Tucked away in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward is A Mano, a neighborhood bistro that balances Old-World traditional Italian food and culture with New-World values. This restaurant is known as being a true favorite in their neighborhood not just because they provide great food and community, but also because they regularly donate to charity in their lend-a-hand program, which donates proceeds from their Thursday evening service to a different charity every month.
We spoke with general manager Bethany about how A Mano is operating in a time of uncertainty, with inflation on the rise and a possible recession incoming. With the past three years being shaky for all kinds of restaurants, what is A Mano doing to not just weather the storm but thrive?
A Mano is committed to keeping prices steady
Unlike many restaurants, A Mano has been hesitant to raise their menu prices. As a neighborhood bistro, they want to remain consistent for their regulars, and price is just one of those factors. George, the owner, has eaten a lot of the heightened costs of goods because he doesn’t want that to push guests away.
While A Mano is not the most expensive of restaurants, they’re also not the cheapest. They’re really vigilant about keeping prices at the same level. What they’ve learned is that while in the short run, you’re absorbing some of the food cost, but in the long run you actually end up getting more people through the doors.
A Mano trains staff and treats them well
A major cost for any business but especially restaurants is turnover - it can cost on average $5,834 per employee to hire and train new people. So, it comes as no surprise that a restaurant would want to retain their employees and make sure they’re trained well.
A Mano has incorporated a diligent training program for their employees with the intention of retaining them. "Having a really good training program can be one of the best ways to retain it. If someone wasn’t trained well, then that’s a way to lose people,” says Bethany.
Having a solid training program is also important to the guest experience. “From a guest perspective, it’s never one big thing that makes a guest have an amazing experience. It’s every single little detail coming together in a beautiful symphony to make them want to go back." When the staff is trained on those small details, magic happens.
A Mano prioritizes their business’s needs over dreams
While George DeMeglio, the owner, had been thinking about opening a second location for A Mano, right now they’re pumping the brakes on that. With the costs of post-pandemic construction being almost triple of what it once was, the cost to build has gone up immensely. Also, there are a tremendous amount of delays in the supply chain, so they've decided to reinvest their money and effort into other aspects of the business.
One decision is that they’re planning on expanding their hours to open for lunch, which will hopefully bring in a new crowd of customers and new revenue.
In uncertain economic times, local businesses are still growing and thriving
One thing we notice during economic downturns is that even when local businesses are ready to grow, traditional small business lending goes down.
Honeycomb Credit is here with a solution to that - local businesses can look to their community for investors. Those same regular customers from the neighborhood now have the opportunity to invest in their favorite businesses! To learn more about Honeycomb Credit investment offerings, fill out the form below.