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5 Books to Read this Month: February 2023

5 Books to Read this Month: February 2023

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

This month’s engaging and informative book selections will help you hone your culinary, beverage, and operational skills to dial in your business.

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

Let’s jump in!

Cheers!: Cocktails & Toasts to Celebrate Every Day of the Year

As long-time KRG Hospitality readers know, we enjoy helping operators and their teams program around unique holidays. This book takes a similar approach to restaurant and bar promotions.

Philip Greene’s Cheers! suggests a specific drink and toast for each day on the calendar. There are, of course, the mainstream holidays each month. But like us, Greene also focuses on lesser-known holidays. With consumer behavior shifting toward occasion-based drinking, this book can certainly come in handy.

In the Weeds: Around the World and Behind the Scenes with Anthony Bourdain

Last year, In the Weeds was nominated for the 2022 BookTube Prize in Nonfiction. It’s understandable why this book was given such a nod: it takes the reader behind the scenes with Chef Anthony Bourdain.

“From the outside, the job looked like an all-expenses-paid adventure to places like Borneo, Vietnam, Iran, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Libya. What happened off-camera was far more interesting than what made it to air. The more things went wrong, the better it was for the show. Fortunately, everything fell apart constantly.” Grab this book now on Amazon.

Meehan’s Bartender Manual

There are certain books that people in this industry simply need to read. Meehan’s Bartender Manual—written by bartender, educator and author Jim Meehan—is one such tome.

This award-winning book is a must-read for all bar professionals, whether you own a bar, work behind a bar, or are a server. Not only will you find 100 recipes in Meehan’s Bartender Manual, you’ll learn about bartender techniques, service, hospitality, and bar design. Pick it up today!

Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business

Much like Meehan’s Bartender Manual is a must-read for bar owners and bar teams, Setting the Table is required reading for restaurant owners and teams.

Restaurateur and chef Danny Meyer shares the lessons he has learned that helped him survive and thrive in a challenging industry. Certainly, our industry is changing. But there are still lessons to be learned when we look into our recent past.

Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.

To say Brené Brown is an expert in leadership is an understatement. The professor, researcher, educator, and author has been teaching about leadership for years.

Brown’s 2018 book Dare to Lead focuses, in part, on two crucial keys of true leadership. One is taking personal responsibility. The second is how to recognize potential in others. Without these two elements, becoming an effective leader is essentially impossible. Pick up Dare to Lead on Amazon today.

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Program for Unique Holidays: February 2023

Program for Unique Holidays: February 2023

by David Klemt

"Think about things differently" neon sign

Do you want to stand out from from other restaurants and bars in your area? Change how you think about holiday promotions.

Several holidays are set against every date on the calendar, and February is no exception. These holidays range from mainstream to esoteric.

Pay attention to the “weird” or unique holidays to raise eyebrows, carve out a niche for your restaurant or bar, and attract more guests. Why do what everyone else is already doing? Why program only around the same holidays as everyone else?

Of course, you shouldn’t try to celebrate every holiday, strange or otherwise. Focus on the days that are authentic to your brand; resonate with your guests; and help you grab attention on social media.

You’ll find suggestions for promotions below. However, the idea behind our monthly holiday promotions roundup is to inspire you and your team to get creative and come up with unique programming ideas.

For our January 2023 holidays list, click here.

February 6: Pride In Foodservice Week

I’m not gonna lie: This is the first I’ve heard of this week-long celebration of foodservice. That’s fairly embarrassing given that this holiday dates back to 1991.

As you’re probably assuming, Pride in Foodservice Week celebrates foodservice professionals. So, highlight your team on social media (with their approval, of course); do something special to show your team you appreciate them; and find a way to celebrate the foodservice pros that visit your restaurant, bar, or hotel this week.

February 7: National Fettuccine Alfredo Day

Is this holiday unusual? No. Is Fettuccine Alfredo in any way bizarre? Of course not.

But you can certainly tap your kitchen team to do something unexpected with this classic dish. Stuff bao buns or dumplings with Fettuccine Alfredo. Create deep-fried Fettuccine Alfredo bites. Find a way to serve it on a stick. Just get creative and own this food holiday.

February 8: Kite Flying Day

Now, I’m not expecting you to somehow create a promotion around actually flying kites. Although, if you have the space and resources, go for it.

Instead, consider focusing on a particular cocktail, like the Plastic Kite or Paper Plane. Is a paper plane a kite? It can be if it’s designed as one, so the cocktail should be fair game on this holiday.

February 10: National Umbrella Day

North America has been slammed by freezing weather and brutal storms. Your guests can probably use an escape from the cold temperatures.

One excellent way for them to transport themselves elsewhere (at least in their minds) is tropical drinks. And tropical drinks tend to be served with the iconic cocktail umbrella. You know what to do: Perfect your tiki or nautical cocktail recipes, create an LTO menu, and draw in your guests.

February 15: National Flag of Canada Day

There’s nothing weird about the Canadian Flag. In fact, it’s one of the most iconic and instantly recognizable flags on the planet.

So, this is your day to celebrate Canadian spirits, beer, and food whether you operate in Canada or anywhere else. Tap your reps, get your hands on Canadian spirits and beer, focus on a few Canadian delicacies, and put together a mouth-watering LTO F&B menu.

February 18: National Crab Stuffed Flounder Day

To be clear, I’m including this holiday because it’s so specific. Obviously, this calls for an LTO or special based on one dish. I’ll give you one guess which dish it is.

February 20: Hoodie Hoo Day

If you’re somewhere it won’t bother too many people, I want you to do me a favor. I want you to yell, “Hoodie hoo!” Did you do it? Did it put a smile on your face?

It’s basically impossible to yell those two little words and not be happy afterward. Well, that’s the whole point of this holiday: happiness. We could all use a dose of happy these days, and this holiday can certainly provide it.

February 25: World Sword Swallowers Day

There are a couple ways to celebrate World Sword Swallowers Day. But for the love of your bottom line, don’t let any of your guests attempt to swallow any swords, cocktail or otherwise!

Instead, dig into the recipe books and find some classics just look right with garnishes skewered by cocktail swords. Or, serve up the Swinging Sword cocktail by Buchanan’s:

  • 1.5 oz. Buchanan’s 18-Year-Old Special Reserve Blended Scotch
  • 0.75 oz. Fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 0.5 oz. Fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 0.5 oz. Grenadine
  • Fresh mint sprig for garnish

Add ice and all liquid ingredients to a shaker. Shake well, strain into a coupe, garnish, and serve.

February 27: Telecommuter Appreciation Week

This is another week-long holiday I didn’t know existed. And again, it’s not new—this holiday was first celebrated in 1993.

However, I think it’s more relevant than ever. Rather than encouraging people to work from home on this holiday, celebrate your WFH guests. If your WiFi can handle it, encourage your guests to work from your restaurant, bar, or hotel. And make sure to create LTO food and drink menus to incentivize to do so.

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by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Datassential: The Flavors of 2023

Datassential: The Flavors and Menu Items of 2023

by David Klemt

Basket of hot chicken wings

Food and beverage market research agency Datassential has some data-driven thoughts on the flavors and menu items that will define 2023.

Featured in their latest Foodbytes report are 20 items for operators to consider this year. There are ten food items, drinks, and ingredients Datassential predicts will be on basically every menu.

And there are another ten food items, drinks, and ingredients the agency feels could suddenly hit in 2023.

For you own copy of Datassential’s 2023 Food Trends, click here.

Prolific Performers

As Datassential refers to them in their report, these are the items “that will be everywhere” this year.

Food

  • Birria. This one makes sense as birria only appears to be capable of continually growing in popularity.
  • Mushroom. In Datassential’s opinion, we should expect more menus to feature mushroom snacks. Also, expect to see (or add yourself) lesser-known, rare, and exotic mushrooms on menus.
  • Salsa macha. Over the past four years, according to Datassential, salsa macha as grown a staggering 339 percent on menus.

Drink

  • London Fog. A compelling earl grey tea latte.
  • Mangonada. Salty, tart, fruity, and bold, the Mangonada is a flavorful frozen drink.
  • Ranch Water. Simple, timeless, and refreshing. In 2022, per Datassential, Ranch Water was the fastest-growing cocktail.
  • Soju. According to Datassential, soju is the third fastest-growing spirit on restaurant and bar menus.

Ingredient

  • Spicy maple. As the image atop this article suggests, expect spicy maple to replace or at least give hot honey a run for its money.
  • Ube. A striking purple yam from the Philippines.
  • Yuzu. Datassential predicts this citrus fruit will start showing up on many chain restaurant menus.

Promising Performers

In Datassential’s data-driven opinion, the following items need to be on every operator’s radar.

These are the items that have the potential to “hit it big” in 2023.

Food

  • Pickled strawberries. Interestingly, this matches up with Technomic’s trend prediction for the US, Canadaworldwide, really.
  • Savory granola. Not only on its own but as an element of savory, healthy bowl.
  • Sisig. A Filipino delicacy with pork belly, pig’s face, and chicken liver as key elements.

Drink

  • White coffee. As Datassential states, “there’s always room for coffee innovation on menus.”

Ingredient

  • Black tahini. The appearance of black tahini is quite striking, making for dramatic presentations. And as we know, striking presentations are perfect for social media marketing and engagement.
  • Cannabis. The legalization of recreational cannabis use in almost half of US states is leading to innovation in this space. And as more markets legalize public consumption in the form of F&B items on-premise, restaurants and bars will add cannabis-infused items to their menus.
  • Cherry blossom, or sakura. It seems that cherry blossoms are poised to take off in the US market.
  • Chestnut flower. Per Datassential, this ingredient is gaining popularity for use in winter baked goods.
  • MSG. For decades, restaurants proudly proclaimed “no MSG” or “MSG-free” on menus due to misconceptions. Now that consumers are better educated about ingredients, restaurants are proudly proclaiming their use of MSG.
  • Verjus. An ancient juice made by crushing unripened wine grapes. It can be an ingredient in a sauce, as a condiment, or to deglaze a pan.

There you have it—20 items to consider adding in your next menu update, featuring in your next LTO, or at least keeping an eye on in 2023.

Image: Scott Eckersley on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

This Year’s Big Trend: Personalization

This Year’s Big Trend: Personalization

by David Klemt

Foam art cap on top of coffee

Ripples, the beverage-top media brand, is predicting that 2023 will be the Year of Personalization with a focus on in-person interactions.

Last year, the bev-top brand behind the Ripple Maker II Pro, named moderation as one of the top trends. When we look at the ubiquity of low-ABV drinks, we see that Ripples was right. And when we consider the proliferation of non-alcohol brands, Ripples appears downright prescient.

In other words, Ripples continues to be proven right about moderation.

Three revelatory datapoints and one generation are partly responsible for the brand’s accurate 2022 prediction. First, in comparison to 2019, zero-alcohol products were up 166 percent. Second, the non-alcohol category grew four times faster than its low-ABV counterpart. Third, non-alcohol spirits have grown by over 113 percent since 2020.

The generation Ripples believes is responsible for non-alc’s growth? Gen Z. In part, this is due to social media and the generation’s aversion, speaking generally, to being embarrassed by drunken behavior in front of the world.

So, proven right about last year’s prediction, it’s wise to take Ripples’ 2023 prediction seriously.

Year of Personalization

As Ripples explains, personalization has long been the strength of digital platforms. Be it an online retail platform or music streaming service, personalization is king.

And it’s easy to see why. Using online shopping as an example, think of the typical customer journey.

A shopper signs up, they click around or search for specific items, and they make their purchases. Soon, the platform is emailing the user about sales. Then, emailing the user items they think they’ll like, based on the individual’s data.

The more the user shops, the more targeted the platform’s suggestions and interactions become. Before the user knows it, they’re signing up for a loyalty program, earning rewards, and giving the platform more of their money.

Well, personalization is no longer only shining in the digital space. Now, businesses are engaging with their customers in the “phygital” space. That is, the physical space as well as the digital one.

As Ripples states, “Nothing beats real human interaction for building connection and loyalty between brands and consumers.” One way to leverage this new relationship between consumers and brands? Experiential activations.

Ripples knows a thing or two about this type of engagement. The bev-top media company partnered with Guinness Korea for a campaign involving 100 bars. Consumers scanned a QR code, selected a design via the Ripples app, and the design was printed atop a pint of Guinness.

You Need Data

Personalization is a long-standing element of the hospitality industry. It’s one of our keys to success: we cater to guest preferences.

However, we can’t do that effectively without collecting guest data. And interestingly, Ripples’ prediction falls in line quite neatly with another 2023 prediction.

As you may be aware, 2023 is also likely to be the Year of the POS System. That is, a tech stack “revolution” is expected to take place this year. One crucial element of a powerful, worthwhile POS system is customer relationship management, or CRM.

Of course, if a POS doesn’t offer a CRM module, the best systems make it easy to integrate with the best CRM platforms.

Either way, CRM is the key to personalization in the digital, physical, and phygital spaces. It’s difficult to effectively personalize the guest experience pre-, during, and post-visit without guest data.

Regardless of whether Ripples’ prediction is accurate—and it’s likely they are—savvy operators need to make sure they’re responsibly collecting and utilizing guest data. If this is the Year of Personalization and the Year of the POS System, the reality is that 2023 is really the Year of CRM.

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American Trends 2023: Technomic

American Trends 2023: Technomic

by David Klemt

Pink pineapple against pink background

Foodservice research firm Technomic has some interesting predictions for the hospitality industry in the United States of America this year.

On the topic of operations, Technomic foresees more negotiating power among workers. Additionally, the firm looks at both the economy and pent-up guest demand.

When it comes to food, the US and Canada have a trend prediction in common. And as the image atop this article signifies, a particular color may be a hit on menus in 2023.

Before we jump in, Technomic’s 2023 Canadian trend predictions are here. Last year’s Technomic predictions for America are here. Curious readers can review the firm’s 2023 predictions in their entirety here.

Okay, let’s go!

Think Pink

I want to address this prediction first. According to Technomic, pink is going to be the F&B color of 2023.

As they explain, the color is fun, nostalgic, and photogenic. Yes, operators must still consider the Instagram-worthiness of their menu items. That may change one day, but it’s not today.

Per Technomic, pink also signals that a food or drink may have antioxidants.

Some of the items the research firm names specifically: pink pineapple, pink salt, pink celery, cara cara oranges, and schisandra berries.

Pickle It

This is the culinary trend that, per Technomic, Canada and America will share in 2o23.

Along with fermenting, pickling gives the kitchen and bar teams a unique experimentation method to explore. So, encourage these teams to get creative and add pickling and fermentation to your next menu update.

Of course, that’s not the only reason to consider putting pickling front and center. For many, these preparations indicate a healthy F&B choice. Think kombucha, as an example.

As we know, healthy choices continue to be top of mind for many guests.

One more note: Technomic suggests being transparent and identifying the pickling and fermenting processes your team leverages to produce each menu item.

Economics

For those looking for a bit of optimism in these trying times, Technomic may have what you’re looking for. This year’s report, What We Foresee for 2023, says the following about the possibility of a recession:

“There is reason for optimism in the coming year, however, as any recession is expected to be relatively mild.”

Yes, that’s just one source’s opinion. However, Technomic is known for their voraciousness when it comes to data. So, if this firm is optimistic it could be a solid sign that things are looking up in 2023.

“Pent-up consumer demand” and variations thereof have been making the rounds since 2o21. However, it’s still a relevant phrase.

As it pertains to 2023, Technomic believes on-premise dining may “bounce back” this year. In fact, the firm suggests that people want to socialize and dine in person now more than ever.

Also, delivery and pickup times appear to be growing. So, plenty of people will see in-person dining as the more appealing option in 2023.

Operations

In part due to legislation addressing minimum wage and workplace conditions, employees may have the upper hand this year.

Add the fact that many people seeking work know many operators are dealing with a labor shortage and their negotiating position looks even stronger.

So, we could finally be in for a significant change when it comes to how the industry looks at compensation. More and more workers—and the guests they serve—are taking issue with tipping. Instead, many people outside and inside of the industry want to see operators pay staff a competitive, living wage.

Of course, there are also the hospitality professionals who prefer tips to minimum wage. In 2023, the industry could experience the start of a sea change. Time will tell.

For more predictions and this Technomic report in its entirety, please click here.

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Canadian Trends 2023: Technomic

Canadian Trends 2023: Technomic

by David Klemt

Tortilla with beans, cotija cheese and egg

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.

Technology

Multiple industry sources believe that 2023 is the Year of Tech for the hospitality industry. In particular, some sources believe that POS systems will receive significant attention from operators looking to upgrade.

Compellingly, Technomic sees the situation a bit differently. In particular, they’re suggesting that QR code menus may find themselves on the sidelines. Traditional menu, according to Technomic, will make their comeback this year.

Also making a (possible) resurgence? Per Technomic, in-person ordering for carryout and in-person dining.

As far as tech innovations that Technomic expects to take off this year, they see the following as standouts:

  • loyalty programs;
  • enhanced/upgraded cooking equipment;
  • automated inventory software/platforms; and
  • digital menu boards for back of house.

Culinary

As hinted at above, Central and South American cuisines are expected to take off in Canada, per Technomic.

The research firm provides specific—and delicious—examples:

  • Honduras: Baleadas tacos
  • Dominican Republic: Wasakaka sauce
  • El Salvador: Curtido slaw or relish
  • Peru: Aji amarillo and rocoto peppers
  • Bolivia: Saltenas, similar to empanadas

Another culinary trend Technomic predicts will perform well in Canada? Pickled everything.

Okay, maybe not everything. However, Technomic expects “pickling, fermenting, dehydrating and freeze-drying” to “increasingly pop up on menus.” The firm expects that operators will offer a wide range of “unusually pickled items outside of the typical veggies, including proteins and seeds.”

So, if you’re an operator reading this, it may be time to motivate your back-of-house staff to get creative with their pickling ideas.

Finally, pandemic-driven, health-based trend foods like turmeric and ginger may start to fade in popularity. Instead, predicts Technomic, items with “classic” health descriptors such as “natural,” “real,” “free,” “reduced,” and “lower” will get attention from guests looking to eat and drink healthier.

For your own copy of this Technomic report in its entirety, click here.

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Dynamic Pricing or Dynamic Menus?

Dynamic Pricing or Dynamic Menus?

by Doug Radkey

Two sportbikes racing

A key phrase used throughout 2022 was “the new normal.” In 2023, a key term you will likely hear a lot is “dynamic pricing.”

What is dynamic pricing? It can get quite complex, but the global consulting company, McKinsey, defines dynamic pricing as “the (fully or partially) automated adjustment of prices.”

The term is not entirely new to hospitality. Hotels and the overall travel industry have used modules of the pricing model for years. But for restaurants and even bars, yes, it is something new.

It is also a model getting a lot of attention of late, which begs the following question: Why?

As the bar and restaurant industry recovers from the effects of the pandemic, a dynamic pricing model that optimizes revenue opportunities may seem quite attractive. After all, our industry is looking to rejuvenate its sales to pre-pandemic levels.

Essentially, a dynamic pricing model within this industry would work like this: increase prices when demand is up (peak periods), decrease prices to draw guests in when demand is down (off-peak times).

But should this be a model that disrupts the industry in 2023 and into 2024?

While I am all for a little disruption, the industry needs to tread carefully through this potential transition to dynamic pricing (or perhaps just around the phrase itself) that’s based on demand levels.

Guest Experiences

We all know (or should know) that we do not sell a product. What we sell is an experience.

If we can create a positive, memorable guest experience first and foremost, the revenue will follow.

While hotels and travel, as examples, have boasted “positive financial results” over the years through their different approaches to dynamic pricing (while still trying to focus on the end-user guest experience), independent bar and restaurant brands must be careful not to create a hostile brand perception.

Why? Because many consumers view changing prices based solely on levels of demand as being unfair.

Being unfair will certainly create a negative guest experience and/or brand perception. The hotel and airline industries have been able to navigate this perception successfully by offering alternatives. For example, different rooms and amenities or less convenient flight times at different price points. Essentially, companies in lodging and travel provide options and flexibility before customers make the choice to spend.

What about rideshare and surge pricing as another example? Many of you reading this have likely been burned by surge pricing as a consumer, which can be by definition a form of dynamic pricing.

Have you ever tried to book a rideshare during peak periods in a major market? What would normally be a $20 ride is suddenly $40 to $60 (or more) because of their dynamic pricing model.

What did I do in this situation during a recent business trip? I walked another 25 feet up to the cab staging area of the airport and got my ride for $25.

The end results? I had a negative customer experience with the rideshare company, first and foremost. Additionally, that negative experience drove me to the competition. The key here is I was given a choice.

Now let’s switch that scenario to a restaurant.

The Restaurant Scenario

You book a table at your favorite restaurant and order that incredible steak dinner you always enjoy. But instead of it being $50 like you have grown accustomed to, it is now $75 or more. How are you as a consumer going to feel about this new price just because you visited your favorite spot during a “peak period” on a Saturday night? Were you given a choice before the spend?

Of course, this can work in the opposite direction: ordering a meal during a non-peak time and getting it for a cheaper price, thereby getting a discount.

But should we be confusing our customers based on their chosen, convenient time to visit your restaurant or bar? Should you also focus on “discounting” to drive people to your business?

I have even seen recommendations for offering an increased price for peak period but using what was the previous regular price during the non-peak times, labeling the normal price a “discount.”

Should we be framing our regular priced menu options as a discount just so we can charge and make more during a peak period? Is this being fair and ethical to your loyal customers? Should we be going down this road?

With this model (and the phrase “dynamic pricing”), which is based on demand, it is very easy to see how you can quickly confuse or alienate your loyal guests. Unless the industry in its entirety migrates over to this demand-driven model, a similar scenario as outlined above can play out for you and your guests.

Without extremely strong but transparent communication systems in place (which will be a challenge in itself), it is safe to assume that they will likely visit another restaurant up the street and/or provide negative feedback because they feel your pricing model is confusing or unfair.

Dynamic Menus

The phrase that is much more simplified and will be more easily embraced by both operators and guests is “dynamic menu.”

So, what’s the difference?

While it is still by definition “the (fully or partially) automated adjustment of prices,” it is not based on demand throughout the day. Rather, pricing is based on simple supply chain and operational cost adjustments.

According to the National Restaurant Association:

  • 95 percent of restaurants have recently had significant supply delays or shortages of key food items; and
  • 75 percent of restaurants have had to change their menu because of supply chain issues.

With a more dynamic menu, you can adjust pricing to suit those changes accordingly, through the lens of real-time ingredient cost, labor costs, productivity levels, and even the availability of certain menu items.

This simply means that the incredible steak dinner a guest has always enjoyed at your place is perhaps now $53 instead of $50 because the price of beef went up the past week or month. This ensures that as an operator, you will have a minimal gap between your theoretical and actual food costs.

Again, this should work both ways, meaning if the price of beef has gone down, so too should the price.

This means that your guests are paying an accurate value for each item, based on your intended sales mix and contributions, without a loss in margin on your end or negative experience on the guest end.

This means that everything on your menu is “market price” or MP. Where have we seen that before…?

Market Price

We all know restaurant menus will commonly deduct a price and replace it with the term “market price” (often abbreviated to “MP”). This means the price of the menu item depends on the market price of the ingredients, and the price is available upon request. It has been used for years for seafood in particular—most notably lobsters and oysters—in many restaurants.

Therefore, this pricing model is not entirely new. So, why should it stop at just high-priced seafood?

The reason many operators would use the abbreviated MP was because they did not want to reprint menus every single day as the prices fluctuated greatly.

As we move towards digitally savvy restaurant operations, implementing integrated technology and menus, we can begin to find alternatives and ensure that we are actively pricing our menus accordingly based on the market (and overhead costs) to strengthen top- and bottom-line results.

Knowledge is Power

To make a dynamic menu work, whether you’re a QSR, sports bar, casual-dining or fine-dining concept, or any other category of bar or restaurant, you need to know your target customers, provide a targeted menu, and know your numbers (the data).

Curating and engineering a menu should be a simplified process. To be honest, this should have been streamlined prior to the pandemic.

Your menu should be developed based on data, consumer sentiment, regional ingredients, regional suppliers, and local talent within the confines of the overall concept. Food and beverage programs should be developed with thought, care, speed, precision, execution, and last-but-not-least: consistent profits in mind.

Keeping menus “small” (10 to 12 or even 15 items at maximum) will be the new threshold of a successful, more profitable operation. This size of menu will allow bars and kitchens to operate more efficiently; keep inventory costs both low and controlled; control training and labor costs; and provide guests with the most flavorful and exciting items that they truly want.

Be Nimble

You also want to provide menu flexibility by continually reviewing your supply chain. Maintaining a strong personal relationship with your suppliers is imperative. You must also review your costs and inventory on a daily and weekly basis to make dynamic menus work.

To keep inventory, purchase orders, and potential waste to a minimum, it will be crucial that you to ensure your menu is small but innovative. The only way to accomplish this is through effective data management.

However, the new challenge for many independent brands is making data timely, relevant, digestible, and actionable for operators and their leadership teams. The ability to collect, interpret, and effectively react to key datapoints is going to be crucial for anyone who wants to implement a dynamic menu, and for moving forward in general.

At the end of the day, profiting from a dynamic menu is all about making decisions based on accurate cost and productivity data. Of course, there’s only one way to obtain data: embrace technology and create strategic clarity around it.

The Tech Stack

The key to successfully implementing a dynamic menu is integrating a stack of technology that provides real-time data and trend reports.

From point-of-sale software and reports to accounting software, inventory and recipe management software, and invoice management software or a suite that includes all of the above that’s integrated and working together, you can obtain real-time data to adjust your pricing based on real-time ingredient and productivity costs on a daily or weekly basis.

You want seamless movement of data from front- to back-of-house that will position you to make decisions and have a more complete picture of inventory stock levels, costs, and ordering needs, plus itemized sales, contribution margins, and productivity levels.

In Summary

While we must find ways to be innovative, potentially price-gouging our guests during peak periods and discounting during slow periods is not the way for this industry to recuperate and build loyal customers.

Building a strong brand through the creation of memorable experiences and by building connection with your community along with strategic planning, effective marketing, the elements of culture, and efficient operations, you can build sustainable revenue and profit channels.

By following a more dynamic menu approach within your operations, you can still maintain transparency with your guests with less challenging communication methods, remain a fair and well-respected brand within your community, and improve your margins by three to five percent or more with the right people and systems in place.

That sounds like a pretty good deal to me. The question here remains: Are you Team Dynamic Pricing or Team Dynamic Menus?

Image: Joe Neric on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

5 Books to Read this Month: January 2023

5 Books to Read this Month: January 2023

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

This month’s engaging and informative book selections will help you hone your culinary, beverage, and operational skills to dial in your business.

To review the book recommendations from December 2022, click here.

Let’s jump in!

The Vegan Chinese Kitchen

Today, people have certain ideas that flash before them when they hear or read “plant based.” For many, it’s a phrase that indicates a food item is an impossible meat alternative that attempts to go beyond it’s animal counterpart, hint hint.

However, plant-based also means…plants. Just plants, that’s all. The Vegan Chinese Kitchen, Chef Hannah Che’s plant-based cookbook, dives into traditional and modern Chinese vegan cuisine. Remember, plant-based doesn’t only mean “meat alternative made with plants.” Buy here.

Tea: Wine’s Sober Sibling

Have you ever considered drinking tea as an alternative to consuming wine? I know I hadn’t until I came across this book.

There are more than 70 recipes in Tea: Wine’s Sober Sibling, several of which are Dry January-friendly. Along with best practices for restaurant operators, there are also pairings, like tea and cheese, and tea and chocolate. Grab this book and consider using tea in different ways at your restaurant or bar.

Conversations Behind the Kitchen Door: 50 American Chefs Chart Today’s Food Culture

Where is the culinary world headed in 2023? Chef Emmanuel Laroche and his colleagues have some thoughts.

From Amazon: “Emmanuel’s podcast Flavors Unknown, as well as his worldwide search for new foods and flavors, are at the core of Conversations Behind the Kitchen Door. Scores of chefs offer essential insights and entertaining observations about the food scene today—information that will be of interest to new and aspiring chefs, as well as foodies and home cooks who follow trends in restaurants and recipes. Readers will walk away from Conversations Behind the Kitchen Door with a deeper understanding ofthe minds and creative practices of famous chefs, as well as a map to begin to create sensational dishes of their own.”

Pick up Conversations Behind the Kitchen Door from Amazon.

Build: An Unorthodox Guide to Making Things Worth Making

I’m willing to bet that you’ve heard of the following products: the iPod, the iPhone, and Nest thermostat. And I’m certain you realize an entire team of people was the behind the creation of those devices. Tony Fadell, the person who ran those teams is the author of Build.

You don’t have to be in tech to benefit from this book. Really, Build is about leadership, decision making, mentorship, bouncing back from failure, and more. Essentially, this helpful and informative book is “a mentor in a box.” One of the key takeaways of this book should motivate you to read it: “You don’t have to reinvent how you lead and manage.”

Your Table Is Ready: Tales of a New York City Maître D

Author Michael Cecchi-Azzolina was the maître d’ at several of New York’s hottest restaurants for decades. Scoring reservations for some of these destinations was viewed as more important than landing a table at one of NYC’s top-tier nightclubs.

Cecchi-Azzolina tells stories of a (mostly) bygone era while also providing his take on the restaurant industry. For some, this book will be amusing and relatable. Others will find this representative of an era best left behind as we move the industry forward. Order Your Table is Ready today.

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Canada’s Top 2022 DoorDash Orders

Canada’s Top 2022 DoorDash Orders

by David Klemt

Burgers, French fries and milkshakes

Operators curious about the most popular delivery items in 2022 will be happy to learn that DoorDash’s year-end report is ready for viewing.

Those who want to compare it to predictions from several sources earlier this year can click here. The DoorDash Canada report can also be compared to consumer trends in Canada revealed back in October.

Before we jump in, I’m not detailing the DoorDash report in its entirety here. To review the entire report, please click here.

Instead, I’ll be sharing the top takeaways in terms of top menu items; top cuisines; and top items by province.

Speaking of provinces, a word to New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Prince Edward Island, and the Yukon. Please don’t break out the pitchforks and come for me for not including you in this article. DoorDash’s report only covers data from six provinces—I didn’t leave you out intentionally.

Top DoorDash Cuisines in Canada

  1. American
  2. Mexican
  3. Japanese
  4. Thai
  5. Mediterranean
  6. Indian
  7. Chinese
  8. Italian
  9. Korean
  10. Filipino

Top DoorDash Items in Canada

  1. Burgers & Fries
  2. Fried Chicken
  3. Poutine
  4. Sushi Rolls
  5. Chicken Wings
  6. Burritos
  7. Chicken Rice Bowl
  8. Shawarma Wraps
  9. Curry
  10. Pad Thai

I think there’s one key takeaway that stands out in regards to this list. Notably, it appears that while chicken isn’t number one, it’s undeniably popular amongst Canadian DoorDash users.

In fact, according to DoorDash data, chicken reigns supreme in British Columbia. When you reach the province-specific sections below, you’ll see how powerful the cravings in BC are for chicken.

Top DoorDash Late-night Items

Again, chicken rules the DoorDash roost in this category.

  1. Chicken Nuggets
  2. Fries
  3. Poutine
  4. Chicken Wings
  5. Chicken Burgers
  6. Apple Pie
  7. Cheeseburger
  8. Spinach & Cheese Dip
  9. Chocolate Fudge Sundae
  10. Crispy Chicken

Top DoorDash Items: British Columbia

  1. Burrito Bowl
  2. Szechuan Chicken Lettuce Wraps
  3. Butter Chicken
  4. California Roll
  5. Crispy Chicken Sandwich
  6. Tofu Bowl
  7. Chocolate Chip Cookies

Top DoorDash Items: Ontario

  1. Cheeseburger
  2. Coffee
  3. Burrito Bowls
  4. Chicken Shawarma
  5. Crispy Chicken
  6. Bagels
  7. Pad Thai
  8. Beef Patty
  9. Pizza
  10. Onion Rings

Top DoorDash Items:Alberta

  1. Spinach and Cheese Dip
  2. Chicken Cheddar Sandwich
  3. Chilli Chicken
  4. Kale Salad
  5. Margarita Pizza
  6. Hot Apple Turnover

Top DoorDash Items: Québec

  1. Poutine
  2. Cappuccino
  3. Pad Thai
  4. Steak and Cheese
  5. Croissant
  6. Dumplings
  7. Chips
  8. Tacos

Top DoorDash Items: Saskatchewan

Interestingly, a beverage item holds the top spot in Saskatchewan.

  1. Bubble Tea
  2. Pepperoni Pizza
  3. Pork Bun
  4. Crispy Pork
  5. Garlic Bread
  6. Pasta

Top DoorDash Items: Manitoba

  1. Fries
  2. Butter Chicken
  3. Red Velvet Cake
  4. Poke Bowl
  5. Shawarma Wrap

As I stated in Wednesday’s article detailing Grubhub and Uber Eats’ reports for the US, we believe operators should take as much control over their restaurants and bars as possible. At KRG Hospitality, that means implementing direct delivery if it makes sense: ease of use, delivery capabilities, favorable costs, etc.

It’s also helpful to know what consumers in your area are craving and ordering. Such information can provide a useful baseline for many concepts’ menu development.

Image: John Fornander on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

5 Books to Read this Month: December 2022

5 Books to Read this Month: December 2022

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

This month’s engaging and informative book selections will help you hone your culinary, cocktail, and operational skills to dial in your business.

To review November’s book recommendations, click here.

Let’s jump in!

The Book of Cocktail Ratios: The Surprising Simplicity of Classic Cocktails

Understanding recipe ratios will help any bar professional produce balanced, delicious, and memorable cocktails. In fact, getting a grasp on ingredient ratios is a fundamental bartender skill, and it’s crucial to the guest experience.

Author Michael Ruhlman organizes The Book of Cocktail Ratios into five cocktail families. And interestingly, Ruhlman makes a bold claim: many popular cocktails are actually the same cocktail—adjusting the ratios makes them seem different. Grab this book here.

Chef’s PSA: How Not to be the Biggest Idiot in the Kitchen

Look, most of us have been in at least one situation or new workplace where we may have felt like the biggest idiot there. It’s not a pleasant feeling, but at least it’s a feeling we can get over.

This collection of “culinary truisms” aims to set new chefs up for their first steps into a new kitchen: “This book is filled with short little lessons or PSA’s that every cook needs to know to get along successfully in the kitchen. The great thing about this book is that it is a guide for you early in your career and later when you are developing others.” Pick up Chef’s PSA here.

Jacques Pépin Art Of The Chicken

Chef Jacques Pépin loves chicken. In fact, Chef Pépin loves chickens so much that he doesn’t just honor them in the kitchen, they’re the subject of his paintings as well.

Not only will you find beautiful illustrations in Jacques Pépin Art Of The Chicken, you’ll learn about Chef Pépin’s journey through the culinary world. And, of course, there are recipes to learn. Purchase via Amazon here.

The Death of Demographics: Valuegraphic Marketing for a Values-Driven World

Regular listeners of the Bar Hacks podcast will recognize author and speaker David Allison. He has, after all, been a guest twice, appearing on episode 46 and episode 67.

The Valuegraphics Project founder’s latest book, The Death of Demographics, is available in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle formats. From Amazon: “By focusing on deep values rather than surface habits or traits, valuegraphics uncover what drives and unites us. Based on decades of behavioral science research, adding valuegraphics to your insights can improve your marketing effectiveness by a factor of eight or more.” Purchase this book here.

The Business Scaling Blueprint: Building a Foundation to Grow Your Brand

Author and business mentor Tony DiSilvestro has started more than 30 businesses over the course of 30 years. As a mentor, he shares the lessons he’s learned with CEOs and entrepreneurs, and now he’s sharing his experience in book form. The Business Scaling Blueprint is, as the name implies, a practical path toward growing brands.

As a business owner, operators need to grow and scale their restaurants, bars, and hotels. Even if there’s no intention to expand to a multi-location or multi-concept business, growth and scalability are crucial to any business. Available for pre-order on Amazon.

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

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