Leadership

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

5 Books to Read this Month: April 2024

5 Books to Read this Month: April 2024

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

Our inspiring and informative March book selections will help you improve operations, refresh and streamline F&B programming, and learn more about coffee.

This month, we look at books covering an array of topics: overcoming dysfunctions within teams; stepping outside of comfort zones; cocktail and Irish dish recipes; and repurposing existing buildings.

To review the book recommendations from March 2024, click here.

Let’s jump in!

Roundbuilding

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it seems like most cocktail books target home bartenders. In a refreshing change of pace, Roundbuilding is specifically for working bartenders. In case the name doesn’t give it away, this book is about crafting and serving consistent rounds of cocktails and ensuring a high standard of service.

From Amazon:Roundbuiding is a practical guide to mixing cocktails, aimed at the working bartender. This is a book about ensuring that, for every round you serve, every drink is made to a consistently high standard, and that first sip always makes an impression. It’s the nuts and bolts of mixing drinks.”

Buy it today!

The World Atlas of Coffee (2nd Edition)

This bestseller enjoys a 4.8-star rating on Amazon with nearly 4,000 reviews on the platform. The World Atlas of Coffee also boasts a score of 4.4 on Goodreads.

Written by World Barista Champion James Hoffman (who’s also the co-founder of a successful coffee roaster operating out of London), this book will provide the reader with just about everything they need to know about coffee. The rise in popularity of cocktails like the Carajillo and the near-constant chatter about the Espresso Martini got me thinking: I should probably include a coffee book in one of these roundups.

From Amazon: “Coffee has never been better, or more interesting, than it is today. Coffee producers have access to more varieties and techniques than ever before and we, as consumers, can share in that expertise to make sure the coffee we drink is the best we can find. Where coffee comes from, how it was harvested, the roasting process and the water used to make the brew are just a few of the factors that influence the taste of what we drink. Champion barista and coffee expert James Hoffmann examines these key factors, looking at varieties of coffee, the influence of terroir, how it is harvested and processed, the roasting methods used, through to the way in which the beans are brewed.”

Pick your copy up now.

The Complete Recipe Writing Guide: Mastering Recipe Development, Writing, Testing, Nutrition Analysis, and Food Styling

This book isn’t even a year old but has already made waves. In fact, it was listed as one of Chef Eric Ripert‘s (Le Bernardin in New York City) books of the month just a couple of months after publication.

From Amazon:The Complete Recipe Writing Guide shows you how to create professional recipe content from development to publication. Raeanne Sarazen, a registered dietitian and chef, shares her expertise from over 20 years of working with recipes as a test kitchen professional, recipe developer, food writer, and editor, along with insider tips from top industry professionals. Like a master class on recipes, this comprehensive resource guides you through the variety of skills needed to create and share successful recipes.”

Get your copy here.

Bar Hacks: Developing The Fundamentals for an Epic Bar

This informative and conversational book written by KRG Hospitality president Doug Radkey is the perfect read for aspiring or seasoned bar, pub, lounge, or even restaurant owners, operators, and managers looking for that competitive edge in operations! If you’re looking for both fundamental and in-depth planning methods, strategies, and industry focused insight to either start or grow a scalable, sustainable, memorable, profitable, and consistent venue in today’s cut-throat industry, Bar Hacks is written just for you.

Pick up the paperback from Amazon today!

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

Doug’s followup book to Bar Hacks! The world around us has changed. The food and beverage industry has changed. The hospitality industry has changed. But will some ways of life change for the better? Will perhaps the restaurant, bar, and hospitality industry come out even stronger? With the right changes to the previous status quo, it is possible. There’s no question, resets are major undertakings, but a major reset will provide us with a clean start and that’s what this industry needs.

Pick up KRG Hospitality president Doug Radkey’s second book today! Click here.

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

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by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

5 Books to Read this Month: February 2024

5 Books to Read this Month: February 2024

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

Our inspiring and informative February book selections will help you and your team transform your operations, business acumen, and F&B programming.

This month, we look at books covering an array of topics: design; learning to negotiate better; learning cocktail balance and build techniques; and finding your inner chef.

To review the book recommendations from January 2024, click here.

Let’s jump in!

Biophilic Design: The Theory, Science and Practice of Bringing Buildings to Life

This book was co-authored by the late Stephen R. Kellert, one of the developers of the biophilic design methodology. To learn more about biophilic design, click here. Then, pick up this book.

From Amazon: “This book offers a paradigm shift in how we design and build our buildings and our communities, one that recognizes that the positive experience of natural systems and processes in our buildings and constructed landscapes is critical to human health, performance, and well-being. Biophilic design is about humanity’s place in nature and the natural world’s place in human society, where mutuality, respect, and enriching relationships can and should exist at all levels and should emerge as the norm rather than the exception.”

The Cocktail Balance

Written by Stanislav Harcinik, The Cocktail Balance is about more than building cocktails. Readers will learn about the role senses play in cocktails and balance, along with presentation and service.

From thecocktailbalance.com: “My work isn’t focused solely on experienced bartenders, students are part of the target group. By including potential new bartenders, this book wishes to push the upcoming students into a broader, more creative mindset. The book itself is divided into 3 main sections – theory, practical part and legacy from the best bartenders in Slovakia. Theory, contains the basics and building blocks that allow the development of a professional approach, it also focuses on how to present yourself and how to take care of guests. Whereas in the practical section, readers will be able to learn to price a cocktail and to effectively go through a structured creative process. Other chapters also include gastrophysics and neurogastronomy. In other words how an aroma, a physical characteristics, a sound as well as visual stimulation affect the final flavour of a cocktail, and create a comprehensive and unforgettable experience for guests.”

Pick up your copy today.

Craft Cocktails at Home: Offbeat Techniques, Contemporary Crowd-Pleasers, and Classics Hacked with Science

Some bar professionals and guests like to understand the “why” behind what they consume. Why does this taste good? Why and how do certain processes affect spirits? Kevin Liu’s book answers these questions, and more. On top of that, there are 65 recipes to try.

From Amazon: “In Craft Cocktails at Home, you’ll embark upon a one-of-a-kind journey as you learn how to make some of the world’s most innovative, unique, and delicious cocktails. Taste scientists, engineers, and talented bartenders with decades of experience all contributed their expertise to create this must-have guide for novices and professionals alike. Ever wondered what makes water taste good? Curious about what really happens during the barrel-aging process? Interested in which “molecular” ingredients have the best texture? These questions and more, answered inside.”

Order the paperback here.

The Forgotten Chef

Simply put, this book is intended to inspire younger generations to pursue cooking as a career. If you know someone who has an interest in cooking but hasn’t taken steps to become a chef, this is the book you should gift them.

From Amazon: “The book moves quickly through food stories, tips and techniques to inspire and ignite the passion of its targeted reader. Through anecdotal food related stories, the book covers important topics such as the right mindset for cooking success, quality over quantity, kitchen organization (mise en place), kitchen tools (the Dirty Thirty), the celebrity chef conundrum (why people get discouraged in their cooking journey), introduction to knife skills/care, cookbook basics, food preservation and safety and other fun chapters such as saving Grandma’s recipes from extinction, the lost art of sharing (food), and the new-old method of cooking, sous vide.”

Click here to order the paperback.

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In

Everyone needs to know how to negotiate. It’s a valuable skill not just for business but for life in general. Getting to Yes is a how-to manual that teaches you the art of negotiation, a skill you’ll need to develop if you’re an entrepreneur, aspiring business owner, or professional looking to progress in their career. And, as I’ve already said, it will help you in situations you’ll find yourself in outside of business.

From Amazon: “Getting to Yes offers a proven, step-by-step strategy for coming to mutually acceptable agreements in every sort of conflict. Thoroughly updated and revised, it offers readers a straight- forward, universally applicable method for negotiating personal and professional disputes without getting angry-or getting taken.”

Get it today.

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

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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.

Conclusion

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

5 Books to Read this Month: January 2024

5 Books to Read this Month: January 2024

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

Our inspiring and informative January book selections will help you and your team transform your operations and F&B programming.

This month, we look at books covering an array of topics: becoming a great boss; gaining perspective when analyzing your business; and more.

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

Let’s jump in!

Single AF Cocktails: Drinks for Bad B*tches

You may roll your eyes at the title of this cocktail book but there’s no denying it has your attention. In that way, it’s much like a well-curated, themed cocktail menu split into cleverly named sections. In fact, this book is separated into sections that match its overall theme. For example, Honeymoon Phase, Betrayal, Devastation, and Resilience. If you have reality show fans among your guests, they’ll likely know author Ariana Madix from Vanderpump Rules and Dancing with the Stars. So, they’ll probably dig these drinks.

From Amazon: “The newly solo Ariana serves up her own recipes and perspective in a unique exploration of the stages of a doomed relationship. In her own words, Ariana takes back the narrative of her very public breakup while inspiring others to find inner strength in their own troubles. Each drink tells part of the story from her point of view, from when she first met her ex, through the insidious affair and its painful aftermath, and to her present state, coming out the other side, stronger than before.”

Grab it today!

How to Be a Great Boss

Entrepreneurs, when working with a team, need to be leaders. That means being a great boss. However, that doesn’t mean being a tyrant. If you want to earn buy-in from your team, if you want to get the most out of each person, you need to get them excited and engaged.

From Amazon: “Studies have repeatedly shown that the majority of employees are disengaged at work. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Often, the difference between a group of indifferent employees and a fully engaged team comes down to one simple thing: —a great boss.

“In How to Be a Great Boss, Gino Wickman and René Boer present a straightforward, practical approach to help bosses at all levels of an organization get the most from their people. They share time-tested tools that have worked for more than 30,000 bosses in every industry. You can learn to be a great boss—and dramatically improve both your organization’s performance and your team’s excitement about their work.”

Pick up the hardcover today.

Same as Ever: A Guide to What Never Changes

As a business owner, it’s smart to see what’s changing. However, it’s also crucial to identify what’s not changing to gain perspective and understand the whole picture.

From Amazon: “With his usual elan, Morgan Housel presents a master class on optimizing risk, seizing opportunity, and living your best life. Through a sequence of engaging stories and pithy examples, he shows how we can use our newfound grasp of the unchanging to see around corners, not by squinting harder through the uncertain landscape of the future, but by looking backwards, being more broad-sighted, and focusing instead on what is permanently true.

“By doing so, we may better anticipate the big stuff, and achieve the greatest success, not merely financial comforts, but most importantly, a life well lived.”

Click here for the hardcover, or here for the paperback.

Bar Hacks: Developing The Fundamentals for an Epic Bar

This informative and conversational book written by KRG Hospitality president Doug Radkey is the perfect read for aspiring or seasoned bar, pub, lounge, or even restaurant owners, operators, and managers looking for that competitive edge in operations! If you’re looking for both fundamental and in-depth planning methods, strategies, and industry focused insight to either start or grow a scalable, sustainable, memorable, profitable, and consistent venue in today’s cut-throat industry, Bar Hacks is written just for you.

Pick up the paperback from Amazon today!

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

Doug’s followup book to Bar Hacks! The world around us has changed. The food and beverage industry has changed. The hospitality industry has changed. But will some ways of life change for the better? Will perhaps the restaurant, bar, and hospitality industry come out even stronger? With the right changes to the previous status quo, it is possible. There’s no question, resets are major undertakings, but a major reset will provide us with a clean start and that’s what this industry needs.

Pick up KRG Hospitality president Doug Radkey’s second book today! Click here.

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

Business Plan for Boutique Hotel Motel Resort Property

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

2023 KRG Recap: Top 10 Articles

2023 KRG Recap: Top 10 Articles

by David Klemt

The roman numeral for the number 10 on a clock

Here it is! The final roundup of 2023, a collection of the top ten articles spanning all categories, including news, operations, and F&B.

Unlike our previous three year-end roundups, some of these articles aren’t from 2023. As an example, one of our most-read articles is from 2022, and it’s about the happiest provinces in Canada.

We’re humbled and grateful that you continue to view us as a trustworthy source of hospitality industry analysis, advice, and news. We look forward to serving you further in 2024.

Cheers!

Three hands holding up three pineapples

Raise the Bar: The 3 Ps of Hospitality

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.

People

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.

For the rest of the Three Ps, click here.

Tortilla with beans, cotija cheese and egg

Canadian Trends 2023: Technomic

Restaurant, bar, and hotel operators will find this year’s data-driven trend predictions from Technomic for 2023 insightful.

Interestingly but perhaps not surprisingly, some operators may be looking beyond North America for inspiration.

Per Technomic, Central and South American cuisines could influence menus in Canada this year. Other food trends that might take hold are “retro” health items, and all manner of pickled foods.

Of course, not every Canadian trend prediction involves F&B. According to Technomic, tech and the guest experience will play important roles.

To review last year’s Technomic predictions, click here. Now, let’s jump into Technomic’s 2023 predictions.

Guest Experience

Certainly, the guest experience should always be top of mind for operators, their leadership teams, and their staff.

In this instance, Technomic isn’t suggesting that the guest experience in general will be a trend. Obviously, with as important as it is to the success of any business, it’s a cornerstone.

Rather, Technomic predicts that guests will continue to feel the need to rein in their spending due to ricing costs and prices. However, the foodservice research firm also believes there’s still heavy desire for social interaction.

So, both those financial and social influences translate to the following: overdelivery.

Operators and their teams must ensure they position their brands well; make guests feel special every visit; and really dial in the guest experience. Specifically, Technomic suggests focusing on younger generations and menus with at least a couple specialty items that aren’t easy for a guest to replicate at home.

In other words, do whatever it takes to entice guests with memorable experience and quality menu items, and keep them coming back for more.

Follow this link to continue reading.

Server carrying two plates with one hand

Just.Safe.Food. and More Alternatives to ServSafe

ServSafe, the National Restaurant Association‘s food safety training program, isn’t the only food handler training game in town.

Certainly, the program is the most well known in our industry. However, it’s fair to say that ServSafe is closer to infamous than just ubiquitous due to a New York Times article from January.

While it’s the most recognizable of the food safety programs, it’s not the only one. Although, ServSafe’s omnipresence likely gives many the impression that it’s ServSafe or nothing.

There are, however, alternatives to ServSafe. In fact, one challenger was announced a day after the explosive New York Times article that thrust ServSafe into a spotlight the NRA probably isn’t enjoying. (After all, one result of that article was a letter from six US senators demanding answers from the NRA about ServSafe by March 3.)

At any rate, the newest alternative to ServSafe comes from One Fair Wage. The program is Just.Safe.Food. and costs just $10. (As a reminder, ServSafe costs $15.)

For that $10, Just.Safe.Food. gives an individual three attempts to pass their exam and unlimited access to training materials. Additionally, One Fair Wage (OFW) says profits they raise from the program will go toward advocating for restaurant workers.

OFW, as many in the industry know, is owned and operated by restaurant workers. Two cornerstones of the organization’s mission are increasing the minimum wage, and ending the tip credit. OFW is also attempting to convince lawmakers to stop accepting donations from the NRA.

Basically, OFW and the NRA are—and it appears always have been—at odds with with one another.

To learn more, click here.

Newfoundland and Labrador during daytime

These are the Happiest Provinces in Canada

If you’re wondering which province in Canada is the happiest, Statistics Canada has the answer—and the happiest may surprise you.

Of course, those who live and work in the happiest province won’t find it shocking. After all, they’re largely happy to be there.

However, if you expect the happiest province to be the home of Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal or Canada… Well, you’re in for a surprise.

Earlier this week we took a look at the happiest cities and states in America. Congratulations Fremont, California, and Hawaii, respectively. To learn where 181 other cities and 49 states rank, please click here.

The Happiness Survey

Or more accurately, the “life satisfaction” survey. For this survey, that’s what Statistics Canada reveals: life satisfaction.

Interestingly, the survey is very simple. Apparently, Statistics Canada simply asked participants to rate the satisfaction of living in their province, zero through ten. For this survey, zero is least satisfied, ten is most.

Ages 15 through 75 (and older) were able to participate. The survey was also broken down to gauge the satisfaction of men and women.

Before we jump into the breakdown of province satisfaction or happiness, some good news. Reviewing the Statistics Canada data, most participants across all age groups are happy. In fact, age groups 65 to 74 and 75-plus appear to be happiest.

On the other side, ages 15 to 54 had the most people who rated their life satisfaction between zero and five. Even so, just over 20 percent of survey respondents rated their satisfaction a five or less.

So, on the whole, Canadians seem satisfied or happy with their lives, regardless of the province in which they live. Personally, I find that to be great news.

Click here to keep reading.

Glendalough Distillery Wild Gin Irish gin

8 Glendalough Distillery Cocktail Recipes

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

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

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

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

Sláinte!

Glendalough Distillery Double Barrel Single Malt Irish Whiskey

The Lough Inn

This highball is made with Glendalough Double Barrel, a single-grain Irish whiskey aged in ex-bourbon barrels before being finished in Oloroso sherry casks.

  • 2 oz. Glendalough Double Barrel Single Grain Irish Whiskey
  • 1 oz. Spiced honey syrup (see note)
  • 1 oz. Fresh lemon juice
  • Soda to top
  • Lemon wheel or slice to garnish
  • Mint leaf to garnish
  • 1 cup Honey for spiced honey syrup
  • 0.5 cup Water for spiced honey syrup
  • 4 Cinnamon sticks for spiced honey syrup
  • 1 pod Star anise for spiced honey syrup

Add ice to a highball glass, then add first three ingredients. Top with soda water. Garnish with lemon wheel or slice and freshly torn mint leaf.

For spiced honey syrup: Add honey, water, cinnamon sticks, and star anise to pot. Bring to a boil, then stir. Strain into container.

For more Glendalough Distillery recipes, click here.

White Russian cocktail made with Mr. Black Coffee Liqueur

7 Coffee Liqueurs You Need to Know

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

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

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

Below are seven coffee liqueurs that shine in an Espresso Martini, Old Fashioned, Negroni, Irish Coffee, or any number of rich, flavorful cocktails. Cheers!

Mr. Black

Most of the reviews out there place Mr. Black at the top when it comes to coffee liqueurs. Once you’ve sipped it neat, you understand why. The coffee flavor is outstanding, and that should come as no surprise. After all, Mr. Black is crafted in Australia, a country with a rich coffee culture.

Additionally, Mr. Black occasionally releases special batches. In the past, the brand has produced Single Origin Ethiopia, Single Origin Colombia, and collaborations with WhistlePig and St. Ali Coffee Roasters. They also have a coffee amaro available.

Grind Espresso Shot

You really can’t go wrong making an Espresso Martini with an espresso liqueur. Grind Espresso Shot gives Mr. Black a run for their money in the coffee liqueur showdown.

This blend of Caribbean rum, espresso, coffee, and coffee extract that shines in just about any cocktail.

Click here for more coffee liqueurs to consider adding to your inventory.

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.

Closeup of keyboard

Can ChatGPT Write Food and Drink Menus?

After my “conversation” last month with ChatGPT about AI, I had another conversation during which I asked it to write me four menus.

Of course, I did this to prove a point. And upon reviewing the ChatGPT menus, you’ll likely reach the same conclusion.

Curious about how creative the AI-powered chatbot could be, I asked for four specific menus. As you’ll see, two are cocktail specific, one focuses on food, and one is a 20-item F&B menu for a specific event.

So, yes, ChatGPT can write food and drink menus. But there’s a caveat. I could leave you in suspense but that’s not very nice. Let’s jump in.

Write me a cocktail menu using the most popular cocktails from 2022.

Cocktail Menu

  1. Aperol Spritz – Aperol, Prosecco, and soda water, garnished with an orange slice
  2. Old Fashioned – Bourbon, sugar, bitters, and a citrus peel
  3. Margarita – Tequila, triple sec, lime juice, and salt rim
  4. Daiquiri – Rum, lime juice, and simple syrup
  5. Moscow Mule – Vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice
  6. Paloma – Tequila, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and soda water
  7. Pina Colada – Rum, pineapple juice, coconut cream, and a cherry garnish
  8. Whiskey Sour – Bourbon, lemon juice, and simple syrup
  9. French 75 – Gin, Champagne, lemon juice, and simple syrup
  10. Mai Tai – Rum, orange liqueur, lime juice, and orgeat syrup

*All cocktails are served over ice, unless otherwise requested.

Write me a cocktail menu using the most popular spirits and alcohol types of 2022.

Cocktail Menu

  1. Gin and Tonic – Gin, tonic water, and a lime wedge
  2. Vodka Martini – Vodka, dry vermouth, and an olive garnish
  3. Bourbon Manhattan – Bourbon, sweet vermouth, and bitters
  4. Tequila Sunrise – Tequila, orange juice, and grenadine syrup
  5. Rum Runner – Rum, blackberry liqueur, orange juice, pineapple juice, and grenadine
  6. Whiskey Sour – Bourbon, lemon juice, and simple syrup
  7. Margarita – Tequila, triple sec, lime juice, and salt rim
  8. Daiquiri – Rum, lime juice, and simple syrup
  9. Long Island Iced Tea – Vodka, gin, rum, tequila, triple sec, lemon juice, and cola
  10. Pina Colada – Rum, pineapple juice, coconut cream, and a cherry garnish

*All cocktails are served over ice, unless otherwise requested.

Click here to keep reading.

Developing a Bar Concept w/ Sensory Experiences

Once your idea has been researched and the market, location, technical, business, and financial viability of the idea has passed a series of reviews throughout a feasibility study, a concept development plan can then be started.

Remember, outside of being scalable, you want to build a concept that is sustainable, profitable, memorable, and consistent.

Bar concepts over the years have gone from being tame (or lame) or overplayed, like tiki bars or sports bars, to concepts that push the boundaries of what a bar can be. One of the best ways to build a customer base is to go off the beaten path to create a bold and fresh new bar concept.

A concept plan will focus on ‘chapters’ and visual storyboards that include an overall:

  • Concept Summary (a one page summarization similar to that of an Executive Summary)
  • Statement Overview (Value, Vision, Mission, Culture)
  • Architectural Design (characteristics, features, costs)
  • Bar/Kitchen Production (your equipment specs)
  • Entertainment & Guest Experience Summary
  • Menu Design Attributes (food & beverage)

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading here.

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

Repeated restaurant and bar closures have, tragically, become a hallmark of 2020.

Operators have had to learn how to communicate closures to potential indoor guests, as well as delivery and takeout guests.

For most operators, the possibility of closing their doors—temporarily or otherwise—has moved well past “if” territory. At this point, it’s not even a question of when a restaurant or bar will have to close, it’s a matter of when it will happen again.

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to keep reading.

Image: Anne Nygård on Unsplash

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2023 KRG Recap: Top 8 Ops Articles

2023 KRG Recap: Top 8 Operations Articles

by David Klemt

Close-up shot of a white neon "8" sign

The third installment in our annual article roundup is a collection of our readers’ favorite operations and service articles of 2023.

Below, articles about a multitude of topics: food safety, pricing, menu programming, leadership, setting your non-negotiable standards, and much more.

If you’re looking to really dial in your operations and service for 2024, these articles are an excellent place to start for tips and inspiration.

Cheers!

Server carrying two plates with one hand

Just.Safe.Food. and More Alternatives to ServSafe

ServSafe, the National Restaurant Association‘s food safety training program, isn’t the only food handler training game in town.

Certainly, the program is the most well known in our industry. However, it’s fair to say that ServSafe is closer to infamous than just ubiquitous due to a New York Times article from January.

While it’s the most recognizable of the food safety programs, it’s not the only one. Although, ServSafe’s omnipresence likely gives many the impression that it’s ServSafe or nothing.

There are, however, alternatives to ServSafe. In fact, one challenger was announced a day after the explosive New York Times article that thrust ServSafe into a spotlight the NRA probably isn’t enjoying. (After all, one result of that article was a letter from six US senators demanding answers from the NRA about ServSafe by March 3.)

At any rate, the newest alternative to ServSafe comes from One Fair Wage. The program is Just.Safe.Food. and costs just $10. (As a reminder, ServSafe costs $15.)

For that $10, Just.Safe.Food. gives an individual three attempts to pass their exam and unlimited access to training materials. Additionally, One Fair Wage (OFW) says profits they raise from the program will go toward advocating for restaurant workers.

OFW, as many in the industry know, is owned and operated by restaurant workers. Two cornerstones of the organization’s mission are increasing the minimum wage, and ending the tip credit. OFW is also attempting to convince lawmakers to stop accepting donations from the NRA.

Basically, OFW and the NRA are—and it appears always have been—at odds with with one another.

To learn more, click here.

Three hands holding up three pineapples

Raise the Bar: The 3 Ps of Hospitality

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.

People

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.

For the rest of the Three Ps, click here.

"Be optimistic" sign on black door

5 Toxic Mindsets that Hinder the Success of Your Business

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

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

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

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

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

Blame Game

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

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

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

Second Guessing

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

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

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

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

Click here to continue reading.

Several spray paint cans next to one another

Raise the Bar: Service vs. Hospitality

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.

Keep reading here.

Two restaurant food menus

Real-world Menu Tips from Chef Brian Duffy

Call it an education session, call it a workshop, one of the best features of the Bar & Restaurant Expo is live menu feedback from Chef Brian Duffy.

This is certainly true of the 2023 Bar & Restaurant Expo. During this year’s BRE (formerly Nightclub & Bar Show, or NCB), Chef Duffy delivered well over two hours of real-world menu feedback.

To be sure, BRE educational programming is always beneficial. Attendees who take the time to plan their schedules to include education sessions will take invaluable tips back to their businesses.

However, watching in real time as Chef Duffy critiques real menus submitted by BRE attendees provides insight that will impact the guest experience and success of a restaurant or bar immediately.

When delivering his feedback, Chef Duffy is unacquainted with the menus. He’s also unfiltered. So, attendees of these sessions are provided a window to Chef Duffy’s professional opinions, on the fly, in real time.

Take, for example, this blunt statement: “If you serve tilapia in your restaurant, you suck.” Before anyone has a conniption, Chef Duffy is referring to unethically farm-raised tilapia that’s often exposed to waste.

Technical Difficulties

Due to unforeseen AV issues, Chef Duffy was unable to use the large screens in the room to review menus for 30 to 40 minutes.

Now, some speakers may be shaken when encountering such a technical difficulty. This isn’t the case for Chef Duffy. In fact, all in attendance from the start of his session were lucky enough to gain insights beyond menu design because of the AV issues.

First, we all gained some insight into Chef Duffy’s consulting process. When engaged for restaurant consultation, he watches an evening service. Next day, he’s in your kitchen at 10:00 AM. What he sees in your kitchen tells him what’s happening throughout your restaurant. By the way, if he encounters just two spelling errors on your menu, he’s done reviewing it—you need a fresh start.

Second, inventory. Chef Duffy assumes you keep eleven percent of your overall revenue on your shelves. So, if you’re generating $100,000 each month, your shelves hold $11,000 of product. When reviewing your financial situation, take a look at that number for your own restaurant or bar.

Third, executive chefs versus head chefs. Chef Duffy has been on the ground for more than 100 restaurant openings. He has interviewed countless chefs. Have you ever wondered about the difference between an executive chef and a head chef? Knowledge of the financial aspects of running a kitchen. Without it, someone’s not an executive chef—they’re a head chef. Executive chefs know (and in theory can be trusted with) finances; head chefs make sure the brigade comes to work on time.

Finally, a cost-reduction tip. When you speak with your food reps, ask about DWO items: “Discontinued When Out.” You may be able to get your hands on some great items for a fraction of the cost.

Follow this link for more tips from Chef Brian Duffy.

Person writing down notes

The Importance of Sticking to Your Standards

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.

Gain more insights via this link.

Chess pieces on chess board in grayscale

Do You Empower Your Team to Make Decisions?

Empowerment is about so much more than trusting someone to follow clearly defined rules; you must learn to trust your team’s judgement.

Yes, even when things don’t go according to plan. If you’re only training your team on the “rules,” you’re doing a disservice to them and yourself. So, let’s have a little chat about empowerment. What does it mean to you? What are your expectations of your team when you tell them they are empowered?

Looking back throughout your own work history, have you ever had a job where your boss told you that you were empowered to make decisions, but you didn’t actually know what to do or how to make decisions? Did anyone ever explain “the how” of decision making to you?

Now, look at yourself as a leader. Have you ever had employees that you’ve told are empowered to make decisions, yet they get a manager every time someone needs something out of the ordinary? Are you explaining to your staff “the how” of decision making, along with your expectations?

It’s frustrating to feel like the house might fall down when you’re not in it. That’s no way to operate a business. We all want our staff to be able to make educated decisions when we’re not around. We shouldn’t have to hold their hands and be part of every single decision.

Still, there are times when, left to their own devices, a team member doesn’t make the decision you’d want them to make. This makes owners and leadership team members feel as though they must be at work every second.

So, how do you move away from micromanagement and learn to trust your team’s decision making?

Leverage Teachable Moments

You’ll never be able to give an example of every possible situation that may arise. Therefore, you’ll never be able to train your team on everything that they’ll encounter on any shift.

How do you tell someone how to handle situations when you’re not around? You don’t, and I don’t suggest you even try. Instead, you need to instill a sense of empowerment in your team.

However, “empowerment” is just a word if you’re not educating your team. You need to teach staff how to make good decisions. And how do you even start to do that? Cash in on all the teachable moments that happen throughout the day!

Once upon a time we were all new to this industry. I’m sure you have a few stories of some mistakes you’ve made along the way. I know I certainly do.

Think back to those situations. Did someone explain to you why you made a mistake? More importantly, did they then help you understand what to do next time? Or did they just get mad and make you feel like a failure?

I’ve had the privilege of working with some amazing people over the years. There are several people that really put effort into teaching me. The different things they taught me helped me to understand the ins and outs of decision making, even in situations I know very little about.

Keep reading here.

White "Reserved" sign in wooden block on table

Why You Need to Use Direct Bookings

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.

Click here to continue reading.

Image: Maximalfocus on Unsplash

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5 Books to Read this Month: December 2023

5 Books to Read this Month: December 2023

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

Our inspiring and informative December book selections will help you and your team transform your operations and F&B programming.

This month, we look at books covering an array of topics. There’s an alcohol-free cocktail recipe book, an exploration of some of America’s most unique hotels, and more.

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

Let’s jump in!

The Mocktail Club: Classic Recipes (and New Favorites) Without the Booze

Some people find the word “mocktail” is one of the best to label their alcohol-free drinks. Others find the word condescending. Regardless of which camp you find yourself in, The Mocktail Club should help you expand your zero-proof menu.

From Amazon:The Art of Mixology meets mocktails in this beautiful collection of 75 alcohol-free recipes for classic drinks, new flavor concoctions, and twists on old favorites, so you can experience the joy of cocktail creation without the booze!

Pre-order it today. This book is available on January 2, 2024.

Hotel Kitsch: A Pretty Cool Tour of America’s Fantasy Getaways

We love a creative independent hotel brand, unique resort, or one-of-a-kind motel. Any place with endless details to discover and appreciate that places value on offering unforgettable experiences during a guest’s stay. This book captures such hotels and motels in a series of photographs that should inspire operators to follow through with their incredible visions.

From Amazon: “From the photographers and inveterate travelers behind the social media sensation A Pretty Cool Hotel Tour, Hotel Kitsch celebrates dozens of creative, nostalgic, one-of-a-kind hotels that span the heart of the Poconos and across the United States to Mexico, Spain, and the UK. Discover, in the middle of Iowa, a jungle room with fake trees and foliage surrounding the bed as if it had taken its cue from Where the Wild Things Are. Or Jules’ Undersea Lodge in Key Largo where the rooms are reached by scuba diving. An Arctic Cave room at a hotel in Kentucky with its carved blue walls and not a window to be found. And on the California coast, the iconic Madonna Inn featuring 110 rooms, each themed and no two alike.”

Grab it today.

The Hospitality Mentality: Create Raving Fans Through Your Guest Experience

This book is so new it isn’t available until tomorrow, December 5. New book, fresh ideas to lead you into the new year.

The Hospitality Mentality is all about empowering your team to deliver impeccable service and unforgettable memories, keeping guests coming back to your venue for more.

From Amazon: “Business leaders will gain inspiration to take their service standard to the next level, knowing that this is an area that cannot plateau. Readers will be motivated to go above and beyond guests’ expectations through creating hyper-personalized experiences, amplifying enthusiasm, anticipating needs, and crafting superior ‘wow’ moments that solidify memories that take satisfaction to the next level. By maximizing the benefit of guest feedback and directly addressing complaints, service providers can strengthen their relationship with their guests, ultimately leading to business/brand loyalty.”

Get the paperback today!

Reinvent: Navigating Business Transformation in a Hyperdigital Era

This business book has earned a number of accolades since its publication earlier this year:

  • Wall Street Journal bestseller
  • Silver for Best Business Book in the 2023 Globee® Awards for Business, The 21st Annual American Business Awards®
  • 2023 Best Business Book of The Year, Silver Stevie Winner

The hospitality industry, as operators are all too aware, has been making massive strides when it comes to technology the past few years. However, as Reinvent also says, you can’t just plug in a tech solution, expect it to work, and say your brand and business are transformed.

From Amazon: “From top to bottom, organizations will be compelled to change entire mindsets, attitudes, and assumptions about how they operate, how they can grow, and even the very reason for their existence. This book introduces readers to ideas, concepts, and a comprehensive framework (LIFTS) that they can use to better position themselves and their organizations to reap the greatest number of benefits that business and digital transformation can afford. It’s a journey rich with promise that explains complex concepts in an understandable common language.”

Order the hardcover today.

Bar Hacks: Developing The Fundamentals for an Epic Bar

This informative and conversational book is the perfect read for aspiring or seasoned bar, pub, lounge, or even restaurant owners, operators, and managers looking for that competitive edge in operations! If you’re looking for both fundamental and in-depth planning methods, strategies, and industry focused insight to either start or grow a scalable, sustainable, memorable, profitable, and consistent venue in today’s cut-throat industry, Bar Hacks is written just for you.

Pick up the paperback from Amazon today!

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

5 Books to Read this Month: November 2023

5 Books to Read this Month: November 2023

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

Our inspiring and informative November book selections will help you and your team transform your operations and F&B programming.

This month, we look at a new branding and marketing book. We also dive into agave spirits and cuisine from the Canadian Prairies.

There’s an eye-opening exploration into the topic of technology, culture, and the “alignment problem,” as well.

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

Let’s jump in!

The Restaurant Marketing Mindset: A Comprehensive Guide to Establishing Your Restaurant’s Brand, from Concept to Launch and Beyond

If you haven’t had the opportunity to hear Chip Klose speak, look into his books. His latest The Restaurant Marketing Mindset, came out in early October. As the title suggests, this book is for anyone who’s struggling with branding and marketing, or who simply wants a fresh perspective on this crucial element of operations.

From Amazon: “Restaurants boast some of the highest failure rates of any industry, yet even worse is the sheer number of concepts that struggle just to break even. In The Restaurant Marketing Mindset, Chip Klose introduces a series of mindset shifts and actionable frameworks to help owners and operators finally take control of their marketing.

With more than twenty years of operational experience—plus an MBA in food marketing—Klose has the authority, experience, and track record needed to speak confidently on the subject. Each lesson stacks one on top of the other, giving the reader a step-by-step plan to attract more diners, retain those diners, and spark word of mouth with the ones who matter most.

This book is for any chef, owner, or operator who’s ever felt overwhelmed when it comes to marketing their restaurant. Each chapter is filled with powerful insights to help you build a more profitable (and sustainable) business.”

Pick it up today!

Prairie: Seasonal, Farm-Fresh Recipes Celebrating the Canadian Prairies

This engaging cookbook features 1oo traditional and creative recipes highlighting Canadian Prairie cuisine. These seasonal, farm-to-table recipes are sure to impress your guests.

From Amazon: “No matter the season, the Prairies are all about preserving every ounce of food, so of course there’s also tons of helpful tips and tricks on reducing food waste. There’s even a Staples chapter with recipes for stocking your pantry to keep you cooking all year long. Both a love letter to Canada’s grandest provinces and an indispensable collection of recipes, Prairie is as inviting and bountiful as the region it celebrates.”

Agave Spirits: The Past, Present, and Future of Mezcals

The authors of this informative book visited eight Mexican states to learn all they could about mezcal. By extension, they learned not only about traditional production but also where this hugely popular spirits category is headed for the future.

From Amazon: “The result of the authors’ fieldwork and on-the-ground interviews with mezcaleros in eight Mexican states, Agave Spirits shows how traditional methods of mezcal production are inspiring a new generation of individuals, including women, both in and beyond the industry. And as they reach back into a rich, centuries-long history, Nabhan and Suro Pinera make clear that understanding the story behind a bottle of mezcal, more than any other drink, will not only reveal what lies ahead for the tradition―including its ability to adapt in the face of the climate crisis―but will also enrich the drinking experience for readers.”

The Alignment Problem: Machine Learning and Human Values

When we build automated systems, we’re placing a lot of trust in our expertise. And because humans are fallible, the systems we build are far from perfect.

From Amazon: “Today’s ‘machine-learning’ systems, trained by data, are so effective that we’ve invited them to see and hear for us—and to make decisions on our behalf. But alarm bells are ringing. Recent years have seen an eruption of concern as the field of machine learning advances. When the systems we attempt to teach will not, in the end, do what we want or what we expect, ethical and potentially existential risks emerge. Researchers call this the alignment problem.”

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

The world around us has changed. The food and beverage industry has changed. The hospitality industry has changed. But will some ways of life change for the better? Will perhaps the restaurant, bar, and hospitality industry come out even stronger? With the right changes to the previous status quo, it is possible. There’s no question, resets are major undertakings, but a major reset will provide us with a clean start and that’s what this industry needs.

Pick up KRG Hospitality president Doug Radkey’s second book today! Click here.

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

KRG Hospitality. Business Coach. Restaurant Coach. Hotel Coach. Hospitality Coach. Mindset Coach.

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

2023 World’s 50 Best Bars: 51 to 100

2023 World’s 50 Best Bars: 51 to 100

by David Klemt

ARCA bar in Tulum, Mexico

ARCA in Tulum, Mexico

Check out the back half of the 2023 World’s 50 Best Bars list ahead of the one through 50 reveal taking place in Singapore on October 17.

In terms of single-country performance, the United States of America claims the most spots on this list with six. Unsurprisingly, four of these bars in New York. Rounding out the six American venues are one in Chicago and one in California.

However, in combination with Mexico and Canada, North America earns 11 places. Unfortunately, Canada earns just one spot with a bar in Toronto. Mexico City, however, is home to two of the best bars in North America (and the world).

It’s Europe as a whole, though, that boasts the most positions, with 17 bars on the list. Five of the 17 are in England.

Asia comes in second as a continent with 14 venues on the back half of the 2023 World’s 50 Best Bars. It should come as no surprise that Singapore claims five spots.

Congratulations to the bar teams below!

To review the 2022 51 to 100 list, click here.

The World’s 50 Best Bars 2023: 100 to 51

It’s only a matter of time until a number of these incredible venues break through to the top half of this list.

  1. Artesian (London, England, UK)
  2. Employees Only (New York, New York, USA)
  3. The Bar in Front of the Bar (Athens, Greece)
  4. Dark Side (Hong Kong)
  5. Lost & Found (Nicosia, Cyprus)
  6. Schofield’s (Manchester, England, UK)
  7. Sin + Tax (Johannesburg, South Africa)
  8. Tjoget (Stockholm, Sweden)
  9. Donovan Bar (London, England, UK)
  10. Maison Premiere (New York, New York, USA)
  11. Mirror Bar (Bratislava, Slovakia)
  12. Thunderbolt (Los Angeles, California, USA)
  13. Red Frog (Lisbon, Portugal)
  14. Ruby (Copenhagen, Denmark)
  15. Nouvelle Vague (Tirana, Albania)
  16. Camparino in Galleria (Milan, Italy)
  17. Svanen (Oslo, Norway)
  18. Native (Singapore)
  19. Kumiko (Chicago, Illinois, USA)
  20. Kaito del Valle (Mexico City, Mexico)
  21. La Sala de Laura (Bogotá, Colombia)
  22. High Five (Tokyo, Japan)
  23. Analogue Initiative (Singapore)
  24. Velvet (Berlin, Germany)
  25. Swift (London, England, UK)
  26. Bar Cham (Seoul, South Korea)
  27. Hope & Sesame (Guangzhou, Guangdong, China)
  28. Civil Liberties (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
  29. Rayo (Mexico City, Mexico)
  30. Penicillin (Hong Kong)
  31. Barro Negro (Athens, Greece)
  32. Ergo (Dubai, UAE)
  33. Martiny’s (New York, New York, USA)
  34. Side Car (New Delhi, Delhi, India)
  35. Tropic City (Bangkok, Thailand)
  36. El Gallo Altanero (Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico)
  37. Nutmeg & Clove (Singapore)
  38. Manhattan (Singapore)
  39. Hero Bar (Nairobi, Kenya)
  40. Byrdi (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)
  41. ARCA (Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico)
  42. 28 HongKong Street (Singapore)
  43. SubAstor (São Paulo, Brazil)
  44. Attaboy (New York, New York, USA)
  45. Tan Tan (São Paulo, Brazil)
  46. Vesper (Bangkok, Thailand)
  47. Lyaness (London, England, UK)
  48. The Bellwood (Tokyo, Japan)
  49. Lady Bee (Lima, Perú)
  50. Danico (Paris, France)

The World's 50 Best Bars 2023, numbers 51 to 100

2023 New Entries

Among these 50 bars are 14 new entries:

  • Lady Bee (No. 52)
  • Arca (No. 60)
  • El Gallo Altanero (No. 65)
  • Martiny’s (No. 68)
  • Ergo (No. 69)
  • Rayo (No. 72)
  • Civil Liberties (No. 73)
  • Bar Cham (No. 75)
  • Velvet (No. 77)
  • Kaito del Valle (No. 81)
  • Svanen (No. 84)
  • Nouvelle Vague (No. 86)
  • Mirror Bar (No. 90)
  • The Bar in Front of the Bar (No. 98)

Remember, the World’s 50 Best will reveal bars one through 50 in Singapore on October 17 at 8:25 PM UTC. Cheers!

Image: The World’s 50 Best Bars / ARCA

KRG Hospitality. Bar Consultant. Nightclub. Lounge. Mixology. Cocktails.

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

5 Books to Read this Month: October 2023

5 Books to Read this Month: October 2023

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

Our inspiring and informative October book selections will help you and your team transform your vision for your business into a successful story.

This month, we’re taking a good look at independent hotel operations, including checking out the wonderful guest experience a rustic lodge can deliver. We also dive into operations and brand strategy.

Oh, and we get inspiration from a company founder who turned $50 into a $30 billion-per-year, globally recognized brand.

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

Let’s jump in!

INDIE HOTEL: Why Hoteliers Are Breaking Free from Chains and Choosing Independence

I picked up INDIE HOTEL just a day or two after it was released. Written by Jeremy Wells, one of the brilliant minds behind the recently opened Ozarker Lodge, this book examines the shifting hospitality landscape.

From Amazon: “The hospitality industry is exciting and always evolving. One of the most exciting shifts in recent years is the growing popularity of independent, boutique hotels. While chains are here to stay, I believe the days of franchise domination are numbered. Traveler preferences are changing, and technology, once available only to chains, is becoming more accessible. As a result, more and more hoteliers will continue to make the leap into independence—breaking free from chains and enjoying a newfound freedom.”

Order your copy today!

Lodge: An Indoorsy Tour of America’s National Parks

We’re firm believers of looking everywhere for inspiration. Lodge may not be a how-to book for hoteliers but it speaks to the importance of the guest experience. Moreover, it shows that while midscale and luxury hotels and resorts seem to popping up all over, a rustic lodge that encourages disconnecting and recharging definitely still has its place in hospitality.

From Amazon: “Max Humphrey shines a light on 10 rustic National Park lodges in all their airy, timeworn splendor. No historic photos here; the images of the architecture and interiors are as they look today, highlighting these storied places in a fresh, alluring way. Sure, the lobbies are the main stage, but Humphrey touches on grand dining rooms, guest rooms, and rustic canteens alike. He writes about the buildings themselves in terms of the historical goings-on at the time, why they were built, and the players involved, highlighting notable architectural moments and period-specific furnishings. A smattering of pop culture history adds extra bursts of levity throughout.”

Grab it today.

Future Hospitality: Impactful Brand Experiences that Drive Sustainable Growth, Happier Guests, and Inspired Staff

Since the latest Jeremy Wells book kicks off this list, let’s take a look at his first book.

Future Hospitality drives home a simple but powerful principle that KRG shares. Put simply, hospitality is a mindset. This book also explains how an operator’s brand strategy plays a significant role in embodying that important principle.

From Amazon: “The purpose of this book is to help you understand the significance of making people feel good, and how the principles of strategic brand development can dramatically influence how you go about doing it.

“Without the core foundational component of a brand strategy in place at your business, I believe that you’ll be fighting an uphill battle that you don’t need to fight. If your business means anything to you, then you need to make it mean something to others.”

Order your copy here.

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE

Again, we don’t always have to look at the hospitality industry for inspiration or lessons. We can learn from businesses that appear to have nothing to do with our own.

There are several lessons we can learn from Phil Knight and his leadership of Nike. For example, the following quotes are attributed to Knight:

  • “Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.”
  • “Let everyone else call your idea crazy; just keep going. Don’t stop. Don’t even think about stopping until you get there, and don’t give much thought to where ‘there’ is. Whatever comes, just don’t stop.”

From Amazon: “In 1962, fresh out of business school, Phil Knight borrowed $50 from his father and created a company with a simple mission: import high-quality, low-cost athletic shoes from Japan. Selling the shoes from the boot of his Plymouth, Knight grossed $8000 in his first year. Today, Nike’s annual sales top $30 billion. In an age of start-ups, Nike is the ne plus ultra of all start-ups, and the swoosh has become a revolutionary, globe-spanning icon, one of the most ubiquitous and recognisable symbols in the world today.”

Pick up your copy.

Bar Hacks: Developing The Fundamentals for an Epic Bar

If you have yet to read Bar Hacks, written by KRG Hospitality president and Bar Hacks podcast creator Doug Radkey, you need to pick your copy up today.

Without an understanding and appreciation of the fundamentals, long-term success is essentially an impossibility.

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

KRG Hospitality. Boutique Hotels. Resorts. Properties. Consultant. Feasibility Study. Business Plan

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