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Canadians Preparing for NHL Opening Week

Canadians Preparing for NHL Opening Week

by David Klemt

Vintage tabletop hockey game toy

Now nobody can accuse me of showing any NHL teams favoritism. Go Knights Go!

As one should expect, Canadian hockey fans are preparing for the 2023-2024 NHL season opener, and those preparations include on-premise visits.

On Tuesday, October 10, three teams will face off to start the regular season.

First, the Nashville Predators take on the Tampa Bay Lightning. Then, the Chicago Blackhawks will face the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Finally, after raising their brand-new, first-ever Stanley Cup championship banner, which they won just six seasons after their founding, the fastest an expansion team has accomplished this feat, the Vegas Golden Knights will welcome the Seattle Kraken to T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

According to on-premise data from CGA by NIQ, Canadian hockey fans are planning to celebrate the start of the season at bars and restaurants. That means operators have less than two weeks to finalize plans to attract these guests to their venues.

In particular, operators in four provinces need to ensure their NHL opening week plans and promotions are good to go. Per CGA’s data, consumers in Québec are showing the greatest interest in watching this season’s opening games in bars and restaurants. Following and driving on-premise interest are British Columbia, Ontario, and Alberta.

Of course, operators throughout the provinces who serve sports fans should be ready to welcome hockey fans.

For our Canadian readers, the Montréal Candiens will take on Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday, October 11. On that same day, the Ottawa Senators face the Carolina Hurricanes; the Edmonton Oilers face off against the Vancouver Canucks; and the Winnipeg Jets will battle the Calgary Flames.

Click here for the full opening week schedule.

Why Does this Matter?

I may catch some flack for this but technically, any bar with televisions events can be a sports bar.

Yes, I understand that’s a very simplistic view. And yes, of course that comes with the caveat that sports should be authentic to a given concept. Also, showing sports should take into account the expectations of bar or restaurant’s guests.

In other words, most bars and restaurants can benefit from sports but they’d likely be a hindrance to some high-end cocktail bars and fine-dining concepts.

With that out of the way, operators who want to establish themselves as the go-to spot for sporting events need to nail opening week. That means having all of their ducks in a row.

Do they have the proper business TV packages in place? Will promotions and programming appeal to the target audience? Are the screens and audio system high quality for the best viewing experience? Does the menu offer sports fans what they want for great value? Is the team pulling out all the spots to make viewing fun?

Regarding the menu, CGA by NIQ has a couple of valuable insights. First, beer is the top beverage alcohol category among those planning to celebrate NHL opening week on-premise. Second, among those who plan to consume spirits, tequila is the top pick. Sounds like offering beer and tequila shot pairings could perform well.

However, operators should certainly take into account their own data. What F&B items are selling the best? Which items performed the best this same time last year?

Between 15 and 16 million Canadians follow hockey. That’s a vast pool of potential customers to convert to loyal guests. The importance of becoming their sports home base, their third spot, cannot be overstated.

This coming opening week, lay the groundwork to become the go-to place for hockey fans, fantasy sports competitors, and sports bettors.

Image: cottonbro studio via Pexels

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Time to Rethink Your Loyalty Program?

Is it Time to Rethink Your Loyalty Program?

by David Klemt

Two pepperoni pizzas in open boxes

So, you have a loyalty program in place. That’s great, but is it time to review its performance and implement meaningful changes to improve engagement?

I know, I know—that feeling of “if it ain’t one thing, it’s another” never seems to go away. That’s part of operator life.

The good news is that, if you have a loyalty or rewards program and it has been working, you’re a step ahead of many other operators. In that way, it’s similar to implementing an actual onboarding process and including an employee manual.

But what should you do if you notice engagement dropping? Well, it may indicate that while there’s interest in your program, it’s getting stale. Or, perhaps people don’t like the rewards or think they’re earning rewards quickly enough.

If engagement isn’t at the levels you want or is noticeably declining, it’s time to review your program with a critical eye.

In fact, it’s a great idea to ask your team for their feedback regarding loyalty. After all, your team hears guest feedback in real time. Also, they likely have some ideas of their own that can help refresh the program. After all, some people on your team may be members of loyalty programs themselves and have some thoughts.

Engagement via Gamification

The word “gamification,” much like “pivot,” may be a word that annoys you. That doesn’t make it any less relevant.

Millions of people are on their phones nearly every waking moment of the day. And millions among those millions engage with brands and apps via games or game-like features. It keeps these people coming back for more.

One restaurant chain that understands the power of gamification is Jimmy John’s.

First, the brand’s loyalty and rewards program has an interesting name: Freaky Fast Rewards. Second, they issue challenges that drive member engagement.

For example, for Q1 2023, Jimmy John’s threw down the Gauntlet via the Freaky Fast Rewards program. Members had until the middle of March to purchase every sandwich on the menu. The reward? A branded beanbag chair that looks like a bag of Jimmy Chips.

Of course, the program engages its members in other gamified ways. There are achievement badges to earn, for instance. And there have been challenges that were narrowed down to daypart to drive traffic and engagement.

Free food and merchandise are common rewards, but there are also surprises that members can earn to keep things fresh.

Program Updates

Another brand giving their loyalty program a refresh is Domino’s.

Rather than do what some other companies have done, the pizza giant is lowering the threshold to earn rewards.

Around a year ago, Chipotle experienced significant backlash from loyalty program members when they went the other direction. In response, one would think, to rising costs, the brand increased the amount its members had to spend to earn rewards.

That went about as well with many of their customers as you’d expect, of course. Loyalty and rewards programs are meant to increase traffic and spend per guest, not alienate them and drive them away.

Enter: The Domino’s Rewards refresh.

“We are thrilled to give the brand’s loyal customers additional ways to earn free Domino’s items more often,” said Mark Messing, Domino’s vice president of digital experience and loyalty, via press release. “At a time when most brands are scaling back their loyalty programs and making it more difficult to earn and redeem points, Domino’s is doing the opposite. We want to make it easier to reward our customers and give them more options so they can get rewarded faster.”

Members can not only earn points more quickly (every $5 spent equals 10 rewards points), they can redeem more quickly as well. For example, a 16-piece Parmesan bread bites is just 20 points. Free stuffed cheesy bread is only 40 points now. And that’s to say nothing of offers that are exclusive to members.


Only you, of course, can know how to adjust your loyalty program. You need to look at your data to understand the best solution for waning engagement.

The last thing you should do is lower points thresholds without knowing your numbers. And if you’re considering gamifying your program, you need to know if that’s an approach your guests will actually like.

In other words, don’t rush to upgrade or update your loyalty program. Take time, collect relevant data, engage your team, and move forward with any changes with strategic clarity.

Image: Polina Tankilevitch via Pexels

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Rémy Martin Pays Homage to Sobremesa

Rémy Martin Pays Homage to Sobremesa

by David Klemt

Josué Gonzaléz for the Rémy Martin "Que Viva Rémy Sobremesa" campaign

Mixologist Josué Gonzaléz for the Rémy Martin “Que Viva Rémy Sobremesa” campaign

Rémy Martin is teaming up with the Hispanic Restaurant Association to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month by honoring a post-dinner tradition.

That tradition, an important element of a number of Hispanic cultures, is called “sobremesa.” Translating to “at the table” or “upon the table,” sobremesa is the period of time after a meal during which people relax, chat, and digest.

This is, of course, one of the most important elements of a great meal and gathering of friends and family. While sobremesa may fly in the face of the “turn-and-burn” approach to operation, a hallmark of a wonderful time out at a restaurant is the post-meal vibe.

Are guests lingering with smiles on their faces, ordering post-dinner drinks and chatting, giving off a good energy? That would indicate an operator and their team have delivered excellent service and a memorable guest experience.

To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and sobremesa, Rémy Martin is launching a new campaign: “Que Viva Rémy Sobremesa.”


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Que Viva Rémy Sobremesa

A core element of this collaboration between Rémy Martin and the Hispanic Restaurant Association is bringing food and beverage together.

To achieve this, Que Viva Rémy Sobremesa is bringing together three influential F&B professionals.

Chef Paola Velez for the Rémy Martin "Que Viva Rémy Sobremesa" campaign

Hailing from the Bronx with a career that has brought her to Washington, DC, Chef Paola Velez is an entrepreneur, activist, and the founder of Bakers Against Racism.

Chef Carlos Gaytán for the Rémy Martin "Que Viva Rémy Sobremesa" campaign

A restaurateur with restaurants in Mexico and Chicago—and his sights on California’s dining scene—Chef Carlos Gaytán is the first Mexican-born chef to earn a Michelin star.

Miami native and revered bartender Josué Gonzaléz brings an understanding of the culinary to his craft, beginning his journey in hospitality as a Johnson & Wales culinary student. His résumé includes some of the best bars and restaurants in America.

This powerhouse trio has been tasked with creating cocktails and culinary pairings that feature Rémy Martin and shine a spotlight on sobremesa. Their hard work will be showcased through immersive experiences throughout the US. Click here for Chef Velez’s recipes, here for Chef Gaytán’s creations, and here for Gonzaléz’s recipes.

However, Que Viva Rémy Sobremesa doesn’t stop with the conclusion of a meal. Rémy Martin, the Hispanic Restaurant Association, and their featured chefs and bartender also seek to add a new element to sobremesa.

Rather than sobremesa representing the end of a night out, Que Viva Rémy Sobremesa aims to transform the tradition into the start. In other words, “last call” now signals “the first call of the rest of the night.” Instead of asking, “When can we do this again,” the campaign encourages friends and family to ask, “What’s next tonight?”

The Mambo Mango Royale

To provide an idea of the creations coming from the Que Viva Rémy Sobremesa collaborations, here’s a cocktail recipe from Josué Gonzaléz.

  • 1.5 oz Rémy Martin Tercet
  • 0.75 oz Mango Syrup
  • 0.5 oz Lemon Juice
  • Bar spoon Galliano
  • Champagne to top
  • Decorative mango and edible flower to garnish

Add the first four ingredients and ice to a shaker. Shake vigorously for about ten seconds, then add a splash of Champagne. Pour into a flute or cocktail coupe, then garnish.

For more information, please read the press release below in its entirety. Cheers!


Notable culinary and cocktail personalities come together to share custom recipes featuring Rémy Martin 1738 Accord Royal and Tercet and create lively experiences while embracing cultures of excellence and the tradition of Sobremesa

NEW YORK—To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, Rémy Martin is launching Que Viva Rémy Sobremesa, an homage to Sobremesa, the post-dining tradition found throughout many Hispanic cultures. The campaign brings influential culinary and mixology tastemakers together, including award-winning chefs Carlos Gaytán and Paola Velez, and renowned Mixologist Josué Gonzaléz, to create a variety of curated cocktails featuring Rémy Martin 1738 Accord Royal and Tercet along with culinary pairings showcasing how Sobremesa comes to life across different Hispanic cultures. The tastemakers and their pairings will be presented at a series of immersive events across the country.

With nearly 300 years of excellence producing Cognac Fine Champagne and symbolizing the diversity of craft and tradition, Rémy Martin continues to be at the forefront of moments that bring people together. As the kickoff to Hispanic Heritage Month, Rémy Martin is immersing cocktail connoisseurs in Sobremesa, a tradition where one finds themself lost in deep conversation – talking, sipping cocktails and spending time with those who matter most – often for hours after dining.

Getting lost in conversation and savoring the post-dinner experience is the essence of Sobremesa and with Que Viva Rémy Sobremesa, Rémy Martin will challenge the notion of “last call” by signaling Sobremesa as the start of the night ahead. After all, the most dispiriting words heard when you’re out are “last call” and “kitchen’s closed” – but with Rémy Martin the last call can now be the first call of the rest of the night.

“Rémy Martin’s passion for excellence, family values and traditions offer a moment for us all to partake in Sobremesa and we are thrilled to be teaming up with a variety of notable personalities to kick off the celebration this Hispanic Heritage Month,” said Tina Reejsinghani, Vice President of Luxury Brands at Rémy Cointreau Americas. “Enjoying classic recipes and sparking conversations around the table is at the heart of Hispanic heritage and Rémy Martin is excited to lead in the festivities of the time-honored tradition.”

As part of the campaign and the brand’s ongoing commitment to advancing the world of gastronomy, Rémy Martin is teaming up with the Hispanic Restaurant Association (HRA) and their Global Ambassador, Chef Fernando Stovell to support and further the careers of aspiring chefs, culinary entrepreneurs, restaurant managers, and industry professionals within the Hispanic community, uplifting the next generation of gastronomic excellence.

“At the Hispanic Restaurant Association, our vision is focused on fostering education and uplifting the Hispanic community across generations,” said John Jaramillo, Co-Founder and CEO of the Hispanic Restaurant Association. “As we work to elevate the culinary artistry within the Hispanic community, our partnership with Rémy Martin will play an integral part in extending our mission and vision across the country, allowing us to continue fostering a richer culinary perspective and build lasting bridges within the community.”

Throughout Hispanic Heritage Month, Rémy Martin will invite cocktail and culinary aficionados in New York and Miami to join the brand at the Rémy Martin Sobremesa Social Club. The events will feature lively entertainment alongside the unique dishes and cocktails curated by Carlos Gaytán, Paola Velez and Josué Gonzaléz, each inspired by their backgrounds. Chef Carlos, Chef Paola and Josué Gonzaléz will make appearances at the events, to showcase their creations and celebrate Sobremesa with guests. For more information and to purchase tickets for a VIP table experience, please visit Rémy Martin Sobremesa Social Club. Proceeds will benefit the Hispanic Restaurant Association.

Rémy Martin will also be capturing the essence of the Sobremesa tradition with a series of curated craft cocktails that highlight the opulent and complex flavor profiles of Rémy Martin 1738 Accord Royal and Rémy Martin Tercet. To keep the flavors going strong and accentuate each Rémy Martin expression, world-renowned chefs Carlos Gaytán and Paola Velez and Mixologist Josué Gonzaléz have created a variety of culinary and cocktail recipes representing their own cultures. From the Flamingo 1738 cocktail inspired by Josué’s childhood in Cuba and Chef Carlos’s nod to the sweet and savory elements of Mexican cooking with the Foie and Chocolate dish, to Chef Paola’s Nutmeg Pavlova recipe which combines her Dominican roots with the flavors of autumn, this campaign will take patrons on a culinary journey around the world.

The Que Viva Rémy Sobremesa campaign was developed in collaboration with creative agency FRED & FARID New York and will be featured across billboards and kiosks in Houston, TX; Los Angeles, CA; Miami, FL and New York, NY in addition to digital media and social content throughout Hispanic Heritage Month. For more information on the campaign, recipes and events, visit and follow along on social media on Instagram @RemyMartinUS | Twitter @RemyMartinUS | Facebook RemyMartinUSA

#QueVivaRemySobremesa #TeamUpForExcellence


Since 1724, the House of Rémy Martin has produced premium spirits that consistently appeal to the world’s most discerning connoisseurs. A profound love of the land, a continuity of family ownership and a passionate commitment to excellence has sustained Rémy Martin for nearly three centuries. As a result of its masterful production and generations of tradition in Cognac, the House of Rémy Martin produces award winning Cognacs Fine Champagne including Rémy Martin® XO, which was named Cognac of the Year 2022 by USA Spirits Ratings, and The Cognac Masters gold medal winning Rémy Martin® Tercet®, Rémy Martin® 1738 Accord Royal and Rémy Martin® V.S.O.P.


Looking ahead, our vision is focused on fostering education and uplifting the Hispanic community across generations. We aspire to create a comprehensive impact by fostering economic growth and entrepreneurial endeavours through a range of interconnected networks, educational platforms, events, and supportive infrastructure.


A native of Mexico, chef and restaurateur Carlos Gaytán has made his mark in the culinary industry. From a young age, he was enamored with cooking, exploring a full spectrum of flavor while perfecting heirloom recipes alongside his mother. With a seamless unification of his Mexican heritage and his love of French culinary style, Carlos became the first Mexican-born chef to earn a coveted Michelin star in 2013. Gaytán appeared on Bravo’s Top Chef in 2013 and has since been widely featured as a host and judge on numerous culinary programs. He has opened two award-winning restaurants — one in Mexico in 2017, and another in Chicago in 2019. In 2024, he will open three new restaurants in California.


Award-winning chef, entrepreneur and community activist Paola Velez is the multihyphenate for a new generation of lifestyle personalities. Growing up between the Bronx and the Dominican Republic, Velez is fluent in cultures of city and island life, bringing infectious positivity and a keen eye on the micro-trends of the moment to the table. Her unique perspective has catapulted her to the pages of Food & Wine, and garnered her a nomination for Rising Star Chef by the James Beard Foundation, “Pastry Chef of the Year” from Esquire and “Best New Chef” from Food & Wine. Most recently, Paola founded the organization Bakers Against Racism as a social community, connecting bakers and creatives all across the globe to fight against racism in all of its forms. Looking ahead, under her lifestyle brand Dōekï Dōekï, a reflection of her Afro-Latina heritage, Velez is launching a series of collaborations and pop-up dinners across the country in addition to her first cookbook in 2024.


Josué Gonzaléz is a Miami native with a true passion for hospitality. As a culinary student at Johnson & Wales University, he accepted a barback position at Zuma Miami to gain industry experience, setting a decorated front-of-house career into motion. Josué found a friend and mentor in renowned Miami bartender Rob Ferrara, helping both achieve great success with openings at Swine Southern Table & Bar, Lure Fishbar and The Rum Line. As an individual, Josué was named one of Zagat Miami’s 30 under 30 in 2014, and went on to win and place in the top of various cocktail competitions. As part of the opening team at Sweet Liberty Bar & Supply, Josué was integral in the venue as it was awarded Best New Cocktail Bar in America at the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards.  In 2018 Josué moved to Washington DC to open and manage the bar at Seven Reasons, a Latin concept, with Enrique Limardo. The restaurant was named Best New Restaurant in America 2019 by Esquire Magazine. Josué brings his talents and experience back to Miami in his work with Unfiltered Hospitality where he makes experiences better for people in every facet of the service industry.

Image: Rémy Martin

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Program for Unique Holidays: September ’23

Program for Unique Holidays: September 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 your September holiday promotions.

Several holidays are set against every date on the calendar, and this month 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 August 2023 holidays list, click here.

September 4: Eat an Extra Dessert Day

Do you know what’s better than one dessert? Okay, yes, I know that you know I’m going to say two desserts.

On this holiday, highlight your desserts and encourage your guests to indulge, treating themselves to at least two.

September 5: Be Late for Something Day

Look, none of us are perfect. We’ve all been late for something, and each of us will be late for something in the future.

There’s no reason your guests can’t be late for something on September 5, taking the time to enjoy another bite or another drink (responsibly, of course).

September 8: National Ampersand Day

Pairings. Combos. Flights. LTOs. Restaurants and bars practically run on the word “and,” or the humble ampersand. Celebrate the ampersand by creating an LTO menu of enticing pairings and combos.

September 14: National Eat a Hoagie Day

If I have to tell you what to feature on this day…just wow. One word of caution, however: Make sure you’re making authentic hoagies, not just any sandwich.

September 15: National Cheese Toast Day

Whether you and your guests call it rarebit, cheese on toast, a toasted cheese sandwich, or a grilled cheese, this is the day to put your cheese toast in the spotlight. Bonus: This is also National Grenache Day, so come up with a toasted cheese sandwich that pairs well with this wine varietal.

September 16: National Guacamole Day

Sure, you can serve a guacamole you order from your food supplier. Or you can create your own signature guacamole (or guacamoles) and prepare it table- or bar-side.

As an example, when I make guacamole I like to add a bit of orange or grapefruit juice, along with lime juice. Nothing groundbreaking, but it adds a nice bit of zip.

September 22: Car Free Day

Encourage your staff and guests—if feasible, of course—to forego their cars, trucks, and SUVs and use alternative methods of travel to your venue. Bicycles, skateboards, EVs, scooters, motorcycles (lower emissions than cars), walking…anything but a traditional automobile.

September 25: Better Breakfast Day

Do you know where the people in your community can get a better breakfast? I really hope you said, “My restaurant/bar!”

September 27: National Crush a Can Day

I’m sure you have more than just a few “crushable” or sessionable beverages on your menu. Whether beer, canned cocktail, canned wine, or other canned RTD, this is the day to make your guests aware of your crushable menu items.

September 30: National Hot Mulled Cider Day

With summer over, cold-weather drinks will be the order of the day. So, get your hot mulled cider dialed in and feature it on your menu.

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Pumpkin Spice Everything is Already Here

Pumpkin Spice Everything is Already Here

by David Klemt

Black and white image of jack-o'-lantern with smoke coming of its eyes

In what perhaps is an attempt to encourage people to think of cooler autumnal temperatures, pumpkin spice is descending upon us earlier than ever before.

Operators who are finalizing their pumpkin spice menu items are basically already late to the party.

Luckily, it isn’t like the brands for which fall’s most infamous LTO flavor works are too far behind. A significant percentage of consumers are drawn to pumpkin spice menu items like trick or treaters to homes handing out full-size candy bars.

So, operators still have time to put the final touches on pumpkin spice menu items…but they’ll want to get a move on.

That’s exactly what restaurant chains did this year. Their pumpkin spice-flavored onslaught began with the start of this month.

Pumpkin Spice, Now a Summer Flavor?

Spirit Halloween stores. Christmas music. And now, it appears, Pumpkin Spice.

What do these three things have in common? Well, it seems like they’re making their debuts earlier and earlier each year.

When we think of summer and seasonality, I don’t think pumpkin or even baking spices enters into most people’s minds.

Unless, however, those people are in marketing and branding.

According to Restaurant Business, Krispy Kreme went all in on pumpkin spice on August 7. On that day, the chain unveiled four donuts and a number of beverages featuring pumpkin flavors.

Interestingly, the company’s global chief brand officer, Dave Skena, states that their pumpkin spice releases came one day earlier this year. Last year, they say, pumpkin spice arrived “significantly earlier than the year before.”

7-11 may have crossed the pumpkin spice dateline first this year. Dunkin’ is already offering pumpkin spice F&B items. And Starbucks, famous for their PSL LTO, is rumored to be launching their specialty menu this Thursday.

Given these August releases, can we expect a brand to attempt to get the jump on everyone else and launch pumpkin spice LTOs in July?

Consumer Cravings

Brands wouldn’t gamble on releasing their pumpkin spice LTOs in August if they didn’t think their decision would pay off.

Considering what Krispy Kreme’s Skena says about pumpkin spice’s August arrival, consumers have already spoken. Apparently, a significant percentage of people have an interest in fall flavors midway through summer.

Of course, there are a few considerations for independent operators in terms of seasonal releases. Rolling out new menus and menu items can be a costly endeavor. Pulling the plug on one revenue-generating seasonal menu or LTO in favor of significantly different items may be harmful to the bottom line.

One approach operators could take is to plan far enough ahead to pull the trigger on LTOs when 7-11, Dunkin’, or Starbucks launch theirs. In other words, be ready, but don’t jump the gun.

This also speaks to the importance of operators knowing their core guests and listening to feedback. Are front-of-house staff hearing murmurs from guests that they’re craving new flavors? Perhaps it could be lucrative to leverage that anticipation.

Image: Colton Sturgeon on Unsplash

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BBQ Brawl: ‘Cue Tips from Chef Brian Duffy

BBQ Brawl: ‘Cue Tips from Chef Brian Duffy

by David Klemt

Chef Brian Duffy biting into a sandwich

Friend of the Bar Hacks podcast and KRG Hospitality Chef Brian Duffy is rocking it on season four of Food Network‘s BBQ Brawl.

And he’s dropping barbecue and cooking jewels while killing it on multiple styles of grill.

When we meet Chef Duffy on episode one of BBQ Brawl, he’s introduced as “The Renowned Restaurateur.” This makes sense given the fact that he has helped open more than 100 restaurants throughout his career.

Regarding grilling and barbecuing, Chef Duffy will use elements of whatever style he thinks will work best for a given situation. As he explains it, his barbecue “isn’t bound by the rules of any one style.”


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A post shared by Chef Brian Duffy (@chefbriduff)

I also want to point out that there’s what appears to be a 1950s-era Dodge Power Wagon, perhaps a Series 1 or Series 2 model, on Star Hill Farm, where this show was filmed. This isn’t relevant in any way to cooking, grilling, or barbecue. I’m just a Car and Motorcyle Guy® and I noticed the Power Wagon immediately.

Also, be sure to check out episode 33 and episode 53 of the Bar Hacks podcast to hear from the chef himself.

Alright, let’s check out some tips and tricks from Chef Duffy that he has shared on season four of BBQ Brawl. Like he said to the camera in the first moments of episode one, “Students, meet your pit master.”

Episode 1

If you want your food to be charred, you need to commit.

“You’ve gotta let it sit. Don’t move it,” says Chef Duffy. “Let that char happen.”

It’s just that simple. Patience is a cooking technique.


Signature Tacos

  • Mulita, a Mexican street taco made by dipping a tortilla in birria broth.
  • Togorashi- and ancho-chili-smoked red Snapper taco with “a fun little slaw.”


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A post shared by Chef Brian Duffy (@chefbriduff)

Team Challenge: “California Smoke” menu (Fire delivery: Santa Maria grill)

  • Cabbage, kale, Swiss chard medley with beans
  • Scallops and smoked crab salad with preserved lemon gremolata and avocado (collaboration with Chef Larissa Da Costa; Chef Duffy prepared the smoked crab salad)

Episode 2

One interesting bit of Chef Duffy trivia is that he has knife skills that rival John Wick’s. I’m confident in saying that they could’ve raided Chef Duffy’s impressive carbon steel knife collection to film the melee scene in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum.

Now, he does nick himself during the advantage challenge in this episode. The nick requires Chef Duffy to double-glove up. However, this is a fluke. Check out his knife skills below:


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A post shared by Chef Brian Duffy (@chefbriduff)


Elimination Challenge:”Due West” menu (Fire delivery: Santa Maria grill. Direct-contact coal roasting)

  • Cast iron skillet-cooked mushroom gravy (portobello, maitake, shiitake, rosemary, garlic, butter) for Pitmaster Robert Smith’s quail.
  • Hot coal-roasted butternut squash topped with crispy, grilled pork belly

Episode 3

While Chef Duffy is no stranger to the pitmastery of fish, he’s always done so in a controlled environment.

Well, this competition show is much more chaotic than a standard restaurant kitchen. Of course, chaos doesn’t cramp Chef Duffy’s style too much.

In preparing his salt-crusted branzino in episode three, he chars lemons and limes, then squeezes them over the fish and creates a mixture with egg whites. After salting, Chef Duffy once again shows that patience is a key element of technique: he leaves the stuffed and salted branzinos to rest.

Chef Duffy also puts another of his specialties on full display in this episode: fried rice. Anyone who has seen Chef Duffy do a fried rice demo knows how good his preparations are.

During this episode, he prepares fried rice in a wok on a Santa Maria grill. For this element of his dish he chooses basmati, in part for its fragrance. Along with carrots and green beans, Chef Duffy’s BBQ Brawl fried rice includes onion, garlic, and bacon. He then hits it with ponzu and soy sauces.

You may think the bacon is the star of this fried rice, but that isn’t the case. The real standout is freshly prepared salt-cured eggs. For this element of the dish, Chef Duff places yolks directly onto a bed of salt.

“What that does is it pulls the moisture out of that yolk,” explains Chef Duffy, “so that you have a little bit more of a firm yolk.”

To complete the salt-cured egg preparation, the salt is rinsed off just before serving the rice.


Elimination Challenge: “Sea-Food and Eat It” menu (Fire delivery: Santa Maria grill, smoker)

  • Bacon and basmati fried rice with salmon, topped with salt-cured egg
  • Smoked, salt-crusted branzino

Episode 4

Chef Duffy hates crispy bacon. The reasoning behind this hatred is simple: flavor.

If bacon is cooked too crisply—or more accurately, burnt—it won’t impart much, if any, flavor. You may get ash flavor but you really won’t get bacon.

When stunned team leader Chef Sunny Anderson questions Chef Duffy about his opinion of crispy bacon, he explains his position succinctly: “Because it’s useless.”

It’s fair to say he’d rather switch teams than allow someone to prepare crispy bacon for any of his dishes.

“I want you to know I like your fire,” responds Chef Anderson. “But crispy bacon is life, okay?”


Signature Chicken Wings (Fire delivery: Cast aluminum kamado grill)

  • Butter poached fried and grilled wings with habanero, Aleppo, and ghost peppers

Elimination Challenge: “Hometown Heat” menu (Fire delivery: Smoker, cast aluminum kamado grill, cast iron skillet, Big Green Egg)

  • Manzano and Fresno peppers stuffed with spicy pork sausage
  • Irish soda bread stuffed with caramelized onion and bacon, topped with citrus-cream cheese glaze (prepared in collaboration with Chef Anderson)

Episode 5

To enhance the experience of a mac and cheese made with creamy béchamel sauce, try this tip from Chef Duffy. Instead of using only all-purpose flour, also use cassava flour.

Doing so will add some impressive stretchiness to the sauce, and the proof will be in the cheese pull. Also, cassava flour delivers a silky texture a traditional roux just can’t match.


Elimination Challenge: “Brazilian BBQ Fusion Feast” menu (Smoker, charcoal grill, cast aluminum kamado grill, cast iron skillets)

  • Skillet mac and cheese made with cotija, smoked gouda, sharp Cheddar, and gruyère topped with farofa (prepared in a skillet on top of a grill)
  • Brazilian-spiced and smoked spatchcock citrus chicken

Episode 6

On this episode,the teams prepare whole suckling pig via live-fire cooking methods. Due to the ranking of the teams in episode five, Team Bobby chooses their method first, followed by Team Anne. Team Sunny doesn’t get to choose; they have to take whatever the other two teams don’t select.

Team Bobby selects the cinder block smoker, and Team Anne chooses the hand-crank rotisserie spit. Team Sunny has to cook via an incredibly rustic method: a bed of hot embers.

Chefs Duffy and Chuck Matto decide to wrap their suckling pig in banana leaves before then wrapping the entire animal in foil. As Chef Matto explains, banana leaf acts as an insulator. The pig is placed directly on the hot embers, additional stones are placed around it, more coals are added, and then the team adds a layer of burlap.

To ensure an even cook without any burning, Chef Duffy explains that they’ll check temperatures every 20 to 30 minutes, rotating the pig each time.

When cooking pig, Chef Duffy notes there are certain things to check to ensure it’s cooked fully. There’s temperature, of course, but he also shares this tip: note how easily the thermometer goes into the meat when checking temp.


Advantage Challenge: Banana Leaf Challenge (Fire delivery: Santa Maria grill)

  • Southern-inspired, Caribbean spiced and seasoned catfish (prepared with banana-leaf wrap)

Elimination Challenge: “Campfire Whole Hog” menu (Fire delivery: Bed of hot embers, Santa Maria grill, cast aluminum kamado grill)

  • Campfire whole hog with California/Kansas City barbecue sauces (in collaboration with Chef Matto), with special attention paid to honoring the animal’s head
  • Four-pork chili
  • Potato salad

Episode 7

Chef Duffy swings for the fences on this episode and decides to grill octopus. However, it takes hours to cook octopus properly and ensure it’s tender enough to eat.

Of course, Chef Duffy has a plan, and it includes using three cooking methods in a five-step process. First, he throws it on a charcoal grill to impart flavors. Next, he boils the octopus. After that, the octopus goes back to the grill. Then, Chef Duff sous vides the octopus at 185 degrees Fahrenheit. Finally, the octopus goes back to the grill.

Or, to describe the process more simply, Chef Duffy goes grill, water, grill, sous-vide, grill.


Elimination Challenge:  (Fire delivery: Charcoal grill, Big Green Egg

  • Grilled octopus over a white bean and sweet corn purée
  • Grilled watermelon, feta, and pickled cucumber salad (cold-pickled cucumbers for acid and flavor)

Image: Chef Brian Duffy

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Top-performing Menu Items in the US

Top-performing Menu Items in the US (So Far)

by David Klemt

Barbecue chicken wings, chili peppers, and chili flakes

Thanks to a recent mid-year report from F&B intelligence platform Datassential, we now know the top-performing menu items in the US.

For the low, low price of filling out a handful of fields, you can download a copy of Datassential’s “Foodbytes: 2023 Midyear Trend Report” for yourself.

There’s plenty of useful data packed into this short report. You may find some of the top food items a bit surprising.

But First…

Datassential does more than just list the top mid-year menu performers in their latest report. There are also a couple of interesting datapoints for operators to consider.

The first piece of information is an alarming statistic: 54 percent of consumers are of the belief that “tipping culture has gotten out of control.”

As we’ve reported earlier, it’s likely that a major driver of “tip fatigue” comes from retail. The expectation for consumers to tip at a restaurant, bar or nightclub is ingrained deeply in American culture.

However, consumers throughout America are being prompted to tip after just about every transaction they’re attempting to complete. In fact, it’s not just retail that has been encouraging (in some cases, guilting) people to tip. Some contractors are also adding tip lines when handing over tablets to clients so they can pay their invoices.

One result is that servers and bartenders are reporting lower tips; guests are so over tipping that they’re pushing back against the practice in venues where they’d traditionally have no problem doing so.

Of course, tip fatigue isn’t the only reason consumers are pushing back against tipping. Many people feel that operators should increase what they pay staff. Indeed, some people feel that operators are asking them to subsidize their employee pay. Whether they’d be happy to pay higher prices remains to be seen.

Fads Aren’t Bad?

Whenever we cover trends or discuss them with clients, we caution against chasing too many (or the “wrong” trends). And fads? It can be even riskier to hop on the bandwagon of something that may never even reach the trend stage of its lifecycle.

However, likely due to the ubiquity of TikTok, consumers expect restaurants to embrace fads. According to Datassential, 67 percent of consumers overall “want to see more fads at restaurants and retail.”

That number jumps to 74 percent when focusing on Millennials and Gen Z.

So, while we still caution operators about jumping on fads (or “micro trends”) and trends, that doesn’t mean be too cautious. If a fad or trend works with your brand and won’t cost much to feature, at least give it consideration.

Not sure you’re great at identifying fads that will work for your business? Ask your staff which fads and trends are hot at the moment.

Speaking of Hot…

Alright, let’s take a look at the F&B items Datassential identifies as popular at the midway point of 2023.

Again, I encourage you to download the report in its entirety. You can do just that by clicking here.

But for those who want instant gratification, check out these menu items:

  • Super Duper: Let’s kick things off with the hottest chain LTO, the Denny’s Super Slam. Per Datassential, restaurant chains have already featured in excess of 2,000 LTOs in 2023. The F&B intel agency tests them all, and the Super Slam is wearing the LTO crown at the moment.
  • Chef Chatbot: Datassential tapped ChatGPT to create a burger recipe and had Midjourney create an image for the resulting Caprese Avocado Burger. More than half of consumers surveyed—57 percent—want to try it at a restaurant.
  • Big Winner: Datassential asked consumers a simple question: Which would you rather eat for the rest of your life, a hamburger or a hot dog? A staggering 87 percent chose hamburgers, meaning just 13 percent of consumers would choose a hot dog over it’s burger buddy.
  • What a Pickle: Back in March we checked out Slice’s Slice of the Union report, and it predicted pickle pizzas would be a hot trend this year. Well, Datassential has crunched the numbers and says 40 percent of consumers are aware of this pizza style already. Looks like Slice may be proven right by the end of the year.
  • Speed Demon: Curious about the fastest-growing menu item on the US? Well, wonder no more: Datassential says it’s the barbecue chicken wing. Over the past year, they’ve grown 373 percent on menus across the States. Datassential posits the overall growth of chicken and the embracing of flavor trends like Carolina gold barbecue sauce are contributing factors.

There’s a lot to unpack here, so I’ll leave you to it. Just remember that when it comes to fads and trends, there’s a fine line between what’s hot, what’s not, and jumping on the wrong one. Good luck!

Image: Ahmed Bhutta on Pexels

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Should You Offer Your Guests Brunch?

Should You Offer Your Guests Brunch?

by David Klemt

Person with tattoos pouring coffee from French press

Is brunch on its way to becoming a lucrative daypart that can grow traffic, increase revenue, boost guest engagement, and promote loyalty?

If a report from Square is anything to go off, yes.

Owing in part to changes in consumer behavior from 2019 to now, brunch appears to be a solid traffic and revenue generator. The number of people working from home is impacting daypart spending, which makes sense. Traditional office workers will often pop into a QSR or cafe for coffee and breakfast on their way in to work. And when lunch rolls around, they tend to head out to restaurants nearby for their break.

Now, the data support the belief that more people are staying home on weekdays and unleashing pent-up demand for socializing and dining out on the weekends. And apparently that demand is rather voracious, because brunch appears to be on the rise.

In 2019, just over eight percent of all dining dollars were spent on Saturdays during traditional brunch hours. That has grown to just over ten percent this year.

In terms of engagement and bringing more brand awareness, the term itself is growing on social media platforms.

Along with revisiting hours of operation, it may be wise for operators to consider offering Saturday or Sunday brunch.


Yes, that’s a brunch-style portmanteau of “brunch” and “history.” No, I’m not proud of myself but I’m leaving it in.

The portmanteau “brunch” is believed to have first been coined by a British writer named Guy Beringer in 1895. He included the word in an article he wrote for Hunter’s Weekly. Beringer was making the case for noontime meal that combined breakfast and lunch.

In arguing for what may be the world’s first hybrid meal, Beringer wrote that, “the arguments in favor of Brunch are incontestable. In the first place it renders early rising not only unnecessary but ridiculous. You get up when the world is warm, or at least, when it is not so cold. You are, therefore, able to prolong your Saturday nights…”

The word would appear a year later in a Pennsylvanian publication called the New Oxford. More than 30 years later, brunch was on its way to becoming “a thing” in the US.

Oh, and there are arguments that an American reporter, Frank Ward O’Malley, who should credit for the word “brunch.” Those who believe this is the case say O’Malley created the portmanteau some time between 1906 and 1919. As is the case with many classic cocktails, the origin of brunch is at least somewhat hazy.

By the 1970s, the stigma that once came with brunch—that drinking publicly during the day could harm one’s reputation—began to dissipate.

Brunch by the Numbers

According to Square, brunch is appealing for several reasons.

Let’s take a look at this infamous daypart by the numbers.

  • 9.8 percent: Growth in the number of restaurants in the US offering breakfast and brunch in 2022 alone.
  • 10 percent: Amount of overall spending in restaurants on Saturdays between the hours of 8:00 AM and 1:00 PM in 2023.
  • 35 million: Number of #brunch Instagram posts, and the number is growing.
  • 4.5 billion: Number of TikTok views of posts with #brunch.
  • 71 percent: Number of Americans who wish restaurants in the US would serve breakfast items all day.

To me, the most striking statistic is that brunch spending now accounts for ten percent of all restaurant spending.

That spend is logical when we think about who tends to enjoy brunch: people with time and money to spend on a leisurely, all-day meal.

As professor Farha Ternikar, author of Brunch: A History, has said, “Brunch continues to grow anywhere there is disposable income or time.”

So, operators who are considering offering brunch for the time or investing more into brunch have some questions to answer: Who is my target audience? What’s the population density of my market? Who has disposable income and time? Should I offer brunch on Saturday, Sunday, or both days? Does brunch work for my concept? Which venues near me are already offering brunch?

Answer those questions and speak with your staff before jumping feet first into this potentially lucrative daypart.

Image: Helena Lopes on Pexels

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Taco Bell Celebrates Taco Tuesday Win

Taco Bell Celebrates Taco Tuesday Win

by David Klemt

Taco Bell Doritos Locos Taco and sauce packet

Taco Bell, fresh off their victory in petitioning for the cancellation of the “Taco Tuesday” mark, will open a $5 million taco tab on September 12.

There’s no arguing that over at least the past few years Taco Bell has become the master of LTOs and attention-grabbing, loyalty-strengthening, and headline-generating promotions.

This campaign further solidifies the brand’s status as king of the fast-food campaigns.

“Taco T**sday” to “Taco Tuesday”

It’s highly unlikely that consumers and operators alike are unaware of the company’s “Taco T**sday” ads. The campaign, while playful, put a spotlight on the fact that, until recently, “Taco Tuesday” was a registered trademark.

Rather than spend millions of dollars to fight Taco Bell, Taco John’s, who previously had the rights to the mark, opted to relinquish the rights to the mark. Taco Bell’s argument was that nobody should be permitted to mark a common phrase.

“We’ve always prided ourselves on being the home of Taco Tuesday, but paying millions of dollars to lawyers to defend our mark just doesn’t feel like the right thing to do,” said Jim Creel, Taco John’s CEO. “As we’ve said before, we’re lovers, not fighters, at Taco John’s. So in that spirit, we have decided to begin sharing Taco Tuesday with a pledge to contribute $100 per location in our system to restaurant employees with children who are battling a health crisis, death or natural disaster. And we’re challenging our litigious competitors and other taco-loving brands to join us in supporting the people who serve our favorite food to guests across the nation.”

In fact, Creel fired a shot across the bow at Taco Bell at other rivals. After announcing their pledge to CORE, the CEO challenged other brands that want to use “Taco Tuesday” to do the same. The result would be quite the donation, considering that Taco John’s operates 400 restaurants in 21 states and Taco Bell alone operates more than 7,200 in the US. Look overseas and that number jumps up by about 1,000 locations in 30 countries.

Taco John’s has reportedly made good on their pledge, donating $40,000 to CORE, Children of Restaurant Employees.

What’s in a Mark?

Fast-food chain Taco John’s trademarked the phrase back in 1989. However, back in 1984, a California-based restaurant, Tortilla Flats, registered the trademark. According to some sources, the mark lapsed and Taco John’s snapped it up. That said, Tortilla Flats has sued other California restaurants for using the phrase throughout the years.

Interestingly, Taco John’s only had rights to the mark in 49 states. The exception is New Jersey, where Gregory’s owns the trademark. In fact, anyone who visits their site (as of the publication of this article) will see the phrase “Home of the Original Taco Tuesday!” right at the top.

However, it may surprise some to learn that a celebrity who appeared in Taco Bell’s “Taco T**sday” ads attempted to trademark the phrase in 2019. That celebrity? None other than Lebron James.

Clearly, this seemingly simple two-word phrase is a valuable trademark. It’s also likely that plenty of restaurants across the US have been surreptitiously using the phrase to drive traffic to their venues on Tuesdays for years.

The fact that Lebron James showed interest in the trademark and Taco Bell likely spent millions of dollars in ad revenue to have Taco John’s mark canceled shows the value. Time will tell how many millions of dollars the phrase will be worth to Taco Bell and other restaurant brands across the US.

Taco Tab

Some will see Taco Bell’s campaign as a massive brand bullying a smaller rival. Others will agree that it’s unfair for anyone to own the rights to such a common phrase.

In terms of exposure, I think this battle will help Taco John’s experience further growth. Last year was a banner year for growth for the franchise, and the brand was seeing growth back in 2021 as well.

After doing some digging, I learned that seven Taco John’s locations are owned by corporate; the plan for 2023 is to go from 375 stores to 400; and another 20 to 25 locations are planned for 2024. Per the Taco John’s website, initial layout for a franchise is between $942,000 and $1.4 for a single unit. A single franchise location generates annual revenue of around $1.2 million, on average.

Regarding Taco Bell, the brand is celebrating their victory—framed as a victory for all restaurants—with another of their famous and effective LTOs. On August 15, August 22, August 29, and September 5, Taco Bell guests can score a free Doritos Locos Taco. But the big celebration comes on September 12.

For that upcoming Taco Tuesday, Taco Bell will open a $5 million tab with DoorDash across the United States, with the exception of New Jersey. Again, Gregory’s owns the rights to the “Taco Tuesday” mark in the Garden State.

On September 12, Taco Bell will cover a portion of orders placed through the third-party delivery app to participating restaurants that offer Mexican cuisine. This does help the fast-food titan make the case that they fought this battle not just for themselves but all foodservice brands that wish to use the phrase “Taco Tuesday” without fear of legal action.

For further information, read the official Taco Bell press release below.

Taco Bell's "Liberate Taco T**sday" court petition


Irvine, Calif. (August 8, 2023) – To celebrate the liberation of the Taco Tuesday trademark registration in 49 states, and to support and spotlight restaurants who now have the right to freely use Taco Tuesday, Taco Bell has announced that on Tuesday, September 12, Taco Tuesday fans (nearly) everywhere* can celebrate Taco Tuesday (nearly) anywhere – and Taco Bell will help pay for it.

On Taco Tuesday, September 12, Taco Bell, in partnership with DoorDash, is opening a $5 million taco tab to cover a portion of taco fans’ orders from any participating vendor selling Mexican cuisine. Because now that Taco Tuesday is free* – your tacos should be, too.

Leading up to the September 12 celebration, all Taco Bell locations will be offering a free Doritos® Locos Taco every Tuesday, no purchase necessary, on 8/15, 8/22, 8/29 and 9/5**.

“Taco Tuesday belongs to all who make, sell, eat and celebrate tacos, and this Free-For-All will not only thank taco fans who supported the cause, but will also spotlight local restaurants and vendors who can now embrace Taco Tuesdays without fear of legal action,” said Taco Bell U.S. Chief Marketing Officer, Taylor Montgomery. “When tacos win, we all win. We all win when Taco John’s decides to release its trademark registration, we all win when taco vendors everywhere are free to join the movement, and we all win when taco fans can freely celebrate and support Taco Tuesdays at Taco Bell or anywhere else.”

The Road to Freeing Taco Tuesday

In May 2023, Taco Bell took a bold step on behalf of taco lovers nationwide by filing legal petitions to cancel the two Taco Tuesday trademark registrations. The aim was simple: to free the phrase for restaurants nationwide. The message was clear: Taco Tuesday belongs to everyone, from Taco Bell to Taco John’s to your favorite local taco spot.

In late July, Taco John’s courageously decided to abandon its Taco Tuesday trademark registration. Not only did Taco John’s act benefit thousands of businesses across 49 states by making the term Taco Tuesday more freely available, Taco John’s also made a meaningful donation to Children of Restaurant Employees (CORE) for $40,000, which the Taco Bell Foundation has matched.

Supporting The Taco Community

Taco Bell has also committed to donating $1 million in partnership with the Taco Bell Foundation to support young people who make, sell, eat and celebrate tacos. Donations made by Rounding Up at checkout on Tuesdays will be matched up to $1 million. These donations will continue to fund the Taco Bell Foundation’s Community Grants and the Live Más Scholarship for fans and team members.

*The Taco Tuesday trademark registration has been canceled in all states except New Jersey. Therefore, the DoorDash offer will be limited to the 49 states where Taco Tuesday has been freed.

**NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Offer valid on Tuesdays 8/15, 8/22, 8/29, and 9/5 only during local store operating hours while supplies last. Limit one (1) regular Free Seasoned Beef Nacho Cheese Doritos®

Locos Tacos per person, per offer day, available at participating U.S. Taco Bell® locations only. Not available with delivery orders unless placed directly on the Taco Bell app (delivery fees, taxes and tip apply). App and web orders require inputting offer code and customer must add a DLT to their cart. Not valid with any other offer. No substitutions. No cash value. Void where prohibited. Terms:

About Taco Bell Corp.

For more information about Taco Bell, visit our website at, our Newsroom at or You can also stay up to date on all things Taco Bell by following us on LinkedIn, TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and subscribing to our YouTube channel.

Images: Taco Bell

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Program for Unique Holidays: August 2023

Program for Unique Holidays: August 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 your August holiday promotions.

Several holidays are set against every date on the calendar, and this month 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 July 2023 holidays list, click here.

August 4: International Beer Day

In and of itself, International Beer Day isn’t a unique or obscure holiday. However, with the vast array of brewers, beer styles, and beers on offer around the world, it can be a day to highlight unique and obscure beers.

This is one of the best holidays for you to make your guests aware of your more exclusive or lesser-known beer selections.

August 5: National Jamaican Patty Day

If your kitchen has the capability to make delicious pastries, this is a fantastic holiday. A Jamaican patty consists of layered, flaky crust wrapped around jerk chicken, beef, pork, or vegetables mixed with spices. These are delicious, great with a refreshing drink, and perfect for sharing. Oh, and you and your kitchen can decide how hot or mild to make the spices. Just make sure the flavors are authentic and that you honor the culture.

August 7: British Columbia Day, Heritage Day, Natal Day, New Brunswick Day, Ontario Civic Holiday, Saskatchewan Day, and Terry Fox Day

In order, these are holidays celebrated in the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. Depending on the province, this is either a  guaranteed three-day holiday or a Monday that businesses can choose to give their employees off. That means for the most part, there’s plenty of opportunity to leverage a long weekend in seven provinces throughout Canada, perfect for highlighting food and drink promotions.

This also means that operators across America can feature F&B specials that celebrate their neighbors to the north. Get creative!

August 11: Play in the Sand Day

Should you be a beach- or lakefront property or otherwise located on sand, this is your time to shine. Set up games like cornhole, giant Jenga, and giant Connect Four, create an LTO menu that encourages groups to come socialize at your bar or restaurant, and celebrate in the sand.

August 16: National Rum Day

Again, this isn’t an unknown holiday. However, you can ensure you stand out on National Rum Day by getting your hands on unique bottles, such as funky rum styles and high-age-stagement expressions.

August 17: National Nonprofit Day

Do you, your guests, and your team support any nonprofits? If so, this is an excellent way to bring people together and raise some money for worthy causes. Further, National Nonprofit Day provides you with an opportunity to show your community that you care and give back.

August 22: National Bao Day

Much like National Jamaican Patty Day, National Bao Day gives you and your kitchen the opportunity to create fun foods that will excite and delight your guests. Just ensure your kitchen staff is up to the task of creating these delicious, steamed buns.

August 27: National Just Because Day

Have an idea for a promotion that doesn’t quite fit with anything on the calendar? This is the perfect day to let it rip!

August 29: National Lemon Juice Day

Lemon juice is a key ingredient for an incredible number of cocktails. So, shine a light on all the heavy lifting this citrus does in drinks! One way to accomplish this is by creating an LTO of your guests’ favorite drinks that feature lemon juice.

August 31: Eat Outside Day

Have outside seating? Have the capability of bringing food trucks into your parking lot or just outside your business? I think you know where I’m going with this, and what to do.

Image: Ivan Bertolazzi on Pexels

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