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Drink Donnybrook: Let’s Talk Screwdriver

Drink Donnybrook: Let’s Talk Screwdriver

by David Klemt

Orange cocktail, like a Screwdriver

Is there vodka in there? Maybe.

As it turns out, the origins of one of the simplest cocktails on the planet—there are just two ingredients in a traditional Screwdriver—are a mystery.

Another interesting note about the Screwdriver: It’s likely a relatively new drink.

If the Screwdriver is an American invention, the earliest most believe it could have been created is the 1920s. That’s when Smirnoff sold the rights to North American distribution to a distiller in the US.

However, it’s possible the cocktail wasn’t invented until some time in the 1940s. Vodka didn’t really become popular among Americans until the ’40s. So, it’s conceivable that the Screwdriver is less than 100 years old.

Still, it’s difficult to believe that someone, somewhere didn’t think to add a splash of vodka to their orange juice in the 1800s. Or that someone didn’t think to “adjust” the taste of the vodka in their glass with a bit of OJ.

Either way, it’s pretty entertaining to know that we don’t have a definitive answer for who created the Screwdriver, where it was first made, and when. When we consider the fact that the recipe calls for just two simple ingredients, maybe it does make sense that we don’t know the who, where, and why. It’s so easy to make that it’s believable multiple people had the same idea around the same time, across the globe.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Drink Donnybrook without checking into some origin theories. So, let’s dive in!

World War II

One theory involves WWII and the US Marine Corps.

It’s quite simple, really. During WWII, stationed overseas, perhaps a few Marines jazzed up their orange juice with a touch of vodka.

Oh, but wait. The Screwdriver may not be attributable to the USMC. It’s possible, according to another theory, that the former US Army Air Forces came up with drink and name when stationed in Ankara, Turkey.

As the predecessor to the Air Force, the USAF may hold claim to the Screwdriver.

If it’s one thing we need, it’s more fuel for the inter-service rivalry between the USMC and USAF.

Journalists

Two publications mentioned the Screwdriver in the 1930s and 1940s.

According to some historians, Journalism Quarterly at least made reference to a drink called the “Smirnoff Screwdriver” in 1938.

If that’s true, the classic cocktail predates WWII by a year. And if that’s true, it’s possible that American marines, airmen, or soldiers spread it around the world.

In 1949, Time magazine mentioned the Screwdriver. According to the writer, the cocktail was the newest drink grabbing attention at the Park Hotel in New York. Apparently, American engineers, Balkan refugees, and Turkish spies loved the drink.

Interestingly, if Time‘s reporting is accurate, it’s possible the supposed Turkish spies frequenting the Park Hotel bar got the name of the drink from American airmen.

Since apparently no bartenders who worked at the Park Hotel appear to have taken credit for it back in the ’40s, it’s unlikely it was created there.

Roughnecks

Okay, so you’re an oil worker. It’s the 1950s and you’re working in the Persian Gulf.

You’re performing back-breaking, dangerous tasks in oil fields. Maybe you need a pick-me-up, and maybe that pick-me-up involves mixing orange juice and vodka together.

But…you don’t have a barspoon. You certainly don’t have a swizzle stick. And you don’t have a coffee stirrer handy.

What you do have is a screwdriver. That screwdriver will definitely stir a drink. It doesn’t take time for this vodka-orange juice concoction to get the name “Screwdriver” because of the stirring utensil.

Well, that’s one theory, anyway.

Two days from now, December 14, you can share all those stories with your guests. Why? Because that’s National Screwdriver Day, a time to celebrate one of the simplest cocktails ever made.

Of course, you and your team can make the Screwdriver your own. Top-shelf vodka, the finest and freshest hand-squeezed orange juice (maybe even blood orange juice), any number of garnishes or rims, a touch of sparkling wine or water… The simpler the drink, the easier it can be to riff on it.

Cheers!

Image: Ryutaro Tsukata on Pexels

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5 Ways to Elevate the Hotel Experience

5 Inexpensive Ways to Elevate Your Hotel Guest Experience

by Kim Richardson

Boutique hotel room with black and white walls and linens

With all the different amenities today’s travelers are looking for, you’re not going to be able to accommodate all of them.

It’s no secret: Happy hotel guests make for happy employees and happy owners. They’re the true advertisement for our hotel and resort locations.

But as the maxim goes, you can’t make all the people happy all the time. With very exceptionsbrands that can afford to embody the money-no-object version of unreasonable hospitality—it’s not realistic to think you can satisfy every guest’s every whim.

With all the different amenities today’s travelers are looking for, you’re not going to be able to accommodate every single preference. Some of them may not be in your budget, and others may not make sense for your business.

With that in mind, here are some basic items that every hotel location can provide with little to no cost.

Get back to the basics of your business and make sure the machine is running smoothly before you worry about adding things that cost you additional money. A little goes a long way!

1 Create a seamless and friendly arrival experience.

Whether your guests spend days traveling to you or maybe just take a 10-minute car ride, it’s important that their stay starts off with a warm and welcoming experience. This sets the tone for their entire stay.

How does your staff greet them at the door and front desk? Are the details of the reservation correct? Is the room ready on time? Is the room the correct type? Do you and your team acknowledge special details and requests? More importantly, do you follow through to deliver on those requests?

People put a lot of time into planning a trip. A rocky arrival or a mishandled request can really put a damper on someone’s getaway whether it’s for business or pleasure. When they start off with a bad experience, they’re more likely to nitpick the rest of their stay.

The guest experience starts well before arrival. Don’t forget to keep in mind all the interactions they have prior to arrival: ease of reservation process, user-friendly websites, and pleasant interactions with any staff they might have.

2 Personalize the experience. Send a welcome note and acknowledge special occasions.

Sending a welcome note to a guest is a great way to personalize the experience, and I do mean personalize! Try to stay away from generic welcome letters.

Use their name in the letter. If they’re a repeat guest, use phrases such as “Welcome back.” If you see something in the reservation notes about them celebrating a special occasion, be sure to acknowledge it in the welcome note and wish them well.

Welcome notes can be sent as an email, something that is handed to them at the front desk, or a card in their room. Consider sending a small gift when you know someone is celebrating a special occasion. The gift doesn’t have to be expensive; its purpose is to make them feel noticed.

A small treat can be enough.

3 Partner with companies for amenities you are not able to provide (ex: gym, restaurants, transportation, spa/salon).

Partnering with nearby companies is a great way to add extra amenities to your hotel. This doesn’t have to be something that costs you money.

You can discuss the terms case by case with each business. They may be willing to offer a discount coupon (complimentary to you) for allowing them to put collateral in your lobby or on your website. You can also discuss trades of service.

If you’re not a full-service hotel, a discount at a nearby restaurant or cafe can go a long way. Similar to this, if you don’t have a fitness center maybe there is one nearby that is willing to offer your guests complimentary access (or for a discount). Spa/salons are also a great amenity you can feature.

If you’re not located in a walkable area (or maybe there’s a big attraction nearby that’s not walkable), consider teaming up with a transportation company that can be available to your guests.

When partnering with these nearby businesses, it’s important that they actually are nearby and accessible to your guests. We’ve all been in situations, be it a hotel or a membership, that comes with discounts, but then when you go to look at them, they’re not convenient to use. Don’t be that business.

4 Master the basics. Keep a clean property and deliver on all amenities promised.

This sounds like an obvious one, but this is often where we drop the ball as an industry.

It’s not always about being a five-star hotel and having tons of luxurious extras. Meeting guest expectations by following through on what you promised should be a given, but it’s truly not.

Regardless of the level of hotel, a clean property is important. Guests shouldn’t find dirty items from the last guest. All public spaces should be clean and stocked with any amenities you offer.

If you offer complimentary coffee in the lobby until 10:00 AM, make sure it’s really there and available until that time. Don’t put the last container out at 9:00 or 9:30 AM and stop checking on it.

I’m the guest who goes down for coffee at the last minute it’s available. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started filling my cup and heard the trickle of the container running out. Then I’m left with going to find coffee elsewhere or hunting down a staff member to get more.

These types of experiences might not warrant a guest complaint but they do create a feeling of not getting what they pay for.

Keep your guests notified of any unexpected changes to the promised amenities. If your lobby is under renovation, your famous restaurant is closed for a private party, or the pool isn’t available, send proper notification to your guests prior to arrival. Consider offering some type of compensation as a show of good faith prior to the complaints rolling in.

Things don’t always go according to plan, and we can’t always be perfect, but you have the power to dictate whether this is a good or bad experience for your guest.

5 Provide readily available directions and info on the local area (restaurants, local attractions, tours, shopping).

No matter how hard your guests work on researching the area ahead of time, there is nothing better than hearing from the locals about the real places to check out.

Be sure to have a varied list of places to recommend to the guests based on their specific interests. As our travelers often are without a car, make sure you’re able to tell them the best way to get there.

Any additional information you can provide on these places is great. Consider having brochures on hand, websites, apps, and QR codes. Consider compiling a list of your staff’s favorite places to go. This can be posted in a public space, done as a handout that can be given to guests upon request, or distributed electronically.

As you can see, you don’t have to throw tons of money at your hotel to make a big, positive impact on your guests. Thinking ahead, partnering with local businesses, and ensuring your staff adheres to your steps of service, policies, and procedures can deliver big dividends.

For more tips, be sure to sign up for the KRG Hospitality newsletters (email and LinkedIn) and follow me on Instagram!

 

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Loneliness and the Entrepreneur

5 Steps Entrepreneurs can take to Combat Loneliness

by Jennifer Radkey

Empty road leading off to the horizon

Author John Donne may have penned the quote, “No man is an island,” in the 17th century but, like many truths of human nature, it’s still relevant today.

We’re all attached to each other in some way; our humanity is intertwined. It’s when we lose sight of this that we may start to feel lonely. We may also feel as though we’re in isolation from the world around us.

Entrepreneurs often walk a lonely road. The success of your business relies on the effort you put into it daily. With a drive to succeed and a passion for what you are doing, it can often be hard to separate life as an entrepreneur from anything else.

There can be a level of pride in the entrepreneur’s journey that makes it challenging to acknowledge that there’s genuine struggle. When society paints a rosy picture of the life of the entrepreneur—setting your own schedule, doing what you love, earning your own riches, etc.—it can feel as if you aren’t doing something “right” when you’re running a successful business yet feel stress, loneliness, and gloom.

Being an entrepreneur has its perks and many would tell you they can’t imagine doing anything other than running their own business. However, this doesn’t mean that the path is easy or without its risks of social isolation, anxiety, burnout, and depression.

It’s time that we acknowledge all aspects of being an entrepreneur—the good, the bad, and the ugly—to peel back the façade of perfection. We need to allow space for honesty, connection, and self-care.

Below are five steps entrepreneurs can take to combat loneliness as an entrepreneur.

1. Find like-minded individuals who can relate.

Often, entrepreneurs may feel as if no one else understands them, no matter how well-meaning or supportive friends and family may be.

Connect with people who you can be honest with and who will listen with little judgement. This can be through a social group that connects entrepreneurs not for the purpose of business growth and networking, but to build friendships and share stories.

If a group like this does not exist, consider starting one yourself.

2. Practice mindfulness with your external relationships.

 Share with loved ones when you’re feeling particularly disconnected or stressed. They may not understand life as an entrepreneur, but they have your best interest at heart and can help you find balance between your work life and personal life.

Finding time to spend with the people who care for you as a whole person is important. Doing so can remind you to acknowledge and respect all the different sides of who you are, not just the entrepreneur side.

3. Learn how to be in a healthy relationship with yourself.

Acknowledge when you need social time. Recognize when you’re not getting enough sleep. Take time to enjoy hobbies or participate in physical activity. Take time to appreciate your accomplishments and feel proud of what you achieve.

Try journaling or participating in the things you loved doing before you became an entrepreneur to create connections and feel less alone.

4. Share the burden.

As an entrepreneur you often quietly place a tremendous amount of responsibility onto your shoulders. This can lead to feeling entirely on your own—even if you have a team surrounding you.

Learn to place trust in your team and to release some of those responsibilities to others. If you are a solopreneur, perhaps look to other professionals to whom you can outsource some of your tasks ( virtual assistant, social marketer, etc.).

5. Seek professional help if needed.

If you feel alone in the process and don’t have anyone you feel you can speak to, consider seeking a professional to help.

Consider hiring a professional life coach If you’re looking to create stronger social connections; need help with work/life balance or stress management; or wish to manage external relationships better.

If you suspect a mental illness, such as an anxiety disorder or depression, reach out to a registered therapist. There’s no shame in asking for help if it means living a well-rounded life that’s successful not only professionally but personally.

Entrepreneurs are masters of paving the way for their visions to come to life. However, the road they pave doesn’t need to be a lonely one. Applying the same drive to your personal well-being as to the success of your business will only have positive outcomes!

Cheers to your personal and professional growth!

Image: Gustavo Zambelli on Unsplash

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KRG Hospitality now Serving Midwest Region

KRG Hospitality adds Midwest Region

Marina City Towers in Chicago, Illinois

KRG HOSPITALITY NOW SERVING MIDWEST REGION

Toronto-based hospitality industry consulting firm with offices throughout Canada and the USA now serving the Midwest through Chicago office.

CHICAGO, IL (March 17, 2023)—Today, KRG Hospitality announces the addition of the Midwest region of the US to their North American service area. The team will operate out of an office in Chicago, Illinois. However, the agency will serve Midwest markets outside of Chicago as well.

KRG is excited to announce their presence in the region and their ability to serve clients effectively. The agency will offer the full suite of their proven hospitality solutions, including: hourly consulting and coaching; complete feasibility studies, fully customized concept plans; in-depth, focused business plans; project support and management; food and/or drink menu development and consulting; and personalized F&B education.

“I was born in Chicago and first entered the hospitality industry in the Northwest Suburbs. I got my first taste of nightlife in Chicago’s incredible bar and nightclub scene,” says David Klemt, partner and director of business development of KRG Hospitality. “Those experiences shaped my entire hospitality career trajectory. It will be an honor to serve the great people of the Midwest and bring their hospitality visions to life.”

“2023 is turning into quite the growth year for KRG, with the addition of team members Kim Richardson and Jared Boller, and now an exciting new market,” says Doug Radkey, KRG Hospitality founder, president, and project manager. “We see great opportunity in the Midwest, not only in Chicago, but many of the surrounding regions. The food, beverage, and hotel scene is incredibly strong, and we’re open to the challenge of not only helping launch new hospitality brands but helping transform existing brands scale and be successful in the new era ahead.”

KRG is ready to work with clients of all experience levels in the Midwest. The consulting agency’s suite of solutions serve new operators looking to open their first concept and veterans seeking a rebrand or expansion. From independent pizzerias and QSRs to multi-unit regional chains and boutique hotels, and everything in between, the KRG team is eager to take client visions and transform them into brick-and-mortar realities.

To schedule an introductory call to learn how the KRG Hospitality team serves clients, please follow this link.

About KRG Hospitality

KRG Hospitality is a storied and respected agency with proven success over the past decade, delivering exceptional and award-winning concepts throughout a variety of markets found within Canada, the United States, and abroad since 2009. Specializing in startups, KRG is known for originality and innovation, rejecting cookie-cutter approaches to client projects. The agency provides clients with a clear framework tailored to their specific projects, helping to realize their vision for a scalable, sustainable, profitable, memorable, and consistent business. Learn more at KRGHospitality.com. Connect with KRG Hospitality and the Bar Hacks podcast on social: KRG Twitter, Bar Hacks Twitter, KRG Media Twitter, KRG LinkedIn.

Image: Tobias Brunner from Pixabay

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Do Goals Have an Expiration Date?

Do Goals Expire?

by Jennifer Radkey

Hourglass against red background

A compelling question came up in a recent coaching call with a client: When is the last time you took inventory of your goals?

Like many other people, my client is a goal-setter, and not just small goals but big life goals. These goals follow all of the “rules” of goal setting: they are clearly written, attainable, and measurable.

Some of the goals are achieved and checked off the list and new goals have been made. And yet there is still a feeling of dissatisfaction.

So where is this feeling coming from?

We are always changing and adapting to the world around us. We are changed by life circumstances. We’re influenced by the places we visit and the people we meet. We grow, and over time we come to deeper understandings of what we value and want from life.

As we grow and change our goals do as well…but what do we do with our old goals? What do we do with goals that are no longer applicable to our life?

Do goals expire?

The answer is yes. Goals can expire. What you wanted for your life when you were 16 is most likely not what you want for your life now. The career goals you set in your early 20s probably do not apply to you in your 30s. The goals geared towards interests you had in your 30s may not apply in your 40s, etc.

This doesn’t just apply to personal goals, either.

If you own a business, the goals you have for your business can expire as well. It’s why business plans need to be revisited yearly.

The goals you had when you first opened may have changed in the year(s) since. A business can be likened to a living, breathing entity. It grows and adapts and interacts with the environment surrounding it.

Targets will be hit, new objectives will be identified. So, what do we do with our old goals?

If old, unmet goals are not recognized and processed, they will sit as unfinished business in the back of your mind. You may be acquiring all kinds of levels of success and achieving new goals, but if you are allowing old goals to remain without acknowledging them, it will show up in your mindset.

This can manifest as dissatisfaction, disappointment, confusion, anxiousness, a general feeling that something is “off,” or a never-ending quest for perfection.

So, what do we do with expired goals?

It’s time to sit down and take inventory of all of the goals you have for your life or business. The new and the old. The unmet and those in progress.

If you are like many of us on the path to success and self-improvement, this may be a lengthy list. Try categorizing goals to make them more approachable.

Once you have listed all of your goals it’s time to get real with them and ask yourself some questions:

  • Why was this goal unmet?
  • Why was it important, at the time, to have this goal?
  • What feelings are associated with this goal?
  • Most importantly: Does this goal serve me now?

If the goal no longer fits in your life, if it no longer serves a purpose, it is time for that goal to expire.

It’s okay to let go and move on.

Make peace with the fact that a goal can belong in a previous part of your life but does not need to be a part of your life now.

Accept that it was not completed, give yourself compassion, and move on. That goal does not need to take up space in your thoughts anymore.

If a goal still serves a purpose now and you would like to keep it, ask yourself why it is so important to you to keep that goal. Then ask yourself why it hasn’t been achieved yet.

Is this goal important enough to keep it and strategize new ways to break it down and make it achievable? If the answer is yes, great! Sit down with that goal, rewrite it, and come up with a new action plan to achieve it.

If the answer is no, let that goal expire, and let it go.

This process will take time and introspection but will provide you with overwhelming relief and a new sense of clarity.

Life is too short to hold onto expired dreams and goals! Give yourself freedom to be present and future focused, without unfinished business holding you down.

Cheers to personal and professional growth!

Image: Daniele Franchi on Unsplash

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Say Hi to Your Mother Sauces for Me

Say Hi to Your Mother Sauces for Me

by Nathen Dubé

Chef pouring espagnole or brown sauce

A well-crafted sauce can elevate a dish, tying all the elements together, adding richness, texture, and colour to almost any recipe.

French cuisine in particular is renowned for its liberal use of flavorful sauces. Developed in the 19th century by French chef Auguste Escoffier, the five mother sauces are basic recipes that serve as the foundation for any number of secondary sauce variations. Each mother sauce is categorized primarily according to its unique base and thickener.

The five French mother sauces are: béchamel, velouté, espagnole, hollandaise, and tomato. Historically, Chef Escoffier originally designated only four mother sauces, and mayonnaise as a cold mother sauce, with Hollandaise below that.

Interestingly, when his book was translated to English, mayonnaise was forgotten or omitted; Hollandaise was listed as the fifth mother sauce.

Beginning culinary students and experienced cooks alike commit these five sauces to memory. They learn that by tweaking their basic formulas, all manner of great sauces can be crafted.

Please meet the five mother sauces below. I explain: how each is made; their basic uses; and some secondary sauces you can make from them.

1. Béchamel

Béchamel, or white sauce, is a simple milk-based sauce made from butter, flour, and milk.

You know béchamel as the white sauce that gives chicken pot pie its texture, or as the vehicle of cheesy goodness and binding agent in delicious mac ‘n’ cheese creations. The sauce can be found in everything from scalloped potatoes and lasagne to gravy iterations.

In classical cuisine, béchamel was poured over fish, eggs, or steamed chicken. While béchamel has a generally neutral taste on its own, the classic mother sauce adds a unique creamy texture that is both hearty and comforting.

My personal favorite base recipe is Joel Robuchon’s equation of one liter of milk, 60 grams of butter, and 60 grams of flour. It works perfectly every time.

To make béchamel, start by cooking butter and flour in a saucepan until it forms a substance called a roux. The roux is responsible for thickening the sauce. To remove the floury taste, cook the roux over medium heat for a few minutes.

When the roux is ready, slowly whisk in warm milk and simmer until it forms a creamy sauce. Strain the liquid after it thickens to get rid of any sediment, then add salt and pepper. (You can add other ingredients as well, such as bay leaves, nutmeg, onion, clove, or even cheese.)

With the addition of a few extra seasonings like salt, pepper, and cloves, béchamel is complete — though it may be used as a base for many other sauces.

Béchamel sauces include:

  • Mornay: onion, cloves, Gruyère, and Parmesan cheese
  • Alfredo: garlic with heavy cream
  • Soubise: butter and caramelized onions
  • Cheddar sauce (used for mac ‘n’ cheese or nacho-style sauces): whole milk and cheddar cheese

2. Velouté

Velouté means “velvet” in French, and that is the texture you get with this original sauce.

A velouté is a simple sauce made from butter, flour, and clear stock. Chicken, turkey, and fish stock are most commonly used, but these days, although it’s not traditional, you can also find vegetarian velouté using vegetable stock.

This mother sauce is similar to béchamel in that it’s a white sauce thickened with roux. However, it uses stock for the base in place of milk. As a reminder, stock is a savory, flavorful cooking liquid created by simmering bones, herbs, and aromatic vegetables for several hours. Chicken stock is most common, but you can also use other white stocks, such as those made from veal or fish.

To make velouté, start by making a white roux with butter and flour. Next, slowly stir in warm stock and let it simmer until a creamy, light sauce forms.

When finished, velouté has a delicate, light flavor and a smooth texture. The sauce is usually served over poached or steamed fish or chicken; the light flavors of the sauce compliment the light, delicate meat. By adding wine, lemon, or other flavorings such as herbs, cooks can adjust the flavour of this mother sauce.

Some popular sauces derived from velouté include:

  • Supreme: chicken velouté with heavy cream and mushrooms
  • Venetian: chicken or fish velouté with tarragon, shallots, and parsley
  • Hungarian: chicken or veal velouté with onion, paprika, and white wine

3. Espagnole

Espagnole, otherwise known as brown sauce, is a rich, dark sauce made from roux-thickened stock, puréed tomatoes, and mirepoix (carrots, onions, and celery that’s used as a base). Brown stock, which is made from beef or veal bones that have been roasted and simmered, gives espagnole a particularly rich, complex flavor.

This dark brown sauce—one of the original mother sauces—and its derivative sauces tend to be heavy and thick. They lend a signature richness to such dishes as bœuf bourguignon, lamb, duck, and veal.

Like velouté, espagnole uses roux and stock as the main ingredients. However, instead of white roux and stock, it calls for brown stock and brown roux. In this case, the flour paste (butter, flour) is cooked until the flour browns.

It’s important that cooks stir the roux while it browns so the paste does not stick and burn or scorch. You can imagine how this would ruin the finished product, of course. When the roux has finished cooking, browned mirepoix, pureed tomato, and beef or veal stock are added.

Espagnole is the base for:

  • Demi-glace: additional beef or veal stock, herbs, and spices that’s reduced to a thick, gravy-like consistency
  • Sauce Robert (or Robert Sauce): espagnole with lemon juice, dry mustard, white wine, and onions.
  • Mushroom sauce: mushrooms, shallots, sherry, and lemon juice
  • Burgundy sauce: espagnole with red wine and shallots

4. Sauce Tomate

Sauce tomate, also known as sauce tomat, or tomato sauce, bears slight resemblance to the Italian-style tomato sauce served with pasta.

Tomato sauce is arguably the most popular of the French mother sauces. It is often served on top of pastas (gnocchi, in particular) or polenta, or with grilled meats or vegetables.

Trigger warning for Italians: The original mother sauce tomate was thickened with a roux, but thankfully this is no longer the case.

The classical French tomato sauce can be (but usually is not) thickened with roux and seasoned with pork, herbs, and aromatic vegetables. However, most modern tomato sauces consist primarily of puréed tomatoes seasoned with herbs and reduced into a rich, flavorful sauce.

Marie-Antoine Carême classified sauce tomate as a mother sauce in the early 20th century. They are remarkably versatile and can be served with stewed or roasted meats, fish, vegetables, eggs, and of course, pasta dishes. You’ll even find it used as pizza sauce.

The best tomato sauces are made with fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes. If you can make big batches when they’re in peak season, you’ll be able to enjoy flavorful sauce year-round.

Probably the most well-known sauces, you can make the following with sauce tomate:

  • Marinara: tomato sauce with garlic, onions, and herbs)
  • Sauce Portugaise or Portuguese sauce: tomato sauce with garlic, onions, sugar, salt, parsley, and peeled tomatoes
  • Creole sauce: tomato sauce with white wine, garlic, onion, cayenne pepper, and red bell peppers

5. Hollandaise

Like sauce tomate, this sauce was a later addition to Carême’s list. Brunch-goers will recognize hollandaise from Eggs Benedict variations. People will also know it from topping steamed asparagus or smothering a steak or lobster tail.

Both the original recipe and its derivative sauces are commonly served over eggs, vegetables, fish, or chicken. It’s worth mentioning that hollandaise is derived from mayonnaise and hasn’t always been classified as a mother sauce.

Hollandaise stands out from the other French mother sauces because it relies on the emulsification—or mixing—of egg yolks and butter in place of roux. The tangy, creamy sauce is made from butter, raw egg yolks, lemon juice, and optional flavorings like cayenne pepper or white wine vinegar.

Rookies often struggle with Hollandaise, and jokes will be made that the ingredients can sense fear and intimidation. The tendency for butter and egg yolks to resist combining—much like water and oil—coupled with the gentle heat of a bain-maire (steam bath) can cause the sauce to split or a pile of scrambled eggs to appear.

The key to making a proper hollandaise is slightly warm egg yolks, room temperature butter, and steady, constant whisking. It’s essential to add the butter to the yolks slowly and incrementally so that the ingredients remain stable and don’t separate.

Hollandaise and its derivative sauces are often served over eggs, vegetables, or lighter meats like poultry and fish. Speaking of derivatives, even though hollandaise is delicious on its own:

  • Béarnaise (beef’s perfect match): hollandaise with white wine, tarragon, and peppercorn
  • Choron: hollandaise with tarragon and tomato
  • Sauce Maltaise: hollandaise with blood orange juice
  • Sauce Mousseline: hollandaise with whipped heavy cream

There you have it—the five mother sauces. Master these and an entire world of sauce and dip creation opens up to you.

Image: Vitor Monthay on Unsplash

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KRG Makes First Addition to Team for 2023

KRG Hospitality Makes First Addition to Team for 2023

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Jared Boller joins the KRG Hospitality team, serving as the agency’s in-house beverage educator, trainer, and menu developer.

TORONTO, ONTARIO—Today, KRG Hospitality is delighted to announce a new addition to their team. Jared Boller, a professional mixologist with two decades of experience, will be available to the agency’s clients for beverage menu development and training. He’ll serve as KRG’s master mixologist for North America.

Boller’s creativity, passion, and humility as a professional mixologist have led him on a journey around the globe. He has established himself as an industry leader, developing award-winning beverage programs in restaurants, bars, hotels, and casinos in several markets, including Denver, New York, Florida, Toronto. Throughout his career, Boller has won several cocktail competitions, educated teams for brands and industry organizations, and appeared in numerous publications.

“Restaurants, bars, hotels, and hospitality are in dire need of not only great employees but educated employees who can execute an owner’s vision,” says Boller. “I look forward to the next stage of my hospitality career with KRG, helping to inspire the future generations in everything related to beverage. My life’s journey has led me to the perfect opportunity with the team at KRG to collectively build future and existing brands.”

Additionally, he was the featured guest on episode 12 of the Bar Hacks podcast. People curious to learn more about Boller can listen to his Bar Hacks episode on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts.

With a growing list of accolades and numerous publications to his name, Boller most recently spent three years as the national whiskey ambassador for Proximo spirits. He prides himself on educating consumers and future bartenders on artistry behind the bar and providing history lessons to everyone that will listen. Boller is eager to share his extensive knowledge of spirits, cocktails, menu development, beverage innovation, and service.

“It’s an exciting time for KRG Hospitality, adding to the team just days into 2023,” says David Klemt, director of business development at KRG. “With Jared on the team our beverage programming, menu development and curation, training, and consulting will be even stronger. I know we’re all looking forward to our clients having the opportunity to work with Jared.”

About KRG Hospitality

KRG Hospitality is a storied and respected agency with proven success over the past decade, delivering exceptional and award-winning concepts throughout a variety of markets found within Canada, the United States, and abroad since 2009. Specializing in startups, KRG is known for originality and innovation, rejecting cookie-cutter approaches to client projects. The agency provides clients with a clear framework tailored to their specific projects, helping to realize their vision for a scalable, sustainable, profitable, memorable, and consistent business. Learn more at KRGHospitality.com. Connect with KRG Hospitality and the Bar Hacks podcast on social: KRG Twitter, Bar Hacks Twitter, KRG Media Twitter, KRG LinkedIn.

Image: KRG Hospitality

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Dynamic Pricing or Dynamic Menus?

Dynamic Pricing or Dynamic Menus?

by Doug Radkey

Two sportbikes racing

A key phrase used throughout 2022 was “the new normal.” In 2023, a key term you will likely hear a lot is “dynamic pricing.”

What is dynamic pricing? It can get quite complex, but the global consulting company, McKinsey, defines dynamic pricing as “the (fully or partially) automated adjustment of prices.”

The term is not entirely new to hospitality. Hotels and the overall travel industry have used modules of the pricing model for years. But for restaurants and even bars, yes, it is something new.

It is also a model getting a lot of attention of late, which begs the following question: Why?

As the bar and restaurant industry recovers from the effects of the pandemic, a dynamic pricing model that optimizes revenue opportunities may seem quite attractive. After all, our industry is looking to rejuvenate its sales to pre-pandemic levels.

Essentially, a dynamic pricing model within this industry would work like this: increase prices when demand is up (peak periods), decrease prices to draw guests in when demand is down (off-peak times).

But should this be a model that disrupts the industry in 2023 and into 2024?

While I am all for a little disruption, the industry needs to tread carefully through this potential transition to dynamic pricing (or perhaps just around the phrase itself) that’s based on demand levels.

Guest Experiences

We all know (or should know) that we do not sell a product. What we sell is an experience.

If we can create a positive, memorable guest experience first and foremost, the revenue will follow.

While hotels and travel, as examples, have boasted “positive financial results” over the years through their different approaches to dynamic pricing (while still trying to focus on the end-user guest experience), independent bar and restaurant brands must be careful not to create a hostile brand perception.

Why? Because many consumers view changing prices based solely on levels of demand as being unfair.

Being unfair will certainly create a negative guest experience and/or brand perception. The hotel and airline industries have been able to navigate this perception successfully by offering alternatives. For example, different rooms and amenities or less convenient flight times at different price points. Essentially, companies in lodging and travel provide options and flexibility before customers make the choice to spend.

What about rideshare and surge pricing as another example? Many of you reading this have likely been burned by surge pricing as a consumer, which can be by definition a form of dynamic pricing.

Have you ever tried to book a rideshare during peak periods in a major market? What would normally be a $20 ride is suddenly $40 to $60 (or more) because of their dynamic pricing model.

What did I do in this situation during a recent business trip? I walked another 25 feet up to the cab staging area of the airport and got my ride for $25.

The end results? I had a negative customer experience with the rideshare company, first and foremost. Additionally, that negative experience drove me to the competition. The key here is I was given a choice.

Now let’s switch that scenario to a restaurant.

The Restaurant Scenario

You book a table at your favorite restaurant and order that incredible steak dinner you always enjoy. But instead of it being $50 like you have grown accustomed to, it is now $75 or more. How are you as a consumer going to feel about this new price just because you visited your favorite spot during a “peak period” on a Saturday night? Were you given a choice before the spend?

Of course, this can work in the opposite direction: ordering a meal during a non-peak time and getting it for a cheaper price, thereby getting a discount.

But should we be confusing our customers based on their chosen, convenient time to visit your restaurant or bar? Should you also focus on “discounting” to drive people to your business?

I have even seen recommendations for offering an increased price for peak period but using what was the previous regular price during the non-peak times, labeling the normal price a “discount.”

Should we be framing our regular priced menu options as a discount just so we can charge and make more during a peak period? Is this being fair and ethical to your loyal customers? Should we be going down this road?

With this model (and the phrase “dynamic pricing”), which is based on demand, it is very easy to see how you can quickly confuse or alienate your loyal guests. Unless the industry in its entirety migrates over to this demand-driven model, a similar scenario as outlined above can play out for you and your guests.

Without extremely strong but transparent communication systems in place (which will be a challenge in itself), it is safe to assume that they will likely visit another restaurant up the street and/or provide negative feedback because they feel your pricing model is confusing or unfair.

Dynamic Menus

The phrase that is much more simplified and will be more easily embraced by both operators and guests is “dynamic menu.”

So, what’s the difference?

While it is still by definition “the (fully or partially) automated adjustment of prices,” it is not based on demand throughout the day. Rather, pricing is based on simple supply chain and operational cost adjustments.

According to the National Restaurant Association:

  • 95 percent of restaurants have recently had significant supply delays or shortages of key food items; and
  • 75 percent of restaurants have had to change their menu because of supply chain issues.

With a more dynamic menu, you can adjust pricing to suit those changes accordingly, through the lens of real-time ingredient cost, labor costs, productivity levels, and even the availability of certain menu items.

This simply means that the incredible steak dinner a guest has always enjoyed at your place is perhaps now $53 instead of $50 because the price of beef went up the past week or month. This ensures that as an operator, you will have a minimal gap between your theoretical and actual food costs.

Again, this should work both ways, meaning if the price of beef has gone down, so too should the price.

This means that your guests are paying an accurate value for each item, based on your intended sales mix and contributions, without a loss in margin on your end or negative experience on the guest end.

This means that everything on your menu is “market price” or MP. Where have we seen that before…?

Market Price

We all know restaurant menus will commonly deduct a price and replace it with the term “market price” (often abbreviated to “MP”). This means the price of the menu item depends on the market price of the ingredients, and the price is available upon request. It has been used for years for seafood in particular—most notably lobsters and oysters—in many restaurants.

Therefore, this pricing model is not entirely new. So, why should it stop at just high-priced seafood?

The reason many operators would use the abbreviated MP was because they did not want to reprint menus every single day as the prices fluctuated greatly.

As we move towards digitally savvy restaurant operations, implementing integrated technology and menus, we can begin to find alternatives and ensure that we are actively pricing our menus accordingly based on the market (and overhead costs) to strengthen top- and bottom-line results.

Knowledge is Power

To make a dynamic menu work, whether you’re a QSR, sports bar, casual-dining or fine-dining concept, or any other category of bar or restaurant, you need to know your target customers, provide a targeted menu, and know your numbers (the data).

Curating and engineering a menu should be a simplified process. To be honest, this should have been streamlined prior to the pandemic.

Your menu should be developed based on data, consumer sentiment, regional ingredients, regional suppliers, and local talent within the confines of the overall concept. Food and beverage programs should be developed with thought, care, speed, precision, execution, and last-but-not-least: consistent profits in mind.

Keeping menus “small” (10 to 12 or even 15 items at maximum) will be the new threshold of a successful, more profitable operation. This size of menu will allow bars and kitchens to operate more efficiently; keep inventory costs both low and controlled; control training and labor costs; and provide guests with the most flavorful and exciting items that they truly want.

Be Nimble

You also want to provide menu flexibility by continually reviewing your supply chain. Maintaining a strong personal relationship with your suppliers is imperative. You must also review your costs and inventory on a daily and weekly basis to make dynamic menus work.

To keep inventory, purchase orders, and potential waste to a minimum, it will be crucial that you to ensure your menu is small but innovative. The only way to accomplish this is through effective data management.

However, the new challenge for many independent brands is making data timely, relevant, digestible, and actionable for operators and their leadership teams. The ability to collect, interpret, and effectively react to key datapoints is going to be crucial for anyone who wants to implement a dynamic menu, and for moving forward in general.

At the end of the day, profiting from a dynamic menu is all about making decisions based on accurate cost and productivity data. Of course, there’s only one way to obtain data: embrace technology and create strategic clarity around it.

The Tech Stack

The key to successfully implementing a dynamic menu is integrating a stack of technology that provides real-time data and trend reports.

From point-of-sale software and reports to accounting software, inventory and recipe management software, and invoice management software or a suite that includes all of the above that’s integrated and working together, you can obtain real-time data to adjust your pricing based on real-time ingredient and productivity costs on a daily or weekly basis.

You want seamless movement of data from front- to back-of-house that will position you to make decisions and have a more complete picture of inventory stock levels, costs, and ordering needs, plus itemized sales, contribution margins, and productivity levels.

In Summary

While we must find ways to be innovative, potentially price-gouging our guests during peak periods and discounting during slow periods is not the way for this industry to recuperate and build loyal customers.

Building a strong brand through the creation of memorable experiences and by building connection with your community along with strategic planning, effective marketing, the elements of culture, and efficient operations, you can build sustainable revenue and profit channels.

By following a more dynamic menu approach within your operations, you can still maintain transparency with your guests with less challenging communication methods, remain a fair and well-respected brand within your community, and improve your margins by three to five percent or more with the right people and systems in place.

That sounds like a pretty good deal to me. The question here remains: Are you Team Dynamic Pricing or Team Dynamic Menus?

Image: Joe Neric on Unsplash

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KRG Unveils 2023 Start-Up Guide

KRG Hospitality Unveils 2023 Restaurant Start-Up Cost Report + Checklist

2023 KRG Hospitality Start-up Costs Guide

KRG HOSPITALITY RELEASES FIFTH ANNUAL RESTAURANT START-UP COST REPORT + CHECKLIST

Toronto-based hospitality industry consulting firm with offices in key markets throughout Canada and the United States of America unveils their latest restaurant cost report, milestone checklist, and interactive hospitality calculator.

December 15, 2023 (TORONTO)—Today, KRG Hospitality unveils their 2023 Restaurant Start-up Cost Report + Checklist. The Toronto-based consulting firm specializes in startup restaurant and bar projects along with boutique hotels, experiential concepts, and entertainment venues. KRG also has offices in key markets throughout the United States of America.

For the past five years KRG has researched, reviewed, and published the annual start-up cost guide, one of the industry’s leading resources dedicated to restaurant project costing.

And each year this informative and transparent guide is used as a trusted budgeting tool by developers, lenders, contractors, consultants, and aspiring restaurateurs. The guide is founded upon KRG Hospitality’s proprietary database of previous project costs, which includes project data from restaurants, bars, and cafes developed over the past 24 months.

Further, this annual KRG Hospitality also includes a start-up checklist that identifies an array of crucial milestones: KRG president Doug Radkey has identified 500 unique tasks that must be completed for a successful restaurant opening.

This year’s checklist reveals a number of these crucial tasks. Updated for 2023, the guide also includes the interactive KRG Hospitality Calculator.

The costs to start a restaurant have been on a steady rise over the past 5 years. Major drivers are increases in inflation, interest, labor, construction, equipment. Of course, there are also the unique materials required to deliver a scalable, sustainable, memorable, profitable, and consistent on-premise, off-premise, or hybrid-style concept.

Drawing upon this comprehensive guide, an industry-leading expert has analyzed the information and provided a succinct and user-friendly summary of the findings for each major start-up category. This isn’t simply a couple of pages identifying a few costs. Rather, the fifth annual guide is a deep dive that provides real insight into what to expect in 2023.

The Checklist

As stated, there are 500 unique tasks an operator needs to complete over the course of developing and opening the doors to their concept.

To make it simple to navigate, the 2023 checklist is organized into sections: Planning & Admin, the Support Team, Site Development, Operations Development, Brand Development, and Team Development.

From starting off with the targeted, customized, and in-depth feasibility to planning and executing the soft opening, KRG identifies dozens of key milestones in this year’s guide.

Download your copy of the 2023 KRG Hospitality Restaurant Start-up Cost Report + Checklist today! Click here.

About KRG Hospitality

KRG Hospitality is a storied and respected agency with proven success over the past decade, delivering exceptional and award-winning concepts throughout a variety of markets found within Canada, the United States, and abroad since 2009. Specializing in startups, KRG is known for originality and innovation, rejecting cookie-cutter approaches to client projects. The agency provides clients with a clear framework tailored to their specific projects, helping to realize their vision for a scalable, sustainable, profitable, memorable, and consistent business. Learn more at KRGHospitality.com. Connect with KRG Hospitality and the Bar Hacks podcast on social: KRG Twitter, Bar Hacks Twitter, KRG Media Twitter, KRG LinkedIn.

Disclaimer

While using this guide helps develop a rough preliminary financial and strategic milestone plan, it is strongly recommended that you seek professional expert advice to provide you with a more precise, project specific estimate as each concept and market will be slightly different. KRG Hospitality Inc. is not responsible for any project that is not currently under contract within the company.

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KRG Hospitality Adds to Team

KRG Hospitality Enters New Era of Growth with Addition to Team

by David Klemt

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Kim Richardson joins the KRG Hospitality team, representing Philadelphia and the Northeastern US region via the agency’s new license program.

PHILADELPHIA, PA—KRG Hospitality today announces an exciting new addition to the consulting agency’s team. Following several years of success, KRG is now entering a new phase of growth.

Kim Richardson, who has more than 23 years of experience in the hotel and restaurant industry, will represent KRG at the agency’s Philadelphia office. Further, Richardson will be KRG’s representative for the Northeastern region of the United States, serving Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

As the newest member of the KRG team, Richardson is excited to bring all her hospitality industry knowledge and experience to the Philadelphia area. From Five Diamond Hotels to brick-and-mortar restaurants, she has had her hands in the Philadelphia hospitality scene since moving to the city in 2003. With an admiration for the industry since a very young age, she has a passion for all things hospitality. Most importantly, Richardson brings with her a passion and eagerness to help grow the industry and lead others to success.

“There’s nothing more rewarding than understanding a client’s dream, perfecting it, and bringing that vision to life,” says Richardson.

This exciting new addition to the KRG team represents the launch of the agency’s new licensed consultant program. KRG operates in several key markets—Toronto, Las Vegas, Calgary, Vancouver, Philadelphia, Nashville, Orlando, and the Caribbean—and is planning to add more partners as regional representatives throughout 2023.

“As we move forward from the pandemic era, we look forward to positioning the brand for continued and further success,” says KRG Hospitality president Doug Radkey. “Creating a licensed consultant program provides us the opportunity to reach a wider audience, provide additional value and support for our clients, and help push this exciting industry forward.”

About KRG Hospitality

KRG Hospitality is a storied and respected agency with proven success over the past decade, delivering exceptional and award-winning concepts throughout a variety of markets found within Canada, the United States, and abroad since 2009. Specializing in startups, KRG is known for originality and innovation, rejecting cookie-cutter approaches to client projects. The agency provides clients with a clear framework tailored to their specific projects, helping to realize their vision for a scalable, sustainable, profitable, memorable, and consistent business. Learn more at KRGHospitality.com. Connect with KRG Hospitality and the Bar Hacks podcast on social: KRG Twitter, Bar Hacks Twitter, KRG Media Twitter, KRG LinkedIn.

Image: KRG Hospitality

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