Operations

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Restaurants Canada Reveals Pandemic Impact

Two Years On, Restaurants Canada Reveals Pandemic Impact

by David Klemt

Canon accounting calculator

Restaurants Canada looks at the impact of the pandemic on the foodservice industry in their latest Foodservice Facts report.

Canada’s foodservice industry research and advocacy non-profit sees a return to pre-pandemic operations. However, the path forward toward pre-pandemic traffic and sales levels won’t be without its challenges.

“While nominal sales are expected to return to pre-pandemic levels before the end of the year, traffic still remains below what it was before,” says Restaurants Canada president and CEO Christian Buhagiar.

To access your own copy of 2022 Foodservice Facts, click here.

Industry Still Struggling

As an owner, operator, or foodservice professional, you probably have the answer to a specific question in mind.

When will we be “back to normal?” And, of course, the natural followup to that question. Will the industry surpass 2019 traffic and sales?

Restaurants and bars throughout Canada have survived six waves of Covid-19 over the course of two-plus years. There have been an inordinate amount of lockdowns that inarguably forced the permanent closure of far too many businesses.

As Restaurants Canada states (and the rest of us know all too well), there’s no telling if another Covid-19 variant will rear its ugly head. It’s conceivable (but with any luck unlikely) that Canada could face future lockdowns.

At the moment, according to Restaurants Canada, foodservice sales are currently 11 percent below 2019 levels. And yes, that’s after adjustment for inflation. Speaking of which, one reason traffic and sales remain below those of 2019 is consumer confidence. Many Canadians are concerned about a possible recession.

In addition, operators in Canada continue to face a labor shortage.

News Not All Bad

Now, anyone who read the previous section would be justified in lacking confidence in the industry. However, there is good news.

First, let’s compare Q1 of 2022 to Q2. Per Restaurants Canada, just 15 percent of restaurants were able to seat guests with zero restrictions. By April, though, approximately 90 percent of restaurants in Canada could serve in-person guests restriction-free.

Second, Q2 had more positivity in store for operators. According to Restaurants Canada, the FSR segment endured an 18-month decline in traffic when Covid-19 took hold. When restrictions were lifted, the floodgates of consumer demand burst. By Q2, traffic was a mere one percent lower in comparison to 2019.

Going a bit granular, QSR performance also improved in Q2. Per Restaurants Canada, QSR traffic lagged eight percent behind pre-pandemic levels. However, that number improved to just two percent under pre-pandemic levels by Q2.

Compellingly, Q2 still wasn’t done with foodservice industry positivity. While QSRs outpaced FSRs three-fold in terms of traffic, their numbers combined bring the industry back to 2019 Q2 levels.

Restaurant Canada’s positive outlook predicts that the industry will return to pre-pandemic levels by Q4.

Image: StellrWeb on Unsplash

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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

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

What’s Up with Meat, Poultry and Seafood?

What’s Up with Meat, Poultry and Seafood?

by David Klemt

Barbecue food plate on wooden table

We know how plant proteins are performing with consumers but what do we know about how meat, poultry, and seafood are doing?

Well, because of a recent report from Datassential, we know many consumers are “meat-limiters.” And research from the World Resources Institute shows that plant-based performance is nuanced.

Interestingly, the performance of animal proteins on-premise appears to be following a beverage trend: Moderation. According to Datassential, more consumers are reducing their consumption of meat and poultry than increasing it in comparison with 2021.

So, meat-limiters may be indicative of the future of meat consumption.

Consumer Shifts

As the name implies, meat-limiters are limiting or otherwise reducing their consumption of animal proteins. Importantly, it doesn’t appear that a significant percentage of consumers are eliminating animal proteins from their diets.

Rather, many people are simply increasing the amount of plant-based items they’re eating. However, that increase is more aspirational than real in some cases.

Per Datassential’s survey of 1,500 consumers in the US, just over 70 percent of people are meat eaters. In contrast, nearly 25 percent are “flexitarian.” Just two percent are vegan or pescatarian, and only three percent are vegetarian.

So, the vast majority of Americans are still consuming meat, poultry, and seafood. We just now have reason to believe that more consumers may be leaning toward a flexitarian diet.

A bit over a quarter of consumers consume meat every day. Still, many people aspire to eat more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, per Datassential.

However, there are more pescatarians, vegans, and vegetarians among Gen Z than the overall population. According to Datassential, this could indicate a shift away from animal proteins in the future.

Meat Performance is Nuanced

Just like plant-based performance, meat performance is nuanced. There are many factors at play.

Shifts in what consumers value are driving changes to the performance of proteins. Health, sustainability, the climate, taste, and affordability have an effect on all proteins, animal and plant.

Undeniably, inflation and shaken consumer confidence are impacting protein performance. Everything, it seems, is more expensive at the moment. Generally speaking, animal proteins are pricier than plant-based items.

It makes sense, then, that some consumers are reducing their intake of animal proteins and filling that void with fruits, veggies, and legumes.

Of particular note are shifts in daily and weekly consumption of animal proteins in 2022. Meat consumption once or more per week—beef, lamb, pork, veal—is up three percent. However, there’s a ten-percent increase in consumers eating poultry once or more per week.

Interestingly, daily poultry consumption is down seven percent in comparison with 2021. Likewise, daily consumption of seafood is also down seven percent, and fewer people are consuming it less than once per week.

Plant-based is Down

Despite what some would think, meat-limiters don’t appear to be driving up plant proteins significantly.

In fact, according to Datassential, the daily consumption of plant-based proteins is down. Per the research firm, seitan, tempeh, and tofu are the experiencing the greatest drop in daily consumption.

The fact is that across generations, more consumers eat animal proteins on a daily basis than their plant-based counterparts. Gen Z, per Datassential, consumes more animal proteins on a daily basis than other generations.

So, how does it make sense that people are reducing their meat intake but plant-based isn’t seeing a sizable jump in consumption?

In part, the answer is the growing popularity of plant-forward dishes. These are items, like bowls, that offer a small amount of meat, poultry, seafood or dairy. The majority of these menu items consists of plants but are not free of animal proteins completely.

The path forward may indeed be a plant-forward menu. Of course, this is heavily reliant on a specific concept or brand. Still, it’s likely many restaurants can do well offering mixed dishes, those heavier on plant proteins than animal proteins.

Image: Peter Pham on Unsplash

Note: This article is based on information from Datassential’s “2022 Plant-Forward Opportunity” report. To access a number of free reports, sign up with Datassential today.

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2022 World’s 50 Best Restaurants: 51-100

’22 World’s 50 Best Restaurants: 51-100

by David Klemt

High-end plate of food

Just a week away from their big 2022 reveal, numbers 51 through 100 of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants is now available.

As one expects, these restaurants represent the pinnacle of dining. The 2022 list also represents a number of changes in comparison to 2021.

For example, a number of restaurants in the Middle East are among this year’s 51 to 100 rankings. Notably, these restaurants were not included on last year’s list. In fact, nearly half of the restaurants are new entries on the 51 to 100 list.

Additionally, the 2022 list represents six continents. This year, four “new” countries and a sovereign island city-state make the 51 to 100 rankings:

  • Argentina
  • China
  • Germany
  • Singapore
  • UAE

The regional breakdown is as follows:

  • Asia: 14 restaurants
  • Europe: 13 venues
  • North America: 11 concepts
  • Middle East: 2 restaurants
  • Africa: 2 concepts
  • Oceania: 1 venue
  • South America: 7 restaurants

Just six American restaurants are on the list. Three are in New York, two in San Francisco, and one is in Chicago. Disappointingly, zero Canadian restaurants are among the 51 to 100 rankings.

Restaurants one through 50 will be revealed on Monday, July 18. Numbers 51 to 100 of the World’s 50 Best Bars will be revealed Tuesday, September 27.

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022: 51 to 100

  1. Alcalde (Guadalajara, Jalisco, México)
  2. Sud 777 (Ciudad de México, México)
  3. D.O.M. (São Paulo, SP, Brazil)
  4. Lyle’s (London, England)
  5. Azurmendi (Larrabetzu, Biscay, Spain)
  6. La Colombe (Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa)
  7. Trèsind Studio (Dubai, UAE)
  8. Alléno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen (Paris, France)
  9. Sazenka (Tokyo, Japan)
  10. Rosetta (Ciudad de México, México)
  11. La Grenouillère (La Madelaine-sous-Montreuil, France)
  12. Ernst (Berlin, Germany)
  13. Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare (New York, NY, USA)
  14. Fu He Hui (Shanghai, People’s Republic of China)
  15. Le Du (Bangkok, Thailand)
  16. Sühring (Bangkok, Thailand)
  17. Evvai (São Paulo, SP, Brazil)
  18. Kjolle (Barranco, Lima, Perú)
  19. Cosme (New York, NY, USA)
  20. Zén (Singapore)
  21. Mingles (Seoul, South Korea)
  22. Atelier Crenn (San Francisco, CA, USA)
  23. Kol (London, England)
  24. Blue Hill at Stone Barns (Pocantico Hills, Mount Pleasant, NY, USA)
  25. Samrub Samrub (Bangkok, Thailand)
  26. Neighborhood (Hong Kong)
  27. Table by Bruno Verjus (Paris, France)
  28. Lasai (Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil)
  29. Estela (New York, NY, USA)
  30. AM par Alexandre Mazzia (Marseille, France)
  31. Brat (London, England)
  32. Sézanne (Tokyo, Japan)
  33. El Chato (Bogotá, DC, Colombia)
  34. Gimlet at Cavendish House (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)
  35. Raan Jay Fai (Bangkok, Thailand)
  36. Mikla (Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey)
  37. Orfali Bros Bistro (Dubai, UAE)
  38. Mishiguene (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
  39. Máximo Bistrot (Ciudad de México, México)
  40. Wolfgat (Paternoster, Western Cape, South Africa)
  41. Oriole (Chicago, IL, USA)
  42. Indian Accent (New Delhi, Delhi, India)
  43. Hertog Jan at Botanic Sanctuary (Antwerp, Belgium)
  44. Burnt Ends (Singapore)
  45. Meta (Singapore)
  46. Maní (São Paulo, SP, Brazil)
  47. Benu, San Francisco, CA, USA)
  48. Tantris (München, Germany)
  49. Flocons de Sel (Megève, France)
  50. Wing (Hong Kong)

*Bold denotes new entry

Image: Delightin Dee on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Summer 2022 is the Summer of Mezcal

Summer 2022 is the Summer of Mezcal

by David Klemt

Código 1530 Mezcal bottle

Move over tequila, rum and gin, because this year the drink of the summer is something different.

Summer 2022 is the Summer of Mezcal.

Traditionally, sure, we’re led to believe that lighter spirits (white rum, gin) are best for the hotter months. Of course, dark rum is another route people often take during the summer.

However, mezcal is on fire at the moment. In fact, it has been for the past few years now. So, why not feature it on your summer drink menu?

Mezcal adds depth and complexity to classic cocktails, engaging guests by offering new flavors. And, of course, mezcal is also a fantastic starting point for modern drinks.

Below you’ll find six summer mezcal recipes from Collin De Laval, company mixologist for Código 1530. He turned his attention to Código 1530 Mezcal Artesanal for the Summer of Mezcal.

To learn more about Código 1530 and De Laval, check out Bar Hacks episode 57. Cheers!

Código 1530 La Palomita

La Palomita

  • 1.5 oz Código 1530 Mezcal Artesanal
  • 0.75 oz Lime juice (fresh, of course)
  • 0.25 oz Aperol
  • 4 oz Yuzu-lime soda
  • 0.25 oz Simple syrup
  • Lime wheel or wedge to garnish

Prepare a cocktail glass with fresh ice. In a shaker, combine Código 1530 Mezcal, lime, Aperol and simple syrup. Shake well, pour into cocktail glass, top with yuzu-lime soda, and garnish with lime wheel or wedge.

Código 1530 Tropicana

Tropicana

Combine all ingredients in a shaker and prepare a cocktail glass with fresh ice. Shake vigorously, pour, and garnish with a pineapple wedge.

Código 1530 Mezcal Margarita

Mezcal Margarita

Prepare a cocktail or Margarita glass with fresh ice, then combine all ingredients in a shaker (also with ice). Shake, pour, and garnish with a lime.

Código 1530 Mezcal Ranch Water

Mezcal Ranch Water

Combine Código 1530 Mezcal, lime juice, and agave nectar in a cocktail or highball glass with ice, top with soda water, and stir.

Código 1530 Mango Mezcal Paloma

Mango Mezcal Paloma

In a shaker with ice, combine Código 1530 Mezcal and all three juices. Shake vigorously, strain into a highball glass with fresh ice, top with soda water, and garnish with grapefruit peel.

Código 1530 Mezcal Espresso Martini

Mezcal Espresso Martini

If you own, operate or are on the leadership team at a bar—or if you’re a bartender or server—you know the Espresso Martini has once again found itself having a moment. So, while you’re building out your summer mezcal menu, don’t forget this trendy drink.

Add all the liquid ingredients to a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously until well chilled. Pour into a Martini glass (consider preparing by chilling if you don’t already) and garnish with coffee beans.

Images courtesy of Código 1530

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Tales Announces Top Four Awards Finalists

Tales Announces Top Four Spirited Awards Finalists

by David Klemt

The number four inside a circle

It’s official: The Tales of the Cocktail Foundation announces the top four finalists in each of the 2022 Spirited Awards categories.

I don’t envy the judges who have to narrow down the top ten nominees to the top four finalists. Equally as daunting: deciding on the winner of each award in each category.

We’ll know who’s taking home each Spirited Award in just over a month. The ceremony will take place on Thursday, July 28 at the Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans. For those attending the 20th anniversary Tales of the Cocktail, the Ritz-Carlton is this year’s headquarters hotel.

Purchase Spirited Awards tickets here, and check out the digital playbill here.

See you at Tales, y’all! Cheers.

US Categories

US Bartender of the Year presented by Del Maguey

  • Josh Davis (16th Street Bar, Chicago, IL)
  • Chris Hannah (Jewel of the South, New Orleans, LA)
  • Masahiro “Masa” Urushido (Katana Kitten, New York, NY)
  • Christine Wiseman (BarLab Hospitality Group, Miami, FL)

Best US Bar Mentor presented by BarSmarts

  • Meaghan Dorman
  • Sean Kenyon
  • Nectaly Mendoza
  • Jeffrey Morgenthaler

Best US Brand Ambassador presented by Libbey Glass

  • Chris Cabrera (Bacardí USA)
  • Tad Carducci (Gruppo Montenegro)
  • Vance Henderson (Hendrick’s Gin)
  • Lynn House (Heaven Hill)

Best US Bar Team presented by William Grant & Sons

  • Half Step (Austin, TX)
  • Jewel of the South (New Orleans, LA)
  • Katana Kitten (New York, NY)
  • The Roosevelt Room (Austin, TX)

Best US Cocktail Bar presented by Absolut Vodka

  • Bar Goto (New York, NY)
  • Katana Kitten (New York, NY)
  • The Roosevelt Room (Austin, TX)
  • Thunderbolt (Los Angeles, CA)

Best US Hotel Bar presented by Grey Goose

  • Dear Irving on Hudson at the Aliz Hotel (New York, NY)
  • Hey Love at The Jupiter (Portland, OR)
  • Little Rituals at the Residence Inn/Courtyard by Marriott (Phoenix, AZ)
  • Silver Lyan at the Riggs Washington DC (Washington, DC)

Best US Restaurant Bar presented by Maison Ferrand

  • Café La Trova (Miami, FL)
  • Cleaver: Butchered Meats, Seafood & Classic Cocktails (Las Vegas, NV)
  • Jewel of the South (New Orleans, LA)
  • Kumiko (Chicago, IL)

Best New US Cocktail Bar presented by Aviation Gin

  • Double Chicken Please (New York, NY)
  • Happy Accidents (Albuquerque, NM)
  • Temple Bar (New York, NY)
  • Yacht Club (Denver, CO)

International Categories

International Bartender of the Year presented by Patrón

  • Lorenzo Antinori (ARGO / Four Seasons Hotel & Resorts, Hong Kong, China)
  • Keith Motsi (Charles H. Seoul at the Four Seasons Hotel, Seoul, South Korea)
  • Rémy Savage (🔶🟥🔵 A Bar with Shapes for a Name, London, UK)
  • Matt Whiley (RE, Sydney, Australia)

Best International Bar Mentor presented by Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic

  • Monica Berg
  • Renato “Tato” Giovannoni
  • Lauren Mote
  • Agostino Perrone

Best International Brand Ambassador presented by Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic

  • Martin Hudák (Mr. Black Spirits)
  • Daniyel Jones (House of Angostura)
  • Ricardo Nava (Bacardí Latin America)
  • Nicola Riske (The Macallan)

Best International Bar Team presented by House of Angostura

  • ALQUÍMICO (Cartagena, Colombia)
  • MAYBE SAMMY (Sydney, Australia)
  • The Clumsies (Athens, Greece)
  • Two Schmucks (Barcelona, Spain)

Best International Cocktail Bar presented by Tequila Fortaleza

  • MAYBE SAMMY (Sydney, Australia)
  • Satan’s Whiskers (London, UK)
  • Tayēr + Elementary (London, UK)
  • Two Schmucks (Barcelona, Spain)

Best International Hotel Bar presented by Perrier

  • Charles H. Seoul at the Four Seasons Hotel (Seoul, South Korea)
  • Fifty Mils at the Four Seasons Hotel (Mexico City, Mexico)
  • Lyaness at Sea Containers London (London, UK)
  • The American Bar at The Stafford London (London, UK)

Best International Restaurant Bar presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • Danico (Paris, France)
  • Le Mary Celeste (Paris, France)
  • Pujol (Mexico City, Mexico)
  • Sexy Fish (London, UK)

Best New International Cocktail Bar presented by Stranger & Sons

  • 🔶🟥🔵 A Bar with Shapes for a Name (London, UK)
  • ARGO (Hong Kong, China)
  • Schofield’s Bar (Manchester, UK)
  • SIPS (Barcelona, Spain)

Global Categories

Best New Spirit or Cocktail Ingredient presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • Abasolo Ancestral Corn Whisky
  • Citadelle Gin Jardin d’été
  • Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic – Italian Orange
  • Nixta Licor de Elote

World’s Best Cocktail Menu presented by Diageo Bar Academy

  • Little Red Door (Paris, France)
  • Lyaness at Sea Containers London (London, UK)
  • Swift Soho (London, UK)
  • Tayēr + Elementary (London, UK)

World’s Best Spirits Selection presented by Beam Suntory

  • In-Situ Mezcaleria (Oaxaca City, Mexico)
  • Jack Rose Dining Saloon (Washington, DC)
  • Sexy Fish (London, UK)
  • Swift Soho (London, UK)

Writing and Media Categories

Best Cocktail & Spirits Publication presented by Diageo Bar Academy

  • CLASS magazine
  • Discard the Zine
  • VinePair
  • Whisky Magazine

Best Broadcast, Podcast, or Online Video Series presented by Diageo Bar Academy

  • Radio Imbibe
  • Shōshin Art Club
  • The Cocktail Lovers Podcast
  • The Speakeasy Podcast

Best Cocktail & Spirits Writing presented by Diageo Bar Academy

  • “Get Real: The bar world looks beyond feel-good measures on sustainability and climate change” by Max Falkowitz, for Imbibe Magazine
  • “Has the Coronavirus Pandemic Destroyed American Bar Culture?” by Jeffrey Morgenthaler, for Daily Beast
  • “Meet the Eco-Packaging Innovations Transforming the Drinks Industry” by Betsy Andrews, for SevenFifty Daily
  • “The Greatest Drinking Contest in History” by David Wondrich, for Daily Beast

Best New Cocktail or Bartending Book presented by Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic

  • Death & Co: Welcome Home by Alex Day, Nick Fauchald, and David Kaplan
  • The Cocktail Seminars by Brian D. Hoefling
  • The Japanese Art of the Cocktail by Masahiro Urushido and Michael Anstendig
  • The Way of the Cocktail: Japanese Traditions, Techniques, and Recipes by Julia Momosé with Emma Janzen

Best New Book on Drinks Culture, History, or Spirits presented by Diageo Bar Academy

  • Bourbon: The Story of Kentucky Whiskey by Clay Risen
  • Drunk: How We Sipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way to Civilization by Edward Slingerland
  • Girly Drinks: A World History of Women and Alcohol by Mallory O’Meara
  • The Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails edited by David Wondrich with Noah Rothbaum

Image: Tim Hüfner on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Eatertainment Poised to Come Roaring Back

Eatertainment Poised to Come Roaring Back

by David Klemt

Two women playing cornhole

People are eager to return bars and restaurants, and that focus is beneficial to the growth of one hospitality category in particular: Eatertainment.

As the name suggests, an “eatertainment” venue operates as both an entertainment space and restaurant.

Those who have been to such a concept know the key elements that define eatertainment. A robust F&B program; an array of bar games and other entertainment; room enough to play games and attract groups, but so large it draws massive crowds; and an interest in extending guest stays rather than constantly turning and burning.

Pre-pandemic, the eatertainment category was heating up, steadily growing in popularity. As recently as 2019, SevenRooms and YouGov partnered to study these concepts. When your category draws the attention of data-focused platforms and research firms, you know it’s a winner.

So, what did SevenRooms and their research partner conclude? That eatertainment venues are the new nightclub.

Eatertainment Muscles in on Nightlife

Per the SevenRooms report from 2019, nightlife preferences in the United States were shifting away from traditional nightclubs. This switch was, according to SevenRooms, partially driven by three factors:

  • Nightclubs draw large crowds;
  • they play very loud music; and
  • such venues embrace exclusivity.

Now, that isn’t to say that the nightclub is dead. Particularly in destination cities like Las Vegas and Miami, nightclubs are a major draw.

However, as people reach their thirties or seek out more casual spaces, eatertainment becomes increasingly attractive. For the most part, people can leave work and go straight to an eatertainment concept to meet up with friends. They’ll be able to carve out a space, grab a bite and a drink, and socialize while engaging with an array of entertainment options.

Such venues also tend to be open seven days per week, from noon or early afternoon into late night. Their F&B programs, focus on entertainment, and hours of operation position them to play an important role: the third place.

Home Away from Home

As any dive or neighborhood bar operator knows, becoming a person’s third place is crucial. The third place, for those unfamiliar with the term, is the spot you go to in between the workplace and home.

So, becoming someone’s home away from home is a big deal. It’s the ultimate in consumer loyalty. Become someone’s third place and you’ll be on your way to building an army of brand advocates.

The third place is where we unwind after work. We’re friendly with the staff: they know us, know our usual orders, and know what recommendations to make.

Now, what if a regular’s third place offered not just quality F&B but also entertainment and an atmosphere that shifted with dayparts? You’d have a supercharged third place, a.k.a. an eatertainment concept.

Eatertainment will Continue to Grow

Where should people go when they decide they’re beyond their nightclub years? Feeling uncomfortable in a nightclub doesn’t mean the interest in nightlife simply disappears.

Well, they turn to eatertainment. And why do they find these concepts appealing? For several important reasons driven by shifts in consumer behavior.

One, I think we’re all tired of endless text and DM exchanges attempting to organize an outing. An eatertainment venue is a restaurant, bar, entertainment space, and nightclub in one place. No more planning to travel to a restaurant, then a bar for drinks afterward, and then a nightclub, concert, or lounge.

Two, today’s consumer is seeking out restaurants and bars that offer more inclusive, more welcoming, more personalized experiences. Again, eatertainment hits all those marks.

According to SevenRooms, there are key datapoints that indicate eatertainment will continue to grow. And while their report was published in 2019, their findings are still relevant given the past two years:

  • Around a quarter of Americans want more eatertainment venues close to them.
  • A quarter of Americans prefer a venue that combines quality food and drinks with fun activities in one space.
  • Nearly 30 percent of Americans consider food quality when deciding where to spend their time and money.
  • Close to 20 percent want a venue to offer something to do beyond drinking.

More recently, May of this year, in fact, Datassential also found that eatertainment is on the rise again. Per their data, half of consumers “are very interested in revisiting an eatertainment experience.

Takeaway

Eatertainment concepts are positioned to perform well moving forward.

Think about it: people are eager to socialize without being packed together; guests are showing interest in innovative, high-quality F&B items; people want entertainment that spans live music and DJs to cornhole (or bags, if you want to have that argument), axe throwing, and arcade games; and having access to an incredible, personalized experience in one venue is an attractive prospect.

Punch Bowl Social, Topgolf, Pinstripes, and Flight Club are among the best representatives of the category. Do you have the idea for the next big eatertainment brand? Let us know!

Image: Elevate on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

After RRF Failure, What’s Next for Us?

After RRF Failure, What’s Next for Us?

by David Klemt

Super Mario Bros. game booth

After the US Senate failed to even debate the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, instead opting to let it die, what’s next?

Obviously, trusting our elected officials to do the right thing isn’t a viable option. After all, the Senate slow-walked the RRF’s death march. It took six weeks after the House voted “yes” on RRF for senators to filibuster the bill to death.

Last Thursday, the National Restaurant Association addressed moving forward. Sean Kennedy, executive vice president of public affairs, released a 90-second video in which he spoke about the RRF and where we are now.

Reconciliation?

One of the first options Kennedy proposes in his video is a reconciliation bill. That, however, is highly unlikely to come to fruition.

So, what’s a reconciliation bill? Simply put, it has to do with the Senate’s supermajority requirement.

In order for a bill to advance to a vote, 60 percent of the Senate must support ending a filibuster. On that topic, a filibuster is a procedural tool that prolongs a debate. The filibuster is used to delay or prevent a vote on a bill, resolution, etc.

Now, a budget reconciliation bill circumvents the supermajority requirement. A simple majority—51 senators for the US Senate—is all it takes to override a filibuster in this instance.

Technically, from what I’ve come to understand, the Senate can pass a maximum of three budget reconciliation bills in a year. Most often, it passes a single such bill per year.

Obviously, Kennedy feels that this would be a longshot to cross our fingers and hope the RRF is funded via these means.

Staying Ready

As they say—yes, “they”—if you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready. According to Kennedy, the NRA is prepared to act in any way they can should replenishing the RRF or similar aide once again become an option.

“We’re gonna continue to closely monitor the situation and we certainly can activate if there any signs of movement,” he says. “We’re not seeing them yet.”

The “yet” there is perhaps a bit hopeful. And as we like to say, hope isn’t a strategy. However, optimism is far healthier than pessimism and hopelessness.

Additionally, Kennedy and the NRA are grateful to the bipartisan group of representatives and senators who have shown their support for our industry and replenishing the RRF.

“We’re incredibly appreciative of the works of our champions in Congress,” says Kennedy.

In particular, he acknowledges Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and senators Ben Carden (D-MD), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). In the House, Kennedy thanks Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Dean Phillips (D-MN), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA).

What’s Next?

As Kennedy says, much of what he discussed with people at the 2022 NRA Show centered around this very topic. Just what are we supposed to do moving forward?

Unfortunately, there’s no clear answer, no simple solution we can point to and implement.

Instead, we have several issues we must navigate to keep restaurant and bar doors open:

  • What can we do to more effectively recruit and retain staff?
  • How can we best address increases in food costs and problems with availability?
  • Is there a way to address rising credit card transaction fees?

Of course, that’s but a handful of what we must address and solve. And at least when it comes to the first question, we know some of the elements for the solution:

  • Treat staff with respect.
  • Value diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Improve pay and offer benefits.
  • Develop a healthy company culture and workplace.

On the topic of state and local policymakers, expecting help is a dicey proposition.

Unless they engage with the owners, operators, and industry professionals in their states, counties, cites, and towns, they’ll hurt these businesses. The only effective and helpful way forward is for them to engage with us and not simply introduce and pass legislation that hurts. Possible, of course, but a big ask as we’ve seen proven time and time again.

Image: Minator Yang on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

2022 50 Best Bars: North America

2022 50 Best Bars: North America

by David Klemt

Door with number 50 address

Probably a speakeasy.

The World’s 50 Best Bars ranking for North America is official and the bars are, of course, extraordinary.

Unsurprisingly, much of the list consists of “household” names in our industry. Now, where some people may see a list of the “cool kids,” I see something different.

In a word, consistency. Sure, the more cynical among us roll their eyes at rankings and awards.

However, I see approaches to operations, service, menu and design innovation, and guest experiences to learn from and emulate.

Would I like to see bars in markets outside of the usual suspects on these lists? Absolutely. As so-called secondary and tertiary markets develop their scenes that may start to happen more often.

So, congratulations to this year’s 50 Best Bars in North America! Cheers!

Canada

This year, the second-largest country in the world claims eight of North America’s 50 best bars. One bar is in the top ten.

As Ontario’s capital and Canada’s most-populous city, it should come as no surprise that Toronto takes four spots. Bar Mordecai is number 47, Bar Raval is 41, number 38 is Mother, and Civil Liberties is tenth.

It’s a bit surprising to see just one bar from Vancouver—number 25, The Keefer Bar—but Montréal has two venues on the list. The Cloakroom Bar is number 45 and 29 is El Pequeño Bar.

Bar Kismet, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, is sitting in the 49th spot on the 2022 North American list.

America

Impressively, the US boasts 30 of North America’s 50 Best Bars, six of which are in the top ten. Intriguingly, ten of the bars on this list were ranked on the World’s 50 Best Bars last year.

As one would assume, New York City dominates the 2022 rankings. Eleven bars are on the list, with the number one spot going to Attaboy. Congratulations to Michael McIlroy and Sam Ross, their teams, and their partners. Katana Kitten is number four, and Dante earns the eighth spot on the list.

Moving to the south, two bars on the list are in Miami: Broken Shaker (32) and Sweet Liberty (14). Heading northwest, Kumiko in Chicago is in the top ten at number five.

On the other side of the country, Los Angeles claims three spots, one in the top ten. Genever holds number 50, Death & Co. is 34, and Thunderbolt is ninth. The Bay Area has two bars on the list. ABV in San Francisco is number 39 and Oakland’s Friends and Family is in the 33 spot.

Somewhat surprisingly, Las Vegas and New Orleans each have just one bar in the rankings. One of my personal favorites, Herbs & Rye, is number 28 on the list. Jewel of the South in NOLA is in the top half of the list, holding number 24.

In San Juan, Puerto Rico, the beloved La Factoría is twelfth on the list.

Mexico

Achieving 11 spots—three in the top ten—Mexico is crushing it this year. Remarkably but not surprisingly, the three bars in the top ten are all in Mexico City.

Baltra Bar earns number nine, and Handshake Speakeasy and Licorería Limantour are second and third, respectively. Overall, Mexico City boasts six bars on this list.

Two spots are in Oaxaca: Selva, which is number 22, and Sabina Sabe, number twenty.

Arca, number 37, is in Tulum. Number 21, El Gallo Altanero, is in Guadalajara. And Zapote Bar in Playa del Carmen almost breaks the top 10, coming in eleventh.

Cuba

The legendary El Floridita grabs Cuba’s only entry on the 2022 list.

Impressively, El Floridita can trace its opening to the early 1800s. Originally, the space was La Piña de Plata. About a century later, a bartender, Constantino “Constante” Ribalaigua Vert, became the owner and changed the name.

Oh, and he just so happens to be the inventor of the frozen Daiquiri. Along with its impressive history, El Floridita also has an awesome statue with its own seat at the bar. Ernest Hemingway is immortalized in bronze.

50 Best Bars: North America

Below, the full list in ascending order.

  1. Genever (Los Angeles, CA)
  2. Bar Kismet (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
  3. Teardrop Lounge (Portland, OR)
  4. Bar Mordecai (Toronto, Ontario)
  5. Julep (Houston, TX)
  6. Cloakroom Bar (Montréal, Québec)
  7. Bitter & Twisted (Phoenix, AZ)
  8. Clover Club in (New York, NY)
  9. Bar Leather Apron (Honolulu, HI)
  10. Bar Raval (Toronto, Ontario)
  11. El Floridita (Havana)
  12. ABV (San Francisco, CA)
  13. Mother (Toronto, Ontario)
  14. Arca (Tulum, Quintana Roo)
  15. Death & Co (Denver, CO)
  16. Mace (New York, NY)
  17. Death & Co (Los Angeles, CA)
  18. Friends and Family (Oakland, CA)
  19. Broken Shaker (Miami, FL)
  20. The Dead Rabbit (New York, NY)
  21. Employees Only (New York, NY)
  22. El Pequeño Bar (Montréal, Québec)
  23. Herbs & Rye (Las Vegas, NV)
  24. Overstory (New York, NY)
  25. Dear Irving (New York, NY)
  26. The Keefer Bar (Vancouver, British Columbia)
  27. Jewel of the South (New Orleans, LA)
  28. Amor y Amargo (New York, NY)
  29. Selva (Oaxaca de Juárez, Oaxaca)
  30. El Gallo Altanero (Guadalajara, Jalisco)
  31. Sabina Sabe (Oaxaca de Juárez, Oaxaca)
  32. Raised by Wolves (San Diego, CA)
  33. Service Bar (Washington, DC)
  34. Double Chicken Please (New York, NY)
  35. Hanky Panky (Ciudad de México)
  36. Café de Nadie (Ciudad de México)
  37. Sweet Liberty (Miami, FL)
  38. Kaito del Valle (Ciudad de México)
  39. La Factoría (San Juan)
  40. Zapote Bar (Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo)
  41. Civil Liberties (Toronto, Ontario)
  42. Thunderbolt (Los Angeles, CA)
  43. Dante (New York, NY)
  44. Baltra Bar (Ciudad de México)
  45. Café La Trova (Miami, FL)
  46. Kumiko (Chicago, IL)
  47. Katana Kitten (New York, NY)
  48. Licorería Limantour (Ciudad de México)
  49. Handshake Speakeasy (Ciudad de México)
  50. Attaboy (New York, NY)

Image: Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

2022 Cocktail Apprentice Program Class

TOTC Announces 2022 Cocktail Apprentice Program Class

by David Klemt

 

Tales of the Cocktail Red Coat apprentices

The Tales of the Cocktail Foundation has announced the 32 members of this year’s Cocktail Apprentice Program, also known as CAP.

For 2022, the CAP apprentices come from seven countries, Washington, D.C., fourteen American states, and Puerto Rico. First launched in 2008, CAP has played host to over 400 apprentices.

These bar professionals are thrown into the organized chaos that is Tales of the Cocktail each year. Well, to be fair, the event likely only feels like chaos to Tales attendees. This gathering of hospitality pros is a precision machine behind the scenes.

Of course, CAP apprentices and veterans are one of the keys to Tales’ success. These bar pros work together to prepare cocktails for for Tales seminars. They also make the many tastings possible. CAP Red and Grey Coats also batch the Dame Hall of Fame and Spirited Awards drinks.

As you’ll see while reviewing the lists below, CAP Red Coats work at some of the world’s premier bars, restaurants, hotels, distilleries, portfolios and brands, and hospitality groups. Moreover, they gain an incredible amount of experience and mentorship from industry veteran Grey, Black, and White Coats.

Valuable Experience

This is, of course, great news for attendees. Many will recognize the names and venues below. And, hey, these apprentices keep the good times flowing at Tales.

But there’s another reason this news is important.

Operators should encourage their bar team stars to apply to be TOTC CAP apprentices each year. The program is open to bartenders, barbacks, and bar managers.

Considering who they’ll meet, work with, and learn from, operators can think of CAP as an investment in their bar team.

In addition to returning to work with a wealth of knowledge and new industry contacts, they’ll be eligible to apply for the Cocktail Apprentice Scholarship Program. Since 2022 CAP Red Coats can apply when applications open next year, it’s reasonable to assume that 2023 Red Coats will be eligible to apply in 2024 for the TOTCF Cocktail Apprentice Scholarship Program.

So, operators who are serious about furthering their bar team’s careers and helping to mentor them should help them apply for the 2023 Cocktail Apprentice Program.

2022 Red Coats

Below are this year’s 32 CAP Red Coat apprentices. You’ll also find their place of work.

  • Patience AdjeiTwist Night Club and Level Up Lounge (Accra, Ghana, West Africa)
  • Gerald AkinsHamlet and Ghost (Saratoga Springs, NY)
  • Israel Baròn, Casa Prunes (Mexico City, Mexico)
  • Tammy Bouma, Bluebird Cocktail Room (Baltimore, MD)
  • Dylan BrentwoodBar Kismet (Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada)
  • Napier Bulanan, Viridian (Oakland, CA)
  • Yosue Cordero BadilloFairmont El San Juan Hotel (Carolina, Puerto Rico)
  • Chelsea DeMarkThompson Hotel Savannah (Savannah, GA)
  • Milton DeyaMelinda’s Alley (Phoenix, AZ)
  • Linda DouglasCurly Bartender (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Kai DuartePacifico on the Beach and Down The Hatch (Wailuku, HI)
  • Cody DunavanBreakthru Beverage Virginia (Richmond, VA)
  • Glenn EldridgeROKA (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
  • Tim FrandsenJane Jane (Washington, D.C.)
  • John FryRumba / Inside Passage (Seattle, WA)
  • Delena Humble-FischerGolden Pineapple Craft Lounge (Tempe, AZ)
  • Princess JohnsonAllegory (Washington, D.C.)
  • Maria KimSouthside Parlor (Seoul, South Korea)
  • Sungjoo KooMidnight Rambler (Dallas, TX)
  • Rylen KomeijiHere Kitty Kitty / Zouk Group (Las Vegas, NV)
  • Lars LunstrumThe Black Cypress (Pullman, WA)
  • Jacob MentelPolite Provisions (San Diego, CA)
  • Brian “Vito” MoralesSaso Bistro (Pasadena, CA)
  • Julian Bella RobinsPursuing MS in Hospitality Management at FIU (Tel Aviv, Israel)
  • Jomar SantosThe Peacock Lounge Savannah (Savannah, GA)
  • Jeremiah SimmonsSeven Three Distillery (New Orleans, LA)
  • Colin SimpsonThe Aviary (Chicago, IL)
  • Taylor SweeneyBar Shiru (Oakland, CA)
  • Vivi SzalavariUptown Cafe (Bloomington, IN)
  • Irlanda VargasBacal (Mexico City, Mexico)
  • Noor WafaiThe Eddy & Durk’s Bar-B-Q (Providence, RI)
  • Tim WeigelVegas Vickie’s (Las Vegas, NV)

2022 Grey Coats

Identifiable by their grey chef coats, Grey Coats are CAP leaders.

  • Hagay I. AbramovitzImperial Craft Cocktail Bar (Tel Aviv, Israel)
  • Justine BockGin & Juice (Bristol, UK)
  • Patrick BragaHappy Accidents (Albuquerque, NM)
  • Fifi BruceBarrel Brothers (Berlin, Germany)
  • Richie DelahoydeLyre’s Non Alcoholic Spirits (Dublin, Ireland) 
  • Amy DunkiBarr Hill and Caledonia Spirits (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Arianna Hone, High West Saloon, Post Office Place (Park City, UT)
  • Renson Malesi, House of Sage Cocktails (Nairobi, Kenya) 
  • Nicholas McCaslin, The Ritz-Carlton Nomad (New York City, NY)
  • Allie Phifer, Cayo Coco Rum Bar and Restaurante (Birmingham, AL)
  • Jessi Pollak, Spoon and Stable (Minneapolis, MN)
  • Eric Scott, Thyme X Table (Bay Village, OH) 
  • Britt Simons, The Eddy (Providence, RI)
  • Joey Smith, Chez Zou (New York City, NY)
  • Sarah Syman, The Dandy Crown (Chicago, IL)
  • Nigal Vann, The Berkshire Room (Chicago, IL)

2022 Black Coats

CAP assistant managers can be identified by their black chef coats.

  • Cam BrownSelf-employed (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)
  • Kaleena Goldsworthy-WarnockThe Bitter Bottle and Proof Bar and Incubator (Chattanooga, TN)
  • Alex LermanPearl Street Hospitality (Denver, CO)
  • Samm McCullochRed Wall Distillery (Sedona, AZ)

2022 White Coats

The industry veterans are CAP managers and wear white chef coats.
  • Alexis Belton-TinocoJohnnie Walker/Proof Media Mix (Chicago, IL)
  • Cris DehlaviDiageo Hospitality Partnership (Columbus, OH)
  • John DeragonResy (Brooklyn, NY)
  • Trevor KalliesFreehouse Collective (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)
  • Juyoung KangZouk Group at Resorts World Las Vegas (Las Vegas, NV)

Whenever you come across a Red, Grey, Black or White Coat at Tales, be sure to thank them for all their work. Well, if they don’t have their hands incredibly full. In that case, please get out of their way—they’ve got our drinks!

Image: M.S. Meeuwesen on Unsplash

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