All posts in restaurants

Where to Start When Designing a Restaurant Menu

Sep14

109 seconds. That’s how long your average guest spends studying the menu. You have all of two minutes to assure them that they’ve chosen the right restaurant – so your menu design, item descriptions, and menu configuration had better be up to the task. Below are a few important details to consider when designing your restaurant menu.

 

Descriptions – Dish names and descriptions are the heart of your menu, so phrasing that appeals to the senses is a must:

  • Nostalgic. Sentimental language builds a powerful emotional connection with your guests. Using words like “traditional” and “homestyle” evokes warm memories of food and family.
  • Appetizing. Descriptive menu labels such as “tender” and “succulent” enhance guest satisfaction with the meal. Incorporate geography into your menu selections (e.g. Maine Lobster Roll and Georgia Peach Pie) to make them sound more unique and inviting.
  • Humanizing. Discuss the origins of a recipe, or share details about the chef or restaurant owner with your guests. Did your mother use this recipe? Is it a favorite dish from your childhood?

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Innovative Ways to Build a Brand for Your New Restaurant

May17

Opening a new business is always going to be a challenge but when you are opening a new restaurant in a location where no one knows you and you haven’t built a loyal following yet, it can be more than a challenge. However, there are some things you can do right from the start to build brand so that people understand right from day one who you are, what you serve and what sets you apart from other eating establishments in the area.

Four Plus Decades of Positioning Should Have Taught Us Something

Back in the 1980s, a pair of advertising gurus by the names of Al Ries and Jack Trout came up with a marketing concept called ‘positioning.’ It is a four-fold concept in which a new company needs to decide where it wants to be seen in the public eye. Before you set out to brand your new restaurant, decide if you want to be known by:

  1. Product
  2. Price
  3. Place
  4. Promotion

Where do you envision your restaurant being positioned within those four approaches to brand?
Do you want people to know that your food is special in some way such as organic or artisan? That would be product. Do you want to compete with Burger King or McDonald’s? That would be price. What about a spot on the boardwalk of South Beach in Miami? Of course, that would be place and for promotion, you could go in almost any direction you’d like! Perhaps you could sign on a brand ambassador that would promote your business, or you could offer special promotions like “Two Times Two Tuesdays.

Visual Identification Is Key

Positioning should be a first step in developing a brand and the more innovative and creative you get, the more you will stand out from other restaurants in your locale. Next, you want to relate your brand image with your positioning. When you decide to create a menu, for example, keep everything from layout to graphics with the ‘position’ you want to be identified. You can get free restaurant menu templates which you can add your own graphics to, your own menu items and prices, and any little advertising slogans you want to display. Visual identification can have an impact on your positioning if used creatively.

You can never underestimate the importance of a brand and in opening a new restaurant in an area where the competition is stiff, you need to pay special attention to your positioning. By developing a brand based on your position within a market, you can quickly develop a following that is looking for what you have to offer. Whether you want to compete with the big guys or develop a unique niche all your own, use the positioning method to build a brand and see how quickly you become a success. Four decades later and we’re still exploring the benefits of innovative positioning, but once you’ve mastered it, memorable marketing and branding are within reach.

How to Raise Your Check Average Using Menu Psychology

Feb16

The mind is a complicated thing. The way people think and take in the world around them has an impact on all areas of life, including the average meal check at your restaurant. If you feel that your checks should or could be higher, the problem may be not in your food or service, but rather with the psychological effect of your menu design.

The design and strategy of your menu creates a strong psychological pull for your diners, drawing them to certain items and steering them away from others. If you understand menu psychology and implement it with your own menu, your average check will start to increase even without any actual changes to the menu choices.

 

Eliminate Dollar Signs

When people see a dollar sign, they almost instinctively hold their wallets a little tighter. Dollar signs remind the diner that they are about to spend money, and this can make people spend less. The brain automatically associates a dollar sign with cost, not gain, and your diners will spend less when they see the symbol. When presented with a menu without dollar signs, however, diners will spend more.

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Restaurant Marketing Trends + Tips [Roundup]

Mar11

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10 Chef Blogs You Really Should be Reading (Slideshow)

To be a great chef, your mind needs to be slightly more attuned to the world around you than everyone else’s. For that reason, the skills that make someone a great chef – powers of observation, inquisitiveness, an eye for beauty – are also part of the skill set that can make someone a lively and engaging writer. You might be surprised by how many great chefs and food personalities have blogs that you should be reading.

10 Chef Blogs You Really Should be Reading (Slideshow)To be a great chef, your mind needs to be slightly more attuned to the world around you than everyone else’s. For that reason, the skills that make someone a great chef – powers of observation, inquisitiveness, an eye for beauty – are also part of the skill set that can make someone a lively and engaging writer. You might be surprised by how many great chefs and food personalities have blogs that you should be reading.

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3 reasons why a tablet ordering system will ruin your restaurant

Nov17

Introducing a tablet ordering system in a restaurant may seem like a perfect option – it could eliminate communication errors between the guest and the kitchen, reduce time to pay at the end of meals, and give guests the opportunity to learn more about the food and history of the establishment. But nothing is ever as perfect as it seems. Below we have outlined 3 reasons why a tablet ordering system will ruin your restaurant.

1. Cost. There are 3 major costs associated with tablet ordering systems. First, the cost of labor will increase because server tips will decrease. Restaurant operators are responsible for paying employees minimum wage if they are not making the required amount through tips. Second, the initial cost of the tablet computers – training, insurance, and the devices themselves. Third, there must be a reserve of cash for lost, stolen or damaged property. Most restaurants are a haphazard environment, with plates getting dropped, glasses being broken, and salt shakers mysteriously disappearing. Tablets will break, get stolen, or be otherwise damaged and it is important to prepare in advance.

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8 Trending topics for Restaurants in November

Nov14

5 things restaurants need to do now to prepare for the holidays: http://www.businessinsider.com/five-things-you-need-to-do-right-now-to-capture-holiday-sales-2011-10

5 things restaurants need to consider before rebranding http://smartblogs.com/restaurants/2011/08/31/5-things-restaurants-should-consider-before-rebranding/

Yelp’s Star System Serves Up a Tasty Dish: http://dailycrowdsource.com/2011/10/23/community/yelps-star-system-serves-up-a-tasty-dish/

The importance of smart phones in bar/restaurant social media efforts: http://www.thebarblogger.com/the-importance-of-smart-phones-to-your-social-media-efforts/

3 food truck marketing gimmicks that actually work: http://blog.swipelyworks.com/food-truck-marketing/3-food-truck-marketing-gimmicks-that-actually-worked#more-1397

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Getting a bigger slice of the feedback pie [INFOGRAPHIC]

Oct25

If you’ve been in the restaurant industry for an extended period of time, you’ve likely heard of the “secret” or “mystery” shopper. The shopper or shoppers come in and grade a restaurant on everything – from the host’s friendliness, to whether a manager stops by the table, to whether the server is knowledgeable and tells them their name. After their dining experience, the shoppers turn in a form relaying their experiences to the hiring company. The company then processes the information, and sends it to the restaurant, which in turn  reviews the form (which itself can be a long process  down the chain of command from corporate to district managers, to store managers to shift managers) and then contacts the staff member that served the shoppers. This process is drawn out to unnecessary lengths.

A few questions to ponder: Is this timeline acceptable? Is a secret shopper program even worth it, when the majority of experienced servers can pick out a secret shopper within the first 5 minutes of interaction? By the time the feedback returns, does the employee in question even work at the restaurant anymore?

Secret-Shopper-Infographic.jpg

Enter in 4G mobile phone networks, high speed internet, and social media, and the timeline for customer feedback is much shorter. A guest can write a review from the table on Yelp from their phone, or they can be tweeting or updating their Facebook status about everything that is happening. The best part  is that  restaurant managers and staff have an opportunity to correct a potential problem as it occurs, and establish a personal relationship with guests by monitoring these forms of media.

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19 Takeaways from "Brand your business like your favorite restaurant"

Oct21

This past Wednesday, we partnered with the Arizona Technology Council to present a panel of branding experts to discuss building a brand experience like your favorite restaurant. Our panelists included Kate Unger, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Kahala, a franchising company (owners of Cold Stone Creamery and Blimpie brands, along with 12 others); Deborah Topcik, Director of Marketing for Z’Tejas, Inc. which owns and operates 11 restaurants in six markets; and John Banquil, Regional Manager for Ling and Louie’s Asian Bar and Grill. Below, we have have posted 19 takeaways to recap the event.

Cold Stone Creamery is launching with International Delight – ice cream flavored coffee creamer sounds amazing!

Take advantage of product placement opportunities like Cold Stone Creamery did with Ryan Seacrest. Ryan sent out this tweet: On the way to @kimkardashian’s wedding…traffic so bad on the 101 I had to stop at cold stone creamery…coffee lovers in my belly…I will quick change in the car…I always keep a suit in trunk!

“We’re comfortable with our food – we want to make sure our staff is doing the right thing for our brand every time” – John Banquil, Ling and Louie’s Asian Bar and Grill

On social media…

  • “Make it so people can see behind the curtain, give them sneak peeks to upcoming menu items.” – Deborah Topcik, Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill
  • “Social media doesn’t replace people. If a manager sees someone in 4 times in 2 weeks, do something for them! Don’t just rely on check-ins.” – John Banquil, Ling and Louie’s
  • “Someone sits at the bar tweeting, we can respond right away and make them laugh – that’s a personal experience.” – John Banquil, Ling and Louie’s
  • Talking to your staff about promoting via social media is a fine line – you never know what they’re going to say.

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19 Takeaways from "Brand your business like your favorite restaurant"

Oct21

This past Wednesday, we partnered with the Arizona Technology Council to present a panel of branding experts to discuss building a brand experience like your favorite restaurant. Our panelists included Kate Unger, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Kahala, a franchising company (owners of Cold Stone Creamery and Blimpie brands, along with 12 others); Deborah Topcik, Director of Marketing for Z’Tejas, Inc. which owns and operates 11 restaurants in six markets; and John Banquil, Regional Manager for Ling and Louie’s Asian Bar and Grill. Below, we have have posted 19 takeaways to recap the event.

Cold Stone Creamery is launching with International Delight – ice cream flavored coffee creamer sounds amazing!

Take advantage of product placement opportunities like Cold Stone Creamery did with Ryan Seacrest. Ryan sent out this tweet: On the way to @kimkardashian’s wedding…traffic so bad on the 101 I had to stop at cold stone creamery…coffee lovers in my belly…I will quick change in the car…I always keep a suit in trunk!

“We’re comfortable with our food – we want to make sure our staff is doing the right thing for our brand every time” – John Banquil, Ling and Louie’s Asian Bar and Grill

On social media…

  • “Make it so people can see behind the curtain, give them sneak peeks to upcoming menu items.” – Deborah Topcik, Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill
  • “Social media doesn’t replace people. If a manager sees someone in 4 times in 2 weeks, do something for them! Don’t just rely on check-ins.” – John Banquil, Ling and Louie’s
  • “Someone sits at the bar tweeting, we can respond right away and make them laugh – that’s a personal experience.” – John Banquil, Ling and Louie’s
  • Talking to your staff about promoting via social media is a fine line – you never know what they’re going to say.

Read more

5 social media guidelines for Restaurants

Oct19

1. Be polite. No one wants to be the owner/manager/employee who lashes out at an unhappy guest. There are countless examples of letting anger take hold, but the results are always the same: it’s embarrassing, gets bad PR, and can ruin your brand image. The best thing to do when someone has a complaint, but has already left the restaurant, is to take the conversation offline, and privately message them and resolve the situation out of the public eye. If someone is still at the restaurant, approach the guest and see what can be done to rectify the situation.

    2. Respond. It’s very easy to set up a social media account, use it for a while, and then ignore it for long periods of time. The problem with ignoring social media platforms is that guests can still be interacting with an establishment, and feeling like they’re being ignored. This result is the opposite of what social media should be! Try to always respond to check-ins and comments, even if it’s just a quick “thank you!” It’s a small step to lasting relationships with guests.

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