Entertainment venue

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Minimum Wage Rises for Most of USA

Minimum Wage Rises for Most of USA

by David Klemt

Closeup of Ben Franklin on $100 bill

More than half of the states across America are either now seeing a boost to minimum wage or plan to increase the hourly minimum by the middle of this year.

In total, minimum wage is up in 27 states. However, the rise isn’t yet in place in a handful of states, including Nevada.

Now, the federal minimum wage still has yet to go up. That rate remains at $7.25 per hour, where it has been since 2009. For the curious, if a person works 40 hours per week and is compensated at the federal minimum rate, that’s just over $15,000 per year—before taxes.

Per Motley Fool: “If we factor in inflation, [federal minimum wage] would have had to grow to $10.20 to let people buy the same amount of goods and services today [as in 2009]. In real terms, the current minimum wage has shrunk by almost 30% since it was set.”

You’ll see below that I didn’t list the increases for tipped workers. As an operator, you should already be well aware of the minimum rate your tipped workers must be paid. In all likelihood, your suite of software is already updated to the current requirements (but check yourself to be certain).

The list will provide an idea of what you’re up against. It’s difficult to recruit rock stars if you’re unable to offer wages above minimum wage, never mind at minimum wage.

Today, for most workers, the minimum isn’t going to cut it. So, when you’re looking at what you can offer, keep in mind the minimum wage for both tipped and un-tipped workers in your area.

Also, know what other operators are paying. To remain competitive, consider what else you can offer, including your values and culture.

States Increasing Minimum Wage

Below, the states with an increase to the minimum wage. Rather than organize the list by hourly rate or rate of increase, I set it up alphabetically.

  1. Alaska: $10.85 per hour
  2. Arizona: $13.85 per hour
  3. California: $15.50 per hour
  4. Colorado: $13.65 per hour
  5. Connecticut: $15 per hour (June 1)
  6. Delaware: $11.75 per hour
  7. Florida: $11 per hour (September 30)
  8. Hawaii: $12 per hour
  9. Illinois: $13 per hour
  10. Maine: $13.80 per hour
  11. Maryland: $13.25 per hour
  12. Massachusetts: $15 per hour
  13. Michigan: $10.10 per hour (could rise further; lawsuit pending)
  14. Minnesota: $8.63 per hour (small employer); $10.59 per hour (large employer)
  15. Missouri: $12 per hour
  16. Montana: $9.95 per hour
  17. Nebraska: $10.50 per hour
  18. Nevada: $11.25 per hour (July 1)
  19. New Jersey: $14.13 per hour
  20. New Mexico: $12 per hour
  21. New York: $14.20 per hour (excluding some areas); $15 per hour for fast food workers
  22. Ohio: $10.10 per hour
  23. Rhode Island: $13 per hour
  24. South Dakota: $10.80 per hour
  25. Vermont: $13.18 per hour
  26. Virginia: $12 per hour
  27. Washington: $15.74 per hour

Among the states on the list above, four are lifting minimum wage to at least $15. Those states are Connecticut, Massachusetts, California, and Washington. Additionally, the minimum wage is $15 per hour in parts of New York.

Interestingly, employers in Nevada can reduce the minimum wage by one dollar if they pay qualifying health insurance. In such a case, the hourly minimum will be $10.25.

Only one of these states, Montana, will remain under $10.

Cities, Counties, Districts

As stated above, some parts of New York have a minimum wage higher than $14.20.

There are also cities, counties, and districts boosting the minimum wage.

  • Denver, Colorado: $17.29 per hour
  • Long Island, New York: $15 per hour
  • New York City, New York: $15 per hour
  • Washington, DC: $16.50 per hour
  • Westchester County, New York: $15 per hour

Overall, more than half the country either already increased the minimum wage or will do so later this year.

Image: Adam Nir on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Top Ten 2022 KRG Hospitality Articles

Top Ten 2022 KRG Hospitality Articles

by David Klemt

Social media likes graffiti

As we head into a promising new year of opportunities and growth, we want to take a look back at our most popular articles of 2022.

Before we jump in, we also want to thank you for your support. We greatly appreciate our readers, newsletter subscribers, clients, and partners.

Let’s all do what it takes to crush 2023!

US Senate Fails to Replenish the RRF

After conflicting reports and speculation, the US Senate has finally voted this week on replenishing the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.

Last week, multiple sources reported that the Senate would hold their RRF vote this week. Just days ago, several outlets sounded the alarm, reporting that the vote would be pushed to next week. The reason, these sources provided, was the Senate’s scramble to repackage and hold another vote on aid for Ukraine.

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) blocked the bill that would provide $40 billion in defense and humanitarian aid. Unsurprisingly, it was also Sen. Paul who objected to $43 billion in emergency funding last August, killing that RRF replenishment effort.

Today, on the Senate floor, Sen. Paul repeatedly derided the replenishment of the RRF as a “bailout.” Additionally, he asked, “Where’s the emergency?”

So, one can infer that the impending closure of an estimated 50 percent of RRF applicants—88,500—isn’t an emergency to the Kentucky senator. Simple math shows that if each of those applicants has just ten employees, that’s a loss of 885,000 jobs.

Read this article in its entirety by clicking here.

SBA Releases 46% of Held RRF Funds

As it turns out, reports that the Government Accountability Office found $180 million in unspent Restaurant Revitalization Fund money were inaccurate. So, the $83 million the SBA disbursed before Thanksgiving was the entirety of the funds the GAO found.

This week, both the Small Business Administration and National Restaurant Association made statements about the release of $83 million in RRF funds.

“This week, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) began distribution of returned funding in the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) program, following the program’s closure in June 2021. In doing so, the SBA worked with the advice of the Department of Justice on a plan to distribute the remaining funds, approximately $83 million,” reads a press release from the SBA.

“In addition to other SBA assistance programs, the RRF has helped more than 100,000 restaurants and other food and beverage business owners survive the pandemic,” continues the administration’s statement.

Click here to read this article in its entirety.

Hotels, Guest Data and Guest Expectations: A Chat with SevenRooms

People are eager to get back out there and hotels, of course, play a crucial role in their travel plans. However, we’re not engaging with the same guests we were pre-pandemic.

No, today’s guest demands more from the hotels and resorts they select. And a key to delivering on guest demands is collecting guest data.

But while operators know they’re supposed to be collecting guest data, there’s some uncertainty about what to actually do with it. Enter: SevenRooms.

More accurately, meet Austen Asadorian of SevenRooms. Not only can he address meeting guest demands through tech, he can address how to use guest data responsibly and effectively.

To read this article, please follow this link.

8 Glendalough Distillery Cocktail Recipes

Offer your guests something different for your St. Patrick’s Day promotion with Glendalough Distillery cocktail recipes.

Without a doubt, you should have plenty of the expected Irish whiskeys on hand. However, Glendalough Distillery Double Barrel, Pot Still, Wild Gin, and Rose Gin are extraordinary Irish whiskeys and gins.

Each spirit the distillery crafts honors the art of Irish distillation, a craft that stretches back centuries. What’s more, each whiskey Glendalough crafts is single malt—there are no light-bodied blends in their lineup.

To learn more, check out episode 71 of the Bar Hacks podcast with Glendalough Distillery co-founder and national brand ambassador Donal O’Gallachoir.


Click here for these creative drink recipes.

7 Coffee Liqueurs You Need to Know

Whether you and your bar team are making Espresso Martinis, riffing on classics or creating something new, consider these coffee liqueurs.

National Espresso Martini Day takes place on Tuesday, March 15. Leading up to this bar holiday, the cocktail is experiencing yet another resurgence.

In fact, this cocktail more than any other seems to maintain an enviable rate of “surging back” in popularity. Maybe it’s time to just admit that it’s a modern classic people love to hate…but still order and enjoy.

To learn which brands you need to know, click here.

Delivery and Takeout Food Trends for 2021: Canada

Patrons, analysts and experts have spoken: delivery and takeout will remain standards in the new era of hospitality.

Analysts and experts have spoken with data, and consumers have spoken with their dollars.

But there’s another consequential voice that matters when it comes to delivery: that of the operator.

There’s no denying that the operator is shoved aside in the third-party delivery relationship. At the very least, that’s the overwhelming perception. Once an operator signs on with such a service, their guest data becomes the delivery company’s data.

Whatever company owns the data owns the guest, their journey and engagement, and the targeted marketing efforts. That means a restaurant or bar’s guests receive offers and promotions for their competitors.

In short, third-party delivery platforms disrupt the guest journey.

However, there are some data the third-party delivery services do share. As we saw midway through 2020, for example, Uber Eats and Grubhub released the top orders and other useful information in publicly available reports. Some of the services also release end-of-year or year-in-review reports, as SkipTheDishes did for Canada.

To read this article, follow this link.

Container Kitchens: The New Footprint

In some cases, a smaller restaurant footprint is attractive to operators. This is due in part to guest behavior we’ve seen since 2020. That is, guests haven’t been able to or felt comfortable with dining indoors at restaurants.

Then, of course, there’s the cost factor. A smaller footprint, generally speaking, equals lower initial investment and rent. An operator with a new concept can use a container before investing in a brick-and-mortar location.

Other benefits relate to market testing; expansion; virtual and ghost kitchen operations; and delivery and pickup.

Operators looking to expand or add retail, along with QSRs, are showing interest in Make My Ghost Kitchen’s containers. One explanation for the interest is simple: containers are highly mobile.

An operator sends their kitted out container to a potential market. They open up shop and test the viability of their concept. If the reaction is less than desirable, they move the container to another market.

For example, one client set up a container complete with a delivery window. In just six hours they sold 3,600 burgers.

Learn more—click here.

How to Address Temporary Restaurant and Bar Closures: 5 Social Media Examples

There are a few reasons a F&B business will have to close due to the Covid-19 outbreak: official mandate, reduced indoor and outdoor dining capacities, and voluntary temporary closures.

Mandated closures are, on the surface, straightforward. Government officials decree that certain types of businesses must close their doors by a specific date and time, and owners are expected to comply.

Closures induced by capacity restrictions are less straightforward. It has become woefully apparent that most lawmakers don’t understand (or don’t care) that at a certain threshold, reducing indoor and outdoor dining capacities is as good as forcing a restaurant or bar to close; the value proposition of remaining open simply isn’t there.

A voluntary temporary closure can come about because of capacity limitations, but they can also be the result of other factors. A significant workforce reduction, lack of traffic, rising costs of goods, or an internal Covid infection.

The stark reality is that the likelihood today’s operators are going to have to craft social media posts and emails announcing temporary (and possibly extended) closures is anything but slim.

Click here for these social media messaging examples.

Developing a Bar Concept w/ Sensory Experiences

Owning a bar is a dream for most that must be met with the right research, planning, and mind-set.

One’s market will, and must, define the concept. To be successful, you must be open to building a venue the market both wants and needs.

Concept development is giving your ‘idea’, both soul and character. A bar’s concept is the lifeline of its brand and longevity in the market. It makes your venue stand apart from the competition, and it’s ultimately your bar’s unique selling proposition.

Have you ever walked into a bar and been confused about its identity? The interior doesn’t match the beverage offerings, the social media experience doesn’t reflect the actual experience, and even the music doesn’t seem to match the vibe of the bar.

This is what happens when there isn’t a clear and detailed concept development plan in place, and it is a sure fire way to be just average at best.

Read this article here.

Creating Restaurant Brand Ambassadors

Ask nearly every restaurant owner what their number one, long-term marketing ‘program’ or tactic is, and most will say effective word of mouth. This can be great until it starts to fizzle down or another new restaurant opens up down the street resulting in the competition becoming the new talk of the town.

Instead of shooting into the wind and hoping ‘word of mouth’ with deliver desirable long-term results, restaurateurs need to embrace a program that is an extension of word-of-mouth marketing, by developing what is called ‘brand ambassadors.’

A brand ambassador will positively represent and promote a restaurant’s venue. They will embrace the company values, vision, mission, and culture. They will strengthen a restaurant’s identity within the community by providing additional visibility and overall awareness.

Yes, word of mouth happens organically over time because of excellent food, drink, service, and experiences, don’t get me wrong. But what if there was a way to double-down and create multiple micro-communities and multiple levels of ambassadors to promote a restaurant’s brand?

That’s where an ambassador program comes in.

To read on, click here.

Image: George Pagan III on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

SevenRooms and CSV form Partnership

SevenRooms and Competitive Social Ventures form Partnership

by David Klemt

The word "play" painted on a wall

Guest experience and retention platform SevenRooms will kick off 2023 with a partnership with Competitive Social Ventures.

This new partnership is yet another example of SevenRooms’ continuous growth. For technology in general and our industry in particular, this is excellent news.

Consider how long it has taken, up until recently, for hospitality to embrace tech innovations. Navigating tech solutions can be daunting. Equally intimidating can be the cost of implementing new tech in a restaurant, bar, or hotel.

Watching a tech platform continue to innovate and grow, therefore, is good news for operators and their teams.

SevenRooms traces their founding to 2011. In comparison, many “solutions” never escape the vaporware stage, existing only on paper. With more than a decade of operation under its belt, SevenRooms is established and positioned for longevity.

In other words, the platform is worthy of operator consideration and investment. We make no secret of our preference for SevenRooms at KRG Hospitality. Unless they prove we should think otherwise, the platform is our favorite tech-based guest retention solution.

Beyond functionality, ease of use, and effectiveness, the company’s continuous growth motivates our support. Look at how SevenRooms grew in 2021 alone:

The platform also started 2022 with the hiring of a chief revenue officer, Brent-Stig Kraus.

Social Entertainment

With its headquarters in Alpharetta, Georgia, Competitive Social Ventures blends sports, socializing, and entertainment.

In fact, the company refers to the brands it has brought to market as “competitive socializing entertainment concepts.”

Last year, CSV brought Fairway Social Alpharetta and Roaring Social Alpharetta to market. The former focuses on sports simulators. Roaring Social, on the other hand, delivers a speakeasy experience combined with bowling.

Arriving in 2023, the real estate holding company plans to launch Pickle & Social concepts throughout the Metro Atlanta. As the name suggests, the concept features indoor and outdoor pickleball courts. Guests will also have access to table tennis. And like Fairway Social and Roaring Social, Pickle & Social will feature live music and an elevated F&B experience.

CSV already makes use of SevenRooms’ reservation and guest data management tools. Going into 2023, this partnership will evolve into review aggregation, marketing automation, and table waitlist management. The latter makes it easier for any concept to handle walk-ins as painlessly as possible.

Most importantly, the partnership with SevenRooms empowers CSV to pursue their growth plans. While the growth of SevenRooms is impressive and confidence-inspiring, their commitment to client growth is the real story here.

When choosing their tech stack, operators need to know the relationship is mutually beneficial. In fact, they need to be confident that each platform is here for long-term success.

In fact, operators should look at every relationship through this lens: Is every partner working to help you grow?

Image: Ben Hershey on Unsplash

by krghospitality krghospitality No Comments

Why You Should Take Part on Giving Tuesday

Why You Should Take Part on Giving Tuesday

by Jennifer Radkey

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

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

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

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

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

Why Generosity?

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

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

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

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

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

Hospitality and Generosity

The words hospitality and generosity go hand in hand.

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

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

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

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

Giving Back

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

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

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

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

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

Share, Share, and Share Some More

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

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

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

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

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

Image: Andrew Thornebrooke on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Creating a Strengths Profile

Creating a Strengths Profile

by Jennifer Radkey

Unsolved Rubik's Cube against black background

When looking to improve the performance of your hospitality business it is natural to seek out weaknesses and attempt to “fix” them.

What if you were to take an entirely different approach?

Instead of focusing on weaknesses to improve upon, we should seek to identify and build upon our strengths.

Why Strengths?

Using our strengths is like writing with a dominant hand. It comes naturally and easily.

Strengths can be cultivated and used to assist in overcoming challenges and in improving upon weaknesses. If we were to focus only on improving our weaknesses it would be tiring, and the probability of giving up could increase.

However, if we focus on building upon our strengths, it would be motivating and energizing, therefore making us stronger and then more likely to overcome our weaknesses.

Lost and Found

Do you ever visit a restaurant, bar, or hotel and get no clear sense of their identity?

Maybe their menu is confusing, their social media presence is either nonexistent or only shares their daily specials, there is no consistency in service. They just seem…lost.

Now seriously take a minute and walk through your establishment with fresh eyes as if it were your first time there. Is your brand’s identity clear or lost? As we get wrapped up in the day-to-day operations and stressors, becoming lost can easily happen.

Identifying your brand’s strength profile can help you find your distinct identity again. Even if you aren’t lost there is always room to strengthen your brand.

The Background

In the field of positive psychology, psychologists Chris Peterson and Marty Seligman headed a project to seek out what characteristics describe humans at their very best.

After scouring literature, media, music, etc., spanning countries and history, they compiled a list of 24 character strengths that appear to be valued over time and culture.

This list was referred to as the Values in Action Classification of Character Strengths and Virtues (VIA). The VIA is meant to classify individual strengths but can also be applied to organizations and businesses.

The 24 Character Strengths

The list of strengths is as follows:

  • Creativity
  • Curiosity
  • Open-mindedness
  • Love of Learning
  • Perspective and Wisdom
  • Bravery
  • Persistence
  • Integrity
  • Vitality
  • Capacity to Love and be Loved
  • Kindness
  • Social Intelligence
  • Citizenship
  • Fairness
  • Leadership
  • Forgiveness
  • Humility/Modesty
  • Self-Regulation
  • Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence
  • Gratitude
  • Hope/Optimism
  • Humour
  • Spirituality

If you want to dive deeper into the VIA character strengths or would like to take the free survey yourself to find out what your top character strengths are, please visit www.authentichappiness.org through Penn State University and take the VIA Survey.

Creating a Strengths Profile for Your Hospitality Business

Now that you have the list of 24 character strengths, think about the top three strengths that you believe capture your brand at its very best. Think both about your venue’s operations and its messaging when deciding upon the top three.

Then ask your team to do the same. Hold a team meeting in which everyone shares which three character strengths they chose and why.

I recently did this with our team here at KRG Hospitality and found the process enlightening. It was fascinating to see which character strengths were repeated, providing clarity into our brand’s strengths profile.

Establishing Your Top Three

As you review everyone’s answers as to the character strengths they feel best capture your brand at its very best, take note of strengths that repeat themselves.

For us at KRG Hospitality, creativity, perspective and wisdom, and love of learning were the most common replies. We then had our strengths profile.

Discuss what you feel the strengths profile for your brand is with your team and solidify a top three.

What Next?

Once you have a strengths profile built, it’s time to dissect it.

How are you already using these strengths in both your day-to-day operations and in how you are representing yourself to the outside world? How can you use them in new and unique ways?

For example: If one of your strengths is creativity, are you using it to your advantage in many aspects of your business? Maybe your menu is super creative, but your social media posts are dull. Maybe your interior design is creative and fresh, but your training lacks creativity.

Is one of your top strengths kindness? What are you doing to emphasize that strength and is your community aware and benefiting from it?

Think about your strengths in new and exciting ways to energize your team and build an overall stronger business.

Shout it Out!

Take pride in your brand’s strengths. Make it known to your team, potential new hires, guests and potential guests what your strengths are by living them and growing them each and every day.

The stronger your team and your brand is, the more confidence you will have. With strong confidence you can approach weaknesses and obstacles with a healthy mindset and higher chance of success.

Take the time to really know your brand and understand how you are representing yourself and you won’t be disappointed. Cheers to personal and professional well-being!

Image: Pixabay on Pexels

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Resources for Keeping Guests Safe

Resources for Keeping Guests and Staff Safe

by David Klemt

Everyone is Welcome sign painted on wall

One of the non-negotiable responsibilities of operators and their team members is ensuring the safety of every guest they serve.

Respecting others, instilling trust in guests and the community, and awareness are core tenets of hospitality.

Further, those three tenets are also crucial for the safety of guests, team members, and the community.

We in the hospitality industry like to think we deliver selfless service, putting guest needs above our own. The phrase “all are welcome” is supposedly a hospitality mantra.

But if operators aren’t providing the tools and empowerment staff need to ensure every guest is safe, is everyone really welcome?

Safety as a Core Value

Look, I know it can be uncomfortable to address the uglier elements of this industry. However, we can’t effect change to severely reduce the impact or outright eliminate those elements if we don’t face them.

On today’s Bar Hacks podcast, episode 54 with Ivy Mix and Lynnette Marrero, our guests address keeping women safe in bars and restaurants. That goes for guests and staff.

When we’re honest with ourselves, we know that our industry, operating at its best, is welcoming, accepting, supportive of the communities they serve, and a pillar of society. But we also know we have widespread issues concerning the harassment, violence, and inequality affecting women and other minorities.

Two things can be true at the same time. However, we can work toward wiping out that second truth.

During today’s podcast, Ivy Mix shares two key resources for building safer hospitality venues and work environments: Safe Bars and Green Dot.

Safe Bars

This organization seeks to improve the safety and culture of any venue that serves alcohol. Restaurant, bar, nightclub, brewery, hotel… If alcohol is a major component of service, Safe Bars wants to help.

Through three Safe Bars programs, operators can make their businesses safer:

  • Active Bystander Skills. Teachers operators, leadership team, and staff how to recognize unwanted sexual aggression and opting for the best intervention solution. (Learn more here.)
  • Self-defense and Empowerment. Strategies an owner, operator, member of the leadership team, or a staff member can implement should they be the one targeted for aggression or other unwanted attention. (Click here to learn more.)
  • De-escalation for Hospitality Professionals. The tactics necessary to keep one’s self and others safe should they encounter an aggressive, angry or threatening guest. (More information here.)

Unfortunately, most hospitality professionals have at least one story involving unwanted aggressive or threatening behavior from a guest. Programs like those on offer by Safe Bars can help bystanders intervene to protect others and themselves.

Green Dot

I’ve written about Green Dot Bystander Intervention education before.

Specifically, I shared Green Dot’s Five Ds of Bystander Intervention:

  • Distract
  • Delegate
  • Document
  • Delay
  • Direct

Programs like those from Green Dot and Safe Bars can help operators and leadership assess their bystander intervention capabilities.

The time is now to have an open and frank discussion to assess each team member’s comfort level regarding intervention. That can provide a baseline and guide operators towards which programs they should pursue. From there, operators and leadership can create policies and procedures for intervening, and keep guests and staff safe.

Addressing safety rather than hoping nothing will happen and these issues will somehow solve themselves pays immense dividends. Here are just a few examples:

  • Greater staff confidence.
  • A better relationship with the community, along with increased traffic.
  • A reduction in staff turnover.

Service is about more than food, beverage, and entertainment—it’s also about safety.

Image: Katie Moum on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

SevenRooms Announces Olo Partnership

SevenRooms Announces Olo Partnership

by David Klemt

Cheeseburgers and French fries in takeout containers on pass

SevenRooms continues to grow and develop innovative partnerships.

The platform’s newest partnership benefits the hospitality industry, operators, and consumers.

In joining forces with Olo, SevenRooms further helps restaurants, bars, and hotels position themselves to succeed in an increasingly digital world.

The Bleeding Edge

Olo, which literally stands for “Online Ordering,” predates the iPhone.

In fact, the company launched before smartphones were more than niche devices.

Upon its inception, Olo’s service consisted mainly of sending mobile coffee orders to restaurant printers via text message.

Like SevenRooms, Olo seeks to stay ahead of the consumer behavior curve:

  • 2005: Olo launches, anticipating coffee drinkers will eagerly embrace mobile ordering.
  • 2008: The company predicts fast-casual restaurants will become faster than fast food.
  • 2012: Olo envisions the redesigning of kitchen restaurants to include pickup windows.
  • 2015: The platform sees the future for foodservice is delivery.

Now, Olo is dedicated to making sure online ordering customers benefit from the industry’s digital transformation.

The Partnership

SevenRooms ensures clients who also use Olo can capture their off-premise customers’ information. That data then creates profiles for those customers automatically.

This partnership leverages SevenRooms CRM and marketing automation integration. Operators will be able to send post-order surveys to off-premise, online ordering customers automatically.

So, operators can learn what is and isn’t working off-premise; elevate the experience of off-premise customers to increase online order frequency; convert those customers to in-person guests; encourage repeat visits; and increase profitability.

Moving forward, SevenRooms and Olo users will get to know their off-premise customers better.

“To meet the ever-evolving needs of our hospitality clients, we’ve continued to seek out strategic partners who help us provide an even more comprehensive solution to operators,” says SevenRooms CEO and founder Joel Montaniel. “Our integration with Olo delivers on our promise of offering a 360-degree platform focused on helping operators build deeper, direct relationships across on- and off-premise experiences. This partnership facilitates better operational efficiency and online data capture, ultimately helping operators optimize the profitability of their delivery and takeout business while strengthening customer relationships. We are excited to welcome Olo to our partner network, and look forward to our continued collaboration to drive better, more streamlined solutions for the industry.”

Learn more about SevenRooms here. Click here to learn more about Olo.

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by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

10 Words that Exemplify Leadership

10 Words that Exemplify Leadership

by David Klemt

Level Up neon sign in white and yellow

During episode 50 of the Bar Hacks podcast, Travis Tober sums up restaurant and bar leadership in just ten words.

In fact, this seemingly “small” sentence explains leadership and buy-in for essentially every type of business.

Let’s take a look at what Tober, co-owner of Nickel City and owner Old Pal, says that resonates with me.

10 Important Words

So, what does Tober say during his first appearance on Bar Hacks that embodies leadership?

The following, about his general manager:

“He knows the brand just as good as I do.”

How do those words exemplify leadership and buy-in? For several reasons:

  • They illustrate transparency from the owners.
  • Those words show trust.
  • The ten words put buy-in and mentorship on display.
  • They show that the GM possesses a sense of ownership of the brand.
  • The brand is obviously defined clearly.

Buy-in is Crucial

As an entrepreneur, consider what you’re asking of the people who work for you. You’re expecting others to help you achieve your dream.

So, why would they take their role in your business seriously rather than only seeing it as a paycheck? The answer is simple: buy-in.

Staff want to feel as though they’re a part of something—they don’t want to work just to pay bills.

As difficult as it may be, an operator needs to trust the people they hire.

Why would you want them on your team—and you need to build a team, not just have employees—if you don’t trust them? Filling roles just to have bodies in the building is a losing strategy, labor shortage or not.

In addition to trust, there needs to be brand indoctrination. Every employee should be a brand evangelist for you and your business.

One of the most powerful recruiting and marketing resources at your disposal is your team. People they encounter should want to spend time and money at your business because of your team. They should want to work for you after observing your team at work and out and about.

If that’s not happening, something is wrong. Your team doesn’t trust you; doesn’t feel as though you trust them; doesn’t feel empowered; or doesn’t believe they’re really a part of your brand and business.

So, ask yourself a simple question: Can my GM, management team, and staff say they know my brand as well as I do?

Listen to episode 50 of Bar Hacks with Travis Tober on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Image: Damir Kopezhanov on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Dave Portnoy, Other Celebrities Provide Financial Support for Restaurants and Other Small Businesses

Dave Portnoy, Other Celebrities Provide Financial Support for Restaurants and Other Small Businesses

by David Klemt

Famous chefs and restaurateurs aren’t the only people lending their celebrity to raise money for struggling businesses and the workers they employ.

Well, notoriety may be a better descriptor for Dave Portnoy‘s influence than celebrity. He may not be an operator but he is one of the most prolific pizza reviewers and influencers on the planet. And there’s no denying he’s been in the corner of restaurants, criticizing how officials and their responses have dealt lethal blows to the industry.

The Barstool Sports founder was challenged to put his money where his mouth is by Marcus Lemonis after “ranting” about the plight of Covid-19-ravaged restaurants and bars. Rising to the challenge, Portnoy seeded the Barstool Fund with a personal donation of $500,000, which Lemonis matched.

That half-million dollars isn’t the only donation Lemonis has made to help small businesses. The entrepreneur, philanthropist and television show host launched the Nashville 30 Day Fund by putting in $500,000 of his own money just days after December 25, 2020. This particular fund provides small businesses and individuals that operate or reside within a half-mile radius of the Christmas Day bombing site in Nashville with forgivable loans up to $100,000

Back to the Barstool Fund. Bolstered by celebrity backing and support from more than 175,000 donors and counting, the fund has raised more than $22 million in less than a month and helped more than 100 businesses.

Guy Fieri, who helped grow the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund to well over $20 million, has donated money to the Barstool Fund. So have Aaron Rodgers (who reportedly pitched in $500,000), Tom Brady, Dana White, and Kid Rock.

One crucial element for small businesses applying to the Barstool Fund is that they must still be paying their employees. There are no regional restrictions, but applicants do need to explain the intended use for whatever funds they may receive. According to a Newsweek article, checks will be given to businesses selected for Barstool Fund support on a month-t0-month basis.

Below you’ll find the restaurants, bars, pubs, taverns and even a soda shop that have received Barstool Fund grants as of yesterday afternoon, January 11. To apply for funds, please click here. If you can afford to contribute, please follow this link and click “Contribute to the Fund.”


Gaetano’s Tavern on Main (Wallingford, CT), Laskara (Wallingford, CT),  Piggy’s Cafe (Hartford, CT), Red Rock Tavern (Hartford, CT), Abbey Burger Bistro (Baltimore, MD), Claddagh Pub (Baltimore, MD), Don’t Know Tavern (Baltimore, MD), Dough Boy Fresh Pretzel Company (Dundalk, MD), Atlas Pub & Kitchen (Chicopee, MA), Casa Mia (Marblehead, MA), Jalapeno’s Mexican Grill (Walpole, MA), Jimmy’s Pub & Restaurant (Mansfield, MA), The Park Lunch (Newburyport, MA), The Village Trestle (Goffstown, NH), Hoboken Beer & Soda Outlet (Hoboken, NJ), Jack’s Cafe (Verona, NJ), Marandola’s (Bradley Beach, NJ), Mia Restaurant (Oceanport, NJ), Nanni Ristorante (Rochelle Park, NJ), Tim Kerwin’s Tavern (Middlesex, NJ), The Underdog Bar & Grill (Haledon, NJ), Acquista Trattoria (Fresh Meadows, NY), Bayview Tavern (Seaford, NY), Borrelli’s (East Meadow, NY), The Café (Long Beach, NY), Chadwick’s Restaurant (Brooklyn, NY), Durf’s Family Restaurant (Fairport, NY), The Eagle House (Williamsville, NY), Holbrooks Backporch (Holbrook, NY), Johny’s Luncheonette (New York, NY), Kabooz’s Bar and Grill (New York, NY), Kirvens (Bronx, NY),La Conca D’Oro (Catskill, NY), Mama Mia 44 SW (New York, NY), Mary Ann’s Mexican Restaurant (Port Chester, NY), Mulligan’s Fireside Pub (Bronx, NY), Portobello Restaurant (Staten Island, NY), Roomers Bar (Lake Placid, NY), San Martino Ristorante (Yonkers, NY), Squire’s Tap Room (Tonawanda, NY), Trattoria L’incontro (Queens, NY), Flanigan’s Boathouse (Conshohocken, PA), Jack’s Spot Tavern (Pitman, PA), Kelly’s Seafood (Philadelphia, PA), La Collina (Bala Cynwyd, PA)


Manny’s Cafeteria & Delicatessen (Chicago, IL), Ken’s Diner (Skokie, IL), Que Rico (Chicago, IL), The Rathskeller (Indianapolis, IN), Special Dogs & More (Columbus, IN), The Bomber Restaurant (Ypsilanti, MI), Champ’s Pub (Brighton, MI), Kennedy’s Irish Pub (Waterford, MI), Mac’s Acadian Seafood Shack (Saline, MI), Water Street Tavern (Kent, OH), Dairy Land Family Restaurant (Madison, WI), Gray Brewing Company (Janesville, WI), J&B’s Bar & Blue Ribbon Tap Room (Milwaukee, WI)

Rocky Mountains

Durango Diner (Durango, CO)


Play Louisville (Louisville, KY), Steak Street (High Point, NC), Freddie’s Beach Bar (Arlington, VA), Wonju Korean Restaurant (Roanoke, VA)


Al J’s Tavern (Tucson, AZ), Coney Island Hot Weiners (Tulsa, OK), Mack’s Tenders (Houston, TX)


Anaheim White House (Anaheim, CA), Cactus Cantina (Riverside, CA), Dessert’D Organic Bake Shop (Mammoth Lakes, CA), Locale Farm to Table Eatery (Bakersfield, CA), Mexican Riviera (Torrance, CA), Mitla Cafe (San Bernardino, CA), Rubi’s Frosty Freeze (Whittier, CA), Tadich Grill (San Francisco, CA), Vincenzo’s Terrazza (West Covina, CA), Banks Billiards (Banks, OR), Mayan Mexican Family Restaurants (Lacey, WA)

For the full list of Barstool Fund recipients, click here.

Image: Vladimir Solomyani on Unsplash