by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

The Reality of Hiring Right Now

The Reality of Hiring Right Now

by David Klemt

Help Wanted sign taped in window

Operators can add recruitment, hiring and retention among to the growing list of challenges they’re facing due to the pandemic.

Labor struggles aren’t exactly a shock to the hospitality industry.

However, the speed with which the many stark predictions of labor shortages and challenges across North America has caught some by surprise.

Outlook: Brutal

Fast-casual to fine dining. Independent to chain. Regional hospitality group to multi-national powerhouse.

No operator, no concept, no market appears immune to today’s recruitment, hiring or retention challenges.

It’s not the only reason but the federal boost to unemployment is exacerbating the situation. Restaurant operators across America have been reporting that their workers are making more on unemployment than they would make returning to their jobs.

It’s likely the hiring situation won’t improve until the end of August or start of September; the federal boost to unemployment is set to expire on September 6.

Of course, that points to another glaring industry issue: livable wages and benefits.

The pandemic didn’t cause the labor shortage and hiring problem on its own, but it certainly hasn’t helped anything. Some operators throughout North America say they’ve been hunting for workers for all positions for months.

Incentives & Bonuses

Operators are fighting for workers. To many reading this, that’s not a surprise. However, many operators report fighting to even get candidates to show up for interviews.

Famously, one McDonald’s franchisee in Tampa, Florida, is using a $50 incentive for interviews. If a candidate manages to follow through and show up for their interview, they walk away with $50.

During a recent conversation with Chef Brian Duffy (which we’ll be releasing as episode 33 of the Bar Hacks podcast), interview incentives came up. While it’s no $50 bonus just for showing, Chef Duffy has offered candidates free lunch for appearing for their interviews. And yes, he still struggles.

Interestingly, appearance incentives don’t appear to be working. What does appear to be working? Increasing starting wages, referral programs, apply-via-text functionality, and all manner of signing and performance-based bonuses.

The bonuses run the gamut. Show up for all your shifts for three or four months and earn a $500 bonus. Paying down student loans. Fronting the bill for culinary school. One restaurant in Alabama is offering an SUV to their top-performing worker later this year.

In addition to bonuses, wages are seeing a boost. Jobs that would normally start at $12 to $15 per hour are now offering starting wages of $16 to $18 dollars per hour.

No matter how one slices it, the situation leads to cost hikes across the board for operators. When costs increase for operators, prices increase for consumers. Margins shrink, the old cycle continues, the industry struggles.

Reality Check

Now, it’s simple to blame the pandemic for the current situation. To say it’s not a major factor would be incredibly disingenuous.

That said, the struggle to find and keep workers is also a culmination of decades-long, industry-wide problems.

Lack of diversity, inclusion, equality, living wages, opportunities, and transparency; failure to address social issues; inexcusable, threatening, and outright illegal behavior… All of this and much more contributes to the industry’s hiring and retention challenges.

That’s a criminally shallow summary of the situation—I’m well aware. Doug Radkey, president of KRG Hospitality, addresses the need to review and reset the industry in his book Hacking the New Normal. He takes a deep dive into rejecting the status quo in this industry.

My point is that operators can’t blame their woes solely on the pandemic, absolving themselves of responsibility.

Operators must take a hard look at themselves and their operations, and ask difficult questions. Doing so can be uncomfortable. But neither positive change nor growth come from resting in the comfort zone.

Image: Tim Mossholder on Unsplash 

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Multi-gen Recipe Becomes RTD

Multi-gen Recipe Becomes RTD

by David Klemt

Fishers Island Lemonade cans and flavors

Not just another RTD, Fishers Island Lemonade is a premium brand that transforms a multi-generational recipe into a can cocktail.

Now, the brand is launching four new expressions, right in time for summer.

Let’s take a look at these craft RTD cocktails.

A Recipe with History

There’s only one place to drink on Fishers Island in New York, the Pequot Inn. The restaurant and bar is known for its signature cocktails.

One intrepid member of the Shillo family, who owned the Pequot for more than two decades, is putting her spin on one of the signature cocktails into cans.

Bronya Shillo tended bar at the Pequot when it was under her family’s ownership. She launched Fishers Island Lemonade (FIL) in 2014.

FIL’s original expression is a 9.0-percent blend of premium vodka, barrel-aged whiskey, lemon and honey. Now, the Original spiked lemonade has four new friends: Spiked Tea, Pink Flamingo, Fizz, and Frozen Spirits Pops.

Brand Expansion

Like Original FIL, the brand’s new lineup consists of signature cocktail recipes. In fact, you’ll find several FIL recipes on the brand’s website.

FIL Spiked Tea and Pink Flamingo both ring in at 7.0 percent ABV. The former is the original recipe with black tea, while the latter is made with cranberry.

Fishers Island Fizz is the lower-ABV version of Original FIL, coming in at a more sessionable 5.0 percent ABV.

Fishers Island Lemonade Frozen Spirits Pops

Perfect for summer, FIL Frozen Spirits Pops are exactly what they sound like: popsicles made with Original FIL.

Finding FIL

Currently, FIL is available in Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island.

However, the brand is utilizing direct-to-consumer sales to reach consumers across America. FIL is also available on Drizly.

A four-pack of FIL RTDs have an SRP of $15.99. The Frozen Spirits Pops come in ten-packs with an SRP of $27.99.

Images provided by Fishers Island Lemonade

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Summer of White Claw 2.0?

Summer of White Claw 2.0?

by David Klemt

White Claw Surge Blood Orange and White Claw Surge Cranberry hard seltzer cans

White Claw is ready to leverage the surge in pent-up consumer demand to get out and party this summer with their latest innovation, Surge.

The new expressions are notable for several reasons. The most obvious, of course, is that they ring in at 8.0% ABV.

Odds are strong that we may be on the verge of a Summer of Surge.

Summer of White Claw 2.0

Let’s look back at the brief but bold history of White Claw.

Imagine it’s 2016. Hard seltzer isn’t quite the powerhouse beverage category that it is today. There’s no snappy, “Ain’t no laws when you’re drinking Claws,” tagline. Neither is there a “ClawLife” hashtag…yet. However, White Claw launches.

Fast-forward to 2018. Fanatics are sharing their devotion to White Claw all over social media. They’re tagging posts #ClawLife. The memes are everywhere, as are the white cans of hard seltzer.

That leads us to 2019. It almost seems simpler to ask what Big Brands aren’t trying to copy White Claw’s success. Try as they might, nobody dethrones King Claw.

Summer 2019 is the Summer of White Claw. The brand essentially singlehandedly grows hard seltzer into the powerhouse beverage category it is today.

In 2021, the hard seltzer kingpin certainly seems set to take over summer once again with White Claw Surge Cranberry and White Claw Surge Blood Orange.

Surging Forward

White Claw Surge’s higher ABV—a boost from 5.0% to 8.0%—isn’t the only departure from the “standard” Claws.

Surge is available only in 16-ounce cans, whereas standard White Claw comes in 12-ounce cans and tall boy versions are 19.2 ounces.

Another big difference? Standard White Claw flavors in 12-ounce cans contain 100 calories. Surge, with 220 calories, has more than twice that amount.


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A post shared by White Claw Hard Seltzer (@whiteclaw)

Should White Claw Surge perform as expected, it will represent an interesting evolution in hard seltzer. For many, hard seltzer is a stand-in for beer and other beverage alcohol options because of its low calorie count. If higher-proof, high-calorie hard seltzer becomes popular, it’s a notable shift in consumer behavior.

#ClawLife 2.0

Surge isn’t the only innovation coming from White Claw in time for Summer 2021.

The new White Claw Iced Tea flavors will likely prove to be a popular refresher as the weather gets warmer. These expressions—Lemon, Raspberry, Mango, and Peach—are 100 calories and 5.0% ABV (in 12-ounce cans) like standard Claws.

There are also three new expressions of White Claw available in Variety Pack Flavor Collection No. 3: Strawberry, Pineapple, and Blackberry.

With all of these new hard seltzers on the market and pent-up consumer demand, it’s difficult to see how we’re not headed toward Summer of White Claw 2.0.

Image: White Claw

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SBA Releases RRF Guide and Forms

SBA Releases RRF Guide and Forms

by David Klemt

"This is the sign you've been looking for" white neon sign on brick wall

Operators in the United States are nearing the opening of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund application process.

The Small Business Administration’s RRF program guide and sample application are now available.

Let’s jump in!

RRF at a Glance

In simple terms, the RRF is the most targeted relief the industry in America has received since the pandemic took hold.

Eligible entities apply for a tax-free grant equal to the amount of a their pandemic-related revenue losses.

To calculate a grant amount, an applicant subtracts 2020 gross receipts from 2019 gross receipts. Applicants must deduct first-draw PPP and second-draw PPP loans, even if they’re paid back or forgiven. Any economic disaster loans—Economic Injury Disaster Loans, for example—are not RRF deductions.

Per the SBA, operators do not need to register for a System for Award Management ( account, meaning they no longer need to acquire a DUNS number.

RRF Eligibility

As the SBA’s RRF program guide states, eligible businesses A) must not be closed permanently, and B) are places where customers gather primarily to consume food or drink. Such entities include:

  • restaurants;
  • bars;
  • saloons;
  • lounges;
  • taverns;
  • food trucks, carts and stands;
  • snack and non-alcoholic beverage bars;
  • licensed facilities or premises of a beverage alcohol producer where the public may taste, sample, or purchase product; and
  • other similar places of business in which the public or patrons assemble for the primary purpose of being served food or drink.

However, that’s in no way the entire list of eligible businesses. Bakeries, breweries, microbreweries, brewpubs, taprooms, distilleries, wineries, and tasting rooms are eligible if they can provide documentation (which must accompany their application) that:

  • on-site sales to the public comprised at least 33% of gross receipts in 2019; or
  • original business model should have contemplated at least 33% of gross receipts in on-site sales to the public if they’ve yet to open or opened in 2020.

Interestingly, it’s possible for an inn to be eligible for the RRF. Such a business is subject to the same eligibility requirements as bakeries, breweries, etc.

Eligible Expenses

Businesses that receive an RRF grant may use the funds for eligible expenses during their covered period. That timeframe is the “period beginning on February 15, 2020 and ending on March 11, 2023.” Should the business close permanently, that period will end when the business permanently closes or on March 11, 2023, whichever occurs sooner.”

A grant recipient must return any funds to the Treasury if they’re unable to use for eligible expenses by the end of the covered period.

So, which expenses are eligible per the SBA for the RRF program? Below is a short list of eligible expenses:

  • Payroll costs (sick leave, costs for group health care, life, disability, vision, or dental benefits during periods of paid sick, medical, or family leave, and group health care, life, disability, vision, or dental insurance premiums).
  • Payments on any business mortgage obligation, both principal and interest (Note: Excludes any prepayment of principal on a mortgage obligation).
  • Business rent payments, including rent under a lease agreement (Note: Excludes any prepayment of rent).
  • Construction of outdoor seating.
  • Business supplies (including protective equipment and cleaning materials).

For the full list of eligible expenses and many more RRF details, please click here to download and view the entire SBA RRF program guide. To view the sample application and prepare for the process to begin, click here.


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

Image: Austin Chan on Unsplash 

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Las Vegas CEO Offers Vaccination Bonus

Las Vegas CEO Offers Vaccination Bonus

by David Klemt

The Cosmopolitan on the Las Vegas Strip

One CEO in the hospitality and lodging industries is offering employees a bonus for getting the Covid-19 vaccine.

William McBeath, president and CEO of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, is incentivizing the resort’s staff with cash bonuses.

Conversely, workers who decline inoculation must take weekly Covid-19 tests.

Cash Incentive

Per the Review-Journal, the largest daily newspaper in Nevada, McBeath is using a tiered approach to the bonuses.

If the resort meets the vaccination goal, the property could pay $1 million to staff.

According to reporting, The Cosmo is pushing for at least 80 percent of staff to receive first doses of a Covid-19 vaccine by the first of May.

The tiered system works as follows:

  • 60 Percent Vaccination Rate: $50
  • 70 Percent Vaccination Rate: $100
  • 80 Percent Vaccination Rate: $250
  • 90 Percent Vaccination Rate: $350
  • 100 Percent Vaccination Rate: $500

The most an employee stands to make is a one-time bonus of $500. Clearly, the 80 percent vaccination rate bonus is an amount the resort finds motivational and a reasonable cost.

Weekly Tests

There are a number of reasons someone may decide against a vaccine. Operators must understand that vaccination is a personal choice.

Requiring staff receive vaccinations is a slippery slope. Setting aside legal ramifications, doing so will likely result in staff attrition, awful PR, and long-term damage to a business.

That’s to say nothing of the failure in emotional intelligence that forcing vaccinations on employees would highlight.

Instead, McBeath’s approach respects an individual worker’s autonomy. The president and CEO isn’t forcing The Cosmo’s staff to receive vaccines. Rather, he’s incentivizing workers to reach the goal set for the resort.

There are no credible reports of Cosmopolitan employees facing termination for refusing vaccination. I was also unable to find any reports of retaliation.

According to Review-Journal reporting, unvaccinated workers will undergo Covid-19 testing. Starting May 1, Cosmo employees who work a maximum of three days per week will be given a test once per week. Those who work four or more days per week will be tested twice per week.

Nevada Seeks to Increase Occupancy Limits, Reopen State

McBeath’s May 1 deadline makes even more sense when one considers current occupancy limits and reopening plans.

Currently, casinos in the Silver State are operating at 50-percent capacity. On May 1, the Nevada Gaming Control Board will be responsible for deciding gaming floor occupancy. In preparation, the NGC wants more of Nevada’s hospitality workers to receive vaccinations.

Additionally, Governor Steve Sisolak has set a June 1 date against reaching 100-percent occupancy statewide. So, The Cosmo’s goal of 80-percent staff inoculation by May 1 makes a lot of sense.

Operators in hospitality and lodging can use McBeath’s incentive program in their own businesses. If it’s crucial to them and their businesses, operators should set a staff vaccination rate goal and implement a bonus schedule that appeals to workers while remaining realistic.

Image: Zachary DeBottis from Pexels

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Celebrate National Takeout Day!

Celebrate National Takeout Day!

by David Klemt

Canadian flag against blue sky and white clouds

Today is the big day: National Takeout Day in Canada!

Canada Takeout is challenging Canadians to place takeout orders and set a national record.

Obviously, this national challenge is very straightforward—if you’re in Canada, order takeout!

Take Part

As an operator, make sure your loyal customers know to participate today. You know what that means—flood social media.

If there was ever a right time to leverage your social media channels, it’s today.

Post about your takeout menu. Post about any specials you’re offering to entice your customers to place takeout orders. Show off your food. Use the hashtags #takeoutday and #Canadatakeoutrecord. Encourage your customers to post their orders and use the same hashtags.

Also, ensure your receipt printing system is set to label takeout orders as “Takeout” on receipts. That makes it possible for your customers to upload their receipts to the Takeout Tracker; make sure you tell your customers to do that so they can be counted.

Go All In

Canada Takeout’s mission is “reminding Canadians to order takeout.” The organization is helping Canada set the all-time record for takeout orders today in several ways.

We’ve been over their hashtags and that you should absolutely use them. However, Canada Takeout has also created social media assets anyone can download and use. One of these assets features a fantastic slogan: “Eat well. Support local. Set a record.”

Click here, scroll down, and download. While you’re at it, make sure you’re following Canada Takeout on Instagram and Facebook.

Keep it Going

This isn’t Canada Takeout’s first initiative. The organization launched the inaugural National Takeout Day last year, April 15, 2020.

Per a press release, the hashtag #takeoutday has earned more than 160 million impressions, reaching nearly 53 million people.

Canada Takeout also celebrates other food-related holidays. Visit the site and you’ll see that they’re looking forward to Thai Food Day (April 21), Tomato Day (April 28), and Mexican Food Day (May 5).

Get your takeout menu ready, promote it on social, and help set a record today!

Image: chris robert on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

5 Books to Read this Month

5 Books to Read this Month

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

Spring is traditionally the time when we’re meant to reinvent or otherwise better ourselves. These books can help you do just that.

Some will help you expand or enter this business, others will boost your marketing and social media, and a couple will help you refresh your drink menu.

With restrictions easing and vaccination rates in the United States growing, now’s the time to improve yourself and your business.

Prepare now for pent-up demand for in-person dining and drinking.

Food Truck Business Guide for Beginners

Looking to enter this industry with a food truck or expand your existing business with one? This book is a great place to start.

Food Truck Business Guide for Beginners is a comprehensive guide that covers:

  • common mistakes that lead to food truck failure, and exactly how to avoid them;
  • the most successful ways to secure funding;
  • how to master marketing;
  • best practices for passing health inspections;
  • tackling and mastering marketing for your business;
  • and many more topics.

The Terroir of Whiskey: A Distiller’s Journey Into the Flavor of Place

Dr. Rob Arnold is a plant biochemist and the master distiller at TX Distillery. To say he understands the science of whiskey and terroir is obvious.

What’s less obvious is the direction Dr. Arnold’s book heads into. He takes readers to distilleries in Kentucky, Ireland, Scotland and elsewhere, but he takes things further.

In The Terroir of Whiskey, Dr. Arnold shines a light on plant breeders, local farmers, and distillers bringing back “lost” grains. These same innovators are also attempting to create new grains to further develop terroir.

This book will definitely enhance your whiskey knowledge and engagement with guests.

Rad Cocktails

Yes, this book’s description states that it focuses on the home bartender.

No, that doesn’t mean bartenders, operators, and other hospitality pros can’t learn from it.

Rad Cocktails, in addition to including awesome illustrations, also embodies a growing cocktail trend: simplification. Innovative cocktails don’t have to be complicated or take ten minutes to build.

Beautiful Booze: Stylish Cocktails to Make at Home

Natalie Migliarini, also known as Beautiful Booze, has more than 95,000 followers on Instagram. Her cocktail recipes, photographs and mastery of social media help her stand out in a roiling sea of influencers.

Her first book, Beautiful Booze: Stylish Cocktails to Make at Home, also targets home bartenders…on the surface. This book, creative cocktail recipes, can help elevate anyone’s bartending skills. The beautiful photography will also help inspire anyone to take their social media shooting to the next level.

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

Alright, this may seem self-serving. However, I wouldn’t have written the foreword for a book I didn’t believe this book would truly help people.

Millions of hospitality industry professionals’ lives were imperiled at the start of last year. We continue to innovate and adapt to overcome unprecedented challenges.

Hacking the New Normal addresses the need for an industry-wide reset and seeks to guide operators through rebuilding for the long term, and to strengthen the industry moving forward.

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash 

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Stand Out with Weird Holidays: April

Stand Out with Weird Holidays: April

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. They range from mainstream to food focused to weird.

Focus on the latter to raise eyebrows, carve out a niche for your restaurant or bar, and attract more guests.

Of course, you shouldn’t try to celebrate every holiday, weird or otherwise. Focus on the days that are authentic to your brand; resonate with your guests; and help you grab attention on social media.

April 14: National Reach as High as You Can Day

This is a holiday that will likely work best on social media. Just like there’s always a holiday and people like to say “there’s always a tweet,” there’s always a hashtag.

Use this day (and its accompanying hashtag) to highlight staff who want to participate, along with your venue.

Of course, if you want to involve your guests in person, go for it. Put your head together with your staff and get creative.

April 15: National Take a Wild Guess Day

You can take promotions centered around this day in several directions. The simplest way is to use the holiday to engage with followers on your social channels.

Consider borrowing from the “wrong answers only” posts on Instagram. Post a blurred, pixelated or “censored” item, like a bottle. In the caption, ask followers to “guess” what it is—wild guesses only.

This holiday also works well with blind tasting events.

April 16: Wear Pajamas to Work Day

I’d say this holiday is fairly self-explanatory. Let your front-of-house staff participate by wearing pajamas, with full team buy-in. Or, encourage your guests to wear their pajamas to your restaurant or bar.

If this holiday fell on a Saturday or Sunday, this would be a great day for a brunch promo. Of course, there’s nothing to say you can’t execute a Friday brunch.

April 16: National Bean Counter Day

In the United States, this holiday is taking place a month before the Tax Day deadline. If you’re so inclined, you could offer a deal to all the tax preparers and accountants in your area.

Although, you can also go a completely different direction. You can fill a large jar with beans—coffee would be great—and have guests guess how many there are. You can even post the jar full of beans to social, encouraging follower engagement. Closest guess wins a prize.

April 22: National Jelly Bean Day

Oh, hey… Remember that bean-counting holiday from way up there? I wonder if that bean-guessing idea would work for this holiday…

April 23: National Talk Like Shakespeare Day

If you think you or your social media manager can handle it, encourage your followers to describe your restaurant or bar as though they’re the Bard himself.

Or, as a Shakespearean translator would explain it, “Encourageth thy followeth’rs to describeth thy restaurant ‘r bar as though those gents’re the Bard himself.”

April 25: National DNA Day

Yesterday, I shared how our DNA plays a significant role in how we perceive bitter flavors. National DNA Day would be a great time to plan and execute a PTC strip and cocktail event.

April 27: National Tell a Story Day

How well do your loyal guests know you and your brand? How well do they know your staff?

National Tell a Story Day is an excellent time to leverage the story features on your social channels. Show off the venue and tell your brand’s story. If you have team members who want to participate and tell share a story, that’s a great way to engage with followers and guests.

April 28: National Superhero Day

If there was a ever a day to encourage your staff and/or guests to dress up for a fun time… National Superhero Day also leverages Shudder’s “Halfway to Halloween” event.

To take this holiday in another direction, you can also celebrate members of your community who give back to others by giving back to them.

“Weird” holidays aren’t just a dynamic way to engage with guests. Asking your team for ideas for holiday promotions is an excellent way to keep them engaged, which is a smart way to retain staff.

Image: Dan Parlante on Unsplash 

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

2020 Craft Brewing Production Infographic

2020 Craft Brewing Production Infographic

by David Klemt

Stack of beer kegs in black and white

The Brewers Association‘s latest report and infographic reveal 2020 small and independent craft brewery production numbers.

Like their restaurant, bar and brewpub cohorts, brewers are facing enduring struggles due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, the Brewers Association did find some good news.

First, the challenges.

Overall Market Drop

The BA’s report reveals that small and independent craft brewer production is down nine percent from 2019. Overall, draught beer sales dropped 40 percent last year.

That equates to an overall market share of 12.3 percent in 2020. Comparing 2020 to 2019, that’s a decline of 1.3 percent.

Unfortunately, 2020 craft brewer numbers also reveal significant job loss for the industry. In comparison to 2019, direct craft beer jobs are down 14 percent.

In terms of small and independent brewery closures, 2020 saw 346 brewers close their doors permanently.

Some Silver Linings

There is some good news for craft beer. Not every closure is attributable to Covid-19.

Reviewing the 2020 numbers, the BA says there are 8,764 craft breweries operating in the United States. That’s an all-time high.

The breakdown is as follows:

  • 220 Regional craft breweries
  • 1,854 Microbreweries
  • 3,219 Brewpubs
  • 3,471 Taproom breweries

Impressively, the number of new craft brewery openings more than double the number of closures at 716.

Per Bart Watson, chief economist at the BA, the total number of craft breweries and openings in 2020 proves the “resilient and entrepreneurial nature” of small and independent brewers.

BA Infographic

You’ll find more information below. The BA’s infographic neatly tells the story of the association’s latest report.

Perhaps the biggest positive takeaway is the steady growth in operational craft breweries. Since 2016, the number of breweries in this category has increased by nearly 3,100.

That’s an average of 785 new brewery openings each year. Given the number of openings in 2020, it’s possible craft brewers will gain ground on the jobs lost over the course of last year.

It’s also likely production and sales numbers will see a boost in 2021 through a culmination of easing restrictions, reopening markets, pent-up demand, vaccination rates, and guest comfort levels.

2020 Small and Independent US Craft Brewer Annual Production Report

Infographic: Brewers Association

Image: Hennie Stander on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Dial In Your Brunch Before Mother’s Day

Dial In Your Brunch Before Mother’s Day

by David Klemt

Warming weather, pent-up demand, and less-restrictive Covid rules—at least in the United States—make brunch viable in many markets.

Plus, we’re just a month away from Mother’s Day. If everything goes right, dining restrictions won’t keep operators from capitalizing on this big brunch holiday.

Considering your brunch menu now—including your Champagne and sparkling drinks—will help you dial it in before Mother’s Day.

To help you perfect your brunch operations, let’s look at a casual chain, a taco shack, a fine-dining restaurant, and a casual independent restaurant that focuses on comfort foods.

Las Vegas

Things are looking up for Las Vegas. Nevada’s current Covid-19 status is Mitigation.

Restaurants, bars, pubs, breweries, distilleries and wineries may operate at 50-percent indoor capacity. There’s no occupancy limit for outdoor dining, but operators must follow social distancing guidelines.

The city is known for its buffets, of course. Some are open again, thanks to the easing of restrictions. However, Las Vegas buffets are known globally—let’s focus on a more traditional restaurant for this list. I also want to venture off the Strip—but not too far.

Lazy Dog is a casual dining chain with a focus on craft beer and dog-friendly operations. Canine buddies are welcome on their patios.

You may be wondering why, given all the incredible restaurants in Las Vegas, I’m looking at a casual chain. The answer, quite simply, is that I want to offer an array of suggestions to get you thinking about your own brunch offerings.

First, there’s the $20 DIY Mimosa. For $20, guests get a 750mL of Freixenet Cava with either orange juice of Kern’s Peach Nectar.

Then there are the brunch menu food items. There’s a generous portion of avocado toast that comes with cheesy scrambled eggs; a Breakfast Burger; a Breakfast Club Sandwich; a couple of breakfast quiches; and Bacon Candy, which is bacon with brown sugar, crushed red pepper chili flakes and black pepper.

Lazy Dog’s brunch is a good example of how to make bottle service fun and accessible, and elevating brunch menus in a way that’s familiar and appealing to guests.


It’s still standard operating procedure for guests in restaurants and bars to wear face coverings unless eating or drinking. Capacity is 175 people maximum per floor. There’s a limit of 10 guests per table inside, 25 outside.

However, restaurants and bars are open in Nashville for indoor dining. Venues that serve alcohol must cease service at 1:00 AM and close at 2:00 AM. If there is no alcohol service, a restaurant may remain open for 24 hours.

Redheaded Stranger takes brunch in a deceptively simple direction: breakfast tacos. Brunch doesn’t have to be standard breakfast foods, after all.

Flour tortillas are made in house and pair well with mouthwatering brunch fillings. There are tacos with bacon, tater tots, egg and cheddar cheese; chorizo, egg, sour cream and cheddar; and tater tots, jalapeño crema, red hatch chiles, and American cheese. Oh, and don’t forget their inventive sauces, like Dr. Pepper Hot Sauce.

Of course, no brunch is complete without cool, refreshing drinks. The taco hot spot offers Bloody Marys, Mimosas, Margaritas, and frozen cocktails.


Florida is in Phase 3 of their reopening plan. That means restaurants, bars and nightlife venues are open for business.

There’s an executive order in place in Orange County, Florida, mandating face masks in public settings. Orlando is in Orange County.

Otherwise, it’s business as usual.

Chef’s Table at the Edgewater is an award-winning fine dining restaurant. People travel from all over the world for the food and experience.

The Chef’s Table brunch menu features upscale but accessible fare. There are Duck Fat Fries to share (or keep to yourself); Lobster Mac & Cheese; a trio of Mini Beef Wellingtons; Chicken and Waffles made with sweet-tea-brined chicken and bourbon maple syrup; Vegan Chilaquiles Verdes to which one can add a sunny-side-up egg.


As of April 4, restaurants and bars are able to enjoy relaxed Covid restrictions. One of the biggest reasons for restaurants and bars to rejoice is the return of bar services. Barriers are required promote social distancing.

As far as indoor capacity restrictions, restaurants and bars that self-certify may operate at 75 percent. Venues that don’t self-certify may open at 50 percent indoor capacity.

Establishments can serve alcohol without the purchase of food, and there’s no longer a curfew for removing alcohol from tables.

One Philly restaurant that got our attention with their brunch menu is the Twisted Tail. The Headhouse Square eatery offered a $39/person prix fixe menu for Easter, taking full advantage of Pennsylvania’s new Covid regulations.

Their “standard” brunch menu features creative items such as Crawfish Mac & Cheese, Beer-Battered Cheese Curds, and Buttermilk Chicken Sandwich.

Image: Natasha Kapur on Unsplash