Bar operations

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Merchants Support Credit Card Act

100s of Merchants Support Credit Card Competition Act

by David Klemt

Customer paying via Square terminal

Perhaps at least somewhat unsurprisingly, support for the Credit Card Competition Act is growing rapidly among merchants.

In fact, 1,802 merchants are making their position on the bill clear. Those hundreds of merchants drafted, signed, and set a letter to the House and Senate.

The crux of that letter? To tell our lawmakers to support and pass the Credit Card Competition Act.

To view the letter, sent by the Merchants Payments Coalition (MPC), please click here. For the bill and its status, follow this link.

The Credit Card Competition Act: A Quick Summary

According to the MPC, credit and debit card transactions just in the US reached $3.49 trillion in 2021. Along with those transactions came $77.48 billion in merchant fees—just for Visa and MasterCard.

Why call those out those two processors in particular? Well, it’s because they’re behind about 576 million credit cards. Oh, and they also control 87 percent of the processing market.

In the span of just one decade, Visa and MasterCard swipe fees have risen 137 percent. So, it’s not surprising that merchants are supportive of the Credit Card Competition Act.

There are, indeed, restaurant and hospitality groups attached to the MPC’s letter to Congress. Taking a quick glance, Denny’s franchisees, Dutchman Hospitality Group, and Mandalay Hospitality Group are among the signees.

Obviously, this makes sense—swipe fees are among the highest costs operators face every day.

Where’s this Bill Currently?

It shouldn’t be too shocking to find that this has yet to make much progress. The bill’s sponsors, Sens. Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Richard Marshall (R-KS), introduced it in the senate at the end of July.

Three months later, October 28, an attempt was made to include the bill in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). For those who are unfamiliar, the NDAA is known as a “must-pass” bill. After all, it specifies the US Department of Defense’s (DoD) budget and expenditures each year.

Along with a reported 900 other “riders,” Sens. Durbin and Marshall tried to get their bill passed within the NDAA. Unfortunately for the senators and supporters of the bill, the NDAA vote was pushed until the middle of November…which we’re now past.

Of course, the US did just undergo a mid-term election cycle. So, I suppose it’s reasonable to be a bit more patient with the Senate and the progress of this bill.

Those who work in or support our industry can make their opinion of this bill known. Just follow this link to the National Restaurant Association Credit Card Competition Act portal.

Image: Clay Banks on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

5 Books to Read this Month: November 2022

5 Books to Read this Month: November 2022

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

This month’s engaging and informative book selections will help you hone your culinary, cocktail, and leadership skills to dial in your menus and operations.

To review October’s book recommendations, click here.

Let’s jump in!

Shaya: An Odyssey of Food, My Journey Back to Israel: A Cookbook

The next time you visit New Orleans, plan to dine at least once at the James Beard Award-winning Shaya. I’ve had the opportunity to do so and the experience was stunning. Of course, you’ll also want to check out Domenica and Pizza Domenica while in NOLA. To give you an idea of what to expect, pick up the Shaya cookbook.

Chef Alon Shaya’s personal journey through cooking is truly unique, embracing Israeli, Italian, and American Southern cuisines. Shaya tells Chef-operator Shaya’s moving story and more than 100 incredible recipes. Pick it up at Amazon.

Turkey and the Wolf: Flavor Trippin’ in New Orleans

After moving to New Orleans and working in fine dining, Chef Mason Hereford opened his own restaurant and put his stamp on the scene: Turkey and the Wolf. Both the restaurant and this cookbook focus on creative and enticing takes on Southern cooking.

Fancy deviled-egg tostadas? Fried bologna sandwiches absolutely heaving with potato chips? How about purposely burnt tomato casserole? Well, you’ll find these recipes and 92 others in this book, along with photographs and illustrations. This is sure to get you salivating and get your creative wheels turning. Grab Turkey and the Wolf here on Amazon.

Last Call at Coogan’s: The Life and Death of a Neighborhood Bar

As those of us in the industry know, restaurants and bars are the cornerstones of the communities they serve. Last Call at Coogan’s is the true tale of a neighborhood bar that, unfortunately, closed its doors for good during the pandemic after more than 30 years in operation.

From Amazon: “This book touches on many serious issues facing the country today: race relations, policing, gentrification, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Along the way, readers will meet the bar’s owners and an array of its most colorful regulars.” Purchase here via Amazon.

Spiritual Coffee

Bar co-founder, bartender, brand ambassador, and author Martin Hudak’s informative and exciting cocktail book is available now for purchase. Hudak is one of the brilliant minds behind Sydney destinations Maybe Sammy and Sammy Junior. Also, he’s a brand ambassador for Mr. Black, the ridiculously tasty coffee liqueur.

Spiritual Coffee focuses on coffee cocktails, a passion of Hudak’s. However, you’ll get more than recipes when you purchase this entertaining book. In these pages you’ll also find a wealth of coffee history, knowledge, and stories. Buy here!

The Future Is Analog: How to Create a More Human World

This book, from award-winning author David Sax, asks poignant culture questions about our rush toward a digital world, an undertaking that was supercharged during the pandemic.

“Is our future inevitably digital? Can we reject the downsides of digital technology without rejecting change?” Sax asks. “Can we innovate not for the sake of productivity but for the good of our social and cultural lives? Can we build a future that serves us as humans, first and foremost?” Purchase here via Amazon.

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Menus in Canada: Who Wants What Items?

Menus in Canada: Who Wants What Items?

by David Klemt

Bar and restaurant food and drink menus

Nobody has a crystal ball telling them what they should put on their menus to boost traffic and revenue, but we do have data.

In this instance, we have useful data regarding Canadian consumers specifically. Not only do we have helpful information from Restaurants Canada, David Henkes from Technomic has also weighed in. For those who are unfamiliar, Technomic is one of the best foodservice research and consulting firms.

Before we dive into Restaurant Canada’s menu trend information, this is not a review of the top menu item orders in Canada. For a deep dive into that topic in particular, please read our article “F&B in Canada: Top Menu Items.”

Instead, in this article we’re reviewing broader menu categories and interest in them among Canadian consumers. For your own copy of the 2022 Foodservice Facts report, click here.

Word of Warning

Now, it’s important to bear in mind that the data below is a snapshot. It’s important, informative data but it shouldn’t influence your menu completely.

In other words, when considering revising your menu in any way, make sure you’re staying true to your brand and the community you serve. If your data differs from Restaurants Canada and Technomic data, that’s okay.

Not only are there always outliers, not all data applies to every concept. So, don’t take drastic action on your menus based solely on the data below.

For this particular topic, Restaurants Canada asked three age groups about their interest in eight menu categories.

The groups are: 18 to 34, 35 to 54, and 55-plus. The industry advocacy group then reviewed the numbers for those who indicated they’re “very interested” or “somewhat interested” for each category or item.

Who Wants What?

The menu category generating the most interest from Canadian consumers, according to Restaurants Canada data, is food sourced from local farmers. Overall, 93 percent of survey respondents very or somewhat interested. Those in the 55-plus age group are the most interested.

More than 80 percent are interested in comfort foods, or creative riffs on comfort foods. Age groups 18 to 34 and 35 to 54 have the most interest. Precisely 80 percent are interested in trying globally inspired foods and flavors, led by the 18 to 34 age group.

Foods that promote health and wellness come next, with 79 percent of Canadian consumers showing interest. The 55-plus age group is particularly interested. However, dishes that utilize ingredients that boost one’s immune system are only popular among 53 percent of survey respondents. Interestingly, it’s the 18 to 34 age group with the most interest in this category.

In what’s possibly a contrast from American consumers, the final three categories have no more than 41 percent of survey respondents’ interest. Forty-one percent have interest in meatless and vegetarian items. Next, just 38 percent show interest in alcohol-free cocktails. Finally, just 33 percent are interested in plant-based burgers and sausages.

For each of those categories, the greatest interest comes from the 18 to 34 age group, and the 55-plus group shows the least amount of interest.

Recommended Reading

We’ve been reviewing the 2022 Foodservice Facts report from Restaurants Canada in depth for several weeks. To learn more about this important report, please read the following:

Image: Samuel Regan-Asante on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Credit Card Competition Act, Take Two

Credit Card Competition Act, Take Two

by David Klemt

American Express charge cards

As we approach Election Day on November 8, it’s important to keep in mind that the Credit Card Competition Act of 2022 is still in play.

In fact, reports predict that another attempt to pass the bipartisan bill will take place in November. If reports are accurate, Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Roger Marshall (R-KS) will try to include the bill in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Now, that sentence and strategy may have you scratching your head. What, you may be asking yourself, do credit card fees have to do with defense spending?

Well, not much, truthfully. But you’re probably well aware that politicians will try to amend bills in bids to pass legislation they want. The common term for such a provision is “rider.”

It’s not difficult to understand why the Credit Card Competition Act has gone nowhere when we view Sens. Durbin and Marshall’s rider tactic.

Earlier this month, the senators attempted to include their bill within the NDAA. The reason is simple: the bill specifies the US Department of Defense’s (DoD) budget and expenditures each year. In other words, this is a “must-pass” bill.

However, Sens. Durbin and Marshall aren’t the only senators sponsoring bills. And they’re certainly not the only senators attempting to attach riders to the NDAA.

“It’s a bold strategy, Cotton.”

I will say, at least Sen. Durbin’s effort to attach the Credit Card Competition Act rider to the NDAA is somewhat related to the DoD.

You see, he and Sen. Marshall tried to tack on two amendments to push their bill through. The first amendment theorizes that veterans are being hurt by credit card fees. According to the senators, when military veterans make purchases at a military commissary, they are sometimes subjected to surcharges related to merchant interchange fees.

The second amendment brings the US Treasury Department and US Defense Department into the mix. This effort directs the departments to research just how much veterans are paying (annually, one would assume) in surcharges, and which companies these fees benefit. Then, the departments are to issue this report to Congress.

So, hey, points for attempting to make including the Credit Card Competition Act of 2022 relate to the NDAA for FY 2022. Of course, other senators are attempting to include their own riders. Should reporting prove accurate, some 900 amendments have been proposed. Supposedly, a few dozen might just make it.

This strategy didn’t work this month because the NDAA vote isn’t taking place in October. Instead, the plan is for the vote to take place sometime mid-November, when the US Senate reconvenes.

To learn more about the Credit Card Act of 2022, click here. If it’s a bill you support, let your elected officials know. Should you oppose the bill, let that be known to lawmakers as well.

Image: on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

F&B in Canada: Top Menu Items

F&B in Canada: Top Menu Items

by David Klemt

Closeup of hands holding burger

Those wondering what food and beverage menu items are performing best among consumers throughout Canada need wonder no more.

And why is that? Well, Restaurants Canada has the answers, revealing the top ten food and top ten beverage items.

Further, the organization compares each item’s performance. In this instance, Restaurants Canada analyses the percentage of orders that contained each food or beverage item from January to April 2022 in comparison to 2019.

These insights (and many more) are available in Restaurants Canada’s 2022 Foodservice Facts report. In fact, you can find our reviews of several of the restaurant advocacy group’s report topics via the links below:

For your own copy of this year’s Foodservice Facts report, click here.

Top 10 Canadian Drink Menu Trends

As you’ll see below, coffee is outperforming nearly every other beverage category. Specifically, Hot coffee is at the top, while Iced or frozen coffee is ranked third.

Unsurprisingly, Carbonated soft drinks / Pop / Soda split the two coffee categories. According to Restaurants Canada, the Carbonated soft drink category can credit its performance in large part to QSRs.

  1. Milk: 1.8% (2019) to 1.8% (2022)
  2. Iced tea: 2.9% (2019) to 1.6% (2022)
  3. Milkshakes / Smoothies: 2.1% (2019) to 2.0% (2022)
  4. Fruit juice: 3.8% (2019) to 3.0% (2022)
  5. Hot tea: 5.5% (2019) to 4.5% (2022)
  6. Alcohol beverages: 5.1% (2019) to 5.7% (2022)
  7. Water: 6.6% (2019) to 5.0% (2022)
  8. Iced or frozen coffee: 5.3% (2019) to 7.5% (2022)
  9. Carbonated soft drinks / Pop / Soda: 19.7% (2019) to 20.2% (2022)
  10. Hot coffee: 40.9% (2019) to 41.9% (2022)

Compellingly, Alcohol beverage performance in restaurants fluctuated by age group between 2021 and 2022. Alcohol order shares in restaurants, per Restaurants Canada:

  • Legal drinking Age (LDA) to 34: 46% (2021) to 43% (2022)
  • 35 to 49: 17% (2021) to 21% (2022)
  • 50-plus: 37% (2021) to 36% (2022)

Alcohol order shares in bars, according to Restaurants Canada:

  • LDA to 34: 35% (2021) to 35% (2022)
  • 35 to 49: 17% (2021) to 19% (2022)
  • 50-plus: 49% (2021) to 47% (2022)

Overall, the 35 to 49 age group appears to be consuming less alcohol in bars and restaurants in comparison to the LDA to 34 and 50-plus cohorts.

Top 10 Canadian Food Menu Trends

As Restaurants Canada notes, the Sandwich / Sub category has grown in 2022. Interestingly, the category just below it in growth, Chicken, is partially responsible for boosting Sandwich / Sub performance.

As far as entrees or “main attractions,” the Burger category remains at the top, beating out Breakfast, Sandwich / Sub, Chicken, and Pizza menu items.

  1. Cake / Squares / Muffins: 3.7% (2019) to 3.3% (2022)
  2. Salad: 4.3% (2019) to 3.8% (2022)
  3. Donuts / Beignets: 3.0% (2019) to 3.8% (2022)
  4. Breads: 4.3% (2019) to 3.4% (2022)
  5. Pizza / Panzerotti / Calzone: 4.1% (2019) to 4.3% (2022)
  6. Chicken: 7.6% (2019) to 8.5% (2022)
  7. Sandwich / Sub: 8.0% (2019) to 8.5% (2022)
  8. Breakfast: 10.8% (2019) to 11.4% (2022)
  9. Burger: 9.0% (2019) to 10.9% (2022)
  10. French fries / Potato / Sweet potato / Onion rings: 15.0% (2019) to 16.1% (2022)

Image: Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Go Clean this International G&T Day

Go Clean this International G&T Day

by David Klemt

CleanCo Clean G bottle

Today we raise a glass to a centuries-old spirit and a classic cocktail that historians can trace back to at least the mid-1800s.

In other words, happy International Gin & Tonic Day!

Now, I’m willing to go out on a limb and say that you and your bar team probably have your G&T builds down. It’s one of—if not the—most well-known highballs in existence.

So, no, I’m not going to write an article about how to make a G&T. It’s elegant, it’s simple, and bar professionals shouldn’t be behind the stick if they can’t make at least a decent one.

Instead, I want to introduce you to a non-alcohol spirits brand you should know: CleanCo. As an alcohol-free brand, CleanCo is ideal for Sober October and beyond.

If you already know CleanCo, cheers! But if this is you’re first time getting to know the brand, here’s what you need to know.

About CleanCo

Spencer Matthews founded CleanCo in 2018. At just a few years old, this isn’t a brand-new company.

However, anyone who knows the beverage industry knows it takes time for young brands to fight through the noise and be heard. Suffice to say, CleanCo is making themselves known in 2022.

Before starting the alcohol alternative brand, Matthews “lived in a cycle of drinking excessively for most” of his twenties. In fact, under the About section on the CleanCo website, Matthews states he sought out jobs that encouraged his hard-drinking lifestyle. That changed before the arrival of his first child. Matthews decided to “go clean” and says it changed his life.

However, Matthews doesn’t expect others to abstain from alcohol consumption completely. That is, of course, a personal choice. Rather, Matthews seeks to provide an alternative that people will actually want to drink.

Whether a guest is choosing to not consume alcohol for a round, an evening, a week, a month, or for the foreseeable future, CleanCo’s mission is to help deliver a seamless drinking experience without the alcohol.

Along with Clean G, CleanCo’s gin alternative, the brand offers rum, vodka, and tequila expressions that are 0.5-percent ABV or lower.

Clean G&T

Just like the original classic this non-alcohol-cocktail mimics, the Clean G&T is simple to make.

In fact, the ratio of Clean G gin alternative to tonic is same as its full-alcohol counterpart.

  • 2 oz. Clean G
  • 4 oz. Tonic
  • Two lime slices or wheels to garnish

To build, add Clean G and tonic to a tall glass. Next, add ice along with one lime slice or wheel to layer the garnish throughout the length of the drink. Finally, place the other lime slice or wheel on top, and serve.

Image: CleanCo

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Restaurant Rewards Making Headlines

Restaurant Rewards Making Headlines

by David Klemt

People toasting with Dunkin' Donuts cups

Loyalty programs are making waves and grabbing headlines but not all of the news is good, according to consumers.

Dunkin’, Chipotle, Taco Bell, and Starbucks are among the restaurants whose programs are receiving attention.

Now, there are still those who cling to the idea that all publicity is good. Personally, I’ve found that idiom to be outdated. In fact, I’ve believed that phrase to be false for several years.

Instead, when it comes to publicity, I find this quote from Warren Buffet to be far more accurate: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”

It’s important for operators—for all entrepreneurs, really—to protect their brand’s reputation. At the end of the day, long-term success depends on the reputation one builds. And make no mistake, that reputation is made—or broken—every day, with every interaction.

So, what does all of that have to do with loyalty or rewards programs? It’s simple—such programs aren’t just about revenue. A loyalty program, when executed well, is a branding tool that boosts engagement, recognition, and perception.

When a loyalty or rewards program is executed poorly it doesn’t just mean low membership numbers. A brand’s reputation can take a severe hit if loyal consumers cry foul.

Let’s take a look at some brands that have made headlines the past couple of weeks.

Taco Bell

This rewards program, the Taco Lover’s Pass, is a bit of an anomaly in the loyalty space.

It was first launched in Arizona in September 2021. Depending on the location, the pass cost either $5 or $10. In exchange, people could get a free taco a day for 30 consecutive days, and they could choose from seven tacos.

Back in January of this year, Taco Bell brought back the Taco Lover’s Pass. This time, the program was available throughout the US, and it cost $10. Again, those who snagged a pass through the chain’s app could get a free taco each day for 30 consecutive days.

And just two weeks ago, Taco Bell made the Taco Lover’s Pass available again. This time, people had one day to download the app (if they didn’t have it already) and grab the pass.

Time will tell if Taco Bell will eventually make this wildly popular program permanent. For now, this occasional reward program seems to be serving the chain just fine, and their loyal guests don’t seem to be angry that the Taco Lover’s Pass, thus far, appears fleetingly.


Another interesting approach to loyalty sees Starbucks partnering with Delta Airlines.

As of yesterday, members of Starbucks Rewards and Delta SkyMiles can link the programs together. Members of the former can receive double stars on days on which they’re flying Delta (at participating locations). For the latter, members will earn one mile for every dollar they spend at Starbucks.

Essentially, linking the two accounts ensures that members earn points across both programs for a single purchase. Not a bad move—it should be an effective way to boost loyalty for both companies.


Ah, Chipotle. It’s safe to say this brand has experienced plenty of ups and downs over the past several years.

But credit where credit is due: It seems that the chain manages to come back from each scandal or mistake. And that’s what’s so frustrating—they wouldn’t have to correct missteps if they took care to avoid making them in the first place.

So, why are people upset with Chipotle now? The backlash concerns the restaurant chain’s Chipotle Rewards program.

When someone signs up the program, they can redeem a nice perk immediately: free chips and guacamole. On their birthday, they have access to another perk. In general, the biggest benefit is earning up to 10 points for every dollar spent at Chipotle.

The points a member earns are redeemable in multiple ways: free menu items, a charitable donation, or merchandise. Seems very straightforward, right?

Well, Chipotle updated their rewards program, and it’s not an upgrade. In response to inflation, Chipotle has increased prices, just as innumerable restaurants have also done.

However, the chain updated Chipotle Rewards so that members must spend more to get their free entree reward. Members must now spend an additional $20-plus to get their reward, and they’re understandably unhappy.

It should go without saying but a rewards program is for increasing visits or orders per member. With people declaring they’re “done” with Chipotle, the brand’s update is driving down visits and potentially harming their reputation.


Things in the reward and reputation space may be worse for Dunkin’ than any other restaurant brand at the moment.

The chain first launched its DD Perks loyalty program eight years ago. Last week, Dunkin’ “reworked” loyalty, launching Dunkin’ Rewards.

Unfortunately, according to several reports, social media, and Reddit, the new program deflated the value of members’ points. From what I’ve seen members must now earn more than double the points they needed to prior to the Dunkin’ Rewards rollout for a gratis beverage.

Oh, and free drinks on a member’s birthday? The new program eliminates that perk. As is often the case on social media, some people are seething.

However, a statement from Scott Murphy, the president of Dunkin’, suggests that people are perhaps misunderstanding or misrepresenting the new program.

“Dunkin’ loyalists told us they wanted the ability to redeem for more than just beverages and we listened,” Murphy said to The Washington Post. “They also wanted to bundle points for larger orders, which we accomplished. And they told us they wanted to be recognized for their loyalty, which they can now achieve through Boosted Status and earn points even faster when they come to Dunkin’ more often.”

In short, Dunkin’ Rewards is built to allow members to redeem points for a wider array of menu items, including meals. For now, however, it seems the knee-jerk reaction is that many members feel the points they earned prior to the new program’s launch are devalued. And they’re furious, with some calling for a boycott.

Obviously, a boycott is the opposite effect one wants from their loyalty program.

Loyalty is a Tightrope Act

If there’s one takeaway here, it’s that rewarding guests for their loyalty isn’t as simple as offering points for dollars.

Perhaps it should be simple, and maybe it was was that simple a while back. But now, operators must be far more cautious when designing a loyalty program.

I’ll continue to dislike offering discounts for most brands. In my opinion, once a guest becomes accustomed to receiving a discount regularly, that discount becomes the standard price. That’s not good for most operators.

It may seem counterintuitive, but I’d rather see loyalty program members receive a free item than discounts. At least they’ve paid full price to earn that perk.

Another issue, however, is making changes to loyalty programs. Operators are facing incredible strain when it comes to costs, and this industry’s margins are already razor thin. It appears that some brands aren’t just increasing costs, they’re also increasing the points it takes to earn loyalty perks.

That may make sense on paper but program members are showing that they don’t take kindly to this type of change.

Slow Down

Look at loyalty programs through the eyes of consumers, not just the eyes of an accountant.

When the costs of living rise and a person’s dollars don’t go as far as they did before, they tend to cut back or eliminate expenditures. Commonly, restaurant visits are among the first things suffer. Loyalty programs can offer guests a way to stretch their dollars—there’s an attractive perk around the bend that allows them to justify continual visits.

If a brand devalues a loyalty program member’s points or requires them to spend more to earn the same benefits, why would they be happy? Why would they remain loyalty? As far as they’re concerned, their incentive to do so no longer exists. The perceived value is no longer there.

Before an operator launches or “revisits” a loyalty program, they need to slow down and analyze it from every angle. These programs are a delicate balancing act, demanding they make sense for both the bottom line and the guests.

If an operator hasn’t yet implemented a loyalty program, perhaps they should hold off until costs become more reasonable. With inflation affecting costs and therefore prices, the wisest move may be to take the time to really dial in the program, prepare the necessary assets, and implement when it won’t impact revenue negatively.

On the flip side, operators considering making significant changes to their loyalty programs need to take the time to strategize before implementation. A misstep, even if it’s a misunderstanding from the member side, can do irreparable harm.

Image: Isabella and Zsa Fischer on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

The Crucial Role Systems Play

The Crucial Role Systems Play

by David Klemt

Pink neon

Having efficient systems in place does more than just streamline day-to-day restaurant, bar, and hotel operations and increase productivity.

Of course, that’s an excellent reason for operators to ensure they implement multiple systems. Front-of-house, back-of-house, and leadership team members need systems to perform at their best.

Six Sigma, kaizen, the technology stack, checklists, manuals, marketing strategies, the guest journey… Each of those systems and more are key to the long-term success of restaurant, bar, and hotel operations.

In fact, these systems should be developed and ready for implementation before the doors ever open for the first time.

Further, effective systems communicate the expectations for roles and tasks. Onboarding and training systems improve recruitment and retention. Also, they provide the transparency that today’s professionals expect from their employers. On top of that, systems help develop consistency, which keeps guests coming back.

A strong leadership team is effective at implementing and following systems. Overall, a strong team is one that understands, embraces, and adheres to a systematic approach to operations to achieve shared goals.

Simply put, the only way achieve success is to be strategic. One can’t be strategic without the implementation of systems.

But there’s another crucial role that systems play in restaurants, bars, and hotels.

Get Out

This topic is the byproduct of a recent KRG Hospitality client call. While explaining our approach to projects, our team touched on the importance of systems.

However, the topic wasn’t brought up simply to detail what systems the client would need to have in place.

A crucial role systems play in a successful operation is getting an owner away from their four walls. More importantly, allowing them to confidently and comfortably leave their business.

If an owner—be they a sole proprietor or business partner—can’t step away from their restaurant, bar, or hotel without worrying, something is wrong. Either the systems in place are ineffective, they don’t address every element of the business, they aren’t being adhered to, or they don’t exist.

Effective systems allow an owner to take time away from their business without micromanaging staff. Systems should also be in place so the owner or owners don’t feel anxious when they’re not working on the business.


Stepping away to pursue a hobby, engage in self care, spend time with family and friends, or just because one wants to take a “lazy day” is necessary.

The strategic implementation of systems makes it possible for someone to take time away from their business. They can take that vacation, pursue that goal that doesn’t relate to their business directly, recharge, etc.

Of course, having systems in place also mean an owner and members of their team can travel. They can comfortably attend industry shows, make a guest appearance at a peer’s bar, or host a pop-up without worrying about the business. Having systems in place also makes it possible to travel to discover new F&B items, learn new techniques, and forge relationships with industry peers.

In other words, systems help owners and operators do something they likely haven’t done in months, if not years: breathe.

Image: Fabian Møller on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

5 Books to Read this Month: October 2022

5 Books to Read this Month: October 2022

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

This month’s engaging and informative book selections will help you develop next-level leadership skills and dial in your F&B menus.

To review September’s book recommendations, click here.

Let’s jump in!

Down and Out in Paradise: The Life of Anthony Bourdain

First things first: This biography by author Charles Leerhsen about chef and modern philosopher Anthony Bourdain isn’t authorized. However, this book purports to offer a deep dive into the late, revered chef’s life, from childhood to his final days.

Just be forewarned that this book is already and for good reason considered controversial.

Down and Out in Paradise will be available on October 11. Click here to pre-order this book today.

The Ethical Leader: Why Doing the Right Thing Can Be the Key to Competitive Advantage

Written by Morgen Witzel, The Ethical Leader addressed ethical behavior in business. Far too often, for far too many business owners and leadership team members, behaving ethically isn’t a non-negotiable. Rather, doing the right thing in business is “nice,” not “necessary.”

For this leadership book, Witzel explains why gaining and maintaining the trust and respect of team members and customers is crucial to the success of any business. “Trust engenders loyalty and good reputation, which in turn builds brand value… Ethical behavior is the key to trust-building, but it needs to go deeper than something managers do out of a sense of moral duty.”

Pour Me Another: 250 Ways to Find Your Favorite Drink

It may not happen every shift but bar team members and servers do encounter the restless guest from time to time. Their go-to drink, for whatever reason, just isn’t cutting it during a particular visit. Of course, this is an excellent time to improve their visit and the guest experience. And it’s the perfect time to introduce a guest to their new favorite drink.

JM Hirsch’s Pour Me Another helps people find that new favorite. Bar professionals and servers will find it useful for guiding guests through a cocktail discovery process. Click here to pre-order this book for its October 4 release.

Twist: Your Guide to Creating Inspired Craft Cocktails

The classics are a litmus test for any bar professional. It’s all well and good to invent and craft signature drinks, but if you can’t nail the classics there’s something wrong. Author Jordan Hughes, over the course of 75 recipes, combines the classics with creation in Twist.

This new book, set for release on December 13, teaches the classics. However, Hughes also helps the reader develop the skills to riff on these timeless recipes to put their stamp on the industry. Pre-order today!

Boards and Spreads: Shareable, Simple Arrangements for Every Meal

So, you’re familiar with how much people on Instagram love a good cheese and charcuterie board. In fact, you have some artisanal, eye-catching boards just waiting to be photographed and posted to social media by your guests. But do they really just sit around until someone orders either cheese, charcuterie, or a combination thereof?

It doesn’t have to be that way. Yasmin Fahr’s book Boards and Spreads provides plenty of other uses for your fancy Instagrammable boards. Oh, and there just happen to be several dip and spread recipes to refresh your menu.

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

by krghospitality krghospitality No Comments

These are the World’s 50 Best Bars in 2022

These are the World’s 50 Best Bars in 2022

by David Klemt

Map of France and Spain

The long wait is over and we finally know which venues across the world are numbers one through 50 on the 2022 World’s 50 Best Bars list.

Congratulations to the World’s 50 Best Bars, class of 2022!

Regardless of people’s opinions of industry awards, these bars deserve recognition. Moreover, they’re successful examples from which other operators can learn. Iron, as they say, sharpens iron.

To review the World’s Best Bars, numbers 51 through 100, click here. As you’ll see, Singapore dominates that particular list.

If you want to learn more about the World’s 50 Best Bars, listen to episode 82 of the Bar Hacks podcast.

The 50 Best

As you’ll see when you scroll down, history was made today. For the first time since the inception of the World’s 50 Best Bars, neither a bar from London nor New York takes the number one spot.

However, New York did just fine this year. The city claims six of eight American bars on this year’s top 50 list. In fact, two bars in New York are among the top ten.

Bars in Chicago and Miami claim two spots as well. Las Vegas, sadly, doesn’t find itself with a bar in the top 50 or the expanded 51 to 100 list.

Unfortunately, the same holds true for the entirety of Canada.

However, Mexico City crushes it for North America with not only four winners but one bar representing the Best Bar in North America and taking the Rémy Martin Legend of the List award.

Athens, Dubai, Buenos Aires, and Barcelona each claim three spots, with the latter city’s winners all in the top ten. London boasts five bars on the top 50 list.

And as I predicted, two bars in Singapore earned placement this year. The Southeast Asian city-state didn’t crack this year’s top ten. However, when combined with bars 51 through 100, ten percent of the bars are in Singapore.

Individual Awards

Of course, the World’s 50 Best Bars does more than simply judge and rank bars.

Now in his fourteenth year at the helm of the Connaught Bar in London, England, Agostino Perrone scores the Roku Industry Icon Award. Jean Trinh of Alquímico in Cartagena, Colombia, is the 2022 Altos Bartender’s Bartender.

Röda Huset, number 78 on the World’s 50 Best Bars, numbers 51 to 100, is the Campari One to Watch. This particular award means this bar has been judged as the one most likely to find itself ranked somewhere among the top fifty. Further, Hanky Panky in Mexico City takes the Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award this year.

Regional and other individual awards are listed next to the bars below.

Congratulations to the bars and their dedicated teams!

The World’s 50 Best Bars 2022: 50 to 1

  1. Bulgari Bar (Dubai)
  2. Lucy’s Flower Shop (Stockholm)
  3. Bar Benfiddich (Tokyo)
  4. Employees Only (New York)
  5. L’Antiquario (Naples)
  6. Galaxy Bar (Dubai)
  7. Carnaval (Lima)
  8. Himkok (Oslo)
  9. CoChinChina (Buenos Aires)
  10. Cantina OK! (Sydney)
  11. Red Frog (Lisbon)
  12. Locale Firenze (Florence)
  13. Zuma (Dubai)(The Best Bar in the Middle East and Africa sponsored by Paragon Cordials)
  14. 🔶🟥🔵 A Bar with Shapes for a Name (London)
  15. Dante (New York)
  16. 1930 (Milan)
  17. Overstory (New York)
  18. Manhattan (Singapore)
  19. Baltra Bar (Mexico City)
  20. Line (Athens)
  21. Swift (London)
  22. Maybe Sammy (Sydney)(The Best Bar in Australia sponsored by Torres Brandy)
  23. Argo (Hong Kong)
  24. Tres Monos (Buenos Aires)
  25. Sidecar (New Delhi)
  26. Kumiko (Chicago)
  27. Tropic City (Bangkok)
  28. Satan’s Whiskers (London)
  29. Attaboy (New York)
  30. Café La Trova (Miami)
  31. Baba au Rum (Athens)
  32. The Clumsies (Athens)
  33. Florería Atlántico (Buenos Aires)
  34. Coa (Hong Kong)
  35. Drink Kong (Rome)
  36. Salmon Guru (Madrid)
  37. BKK Social Club (Bangkok)(London Essence Best New Opening Award)
  38. Hanky Panky (Mexico City)(Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award)
  39. Jigger & Pony (Singapore)(The Best Bar in Asia sponsored by Naked Pony)
  40. Handshake Speakeasy (Mexico City)
  41. Alquímico (Cartagena)(The Best Bar in South America sponsored by Tia Maria)
  42. Katana Kitten (New York)
  43. Connaught Bar (London)
  44. Two Schmucks (Barcelona)
  45. Double Chicken Please (New York)(Disaronno Highest New Entry Award)
  46. Little Red Door (Paris)(Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award)
  47. Licorería Limantour (Mexico City)(The Best Bar in North America sponsored by Rémy Martin)(Rémy Martin Legend of the List)
  48. Sips (Barcelona)(Nikka Highest Climber sponsored by Nikka Whisky)
  49. Tayēr + Elementary (London)
  50. Paradiso (Barcelona)(The Best Bar in Europe sponsored by Perrier)

Image: Ian on Unsplash