The Candlelight Inn: Recipes for Success
If you happen to find yourself in NW Illinois, or neighboring Clinton, Iowa one of these days, you may want to take the time to visit one of these communities’ dining institutions: The Candlelight Inn. No strangers to serving their community and developing a loyal following, one of Digital Dining Dashboard’s newest customers has been doing business since 1967!
Now run by Matt Prescott, the son of original owners Bob and Jan, the secret to success at these immensely popular local eateries is actually pretty familiar: “Keep it simple, hire the best people, provide the highest quality products, the best service, and the best facilities,” Matt told me. “Our customers have come to expect a high level of consistency, and I will bend over backwards to make sure they get it.”
One of the staples of the Candlelight Inn’s menu is the Chicken George: Fresh chicken strips, breaded and “cooked to perfection” and dipped in Jan’s Sauce (The secret is in the mayonnaise!), named after the creator, Matt’s mom Jan. Served with any two sides of your choice, Matt suggests the rice and Caesar Salad. When asked what drink he preferred to accompany it, Matt was decidedly casual, suggesting that the Chicken George is good with just about anything!
Matt is no stranger to formulas for success; holding a degree in business administration, and with a lengthy pedigree surrounding restaurant technology, he knows what works and what doesn’t. When he first approached Digital Dining for his enterprise-wide, POS sales reporting needs, he had some concerns: “People are resistant to change, and I had to make sure that the technology we brought on board was easy to adapt to and immediately beneficial.”
Well, two months down the road, Matt’s experience seems to confirm those requirements; “It’s really opened up communication. I can see what’s happening at the three restaurants from home, on the web. I like to travel, and can’t wait to look at my numbers on the road. One of my managers, who was frankly a little hesitant about the idea, called me to say she loved it!”
That’s high praise indeed coming from an owner/operator with a close eye on his margins and the wisdom to work “on” his business, not “in” it. “Digital Dining Dashboard improves the bottom line. It’s been great for me, and I love it. What else can I say?”