Monthly Archives: April 2017

  1. Restaurant Uniform Revamp

    Restaurant Uniform Revamp

    Walk into your local coffee shop, farm to table restaurant or even fine dining establishment and chances are you will see staff members wearing casual outfits to work.  Owners have increasingly shifted away from the traditional uniforms of crisply pressed white shirts that many see as, lifeless, impractical and frankly dull. “New uniforms” are not only about creating a brand image but, pleasing the internal customer, the staff. 

    With many restaurants giving way to employee empowerment, owners and managers have seen a positive reaction and a sense of pride in considering their team members input as to what they wear each day.

     As the millennial generation begins to take over the work force, there has been a distinctive trend towards more casual and flexible uniform policies. These policies allow cooks and servers the opportunity to select the style and fit that works best for them.  For some this may mean forgoing chef jackets, allowing servers to find their own flattering fitting outfits and some time allowing employees to be “urban chic.”

    This Urban Chic trend may be at times reminiscent of an outfit one could find in their wardrobes but, ultimately gives the restaurant a genuine, down to earth feel. A feeling focusing  on the food, drinks and service which welcome internal and external guests to feel as though they are an extension of the restaurants family.

    For those who may wish to play it safe and set parameters as to what stylish choices your employees are allowed, here are some tips and hints. 

    • Make sure it fits- no employee will be enthused if they are mandated to wear an oversize chef jacket or a suit coat to serve tables. 
    • Make it cool and comfortable- as we all know, we work hard in a restaurant setting, we run around, while staying calm and collective in front of patrons. Make sure the uniform allows employees to get through the shift without having to change their shirt twice. 
    • Be stylish- focus on what fashion trends are in; denim, bright colors, and even t-shirts. The main goal is to be true to your brand and identifying how the brand should be represented is a task that will require input from staff and patrons. 
    • Focus on colors- there is a very large trend focusing on grayscales and neutral color trends.  This approach can be anywhere from charcoal grey to night-sky black. For an additional touch of authenticity pop in a bright color that will help the brand stand out from other restaurants in the area. 
    • Try placing logo creatively- try placing the logo in an area that is unexpected, where guest would not think to look. It can add a touch of flair to a regular uniform what will surely entice your guest’s attention. 

    As always, shop Restaurantsupply.com for all your restaurant needs!


     

      

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  2. Tea Party Tips: How to Host The Perfect Teatime

    Tea Party Tips: How to Host The Perfect Teatime

    Tea parties aren’t just for little kids. It can be fun way to get together with friends, relax & enjoy life at a slower pace. With the right food, drinks & decor your tea party will be a hit! Below are some simple tips on how to host a fabulous teatime.


    1.) PREPPING THE MENU


    A tea party requires two basic things, tasty treats & tea of course. Foods offered can be simple like, tea sandwiches, bite sized quiches, fruit & cheese, scones, macrons, cupcakes…the choice is up to you!


    For tea, serve something special. Don’t just open a box of everyday teabags they can get at the grocery store. Instead opt for loose leaf tea. The flavor will be richer, more complex and unique (and impress your guests!) Serve a few different types of tea so guests have a variety to pick from. Provide condiments like honey, sugar, & milk for guests that like to jazz up their tea.


    2.) INVITATIONS


    Get creative and DIY. If crafting isn’t your thing, then look for customizable ones online like Etsy. Send out invites early to give your guests plenty of notice. And let them know if there’s a dress-code. Traditionally tea parties require classy attire & elegant hats, but decide if you want your’s to be fancy or casual!


    3.) TABLE SETTING & SUPPLIES


    Don’t feel pressured to serve tea in a matching china set. Visit your local thrift store & stock up on unique tea cups & tea pots. Whatever style you decide on, just be sure that the patterns, shapes, colors compliment each other. Decorate the table with fresh flowers, dollies & fun colored napkins. Food can be served on a separate buffet table or where guests will be seating. Decide what will work best for how many guests you’re expecting & the types of food you’re serving.


    Lastly, remember it’s your party, so add whatever unique touches you’d like. The goal is to create a relaxing atmosphere where guests can unwind, chat, and enjoy the afternoon together.

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  3. How to Set up and Manage Your Event on Facebook

    How to Set up and Manage Your Event on Facebook
    Facebook is the most widely used social media network in the world. And Facebook events are a great way to spread your restaurants brand and get new and returning customers’s attention. Plus, most people have Facebook events connected to their smartphones so it is an easy way to ensure that your events are in your customers calendars. 
    Here are some tips to get the most out of Facebook events and get people to attend yours!
    1. Name Your Event
    Your event should have an official and unique name. Don’t just say “Happy Hour.” Have the name include the theme, the holiday, or a clever pun name and always include your restaurant’s name in the event. This will help your event stand out and be talked about.a
    1. Write a Clear Description
    Your description of the event is where you give the important details and information like pricing, special guests, schedule, and food and drink specials. This is a great opportunity to market with clever copywriting to get the customers interested.
    1. Use an Eye-Catching Event Photo or Graphic
    The image that people see should be captivating enough to compel customers to come before they even read about the event. This image should also clearly express the purpose of the event while also carrying your restaurant’s branding and logo. Since this image is used in several sections of Facebook, make sure it is also an image that looks great even when resized. This image should not just be used on Facebook, but should be the same branding and advertising you are using other places as well including posters, postcards, ads, etc. You want this image to become immediately recognizable to your customers and associated with this event. 
    1. Use Keywords for Tags
    You can optimize your Facebook Event by including relevant keywords in the tags section. Don’t limit yourself to just branded keywords. For example, if your event includes live music, use the genre of the music as a tag. 
    1. Let and Encourage People to Post on the Event Wall
    When creating a public event, you want to make sure that not only the host can post. Make sure to leave that box unchecked when setting up the event. The more active the event looks, the more excited people will be to attend. Having a public wall also allows you the organizer to answer questions and address concerns. You can also post updates and reminders here.
    1. Set an End Time for Your Event
    This is important and often overlooked but it helps your customers plan. 
    1. Run Facebook Ads
    Getting people to find out about your event is sometimes a struggle so Facebook Ads allow you to easily, effectively, and cheaply promote your events. This extra reach also helps you spread awareness of your restaurant and event beyond your current customers.
    1. The Earlier the Better
    The earlier you get an event up on Facebook, the more time you can promote it and let Facebook do its job of helping you spread the word. It also allows your customers a chance to plan and make your event their priority.
    1. Create a Sense of Urgency
    People love special deals, so consider having benefits, discounts, or freebies for early RSVPs or committed reservations. This is a great tactic to ensure excitement for your event.
    As always, shop RestaurantSupply.com for all your restaurant needs!
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  4. How To Cook Up The Best Restaurant Business Plan

    Courtesy of Oddle

    Cook Up Best Restaurant Business Plan

    Shop for all your restaurant needs at Restaurantsupply.com

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  5. How To Get Your Restaurant Reviewed By Bloggers & Critics

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    A mention in a local newspaper, regional publication, or restaurant blog can help any business generate buzz and gain new supporters. As the owner of a restaurant or food-related business, you should do whatever you can to get word of your venture out to as many people as possible.

    Being reviewed is an awesome way for your business to make a media appearance. After a food critic or blogger visits your establishment and writes about a positive experience for the first time, another will likely follow, and so on and so forth.

    Ergo, if you can break into the scene by way of one favorable review, you may very well become the talk of the town.

    While media coverage can be greatly beneficial, remember that a negative review can really hurt your reputation.

    Getting a professional critic or blogger to review your food business will require further background research and preliminary groundwork. Find out more about which writers' and publications' reviews make sense in tandem with your food business before you reach out.

    And even then, don’t directly ask for a review. 

    You'll want to build mutually beneficial relationships with writers and media outlets that resonate with your target market and brand. When the time is right, simply invite them over.

    It can take a lot more work than you might expect to be reviewed by a well-known critic or popular blogger, but if you properly prepare your business and accurately apply your creativity when approaching a food writer, it will be well worth it in the end.

    Let's go through the steps of how to get reviewed by a food blogger, food writer, or food critic at your restaurant.  

    Step 1: Prepare & Do Your Research

    Prepare

    Two elements that are key to accomplishing any goals related to your food business are killer food and stellar service. Getting a blogger or critic to visit is no different.

    Most reviewers will write about their overall experience, not just one aspect of it. The last thing you want is to put time and effort into having a writer review your food business, only for them to have a bad experience and share it with the world. 

    Before your food business is reviewed or featured in a blog, you’ll want to do the following in order to maximize customer satisfaction: 

    1. Polish all operational processes and perfect quality control.
    2. Have excellent menu design, ambiance, and branding.
    3. Clearly write “about” and “contact us” sections of your website and social profiles.
    4. Make sure your location is easily visible and up-to-date on your website and social media pages.
    5. Provide customers with detailed information when there are any unexpected closures, delayed openings, or - if you own a food truck - last minute location changes.

    Give yourself time to get everything under control, iron out any kinks, and resolve any issues before you invite any industry influencers to visit your food business.

    Once you have done so you can begin to work on actually contacting writers.

    Do Your Research 

    While you're prepping for a critic's arrival, you can do your homework.

    First and foremost, you will need to understand the difference between food critics and bloggers.

    Food critics usually write for newspapers or magazines and prefer to remain anonymous when visiting an establishment. They want to see what your business is like for normal customers and therefore don’t usually make their presence known. While you should do your best to recognize one if they come through your doors, don’t immediately acknowledge who they are. Treat them well - just like you would treat any patron - but don’t give them too much attention.

    Remember that most food critics want to write an unbiased review and could think you are compensating for something if you try too hard to make their experience special, give them preferential treatment, or offer them anything on the house.

    For serious food critics, free items or a comped bill can be considered a bribe. If they do accept any freebies, they will likely mention this in their writing, which runs the risk of their review reading like a sponsored advertisement and not an honest opinion of your food business. 

    Bloggers vs. Critics

    In general, bloggers approach their writing with a more casual attitude.

    Most bloggers aren’t on someone else’s payroll - they primarily go by their own rules rather than sticking to strict guidelines like those that food critics may be held to by their employers. However, you can conduct background research on both groups the same way.

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    To begin, find out who is consistently writing about food in your area. Do a Google search and see what you can find! When you come across a review that you like, jot down the author’s name along with their contact information and social media handles. If you feel like a reviewer has a similar target demographic as your food business, follow them on social media and read more of their work to get to know their style, tastes, and preferences.

    Additionally, start to build relationships with writers over social networks by commenting on their posts and tagging them in yours when it’s appropriate. You want to make your food business known to writers so that when you contact them, they will have an idea of what your business is all about, or - at the very least - recognize its name.

    Keep this running list of writers up-to-date and continue to interact with industry influencers on social media so that you will be prepared to reach out to a blogger, writer, or critic when the right opportunity presents itself.

    Step 2: Reach Out & Build Relationships

    Reaching Out to Bloggers

    After you’ve familiarized yourself with the work of writers you like, you’re ready to launch your outreach campaign. The long-term goal of this campaign is to build mutually beneficial relationships that will last beyond a single review of your food business. 

    Think of ways that you can help writers, not just ways they can help you.

    • If you read an article you think one would find interesting, share it with them on Facebook or via email.
    • If you have an idea for a piece they could write, even if it has nothing to do with your business, send them an email and pitch it to them.

    In a 2012 survey given to almost 700 food bloggers, less than half of the participants stated that they preferred writing restaurant reviews to other types of content. The more you think outside of the box, the more content you may be able to generate featuring your food business and the stronger the relationships you will build with a greater number of writers.

    Try to develop relationships with writers so that they feel connected to you and your food business. If they can imagine themselves collaborating with you in the future, they will be more likely to take you up on an invitation to your establishment.

    The best recommendation bloggers have for industry business owners hoping to see their restaurants featured online is simple - ask them to stop by and check things out. Send an email inviting them to visit your business and offer a free meal or a gift card without any stipulations or expectations.

    Reaching Out to Critics

    Since established food critics usually decide which places to review based on overall trends and the opinions of their publishers, it is less likely that they will respond to your invitation than it is that a blogger will, but it never hurts to invite them anyway.

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    For critics, offering a free meal in exchange for a review can be seen as bribery, but if you aren’t asking for anything in return, it gives them incentive to stop by your truck and try your food.

    Yes, you’ll be giving away some product, but it could potentially have a higher ROI than other marketing expenditures. If you purchase an advertisement on a website, all this tells a viewer is that you were able to pay for that space.

    If your food business receives a positive review on a credible blog or publication, this tells readers that the food, service, and atmosphere are exciting enough that the writer, someone whose opinion they have come to trust, recommends it. In fact, 70-80% of internet users ignore paid advertisements. An even higher number of millennials, 84%, don’t trust traditional advertising and are 247% more likely to be influenced by blogs and social media sites.

    The Best Method of Outreach

    To increase the probability that your emails will be well received and your invitations accepted, personalize them! Address each writer by name and include individualized details based on what you learned while reading their work to show them that your business is relevant to their content and will be of interest to their readership. Explain why you’ve decided to reach out to each writer specifically and hint at the chance of further collaboration. 

    Take the time to write these emails yourself and let your personality shine through. All of this attention to detail will help you stand out from the crowd of mass stock emails that each reviewer likely receives everyday.

    If someone doesn’t bite, don’t take it personally. Now may not be the right time in their opinion, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be in six months. Keep track of those who say no, why, and those who don’t respond, noting to follow-up and contact them again at a later date and pursue additional outreach efforts. 

    Step 3: Time to Get Creative!

    When you let your personality and passion show in your business’s food, service, and design, your guests will be able to taste, feel, and see it, giving them a unique experience that they can’t get anywhere else.

    However, it might be difficult for people who have not visited to understand this.

    Being featured or reviewed in the press will help get the message out, so it is important that you do what is in your power to reach bloggers, critics, and industry influencers to clue them in.

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    To stand out right away, apply creativity and innovation to your approach. After you’ve gathered intel on the writers you would enjoy working with most, brainstorm ways that you can team up to promote each others’ efforts within the local food community. Ideas resulting in content that can be shared on both your business’s and their blogs’s social media channels are ideal as they exemplify the power of a symbiotic relationship lasting far beyond the first review of your restaurant. The more creative ways you can think of for a writer to feature your food business, the less work it is for them to do so, and the more likely they are to do it.

    When you are ready to invite a reviewer to visit your food business, remember to be human, humble, and hospitable. When reaching out:

    • address every writer by name.
    • introduce yourself.
    • explain your interest in working with each of them specifically.
    • give them incentive.
    • ask them to visit! 

    Creating personalized messages will take dedication and time. It may seem like a lot of effort compared to sending mass emails, especially when there is no guarantee of a review, but emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened, while emails with personalized bodies have a 14% higher click through rate and 10% higher conversion rate.

    Getting Noticed by Critics and Bloggers

    Follow these steps and you will likely see more reviews of your establishment, leading to increased exposure for your business, as well as the formation of mutually beneficial, long-term relationships that have the potential to offer you invaluable access to, insight on, and influence in the local food community. 

    So what are you waiting for?

    Blog courtesy of Toast

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  6. Is Yelp Helping or Hurting?

    Is Yelp Helping or Hurting?
    When you think about Yelp chances are you are thinking about the app on everyones phones that encourages consumers where to eat, when to eat and what to expect. Recent studies have shown that restaurant on Yelp with steadily good to great reviews increasingly have a steadily growing line. This is exceedingly true if you are an independent restaurant who may not have a loyal following country wide. The facts are simple, those who use Yelp believe they are helping the community around them by giving thoughtful and truthful reviews to fellow consumers. Yelp Elite members are even known to influence an entire community to try a new establishment, back a new establishment or shun an establishment if service/food standards become subpar.  This can be a true uphill battle industry wide and gives up reason to believe and treat every single guests as though they will write a review for millions to see. Ways to increase Yelp reviews can be as simple as sending out a complimentary appetizers to guests if course are taking a long time to be prepared, celebrating a birthday/ anniversary with a champagne toast. These little acts of kindness will go a long way with those rating your establishment and will help your customers happy and confident in your product. We have seen another big trend in Yelp blogger events. This is when Yelp Elites are invited to your restaurant and you offer a sampling of your best appetizers, wine and cocktails. It allows those writing reviews to get a true sense of everything wonderful you offer and the top notch service we know you have. Yes, it may take up time/space and money but, it is worth it and it will get numerous well known area Yelp Elites to praise your restaurant. Moral of the story, treat every guest as a food critic. If you know something may have been even slightly off during their experience try and fix it! Every guest has the opportunity to be your best and worse critic and in our industry we always want a five star review. Make sure to shop at restauratsupply.com for all your restaurant needs!
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  7. DELICIOUS AND NUTRITIOUS BRUSSELS SPROUTS

    DELICIOUS AND NUTRITIOUS BRUSSELS SPROUTS

    Brussels sprouts, once the most dreaded vegetable of children and adults alike, are officially trendy. We are truly fans, and proudly not a bandwagon one — there has never been a time that we did not adore these sweet and nutty baby cabbages. During the fall and winter, when they’re at their prime, most chefs cook them constantly and consumers order them as soon as they are placed back on the menu.

    Brussels sprouts are one of the most nutritious items on Earth, with four times as much vitamin C as oranges and high levels of folic acid and fiber. Many consumers have lived their lives despising this powerhouse vegetable because of early exposure to overcooked sprouts. With talented chefs opening consumers’ eyes to the true potential of these little gems, we’re seeing new Brussels sprouts lovers emerge every day.

    We know it may seem odd that a vegetable that for so long was used as cruel punishment is now the trendiest of trendy foods but, it is just that. Consumers are absolutely in love with the dish and we do not see the momentum of the vegetable dying down anytime soon.

    Here are some of the newest Brussels sprouts dishes causing a stir across the nation.

    Roasted whole or halved, chopped and sautéed hash-style, or deep-fried. At the market, look for small, compact sprouts — they’re the most tender.

    Bacon is a relatively new friend of the humble Brussels sprout; the two are paired together on many a restaurant menu these days. Look to roast your sprouts with chopped pancetta; or add a Spanish twist with chorizo.


    Brussels sprouts are excellent with a little pork (what isn’t?), but they certainly don’t need meat to shine. Nor do they have to be a lowly side dish. They’re the star of this completely vegetarian (vegan, if you leave out the ricotta salata that I grated on top) winter salad, in which they mingle beautifully with their cousin red cabbage.

    Though most of our consumers can’t wait for this winter’s end and rejoiced optimistically when the groundhog saw his shadow last week, Brussels sprouts are one (okay, possibly the only) perk of the season. When spring approaches, they won’t be as tasty and tender, so fill up while temps are still chilly.

    Remember when possible try to source locally. These vegetables are a labor of love to grow and to cook. They have become a staple dish for so many of us and it is important to appreciate the farmers who keep this delicious treat around!

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  8. How To Reduce Theft in Your Restaurant

    How To Reduce Theft in Your Restaurant

    Lots of people in and out.  Lots of customers.  Numerous people handling money.  It's easy for restaurants to fall prey to theft and fraud.  Here are some tips to reduce the fraud in your restaurant with tips from Winny Daud and Philipp Laque of Revenue Management Solutions:


    1. Identify where you are at risk.  This can be any area where cash is exchanging hands or a lack of supervision is common.  Where are employees issuing refunds for example?  Is a supervisor or card required to issue a discount or void out an item?  Establish a system of checks and balances to safeguard from this.

    2. Look for a pattern.  Is there a particular server who always seems to be present when a high amount of refunds take place?  Patterns like these can help stop fraudulent behavior and identify and dismiss the perpetrators.

    3. Make it known that you're watching.  Whether by security cameras or company meetings, people are less likely to steal when they know that someone is watching.  Although that may seem like common sense, it means that by simply posting rules against fraud, monitoring activity and keeping an eye on your employees, you can cut down on theft.

    4. Watch out for cash.  This makes fast casual restaurants especially vulnerable to theft, but the truth is the overwhelming majority of voided transactions are cash based.  You can't refuse cash, of course, but be mindful of cash transaction and be ready to question a large number of voids that take place on them.  Questioning your servers and rely on your managers to monitor and watch out for any suspicious activity.

    And search for all your restaurant needs on our website!

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  9. Farm to Table Sourcing for Your Restaurant

    Farm to Table Sourcing for Your Restaurant

    As the world become more and more health-conscious every day, it’s time to turn your focus on to where your food comes from. Oftentimes, our fruits and vegetables are exposed to many chemicals and environments that may not be the best for our health. Because they shipped from around the world, the produce we see in some supermarkets and other similar establishments have been harvested ahead of time to increase shelf life.

    However, when choosing locally sourced ingredients this summer, you’ll find your produce to be more robust on both flavor and color, but also size. Locally sourced farms also tend shy away from harmful growth hormones and antibiotics. Healthier ingredients make for healthy meals which ultimately make for happy healthy people. Be sure to enjoy your apples, apricots, avocados, blackberries and more, this summer GMO free!</span>

    Of course, the number of farms you find depends greatly on where you live.  But overall, it's not difficult to source from local providers.  Independently owned and operated farms are thriving all over the country.  Putting the name of your sources on your menus and signage will also give your customers the satisfaction of knowing you're looking for the best and keeping things fresh and health for them.


    Find all the goods and supplies you need for your farm to table restaurant on our website!


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