Hotel tech

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Welcome Back to the Culinary Arena

Welcome Back to the Culinary Arena: A Comprehensive Guide for 2024

by Nathen Dubé

"2024" dessert concept

The start of a new year is an exciting time in the restaurant world, offering a unique opportunity to reassess and rejuvenate your foodservice business.

From utilizing downtime effectively to setting strategic priorities, this guide is designed to help you navigate the year ahead with confidence and creativity.

Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a budding restaurateur, these insights will equip you with the tools to make 2024 a year of remarkable culinary experiences and business growth.

Part 1: Strategic Use of Downtime

Menu Innovation and Optimization

The start of the year is ideal for re-evaluating your menu.

Begin by analyzing customer feedback and sales data from the previous year. Identify which dishes were most popular and which underperformed. Consider removing items that aren’t selling well and focus on the dishes that your customers love.

This is also an excellent time to experiment with new flavors and culinary trends. For instance, with the growing demand for plant-based options, think about introducing a few vegan or vegetarian dishes.

Keep an eye on food trends. Are there new ingredients or cooking techniques that you can incorporate into your menu? This not only keeps your offerings fresh and exciting but also shows your commitment to culinary innovation.

Remember, a well-crafted menu is a balance between popular staples and innovative dishes. It should reflect your restaurant’s identity while also appealing to your target customer base.

Consider a seasonal menu that takes advantage of fresh, local produce, which can provide inspiration for new dishes and help reduce costs.

Staff Training and Empowerment

The quieter months are a perfect opportunity for staff training and development.

Conduct a skills audit to identify areas where your team could improve or learn new competencies. This could range from culinary skills, like mastering a new cooking technique, to soft skills, such as guest service or conflict resolution.

Training doesn’t have to be formal or expensive. You can leverage online courses, in-house mentoring, or even cross-training within your team.

For instance, front-of-house staff could benefit from basic kitchen training to better understand the dishes they are serving, while kitchen staff could learn about customer service to appreciate the end-to-end dining experience.

Team building is another key aspect. Organize activities that foster communication and collaboration. This could be something as simple as a team meal or a group outing.

A cohesive team that communicates well will provide better service, leading to happier guests and a more pleasant working environment.

Finally, empower your staff by involving them in decision-making processes. This could be in menu development, process improvements, or even marketing ideas.

When staff feel valued and part of the business, they are more likely to be motivated and committed.

Facility Revitalization

Use this quieter period to assess and upgrade your facilities.

Start with a thorough cleaning and maintenance check. This includes checking kitchen equipment, dining area furniture, and the overall infrastructure of your establishment.

Evaluate your kitchen equipment and consider if anything needs to be repaired or replaced. Upgrading to more efficient equipment can improve productivity and reduce long-term costs. For instance, investing in energy-efficient appliances not only cuts down on utility bills but is also better for the environment.

Look at your dining area from a customer’s perspective. Is the seating comfortable? Is the lighting appropriate? Small changes in décor can significantly enhance the dining experience. Consider refreshing the paint, adding new artwork, or even rearranging the layout to improve flow and ambiance.

Also, think about your back-of-house operations. Is your storage area organized? Can you improve the workflow in the kitchen? An efficient back-of-house leads to smoother service and a better customer experience.

Part 2: Setting Priorities for the Year

Elevating Customer Experience

The guest experience is paramount in the food service industry. This year, make it a priority to enhance every aspect of your guest’s journey.

From the moment they walk in, to the service they receive, to the food they enjoy, each element should contribute to a memorable experience.

Focus on training your staff to provide exceptional service. This includes being knowledgeable about the menu, attentive to guest needs, and quick to resolve any issues.

Personalized service can make a big difference. Remembering regulars’ preferences or celebrating special occasions with them can turn a one-time visit into repeat patronage.

Ambiance plays a crucial role in the dining experience. The right music, lighting, and décor can create an inviting atmosphere that complements your culinary offerings. If your budget allows, consider investing in upgrades that enhance the ambiance, such as new lighting fixtures or comfortable seating.

Implementing a feedback system is also important. Encourage customers to share their experiences, whether through comment cards, online reviews, or direct conversations. This feedback is invaluable for continuous improvement and can help you address any issues promptly.

Sustainability as a Cornerstone

Sustainability is becoming increasingly important to consumers, and incorporating sustainable practices into your business can have a significant impact. Start by assessing your current practices and identifying areas for improvement.

One key area is waste reduction. Conduct a waste audit to understand where most of your waste is coming from and develop strategies to reduce it. This could involve better inventory management to prevent overordering and spoilage, composting food waste, or finding creative ways to use leftovers.

Local sourcing is another aspect of sustainability. Building relationships with local suppliers not only supports the local economy but also reduces your carbon footprint. Local ingredients are often fresher and can inspire seasonal menus.

Also, consider the sustainability of your operations. This could involve using eco-friendly packaging, reducing energy consumption, or even installing water-saving devices.

Communicating your sustainability efforts to your customers can also enhance your brand’s image and attract environmentally conscious patrons.

Innovative and Integrated Marketing Strategies

In today’s digital age, effective marketing is crucial for any business.

Utilize social media platforms to engage with your audience. Share behind-the-scenes glimpses of your kitchen, showcase your signature dishes, and highlight your team. This not only promotes your offerings but also builds a connection with your guests.

Email marketing is another powerful tool. Regular newsletters can keep your guests informed about new menu items, special events, or promotions. Personalized emails on birthdays or anniversaries can make your guests feel special and encourage repeat visits.

Don’t overlook the power of community involvement. Participate in local events, collaborate with other businesses, or sponsor local sports teams. This can increase your visibility in the community and build goodwill.

Financial Health and Diversification

Keeping a close eye on your financials is crucial.

Regularly review your costs and revenues and look for ways to optimize them. This might involve renegotiating supplier contracts, adjusting menu prices, or reducing unnecessary expenses.

Consider diversifying your revenue streams. This could include offering catering services, hosting private events, or selling branded merchandise.

These additional streams can provide a buffer during slower periods and increase your overall profitability.


As we look forward to 2024, let’s embrace the opportunities and challenges that come our way.

By using downtime strategically, setting clear priorities, and striving for excellence continuously, we can ensure that this year is not just successful but also fulfilling.

Remember, in the dynamic world of foodservice, adaptation and innovation are key. Let’s make this year a celebration of our culinary passion, business acumen, and commitment to our guests.

Here’s to a year of delicious discoveries and unparalleled success in the culinary world!

Image: 愚木混株 cdd20 on Unsplash

KRG Hospitality operational assessments

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

2023 KRG Recap: Top 8 News Articles

2023 KRG Recap: Top 8 News Articles

by David Klemt

Eight ball floating against black background

We’re kicking off our annual year-in-review article roundup by gathering the top eight news articles of 2023, which address an array of noteworthy developments.

For example, you’ll find a “Big Game” cocktail promotion, SevenRooms innovations, award winners, and legislation affecting our industry.

We look forward to sharing hospitality news with you as it breaks in 2024.


Group of Big Game cocktails at Ocean Casino Resort

Ocean Casino Resort Offers Big Game Cocktails

Ocean Casino Resort, Atlantic City’s award-winning oceanfront casino and resort, is ready for the Big Game with four cocktails that team with the theme.

Now, by “Big Game,” we all know what I’m talking about. We know the sport, we the know the league, and we know precisely which game is under discussion.

However, due to very “enthusiastic” attorneys, we also have to talk like we’re spies or actors in a mob movie. We wouldn’t want to tempt anyone to file a lawsuit now, would we?

And I’m going to encourage you to continue following this childish way of speaking about the Big Game. When you’re promoting your Sunday, February 12 event, don’t use any trademarked terms, logos, images, etc.

Alright, the Big Game legalese is out of the way. Let’s talk themed cocktails!

Big Game Cocktail Inspiration

Midway through last year, Ocean Casino Resort showed us all their marketing prowess. When news of the Choco Taco’s demise made headlines, Ocean created a cocktail homage: the Chocotini.

To ensure the LTO could be enjoyed by most guests, the cocktail was available at four venues on the property.

Now, Ocean Casino Resort is tackling the Big Game. (Note: I’m legally required to include sports puns when writing about any major game.)

Guests have four specialty LTO cocktails from which to choose. Two representing the team from Philadelphia, two for the team in Kansas City. Each drink is available at venues throughout the casino resort, including their Topgolf Swing Suite (largest in America), Nola’s Bar & Lounge, and the Gallery Bar Book & Games.

In news that should appeal to you and your bar team, these drinks are quick to make. That’s a relief when you plan to be slammed on a particular day.

Of course, you don’t have to attempt to replicate these cocktails. They serve as excellent inspiration to motivate you and your team to come up with your own liquid homages and LTOs.

In case you’re wondering what to charge, Ocean is charging $14 each for the Brotherly Love, Hurts So Good, and Big Red cocktails. The Arrowhead carries a price tag of $15.

Click here to continue reading.

Abraham Lincoln's face on $5 bill

What’s up with the Restaurant Revitalization Tax Credit?

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.”

Keep reading here.

Front of house staff member using SevenRooms

EHI and Danny Meyer Invest in SevenRooms

EHI and Danny Meyer Invest in SevenRooms

SevenRooms is showing no signs of resting on their laurels, announcing a major new investor: Enlightened Hospitality Investments.

EHI, a private-equity fund, traces its launch back to 2016. The fund, launched by and affiliated with Union Square Hospitality Group, typically makes investments in the $10-25 million range. Generally speaking, EHI makes non-control investments.

As you’re likely well aware, USHG’s founder and executive chairman is none other than restaurateur Danny Meyer. The Shake Shack chairman is also the managing partner of EHI.

Investment in SevenRooms by EHI—and by extension Danny Meyer—is huge news. Meyer now joins other high-profile chef and restaurateur investors in SevenRooms:

“At EHI, we always pay close attention to transformative tech that advances high touch,” says Meyer. “Far more than a reservations platform, SevenRooms provides abundant tools to create highly customized guest experiences and equips both restaurant and hotel teams to do what they do best—deliver truly memorable hospitality.”

Gloved hand pressing down on cheeseburger

A Group of Senators has Questions About ServSafe

The National Restaurant Association and the ServSafe program are now in the crosshairs of a group of Democratic senators.

I doubt any organization or individual wants to learn that lawmakers have questions for them. For those who may not know, ServSafe isn’t just in a partnership with the National Restaurant Association—the NRA owns the program.

That’s part of why six senators, led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), have sent a letter to the NRA. To describe the tone of this letter in one word, I think “aggressive” is accurate.

For more, including the text of the letter, click here.

Double Chicken Please cocktail bar interior

The 50 Best Bars in North America in 2023

The buildup toward this year’s World’s 50 Best Bars is growing with the recent announcement of North America’s 50 Best Bars.

Mexico City, the 2023 North America’s 50 Best Bars host city, is home to several of this year’s rankings. A true cocktail destination loaded with extraordinary bars, Mexico City boasts eight entries. Overall, 14 of the 50 bars on the 2023 list are in Mexico.

Of course, New York City also claims an impressive number of bars earning spots on the list. In fact, NYC boasts 12 of the 50 best bars in North America. More than half of the bars—28—are in the US.

Not that anyone asked, two of the bars on the 2023 list are in the city where I was born, Chicago: Kumiko and Milk Room. And I’m going to give a special nod to Herbs & Rye, number 27 and located in my hometown of Las Vegas (and the US headquarters of KRG Hospitality).

Of the 50 best bars in North America, Canada is home to seven. Four of these are in Toronto (where KRG Hospitality’s global headquarters are located), two are in Montreal, and one is in Vancouver.

Just one bar in the Caribbean makes the 2023 North America’s 50 Best Bars list. But what a bar: La Factoría is number 24.

Below you’ll find this year’s rankings; destination awards; and individual awards. Speaking of, congratulations to Julio Cabrera and Christine Wiseman! You’ll see why as you scroll. To review last year’s list, please click here.

Congratulations to all the bars and their bar teams representing the best of North America in 2023!

You can review the list here.

The lobby of ACE Hotel Sydney

The 2023 HD Award Finalists and Winners

As one would expect, the finalists and winners of the 2023 Hospitality Design Awards are a stunning collection of brands from which operators should pull inspiration.

Anyone looking for cutting-edge hospitality design would do well to look into each of the winners and finalists below.

The full list of award finalists and winners, and the architecture, interior design, and purchasing firms (along with owners and operators) can be found on the Hospitality Design website. Just click this link for the full details.

For our past coverage of the HD Expo, please click here.

Lifestyle Hotel


Ace Hotel Sydney (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia)

  • Architecture Firm: Bates Smart, Melbourne
  • Interior Design Firm: Flack Studio (hotel), Melbourne
  • Owner: Golden Age Group
  • Operator: Ace Hotel Group
  • Purchasing Firm: Marques Interior Services


Canoe Place Inn & Cottages (Hampton Bays, New York)

Our Habitas San Miguel (San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico)

Sisan·Shuanglang Hotel (DaLi, YunNan, China)

Fan Woods Hotel (Zhangjiakou City, Hebei Province, China)

Lifestyle Hotel Public Space



  • Architecture and Interior Design Firms: Morris Adjmi Architects, and ISC Design Studio, New York
  • Owner: Strategic Property Partners
  • Operator: Marriott International
  • Purchasing Firm: The Parker Company


Ace Hotel Sydney (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia)

The Standard (Hua Hin, Thailand)

Luxury Hotel


The Londoner (London, England) United Kingdom)

  • Architecture Firm: Woods Bagot, London
  • Interior Design Firm: Yabu Pushelberg, New York and Toronto
  • Owner and Operator: Edwardian Hotels London


Wildflower Farms, Auberge Resorts Collection (Gardiner, New York)

Kimpton Bamboo Grove Suzhou (Suzhou, Jiangsu, China)

Luxury Hotel Public Space


The Madrona (Healdsburg, California)

  • Architecture Firm: Strening Architects, Santa Rosa, California
  • Interior Design Firm: Jay Jeffers, San Francisco
  • Owners: Jay Jeffers, Kyle Jeffers, and investors
  • Operator: Mosaic Hotel Group
  • Purchasing Firm: Summa International


The Madrid EDITION (Madrid, Spain)

Pillows Maurits at the Park (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Wildflower Farms, Auberge Resorts Collection (Gardiner, New York)

Click here for the full list of finalists and winners.

Hand holding several credit cards

Credit Card Competition Act, Take Three

Here we go again: Bipartisan lawmakers in the House and Senate are taking another shot at the Credit Card Competition Act.

After the incredibly underwhelming progress of the Credit Card Competition Act of 2022, lawmakers are making another move. Now, a bipartisan effort is coalescing around the Credit Card Competition Act of…2023.

The “new” bill was introduced on June 7. On the Senate side, Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Roger Marshall (R-KS) are trying to push the bill forward. In the House, Representatives Lance Gooden (R-TX) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) are driving the effort.

Roughly eight months ago it was revealed that 1,802 merchants drafted, signed, and sent a letter to the House and Senate. To summarize quickly, the merchants were pushing for the bill to become law. Another supporter of the CCCA? The National Restaurant Association, claiming that the bill could save merchants $11 billion a year in fees.

Of course, a lot is going on since the introduction of the CCCA of 2022. For one, it’s being widely reported that House Republicans are “revolting,” blocking bills and effectively paralyzing the chamber. There’s also the matter of the second indictment of a former president.

However, reporters who know far more than I about the inner workings of Congress seem optimistic. While there’s drama in the lower chamber, there are articles circulating that seem to think the CCCA of 2023 has enough bipartisan support to pass.

Continue reading here.

The Pontiac bar in Hong Kong

Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2023 Revealed: 51 to 100

One week from the ceremony revealing bars one through 50 of Asia’s 50 Best Bars, the World’s 50 Best Bars announces venues 51 to 100.

Sponsored by Perrier, the World’s 50 Best Bars will announce the top 50 bars in Asia on Tuesday, July 18. This year’s ceremony will take place in Hong Kong at 20:25 local time.

However, we now know which bars have earned placement on the back half of this year’s list. As Mark Sansom, director of content for the World’s 50 Best points out on episode 82 of Bar Hacks, an expansion for their lists is necessary. There are simply too many outstanding operators and teams to not honor an additional 50 venues.

To that end, the list below represents the third edition of Asia’s 50 Best Bars, 51 to 100. In my opinion, and I think the World’s 50 Best and bar professionals across the world agree, this list is every bit as prestigious as one through 50. Let’s not downplay the fact that these are 50 of the best bars in all of Asia. It’s no small feat to earn a spot on this list.

If you’re interested in finding more amazing venues throughout Asia (and around the world), click here to learn about the World’s 50 Best Discovery tool.

By the Numbers

As you’ll see below, Singapore dominates this year’s 51 to 100 list with eight bars. I expect Singapore pick up even more spots next week.

Japan boasts seven bars on the list, with Osaka, Okinawa, and Kumamoto making debuts. Hong Kong, Taiwan, and India each have claim five slots. Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur are also well represented with four bars each.

Vietnam and China each have three bars among this year’s 51 to 100. Two bars in Seoul, South Korea, earned placement as well.

However, it’s Kathmandu, Nepal, with two bars that stands out the most to me. Numbers 100 and 70 belong to Kathmandu, and are both new to the list.

To review the list on the World’s 50 Best website, please click here.

Keep reading here.

Image: Mediocre Studio on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

SevenRooms Unveils 3 Powerful New Tools

SevenRooms Unveils Three Powerful New Tools

by David Klemt

Booth seating inside a restaurant or bar

SevenRooms clients will have access to three new tools that will further enhance guest engagement, increase loyalty, and boost relationships with VIPs.

Each of these consumer-facing solutions is launching in time for the holiday season.

First up, 7R Priority Alerts. This tool helps operators manage their waitlists and generate revenue. We all know that even restaurants that require reservation fees end up with no-shows. Some platforms are capable of attempting to fill those available reservation slots. However, there’s not normally much control over who receives availability alerts.

Now, operators will have the power to target specific guests through automated reservation notifications. As 7R explains this tool, operators will be able to identify, label, and reward their most-valuable guests. These guests will feel like VIPs, increasing their loyalty, visits, and spends.

Then there’s Private Line. This is my favorite of the three new tools. Operators who implement this tool will be able to share an exclusive messaging line. So, a VIP such as a big spender, frequent diner, a member of the press, or an influencer can reach out to the team directly.

With Private Line, a VIP can inquire about a last-second reservation or make a special request. Again, this is the type of feature that increases loyalty and visit frequency.

Most people find new restaurants through friend, family, or coworker referrals. That got the 7R team thinking: How can restaurants reward people who refer new guests?

Enter: Word-of-Mouth Referrals, the third new tool on this list.

Pushed to guests via automated email marketing campaigns and post-visit surveys, a custom referral link is created for every diner. The guests then share that link, new guests make reservations, and the cycle continues. Operators, of course, reward guests for these referrals through any number of means, such as redeemable loyalty program points, comped F&B items, etc.

To learn more, please read the 7R press release about Priority Alerts, Private Line, and Word-of-Mouth Referrals below.


Priority Alerts, Private Line, and Word-of-Mouth Referrals redefine guest engagement and communication between restaurants and their most important guests

NEW YORK – SevenRooms, a guest experience and retention platform for the hospitality industry, today announced the launch of Priority Alerts, Private Line, and Word-of-Mouth Referrals, three new consumer-facing features that help operators connect with and reward their most loyal guests. With guests expecting more from their dining experiences than ever before, these solutions were purpose-built to solve real pain points for hospitality operators. These include alerting a specific diner about reservation availability, providing new ways for guests to get in touch and making it easier for guests to recommend their favorite restaurants to friends and family.

Priority Alerts helps operators control who they send automated reservation availability notifications to so they can prioritize their most valuable guests. In comparison to other reservation notification systems, restaurants choose who receives a Priority Alert first, not just deciding between a blast to their entire waitlist or to an exclusive subset of credit card holders. Instead, they can prioritize the guests that matter most to their business – whether that’s a VIP, loyalty member, frequent or recent diner, local, high spender, or someone else. This helps restaurants reward their most valuable guests to get them through their doors more often.

Private Line was created to give important guests an easier, faster way to get in touch with their favorite restaurants. With Private Line, restaurants can now offer their high-value guests – like VIPs, press, frequent diners and top spenders – an exclusive messaging line that can be used to instantly get in touch with their team. Whether a guest is looking for a last-minute reservation, has a special request, needs to add a friend to a booking or another ask, restaurants no longer miss out on opportunities to wow the guests that matter most. All conversations are centralized within the SevenRooms mobile app, making it easy for staff to book a table, add in requests or make other changes with just a few clicks.

Word-of-Mouth Referrals, the third consumer-facing feature launching with our fall release, gives restaurants the ability to motivate, track and reward loyal guests for referring new diners. According to recent data, 61 percent of diners discover new restaurants from friends, family and co-workers. Yet, without an easy way to capture this untapped demand, restaurants have historically left dollars on the table. Word-of-Mouth Referrals automatically creates personal referral links for every diner – shared through post-meal surveys and automated email campaigns – making it simple for guests to share with their networks and be rewarded with perks they’ll want to earn and use. Restaurants can tap into this high-value marketing channel for their business, rewarding loyalty and ensuring exceptional experiences for newcomers and regulars that translate into more sales and profits.

“At SevenRooms, our focus from day one has been on building innovations that help operators increase profitability, drive sales and improve the experiences of their guests. These three new features, all integrated into the SevenRooms platform, give operators new ways to connect and communicate with their guests – helping them evolve to meet the needs of guests who know what they want, how they want it, when they want it,” said Angela DeFranco, VP of Product at SevenRooms. “In an increasingly competitive landscape where consumers have more choice than ever before in where they choose to take their business, we’re dedicated to finding new ways for restaurants to connect and market more effectively to their guests with tools that not only make them more money, but help them execute on experiences that guests remember and recommend. Restaurant marketing is no longer one-size-fits-all, and we are redefining the role that technology can play in creating truly personalized guest engagement and marketing touchpoints at every stage of the guest journey.”

“The plan was to always move to SevenRooms because the technology was far superior, the potential for integration with our point of sale system was a lot stronger and owning the data was a huge deal,” said Kim McDiarmid, Partner at Liquid and Larder. “SevenRooms’ Priority Alerts has been a dream for us. Compared to our previous platform, it’s a lot more customizable and fully automated so it does the heavy lifting for us. We’re going to use it to give priority to guests who match criteria such as those who dine with us regularly, and with that, it will work even harder for us.”

For more details on SevenRooms’ newest innovations, 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, Wynn Resorts, Jumeirah Group, Hard Rock Hotels & Resorts, Wolfgang Puck, Michael Mina, Bloomin’ Brands, José Andrés Group, Union Square Hospitality Group, Australian Venue Company, The Wolseley Hospitality Group, Dishoom, Live Nation and Topgolf.

Image: Carson Masterson on Unsplash

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

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Two New Review Platforms You Need to Know

Two New Review Platforms You Need to Know

by David Klemt

Person looking at restaurants on a map on their phone

Operators should be aware of two new review platforms that will help people discover their restaurant, bar, nightclub, or eatertainment venue.

At this point, we’re all aware of the mainstream review sites. Google, Yelp, OpenTable, Tripadvisor… Whether viewed as a helpful discovery tool or nuisance, each is a well-known player.

Well, there are new platforms on the scene. Importantly, each one is putting their own stamp on how people review venues and discover new experiences.

For example, I wrote about a new platform that rejects negative reviews a few weeks ago. It’s Good “believe[s] a restaurant rec from 1 trusted friend is more valuable than recs from 10,000 strangers.”

The founders, including Kevin Auerbach (former Apple), Meghan Raab (former Snap), director and photographer Mike Rosenthal, and songwriter and performer John Legend, have also eschewed the standard star rating.

So, that’s one modern-day take on the review platform. Now, two others.


By now, most people are aware that video content outperforms static photography on social media. In other words, people engage more with video.

That’s not to say that static photography is obsolete. Rather, when it comes to discovery, video appears to be king at the moment.

Enter: Atmosfy.

This platform is all about video reviews. In fact, their website reads, “A video is worth a thousand pictures.” Restaurant, bar, nightlife, and eatertainment operators should see the value in users showing off their experiences via video.

In addition, users get access to a personal map. They can bookmark places they’ve been and want to go, and share their experiences so others can discover them.

And with $12 million in seed funding from Redpoint Ventures and other venture capital firms, operators can be certain this is no flash in the pan. In fact, Atmosfy supports in excess of one million businesses in over 10,000 cities in more than 150 countries.


First, the T-rex mascot of this platform is pretty cool.

Second, Recs takes a similar approach to It’s Good. However, the founders, Jesse Berns and Sean Conrad, have put their own spin on review platforms.

Like It’s Good, Recs sees far more value in recommendations from friends than strangers. Also, there’s no star rating system, nor will users find negative reviews.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Recs (@getrecs)

Another interesting detail: Users aren’t able to leave anonymous reviews. This is because Recs is built for recommendations among friends. Were a user to be anonymous, they wouldn’t be discoverable to friends, and therefore they’d be leaving recommendations to…nobody.

However, the most important element of Recs (arguably) is that users either recommend a place or they don’t.

So, in theory, if a business is blowing the guest experience, they won’t even be discoverable on Recs because nobody will be recommending it. At least to a specific core of users, that business won’t exist in their world on Recs.

As far as the Recs user experience, people save venues as “recommend” or “wanna go.” Users find their friends, share their lists, and discover new places to try by checking out their friends’ lists. A simple, straightforward way for people to eat, drink, and hang out together throughout a city.


Simply put, an operator needs to know how people are discovering their business. Operators need to meet guests where they are, which means online.

So, operators need to know about new platforms. When sending a post-visit surveyit doesn’t need to be lengthy—operators should ask how guests learned about their venue. This is one way to stay up to date on social media and review sites.

A comprehensive and effective marketing strategy includes review and discovery platforms. Certainly, operators ignore discovery tools at their peril.

Image: abillion on Unsplash

Bar Pub Brewery Nightclub Club Nightlife Brand Identity

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New Review Platform Rejects Negativity

It’s Good: New Review Platform Rejects Negativity

by David Klemt

"Just be nice" sign on wall with graffiti

Combine equal parts incredible team of founders, love for food and travel, and respect for an expression that we should all adhere to more closely, and you get a new review platform.

The expression from which this team derives their platform’s ethos?

“If you don’t have something good to say, don’t say it at all.” But how can a review platform embody that age-old expression?

Well, it turns out that answer is rather simple: by refusing to allow negative reviews. That’s the foundation of how It’s Good plans to operate.

That is, of course, quite the departure from Yelp, Google Reviews, Tripadvisor, and other review platforms. In my experience, Yelp draws the ire of most operators. Obviously, it doesn’t help Yelp’s reputation among operators that people can review bomb a venue rather easily, among other issues.

On It’s Good, there’s no “star” ratings system. Negative comments? The platform is “not even built for” those, according to co-founder John Legend.

“Either you recommend [a place or experience] or you don’t,” says Legend, elaborating further on It’s Good.

The team of founders also includes Kevin Auerbach (who comes from Apple), Meghan Raab (from Snap), and director and photographer Mike Rosenthal.

With Auerbach and Raab guiding what is likely a top-notch engineering team, It’s Good should be simple and fun to use.

The User Experience

At the moment, It’s Good is an invite-only platform. According to articles online, Legend and Rosenthal have been working on the app for four years.

So, the initial idea is to lay the user foundation ahead of its public launch. Logical, since it would be challenging to sift through recommendations without a core user group populating the app first.

“Our mission is to be your go-to place for saving & sharing your most favorite places to eat and drink. Trustworthy recommendations for you, by you – from the people you know or admire, all in one beautiful space,” reads the waitlist confirmation email I received from Shirene Niksadat, It’s Good head of community.

Interestingly, one of the motivating factors behind this platform is Legend himself. Apparently, he’s a go-to source for recommendations amongst his friends.

“My friends always reach out to me for ‘my list’ of restaurants in the cities I’ve visited,” Legend is quoted as saying on the It’s Good website.

From what I can gather, the platform will allow people to find new restaurants, bars, and experiences via location-based and themed lists. I’m sure there’s more functionality, but the main takeaways are:

  • organized recommendations;
  • personalized recommendations from trusted sources and friends; and
  • recommendations that answer a simple question: Is this place or experience good?

“We believe a restaurant rec from 1 trusted friend is more valuable than recs from 10,000 strangers,” says the It’s Good site, right at the top.

That should give us all an idea of how this platform will operate, and what to expect when it goes live for the general public.

Obviously, I can’t provide a review of this review platform. But I can say that I’m looking forward to my opportunity to take it for a spin.

To get your name on the waitlist, click here.

Image: A A on Unsplash

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SevenRooms Reveals Revenue Management Tool

SevenRooms Reveals Revenue Management Tool

by David Klemt

Closeup view of buttons on vintage, antique cash register

Just when you think SevenRooms is done launching new solutions for the year they announce a new tool that will excite operators.

That new tool is Revenue Management. Much more than “just another” plugin, SevenRooms Revenue Management is an engine.

This new engine is feature-rich and automates a number important tasks. In fact, one feature in particular has our attention: the “do-it-for-me” function.

What does that feature give operators the power to accomplish while saving time and labor costs? Below are just a handful of benefits:

  • party size recommendations
  • dining duration configurations
  • decrease last-minute cancellations via cancellation policy implementation
  • floor plan configuration recommendations

Should this automation feature prove easy to understand and use, we can see that this latest tool may become the most popular among SevenRooms users.

To learn more about Revenue Management, scroll down to the latest SevenRooms press release.

Growth Recap

Let’s take a look at just some of the growth SevenRooms has achieved over the course of just the past few years.

  • March 2021: SevenRooms appoints Pamela Martinez as the company’s chief financial officer.
  • September 2021: SevenRooms announces a multi-year partnership with TheFork. The partnership is big news for operators throughout Europe and Australia. Further, the partnership illustrates how the company is pursuing global growth.
  • October of 2021: The company forms a partnership with Olo. This ensures clients who also use Olo are able to capture data from a key group: off-premise customers. That data creates profiles for such customers automatically. That means operators can learn more about—and effectively market to—customers who engage with them via online orders.
  • December 2021: SevenRooms and ThinkFoodGroup—the hospitality company behind Chef José Andrés’ portfolio of restaurants—make their partnership public. Interestingly, this partnership also includes ThinkFoodGroup joining SevenRooms in an advisory role.
  • January 2022: The platform announces the hiring of a chief revenue officer, Brent-Stig Kraus.
  • December 2022: SevenRooms enters into a partnership with Competitive Social Ventures.
  • January 2023: The company announces the appointment of their first-ever chief marketing officer.
  • March 2023: SevenRooms announces that Danny Meyer and EHI are investors in the platform. Following that announcement, SevenRooms launches Email Marketing Integration less than two weeks later.
  • May 2023: The company drops their Pre-Shift tool. Two weeks after that launch, SevenRooms announces a new global partnership with Marriott.

Most platforms launch a new solution or announce new partnerships once or twice per year. Not SevenRooms. And it’s this constant growth that encourages us to recommend the platform to our clients.


Automated revenue management solution will provide restaurants with the tools they need to optimize their operations and fill more seats, more often

NEW YORK (September 28, 2023) – SevenRooms, a guest experience and retention platform for the hospitality industry, today announced the launch of a new solution for restaurants: Revenue Management. The product serves as an engine for operators to generate more sales and profitability from the same seats, using data science to recommend how to optimize availability and increase table utilization.

To survive current economic conditions, restaurants need solutions that can save them time, reduce their labor costs and increase their sales and profits. Inspired by effective revenue management strategies long-used by the travel industry, Revenue Management extends this practice to the restaurant industry. The product automates these processes without the need for analysts, additional staff or high-priced consultants to manage changes, helping to:

  • Fill more seats, more often to increase sales by reducing the time seats sit empty
  • Save time and reduce burdensome labor costs by automating in-depth analysis, quickly making changes with a ‘do-it-for-me’ option
  • Provide operators with easy-to-digest insights along with ready-to-use actions that demystify proven steps taken by revenue leaders

Other systems on the market today may offer reporting on a handful of insights, but none help operators immediately action revenue-focused suggestions with a ‘do-it-for-me’ option that has an instant impact on their operations. Sample actions include recommendations on party size or dining duration configurations, when to institute cancellation policies to decrease last-minute cancellations, floor plan configuration recommendations and more. Diners also benefit, with more available reservations, a better dining experience (e.g. being sat on time and not being rushed out the door) and more unique experiences and offerings to choose from when dining out as operators have more time to focus on the guest experience.

Notably, Revenue Management also gives operators insights into how much demand was missed across booking channels by summarizing data on recent reservation attempts. This helps operators better manage these channels and optimize their books to offer more reservations across their most profitable channels.

“With Revenue Management, we are delivering on our promise to help operators make more money, providing a product that automatically executes on strategies used by the most successful hospitality brands throughout the world – without having to add team members or search out implementation experts,” said Angela DeFranco, VP of Product at SevenRooms. “This tool is both proactive and reactive, helping operators uncover untapped opportunities while simultaneously working to identify potentially harmful configuration issues that may restrict venues from maximizing sales and profitability. Today’s operators are busier than ever, and we are excited to bring Revenue Management to hospitality operators, helping them automatically fill more seats, more often while continuing to elevate their guest experiences.”

For more details on SevenRooms’ newest innovations, 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, Wynn Resorts, Jumeirah Group, Hard Rock Hotels & Resorts, Wolfgang Puck, Michael Mina, Bloomin’ Brands, José Andrés Group, Union Square Hospitality Group, Australian Venue Company, Altamarea Group, AELTC, The Wolseley Hospitality Group, Dishoom, Live Nation and Topgolf.

Image: Erik Mclean via Pexels

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Tech this Out: Rise of the Cobots

Tech this Out: Rise of the Cobots

by David Klemt

Red arm of a humanoid robot

As technological innovations continue to flood the hospitality industry, restaurant and hotel robots appear to be on the rise.

Or, perhaps more accurately, robotics companies appear to be targeting hospitality more.

There were, for example, far more robots on the National Restaurant Association Show floor this year. Beverage-making robots, server bots, room service delivery robots, lobby “host” and information bots, automated robot arms… There were robots in each hall.

Interestingly, however, a different word is beginning to take hold: “cobot.”

While the concept isn’t newcobots have been working in other industriesthe word is likely new to hospitality professionals.

Simply put, “cobot” is a portmanteau of “collaborative robot.” These are, therefore, robots that work alongside and with humans. In other words, the term implies that these robots aren’t here to replace people.

Rather, we’re to believe that cobots are just here to take over hazardous and tedious tasks.

Dropping fries? Let the cobot do it. Flipping patties? Why should a human do that when we have cobots? Food is up? Send out the serverbot. Table needs turning? The cobot can drop the dishes, flatware, and glassware to the dishwasher station.

It’s difficult for me to not be skeptical. “Cobot” may aim to imply collaboration, but how long until most of the back of house is automated? How long until members of the kitchen team go from “freed up” to replaced fully?

On the flip side, however, I do see the appeal. Some tasks are tedious. There are hazardous tasks. Labor costs are too high. It is difficult to find and retain talent.

Cobots and other forms of automation offer viable solutions.

Cobots, Roll Out!

So, are these pie-in-the-sky vanity prototypes getting media attention? Or are there really cobots available?

If you have the money and the inclination, these robots aren’t vaporware. There are robots designed to take on several restaurant and hotel tasks that can work at your venue today.

Of course, you have to keep your back-of-house and front-of-house footprint and layout in mind. Perhaps more importantly, you also need to understand how your guests feel about technology, automation, and robots.

I don’t mean making assumptions, either. No, not every Millennial or member of Gen Z is tech-hungry. In fact, some are tech-averse and don’t want robots making or delivering their food. It’s not, as some would say, a vibe.

This is to say, the decision to bring cobots into your business isn’t just about cost. This robots will affect your bottom line in various ways, affect your team, and affect the guest experience. In turn, that means they affect your brand.

Of course, cobots and automation do work with some concepts and brands. If automation and tech-savviness are part of the brand, cobots should work.

However, it’s wise to proceed cautiously and intentionally.

Guidance, Information and Entertainment

SoftBank Robotics manufactures Pepper, a robot my friends and I have interacted with in Las Vegas.

Formerly the Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas, we’ve played around with Pepper at the Waldorf Astoria over the years. Pepper has offered to help us check in, provide information about the hotel, told us jokes, and played music and danced with us. (It’s possible we’ve danced with Pepper after visiting the hotel’s Moët & Chandon vending machine.)

Another interactive robot is Guiderbot G2, also known as Peanut, by Keenon Robotics. I’ve interacted with Peanut at the 2023 NRA Show in Chicago and this year’s Hospitality Show in Las Vegas. Peanut is, for lack of a better word, cute and people seem to want to engage with it.

As one may guess from the formal name of Guiderbot, Peanut is tasked with a mission similar to Pepper’s.

Delivery and Bussing

I also “met” Keenon’s Butlerbot W3, Peanut’s room service delivering peer. Interestingly, the four doors can be configured to best deliver to a guest or guests.

Then there are the Dinerbots, a series of Keenon robots that can “work” at restaurants and drop orders off at tables.

Spend any amount of time on most hospitality trade show floors and you’ll encounter front-of-house delivery cobots. And, of course, these robots can be used to clear tables and pop by the dishwashing station.


Most operators, when thinking about automation, are likely familiar with Flippy, Flippy 2, and Flippy Lite.

From Miso Robotics, this family of robots features robot arms that tend to fryers. That a Flippy can handle just about any fried food and fit in most kitchens without much modification (if any) makes these cobots attractive.

From what I’m seeing, robotic arms are the cobots du jour. Along with Flippy there are the Intelligent French Fry Robotic Solution from Atosa; FryBot from Lab2Fab; and the Wingman from Nala Robotics. And that’s just a few of the cobot arms out there.

Of similar design are a variety of automated beverage-producing robots. At the moment, these tend to be robotic arms contained within a trailer or kiosk that are capable of quickly serving personalized coffees. One impressive example is Robojo by Zink.

There are also automated make lines, such as the Robochef SmartLine and TechMagic P-Robo.

We don’t know how long it will be until robots are commonplace in restaurants. For now, they seem to be at home mostly in a select few chain restaurants, niche operations in destination markets, and hotels.

However, as we all know, as tech goes from early adoption to ubiquity, cost becomes less of a barrier of entry. My concerns, for now, are the risks to people’s jobs and the impact on the guest experience.

Image: Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash

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

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

We Ask ChatGPT to Write Marketing Plans

We Ask ChatGPT to Write Marketing Plans

by David Klemt

3D render of ChatGPT logo

The hype surrounding artificial intelligence and chatbots in general, and ChatGPT in particular, is still going strong and likely won’t slow any time soon.

Of course, the hype focuses on the capabilities of various AI platforms. So far, the promise is that chatbots and other forms of AI will make our lives easier. They’ll perform “mundane” tasks that bog down humans so that we can center our attention on higher-level functions.

Unfortunately, many companies enamored already with the current capabilities aren’t giving all their employees more complex or creative tasks. Instead, they’re automating what they can—putting their faith in nascent technology—and firing humans.

We’ve played around with ChatGPT before. We’ve also spoken with Bing and Bard. And so far the results have always been…less than impressive, shall I say.

What they’ve produced for us as far as food and drink menus is mediocre, at best. Other interactions have resulted in our request being denied.

So, that got me thinking. Maybe these chatbots can’t secure potential guests reservations or waitlist spots (at least not without significant manipulation). And perhaps the menus it writes are far too basic. Are they able to replace the human element and give us not just advice but an entire marketing plan?

Well, you’ll find out below.

Can you create a marketing plan for an upscale restaurant in Toronto, Ontario, Canada?

Marketing Plan for an Upscale Restaurant in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

  1. Define Your Target Market: Identify your target audience for the upscale restaurant. Consider factors such as demographics (age, income level, occupation), psychographics (lifestyle, interests), and dining preferences. For example, your target market could be affluent professionals, food enthusiasts, or tourists seeking a high-end dining experience.
  2. Develop a Unique Selling Proposition (USP): Determine what sets your upscale restaurant apart from the competition. It could be a unique menu concept, exceptional service, a specific cuisine, or a breathtaking ambiance. Your USP should be compelling and communicate the value customers will receive by choosing your restaurant.
  3. Branding and Positioning: Create a strong brand identity that resonates with your target market. Develop a logo, color palette, and visual elements that convey the upscale and sophisticated nature of your restaurant. Craft a positioning statement that highlights your USP and appeals to the desires and aspirations of your target audience.
  4. Online Presence: Build a professional website that showcases your restaurant’s ambiance, menu offerings, and reservation options. Optimize the website for search engines to increase online visibility. Leverage social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook to share captivating visuals, engage with customers, and promote special offers or events.
  5. Local Search Optimization: Ensure your restaurant appears in local search results by optimizing your Google My Business profile and other online directories. Encourage customers to leave positive reviews to enhance your restaurant’s reputation and credibility.
  6. Content Marketing: Create valuable content related to the restaurant industry, culinary trends, and fine dining experiences. Develop a blog or share articles on your website to establish your restaurant as a thought leader. Utilize email marketing campaigns to stay connected with customers, share updates, and offer exclusive promotions.
  7. Influencer Partnerships: Collaborate with local influencers, food bloggers, and social media personalities who align with your restaurant’s brand. Invite them for exclusive tastings or events to generate buzz and increase exposure. Encourage them to share their experiences and recommendations with their followers.
  8. Strategic Partnerships: Forge partnerships with complementary businesses in the area, such as luxury hotels, theaters, or art galleries. Explore cross-promotion opportunities, joint events, or special packages to attract their clientele and expand your reach.
  9. Event Marketing: Host unique events, such as wine tastings, chef collaborations, or themed evenings, to attract new customers and provide memorable experiences. Promote these events through your website, social media channels, and local event listings to generate excitement and drive reservations.
  10. Customer Loyalty Program: Implement a customer loyalty program to incentivize repeat visits and referrals. Offer exclusive perks, personalized offers, or a points-based system to reward loyal patrons and encourage them to bring friends and family.
  11. Community Involvement: Engage with the local community by participating in charity events, sponsoring local initiatives, or collaborating with neighboring businesses. This involvement fosters goodwill, enhances brand reputation, and builds a loyal customer base.
  12. Monitor and Measure: Continuously monitor the performance of your marketing efforts using key metrics such as website traffic, reservation rates, customer feedback, and social media engagement. Use this data to refine your strategies and optimize your marketing campaigns.

Remember, an effective marketing plan is adaptable and should evolve based on market trends, customer feedback, and business goals. Regularly assess and adjust your strategies to ensure your upscale restaurant maintains a competitive edge and remains top-of-mind among discerning diners in Toronto.

Can you write a social media marketing plan for a neighborhood bar in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada?

Social Media Marketing Plan for a Neighborhood Bar in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

  1. Define Your Social Media Goals: Identify the specific goals you want to achieve through social media, such as increasing brand awareness, driving foot traffic, promoting events or specials, and fostering customer engagement and loyalty.
  2. Identify Target Audience: Determine the demographics and interests of your target audience. For a neighborhood bar, this may include locals, young professionals, college students, and individuals interested in nightlife and community gatherings.
  3. Choose Social Media Platforms: Select social media platforms that align with your target audience and business objectives. Consider platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, based on their popularity and relevance to your target market.
  4. Content Strategy: Develop a content strategy that showcases the unique aspects of your neighborhood bar. Mix promotional content, such as happy hour deals or event announcements, with engaging and shareable content, such as behind-the-scenes glimpses, customer spotlights, or cocktail recipes. Encourage user-generated content by running contests or featuring customer photos and experiences.
  5. Visual Branding: Create a consistent visual identity across your social media profiles. Use high-quality, eye-catching images and videos that reflect the ambiance, drinks, and overall vibe of your bar. Incorporate your logo and brand colors to enhance recognition and reinforce brand identity.
  6. Engage with Followers: Regularly monitor and respond to comments, messages, and reviews on your social media platforms. Engage with followers by asking questions, running polls, and sparking conversations. Show appreciation for positive feedback and address any concerns promptly and professionally.
  7. Local Influencers and Collaborations: Partner with local influencers, bloggers, or popular accounts to promote your bar. Invite them for tastings or to host events at your venue. Their endorsement can help increase visibility, attract new patrons, and create buzz among the local community.
  8. Promote Special Events and Offers: Leverage social media to promote special events, live music performances, themed nights, and limited-time offers. Create event pages, share event details, and encourage followers to RSVP and share with their friends. Consider partnering with local artists, musicians, or charities to enhance community engagement.
  9. User-Generated Content and Reviews: Encourage customers to share their experiences at your bar by creating branded hashtags, running photo contests, or offering incentives for leaving reviews. Repost and share user-generated content to showcase the lively and welcoming atmosphere of your neighborhood bar.
  10. Social Media Advertising: Consider allocating a portion of your marketing budget to targeted social media advertising. Utilize the platforms’ advertising tools to reach a wider audience, promote specific events or offerings, and drive traffic to your bar. Experiment with different ad formats, such as carousel ads or video ads, to maximize engagement.
  11. Social Media Management Tools: Utilize social media management tools, such as Hootsuite or Buffer, to schedule posts, monitor analytics, and streamline your social media efforts. These tools can help you maintain a consistent posting schedule and track the effectiveness of your social media campaigns.
  12. Measure and Adjust: Regularly monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) such as follower growth, engagement rate, reach, and conversions. Analyze the data to assess the effectiveness of your social media efforts and make informed decisions on adjustments to your strategy. Experiment with different content types, posting times, and promotional strategies based on the insights gained.

By implementing this social media marketing plan, you can effectively engage with your local audience, increase brand awareness, and foster a sense of community around your neighborhood bar in Vancouver.


Perhaps programmers and engineers can squeeze more in-depth results out of AI-powered chatbots. That tells me that these platforms aren’t quite ready for the average person.

Speaking plainly, the ChatGPT results above are underwhelming. In part, this is because any operator who attends an industry trade show and sits in on a marketing session will walk away with similar information. More importantly, they’ll take home at least a nugget or two of higher-level advice they can implement immediately.

The same can be said for anyone following a marketing account on Instagram: they’re sharing high-level tips at this point.

When we look at what ChatGPT suggests, it’s surface-level at best. Crucially, it’s too general to really be effective. The what may be there, but not the how to achieve consistent results. Moreover, would you, as a client, want to pay a consulting or marketing agency for an AI-generated marketing plan? Wouldn’t you expect an effective, impactful plan created specifically for your concept?

Artificial intelligence can be impressive. The technology has the capability to wow. But creating at a level equal to or above the human element? It’s just not there, in my opinion.

Automating the scheduling of human-generated social media and email marketing posts? Effective. Asking chatbots to generate those assets? Proceed with caution.

Image: ilgmyzin on Unsplash

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

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Why You Need to Use Direct Bookings

Why You Need to Use Direct Bookings

by David Klemt

White "Reserved" sign in wooden block on table

A new report from guest retention platform SevenRooms shows that like delivery, guests prefer to support restaurants directly when it comes to reservations.

Similar to their awareness of third-party delivery platform fees, today’s guest appears to be aware that third-party marketplaces cost restaurants and bars too much.

Let’s consider the guest discovery journey. According to their 2023 Dining Discovery & Booking Report, SevenRooms says most guests discover new restaurants via word of mouth. In fact, 61 percent of people rely on family, friends, and co-workers to find new restaurants. A third of diners use Google (33 percent), and nearly as many use social media (29 percent).

So, what role do third-party marketplaces play in restaurant and bar discovery? Per SevenRooms, not even ten percent of people who discover new places to grab a bite or a drink use such platforms.

Their research shows that just nine percent of diners use OpenTable to find new restaurants. However, that’s three times the number of diners that Resy (three percent) is seeing use their platform for discovery.

Okay, so what does this mean to you, the operator? It means that you should be leveraging a direct-booking feature. Guests are telling us how they want to experience restaurants and bars. They’ve let us know they prefer direct delivery. Now, they’re letting us know they prefer direct booking.

In other words, give them what they want: user-friendly ways to support your business. Make it easy to find you on social. Ensure your website is functional and easy to navigate. And give delivery and booking buttons prime real estate on your website so guests can find them quickly.

I also recommend communicating that you offer direct bookings, and thanking those who use that functionality for supporting your business directly. This can, of course, be done via automated marketing emails.

For more information—including how many diners call restaurants directly to make reservations—please read the SevenRooms press release below. You can also download their latest report here.


Leading guest experience and retention platform highlights consumer expectations for discovering new restaurants and making reservations

NEW YORK (June 7, 2023) – SevenRooms, a guest experience and retention platform for the hospitality industry, released its latest consumer report, “2023 Dining Discovery & Booking Report,” highlighting how guests discover new restaurants and book reservations. One thing is clear – diners are utilizing many channels for discovery – from word of mouth to a variety of online channels. Nearly two-thirds (61%) of diners hear about or discover new restaurants from friends, family and co-workers, followed by 33% using Google, 29% searching social media for restaurant profiles and 22% discovering through social media influencers or trusted sources. Only a small percentage use third-party platforms such as OpenTable (9%) and Resy (3%) to discover new restaurants.

“Coming out of the pandemic, operators are navigating an entirely new landscape which includes how diners are discovering and booking reservations,” said Joel Montaniel, CEO & Co-Founder of SevenRooms. “In this new world three things are clear: being everywhere diners are online is table stakes, diners prefer to book directly as opposed to using a third-party app, and while third-party apps are still important, Google is quickly becoming one of the preferred destinations for diners when they don’t go direct to the restaurant.”

Defining today’s restaurant guest

In the United States, today’s guests expect more than just a meal, and creating opportunities to build loyalty will set restaurants apart. Each experience can turn a one-time diner into a loyal guest – but it must include personalized touches from start to finish. It is critical for operators to own their data to create a relationship with each guest based on preferences, past visits and upcoming special occasions noted when booking direct. By building this relationship, operators are able to be more proactive with their guests, personalize dining experiences and use the data they collect to curate experiences that will ultimately drive more revenue.

The beauty of a direct booking platform is the ability to capture that data; for example, asking the guest when they are booking if they are celebrating anything special, or noting dietary preferences. Guests are also willing to make that extra step to make sure they have an excellent experience – nearly half (45%) of diners will call the restaurant directly to book a reservation, and 35% will book through the restaurant’s website. Twenty-nine percent of diners also say that they receive better experiences at the restaurant when they book direct, and more than 1 in 4 (27%) feel restaurants prioritize their reservation when doing so. 

Similar to how today’s diners are catching on to the experiential benefits of booking direct, they are also realizing that third-party platforms are not actually in the best interest of the restaurant. Sixty-one percent believe that making reservations directly with the restaurant, rather than with a third-party reservation platform, is better for the restaurant. Additionally:

  • 29% of respondents want to do all they can to directly support restaurants
  • 17% of respondents noted that third-party reservation platforms charge too much in fees to the restaurant, and guests would rather not have the restaurant incur that cost

“As the expectation for incredible experiences grows, third-party reservation platforms are losing market share as diners prefer to book directly with restaurants to ensure they get the best experience,” said Montaniel. “SevenRooms has always been dedicated and focused on empowering operators to deliver the most personalized guest experiences. Our omnichannel approach, enabling restaurants to meet guests wherever they are, whether through global discovery and booking channels or a restaurant’s own website, helps operators serve diners in this new world while helping them operate more sustainable and profitable businesses.

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: 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.

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KRG Hospitality. Restaurant Business Plan. Feasibility Study. Concept. Branding. Consultant. Start-Up.

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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

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