Uncorkd Restaurant News 7/22/2016

The Check Out: Weekly News Bites for Restaurants July 22nd

Every Friday Uncorkd finds the most interesting restaurant and beverage industry news that had us talking. Here are must-read articles from July 16th  – July 22nd.

Restaurant News

Word is, if you’re an independent restaurant, then you should be taking part in your local restaurant week. A study by Cake, a restaurant technology company, found that their clients who participated in restaurant week saw a 23 percent sales increase. This is compared against only a 4 percent sales increase for non-participants. So, like a cash tip left at the end of a meal, you’re leaving money on the table if you don’t participate in restaurant week.

Restaurants sales growth has been negative for two straight quarters. Yes, same store sales numbers for restaurants across the country have been been in the red for all of 2016. It’s not all doom-and-gloom, however. Quick service restaurants have shown positive sales growth, with customers favoring the blend of quality food in a casual, counter-space setting. Fine Dining was the second highest performing restaurant segment in the second quarter. This dining trend seems at odds with itself at first glance, with dining dollars being spent between a quick meal or a high-level experience.

Independent restaurants have a habit of making lax marketing efforts. Often, an over-worked manager or staff member will be tasked with with managing social media accounts or newsletters, and marketing duties will continually get pushed down to the lower margins of a to-do list. But one area that restaurant operators should increase their marketing spend is in Local Store Marketing. This is a community driven style of marketing that puts a restaurant in the center of their local community. This means working alongside local businesses by doing things like catering events, offering promotions to other businesses, or partnering with local food and beverage producers to throw tandem parties and events. It’s a marketing effort that takes patience and dedication, built to increase business over time. Remember, slow money is better than no money.

Spirits and Cocktail News

We’re going Gin crazy in this weeks spirit and cocktail news section. But, the craziness is dropping us in unexpected places.

Gin was once the the spirit of choice for late 19th and early 20th century Americans. Yes, not bourbon or rye, and before a Martini became a euphemism for chilled vodka, gin was the bee’s knees. Cocktail bars and craft distillers have created a new niche market for gin, and some of the best gins being produced these days can be found in Scotland. The flavors of Scottish gin vary, but they are generally distinct from the well-known London dry style by unique botanicals imparting delicate citrus and floral notes that work miracles in a cocktail.

Gin and tiki drinks have history. Who knew? Tiki culture and its palm frond aesthetic has had a renaissance over the past few years. While Tiki drinks can be downright delicious, the most fascinating part of this cocktail sub cult is the mysterious history that surrounds tiki culture and infuses it with legend and myth worthy of the idol heads the cocktails are often served in. Gin, surprisingly, is part of that mysterious history. Take a look at how botanical-laced gin found its way into the technicolor world of tiki cocktails.

Wine News

Every restaurant and bar is looking for a way to stand out from the next restaurant. One of the coolest and simplest ways to add a stellar feature to your beverage program is to sell your own private label selections. From wine to whiskey, private labels are an easy way to increase beverage sales. Learn how the process works and see how you can stamp your restaurant’s label on a hand-selected bottles that are sure to sell.

Bubbles are rising. Yes, like the spritely carbonation sparkling wines are named for, sales and consumption of sparkling wines have been rising. With Champagne, Prosecco, and sparkling rosé at the front of the bubbly hype. But Cava, the Spanish sparkling wine predominantly produced in Catalonia, is an under-appreciated sparkling style that has notes of soft fruit and a light sweetness cut by carbonation. Here is a primer on Cava.

Kyle Thacker