Teamwork

by krghospitality krghospitality No Comments

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
by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Leadership Facepalm, Part Three

Leadership Facepalm, Part Three

by David Klemt

Frustrated man sitting on couch

We almost got to next year without another viral leadership facepalm moment but then an Olive Garden manager sent a memo.

In case you’re unaware of the now-infamous Olive Garden memo, here’s a recap:

  • Zero tolerance for calling off.
  • Sick team members must come in and prove they’re ill.
  • If someone’s dog dies, they must bring the dead animal in to prove its death.
  • Family emergencies are not private and must come with an explanation.

The manager who authored the memo also takes time to boast about their perfect attendance record.

For the curious, the first entry in our leadership facepalms is here. Part two is here.

The Letter

Below you’ll find the letter, addressed to “ALL Team Members.” To read it in its entirety, click here.

“Our call offs are occurring at a staggering rate. From now on, if you call off, you might as well go out and look for another job. We are no longer tolerating ANY excuse for calling off. If you’re sick, you need to come prove it to us. If your dog died, you need to bring him in and prove it to us.”

I highly doubt that’s Olive Garden or Darden policy.

“If its a ‘family emergency’ and you can’t say, too bad. Go work somewhere else. If you only want morning shifts, too bad go work at a bank. If anyone from here on out calls out more than ONCE in the next 30 days you will not have a job.”

It doesn’t get any better when the manager brings up their own track record:

“Do you know in my 11.5 years at Darden how many days I called off? Zero. I came in sick. I got in a wreck literally on my to work one time, airbags went off and my car was totaled, but you know what, I made it to work, ON TIME! There are no more excuses.”

Interestingly, the manager implies they’re speaking for all the leaders:

“Us, collectively as a management team have had enough.”

A Breaking Point

First, I’m not pretending a staggering amount of operators, leadership teams, and team members aren’t at their breaking points. The labor shortage and staffing struggles are a real crisis in our industry (and others, of course).

Second, I’m not suggesting that operators and their teams aren’t justified in their frustration and anger.

If we’re to accept just this year’s reporting alone, it appears many people are comfortable being rude to service workers. It’s a disturbing trend, and it’s motivating people to leave public-facing roles. As they’re leaving, many are swearing off the hospitality industry entirely.

Third, I think the memo above highlights our need to address mental health in this industry. Sure, it’s easy to write this manager off as a jerk and terrible leader. But what if we look at this through the lens of stress?

The memo could easily be the manifestation of a breaking point. It’s also possible the entire management team was behind this email.

Damage Done

Let’s look at this situation solely as an example of poor judgment and leadership. Imagine the damage it could do to any restaurant or bar, chain or independent.

What do you think a memo like this does to the ability to recruit? To retain? How does such an email do anything but exacerbate labor problems?

Darden, Olive Garden’s parent, went into crisis management mode when this memo went viral. It appeared on Reddit, was picked up by news outlets and other websites, and exploded.

Ultimately, Darden terminated the manager to whom the memo is attributed: “We strive to provide a caring and respectful work environment for our team members. This message is not aligned with our company’s values. We can confirm we have parted ways with this manager.”

The Olive Garden location in Kansas where this situation took place may recover. They’re a large chain, people tend to have short memories for news, and regulars will likely stay loyal.

But what if this occurred at an independent restaurant? The damage could be irreparable.

Work Culture

Now, it should be obvious that from a simply operational standpoint, this situation highlights an unhealthy work environment and culture. That should go without saying.

So, instead I want to say something else.

Operators need to check in with their team members. Leaders, front of house, back of house—everyone. Stress levels are reaching breaking points and every one of your team members needs to know they matter, they’re safe, and they’re supported.

Check in. Survey your team. Be empathetic. And if you’re an operator, you need a support system of your own.

Being a leader doesn’t mean being infallible. It’s not poor leadership or weakness to admit you need help.

Image: Nik Shuliahin 💛💙 on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Are You Rewarding Voters Today?

Are You Rewarding Voters Today?

by David Klemt

"I Voted" stickers on a white background

Voting is one of the hallmarks of democracy, a right and privilege so crucial that one can’t overstate or exaggerate the value and importance.

It is, therefore, supremely unfortunate that access to this right has become so acrimoniously political. Of course voting relates to politics—that’s a given. That doesn’t mean the act itself should be disingenuously politicized for twisted means.

For example, far too many people have grown convinced that their vote means nothing. Further, it’s an outrage that voting is made so difficult for so many who know voting matters.

So important is this fundamental right, there are three amendments to the US Constitution protecting it specifically: the Fifteenth, Nineteenth, and Twenty-sixth.

Before going further, I’m not this passionate in support of only those who vote “my way.” I want every American of voting age to have easy access to cast their ballot. Equally as important to me, I want every American to feel like their vote means something.

Of course, that also means accepting results we don’t like. We don’t always get our way in a democracy, after all.

This is all to say the following: Operators can play a role in elections. A simple-yet-important role.

Encourage Voters

I’m not the first to say it: Restaurants and bars are the cornerstones of their communities.

Back in June, I expressed the role our industry plays across the country and globe: “Restaurants and bars are pillars, cornerstones of the communities they serve. These are businesses that welcome people in, treat them like family. They’re there for them as they move through their lives. People who were seemingly at odds with another routinely found common ground over a bite and a sip. More often than not, that’s still the case.”

I still believe this, and that’s why I believe operators can play a role on this Election Day, and those in the future. The role is simple but powerful: Encourage your community to get out there and vote.

Now, one clear way to motivate your community to get out there today is to reward those wearing “I Voted” stickers when they visit your restaurant or bar. It’s commonplace now for operators to offer voters food and drink discounts, free menu items, or other perks on Election Day.

Restaurants and bars around the country routinely execute this type of promotion. From free sides and snacks to discounts on entrees and drinks, operators throughout the US find ways to encourage voting.

Proceed with Caution

Just keep something in mind: Legal scholars say that when federal candidates are on the ballot, such promotions are illegal.

The interpretation of a particular federal statute makes it illegal to pay people to vote. “Paying” includes providing something of value in exchange for voting, such as food or a drink.

One workaround is to ensure anyone who enters your business can participate in your promotion. No “I Voted” sticker? No problem. A guest says they haven’t voted? Not a disqualification.

Another solution is to simply encourage your social media followers to vote and come by for a visit. No reward, necessarily, just encouragement to exercise their right.

In other words, be the supporter and motivator your community needs. And be careful about any promotions you may be offering today.

Image: Element5 Digital on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Addressing Substance Abuse in the Industry

Restaurant Business Articles Address Substance Abuse

by David Klemt

Two full shot glasses on a bar

Two revealing Restaurant Business articles paint a startling picture of the industry’s struggles with drug and alcohol abuse.

Unfortunately, the subject of substance abuse in restaurants and bars isn’t new. This has long been a pervasive, prevalent issue in the hospitality industry.

There are, as Restaurant Business authors point out, several reasons our industry continues to grapple with substance abuse.

Since we’re nearing Sober October, this topic’s importance seems particularly poignant. Of course, the health of hospitality industry professionals should always be a paramount operator concern every day. It shouldn’t take a specific month for us to address this issue, just to forget about it after 31 days of consideration.

Hospitality workers should feel supported by the business owners and operators for whom they work. Additionally, they should feel safe among the leadership team and their fellow team members. In part, this feeling of security and safety should manifest in being comfortable speaking about substance abuse in the workplace.

A significant element of creating a supportive, safe, and healthy culture is removing the stigma of struggling with substance abuse that persists today. How can operators, leadership, and team members help one another if they make peers feel shame for struggling with drugs or alcohol?

A crucial step toward addressing the issue of substance abuse is fostering a culture of respect, support, and safety. If anyone in any role—from ownership and leadership to front of house and back of house—feels as though they can’t speak with someone safely about their struggles, we can’t address this topic effectively. And if we can’t address it in a meaningful way, we can never effect real change that can improve and save lives.

Pervasive Struggles

A Restaurant Business article from last week addresses substance abuse and culture. “How Restaurants Feed a Culture of Substance Abuse” reveals disturbing statistics.

At the start of their article, editors Peter Romeo, Heather Lalley and Joe Guszkowski share a horrific story. In February of this year, Colorado law enforcement found six adults and a toddler in an apartment. The six adults had all overdosed on fentanyl-laced cocaine; five had died. All six adults worked in chain or independent restaurants.

Four years ago, Delaware officials investigated the state’s opioid crisis. They found 10 percent of Delaware residents who died due to opioid overdoses were foodservice workers. According to Restaurant Business, state officials concluded that foodservice experienced a higher rate of opioid deaths than any other industry.

Among the most-shocking revelations in the Restaurant Business article pertains to the US workforce as a whole. Frustratingly, the US government hasn’t researched illicit drug use in the workforce since 2015. So, for all we know, the numbers I’m about to share have either increased or decreased.

In a typical month in 2015, 8.6 percent of the US workforce was using illicit drugs. However, that number pales in comparison to the rate of illicit drug use among restaurant and hotel workers: 19.1 percent.

Examining Substance Use Disease (SUD), a term encompassing drug and alcohol abuse, the numbers expose the weight of our industry’s struggle. In 2015, 9.5 percent of the US workforce suffered from SUD. For restaurants and hotels? That number was nearly double: 16.9 percent, higher than any other industry.

Fentanyl Deaths

Restaurant Business Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Maze reveals how “restaurants are ground zero” for fentanyl overdoses.

Fentanyl is cheap to produce and transport. It doesn’t take much to be deadly. And most people who have the misfortune of consuming it do so unwittingly. As it turns out, drug dealers lace all manner of other drugs with it because it’s so powerful. So, cutting drugs with fentanyl is more “cost effective” for drug dealers.

This particular excerpt from Maze’s “As Fentanyl Deaths Soar, Restaurants Are Ground Zero” is startling: “Throughout the country, restaurants and bars are such common places for overdose deaths among customers that advocates are training bartenders and servers to administer Narcan, a medication used to treat opioid overdoses. They are also becoming sources for fentanyl test strips so customers can see if the drugs they’re taking are laced with the powerful drug.”

Further, this troubling excerpt: “The fentanyl epidemic is particularly troublesome in the restaurant industry given the generally high rate of drug use among workers. Restaurant work is notoriously intense. The hours are long and late, and employees are on their feet all day. They often get hurt on the job and can turn to painkillers, legal or otherwise.”

When I say that we need to address substance abuse in our industry to save lives, I’m not employing hyperbole. I mean it quite literally.

Please take the time to read these two Restaurant Business articles in their entirety. We need to take action today.

Image: cottonbro via Pexels

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

5 Books to Read this Month: September 2022

5 Books to Read this Month: September 2022

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

This month’s engaging and informative book selections will help you develop next-level leadership skills and dial in your drink menu.

To review August’s book recommendations, click here.

Let’s jump in!

Your Restaurant Culture Sucks!: Stop surviving. Start thriving. Escape mediocrity

Donald Burns, the Restaurant Coach and friend of KRG Hospitality, completes his Your Restaurant Sucks! trilogy. For the third book in the self-improvement and hospitality industry leadership series, Burns tackles culture.

In Your Restaurant Culture Sucks!, Burns helps owners, operators, and leadership team members understand the importance of workplace and company culture. Instead of complaining that “nobody wants to work anymore,” look inside and find out why perhaps nobody wants to work for you. That kind of honesty helps implement real change, change that sets you apart and improves recruitment, hiring, and retention.

“All restaurants can buy from the same vendors and hire from the same labor pool. What separates the good, from the great to the outstanding is culture!”

Subtract

Sometimes changing our outlook and improving our leadership skills is about streamlining.

“We pile on ‘to-dos’ but don’t consider ‘stop-doings.’ We create incentives for good behavior, but don’t get rid of obstacles to it. We collect new-and-improved ideas, but don’t prune the outdated ones. Every day, across challenges big and small, we neglect a basic way to make things better: we don’t subtract.”

With Subtract, Leidy Klotz explains how changing how we approach solutions can be life changing. Maybe we need to stop adding and start subtracting to improve our strategies.

Cure: New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix ’Em from the Award-Winning Bar

If you travel to New Orleans and you’re in this industry, you probably make sure to include Cure on your itinerary. For more than a decade this 2018 James Beard Award winner (Outstanding Bar Program) has been integral to the city’s craft cocktail scene.

Whether you’re after a deceptively simple beer and shot or a cocktail made with a rare, allocated bourbon, Cure is there to elevate your French Quarter visit. And soon you’ll be able to bring Cure home with you, and to your restaurant or bar as well. Available now for preorder, Cure includes 100 cocktail recipes that tell the tale of NOLA from past, present, and future.

Craft Beer Design: The Design, Illustration and Branding of Contemporary Breweries

Anyone who pauses to consider beer can design knows that it’s becoming nearly as important as the liquid. With thousands of breweries all over the US alone, how does a brewer stand out? How does a small, independent craft brewer grab a potential new customer’s attention in a sea of options? In part, through their can designs. Of course the beer itself is crucial and the most important element. However, a consumer has to be motivated to try a beer before they learn how good it tastes.

Craft Beer Design dives deep into craft beer design, featuring real-world examples and interviews with the designers themselves.

Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know

Curiosity keeps us learning. The pursuit of knowledge keeps us sharp. Learning helps us improve ourselves, our leadership, and our operations. The belief that we’ve learned all there is to know, however, prevents us from learning to our own detriment.

Much like Subtract teaches us how to remove rather than add, Think Again proposes a new approach: unlearning and rethinking. Why do we get defensive when we’re wrong? Why are we so afraid of challenges to long-held beliefs? Admitting when we’re wrong and seeking facts is a strength, not a weakness.

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Discover the World’s 50 Best

Discover the World’s 50 Best with this Helpful Tool

by David Klemt

Red neon hand sign over a cocktail

You may be familiar with the World’s 50 Best Bars and the World’s 50 Best Restaurants rankings, but do you know about their Discovery tool?

On episode 82 of the Bar Hacks podcast, Mark Sansom mentions this powerful and helpful tool. Sansom, for those who have yet to listen to the episode, is the content director for the World’s 50 Best Bars.

Put plainly, the World’s 50 Best rankings are powerful and influential. As Sansom says, when the organization shouts, people listen. Making the 100 to 51 or 50 to one list can change a restaurant or bar’s business. Exposure, traffic, revenue, status, longevity… The restaurant and bar lists are game changers for those who work hard enough to earn a spot.

However, the World’s 50 Best, as the name suggests, ranks just a few hundred restaurants and bars:

So, the organization put their heads together. What if they could increase the chances that thousands of venues could find themselves on the radar of millions of people across the world? What could that do for a much larger swathe of deserving restaurants and bars?

50 Best Discovery

Enter, the 50 Best Discovery database.

“That’s the more egalitarian face of 50 Best, and that’s where we’re really excited about moving in the future,” says Sansom.

According to Sansom, there are more than 2,500 restaurants and bars just waiting for, well, discovery. It is, as he says, “the world’s most authoritative database on restaurants and bars anywhere.”

Compellingly, this is more than just a lonely input field chilling out on a webpage. Rather, there’s also a slideshow of 50 Best editor’s picks to scroll through. In using the tool for this article I discovered the following venues without even scrolling:

  • Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas
  • Cal Pep in Barcelona, Spain
  • Amass in Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Fyn Restaurant in Cape Town, South Africa

In other words, this tool is aptly named: The mission is discovery, and I’d say that mission is well on its way to achievement.

North America Results

Given the potential of the 50 Best Discovery database, I of course took it for a spin. You can do the same by clicking here.

Below, my results. In the interest of full transparency, it appears some cities in North America could use some work.

However, I feel confident that the 50 Best Discovery database will improve over time. After all, this is a new tool. Remember, the North America 50 Best Bars list is also brand new. As the organization recognizes more regions and venues, they’ll develop their database further.

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

  • Proof

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

  • Bar Raval
  • BarChef
  • The Shameful Tiki Room

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

  • Botanist
  • Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar
  • The Keefer Bar

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

  • Greene St. Kitchen
  • Herbs & Rye
  • Wing Lei

Nashville, Tennessee, USA

  • Bastion
  • The Catbird Seat
  • Pearl Diver

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

  • Vedge
  • Zahav

Image: Marcus Loke on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Are You Surveying Your Team?

Are You Surveying Your Team?

by David Klemt

Interesting "Information" typography

Successful recruitment is only one element of overcoming the current labor shortage—retention is another crucial element.

In fact, employee turnover can be incredibly costly. According to the Center for Hospitality Research at Cornell, employee turnover costs nearly $6,000 per hourly team member.

Now, consider what it costs to hire a single employee. On average, it costs $3,500 to hire that worker in the first place. So, the math is simple: Losing an employee costs an operator more than hiring one.

Unsurprisingly, turnover cost more than doubles—nearly $14,000—for a restaurant manager. In short, employee retention is arguably more important than recruitment and hiring.

Labor Shortage

Per Datassential, 33 percent of 801 survey respondents say the labor shortage is their greatest challenge in 2022. More than 70 percent of those respondents are independent operators.

However, independent, chain, and franchise operators appear to agree on one particular element of the challenge. Across segments, hiring hourly back-of-house employees is the most difficult.

In fact, Datassential’s latest FoodBytes report states that restaurants are coming up short in the kitchen. Two-thirds of restaurants are struggling to fill open hourly cook positions.

So, what’s the solution? Higher starting wages? Bonuses for remaining in role for 90 days? Benefits like health insurance and a 401K?

Each of those does work—for recruitment and hiring. What keeps a new hire from leaving after 90 days with their bonus cash, heading down the road to the next restaurant or bar?

It’s commonly agreed that the first 90 days of a new hire’s employment are the most crucial. Wages and benefits keep them in role for roughly three months. During that time, they’re deciding if their role and the employer’s culture are for them.

Employee Engagement

If you’re an owner, operator, or member of the leadership team, you know the importance of data. In fact, you should be obsessed with data collection and analysis.

Truly, the best way to make decisions that will impact the business is with information. Guesswork just doesn’t cut it. Yes, you should pay close attention to your “gut.” However, you should avoid acting on gut instincts before analysing the relevant data.

Wisely, many operators encourage their guests to complete satisfaction surveys. After all, their feedback is crucial to the success of any business. But what about employee surveys? Your team is equally as important as your guests.

Unhappy team members, unhappy guests. Unhappy guests, reduction in traffic. Team members fleeing your business? Your guests pick up on turnover. Eventually, you won’t have a business.

Now, you can assume your team is happy. You can feel like your leadership team is ensuring employee satisfaction and engagement. Or, you can know.

How do you know? You ask.

Satisfaction Surveys

Call it a satisfaction survey, call it a happiness survey… Either way, you’re asking your team members how happy they are with you and their role.

Operators will likely want to keep these surveys anonymous. Several sources that address employee surveys claim most employees prefer anonymity. Unfortunately, this is due to a fear of retribution from ownership or the leadership team.

Even with a healthy workplace culture, anonymity is probably the best for these surveys. Of course, if you’re implementing a 90-day happiness survey for new hires, anonymity doesn’t make much sense.

As far as company-wide survey frequency, there are several options. Once per year is obviously the bare minimum. Therefore, it’s not very effective. Every six months is better but is checking in on your team’s happiness twice per year enough?

The sweet spot appears to be quarterly surveys. More than that—monthly or bi-monthly—will likely get annoying.

Survey Questions

Below are a few questions to consider for your surveys. You’ll have to decide if you want to use multiple-choice, yes or no, matrix, or open-ended questions, or a mix of each type.

Another consideration is how your team will access the survey. The process needs to be as painless as possible. So, consider pushing a link via your scheduling platform, text, or QR code.

  • How happy are you working here?
  • How happy are you in your current role?
  • Would you recommend us to friends and family as a good place to work?
  • Does the leadership team make you feel valuable?
  • Do you see yourself working here a year from now?
  • Are we helping you succeed in your role?
  • Are we giving you what you need to progress in your career?

Image: Roman Kraft on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

One White Wine, Two Wine Holidays

One White Wine, Two Wine Holidays

by David Klemt

World of Wine Porto grape wall relief

In August, operators and their front- and back-of house teams can celebrate two restaurant and bar holidays with one white wine.

Obviously, that means two bites at the apple—or grape (my apologies, I’ll see myself out)—in the same week. In turn, that generates revenue and move wine inventory.

Okay, so what wine does double duty in August? Albariño, a popular white wine with origins in Portugal. In fact, there are two countries that dominate Albariño production, Portugal and Spain.

On Monday, August 1, your guests have the opportunity to celebrate International Albariño Day. Just three days later, August 4, we have National White Wine Day. How convenient!

As we know, while many of today’s guests have their favorites and stick to them, they like to try new things. This August, add Albariño to your Chardonnay, Moscato, Pinot Grigio, and Sauvignon Blanc lineup.

So, what do you need to know about Albariño? Let’s take a look at this refreshing white wine below.

The Wine Nerd Stuff

As I say above, Albariño traces its origins to Portugal. In its home country, this varietal’s name is Alvarinho.

Most people who are familiar with Albariño are familiar with bottles from Spain. So, Albariño is the same grape as Alvarinho.

Call it by either name, this white wine is an Old World wine. In fact, some of these vines are a few hundred years old. For those wondering, Old World wines come from Europe, speaking generally. And New World wines? Well, they come from anywhere not in Europe.

However, there is indeed New World Albariño. Also, if you happen to operate a restaurant or bar in North America, these New World versions can be easy to acquire.

Unsurprisingly yet conveniently, there are wineries producing Albariño in California. Of course, these California Albariños are different than their Portuguese and Spanish counterparts. California’s Central Coast wine region is warmer than Spain’s cool Galicia region.

The Flavors and Aromas

Alright, so what’s Albariño like on the nose and palate, and how does it finish? To answer these questions, let’s look at the Old World wine first.

Again, I’m speaking about this white wine in broad strokes. You and your staff will need to taste a few bottles to understand their nuances.

So, Portuguese and Spanish Albariño tends to be light-bodied and dry, with high acidity. On the nose, expect peach and citrus like grapefruit, lemon, and lime. You may also detect a hint of wet stone, owing to its minerality.

On the palate, there’s usually a touch of salinity, plenty of acid, and notes of grapefruit, honeysuckle, nectarine, honeydew, and granite. Expect a long, dry finish.

Now, since Old World versions tend to be grown in cool climates, they tend to be light-bodied. Since Californian Albariño grows in a warmer climate, its characteristics are different.

Generally speaking, California Albariño is medium-bodied in comparison to its Old World counterparts. The Californian wines tend to have both floral and tropical notes on the nose. Along with the notes one would expect from Spanish and Portuguese wines, California Albariño can also feature orange and elderberry flavors.

Don’t Forget the Food

Obviously, wine pairs well with food—that should go without saying. And it would have too, but I said it.

Anyway, maximize guest spend by including your back-of-house team for your International Albariño Day and National White Wine Day promotions.

For this varietal, think lighter foods. Seafood, freshwater fishes, chicken, tofu, salads, grilled vegetables, and fruits pair well with Albariño.

Of course, you’ll also want to consider cheese pairings. So, try your Albariños with Chèvre, Manchego, Burrata, Feta, Gruyère, and Brie.

You have time to add some crisp, delicious Albariños from multiple regions to your menu. Create two promotions that showcase these wines and lure in your guests with irresistible pairings.

Cheers!

Image: World of Wine Porto, Portugal (Hayffield L on Unsplash)

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

What Politicians Get Wrong about Us

What Politicians Get Wrong about Our Industry

by David Klemt

Restaurant and bar with exterior windows open

It still stings that the 43 senators chose to vote against replenishing the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.

The fact that four senators didn’t vote at all on S.4008 is nearly as insulting and painful.

Now, while all the “nay” votes came from Republican senators, I’m not here to bash one party in particular. Four Republicans voted “yea,” as did two Independents.

Unfortunately, given how hostile Democrats and Republicans in Congress seem to be, it’s difficult to be objective. Right now, it appears that the RRF was left to die a slow death because many—not all, of course—Republicans in power don’t want their Democrat peers to “win” at anything.

To be used as political pawns and be left out in the cold… It’s a bitter pill to swallow.

Cornerstones

Too many politicians, it seems, view restaurants and bars as they would other types of businesses. Perhaps the perceived success of national and global brands paint the picture that independent venues and small chains don’t need any help.

More disappointingly, maybe politicians, from local lawmakers to state representatives, take our business’ role for granted.

Look at the history of restaurants and bars, of hospitality. Think about the rich history of hospitality in America alone, let alone globally.

Yes, independent restaurants and bars are small businesses. But like so many small businesses in so many towns across the country, they’re so much more.

Restaurants and bars are pillars, cornerstones of the communities they serve. These are businesses that welcome people in, treat them like family. They’re there for them as they move through their lives.

People who were seemingly at odds with another routinely found common ground over a bite and a sip. More often than not, that’s still the case.

Operators and their teams give back to their communities through food drives, quietly feeding those in need, and finding other ways to give back.

And they look out for their communities.

Lifesavers

Last week, the team at a cafe in the Bronx called the Chipper Truck helped rescue a woman from an alleged hostage situation.

Permitted by her assailant to place a food order via Grubub, the victim thought quickly and sent a life-saving note with her order:

“Please call the police… don’t make it obvious.”

A staff member read the note in the “additional instructions” section of the order and called one of the owners. Nobody at the Chipper Truck knew if the situation was real but they chose to err on the side of caution.

When the alleged assailant—who was arrested and charged with a list of serious offenses—opened the door for the Grubhub order, he was met with police officers.

A Facebook post from the cafe addressing the situation read, in part, “I’ve often heard of this happening but never thought it would happen to us. Thankfully we were open and able to help her.”

It’s terrifying that this happens enough that the cafe owners hear about it “often.” But it’s telling of the role restaurants and bars play in their communities that they’ve saved multiple lives.

This is to say nothing of the restaurants and bars that have put coded safety systems in place to help patrons who find themselves in danger.

No Such Thing as “Just” a Restaurant or Bar

There isn’t a restaurant or bar out there that’s “only” a restaurant or “only” a bar.

Every one is a source for food, for socializing, for an escape from the stresses of life. Restaurants and bars are committed to service and sacrifice.

They’re pillars of their communities, the cornerstones that play important roles in our everyday lives and the special moments as well.

Perhaps our politicians, local and otherwise, need to a reminder. Restaurants and bars play crucial roles in the lives of the people politicians are supposed to represent.

Too many politicians claim to support small businesses while their actions and votes prove otherwise. Talk, as we all know, is cheap.

Restaurants are not “just” restaurants. Bars are not “just” bars. We deserve better.

Image: Scott Webb on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

WCK Shares Chefs for Ukraine Update

World Central Kitchen Shares Chef for Ukraine Update

by David Klemt

Ukraine flag blowing in wind

World Central Kitchen has been on the ground helping refugees since Russia first invaded the sovereign nation of Ukraine.

I mean that quite literally. In their video update, it was revealed that a WCK team arrived in Poland within hours of the invasion.

Maggie Leahy, director of donor relations at WCK, spoke with WCK CEO Nate Mook to share the details of the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization’s #ChefsForUkraine campaign.

Mook shared that the WCK activated a fast-response team which is informally referred to as the Tip of the Spear. When the team arrived at the Poland-Ukraine border, they had gotten there so quickly that they weren’t certain what they’d find.

Assessment and Coordination

In fact, WCK wasn’t certain if their humanitarian efforts would even be needed. However, as we all know now, they certainly were in demand. The United Nations, as it turns out, wasn’t even on the ground yet.

Shockingly, Mook shared that WCK hadn’t encountered a crisis at the level of Ukraine’s invasion for many, many years.

For the past 12 years, WCK has responded to crises all over the world. From natural disasters like massive floods and earthquakes to, unfortunately, shootings and warzones, the humanitarian organization has provided nourishing meals for those displaced and in need.

So, assessing the situation in Ukraine quickly was of the utmost importance. Some refugees crossing the 24-hour pedestrian border at which the first WCK team had arrived hadn’t eaten a meal in two days.

Responding as fast and efficiently as possible, the organization connected with catering companies and local restaurants in Poland to feed those fleeing Ukraine.

However, that was simply a quick fix.

Systems in Place

Mook shared the following anecdote to explain WCK’s commitment to fast responses in its humanitarian efforts.

Chef José Andrés, who co-founded World Central Kitchen his wife Patricia, says that they’re the world’s largest non-governmental organization, or NGO. Going further, Chef Andrés says this is because they have chefs and restaurants around the world WCK can activate to respond to crises…even if those chefs and restaurants don’t know it now.

Getting the refugees crossing into Poland fed quickly was just one step to providing assistance. What WCK really specializes in is coordination and setting up systems, per Mook.

Speed is just one element of WCK’s humanitarian efforts. Reliability, consistency, accountability, and efficiency are the other keys.

Without systems in place, WCK simply wouldn’t be able to do what they do, which is provide nourishment, stability, and a sense of dignity to those in crisis.

Millions of Meals

Soon after arriving and setting up in Poland, WCK teams arrived in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Moldova, and Romania.

When refugees started heading west, WCK teams set up in Germany and Spain. And while it wasn’t clear initially if teams would be needed in Ukraine directly, WCK has indeed set up inside the war-torn country.

There are WCK teams serving and supporting people in communities hosting refugees, liberated Ukraine cities, and even cities under fire.

Currently, WCK’s mission is providing hundreds of thousands of fresh meals to those in need. The organization is also providing tens of thousands of meal kits.

WCK has provided a staggering amount of meals. As of June 22, the day Leahy and Mook provided the #ChefsForUkraine update, they’ve served more than 54 million meals in response to Ukraine’s invasion.

It’s results like that incredible amount of meals that inspire our continued support of WCK through our KRG Cares program. We encourage you to support WCK as well.

Image: Daria Volkova on Unsplash

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