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  1. Promoting the Holidays

    Promoting the Holidays

    Use the holiday season as an excuse to market your restaurant and everything it has to offer. Here are some tips to market your restaurant during the holidays and attract as many customers as possible:

    Send Holiday Cards

    Sending your customers a card in the mail shows that you care about them and appreciate them giving you business. Send a card with an appetizing picture of your favorite dishes with a classic holiday greeting. You can also include a special offer or coupon with the card.

    Holiday Specials

    Offer holiday themed drinks and food to your guests (we’ve talked about quite a few great holiday cocktails and entrees to add to your menu in past blogs!). People love traditions—so add some traditional holiday items to your menu, but make sure to stick to the overall theme of your restaurant!

    Promote Gift Card Sales

    Make sure to remind people that your gift cards are a great holiday gift! Offer customers an extra incentive to purchase a gift card and let them know it’s worth their while (ex. free $10 gift card with purchase of a $50 gift card).

    Give Back to the Community

    The spirit of giving is in the air! Customers might be more willing to visit your restaurant if they know you’re giving back to those that need it, especially around the holiday season.

    Capitalize off of the holiday season and focus your marketing efforts around giving back to your customers and those that have supported your business. Be creative and always stay true to your brand!

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  2. Christmas Cocktails

    Christmas Cocktails

    Are you getting into the holiday spirit at your restaurant, or are you hosting Christmas? You probably have last minute shopping and errands to run, but Christmas is a week away, so get going on finalizing your Christmas menu! Check out these Christmas cocktails that are sure to impress your guests below:

    White Christmas Martini

    Ingredients:

    • 2 ounces vanilla vodka
    • 2 ounce white chocolate liqueur
    • 1 ounce white crème cacao
    • 1 ounce half-and-half
    • Honey and coarse sanding sugar for garnish

    Pour honey into a shallow dish and put the sanding sugar in another dish. Coat the rim of your glass with honey and dip the rim in sugar. In a shaker, add the vodka, white chocolate liqueur, crème de cacao, and half-and-half. Shake and put into martini glass.

    White Chocolate Peppermint Martini

    Ingredients:

    • 5 ounces white chocolate liqueur
    • 5 ounces vanilla vodka
    • 1 ounce crème de cacao
    • 1 ounce half-and-half
    • .5 ounces peppermint schnapps
    • White chocolate syrup and crushed peppermints for garnish

    Rim the edge of your glass with white chocolate syrup and crushed peppermint, then add the white chocolate liqueur, vanilla vodka, crème de cacao, half-and-half, and peppermint schnapps to shaker with ice. Shake and put into garnished glass.

    Cherry Almond Cocktail

    Ingredients:

    • 1 ounce cherry brandy
    • 1 ounce amaretto
    • 2 ounces half-and-half
    • Dipped cherries for garnish

    Add liqueurs to glass filled with ice and top with half-and-half, then stir to mix and garnish with a chocolate dipped cherry.

    Everyone loves an excuse to drink and the holidays are no different. Shake up your favorite drinks by adding a holiday spin and your guests will appreciate the extra effort!

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  3. Kitchen Must Haves

    Kitchen Must Haves

    If you’re looking to open your own restaurant, there are must have items for your kitchen that you don’t want to forget. Without these items, your kitchen won’t be able to function properly. Your restaurant can have the perfect location, a great marketing plan, and a great team, but without the items on the checklist below, you won’t be able to deliver the best experience to your customers.

    Refrigerators and Freezers

    While having these units in your restaurant kitchen might seem obvious, you want to have the right types that fit the needs of your restaurant. Look back at our previous blogs for a more in depth explanation on refrigerators and freezers, but you need to research and decide if your restaurant demands a reach in or walk in refrigerator/freezer (whichever fits your needs!).

    Slicers

    If you’re going to be preparing tons of meat, cheese, or other items that need to be sliced with precision, you should purchase a slicer. Infrequent slicing can be done manually, but if you’re looking for precision, an electric slicer is the way to go! Electric slicers save you time and labor.

    Safety Equipment

    Housing proper safety equipment in your kitchen might fall on the backburner (no pun intended), but it’s extremely important! Check with the local safety guidelines before you purchase any safety equipment because you don’t want to waste your money on equipment that isn’t within regulation. Fire extinguishers are one of the most important pieces of equipment to have!

    Some of the items on the checklist above might be obvious, but sometimes the stress, time, and labor that go into running a business will leave you forgetting about small details.

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  4. 2020 Cocktail Trends

    2020 Cocktail Trends

    As we’ve discussed in the past, cocktails are ever evolving and as we approach the new year, there are several new trends that have popped up. We can’t exactly predict what exactly 2020 will bring, but we can speculate about some things that are becoming popular as we move into the new year. Here are some trends coming your way for 2020:

    Shake up the Ice

    People are taking notice that certain ice forms should be used for specific drinks. Dilution matters for a great drink and the type of ice cube you use can make or break your drink. Check out some of our old blog posts to see what ice shapes to use for certain drinks.

    Simplicity

    The age old saying that simple is better does apply in some situations. Cocktails have grown to be complex, but sometimes, just because you're keeping a cocktail simple doesn’t mean you're taking away from how delicious it is. This will save you money and increase your preparation speed!

    More Gin

    More gin-based drinks are coming! Gin has become very popular in cocktails and bartenders are using it more because they are working with more and more farmers and using plant-based garnishes and sides that pair well with gin.

    2020 is going to be a year full of change for cocktails not only in flavor and taste, but in the amount of time it takes to prepare a cocktail and the ingredients used. We look forward to seeing these trends in 2020!

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  5. Taste and Smell

    Taste and Smell

    If taste and smell didn’t exist…well you would probably be out of business! But since the stars aligned and we were given the privilege of taste and smell, let’s rejoice and learn a little bit more about the science behind it. I’m sure you’ve noticed that sometimes when you have a cold, you can’t taste or smell, or have very limited taste. How come?

    First, let’s explore how taste works. The taste buds on your tongue detect five categories: sweet, spicy, bitter, sour, and umami, and everyone has between 5,000 and 10,000 taste buds. Each taste bud has special sensory cells that, when stimulated, send messages to the brain to identify which flavor is being detected. The sensation of detecting a flavor is actually a combination of smell and taste because when you chew, you force air through your nasal passage in order to breathe. The proteins in the hair in your nose send the messages to the brain that help us identify flavors.

    So, is smell or taste more important? The answer is a combination of both. Scents can trigger food memories and trigger a food decision, so if your food smells bad (we hope it doesn’t!), people are more likely to not try that food. Many bakeries use vents to pump the oven scents to the front room where customers are ordering because the smell encourages people to impulse buy whatever food item they smell.

    Keep in mind a combination of taste and smell is the best way to enhance a customer’s experience! This combination will hopefully establish a food memory that can be triggered just by walking into your restaurant and smelling or tasting your food, and keep customers visiting time and time again.

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  6. The Season is the Reason!

    The Season is the Reason!

    The holidays are a time to show the ones you depend on that you care about them. Don’t forget your employees! The holidays are the perfect excuse to throw a holiday party for your employees to show them just how much you appreciate all they do for you. You offer delicious food to your customers—why not offer some of that great food to your employees? When throwing a holiday party for your employees, here are some things to keep in mind:

    Alcohol

    You don’t have to have alcohol at your party if you’re worried it will get out of control or if you have underage employees. Alcohol is one of the easiest ways to rack up the bill for a party without even realizing it! If you choose not to include alcohol at your party, use those funds to invest in a band, prizes, or something else your employees will enjoy. You can also experiment with some holiday mocktails.

    Food

    Remember, this party is for your staff, so you don’t want them contributing even if they’re used to making the food. You can have it catered, or if you’re thinking about your budget, you can make the party into a potluck where everyone brings a dish. However, if you have a small team, you should consider having your head staff cook for the rest of the employees.

    Schedule

    Finding a time that works for all your employees when you work in the restaurant industry can be tough. Try to schedule the party on a day that the restaurant is closed, otherwise you’ll run into the problem of rewarding your staff with a party, only for some to have to work. Pick a day for the party earlier in December because as it gets closer to the end of the month, people’s schedules get busier.

    You should always be letting your employees know that you appreciate them, but what better way than to use the holidays as an excuse? We all love a good holiday party, so use the holiday season as a reason to show your appreciation!

     

     

     

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  7. Wine, Wine, and More Wine!

    Wine, Wine, and More Wine!

    People love their wine, so running a wine program might be beneficial for you! Wine is food and you should choose the wines you provide to your guests very carefully. People appreciate fine food (and fine wine!), and will have an elevated experience if you pair your wines correctly. Here are some tips for running a wine program at your restaurant:

    Consider the Food

    You need to consider what food is on your menu. Certain wines pair well with certain foods, while others do not. You don’t want to offer wine that doesn’t complement your food!

    Customers

    You want to choose wines on your menu depending on the type of customer you are planning to serve. You want to be able to serve wine to people who are willing to take risks and try something new, but you also need to be able to offer more mainstream options to those who are less experienced diners.

    Level of Service

    The wine you choose to have on hand to serve to customers depends on the type of experience you want to provide you customer. A fine-dining experience means your customers will expect a larger selection with lots of depth, while a more casual dinining experience means less expectation about the type of wine you're serving.

    Even fast, casual restaurants are jumping into the wine game with wine on tap. A wine program can do wonders for your bottom-line and can differentiate your restaurant from its competitors. 

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  8. Restaurant Origins

    Restaurant Origins

    Restaurants have evolved from purely fine establishments that were considered a treat solely for the wealthy, to something that is for everyone, no matter the pay grade, to enjoy! The trends in the food instrusty are fascinating to trace back through history. Let's take a look at some of the popular trends in dining out over the past couple of centuries!

    Early 19th Century

    Originally, restaurants were designed to feed workers and were born into existence out of that necessity to feed them. Diners would eat what was prepared for them and rarely had a choice (it can sometimes be hard to choose which food items we prefer off of the vast menus provided to us now!). At the end of the 19th century, restaurants introduced fine dining and became a privileged experience including china, wait staff in tuxedos, and white tablecloths.

    Early 20th Century

    At this point in time, you could probably find women working behind the counter, not just men, because most men were off to fight in the war. Italian immigrants surged into the country and brought with them their fabulous cuisine and recipes to share with Americans.

    Mid-20th Century

    In the mid-20th century, restaurants introduced fast food into the life of Americans. This ignited a shift in the way people dined and helped make it easier for restaurant owners to hire staff. During the 1950’s, fast food culture emerged and everyone wanted to be involved in a business where you could make fast, cheap food. Fast food has become especially popular since then and more than one third of Americans dine out on fast food alone. 

    1990’s

    Americans in the workforce were working longer hours and found it easier to go out for a “casual” dinner than to go through the process of making an entire dinner for the family. Chains, including Applebee’s and Olive Garden popped up around this time. Casual restaurants were considered a step above fast food, but not too expensive for a family with two working parents.

    Nowadays, people love the wide variety of restaurant options and the fact that they can choose a restaurant based on the type of food they want. People prefer having options to choose from and like picking a restaurant based on personal preference: type of food, wait time, price, etc. 

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  9. Fryer Safety Tips

    Fryer Safety Tips

    It’s safe to say that if you own a restaurant, you probably have and are using a fryer in your commercial kitchen. You and your employees should know how to safely use a fryer and how to keep up with proper maintenance. Deep frying oil begins with temperatures around 400 degrees, and it only gets hotter from there. Those employees operating your fryer should be well trained and be provided with knowledge on how to decrease the risk of burns.

    Tips:

    • Oil, as we already know, is highly flammable
    • Certain oils: peanut, sunflower, etc. heat up faster than regular oil
    • Use a digital probe thermometer to test oil temperature before adding food
    • Use long tongs to place and remove food from fryer
    • Use protective gloves when lifting food from fryer
    • Do not overfill fryer with frozen food all at once or it will overflow
    • Place frying baskets gently into fryer so as to prevent splashing
    • Keep floor area surrounding fryer clean and dry

    To keep yourself and your employees safe, you need to make sure that your fryer is being properly cleaned and taken care of. The employees you have operating the fryer should be adequately trained and comfortable using the fryer. It is also imperative that you have a “Class K” fire extinguisher in your kitchen to fight against potential fires. A “Class K” fire extinguisher is the only type of fire extinguisher that is approved and allowed in a commercial kitchen. One other thing to consider: if you have the budget, you should invest in a new fryer! New fryers come with internal filtration systems and exhaust vents that make them safer for you to use.

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  10. Restaurant Signage

    Restaurant Signage

    Graphics create connections in the mind of your consumers, and can be your restaurant’s main identifier. Picking out a logo or sign can be difficult because you want it to be aesthetically pleasing and also something that differentiates you from your competitors. Not all signage is used as an identifier, but rather to alert your customers of an event or special you’re having.

    Environment

    What kind of environment is your sign in? You don’t want it to be amidst a bunch of other signage because becomes part of the clutter and people will miss your sign completely. Before putting your sign up, scope out its potential location to ensure there aren’t other signs with conflicting messages or outdated signs posted directly next to yours.

    Message

    You need to evaluate what kind of message you want your sign to accomplish. Is there a certain message you’re trying to get across to your customers? You want your sign to convey your message in a clear and concise way, while also being memorable to your customers.

    Audience

    Your signs don’t always need to reach everyone! You might need to target different demographics for different events and offerings. You’ll need to adjust your signage to fit your target audience!

    Photography

    If you’re using pictures of your delicious—we hope!—food on your signage, you need to make sure you don’t skimp on the quality of the pictures. You want the pictures to reflect how good your food really tastes.

    Whether your sign is your main logo or for promotional purposes, signage is an important part of your restaurant! You want your sign to convey the message you want to the right audience.

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