by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Raise the Bar: The 3 Ps of Hospitality

Raise the Bar: The 3 Ps of Hospitality

by David Klemt

Three hands holding up three pineapples

No, one isn’t “pineapples.”

Nightlife, bar, and cocktail experts Mia Mastroianni, Phil Wills, and Art Sutley want operators to focus on what they call “the Three Ps.”

The engaging trio shared their trio of Ps recently in Las Vegas at the 2023 Bar & Restaurant Expo.

So, what are the Three Ps of hospitality? People, Place, and Product. Operators who pull the threads tighter on each of these crucial elements will be well on their way to improving operations and the guest experience.


Remember all the way back to a week ago when I shared Mastroianni, Wills, and Sutley’s thoughts on service versus hospitality? Consider the first P a deeper dive into that topic.

Operators need to focus on two categories of people who help their businesses succeed: their teams and their guests.

Addressing the former, the trio feels that operators are centering a disproportionate amount of their attention on guests in comparison to staff.

“We’re not lacking for people who want to work in the business and are outperforming other industries, but we’re not focusing on staff like we focus on guests,” says Wills. “Treat everyone with respect, including through the hiring process. If you don’t engage your staff, you won’t retain them. You need to show them they can grow in your business.”

According to Sutley, 89 percent of operators say that labor costs present a “significant challenge.” It follows, then, that committing to treating staff with respect and nurturing their careers isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s smart business.

Look for people with passion, those you can motivate to go above and beyond so you’re not stuck with a team full of space-fillers who are just after a paycheck, suggests Mastroianni.

Of course, operators and their teams must also focus on providing exceptional service and experiences to guests.

“Treat ever guest like a pearl in an oyster,” advises Wills. “They’re the pearl, we’re the oyster. We need to ‘protect’ them.” Anything less, cautions Sutley, and guests won’t return.


Interestingly, the trio touched on design, aesthetic, and vibe. However, that isn’t the crux of the second P.

Rather, Place is really goes back to the guest experience. The design, aesthetic, and vibe need to meet guest expectations.

“Make sure your space is what it’s supposed to be,” says Wills.

For example, if a concept presents itself as a high-end cocktail bar, the four walls need to deliver on that expectation. With the exception of a handful of high-level examples, an upscale bar won’t survive if they deliver a dive bar—not neighborhood bar, dive bar—vibe and service. (For the record, I love a dive bar. But I don’t expect to encounter TV trope-style dive bar service if I walk through the doors of a high-end cocktail bar.)

One way operators can ensure their space is what it should be is standardization. Once a concept goes from idea to brick and mortar, when the owner’s vision is realized, the team needs to deliver a matching experience. Steps of service, systems, procedures…standardization is the name of the service game.

“Standardize your opening, shift, and closing procedures and systems to maintain your place,” says Mastroianni.

Every team member—front of house, back of house, leadership—needs to know and buy into an operator’s standards.


Standardization breeds consistency. And consistency is a key element of the third P, Product.

Per Sutley, 76 percent of operators have noticed that guests are opting for more premium drinks. That’s great news, but it’s not the whole story.

It’s great that guests are opting for more expensive drink options. After all, that can certainly help the bottom line.

“However,” cautions Mastroianni, “they won’t come back without consistency in production.”

To drive this point home, consider this story from Mastroianni. A bartender made her a drink, and it was pretty good. She ordered another one from the same bartender and watched him make it differently the second time around. Not only was this second version different, it was better. While one could view this story through a positive lens—the drink was even better the next time!—that’s not the correct takeaway.

If the bartender was committed to building cocktails consistently, the second version of that cocktail would’ve been the first one served to Mastroianni. It would be the best version, and it would always be that impressive version.

When we’re fighting the possibility that up to 70 percent of first-time guests never return, the importance of product consistency can’t be overstated.

“Really focus on the small details to affect big change and get guests through the doors and keep coming back,” says Wills.

Image: Aleksandar Pasaric on Pexels

KRG Hospitality Start-Up Restaurant Bar Hotel Consulting Consultant Solutions Plans Services

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

SevenRooms and Marriott Partnership

SevenRooms and Marriott Reveal Global Partnership

by David Klemt

Restaurant staff member using SevenRooms on a tablet

Fresh from launching the innovative Pre-Shift pre-service tool, SevenRooms today announces the platform’s latest partnership.

The announcement, which you can read in its entirety below, shows the confidence that some of the most recognizable hospitality brands in the world have in SevenRooms capabilities.

Specifically, the platform is now a preferred restaurant technology provider throughout Marriott International‘s portfolio. In fact, Marriott is leveraging the SevenRooms suite of tech solutions at several of their brands in more than a dozen countries. This translates to over 8,500 properties using the platform’s powerful booking, relationship management, and marketing tools.

Among the brands utilizing SevenRooms tools are The Ritz-Carlton, JW Marriott, EDITION Hotels, The Luxury Collection, and W Hotels.

The latest news to come from SevenRooms again underscores the platform’s commitment to growth and longevity. After more than a decade in operation and service to hospitality operators, it’s safe to say the company has reached ubiquity.

You may not operate a hotel or operate within a hotel. You may not oversee a multi-unit or multi-concept business. This news should be no less important to you.

When developing your tech stack (a service KRG Hospitality provides) it’s important to choose platforms that are here to stay. Otherwise, your investments of time and money go up in smoke. Likewise, the disruption to operations and service as you seek a new platform are harmful to you, your team, and guests.

So, it can be wise to not just dig into the platforms you’re considering, it can be smart to see what companies trust them as partners.

SevenRooms is a platform that we’re comfortable recommending to many of our clients. And no, we’re not paid or otherwise compensated to do so.

To learn more about SevenRooms partnering with Marriott International, see below.


The global technology platform will power personalized guest experiences to increase revenue while providing deeper guest insights for the global hospitality company 

NEW YORK (May 18, 2023) – SevenRooms, a guest experience and retention platform for the hospitality industry, today announced its agreement with Marriott International to become a preferred restaurant technology provider. SevenRooms is currently live across 25 countries at Marriott brands including W Hotels, The Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, Sheraton, JW Marriott, Le Méridien, Westin, Marriott Hotels, Renaissance Hotels, EDITION Hotels, The Luxury Collection and Gaylord Hotels. This will unlock additional opportunities at the more than 8,500 Marriott International properties worldwide.

SevenRooms is a data-driven guest experience and retention platform focused 100% on building operator-focused tools. The platform offers solutions to global brands that not only increase revenue generation, but help them build long-term relationships with guests. 

For restaurants, bars, and other F&B outlets in Marriott-branded hotels, the SevenRooms platform offers a suite of tools to help drive incremental revenue, increase operational efficiencies, and offer exceptional guest experiences. Through SevenRooms’ Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Marketing Automation capabilities, Marriott’s hotels are not only able to cultivate meaningful, direct relationships with guests, but access a 360-degree view into the guest journey to foster deeper guest loyalty.

“We’re thrilled to collaborate with Marriott International as a preferred restaurant technology provider, helping them deliver more personalized experiences for their guests around the world,” said Joel Montaniel, CEO & Co-Founder of SevenRooms. “Today, consumers expect more out of their F&B experiences whether they’re staying local or traveling abroad. They want to engage with hotels, restaurants and bars on their own terms, and are increasingly discovering and booking where to eat and drink across an array of channels. With SevenRooms, operators have access to tools that help them reach these guests while driving operational efficiencies by connecting F&B into their overall hotel strategy to generate revenue and increase profitability. Our suite of products not only helps operators of Marriott-branded hotels provide guests with exceptional experiences that enhance positive sentiment and drive increased loyalty, but enables them to do so at scale, automatically. We look forward to working with Marriott as we enable them with technology to build longer-lasting, more profitable relationships with their guests.”

Marriott International properties can now incorporate much of SevenRooms’ suite of tools and solutions, including Customer Relationship Management (CRM), on-premise table management, waitlist management, marketing automation, email marketing, order management and review aggregation. 

“Marriott’s hospitality roots began in restaurants, and we want to provide exceptional, unforgettable restaurant experiences for our guests,” said Matthew Von Ertfelda, Senior Vice President, Food & Beverage at Marriott International. “With SevenRooms, we’re not only able to provide guests with the experiences they crave, but we can leverage a robust suite of tools to help turn one-time guests into lifelong guests.”

To learn more about SevenRooms, please visit

About SevenRooms

SevenRooms is a guest experience and retention platform that helps hospitality operators create exceptional experiences that drive revenue and repeat business. Trusted by thousands of hospitality operators around the world, SevenRooms powers tens of millions of guest experiences each month across both on- and off-premises. From neighborhood restaurants and bars to international, multi-concept hospitality groups, SevenRooms is transforming the industry by empowering operators to take back control of their businesses to build direct guest relationships, deliver exceptional experiences and drive more visits and orders, more often. The full suite of products includes reservation, waitlist and table management, online ordering, mobile order & pay, review aggregation, email marketing and marketing automation. Founded in 2011 and venture-backed by Amazon, Comcast Ventures, PSG and Highgate Ventures, SevenRooms has dining, hotel F&B, nightlife and entertainment clients globally, including: Marriott International, MGM Resorts International, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Wynn Resorts, Jumeirah Group, Hard Rock Hotels & Resorts, Wolfgang Puck, Michael Mina, Bloomin’ Brands, Giordano’s, Australian Venue Company, Altamarea Group, AELTC, The Wolseley Hospitality Group, Dishoom, Live Nation and Topgolf. 

Image: SevenRooms

KRG Hospitality tech stack consulting. Tech. Technology. CRM. POS. Restaurant. Bar. Cafe. Lounge. Hotel. Resort.

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Raise the Bar: Service vs. Hospitality

Raise the Bar: Service vs. Hospitality

by David Klemt

Several spray paint cans next to one another

During the 2023 Bar & Restaurant Expo in Las Vegas, Mia Mastroianni, Art Sutley, and Phil Wills addressed what separates service from hospitality.

For the sake of those who are unfamiliar, a brief summary of each member of this informative panel. Art Sutley is a nightlife and hospitality expert recognized by Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, and Thrillist (among other publications).

Phil Wills and Mia Mastroianni should be recognizable to anyone who has watched Bar Rescue. Wills co-founded Spirits in Motion, a beverage consulting agency. He’s also a bartender’s bartender who’s passionate about hospitality. Mastroianni, equally as passionate about the art of hospitality, is a seriously talented bar professional and hospitality expert who doesn’t take herself too seriously.

It’s difficult to imagine a more qualified trio when it comes to discussing the differences between service and hospitality.

What is Service?

Before they all dove in, Sutley shared a simple but impactful take on the guest experience.

“It’s checking boxes,” said Sutley. “We want each guest to check every box, and a few extra.”

That description helps draw a line between service and hospitality. Per Sutley, Mastroianni, and Wills, service is a transaction and meeting expectations. Reinforcing this idea, Wills said, “Service is black and white; it’s simple.”

Operators and their leadership teams, after developing their steps of service, can literally or figuratively track the service transaction. Training staff—from onboarding to pre-shifts—on the steps of service and an operator’s non-negotiable standards ensures the guest experience transaction is delivered as expected.

Worryingly, Mastroianni expressed her concern that the quality of service appears to be dropping. If that’s true, however, that provides an opportunity.

Per Sutley, the industry is getting more difficult. There are more competitors out there, and guest expectations are becoming increasingly stringent. So, if Mastroianni is correct and more concepts are failing to deliver on the expected service transaction, operators who commit to building and training teams that deliver high-level service will stand out.

What is Hospitality?

If service is black and white, guess what hospitality is?

“Hospitality is color,” said Wills. “And we go above and beyond to relate to guests.”

Going further, Wills said that how an operator and their team chooses to “paint the picture” defines the level of hospitality they deliver.

For Mastroianni, if service is transactional, hospitality is emotional. Hospitality is how a restaurant, bar, nightclub or hotel team makes a guest feel. Drilling deeper, hospitality is how we in this industry connect with guests on a deeper level than simply transactional service.

To throw in my two cents, I like to think that even brand-new operators understand the transactional part of hospitality. It’s the people part, the guest experience element, that catches many operators and their teams out. Service without hospitality is mediocrity in motion.

Regardless of where one stands on the topic of service vs. hospitality, it’s crucial that operators become acutely aware of the experiencing they’re giving their guests. What do they see when they look at the picture they and their team paint each shift?

Image: Emiliano Vittoriosi on Unsplash

KRG Hospitality Success Session, 2023 icon

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

SevenRooms Introduces New Tool: Pre-Shift

SevenRooms Introduces New Tool: Pre-Shift

Front of house staff member using SevenRooms

A new tool from SevenRooms will help operators and their teams make the most of pre-shift meetings to deliver exceptional service.

Aptly named, Pre-Shift provides a real-time, data-driven picture of a given shift’s reservations. Operators and their leadership team members will no longer need to hit the office, navigate to the day’s reservations, and print out guest data—assuming they have such valuable information.

Further, this new feature is accessible via the venue’s devices (tablets, phones, etc.). Pre-Shift, then, offers a real-time view of reservations and robust guest data. Well ahead of arrivals, staff will know a guest’s seating preference, relationship with the venue, reviews they’ve left, allergies, and much more.

Intriguingly, Spago has been testing Pre-Shift ahead of SevenRooms’ announcement and launch. Per Steve Scott Springer, the GM of Spago of Beverly Hills, this new tool is a game-changer for restaurants.

Less than two months ago, SevenRooms launched Email Marketing. It’s likely we can expect more new features to roll out throughout 2023.

To learn more, please review the Pre-Shift press release below.


New data-driven tool serves as a one-stop-shop for restaurant teams to enhance the guest experience and build guest loyalty

NEW YORK (May 3, 2023) – SevenRooms, a global guest experience and retention platform for the hospitality industry, today announced a new product feature, Pre-Shift, which provides operators with key shift details they can leverage to inform and lead pre-service meetings. Pre-Shift is built to power and simplify pre-service meetings for restaurant operators and their staff around the world.

The new feature provides operators a real-time, unified view of everything they need ahead of each shift and saves employees’ time with an out-of-the-box informational report. Instead of paper print-outs and laborious briefing forms, Pre-Shift allows teams to harness rich customer data with up-to-the-minute information on every guest joining during that shift.

With ongoing labor shortages, Pre-Shift is a crucial tool in helping operators save time on administrative tasks like pulling guest and reservation data to optimize a team’s pre-shift meeting ahead of service with all stakeholders. This allows operators and staff to instead focus on delivering exceptional, personalized experiences the moment that guest walks through the door. Operators have the ability to embrace new consumer expectations to provide an incredible guest journey from start to finish.

By incorporating this tool, staff can utilize SevenRooms’ rich guest data and Auto-Tags to educate themselves on incoming guests. The tool highlights valuable insights such as allergy information, dining preferences, previous experiences with the restaurant, and positive/negative reviews. It also provides a quick snapshot of that day’s notes on menu specials, private events or special requests, making it easy for staff to reference back to quickly throughout the course of service. Whether it’s the maître d, host, server or back of house employees, Pre-Shift enables all staff with the information they need to deliver exceptional service, build guest loyalty, and keep up with diner expectations as they continue to evolve.

Pre-Shift helps restaurants deliver personalized hospitality at scale with invisible technology. Guest and reservation data can be accessed on the fly without double clicks or additional navigation via iPhone and iPads for the utmost convenience. No other reservation management product on the market today offers such a robust overview with automated guest data incorporated into its dashboard, saving operators time as they set up for service.

“The magic of SevenRooms is in the way that we’re able to serve up relevant guest information to restaurants at key points of service. Our new Pre-shift view takes that magic one step further by strategically aggregating the most important guest insights before service even begins,” said Allison Page, Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer at SevenRooms. “We seamlessly take the data available for a shift and serve up key insights that the front of house should be aware of heading into service – for instance, guests with a high propensity to spend, guests who have previously left negative reviews, guests with allergies and more. Pre-Shift provides operators a real-time, unified view that takes pre-service preparation to a whole new level, ultimately providing guests with exceptional, frictionless experiences.”

“Pre-Shift is a great addition to Spago’s pre-service meeting,” said Steve Scott Springer, General Manager at Spago Beverly Hills. “When we began using the group-by server feature, it really was an ‘a-ha’ moment. This is exactly the way every restaurant wants to prep their employees ahead of a shift. We put the entire view up on a screen so our team can see and follow along. This is so much easier than what we used to do – it’s a no-brainer.”

For more information about SevenRooms and its services, please visit

About SevenRooms

SevenRooms is a guest experience and retention platform that helps hospitality operators create exceptional experiences that drive revenue and repeat business. Trusted by thousands of hospitality operators around the world, SevenRooms powers tens of millions of guest experiences each month across both on- and off-premises. From neighborhood restaurants and bars to international, multi-concept hospitality groups, SevenRooms is transforming the industry by empowering operators to take back control of their businesses to build direct guest relationships, deliver exceptional experiences and drive more visits and orders, more often. The full suite of products includes reservation, waitlist and table management, online ordering, mobile order & pay, review aggregation, email marketing and marketing automation. Founded in 2011 and venture-backed by Amazon, Comcast Ventures, PSG and Highgate Ventures, SevenRooms has dining, hotel F&B, nightlife and entertainment clients globally, including: MGM Resorts International, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Wynn Resorts, Jumeirah Group, Wolfgang Puck, Michael Mina, Bloomin’ Brands, Giordano’s, LDV Hospitality, Zuma, Australian Venue Company, Altamarea Group, AELTC, The Wolseley Hospitality Group, Dishoom, Live Nation and Topgolf.

Image: SevenRooms

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

TOTCF Names 2023 Spirited Award Honorees

TOTCF Names 2023 Spirited Award Honorees

by David Klemt

Neon sign in red that reads "Cocktails"

The Tales of the Cocktail Foundation has announced the 17th annual Spirited Awards honorees, organized into several regions.

Unless otherwise noted, each award category recognizes ten honorees. Categories include best cocktail bar, best restaurant bar, best hotel bar, best new bar, and best bar team.

Additionally, I have to say that I’m impressed by how the TOTCF further recognized several global regions. There’s the United States, of course, separated into three regions of its own. Then there’s Asia Pacific, Canada, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Middle East and Africa.

I’m focusing on three specific regions for this article: the US, Canada, and Latin America and the Caribbean. This decision comes from that fact those are KRG Hospitality’s three main areas of operation. But don’t worry, Asia Pacific, Europe, and Middle East and Africa: we’re coming for you, too.

To review the list in its entirety, please click here.

Unsurprisingly, Austin, Chicago, Las Vegas (our US headquarters), Nashville, New Orleans, New York, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Washington, DC are well represented. However, it’s refreshing to see other markets recognized, such as Portland, Maine, and Brookline, Massachusetts. Montreal, Toronto (our Canadian headquarters), Vancouver do Canada proud, of course.

Congratulations to this year’s honorees! Cheers!

Best US Cocktail Bar: US Central

  • Bordel (Chicago, Illinois)
  • DrinkWell (Austin, Texas)
  • Estereo (Chicago, Illinois)
  • Julep (Houston, Texas)
  • Kiesling (Detroit, Michigan)
  • Manolito (New Orleans, Louisiana)
  • Nickel City (Austin, Texas)
  • Sparrow (Chicago, Illinois)
  • Sportsman’s Club (Chicago, Illinois)
  • The Roosevelt Room (Austin, Texas)

Best US Cocktail Bar: US East

  • Bar Goto (New York, New York)
  • barmini by José Andrés (Washington, DC)
  • Dear Irving Gramercy (New York, New York)
  • Double Chicken Please (New York, New York)
  • Old Glory (Nashville, Tennessee)
  • Overstory (New York, New York)
  • Pearl Diver (Nashville, Tennessee)
  • Portland Hunt + Alpine Club (Portland, Maine)
  • Serenata (Washington, DC)
  • Service Bar (Washington, DC)
  • Sunken Harbor Club (Brooklyn, New York)

Best U.S. Cocktail Bar: US West

  • Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour (Phoenix, Arizona)
  • Century Grand (Phoenix, Arizona)
  • Foreign National (Seattle, Washington)
  • Navy Strength (Seattle, Washington)
  • Raised by Wolves (San Diego, California)
  • Rum Club (Portland, Oregon)
  • Thunderbolt (Los Angeles, California)
  • Trick Dog (San Francisco, California)
  • True Laurel (San Francisco, California)
  • Wildhawk (San Francisco, California)
  • Yacht Club (Denver, Colorado)

Best US Restaurant Bar: US Central

  • Arnaud’s French 75 Bar (New Orleans, Louisiana)
  • Bakery Bar (New Orleans, Louisiana)
  • Grey Ghost (Detroit, Michigan)
  • Kumiko (Chicago, Illinois)
  • Lengua Madre (New Orleans, Louisiana)
  • Maple and Ash (Chicago, Illinois)
  • Margot’s (New Orleans, Louisiana)
  • Mister Mao (New Orleans, Louisiana)
  • Monteverde (Chicago, Illinois)
  • Spoon and Stable (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
  • The Hope Farm (Fairhope, Alabama)
  • The Lounge at MARCH (Houston, Texas)

Best US Restaurant Bar: US East

  • Blossom Bar (Brookline, Massachusetts)
  • Bresca (Washington, DC)
  • Café La Trova (Miami, Florida)
  • COTE Korean Steakhouse (New York, New York)
  • Crown Shy (New York, New York)
  • Gramercy Tavern (New York, New York)
  • Jaguar Sun (Miami, Florida)
  • Macchialina (Miami, Florida)
  • Manhatta (New York, New York)
  • The Grey (Savannah, Georgia)

Best US Restaurant Bar: US West

  • Accomplice Bar (Los Angeles, California)
  • Bar Agricole (San Francisco, California)
  • Bicyclette (Los Angeles, California)
  • Cleaver: Butchered Meats, Seafood & Classic Cocktails (Las Vegas, Nevada)
  • L’Oursin (Seattle, Washington)
  • Lolo (San Francisco, California)
  • Palomar (Portland, Oregon)
  • Redbird (Las Vegas, Nevada)
  • Valentine (Phoenix, Arizona)
  • Viridian (Oakland, California)

Best US Hotel Bar: US Central

  • Bar Marilou at the Maison de la Luz (New Orleans, Louisiana)
  • Catbird at the Thompson Hotel (Dallas, Texas)
  • Chandelier Bar at the Four Seasons New Orleans (New Orleans, Louisiana)
  • Hot Tin at the Pontchartrain Hotel (New Orleans, Louisiana)
  • Lazy Bird at The Hoxton (Chicago, Illinois)
  • loa at the International House (New Orleans, Louisiana)
  • Midnight Rambler at The Joule (Dallas, Texas)
  • The Bar at Hotel Zachary (Chicago, Illinois)
  • The Elysian Bar at the Hotel Peter and Paul (New Orleans, Louisiana)
  • Vol. 39 at The Kimpton Gray Hotel (Chicago, Illinois)

Best US Hotel Bar: US East

  • Allegory at the Eaton Hotel (Washington, DC)
  • Champagne Bar at The Surf Club Miami (Miami, Florida)
  • Dear Irving on Hudson at the Aliz Hotel (New York, New York)
  • El Quijote at Hotel Chelsea (New York, New York)
  • Minibar at The Meridian Hotel (Miami, Florida)
  • Orilla Bar & Grill at the Urbanica the Euclid Hotel (Miami Beach, Florida)
  • Panorama Room at Graduate Hotel Roosevelt Island (New York, New York)
  • Raines Law Room at the William (New York, New York)
  • White Limozeen at The Graduate (Nashville, Tennessee)
  • Zou Zou’s at the Pendry Manhattan West (New York, New York)

Best US Hotel Bar: US West

  • Anasazi Bar and Lounge at the Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi (Santa Fe, New Mexico)
  • ARDOR at The West Hollywood EDITION (West Hollywood, California)
  • Del Rey at Villa Royale (Palm Springs, California)
  • Hey Love at The Jupiter (Portland, Oregon)
  • Legacy Club at Circa (Las Vegas, Nevada)
  • Libertine Social at the Mandalay Bay (Las Vegas, Nevada)
  • Little Rituals at the Residence Inn/Courtyard by Marriott (Phoenix, Arizona)
  • Mountaineering Club at the Graduate Seattle Hotel (Seattle, Washington)
  • Overlook Lounge, Aperitifs & Spirits at the Wynn (Las Vegas, Nevada)
  • Ski Lodge at The Cosmopolitan (Las Vegas, Nevada)

Best New US Cocktail Bar: US Central

  • Adiós Bar (Birmingham, Alabama)
  • Bandista at the Four Seasons (Houston, Texas)
  • Dovetail Bar at the Schaeffer Hotel (New Orleans, Louisiana)
  • EZ’s Liquor Lounge (Houston, Texas)
  • In Plain Sight (Austin, Texas)
  • Nine Bar (Chicago, Illinois)
  • Penny Drip (Fort Wayne, Indiana)
  • Refuge (Houston, Texas)
  • The Elm (Bloomington, Indiana)
  • The Meadowlark (Chicago, Illinois)

Best New US Cocktail Bar: US East

  • Amazonia (Washington DC)
  • Chez Zou (New York, New York)
  • Church (Baltimore, Maryland)
  • Lobby Bar at The Hotel Chelsea (New York, New York)
  • Martiny’s (New York, New York)
  • Marygold’s Brasserie at the Arlo Wynwood (Miami, Florida)
  • Milady’s (New York, New York)
  • Nubeluz at The Ritz-Carlton New York, NoMad (New York, New York)
  • Swan Room at Nine Orchard (New York, New York)
  • The Danforth (Portland, Maine)
  • The Gibson Room (Miami, Florida)

Best New US Cocktail Bar: US West

  • Baby Gee (Long Beach, California)
  • Capri Club (Los Angeles, California)
  • Dalva (San Francisco, California)
  • For The Record (San Francisco, California)
  • Here Today Brewery & Kitchen (Seattle, Washington)
  • Khla (Phoenix, Arizona)
  • Pacific Standard + The Sunset Room at the KEX Portland (Portland, Oregon)
  • The Butterscotch Den (Sacramento, California)
  • The Let’s Go Disco and Cocktail Club (Los Angeles, California)
  • UnderTow (Gilbert, Arizona)

Best International Cocktail Bar: Canada

  • Atwater Cocktail Club (Montreal, Québec)
  • Bar Mordecai (Toronto, Ontario)
  • Bar Pompette (Toronto, Ontario)
  • Civil Liberties (Toronto, Ontario)
  • Cry Baby Gallery (Toronto, Ontario)
  • El Pequeño Bar (Montreal, Québec)
  • Milky Way Cocktail Bar (Montreal, Québec)
  • Mother Cocktail Bar (Toronto, Ontario)
  • The Cloakroom Bar (Montreal, Québec)
  • The Keefer Bar (Vancouver, British Columbia)

Best International Cocktail Bar: Latin America & Caribbean (LATAM&C)

  • ALQUÍMICO (Cartagena, Colombia)
  • Baltra Bar (Mexico City, Mexico)
  • Café de Nadie (Mexico City, Mexico)
  • Chintoneria (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
  • El Barón Cafe & Cocktail Bar (Cartagena, Colombia)
  • El Gallo Altanero (Guadalajara, Mexico)
  • Handshake Speakeasy (Mexico City, Mexico)
  • Las Brujas (Mexico City, Mexico)
  • Pocket (San Jose, Costa Rica)
  • Tres Monos (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

Best International Restaurant Bar: Canada

  • Aloette (Toronto, Ontario)
  • Bar Kismet (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
  • Highwayman Restaurant & Bar (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
  • Honō Izakaya (Québec City, Québec)
  • Kissa Tanto (Vancouver, British Columbia)
  • Le Majestique (Montreal, Québec)
  • Le Swan French Diner (Toronto, Ontario)
  • Published on Main (Vancouver, British Columbia)
  • The Ostrich Club (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
  • Wind Cries Mary (Victoria, British Columbia)

Best International Restaurant Bar: Latin America & Caribbean (LATAM&C)

  • ARCA Tulum (Tulum, Mexico)
  • Aruba Day Drinking Bar (Tijuana, Mexico)
  • Casa Prunes (Mexico City, Mexico)
  • COCHINCHINA (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
  • Huset Cocina de Campo (Mexico City, Mexico)
  • Lady Bee (Lima, Peru)
  • La Sala de Laura (Bogotá, Colombia)
  • Mesa Franca (Bogotá, Colombia)
  • SubAstor (São Paolo, Brazil)
  • Tan Tan (São Paolo, Brazil)

Best International Hotel Bar: Canada

  • 1927 Lobby Lounge at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia (Vancouver, British Columbia)
  • Bar Artéfact at Auberge Saint-Antoine Hotel (Québec City, Québec)
  • Botanist at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel (Vancouver, British Columbia)
  • Clive’s Classic Lounge at the Chateau Victoria Hotel (Victoria, British Columbia)
  • Clockwork Champagne & Cocktails at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel (Toronto, Ontario)
  • Library Bar at the Fairmont Royal York (Toronto, Ontario)
  • Lobby Lounge and RawBar at Fairmont Pacific Rim (Vancouver, British Columbia)
  • Marcus Restaurant + Terrace at the Four Seasons Hotel (Montreal, Québec)
  • Rundle Bar at the Fairmont Banff Springs (Banff, Alberta)
  • The Courtney Room at the Magnolia Hotel (Victoria, British Columbia)

Best International Hotel Bar: Latin America & Caribbean (LATAM&C)

  • BEKEB at the Hotel Casa Hoyos (San Miguel de Allende, Mexico)
  • Celajes Lounge Bar at Hotel Belmar (Monteverde, Costa Rica)
  • Fifty Mils at the Four Seasons Hotel (Mexico City, Mexico)
  • Hotel B Relais & Châteaux (Lima, Peru)
  • Mi Amor Bar at the Mi Amor Hotel (Tulum, Mexico)
  • Mezcaleria Gota Gorda at the Boutique Hotel Soiree (Playa Zipolite, Mexico)
  • Mulberry Project at La Zebra Hotel (Tulum, Mexico)
  • Nobu at the Nobu Hotel Los Cabos (Cabo San Lucas, Mexico)
  • Rum Room at Rosewood Little Dix Bay (British Virgin Islands)
  • Zapote Bar at the Rosewood Mayakoba (Playa del Carmen, Mexico)

Best New International Cocktail Bar: Canada*

  • Bagheera (Vancouver, British Columbia)
  • Bar Banane (Toronto, Ontario)
  • Friendlies Bar (Vancouver, British Columbia)
  • Mount Pleasant Vintage & Provision (Vancouver, British Columbia)
  • Sidecar (Ottawa, Ontario)
  • Simpl Things (Toronto, Ontario)
  • Stolen Goods (Ottawa, Ontario)
  • The Stock Room (Vancouver, British Columbia)
*8 nominees due to the number of nominations received.

Best New International Cocktail Bar: Latin America & Caribbean (LATAM&C)

  • CATA Agave Bar (Tamarindo, Costa Rica)
  • Comeré (Oaxaca, Mexico)
  • Door No.4 (Georgetown, Cayman Islands)
  • Jardín Tragos y Pasteles (Bogotá, Colombia)
  • Juliana (Guayaquil, Ecuador)
  • Library by the Sea at The Kimpton Seafire Resort (Seven Mile Beach, Cayman Islands)
  • Mamba Negra (Medellín, Colombia)
  • Mulberry Project at Tribu Hostel (Holbox, Mexico)
  • Rayo Cocktail Bar (Mexico City, Mexico)
  • Sastreria Martinez (Lima, Peru)

Best US Bar Team: US Central

  • Arnaud’s French 75 Bar (New Orleans, Louisiana)
  • DrinkWell (Austin, Texas)
  • Grey Ghost (Detroit, Michigan)
  • Half Step (Austin, Texas)
  • Lazy Bird at The Hoxton (Chicago, Illinois)
  • Nickel City (Austin, Texas)
  • Porco Lounge & Tiki Bar (Cleveland, Ohio)
  • Standby (Detroit, Michigan)
  • The Roosevelt Room (Austin, Texas)
  • Three Dots and a Dash & The Bamboo Room (Chicago, Illinois)

Best US Bar Team: US East

  • Allegory at the Eaton Hotel (Washington, DC)
  • Attaboy Nashville (Nashville, Tennessee)
  • Bar Belly (New York, New York)
  • Clover Club (Brooklyn, New York)
  • Double Chicken Please (New York, New York)
  • Hawksmoor (New York, New York)
  • LPM Restaurant & Bar Miami (Miami, Florida)
  • Overstory (New York, New York)
  • Service Bar (Washington, DC)
  • The Fox Bar & Cocktail Club (Nashville, Tennessee)

Best US Bar Team: US West

  • Century Grand (Phoenix, Arizona)
  • Happy Accidents (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
  • Highball Cocktail Bar (Phoenix, Arizona)
  • Pacific Cocktail Haven (San Francisco, California)
  • Paper Plane (San Jose, California)
  • The Snug (Sacramento, California)
  • True Laurel (San Francisco, California)
  • UnderTow (Phoenix, Arizona)
  • Viridian Bar (Oakland, California)
  • Williams & Graham (Denver, Colorado)
  • Yacht Club (Denver, Colorado)

Best International Bar Team: Canada

  • Atwater Cocktail Club (Montreal, Québec)
  • BarChef (Toronto, Ontario)
  • Civil Liberties (Toronto, Ontario)
  • Clive’s Classic Lounge at the Chateau Victoria Hotel (Victoria, British Columbia)
  • Dear Friend Bar (Dartmouth, Nova Scotia)
  • Laowai (Vancouver, British Columbia)
  • Lobby Lounge and RawBar at Fairmont Pacific Rim (Vancouver, British Columbia)
  • Published on Main (Vancouver, British Columbia)
  • The Cloakroom Bar (Montreal, Québec)
  • The Keefer Bar (Vancouver, British Columbia)

Best International Bar Team: Latin America & Caribbean (LATAM&C)

  • ALQUÍMICO (Cartagena, Colombia)
  • Café de Nadie (Mexico City, Mexico)
  • Chintoneria (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
  • El Barón Cafe & Cocktail Bar (Cartagena, Colombia)
  • Handshake Speakeasy (Mexico City, Mexico)
  • Hanky Panky (Mexico City, Mexico)
  • Las Brujas (Mexico City, Mexico)
  • La Factoria (San Juan, Puerto Rico)
  • La Uat (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
  • Tres Monos (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

Image: Luciann Photography on Pexels

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Sticking to Your Standards

The Importance of Sticking to Your Standards

by David Klemt

Person writing down notes

One crucial task for all restaurant, bar, nightclub, and hotel operators is to set the acceptable standards and commit to maintaining them.

Hospitality operations are subject to an interesting paradox. We’re all told to prepare for things to go sideways during any given shift. We’re also told that adhering to our standards of service will help us weather a storm of challenges. Oftentimes, however, the first thing to slip at the first sign of trouble is: our standards.

When a client signs on with KRG Hospitality, they are given the task of identifying their core values. There’s an exercise for this key development step; it’s part of our standards.

Your core values inform your standards (and so much more): leadership team standards; front- and back-of-house team member standards; and standards of service. Additionally, you should spell out these standards during the onboarding process, utilizing an employee manual—which new hires must sign and date—and practical training.

It’s absolutely crucial that you and your team commit to your standards fully. They’re inviolable, what both KRG president Doug Radkey and Chef Brian Duffy call your “non-negotiables” during speaking engagements and when working with clients.

Are people going to make mistakes, including you? Yes. On occasion, a standard is going to slip. The key is understanding that maintaining standards helps reduce these occasions; panicking and allowing them to slip just drops us deeper into quicksand.

Someone on the team is going to miss a service step. Something will occur during a shift that’s not up to standards. What’s important in those moments is the ability for the team to recognize the slip quickly and correct course immediately.

Setting Standards

There are different ways for operators to select their standards. The example I provide at the top of this article is one approach KRG implements.

Michael Tipps, co-founder of Invictus Hospitality and friend of KRG Hospitality, has an intriguing approach of his own. He shared this during the 2023 Bar & Restaurant Expo in Las Vegas.

“Standards separate operators and their teams,” says Tipps. While he doesn’t encourage operators to look at every other operator in their market as competition, he does advocate for differentiation.

Tipps shared a three-step approach to standards. (Step two, by the way, is the one I find intriguing.)

  1. Create your standards. Again, there are different approaches.
  2. Pick your committee. I’m going to explain this further.
  3. Set standards against the grandest vision of your venue.

So, what does it mean to “pick your committee”? Well, it means surrounding yourself with people you respect…real or imagined. As Tipps explained during BRE, he has people in his life that he considers his committee. The real-life members of this committee are a sounding board for any number of ideas, questions, challenges, and even mistakes.

And yes, his committee also includes “imaginary” members, such as Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson. These are people that he doesn’t know personally but are known to have incredibly high standards. They’re high achievers and, of course, many have biographies and we can know their standards. Tipps has “asked” these committee members, “How should I handle X?”

This creative approach isn’t for everyone but every operator should at least give it a shot. When we step that far out of our comfort zones the results can be incredible.

The Cheat Code

On the specific topic of service standards, Tipps has a cheat code for operators: hotels. “The hotel mindset is a hospitality cheat code,” says Tipps.

How so? It’s quite enlightening.

Think about your restaurant. Now, think about it as the first-floor cornerstone of an upscale hotel. Imagine that there are 250 incredible boutique hotel rooms above your restaurant. These rooms command rates of several hundred dollars per night. Now think about how you would treat each guest in these expensive rooms if they ask for a straw.

“Make the effort to care like nobody else can,” says Tipps.

Always bear in mind that hospitality is how you make people feel. Your mission should be for each and every guest to feel relevant.

Generally speaking, most people don’t want to be alone. They’re not just coming to your restaurant because they’re hungry, to your bar because they’re thirsty. In reality, as Tipps would tell you, they’re coming to be around other people. They’re using your F&B as a reason to be around other people are feel relevant.

Your mission is to ensure people feel relevant when they spend time at your venue with your team. The package you send to accomplish this mission is your standards of service.

“Self-inflicted mediocrity is the result of laziness and lack of accountability,” Tipps says.

Hold everyone accountable for enforcing your standards—including yourself—and you’ll level up in every facet.

Image: Owen Michael Grech on Unsplash

KRG Hospitality Start-Up Restaurant Bar Hotel Consulting Consultant Solutions Plans Services

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

How to Make a $3,500 Mint Julep

How to Make a $3,500 Mint Julep

by David Klemt

2023 Woodford Reserve Secretariat Julep cups

If you want to craft an incredible $3,500 Mint Julep, the first step is to acquire one of 50 Woodford Reserve gold Secretariat Julep cups.

Now, should $3,500 seem a “bit” exorbitant, you can also opt for one of 100 silver Julep cups for $1,000.

Cup in hand, simply fill it with crushed ice and pour a refreshing Mint Julep over it. Et voilà—a delicious $3,500 or $1,000 Mint Julep!

Okay, so you’re probably wondering what I’m on about. Am I really suggesting you craft thousand-dollar-plus cocktails? I mean…if you have guests who’ll pay that much, yes, I am.

In reality, however, I’m making you aware of this year’s Woodford Reserve $1,000 Mint Julep™ charity program. This program is a longstanding Kentucky Derby tradition.

For 2023, the $1,000 Mint Julep™ will benefit the Secretariat Foundation. That makes sense given that this year marks the 50th anniversary of Secretariat winning the Derby.

The foundation, the brainchild of Secretariat’s owner Penny Chenery, is a non-profit that focuses on equine-related industry subjects, such as:

  • veterinary research into lameness of the horse;
  • Thoroughbred retirement and rehabilitation facilities;
  • therapeutic equestrian programs; and
  • general funding for related established charitable programs.

Silver and Gold

As you probably can put together yourself, there are 150 Secretariat Mint Julep cups available. One hundred are silver, 50 are gold. Respectively, they cost $1,000 and $3,500.

In keeping with this year’s theme of celebrating Secretariat and supporting the horse’s namesake charity, each features blue and white checkered silks in sapphires. The 2023 Mint Julep cups are handmade by Louisville, Kentucky jewelers From the Vault.

Gold 2023 Woodford Reserve Secretariat Mint Julep cup

People who choose to support the charity via purchasing the gold cup will have their name engraved on the bottom of the cup. These cups also come with the autograph of Ron Turcotte, Secretariat’s jockey.

In addition to supporting the charity, people who buy one of the 150 cups will have access to the $1,000 Mint Julep Experience at Churchill Downs on Derby Day. (Which is also where and when buyers must pick up their cups.)

Secretariat’s Mint Julep

Alright, so let’s be more realistic. Only 150 people are going to splash out for the $1,000 or $3,500 Secretariat Mint Julep. And while supporting a charity like the Secretariat Foundation is a great thing to do, people are struggling.

So, below you’ll find the recipe for the Mint Julep variation that those attending the $1,000 Mint Julep Experience will be enjoying. It’s up to you if you want to offer it on Derby Day to raise funds for the Secretariat Foundation or a charity of your choosing. It’s perfectly reasonable to simply offer the refreshing cocktail as a Derby Day LTO.

Pack a Julep cup with crushed ice, making sure to make a dome over the lip of the cup. Add the whiskey and liqueur to a mixing glass and stir. Pour over the prepared cup. Garnish with one sprig of mint and one stalk of Virginia bluebells.

Should you prefer a more traditional build, express the oils of a mint leaf inside the cup. Add the bourbon, chestnut liqueur, and crushed ice. Garnish with more crushed ice, mint, and Virginia bluebells, then serve.

For our most bourbon-centric Bar Hacks podcast episodes—including episode 32 with Woodford Reserve—click here.

Images: Woodford Reserve

KRG Hospitality Beverage Programming

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Tips from Tipps on Cool Concepts

Tips from Tipps on Building a Cool Concept

by David Klemt

Mama Foo Foo Daytona bar and DJ booth

It’s true that “cool” is difficult to define, and yet as amorphous a concept as it can be, we can create a vibe that embodies this important design element.

Some people have an innate understanding of the cool factor. They can identify it, design for it, and reënvision it. However, even these people can’t always explain the concept of cool.

To repurpose a 1964 quote from Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, “I know it when I see it.” And to paraphrase that quote, many of us would say we know cool “when we experience it.”

Of course, I can say that the KRG Hospitality team knows cool and develops concepts around this nebulous design concept. But that wouldn’t be cool; if you call yourself cool, you’re not. It’s sort of like attempting to give yourself a nickname—it really doesn’t work. (When I was in the Air Force I witnessed what happened to a few brand-new F16 trainees who tried to give themselves their own call signs. The results? Yikes.)

So, I’m going to share some helpful thoughts on this topic from a friend of KRG. Invictus Hospitality co-founder Michael Tipps, who knows cool when he sees and feels it.

Importantly, he and his team can also design for it. During the 2023 Bar & Restaurant Expo in Las Vegas last month he shared his thoughts on this idea to a room full of operators and leadership team members.

To check out some of the cool concepts in the Invictus portfolio, click here. For the KRG portfolio gallery, follow this link.

So, You Wanna be Cool…

With very few exceptions, most people thinking about their dream restaurant, bar, nightclub, eatertainment concept, or hotel don’t want to embody the antithesis of cool. In fact, I’ll say that if someone does design an “uncool” concept purposely and does so successfully…it’s cool.

That said, here’s an important tip from Tipps on developing a cool concept: “If your bar or restaurant is epic, it will attract everyone.”

However, that doesn’t mean designing a place that attempts to make everyone happy. Instead, consider your target guests—groups of people you and your partners understand, ideally—and design for them.

Nailing your concept for your target guests will attract other groups. And before anyone says that sounds exclusionary, that’s not what Tipps or I are talking about. Listen to anyone from the KRG Hospitality and Invictus Hospitality teams speak and you’ll know making any guest feel unwelcome isn’t on the menu.

Instead, consider the longstanding maxim that you can’t please everyone. Hence, focusing on your target guests to pull the threads tighter during the concept development phase.

Another key consideration when trying to nail down the cool factor? Differentiation.

“If everyone is used to westerns, somebody wants an action movie,” says Tipps. In other words, in a market saturated by one or two types of concepts, there are people dying for something different.

So, develop your dream concept with the idea of delivering something different in mind.

Stay True

This isn’t exactly a hot take but at the end of the day, all restaurants serve food. All bars serve drinks. All hotels provide rooms.

In other words, people can go anywhere for at least decent food and drink, and a place to sleep. The differentiators that separate one concept from another are atmosphere, service, and culture. Those three elements (along with some others) define a particular brand.

When your dream concept is on paper and you’re ready to make it a brick-and-mortar reality, you must stay true to it. Using the KRG process as an example, our feasibility studies, concept development plans, and business plans combine to form our Roadmap to Success. This is a document hundreds of pages long that’s unique to every client and concept we develop.

Once that deliverable is in your hand, it’s crucial to stay true. Or, as Tipps said at BRE in March, “You have to remain steadfast and focused on your concept.”

Designing a cool concept can take you into deep, uncharted waters in your chosen market. The voice telling you that you need to rein things in can be a loud, nagging one. Learn to quiet that panicking voice.

It can be daunting to design something you think is cool. You may find yourself asking if anyone would even want this “cool” concept.

Well, an unfiltered Tipps suggests you consider your answer to the following question: “How do people know what they want if they haven’t fucking seen it?”

You can build the next Applebee’s, Chili’s or Fridays. Or you can build something unique that will set a new standard in a market. And that’s not a knock against those chain restaurants—they’re successful on a global scale. But if you don’t want to operate an Applebee’s, don’t design yourself one.

A Word on Rebranding

Owing to the pandemic, rebrands are, as Tipps says, ubiquitous. This makes sense as people’s perspectives are different now. Operators want to finally own their dream concept. Hospitality pros want to work for brands that share their values, and that they deem cool. Guests want to spend their time and money on brands with which they identify (and also deem cool).

“If somebody wants to rebrand, they probably should,” says Tipps.

According to Tipps, however, “a lot of people confuse a rebrand with a refresh.”

While new tables, chairs, and paint can feel like a huge change, that’s not a rebrand. While many guests appreciate a refresh, their relationship with the brand won’t change much.

So, if an operator doesn’t plan and execute a full rebrand carefully, Tipps says they need to temper their expectations for a measurable ROI.

Now, if you have ideas for a cool rebrand, planning is crucial. But that doesn’t just relate to knowing what you want. You need to have your new name, logo, colors, menus, and exterior and interior designs finalized, of course.

However, you need to plan for how long the rebrand will take. As an example, when Invictus last rebranded their own concept they planned for two months to prepare to shut down for a full week.

Your cool new concept and its cool new details? They cost money and, as importantly, they take time. Which, as we all know in this business, costs even more money when you’re shut down.

Now’s the time to move forward with your cool new concept. Don’t hesitate to take your first step toward owning the cool brand you’ve always really wanted. While you’re dreaming about your concept, someone else in your market is making theirs a reality.

Image courtesy of Invictus Hospitality

KRG Hospitality brand identity. Restaurant. Bar. Cafe. Lounge, Hotel. Resort.

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

5 Books to Read this Month: April 2023

5 Books to Read this Month: April 2023

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

Our engaging and informative April book selections will help you take your bar, restaurant or hotel to higher levels, and develop your leadership skills.

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

Let’s jump in!

Unreasonable Hospitality: The Remarkable Power of Giving People More Than They Expect

When Will Guidara took over the famous Eleven Madison Park, the restaurant had just two stars and he was only in his mid-twenties. Before his 40th birthday, the changes and strategies he implemented helped the restaurant earn the title of the Best Restaurant in the World.

One of cornerstone’s of Guidara’s was “bespoke hospitality.” He and his team truly went above and beyond. Examples of the Eleven Madison Park team’s approach to hospitality illustrate just how over the top they went to deliver memorable guest experiences. If you’re looking for inspiration to step up your hospitality, pick up or download Unreasonable Hospitality today.

Blue Ocean Strategy, Expanded Edition: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant

I’m going to address the viability of the blue ocean strategy before getting into the book. Creating a hospitality concept without competition isn’t really feasible. Go too far into “blue waters” and there won’t be any “fish” (traffic). And where, exactly, would one put their restaurant, bar, or hotel where there’s no competition but still enough traffic to generate a profit?

Those issues addressed, this book is still valuable to owners and operators. One need not eliminate competition completely to take lessons from the blue ocean strategy. Businesses must still differentiate themselves from competitors, and they must look for unique opportunities to help them stand out. Blue Ocean Strategy may not work perfectly but much is still very helpful.

Contagious Culture: Show Up, Set the Tone, and Intentionally Create an Organization that Thrives

Anese Cavanaugh’s Contagious Culture addresses a topic that we often discuss with clients, in our articles, and during speaking engagements: workplace culture. From large corporations and regional or national restaurant chains, to independent restaurants, bars, and hotels, culture will make or break an organization. Cavanaugh’s techniques will improve your workplace culture and energize your team, an undeniable key to success.

From Amazon: “This is Contagious Culture, a game-changing guide to transforming corporate culture from within, developed by the award-winning creator of The IEP Method to strengthen your ‘Intentional Energetic Presence.’ This is more than a leadership book―this is your future calling.”

Bar Hacks: Developing The Fundamentals for an Epic Bar

Doug Radkey is the founder, president, and lead strategist of KRG Hospitality. He’s also a hospitality industry speaker, educator, and author. This is his first book, Bar Hacks, which is also the name of the podcast we produce through KRG Hospitality.

Now, while the title states this book is a guide for developing and running an epic bar, the strategies carry over to restaurants, hotels, and other hospitality concepts. It’s difficult—if not impossible—to elevate one’s skills and service without first mastering the fundamentals. Whether you’re new to the industry or are a veteran who feels the need to reset and revisit the fundamentals, Bar Hacks is your guide.

Hacking the New Normal: Hitting the Reset Button on the Hospitality Industry

There’s a first book, which means there must be at least one other one, right? Right! Hacking the New Normal is Doug’s second book.

This book is a direct response to the pandemic, what it did to the industry, and the issues many operators would prefer to ignore. However, the devastation is so great that ignoring the changes that should have been made decades ago isn’t a viable option. With a spotlight on hybrid business models, real estate, profit margins, technology, guest experiences, culture, diversity, and mindset, Hacking the New Normal will position you for success in our new hospitality landscape.

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

KRG Hospitality. Consultant. Consulting. Culinary. Bar. Hotel. Mixology. Technology.

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

What’s Up with the Restaurant Tax Credit?

What’s up with the Restaurant Revitalization Tax Credit?

by David Klemt

Abraham Lincoln's face on $5 bill

If you’re wondering what’s going on with the Restaurant Revitalization Tax Credit bills in the House and Senate, you’re probably not alone.

And if you find yourself wondering about them, that’s likely because there isn’t much news about the bills. Unfortunately, it appears that no meaningful progress has been made on HR 9574 or S.5219.

A quick check shows that both bills share the same status: Introduced. As for the House bill, HR 9574, that was introduced on December 15, 2022 by Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR). The Senate bill, S.5219, was introduced by Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) on December 8, 2022.

It’s important to note that Sens. Cardin, Patty Murray (D-A), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) reintroduced S.5219 in January of this year. However, that apparently didn’t mean much as the trackers show no progress.

Last year, some opined that neither bill would receive a vote until January 2023 at the earliest. That “prediction” has proven true, of course—it’s now the end of March.

Restaurant Revitalization Tax Credit Act Summary

Let’s take a quick look at HR 9574 and S.5219.

Both bills propose a $25,000 payroll offset for restaurants. Eligibility requirements are also identical: applicants must have applied for but not awarded a Restaurant Revitalization Fund grant.

Additional, eligible applicants are:

  • restaurants with operating losses of at least 30 percent in 2020 and 2021 in comparison to 2019; or
  • restaurants with losses of at least 50 percent in either 2020 or 2021 in comparison to 2019.

So, those are elements that both the Senate and House bills share. What about the differences between the two bills?

Mainly, differences come down to the number of employees. For S.5219, restaurants with ten employees or fewer could be eligible for the maximum payroll tax credit. That credit, as a reminder, is up to $25,000 for 2023. For every employee over ten, the refund cap drops by $2,500.

Now, HR 9574. Restaurants with ten or fewer employees would receive the full $25,000 payroll tax offset. For restaurants with between 11 and 20 employees, the offset would be “partially refundable.”

Now What?

If you believe that you’re eligible for this tax credit, it’s time to let your representatives know you want them to act.

To make things simple for everyone, I’m including the links you need to find and contact senators and representatives.

For senators, click here. And for representatives, click here.

Let them know that it’s time for action on S.5219 and HR 9574. And let them know exactly what action you expect them to take.

Image: Karolina Grabowska on Pexels

KRG Hospitality Start-Up Restaurant Bar Hotel Consulting Consultant Solutions Plans Services