Promotions

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Program for Unique Holidays: May 2024

Program for Unique Holidays: May 2024

by David Klemt

"Think about things differently" neon sign

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

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

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

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

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

For our April 2024 holidays list, click here.

May 1: Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

If your concept is one that attracts motorcyclists already, or one that can handle motorcyclists to show up en masse without alienating other guests, your venue can celebrate Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month any or every day in May.

Encourage your guests to ride safely, look out for motorcycles when they’re driving, and organize group rides that stop by your bar or restaurant. Responsibly, of course.

May 4: Beer Pong Day

Let’s face itbeer pong is a classic bar game. Importantly, it’s a classic bar game that anyone can learn to play (to varying degrees of skill), and it’s simple to organize a tournament.

Should your bar or restaurant have the room and the following to support a beer pong tournament, this holiday could do very well for you and your team.

May 6: National Beverage Day

I mean…look how open-ended this holiday is. Is your bar or restaurant known for a particular drink? More than one particular drink? Perfect! Now’s the time to really brag about that and bring people through your doors.

May 11: National Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive Day

Part of being a great operator is being an excellent neighbor and member of the community. One selfless act you and your team can participate in is to organize a food drive, acting as the central hub for donations and partnering with a food pantry, shelter, or other charitable organization.

May 17: National Pizza Party Day

Sure, the pizza party has become a corporate trope. That doesn’t mean that if you operate a pizzeria your business shouldn’t be the one that companies, families, and groups of friends call when it’s pizza party time.

May 19: World Baking Day

How are your kitchen team’s baking skills? This is the holiday to shine a light on them and create a baked well LTO.

May 20: World Bee Day

Not only are there some interesting cocktails with the word “bee” in their name, there are also plenty that call for honey as an ingredient.

However, as I pointed out on Earth Day, there are also vegan honey alternatives that can be used for F&B items. So, this could be the day to use those and make your guests aware of them.

May 21: International Tea Day

Tea is, obviously, an excellent drink on its own. However, tea can really shine as the base or mixer for an array of cocktails. Try creating an LTO menu of full-, low-, and no-ABV cocktails for your guests to try.

May 22: National Craft Distillery Day

Do you have a craft distillery in your market? In your state? This holiday is the perfect time to work on developing a relationship with them and crafting an LTO menu with their products.

May 30: National Mint Julep Day

Ah, the Mint Julep. It’s not just for the Kentucky Derby. It’s a classic for a reason, and one of those reasons is how refreshing it is on a hot day. Plus, there are several variants you can adjust to create an LTO menu.

Image: Ivan Bertolazzi on Pexels

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New RTD Sprinter Kicks off Coachella

New Vodka Soda RTD Sprinter Kicks off Coachella

by David Klemt

In partnership with GoPuff, Sprinter, the new vodka soda RTD founded by Kylie Jenner, is kicking off Coachella with a surprise delivery activation.

Available in four flavorsGrapefruit, Lime, Peach, and Black Chery—Sprinter is one of the newest RTDs to hit the market.

These ready-to-drink Vodka Sodas are made with just three core ingredients: premium vodka, real fruit juice, and sparkling water. Weighing in at just 4.5-percent ABV, Sprinters are intended to delivery bold fruit flavor in a sessionable format.

Sprinter aims to make a splash during Coachella, headlined this year by No Doubt, Lana Del Rey, Tyler the Creator, and Doja Cat. Anyone of legal drinking age in Palm Springs, Coachella, and Indio who places an order for Sprinter could be in for a surprise.

That surprise? A delivery of Sprinter swag in decked-out Sprinter vans, along with GoPuff swag. The delivery platform, which leverages “micro-fulfillment centers” to deliver orders quickly, is Sprinter’s chosen partner for this activation.

Now, if you’re an operator, bar or restaurant leadership team member, or bartender, you may wonder what this Sprinter promotion has to do with you. It’s simple: fulfilling guest expectations.

There’s little question that guests will be on the lookout to try Sprinter this summer. The RTD is owned by Kylie Jenner and will garner plenty of attention during Coachella. This will translate to nationwide (if not international) interest. Adding Sprinter to your menu may prove lucrative.

Check out the press release below for more information. Cheers!

Kylie Jenner Introduces Sprinter, A Premium Canned Vodka Soda

Launching nationwide March 21, Sprinter Vodka Soda features four fruit flavors, no added sugar and only 100 calories

Los Angeles, CA—Today, entrepreneur Kylie Jenner announces Sprinter, the ultimate vodka soda in a can. Made with simple, high-quality ingredients—premium vodka, sparkling water and real fruit juice—and created in four true-to-fruit flavors, Sprinter is a bold and refreshing new entry into the RTD space.

“Sprinter is my answer to the growing consumer demand for quality canned cocktails—we’re adding to a market dominated by only a few players with an incredibly delicious vodka soda in a can,” says founder Kylie Jenner. “Not only does Sprinter have a unique bold branding that captures the feeling of fun with your friends, it is also the best tasting vodka soda I’ve ever tried—and I’ve tried a lot. I can’t wait for people to taste it for themselves.”

Jenner tapped Chandra Richter, a female beverage development expert with over 20 years of beverage alcohol industry experience and a PhD in molecular biology, to serve as Head of Product Development and Operations at Sprinter. After over a year of taste testing, the duo achieved the perfect balance of flavors and Sprinter was born—a 100-calorie, 4.5% ABV canned vodka soda made with real fruit juice and with no added sugar, available in four fruit-forward flavors: Black Cherry, Peach, Grapefruit and Lime.

“It’s been such a pleasure developing Sprinter with Kylie,” says Chandra Richter. “We held numerous tastings over the past year to ensure each of our four flavors are as natural and true-to-fruit as possible. Sprinter is a mouthwatering vodka soda in a can that makes every moment an occasion.”

Bold, vibrant and eye-catching on the shelf, Sprinter will be available in an 8-can variety pack for an SRP of $19.99. Sprinter launches nationwide on March 21. To sign up for more information and to find Sprinter near you, visit @drinksprinter and drinksprinter.com.

Disclaimer: Neither the author nor KRG Hospitality received compensation, monetary or otherwise, in exchange for this post.

Can image: Travis Rathbone

Bar Nightclub Pub Brewery Menu Development Drinks Food

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Program for Unique Holidays: April 2024

Program for Unique Holidays: April 2024

by David Klemt

"Think about things differently" neon sign

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

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

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

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

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

For our March 2024 holidays list, click here.

April 5: Walk to Work Day

Operators who with bars and restaurants in walkable areas should leverage this holiday. People who walk to work should reward themselves by walking to a bar or restaurant for dinner and a drink after work. Of course, operators open for breakfast and dinner should encourage guests to walk in for a treat to start their day, and another treat (or two) to end it.

April 6: New Beer’s Eve

As the name implies, we celebrate this holiday the day before another holiday in the US: National Beer Day.

Operators who really want to help New Beer’s Eve gain a loyal following among their guests can bring in new beers for their guests to try on this holiday.

April 8: National Empanada Day

How would you rate your empanadas? How would your guests rate your empanadas? If you and your team are proud of your emapanadas, this is their time to shine.

April 10: Golfer’s Day

If you have Golden Tee in your bar, or you operate an eatertainment concept that revolves around golf, this is the perfect holiday to celebrate golfers. Of course, this also holds true if you operate a bar or restaurant within a community that loves golf.

You’re already (hopefully) your guests’ third spot; become their 19th hole on Golfer’s Day as well.

April 12: World Licorice Day

Sambuca, ouzo, xtabentún, absinthe… World Licorice Day is a great holiday for showcasing the licorice-flavored spirits in your inventory on your menu.

April 17: Blah Blah Blah Day

So, this day encourages people to try or start something that friends and family have been telling them do repeatedly. I would interpret this holiday as one during which to encourage your guests to try a new dish or drink rather than just ordering their usual again.

April 21: National Tea Day

Not only does tea make an excellent mixer for an array of cocktails, it really shines as the base for non-alcohol drinks. The depth of flavors that tea delivers really makes on impact on the palate and the guest experience.

National Tea Day is the perfect time to dial in your tea-based cocktails, be they low-, full-, or zero-ABV.

April 23: German Beer Day

Do you have German beers on your menu? I’m going to give you one guess as to what you should do with those beers on German Beer Day.

However, I have another thought, as well. There’s nothing that says you can’t come up with a creative LTO menu that introduces American or Canadian craft beers that taste similar to a German counterpart…

April 26: National Pretzel Day

Sure, you could just offer bowls of pretzels to guests on this holiday, providing a snack that goes with their beer.

Or, you could activate your kitchen team, make large pretzels in-house, and put pretzel charcuterie boards on an LTO menu. They may just prove to be a hit among you guests worthy of repeat appearances.

April 30: National Bubble Tea Day

Gee, if only there were a holiday that celebrates bubble tea, one that operators with bubble tea on their menu could build an LTO around. Oh, look! There is one!

Operators and their bar teams can also interpret this holiday a little differently. Tea cocktails and zero-proof drinks given the Flavour Blaster treatment? That could be rad…

Image: Ivan Bertolazzi on Pexels

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6 Sips for National Cocktail Day

6 Sophisticated Sips for National Cocktail Day

by David Klemt

The Rémy Sidecar cocktail in landscape orientation

Our friends at Cointreau, Mount Gay, Rémy Martin, St-Rémy Signature, Belle de Brillet, and METAXA want us to share some recipes with you.

And why do these purveyors of fine spirits want you to have these drink recipes? To inspire you and your team to craft a sophisticated National Cocktail Day menu, of course.

Now, you and your team are likely very familiar with Cointreau, Mount Gay, and Rémy Martin. After all, each are among the most well-known liqueurs, rums, and Cognacs on the planet.

However, you may be less familiar with some of the other spirits below. So, I’m going to provide a brief overview. Naturally, I’ll also encourage you to contact your reps so they can taste you and your team on each.

Let’s kick things of with METAXA. If your guests like brandy, they’re probably going to love METAXA. In particular, METAXA 7 Star is a Greek spirit that consists of Muscat wine, wine distillates, and Mediterranean aromatics and botanicals, aged in oak barrels. This is a truly unique spirit; your guests have likely never tasted anything quite like it.

Now, let’s look at Belle de Brillet. This is a French liqueur made with fine Brillet Cognac eau-de-vie and Poire Williams (Williams pears). Really, this is an elegant way to enjoy terroir via two fruits: pears and grapes. From what I can find, it takes 20 Williams pears to produce each bottle of Belle de Brillet.

That brings us to St-Rémy Signature. Also from France, St-Rémy Signature is the marriage of tradition and modern production techniques. For example, Signature undergoes a double-maturation process, unlike many fine brandies. When it comes to terroir, Signature takes people on a tour, as it’s made with dozens of grapes from all over France.

Whether you decide to create an LTO menu with the recipes below or put your spins on these drinks, your guests will thank you for helping them celebrate National Cocktail Day.

Cheers!

The Rémy Sidecar cocktail

The Rémy Sidecar

Fill a shaker with ice, then add first three ingredients. Shake well. Strain into a coupette, and garnish with a lemon peel.

The Original Margarita by Cointreau

The Original Margarita by Cointreau

  • 1 oz. Cointreau
  • 2 oz. Blanco tequila
  • 1 oz. Fresh lime juice
  • Lime wheel to garnish

Prepare a glass by rimming it with salt. Add all ingredients except for garnish to a shaker filled with ice. Shake well, then strain into the prepared glass. Garnish with lime wheel.

Mount Gay Orange Eclipse cocktail

Mount Gay Orange Eclipse

  • 2 oz. Mount Gay Eclipse
  • 1 oz. Fresh blood orange juice
  • 0.6 oz. Sweet vermouth
  • 4 dashes of Angostura Bitters
  • Orange peel to garnish

Prepare a coupe by filling it with ice and setting it aside. Alternatively, keep some coupes in a fridge to have chilled glassware on hand. Fill a shaker with ice, then add first four ingredients. Shake until well chilled, then strain into prepared coupe. Garnish with orange peel.

METAXA Greek Spritz cocktail

METAXA Greek Spritz

  • 1.4 oz METAXA 7 Stars
  • 1.4 oz Prosecco (or other sparkling wine)
  • 0.7 oz Splash of tonic
  • 3 Dashes of peach bitters or fresh peach juice
  • Peach wedge to garnish

Pour METAXA 7 Stars into a wine glass. Add ice, tonic, and bitters or juice to glass, then stir. Top with Prosecco or other sparkling wine. Garnish with peach wedge.

Belle de Brillet Belle Pamplemousse cocktail

Belle de Brillet Belle Pamplemousse

  • 1.75 oz. Belle de Brillet
  • 0.5 oz. Fresh lemon juice (optional)
  • 3.5 oz. Grapefruit soda
  • 1 oz. Prosecco
  • Slice of grapefruit to garnish

Add ice to a glass, then add all liquid ingredients. Stir, then garnish with grapefruit slice.

St-Rémy Signature Rose cocktail

St-Rémy Signature Rose

  • 1 oz. St-Rémy Signature
  • 0.7 oz. Fresh lemon juice
  • 0.3 oz. Grenadine syrup
  • 0.3 oz. Hibiscus syrup
  • 1 Egg white
  • Edible flower to garnish

Add ice and first five ingredients to a shaker. Shake well, then strain into a stemmed or footed glass. Garnish with an edible flower.

Disclaimer: Neither the author nor KRG Hospitality received compensation, monetary or otherwise, in exchange for this post.

Images provided by LaFORCE

Bar Nightclub Pub Brewery Menu Development Drinks Food

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Celebrating the Goat of Beer Styles

Celebrating the Goat of Beer Styles

by David Klemt

An Alpine Ibex, also known as a Steinbock, in the mountains

On Wednesday, March 20, operators and their teams have the opportunity to celebrate the “goat” of beer styles with their guests.

I’m talking about Bock Beer Day, the day we raise a glass to a several-centuries-old beer style. Just like I did with Baltic Porter Day last year, I’m going to do a bit of a deep dive into this diverse brew.

Now, please note that I say Bock is the goat, not the GOAT. I’m not claiming that Bock is the greatest beer of all time. (Although, this style does make a compelling case for the GOAT title.)

Rather, the German word bock translates to “goat” in English. And why would Germans name a beer after the hollow-horned relatives of sheep? Well, it all comes down to accents.

Beer experts and historians agree that we can trace the first brewing of Bock beer to Einbeck, a town in Germany, in the 14th century. As the story goes, people in Germany pronounced the Einbeck as ein bock, which translates to “a goat.” Hence, goat, not GOAT.

However, as I said, this style of beer does have a realistic claim to the beer throne. It’s a wide-ranging style that has many variants. Of course, Bock itself is related to another style: Lager. In particular, brewers tend to view it as a “cousin” of Amber Lager.

Over time, Bocks have evolved a bit. Once considered a “strong” Lager high in alcohol content, the style is much more varied now. A Bock can be low-ABV (I found one that’s just 3.5% ABV) to high test. It can be pale or dark, and every shade in between.

One thing Bocks do have in common, however, is a sweet, malty note on the palate.

Styles of Bock

There are several styles within this style of beer. Savvy operators will realize that positions Bock well for flights, pairings, and tastings.

In fact, Bocks are excellent for multi-course dining events. That can mean three courses (starter, main, dessert) to four or more.

Oh, and for those wondering, Bock pairs well with Asiago, Parmesan, and Cheddar cheeses.

Some styles operators and their bar teams will want to consider are:

  • Doppelbock
  • Dunkels Bock, a.k.a. Traditional Bock
  • Eisbock
  • Helles Bock, a.k.a. Maibock
  • Texas Bock
  • Triple Bock
  • Weizenbock

American Bock Beers

Kicking off the list below is Shiner Bock. When it comes to American Bock beer, this Texas brew is likely the most well known.

Interestingly, there are people deeply entrenched in the beer world that believe Texas is the epicenter of Bock beer in the US.

Of course, there are craft brewers all over the country producing Bock beers. With that in mind, I encourage operators to look into breweries in their state to learn who’s crafting this style of beer.

A word of warning: Many breweries produce Bock seasonally or in limited runs, so they can be difficult to find.

  • Shiner Bock (Shiner, Texas)
  • New Glarus Uff-da Bock (New Glarus, Wisconsin)
  • Rogue Dead Guy Ale (Newport, Oregon)
  • Genesee Spring Bock (Rochester, New York)
  • Community Beer Co. Texas-style Bock (Dallas, Texas)

Candian Bock Beers

Similarly to the US, it takes a fair bit of research to find Bock beers in Canada.

However, I think operators who put in the effort will find it rewarding. It’s smart business to find out who can supply Bocks (and other craft beers) so operators can support local brewers.

Below is a short list of brewers in BC and Ontario who produce Bock beers.

  • Howl Brewing Winterbock (Victoria, British Columbia)
  • Hoyne Brewing Co. Weizenbock (Victoria, British Columbia)
  • Vancouver Island Brewing Hermannator Ice Bock (Victoria, British Columbia)
  • Pacific Western Brewing Co. Schwarzbock (Prince George, British Columbia)
  • Blackburn Brew House General Bock (Niagara Falls, Ontario)

Image: Cédric Streit on Unsplash

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Clash of the Coffee Cocktails

Clash of the Coffee Cocktail Titans: Espresso Martini vs. Carajillo

by David Klemt

AI-generated image of a Carajillo cocktail next to an Espresso Martini

It took quite a few attempts for AI to generate a Carajillo without a lemon wedge or wheel garnish, with oddly placed ice on top of the foam.

It’s National Espresso Martini Day on Friday, March 15, the day we celebrate a cocktail that has been having “a moment” for decades.

I doubt the man behind the Bramble thought the Espresso Martini (originally the Vodka Espresso) would take on the life it has. The late, legendary Dick Bradsell created this modern classic in London in the 1980s. Oh, and he was also leading the charge for London’s cocktail scene revival at the time.

For whatever reason, the Espresso Martini (also known as the Pharmaceutical Stimulant when served on the rocks) enjoys immense popularity but also suffers widespread mockery. Hey, I’m also guilty of cracking jokes at this stalwart’s expense. Although, my issue is the annual articles saying, “Espresso Martini, so hot right now. Espresso Martini.”

The drink itself? I’ve enjoyed my fair share. And, damn it, I’ll do it again.

Now, I’m mainly writing about National Espresso Martini Day to put it on your radar. This Bradsell creation is wildly popular, and this year’s holiday falls on a Friday. So, there’s ample opportunity to engage with guests, increase traffic, boost revenue, and get creative.

However, I did use the words “clash” and “versus” in the title of this article for a reason…

Clash of the Coffee Cocktail Titans

I submit that National Espresso Day is the perfect time to make guests not in the know aware of the Carajillo.

Look, I know it’s not cool to steal someone’s thunder on their big day. We know we shouldn’t propose to our significant other at someone’s wedding reception. And it’s poor form to pull focus on someone’s birthday with big life event news.

Still, I’m going to propose that operators use National Espresso Martini Day to introduce guests to its rival.

A great rivalry tends to be beneficial for both participants, so why not stoke a friendly feud between these two coffee cocktail heavyweights? To get people’s promotional wheels turning, allow me to suggest an approach.

One way to get guests acquainted with both cocktails is to have them order them back to back. Encourage the ordering of a traditional (or signature) Espresso Martini. Then, have the guest order a Carajillo, traditional specs or otherwise. Right there, operators have gotten a guest to order the important second drink.

If an operator really wants to lean into this approach, they can even create a prix fixe cocktail menu featuring the Espresso Martini and Carajillo. A third drink could be a signature or personalized riff on whichever cocktail the guest enjoyed most.

Espresso Martini

  • 2 oz. Vodka
  • 1 oz. Fresh-brewed espresso
  • 0.5 oz. Coffee liqueur
  • 0.25 oz. Simple syrup
  • 3 Coffee beans to garnish

Add ice to a cocktail glass to chill it. Alternatively, keep some chilled cocktail glasses on hand. Add all liquid ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well, then strain into prepared cocktail glass. Garnish with three coffee beans.

Carajillo

  • One part Licor 43
  • One part coffee
  • 3 Coffee beans to garnish (optional)

Add equal parts Licor 43 and coffee to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake very well to create a foamy texture, then pour into a cocktail glass.

It’s important to note that a Carajillo can be poured over ice or served up. Also, one can use any type of coffee they prefer, including cold brew. Further, some people make a Carajillo with horchata, while others serve it with a small bowl of sugar. There are also people who use cinnamon sticks and chocolate shavings for garnish.

Going even deeper, some bars serve the Carajillo as a layered, stacked, or pousse-café drink, also known as puesto style.

Image: Shutterstock. Disclaimer: This image was generated by an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system.

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Program for Unique Holidays: March 2024

Program for Unique Holidays: March 2024

by David Klemt

"Think about things differently" neon sign

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

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

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

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

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

For our February 2024 holidays list, click here.

March 5: Cinco de Marcho

Supposedly, this holiday is meant to “train the livers” of people planning on getting slightly wild on March 17. They have 12 days to get ready to party.

Well, we at KRG Hospitality think this sounds a bit irresponsible. We don’t want any operators or their teams to run into any legal trouble. So, I recommend offering a spin on the Coronarita as a nearly two-week-long LTO.

Build a Margarita with Irish whiskey, Cointreau, fresh lime juice, and agave syrup. Serve it in a salt-rimmed pint glass, schooner, or mason jar. Invert a Harp Lager, Smithwick’s Pale Ale, or Guinness Blonde Lager in the glass.

March 7: National Crown Roast of Pork Day

Here’s a fun one based on a culinary classic. Put simply, a crown roast is anywhere from a dozen to nearly two dozen pork rib chops. When arranged in a circle, they look like a crown.

It’s old school, and it’s certainly a shareable dish. Dress this LTO up with a wine pairing, or dress it down with a bucket of beers.

March 8: National Proofreading Day

Your menu is a billboard. It’s a crucial marketing and branding tool. So, it can be embarrassing when there are typos and other issues on your menu.

If you don’t want to proofread it yourself, or you just want to engage your guests, put a “bounty” on misspellings and grammatical errors on your menu. Watch how quickly any mistakes are found, if any exist.

March 14: National Potato Chip Day

Housemade potato chips are among the best appetizers and sides. If your kitchen team is up for it, consider housemade chips as an LTO side. Think about making them a permanent (or semi-permanent) addition to your menu if all goes well.

March 18: National Sloppy Joe Day

So, it’s March 18. Some people may have gotten after it pretty hard for St. Patrick’s Day. They need comfort food.

If your kitchen team can make delicious Sloppy Joe’s from scratch (maybe served with housemade potato chips), they may be just what the doctor ordered.

March 19: National Poultry Day

Does your restaurant or bar serve dishes featuring poultry? Guess what you should do on this day…

March 21: World Vermouth Day

The days of low-quality vermouth are gone. For a few years not at least, people have discovered that premium vermouth makes a great cocktail base. This holds particularly true for low-ABV drinks, like reverse cocktails.

March 22: National Goof Off Day

This year, National Goof Off Day falls on a Friday. Really, that timing couldn’t be much better.

Encourage your guests to set aside their responsibilitiesas long as it won’t get them firedand goof off at your bar.

March 29: Smoke and Mirrors Day

When a cocktail is served with smoke, people take notice. Often times, when one is served, people watching the show want one of their own.

This is the perfect holiday to show off your smoking cocktails. To really embrace the holiday, smoke and serve them in a glass and chrome smoker box. By the way, these boxes work well when it comes to smoking food items, too.

March 31: National Tater Day

Much like poultry day, I bet you can figure out what to do on National Tater Day. Celebrate the potato! Tater tot nachos? Done. Sriracha French fries? Awesome. Fully loaded potato skins and baked potatoes? Classics.

Get creative. The humble potato is a fantastic canvas for enticing dishes.

Image: Ivan Bertolazzi on Pexels

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Update Your Margs with Mezcal and Sotol

Update Your Margaritas with Mezcal, Sotol, and More!

by David Klemt

Contraluz Cristalino Mezcal bottle on a drinks tray

We all know how to make a classic Margarita, so for this National Margarita Day we want to put some new recipes and ingredients on your radar.

The cocktail recipes below swap out the tequila for mezcal and sotol.

For a quick refresher, all tequila is mezcal in a technical sense. Mezcal is made with agave plants. Tequila producers use a specific agave plant, Blue Weber. Further, tequila must be produced in one of five Mexican states: Guanajuato, Jalisco, Michoacan, Nayarit, or Tamaulipas.

Then we have sotol. You may have seen sotol thrown in with agave spirits on cocktail or spirits roundups. To clarify, however, sotol is a typo of shrub known as the desert spoon, and it’s not an agave plant.

So, all tequila is mezcal, mezcal is agave, and sotol is…sotol.

Swap Out the Tequila

Being National Margarita Day, you certainly need to have a classic Margarita on your menu. It’s all the better if your bar team makes them so well and so consistently that really, your top-selling Marg is one of your signature cocktails.

That said, it’s also a good idea to play with classics to give your guests new drinks to discover. The two recipes below are two great examples of riffs on the classic Margarita that should get your and your bar team’s creative wheels turning.

Allow me to introduce you to Contraluz Cristalino Mezcal and Nocheluna Sotol, if you’re not already acquainted.

Contraluz lays claim to the title of “world’s first cristalino mezcal.” Made from 100 percent espadín agave, this is a crystal-clear, small-batch reposado mezcal. On the nose, expect aromas of agave, along with citrus and floral notes. You may also detect smoke, cedar, and honey. In terms of flavor, Contraluz delivers notes of vanilla, clove, cacao, and cooked agave, with a sweet, long finish.

The second cocktail below is made with Nocheluna Sotol, which is crafted using 100-percent wild sotol from Chihuahuan desert. This particular sotol is the result of a collaboration between a fourth-generation master vintner, and a master distiller.

A unique spirit, Nocheluna delivers a delicate balance of sweet, herbal, dried fruit, and mineral notes. These notes come through via both the aroma and taste, although you may detect oak and smoke as well. Interestingly, Nocheluna says the finish may include a taste of pecan wood, along with wet earth.

 

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But Wait, There’s More!

Along with Contraluz and Nocheluna, you’ll see three bottles that may be new to you below. The Light and Soul cocktail calls for Alma Finca Orange Liqueur, Nixta Licor de Elote, and HAGAVE Spiced Nectar.

The first is an orange liqueur produced by the same company that makes Montelobos Mezcal. The second liqueur, Nixta Elote, is essentially liquid elote seasoning, and it comes in a fantastic corn-shaped bottle. Finally, HAGAVE is exactly what it says on the label: a premium, spiced agave mixer.

I don’t know about you, but I definitely plan to get my hands on each of these bottles. Just imagine what you can do to engage with your guests by introducing them to a crystal-clear, artisanal mezcal, an expertly crafted sotol, and liquid elote in a corn bottle.

Cheers!

Contraluz Cristalino Mezcal, Light and Soul cocktail

Light and Soul

  • 2.0 oz. Contraluz Cristalino Mezcal
  • 0.5 oz. Alma Finca Orange Liqueur (or a triple sec or different orange liqueur if unavailable)
  • 0.5 oz. Nixta Licor de Elote
  • 1 oz. Lime cordial
  • 0.5 oz. HAGAVE Spiced Nectar

Place a large ice cube or sphere in a rocks glass. Add all liquid ingredients to a shaker filled with ice. Shake well, and strain into the prepared rocks glass. Garnish with a dehydrated lime wheel.

Nocheluna Sotol cocktail, the Sotolita

Sotolita

  • 1.5 oz. Nocheluna Sotol
  • 1.0 oz. Triple sec
  • 1.0 oz. Fresh lime juice
  • 1.5 oz. Apple juice
  • Apple slices to garnish
  • Chiltepin salt for rim (sea salt blend with chiltepin peppers)

Prepare a rocks glass by adding quality ice and rimming it with chiltepin salt. Add ice to a shaker, then add all liquid ingredients. Shake well, then strain into the prepared glass. Garnish with an apple-slice fan.

Images provided by LaFORCE

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by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Taco Bell Reveals 2024 Marketing Calendar

“Thank You for Coming to My Taco Bell Talk”

by David Klemt

2024 Taco Bell menu item lineup

The showdown between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers isn’t the only big news coming out of Las Vegas from Super Bowl LVIII weekend.

Of course, the game’s result is also big news. Congratulations to the Chiefs on their back-to-back world champion wins!

However, Super Bowl weekend kicked off with a unique event. On Friday, February 9, Taco Bell hosted their first-ever Live Más LIVE event.

As the event’s title suggests, Live Más LIVE was a livestream. And during that livestream, the undisputed Kings of the LTO did something they and their competitors simply don’t do. At Live Más LIVE, Taco Bell revealed their 2024 menu lineup.

Another way of putting this to illustrate the event’s significance is that Taco Bell just gave away their marketing calendar for the year.

Apparently, the inspiration for Live Más LIVE comes from Apple. The tech colossus has been hosting their annual Worldwide Developers Conference in earnest for more than 20 years. For the unfamiliar, Apple uses WDC to announce product news.

“I watch Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference, and I just had this moment,” said Taylor Montgomery, Taco Bell’s chief marketing officer. So, I have to wonder if Live Más LIVE will become an annual or semi-annual event.

I’ll get to the items and opportunities Taco Bell unveiled in a moment. There’s a bigger point I believe operators should take away from Live Más LIVE.

A restaurant or bar’s menu is not just a list of items for sale. A menu is a powerful marketing tool. It’s a billboard. Arguably, the menu is the most powerful tool in an operator’s marketing toolbox.

QSR Innovation

Collaborations

While Taco Bell’s 2024 menu items are huge news, they’re not the only important revelation.

During Live Más LIVE, Taco Bell announced three emerging chefs who will launch the QSR giant’s TBX culinary program. Chefs Reuben Asaram, Jennifer Hwa Dobbertin, and Lawrence Smith will first be tasked with reinvigorating the Crunchwrap Supreme.

The announcement that these three chefs will bring their unique styles to Taco Bell speaks to the overall theme of the Super Bowl weekend event: Innovation.

This year, Taco Bell is going hard with new menu items, and they’re entering into compelling new collaborations to do so. These partnerships include:

  • Beekeeper Coffee for Horchata Cold Brew Latte;
  • Cheez-It for the Cheez-It Crunchwrap, which features a Cheez-It cracker that’s 16 times (!) the size of a standard one;
  • Disha Hot for an exclusive sauce packet;
  • Salt & Straw for Ice Cream Chocolate Taco (think upscale Choco Taco), featuring cinnamon ancho ice cream;
  • Secret Aardvark for their Serrabanero sauce, which will accompany Nacho Fries; and
  • Tajín for an exclusive Taco Bell menu that will reportedly consist of a Tajín Crunchy Taco, Tajín Twists, and a Tajín Strawberry Freeze.

Having attended the Salt & Straw opening in Las Vegas (well, Spring Valley, but I won’t get into that further) I can say that I’m eager to sink my teeth into an Ice Cream Chocolate Taco.

On its own, these collaborations and menu testings are big news. However, Taco Bell’s event went bigger.

Menu Expansion

We all remember the Great Chicken Wars of the past several years. Well, Taco Bell has put their competitors on notice: They’re finally leaping into the fray.

According to Liz Matthews, Taco Bell’s chief food innovation officer, the company is lacking when it comes to having their “fair share of chicken.” The planned Cantina Chicken menu aims to fix this oversight.

2024 Live Mas Live Taco Bell event

Along with oven-roasted and shredded chicken seasoned with pasilla, other chilies, and spices, come a number of ingredients appearing at Taco Bell restaurants for the first time. Among them are purple cabbage, an Avocado Verde Salsa sauce packet, and white corn taco shells.

Debuting soon (hopefully) are are the Cantina Chicken Burrito, Cantina Chicken Taco (available in soft or crispy varieties), Cantina Chicken Quesadilla, and Cantina Chicken Bowl.

Those aren’t the only new chicken-centric items coming to the Taco Bell menu. There’s also the Cheesy Chicken Crispanada, featuring marinated and slow-cooked chicken.

Oh, and chicken nugget lovers, rejoice! Crispy Chicken Nuggets, made by marinating all-white chicken in spiced jalapeño buttermilk and frying them in a tortilla coating, are on their way.

This year, Taco Bell will also offer the Cheesy Enchilada Dipping Taco (slow-roasted chicken), and Cheesy Street Chalupa, which is available with slow-roasted chicken or grilled steak.

On the sweet side, Taco Bell is launching MTN DEW BAJA BLAST Gelato, and Dulce de Leche Cinnabon Delights.

As one might suspect, some of these items will be permanent, some will come in the form of LTOs. And if my suspicions prove correct, I think we’ll see a secret, unannounced menu item at least once in 2024.

Image: Taco Bell

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

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Program for Unique Holidays: February 2024

Program for Unique Holidays: February 2024

by David Klemt

"Think about things differently" neon sign

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

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

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

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

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

For our January 2024 holidays list, click here.

February 3: Ice Cream for Breakfast Day

I think we can all agree that life is too short to not indulge ourselves and have a treat occasionally. French toast, pancakes, crepes… All of these breakfast foods and more pair quite well with ice cream.

This holiday is even better if your back-of-house team can make ice cream from scratch.

February 4: National Homemade Soup Day

One of the most comforting foods on the planet, particularly during the winter, is a warm cup or bowl of homemade soup.

Of course, as an operator, you’ll want to consider rephrasing this holiday as “Housemade” or “Scratch-made” soup.

February 5: Start of Pride in Food Service Week

Pride in Food Service Week runs from February 5 to 9. The purpose is to celebrate foodservice professionals. For some, this means leaving a larger tip than normal. Some operators use this five-day holiday to host special events that highlight their team’s skills. I also recommend using this time to come up with ways you can honor your team, and improve their lives and careers.

February 11: National Peppermint Patty Day

Back in November of last year I wrote about how peppermint was overtaking pumpkin spice as the preferred flavor. Well, this is the perfect day to feature peppermint via a variety of F&B items on your menu, from cocktails and high-quality non-alcohol LTO beverages to tempting desserts.

February 13: National Cheddar Day

Cheddar is the most-popular cheese in the UK and one of the most-popular in the US. If you can slather it in Cheddar, create an LTO menu, feature it, and promote it.

February 16: National Almond Day

This is definitely the holiday to feature dishes with almonds, from appetizers and entrees to desserts. And, of course, there are drinks made with Disaronno, Baileys Almande, Cîroc Amaretto, and other liqueurs and spirits that can help your bar team serve up almond-flavored cocktails.

February 22: National Margarita Day

Nope, this is not an “out there” holiday. However, it is a fantastic time to showcase your signature Margaritas, alongside a classic build, of course.

February 23: National Skip the Straw Day

If you have been trying to be a more sustainable business, reducing and eliminating waste is key. I’m not saying you have to focus solely on replacing plastic straws. Instead, think about serving drinks without straws.

However, make sure you do have straws on hand for those guests who need them.

February 24: National Tortilla Chip Day

Nachos, nachos, nachos. Nachos piled high, nachos prepared in the traditional method, your bar or restaurant’s signature nachos… Time to create a promotion around the humble tortilla chip!

February 26: National Pistachio Day

Have you ever had a Pistachio Martini? How about a Pistachio Espresso Martini, Pistachio Sour, or Pistachio Fizz?

If you haven’t, odds are many of your guests haven’t, either. Could be a great idea for an LTO menu featuring pistachio, huh?

Image: Ivan Bertolazzi on Pexels

Bar Nightclub Pub Brewery Marketing Agency Team

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