Beverage menu

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

by krghospitality krghospitality No Comments

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

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Celebrating the Baltic Porter

Celebrating the Baltic Porter

by David Klemt

Closeup of dark beer with foamy head

In just over two weeks we celebrate a rich, dark beer style with sweet malty characteristics that traces its history back to the 18th century.

Once a favorite among the working class in London, Baltic Porter is seeing a resurgence. This is, unsurprisingly, driven largely by interest from the craft beer world.

Tracing its own history to 2016, Baltic Porter Day celebrates its namesake beer. The beer holiday takes place every third Saturday in January. So, this year we celebrate Baltic Porter Day on January 21.

That should give operators enough time to prepare. One of the best ways to drive interest in this holiday—and beer style in general—is to look into local breweries. Craft breweries, brewpubs, and microbreweries around the world release Baltic Porters to celebrate this holiday.

Locality and hyper-locality are, as we know, important to many guests. That makes it a smart move to develop relationships with local brewers, distillers, farmers, vintners, etc.

Operators who don’t yet have those relationships need to commit to changing that this year. And, hey, Baltic Porter Day is an excellent reason to begin that change and approach local brewers.

What’s Baltic Porter?

In the 1700s, high-hop Pale Ale wore the beer crown in England. However, some small breweries made a run at the throne. They wanted to see a dark beer on top.

So, according to some beer historians, brewers looking to take on Pale Ale began with sweet brown beer. The beer was higher-hopped, dark, and higher alcohol with cocoa, chocolate, and coffee notes.

Porter was born, named for the working class people who embraced it: dock and street workers.

Eventually, the production and reach of Porter of small brewers was overtaken by larger breweries. This is largely due to maturation time, which translates to higher costs; it can take six to twelve months for a Porter to mature.

Over time, Porter found its way to Northern Europe, including Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Those three countries are known as the Baltic states.

Brewers in those countries tried their hand at Porter production. Importantly, Baltic state brewers put their own spins on Porter. Notably, they replaced ale yeast with lager yeast.

Additional changes include replacing British hops with Baltic hops, and blending pale and dark malts. Baltic brewers roasted the malts in a drum kiln. The invention, created by Daniel Wheeler, allowed brewers to roast malts without burning them.

The Baltic Porter was born.

Characteristics of Baltic Porter

Curious operators and teams can find the official Beer Judge Certification Program guidelines for the this style here.

As a quick summary, the following are keys to Baltic Porter:

  • Appearance: Opaque dark brown to dark reddish-copper. Not black in appearance.
  • Aroma: Rich, malty sweetness with some dark malt characteristics. No hops on the aroma.
  • Flavor: A roasted but not burnt flavor. Rich, malty sweetness. Caramel, nuttiness, toffee, molasses. Dried fruit and alcohol.
  • Mouthfeel: Medium to medium-high carbonation keeps the beer from feeling “heavy” on the tongue. Smooth but full-bodied.
  • Finish: Licorice or roast coffee.

Since this beer tends to range in ABV from 6.5 to 9.5 percent, it’s wise to serve this beer with food. Think hearty fare, like barbecue, chili, and burgers, and Gouda as a cheese pairing.

Of course, local brewers should be able to offer up their own ideas for food pairings. After all, they know their beer better than anyone else.

As some sources note, people often serve Baltic Porter in a snifter. However, a pint glass is perfectly acceptable for this beer style.

Image: Peter Fischer from Pixabay

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

5 Books to Read this Month: January 2023

5 Books to Read this Month: January 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 December 2022, click here.

Let’s jump in!

The Vegan Chinese Kitchen

Today, people have certain ideas that flash before them when they hear or read “plant based.” For many, it’s a phrase that indicates a food item is an impossible meat alternative that attempts to go beyond it’s animal counterpart, hint hint.

However, plant-based also means…plants. Just plants, that’s all. The Vegan Chinese Kitchen, Chef Hannah Che’s plant-based cookbook, dives into traditional and modern Chinese vegan cuisine. Remember, plant-based doesn’t only mean “meat alternative made with plants.” Buy here.

Tea: Wine’s Sober Sibling

Have you ever considered drinking tea as an alternative to consuming wine? I know I hadn’t until I came across this book.

There are more than 70 recipes in Tea: Wine’s Sober Sibling, several of which are Dry January-friendly. Along with best practices for restaurant operators, there are also pairings, like tea and cheese, and tea and chocolate. Grab this book and consider using tea in different ways at your restaurant or bar.

Conversations Behind the Kitchen Door: 50 American Chefs Chart Today’s Food Culture

Where is the culinary world headed in 2023? Chef Emmanuel Laroche and his colleagues have some thoughts.

From Amazon: “Emmanuel’s podcast Flavors Unknown, as well as his worldwide search for new foods and flavors, are at the core of Conversations Behind the Kitchen Door. Scores of chefs offer essential insights and entertaining observations about the food scene today—information that will be of interest to new and aspiring chefs, as well as foodies and home cooks who follow trends in restaurants and recipes. Readers will walk away from Conversations Behind the Kitchen Door with a deeper understanding ofthe minds and creative practices of famous chefs, as well as a map to begin to create sensational dishes of their own.”

Pick up Conversations Behind the Kitchen Door from Amazon.

Build: An Unorthodox Guide to Making Things Worth Making

I’m willing to bet that you’ve heard of the following products: the iPod, the iPhone, and Nest thermostat. And I’m certain you realize an entire team of people was the behind the creation of those devices. Tony Fadell, the person who ran those teams is the author of Build.

You don’t have to be in tech to benefit from this book. Really, Build is about leadership, decision making, mentorship, bouncing back from failure, and more. Essentially, this helpful and informative book is “a mentor in a box.” One of the key takeaways of this book should motivate you to read it: “You don’t have to reinvent how you lead and manage.”

Your Table Is Ready: Tales of a New York City Maître D

Author Michael Cecchi-Azzolina was the maître d’ at several of New York’s hottest restaurants for decades. Scoring reservations for some of these destinations was viewed as more important than landing a table at one of NYC’s top-tier nightclubs.

Cecchi-Azzolina tells stories of a (mostly) bygone era while also providing his take on the restaurant industry. For some, this book will be amusing and relatable. Others will find this representative of an era best left behind as we move the industry forward. Order Your Table is Ready today.

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Program for Unique Holidays: January 2023

Program for Unique Holidays: January 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 January 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 December 2022 holidays list, click here.

January 5: National Whipped Cream Day

There’s a ton you can do with whipped cream when it comes to your F&B. From garnishing shots to piling it on desserts, whipped cream is just a fun time.

This is also the perfect holiday for party spots to offer Whipshots or feature whipped cream-flavored vodkas.

January 6: National Technology Day

There are several ways to approach programming for this day. To focus on one, this would be a great day to highlight your cool bar tech. One item that comes to mind is the Ripple Maker.

For those unfamiliar, this is a device that prints images on top of frothy or foamy drinks via food-safe media. Ripple’s next-gen device, the Ripple Maker Pro II, is available now.

January 7: Old Rock Day

The purpose of this holiday is to celebrate the planet. Earth is an “old rock,” after all. Two programming ideas that come to mind are: celebrating classic rock; showcasing spirits that have been on the market for decades (or even centuries).

January 10: National Cut Your Energy Costs Day

By now we all know that sustainability and responsible business practices matter to many guests. National Cut Your Energy Costs Day is a great time highlight your own eco-friendly policies, potentially raising money for “green” causes.

January 11: Learn Your Name in Morse Code Day

If you want to have some fun with your guests, print an LTO menu with F&B item names in Morse code. Include descriptions that aren’t in Morse code that give guests an idea of what to expect from each item.

There are several Morse code translators online, like this one.

January 17: National Bootlegger’s Day

This is the holiday to celebrate brands or cocktails that:

  • survived prohibition;
  • were created during prohibition; or
  • produce or feature moonshine.

January 20: Penguin Awareness Day

Are you aware of penguins? You’re not? That’s odd.

Anyway, there’s an almost startling amount of cocktails with “penguin” in their name. So, why not create an LTO menu of “penguin” cocktails? Bonus points if some proceeds can go to a penguin-focused charity.

January 21: Squirrel Appreciation Day

Do you appreciate squirrels? Well, you should—it’s believed they plant three billion oak trees every year.

Now, I bet you can guess what I’m going to suggest: celebrating the classic Pink Squirrel. And why not? It has been around since the 1940s and is an icon, after all. If you really want to go all out, slap some foods into a Jell-O mould and get crazy.

January 29: National Puzzle Day

As with other holidays, there are a few ways to celebrate National Puzzle Day. You can provide guests some small puzzles to keep them busy (and keep them at your restaurant or bar for longer). Alternatively, get your hands on a very challenging puzzle, set it up on a card table, and encourage guests to work on it together. Or even ask guests to bring in their own puzzles.

January 31: National Backward Day

Programming for this holiday can be as simple as printing your menu backwards. Of course, you can also get much more immersive—it’s all in the details and recognizing opportunities to help guests walk away with memories.

Image: Ivan Bertolazzi on Pexels

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Top 2022 Grubhub & Uber Eats Drinks

Top 2022 Grubhub and Uber Eats Drink Orders

by David Klemt

Margarita with dehydrated citrus garnish

The year-end Grubhub 2022 Delivered and 2022 Uber Eats Cravings reports identify this year’s delivery order drink trends.

Last week, we dove into Grubhub and Uber Eats’ top food orders. If you haven’t already, read that article here.

This week we’re going to check out what drinks were most popular in 2022 for both platforms.

Top Grubhub Coffee Orders

People are still working from home, full- or part-time. So, it makes sense that consumers are placing coffee orders for breakfast, snack, and lunch dayparts.

  1. Iced Coffee
  2. Hot Coffee
  3. Iced Caramel Coffee
  4. Iced French Vanilla Coffee
  5. Frozen Coffee

Top Grubhub Milk Alternatives

Of course, with coffee orders come milk orders. And as you’re probably well aware, milk alternatives are only growing more popular with consumers.

So, below are the top milk alternatives among 2022 Grubhub users.

  1. Oat Milk
  2. Almond Milk
  3. Coconut Milk
  4. Soy Milk
  5. Cashew Milk

As a possible explanation for the dominance of oat milk, sustainability could be a driver. According to available data, producing a pound of oats is much more sustainable than producing one pound of almonds.

It’s believed that oats are more favorable when it comes to basically every measure of sustainability.

Top Grubhub Alcohol Orders

I can’t say that I’m shocked to find the Margarita is the top cocktail order. It is, after all, the long-reigning Queen of Cocktails.

  1. Beer
  2. Margarita
  3. Hot Sake
  4. Piña Colada
  5. White Wine (Sauvignon Blanc)

I’ll admit that I’m slightly surprised that a red wine isn’t among the top five.

Top Uber Eats Alcohol Orders

Interestingly—perhaps a bit frustratingly—Uber Eats took a different approach to identifying their top drinks.

Rather than dedicating space solely to alcohol orders, their top drinks are part of combinations. As in, the “most frequently paired food + alcohol” combos.

So, here’s their list in its entirety:

  1. Steak + Margaritas
  2. Pizza + White Claw
  3. Burritos + Margaritas
  4. Chicken + Sangria
  5. Wings + Beer

However, there’s another drink in the Uber Eats “most unexpected food combos” section:

  • Ham + Cream Cheese
  • Fruit Roll Up + Hot Cheetos
  • Pickles + Whipped Cream
  • Popcorn + Pickle Juice
  • Dark Chocolate + Tomato Salad
  • Pizza + Applesauce
  • Sushi + Ranch
  • Peanut Butter + Pizza
  • Cheese + Martinis
  • Watermelon + Mustard

Therefore, we can reasonably extrapolate that the top 2022 Uber Eats alcohol orders are the Margarita, White Claw, Sangria, beer, and Martini.

Takeaway

If we compare reports and look for similarities, we see that two drinks are at the top: beer and Margaritas.

Both make sense. Beer, in can, bottle, and growler forms, travels very well. That makes beer ideal for delivery where it’s legal.

And as far as Margaritas go, there’s a wide array of canned options available. Again, canned cocktails travel well for delivery. Of course, restaurants and bars can also obtain the equipment to prebatch and package their signature Margaritas.

Ideally, your POS system can run reports to identify which drink orders are most popular for your delivery customers. Also ideal: operators should take as much control over their business as they can, implementing direct delivery as long as it’s feasible.

So, look into direct delivery, run your reports, and take more control while reducing costs.

Image: Edward Howell on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

5 Books to Read this Month: December 2022

5 Books to Read this Month: December 2022

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

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

To review November’s book recommendations, click here.

Let’s jump in!

The Book of Cocktail Ratios: The Surprising Simplicity of Classic Cocktails

Understanding recipe ratios will help any bar professional produce balanced, delicious, and memorable cocktails. In fact, getting a grasp on ingredient ratios is a fundamental bartender skill, and it’s crucial to the guest experience.

Author Michael Ruhlman organizes The Book of Cocktail Ratios into five cocktail families. And interestingly, Ruhlman makes a bold claim: many popular cocktails are actually the same cocktail—adjusting the ratios makes them seem different. Grab this book here.

Chef’s PSA: How Not to be the Biggest Idiot in the Kitchen

Look, most of us have been in at least one situation or new workplace where we may have felt like the biggest idiot there. It’s not a pleasant feeling, but at least it’s a feeling we can get over.

This collection of “culinary truisms” aims to set new chefs up for their first steps into a new kitchen: “This book is filled with short little lessons or PSA’s that every cook needs to know to get along successfully in the kitchen. The great thing about this book is that it is a guide for you early in your career and later when you are developing others.” Pick up Chef’s PSA here.

Jacques Pépin Art Of The Chicken

Chef Jacques Pépin loves chicken. In fact, Chef Pépin loves chickens so much that he doesn’t just honor them in the kitchen, they’re the subject of his paintings as well.

Not only will you find beautiful illustrations in Jacques Pépin Art Of The Chicken, you’ll learn about Chef Pépin’s journey through the culinary world. And, of course, there are recipes to learn. Purchase via Amazon here.

The Death of Demographics: Valuegraphic Marketing for a Values-Driven World

Regular listeners of the Bar Hacks podcast will recognize author and speaker David Allison. He has, after all, been a guest twice, appearing on episode 46 and episode 67.

The Valuegraphics Project founder’s latest book, The Death of Demographics, is available in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle formats. From Amazon: “By focusing on deep values rather than surface habits or traits, valuegraphics uncover what drives and unites us. Based on decades of behavioral science research, adding valuegraphics to your insights can improve your marketing effectiveness by a factor of eight or more.” Purchase this book here.

The Business Scaling Blueprint: Building a Foundation to Grow Your Brand

Author and business mentor Tony DiSilvestro has started more than 30 businesses over the course of 30 years. As a mentor, he shares the lessons he’s learned with CEOs and entrepreneurs, and now he’s sharing his experience in book form. The Business Scaling Blueprint is, as the name implies, a practical path toward growing brands.

As a business owner, operators need to grow and scale their restaurants, bars, and hotels. Even if there’s no intention to expand to a multi-location or multi-concept business, growth and scalability are crucial to any business. Available for pre-order on Amazon.

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Stand Out with Weird Holidays: Dec. 2022

Stand Out with Weird Holidays: December 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 December is no exception. These holidays range from mainstream to “weird.” For example, I’m sure you’re familiar with Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and a little event we call New Year’s Eve.

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?

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 November’s list, click here.

December 5: Bathtub Party Day

So, technically this day is about encouraging people to take a bath rather than a shower. However, this can be a great day for celebrating gin and prohibition-era cocktails.

Why gin in particular? For many, winter is gin season. Additionally, when people think of prohibition they tend to think of “bathtub gin.”

December 6: World Trick Shot Day

This is another holiday that celebrates something specific. In the case of World Trick Shot Day, it’s the basketball trick shot.

However, not every venue has basketball available to their guests. Many eatertainment venues do, but the same can’t be said for every restaurant or bar. But if your business has other bar games on offer, you can certainly adapt this holiday to encourage your guests to take their best shots.

December 8: National Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day

Yes, Halloween is over. That doesn’t mean people won’t dress up and have some fun. From Doctor Who to Marty McFly, there are plenty of characters, movies, and TV shows out there your guests can use as inspiration to celebrate this holiday.

December 11: International Mountain Day

Our mountains are incredible, powerful, and crucial resources. So, on this holiday, highlight brands from mountainous regions and those committed to sustainability efforts.

December 12: Gingerbread House Day

This one can get messy but it can also draw in a lot of guests. There are a few ways to go about celebrating Gingerbread House Day, of course. One way I can think of is to encourage your guests to come by and help decorate a large gingerbread version of your restaurant or bar.

December 16: National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day

Fine, this isn’t exactly the weirdest holiday out there. At this point, the ugly Christmas/holiday sweater is a movie and television show trope. That doesn’t make it any less fun.

Come up with your own twist to bring guests through your doors this National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day. That can mean creating a particular theme for ugly sweaters, for example.

December 21: Phileas Fogg Win A Wager Day

When I came across this holiday I knew I’d be including it on this list. The name of the day is ridiculous, and the specificity is impressive. How could I resist?

This holiday, should you choose to accept celebrating it, is dedicated to Phileas Fogg. Who’s that? Fogg is the character in Around the World in Eighty Days who accepts the challenge referenced in the book’s title.

December 22: National Re-gifting Day

People participate in a lot of holiday gatherings throughout December. Many take place before the start of Hanukkah or Christmas Day.

That means a lot of people get gifts before December 22 that they’d perhaps rather not keep. So, encourage your guests to roll in on National Re-gifting Day for a drink, a bite, and an exchange of gifts.

December 23: National Pfeffernüsse Day

No, this isn’t a weird holiday—it’s mostly a fun word to say: “pfeffernüsse.” For non-German speakers, that’s probably a “weird” word. Most importantly, it’s a delicious, spiced cookie that makes for a great treat or fun interpretation as a holiday season cocktail.

December 30: No Interruptions Day

We all need time to disconnect, to log off and be unreachable. Your restaurant or bar is the perfect place for people to hit “do not disturb” on their devices and escape before New Year’s Eve.

Image: Dan Parlante on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Is There Demand for Non-alcohol?

As the Holidays Approach, is There Demand for Non-alcohol?

by David Klemt

Friends toasting with pink drinks

There’s no denying that non-alcohol is a growing beverage category, but does the data support the hype and operator consideration?

A report by behavioral research firm Veylinx offers compelling insight into non-alcohol and consumers.

By now, there’s really no excuse for failing to give non-alc serious consideration. When planning menus, operators should treat non-alc as much more than an afterthought.

Admitting fully that I’m repeating myself, giving alcohol-free beverages the same attention as their full-proof counterparts is crucial. Doing so is smart business; non-alc is capable of driving traffic and revenue.

And then there’s the guest experience element of the non-alc equation. Hospitality is about service, about ensuring every guest is comfortable. Giving guests who are abstaining from alcohol consumption a different experience than others isn’t hospitality—it’s alienation. Not only is that the antithesis of hospitality, it’s bad business.

Reviewing Veylinx data shows that non-alc is worthy of operators’ time and consideration. In my opinion, it’s even more important that non-alc menus and offerings be dialed in now. After all, the end-of-year holidays on our doorsteps.

The infamous Busiest Bar Night of the Year is nearly here. From November 23 through New Year’s Eve, people will be meeting up with family and friends. Many will also be seeking an escape from the stress of those gathering and the holidays.

Non-alcohol by the Numbers

One of the most important points made by Veylinx is this: Abstinence from alcohol isn’t limited to “social media” events like Dry January and Sober October.

Rather, consumers are choosing to abstain from alcohol throughout the year for myriad reasons. Specifically, Veylinx data reveals that more than 75 percent of Americans have abstained from alcohol consumption at some point for at least one moment.

Further, 46 percent of Americans plan to reduce their consumption of alcohol “right now.” As in, the holidays may be upon us but they’re actively working on a plan to drink less, not more.

Two major factors motivating this behavioral change are mental well-being and physical health. In service of those factors, more than half of LDA drinkers in America plan to replace beverage alcohol with non-alc beverages.

Interestingly, Veylinx finds that these consumers will pay more for non-alc alternatives in comparison to the general population.

Drilling down further, this shift in consumer behavior appears to be driven by a handful of consumer types:

  • 21- to 35-year-old consumers;
  • “light” drinkers; and
  • consumers who have set aside alcohol consumption for one month or more.

Speaking of the first group, demand for RTDs is 48 percent greater in comparison to those aged 35 or older. Add CBD to RTD and the demand among the 21 to 35 cohort grows by 18 percent.

However, not all non-alc growth comes from the 21-to-35 group. Non-alc beverages with mood boosters see an increase in demand from the 35-plus group of 29 percent.

In short, if an operator is ignoring the non-alc consumer, they’re harming their own business and reputation. Alcohol-free RTDs, cocktails, beer, and wine are growing.

Savvy operators will leverage that growth.

Image: Helena Yankovska via 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

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