Food

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Raise a 7&7 to National Dive Bar Day

Raise a 7&7 to National Dive Bar Day

by David Klemt

Dive bar or neighborhood bar

We celebrate one of the most hallowed of drinking establishments on July 7, also known as National Dive Bar Day.

Look, we love a visit to a high-end, luxurious cocktail bar. But there’s nothing quite like discovering a casual, comfortable, unpretentious bar that feels like home.

Often times, the local watering hole is a cornerstone of a given community. So, we’re looking forward to the fifth annual National Dive Bar Day in just over two weeks.

You should have plenty of time if you’re a dive or neighborhood bar owner to create your National Dive Bar Day promotion.

A Little History

It’s hard to believe that National Dive Bar Day is a mere five years old. In fact, Seagram’s 7 Crown launched the first annual celebration in 2018.

Not only does this holiday honor a true institution, Seagram’s donated $25,000 to the National Trust for Historic Preservation on its inception. (This year, Seagram’s 7 Crown is supporting Main Street Alliance.)

This makes a lot sense when you think about it. After all, dive bars are often located in a historic building or are landmarks themselves.

Some people may not like it, but drinking culture is an integral part of many a community across not just America, not just North America, but the world.

Not so long ago a bartender could set beers and shots in front of two people with opposing views and they’d find common ground to bond over. The optimist in me hopes we can return to those days, visiting our local neighborhood bars and focusing on what we all have in common rather than letting ourselves grow further divided.

Where some people see a “just” a dive bar, those of us in the know see social and cultural centers that support neighborhoods and communities.

Given their commitment to unpretentious and welcoming service, we need to support and protect our local dives.

What Makes a Dive Bar?

There are some key elements that set dive bars apart from other drinking establishments.

Characters on both sides of the bar, inexpensive drinks, familiar bar food, and an approachable feel are, I would say, the hallmarks.

Now, there are those who think a dive bar also includes an “earthy” smell, to be generous. They may also feel that they call dirty buildings with questionable structural integrity home.

However, “dive” doesn’t have to mean filthy. First and foremost, a dive bar needs to be comfortable and welcoming. Filth tends to give off an unwelcoming, dangerous vibe. That’s not exactly the spirit of hospitality.

Just as a great dive bar should be clean, it should also have a solid F&B program. Inexpensive doesn’t have to mean cheap. Oh, and no, the staff doesn’t have to be surly and untrained.

Dives are Neighborhood Bars

When I first learned about Nickel City, as an example, I saw what a dive bar should be. Both locations, Austin and Fort Worth, are described by co-owner Travis Tober as “anytime bars.”

Nickel City commits to serving the community, and they’re open when people need them. In fact, as you’ll learn during episode 50 of the Bar Hacks podcast, Tober made sure they were open to serve people during the infamous winter storm of 2021 that shut down much of Texas.

In speaking with Tober and reading other interviews with him, I learned that he prefers the term “neighborhood” to “dive.” Due in part to the negative perception some have of dive bars, I can understand his preference.

In my opinion, the difference lies in subtle but important nuances. However, I’ll probably still refer to neighborhood bars as dive bars.

Either way, Nickel City is a dive bar done right and a concept that other operators should certainly study. Nickel City is exemplary, a standard that dive/neighborhood bars should aspire to reach.

The 7&7

As far as Seagram’s is concerned, the 7&7 is “the quintessential Dive Bar drink.” It’s difficult to argue: it’s a highball, it’s fast and simple to make, it’s refreshing, and it shouldn’t be pricey.

But, hey, if you’ve never made or ordered one, here’s the recipe:

Simply prepare a highball glass with ice, add Seagram’s 7 Crown and 7UP, and stir. Then just stir, garnish, and serve.

Cheers!

Image: Florencia Viadana on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

5 Books to Read this Month: June 2022

5 Books to Read this Month: June 2022

by David Klemt

 

Flipping through an open book

These engaging and informative book selections will help you develop next-level food and beverage skills, and motivate you throughout June, 2022.

To review May’s book recommendations, click here.

Let’s jump in!

Doctors and Distillers

As the historians in our industry have known for a while, cocktails were once considered medicinal. Of course, in some ways that’s still the case.

Industry author, speaker, and educator Camper English shows us how medicine and alcohol have long been connected throughout human history in Doctors and Distillers. Have you head of using wine as a dewormer? How about treating wounds with beer? Would you ever consider using spirits to heal a snakebite? Well, humans have done those things and more with booze. Pre-order this book today!

A Bartender’s Guide to the World

I’m just going to be blunt here: Lauren Mote probably knows more about spirits, liqueurs, and cocktails than you. That’s not a slam—she loves sharing her knowledge and helping people improve their craft and business.

Available for pre-order now for an October launch, A Bartender’s Guide to the World shares not only Mote’s journeys around the world but also more than 75 cocktail recipes. The book’s recipes are organized by their base ingredient. Additionally, there’s an entire chapter just addressing alcohol-free drinks.

The Portugal Cookbook

Chef Leandro Carreira shares well over 500 recipes in The Portugal Cookbook. These dishes range from traditional Portuguese cuisine to modern recipes.

Every region throughout Portugal is represented in this informative and mouth-watering book, including the Duoro Valley and Algarve coast. Portugal is known as a global destination for foodies and this book will definitely help you add some delicious, on-trend recipes to your menu.

Hacking the New Normal: Hitting the Reset Button on the Hospitality Industry

The world around us has changed. The food & beverage industry has changed. The hospitality industry has changed. But will some ways of life change for the better? In Doug Radkey’s second book, Hacking the New Normal, he asks the following: “Do you think you can hit the reset button on your approach to business? Do you think you can help hit the reset button on this industry? I have made the decision to do so. The question remains, have you?”

Trust and Inspire: How Truly Great Leaders Unleash Greatness in Others

Stephen M.R. Covey, author of The Speed of Trust, addresses the leadership crisis we face today. As the author of Trust and Inspire points out, the world is changing but leadership styles remain the same. That simply won’t work moving forward. It’s crucial we change how we view leadership, and develop new leadership styles and strategies if we’re going to succeed from now on.

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Stand Out with Weird Holidays: June 2022

Stand Out with Weird Holidays: June 2022

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 June is no exception. These holidays range from mainstream 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.

June 4: National Bubbly Day

Fine, so maybe sparkling wines aren’t weird. Sometimes I just add holidays that have the potential to be fun while driving traffic and revenue to these lists.

As I’m sure you’re already guessing, National Bubbly Day is the perfect time to make your guests aware of your sparkling wines. Bubbly is even more attractive to guests as temperatures rise.

June 5: National Veggie Burger Day

There’s no question that plant-based food items are only growing more popular with consumers. This is the day to showcase your veggie burgers and other meat and dairy alternatives.

June 10: National Herbs and Spices Day

Without herbs and spices, where would F&B be? Task your kitchen and bar teams with creating dishes and drinks that are made better with herbs and spices. Tell your bartenders to break out the torches and light the rosemary!

June 13: International Axe Throwing Day

If you’re an eatertainment venue, bar, or restaurant with an axe-throwing setup, this is one-hundred-percent your day to shine.

June 14: International Bath Day

There are a few different ways to design a promotion around this holiday. One, you can feature distillers who specifically produce gin expressions labeled “Bathtub Gin.” Ableforth’s, for example, is one such producer. Two, you can purchase bathtub-shaped drinkware. Three, you can combine the first two for an LTO pour.

June 16: National Dump The Pump Day

It’s not exactly a secret that gas prices are rising across the nation. With that in mind, it shouldn’t be too difficult to encourage your guests to arrive at your business by bicycle, scooter, skateboard, foot, electric car, or other means of conveyance that doesn’t use gasoline or diesel for fuel.

June 20: American Eagle Day

Interested in a holiday that requires very specific planning? Try American Eagle Day.

One way to celebrate is to design a promotion around award-winning Eagle Rare bourbon. And no, they didn’t pay us to mention them. They just make really good whiskey that works great for this holiday.

June 25: National Leon Day

There’s an entire contingent of people who simply can’t wait for Christmas to come around each year. In fact, they don’t think it’s fair that they only get to celebrate it once a year.

National Leon Day is celebrated every June 25th because it’s the midway point to Christmas. So, forget Christmas in July—celebrate Christmas in June with your guests and specialty LTO menus.

June 29: National Waffle Iron Day

Your guests may be surprised to learn the number of foods that can be waffled. Create an LTO menu that showcases how creative your kitchen team can get with waffle irons. For bonus points, include your bar team with waffled garnishes.

June 30: National Social Media Day

I suppose it was only a matter of time from social media reaching ubiquity to this form of media having its own holiday. Mashable launched the first National Social Media Day in 2010.

Create post-worthy F&B items, come up with your own hashtags, and ask your guests to post pics using those tags to promote your business.

Image: Dan Parlante on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Plants Dominate 2022 NRA Show

Plants Dominate 2022 National Restaurant Association Show

by David Klemt

Plantspired plant-based foods

The National Restaurant Association Show is back in a big way, and meat alternative brands are establishing themselves as much more than a trend.

In particular, plant-based brands made their presence known in the Lakeside Center.

However, some big companies also showcased their animal alternatives in the South Building. Among them, Beyond and Daiya.

Notably, Daiya brought with them their freshly reformulated cream cheese alternative. They also had a creamy, flavorful queso at their booth.

Chik’n

Unsurprisingly, meatless chicken—often stylized as “chik’n”—dominated the NRA Show floor.

Morning Star Farms chicken

However, exhibitors showed off more than just nuggets and fingers. This year was more about innovation.

For example, more than one company is rolling out chik’n wings. Of course, there are no bones, so they’re more akin to nuggets.

Essentially, these chicken alternatives are boneless “wings.” And as we all know, boneless chicken wings are just chicken chunks with better marketing.

Really, it’s the seasoning, heat, and shape that define the chik’n wing. At least, that’s what they are for now. I expect further innovation and refinement for these wings.

Daring plant-based chicken

Interestingly, some brands appear to be taking on the chicken breast. Now, there weren’t many meatless companies featuring these on the NRA Show floor. Still, there were a couple and their products looked the part.

The textures are also quite close to their meaty counterparts. But I think there’s still work to do.

Plant-based Seafood

Of all the plant-based alternatives, seafood was the star. The CEOs of big brands have been working on these products for several years.

Well, we certainly saw the fruits of their investments at this year’s NRA Show.

Fish fillets, crab cakes, fish patties (including salmon), fish sticks, tuna flakes, shrimp… All were available to sample at exhibitor booths.

Crucially, the flavors and textures were close to the real thing. However, the shrimp mostly relied on being coated in seasoning to mimic their animal-based counterpart.

That said, seeing so many brands committed to bringing plant-based seafood to market was impressive.

Further, the seafood-focused companies are touting the eco-friendliness of their products. Plant-based seafood, they say, can help stop overfishing and stop the reduction of biodiversity in our oceans.

If they appeal to consumers and reduce harm to the planet, these products could perform well in foodservice. Good for the planet and good for the bottom line seems like a win-win to me.

Takeaway

As the 2022 NRA Show showed, plant-based is no longer a trend. These products ceased being a fad long ago.

Now, it’s clear the category is here to stay. The products categories like chik’n are seeing more innovation. Seafood will improve. Other meat alternatives are also improving.

Of course, whether they’re healthy, well, that’s another story. However, consumers seem to want these items regardless.

One thing is obvious, though: The plant-based category is proliferating and will soon reach ubiquity.

Images taken by author

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Alright, Seriously—WTF, Grubhub?

Alright, Seriously—WTF, Grubhub?

by David Klemt

Or, more to the point, stop working with “partners” who exploit our industry rather than support it.

In spectacular and entirely predictable fashion, Grubhub’s “free lunch” further reveals that third-party delivery platforms don’t care about restaurants.

Of course, they all say they support restaurant owners and operators. And, of course, they’re quick to pat themselves on their backs for being a pandemic lifeline.

But…no. Time and time again, mainly through their exorbitant and exploitative fees, they prove the opposite is true.

Restaurants and bars aren’t third-party delivery partners. Rather, these relationships are adversarial and detrimental. So much so, in fact, that some states passed laws to limit third-party delivery fees.

In Nevada, for example, Clark County Commissioners passed an emergency ordinance in August 2020 capping those fees at 15 percent. Clearly, we need to stop enriching companies that prove they don’t support the hospitality industry but cause it significant harm.

Free Lunch?

They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Apparently, Grubhub really wants to prove that maxim true.

That’s one of the takeaways from their disastrous promotion. Last Tuesday, in what’s being reported as an attempt to claim the delivery throne in New York City, Grubhub offered “free” lunch to anyone who placed an order for delivery.

The requirements for this promotion? Place an order for delivery through Grubhub on May 17 between 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM and use the code “freelunch.”

Of course, customer orders weren’t entirely free. Rather, the code was good for a $15 discount. Still, a wildly attractive offer as the ensuing debacle reveals.

Unsurprisingly, the promotion made for some eye-grabbing and eye-rolling headlines. Buzzfeed News published the most attention-grabbing one: “GrubHub Was Getting 6000 Orders A Minute During Its Promo Today That Left Restaurant Workers Stressed And Customers Hangry.”

Six thousand orders per minute during a promotion with a three-hour window in a single market.

In addition, the outlet reported that one unsatisfied customer was number 3,630 in the Grubhub customer service queue. Apparently—and who can blame him—he hung up before he could speak with a Grubhub rep about his missing order.

Duh

Who could’ve seen this coming? Any of the restaurant owners, operators, or team members Grubhub “serves,” that’s who.

In fact, anyone who works in this industry with on-premise experience knew this was going to happen. So, too, any journalist who specializes in hospitality.

The fact that whoever came up with this promotion didn’t see this coming is revealing. Unless the creators of these apps and services have real-world restaurant experience, they don’t understand the business.

How can one effectively and properly serve an industry without an understanding of how it operates? Hospitality is about service. Shouldn’t the companies attempting to work within our industry work hard to serve alongside us?

Let’s be clear—this promotion was in no way designed to help struggling restaurants. It wasn’t intended to boost their traffic and revenue. Rather, it was solely created to serve Grubhub’s desire to be number one.

As we all know, we’re experiencing major staff shortages. There are also supply shortages making it difficult for operators to obtain product reliably. Grubhub made those problems exponentially worse.

Some restaurants stopped taking delivery orders. Others canceled orders. There were operators who closed in an effort to catch up with orders and prevent the situation from worsening.

According to news stories, some social media users posted that they planned to stop ordering through third-party platforms.

Negative Impact

If you’re new to KRG Hospitality, welcome. You’re likely realizing that we’re not fans of third-party delivery.

Those of you who are familiar with us have known for quite some time that we support direct delivery. That is, delivery controlled and executed by the restaurant itself.

It’s not that we’re against innovation. Rather, our dislike of these platforms, generally speaking, comes from our perception of their behavior.

In our opinion, they take control away from operators and cost them money. Again, speaking generally, they collect customer data that operators should control. Their fees are ridiculous in most cases. And when it comes to the customer experience, their inconsistencies and shortcomings reflect poorly on the operators far too often.

Studies show that customers who have issues with third-party deliveries often place the blame on the restaurant. Food the wrong temperature? Order arrive late? Packages in less-than-ideal condition? While those issues and others can be the fault of the driver, the restaurant often takes the brunt of a customer’s dissatisfaction.

Of course, there’s also the financial impact of third-party delivery on restaurants. A SevenRooms report from last year reveals how these platforms harm operators and their bottom lines.

The Solution

Look, we know operators have a ton on their plates. But protecting and boosting the bottom line is a non-negotiable element of this business.

Yes, it’ll take some time, effort, and money to set up direct delivery. However, it’s the best solution.

Direct delivery means the operator collects and control valuable data. Likewise, the operator can ensure consistency. Through direct delivery, the operator shapes and controls the experience.

Control. Inherently, third-party delivery takes some control away from operators. That’s not a good thing, and neither is their financial impact.

Look into setting up direct delivery, take control, and protect your revenue ASAP. Friend of KRG “Rev” Ciancio and SevenRooms CEO Joel Montaniel each address delivery on the Bar Hacks podcast. Listen to episode 13 with Rev and episode 24 with Joel to learn more about delivery.

We need to stop rewarding companies that exploit our industry and take advantage of our owners, operators, and hard-working staff members.

Direct delivery is the answer. Take steps to implement it today.

Image: Rosie Kerr on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

What’s Next in the F&B Design Space?

What’s Next in the F&B Design Space?

by David Klemt

Interior of world's first crypto bar

Design driven by a story and narrative, technological innovation, and people’s desire to socialize are what’s next in hospitality design.

The influences above are factoring into the current approach to design in the F&B space. Be it a hotel or restaurant, the F&B landscape is going to look different for several reasons.

Five leading industry experts addressed this topic during HD Expo 2022‘s “F&B Trends: What’s Next?” panel.

Technology

Well, let’s start with arguably the biggest “trend” in F&B. Our industry is finally making major advancements in the area of technology.

It may not seem like it to some, but speaking generally, hospitality hasn’t always found itself on tech’s bleeding edge. That’s changing.

In fact, some industry experts feel we may be moving too quickly. For example, an interesting prediction from Restaurant Leadership Conference 2022 is a more deliberate approach to developing and implementing hospitality-specific tech.

Now, that doesn’t mean we’ll see a significant slowdown in tech innovation. Rather, innovators may take a more calculated approach to truly relieve hospitality pain points.

For example, Adam Crocini, senior vice president and global head of food and beverage brands for Hilton, points to a few innovations now common throughout the industry. Digital order, digital pay, and the ability to deliver food essentially anywhere within a hotel, resort or casino property are tech solutions driving efficiency.

However, Crocini sees one segment in need of a specific solution. In the luxury segment, guests prefer in-person engagement with staff and tactile engagement with physical menus.

Ari Kastrati, chief hospitality officer for MGM Resorts International, seems to agree. Tech, says Kastrati, shouldn’t replace human connections. Rather, technology needs to enable and enhance.

The Experience

When it comes to design, much of the focus is on the impact it will have on the guest or consumer. However, the end user is hardly the starting point.

For Kastrati, a successful project begins with the development of a relationship. That relationship is between the designer, the operator, and the concept. If care isn’t taken to nurture that relationship, it will likely show in the final product.

In Crocini’s eyes, that relationship informs the development of the operator’s concept. How? Through the development of a story and narrative.

If the designer and operator can develop a story, the design can be grounded in said story. Further, every element of a design can be held up against that story to see if it “fits.” If it does, the design will deliver a holistic experience and engage the guest or consumer.

In terms of F&B, Kastrati and Crocini make similar points. Both feel knowing the guest and anticipating their needs is crucial.

Addressing design elements that impact the experience, Crocini believes design should start with lighting. A design without proper lighting, Crocini says, is like a Scorsese film without the score.

Alexis Readinger, founder of Preen, is focusing in part on unique floorplan design. In particular, Readinger likes features that encourage interaction between guests, such as communal loveseats. However, “protecting the introverts” is also important for some guests’ comfort levels.

It’s safe to say that Caroline Landry Farouki, partner at Farouki Farouki, agrees with Readinger and Crocini. Seating, says Landry Farouki, can create different levels of intimacy to engage extroverts and introverts, and lighting designers are crucial and can really tell the story.

F&B Trends

In terms of consumer trends, Kastrati points to something specific he’s seeing in Las Vegas. People are seeking out specialty restaurants and luxury retail. At least anecdotally, this confirms what many reports and experts have been saying for the past few years: Consumers are showing increased interest in luxury.

However, Kastrati’s focus in the F&B space isn’t solely on guests and consumers. Rather, he suggests that the next step is bringing people back to the workforce. As Kastrati says, there’s no hospitality without people. Kastrati believes all of us in the industry need to encourage people to pursue hospitality careers.

Switching gears, Jessica Gidari, director of design and concept development for Union Square Hospitality Group, points to an effective pivot as a possible industry trend.

At least one concept in the Union Square portfolio has pivoted from a restaurant to a cocktail bar. A menu with shareable plates leverages guest desire to socialize and share. Gidari also says doing away with some traditional two- and four-top tables and replacing them with communal seating can “rebrand” a space as a “convivial” lounge.

Landry Farouki thinks operators can count on two compelling trends in the F&B space. One is the return of the restaurant as “the bar.” As someone who lives and works in Las Vegas, I can attest to treating restaurants more as bars myself.

Another possible trend Landry Farouki predicts is “mature dining” replacing fine dining. Explaining mature dining, Landry Farouki says such a concept is chef-driven but doesn’t focus solely on the chef.

Trend predictions must be taken with a grain of salt. However, I only see upside for design that helps operators engage guests more from the start.

Image: LYCS Architecture on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

SevenRooms Reveals Hotel Guest Study

SevenRooms Reveals Hotel Guest Study Results

by David Klemt

Male passenger with suitcase at airport

Americans eager to get back to normal and make up for lost time are traveling in droves, and hotels will have to adapt in order to earn their business.

To give hotel and resort operators an edge, SevenRooms today reveals the results of their latest study.

“Booking Behaviors: Exploring Hotel Guest Loyalty,” contains datapoints all hotel operators should know.

The report, a collaboration with YouGov, focuses on two types of travelers.

Competitive Incentives

Before I address the who, let’s take a look at data that highlights the what.

According to the SevenRooms and YouGov report, nearly half of consumers say that loyalty programs are important. Per SevenRooms, loyalty programs influence hotel choice for 44 percent of guests.

Regarding American hotel guests specifically, 34 percent of guests will consider rebooking if their loyalty status receives recognition upon check-in.

However, loyalty status recognition isn’t enough for guests to book a hotel again. To understand what will influence that decision we need to take a look at SevenRooms’ traveler types.

Leisure

SevenRooms and YouGov look at two travelers for their report. There’s the Personal Patron and the Business Traveler.

Let’s focus on the former first. Per SevenRooms, to say the Personal Patron is eager to return to travel is an understatement.

The Personal Patron is a leisure traveler who has been climbing their walls for more than two years. They’re planning to travel “with a vengeance” this summer.

Diving deeper, the Personal Patron is most probably a female over the age of 35.

While recognizing this traveler for their loyalty program membership is smart, it’s not enough to influence a rebook. Rather, the Personal Patron places greater value on:

  • receiving more loyalty program points in exchange for dining and drinking at property-operated restaurants and bars;
  • enhanced credit card rewards; and
  • earning dining credits upon reaching a new loyalty program tier.

However, there’s a problem inherent to the Personal Patron and loyalty programs. Just 45 percent—so nearly half—of this traveler type are loyalty program members.

The reason for that low program buy-in? Almost 60 percent don’t think they travel enough to benefit from hotel loyalty programs.

Per SevenRooms, there’s a rather simple solution: local benefits. Tempt Personal Patrons with staycations and access to amenities at hotels in their home markets. Another idea is to offer points exclusively for dining that this traveler can use where they live.

Business

Obviously, the business traveler is now different. In fact, SevenRooms considers two versions of the Business Traveler.

On the one hand, there’s the extended-stay version traveling all over the country. And on the second hand, there’s the long-distance Business Traveler who’s seeking a midweek “home base” hotel.

Either way, the Business Traveler is most likely a male aged 18 to 34.

Per SevenRooms—and as most hotel operators likely know—this traveler probably doesn’t have time (or interest) in exploring off property. Therefore, the Business Traveler can be influenced to rebook through incentives that make their stays better.

These include:

  • receiving more loyalty program points in exchange for dining and drinking at property-operated restaurants and bars (like the Personal Patron);
  • receiving recognition for being a loyalty program member; and
  • getting a complimentary drink on check-in; or
  • being given a choice of an F&B amenity on arrival.

Unsurprisingly, the Business Traveler is more likely than the Personal Patron to join a hotel loyalty program. Per SevenRooms, 55 percent of Business Travelers say that the ability to participate in such a program influences their hotel choice.

Focusing on perks that “reward” the Business Traveler for their hard work can convert a Business Traveler to become a loyal guest for a particular hotel or hotel group.

SevenRooms suggests priority reservations for the lunch daypart at restaurants on property. Also, providing their favorite drink (wine, cocktail, beer, etc.) with their room service orders can be influential.

Takeaway

Travel is gaining steam, restaurants and bars are seeing an influx of reservations, and hotel operators need to prepare for summer travelers.

As a reservation, guest experience, and guest retention platform, SevenRooms can ensure operators can easily collect guest data. Guest data, for example, like F&B and room preferences.

More importantly, the platform makes it simple to use that data responsibly, effectively, and simply.

To learn more about SevenRooms, click here.

Image: JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Metallica Supports World Central Kitchen

Metallica Supports World Central Kitchen

by David Klemt

Metallica band member portraits

Metallica is supporting World Central Kitchen to #StandWithUkraine via donations made through their non-profit organization, All Within My Hands.

To start off AWMH’s annual Month of Giving, the band and their philanthropic organization awarded WCK a $100,000 grant. They then donated $500,000 to the humanitarian non-profit founded by Chef José Andrés and his wife Patricia.

However, Metallica and AWMH aren’t done there. The iconic metal band and their non-profit have committed to the goal of donating another $400,000 to WCK.

Additionally, Metallica and AWMH have unveiled the Month of Giving 2022 T-shirt.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Metallica (@metallica)

The shirt can be pre-ordered here (I placed my order last Monday). Proceeds will go to the WCK #ChefsForUkraine campaign. Artist Andrew Cremeans created the brand-new design and donated it to AWMH.

People interested in making a donation to AWMH that will benefit WCK but who don’t want the T-shirt can click here.

All Within My Hands

The All Within My Hands Foundation was founded in 2017. Metallica and the band’s management are the founding members.

James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, and Robert Trujillo are members of AWMH’s board of directors. In addition, the organization’s advisory board has eight members:

  • Chris Anthony (Salesforce)
  • Howard Ellin (Skadden, Arps)
  • Brenda Goodman (BGood Marketing)
  • Bill Moore (WRVI Capital)
  • Doug Palladini (Vans)
  • Gregg Perloff (Another Planet Entertainment)
  • Michael Rapino (Live Nation)
  • Paula Wagner (Chestnut Ridge Productions)

AWMH’s mission focuses on three crucial pillars:

  • Workforce education with partner American Association of Community Colleges. The Metallica Scholars Initiative is now supported by 23 schools across the US. To date, $4.1 in grants have been awarded.
  • Fighting hunger in collaboration with partner Feeding America. Food banks are a heavy focus of Metallica and AWMH, with proceeds from tour ticket sales going to the fight against hunger.
  • Critical local services with their partner Direct Relief, which is active in all 50 states of America and more than 80 other countries.

#ChefsForUkraine

World Central Kitchen mobilized incredibly quickly in response to Russia’s attack on Ukraine. Initially, WCK set up in Poland.

However, the the hunger-fighting organization has expanded operations to an additional six countries.

Further, WCK is now operating in over 30 cities located in Ukraine. As of this week, the non-profit is providing nearly 300,000 meals daily to those in need.

In staggering news, WCK has provided six million meals to the region in just over a month.

To donate to WCK directly, please click here.

Image: MasterClass

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

5 Books to Read this Month: April 2022

5 Books to Read this Month: April 2022

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

This month’s engaging and informative book selections will help you develop next-level culinary, beverage and marketing skills throughout 2022.

To review February’s book recommendations, click here.

Let’s jump in!

My America: Recipes from a Young Black Chef

This book is scheduled to be released on May 17 of this year. I anticipate this cookbook by Chef Kwame Onwuachi, which includes 125 recipes, to come flying off the shelves. In addition to more than 100 recipes, Chef Onwuachi connects his personal journey to food, culture, and places. Pre-order My America now!

Paddy Drinks: The World of Modern Irish Whiskey Cocktails

Jack McGarry, Sean Muldoon, and Jillian Vose are back with their latest Dead Rabbit book. The trio’s latest release, Paddy Drinks, shares Irish whiskey drink recipes you’ll find on the actual Dead Rabbit menu. However, that’s just one portion of this informative book. Inside are whiskey flavor wheels, tasting notes, illustrations depicting whiskey production, and more. And if that’s not enough for you, David Wondrich provides the foreword.

Founder Brand: Turn Your Story Into Your Competitive Advantage

In Founder Brand, Dave Gerhardt explains why your brand’s story is one of the most valuable assets you own as an entrepreneur.

From the Amazon listing: “This is a tactical guidebook that first shows you how to tell your story, then how to put your story to use as a marketing strategy. You’ll learn how social media provides a bridge between you and your customers, the platforms that are appropriate for your business, and how to measure results to truly determine value.”

Finding Mezcal: A Journey into the Liquid Soul of Mexico

You don’t have to be a veteran bartender or spirits expert to know that mezcal continues to rise in popularity. Written by Ron Cooper, founder of artisanal mezcal brand Del Maguey, Finding Mezcal includes 40 cocktail recipes from bartenders and chefs; photographs; Cooper’s own artwork; and much more.

Bar Hacks: Developing The Fundamentals for an Epic Bar

Industry expert and KRG Hospitality president Doug Radkey wrote this informative and conversational book. This is the perfect read for aspiring or seasoned bar, pub, lounge, or even restaurant owners, operators, and managers looking for that competitive edge in operations. If you’re looking for both fundamental and in-depth planning methods, strategies, and industry focused insight to either start or grow a scalable, sustainable, memorable, profitable, and consistent venue in today’s cut-throat industry, Bar Hacks is written just for you

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Stand Out with Weird Holidays: April 2022

Stand Out with Weird Holidays: April 2022

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 April is no exception. These holidays range from mainstream 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.

April 1: National One Cent Day

Please, please, please tell me you’re not going to indulge in an April Fool’s Day “prank” today. Instead, consider—if your jurisdiction will allow it—getting rid of dead stock for a penny with a purchase of a food and/or beverage item. You won’t get rich doing it but you also won’t be sitting on stock that’s just taking up space.

April 2: National Handmade Day

An easy riff on “handmade” is “housemade.” So, on this crafty holiday you can easily promote the housemade items on your menu. Make your own bitters? Promote it. Craft your own sauces? Let the world know.

April 6: National Tartan Day

No, it’s not “weird” to wear tartan. And no, it isn’t weird to celebrate anything and everything Scottish. However, this isn’t exactly the best-known holiday, so we’re including it on this list.

This is an easy one: Encourage your guests to wear tartan, take photos, and post it on social media (tagging your business, of course). Create a promo highlighting a Scottish whisky and/or gin and you’ve got a winner.

April 13: National Make Lunch Count Day

It’s fairly easy to celebrate and program on this holiday. The entire point of this day is to make lunch the best meal. Operators, you should know exactly what to do to execute a promo for this holiday.

April 15: National Take A Wild Guess Day

Who among us hasn’t taken a wild guess for a prize? We all know how this works: A jar or a convertible (why not, right?) is filled with jelly beans, gumballs, etc. People guess how many of said item are in said container. The person who guesses the closest wins a prize.

April 19: National Hanging Out Day

Talk about the perfect day to encourage your guests to spend a morning, afternoon, evening or night at your business with their friends. This holiday can be as simple as coming up with a few F&B promotions that will keep butts in seats for a while.

April 23: National German Beer

Hey, can you guess how you should celebrate this day? Hint: The clue is in the name.

April 24: National Pet Parents Day

If you allow dogs and other pets inside your venue or on the patio, this is the time to celebrate pet parents. Just remember when creating your promo that you need to include pet-safe F&B items.

April 27: National Tell a Story Day

As an operator, you know the importance of telling a story. Whether that story is that of your brand’s, a brand you feature, or a food or beverage item, it’s a powerful engagement technique. So, you can use this holiday to tell your brand’s story or encourage your guests to engage by telling their own stories. In fact, this is a great day to help facilitate connections between guests.

April 30: National Sense of Smell Day

Experts estimate that anywhere from 70 to 90 percent of taste is smell. Creating a promotion focusing on our sense of smell can be complicated but the payoff can be huge. So, activate your reps and see how they can help you show your guests the power of their sense of smell.

Image: Dan Parlante on Unsplash

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