promo when I promote a client I receive compensation from.)

•Increase your brand awareness by leveraging the Server Not Servant blog and SNS Facebook Group when appropriate. I can defend and promote restaurants in a way that restaurant owners would like to, but can’t. (See ‘Mom and Pop’ blog posts) Some of my blog posts reach several thousand people, including an expansive network of Boston’s blogging, media, and restaurant communities.

•Scouring the internet to defend and promote your brand/business. I will be constantly seeking ways to promote your restaurant and improve your operation. A common complaint I hear from restaurateurs is, “I don’t have time to keep up with all that stuff. It’s overwhelming.” I agree. I read everything I can locally, nationally and internationally about restaurants, and will forward anything that I feel is relevant to your restaurant/business and can help you. I often find great pieces on hospitality, training, motivation, leadership, and other industry-related topics. I will forward select items I come across about your restaurant or about our industry that you may want to forward to your managers or entire staff. Great internal communication builds trust and loyalty.

Next Steps: Getting started on this basic, Annual Subscription Plan requires an up-front payment of $600. Upon receipt of the check, I will email you copies of all of the items referenced above, then schedule time to meet with you and your team. If you are a brand new business, same rates apply. Please feel free to forward this to your restaurant industry friends in Eastern Massachusetts.

Please contact me to clarify anything included in this proposal. Thank you very much for your consideration.

Sincerely, Patrick  Email: patrick@servernotservant.com

PS- Please email me for a complete list of all of the restaurant and small business consulting services I provide. Everything is available à la carte and can be tailored to the specific needs of your business. Thank you.

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Breaking Bread: Simple Gesture, Great Example

By: Patrick Maguire

Book Chapter: Human-to-Human Service

Posted: 05/17/2016

So many times we walk or drive by. We may empathize and sometimes get involved, but many of us don’t often do enough.

This simple story is too important not to share, and so refreshing in light of all the negativity we’ve been barraged with. The picture and accompanying story were shared on the Massachusetts State Police Facebook Page on 5/17/16.

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A Selfless Meal, and Conversation, for Two

We were shown this picture from a third-party who had not taken the photo, nor knew anything about it, other than they thought it was taken in Fall River. After a little digging, we were able to locate the citizen who had taken the photo. The citizen said the well-dressed Trooper in a suit appeared to be having lunch with a panhandler on Davol Street in Fall River. The citizen was struck by what he saw, snapped the photo, and posted it to a Facebook group in Fall River, captioned “And they say chivalry is dead…….Much respect.” We are grateful to that person, who thought to take the photo and share it.

After a little more digging, we found out the trooper is Luke Bonin, who is assigned to the State Police Dartmouth Barracks. After reaching out to Trooper Bonin, he was a bit surprised that someone had taken his photo, stating that he wasn’t seeking or expecting any publicity for it. But we pressed him, and he very reluctantly told us how he ended up sitting on his cruiser’s bumper that day sharing lunch with a stranger.

Trooper Bonin had just left court when he drove by the woman, who appeared down on her luck. She was holding a sign and asking for help from anyone who would pay attention. Trooper Bonin continued to drive on – directly to a local establishment, where he ordered two meals. He returned to the woman, pulled up, and exited his cruiser. Thinking he was there to remove her from the side of the road, she immediately stated to him that she would leave, that she knew she shouldn’t be there with her sign. But Trooper Bonin told her, “I’m not here to kick you out.” He then extended the two meals and told her to pick one.

They then sat, shared a meal, and a conversation.

Yes, Trooper Bonin, we know you do not want or expect publicity. We know you didn’t want to be noticed, but you were, and the job is proud of you. We commend you for your selfless act, and for “doing the right thing” for someone less fortunate than most people.

We have extraordinary troopers on the Massachusetts State Police who conduct themselves honorably, and perform selfless acts, every day. Most times, it goes unnoticed. But not this day.

[All text below picture courtesy of Massachusetts State Police Facebook Page.]

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Boston ‘Mom and Pop’ Shops-Chapter 3: Olive Connection Brookline, MA

By: Patrick Maguire

Book Chapter: Human-to-Human Service

Posted: 03/9/2016

This series, introduced in a blog post on 1/30/16, celebrates ‘Mom and Pop’ shops in the Boston area, and soon beyond. These blog posts are dedicated to owners of restaurants and small businesses who respond to a questionnaire designed to capture their experiences of owning, working, and operating a business together.

All italicized comments were furnished by the owners of the business.

Olive Connection, at 1426 Beacon Street in Brookline, MA, is a retail specialty food store with olive oils and vinegars from around the world along with everything associated with olives.  We specialize in the tastes and flavors of food, and customers can taste and select what they enjoy. With great ingredients one can make a simple meal delicious. We want our customers to always find something new with seasonal products and new offerings.  Sometimes we’ll offer the unexpected for a wow experience. The store is owned and operated by the Sapoznik family of Brookline. (Husband and wife, Carol and Morry, and son, CJ)

Carol is the Big Cheese…the CFO-advertising.

Morry is the Salesman Extraordinaire and  janitor.

Charles (CJ) is the General Manager, keeps us in inventory, schedules all of us and the employees, and is the muscle in the schlepping of the packages, and salesman.  We all have our hand in selection of the products, but CJ is largely responsible for this area. 

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Server Not Servant (SNS): Where did you grow up and how did you end up in Boston?

As a family we have lived in Brookline for 28 years.  CJ went to school in Brookline and Morry was an educator in the school system in Brookline before retiring.

SNS: Any education (or other) degrees, awards or certifications you care to share?

Carol is a retailer, graduated college with a retailing degree and had a 45 year professional career, 42 years at Crate & Barrel before retiring.  Managing store personnel and operations and merchandising  made up most of her experience.

Morry has a Masters in Education and was an assistant principal at Lawrence Elementary School in Brookline.

CJ has a culinary degree and has been working in restaurants and resorts in Colorado before moving back to Brookline.

SNS: Have you worked together before your current business?

We have never worked together as a family, so this is the first.  When we started our journey of exploration to plan, we said that at any time if one of the 3 of us did not want to do this we would not go ahead.  To be together in this venture was the point of it all. 

SNS: How many hours a week do each of you work?

We are open 7 days a week, and most times there are 2 of us together.  Occasionally, all 3 of us are there together but we all have our different roles.

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SNS: Did anyone give you any advice before you started working together?

Yes- try to keep on schedule with business meetings.  And gave us a name of a shrink that specializes in business relationships.  We thought that was odd…and funny…at the time!  We have not called on him yet.

Do your homework before you start looking for a space.  We had lots of business advice from other small family business owners. 

SNS: How would you describe you’re working relationship?

Carol- Most of the time, 95% it is good.  There are the moments where it is shaky and we have to have a cooling off period.  I think I drive my family crazy. I talk too much and want to talk things through and that bugs them.  When I treat my son as a son and not a business partner he gets angry.  My fault.  I think he would say the same.

Morry- The business relationship works because of the solid relationship we have had  many years as a couple. You have to have trust  and enjoy each other’s company.

CJ always says we have to chill and take it one day at a time and not get too ahead of ourselves.  Take time to enjoy the success.

SNS: Is it harder or easier than you anticipated?

Not harder…we were realistic about what it takes.

SNS: What do you like the most about working together?

We are talking to each other every day about something…it is nice…short and sweet.  No surprises…keeping each other informed is key.

SNS: How have you avoided killing each other?

Carol- We need our space…and quiet…and being in the store by ourselves…too much togetherness is also not so good.  Give each person the freedom to do their work.

Morry- Keeping a sense of humor.  If that does not work…take a walk.

SNS: What do you rely on your partners to do in the shop that you’d hate doing?

Morry is the neat freak with cleanliness and keeps us all in line.  When he is gone for a few days we have to fill in and realize all he does.

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SNS: What qualities do you value most in employees?

Morry- They have to be a good person, have a positive personality,  enjoy working with people.

Carol- They have to be fully engaged, and have ideas and love to help customers.

SNS: What do you enjoy doing most when you’re away from the business?

We all enjoy traveling, so we are taking trips this year to far away places, either together or separately…one person left behind to run the store.  The trips all involve food and finding new resources.  The food trade shows are one way but that is a given, we all need to share new ideas and what others are doing that we could learn and take back to the store.

 

SNS: Do you cook at home?

We all love to cook for recreation, entertain, experiment for new tastes.  Read cookbooks as novels. All our meetings revolve around the table eating and talking about food and sports. 

SNS: What are some of your favorite Boston area restaurants?

Locally in Brookline we love La Morra, Taberna de Haro, both of which we go to weekly.  Washington Square Tavern, Fairstead Kitchen, Pomodoro, just to name more favorites.  We love to try new spots.

SNS: Any dreams\fantasies about opening a restaurant completely different than your current shop?

We have to evolve our one location to have seasonal offerings, changes for interest, and keep our one-time customer coming back.  So we have to keep our head down and concentrate on making it better and better.  There is so much to do.  The gift business is huge and we are just tapping the surface. Social media, and how to connect to our customers and respect their privacy is tricky.

SNS: What characterizes your favorite type of customers?

We love all our customers and the diversity of Brookline and surrounding areas is a key to success.  Some beginning cooks, some developed chefs.  There is something for everyone.  The young children are lovers of food and enjoy tasting too. 

SNS: What are you most proud of about your shop?

That we have customers that like our stuff…that is the report card.  They think the environment is comfortable and warm and that we are friendly and helpful and appreciate them.  They have told us that. We have items they cannot find anywhere else. 

SNS: Any upcoming events you’d like to share?

We are partnering with our Greek Olive Oil producer for a Greek night on March 23rd.  We are also partnering with La Morra Restaurant and our Sicilian Olive Oil producer for a Sicilian night on April 5th.  We have free demonstrations every Friday with Sweet Rose Bakes and planning 4 Saturdays of how to make a great salad dressing.  And more to come…so education and having fun in the store is key.

SNS: Any advice for couples thinking about working together in a restaurant/small biz?

Morry- Make sure you enjoy the other person’s company, have a sense of humor, respect each other for what they can bring to the mix.  Trust them like a friend, not like a spouse or son.

Carol- This has brought us closer as a family…so what else would we be doing?…we are never bored, that’s for sure.

Keep asking yourself…are we still having fun?…because that is the point.  Being together, having fun, and not taking ourselves too seriously.  The mood of our family transfers to the customers and to our staff.  Make it light and keep laughing. 

Our customers want a local business to succeed…are always asking…how are you doing?

That is very rewarding.  Providing something unique is appreciated buy all.  It’s an exciting challenge.

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If you’d like to participate in this series, please email Patrick@servernotservant.com. And please forward this blog post to ‘Mom and Pop’ Shop business owners who might enjoy sharing their stories. I’m also seeking a Boston media partner to share these posts. Thank you.

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. No compensation was exchanged between Olive Connection and Patrick Maguire/Server Not Servant in exchange for publication of this post. Sharing of this post by Carol, Morry and CJ Sapoznik and affiliates via social media is anticipated but not required. Thank you.

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Grace & Gratitude

By: Patrick Maguire

Book Chapter: Human-to-Human Service

Posted: 03/4/2016

This is too inspirational and important not to share.

Sarah Livesey exemplifies genuine hospitality in a seemingly effortless manner. Moments after meeting her at Blue Dragon in Boston, I was very impressed by how she handled our group, simultaneously giving us direction and comfort that we were being taken care of. Subsequent interactions confirmed the ease with which this consummate pro takes care of her guests, staff, and the house. Yes, ‘I remember more about how she made me feel than what she said’.

After a serendipitous, life-changing diagnosis, and in the midst of treatment, Sarah embarked upon a project that was intended to be ”a visual representation of all the love and support that I [Sarah] have in my life.” She collaborated with artist, Ari Hauben to tell her story through a work of art accompanied by a moving short film.

“The intention of this piece of art is to create a visual representation of all of the love and support that manifests through the healing journey. To highlight one’s ability to choose perspective and outlook on all things. To activate deeper levels of consciousness, by tapping into creative power. To use challenge as a platform for growth and inspiration. To access now for strength in the process and later as a reminder of this moment. To superimpose an image of what comes next, to help me, and others to heal.” – Sarah Livesey

Sarah, thank you for sharing your grace, gratitude, and story with all of us.

Please take a moment to view the short film and share if the spirit moves you. Thank you.

Grace + Gratitude on Facebook

[Shared with permission of Sarah and Ari.]

 

 

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Boston ‘Mom and Pop’ Shops-Chapter 2: Vee Vee-Jamaica Plain

By: Patrick Maguire

Book Chapter: Human-to-Human Service

Posted: 02/15/2016

This series, introduced in a blog post on 1/30/16, celebrates ‘Mom and Pop’ shops in the Boston area, and possibly beyond. These blog posts are dedicated to owners of restaurants and small businesses who respond to a questionnaire designed to capture their experiences of owning, working, and operating a business together.

Vee Vee is a 35-seat neighborhood restaurant opened in 2008 by Kristen and Dan Valachovic at 763 Centre Street in Jamaica Plain, MA. Thanks to Kristen and Dan for their insight and experiences. If you’d like details about the “Reiki session gone awry,” you’ll have to visit their restaurant…

SNS: Please provide a very brief description of your restaurant and mission.

Kristen & Dan: Our goal is to create a comfortable neighborhood restaurant with simple, tasty food for both vegetarians and omnivores, featuring local beers and a small, but excellent selection of wines.

Panoramic

What are your individual titles, roles, and responsibilities?

Kristen: I’m a server and host, also in charge of bookkeeping, payroll and pretty much all admin stuff. Dan tends bar, hosts, and is in charge of the physical plant. He also knows where every single thing in the restaurant is. If you can’t find it, just ask — he knows.

Where did you grow up and how did you end up in Boston?

K: I was born and raised in Dedham, MA, spent a few years in Brookline, and moved to JP in 1994.

Dan: I grew up in upstate NY. I had a rock band with some high school friends and we came to Boston in 1991 to make a go of it. I moved to JP in 1994 as well, when the band thing was fizzling out.

As a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you “grew up?”

K: I thought I would be an artist — whatever that means.

D: A rock musician.

What other jobs have you worked besides restaurants?

K: For many years I had a “real job” in the design field; first as an interior designer, then in graphics. I continued to work part-time at my old firm through the first year we were open. I remember on the restaurant’s opening day I had a deadline at my design job. It was stressful doing both, but I had to make sure we had some reliable income.

D: Sadly, nothing too interesting.  My first job was at the bottle return counter in the local Grand Union.  My next job was slightly cooler– clerk at Strawberries Records and Tapes.  After that, all of my jobs were restaurant-related.

K: Dan always forgets, but there was a period of about a few years in there where Dan worked landscaping. He took a step back from restaurant work for a breather, and I must have as well because that was the only time in our 18years together that we had “normal” schedules. We both got up in the morning, went to work, came home and had dinner together every night. We had weekends off, too. It was weird. Not terrible, but ultimately not for us…

Dan on the bar

Dan on the bar

What was your first restaurant-related job and where was it?

K: There’s a tiny restaurant in Endicott Circle in the Dedham called Fisherman’s Restaurant. I worked there for one day in junior high school until they fired me. Then it was on to a multi-year stint at Mister Donut on Route 1 in Westwood. This was in the 80′s, when it was apparently acceptable to have a teen-aged girl or two working alone at a donut shop on the side of the highway.

D: I worked for a summer as a delivery driver at a steak delivery spot called “Steak Out”. I wish I still had that hat…

How did you meet?

K: In 1998 when Centre Street Cafe moved to its current location, owner Felicia Sanchez turned the old spot (current home of Ten Tables) into a little Mexican place called Mi Casita. I lived around the corner and was a regular customer, so Felicia hired me to design the sign and asked me to coordinate with Mi Casita’s manager, Dan. I set up a meeting to discuss the sign with him, and he didn’t show up.

D: I had a lot going on…

K: I wasn’t impressed. He seemed entirely uninterested in talking to me, and I had no romantic interest in him. But then, we found ourselves finding excuses to be together. We never had a proper date and have been solid since then.

How long have you worked together?

K: I ended up working weekends at Mi Casita in order to be close to him; it was a small place: a cook, a server, and a dishwasher. Later our friends opened Zon’s, and we were both on the opening staff, Dan as manager, me as a server (I was still working full time in design).

How many hours a week do each of you work at your place of business?

K: Dan is actually there more than I am, he likes to putz around. I’m probably there officially 30 hours a week, but I’m in and out of the office, plus doing things from home. We work on the floor together on Friday and Saturday nights, plus whenever else we need to.

Did anyone give you any advice before you started working together?

K&D: Well, everyone said it would ruin our relationship. It hasn’t.

How would you describe your working relationship?

K&D: “Good cop/bad cop?” Maybe a little of that, but also, in day to day operations we trust each other enough to go with something if one of us feels strongly about it. We pick our battles for small stuff, but for bigger things we always have to be on the same page.

Is working together harder or easier than you anticipated?

K: Easier. We came about our division of labor organically and it seems to work well. I can’t imagine doing this solo, though!

What do you like the most about working together?

K: Seeing our hopes come to fruition, but also having Dan’s perspective instead of just my own. He often sees things I miss and vice versa.

What do you like the least about working together?

J&D: Difficulty in stepping away from work, from thinking about it and talking about it 24/7/365.

How have you avoided killing each other?

K: Dan is very calm and patient, that’s why he hasn’t killed me yet. We defer to each other’s strengths.

What do you rely on your partner to do in the restaurant that you’d hate doing?

K: Taking care of broken equipment. I don’t speak the language and I’m not especially handy.

D: Paying the bills

What qualities do you value most in employees?

K&D: Commitment to our vision, loyalty, respect.

What is the wildest thing that’s ever happened at your restaurant?

K&D: A Reiki session gone awry, at a table, on a jamming Friday night. It was shocking and gross, let’s just leave it at that.

What do you enjoy doing most when you’re away from the restaurant/business?

K&D: Heading to the outer cape, definitely. It’s our happy place. We don’t have a house there, but aspire to someday. We also love a good road trip to experience other restaurants and bars. Portland, Maine is a favorite.

Any issues you care deeply about that you want to share?

K&D: We love our JP neighborhood. When we decided we wanted our own place, we never considered looking anywhere else. It’s like a small town in the big city.

Do you cook at home?

K&D: We had our kitchen redone last year, so, yes, finally we can cook at home. We have 2 nights off together, one we go out, one we eat in. Often we’ll have overly ambitious cooking plans but then end up doing something simple like spaghetti carbonara.

Do you schedule ‘date nights’?

K&D: We’re good about having date nights, pretty much every Monday. We really try to stay connected in a way that doesn’t involve working. Once upon a time we had things to talk about besides the restaurant, and we don’t want to forget that. Our last date was a big one — a 6-day trip to the Caribbean, very relaxing.

What are some of your favorite Boston area restaurants?

K&D: So many restaurants, so little time! We love other Mom & Pops like Seven Stars Street Bistro and Brewer’s Fork, although we don’t get to Charlestown nearly as often as we should. We also love Neptune Oyster, Toro and eating at the bar at Mistral.

Any dreams\fantasies about opening a restaurant completely different than Vee Vee?

K&D: All the time! Sometimes we look around and think maybe we should have done this or that differently, and wonder what it would be like to start all over.

What characterizes your favorite type of customers?

K&D: We have an excellent group of regulars and it often feels like an ongoing conversation with old friends. We just continue where we left off the last time they were in. We love that. But we also love when someone comes in for the first time and tells us how comfortable they feel, like they’re a guest in our home. That’s the best.

What are you most proud of about your restaurant?

K&D: We’ve been doing this for 8 years now, and I’m thrilled that we we’ve been able to create the neighborhood spot we envisioned, with wonderful customers and an outstanding Vee Vee family. We couldn’t ask for better people around us.

Any advice for couples thinking about  opening a joint, or working together in a restaurant/small biz?

K&D: Figure out where your partner excels and let them run with it. Trust your guts. If something feels wrong to either of you, it probably is.

K: If you’re thinking about opening a place, have a firm vision. It can be tempting to try to be everything to everyone, but the sooner you realize you can’t, the better. That said, a bit of flexibility can be necessary, too. There’s a balance in there somewhere. Also, your relationship with each other should always be more important than the business.

D: Choose the name very carefully. You’d be amazed how often people mistakenly assume that we are a vegetarian or vegan restaurant just because of our name.

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If you’d like to participate in this series, please email Patrick@servernotservant.com. And please forward this blog post to ‘Mom and Pop’ Shop business owners who might enjoy sharing their stories. I’m also seeking a Boston media partner to share these posts. Thank you.

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. No compensation was exchanged between Vee Vee and Patrick Maguire/Server Not Servant in exchange for publication of this post. Sharing of this post by Kristen and Dan Valachovic, Vee Vee and affiliates via social media is anticipated but not required. Thank you.

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