In the age of the smart phone, we’ve come to expect to be able to get a message out to anyone at any time – and perhaps even get an immediate response. Some would even say this principle of instant communication has begun to apply to reviews on Yelp.com; if a customer can post a review before he or she even pays the bill, some would even go as far as to argue that the owner (or another member of the bar or restaurant staff) could, in theory, just as easily read and reply to that review within the hour. If the situation is really that dire for business owners, of course, then running a restaurant just got a lot more difficult – unless owners and managers are willing to hire someone whose sole responsibility is to handle such matters – and, so, of course there are companies that offer exactly that service. Read more
Do your customers come in and order the second least expensive item on your wine menu again and again? It might mean that they just like your second least expensive wine offering, or it might mean that they don’t feel confident in their wine ordering abilities to upgrade their order. Of course, a digital wine menu can help to educate and inspire your customers’ ordering habits, but here’s something you may not have thought of: hosting a wine dinner. Hosting a wine dinner at your restaurant can be a great boost for your restaurant business during the slow season, and if you set it up right, you can get not only build new regular customers, you can also get those regulars ordering expensive wines with their meals. Here is the step-by-step guide to hosting your restaurant’s wine dinner. Read more
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.
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?
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
It’s time for some hard truth here: today’s upscale restaurant menus all look the same. In fact, they’re usually written in French, which means that most of the menus in your restaurant class are advertising the exact same dishes. Is your restaurant falling into this trap? Are your customers as bored with your menu offerings as the people in the photo? Here are 3 much-needed updates that will make your restaurant menu stand on its own.
In 1970 Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking changed the culture of food as we knew it. At the time, America hung on every new French phrase, as Julia told them how to make Coq Au Vin, Steak Frites and even baguettes, but today’s chefs have expanded our palates so far past traditional French cuisine. Today’s global economy and increased travel have expanded our American food options significantly and everyone around is lining up to eat the next best thing. But a lot of restaurant menus haven’t caught up with the new and exciting food trends of today and are still selling the same old foods, and even worse, using the same language to sell them. Here are some totally new ideas that will make your menu shine. Read more
Ah, restaurant week. Around the country it’s that magical time of year when everyone’s eyes and tastebuds are focused on your restaurant. According to Choose Chicago’s results from last year, Chicago area restaurants made $26.9 million during restaurant week, and served over 513,000 diners. Last year was the biggest year yet, and this year should be even better. But will it be a good year for your restaurant? Restaurants that make the most of restaurant week bring in some huge benefits, such as community inclusion, in-person and online buzz, and increased regular customers–but some restaurants still aren’t experiencing all the benefits that restaurant week offers. Make sure that you’re making the most of your week in the spotlight with these four helpful tips. Read more
Restaurant week happens so fast. The crowds rush into your restaurant, they revel in your delicious recipes for a quick three (or four) courses, they gush about your restaurant online, more crowds pile in… and then, before you even have time to finish counting all your profits, it’s all over for the year and everything returns to normal. But wait, wouldn’t you rather have the crowd-rushing of restaurant week continue for the rest of the year? Don’t you think that your restaurant (since it is the best in the known universe and that it is the delicious expression of your heart and soul) should be packed every single day?
Yeah, we think so too. Restaurant week customers around the nation share their opinions every year on how restaurants can win their undying love, and because we’re here to serve you, we read all their comments for you. It’s a lot of reading, but we wanted to make sure to give you the absolute best tips we could. During restaurant week, make sure to do these four essential things to get your restaurant week customers coming back again and again, every month of the year. Read more