Brewery

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

US Operators, Take Action Today

US Operators, Take Action Today

by David Klemt

Chef doing prep alone in kitchen

Today is the day to let Congress know the clock has run out on our patience for them act on replenishing the RRF.

In all honesty, the industry’s tolerance for governmental inaction on the RRF ran out last year. Right around the time, I’d say, the RRF application portal closed, leaving almost 200,000 applicants without crucial grants. As a reminder, the portal closed after just 21 days of launching.

Today is the National Day of Action to Save Restaurants. The Independent Restaurant Coalition is leading the charge for this campaign.

To participate, follow the IRC on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Additionally, click here to sign up for their emails. Spread the word and encourage staff, guests, your family members, and friends to take part as well.

Below you’ll find more details for taking action to #SaveRestaurants and #SaveBars today and moving forward.

Industry Advocacy

The IRC has been fighting and advocating for the industry since the start of the pandemic. Today, they’re asking owners, operators, workers in all segments of the industry, communities, and guests to throw their support behind this crucial fight.

So, today is the day to inundate your representatives with phone calls. Dial this number to reach the Capitol switchboard: 202-224-3121. The IRC provides state-specific fact sheets, which can be found here.

For an example of what you’ll find on a state’s fact sheet, here are some details for Nevada:

  • The leisure and hospitality industry accounts for 87.6 percent of all jobs lost in the state.
  • In Nevada, the industry is worth $9.9 billion, with 5,980 restaurants and bars throughout the state.

Those are just two pertinent facts about the industry in Nevada.

Along with phone calls, people should contact their representatives via email. Follow this link to email Congress and tell them to replenish the RRF.

Send a Message

Of course, social media will also play an important part in today’s campaign. Flooding Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and other channels with #SaveRestaurants, #SaveBars, and #ReplenishRRF should get Congress’ attention in a very public, very newsworthy way.

Click here to access the IRC’s social media and website toolkit.

It’s time to let Congress know we’re doing waiting for action. We’re done with the lip service, platitudes, and empty words of support. And we’re done with the broken promises, disarray, and inaction.

Personally, I plan on once again letting my state representatives know that I’m watching. Those who don’t do their jobs and help replenish the RRF won’t be receiving my vote. I can’t support those who won’t support us. Whether you want to send that message is up to you.

Today, however, make your voice heard and send at least this message: We demand Congress acts now.

Image: Rohan G on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Top 10 Bar Hacks Bonus Episodes: Goals

Top 10 Bar Hacks Bonus Episodes for Setting and Achieving Goals

by David Klemt

We’ve rounded up the ten best bonus episodes of Bar Hacks that feature KRG Hospitality president Doug Radkey offering goal-setting guidance.

Obviously, we all want to succeed. However, it’s not always obvious where we should start. This has been proven all the more true the past two years.

Doug has a way of cutting a path through the overwhelming noise and distractions operators face each day. The Bar Hacks bonus episodes below can help listeners take a deep breath, reset, and take the necessary steps to identify, measure, and achieve their 2022 goals.

Bonus #1: Strategic Clarity

Doug explains strategic clarity as the understanding of who we are, what we’re working toward, and how we’re going to get where we want to go. Click here to listen.

Bonus #3: Simplification

In this episode, Doug asks listeners a simple question: “Is your vision for your restaurant or bar’s systems complex or simplified?”

Bonus #4: Acceptance

We can’t really make achievable goals if we don’t understand the current situation we’re facing. In this bonus episode, Doug explains why it’s important to be able to accept change and differences.

Bonus #6: Decision Making

We make thousands of decisions every day, from the simple to the complex and everything in between. Doug shares his insights into clearly and confidently making decisions for your business. Click here to learn more.

Bonus #7: Innovative Leadership

What is innovative leadership? It’s confidence in your abilities and your team, knowing when to get out of the way, and the culmination of a few other key concepts. To listen, click here.

Bonus #9: Flexibility

For this bonus episode, Doug explains why success in this era of hospitality requires owning the entire guest journey, frictionless omni-channel experiences, and other elements of a flexible approach to business.

Bonus #12: Self Care

Doug shares his thoughts on one of the most crucial elements of operating a business in the hospitality industry. Hint: He’s not talking about menus, marketing or making money in this episode.

Bonus #13: Confidence

Do you think you have a growth-based mindset or a fixed mindset? Doug discusses confidence and the impact it has on your ability to lead effectively in Bar Hacks Bonus #13.

Bonus #14: Self Learning

Knowing that you don’t know it all opens up your world and makes you a better leader. Doug explains how seeking out knowledge, experiences and opportunities to learn makes you a better operator, keeps you sharp, helps you better relate to and mentor others, and improves your business in every way. Listen now!

Bonus #17: The Seven Cs

Doug explains each of the Seven Cs and how they’ll help you build a winning team. Without the right people on staff, you don’t have much of a chance to achieve your goals. Click here to listen to this important episode.

To listen to the first five bonus episodes in this list in one convenient episode, please click here for today’s Bar Hacks podcast episode. Cheers!

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

How to Achieve Your Goals in 2022

How to Achieve Your Goals in 2022

by Jennifer Radkey

"Wake up, kick ass, repeat" neon sign on wall

The start of a new year for many is symbolic: Fresh year, fresh start.

With the best of intentions, millions of people worldwide create resolutions and set goals for both personal and professional growth and achievement. These goals are created with full enthusiasm and determination and then….the majority of them never come to fruition.

Studies have shown that approximately 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail. So what happens? And how can we push forward to achieve our goals instead of letting them slip away?

The majority of us know how to set clearly defined goals. It is something we learned in school, or have read countless articles about. It seems as if it is human nature to want to improve, to do better and be better.

In the hospitality industry, we ask our team members to set goals weekly, if not daily. Goals typically include improving guest retention, increasing sales, improving guest experience, etc.

But once these goals are set, what systems are in place to help your team achieve them? And are you leading by example?

Goal Setting

There are many techniques to goal setting. George Doran, Arthur Miller, and James Cunningham developed the very popular SMART goal tool to assist in developing clearly defined, task-oriented goals. They state that goals should be Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, and Time-specific (SMART).

Rhonda Byrne’s book, The Secret, discusses envisioning your goals and life desires to attract them to you. But goal achievement is more than just setting a clear goal, or dreaming about what it would be like to achieve that goal. Those are the starting points.

Goal achievement is a process. It can be nitty and gritty and tough. There is typically no easy way. However, there are strategies we can use to help us achieve them, and the result will almost always be worth the extra effort.

Why We Fail

There are countless reasons why goals or resolutions fail, but the reasons mostly fall under two categories: You either lose your willpower or your waypower.

The concepts of willpower and waypower in relation to goal achievement is introduced in Rick Snyder’s Hope Theory, explained is his book The Psychology of Hope: You Can Get There From Here.

Willpower is the desire to achieve your goal; it’s the fire that pushes us to keep going after what we want. Waypower is the map for how we will get to our end goal; it’s the careful plan we have in place to ensure we overcome any obstacles that get in our way.

When we lack willpower our goal seems unachievable, and therefore we give up. When we lack waypower, as badly as we may want to achieve our goal, we are lost with no clear idea of how to get there.

How to Succeed

Finding Your Willpower

If you have lost your willpower, there are several ways to reignite your desire to achieve your goal.

The first is to have constant reminders of your goal. Have it written somewhere where you will have access to it several times a day. Set reminders on your phone, put sticky notes around your office or house, create a vision board representing your goal as your screensaver or on a wall in your home or office.

Remind yourself of why you set the goal in the first place and how it will make your life better.

Many of us lose our willpower when faced with obstacles. Instead of being deflated by obstacles, look at them as challenges to be defeated. Use obstacles as fuel for your fire rather than water to dampen it.

When faced with obstacles it is also helpful to remind yourself of goals that you have achieved in the past and the obstacles you had to overcome to get there. Remembering this time will allow you to acknowledge that you ARE capable and therefore will keep your willpower intact.

Finding your Waypower

Life is busy, and when you are being pulled in many directions at the same time it can be easy to lose your way towards achieving your goals. To ensure that you stay on the path towards goal completion, there are several actions you can take.

Try breaking long-range goals into smaller steps. Start with the first step, and move on to the next, checking off and celebrating each step as you go.

Before you even begin your journey towards goal completion, map out different routes you may need to get there. Knowing these routes beforehand will make it easier to stay focused along the way.

Lastly, know when to ask for helpand be willing to accept it. If you get lost on your way to your goal, perhaps you need some advice from someone who has already achieved that goal.

WOOP

One of my favorite goal achievement strategies is WOOP, created by Gabriele Oettingen. This acronym stands for Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan.

WOOP is a straightforward and effective tool to use when setting goals, and has been practiced by everyone from elementary school students to CEOs of major corporations. Once practiced, WOOP can take less than five minutes of your time while providing great clarity.

The first step is to state your wish or goal clearly. Next, envision the outcome of achieving your goal. Take a couple minutes to really picture what it will look and feel like to achieve your goal.

You are then going to contrast that by thinking of what obstacles might block you from achieving your goal. It is important to note that these obstacles are internal not external.

We rarely have control over external obstacles but do have control over internal ones. What is it about you that will stop you from reaching your goal? Is it low self-esteem, laziness, doubt? Are you distracted easily?

Lastly, you are going to plan what to do when met with an obstacle by using “if/then” phrasing. For example, “If I am feeling lazy and want to have a Netflix marathon instead of working on my goal, then I will get off the couch, do ten jumping jacks, grab a drink of water, and start working on my goal.”

If you are interested in trying out the WOOP tool for goal setting/achievement you can visit www.woopmylife.org.

Own It

Goal setting and resolutions should not be a forced activity you do every new year, or birthday, or every Monday morning to start your week. Goal setting and achievement should be a constant, flowing activity that reaches into all parts of your life.

Through the use of strategies and consistent review, reassessment, and awareness, goals don’t need to be lost or given up on, unless that particular goal no longer serves a purpose to you.

Own your goals and take pride in your achievements. In the end, you will always be your number one advocate for your own growth.

So go get it! Cheers to professional and personal well-being!

Image: Justin Veenema on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

5 Books to Read this Month: January ’22

5 Books to Read this Month: January ’22

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

This month’s fun and informative book selections will help you develop next-level culinary, beverage and leadership skills as we kick off 2022.

To review December 2021’s book recommendations, click here.

Let’s jump in!

Try Dry: The Official Guide to a Month Off Booze

For those who want to learn more about Dry January, Try Dry is an insightful resource. Of course, this book is also informative beyond the first month of the year. As living alcohol-free movement becomes more mainstream, it’s important for operators to understand the movement. Whether permanent or temporary, there are myriad reasons some guests decide against drinking alcohol.

Of Peats and Putts: A Whisky and Golf Tour of Scotland

During the pandemic, interest in golf skyrocketed. In part, this has led to increased interest in golf simulators, driving ranges, and nine-hole rounds of golf rather than full, 18-hole outings. Of Peats and Putts tells the story of golf and whisky in Scotland. A compelling read for operators looking to bring golf into their businesses.

The Way of the Cocktail: Japanese Traditions, Techniques, and Recipes

Not even two months on the market and already causing quite the buzz! The Way of the Cocktail comes from Julia Momosé, one of the minds behind Chicago cocktail destination Kumiko. From classics to new riffs, the recipes in this book are based on 24 micro-seasons.

Bourbon [Boxed Book & Ephemera Set]: The Story of Kentucky Whiskey

Clay Risen is considered an authority on spirits. In particular, he’s lauded as an expert on whiskey. Bourbon lovers will appreciate the Bourbon: The Story of Kentucky Whiskey box set for what it is: a definitive history of America’s native spirit. Along with profiles of Kentucky distillers, Risen has included interviews and photographs to tell the story of bourbon.

Amaro: The Spirited World of Bittersweet, Herbal Liqueurs, with Cocktails, Recipes, and Formulas

There are many reasons to love amaro. Bitter and bittersweet notes, complex flavor profiles, and their utility when it comes to crafting low-ABV cocktails are among those reasons. Amaro by Brad Thomas Parsons explores the rich history of amaro and includes over 100 recipes.

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Stand Out with Weird Holidays: January ’22

Stand Out with Weird Holidays: January ’22

by David Klemt

Stay Weird neon sign with purple background

Want to stand out from from other restaurants and bars in your area? Then commit to keeping it weird.

Several “holidays” are set against every date on the calendar, and January is no exception. These holidays range from mainstream to food-centric to weird.

Pay attention to the latter to raise eyebrows, carve out a niche for your restaurant or bar, and attract more guests. Why do what everyone else is already doing?

Of course, you shouldn’t try to celebrate every holiday, weird or otherwise. And this month’s list in no way includes every odd holiday.

Focus on the days that are authentic to your brand; resonate with your guests; and help you grab attention on social media.

For last month’s list, click here.

January 5: National Bird Day

The Jungle Bird. Grey Goose. Famous Grouse. Redbreast. Eagle Rare. Wild Turkey. Kentucky Owl. Chicken wings. Duck fat. Use this holiday to feature your bird-themed cocktails, spirits, beers, and foods.

January 7: National Tempura Day

When it comes to 2022 trend predictions, comfort food is right at the top of many experts’ lists. And when it comes to comfort foods, battering and frying is always a winner. If you can batter and fry it, put it on your menu and promote it.

January 11: National Milk Day

This is the day to perfect and promote your milk cocktails. The Coquito, Bourbon Milk Punch, the Grasshopper, the Mudslide… National Milk Day is easy and fun to celebrate.

January 14: National Dress Up Your Pet Day

Does your business permit guests to bring their dogs or other pets to tag along when they visit? Encourage them to dress up their pets, and make sure you document the results on your venue’s social media channels.

January 19: National Popcorn Day

Is popcorn weird? No, of course not. Is tricking out your popcorn with seasonings weird? That depends on how creative you and your back of house can be. Think outside the popcorn tub, craft some intriguing popcorn flavors, and get your guests talking on social media.

January 20: National Get to Know Your Customers Day

Yep, I’m gonna encourage your strongly to collect the data of every guest who visits and spends money at your business. This would be a great holiday to launch or heavily promote your loyalty program.

January 24: National Beer Can Appreciation Day

Creative beer can design goes hand in hand with craft beer brewing. A lot of thought goes into beer can design and particularly eye-catching labels deserve more than a passing glance. Feature the most creative and attention-grabbing beers on your menu on National Beer Can Appreciation Day. And yes, you should definitely feature them on your social media channels.

January 29: National Corn Chip Day

Ah, the corn chip, a perfect vessel for hearty dips. They’re also ideal for walking tacos, a.k.a. tacos-in-a-bag. If you have corn chips and taco fixin’s, you can offer your guests walking tacos on National Corn Chip Day.

January 31: National Backward Day

There are several ways you can celebrate this day with your guests and staff. One simple but fun way to do so is to encourage your guests to dine in backwards order: dessert first, entrée, and then appetizer. Of course, you could print a specialty menu backwards but that runs the risk of annoying your guests. But still…interesting idea.

Image: Dan Parlante on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Keep Up Your Momentum in 2022

Keep Up Your Momentum in 2022

by David Klemt

Start of 2022 track or path concept

In 2022, our focus needs to be on recovery, which means starting strong, gaining steam, and keeping momentum going throughout the year.

The past two years have been a nonstop flurry of starts, stops, and false starts for American and Canadian operators.

Every challenge operators face during a “normal” day has been compounded. Recruiting, hiring, training, marketing, increasing traffic and revenue, managing inventory…it’s all more challenging.

However, “challenging” doesn’t mean “impossible.” Under the best of conditions, restaurant, bar, and hotel operations are a challenge. Overcoming adversity, in other words, is a consistent element of daily operations.

Now, whether we should view constantly overcoming challenges as a badge of honor… Well, that’s a different conversation, one about industry-wide changes that are long overdue.

For this post, my focus is on starting 2022 off right, building momentum, and keeping it.

KRG Momentum

Last year, we launched a coaching program called KRG Momentum.

KRG is known for our Roadmaps to Success, which include of our in-depth feasibility studies and detailed business plans, both of which help operators secure funding. However, some of our clients aren’t ready for our full suite of startup and expansion solutions.

KRG Momentum was designed from the ground up for these clients and consists of two programs. On one hand, we have Momentum for startups. On the other, Momentum for current operators looking to improve operations.

Both Momentum programs include a dedicated KRG coach; one-on-one video or phone consultations; and reviews of multiple operational elements. Of course, startup operators have different needs in comparison to experienced operators. And new concepts require different strategies than established operations.

For example, KRG Momentum’s startup program includes (in part):

  • review and navigation of startup questions and challenges;
  • weekly sessions that evaluate the past week and identify the next week’s focus; and
  • identifying blind spots throughout the project, positioning a startup operator to maintain their budget and desired opening date.

And current operators who choose KRG Momentum will receive, in part:

  • an in-depth discovery session to uncover the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats;
  • review of P&L statements, menu engineering reports, labor scheduling reports, menu design, online reviews, marketing campaigns, service sequence, and other pain-points; and
  • strategies to improve both revenue and profit margins within 90 days while working less hours per week.

Let’s Go!

All hospitality professionals—from business owners to staff—are members of a tight-knit family. Unless you’ve lived hospitality, you just don’t know the challenges, risks and rewards.

That means that startup operators and established operators don’t have to try to navigate the industry alone. Whether you aren’t sure where to even begin your ownership journey or aren’t sure how to overcome the hurdles you’re facing, the team at KRG Hospitality is here for you.

If you’re ready for us to help, click here to learn more about KRG Momentum. And click here to schedule an introductory call.

Image: Tumisu from Pixabay

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Soft Versus Stealth Closures

Soft Versus Stealth Closures

by David Klemt

Movie theater sign that reads "This is just intermission" temporary closure message

Restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues throughout North America are closing temporarily due to spikes in Covid-19 infections.

These closures are voluntary and out of an abundance of caution for staff, guest and community health and safety. While not in any way ideal, these voluntary closures are admirable.

Restaurants, bars, and other hospitality-focused businesses are cornerstones of their communities. Putting safety ahead of profits highlights dedication to service.

There are two types of temporary closures an operator can choose, soft and stealth or silent.

Soft Closure

Simply put, a soft closure is the counterpart to a mandated closure. No local, state or federal authority has forced the closure.

Instead, an operator decides it’s best for their staff and community for them to close their doors for a period of time. Currently, the timeframe I’m most often coming across spans Christmas to December 29 or 30.

So, what are the reasons operators are giving for soft closures? The following are the most common I’m encountering:

  • Rises in infections and hospitalizations in a given location.
  • Teams too small to provide service due to infections, mostly driven by Omicron currently.
  • A desire to protect teams from increased risk of infection.
  • Giving staff off from Christmas or Christmas Eve through December 29 or 30 to recharge for New Year’s Eve.

In Canada, some provinces are prohibiting normally lucrative NYE events. So, some operators are closing because it’s not worth attempting to operate as normal until restrictions expire.

Stealth Closure

The difference between a soft and stealth closure are subtle. However, it’s important to understand a stealth closure, and why many operators find them upsetting.

A stealth closure is essentially a type of soft closure. The main difference—which is causing a bit of an uproar—is that the operator doesn’t use their voice to tell the public why they’re closing.

Closing stealthily or silently doesn’t express to the public and lawmakers how dire the situation is for the industry, both locally and overall. Many operators find this unacceptable because the industry isn’t receiving the relief necessary to recover throughout 2022.

To some, a stealth closure lets state and federal legislators shrug off the fact that Covid-19 is once again decimating the industry. I can’t say that I disagree with this assessment.

Of course, operators are free to do as they wish. They must make the best decisions for their businesses, staff, and community.

However, an explanation of the factors that drove the decision sends a clear message that the industry needs relief. Coming together and pressuring lawmakers is the only way we’re going to get the help we need.

Image: Nick Bolton on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Hard Numbers for the Holidays

Hard Numbers for the Holidays

by David Klemt

Classic vintage Dodge pickup truck with winter wreath on grille

From comfort foods and specific seasonal flavors to LTOs and traditional tastes, data reveal what consumers want this holiday season.

As we reported last week, there’s reason to be optimistic about this year’s holiday season.

According to Datassential, consumers are eager to visit sit-down restaurants this month. One of their key findings was that the average group size will likely be smaller than normal.

Specifically, most groups will probably consist of seven to 12 guests. Crucially, Datassential sees potential from people eager to gather with family and friends for the holidays. Even better, of all options, sit-down restaurants are the top choice for gatherings outside of homes.

But drilling down deeper, what do guests want from restaurants during the holidays?

The Numbers

So, when it comes to the holidays, Datassential wants operators to remember that December includes more than Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

To that end, the first numbers I’m presenting are dates:

  • Hanukkah: November 28 to December 6 (ends this evening!)
  • Soyal: December 21
  • Christmas: December 25
  • Boxing Day: December 26
  • Kwanzaa: December 26 to January 1
  • New Year’s Eve: December 31
  • New Year’s Day: January 1

Those dates reveal something compelling: Plenty of opportunity to get creative and ramp up limited-time offers. Per Datassential, nearly half (44 percent) of consumers look forward to seasonal, holiday-themed LTOs.

In fact, roughly two out of five consumers find seasonality to be an important factor in their decisions to order LTOS and new menu items.

However, it’s important to know your audience and brand when coming up with special menu items. That’s because according to Datassential, 62 percent of consumers, at least for 2021, want classics and comfort food this season.

So, Datassential cautions operators against veering “too far” from traditional seasonal menu items and comfort foods. That said, you should know how far outside the box you can push your guests.

The Flavors

We’re not technically out of the fall just yet. The start of winter is December 21.

It can be smart to begin transitioning from fall to winter flavors over the next week or so. However, it may not be wise to toss fall flavors out entirely.

Datassential identifies the following as key fall flavors:

  • Apple cranberry
  • Butternut squash
  • Chestnut
  • Duck
  • Pumpkin pie
  • Stuffing

And these are important winter flavors, per Datassential:

  • Chocolate almond
  • Candy cane
  • Lobster cream
  • Lox
  • Red velvet
  • Toasted coconut

Those are by no means the only fall and winter flavors that will appeal to your guests. However, Datassential identifies them as top fall and winter flavors.

Something to think about when finalizing your winter LTO food and beverage menus.

Another thing to think about? Updating your listings to include holiday hours, LTOs, and other menu changes.

Image: Ryan Wallace on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

5 Books to Read this Month: December

5 Books to Read this Month: December

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

This month’s fun and informative book selections will help you develop next-level culinary, beverage and leadership skills this December.

To review November’s book recommendations, click here.

Let’s dive in!

Can I Mix You a Drink?

Superstar T-Pain partners with mixologist Maxwell Britten, formerly the bar director for James Beard Award winner Maison Premier. The fifty recipes in Can I Mix You a Drink? match up with a lyric or sentiment from T-Pain songs. There are amusing and insightful anecdotes from T-Pain, and the high-end, glossy photography in the book match the high-end recipes. Overall, this book is a vibe, much like a great cocktail bar.

The Oxford Companion to Spirits & Cocktails

David Wondrich and Noah Rothbaum team up for likely the deepest dive into the role alcohol plays in human history. The Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails is everything you ever wanted to know about fermentation, distillation, aging, cocktails, cocktail bars, and more. In addition to global techniques and processes, readers will be treated to illustrations, a guide to making drinks, and even a timeline of distillation and spirits.

The Alchemist Cocktail Book: Master the Dark Arts of Mixology

When one thinks of chains, they tend to think of global fast-food and fast-casual brands. However, The Alchemist stands in stark contrast to that thinking. The Alchemist is a chain of stunning, experimental cocktail “theaters.” These cocktail bar and restaurant venues elevate the cocktail to new heights, paying just as much attention to experiential and atmosphere details as drink build details. The Alchemist Cocktail Book shares 100 original Alchemist recipes, including low- and no-alcohol drinks.

Market Fresh Mixology Presents Life, Love, Happiness & Cocktails

If you’ve ever wondered what inspired someone when they were creating a now-famous cocktail, this is the book you want. Not only does mixologist Bridget Albert, senior national director of education for Beam Suntory and founder of the Academy of Spirits and Fine Service, tell the stories behind 40 cocktail recipes, she invites others to join her. Life, Love, Happiness & Cocktails features Tony Abou-Ganim, Julie Reiner, and more telling the personal stories behind their recipes.

Hacking the New Normal

Are you ready to take your restaurant, bar, lounge, hotel or resort from concept to reality in 2022? Treat yourself this holiday season to a gift that will help you achieve your goal and dream of operating a successful hospitality venue. Do you know someone who has been talking about opening a restaurant, bar or hotel but hasn’t made their move yet? Hacking the New Normal is the perfect gift for them this holiday season.

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Stand Out with Weird Holidays: December

Stand Out with Weird Holidays: December

by David Klemt

Stay Weird neon sign with purple background

Want to stand out from from other restaurants and bars in your area? Then commit to keeping it weird.

Several “holidays” are set against every date on the calendar, and December is no exception. These holidays range from mainstream—Thanksgiving Eve and Thanksgiving, anyone?—to food-centric to weird.

Pay attention to the latter to raise eyebrows, carve out a niche for your restaurant or bar, and attract more guests. Why do what everyone else is already doing?

Of course, you shouldn’t try to celebrate every holiday, weird or otherwise. And this month’s list in no way includes every odd holiday.

Focus on the days that are authentic to your brand; resonate with your guests; and help you grab attention on social media.

For November’s list, click here.

December 4: National Dice Day

I’m not including this holiday simply because I live in Las Vegas. Dice are for far more than just craps. Board games, role-playing games, making life decisions in a very strange manner… We need dice and they deserve a day of celebration.

One of the simplest ways to celebrate National Dice Day with your guests is to create a small beer, wine, spirits and/or cocktail menu. Then, put numbers against each offering and have guests roll the dice. Whatever number comes up, they’re getting the correlating drink. Easy.

December 5: Bathtub Party Day

Okay, let me be clear. I’m not encouraging events that involve people coming to your restaurant or bar to party in bathtubs. Rather, I’m suggesting celebrating Repeal Day (these holidays share the same date) with a cheeky nod to homemade booze made infamous during Prohibition.

Of course, you should absolutely not celebrate Bathtub Party Day by offering illicit alcohol. Instead, feature an array of gins and gin-based cocktails. You can also feature a brand like Ole Smoky Moonshine.

December 8: Pretend to Be a Time Traveler Day

This is a list of weird holidays, so how could I possibly pass up this gem? If you think one day of dress-up and pretending isn’t enough (looking at you, Halloween), here’s a very specific holiday just for you. Just make sure you prepare your front-of-house staff because wow—this could get weird (read: annoying).

You can also get a little more creative and put together a tasting for a spirit or brand with a history that spans several decades or centuries.

December 9: Weary Willie Day

Hey—get your mind out of the gutter. This is another holiday that there was no way I could ignore. Weary Willie Day is a celebration of clowns. In particular, it celebrates a character created by Emmett Kelly, Weary Willie. Why do we celebrate this unique holiday on this specific date? Emmett Kelly was born on December 9, 1898.

If you’ve got a plug, this is a fantastic holiday to feature Clown Shoes beers, distributed via Mass Bay Brewing Co.

December 11: National Noodle Ring Day

What? You don’t know what a noodle ring is? Well, neither did I until very recently. If you have a kitchen and, more importantly, a kitchen staff that loves to experiment and make new items, this is an awesome holiday.

A noodle ring is essentially what it sounds like. Noodle rings tend to be savory bites inspired by pasta dishes. Set noodles and other ingredients in a mold, bake, finish, and serve. Perfect for guests who want to try something new. And comforting on a winter’s day.

December 12: National Ding-a-Ling Day

This holiday isn’t about hurling a pretty innocuous insult at people. Yeah, sorry to burst your bubble. Instead, this day is all about reconnecting with people. The idea is to give someone a ring and rekindle that relationship. Now, I’m not telling anyone what to do…but please don’t use this holiday to annoy your ex. Please. Don’t do.

Anyway, you know where’s a great place to meet up after reconnecting? A restaurant or bar, of course! So, encourage people who have reconnected with someone during the holiday season to meet up at your venue.

December 13: Green Monday

Black Friday. Cyber Monday. Yes, those are the two busiest shopping days of the year. Do you know the third? It’s Green Monday, which takes place on the second Monday of December.

Green Monday 2021 is the 15th annual celebration of this holiday. How can a restaurant or bar participate in what’s generally a retail holiday? By offering gift cards, gift card deals (spend $100, get an additional $25, for example), and then promote the hell out of your gift card promotions. Start a week or a few days before Green Monday, and then really promote them via social, your email lists, and your text lists on the day itself.

December 17: National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day

Fine, this isn’t exactly a weird holiday anymore. At this point, ugly sweaters are basically a requirement for any holiday gathering taking place during December. However, it’s important to note that there’s an official holiday in December that calls for people to wear their ugly Christmas sweaters. Leveraging this holiday is easy, obviously. You know what to do.

December 23: National Pfeffernüsse Day

Would you like a pepper nut? Well, what about a pfeffernüsse? The name of this German gingerbread cookie translates to “pepper nut” in English. What sets this gingerbread cookie apart from the type we’re all most familiar with is that they’re rolled into balls before being baked, and then finished with confectioner’s sugar.

This tasty German cookie (also popular in Denmark and the Netherlands) certainly fits with the holiday season. And I bet you can think of a few beers, wines, spirits, and cocktails that pair well these cookies, which are made with all-spice, anise, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, mace, and nutmeg.

Image: Dan Parlante on Unsplash

Top