August 2015

4 Ways to Promote Your Restaurant and Fill Your Seats

It is no secret that owning a restaurant is difficult. Cornell University and the National Restaurant Association found that 60 percent of restaurants fail in the first five years of operation. To keep business running, a restaurant owner must craft a compelling story around the experience offered instead of just promoting delectable entrees.

Reclaiming the Supper Sensation

In today’s culinary circle, the word supper has become shorthand for dining experiences that evoke or encourage communion over a shared meal. The term is popping up on menus, in social media posts, and as part of restaurant names and loyalty programs as cooks, chefs, and restaurateurs capitalize on consumer cravings for personal interactions and simpler times.

Growing the In-House Beer Program

As craft breweries reached double-digit share of volume in the marketplace for the first time last year, equipment options and training resources have continued to improve. That’s good news for restaurant operators seeking to add brewing capacity or expand beer offerings.

Restaurant Group Creates its Own App

When Patrick Lee, owner and operator of the Grafton Group in Massachusetts, and his team of managers first dreamed up a tasting tour that would visit each of the group’s four properties, discussions persisted for months.

Something in the Water

As consumers become more environmentally conscious restaurants are taking note and looking for better ways to reduce their carbon footprint. Many restaurants are doing this by placing increased focus on drinking water, and specifically by eliminating traditional bottled water from the menu, which sends a message to consumers that the restaurant is clamping down on unsustainable practices.

Enchanted Dining

Sensing a void in the Santa Fe market, partners Joel Coleman and Josh Johns launched the aptly named Fire & Hops, a gastropub that serves fine-dining fare and interesting brews at prices reasonable enough to draw patrons back time and again.

3 Surprising Ways Gift Cards Drive Higher Margins for Restaurants

Across all industries, businesses sold $124 billion in gift cards in 2014. Leading this charge are fast-casual and national full-service restaurant chains. Some have even gone so far as to market their gift cards in grocery stores, gas stations, and other outlets in order to increase their sales.

Wine Collections

For a steakhouse named after a French art period, a scrappy wine selection simply would not do. At Rococo Steak in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida, a red-glass chandelier is suspended above the eclectic dining space.

A Guide to Marketing Your Restaurant

Let’s start with how to open a restaurant. In order to generate strong word of mouth, one method is to have a soft opening, also known as a “friends and family” opening, where people are invited for free dinners or discount dinners.

Small Spaces Don’t Cramp Restaurateurs’ Style

The culinary meccas of Rome and Paris don’t have many 200-seat restaurants. Instead, the streets are lined with cozy restaurants and cafés, often with only 40 or 50 seats, “and they’ve been doing it for hundreds of years,” says Ethan Stowell, chef and owner of the nine-concept Ethan Stowell Restaurants.

Cloud Solutions for Full-Service Restaurants

Looking at the many tech trends affecting full-service restaurants, two overarching themes emerge. One is the use of technology, particularly mobile devices, to enhance the guest experience—prior to the meal, at tableside, and beyond.

A Power Plant Recharges into a Dining Destination

On the outskirts of downtown St. Louis sits a neighborhood with historical roots that run to 1836, when Victorian settlers built and founded Lafayette Square, one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods.

Barrels of Fun

After sipping an aged Manhattan at Tony Conigliaro’s London hotspot 69 Colebrooke Row, Jeffrey Morgenthaler, the barman behind Portland, Oregon’s Clyde Common, decided to give a few of his own cocktail creations, like the Negroni, a whirl in barrels.

The Difference a Decade Makes

Sue Zemanick got out of New Orleans just in the nick of time. In the last weekend of August in 2005, the recently promoted executive chef of Gautreau’s had her head down preparing, ironically, for a busy weekend and a hurricane party (social events held during mild hurricanes in the South).

A Taste of Home

Personal touches in décor help guests identify with the culture behind the menu and inspire a deeper connection to the restaurant—that’s what restaurant operators who are serving international cuisine have discovered when they accessorize the restaurant with design elements from their home countries.