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Things Looking Up For December

Things Looking Up For December

by David Klemt

Friends toasting with Champagne outside during the winter

Food and beverage research and analytics firm Datassential’s end-of-year insights point to a positive outlook for restaurants in December.

While many consumers still have reservations about spending time in public, others are eager to return to “normal.”

Restaurants and bars are expected to play an important role in reaching normalcy this holiday season.

Let’s take a look at Datassential’s 2021 Holiday Issue statistics.

Hesitancy Waning?

Let’s get the less-promising data out of the way first. Some consumers still find the idea of in-person restaurant visits uncomfortable.

Nearly half of Boomers surveyed by Datassential (46 percent) said they’re “significantly less likely” to visit a fast-casual or fast-food restaurant in December.

And, interestingly, 42 percent of men gave the same answer for visiting traditional sit-down restaurants.

However, of all the in-person options presented to participants by Datassential, restaurants performed the best.

More than half of all respondents—men, women, Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Boomers—plan to visit fast-casual, fast-food, and sit-down restaurants more in December than they have in recent months.

It’s most likely that anticipation for restaurant visits is driven by the desire to gather and celebrate the holidays.

Overall, 57 percent of respondents plan to visit fast-casual and fast-food restaurants more. And 47 percent expect to visit sit-down restaurants more.

That makes those two options the top answers.

Only 16 percent of respondents indicated they don’t plan on visiting any on-site foodservice venues.

Regarding bars, sports bars, lounges, and nightclubs, men are “significantly more likely” (23 percent) to visit those types of venues in December.

Holiday Opportunity

According to Datassential’s report, the opportunity for holiday bookings is out there.

More than likely, gatherings will simply be smaller than they were prior to the pandemic.

Asked about plans to gather at restaurants in December, get-togethers are expected to be “moderately sized.”

Almost half of survey respondents (44 percent) plan on gathering at restaurants in parties of seven to twelve.

Just over a quarter (29 percent) plan on get-togethers of six or fewer of people. Only 18 percent of respondents are planning large (13 to 18 people) gatherings at restaurants in December.

As far as parties of 19 or more, just nine percent of respondents plan “very large” gatherings.

Of course, individual operations’ results will vary. However, this information gives us an idea of what traffic may look like for many operators.

2021 Spending

This is where the news looks even better for restaurants, bars and nightclubs in December.

When asked about spending money on going out to eat and for drinks, just 18 percent of respondents said they planned to spend less this year than in 2020.

Very nearly half (49 percent) plan to spend the same as they did last year. However, 32 percent said they think they’ll increase their spending.

When it comes to New Year’s Eve, the numbers shift a bit. However, 50 percent of respondents plan to spend the same on NYE in 2021 as they did in 2020.

Twenty-six percent plan to spend more on NYE in 2021. Just 24 percent plan to spend less this year on NYE.

Per Datassential, Millennials are most likely to splash out for NYE this year.

So, things won’t be returning to pre-pandemic normalcy by 2021’s end. However, if Datassentials findings prove accurate, things are looking healthier for December.

Image: Christine Jou on Unsplash

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Thanksgiving Eve by the Numbers

Thanksgiving Eve by the Numbers

by David Klemt

Two shot glasses garnished with salt rim and lemon wedges

Tonight, guests will be looking to celebrate a bar holiday that’s traditionally lucrative for operators: Thanksgiving Eve, a.k.a. Drinksgiving.

It’s difficult to imagine that any operator or hospitality worker is unaware of Thanksgiving Eve’s status.

Sure, some mark the start of end-of-year celebrations with Halloween or Thanksgiving. However, I feel Thanksgiving Eve truly ushers in the holiday season.

I’d also argue that while retailers have Black Friday and Cyber Monday, operators have the night before Thanksgiving. Yes, New Year’s Eve is also huge, but Thanksgiving Eve is considered the busiest night of the year for bars.

Interestingly, this is a holiday that benefits bars across the nation. In fact, it’s not exclusive to destination cities.

After all, the reason it’s so big, traditionally, is that people are traveling back to their hometowns. And while Thanksgiving is for their families, Thanksgiving Eve is for catching up with childhood and high school friends.

Obviously, there are fantastic bars located in cities outside of their destination counterparts. Hot take, I know.

So, does Thanksgiving Eve deserve its hype ?

The Evidence

Unfortunately, data from 2020 isn’t readily available, for obvious reasons.

However, we do have some data, largely thanks to restaurant management and POS platform Upserve.

One of the simplest ways to analyze Thanksgiving Eve’s impact is to compare it to the previous Wednesday.

Per Upserve, guest counts rose 23 percent in 2018 when compared to the Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving Eve.

Looking at data from more than 10,000 restaurants and bars, Upserve found that guest count totaled 496,883 on November 14, 2018. One week later, that number rose to 643,637.

As Upserve content marketing coordinator Stephanie Resendes says in her Thanksgiving Eve article, “More people = more money.”

Of the 10,000-plus Upserve clients whose data was analyzed, net sales were $17.250 million on the Wednesday preceding Thanksgiving Eve 2018. That number jumped to $22.296 million.

So, looking just at a relatively small sample size from 2018, Thanksgiving Eve’s impact doesn’t seem overblown.

The Drinks

According to Upserve, beer was the year-over-year winner through 2018. It saw the most growth by far on Thanksgiving Eve 2018 when compared to the Wednesday prior and the same period in 2017.

Spirits and wine, at least for Thanksgiving Eve 2018, were nearly tied for second place.

Now, looking at the data for Thanksgiving Eve 2019, spirits saw the most growth overall. Resendes shared that shot sales increased 173 percent on Thanksgiving Eve 2019 when compared to the Wednesday prior.

Tequila led the charge for spirits, rising 156 percent. Vodka saw a 144-percent boost, rum increased 120 percent, whiskey went up 65 percent, and gin saw a lift of 47 percent. For its part, beer sales rose 65 percent.

Not content to simply look at traffic and sales numbers, Upserve also split their clients into four regions. In this way, they identified who parties hardest on Thanksgiving Eve and who needs to ramp things up.

The four regions and their net sales growth from Thanksgiving Eve 2019 compared to the Wednesday prior are below:

  • Midwest: 34 percent
  • Northeast: 34 percent
  • South: 33 percent
  • West: 22 percent

Clearly, there was still growth in the Western region. However, the Midwest and Northeast led the way, with the South just behind them.

We’ll have to wait to see how Thanksgiving Eve 2021 plays out. We’re still waiting on the numbers from 2020. However, Upserve’s data shows that Thanksgiving Eve remains crucial to restaurants and bars throughout America.

Image: Alena Plotnikova on Unsplash

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Go Big and Bold on National Zinfandel Day

Go Big and Bold on National Zinfandel Day

by David Klemt

Black photo concept of red wine glass and bottle

Cabernet Sauvignon may be King of Grapes but Zinfandel certainly isn’t the court jester when it comes to wine.

No, it’s not one of the five Noble Grapes from Bordeaux. And yes, in Italy Zinfandel’s name is Primitivo, which translates to “primitive.”

But just because this red wine is often described as rustic doesn’t mean it’s basic.

National Zinfandel Day, which takes place Wednesday, November 17, is the perfect time to introduce Zin to your guests.

Zinfandel 101

While there are a few reasons Bordeaux doesn’t consider Zinfandel to be a Noble Grape, there’s one in particular that stands out: Zinfandel is an Italian grape. Well, sort of.

Basically, Zinfandel is grown in Italy and America. Intriguingly, however, the grape originates from Croatia. It’s original name is Tribidrag.

Another interesting note: Red Zinfandel only accounts for about 15 percent of overall Zin production. You’re probably already guessing which style accounts for the lion’s share: White Zinfandel.

Now, you can promote both styles of Zinfandel—that’s a decision you have to make. But for this article, I’m talking exclusively about Red Zinfandel.

This is for three reasons. First, White Zinfandel is best as a beginner wine. It’s light, it’s usually low in alcohol, and it’s not very complex.

Second, you can sell Red Zinfandel as a worthwhile alternative to Cabernet Sauvignon, the most popular wine in the world. Third, it’s delicious, full-bodied, and the ABV is often quite high.

A great Red Zin is jammy (like a big Cab), bold (like a big Cab), and velvety (like a big Cab). So, many of the Cab Sauv drinkers among your guests will be willing to try a medium- to full-bodied Red Zin.

This “rustic” wine also pairs well with pizza and barbecue. How can that ever be a bad thing?

Bottles of Note

Orin Swift 8 Years in the Desert (15.8% ABV), $50 SRP

It’s arguable that Red Zinfandel’s rise in popularity is due to it showing up in many red wine blends. Another factor? Winemaker Dave Phinney in particular utilizing this grape in his red blends. 8 Years in the Desert round in the mouth, providing drinkers with a decadent, lush wine drinking experience.

Bedrock Old Vine Zinfandel (14.4% ABV), $22 SRP

The 2019 vintage of Bedrock’s Old Vine Zin receives top marks from experts across the board. When it comes to American Zins, wine aficionados consider this Zin to be the gold standard.

Opolo Mountain Zinfandel (15.7% ABV), $30 SRP

For those guests who want to taste a straight-up, 100-percent Zinfandel. Opolo is one of the finest producers of American Zin. The 2019 vintage is velvety smooth even with it’s big alcohol content and bold, jammy flavors.

The Prisoner Wine Company Saldo (15.5% ABV), $32 SRP

You don’t have to be a wine aficionado to be familiar with The Prisoner Wine Company. In fact, The Prisoner, undoubtedly one of those most famous red wine blends in the world, helped shine a spotlight on Red Zinfandel. Saldo is a three-wine blend of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, and Syrah.

Seghesio Old Vines Zinfandel (15.6% ABV), $36 SRP

Like Opolo, Seghesio produces big Zins that offer the drinker a balanced experience. Yes, the alcohol content is high but the mouthfeel is smooth and plush while delivering bold flavors. The mouthfeel may be soft but it’s certainly not shy on the palate.

Turley Old Vines Zinfandel (15.5% ABV), $40 SRP

So, there’s a debate over whether “Old Vine” or “Old Vines” has any official definition. In general, a grapevine matures some time between 12 and 25 years old. Some say that “Old Vine” is a designation that means more than 25 years old, at least 40 years old, or at least 50 or 60 years old. Well, it’s fair to say that Turley offers true “Old Vine” Zinfandel given that the producer’s grapevines range in age from 40-plus to nearly 130 years old.

Image: Mae Mu on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Stand Out with Weird Holidays: November

Stand Out with Weird Holidays: November

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 November 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 October’s list, click here.

November 1: World Vegan Day

Obviously, this holiday isn’t weird for vegans or vegetarians. There are, however, those who still find this particular diet odd. Well, this is the perfect holiday to learn more about vegan cooking and eating. Pass on that knowledge by adding delicious vegan dishes to your menu.

November 4: National Candy Day

Do you have a surplus of candy now that Halloween is over? Trying to fight the temptation to eat it all yourself? Various candies perform well as garnishes for cocktails. There’s also another way to approach this holiday, like featuring starters such as candied bacon.

November 6: National Nacho Day

So, this holiday is more fun than weird, really. However, you can probably see the potential to deviate from the standard nacho builds. Instead, ask your kitchen staff to get creative and come up with intriguing takes on nachos that will grab the attention of your guests.

November 9: National Scrapple Day

One of the best ways to cut back on food waste in restaurants, bars, and hotels is to utilize as much of a given ingredient as possible. Scrapple, of which our Philadelphia audience will no doubt be very well aware, consists of pork scraps. Guests outside of Pennsylvania may have never tried scrapple before, so this holiday is the perfect time to tempt them with a new taste sensation.

November 12: National Pizza with the Works Except Anchovies Day

It’s not this pizza that’s weird, of course. It’s the very specific pizza this holiday is celebrating. I’m guessing that you know exactly what to do to celebrate this holiday with your guests.

November 14: Pickle Day

The (in)famous Pickleback. Bloody Mary made with pickle juice. A Dill Pickle Martini. Pickle appetizers and starters. If you’ve got pickles and some degree of creativity, it’s pretty clear what needs to be done on November 14.

National 15: National Spicy Hermit Cookie Day

This is another very specific holiday. This cookie, the Spicy Hermit, features flavors that couldn’t be any more perfect for fall: cinnamon, clove, allspice, and nutmeg. You can Google a recipe, of course, but we found this one and it seems delicious.

November 17: National Take a Hike Day

We’re big fans of encouraging guests and staff to get outside. There are thousands of trails throughout the United States and Canada, ranging from the easy-peasy to the truly treacherous, so the sky’s the limit. Encourage guests to take a hike and grab a bite and drink at your establishment to rest and recover. Have them tag your spot and their meal, of course.

November 28: Red Planet Day

It seems like billionaires and millionaires can’t get enough of Mars. Over the past few years, space travel has focused almost exclusively on the idea of reaching the Red Planet and figuring out how to live on it. So, if you’ve got dishes and drinks that are predominantly red in color, put them at the forefront on November 28.

Image: Dan Parlante on Unsplash

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Here Comes National American Beer Day!

Raise a Glass to National American Beer Day!

by David Klemt

Array of craft beers arranged on a wooden board for sampling

American beer drinkers, rejoice! National American Beer Day arrives on Thursday, October 27.

Celebrating America beer on this holiday, as you’re likely guessing, is fairly simple.

After all, the most important element of National America Beer Day is enjoying—*gasp!*—American beer. This is the holiday your beer program has been waiting for!

However, that begs an important question: Does America brew its own styles of beer?

German Beer Styles

People tend to most closely associate beer styles with Germany. And why shouldn’t they?

Just look at the beers Germany pioneered or otherwise made famous, not to mention Oktoberfest and German beer purity law:

  • Altbiers
  • Berliner Weisses
  • Bocks
  • Dunkels
  • Dunkelweizens
  • German Pilsners (It’s widely accepted that the Czech Republic invented Pilsner, also known as Bohemian Pilsner. German Pilsner is normally more bitter than Czech/Bohemian Pilsner, and a bit lighter-bodied. Also, remember that all Pilsners are Lagers.)
  • Goses
  • Hefeweizens
  • Kölsches
  • Lager (This is the most popular style of beer in the world. Depending on who you talk to, Britain, Bavaria, Germany or Austria invented the first lager.)
  • Märzens
  • Schwarzbiers
  • Weizenbocks

That’s a whole lotta beer styles, and that’s not even every style of beer credited to Germany. Therefore, it wouldn’t have been right to simply jump into American beer styles.

American Beer Styles

So, did German brewers leave anything for Americans to invent or make their own?

Of course they did! Americans have taken to beer brewing like macaroni takes to cheese (what? just go with it):

  • American Adjunct Lagers
  • American Amber Ales
  • American Blonde Ales, aka Golden Ales
  • American Brown Ales
  • American Hefeweizens, aka American Pale Wheat Ales
  • American Pale Ales, aka APAs
  • American Red Ales
  • American Stout
  • Cream Ales
  • Imperial Pilsners
  • Imperial Porter
  • India Pale Ales (Before you aim your pitchfork at me, I know the first IPAs were brewed in Britain. However, there’s no denying that the American craft beer scene has put their fingerprints all over this style with a vast array of substyles.)
  • Session IPAs
  • Steam Beers, aka California Commons (Of all styles, this is considered a wholly American creation.)

Now, before the beer snobs say that brewers in the US can’t just put “American” in front of an established beer style and claim it as their own, that’s really not what’s happening.

American brewers find inspiration in the “original” beer styles. That’s undeniable. That doesn’t mean they don’t innovate; American brewers have made some styles even more famous.

As stated above, a perfect example is the IPA. American IPA is a distinct style, differentiating itself from the original style. Additionally, it has been joined by Black IPA, Double IPA, White IPA, and other creative variations.

Celebrate National American Beer Day

Unlike debating who first brewed what beers, which countries should get to claim which beer styles, and what constitutes a unique beer style (should triple and quadruple IPAs be seen as actual styles?), celebrating National American Beer Day is simple.

At this restaurant and bar holiday’s core, all you have to do is showcase the American beers you have on offer.

If you want to go deeper, highlight the village, town, city or state each beer calls home.

And if you’d like to really go hard, pair them with uniquely American fare. Truly go HAM by pairing select beers with their hometown delicacies.

Make sure your draft lines and glasses are beer-clean and beer-ready, tap your guest database to send out marketing emails and texts, promote your celebration on social media, and let the beer flow.

Image: Meritt Thomas on Unsplash

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Get Ready for Old Fashioned Week

Get Ready for Old Fashioned Week

by David Klemt

Old Fashioned Cocktail on bar

Old Fashioned Week is returning for its second year to raise money for the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation.

The RWCF is a non-profit restaurant and bar worker advocacy and action organization.

In its inaugural year, Old Fashioned Week set and met a goal of raising $100,000. This year, the goal and mission are the same: Raise $100,000 to help hospitality workers financially.

How to Participate

Lynn House, national spirits specialist and portfolio mixologist for Heaven Hill, shares the details of Old Fashioned Week on episode 52 of the Bar Hacks podcast.

Over the course of nine days, October 15 through 24, Elijah Craig is celebrating the bourbon cocktail they feel best showcases America’s native spirit.

Old Fashioned Week is another win-win-win restaurant and bar promotion. Operators can drive in-person and to-go (where legal) traffic, consumers enjoy an iconic cocktail while supporting the industry, and struggling hospitality workers can receive financial assistance.

Luckily, participating in this philanthropic campaign is simple. First, operators can use their social media channels and guest database to let people know they’re celebrating Old Fashioned Week. Publish posts, send emails, and send out marketing texts.

Second, operators can use the “contact us” form on the Old Fashioned week website. From there, they can ask to have their venue included in the ZIP code search function.

Third, anyone can post pictures of their Old Fashioned to social media. Simply include #OldFashionedWeek and tag Elijah Craig. The brand will donate $5 to the RWCF for every properly hashtagged and tagged photo.

Like I said, it’s simple to participate and raise money for those in need.

Elijah Craig Old Fashioned

Hey, you can make your Old Fashioned however you want. However, if you want to make the signature Elijah Craig Old Fashioned, see below:

Elijah Craig signature Old Fashioned cocktail

Add bitters, simple syrup, Elijah Craig Small Batch, and ice to a mixing glass. Stir—do not shake!—until well chilled. Strain cocktail over a large ice cube in a double old-fashioned glass. Garnish with a swath of orange and a brandied cherry.

If you’d like to make this classic how Lynn House does, add four dashes of bitters instead of three. Two dashes of Angostura bitters, two dashes of Regan’s orange bitters.

Image: Paige Ledford on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

SevenRooms Announces Olo Partnership

SevenRooms Announces Olo Partnership

by David Klemt

Cheeseburgers and French fries in takeout containers on pass

SevenRooms continues to grow and develop innovative partnerships.

The platform’s newest partnership benefits the hospitality industry, operators, and consumers.

In joining forces with Olo, SevenRooms further helps restaurants, bars, and hotels position themselves to succeed in an increasingly digital world.

The Bleeding Edge

Olo, which literally stands for “Online Ordering,” predates the iPhone.

In fact, the company launched before smartphones were more than niche devices.

Upon its inception, Olo’s service consisted mainly of sending mobile coffee orders to restaurant printers via text message.

Like SevenRooms, Olo seeks to stay ahead of the consumer behavior curve:

  • 2005: Olo launches, anticipating coffee drinkers will eagerly embrace mobile ordering.
  • 2008: The company predicts fast-casual restaurants will become faster than fast food.
  • 2012: Olo envisions the redesigning of kitchen restaurants to include pickup windows.
  • 2015: The platform sees the future for foodservice is delivery.

Now, Olo is dedicated to making sure online ordering customers benefit from the industry’s digital transformation.

The Partnership

SevenRooms ensures clients who also use Olo can capture their off-premise customers’ information. That data then creates profiles for those customers automatically.

This partnership leverages SevenRooms CRM and marketing automation integration. Operators will be able to send post-order surveys to off-premise, online ordering customers automatically.

So, operators can learn what is and isn’t working off-premise; elevate the experience of off-premise customers to increase online order frequency; convert those customers to in-person guests; encourage repeat visits; and increase profitability.

Moving forward, SevenRooms and Olo users will get to know their off-premise customers better.

“To meet the ever-evolving needs of our hospitality clients, we’ve continued to seek out strategic partners who help us provide an even more comprehensive solution to operators,” says SevenRooms CEO and founder Joel Montaniel. “Our integration with Olo delivers on our promise of offering a 360-degree platform focused on helping operators build deeper, direct relationships across on- and off-premise experiences. This partnership facilitates better operational efficiency and online data capture, ultimately helping operators optimize the profitability of their delivery and takeout business while strengthening customer relationships. We are excited to welcome Olo to our partner network, and look forward to our continued collaboration to drive better, more streamlined solutions for the industry.”

Learn more about SevenRooms here. Click here to learn more about Olo.

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What’s a Marketing Fund?

What’s a Marketing Fund?

by David Klemt

Vintage cash register in black and white

Do you know what a “marketing fund” is?

Moreover, if you know what I’m talking about, do your managers and staff have access to it?

A marketing fund—not your marketing budget—is a useful tool that can solve guest experience issues quickly.

What it Is

Both Doug Radkey and I mentioned marketing funds last week.

First, I brought it up in my article about communication and staff empowerment. Next, Doug included the marketing fund on last week’s Bar Hacks bonus episode, titled “Empowerment.” There, he shared the story that inspired my article.

Simply put, a marketing fund is a bit of cash kept on hand for use in a variety of situations.

Some people call it petty cash. Others refer to it as an “emergency” fund. We call it a marketing fund.

Whatever you choose to call it, it’s a small amount of cash most accessible by a manager or, often times, a bartender.

How to Use It

Operators will have to decide on the amount set aside; how often to replenish it; and who has access to the marketing fund.

For some, $40 may be feasible. Others may find that setting aside $200 for the week may work best.

In most cases, a register behind the bar serves as the marketing fund’s home. A manager or bartender knows where it is and can find it quickly.

Now, you’re likely noticing the word “quickly” is coming up a lot in reference to the marketing fund. That’s the point—quick, smooth problem solving.

So, come up with your rules and expectations regarding the marketing fund. Communicate those expectations. Then empower specific team members each shift to access it.

Of course, this requires trust in the team, their integrity, and their sense of what is and isn’t reasonable.

When to Use It

Again, this is about what’s reasonable and acceptable to an individual operation.

Will buying a round ease tensions and put a guest’s experience back on a positive track? Use the marketing fund.

Is there a promo that’s going wrong for a guest that a manager can solve with cash (a gift card problem, for example)? Access the marketing fund.

Will running across the street to grab an item solve a guest problem? The marketing fund can help.

This works for several reasons:

  • Staff can solve a guest’s issue quickly. This eases tensions and improves the guest experience.
  • Guest-facing or other issues can be solved smoothly. In some instances, the guest won’t even catch on that there’s really a problem.
  • Marketing fund transactions are traceable.
  • The marketing fund holds the operator and staff accountable. Are issues consistently arising during certain shifts or with specific team members? Something needs addressing.

The marketing fund is a practical, useful tool. Its use is trackable and ensures accountability. Consider implementing this fund today.

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5 Books to Read this Month: October

5 Books to Read this Month: October

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 October.

To review September’s book recommendations, click here.

Let’s dive in!

Restaurant Marketing That Works: Back to the Basics: Before, During & After the Pandemic

Bar Hacks podcast guest and expert restaurant marketer Matt Plapp’s most recent book provides everything you need to supercharge your marketing and engagement efforts. Matt makes understanding the basics, collecting guest data and building an effective database, and boosting engagement easy. This is the best $7 (for the paperback) you’ll ever spend.

Spirits of Latin America

Revered James Beard Award-nominated bartender and operator Ivy Mix takes readers on a cultural and historical journey through Latin America’s spirits and cocktails. Spirits of Latin America is the 2021 Spirited Award for Best New Book on Drinks Culture, History or Spirits and features more than 100 recipes.

Drinking French

This book is the winner of the 2021 Spirited Award for Best New Cocktail or Bartending Book. Author David Lebovitz dives deep into French drinking culture through 160 recipes and beautiful photography. Readers will learn how to drink like the French do through classic and modern drinks, snack pairings, and stories.

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

Author Angela Duckworth explains why grit, not talent, is the best indicator of perseverance. Grit is the book Jennifer Radkey references in her most recent article for KRG Hospitality. If you want to change the way you hire and build teams, this is the book for you.

Death & Co Welcome Home

The third book from Alex Day, Nick Fauchald, and David Kaplan, the team behind Death & Co., features more than 400 recipes. Now, while this book targets home bartenders, it’s also beneficial to bar professionals as it delves into the Death & Co. cocktail development program. Is that worth a $35 investment? Absolutely.  Death & Co. Welcome Home is available now for pre-order.

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

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Stand Out with Weird Holidays: October

Stand Out with Weird Holidays: October

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 October is no exception. These holidays range from mainstream—Halloween, 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 September’s list, click here.

October 3: National Boyfriend Day

I’m pretty sure you understand exactly what this holiday honors and how to encourage guests to celebrate it. Invite people into your restaurant or bar to treat their boyfriend to a bite, drink, and good time.

October 6: National Noodle Day

Do you have noodles? Like to sell them to guests? Enjoy creating LTOs and specialty noodle dishes? This is the holiday to celebrate all of your favorite things with your guests.

October 8: National Fluffernutter Day

Ah, Fluffernutter. Marshmallow fluff resonates with a lot of people, particularly ’80s and ’90s kids. National Fluffernutter Day is the perfect holiday to leverage nostalgia, creative cocktails and desserts, cooling temperatures, and candy.

October 9: National Motorcycle Ride Day

One of the best parts about cruising in a group on motorcycles is stopping to refuel at a restaurant or bar. Encourage your bike-riding guests to begin, take a break during, or end their group ride at your venue.

October 11: National Kick Butt Day

No, this isn’t a day about literally kicking any butts. Instead, this holiday is about motivating people to take the necessary steps to realize their dreams and achieve their goals. Encourage your guests to take steps to reach their goals and celebrate doing so at your business.

October 13: National Emergency Nurse’s Day

Nurses always deserve our thanks. However, I think we can all agree that the past 18 months have been particularly difficult and overwhelming for nurses. Offer the emergency room nurses (all nurses, really) an amazing food or drink promotion to thank them for all they do.

October 15: National Grouch Day

While this holiday focuses on letting people let their grouch flag fly, operators can take a different direction. Why not offer people a place and promotion to get out of their funk through great food, amazing drinks, and a fantastic time?

October 17: Wear Something Gaudy Day

I mean, this holiday is two weeks out from Halloween—people are willing to make any excuse to dress up.

October 21: Get to Know Your Customers Day

Do you really want to boost your bottom line? Get to know your customers. Really, this holiday is for you. Use this day to implement guest data-collecting practices and train your team to obtain this valuable information. Learn more about why and how to build a guest database on episode 51 of Bar Hacks with Matt Plapp.

October 25: Sourest Day

There are multiple ways to approach Sourest Day. Some say it’s about eliminating the “sour” people in our lives. Others use it to enjoy sour candies which, admittedly, is perfect for Halloween month. For operators, promoting sour beers and cocktails is likely a winning strategy.

October 29: National Breadstick Day

Unless someone is counting their carbs strictly, everyone enjoys a breadstick. In reality, not many people have the discipline to enjoy just one. If you’ve got breadsticks on your menu, you know what to do on this holiday.

Image: Dan Parlante on Unsplash