Monthly Archives: October 2019

  1. A Sign of the Times

    A Sign of the Times

    The dining experience is strictly all about the consumer. Options are essential so that your customer can cater to their own individual needs and wants. Requests for altered meals or substitutions for ingredients are more commonplace. Here are some ways to incorporate these new food trends and habits into your restaurant:

    Sourcing

    There has been a huge initiative to use more fresh ingredients for the best quality and taste you can provide. People want to see that you’re supporting your local farmers and providers, and that you’re sourcing your food from them when you can.

    Gluten Free

    There are obviously those with Celiac disease that can’t eat gluten, but people are becoming more conscious of how much gluten they ingest and how much is actually good for the body. It’s important to think about including a symbol on your menu that denotes when an item is gluten free.

    Vegetarian

    With many more people taking the vegetarian plunge, the demand for vegetarian, and sometimes even vegan options, is very high. If you don’t include options for vegetarians on the menu, you might be alienating a growing group of potential customers and you absolutely don’t want that.

    People’s health and food habits are rapidly changing and you don’t want to be the restaurant that fails to adapt to these trends. Alienating consumers with certain food habits can be detrimental to your business. You want to accommodate as many people as you can!

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  2. Designing for the Ages

    Designing for the Ages

     

    When designing your website, there are some things you should definitely keep in mind. You have to realize that people are looking at your restaurant’s website to become familiar with your menu and what type of restaurant you are. Generally, people flock to restaurant websites in search of the menu, or to make reservations (an online reservation system is useful). Here are some tips when designing your website:

    Target Audience

    You need to know and understand your target audience—that means identifying who they are beforehand! Check the area around the restaurant to get an idea of potential clientele. After deciding upon what target audience you believe your customers might be, pick a theme for your website.

    Simplicity

    Simple and easy is the motto. If it takes more than a few steps, or more than a minute to figure out how to navigate the website, people will give up and leave the site because people are all about convenience. We urge you to be creative with your website, but also to include the typical about, home, and menu pages because people are familiar with those pages.

    Colors

    The color scheme is extremely important when designing a website. The four main colors used when designing a website are: brown, black, red, and white. The color red is typically used by fast food chains to signify urgency, while brown is used to signify tradition. And let’s be honest, pictures look great against a black background!

    A restaurant website is critical for your restaurant and people are discouraged when they do a quick Google search and find nothing. Access to menus online can encourage people to come visit! Remember—your website is an extension of your brand and you want it to convey the right message to your consumers.

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  3. Buzz For Your Business!

    Buzz For Your Business!

    Whether you’re an established restaurant, or a restaurant looking to get its feet wet, you should consider bringing in some type of entertainment to attract customers. Entertainment encourages existing customers to return, while also getting new customers interested enough to visit! People are looking for an experience, not just a great meal, and places that can do both will succeed. Here are some ways to generate buzz:

    Live Entertainment

    This is your opportunity to showcase a local artist, or if you can, a band or person that is a little more popular. People love live music, especially on a patio in the summer. Live music encourages people to get up, dance, and drink!

    Craft Beer Tasting

    Craft beer is all the rage! Taking advantage of this craft beer craze and hosting a tasting at your restaurant is a great way to get beer lovers or people who might not normally visit to try your food. You can offer specials to entice people to try your food while drinking.

    Introduce the Chef

    People love to see the face behind the meal and want to know exactly who is making their delicious food. You can offer a special menu and have the chef come out and talk about the food. The chef can discuss their creative process and how the dish comes to fruition from ingredients to table.

    Entertaining at your restaurant is a must and helps make a customer’s visit into an experience. There are so many different ways to entertain and you can easily find something that fits your brand and the mood of your restaurant.

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  4. What's on the Menu?

    What's on the Menu?

    The restaurant world is extremely competitive and finding a way to differentiate yourself from your competition can be difficult. Creativity goes a long way and using that to make your restaurant stand out as unique is a necessity. A great looking menu is necessary in fueling people to get their appetite going and indulge to the max! Here are some tips for designing your menu:

    Coloring

    Use vibrant colors if it aligns with your brand! Obviously, your sophisticated Italian restaurant shouldn’t include a menu with neon green on it, but for some restaurants it should! Bright colors on the front of the menu immediately catch the eye of your customer. They're are also linked to customers ordering more food than they otherwise would have, eating slower during the meal (think more drink sales!), and putting your customers in a positive mood. Positive mood=good experience=retaining customers.

    Pictures

    Pictures on your menu aren’t always appropriate, but depending on the restaurant type, you should take into consideration that people are visually stimulated. If you’re going to include some pictures on your menu, make sure to use a professional photographer, and to include your most scrumptious looking food. Pictures are more often that not used on the menu cover and next to popular items on the menu.

    Layout

    The number of dishes on the menu and the look you’re going for should dictate menu size, and don't forget to make sure your font is readable! Fine dining restaurants typically stick with columns for an elegant appeal, but depending on the descriptions of your meals, you might want to avoid columns. Long descriptions don’t always look great squeezed into columns.

    Menu design and layout seems like such a small thing in the grand scheme of your restaurant, but it can increase profits and add to your brand and the environment! If you’re opening a new restaurant, make sure to sit down and brainstorm just how you want your menu to look, and for current owners, think about ways you can improve your menu!

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  5. Feeling the Chill

    Feeling the Chill

    If you’ve ever traveled to Europe, you’ve probably noticed the water is room temperature and generally served without ice unless you specify in advance. If you’re lucky, you’ll get some cubes floating around in your glass, but nothing like the glassful we get in the US. So why do Europeans go without ice in their drinks? 

    One reason floating around is because Europeans believe ice is taking up valuable real estate in the glass. They feel cheated if they get too much ice and not enough of their beverage—we’ve all experienced that headache of too much melted ice mixing with our drink. Another reason is that Europeans believe ice is dirty because you don’t always know where it’s coming from. This may be true, but we’ve discussed ways to ensure your ice is clean in the past, so sounds like they might just be sticklers for tradition. 

    The reverse of that question: why do we overload our drinks with ice, and all the dilution that comes with it?  It goes to the mentality that “more is more.” Just as we put tons of ice in our glasses, our portion sizes are significantly bigger than they are in Europe. Restaurants also rely on refills and the thought process behind making more profits is that the more ice you put in, the less of the drink you’re giving to the customer. This isn’t great business practice (don't do it!), but we’ve heard of restaraunts doing that in the past.

    Bartenders in America rely on ice as part of their style and use it to make their drinks unique. We love our ice, and it doesn’t look like we’re adopting the no ice style anytime soon! 

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  6. Kitchen Inspection 101

    Kitchen Inspection 101

    We hope you’re taking care of your restaurant and keeping it up to par in regards to cleanliness. Even if you’re keeping up with cleaning your restaurant, it might not  be enough to entirely conform to the health and sanitation codes set by local government. The FDA’s goal is to guarantee the USA’s food supply is safe for consumption. Their guidelines aim to prevent future contamination and how to react to contamination if it already exists.

    Food Sanitation

    The main dangers when dealing with food are physical, chemical, and biological. Physical refers to dirt, hair, etc. that falls into the food. Chemical includes pest control, while biological includes bacteria and microorganisms.

    To prevent food contamination:

    • Store food for the proper amount of time at the right temperature
    • Clean and sanitize all utensils, equipment, and food contact surfaces
    • Provide suitable cleaning and maintenance

    Kitchen Sanitation

    The kitchen is exposed to various contaminants, including cooks, servers, and cashiers who might contaminate food items. Employees should be sanitizing all surfaces they come in contact with, even items and surfaces they might deem irrelevant

    Employee Hygiene

    Most foodborne contamination and illnesses spawn from bacteria and other microorganisms that are passed from those that work with the food. All employees should be washing hands and exposed arms when going to the bathroom, and when switching between raw and cooked food. Employees should be washing their hands for a bare minimum of 20 seconds in sinks designed for washing hands.

    If you’re not keeping up with the cleaning in your restaurant, you’re putting customers at risk, and you’re at significant risk to be closed down for sanitation reasons. Be sure to be conscious of what your employees are doing and how often everything is being cleaned.

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  7. Avoiding Extra Expenses

    Avoiding Extra Expenses

    At any business, extra expenses seem to come at the worst times and they’re hard to avoid, especially if you don’t have someone whose sole duty is to keep track of them. It’s also naïve to expect that your appliances are going to last you forever, so those unexpected expenses should and can be somewhat factored into your budget. Here are some ways to try to counteract unexpected expenses:

    Hiring an Operations Manager

    You can hire an operations manager that should be able to track expenses, keep a budget, and anticipate when unexpected expenses might pop up. These expenses can be difficult to track and find their origin, so hiring someone specifically to keep track comes in handy. The goal of an operations manager is to keep track of the budget, but also use their past experience to find where unexpected expenses might arise and find a pattern.

    Implement a Maintenance Schedule

    The best way to counteract broken appliances is to have a set maintenance schedule. There are usually preventative maintenance schedules recommended by the maker of the appliance, and that includes not only cleaning, but scheduled maintenance checks. Performing maintenance checks significantly reduces the chance of an appliance's unexpected breaking.

    Build Relationships with Suppliers

    Building a relationship with your suppliers can help you if any unexpected costs arise. A great vendor will be more inclined to offer you a package deal, or discount, when you’re tasked with buying another appliance to replace a broken one.

    Extra expenses are never good for any business, but there are plenty of ways to go about trying to counteract them. If you have the extra money lying around, hiring someone that can focus solely on your budget and expenses can greatly benefit your restaurant.

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  8. Crazy for Cutlery

    Crazy for Cutlery

    Restaurants are made up of a ton of moving parts and some aspects can easily fall to the wayside without even knowing it. You might think that cutlery mainly refers to knives, but it involves all flatware in your restaurant. And there’s so many different types of knives—I mean a dessert knife and a fruit knife, really?—that choosing which ones are a necessity for your restaurant might be harder than you think. Here are some tips when choosing the right cutlery for your restaurant:

    Knives

    Dinner knives, steak knives, fish knives, etc., which to choose! Dinner knives are probably essential if you’re running a sit down restaurant, and steak knives are probably a close second. Dinner knives are used to cut and push food on the plate, and steak knives are similar. Steak knives can be serrated or non-serrated—it depends on preference and what you’re serving—and can be used in place of a dinner knife. 

    Spoons

    Obviously spoons transfer the food from your plate to your mouth—a necessity if we’ve ever heard one! There are teaspoons, tablespoons, soup spoons, dessert spoons, and many more, so which do you choose for your restaurant? If you serve coffee and tea at your restaurant, and you’re a sit down place, you should invest in teaspoons because they're meant to stir sugar and cream into your coffee and tea. Tablespoons are the other ever-popular spoon to invest in because these spoons are for bigger dishes served from serving bowls.

    Forks

    Last, but certainly not least—forks! There’s a fork for dinner, salad, dessert, and fish! While it seems that a dinner fork will probably be able to cover all those needs, if you’re a running a sophisticated establishment, you should at least have a separate fork for salads and dinners!

    While you might not find the type of cutlery you invest in important, there are customers that care! The only thing you can do is to make sure that you're choosing the right type of cutlery for the type of restaurant you run! Check out some of our cutlery here: https://www.restaurantsupply.com/restaurant-smallwares!

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  9. In Pizza we Crust!

    In Pizza we Crust!

    Americans consume so much pizza that it’s alarming, but hey what can we say—we love pizza! Pizza is so popular that it’s hard not to find a pizza shop on every corner, but we want to help you differentiate yours from everyone else’s. If you’re thinking about opening a pizza shop, you first priority should be coming up with an appetizing recipe, and then what types of pizza you want to have on your menu. Here are some things to consider when opening a pizzeria:

    Create Your Own

    As we mentioned earlier, pizza shops are on every corner, so you need to set your pizzeria apart by making sure your pizza tastes unique and great! When experimenting with different pizza recipes, make sure to write everything down so as not to forget, and to make sure you’re using fresh ingredients. You don’t want to be serving a super greasy pizza!

    Style of Service

    Do you want your pizzeria to be a grab and go kind of place, or a sit down and fine dine place? Sit down restaurants allow you to communicate and convey your brand the way you want to. Grab and go, or takeout options, on the other hand, are less expensive because you’re not taking on equipment cost for tables, silverware, etc.

    Location, Location, Location!

    You want to choose a location that ensures you’re not competing against five other pizzerias! Try to find a place that is lacking the typical neighborhood pizza joint. If you have to choose a location in close proximity to tons of other pizzerias, you need to make sure your restaurant has identifiable and differentiable aspects to it.

    Nowadays, pizza is around every corner and you need to find a way to make your place stand out among the crowd! 

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  10. Catering Advantages

    Catering Advantages

    Do you constantly have customers asking if you can sponsor an office party, or something of that nature? Then offering a catering service might be a great thing for your restaurant! Catering services allow for customers to get the experience of your restaurant without having to actually visit your restaurant—and they’re still paying for it! Catering garners plenty of exposure for your restaurant because people who have never visited still get to try your food! Here are some things to think about when starting a catering service:

    Professionalism

    You want your catering service to be professional! Nothing screams unprofessional like being late or cold food. The employees you have dealing with customers should be taught how to communicate well on the phone, and in person. These employees should almost be event planners in the sense that they're detail oriented and will go the extra mile for customers in making sure everything is perfect.

    Separate Ordering System

    You may want to consider creating a catering ordering system separate from your regular ordering system. Someone who is placing a huge order for catering shouldn’t have to wait in line like your regular customers. If you have a separate system in place, you can give catering customers the attention they need without taking away from the customers in your restaurant.

    Treat as a Marketing Opportunity

    The experience you provide to your customers is in itself a form of marketing. While your catering menu may be slightly different from your regular menu, the experience should be the same. Experience aligns with brand identity, and catering can and should be something that gains repeat customers.

    Catering services can add a ton of value to your restaurant, whether it is through word of mouth and repeat customers, to actually increasing profits. Remember, catering services and the employees that run catering services can speak for your brand outside of the physical restaurant, so you want to make sure they’re conveying your restaurant in the way you want!

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