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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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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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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

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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

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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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Global Trends 2023: Technomic

Global Trends 2023: Technomic

by David Klemt

Shawarma stacked with fire in the background

Not content to focus solely on North America, foodservice research firm Technomic is predicting foodservice trends that will span the globe in 2023.

As the firm points out themselves, making predictions is a best-guess proposition. Many of Technomic’s 2022 predictions for Canada, the USA, and the globe have proven true. However, a handful of their trend predictions have yet to manifest.

Further, not all trends will work for all operators and their concepts. Chasing every passing fad or trend is great if you like to watch your costs spiral. Doing so is also an excellent way to confuse guests and stress staff.

So, when considering any trend, make sure it works with your concept, has some staying power, and will resonate with your guests. Speaking to that last point, this is one reason it’s crucial to collect guest data. Making important menu and guest-impacting operational decisions without data just doesn’t make sense.

When you’re done with this article, take a look at our examination of Technomic’s other predictions. The firm’s Canadian predictions are here. And you can read the American trends by clicking this link.

For your own copy of Technomic’s international trends report, click here.

Operations

For 2023, Technomic is making predictions that certainly appear plausible. A number of them pertain to operations.

Kicking things off, sustainability. Driven in part by the global impact of the pandemic, the health of our planet is top of mind for many people.

For example, Canada’s single-use plastics ban is now in effect. England plans to move forward with a similar ban by October of this year.

Alongside such bans, Technomic believes operators—small independents and global chains alike—will implement entire sustainability strategies. These will range “from packaging and restaurant operations to marketing and menu development.”

Does your concept have a dedicated pickup window? Perhaps a takeaway counter? Maybe even a drive-thru? If not, 2023 may be the year you make that change. Not only that, you’ll likely want to position them front and center.

Per Technomic, many consumers are done with delivery. From rising costs outweighing convenience to delivery failures, pickup may become more appealing. Pickup is still convenient, it’s less expensive, and the consumer is in control.

Additionally, many people are well aware of how costly third-party platforms are to operators. In fact, Technomic identifies these platforms and their fees as “the biggest industry villain” of 2023.

Menu

One of Technomic’s predictions is particularly enticing: Lebanese street foods. To clarify, the firm believes all manner of street foods from around the globe will perform well in 2023.

However, they feel Lebanon’s street foods will stand out from the rest. So, think shawarma, labneh, kibbe, and pickled vegetables. That last item, by the way, follows Technomic’s prediction that pickling and fermenting will be hot trends in the US and Canada.

Of course, there are other items that Technomic thinks will shine in 2023. If the firm is correct, there’s a new “holy trinity” to keep an eye on and consider for your menu: sushi, poke, and ceviche. According to Technomic, each performs very well when it comes to takeout.

Interestingly, the research firm suggests that this particular holy trinity will spawn new virtual brands. If Technomic’s predictions prove accurate, some of these brands will focus on fried chicken or plant-based versions.

Speaking to that last point, Technomic is predicting that plant-based will “evolve” in 2023. This evolution will focus on more traditional meat counterparts. Providing examples, Technomic suggests that avocado, modern takes on black bean patties, cauliflower, tofu, tempeh, and seitan will be this year’s plant-based rock stars.

Are this year’s 2023 Technomic predictions going to prove accurate? It’s far too early to tell. However, one thing I can say with confidence is this: their predictions are rooted deeply in data. When Technomic makes a “guess,” it’s always an informed one.

Click here to read Technomic’s report in its entirety.

Image: Slashio Photography on Unsplash

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by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

American Trends 2023: Technomic

American Trends 2023: Technomic

by David Klemt

Pink pineapple against pink background

Foodservice research firm Technomic has some interesting predictions for the hospitality industry in the United States of America this year.

On the topic of operations, Technomic foresees more negotiating power among workers. Additionally, the firm looks at both the economy and pent-up guest demand.

When it comes to food, the US and Canada have a trend prediction in common. And as the image atop this article signifies, a particular color may be a hit on menus in 2023.

Before we jump in, Technomic’s 2023 Canadian trend predictions are here. Last year’s Technomic predictions for America are here. Curious readers can review the firm’s 2023 predictions in their entirety here.

Okay, let’s go!

Think Pink

I want to address this prediction first. According to Technomic, pink is going to be the F&B color of 2023.

As they explain, the color is fun, nostalgic, and photogenic. Yes, operators must still consider the Instagram-worthiness of their menu items. That may change one day, but it’s not today.

Per Technomic, pink also signals that a food or drink may have antioxidants.

Some of the items the research firm names specifically: pink pineapple, pink salt, pink celery, cara cara oranges, and schisandra berries.

Pickle It

This is the culinary trend that, per Technomic, Canada and America will share in 2o23.

Along with fermenting, pickling gives the kitchen and bar teams a unique experimentation method to explore. So, encourage these teams to get creative and add pickling and fermentation to your next menu update.

Of course, that’s not the only reason to consider putting pickling front and center. For many, these preparations indicate a healthy F&B choice. Think kombucha, as an example.

As we know, healthy choices continue to be top of mind for many guests.

One more note: Technomic suggests being transparent and identifying the pickling and fermenting processes your team leverages to produce each menu item.

Economics

For those looking for a bit of optimism in these trying times, Technomic may have what you’re looking for. This year’s report, What We Foresee for 2023, says the following about the possibility of a recession:

“There is reason for optimism in the coming year, however, as any recession is expected to be relatively mild.”

Yes, that’s just one source’s opinion. However, Technomic is known for their voraciousness when it comes to data. So, if this firm is optimistic it could be a solid sign that things are looking up in 2023.

“Pent-up consumer demand” and variations thereof have been making the rounds since 2o21. However, it’s still a relevant phrase.

As it pertains to 2023, Technomic believes on-premise dining may “bounce back” this year. In fact, the firm suggests that people want to socialize and dine in person now more than ever.

Also, delivery and pickup times appear to be growing. So, plenty of people will see in-person dining as the more appealing option in 2023.

Operations

In part due to legislation addressing minimum wage and workplace conditions, employees may have the upper hand this year.

Add the fact that many people seeking work know many operators are dealing with a labor shortage and their negotiating position looks even stronger.

So, we could finally be in for a significant change when it comes to how the industry looks at compensation. More and more workers—and the guests they serve—are taking issue with tipping. Instead, many people outside and inside of the industry want to see operators pay staff a competitive, living wage.

Of course, there are also the hospitality professionals who prefer tips to minimum wage. In 2023, the industry could experience the start of a sea change. Time will tell.

For more predictions and this Technomic report in its entirety, please click here.

Image: Alex Gruber on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

5 Toxic Mindsets that Hinder Success

5 Toxic Mindsets that Hinder the Success of Your Business

by Jennifer Radkey

Your frame of mind matters, and if you want a team and business that’s thriving and growing, it’s time to examine your own mindset.

How you show up day to day in your business and in your life will either hinder or promote your success. Like the popular phrase goes, “It starts from the top.”

You can set the tone for the day with the energy you bring. As Anese Cavanaugh, author of the book Contagious You, states, “Whatever we put out there and whatever we take on affects our ability to influence, lead, and create the impact we want.”

A positive mindset is contagious: it can inspire, motivate, and make others feel good. A toxic mindset is equally as contagious: it can halt growth, increase unhappiness, and lower productivity.

Here’s a list of five toxic thoughts that lead to a negative mindset and can hinder success.

Blame Game

Always looking for someone else to lay the blame on when things go wrong is a surefire way to a toxic team environment. If you’re quick to blame others when things go wrong, perhaps it’s time to take a step back and examine why something went wrong in the first place.

Was there inadequate training provided? Are there no clear systems to follow? Do you have an environment that’s hostile to asking for help? Fault rarely lies in one person only; there are typically several factors in play.

A positive mindset will examine facts, look at all potential causes, and then come up with solutions. Blame never enters the picture.

Second Guessing

Not being confident in the choices you make hinders growth. Uncertainty in your decision making leads others to question or doubt your role as leader.

If you don’t have the utmost confidence in making decisions, and it’s your business, how can you expect your team to have confidence in you or the work that they do?

This doesn’t mean that you have to make snap decisions without thinking them over. Planning and deliberating over the right move to make is critical to success. But once the decision is made…it’s made. If it doesn’t work out you can then problem solve to get back on the right path.

Second guessing your decisions along the entire way is only going to slow you and your business down.

Absolutism

“It’s my way or the highway.” Absolutism is the inability or refusal to consider others’ ideas. This toxic thought process destroys team culture and growth.

As an owner, you’re heavily invested in your business. Therefore, it can be challenging to let go of how you think things should be done and consider different approaches. However, failing to listen to the ideas of others on your team will build walls and possibly create resentment. That’s definitely not a positive atmosphere to work in.

Be open-minded to doing things differently and show interest in the recommendations of others to promote instead of hinder success.

Hyper-negativity

Sometimes when you want to succeed it’s easy to zone in on the negatives: “This isn’t good enough.” “We aren’t making enough money.” “We don’t have enough followers online,” etc.

The desire to do well can make you hyper-focused on what isn’t right in order to fix it, instead of noticing what’s really great and celebrating that instead. Yes, you need to be aware of areas that need improvement, but you also need to be equally aware of the positive and promote it.

Think of a conversation with two random people you meet at a party. The first person grumbles about the weather, complains about the food, music, etc., and scowls. The second person is smiling, laughing at jokes, and genuinely interested in getting to know you.

Who would you rather be around?

Settling for Average

Nothing will kill growth and success faster than settling for the way things are because “that’s the way it’s always been,” or because “it’s working.” You want more than just “it’s working.”

You want to thrive, to make more money, to gain more followers, to hire more team members, to open more locations. If you aren’t living your absolute best life, if your business isn’t performing at its absolute highest level, then there should be no settling.

Settling for average teaches your team to settle for average, and that means your customer is settling for average. Avoid this toxic mindset by continuously setting goals (even small ones) and looking for ways to do better, feel better, and be better.

While it’s completely normal to fall into these toxic thoughts from time to time, it’s refusing to allow them to become you daily mindset that’s important.

The amazing thing about the human mind is that it can be changed—you can work on improving your mindset. Trust me when I say that you will not regret it.

Cheers to professional and personal growth!

Image: Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

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