Long before the luxuries of farming, grocery stores, and restaurants, our ancestors hunted and gathered food in order to survive. Over the years, modern-day shoppers and restaurant patrons have come to feel a disconnect between their dining habits and the distant, often unknown sources of their mass-produced food; thus, the concern for ethical and sustainable eating has spread rapidly. Consumer demand for organic and humanely raised food has increased, along with an interest in consuming ingredients that are both locally produced and in season. For the past several years, the farm-to-table movement has begun to evolve a step farther, giving rise to the “wilderness-to-table” movement, with restaurant patrons seeking out venues that serve what has come to be described as “locally foraged and hunted” food – and even cocktails containing ingredients that are locally foraged.
It’s a Friday night and your restaurant is packed. You made sure your servers clearly understood each of the specials, and that they are upselling things like specials. You’ve trained them to walk diners through each detail and ingredient of your menu, and you even know that they can discuss how each dish is prepared. You’ve done a good job hiring servers who are kind and attentive to your customers’ every need, but, we’re sorry to tell you, unless you’ve trained your servers about good wine pairing, they are destroying your return business and not maximizing your profit. Here are three common wine pairing mistakes that your servers are making right now.
Your bar rocks. You’ve spent all the time and money to get it perfect, it’s exactly the bar you’ve always wanted to hang out in, and your friends love it… even the beer menu is legendary. So, why is it that your customers gaze at your menu of 763 beers, glaze over like deers in the headlights and then order a Budweiser? Yes, I know, you think they are uncultured and cheapskate Philistines, but maybe the problem lies with your bar. If you employed a Cicerone, they’d have bought that Abita beer at $9 a bottle.
Your customers have had a wonderful dinner. They are loving the world, they are singing praises of your restaurant to their waiter and sending back compliments to the chef—they’re even posting on Facebook about the great meal they just ate. Now, they’re ready to order dessert, and their good mood makes them want a great sweet wine with their dessert. They read the pairings that you’ve set up on your digital wine menu (hint, hint), and they order the most decadent dessert menu item you have: the Chocolate Cake with Buttercream. They’re really indulging, so they also order the champagne, which your menu has recommended as a great celebration pairing with that fabulous cake. They love the cake, and their champagne catches the light as they toast your restaurant. They love champagne. Then, they take a sip and disaster happens. Do you know what went wrong?
There are a lot of beers out there these days, and you have decided that it is finally time to add craft beers to your menu. But what craft beer or beers should you add? This week’s most popular searches were about Chimay beer, so we know that beer enthusiasts want Trappist ales today. But what about tomorrow? What craft beer will your customers want to see on their beer menu?
Audiologists consider a decibel level just over 80 damaging to our hearing. Sadly, it may come as little surprise to frequent diners in trendy restaurants that this is often just how loud dining out has become. While some restaurateurs might place a higher priority on restaurant décor than acoustics to draw in a young and hip crowd, it’s not only older customers who have increasingly had enough of not being able to hear each other during dinner conversation.
Are you ready to build a loyal customer base who considers your restaurant the go-to for any occasion? Do you want customers who find your restaurant so delicious that coming back every day of the week sounds like a good idea to them? Well, have you considered making your restaurant kid friendly? Kid friendly restaurants can fill tables during late lunch or early dinner hours when your servers would normally be folding napkins, and because children build fierce loyalties (and have powerful methods of persuasion), your restaurant could become the new family dinner hotspot. First step: convince kids to come back again and again by building an awesome kids menu. Here are some tips to get you started.
These days, there’s nothing new about using technology to help expedite the process of ordering food at a restaurant. Once waitstaff at some restaurants started sending orders back to the kitchen using hand-held devices, it was only a matter of time before similar technology made it directly into the hands of customers – most commonly now through online delivery apps like Seamless and GrubHub. Today, some airline passengers, while they wait to board at the gate area, may even use iPad menus to order, with the assurance that their items will be brought directly to them within minutes.
It’s hard to differentiate your restaurant’s wine program among many competitors in your area and really make it stand out. Nearly every restaurant considers it table stakes to have a well trained staff and diverse wine list so there is something for everyone on the list. But did you know that expanding your by-the-glass offerings can be one of the best ways to appeal to customers and increase your sales?
Having a big, diverse list is great, but not if there are very few by-the-glass options. Many diners want to try new and different things, but aren’t comfortable spending a lot of money on a bottle they’ve never had before. Enter your glass program, where diners could taste multiple different wines without committing to a bottle.
Fleming’s, the national steakhouse chain, has done just that. By providing 100 by-the-glass options to diners, the steakhouse has seen sales increase 4.2% this past year while all their competitors were declining. Providing a diverse glass list can allow you to provide multiple pour sizes as well, by going smaller with a 3oz taste portion or providing a larger 9oz pour like Fleming’s does.
One of the challenges of expanding the glass list is having wine go bad if it isn’t ordered frequently. There are several things you can do to address this and make glass pours more profitable with less waste: Read more
2013 witnessed the rise of upscale pork bellies, gluten-free everything, and Dominique Ansel’s delicious cronut–a mix between a croissant and a donut–what new foods will the new year bring? Here are our predictions for food industry trends and foods that your customers will be craving in 2014.