Advice

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

The 5 Ds of Bystander Intervention

The 5 Ds of Bystander Intervention

by David Klemt

Busy bar in black and white

One non-negotiable for operating a restaurant, bar, nightclub or other hospitality venue is ensuring the safety of guests.

Harassing, threatening and violent behavior cannot be tolerated, period. Some venues employ trained and certified security tasked with keeping patrons safe.

However, not every business in this industry, restaurants for example, employ or retain security personnel. There are online and in-person security courses that owners, managers and staff can complete, and I encourage operators to look into doing so. Some courses can not only empower participants, they can result in the lowering of insurance premiums they’re considered so effective.

Additionally, it’s wise to study conflict resolution and de-escalation. Both are valuable skills in hospitality and other areas of our lives.

In the meantime, a global movement called Hollaback! has come up with the Five Ds of Bystander Intervention. These began as the Three Ds by Green Dot in the early 2000s. In 2015, they became the Four Ds. In 2017, a fifth “D” was introduced.

You’ll find the Five Ds below. Not every step works perfectly on the operations side but they’re still helpful. Doing nothing is simply not an option.

Distract

Per Hollaback!, distraction is a subtle and creative way to intervene, and the goal is “to derail the incident by interrupting it.” The witness employing distraction engages the victim of harassment directly, ignoring the harasser. Hollaback! provides the following examples of distraction:

  • Pretend to be lost. Ask for the time. Pretend you know the person being harassed. Talk to them about something random and take attention off of the harasser.
  • Get in the way. Continue what you were doing, but get between the harasser and the target.
  • Accidentally-on-purpose spill your coffee, the change in your wallet, or make a commotion.

It’s important to note that staff will need to read the situation if they witness harassment. Also, some of the above examples don’t really work in a hospitality setting, but you understand the idea.

Delegate

Delegation is simply asking for assistance or help. In many cases, if a staff member is witnessing harassment they’ll have a manager on duty on which they can rely for assistance.

Conversely, a manager can delegate to a staff member to employ the distract technique. In this situation, the staff member engages the victim of harassment and asks if they want them to call law enforcement. The manager can also direct a staff member to call law enforcement.

However, as Hollaback! notes, “a history of being mistreated by law enforcement has led to fear and mistrust of police interventions,” so the victim may not want to involve police. However, the venue must also protect themselves, so it may be necessary to involve law enforcement for documentation and other purposes.

Document

Along with protecting the victim and putting a stop to harassment, documentation is a crucial step.

All hospitality venues should be set up to complete incident reports. This protects victims (and therefore other guests and the community) and the business.

Hollaback! instructs a bystander to assess the situation first. If another bystander is already intervening, the witness must assess their own safety. Record the incident only if safe to do so.

Anyone who records the incident should ask the victim what to do with the recording. Don’t post it online—this is a traumatic experience and doing so is a violation in and of itself.

Delay

As Hollaback! explains, many incidents of harassment take place very quickly. It’s possible the incident will be over before a bystander can distract, delegate or document the harassment.

In a restaurant, bar or other hospitality setting, the harasser may exit the venue immediately, before staff can step in. That doesn’t mean everything is back to “normal.”

Hollaback! suggests engaging the victim in the following ways:

  • Ask them if they’re okay and tell them you’re sorry that happened to them.
  • Ask them if there’s any way you can support them.
  • Offer to accompany them to their destination or sit with them for awhile.
  • Share resources with them and offer to help them make a report if they want to.
  • If you’ve documented the incident, ask them if they want you to send it to them.

Direct

More than likely—and unfortunately—this is the step most familiar to bartenders, servers and other front-of-house staff.

Direct means to confront the harasser directly. Of course, this is the riskiest step.

Hollaback! suggests assessing the situation to ensure the bystander is safe physically; the victim is safe physically; the victim wants someone to intervene; and the situation may be unlikely to escalate if they confront the harasser.

Again, operators will have to come up with a plan for addressing harassment, threats and violence. Staff must be aware of policies and what’s expected of them, and they should feel comfortable sharing their thoughts on policies.

Incidents can happen at any type of venue in any location at any time. Doing nothing, however, is unacceptable.

Disclaimer

This content is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as legal or other advice. This article does not constitute professional advice, nor does any information constitute a comprehensive or complete statement of the matters discussed, the law, or liability. This information is of a general nature and does not address the circumstances of a specific individual or entity. The reader of this information alone assumes the sole responsibility of evaluating the merits and risks associated with the use of any information before making any decisions based on such information.

Image: Pixabay

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Is Gen Z the Workforce Solution?

Is Gen Z the Workforce Solution?

by David Klemt

Momofuku Las Vegas interior

Is Gen Z the solution to the industry’s workforce problem?

That’s one big question posed during the 2021 Restaurants Canada Show.

A panel consisting of Philip Mondor, president and CEO of Tourism HR Canada; Adam Morrison, president and CEO of Ontario Tourism Education Corporation; Jody Palubiski, CEO of the Charcoal Group; and Lori Wilson, manager of people and change at BDO Consulting have answers.

The Problem

Canada’s hospitality industry is facing a labour shortage. In fact, that has been the case since before the pandemic.

According to several sources, the hospitality industry is Canada’s fourth-largest private-sector employer. And yet, there’s a labour crisis.

This is partially due to Baby Boomers retiring. As they leave the workforce, there’s a disparity in the number of people in Canada working or seeking work.

According to a January 2020 report from The Globe and Mail, there were at least 60,000 empty positions in foodservice before Covid-19 lockdowns.

Mondor concurs with that article’s sentiment. He expects “a very large shortfall” over the next year that could force the industry into a four-year recovery.

The Solution?

Neither Wilson, Mondor, Morrison or Palubiski see Gen Z as the solution to Canada’s labour shortage problem.

Now, that isn’t to suggest that operators and managers should dismiss Gen Z. Rather, Mondor suggests including this generation as they enter the workforce without viewing them as the only solution.

“Relying on youth alone is not going to meet the demand,” says Mondor.

Instead, Mondor posits that new Canadians—immigrants—will play a significant role in the hospitality industry moving forward. In fact, Mondor expects immigrants to make up 50 percent of Canada’s workforce.

Recruitment and Training

Palubiski says that what separates Gen Z from other generations is how connected and informed they are. Screen time provides Gen Zers plenty of information about social, regional and global issues.

To recruit Gen Z, Palubiski suggests brands and businesses be transparent about their stances on issues such as sustainability and the climate.

However, that approach to recruiting isn’t just effective when it comes to Gen Z—employees and guests alike want to know where a brand stands.

Morrison says that it’s important to be cognizant of the employment market. Knowing what people are being paid, even if an operator can’t match or beat that rate, is helpful. It’s also part of an effective strategy, says Morrison, to understand the ambitions of candidates to see if available roles will match their motivations.

Retention

Once an operator has built a team, the next step—training—is key to staff retention. And not just training for the specifics of one particular role in a restaurant or bar.

Rather, the panel agrees that this industry does a poor job of documenting transferrable skills. For example, operators can help develop employees’ leadership and conflict resolution skills (among many others) that they can take into other careers. Operators must explain that benefit to employees and help nurture it.

Additionally, the panel suggests looking at training and retention in the following ways to adapt and make businesses in this industry stronger:

  • Invest in people, don’t just hire them. That means training and developing their skills and careers.
  • View hiring and training as investments, not costs.
  • Everyone makes mistakes. True leaders admit their mistakes, fix them, and move forward.
  • Ask this question: Do your employees feel a greater affinity for this industry and your business after they’ve started working with you?

In parting, operators and managers should consider this: Palubiski had to furlough 950 employees due to the pandemic. A staggering 95 percent returned when they were called back. That is effective hiring, training, development and retention to emulate.

Image: Jason Leung on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Why Hospitality Pros Need LinkedIn

Why Hospitality Pros Need LinkedIn

by David Klemt

LinkedIn logo with blue background

Contrary to popular opinion, LinkedIn isn’t just for serious and stuffy executives and “corporate” types.

In our view, all hospitality professionals should be building networks on the platform. Nobody in this industry is “just” a restaurant or bar worker—everyone is skilled.

When it comes to hospitality, anyone passionate about their role and interested in moving up is a professional.

Foodservice Jobs are Real Jobs

Just about everybody who works in a restaurant, bar, nightclub, lounge or brewpub faces this disrespectful question:

“When are you going to get a real job?”

One-third of Americans get their start in the workforce with jobs in foodservice.  In America, nearly half of adults will work in the industry at some point.

The first job for roughly one-quarter of Canadians is in foodservice.

Some people work in the industry to pay their way towards a degree. Some work in restaurants or bars while they hunt for jobs in their chosen industry. In some cases, people realize hospitality is their calling and they remain in the industry.

The point is, jobs in hospitality are real, skilled jobs. In other words, this is a real job.

Transferrable Skills & Opportunity

The skills hospitality professionals learn are valuable to more than just employers within the industry.

Leadership, teamwork, customer service, conflict resolution, crisis management, sales, marketing… These are just a handful of the skills companies in other sectors seek out and find valuable.

Further, a LinkedIn profile is valuable even if one isn’t looking to change jobs. Just filling one out effectively speaks to another important, transferrable skill: attention to detail. The same goes for building a resume that illustrates an understanding of transferrable skills.

Also, hospitality is, by its nature, a connected and engaging industry. It only makes sense, therefore, that hospitality professionals in all roles should have LinkedIn profiles to connect with one another and people in other industries.

One never knows where the next opportunity will come from.

Stay Informed

Generally speaking, Instagram is great for sharing memes and photos. Twitter…well, Twitter is often described as a chaotic dumpster fire.

Facebook has groups and there are people who present a professional image on the platform. However, LinkedIn is laser-focused on bringing professionals across several industries together.

Because of their approach, LinkedIn helps facilitate conversations about topics related to a vast array of sectors. People who take their careers seriously—whatever they may be—will likely find value in a platform not dominated by photos, memes, and users seeking nothing more than clout.

It’s common for LinkedIn users to share professional advice, company and career wins, and reports loaded with industry data.

Let’s Link

Connect with Doug Radkey, David Klemt and KRG Hospitality on LinkedIn today!

Image: Alexander Shatov on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Tobin Ellis and Barmagic’s Relief Dashboard Contains Hundreds of Restaurant and Bar Resources

Tobin Ellis and Barmagic’s Relief Dashboard Contains Hundreds of Restaurant and Bar Resources

by David Klemt

In keeping with this week’s focus on good news, KRG Hospitality would like to shine a light on Barmagic’s Bar & Restaurant Revival Guide.

First, some background.

Tobin Ellis founded Barmagic of Las Vegas in 1997. He’s done so much for the hospitality industry that it feels almost criminal to just attach a few labels to describe him, but here we are.

Ellis is a hospitality industry innovator, advocate, designer, marketer and consultant. Anyone who has ever attended an hospitality trade show and sat in on a presentation, panel or Q&A session featuring him knows he’s passionate, quick-witted, real-world solution-oriented, and doesn’t suffer pretenders lightly.

He’s also more than put in the work to for the recognition he deserves as an industry icon. Ellis has been in the trenches for decades, beginning his hospitality journey washing dishes in upstate New York. He has worked around the world in essentially every type of venue, from sleepy dives to hyperkinetic high-volume cocktail bars, and everything in between.

A few years back, Perlick partnered with Ellis to create the Tobin Ellis Signature Cocktail Station. This innovative hardware was designed with ergonomics in mind, focusing on improving bar team member’s physical comfort and safety.

Since restaurants and bars found themselves fully in the devastating and nearly inescapable grip of the pandemic, Ellis has focused on the health and longevity of the industry as a whole.

To help operators navigate the pandemic and the myriad challenges (again, a criminal label for what operators and workers have been facing for almost 12 months) it continues to present, Ellis added a Hospitality Relief dashboard to the Barmagic website.

Visitors will find hundreds of links for US- and Canada-based resources, including a relief map for those who need aid or who want to donate to relief efforts. There’s also a link to the Barmagic Bar & Restaurant Revival Guide, a 96-page download loaded with information and ideas that Ellis hopes “might just spark a thought or two” in the minds of restaurant and bar owners, operators, leaders and workers.

We’re not going to get through this if we don’t come together, save as many businesses as possible, and help new venues open and flourish. We applaud the Barmagic relief resources—more like this, please.

Image:

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Take Steps to Become a More Sustainable Operation this Green Monday

Take Steps to Become a More Sustainable Operation this Green Monday

by David Klemt

You’re probably being inundated with emails about Green Monday today.

Given how the meaning of the word “green” has evolved over the past couple of years, many people may think Green Monday is similar to Earth Day. In reality, it’s about the color of money.

Green Monday, a term coined by eBay, is sometimes called Cyber Monday 2. It’s the busiest online shopping day of December and second only to Cyber Monday in terms of online sales.

eBay and other retailers often promote the idea that shopping online is greener than shopping in person since people aren’t driving to and from stores. The reality is likely closer to the meaning of Black Friday—businesses are trying to boost revenue.

We’ve decided to take a different approach to Green Monday. Sustainability and responsible business practices are important to today’s consumer, including restaurant and bar guests. Significant swaths of people want to know they’re supporting businesses that share their values.

This Green Monday, take a look at the sustainability of your business. Evaluate what can be changed to make operations greener and implement those initiatives for 2021.

  1. Go local. Source produce and other ingredients from local farmers and suppliers to reduce carbon emissions.
  2. Go hyper-local. Grow produce using a restaurant garden or containers. Garnishes, items for salads, veggies for entrees… Get creative.
  3. Reduce and reuse. Inventory software can help reduce food waste by sending alerts when items are nearing their expiration dates. Reconsidering portion sizes can also help avoid food waste, as can cross-utilization: use as much of an item in as many ways as possible, such as tying food and beverage together with the same ingredients. If you can do so safely and legally in your area, donate excess food items before they expire.
  4. Recycle and compost. Getting in the habit of recycling can be as easy as placing dedicated bins in strategic locations throughout the back of house and bar. Composting can be more complicated, particularly for venues with limited space, but there are local organizations and farms that will pick up compostable items.
  5. Be efficient. The more energy-efficient pieces of equipment you can use, the better. Flow restrictors and low-flow toilets can save millions of gallons of water. Eco-friendly cleaners and sanitizers are safer for people and the environment.
  6. Audit your packaging. Are you using recyclable or compostable packaging?
  7. Audit your suppliers’ packaging. Many brands have committed to reducing packaging or opting for more sustainable materials. Speak with your suppliers and request reduced packaging.

Image: Bon Vivant on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

How to Address Temporary Restaurant and Bar Closures: 5 Social Media Examples

How to Address Temporary Restaurant and Bar Closures: 5 Social Media Examples

by David Klemt – 12/1/2020

Repeated restaurant and bar closures have, tragically, become a hallmark of 2020.

Operators have had to learn how to communicate closures to potential indoor guests, as well as delivery and takeout guests.

For most operators, the possibility of closing their doors—temporarily or otherwise—has moved well past “if” territory. At this point, it’s not even a question of when a restaurant or bar will have to close, it’s a matter of when it will happen again.

There are a few reasons a F&B business will have to close due to the Covid-19 outbreak: official mandate, reduced indoor and outdoor dining capacities, and voluntary temporary closures.

Mandated closures are, on the surface, straightforward. Government officials decree that certain types of businesses must close their doors by a specific date and time, and owners are expected to comply.

Closures induced by capacity restrictions are less straightforward. It has become woefully apparent that most lawmakers don’t understand (or don’t care) that at a certain threshold, reducing indoor and outdoor dining capacities is as good as forcing a restaurant or bar to close; the value proposition of remaining open simply isn’t there.

A voluntary temporary closure can come about because of capacity limitations, but they can also be the result of other factors. A significant workforce reduction, lack of traffic, rising costs of goods, or an internal Covid infection.

The stark reality is that the likelihood today’s operators are going to have to craft social media posts and emails announcing temporary (and possibly extended) closures is anything but slim.

Below are four examples of effective closure announcements that bars across America have posted to Instagram recently.

Machine, an upscale cocktail bar and restaurant in Chicago, made the difficult decision to close their doors to in-person dining guests throughout the remainder of 2020. The post addressed the reason for the decision but made it clear that Machine would continue to operate for delivery and curbside pickup orders placed online. Community health and safety was held up as a priority, and though the news was disappointing and no doubt difficult to break, Machine’s post was positive.

Award-winning Chicago cocktail bar Lazy Bird, located in the basement of the Hoxton hotel, was forced to close due to indoor dining restrictions. The post image was short and to the point, with the caption explaining in detail why the bar was closing temporarily. Lazy Bird is part of the Boka Restaurant Group and their post included a call to action for people to support venues within the portfolio that would still be able to offer outdoor dining, delivery and takeout.

Three days ago, award-winning restaurant Compère Lapin announced a temporary closure due to a team member being exposed to Covid-19. Like the Machine post, Compère Lapin’s message explained their decision was based on safety. Similar to Lazy Bird, the restaurant urged guests to visit James Beard Award winner Chef Nina Compton’s other restaurant, Bywater American Bistro (BABs).

In Woburn, Massachusetts, just ten miles northwest of Boston, the Baldwin Bar alerted guests to their temporary closure because a staff member tested positive for Covid-19. The message, like that of Machine’s, was transparent, straightforward, reassuring, and positive overall. Not only did the Baldwin Bar share that the venue was undergoing a deep clean, they named the company tasked with providing the service.

The Baldwin Bar, thankfully, got to post the following message a little more than a day after posting their closure announcement:

Operators who find themselves in the terrible and frightening position of having to announce a temporary closure would do well to follow the examples above. While hope isn’t a viable business strategy, a hopeful tone can help garner support from the community.

Equally important are an emphasis on health, safety and cleanliness so guests feel comfortable placing orders for delivery and takeout, and returning when the doors open once again. As difficult as it may be when faced with closure, focusing on the well-being of the guests can help ensure there are guests lined up upon reopening.

Image: Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

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Hotel F&B in a Post-Pandemic Landscape

Hotel Food & Beverage in a Post-Pandemic Landscape

By Doug Radkey – 07/22/2020

Nearly all of our favorite and most popular travel destinations around the world have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, resulting in a horrendous financial loss for hotels, resorts, and the entire hospitality industry alike.

Research by the American Hotel & Lodging Institution suggests that hotel recovery to pre-COVID-19 levels could take until the year 2023—or perhaps even later with the expected ‘long-term’ loss of business travel and international leisure travellers.

Sadly, many properties have not survived and will not be opening their doors again. Some of those who rely on international travel see little benefit in resuming service while many borders remain closed. And those who are ready to reopen face a very different business environment to the one they were once accustomed to.

There are numerous strategies and alterations to consider moving forward for the operation of a hotel property post-pandemic; but one area that can help properties to regain their guests’ trust plus revenue and profits is that of the food & beverage program.

The Opportunity

For years, one could rely on a hotels restaurant and bar for a steady supply of traditional fare. Hotel food wasn’t necessarily an after-thought, but menus lacked (and in some cases continue to lack) inspiration.

However, in today’s global hotel market; both pre-covid and post-pandemic, a cities best and most innovative and creative food & beverage menu could be found in a hotels restaurant and bar.

But it is not longer just about the food. Hotels obviously have their chef(s) – but moving forward they must also consider a ‘director of mixology’ – even for smaller boutique properties.

Consider for a moment, instead of creating cocktails to match the food menu, doing it the other way around and starting with the beverages. You may be surprised by the results.

This is a secret to a successful, high-profit full-sensory on-premise (and off-premise) program.

While there is significant social and economic changes expected (post-pandemic), there will be a growing and potential multi-billion dollar opportunity for hotels to better cater to guests through their food & beverage options – if the venue can weather the current storm.

As the population regains their confidence to book a hotel stay, guests who visit for either business or leisure may be reluctant to travel to too many spots around town due an ongoing fear that it may not be 100% safe to do so.

Furthermore, many (potential) guests will find their finances dramatically affected by the economic downturn which is now inevitable throughout most of the world, and this will also lead to demand for more affordable cuisine and experiences.

Therefore, a food & beverage program with multiple revenue streams including a balance in pricing found within a trusted hotel that provides a consideration towards a full sensory experience for multiple day-parts is critically important.

Hyper-Local Programming

Hotels today must increasingly try to attract local residents partly because today’s visitors increasingly want to eat where the locals hang out and secondly – because that noted business & leisure travel is expected to be slow for the next 12-18 months.

The food & beverage programs and experiences must shape guests’ understanding of the hyper-local region by supporting local farms, vendors, & culture.

Hotels today and moving in a post-pandemic landscape must promote strong relationships & partnerships with local farmers and producers and introduce their products & flavors to guests in delicious and sometimes, surprising ways.

It is anticipated that hotel guests will expect venues to rely less on imported goods while using more locally-produced items within a 75 mile (100 km) radius due to support local initiatives, the need to embrace the local culture, current (and future) supply chain restrictions, and simply more robust, fresh flavors.

Buffet Pivots

Remember waking up at a hotel and strolling down to the lobby for the breakfast buffet? Sadly, that will be just a memory for most moving forward. It’s likely no secret that it will be a long time before buffets come back. Even with sneeze guards, hotels must (temporarily) shift to à-la-carte menus, made-to-order options, and individually packaged grab-and-go items.

The buffet concept (for breakfast and other day-parts) could also opt to switch to cafeteria-style model instead of self-serve stations (with physical distancing measures in place). Even hotel restaurants with self-serve beverage stations, breakfast bars, salad bars, and a toppings bar will likely need to eliminate these self-serve stations in order to comply with guidelines from both a government point of view and guest sentiment point of view.

These “serving stations” could be individually prepared & plated in real-time by staff from behind the counter which likely means more labor – but providing a safe experience which will win guests over – providing opportunity for further awareness, revenue & profits.

Off-Premise Revenue

Many hoteliers and hotel brands around the world have begun to shift their food & beverage operations amid the pandemic, catering to locals by launching both takeout and curbside pickup options.

With the introduction of this new revenue channel, it is anticipated that it will stick around for quite some time.

Hotel F&B programs must also offer access to more premium grab & go options and also meal-kits. Whether for a day out exploring the city (remember they may be hesitant to stop in a restaurant they don’t know), or on the way to a business meeting, hotels are uniquely positioned to meet guest needs by leveraging their full-service kitchens to supply pre-made meals, snacks, and even F&B experience kits.

Micro-Experiences

From mid-scale to luxury, some hotel brands are taking the resurgence of “at-home” dining to the next level by creating unique F&B packages for micro-groups at the hotel itself.

As an add-on at booking, guests for example can upgrade to a private dining package that includes customized tastings, cooking tutorials, wine pairings, and cocktail making – all in a private space.

For some hotel & resort properties, the often abundance of outdoor space can also provide ample opportunity for seasonal or year-round food & beverage experiences. Picture open-fire kitchens, bar pavilions, and an atmosphere complete with comfortable seating, temperature control systems, and (hopefully) impeccable views for couples, families, and small group gatherings.

Technology Stack

There are a lot of ways technology will enhance hotel operations and experiences moving forward, both in and outside the food & beverage department.

Inside the kitchen, remodels are expected to happen over the next 1-3 years to adhere to the quick-service demand, the demand for the noted new experiences, and the potential lack of qualified staff. This means more self-cooking oven stations, simplified processes, smaller footprints, and smart kitchen technology.

A high level of convenience and contactless service will also be critical on the consumer side, when it comes to on-premise (F&B) room service.

One way to ensure a frictionless experience is through the use of technology.

Approximately one in four hotel guests surveyed by the American Hotel & Lodging Institute, think it’s important for hotels to have 24-hour room service. They want the option to have incredible food and beverage, no matter the time of day.

Post-pandemic, this will still hold true but the service sequence needs to change so that it includes the use of technology and contact-less service, both in the hotel restaurant(s) and in-room. The data shows that one in five guests also want the convenience of ordering with technology – via the hotels app on their phone or even through the TV in their room.

The order can then be packaged & delivered to the outside of the room, to their table in the restaurant, or by having a technology-driven “pick-up locker” in the lobby with mobile phone use to access the food delivered via the hotels kitchen or any third-party delivery partners.

And when it comes to customizing mini bars, 14 percent of guests would choose a hotel where the mini bar is personalized to snack and drink preferences based on the historic data from previous stays or allergies. While some argue the mini-bar is done due to the pandemic – we think hotels just need to personalize it and then make it a point of sanitation between stays.

Quick summary; hotel food & beverage programs must continuously react, adapt, and execute as consumer demand and sentiment fluctuates; both short-term and long-term while providing both unique one-of-a-kind experiences and brand activations.

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Turning Crisis into Confidence

Articles Submitted To Media Partners During Covid-19 Pandemic

By Doug Radkey (March 2020-July 2020)

Take Time to Recharge: Self-Care During a Crisis

During times of crisis, everyone feels something: sadness, confusion, fear, anxiety, or anger.

It can be easy for many within the industry to become overwhelmed with the amount of decisions that need to be made not only for their business, but for their family, staff, and community.

One area that often gets overlooked, particularly among business and community leaders, is their own self care.

From watching the news every hour to making tough decisions, to hours of volunteering, to scrolling through your social media a little too much, it’s easy to get lost in the noise of what’s going on around us in the time of crisis.

And you’re not alone in this……Continue Reading Here on Nightclub & Bar

Every Red Light Eventually Turns Green

When faced with a lengthy business shutdown, it can be a roller coaster of emotions when you learn it’s time to re-open. While it is understandable that you want to open your doors as quickly as possible, you also want to ensure you’re doing it correctly and in a way that will not cause further damage to your brand, bottom line, staff, or guests.

The truth is, as a variety of government bodies have indicated; you’re likely going to have to open your venue in a series of phases. Are you financially & mindfully prepared for that?

You are also going to have to pivot (are you tired of that word yet?) if you haven’t already in addition to diversifying your menu and offerings.

You are going to have to build a high level of trust with guests like never before….Continue Reading on Nightclub & Bar

Adapting to Change; Seating (Part 1)

Understanding flexibility and a willingness to embrace change will make you a valuable leader — one who can reliably deal with many different opportunities and scenarios. You will then find change is not something to fear, but something to welcome and turn into an advantage. For restaurants with a large on-premise business model, change is happening and you need to prepare – now!

The biggest fear factors for many with a significant dining room are the new seating recommendations and capacity levels for dine-in restaurants. Everyone reading this will be in a slightly different scenario, pending the size of venue, location, and style of concept, so it is hard to create a cookie-cutter solution.

However, there are some new strategies and standards to consider that will help you adapt, pivot, and embrace these changes. Continue Reading on Resto Biz

Adapting to Change; Seating (Part 2)

To maximize your seating, encourage guests to make reservations, preferably online. Your guests will want to pick their spots, their proximity to others, and their proximity to high-traffic areas. Your new seating arrangement should ideally be online to review and should also be flexible.

Having a reservation system will also allow your staff the appropriate time to fully sanitize and prepare each area for the next number of guests in a reserved party.

With reservations, it may be wise to also consider time restrictions; guests who are used to travelling to tourism hot spots will be accustomed to these types of rules. Don’t be scared to put a 60- or 90-minute timestamp on reservations to encourage more table flips, which you’ll want to do as many times as possible within safety guidelines. Continue Reading on Resto Biz

Maintaining Financial Health During Pandemic

You already know the majority of restaurants run their business on extremely thin margins, and in the the time of COVID-19, the financial health of the industry has become all the more precarious. In fact, a recent (U.S.) National Bureau of Economic Research paper gave restaurants a 30 per cent chance of reopening if the pandemic lasts four months; this estimate drops to 15 per cent if it lasts six months.

The average restaurant, it found, had enough cash on hand to last approximately two weeks. Why such little time? Because the 3- to 5-per cent profit margin of the average restaurant or bar simply can’t cut it in this environment.

Here’s the thing – we can’t continue down this doom and gloom route. The industry will prevail, and some will come out even stronger – if they push forward now. Restaurants must operate with the mindset of achieving 12- to 15-per cent profit margins – and the secret is, it is possible. Continue Reading on Resto Biz

Hotel F&B in a Post-Pandemic Landscape

early all of our favorite and most popular travel destinations around the world have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, resulting in a horrendous financial loss for hotels, resorts, and the entire hospitality industry alike.

Research by the American Hotel & Lodging Institution suggests that hotel recovery to pre-COVID-19 levels could take until the year 2023—or perhaps even later with the expected ‘long-term’ loss of business travel and international leisure travellers.

There are numerous strategies and alterations to consider moving forward for the operation of a hotel property post-pandemic; but one area that can help properties regain their guests’ trust plus revenue and profits is that of the food & beverage program. Continue Reading on KRG Hospitality

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Bar Concepts w/ Sensory Experiences

Developing a Bar Concept w/ Sensory Experiences

By Doug Radkey – 09/23/2019

Once your idea has been researched and the market, location, technical, business, and financial viability of the idea has passed a series of reviews throughout a feasibility study, a concept development plan can then be started.

Remember, outside of being scalable, you want to build a concept that is sustainable, profitable, memorable, and consistent.

Bar concepts over the years have gone from being tame (or lame) or overplayed, like tiki bars or sports bars, to concepts that push the boundaries of what a bar can be. One of the best ways to build a customer base is to go off the beaten path to create a bold and fresh new bar concept.

A concept plan will focus on ‘chapters’ and visual storyboards that include an overall:

  • Concept Summary (a one page summarization similar to that of an Executive Summary)
  • Statement Overview (Value, Vision, Mission, Culture)
  • Architectural Design (characteristics, features, costs)
  • Bar/Kitchen Production (your equipment specs)
  • Entertainment & Guest Experience Summary
  • Menu Design Attributes (food & beverage)

Owning a bar is a dream for most that must be met with the right research, planning, and mind-set.

One’s market will, and must, define the concept. To be successful, you must be open to building a venue the market both wants and needs.

Concept development is giving your ‘idea’, both soul and character. A bar’s concept is the lifeline of its brand and longevity in the market. It makes your venue stand apart from the competition, and it’s ultimately your bar’s unique selling proposition.

Have you ever walked into a bar and been confused about its identity? The interior doesn’t match the beverage offerings, the social media experience doesn’t reflect the actual experience, and even the music doesn’t seem to match the vibe of the bar.

This is what happens when there isn’t a clear and detailed concept development plan in place, and it is a sure fire way to be just average at best.

It’s More Than Just a Drink

Most conceptual ideas start at the food & beverage level. A bar however, needs to remember that they don’t just sell food & beverage; they sell experiences through the enhancement of guest emotions.

When planning a concept, it’s imperative to have a focus on the style of menu and niche of entertainment – but a winning concept will elevate a guest’s variety of senses. Here’s how:

Visual: Use the mindset of a traditional bar meeting on-trend beverage effects. Consider the style of beverage vessels, the use of unique ice cubes or even dry ice, the garnishes used, and potentially a variety of ‘smoking’ techniques within a variety of your signature cocktails, providing a visual effect that grabs every guest’s attention.

Plus, it will be hard to find a guest who is not taking a photo and sharing it on social media – an easy promotional tool to make each of their individual networks feel as if they’re missing out (FOMO) on the best experience in town.

Auditory: Music, drinks, and food share an intimate connection. From the beginning, this should be a focus. Every day, every weeknight, and every weekend must be filled with strategic decisions around sound.

From your day-part strategies, to the sound of cocktail shakers, to live music calendars and even proper speaker placement – your venue must see why 76 percent of bar customers surveyed believe they stay longer due to the sound of the environment.

Olfactory (smell) System: Like sound, a pleasant and subtle fragrance can lead to an improved perceived quality of the environment and can enhance the mood of guests, causing them to stay longer. Our sense of smell is after all, directly linked to the part of the brain responsible for memory and emotion – two things bars need to strive for.

For example; consider a Smoked Cedar Plank Whiskey around the Christmas season. The scent of the smoked cedar will fill the bar area with a subtle Christmas tree aroma, prompting the guests attention and need to spend more money.

Gustatory (taste) System: Food & beverage pairings have never been more important, and it isn’t just for wine. Consider appetizers (snacks) within your food & beverage program that pair with miniature versions of your signature beverages (beers, wines, and even cocktails) that could be served on flight boards; elevating all flavor profiles.

Your remaining food & beverage menu should be small, balanced, and targeted around flavor profiles that your ideal guests desire.

Summary; When you combine these efforts, it’s easy to see how a successful brand can build a community around thousands of fans – within 30 days of opening.

This is something you can easily replicate if you focus your decisions on layout, design, food, beverage, training, and events around the above sensories.

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Enhancing Your Bartenders Experience

Enhancing Your Bartenders Experience

By Doug Radkey – 09/17/2019

We Have a Problem – There’s No Team Spirit in Many Bars

Within the industry, we always talk about ‘experiences’ – and rightfully so. At the end of the day, experiences are what bars and restaurants sell to customers. All of the emphasis however, is on customer or guest experiences; but what about staff experiences?

Do your staff show up, do their job, and go home? Is there any sense of ‘family’ in your establishment? Is there laughter, or just silence, or even worse…complaining?

Time to Hit the Reset Button!

Desirable experiences shouldn’t stop with just your customers – your team craves experiences too! As owners, operators, and managers, it is up to you to make your concept more than just a ‘job’ or way for staff to ‘pay their bills’.

Implementing the right culture statement and team-based strategy, will assist in controlling your labor costs and reduce turnover – resulting in not only stronger consistency within your operations, but a positive environment that will flow to your customers and help amplify word-of-mouth marketing.

Here are some #BarHacks to help you get started:

Web Presence & Social Media

Bar enthusiasts are seeking to learn and understand the culture of a bar when deciding on their eating, drinking, patio, or party destination.

This is a great opportunity to showcase your team on your social media channels and on your website. Create a bio for your staff noting something unique about them, take a photo (or better yet, a video) of them and share this content to your ‘community’.

This will equally make your staff feel like they’re a part of a team and the business development process.

Create That Stay Interview

Many of you have likely heard the term ‘exit interview’, but what about a ‘stay interview’? Take video to the next level by interviewing your staff and developing a series of testimonials as to why they love working for your bar.

This tactic will create a sense of place and family among your team and also assist in your hiring process; positioning you to attain higher quality candidates who seek a positive working environment.

Continuous Education

A great team member is one who craves learning and one who brings the same set of values as you do to the table. Keep in mind …

“A bar is only as good as its worst bartender”

Every bartender must be of the same quality at your bar. If not, guests may become a fan of one bartender (and not the bar itself) – leading them to follow the bartender if he/she were to leave for another bar.

Take the time to invest in further training and education for your entire team.

Depending on your overall bar concept and financial model, consider developing an educational program for your team.

Think outside the box and create culinary/hospitality scholarships and/or consider sending your team to farms, breweries, wineries etc. to learn about specific products you offer and their development processes.

Continuous education will create a sense of appreciation, enticing your team to stay loyal to your establishment while benefiting not only their experience, but your customers’ experience as well.

Profit Sharing Programs

It’s safe to say, everyone enjoys working towards a common goal. Consider creating a realistic monthly revenue goal (slightly above your current average) for your bar. Now share this goal with your staff and create a SMART plan for the month on how to collectively obtain that goal.

If you surpassed that goal (congratulations), distribute a percentage (5% for example) of the monetary difference among your team.

Repeating this process each month will not only increase your revenue and profit, but will develop a team working environment, reduce turnover, and make your team feel important to the business and its success.

SMART Staff Reviews

Speaking of goals, there should be team oriented goals (profit sharing) and also personal goals developed within an overall action plan.

You should sit down with each individual teammate at least once every three months.

During this meeting and using SMART (Specific. Measureable. Attainable. Realistic. Timely) objectives, give each teammate something to work on over the next three months.

This could be increasing revenue per transaction averages, providing accurate inventory counts, reducing waste levels, or having accurate end-of-day cash out reports.

Of course, reaching objectives should be rewarded; therefore create a reward program that works for your concept and financial model.

Creative Mindset

Don’t let your staff get complacent behind the bar by having the same menu month-after-month and year-after-year.

This will lead to boredom, which will eventually lead to turnover. Allow your team to be creative by ‘creating’ food or beverage options that fit within the confines of your concept.

Consider holding an in-house contest each month to choose one featured food and one featured beverage option created by a staff member.

Highlight this on your social media and in-house marketing (effectively creating a story) while rewarding that individual with a commission on sales from that item for the remainder of the month.

If the product sells really well, consider adding that item to your everyday menu the next time you re-engineer your food & beverage menu.

In summary, execute a marketing plan approach to your staff recruitment and staff development program.

The time, resources, and effort spent on this will be well worth it in the long-run.

Just ask your staff!

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