Menu

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

3 Bar Hacks Episodes for Sober October

3 Bar Hacks Episodes for Sober October

by David Klemt

Bartender straining cocktail

We’re just two weeks away from Sober October so here are three Bar Hacks podcast episodes to get you ready for this important month.

Over the course of 100-plus episodes we’ve spoken with a handful of non-alcohol brands. These, along with other alcohol-free brands, should be on your radar.

In fact, they deserve spots on your backbar and placement on your menus. The latest estimate is that around 40 percent of Americans don’t consume alcohol. In Canada that number is roughly 33 percent.

However, those numbers don’t paint a complete picture. Over the past few years there has been increasing interest in “sober curiosity.” In this movement, people abstain from drinking alcohol from time to time rather than abstaining permanently.

Now, we tend to associate the month of January with sobriety, either permanent or temporary. Clearly, however, October is also a month where people choose to not imbibe.

The Sober Guest Experience

The following should go without saying but let’s cover it anyway. Some sober people do, in fact, spend time in bars and nightclubs.

Just as that should go without saying, so should this: Your sober guests deserve every bit as great an experience as guests who are drinking alcohol.

Moreover, sober guests deserve a guest experience free of discomfort or isolation. In short, you should seamlessly provide the same level of service at the bar to sober guests as those who enjoy alcohol.

No, it’s not enough to menu water, sugary sodas, lemonade, and tea. Sober guests should be comfortable coming to your bar. Like guests who consume alcohol, sober guests should be able to order a drink that doesn’t make them feel different or singled out.

So, put quality non-alcohol beers on your menu. Create a number of signature zero-proof cocktails. Serve both with the same attention to detail as presentation as their full-alcohol counterparts.

“I’m a professional, I want to create,” says Paul Mathew, founder of alcohol-free aperitif brand Everleaf and Bar Hacks guest. “I want to do something I’m proud of.”

Approach your alcohol-free program the same way as Mathew, a bartender and operator himself. Be professional, be creative, and be mindful of your sober guests’ experience.

Episode 28 with Tim Rita

Lyre’s Spirits crafts alcohol-free spirits that masterfully mimic their full-proof counterparts. Host David Klemt sits down with Lyre’s brand ambassador, bartender, and buddy Tim Rita to chat about the brand. In this episode you’ll learn about one of the fastest-growing brands in one of the fastest-growing beverage categories. For the alcohol-free Mai Tai mentioned on the podcast, click here.

Listen now.

Episode 31 with Ted Fleming

Ted Fleming, entrepreneur and CEO and founder of Partake Brewing, stops by the Bar Hacks podcast to talk with host David Klemt. The two discuss the founding of Partake Brewing and the importance and growth of the non-alcohol beer category. Also, how operators can succeed with non-alc, advice for entrepreneurs, and more. Visit the Partake Brewing website to learn more. Connect with Partake on InstagramTwitter and Facebook.

Click here to listen.

Episode 81 with Paul Mathew

Paul Mathew, bartender, bar owner, and founder of Everleaf, sits down with Bar Hacks podcast co-host David Klemt. In this fun and informative episode, Paul shares his journey through bartending and bar ownership, and his entry into the drinks business. Non-alcoholic aperitif brand Everleaf is the culmination of Paul’s many years as a conservationist botanist, knowledge of plants, and nearly 30 years in the bar business.

The Everleaf portfolio consists of three unique expressions and a new RTD line. Shortly, Everleaf will begin distribution throughout the United States, and there are plans for Canada and Australia in the future. To learn more, vist the Everleaf website and follow Everleaf on Instagram and Facebook.

Listen to this episode here.

Image: Jia Jia Shum on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Pumpkin Spice Season Descends Upon Us

Pumpkin Spice Season Descends Upon Us

by David Klemt

Jack o' lantern and smoke

Once again, the unstoppable march of the spooky season is upon us, bringing with it a frightening assortment of pumpkin spice items and expectations.

In the blink of an eye, hordes will descend on your restaurant or bar. “Pumpkin spiiiiiice,” they’ll croak.

Okay, so that’s overly dramatic. For the most part, pumpkin spice season is anything but scary. And really, very few people will transform into singularly focused pumpkin spice zombies.

However, fall is nearly here. So, you do need to finalize your fall/autumn menu. Beginning in September, that really does mean considering offering at least one pumpkin spice LTO item.

Interestingly, though, pumpkin spice may not deserve its perception as the flavor of fall. According to Datassential, there are ten flavors that index high enough to give pumpkin spice a challenge for the fall throne.

What are they? Well, it just so happens that Datassential has those answers, along with a bit of useful advice.

Lord of the LTO

Recently, Datassential released “Food Industry Trend Report: 2022 Pumpkin Spice Season.” As the research firm points out, pumpkin spice seems to be encroaching on summer more each year.

How far away are we, I wonder, from pumpkin spice claiming summer for itself? Will we be subjected to pumpkin spice dry rubs at summer barbecues? Is some intrepid operator going to create a pumpkin spice lemonade?

Those terrifying questons aside, pumpkin spice season coming earlier means more opportunities to benefit from LTOs. Just as it seems that pumpkin spice is descending upon us earlier and earlier, it also seems to dominate the LTO space.

In fact, per Datassential research, major chains executed 174 pumpkin spice LTOs. Now, that’s still with a five-percent drop in menuing for pumpkin space over the past 12 months. Further, that number doesn’t include small, regional chains and independents who also launched pumpkin spice LTOs.

Of course, there are also other fall flavors that deserve a place on operators’ menus. And they’re perfectly cromulent as LTO drivers.

Fall Flavor Favorites

To inspire operators to create LTOs that entice consumers this fall, Datassential has identitied ten flavors on which to focus. Helpfully, they separate them into two main categories.

Top five sweet fall flavors:

  • Vietnamese cinnamon
  • Spicy ginger
  • Allspice
  • Eggnog
  • Pumpkin pie

Top five savory flavors:

  • Coconut milk
  • “Oktoberfest”
  • Mustard cream
  • Turkey gravy
  • Cranberry sauce

Personally, I can see operators and their teams needing to get creative to leverage mustard cream and turkey gravy. Interestingly, Datassential suggests a few flavors not on either list above.

According to their report, Datassential expects apple and blood orange to be popular for LTOs this year. According to the firm, apple was popular last year. When it comes to blood orange, Datassential says 38 percent of consumers like or love the flavor.

Whichever flavors you choose, Datassential has the following advice, which we co-sign: Ensure your LTOs are fresh; make sure they’re easy and quick to make; and don’t discount them. In fact, you should create premium LTOs that come with a premium price.

Image: Colton Sturgeon on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Are You Ready for Oktoberfest 2022?

Are You Ready for Oktoberfest 2022?

by David Klemt

Glass of Augustiner beer

Oktoberfest, one of the single best beer events and promotions operators can program for, kicks off on September 17 and goes through October 3.

Impressively, this year represents the 187th Oktoberfest. Of course, this would be the 189th Oktoberfest if Covid-19 hadn’t forced Munich to hit pause on the celebration.

At noon Central European Summer Time, Orktoberfest will tap the first keg. Then, Munich’s Lord Mayor Dieter Reiter will declare, “O’Zapft is!” The Bavarian phrase translates to, “It is tapped!” (For you linguistics nerds out there, the phrase is, “Es ist angezapft!” in German.)

In America, that means Oktoberfest will kick off at 1 AM HAST, 2 AM AKDT, 3 AM PT, 4 AM MT, 5 AM CT, 6 AM ET or 7 AM AST.

For Canada, those times are 3 AM PT, 4 AM MT, 5 AM CT, 6 AM ET, 7:30 AM NT.

Clearly, that’s pretty early for most people to start drinking beer. But hey, if you’re in a market like Las Vegas there may be people who want to kick off Oktoberfest at your bar at 3:00 in the morning.

The Official Oktoberfest Breweries

You may have heard that there are rules about which breweries can actually be at Oktoberfest. Well, that’s not a rumor.

To clarify, just six breweries in Munich can serve beer at this world-famous event. Those six breweries are:

  • Augustiner
  • Hacker-Pschorr
  • Hofbräu
  • Löwenbräu
  • Paulaner
  • Spaten

So, why does Oktoberfest limit the event to just these breweries? Essentially, this move is to ensure that this Munich-based event remains a Munich-based event.

Luckily, it’s not too difficult for operators to get their hands on Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbräu, Löwenbräu, and Spaten. Really, it just depends on the relationship an operator has with distributors the region in which they operate.

Oktoberfest Outside of Munich

Of course, an operator need not serve only the official Munich beers to celebrate Oktoberfest wherever they’re located.

Plenty of brewers outside of Munich brew seasonal Oktoberfest (or Octoberfest, as it were) beers. For example:

  • Bell’s
  • Brooklyn Brewery
  • Founders
  • Great Lakes
  • Jack’s Abby
  • Sam Adams
  • Sierra Nevada
  • Summit Brewing
  • Warsteiner

And when it comes to food programming, the Munich event serves some delicious bites. It should go without saying that yes, the following pair well with beer:

  • Roast chicken
  • Roast pork
  • Pounded, breaded thin cuts of meat (schnitzel)
  • Sausages
  • Brats
  • Pretzels
  • Tarte flambée (flammkuchen)
  • Potato pancakes (kartoffelpuffer)
  • German potato salad
  • German “cottage fries” or fried potatoes (bratkartoffeln)
  • Sauerkraut
  • German beer cheese spread (obatzda)
  • German red cabbage (rotkohl/blaukraut)

Truly, this is an amazing time of year. Just over two weeks of great beer and delicious comfort food.

To learn more about this annual celebration of beer, visit the official Oktoberfest website.

Image: Kurt Liebhaeuser on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

KRG Hospitality’s Top Bourbon Articles

KRG Hospitality’s Top Bourbon Articles

by David Klemt

Glass of bourbon whiskey next to fire

To inspire and help you program for National Bourbon Heritage Month, enjoy this roundup of our top bourbon articles.

For bourbon lovers specifically and those who appreciate whiskey in general, this is an exciting month. You can leverage that excitement throughout the month of September.

From limited time offers to pour specials and offering guests to try new bottles, National Bourbon Heritage Month is perfect for becoming a person’s go-to bourbon bar. Our resources below will help you achieve that status.

Cheers!

9 Bottles for Bourbon Heritage Month

Nine awesome bottles in three separate pricing categories. Here you’ll find bottles that retail for less than $25, several under $100, and a few that cost up to $150. Click here to read.

The 30 Days of Bourbon Challenge

In 2011, bourbon devotee and advocate Patrick Garrett founded Bourbon & Banter “to spread the Bourbon Gospel.” One way they accomplish this mission is through 30 Days of Bourbon. This challenge is simple but intriguing: Try a different bourbon every day in September. Click here to learn more.

National Bourbon Day: 2022 Trends

The history and heritage of bourbon is important. As America’s native spirit, bourbon’s history is particularly important to the nation. However, innovation and trends are crucial to the future of bourbon. In this article we examine four important 2022 bourbon trends. Click here to read.

7 Whiskeys for National Bourbon Day

Before we celebrate National Bourbon Heritage Month each year we celebrate National Bourbon Day. It’s always fun to see what new and exciting bottles are available, like these seven bottles from 2021. Click here.

8 Bottles for Bourbon Day

Of course, we’re celebrating National Bourbon Heritage Month 2022 this year. So, here are eight bottles worth checking out and adding to your inventory. Click here to review these bottles.

8 Bourbon Cocktails You Need to Know

Contrary to what some purists will tell you (whether you ask them or not), bourbon is great in a cocktail. From the ubiqutious Old Fashioned to the modern classic Billionaire, this article dives into eight bourbon cocktails you and your bar team need to know. And, of course, they’re perfect for National Bourbon Heritage Month limited time only menu. Click here to learn more.

7 Great Books About Bourbon

Sure, it’s awesome to enjoy a bourbon with friends. But what about pouring a dram of your favorite bourbon while reading about bourbon? Grab one or more of these books, pair them with a beautiful bourbon, and start expanding your whiskey knowledge today. Click here for our book recommendations.

Rabbit Hole Resources: Bourbon 101

When it comes to learning about a particular spirit, those producing them tend to know the most. So, seeking education straight from the source is a smart move. Rabbit Hole is creating, curating, and growing free bourbon resources. Have a question? They’ve got the answers, and then some. Click here.

Image: Thomas Park on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Stand Out with Weird Holidays: Sept. 2022

Stand Out with Weird Holidays: September 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 September 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 August’s list, click here.

September 5: Be Late for Something Day

You know what’s a great reason to be late from something? Enjoying an awesome meal or some great drinks with friends. Your bar or restaurant can provide that awesome meal and great drinks.

September 6: National Read a Book Day

As you know if you’ve been visiting KRG Hospitality throughout the week or subscribe to our newsletter, we love recommending good books. Cookbooks, cocktail books, hospitality industry history books, leadership books… We’re all about learning.

This is an excellent day to promote swapping books, recommending books, sharing books, etc.

September 8: National Ampersand Day

If there was ever a day that demands food/and or drink combos, it’s National Ampersand Day. For example, this is the perfect bar holiday to create a beer and shot limited-time offer menu.

September 13: National Positive Thinking Day

Restaurants and bars are the cornerstsones of their communities. One way operators and their teams can support their community is by ensuring they provide a positive experience.

On this day, encourage your community to stop in for a bite, a drink, a chat, and an overall happy, healthy time.

September 14: National Eat a Hoagie Day

No, hoagies aren’t weird…in Philadelphia. Everywhere else, it can sometimes be a “weird” thing to call a submarine sandwich. At any rate, guess what food you should create an LTO around on this holiday.

September 17: National Monte Cristo Day

You don’t have to agree with me, but this weird sandwich is my favorite. Sure, burgers are cool. But have you ever dipped a ham’n’cheese or turkey’n’cheese in egg, fried it, then dusted it with powdered sugar? Even weirder, have you used corn flakes as breading and then fried it? Put a few Monte Cristos on your menu to celebrate this glorious sandwich holiday.

September 22: Car Free Day

This one’s pretty simple: Encourage and incentivize your guests to use any mode of travel that isn’t a car/truck/SUV to come to your restaurant or bar. I, for one, will be opting for my motorcycle, which I don’t need to mention here but I’m going to anyway because I love it.

September 24: Innergize Day

First, a disclaimer: This isn’t a day celebrating a “performance” drink brand. Rather, Innergize Day is about relaxing and recouping. I’m sure you can see where your restaurant, bar or hotel fits in with this holiday.

September 25: National One-hit Wonder Day

This one’s simple: Commit to playing only one-hit wonders. People love nostalgia, particularly when it comes to music. Either create a playlist or hire a DJ, and if you’re feeling creative, put some themed drinks on your menu.

September 27: National Crush a Can Day

You don’t have to encourage your guests to literally crush cans to celebrate this day. Really, this is a great way to make people aware of your craft beers, RTDs, canned wines, and other canned beverages on your menu.

Image: Dan Parlante on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

2022 World Beer Cup Winners

2022 World Beer Cup Winners

by David Klemt

Person pouring draught beer

The Brewers Association‘s 2022 World Beer Cup identifies the top three beers across a staggering 103 separate categories.

If you enjoy multiplication, that’s 309 medals in a single competition. And that’s just the winners; there can be more than 200 entries in a single category.

So, yes—I envy the World Beer Cup judges. I mean, what beer fan wouldn’t want to taste all the entries into the Olympics of Beer?

This competition, developed by the Brewers Association, has been going strong since 1996. Next year’s competition, if you happen to brew beer and want to enter it, will take place in Nashville in May.

Okay, you may be wondering why I’m talking about this beer competition. The reason is simple: To get your ready for September.

There are three beer holidays to program for and celebrate next month:

  • National Beer Lover’s Day (September 7)
  • National Crush a Can Day (September 27)
  • Drink Beer Day (September 28)

Oh, and there’s this little event—Oktoberfest—that takes place from September 17 to October 3.

Below you’ll find 48 medal winners from 16 categories to give you a taste of the 2022 World Beer Cup results. For the full list, click here, then click the “2022 Winners” button.

Cheers!

Category 1: American Wheat Beer (68 entries)

  • Gold: For-scythe, Cherry Street Brewpub at Halcyon (Alpharetta, GA)
  • Silver: Hefe, Widmer Brothers Brewing (Portland, OR)
  • Bronze: American Wheat, Cerveceria Principia (Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico)

Category 2: Fruit Beer (134 entries)

  • Gold: Yuzu KSA, Fort Point Beer Co. (San Francisco, CA)
  • Silver: Berry, Berry, Quite Contrary, Territorial Brewing Co. (Springfield, MI)
  • Bronze: Grape Fruit Session IPA, Mahanine Brewing (Hohhot, People’s Republic of China)

Category 5: Pumpkin Beer (40 entries)

  • Gold: 5 Phantoms, Philipsburg Brewing Co. (Philipsburg, MT)
  • Silver: Ryes of the Pumpkin King, Sound2Summit Brewery (Snohomish, WA)
  • Bronze: Pumpkin Paddy, Launch Pad Brewery (Aurora, CO)

Category 9: Coffee Beer (79 entries)

  • Gold: Gusto Crema Coffee Ale, Georgetown Brewing Co. (Seattle, WA)
  • Silver: Daybreak, Wolf’s Ridge Brewing – Production Operations (Columbus, OH)
  • Bronze: Double Cream Coffee Dream, Dangerous Man Brewing Co. (Minneapolis, MN)

Category 10: Coffee Stout or Porter (112 entries)

  • Gold: Dusk til Dawn, Pizza Port San Clemente (San Clemente, CA)
  • Silver: Mocha Porter, Bend Brewing Co. (Bend, OR)
  • Bronze: Mocha Machine, Beachwood Brewing (Huntington Beach, CA)

Category 11: Specialty Beer (56 entries)

  • Gold: KURI KURO – Dark Chestnuts Ale, Miyazaki Hideji-Beer Co. (Nobeoka, Japan)
  • Silver: Agavemente, SouthNorte Beer Co. (Chula Vista, CA)
  • Bronze: Graham Cracker Porter, Denver Beer Co. (Denver, CO)

Category 14: Non-Alcohol Beer (123 entries)

  • Gold: Golden Lager, Grüvi (Denver, CO)
  • Silver: Non-Alcoholic Black Butte, Deschutes Brewery (Bend, OR)
  • Bronze: Parallel, Southern Grist Brewing Co. (Nashville, TN)

Category 15: Session Beer (43 entries)

  • Gold: Swift Half, Station 26 Brewing Co. (Denver, CO)
  • Silver: Peacekeeper, Launch Pad Brewery (Aurora, CO)
  • Bronze: Bucketty’s Pale Ale No. 2, Bucketty’s Brewing Co. (Brookvale, New South Wales, Australia)

Category 16: Session India Pale Ale (107 entries)

  • Gold: Trump Hands, Cannonball Creek Brewing Co. (Golden, CO)
  • Silver: Moon Rocks, Mickey Finn’s Brewery (Libertyville, IL)
  • Bronze: Tiny Juicy IPA, Five Boroughs Brewing Co. (Brooklyn, NY)

Category 22: Gluten-Free Beer (66 entries)

  • Gold: La Gosa Rita, Lakefront Brewery (Milwaukee, WI)
  • Silver: Little Brown Job, Lucky Pigeon Brewing Co. (Biddeford, ME)
  • Bronze: Glutenberg Session IPA, Glutenberg (Montréal, Québec, Canada)

Category 91: American-Style Pale Ale (160 entries)

  • Gold: Figueroa Mountain Mosaic, Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. (Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA)
  • Silver: Cruisin’, Pizza Port Bressi Ranch (Carlsbad, CA)
  • Bronze: Somewhere Golden, Institution Ale Co. (Camarillo, CA)

Category 92: Juicy or Hazy Pale Ale (141 entries)

  • Gold: Hazealicious, Reuben’s Brews – The Taproom (Seattle, WA)
  • Silver: Baby Azacca, 33 Brewing Experiment (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)
  • Bronze: Haze in the Park, Kings & Convicts Brewing Co. (San Diego, CA)

Category 95: Imperial India Pale Ale (174 entries)

  • Gold: Space Lettuce, Monday Night Brewing (Atlanta, GA)
  • Silver: Cali Boy, No Label Brewing Co. (Katy, TX)
  • Bronze: Devil’s Pool, Wissahickon Brewing Co. (Philadelphia, PA)

Category 96: Juicy or Hazy Imperial India Pale Ale (171 entries)

  • Gold: Pantless Thunder Goose, Mast Landing Brewing Co. (Westbrook, ME)
  • Silver: Houblon Deluxe, Pure Project (Vista, CA)
  • Bronze: Citra Powered Jetpack, Barebottle Brewing Co. (San Francisco, CA)

Category 102: American-Style India Pale Ale (384 entries)

  • Gold: Hop-Fu!, North Park Beer Co. (San Diego, CA)
  • Silver: Super Slap, Brewery X (Anaheim, CA)
  • Bronze: Aurora Hoppyalis IPA, Karl Strauss Brewing Co. (San Diego, CA)

Category 103: Juicy or Hazy India Pale Ale (343 entries)

  • Gold: Rhymes Like Dimes, Xül Beer Co. (Knoxville, TN)
  • Silver: Blue Comet, Widowmaker Brewing (Braintree, MA)
  • Bronze: Tasty Jams, Brix City Brewing (Little Ferry, NJ)

Image: Josh Olalde on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Datassential’s State of the Operator 2022

Datassential’s State of the Operator 2022

by David Klemt

Guests sitting at the bar inside a restaurant

The latest addition to the Datassential FoodBytes research series shares insights into the top three challenges most—if not all—operators are facing.

Now, some of what the report reveals paints a bleak picture. Inflation, the labor shortage, and supply chain issues persist even past the midway point of 2022.

However, operators are a tenacious and innovative group of business owners. Of course, that tenacity seems to manifest in people thinking this industry can weather any storm. That perception can come at operators’ detriment. Exhibit A: The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 not including replenishing of the RRF. But, I digress.

“The State of the Operator & the Road Ahead,” which you can download here, is helpful and informative. As you may be aware, we’re fans of Datassential and their FoodBytes reports. In fact, you can find our synopses of FoodBytes reports here and here.

Below are some key points that operators should be aware for consideration. I strongly urge you to download this free report today.

Operator Outlook

First, let’s take a look at traffic. As Datassential points out, some hospitality business segments are performing better than others currently.

In large part, this is due to two factors: People working from home, and people returning to travel. So, operators who rely heavily on commuters and in-person workers are struggling. On the other hand, operators inside or around hotels are, per Datassential, performing the strongest at the moment.

Interestingly, though, nearly half of operators (47 percent) are seeing an increase in traffic in comparison to pre-Covid levels. Fourteen percent of operators are reporting no change in traffic. Unfortunately, traffic is lower for 39 percent of operators.

Next, sales. In comparison to pre-Covid times, more than half (51 percent) of operators report an increase. Again, 14 percent of operators are experiencing no change. But 35 percent of operators are experiencing a decrease in sales.

Finally, profit margins. Half of operators may be seeing increases in traffic in sales, but profit margins are taking a hit. On average, the industry’s profit margin is now hovering at 13 percent. That’s an eight-percent drop in comparison to pre-Covid levels.

Segment Performance

The findings regarding profit margins are likely to be the most alarming to operators. Historically, our industry has operated on razor-thin margins for decades. Dropping from an average of 21 percent to 13 is concerning.

However, context is important. The segments seeing the lowest profit margins in 2022 are: Business & Industry (B&I), Healthcare, and Colleges & Universities (C&U). Again, remote work (and learning) are largely responsible for those particular segments watching their profit margins tumble.

The strongest performers are: Quick-Service Restaurants (QSR) at 17 percent; Fast Casual at 15 percent); and Midscale, Casual Dining, and Fine Dining, each at 13 percent. Lodging is just below the current average at 12 percent.

Operator Adaptation

Inflation, rising food costs, supply chain issues, labor shortages… Operators are finding ways to cope, and in some situation, thrive.

Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of operators are increasing menu prices. In the past 12 months, 77 percent of operators have raised menu prices at least once.

These increases range from one percent a staggering 30 percent. However, the majority have kept these increases to one to ten percent. Most (31 percent) have implemented increases of no more than five percent. Just one percent of operators boosted prices between 25 to 30 percent.

Of course, raising prices isn’t the only strategy operators have at their disposal. Forty percent of operators are streamlining their menu, reducing the sizes of their menus. However, it’s wise for operators to review their menus at least every three months to eliminate poor performers.

Other strategies include focusing on value for guests (27 percent); utilizing LTOs and launching new menu items (26 percent); eliminating a specific daypart or portion of the menu (25 percent); and making portion sizes small, or “shrinkflation” (18 percent).

There’s much more revealed in Datassential’s latest FoodBytes report. Download your copy today.

Image: Luca Bravo on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

iPourIt Releases Fourth Annual Pour Report

iPourIt Releases Fourth Annual Pour Report

by David Klemt

Black and white beer taps

Self-serve beverage platform iPourIt’s informative fourth annual Pour Report identifies their top beer and wine pours from 2021.

iPourIt is a pioneer in the self-serve space, enhancing the guest experience and boosting revenue. However, their annual reports are another key reason operators should consider this platform.

Unlike other industry platforms, iPourIt doesn’t limit their resources to clients. Nor do they place resources like their annual Pour Report behind a pay wall. So, this is a transparent company that clearly views their relationships with clients as partnerships.

You can check out their resources for yourself by following this link. To download a copy of the 2021 Annual Pour Report, click here.

Below you’ll find key datapoints from the latest iPourIt report. I encourage you to download and review the report in its entirety.

Key Demographic Information

When it comes to men and women using iPourIt self-serve systems, men are respsonsible for 64 percent of total ounces poured.

On average, men served themselves 6.4 ounces per pour and spent $14.21 on iPourIt per visit. For men, the top pours were IPA, Lager, Cider, Hefeweizen, and Sour.

Conversely, women served themselves nearly 11 million ounces via iPourIt systems. That’s 36 percent of total ounces poured.

On average, women served themselves 5.3 ounces per pour and spent $11.95 per visit. For women, the top pours were Cider, IPA, Sour, Lager, and Hefeweizen.

Interestingly, the top pour for both men and women was Michelob Ultra.

Key Beer Takeaways

The 2021 Pour Report analyzes data from more than 300 iPourIt systems, over 8,800 taps, and 49 million total ounces of beer and wine poured.

In total, patrons consumed nearly 14,600 total products. Further, the data above represents 1.9 million guests served 3.1 million pints. Compellingly, that’s $26.2 million in revenue generated by iPourIt systems.

In terms of iPourIt systems and patrons, cider claimed the number two slot for the top 15 poured beer styles. Perhaps unsurprisingly, IPA claims the top spot. In fact, iPourIt systems served more than 10 million ounces of IPA.

As far as beer styles that are growing in popularity, three styles are on the rise. These climbers are Belgian, Cream Ale, and fruit beer. Conversely, Lager, Red Ale, and Witbier slipped down the list. Interestingly, Witbier slid four slots on iPourIt’s top 15 beer styles list. For the first time since iPourIt has been releasing reports, Seltzer made it onto the list, claiming the 11 spot.

Another interesting bit of data concerns consumer preferences. IPA may be the beer style seeing the most pours but domestic Lagers and light Ales are the top-selling products across iPourIt systems. The platforms interprets this as consumers trying small samples of IPA but going with Lagers and Ales for full serves.

Top Beer Pours by Category

Helpfully, iPourIt breaks down their Pour Report into several categories. So, let’s take a look at the top five from several of their lists.

As for the top products poured overall, Michelob Ultra claims the top spot. In descending order, it’s followed by Bud Light, Golden Road Mango Cart, Ace Pineapple Cider, and Modelo Especial.

For domestic pours, numbers one and two are the same as above. However, Coors Light, Miller Lite, and Pabst Blue Ribbon. The top five import products are Modelo Especial, Delirium Tremens, Rekorderlig Strawberry-Lime, Stella Artois, and Dos Equis Lager Especial.

Switching gears to craft and microbrew, Mango Cart claims the number one spot. Numbers two through five are Space Dust, 805, Kona Big Wave, and Big Storm Oak & Stone Snowbird Pilsner.

Of course, the report goes much deeper than just those four categories. There’s also the top 25 IPAs, and the top 15 Lagers, Ciders, Hefeweizens, Sours, Stouts, Blonde Ales, Pilsners, and Pale Ales.

New for the annual Pour Report are the top 15 fruit beers and Seltzers.

Key Wine Takeaways

Before we proceed, iPourIt systems aren’t limited to beer and wine. If it’s a beverage without pulp or sediment intended to be poured cold, iPourIt can handle it.

So, cold brew coffee, kombucha, sodas…these are all revenue-generating serves to pour alongside beer and wine.

Now, onto the 2021 report. The key wine takeaway focuses on sparkling wine. In short, sparking wines have proven popular with iPourIt patrons. So, the platform suggests using their systems to offer guests build-your-own Mimosas, as well as promoting self-serve as an enhancement to brunch.

Addressing the top-performing wines for iPourIt systems, the top five overall in descending order are:

  1. Boca Barrel Boca Frizzante
  2. Starborough Sauvignon Blanc
  3. Carletto Prosecco (up two spots)
  4. Stemmari Pinot Grigio
  5. Archer Roose Bubbly

Boca Frizzante is a “Prosecco-style” white wine sparkler. Archer Roose Bubbly is also a Prosecco-style white. An actual Prosecco climbed the top 10 to reach spot number three. Essentially, three Proseccos are among the top five most-poured wine products for iPourIt patrons.

Interestingly, the top five are all white wines. In fact, there are only two reds among the top ten, both of them Cabernet Sauvignons.

Image: Josh Olalde on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

End the Month with this Sour Cocktail

End the Month with this Sour Cocktail

by David Klemt

Sour cocktail on table in high-end bar

End the month of August with a promotion focusing on one of the most popular members of the iconic sour cocktail family.

As I’ve been saying in several of this month’s articles, August is full of bar holidays. This month we celebrate Albariño, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Prosecco. And that’s just the wine holidays, which also include National White Wine Day and National Red Wine Day.

Additionally, National Rum Day and Mai Tai Day in August. Apparently, however, eight bar holidays just isn’t enough. And that’s awesome.

You see, we have another bar holiday to celebrate this month. National Whiskey Sour Day takes place on Thursday, August 25.

The Sour Family

Family, category, type… There are several ways to distinguish groups of cocktails.

And depending on your source preference, there are either a handful of families or at least twenty. Hey, why make things easy when we can obsess over minutiae and argue with our peers?

One of the most popular lists of families comes from Gary “Gaz” Regan, an icon in his own right. Sadly, he died on November 15, 2019. Regan’s 2003 book Joy of Mixology identifies “sours” amongst 19 other families.

In 1862, Jerry Thomas included several sours in his book The Bar-Tenders Guide. (a.k.a. How to Mix Drinks). You’ll find the Brandy Sour, Gin Sour, Santa Cruz Sour, and Whiskey SOur. However, a cocktail need not include “Sour” in its name to be part of this cocktail family.

Consider the characteristics of a sour: a base spirit, lemon or lime juice, and a sweetener. In some cases, also egg whites.

So, those defining elements place the Collins, Daiquiri, Margarita, French 75, Gimlet, Mojito, Paloma, Rickey, Sidecar, and Southside in the sour family. However, some would place the members of this group that call for a carbonated element into either the Champagne or so-called “sparkling sour” family.

Now, if you really want to get pedantic, the Whiskey Sour could be a member of the Punch family as well.

The Whiskey Sour

So, does it surprise you to learn that we don’t know the exact origin of the Whiskey Sour? As in, we don’t know precisely who to credit for creating this classic?

Well, it shouldn’t, as cocktail history is quite often murky and mysterious at best.

However, we know that the first appearance of the Whiskey Sour recipe is from Jerry Thomas’ The Bar-Tenders Guide. So, that means the cocktail was known in 1862.

Yet, it’s believed that this recipe was known for at least a hundred years prior. Interestingly, one can argue that the Whiskey Sour is sibling to Grog. In the 1700s, British Vice-Admiral Edward Vernon commanded captains to allow sailors to purchase sugar and limes to make their watered down rum rations taste better.

Hey, sounds like a base spirit, lemon or lime juice, and sweetener to me.

Alright, that’s enough history for you to share with your guests. To celebrate National Whiskey Sour Day, create a handful of LTOs. This can be as easy as offering a Whiskey Sour menu featuring an array of bourbons or other whiskeys. Additionally, you can menu a signature Whiskey Sour and have variants such as the New York Sour or Penicillin accompany it.

Also, if your local legislature permits the discounting of alcohols, you can offer a discount on Whiskey Sours. For food pairings, consider barbecue pork dishes, Cheddar cheese, or brie.

“Gaz” Regan’s Cocktail Families

For the curious, below is the list of cocktail families according to “Gaz” Regan, in alphabetical order:

  1. Beer- and Cider-based
  2. Bottled
  3. Champagne
  4. Cobblers
  5. Duos and Trios
  6. French-Italian
  7. Frozen
  8. Highballs
  9. Hot
  10. Infusions
  11. Jelly Shots
  12. Juleps
  13. Milanese
  14. Muddled
  15. Orphans
  16. Pousse-cafes
  17. Punches
  18. Snappers
  19. Sours
  20. Tropical

Image: Ambitious Creative Co. – Rick Barrett on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Top 10 States Attracting High Earners

Top 10 States Attracting High Earners

by David Klemt

The Florida Theater in Jacksonville, Florida

Using the inflow and outflow data of tax filers earning $200,000 or more, SmartAsset identifies the top ten states attracting high earners.

When it comes to the number-one state, “it’s not even close,” says SmartAsset Advisors. Not surprisingly, several top inflow cities (according to Redfin data) line up with SmartAsset’s top inflow state list.

So, why should this information matter to operators? Plainly, it’s important market information. Population, household income, and age information are crucial considerations when opening any business.

In fact, KRG Hospitality includes such data (and much, much more) when conducting research for our proprietary feasibility, business, and concept plans. Among many elements of opening a restaurant, bar, hotel, or entertainment venue, the income of one’s target audience is crucial.

Knowing where high-income households are leaving and moving to can inform many operator decisions. Where should one open their first concept? Which markets should one consider for expansion? What type of concept will work in a market? What are the threshold price points for menu items? How will this information help inform design choices?

Operators need to recoup their outlay. The income of a concept’s ideal guest should be as important to an operator as knowing their costs.

Top Ten Inflow States

Interestingly, the top state on this list did experience significant outflow in 2020. In fact, the state lost 11,756 high-earning households in 2020.

However, the state also added 32,019 such households, netting 20,263 high earners.

  1. Utah
  2. Idaho
  3. Nevada
  4. Colorado
  5. Tennessee
  6. South Carolina
  7. North Carolina
  8. Arizona
  9. Texas
  10. Florida

Another compelling detail of the states on this list pertains to income tax. In short, three of the states don’t levy personal income tax.

Above, they’re the states in bold: Florida, Nevada, and Texas.

Top 10 Outflow States

So, above are the ten states are seeing the greatest an inflow of high-earning households. Which means, of course, there’s an inverse.

Below, the ten states experiencing the greatest outflow of high earners. Unsurprisingly, SmartAsset deems several entries on the list high-tax states. Also, Washington, DC, is a high-tax area.

Moreover, the list below includes five of the top ten high personal income tax jurisdictions (in bold).

  1. Ohio
  2. Minnesota
  3. Washington, DC
  4. Maryland
  5. New Jersey
  6. Virigina
  7. Massachusetts
  8. Illinois
  9. California
  10. New York

However, it’s not as though these states are seeing a massive exodus of high-earning households. In fact, per SmartAsset, these states have more high-income households than the national average.

Nationally, high-earning households account for less than seven percent of all tax filers. According to SmartAsset, nearly nine percent of tax filers are high-income households in the top ten outflow states.

Image: Trevor Neely on Unsplash

Top