Beach club

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Ocean Casino Resort’s Big Game Cocktails

Ocean Casino Resort Offers Big Game Cocktails

by David Klemt

Group of Big Game cocktails at Ocean Casino Resort

Ocean Casino Resort, Atlantic City’s award-winning oceanfront casino and resort, is ready for the Big Game with four cocktails that team with the theme.

Now, by “Big Game,” we all know what I’m talking about. We know the sport, we the know the league, and we know precisely which game is under discussion.

However, due to very “enthusiastic” attorneys, we also have to talk like we’re spies or actors in a mob movie. We wouldn’t want to tempt anyone to file a lawsuit now, would we?

And I’m going to encourage you to continue following this childish way of speaking about the Big Game. When you’re promoting your Sunday, February 12 event, don’t use any trademarked terms, logos, images, etc.

Alright, the Big Game legalese is out of the way. Let’s talk themed cocktails!

Big Game Cocktail Inspiration

Midway through last year, Ocean Casino Resort showed us all their marketing prowess. When news of the Choco Taco’s demise made headlines, Ocean created a cocktail homage: the Chocotini.

To ensure the LTO could be enjoyed by most guests, the cocktail was available at four venues on the property.

Now, Ocean Casino Resort is tackling the Big Game. (Note: I’m legally required to include sports puns when writing about any major game.)

Guests have four specialty LTO cocktails from which to choose. Two representing the team from Philadelphia, two for the team in Kansas City. Each drink is available at venues throughout the casino resort, including their Topgolf Swing Suite (largest in America), Nola’s Bar & Lounge, and the Gallery Bar Book & Games.

In news that should appeal to you and your bar team, these drinks are quick to make. That’s a relief when you plan to be slammed on a particular day.

Of course, you don’t have to attempt to replicate these cocktails. They serve as excellent inspiration to motivate you and your team to come up with your own liquid homages and LTOs.

In case you’re wondering what to charge, Ocean is charging $14 each for the Brotherly Love, Hurts So Good, and Big Red cocktails. The Arrowhead carries a price tag of $15.

Ocean Casino Resort Philadelphia cocktails

Philadelphia

Ocean Casino Resort Brotherly Love cocktail

Brotherly Love

  • 1 oz. Vodka
  • 1 oz. Midori
  • 0.5 oz. Lemon juice
  • 0.5 oz. Lime juice
  • Club soda to top
  • Lime wedge or wheel to garnish

You and your bar team can build this cocktail in a rocks glass. Add ice, then add the first four ingredients. Top with club soda and garnish with a lime wedge or lime wheel.

Ocean Casino Resort Hurts So Good cocktail

Hurts So Good

  • 2 oz. Dark rum
  • 4 oz. Ginger beer
  • Lime to garnish

Another simple cocktail that you can make in the glass. Grab a Collins glass and add ice. Add the dark rum, then add and top with ginger beer. Garnish with a lime wedge and lime wheel, then serve. If this sounds like a Dark ‘n’ Stormy, that’s because it is one. And like the Big Game’s actual trademark name, be careful using that drink name for legal reasons.

Ocean Casino Resort Kansas City cocktails

Kansas City

Ocean Casino Resort Big Red cocktail

Big Red

  • 1 oz. Fresh lime juice
  • 2 oz. Silver tequila
  • 2 oz. Pomegranate juice
  • 0.75 oz. Triple sec
  • 0.75 oz. Simple syrup
  • Lime to garnish
  • Cherry to garnish
  • Salt, cinnamon blend, or spicy salt blend to rim (get creative!)

Prepare a Martini or cocktail glass by adding a rim. This can be a simple salt rim, a cinnamon blend rim, a spicy salt mixture, or even a barbecue seasoning-style rim. Opt for chilling these glasses ahead of time if you prefer. Add ice and then the first five ingredients to a shaker. Shake until well chilled, then strain into the prepared glass. Garnish with a lime wedge or lime wheel, plus a cherry.

Ocean Casino Resort The Arrowhead cocktail

The Arrowhead

  • 1.5 oz. Rye whiskey
  • 4 oz. Ginger beer
  • 4 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 squeeze of Lemon juice
  • Lemon wedge or wheel to garnish

Prepare a Collins glass by adding ice. Add each ingredient, garnish with lemon wedge or wheel, and serve.

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Images courtesy of Oceans Casino Resort

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5 Books to Read this Month: February 2023

5 Books to Read this Month: February 2023

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

This month’s engaging and informative book selections will help you hone your culinary, beverage, and operational skills to dial in your business.

To review the book recommendations from January 2023, click here.

Let’s jump in!

Cheers!: Cocktails & Toasts to Celebrate Every Day of the Year

As long-time KRG Hospitality readers know, we enjoy helping operators and their teams program around unique holidays. This book takes a similar approach to restaurant and bar promotions.

Philip Greene’s Cheers! suggests a specific drink and toast for each day on the calendar. There are, of course, the mainstream holidays each month. But like us, Greene also focuses on lesser-known holidays. With consumer behavior shifting toward occasion-based drinking, this book can certainly come in handy.

In the Weeds: Around the World and Behind the Scenes with Anthony Bourdain

Last year, In the Weeds was nominated for the 2022 BookTube Prize in Nonfiction. It’s understandable why this book was given such a nod: it takes the reader behind the scenes with Chef Anthony Bourdain.

“From the outside, the job looked like an all-expenses-paid adventure to places like Borneo, Vietnam, Iran, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Libya. What happened off-camera was far more interesting than what made it to air. The more things went wrong, the better it was for the show. Fortunately, everything fell apart constantly.” Grab this book now on Amazon.

Meehan’s Bartender Manual

There are certain books that people in this industry simply need to read. Meehan’s Bartender Manual—written by bartender, educator and author Jim Meehan—is one such tome.

This award-winning book is a must-read for all bar professionals, whether you own a bar, work behind a bar, or are a server. Not only will you find 100 recipes in Meehan’s Bartender Manual, you’ll learn about bartender techniques, service, hospitality, and bar design. Pick it up today!

Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business

Much like Meehan’s Bartender Manual is a must-read for bar owners and bar teams, Setting the Table is required reading for restaurant owners and teams.

Restaurateur and chef Danny Meyer shares the lessons he has learned that helped him survive and thrive in a challenging industry. Certainly, our industry is changing. But there are still lessons to be learned when we look into our recent past.

Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.

To say Brené Brown is an expert in leadership is an understatement. The professor, researcher, educator, and author has been teaching about leadership for years.

Brown’s 2018 book Dare to Lead focuses, in part, on two crucial keys of true leadership. One is taking personal responsibility. The second is how to recognize potential in others. Without these two elements, becoming an effective leader is essentially impossible. Pick up Dare to Lead on Amazon today.

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Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

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Program for Unique Holidays: February 2023

Program for Unique Holidays: February 2023

by David Klemt

"Think about things differently" neon sign

Do you want to stand out from from other restaurants and bars in your area? Change how you think about holiday promotions.

Several holidays are set against every date on the calendar, and February is no exception. These holidays range from mainstream to esoteric.

Pay attention to the “weird” or unique holidays to raise eyebrows, carve out a niche for your restaurant or bar, and attract more guests. Why do what everyone else is already doing? Why program only around the same holidays as everyone else?

Of course, you shouldn’t try to celebrate every holiday, strange or otherwise. Focus on the days that are authentic to your brand; resonate with your guests; and help you grab attention on social media.

You’ll find suggestions for promotions below. However, the idea behind our monthly holiday promotions roundup is to inspire you and your team to get creative and come up with unique programming ideas.

For our January 2023 holidays list, click here.

February 6: Pride In Foodservice Week

I’m not gonna lie: This is the first I’ve heard of this week-long celebration of foodservice. That’s fairly embarrassing given that this holiday dates back to 1991.

As you’re probably assuming, Pride in Foodservice Week celebrates foodservice professionals. So, highlight your team on social media (with their approval, of course); do something special to show your team you appreciate them; and find a way to celebrate the foodservice pros that visit your restaurant, bar, or hotel this week.

February 7: National Fettuccine Alfredo Day

Is this holiday unusual? No. Is Fettuccine Alfredo in any way bizarre? Of course not.

But you can certainly tap your kitchen team to do something unexpected with this classic dish. Stuff bao buns or dumplings with Fettuccine Alfredo. Create deep-fried Fettuccine Alfredo bites. Find a way to serve it on a stick. Just get creative and own this food holiday.

February 8: Kite Flying Day

Now, I’m not expecting you to somehow create a promotion around actually flying kites. Although, if you have the space and resources, go for it.

Instead, consider focusing on a particular cocktail, like the Plastic Kite or Paper Plane. Is a paper plane a kite? It can be if it’s designed as one, so the cocktail should be fair game on this holiday.

February 10: National Umbrella Day

North America has been slammed by freezing weather and brutal storms. Your guests can probably use an escape from the cold temperatures.

One excellent way for them to transport themselves elsewhere (at least in their minds) is tropical drinks. And tropical drinks tend to be served with the iconic cocktail umbrella. You know what to do: Perfect your tiki or nautical cocktail recipes, create an LTO menu, and draw in your guests.

February 15: National Flag of Canada Day

There’s nothing weird about the Canadian Flag. In fact, it’s one of the most iconic and instantly recognizable flags on the planet.

So, this is your day to celebrate Canadian spirits, beer, and food whether you operate in Canada or anywhere else. Tap your reps, get your hands on Canadian spirits and beer, focus on a few Canadian delicacies, and put together a mouth-watering LTO F&B menu.

February 18: National Crab Stuffed Flounder Day

To be clear, I’m including this holiday because it’s so specific. Obviously, this calls for an LTO or special based on one dish. I’ll give you one guess which dish it is.

February 20: Hoodie Hoo Day

If you’re somewhere it won’t bother too many people, I want you to do me a favor. I want you to yell, “Hoodie hoo!” Did you do it? Did it put a smile on your face?

It’s basically impossible to yell those two little words and not be happy afterward. Well, that’s the whole point of this holiday: happiness. We could all use a dose of happy these days, and this holiday can certainly provide it.

February 25: World Sword Swallowers Day

There are a couple ways to celebrate World Sword Swallowers Day. But for the love of your bottom line, don’t let any of your guests attempt to swallow any swords, cocktail or otherwise!

Instead, dig into the recipe books and find some classics just look right with garnishes skewered by cocktail swords. Or, serve up the Swinging Sword cocktail by Buchanan’s:

  • 1.5 oz. Buchanan’s 18-Year-Old Special Reserve Blended Scotch
  • 0.75 oz. Fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 0.5 oz. Fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 0.5 oz. Grenadine
  • Fresh mint sprig for garnish

Add ice and all liquid ingredients to a shaker. Shake well, strain into a coupe, garnish, and serve.

February 27: Telecommuter Appreciation Week

This is another week-long holiday I didn’t know existed. And again, it’s not new—this holiday was first celebrated in 1993.

However, I think it’s more relevant than ever. Rather than encouraging people to work from home on this holiday, celebrate your WFH guests. If your WiFi can handle it, encourage your guests to work from your restaurant, bar, or hotel. And make sure to create LTO food and drink menus to incentivize to do so.

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Image: Ivan Bertolazzi on Pexels

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4 Takeaways from Resy’s State of Dining

4 Takeaways from Resy’s State of Dining Report

by David Klemt

Guests enjoying an array of dishes at a restaurant

The State of Dining and What’s To Come in 2023 from Resy is an informative report that highlights several key developments to watch this year.

In fact, Resy’s report shines a light on ten trends and predictions for operators to consider. However, I’m going to address the four that stand out the most (to me).

For those who may be unfamiliar with Resy, the company is an online reservation platform. While Resy mostly serves major American cities, it does have a presence in Toronto, Canada, and London, UK.

Most importantly, the platform has a unique view of the industry. Resy looks at the industry through the lens of reservations, meaning they collect data concerning consumer behavior in real time.

So, let’s start with some compelling revelations based on reservation data. To view this report in its entirety, visit Resy via this link.

1. 5:00 PM

According to Resy, one reservation time is standing out from the rest. In comparison to 2019 and 2021, 5:00 PM reservations grew by two percent in 2022.

Now, two percent may seem like insignificant growth. However, given Resy’s reach and the platform’s number of active users, the opposite is true.

A two percent increase equates to hundreds of thousands of reservations.

Now, think about your restaurant or bar and consider your reservation distribution. Do you know which hour sees the most reservations? Not an assumption—do you have the data and therefore know the time?

If not, that’s information you need. Not only is this important for scheduling and controlling costs, it’s the benchmark you need to know if you have any chance of tracking change.

2. The Return of In-person Dining

This is one prediction that multiple industry (and even non-industry) publications are making for 2023. It’s the same for hospitality industry platforms: Companies see 2023 as the year restaurants and bars really come roaring back.

But when Resy makes this prediction, they’re using their reservation data to back it up.

First, last summer represents the single busiest season in the platform’s nine-year history. Second, a specific event, a dinner with chef-operator Massimo Bottura, sold out via Resy in a minute.

Third, October 2022. Why is this month worth pointing out in particular? By October, more Resy users had visited restaurants in 2022 than they had during the entirety of 2021.

Clearly, Resy expects this trend to continue and strengthen in 2023. Given their access to reservation data, this seems like a well-informed prediction.

3. Miami

In December of last year we checked out the best states in America for starting a business. Pennsylvania stood out to us for obvious reasons: our Northeastern office is in Philadelphia, with Kim Richardson at the helm.

Overall, Pennsylvania holds the number four spot on the Forbes list. For comparison, Florida slots in at number 45.

However, Miami appears to be an outlier for restaurant and bar entrepreneurs when it comes to Florida.

Per Resy, the restaurant footprint in Miami grew fourfold from 2017 to 2022. Moreover, Resy is seeing continuous growth in Miami. Going even further, this growth is coming from local and outside operators.

In fact, Resy describes South Florida as “white hot for high-profile sequels.” An operator has a top-tier concept? They’re likely to expand into Miami.

4. TikTok

Last week I addressed Datassential weighing in on photos versus videos. According to the F&B research firm, video is now dominating social media engagement.

And also last week, I explained the importance of discovery functionality. Operators who are considering adding a platform to their tech stack should consider whether it will help people discover their restaurant, bar, or hotel.

Resy is a platform that doesn’t just offer discoverability, it’s a core feature. So, when they say that TikTok appears to be a powerful discovery tool for restaurants and bars, that’s likely true.

Now, a poll Resy cites in their report reveals that traditional word of mouth is the top method of discovery. However, the same poll cites that TikTok is the top discovery platform for 43 percent of Gen Zers. Or, in other words, video, or digital word of mouth.

Should operators jump on TikTok? That’s something only individuals can determine is good for their business.

But if they’re courting Gen Z, well…they may need to add TikTok to their social media toolbox.

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Image: Meredith Jenks for Resy

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Chief Marketing Officer Joins SevenRooms

Chief Marketing Officer Joins SevenRooms

by David Klemt

"The only way is up" sign

Just weeks after revealing a new partnership to start 2023, SevenRooms is now announcing their first-ever chief marketing officer.

Today, the guest retention platform takes another massive step in their march toward continuous growth. Josh Todd, former CMO of Mindbody, will serve as CMO of SevenRooms moving forward.

“Over the past year, I was able to get to know Joel and the SevenRooms team and see the differences they are making across the hospitality industry through data and insights,” says Todd. “Throughout my career, I have been passionate about deepening the human connections and experiences within the industries I’ve worked in, and I immediately recognized that SevenRooms truly embodies the operator-first mentality, making this a natural move for me. I’m honored to join the team and look forward to bringing my expertise and storytelling to the table.”

Todd’s appointment to CMO is yet another example of SevenRooms’ seemingly unstoppable growth. Each year, the platform strategizes, analyzes how their moves can benefit operators, and expands while streamlining.

It’s this growth that shows operators they’re here to serve the industry for the foreseeable future. And it’s this growth that should make operators confident about implementing SevenRooms in their tech stacks.

“As we head towards the next growth stage for SevenRooms, we are thrilled to welcome an experienced, proven leader in Josh to the team,” says Joel Montaniel, CEO and co-founder of SevenRooms. “Josh is a true full-stack marketer, highly analytical, and brings a strong point of view on what drives successful marketing organizations… With a background rooted in doing what’s best for operators and a true passion for bringing incredible experiences to life, we know his customer-centric approach will help propel us into the future.”

Continual Growth

In March 2021, SevenRooms appointed Pamela Martinez as the company’s chief financial officer.

By September of the same year, the platform had entered into a multi-year partnership with TheFork. This was significant news for operators throughout Europe and Australia. Additionally, this partnership illustrated how SevenRooms is pursuing global growth.

A month later, in October of 2021, the company formed a partnership with Olo. With this move, SevenRooms ensured clients who also use Olo were able to capture a key group’s data: off-premise customers. Using that information, profiles for those customers are created automatically. That means operators can learn more about—and effectively market to—customers who engage with them via online orders.

Then in December 2021, SevenRooms and ThinkFoodGroup—the hospitality company behind Chef José Andrés’ portfolio of restaurants—publicized their partnership. Interestingly, this partnership also saw ThinkFoodGroup joining SevenRooms in an advisory role.

To kick things off in 2022, the platform announced the hiring of a chief revenue officer, Brent-Stig Kraus.

Oh, and just weeks ago, to ring in 2023, SevenRooms entered into a partnership with Competitive Social Ventures.

Of course, not all of SevenRooms’ growth over the past few years involves crucial C-suite roles and entering into partnerships. While those moves benefit operators and our industry, there are other developments worth noting.

Along with hiring Martinez as CFO, the platform launched Direct Delivery in March 2021. This online ordering solution makes it easier for operators eliminate third-party fees; maintain control of the guest data they collect; and fulfill the guest desire to order from restaurants directly and effortlessly.

Image: Nick Fewings on Unsplash

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by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Focus: See Your Business for the Trees

Focus: See Your Business for the Trees

by Jennifer Radkey

Trees along forest path

It happens to us all: Sometimes we get so caught up in the small details of our day-to-day lives that we fail to see the bigger picture.

So common is this element of the human experience there’s a popular saying about it: “Sometimes it’s hard to see the forest through the trees.”

Today, however, I’m going to suggest that the opposite can also be true: “Sometimes it’s hard to see the trees when immersed in the forest.” In other words, when walking along the same path in a forest every day, we often stop seeing the individual trees.

Okay, forests and trees, nature and walks along paths—what does any of this have to do with operating a successful restaurant, bar, or hotel? Stick with me.

The forest is your venue. Your path is your daily routine from the minute you step into your venue until the minute you walk out the door at the end of your day.

The trees? They’re all the little details that make up your establishment: your team, the signage, tables and chairs, music playing, lighting, decor, food, drinks, website, online reviews, social media posts… These, plus many more, are the little things that add up to create your “forest.”

You walk through your venue daily and have become, for the most part, so used to your surroundings that you’re almost blind to them. This can sometimes lead to a false sense of everything being “fine.” You miss small details you need to improve, and also things that you and your team need to celebrate.

What I would like to challenge you to do is to take a step back, clear your mind, pretend you’re experiencing your venue for the very first time, and really notice the details. Walk a new path through your forest and see the trees.

How do you do that? Pretend you’re a guest visiting your establishment and follow the guest journey.

Here’s a list of five places you should stop along your path to gain a fresh perspective.

Your Online Presence

Start with your website.

When did you last update it? Are pictures fresh and eye-catching? Is the website easy to navigate on mobile devices? Is the menu easy to access? Can you make a reservation easily? What story is your website telling?

Next, scroll through your social media (if it exists).

When did you post last? What content are you sharing? Does it tell a story? Does it make you want to visit your venue? Are people engaging with your content? Are you engaging with others?

How about online reviews? See what people are saying about you.

Have you responded to reviews, good and bad? How are you responding? If you were a potential new guest would these reviews and your responses keep you away or entice you to visit?

More often than not, the first impression a guest has of your business happens long before they actually step foot inside your venue for the first time. What impression are you giving them?

Curb Appeal

The next place you want to stop on your path is right in front of your venue.

As you drive up, what do you notice? What’s the condition of your signage? Is it welcoming and attention-grabbing?

When walking up to the entrance, look for things that you may overlook but a first-time guest may not. Cleanliness of the front entrance area, proper lighting, current signage, these should all be checkpoints on your list.

Also, how does it feel to enter your venue? Is it welcoming? Exciting? Does it feel safe?

If you have stellar curb appeal with awesome signage are you celebrating and promoting it through great photos for your website and social media?

These are all things to consider when viewing your venue from the curb.

Interior

Next up on your path is the interior of your venue.

Is it clean? Are there any minor repairs that need to be done? Is the lighting just right?

Have a seat in a few different places in your venue. What’s your customer’s visual experience when they come to visit you?

You want the interior of your venue to represent your brand and its values, and you want it to appeal to your target market. Is it doing those things?

Again, if you have an amazing interior design element, are you showcasing it to its fullest in person and online? Make any notes of things you would like to change or improve upon.

One more note on the interior: Do not forget the washrooms. Nothing turns a visit into an unpleasant experience faster than an unclean washroom.

Service

As you’re viewing your venue with clarity, take a few minutes to step back and watch how your staff engages with your guests.

Whatever your brand’s values are for the guest experience, are they being conveyed through your staff’s engagement?

If you’re promoting a fun, energetic vibe, is your staff upbeat, positive, and energized when communicating with guests? Are the pillars of excellent customer service in place? When your guest leaves are they going to say, “Wow, our server was so friendly/nice/funny/knowledgeable,” etc.

Or are they going to leave saying nothing at all?

If staff appear unmotivated, what can you do to help inspire your team? If they’re stellar employees are you recognizing their incredible work?

Food and Drink

When was the last time you sat and really enjoyed a meal at your own establishment? Before you answer: As if you were a guest and not the owner.

Is food coming out in a timely manner? How does it look, smell, and, of course, taste?

Would you grab for your phone before taking the first sip or bite to snap a photo for Instagram? If you would, have you done exactly that for your own social media feeds?

As an owner you can become very attached to your menu, but pay attention to see if your guests and staff are raving about your food and drink.

Final Steps

The final steps of your path will be the same as your guest’s final steps.

Is your bill brought to the table when you’re ready to leave? Is payment easy to make? What are the final last impressions you’re left with? How is your team bidding farewell to guests? What will entice them to return?

You want your guests to feel satisfied and to tell their friends and family about what an amazing experience they had.

It can feel strange to step back from the forest and to notice the trees, but it will lead to improved clarity and perhaps even a roadmap for change and improvements to take your hospitality venue to the next level. Stepping back will also improve your overall mindset as you experience your business through the eyes of another.

So step back, clear your mind, and see what you may have been missing all this time.

Cheers to professional and personal growth!

Image: Lucas Parker on Unsplash

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This is How Guests are Using Resy

This is How Guests are Using Resy

by David Klemt

Resy "Right this way" printed on wine key

Demand for in-person visits seems to be the big prediction of 2023, which means reservation platforms like Resy are crucial.

Of course, the value isn’t just the automation of reservations. Nor are these platforms just about simplifying waitlists.

Indeed, those are essentially the two functions such platforms must execute, and execute flawlessly. However, there’s more to modern reservation and waitlist platforms.

Today, guest-facing platforms should offer another feature to operators: discoverability.

This should go without saying but I’m going to address it anyway. With few exceptions, being discoverable is crucial for restaurants, bars, and hotels.

That means social media presence is crucial. Websites are still crucial. Operators ensuring they own their online review and travel site profiles is crucial.

In other words, if it’s online, has a search function, and makes recommendations to users, it’s crucial. It should also go without saying that operators need to meet potential guests where they are. And, again with few exceptions, they’re online.

As you may assume by now, Resy is a reservation platform that helps users discovers restaurants and bars. And if it’s helping guests discover these venues, it’s helping operators increase their reach and get discovered.

Reservation List Curation

The first feature I’m going to share is Climbing, which is what it sounds like.

When a tourist visits or someone moves to a new city, they tend to want to find their places. Which restaurants and bars will be their third spots, or the place they spend time between work and home?

Word of mouth is great, of course. But these days, reviews and comments are digital word of mouth. So, a curated list of “what’s hot” amongst restaurants in a given city is powerful for discoverability.

“Climbing on Resy is the only data-driven list powered by your reservations,” reads the Resy site. “Consider it a curated guide by locals, for locals.”

For ease of use, which is crucial for any platform, users can edit dates and party size within the Climbing tab.

The Hit List

Climbing isn’t the only list Resy curates on the platform. There’s also the Hit List.

This is a list Resy publishes each month for each major market in which they operate. It consists of ten venues that “should be on your radar.”

Using Philadelphia as an example, the city’s January Hit List per Resy is comprised of:

  • CO-OP Restaurant & Bar
  • Sor Ynez
  • City Winery
  • Condesa
  • Ocean Harbor
  • Fiore
  • Rittenhouse Grill
  • Forsythia
  • Second District Brewing
  • Vernick

The Hit List also includes the neighborhood or town where each recommendation is located. Again, not just discoverability but also ease of use.

Notify and More

Resy does more than just help people make reservations. There’s also the platform’s approach to waitlist management, Notify.

As the company describes it themselves, Notify is “a future waitlist.” Users can specify their date and time reference, and add themselves to a restaurant’s list.

On the operator side, they add the guest and an email or push notification is sent out. When a table that matches the waitlist user’s preferences opens up, they get an alert.

Users can also take advantage of Top Rated, New on Resy, and Book Tonight lists. Getting more granular, there are also other curated lists, such as:

  • Great Tasting Menus Under $125
  • Essential Cozy Locales
  • Splurge-worthy Dining
  • Where to Dine with a Crew
  • Date Night, Covered
  • Best Outdoor Dining

Additionally, Resy is in a partnership with American Express. So, eligible cardholders can use Global Dining Access by Resy for incredible experiences.

When considering their tech stack, platforms, and partnerships, operators need to consider an array of functions. More and more each day, discoverability is a function that needs to be top of mind.

Image: Resy

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Picture vs. Video: Datassential Weighs In

Picture vs. Video: Datassential Weighs In

by David Klemt

Vintage Rolleiflex camera

If you want to meet guests—both regular and new—where they are, it helps to know how they prefer to consume social media content.

However, I’m not talking about which platforms are the most popular. We’ll get to that, but I’m talking about the content itself.

It appears that two camps are emerging: Team Picture and Team Video. And yes, they appear to follow demographic delineations.

Veteran operators and front-of-house teams know the drill. It’s standard for a server to drop food off and phones to hover over dishes immediately.

Bartenders, of course, also know the routine. In fact, bartenders working behind the stick across the globe know chronically online guests will come seeking specific drinks because they’re “Instagrammable.”

Hey, I’m not above it—I’ve snapped pics at bars and restaurants known for their innovative drink presentations. The same can be said about certain dishes at particular restaurants.

But is that camera just rapid-fire snapping photos? Or is it becoming more common for the guest holding the phone to record video?

Luckily, F&B market research agency Datassential has data-driven answers to those questions.

Still Photography vs. Moving Pictures

Okay, I’ll admit that this subheading title is a bit lame. Whatever—I’m keeping it in.

At any rate, you know what I’m talking about here, pictures versus videos. Interestingly, Datassential suggests that our industry is already at least a bit behind in this debate.

As they say in their latest Foodbytes report, 2023 Food Trends, “It seems like the food industry only just figured out how to cater to the importance of photography and Instagram and now it’s all being replaced by video.”

Specifically, Datassential speaks about short-form video in this report. Essentially, the agency is saying that guests (younger generations, in particular) are “over” still or static images of F&B items.

Today, just like video killed the radio star, video is on a still photography killing spree. And as I mention above, Datassential’s data reveals about what people expect regarding this topic when it comes to age groups.

Unsurprisingly to some, Gen Z is most likely to consume video content. It follows, then, that 67 percent of this group has taken video of food at a restaurant or at home.

Next up, at 54 percent, is Millennials. Forty percent of Gen X says they’ve taken video of food at a restaurant at home. Just 18 percent of Baby Boomers have done so.

Where are People Consuming Video Content?

So, that’s the “who.” Now for the “where.”

According to Datassential, these are the top platforms for video consumption:

  1. BeReal: 11 percent
  2. TikTok Live: 25 percent
  3. Twitter video: 27 percent
  4. Snapchat video: 35 percent
  5. Instagram Reels: 38 percent
  6. TikTok: 41 percent
  7. Facebook Live: 41 percent
  8. Instagram videos: 44 percent
  9. Instagram Stories: 45 percent
  10. Facebook Stories: 48 percent
  11. YouTube: 77 percent

Does this mean you need to create content for each platform? Well, unless you somehow have the time or a digital marketing team, probably not.

Instead, you’ll want to pick the platforms that make the most sense for your brand and audience. There are also cross-posting tools that can save you time and simplify the process.

Takeaway

It’s up to individual operators to choose their social channels. The same is true for what they plan to post, photos or videos.

There’s a different consideration I want operators to keep top of mind. If video continues to dominate social, think about what could happen to dining rooms. It won’t be unusual for “influencers” to break out handheld lighting equipment to create videos. And I think we all know what that will do to the atmosphere in restaurants, bars, and lounges.

As strange as it may seem, operators may need to post signs banning flash photography and lighting for videos. Otherwise, the guest experience will diminish. Who pays the price for that negatively impacted experience? Not the influencer; the operator takes the hit in their reviews and traffic.

If video is here to stay, operators need to observe their dining rooms and adjust accordingly. That doesn’t just mean crafting video-worthy interiors and menu items. Now, it also means protecting the guest experience.

Image: Alexander Andrews on Unsplash

KRG Hospitality, Intro to Garnishes

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

2023 Reveal: The World’s 50 Best Hotels

2023 Reveal: The World’s 50 Best Hotels

by David Klemt

Waves crashing on beach

The World’s 50 Best Hotels launches this year, completing the hospitality puzzle as it joins the World’s 50 Best Bars and the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

Mark Sansom, content director for the World’s 50 Best Bars, shares details of the new list on episode 90 of the Bar Hacks podcast. To learn more about Mark and the World’s 50 Best Bars, you can also listen to episode 82 of Bar Hacks.

This is huge news for the hospitality, travel, and accommodation sectors. Sansom and the team go to great lengths when it comes to every detail of the World’s 50 Best Bars. Indeed, the awards ceremony is truly the Oscars of the bar world. Just take a look at the video below:

In fact, it’s likely a bit more fun than the Oscars. A room full of the best bar teams and industry professionals? You know it’s a nonstop party.

I say to say this: I expect the Oscars of the hotel world for the inaugural 50 Best Hotels ceremony. And I’m confident the team will deliver on that expectation.

To see the World’s 50 Best Bars for 2022, click here. For the World’s 50 Best Restaurants of 2022, follow this link.

Who Decides?

You’re probably wondering how all of this “works.” Just who decides, among all the hotels throughout the world, which are the 50 best?

As Sansom explains on the Bar Hacks podcast, hundreds of people decide.

For 2023, the World’s 50 Best Hotels is split into nine regions. That’s likely to grow (50 Best Bars and Restaurants each have 28 regions) but for now, that’s the breakdown.

Each of those regions is headed by an Academy Chair. The global Academy Chairs hand select voters. In this case, a mix of 580 travel journalists, educators, hospitality professionals, hoteliers, and luxury travelers. The voters are tasked with highlighting their top seven hotel experiences from the past two years.

A small board of directors isn’t deciding which hotels will make the list. There’s no small group choosing the ranking. Instead, hundreds of industry pros and hotel guests will determine the best of the best.

How do They Decide?

This is one of my favorite details. When it comes to criteria…there isn’t any.

I like this for several reasons, one of which is that nothing arbitrary is limiting these awards. Don’t have a pool? That’s fine. No steam shower in the en suite? Okay.

By eschewing criteria, no concept is left out—no property is excluded. As Sansom says on episode 90 of Bar Hacks, imposing criteria means people could miss out on experiencing stunning twelve-room boutique hotel.

Therefore, this list isn’t the exclusive domain of multi-unit, multi-concept hotel groups. Certainly there will be chain properties up for consideration. However, they’ll be mixing it up with boutique and solo, independent hotels.

Sansom also reveals what’s driving them to launch the World’s 50 Best Hotels. Far from a vanity project, this list is about helping the industry.

Like hospitality, travel and accommodation are recovering from a global pandemic. Highlighting the best hotels in the world should inspire people to get back to leisure travel.

The list will be revealed in September of this year. Make sure to watch this space and connect with the World’s 50 Best Hotels for more details, including the awards ceremony host city.

Follow the 50 Best Hotels on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. To learn more, visit their website.

Image: Shifaaz shamoon on Unsplash

KRG Hospitality Boutique Hotels, 2023 icon

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Datassential: The Flavors of 2023

Datassential: The Flavors and Menu Items of 2023

by David Klemt

Basket of hot chicken wings

Food and beverage market research agency Datassential has some data-driven thoughts on the flavors and menu items that will define 2023.

Featured in their latest Foodbytes report are 20 items for operators to consider this year. There are ten food items, drinks, and ingredients Datassential predicts will be on basically every menu.

And there are another ten food items, drinks, and ingredients the agency feels could suddenly hit in 2023.

For you own copy of Datassential’s 2023 Food Trends, click here.

Prolific Performers

As Datassential refers to them in their report, these are the items “that will be everywhere” this year.

Food

  • Birria. This one makes sense as birria only appears to be capable of continually growing in popularity.
  • Mushroom. In Datassential’s opinion, we should expect more menus to feature mushroom snacks. Also, expect to see (or add yourself) lesser-known, rare, and exotic mushrooms on menus.
  • Salsa macha. Over the past four years, according to Datassential, salsa macha as grown a staggering 339 percent on menus.

Drink

  • London Fog. A compelling earl grey tea latte.
  • Mangonada. Salty, tart, fruity, and bold, the Mangonada is a flavorful frozen drink.
  • Ranch Water. Simple, timeless, and refreshing. In 2022, per Datassential, Ranch Water was the fastest-growing cocktail.
  • Soju. According to Datassential, soju is the third fastest-growing spirit on restaurant and bar menus.

Ingredient

  • Spicy maple. As the image atop this article suggests, expect spicy maple to replace or at least give hot honey a run for its money.
  • Ube. A striking purple yam from the Philippines.
  • Yuzu. Datassential predicts this citrus fruit will start showing up on many chain restaurant menus.

Promising Performers

In Datassential’s data-driven opinion, the following items need to be on every operator’s radar.

These are the items that have the potential to “hit it big” in 2023.

Food

  • Pickled strawberries. Interestingly, this matches up with Technomic’s trend prediction for the US, Canadaworldwide, really.
  • Savory granola. Not only on its own but as an element of savory, healthy bowl.
  • Sisig. A Filipino delicacy with pork belly, pig’s face, and chicken liver as key elements.

Drink

  • White coffee. As Datassential states, “there’s always room for coffee innovation on menus.”

Ingredient

  • Black tahini. The appearance of black tahini is quite striking, making for dramatic presentations. And as we know, striking presentations are perfect for social media marketing and engagement.
  • Cannabis. The legalization of recreational cannabis use in almost half of US states is leading to innovation in this space. And as more markets legalize public consumption in the form of F&B items on-premise, restaurants and bars will add cannabis-infused items to their menus.
  • Cherry blossom, or sakura. It seems that cherry blossoms are poised to take off in the US market.
  • Chestnut flower. Per Datassential, this ingredient is gaining popularity for use in winter baked goods.
  • MSG. For decades, restaurants proudly proclaimed “no MSG” or “MSG-free” on menus due to misconceptions. Now that consumers are better educated about ingredients, restaurants are proudly proclaiming their use of MSG.
  • Verjus. An ancient juice made by crushing unripened wine grapes. It can be an ingredient in a sauce, as a condiment, or to deglaze a pan.

There you have it—20 items to consider adding in your next menu update, featuring in your next LTO, or at least keeping an eye on in 2023.

Image: Scott Eckersley on Unsplash

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