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Mother’s Day Restaurant Ideas

happy mothers day

 

Mother’s Day is the perfect time to show your mom, grandma, or any other female role model how much you appreciate her. And there’s no better way to do so than treating her to a delicious meal at an inviting restaurant. The most popular holiday for dining out, Mother’s Day falls on May 14th this year and offers a great opportunity for restaurants to bring in new customers. For a few tips and tricks that can help you maximize your restaurant’s business potential on Mother’s Day, continue reading.

Mother’s Day Brunch

 

mothers day brunch

 

Since Mother’s Day brunch is just as popular as dinner, it’s imperative for restaurants to allocate the same resources to late morning and early afternoon hours as they would to the dinner rush. This means if your restaurant usually opens in the afternoon, it’d be in your best interest to alter your hours for Mother’s Day and open in the late morning. Also ensure your restaurant is equipped with enough chefs, servers, and bus boys to handle the influx of hungry customers. Furthermore, the kitchen should be stocked with even more food, drinks, and ingredients than usual.

Brunch meals like eggs, oatmeal, pancakes, and waffles are generally inexpensive and offer greater profit margin than lunch and dinner items. Yogurt with fresh fruit is another popular option that’s a crowd favorite and easy to make. If you’re looking for a way to simplify your Mother’s Day operation, try offering a buffet-style set-up by using countertop buffet warmers. Depending on your preference, this allows your staff to serve customers or customers to serve themselves.

 

Mother’s Day Dinner

 

mother's day dinner

 

It’s important for your staff to maintain its professionalism and enthusiasm during brunch and throughout dinner. If possible, consider giving your staff a longer break than usual so they can get sufficient rest between the brunch and dinner time rushes. This is especially applicable to restaurants that extend business hours for the holiday, since their staff will not be accustomed to working such long shifts.

For a special holiday treat, utilize a unique dinner menu that features great deals and delicious delicacies. Ideally, the appetizers and entrees offered should be prepared in advance to ensure optimal kitchen efficiency. This will also help lead to quick table turnover and consequently maximize revenue. Regardless of the Mother Day specials you choose to offer, know your customers will appreciate you going the extra mile.

 

A Small Gesture

 

If you’re feeling generous, consider offering all the moms dining in your restaurant a special gift. Whether you decide to give flowers, assorted chocolates, a bottle of wine, or a free dessert of their choice, presenting each mom with a gift is a great way to ensure they leave your establishment brimming with joy and eager to tell everyone about their wonderful experience.

 

Decorations and Seating

 

mothers day flowers

 

Since spring will be in full bloom for Mother’s Day, it’ll be easy to find beautiful flowers that create an enchanting atmosphere. Just make certain to display your flowers in a vase that does them justice. For dinner time, use candles to provide an alluring atmosphere for diners. If your restaurant usually has TVs playing, you might want to turn them off for the special day. This will make for a more intimate dining environment.

The outside temperature will likely be warm on Mother’s Day, enabling you to utilize outdoor eating areas like patios. If you’re expecting a packed restaurant and have spare space, stock up on extra seating and folding tables to help ensure each of your patrons is served in a timely manner. Don’t forget to give your folding tables a little style by using a table cover.

 

Drinks

 

mimosas

 

Since brunch and dinner time will both see large rushes, your restaurant should offer appropriate drink specials for the different meals. During brunch, you’re best-suited to offer glasses of Mimosas, Bellinis, Bloody Marys, margaritas, screwdrivers, Irish coffee, sangria, spiked iced tea, and various beers. When dinner time rolls around, switch the specials so they include evening drinks like wine, martinis, and manhattans.

 

Getting the Word Out

 

restaurant marketing

 

You’ll want to inform your regular customers and other potential patrons of any Mother’s Day plans your restaurant has. The further in advance you make your plans known, the easier it is for people to plan. Posting detailed fliers in and around your restaurant is a great way to notify local residents of your holiday celebration. If possible, include special drink and food offerings on the flier that will appeal to patrons. Should the opportunity arise, servers and bartenders should relay the restaurant’s plan to customers.

A more modern way to spread the word is by leveraging social media. Especially if you’re active on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, posting virtual flyers could be all you need to ensure your restaurant is packed all day and all night.

 

Requiring Reservations

 

reserved

 

By encouraging customers to make reservations in advance, you help ensure your restaurant’s Mother’s Day operation runs as smoothly as possible. If patrons show up to your restaurant hungry and ready to eat, they will not take it well if there’s an extended wait before they can be seated. In fact, they’ll likely be hesitant to return to your restaurant in the future. Make it clear through fliers, social media, and word of mouth that your restaurant is booking tables in advance of the holiday. When blocking out time slots, assume patrons will spend a few more minutes at a table than usual for the special occasion.

 

Make this Mother’s Day a celebration people won’t soon forget. Since the holiday is such a busy time for restaurants, it’s essential not to fret about the number of customers you draw. Patrons will show up—if for no other reason than people eat out on Mother’s Day. So what really matters is providing a quality experience for each and every patron. Doing so can help ensure he or she will want to come back and spend future holidays at your restaurant.

 

mothers day celebration

Concession Stand Equipment, Food, and Drinks

 

concession stand

 

As the temperature heats up, seasonal concession stands will start opening for business. Whether you run a concession stand at a pool, fair, park, carnival, or ball field, it’s important to offer popular foods that consistently attract hungry customers. The following is a list of food equipment that’s commonly found at concession stands and can help your business thrive.

 

Popcorn Machine

 

One of the most profitable food items, popcorn has been a popular snack since the 1800s. Beloved by both customers and owners of concession stands, popcorn is both inexpensive and delicious. It’s also perfect for spectator sports—which is why popcorn is found at thousands of ball fields throughout the United States. If you want to offer popcorn at your concession stand, be sure to outfit it invest in a reliable commercial popcorn machine. Featuring built-in warmer lights that ensure your popcorn remains hot and delicious, electric popcorn machines conveniently fit atop counters and attract the attention of customers.

 

Hot Dog Equipment

 

hot dog machine

 

No food is more intertwined with American culture than the hot dog. After all, the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest routinely draws thousands of spectators. If that’s not impression enough, over one million people watch the event from home on TV. Suffice to say—America loves hot dogs, and it’s only reasonable that your concession stand offers them by using commercial hot dog rollers or hot dog steamers. Some hot dog steamers conveniently come equipped with bun warmers that keep hot dog buns soft and warm. Rotisserie style hot dog broilers proudly display hot dogs to your customers.

 

Pizza Oven

 

Pizza is a perennial crowd pleaser. No matter who you’re with, it’s highly likely that everyone will be willing to split a delicious pie of pizza. That’s why it’s important for concession stands to include pizza with their food offerings. But it’s not enough to just have pizza—you want to show it off too! Capable of displaying two pizza pies while also keeping them warm, a heated shelf warmer is the perfect solution for concession stands. For cooking pizza, a compact countertop pizza oven is ideal for smaller stands that have minimal storage space. Make sure to also keep a pizza cutter on hand so you can cut individual slices.

 

Cotton Candy Machine

 

cotton candy machine 

 

Beloved by sweet tooths everywhere, cotton candy is probably the food on this list that’s the most fun to eat. Kids love strutting around with a big stick of blue or pink cotton candy—showing it off for the world to see. If your concession stand is frequented by young kids, it’d be in your best interest to give them what they crave by investing in a cotton candy machine. To properly display freshly spun cotton candy to your customers, utilize a display stand.  

 

Slushy Machine

 

What’s better than cooling off with an ice cold slushy? Whether you prefer strawberry, cherry, grape, orange, lemon, or something else, there is a slushy flavor for everyone. These bright, sugar-rich concoctions can be easily made and distributed by using a commercial slushy machine. Especially if you operate at a pool or somewhere else kids go to relax, a slushy machine will make a great addition to your concession stand. Machines are available in several sizes, with some machines holding only one flavor and other machines holding up to three.

 

Nacho Chip Merchandiser

 

nacho chip warmer

 

Invented in Mexico during the 1940s, nachos quickly spread throughout the southwest and eventually to the rest of the United States. Today, the dish is usually served as a snack or appetizer and has become a popular offering for concession stands. Whether you want to serve basic nachos with cheese or add beans, meat, and cilantro, a nacho chip merchandiser can help attract the attention of potential customers. In addition to bringing in business, these merchandisers also ensure your nachos taste delicious. These large glass boxes feature internal heating mechanisms that keep your tortilla chips warm and crunchy.

 

Snow Cone Machines

 

The ultimate in icey refreshment, snow cones are essentially shaved ice that’s been flavored. Snow cone machines—also known as commercial ice shavers—make it easy for concession stands to serve delicious snow cones to its assortment of customers. Make sure to maintain a steady supply of diverse snow cone syrup to ensure your customers’ satisfaction.

 

Ice Cream Dipping Cabinets and Soft Serve Machines

 

soft serve machine

 

On blistering hot summer days, ice cream is the perfect snack to bring cool comfort to customers.  Concession stands have the option of offering soft serve ice cream, regular ice cream, or both. Offering soft serve ice cream requires you to outfit your foodservice with a commercial soft serve machine. Although most machines are full size floor models, our catalog also contains convenient countertop units. If you want to offer regular ice cream instead, you’ll need an ice cream dipping cabinet.  Many patrons to prefer to eat ice cream out of a cone rather than a cup. An ice cream cone holder can give you easy access to cones and make your operation run more smoothly. Commercial chest freezers are ideal for ensuring novelties like ice pops and ice cream bars remain frozen and delicious.

 

Milkshake Machines

 

Concession stands that offer regular ice cream might as well also offer milkshakes. Only requiring milk and ice cream, milkshakes can be prepared in all the distinct ice cream flavors your stand carries. Although vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry are the classic milkshake flavors, feel free to offer more unique milkshakes like banana, oreo, and mint—which is incredibly refreshing on a hot summer day. Compact milkshake machines occupy minimal space and can produce up to hundreds of delicious milkshakes per day.

 

Commercial Griddles

 

commercial griddle

 

Add a few protein-rich offerings to your concession stand menu by carrying chicken and burgers. While there is a wide range of equipment that can cook these items, commercial countertop griddles are the best options for compact concession stands.  Perfect for cooking mouth-watering burgers and chicken, countertop griddles are available in a variety of sizes. Whether your concession stand is set up to use a gas or electric griddle, there’s a unit for you.

 

Commercial Fryers

 

Complement your chicken and burgers with delicious fried side dishes. Concession stand staples like French fries, onion rings, and mozzarella sticks are tasty and easy to make with commercial fryers. Units run on gas or electricity, and both countertop and floor model fryers are available. Make sure to equip your fryer with a perfectly sized fryer basket for optimal efficiency.

 

Merchandising Refrigeration

 

merchandising refrigerator

 

Bottled water, soda, iced tea, lemonade, and juice can help quench your customers’ thirsts on sweltering summer days. Merchandising refrigerators can keep these drinks cold while providing clear views of what’s in stock. Available with anywhere from one to six sections, there is a perfect merchandising refrigerator for any size concession stand. Merchandising freezers also make great additions, as they’re perfect for holding ice, ice cream, ice cream novelty items, and frozen pizzas.

 

Condiment Caddies and Racks

 

What’s a hot dog without ketchup, mustard, and relish? Make sure your concession stand provides all the condiments necessary for customers to get the most out of their meals. Condiment squeeze bottles, salt and pepper shakers, and spice shakers. Condiment caddies and racks will help make organizing condiments easier than ever.

 

Before your concession stand re-opens for the season—or has its official grand opening—make absolutely certain that it’s stocked with the equipment it’ll need to keep customers satisfied. The aforementioned items are great options, but a stand’s ideal menu and equipment will likely vary depending on what’s popular in its region. Make sure to tailor your foodservice business accordingly. 

 

sunny concession stand

9 Must-Have Commercial Kitchen Products

commercial kitchen

 

Any commercial kitchen needs a wide range of equipment to flourish. The following is a list of high-quality kitchen equipment that will help your restaurant’s kitchen reach its full potential:

 

1) Duke E102-G Double Deck Gas Convection Oven

Whether you want to bake cookies or roast a turkey, it’s important to use a reliable commercial convection oven that consistently achieves your desired results. The Duke E-102-G double deck gas convection oven is a perfect option for restaurants that demand the best. Boasting a two-speed fan that circulates hot air and ensures even cooking throughout its chamber, this convection oven has two decks that each hold up to 5 pans. The unit’s thermostatic dial control allows you to program a specific temperature between 200°F-500°F. Featuring glass doors that let you and your staff monitor food as it cooks, this commercial oven also has a built-in gas regulator that ensures it’s always using the right amount of gas. This will help keep your foodservice’s overhead as low as possible.

 

 

2) Pitco SG14-S Gas Fryer

Perfect for frying shrimp, dough, chicken, onion rings, mozzarella sticks, and French fries, a Pitco SG14-S gas fryer has a 50 lb. fat capacity and is ideal for lower-volume commercial kitchens. The commercial fryer comes equipped with two nickel-plated fry baskets that make it easy to fry different foods simultaneously. Boasting 5 tube-style burners that evenly heat your frying oil, this Pitco fryer can reach temperatures up to 450°F. The unit is made entirely of stainless steel for optimal durability. Since the fryer is only 16" wide, it’s compact enough to conveniently fit between other kitchen equipment.

 

 

3) Traulsen G20010 2-Section Reach-In Refrigerator

Offering 46 cubic feet of storage space, this Traulsen G20010 commercial reach-in refrigerator is Energy Star-certified and can help you reduce operating costs. Its two storage sections boast 2" of foamed insulation and benefit from self-closing hinged doors. These features help ensure the commercial refrigerator always keeps its contents cold and well-preserved. Whether you need to store milk, cheese, fruits, vegetables, meats, sauces, or more, this refrigerator can get the job done. Equipped with four bottom-mounted casters that enable easy mobility, it also comes with three adjustable epoxy-coated shelves per section. If you need to keep the doors open to clean the refrigerator’s interior, there is a stay-open feature that activates when doors open past the 120° mark.

 

 

4) Robot Coupe BLIXER 4 Food Processor

While most of the other items on this list will help you cook food, the Robot Coupe Blixer 4 Food Processor will make food prep easier than ever. The simple-to-use unit features a 1-1/2 HP motor and three buttons: “on,” “off,” and “pulse.” Perfect for making pesto, curry paste, hummus and nut butter, this food processor can also grind meat and vegetables or chop nuts. With a 4.5 qt. capacity, this stainless steel commercial food processor has a clear lid that enables you to monitor the unit’s grinding, mixing, or chopping. The single-speed food processor conveniently comes with a serrated “S” blade for optimal convenience.

 

robot coupe blixer 4

 

5) Amana HDC212 Heavy-Duty Commercial Microwave

The Amana HDC212 microwave boasts 2100W of heating power. Featuring 11 unique power levels, 100 program menu settings, and 4 stages of cooking, this heavy-duty unit is easy to use and versatile enough to accommodate changing menus. The microwave is ideal for high-volume restaurants and is constructed of stainless steel that ensures long-term durability. Capable of fitting half-size food pans or large take-out containers, this heavy-duty microwave has a spacious interior that’s well-lit and ideal for steaming or reheating meals. A transparent door makes it easy to monitor food as it cooks, and a vent hood is not required with this easy-to-install Amana microwave.

 

 

6) Red Goat A3P-R7 A Series Food Disposer

The Red Goat A3P-R7 Food Disposer can help your foodservice reduce the amount of money it spends on garbage services. This disposer has the capacity to process up to 1480 lbs of waste per hour and helps improve the environment. Ideal for medium-sized restaurants, the commercial food disposer boasts 3 Horse Power and comes equipped with a flexible drain connecter that attaches to a metal or PVC drain line. A thermal overload protection feature ensures the long-term functioning of this unit, and the disposer’s stainless steel construction provides superior durability.

 

red goat A3P-R7

 

7) Rational B628206.19E 42" Combi Oven - Natural Gas

The Rational B628206.19E combi oven is a steamer and convection oven all in one. Perfect for steaming vegetables, baking cookies, or roasting meat, this 42"W SelfCooking Center fits conveniently atop counters and can hold (6) 18" x 26" or (12) 12" x 20" sheet pans. The unit offers 7 unique cooking modes and features sensors that ensure your food is always cooked according to your precise preferences. An easy-to-use touch screen means the learning curve to operate this machine is minimal. Energy Star-certified, this combi oven can help your foodservice reduce operating costs. The commercial oven includes a retractable hand shower that makes it easy to clean the oven’s chamber of any grease or food debris. Offering overnight and unsupervised self-cleaning, the unit features 7 cleaning stages for comprehensive care.  A reversing-wheel 5-speed fan efficiently circulates air within the oven’s chamber.

 

 

8) Electrolux 502315 High-Temp Undercounter Dishwasher

Keep your dinnerware, flatware, and beverageware clean with this Electrolux 502315 undercounter dishwasher. Capable of cleaning up to 30 racks per hour, this high temp commercial dishwasher features a built-in booster heater and always reaches an optimal cleaning temperature of 180°F. The Energy Star 2.0-certified unit is extremely efficient, as it uses only 0.8 gallons of water per rack. Insulated door and side panels minimize heat loss, and double skin insulation helps reduce unwanted noise. Draining water after each cycle by using an automatic fill tank, this Electrolux dishwasher always uses new wash water with each cycle. An exterior digital display shows water temperature and cycle status.

 

 

9) Ice-o-Matic ICEU220HA Undercounter Ice Cube Maker

Ideal for bars and pubs, the Ice-o-Matic ICEU220HA ice maker easily fits beneath counters and provides easy access for busy servers and bartenders. Energy Star-certified, this commercial ice machine can make up to 238 lbs of half-size ice cubes per day and store as much as 70 lbs. Equipped with an antimicrobial-coated interior that ensures it remains sanitary, this ice cube maker has a Harvest assist feature that automatically transfers fresh ice into its storage area.

 

 

Although there is no special formula to designing a productive foodservice kitchen, using quality commercial cooking equipment certainly goes a long way.  The aforementioned products alone won’t create a thriving kitchen, but they can certainly provide a solid foundation for success.

 

restaurant kitchen cooking

Outdoor Dining at Restaurants

outdoor dining

 

As the weather continues to warm up, more and more diners will prefer to eat outside where they can enjoy fresh air, chirping birds, and beautiful sunshine. But setting up an inviting outdoor eating area isn’t as simple as throwing a few tables and chairs in front of or behind your restaurant. Be sure to take the following info into consideration when designing an outdoor dining area:

 

Comfort is King

 

outside dining comfort

 

Nothing repels a customer quite like an uncomfortable chair, table, or booth. After all—nobody wants to constantly squirm and adjust his posture during what should be a relaxing meal. That’s why it’s essential to outfit your patio or eating area with comfy outdoor table and chairs that will encourage patrons to return in the future. If your chairs are made of a hard material, their comfort level may significantly increase by the addition of cushions. Adding a cushion to each chair can be the difference between a customer becoming a regular or never returning.

 

Preparing for the Elements

 

patio canopy

 

Even though comfort is a top priority, it’s alsoimportant for your patio furniture to be durable enough to withstand the outdoor elements. This means investing in furniture made with quality materials like wood, cast aluminum, wrought iron, or steel. Doing so ensures your furniture will not only last the season—but also for the years still to come. Some restaurants utilize patio canopies that completely cover their outdoor seating areas, protecting furniture from damage caused by the rain and sun. These enclosures are particularly ideal for providing shade at restaurants where the heat and sun can be oppressive.

Restaurants in ultra-hot regions can also utilize umbrellas and outdoor misting fans to help ensure their customers remain comfortable. While umbrellas keep patrons shaded from the sun, outdoor misting systems provide a cool, refreshing breeze that’s saturated with moisture. Standard fans are also great options for outdoor seating areas. Restaurants in hot climates should ensure they have plenty of ice available, as some customers might request ice to chew while waiting for their meals.

For nights that get a little chilly, equip your outside eating area with an outdoor patio heater. Utilizing natural or propane gas to generate warmth, these heaters are available in a wide assortment of styles and sizes. Some heaters conveniently sit atop tables, while others are tall enough to stand on their own.

 

Decorations

 

outdoor patio decorations

 

Lavishing your outdoor patio with attractive items like plants and flowers can help the area be more inviting to potential diners. Just make sure not to display flowers that can induce allergic reactions from customers. Another decoration option, candles are great for setting an alluring ambiance. Fire pits are both aesthetically-pleasing and practical—as they keep patrons warm on chilly summer nights. If you really want to go all out, outfit your dining area with an elegant water fountain.

Depending on how much space you have and what type of restaurant you’re operating, consider offering fun outdoor games like cornhole and shuffleboard. Many establishments like to hang tasteful strings of lights overhead to provide delicate but functional lighting. If patrons are accustomed to hearing music at your restaurant, you will also want to outfit your outside eating area with a stereo system. Providing an inviting atmosphere is especially important for restaurants whose patios are in front where passers-by have clear views.

 

Equipping Your Tables

Make sure to stock your outdoor tables with everything that’s usually provided on your indoor tables. So whether you offer condiment squeeze bottles, salt & pepper shakers, oil & vinegar cruets, spice shakers, or entire condiment caddies indoors, make sure to remain consistent and provide the same items at your outdoor dining area. Vinyl table covers are also popular for outdoor dining because they make clean-up easy and provide further protection for the table. By using a skirt clip, you can help ensure your table covers remain stable and in-place.

 

Pest Control

Especially if your restaurant is situated in a hot, humid region of the country, bugs like mosquitoes, flies, yellow jackets, wasps, and hornets can be a constant source of irritation for customers. To combat this, equip your outdoor dining area with an electric or glue insect trapper. Other options for pest removal include citronella candles and bug spray.

Although the law varies by state, some restaurants are allowed to keep epinephrine on hand in the form of an epi-pen. When someone who’s allergic bee stings get stung, an epi-pen shot can be the difference between life and death. Keeping your restaurant stocked with up-to-date epi-pens is a small price to pay to potentially save a customer’s life.  

 

Offering a Bar

 

outdoor bar

 

On warm summer nights, customers love flocking to trendy outdoor bars. If there’s room in your outdoor patio, install a unique outdoor bar that has a style all its own. Make sure to choose bar stools that complement the style you're going for. In the event that you don’t have enough space to install a permanent bar, consider using a portable bar. Make sure you also have the bartending supplies, bar blenders, and underbar equipment necessary for your staff to operate at peak efficiency.

 

Special Promotions

If your restaurant’s patio is new or underperforming, you might want to consider offering food or drink specials to customers who choose to dine there. This is particularly applicable to restaurant’s whose patios are in front and visible for the whole world to see. If potential customers frequently walk or drive by your establishment and see that no one is ever dining there, they’ll be less likely to try out your restaurant themselves. But if the porch is packed with diners, people will assume your restaurant is worth giving a shot.

 

Smoking or No-Smoking

 

patio smoking

 

You’ll want to clearly label whether your patio is a smoking or non-smoking area. If your patio is large enough, you can even designate specific sections for both. The type of restaurant you operate—and whether it attracts smokers or non-smokers—should play a large role in whatever you decide.

 

Many customers venture out specifically looking for a restaurant where they can eat outdoors and enjoy the beautiful weather. By offering an outdoor patio, you put yourself in the running to attract these curious patrons and convert them to repeat customers. 

 

outside patio

 

Spring Menu Ideas

outdoor dining 

 

With the official start of spring only a few days away, it’s only a matter of time before diners emerge from winter hibernation and descend upon their restaurants of choice. The arrival of spring also means a wide assortment of healthy and delicious green vegetables will be in-season. Welcome customers in from the cold by offering a spring menu that features foods like, asparagus, broccoli, artichokes, and more!

 

Asparagus 

Ancient Egyptians first started cultivating asparagus for medical use over 2,000 years ago. Those Egyptians might have been on to something, as it’s since been proven that asparagus offers an abundance of nutritional value. Boasting Vitamin A, E, K, and B6, asparagus also contains zinc, iron, fiber, folate, niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, and more! All this adds up to reduce oxidative damage, help blood clot, prevent liver disease, and improve eye and heart health (1). Asparagus is in-season from February-June, with April being the absolute peak of asparagus season (2). Here are a few tasty asparagus-based dishes that your customers will love:

 

Shaved Asparagus Pizza

 

shaved asparagus pizza

 

A new spin on an old classic, asparagus pizza is a refreshing and nutrient-filled treat for pizza lovers. The shaved asparagus cooks perfectly into the pizza, and the olive oil gives helps the pie bake to a crispy golden-brown. Perfect for cheese lovers, this pizza is made with gorgonzola instead of traditional tomato or marinara sauce. Serving 3-4 people, this shaved asparagus pizza should take no longer than 30 minutes to prep and cook. These are the required ingredients for the pizza:

  •          3/4 lb of asparagus
  •          6 scallions, diced (both whites and most of the greens)
  •          2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  •          Cornmeal, for dough
  •          1 ball of pizza dough
  •          1 clove garlic, minced
  •          4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
  •          2 ounces gorgonzola, crumbled 

For detailed instructions on how to cook this shaved asparagus pizza, reference Naturally Ella’s recipe page.

 

Crispy Parmesan Asparagus Sticks

 

crispy Parmesan asparagus sticks

 

Coating asparagus sticks with appetizing Parmesan cheese and crunchy Panko bread crumbs creates mouth-watering treats that can be served as appetizers or side dishes. Great alternatives to French fries, Parmesan asparagus sticks are deliciously addictive while also providing nutritional value. The following ingredients are all you need to cook crispy parmesan asparagus sticks for a party of two:

  •          1 bunch of asparagus (About 30 spears)
  •          2 egg whites
  •          1/4 cup flour
  •          1 cup seasoned panko breadcrumbs
  •          1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (Grated)
  •          Salt and pepper

This WikiHow article details every step to preparing and cooking crispy parmesan asparagus sticks.

 

Broccoli

Belonging to the cruciferous vegetable family, broccoli is native to the Mediterranean and has been used by Italians since the Roman Empire (3). The leafy green vegetable offers an assortment of health benefits, as it’s been linked to reduced risk of obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease (4). The large amount of Vitamin K found in broccoli helps improve bone density, and the vegetable’s natural Vitamin A, C, and E help reduce wrinkles and help skin remain vibrant. Although broccoli is available throughout the year, its peak season is from October-April (5). Here are a few interesting broccoli-based dishes that can help attract customers to your restaurant:

 

Broccoli Hummus

 

broccoli hummus

 

A delicious dip that goes well with chips, vegetables, and pita bread, traditional hummus features chickpeas as its primary ingredient. Although broccoli hummus still uses chick peas as its secondary ingredient, it calls for broccoli to be the dish’s main attraction. A refreshing and healthier alternative to traditional hummus, broccoli hummus is a novelty that your customers are sure to crave more of. The following ingredients yield 2 Cups of broccoli hummus:

  •          2 cups broccoli florets, chopped
  •          2 tablespoons tahini paste
  •          2 tablespoons olive oil, extra-virgin
  •          3 tablespoons water
  •          2 tablespoons lime juice, (or lemon juice)
  •          2 cloves garlic
  •          1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, or one 14-ounce can
  •          2 teaspoons nutritional yeast flakes, optional
  •          1/4 teaspoon cumin
  •          1/2 teaspoon sea salt

For detailed preparation instructions, check out the original recipe at Healthiersteps.com.

 

Broccoli Fritters

 

broccoli fritters

 

A great way for family restaurants to provide a vegetable dish to kids, broccoli fritters are tasty fried treats that can be served as appetizers or during breakfast. Since the fritters also contain eggs, diners will be getting protein as well. These broccoli fritters go great with some yogurt dipping sauce on the side. Here are the ingredients required to make 6 small fritters:

  •       3 cups broccoli florets and stem (about 1 medium head of broccoli), roughly chopped into 1 inch pieces
  •       2 tbsp oil (vegetable, olive oil, canola)

Batter

  •       1 garlic clove, minced
  •       ½ cup plain flour
  •       ¼ cup grated parmesan
  •       1 egg
  •       2 tbsp milk (low fat or full fat)
  •       ½ tsp salt
  •       Black pepper

To see comprehensive instructions, view the original directions at Recipeineats.com.

 

Artichokes

One of the most antioxidant-rich foods on the planet, artichokes are superfoods that offer a wide variety of health benefits (6). The vegetable is native to the Mediterranean region and can help boost immune support while preventing cancer and heart disease. Artichokes also have an abundance of other health benefits—including digestive support and improved cognitive functioning. Make sure to take advantage of peak artichoke season—March-May (7)—by trying some of the creative artichoke-based recipes listed below:

 

Stuffed Artichokes

 

stuffed artichokes

 

Stuffing and seasoning artichokes with cheese and spices can add dynamic flavor to a food that many people consider a little bitter. A hearty and healthy appetizer, these stuffed artichokes take over an hour to cook. Consequently, it’s important to prepare and cook them prior to your restaurant’s rush. Holding cabinets and drawer warmers are especially useful for keeping cooked stuffed artichokes warm before serving. Below is a delicious recipe for stuffed artichokes:

  •          6 whole artichokes
  •          3 slices Italian bread, cubed
  •          1 clove garlic, minced
  •          1/8 cup chopped fresh parsley
  •          1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
  •          1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  •          5 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  •          Salt and pepper to taste

Check out this link to allrecipes.com for detailed cooking instructions.

 

Roasted Artichoke Hearts

 

roasted artichoke hearts

 

Artichoke hearts are widely considered to be the best tasting part of the artichoke. The simple recipe below does not require much but provides delicious results:

  •          1 (15 oz.) can of artichoke hearts, drained and patted dry
  •          1 tablespoon olive oil
  •          2 sprigs thyme, leaves stripped
  •          Sea salt and pepper, to taste

Reference cookforyourlife.org for comprehensive cooking directions.

 

Make sure to leave a good impression on your customers this spring by offering delicious dishes based on vegetables that are currently in-season. We carry an assortment of kitchen hand tools that can help your prepare any of the aforementioned meals. Our offerings include measuring cups, measuring spoons, garlic presses, and whips. We also offer a large selection of kitchen cutlery and cutting boards.

 

Works Cited:

(1)    http://foodfacts.mercola.com/asparagus.html

(2)    http://www.cookinglight.com/food/in-season/in-season-asparagus

(3)    https://www.thespruce.com/broccoli-history-1807573

(4)    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266765.php

(5)    http://www.cookinglight.com/food/recipe-finder/in-season-broccoli

(6)    http://www.oceanmist.com/artichokes/12-unexpected-artichoke-health-benefits/

(7)    http://www.oceanmist.com/artichokes/artichoke-season/

 

 

Preparing Your Sports Bar or Restaurant for the NCAA Basketball Tournament

One of the most anticipated sporting events of the year, March Madness is a single-elimination tournament that includes 68 college basketball teams. Taking place over a multi-week span, the NCAA tournament attracts die-hard fans, casual observers, and everyone in-between. Millions of Americans fill out their brackets, attempting to predict the future and potentially win prizes. Even President Obama had a yearly special while in office to reveal his picks.

 

obama bracket

 

The tournament—also known as the “Big Dance”—kicks off with a whopping 16 games in one day! Lending itself to marathon viewing, the tournament begins at noon EST and usually does not conclude for the day until around midnight. There are several games happening simultaneously throughout the day, and a large portion of fans don’t want to miss any of the action. Many people will be looking for a comfortable and inviting to locale to watch the games. By providing the atmosphere these viewers want, you stand to attract a signicant amount of customers to your bar or restaurant. There are several variables to consider when catering to college basketball fans.

 

TVs Galore

With so many games happening at the same time, viewers often flock to sports bars to catch them all. Rather than sitting on their couches at home and flipping through channels every 10 seconds, it’s easier and more enjoyable to watch multiple TVs. Allowing them to focus on the games that are most interesting, it also frees fans from the burden of switching between games when there are commercial breaks.

It’s the responsibility of every sports bar to not only provide enough TVs, but to also ensure access to all the necessary channels. CBS, TNT, TBS, and TruTV will be broadcasting this year’s action. As long as you provide quality HDTVs and access to the aforementioned channels, your patrons will have their bare basketball necessities met. If you have space for a projector, consider installing one to showcase marquee match-ups. It will also serve you well in the future when it comes to other highly anticipated sporting events.

 

bar tvs

 

March Madness Specials

Give customers extra motivation to make your establishment their NCAA Tournament headquarters by offering unique drink and food specials throughout the tournament. Staples like chicken wings, mozzarella sticks, and nachos are easy to make and commonly devoured by sports fans. By offering a certain glasses of beer—not hard alcohol—at a discounted price, you can help ensure your patrons remain level-headed enough to watch hours of basketball.

Another idea is to offer a bracket contest. After the tournament bracket is finalized on Selection Sunday, encourage your customers to enter a bracket contest—the winner of which can receive a free party at your establishment! If you want, only allow people enter their bracket in-person at your bar or restaurant. This will give them further incentive to stop by during the few days between Selection Sunday and first tip-off on Thursday.

Since there are 12 days of basketball action during March Madness, it’s feasible for you to offer a price-drop promo that rewards repeat customers. For each day of basketball a patron spends at your establishment, he or she can unlock cheaper and cheaper prices on food and drink items. Reserve a special reward for fans that make it out for every day of the tournament.

You can also let customers predict the final score of each game, rewarding whoever chooses the correct winning team or is closest to the final score. This keeps customers engaged even if their brackets have already been busted.

 

chicken wings

 

Home Team Love

If your home town college team is in the tournament, it’s in your bar or restaurant's best interest to show fervent support. During games, bartenders and servers should be encouraged to wear jerseys or school colors. Pennants and balloons can be used to further amplify your support. Maybe offer a special promotion that rewards your customers in the event of a home team victory. If you know a retired sports player who used to play for the school, try to get him to come by for a promotion. His presence alone might attract fans who otherwise would have gone elsewhere.

Other promotional opportunities include offering discounts to customers wearing team gear and providing free giveaways to bring in more fans. Items like T-shirts and posters are inexpensive but can leave lasting impacts on recipients—encouraging them to return to your establishment in the future.

If you have a large sports bar that attracts fans of several teams, it might be best to designate specific tables or parts of the bar for fans of certain teams. This helps ensure that if by some chance bitter rivals—like Duke and North Carolina or Michigan and Ohio State—play each other, passionate fans of each team will be far away from each other and consequently remain civil. This will make each game an enjoyable experience for everyone—just as it should be.  

 

syracuse bar

 

Leveraging Email and Social Media

Make sure patrons are aware of your promotions by using mediums like email, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep them informed. Update each platform throughout the tournament, hyping big games to get fans excited about what’s still to come. You can also post highlights like slam-dunks and game-winning shots from the previous round to keep your customers engaged and craving more basketball.

 

Renaming Drinks

Give your alcoholic drinks names that honor some of NCAA basketball’s greatest coaches and players. Just some examples:

  • Coack K Konkoction – Named after Duke Coach Mike Kryzewski
  • Bob Knight Negroni – Named after ex-Indiana coach Bob Knight
  • John Wooden Whiskey Smash – Named after ex-UCLA coach John Wooden
  • Pistol Pete Piña Colada – Named after immortal LSU guard “Pistol” Pete Maravich
  • Lew Alcindor Sea Breeze – Before he changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, Lew Alcindor dominated the college basketball landscape

 

coach k

 

March Madness provides a unique opportunity for sports bars and restaurants to bring in and win over new customers. If you can provide fans with a positive experience, you stand to become their venue of choice for watching future sporting events—including the Olympics, Super Bowl, NBA Championship, World Series, and more. This type of repeat business can be a boon for your establishment and lead to exponential growth.

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day

celebrating st. patrick's day

 

Now that we’re just two weeks away from St. Patrick’s Day, it’s time for bars, pubs, and restaurants to start getting prepared–if they haven’t already. First celebrated in the early 17th century, the holiday was originally meant to commemorate St. Patrick bringing Christianity to Ireland. Since then, it has evolved into a cultural phenomenon–replete with parades, festivals, bar crawls, and green as far as the eye can see! Falling on Friday, March 17th this year, St. Patty’s Day will likely bring out even more party-goers than usual. Make sure you’re ready for the massive influx of customers by adhering to these simple steps:

 

Stock Up on Traditional St. Patty’s Day Drinks

It’s no secret that many of the people celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by drinking alcoholic beverages. Whether your customers want to indulge in just one drink or test the limits of their livers, it’s in a restaurant’s best interest to offer all the classic Irish standards. These drinks include:

  • Guinness Draught (4.2% ABV) and Guinness Original (5.0% ABV): the preferred stout beers for everything St. Patty’s Day
  • Murphy’s Irish Red (5.0% ABV): a red ale that tastes like freshly baked bread
  • Irish Coffee: hot coffee, Irish whiskey, and sugar. Topped with thick cream
  • Irish Car Bomb: a shot of Irish cream and whiskey in a glass of stout beer
  • Irish Flag: a layered cocktail with green crème de menthe, Irish cream liqueur, and Grand Marnier
  • Irish Cola: Irish whiskey, Bailey’s, and cola
  • Grasshopper: crème de menthe, white crème de cacao, and cream
  • Shamrock Juice: gin, tequila, rum, vodka, blue curacao liqueur, and orange juice
  • Honeydew Martini: vodka, Midori, triple sec

Make sure you’re also fully stocked with beverageware that will help keep your St. Patty’s Day crowd satisfied. Beer glasses, cocktail glasses, and shot glasses are absolutely essential to any bar, pub, or restaurant.

 

irish flag drink

 

Special Menus

Serving St. Patty’s Day-themed food and drink specials can help attract patrons who want to completely immerse themselves in the holiday. One way to do this is by offering discounted prices on popular Irish dishes like potatoes, Irish stew, shepherd’s pie, corned beef, and cabbage. Restaurants can also serve green foods like spinach pizza, green Jell-O, salads, broccoli pesto, and stuffed avocados.  Another option is to utilize food dye. Potentially turning any meal or drink into an Irish celebration, green food dye goes exceptionally well with bread, pancakes, cake, mashed potatoes, and rice crispy treats. You can also rename meals so they’re more in tune with the Irish theme of the day.

 

st. patrick's day food

 

Decorating the Restaurant

Ideally, your bar or restaurant will be a sea of green for St. Patrick’s Day. Green balloons scattered throughout! Green shamrocks that hang from the ceiling! Green wreaths that festively decorate the walls! Green plates and green table covers adorning your tables! Every little bit makes a difference. If you really want to go all out, outfit bars or countertops with small pots of gold! Or at least pots of candies with gold wrappers.  

 

Music

Your foodservice should both look and sound the part for St. Patty’s Day. This means crafting an Irish music playlist that will help cultivate a fun and celebratory atmosphere. A nice mix between traditional Irish music and well-known musicians of Irish descent is the ideal formula. Artists like U2, Van Morrison, The Script, The Cranberries, and Thin Lizzy are all great options. Though not from Ireland, the Dropkick Murphys have plenty of Celtic influence and are another great choice. If you want to go all out in the music department, consider bringing in a band to perform live.

 st. patricks day decorations

 

Social Media

Make sure to utilize social media to inform customers about your St. Patrick’s Day plans. Mediums like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram can show patrons what you’ve done in past years and what you plan to do this year. By promoting your bar or restaurant’s planned festivities, you can bring in customers who otherwise would have gone elsewhere. Show them a good enough time, and they’ll return in the future for more food and drink!

 

Staff Attire

Consider allowing your staff to break from their usual attire and dress in green clothes that complement the holiday. Many bars and restaurants encourage this, as it enhances the environment and experience for customers. Other popular options include green top hats and green bowties. Much cleaner than paint, face stickers can also make great impressions on customers while getting your staff in the holiday spirit.

 

st. patricks day bartender

 

Alternative Patricks

Maybe St. Patrick’s Day isn’t so popular with your clientele. If that’s the case, use March 17th as an opportunity to differentiate yourself. St. Patrick Swayze Day has gained some nationwide popularity, but there are plenty of other options if he’s not your style. St. Patrick Ewing Day is perfect if a lot of New York Knick fans frequent your establishment. If you’re located in Canada or Colorado, St. Patrick Roy Day might be more your speed. Music-based locales can celebrate a legendary jazz guitarist by embracing St. Patrick Metheny Day. Patrick Tillman–an ex-NFL player who left the league and passed away on the battle field–is also more than worthy of honoring.

 

 

The Early Bird

Eager to get the most they can out of the holiday, some St. Patty’s Day fanatics like to start celebrating first thing in the morning. One way to attract these holiday diehards is by offering a hearty Irish breakfast and a voucher for a free shot or beer. Another option is to feature an eggs and kegs promotion. The strategy that’s right for you depends on your particular establishment and who makes up the majority of its customers.

 

irish breakfast

 

By properly preparing and executing a St. Patrick’s Day celebration, your bar, pub, and restaurant can have an extremely profitable day while winning over new customers who will return in the future. That’s why it’s important to get an early start on your planning and take every detail into account. On March 17th, make sure your foodservice takes full advantage of the St. Patty’s Day celebration.

8 of the Best Spring Food Festivals

 

With the first official day of spring less than a month away, it’s time to start looking forward to warmer weather, budding flowers, and a wide range of spring food festivals. With popular festivals scattered all over the United States, there are options for food lovers in every corner of the country. Before deciding which festivals you’ll attend, make sure to educate yourself about all the great offerings. Here are just a few of the great spring food festivals available to gourmets around the country:

 

Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit – Las Vegas, NV – Thursday, April 27 - Sunday, April 30

A four-day event that takes place in six different luxury hotels on the Las Vegas Strip, Vegas Uncork’d has been attracting epicures since its inaugural event in 2007. Featuring 25 unique events and 80 of the world’s most talented chefs, the food festival enables attendees to eat meals that are usually only served in exclusive restaurants of Paris, New York, and the UK. This year, cooking icon Bobby Flay will prepare and serve brunch in an intimate private setting. The festival’s main event is “The Grand Tasting,” in which more than 2,500 food fanatics sample the signature dishes of some of the world’s most famous chefs. Each Vegas Uncork’d event stands by itself, and most tend to be pretty costly. But if you have cash to spare, Vegas Uncork’d offers an unrivaled experience.

vegas uncork'd

 

Austin Food and Wine Festival – Austin, TX – Friday, April 28 - Sunday, April 30

Benefitting the nonprofit Austin Food & Wine Alliance, the Austin Food and Wine Festival features chef showcases and artisanal food. Not to be outdone by food, the wine and spirits offered at the festival come from all over the country. With more than 70 food and lifestyle exhibitors, the Austin Food and Wine Festival also provides live music that sets the tone for a rockin’ weekend of fun, food, and drink. Culinary demos allow festival-goers to learn all the newest cooking techniques, while the beer, wine, and spirit tastings enable drink lovers to indulge in all the tastiest beverages. The festival culminates with a “Rock Your Taco” showdown in which chefs battle it out to see who can cook the best taco. Attendees reap the rewards by sampling each delicious creation. Most events at the Austin Food and Wine Festival are accessible with an “All-in Ticket.”

 

austin food and wine festival

 

Taste of Vail – Vail, CO – Wednesday, April 5 - Saturday, April 8

Perhaps the most scenic spring food festival in the country, Taste of Vail benefits from the breathtaking backdrop provided by Vail Mountain. Showcasing more than 30 of Vail’s best chefs, the festival also attracts winemakers from close to 50 of the country’s finest wineries. Taste of Vail features four signature events, ensuring there’s something for every food lover and wine connoisseur. The events include a tasting that will have over 100 varieties Rosé wine–a diverse wine best-known for its prevalence in Mediterranean France. For meat lovers, Taste of Vail offers “The American Lamb Cook-Off,” which provides a sampling of several unique lamb dishes. A Mountain Top Tasting event includes gourmet food, beer, wine, and spirits–all enjoyed with awe-inspiring views from 10,350 feet above sea level. The final signature event is The Grand Tasting and Auction, which offers food and drink from all of Taste of Vail’s restaurants and wineries.

 

taste of vail

 

Italian Market Festival – Philadelphia, PA – Saturday, May 20 - Sunday, May 21

Taking place at Philadelphia’s famed South 9th Street Italian Market–Amercica’s oldest outdoor market–the Italian Market Festival will return this year for another weekend of food, drink, music, parade, and sport. 70,000 attendees are expected as it’ll be cannoli, roast pork, sausage, pepper and pizza galore! Local Italian-American vendors line the streets, offering specialty meats and cheeses. There is also no shortage of international food like Mexican, Asian, and South American dishes. The festivities also include the Procession of Saints and a half ball tournament. But the real main event is the greased pole climbing! Traditionally known as Albero Della Cuccagna, the contest sees teams of contestants attempting to climb a 30 foot high pole that’s been thoroughly greased with lard. At the top of the pole are meats, cheeses, gifts, and money. At the bottom of the pole are padded mats for soft landings.

 

Italian market festival

 

2017 World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest – Memphis, TN – Wednesday, May 17 – Saturday, May 20

Celebrating its 40th year, the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest will take place at Tom Lee Park–a beautiful 33-acre piece of land that overlooks the Mississippi River. For the first time in the illustrious history of the contest, the competition will span four days. The festival features a variety of competitions in which teams compete for culinary supremacy. The competitions include beef, poultry, seafood, sauce, and hot wing contests. But the main attraction is the pork division–the winner of which brought home a whopping $30,500 last year! There are also fun special events in which people dress up as pigs and perform songs or skits. A Kingsford Tour of Champions ticket is required if you want to taste and judge delicious barbecue from the competing teams.

 

World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest

 

New Orleans Wine & Food Experience – New Orleans, LA – Thursday, May 25 - Sunday, May 28

Featuring over 1,000 wines from around the globe, the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience has raised more than $1.2 million for non-profit organizations during its 25-year history. The festival also spotlights top local chefs and attracts over 7,000 food and wine fanatics. The festival’s events include wine tastings, educational seminars, intimate dinners, pastry competitions, and even a parade with art and music! With many events taking place in the heart of the French Quarter, this spring food festival also offers a slice of culture. There are several different types of tickets that can be purchased, which enables attendees to personalize their experiences.

 

New Orleans Wine & Food Experience

 

SAVOR Blowing Rock – Blowing Rock, NC – Thursday, April 20 - Sunday, April 23

Formerly the Blue Ridge Wine & Food Festival, SAVOR Blowing Rock is a celebration of food, wine, craft beer, and entertainment. The festival’s itinerary includes a restaurant showcase, cooking classes, educational seminars, and even a 5K race. Wine, beer, and spirit tastings are also on the schedule. This festival has a more of a small town-feel than others on this list, so it’s perfect for food and wine lovers who want to get away from the hustle and bustle. The area surrounding Blowing Rock is also exceptionally beautiful. After all, the town was named after a rock formation that extends out over John’s River Gorge and provides spectacular views.

 

blowing rock

 

Crawfish Music Festival – Biloxi, MI – Thursday, April 20 - Sunday, April 23 & Thursday, April 27 - Sunday, April 30

Taking place on consecutive weekends at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum, the Crawfish Music Festival brings together fans of both crawfish and music. With the Mississippi Sound setting a scenic background, festival-goers enjoy live performances while eating a southern classic–spicy boiled crawfish with potatoes and corn-on-the-cob. There are also a wide range of food vendors that offer unique crawfish-based dishes. Crawfish etouffee, crawfish pies, and fried crawfish are just a few of the many offerings. This year’s music lineup includes 26 different artists over the two weekends! If you are particularly confident in your own crawfish dish, enter the festival-hosted crawfish cook-off for the chance to win $3,000! If cooking isn’t your thing, you can instead purchase a ticket to sample other chefs’ crawfish.

 crawfish music festival

 

With so many great spring food festivals, it’s difficult to choose just one. Luckily, these celebrations take place throughout the spring season, allowing you to attend multiple events. Start planning your trips now, as it’s always preferable to ensure lodging well in advance.

Hot Drinks and Warm Foods for Winter

stay warm during winter

 

With more than a month of winter still left on the calendar, your restaurant’s customers are almost assuredly growing increasingly tired of the cold weather. That’s where you come in! Keep your patrons warm and their spirits high by offering hot drink and food specials. Here are just a couple of items that will help bridge the gap until the snow melts and spring arrives.

 

Revitalize with Coffee

It’s no secret that America loves coffee. Found in nearly every office throughout the country, coffee is more than just a pick-me-up: it’s a lifestyle. And rather than brewing cups at home, people are increasingly turning to coffee shops and restaurants to get their fix (1). As espressos and gourmet coffee products increase in popularity, restaurants will be pressured to compete with shops that carry specialty products like butterscotch lattes and caramel macchiatos.

A great way to contend with these niche coffee shops is to offer coffee at a reduced price during winter months when customers need it most. By doing so, patrons will become accustomed to having delicious coffee in your restaurant. Before they know it, stopping by for a hot cup of Joe will just be part of their daily routines.

Another option is to improve the quality of your house coffee or start offering alternatives like cappuccino, espresso, and gourmet coffee. This is of particular importance if Millenials make up a large portion of your restaurant’s target market, as they are the most likely to drink those types of products and willing to pay a premium for their coffee (1).

 

hot coffee

 

Stay Cozy with Tea

With nearly unlimited flavors, there’s a type of tea to satisfy every customer’s palette. Whether you prefer something spicy or tame, there is a tea out there for you. Unfortunately, most restaurants don’t carry such a wide selection of tea. By offering a variety of tea flavors, you can differentiate yourself from other restaurants and attract new customers.

 A lighter alternative to coffee, tea can boost the immune system and help your customers stave off illness throughout the winter months (2). Since tea contains significantly less caffeine than coffee, it is a great option for customers who want just a small energy boost. Herbal teas like chamomile can even soothe the digestion system. Offer cups of tea with add-ins like honey and lemon, and customers with sore throats will be forever grateful.

Indulge in Decadent Hot Chocolate

Family restaurants that are often frequented by kids should make sure to always have hot chocolate on hand during the winter. That way, when a child’s parent asks for tea or coffee, the child can order a cup of hot chocolate and fit right in. Although commonly believed to be an indulgence, hot cocoa has also been shown to be a significant source of antioxidants (3).

Don’t forget to also stock up on marshmallows and whipped cream for the ultimate hot chocolate treat! If you really want to spice things up, try offering a hot chocolate special of the day. Some possibilities include gingerbread hot chocolate, peanut butter hot chocolate, and salted caramel hot chocolate. Not just for children, sometimes there’s nothing that hits the spot quite like a hot cup of delicious hot cocoa.

 

decadent hot chocolate

 

Relax with a Hot Adult Beverage 

Although there might not be anything like a cold beer on a hot summer day, there are several hot alcoholic drinks that can keep you warm on a cold winter night. Restaurants that have liquor licenses can help keep their customers satisfied by offering liquid escapes from the cold. Irish coffee–hot coffee mixed with Irish whiskey–is perhaps the most well-known example. A glass of hot spiked apple cider is another common choice, with rum and bourbon being delicious alcohols to mix with cider. Perfect for drinkers who are looking for more of a kick, a hot toddy is whiskey infused with hot water, honey, herbs, and spices. Try asking your customers what special hot drinks they’d like to see offered during the cold winter months.

Healthy Soup

Even if your restaurant already carries soup, consider expanding your offerings for a month or two. It’ll give diners extra motivation to leave the safety of their comfortable homes and venture into the cold if a large bowl of hot soup awaits them. Chicken noodle soup is the obvious choice, as it’s been shown to have a wide range of positive health effects–including:

  • Reducing upper respiratory cold symptoms by minimizing inflammation
  • Increasing air flow and movement of mucus
  • Hydration
  • Improving of the efficacy of cilia – tiny hair-like projections in the nose that prevent contagions from entering the body
    (4)

Depending on what region of the country your restaurant is located, you can offer a specific soup that will satisfy the locals. A restaurant in the northeast would benefit from serving a hearty New England clam chowder, while foodservices in the southwest can thrive by offering spicy tortilla soups.

 

chicken noodle soup

 

Never-Ending Chili

Few foods spark unbridled passion quite like chili does. Inspiring hundreds of annual cook-offs throughout the United States, chili has a dedicated following of fans who crave variety. When the temperature starts to drop, these chili-obsessed diners don’t just consume their favorite chili. Instead, they want to try every kind of chili this world has to offer! As a restaurant owner, you can take advantage of this by offering a chili of the week throughout the winter.

According to the foremost authority that is the International Chili Society, chili is “any kind of meat or combination of meats, cooked with red/green chili peppers, various spices, and other ingredients, with the exception of beans and pasta which are strictly forbidden”(5). While this chili con carne style usually includes beef and is what most Texans strictly adhere to (6), there are certainly alternative chili recipes that have become prominent elsewhere. Black bean chili is popular among vegetarians who crave the warm, hearty taste of chili but have don’t consume meat. Common in New Mexico, chili verde is made with pork simmered in spicy hatch peppers. By alternating changing the chili your restaurant offers, you will ensure chili connoisseurs keep coming back for more.

 

Hearty Stew for the Soul

Stew differs from soup in that it’s prepared by simmering meat and/or vegetables in a covered pot for a long period of time. Typically heartier, more filling, and containing less liquid than soups, stews usually feature a meat like beef along with an assortment of vegetables that might include potatoes, carrots, peas, onions, beans, and tomatoes. Other items commonly found in stews include chicken, lamb, sausage, and seafood.

Since stews utilize slow moist heating to make meat tender, juicy, and flavorful, you can use less tender cuts of meat and still yield a delicious meal. This makes stews one of the more cost-efficient dishes for restaurants. But since it takes a long time for a meat’s juices and flavors to seep out via slow cooking, foodservices should prepare a large amount of stew that will provide for many customers’ meals.

 

beef stew

 

References:

  1. https://nationalcoffeeblog.org/2016/03/19/coffee-drinking-trends-2016/
  2. http://www.today.com/series/one-small-thing/top-10-health-benefits-drinking-tea-t81111
  3. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/11/031106051159.htm
  4. http://share.upmc.com/2014/12/health-benefits-chicken-noodle-soup/
  5. http://www.chilicookoff.com/Event/Event_Rules.asp
  6. https://www.chowhound.com/food-news/173623/styles-of-chili-worth-knowing/
Getting Your Restaurant Ready for Valentine's Day

valentine's day dinner

 

Valentine’s Day–the second busiest day of the year for restaurants–is fast approaching. In less than a week, restaurants all over the country will be overrun by thousands of lovebirds who crave delicious food and a romantic ambience. As a restaurant owner or manager, it’s your responsibility to ensure couples fall in love with the meals and décor your restaurant offers on their special day.

 

Love At First Bite

Pleasantly surprise dining couples by altering your menu to include special foods that are natural aphrodisiacs. Start your diners off with a tasty appetizer that incorporates vitamin- and mineral-rich asparagus. Avocados are also a great choice and have been considered ‘love foods’ since the Mayans used them 1700 years ago. For an entrée, you can’t go wrong with delivering oysters on one of our elegant seafood serving trays. High in zinc, oysters are renowned for their aphrodisiac effects. Don’t forget to also throw in a few red peppers, which stimulate ‘feel good’ endorphins and are the perfect color for the holiday.

 

valentines day oysters

 

No Valentine’s Day meal is complete without dessert. With several delicious options to choose from, there’s no crime in offering more than one. Said to have been used by Aztec emperor Montezuma for its aphrodisiac effects, there’s a reason chocolate is such a popular Valentine’s Day gift. Dark chocolate contains phenylethylamine, a compound that boosts serotonin levels and also contains caffeine. Our catalog carries an assortment of chocolate molds that enable you to give your homemade chocolate unique a shape. Bananas are another great dessert option, as they are filled with nutrients that boost the male libido. Fitting the red color of the holiday, watermelon relaxes blood vessels and boosts energy levels.

 

valentine's day chocolate

 

Serving red and pink food will further immerse your diners in unique Valentine’s Day ambiance you’ve created. Foods like tomatoes, shrimp, salmon, strawberries, and red-skinned potatoes are perfect for the holiday. Shaping food is another common practice that can help enhance a Valentine’s Day dinner. Simply shaping oysters to look like a heart or arranging the asparagus you serve as an appetizer to spell “LOVE” will be appreciated by your diners. Although it’s great to add small touches, it’s essential to do so without compromising the quality of the food.

 valentines day sushi

 

Drink to Your Heart’s Content

Make sure to stock your wine buckets and wine racks with plenty of red wine for Valentine’s Day! Not only does red wine match the holiday’s color, but it is also an aphrodisiac that increases blood flow and improves heart health. Enabling your patrons to relax and enjoy themselves, red wine increases a women’s libido and a man’s testosterone levels. However, drink too many glasses of red wine and these positive effects quickly diminish. Make sure to stock up on wines with lower alcohol content so your diners can split a bottle for optimal results.

 

valentine's day red wine

 

Another option for restaurants that boast large selections of wine is to offer free wine tasting on Valentine’s Day. Many couples share a passion for wine, so this type of promotion provides extra motivation for wine-loving couples to choose your restaurant over the competition’s.

Renaming your shots and cocktail beverages to reflect the holiday is another idea that many restaurants embrace. Drinks that feature red and pink mixers like grapefruit juice and cranberry juice are perfect candidates for name makeovers. For example, rename your Bloody Marys to be something like ‘Cupid’s Potion.’

 

The Perfect Scent

Utilizing flowers, incense, and scented candles can help you establish a great-smelling environment that sets a romantic tone within your restaurant. But it’s also important to find a good match between your chosen scent and clientele. Boosting the mood and energy of patrons, jasmine is ideal for restaurants frequented by older diners. On the other hand, lavender helps diners relax and is perhaps best suited for young couples who are possibly spending their first Valentine’s Day together. Other popular scents include ylang ylang, which helps relieve tension, and sandalwood, which is a well-known aphrodisiac.

 

Music for the Mood

Serenade your diners with the sounds of pleasant background music. The key word here is background, as couples’ conversations will be their main focus during their Valentine’s Day dinners. You can’t go wrong with instrumental genres like string quartets and classical music. If you want to really impress your guests, hire a string quartet or piano player to perform live in your restaurant. Just make sure the music’s volume remains low enough for your patrons to easily converse.

 

valentine's day music

 

Creating an Ambiance with Lighting

Whether you want to illuminate your restaurant with overhead lightingcandles, or a combination of both, it’s important to maintain a romantic ambiance for Valentine’s Day. Dimmer lighting is especially effective in this regard. Candles, whether scented or not, can also really enhance the romanticism of your restaurant’s ambiance. Regardless of how you choose to create a romantic atmosphere, your diners will appreciate you going the extra mile to honor their special day.

 

valentine's day ambiance

 

Planning the Day and Leveraging Social Media

The Valentine’s Day plans of your restaurant should be made well in advance of the actual holiday. This will give you ample time to inform your customers of holiday specials through mail, email, social media, your website, and any other outlets. Twenty days prior to Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to start getting the word out.

If you’ll be featuring a special menu just for the Valentine’s Day, you can post it on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram to let your diners know. Since certain couples can’t dine out on Valentine’s Day, many restaurants extend their holiday specials to the following weekend. This allows busy couples to properly celebrate when their schedules allow them to.

 

Show Your Gratitude

Thank your diners for spending their Valentine’s Day at your restaurant by giving them a small gift that commemorates their night. Personalized wine or shot glasses that display the date and your restaurant’s name are inexpensive ways to show your appreciation. If you want to give something a little more extravagant, wine bottles and boxes of chocolate are also great options. Sending diners away with gifts will encourage them to return to your restaurant for future Valentine’s Day dinners, as well as meals throughout the year.

wine gift