Augie Perry loves history. And pie. And Arizona's Beauty.
He’ll tell you how his Rock Springs Café, founded in 1918 – and operating continuously ever since – “has a singular place in Arizona history that’s a draw for domestic and international travelers.” And how its Sonoran Desert location is where the U.S. Cavalry discovered the Rock Creek spring in 1864. And how the Café’s been famous for its pies since 1930.
“Rock Springs Café has a longstanding tradition for great home-cooked comfort food served in our intimate, historic dining rooms,” says Perry, whose personal history in foodservice goes back more than 40 years.
At Augie's, his upscale-casual restaurant in Prescott, dine-in and patio seats showcase Granite Mountain, Thumb Butte and the Yavapai Reservation lands. Those views and top-quality food make it a highly successful wedding and large-event venue.
“There’s a heightened emphasis on ensuring prompt and courteous customer service to maintain guest loyalty.”
"There's a heightened emphasis on ensuring prompt and courteous customer service to maintain guest loyalty."
What inspires you?
AP: The desire to improve on all traditions, pursuing sales growth, watching staff achieve personal goals and observing guests’ satisfaction as they experience our brand.
How do you motivate your staff?
AP: Primarily through open, personal conversations that allow each employee to understand ownership’s mission — taking care of our guests as we wish to be treated. Also, regular team meetings by department, plus frequent financial-performance incentives. More importantly, by empowering individuals to contribute
ideas and recommendations and to become engaged in the operations in a self-directed manner.
How do you stay profitable?
AP: Daily adherence to our systems and protocols for managing all expenses. Weekly food inventories. Staff scheduling two weeks forward. Reviewing operating expenses weekly against sales forecasts.
"Sincere support and service for any area of our operations, including menu development. Shamrock Foods recognizes our account as a form of enterprise-partnership to ensure our mutual success and prosperity."
How do you change up your menu?
AP: Overall, we make menu revisions quarterly with few additions and deletions. While preserving menu favorites, we introduce new items to add something refreshing to maintain consumer interest. More recently, menu pricing requires constant attention to anticipate trends without having to increase prices too frequently in the face of rising commodity costs.
How do you attract new customers?
AP: Limited advertising — billboards, targeted radio and TV ads but, mostly, word-of-mouth. Community sponsorships generate awareness for the restaurants’ consistent efforts. Weekly email blasts to the customers in our growing database of email addresses gathered via comment cards announce upcoming promotions and events.
What opportunities have you embraced lately?
AP: We’ve continued to focus on our mission of guest service through improved staff product knowledge, guest services and managing self-direction.
How do you foster customer loyalty?
AP: Rock Springs Café launched a Pie-Club loyalty card. Augie’s recognizes customer loyalty with a personal brass nameplate that sparks attention from all new visitors. Our customer-service culture of friendly greetings and recognition reminds guests of our deep appreciation for their regular and frequent visits.
Have you observed any new customer behaviors?
AP: We’re seeing larger groups of family and friends in parties of six or eight-plus. People are gathering now and celebrating.
Any changes heading into 2022?
AP: There’s a heightened emphasis on ensuring prompt and courteous customer service to maintain guest loyalty and avoid staff complacency.
Rock Springs Café
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