Author: krghospitality

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KRG Makes First Addition to Team for 2023

KRG Hospitality Makes First Addition to Team for 2023

KRG Hospitality Licensing Program logo

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.

Image: KRG Hospitality
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KRG Hospitality Adds to Team

KRG Hospitality Enters New Era of Growth with Addition to Team

by David Klemt

KRG Hospitality Licensing Program logo

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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2023: Year of the POS Systems?

2023: Year of the POS Systems?

by David Klemt

SpotOn POS system on laptop

Image from SpotOn press release

According to SpotOn, the industry could be in for a tech revolution next year as independent operators pursue more powerful POS solutions.

The results of a survey conducted by the cloud-based POS platform are rather revealing. In an effort to better understand where the industry is heading, SpotOn surveyed 300 independent and small-chain restaurant operators.

Both full-service and limited-service (LSR) concept operators participated in this SpotOn survey. Intended to identify the challenges operators face currently, the results reveal much more.

Below, the picture these survey results paint for the industry.

Legacy vs. Innovation

This isn’t the first time I’ve stated the following: Our industry hasn’t been the fastest to implement new technology.

However, we did appear to turn that around in 2021. Now, heading into 2023, our industry may be pursuing cutting-edge tech solutions even more fervently. Today’s guest expects more tech, and your team likely wants access to more modern tech that makes their jobs easier.

Per SpotOn’s survey, 81 percent of independent operators still use so-called “legacy” POS systems. These are “traditional” systems from companies that have been around for quite some time.

It’s not difficult to understand why the vast majority of independent operators continue using legacy systems:

  • Investing in a new platform requires expenditures of money and time.
  • Introducing a new POS platform requires staff training.
  • Staff need to grow adept at using the new system.
  • It can be daunting to research the available platforms and implementing change.

So, independent and small-chain operators have a choice to make: Stick with the familiar or invest in the future. Change can not only be intimidating, it can be expensive.

However, it seems that most operators are ready to throw comfort to the wayside and embrace innovation.

State-of-the-art Benefits

Should the SpotOn survey prove to be accurate snapshot of the industry, 75 percent of operators will implement new tech next year. According to SpotOn, this is largely in response to growing labor challenges, such as scheduling and retention.

The restaurant, bar, nightclub, and food truck platform found that operators are spending as much as 20 hours per week on administrative tasks. State-of-the-art POS systems can slash those hours by:

  • streamlining operations;
  • making scheduling simpler;
  • calculating tips and payout for payroll; and
  • managing overtime, an increasingly common task.

More modern POS platforms can automate labor management tasks, saving operators time, money, and frustration. Automation and streamlining give operators something invaluable: time.

In particular, innovative and helpful tech solutions provide an operator with time to focus on growing their business. When weighing whether to keep a familiar but less feature-rich POS system or invest in a modern platform that seamlessly integrates many solutions, ask yourself a couple important questions:

  • What’s my time worth?
  • What am I focusing on every day?
  • Am I growing my business or stagnating?
  • Is my current POS system helping or hindering my team?
  • Does my POS system streamline and automate any tasks?

Image: SpotOn

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These are the World’s 50 Best Bars in 2022

These are the World’s 50 Best Bars in 2022

by David Klemt

Map of France and Spain

The long wait is over and we finally know which venues across the world are numbers one through 50 on the 2022 World’s 50 Best Bars list.

Congratulations to the World’s 50 Best Bars, class of 2022!

Regardless of people’s opinions of industry awards, these bars deserve recognition. Moreover, they’re successful examples from which other operators can learn. Iron, as they say, sharpens iron.

To review the World’s Best Bars, numbers 51 through 100, click here. As you’ll see, Singapore dominates that particular list.

If you want to learn more about the World’s 50 Best Bars, listen to episode 82 of the Bar Hacks podcast.

The 50 Best

As you’ll see when you scroll down, history was made today. For the first time since the inception of the World’s 50 Best Bars, neither a bar from London nor New York takes the number one spot.

However, New York did just fine this year. The city claims six of eight American bars on this year’s top 50 list. In fact, two bars in New York are among the top ten.

Bars in Chicago and Miami claim two spots as well. Las Vegas, sadly, doesn’t find itself with a bar in the top 50 or the expanded 51 to 100 list.

Unfortunately, the same holds true for the entirety of Canada.

However, Mexico City crushes it for North America with not only four winners but one bar representing the Best Bar in North America and taking the Rémy Martin Legend of the List award.

Athens, Dubai, Buenos Aires, and Barcelona each claim three spots, with the latter city’s winners all in the top ten. London boasts five bars on the top 50 list.

And as I predicted, two bars in Singapore earned placement this year. The Southeast Asian city-state didn’t crack this year’s top ten. However, when combined with bars 51 through 100, ten percent of the bars are in Singapore.

Individual Awards

Of course, the World’s 50 Best Bars does more than simply judge and rank bars.

Now in his fourteenth year at the helm of the Connaught Bar in London, England, Agostino Perrone scores the Roku Industry Icon Award. Jean Trinh of Alquímico in Cartagena, Colombia, is the 2022 Altos Bartender’s Bartender.

Röda Huset, number 78 on the World’s 50 Best Bars, numbers 51 to 100, is the Campari One to Watch. This particular award means this bar has been judged as the one most likely to find itself ranked somewhere among the top fifty. Further, Hanky Panky in Mexico City takes the Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award this year.

Regional and other individual awards are listed next to the bars below.

Congratulations to the bars and their dedicated teams!

The World’s 50 Best Bars 2022: 50 to 1

  1. Bulgari Bar (Dubai)
  2. Lucy’s Flower Shop (Stockholm)
  3. Bar Benfiddich (Tokyo)
  4. Employees Only (New York)
  5. L’Antiquario (Naples)
  6. Galaxy Bar (Dubai)
  7. Carnaval (Lima)
  8. Himkok (Oslo)
  9. CoChinChina (Buenos Aires)
  10. Cantina OK! (Sydney)
  11. Red Frog (Lisbon)
  12. Locale Firenze (Florence)
  13. Zuma (Dubai)(The Best Bar in the Middle East and Africa sponsored by Paragon Cordials)
  14. 🔶🟥🔵 A Bar with Shapes for a Name (London)
  15. Dante (New York)
  16. 1930 (Milan)
  17. Overstory (New York)
  18. Manhattan (Singapore)
  19. Baltra Bar (Mexico City)
  20. Line (Athens)
  21. Swift (London)
  22. Maybe Sammy (Sydney)(The Best Bar in Australia sponsored by Torres Brandy)
  23. Argo (Hong Kong)
  24. Tres Monos (Buenos Aires)
  25. Sidecar (New Delhi)
  26. Kumiko (Chicago)
  27. Tropic City (Bangkok)
  28. Satan’s Whiskers (London)
  29. Attaboy (New York)
  30. Café La Trova (Miami)
  31. Baba au Rum (Athens)
  32. The Clumsies (Athens)
  33. Florería Atlántico (Buenos Aires)
  34. Coa (Hong Kong)
  35. Drink Kong (Rome)
  36. Salmon Guru (Madrid)
  37. BKK Social Club (Bangkok)(London Essence Best New Opening Award)
  38. Hanky Panky (Mexico City)(Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award)
  39. Jigger & Pony (Singapore)(The Best Bar in Asia sponsored by Naked Pony)
  40. Handshake Speakeasy (Mexico City)
  41. Alquímico (Cartagena)(The Best Bar in South America sponsored by Tia Maria)
  42. Katana Kitten (New York)
  43. Connaught Bar (London)
  44. Two Schmucks (Barcelona)
  45. Double Chicken Please (New York)(Disaronno Highest New Entry Award)
  46. Little Red Door (Paris)(Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award)
  47. Licorería Limantour (Mexico City)(The Best Bar in North America sponsored by Rémy Martin)(Rémy Martin Legend of the List)
  48. Sips (Barcelona)(Nikka Highest Climber sponsored by Nikka Whisky)
  49. Tayēr + Elementary (London)
  50. Paradiso (Barcelona)(The Best Bar in Europe sponsored by Perrier)

Image: Ian on Unsplash

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Stand Out with Weird Holidays: Oct. 2022

Stand Out with Weird Holidays: October 2022

by David Klemt

Stay Weird neon sign with purple background

Want to stand out from from other restaurants and bars in your area? Then commit to keeping it weird.

Several “holidays” are set against every date on the calendar, and October is no exception. These holidays range from mainstream (Halloween, anyone?) to “weird.”

Pay attention to the latter to raise eyebrows, carve out a niche for your restaurant or bar, and attract more guests. Why do what everyone else is already doing?

Of course, you shouldn’t try to celebrate every holiday, weird or otherwise. And this month’s list in no way includes every odd holiday.

Focus on the days that are authentic to your brand; resonate with your guests; and help you grab attention on social media.

For September’s list, click here.

October 5: Chic Spy Day

Of course, there’s one holiday this month that simply will not allow anyone to ignore it: Halloween. So, why not lean into it early? Encourage guests to show up looking like a chic spy, perfect your Vesper Martini, and show spy movies. In other words, task your guests with really getting into the spy theme, and create a menu that shows off your creativity as well.

October 6: National Orange Wine Day

No, there aren’t any oranges used in the production of orange wine. Rather, it’s white wine with which the grape skins and seeds remain in contact. The result is an orange hue. And as we all know, orange is one of the key colors of October and Halloween. To celebrate National Orange Wine Day, put some orange wines on your menu.

October 7: National LED Light Day

They say there’s a holiday for just about everything. The existence of this holiday points to that sentiment being accurate.

To wow your guests and get them in the mood for your ultimate October promotion, a Halloween bash, drop food-safe, waterproof LEDs into cocktails for a “spooky,” otherworldly effect.

October 13: National Train Your Brain Day

You know what’s an excellent way to train your brain and stay sharp? Trivia! And do you know what a lot of guests like to do at bars? Trivia! Guest what you should plan for National Train Your Brain Day…

October 17: Wear Something Gaudy Day

I mean, it’s Halloween month and people want to dress up. Guide their costume ambitions by encouraging them to get gaudy and tacky on Wear Something Gaudy Day.

October 18: National Chocolate Cupcake Day

Okay, so this isn’t a weird holiday. There’s nothing strange about chocolate cupcakes. What they are is delicious, and your kitchen staff can always decorate chocolate cupcakes with fall and Halloween themes.

October 20: International Sloth Day

Ah, the sloth. It really has the right idea most days: slow down. On this day, encourage your guests to slow down and relax at your restaurant or bar. Comfort food, delicious beer, and classic brunch cocktails are the order of the day.

October 21: National Count Your Buttons Day

There are several ways to celebrate this day. However, I think a good, old-fashioned “Guess How Many Buttons are in This Jar” contest is the way to go. Give away a bottle, a meal, a bar tab, etc. The sky’s the limit.

October 22: National Make a Dog’s Day

Is your business dog-friendly? Can your kitchen come up with dog-safe menu items? Then encourage your guests to come in and pamper their pooches.

October 25: National Greasy Food Day

There’s no point in competing or programming against Halloween. Not for most operators, anyway. So, celebrate this debaucherous, indulgent day with greasy bar and comfort food ahead of your Halloween promotion.

Image: Dan Parlante on Unsplash

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Why You Should Take Part on Giving Tuesday

Why You Should Take Part on Giving Tuesday

by Jennifer Radkey

Kindness is a Superpower stencil graffiti on brick wall in black and white

You are most likely familiar with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, days that encourage consumerism and support the economy.

However, after these two days comes a global movement that you may not yet be familiar with but need to be: Giving Tuesday.

Created in 2012, Giving Tuesday will be celebrating its ninth year Tuesday, November 30th. It is a global movement in which organizations, businesses, charities, and individuals all come together to support their favourite causes.

From large monetary donations to simple acts of kindness, it is a day that encourages people to do good and to bring about positive change in their communities.

Why Generosity?

Generosity not only benefits the charity or person who is on the receiving end, it has huge benefits to those on the giving end.

From increased happiness to a sense of shared community, being generous with your time, resources, or money is often a simple act with big rewards.

A 2008 study by Harvard Business School professor Michael Norton and colleagues found that giving money to someone else lifts participants’ happiness more than spending money on themselves.

This is true even when the participants anticipate prior to the act of giving that spending the money on themselves would make them happier. Research also suggests that similar well-being benefits come from giving monetary gifts/donations or volunteering your time.

In other words, it doesn’t matter how you give, it is the act of giving in itself that gives us that “warm glow” feeling that we typically associate with the holiday season.

Hospitality and Generosity

The words hospitality and generosity go hand in hand.

To be a welcoming hospitality brand you need to be generous with your time and your kindness. You need to be willing to create an atmosphere in which people come to not just eat a meal, have a drink, or spend a night, but to create memories, to socialize, and to have an experience.

Over the past (nearly) two years, we have asked our communities to support hospitality businesses as we faced lockdowns and restrictions. In many ways, our communities did just that.

Guests ate on patios when the weather was not pleasant. They supported through ordering takeout. #SupportLocal movements popped up not just in the U.S. and Canada but globally. Through their extra efforts, many businesses were able to keep their doors open and their staff employed.

Now it is time to take that generosity shown to us and give it back to our community.

Giving Back

So, as a hospitality business, how can you contribute to Giving Tuesday?

Firstly, discuss it with your team! If you are able to contribute a monetary donation to your community in some way, which charity or organization speaks most to the values you all share?

If you aren’t able to contribute a monetary donation, how can you volunteer your time as a team? Maybe you can make your space available free of charge for a local organization or charity to host an event. Perhaps you can cook meals or bake goods as a team to provide to those in need, or who work tirelessly to make your community a better place.

The opportunities for giving back are endless and you can be as creative as you like. Host a breakfast with Santa for a local children’s group or do a hot chocolate and cookie drop off at a senior’s centre.

Brainstorm as many ideas as possible with your team. The process of thinking of charitable acts alone will brighten your team’s mood and get everyone in the giving spirit.

Share, Share, and Share Some More

Once you decide how you will participate in Giving Tuesday, tell the world about it!

Take photos, share the link to the charity or organization you are giving to, and encourage others to give alongside you. Tell a story.

However, do not engage with Giving Tuesday cynically with the goal of social media exposure. Be truly kind and generous.

Generosity is contagious. Your act of kindness will encourage others to do the same. It will also shine a bright spotlight on your hospitality brand, so make certain you’re engaging in kindness authentically and not just to score points with your community.

For more information on Giving Tuesday, please visit www.givingtuesday.org. Cheers to professional and personal well-being!

Image: Andrew Thornebrooke on Unsplash

by krghospitality krghospitality No Comments

Hiring and Training Staff for Consistency

Hiring and Training Staff for Consistency

by Nathen Dube

Happy and well-trained In N Out kitchen staff

Every restaurant needs to hire staff. This is probably the second most important pre-opening task after deciding on a concept.

Hiring can be an arduous process and hiring the wrong person is often detrimental to success. It costs time, money, and effort to replace and repair the damages.

Putting a fully developed onboarding plan in place—compelling job ads, effective interview and selection processes, in-depth training manuals, and training schedules—can help streamline hiring and retention, and make new hires feel welcome and confident in their roles.

Hiring and Onboarding

Creating a strategy to onboard all staff, adjusting for differing positions (cooks, servers, managers, etc.), will help to identify potential employees that fit your needs skill- and attitude-wise.

A strategic plan will streamline the entire process, start to finish. Think of it as your recruiting and hiring “recipe.”

Answering phone calls, scribbling notes, writing emails, losing phone numbers… Operating without a plan can be very frustrating and time consuming for everyone. After all, running your restaurant is far more important than being your own HR department.

The problem is that many organizations see training as an expense and not as an investment. Untrained employees will, inevitably, lack the motivation and knowledge to use company resources properly.

A lack of training in the hospitality industry leads to:

  • costly waste;
  • employees who feel unappreciated in their job;
  • employees with a general sense that their job doesn’t matter; and
  • unsatisfactory guest interactions that impact guest retention negatively.

At this point, employees either leave or get fired for poor performance.

While it may seem simple just to replace one worker with another, consider this: Hiring someone can cost up to 30 percent of the job’s salary. For an employee that makes $40,000 a year, that could equal around $12,000 to hire someone new.

However, training an existing employee correctly might only cost a few hundred dollars, reducing invested time. Even if replacing one employee doesn’t sound that bad, consider that for every three employees who need to be replaced, that will equal an entire salary with no real gains.

Clearly Define Roles and Responsibilities

From the outset, outlining job roles and daily responsibilities properly is extremely important to ensure that all staff are on the same page.

Building and maintaining a well-oiled machine takes time and planning. However, identifying and distributing responsibilities as equitably as possible will help things flow smoothly.

Differing service times can lead to staff friction when tasks are not being completed effectively for the next shift. The lack of a clear plan regarding responsibilities such as prep, stocking fridges, putting away orders, cleaning, and maintenance will inevitably cause confusion.

Yes, writing out a daily walkthrough and task list from shift start shift end time for each role in your organization will take some time and effort. No, it isn’t the most fun job you’ll do.

But doing so will make onboarding and training a seamless and less time-consuming transition overall.

How to Train New Restaurant Employees

When you’ve completed the interviews, made your hire, and are now bringing in your new staff, where do you start? Who is responsible for training? (Yes, this should be delegated in your plan!) What station do they start on and what is the timeline for moving them along?

Having a plan for onboarding that is mapped out in an employee manual will help to clearly explain your company’s policies and expectations; training modules; and all other helpful information to a new hire.

Expecting a line cook, who may even be green themselves, to convey this to a new employee is like playing the telephone game in grade one: it doesn’t work and is irresponsible.

Setting up detailed, specific workstation plans is the first step. The second step is to plan training shifts and specify who is going to be training new hires.

Batch training can make this process easier. Have your head chef or front-of-house manager spend time to train all the new hires, not just the one or two who happen to be working that day. Be sure to include other positions like sous chefs and floor staff.

This last step, along with a solid training manual, helps eliminate starting the whole process over again every time a position turns over. It also completely mitigates the disaster of staff members being trained differently. Consistency will be solid across the board.

Different Strategies for Part-time Staff

A great part-time employee program can elevate your full-time staff.

With the peaks and valleys of busy restaurant periods fluctuating around lunch and dinner, for example, full-time staff can be overworked and then swiftly underutilized. Part-time employees on the other hand, when scheduled correctly don’t experience the swing in workload.

Although part-time staff offer flexibility in scheduling, it can be difficult to find time to train them. However, part-time workers should not be excluded from training just because their hours are limited.

Organizing training specifically for your part-time employees is crucial to the success of your team. Scheduling a part-timer to come in on a busy Saturday lunch shift and flounder around strains and stresses out the rest of the staff. That’s the last thing you want or need.

Part-time staff benefit from shorter periods of training engagement than your full-time staff. You do want to include them in your large training sessions but will certainly have some who can’t make it.

Since their schedules are limited, you can train part-time staff via 15-minute lessons during pre-shift meetings. These talks can cover can anything from kitchen hygiene reminders, menu walkthroughs, customer service, and proper table setting.

Using your best staff for on-the-job training can also be beneficial to your part-timers. Shadowing during shifts provides a visual, real-world representation of everything written out in your employee manual. Following in the footsteps of someone in the role a part-timer has been hired for is an excellent way for them to understand their responsibilities and tasks in real-time.

Not only is it an opportunity to understand how the whole team functions, it’s a chance to meet colleagues and bond with the team.

Streamline Your Menu

As mentioned in a previous post, the streamlining of your menu benefits everyone from the top down.

Trying to train a new employee on how to cook (or serve) every single item on a large menu can be daunting. Keeping your menu narrow and focused will make an employee’s transition into their new position.

This is where your employee manual will come into play again. Recipes and pictures, along with training and tastings, will give new staff the confidence to cook and serve the dishes skillfully. Shadow shifts will complete the picture for them with hands-on training.

Conversely, having a large menu creates unnecessary confusion and takes a longer time for staff to feel comfortable.

Everything on your menu needs to be something that your kitchen and serving staff can handle efficiently without putting undue burden on your staff. Choose recipes that include ingredients that you know fit within your budget and concentrate on making them the best they can be. Good food is more about taste than presentation.

Seasonal menu changes should be addressed via staff meetings, updated recipe cards, tastings, and even testing for all staff. Consider using these events to train and onboard your new staff to start them on the right foot and avoid them having to play catch-up.

Don’t Discount Human Communication

Everyone wants to implement the latest technology to save money, resources, labour costs, and to deliver superior product.

One thing that needs to be remembered when training staff is this: even with all these new processes, human interaction is still necessary for a functioning business.

That is, human skill is still required to cook and plate delicious, Instagram-worthy food, and to deliver that food to the guests at the table. For the time being, human interaction is what creates memorable dining experiences and keeps guests coming back!

The opposite end of that spectrum happens when technology fails or crashes. Troubleshooting and problem-solving skills are required by your staff every day.

Train staff how to utilize your technology stack but also understand the “old-fashioned” ways.

Effective Troubleshooting Ability: Importance of Teamwork, Repetition, Consistency

 A solid training strategy produces a staff that values teamwork, a team with effective troubleshooting skills, and consistent results.

When you identify the roles you are looking and the responsibilities that come along with them, plus delegate and train properly, you are essentially giving your staff the ability to individually and collectively trouble shoot any issues that arise.

These problems can relate to customer service, broken equipment, inventory problems, and other issues that might come up when you or your leadership team aren’t there to fix things.

Everything talked about here is the foundation you should be building on to create an environment that thrives on teamwork. From the minute you onboard new staff they are comfortable in what is being asked of them and are given plenty of opportunity to work alongside colleagues.

Excellent teamwork leads to consistency and repetition of food, drinks, and service regardless of who is working the front or back of house. There is nothing more disappointing than returning to a restaurant only to have a substandard experience.

Implementing these programs even before opening day will help to keep you and, more importantly, your staff happy, thriving, and creating an amazing experience for your guests time and again!

Image: nick jenkins on Unsplash

by krghospitality krghospitality No Comments

Why You Should Hire for Grit

Why You Should Hire for Grit

by Jennifer Radkey

Punch today in the face motivation print

It’s no secret that the hospitality industry is currently struggling to fill empty positions.

In an industry that suffered immensely throughout the pandemic with closures and restrictions, the desire for workers to return is low. Add in underlying issues such as low wages, unappealing hours, and sometimes undesirable work culture, and it makes the hunt for great employees seem even more daunting.

But what do you do when the resumes do come in? How do you select team members who will make your business stronger and help you strive towards success?

I’m going to suggest that you start by looking for one key characteristic: Grit.

What is Grit?

Psychologist and grit specialist Angela Duckworth states that, “Grit is sustained passion and perseverance for long term goals.” Grit is showing stamina in order to achieve success. It is often a better predictor of success than talent or skill alone.

If you want to do a deep dive into the benefits of grit to learn how and why grit is a better predictor of success than talent or intelligence, I highly suggest reading Duckworth’s book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. You can also check out her Ted Talks.

Why Grit?

Gritty individuals are more likely to deal with adversity better. These are the people you want on your team, especially in leadership roles. They are individuals who see success as a marathon and do not quit.

In an industry known for high turnover, the number one quality you should be scouting for is perseverance. Who is going to stick with you when times are stressful? Who is going to push for personal and professional growth? These are the individuals you need to look for.

Hiring for Skill

Many restaurant and bar owners will look at skill first when hiring new staff. I get it. If someone has previous experience and has demonstrated job specific skills, then it means less training on your part. If they “know what they’re doing,” that individual should be a good hire, right?

While finding someone with skill may prove that they can do the day-to-day tasks, it says nothing about how dedicated they will be to your business, what their growth potential is, or what their values may be. Skill can be easily taught; values, grit, and a growth mindset, however, can not.

Hiring for Grit

It starts with your job ad. An individual with grit is on the search for growth opportunities and for challenges.

What are you offering your team members? Are you offering learning opportunities, tuition assistance, training experiences? Are you making this clear from the very start that these opportunities are available?

If you want dedicated employees who are of a growth mindset you need to attract them to you with what they are searching for.

The Resume

Resumes may not be plentiful, and you may need to fill a position ASAP, but you still need to take the time to carefully analyze a resume if you want to hire for long-term success.

When reading a resume there are clues to indicate if the candidate has grit. Firstly, check to see how long they have stuck with previous jobs, teams, hobbies, volunteer positions, etc. Do they have a lot of experience but have switched jobs every one to two years? Have they done a lot of volunteer work but only for very brief stints?

Secondly, what level of achievement did they receive in these? For example, an individual who was on a varsity basketball team for four years, was made captain, and won a championship shows more grit than someone who played recreational basketball for a year and didn’t win any major awards.

One more example: An individual who started off as host, stayed with the restaurant for several years, and during that time made his way to the management team shows more grit than an individual who has more years of experience but it is spread over various establishments and each stint is less than a year in length.

The Hiring Process

A person with grit will not make you hunt them down. If anything, they will hunt you down!

The individuals who go out of their way to research your establishment before an interview, who follow up in a timely way for setting up interviews, and who follow up after their resume is sent and after they have an interview are the type of people you want on your team.

Do not overlook these individuals (even if they don’t have a ton of experience) because they are demonstrating respect, a keen interest in working for you, and dedication. Remember, skill can easily be taught but key qualities such as grit and growth mindset can not.

The Interview

There are some key questions you can ask during the interview process to determine if a candidate has grit:

  • “Tell me about a big goal you had and how you went about achieving that goal.” Look for specific details about how they reached their goal.
  • “Tell me about a time when you gave up on a goal, and why.” People give up on goals all the time. Perhaps it turned out to just not be feasible. Maybe a major life-changing event happened. A person with grit will typically only give up on a goal for a significant reason.
  • “Tell me about a major obstacle or challenge that you recently had to overcome, and how you did so.” The hospitality industry is full of obstacles and daily challenges both big and small. You need an idea of if and how your team members can overcome these obstacles.
  • “Who is a successful person that you admire, and why?” Does the candidate admire someone successful because of work ethic, grit, perseverance, bravery, etc.? Or do they admire the person for talent, success, material wealth, and popularity? What we admire in others is often what we try to achieve for ourselves.

These are all questions that will give you an idea of someone’s level of grit.

The Bottom Line

Turnover hurts everyone, and it hurts our bottom line. In our industry it is inevitable, but it doesn’t need to be a continuous revolving door of employees.

Start by attracting the right people, look for signs of grit during the hiring process, and then do your part by creating a rewarding and positive work environment to create longevity.

Is hiring stressful? You bet. But if you do it right, hopefully you won’t have to do it often! Here’s to personal and professional well-being. Cheers!

Image: Johnson Wang on Unsplash

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