December 2018 Culinary Depot Blog Posts

    What are Michelin Stars? And How Do You Get Them…

    Written by: J. Vigotsky



    Deciding where to eat isn’t always. Especially when dining with a large group, it’s common for people to prefer different restaurants. Maybe one person heard good things about a restaurant, but someone else heard a horror story. Luckily, there’s a sure-fire way to pick a place with great food: Michelin Stars. Reserved for only the best restaurants Michelin Stars have been used since 1926. This post will answer the question, “What are Michelin Stars,” and explore what you need to do to get them.


    The First Michelin Stars

    The Michelin Guide was first published in 1900 to help drivers in France locate mechanics, restaurants, and other roadside amenities. To help readers decide where to eat, the Michelin Guide began rating restaurants in 1926. They initially assigned single stars to recommended restaurants. But by 1933, the guide’s rating system expanded to include 2- and 3-star restaurants. As per the guide:

    -One-star restaurants are “very good”

    -Two-star restaurants feature “excellent cooking that is worth a detour”

    -Three-star restaurants have “exceptional cuisine that is worth a special journey”


    Why do Michelin Stars Matter?

    Although websites like Yelp and Tripadvisor are the first place most people look for restaurant reviews, Michelin Stars remain the gold standard. The rating system is based on food and food alone. Quality of the ingredients, combination of flavors, creativity, consistency, and value are all taken into account. Other variables like the restaurant’s ambiance, décor, and service are rated via fork-and-spoon symbols.


    How are Michelin Stars Given?

    michelin stars

    There are 80 full-time Michelin inspectors who each evaluate 240 restaurants per year. Eating anonymously, the inspectors don’t notify the chef or staff that their food is being evaluated. This ensures that the inspector is treated like any other customer. If the inspector is unsure of what rating the restaurant deserves, a second inspector is sent on behalf of Michelin for a second opinion. If a restaurant is assigned Michelin Stars, inspectors are sent on follow-up visits to ensure the restaurant is still serving Michelin-worthy meals.


    How to Get Michelin Stars

    If you want your restaurant to be assigned a Michelin Star or three, know it won’t be easy. If your restaurant’s city isn’t located on the Michelin map, then you don’t have much of a chance. For restaurants in areas on the map, the next step is getting rave reviews from respected local publications. Michelin needs to know you exist somehow, and this is the best way to get their attention. If someone from Michelin sees the review and is interested in your restaurant, an inspector will be assigned to test it out. But you’ll never know when he’s coming, so it’s on you and your staff to churn out delicious meals every day. If the inspector dines on a day when your restaurant doesn’t bring its A-game, you’re not likely to receive any stars.


    What Michelin Stars Mean for Business

    Michelin Stars mean more than just respect for restaurants. According to chefs in New York and San Francisco, getting a Michelin Star can lead to a 10%-25% increase in revenue. Local diners will want to what the big deal is, so they will likely flock to your restaurant.


    A lot of luck is involved when it comes to getting Michelin Stars. While it would certainly be nice for your restaurant to be listed in the guide, it’s not worth worrying about. All you can do is provide delicious food to your customers. Let the rest take care of itself.


    michelin man

    How to Throw a New Year’s Eve Party – For Bars and Restaurants

    Written by: J. Vigotsky


    new year's eve party - bar


    New Year’s Eve is the second-busiest bar night of the year. So with December 31st right around the corner, bars and restaurants should be gearing up for what can be a very profitable night. But planning a New Year’s Eve party is different from celebrating other popular holidays. This post will explore why that is and also share a few helpful tips for how to throw a New Year’s Eve Party.


    Make Your Party an Event

    While popular bar nights like St. Patrick’s Day and Thanksgiving Eve are marked by bar hopping, New Year’s Eve is generally enjoyed in a single venue. The whole day and night lead up to a singular moment when the ball drops. As a result, people prefer to just stay in one place while waiting. It’s in your best interest to provide food, drinks, and whatever entertainment people might need. That might be music, comedy, games, or something else entirely. If you know your customer base well, you should be aware of what entertainment they’d enjoy on New Year’s Eve.


    Have Plenty of Champagne

    Even if you don’t usually stock your bar with champagne, it’s important to make an exception for New Year’s Eve. People have been ringing in the New Year with champagne since the 1800s. When the clock strikes midnight, they expect to make a toast to the New Year. So it’s on you to help make sure they can.


    Get the Word Out

    restaurant and bar marketing

    Perhaps the most important part of throwing a New Year’s Eve party is ensuring people know about it. Starting time, ending time, dress code, and what’s included with the entry fee are all important to note. Will your party be an open bar? Maybe just one free drink ticket and a buffet is included? These are all things to consider when planning your party and getting the word out.  


    Safe Rides Home

    Even in a world where Uber and Lyft have done their best to keep rides affordable, New Year’s Eve traffic can lead to surge pricing. Consider hiring driver(s) for the night who can help customers get home safely without breaking the bank. This will result in goodwill from customers and improve the chances that they return to your bar or restaurant in the future.  


    New Year Discounts

    Once the ball drops and the calendar turns to a new year, it’s common for customers to head home. If you want to keep them around, offer special drink discounts in honor of the New Year. Another idea is to hold a 50/50 raffle whose drawing takes place at 12:30 or 1:00 AM.


    All Hands on Deck

    bar staff for new year's eve

    If you’re expecting a large crowd of people, be sure to have enough staff members so that every patron can be accommodated. New Year’s Eve is a long night that can get quite hectic, so you want to be prepared for anything. If you’re unsure of how many staff members should be working, keep in mind that it’s better to have one too many workers than one too few.


    Above all, remember that patrons want to have fun. So despite the heightened stress of the night, it’s important for you and your staff to maintain a positive environment. Always smile and do whatever you need to ensure customers are enjoying themselves.  

    How to Get a Liquor License

    Written by: J. Vigotsky


    bar drinks


    Despite the taxes that accompany it, liquor is extremely profitable. So it’s no wonder why there are so many bars and pubs scattered throughout the world. And although not all restaurants offer alcohol, there’s no shortage of those that do. But before any establishment can sell liquor, it needs to get a liquor license. This post covers the different types of liquor licenses and explains how to attain one.  


    Each State is Different

    States all have their own rules and regulations regarding the sale of alcohol. For instance, some states limit the amount of places that can sell liquor. To better understand your own state’s laws, get in touch with your local Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) agency.  


    Different Types of Liquor Licenses

    Most states offer three different kinds of liquor licenses.

    -A tavern license is for businesses that make most of their revenue by selling alcohol. Bars, pubs, and clubs fall into this category.

    -A beer and wine license is for establishments that sell beer and wine but not liquor. It is usually reserved for locales that want to complement their food offerings.

    -A restaurant license allows any alcohol to be sold but limits the revenue you can make from the sale of alcohol. The limit is usually a revenue percentage rather than a gross amount. So the more money you bring in from food and other sources, the more you’ll be able to earn from alcohol.


    On-License or Off-License

    beer and liquor store

    An on-license is required if you’re serving alcohol that’s consumed on your premises. Restaurants, bars, and pubs fall under this category.

    Off-licenses are for places selling alcohol that will be consumed away from the establishment. So liquor stores, convenience stores, and supermarkets fall under this category. Micropubs that offer growlers and cans that can be taken home will require off-licenses in addition to a standard on-licenses.


    Applying For a Liquor License

    Once you know what type of license you need and understand your local laws, applying for a liquor license is easy. Simply get the proper forms from your local ABC agency, complete them, and submit them for review. Personal information along with your food menu, restaurant drawings, and other relevant information are usually required by the agency. Since the time to review the application often exceeds a month, be sure to submit your forms early.

    If your surrounding area has already met its local liquor license quota, you likely will not be able to get a license from the government. However, you can still buy a license from another local business. Just be aware that buying a license this way will likely cost significantly more. 


    Once You've Secured Your License

    Be sure to come back and browse our website for all the glasswarebartending supplies , and bar refrigeration you'll ever need.


    how to get a liquor license

    Restaurant Merchandise Ideas

    Written by: J. Vigotsky


    If you’re looking for ways to increase brand awareness, selling restaurant merchandise is a great option. Although offering custom merchandise likely won’t make a significant impact on your bottom line, it excels at getting the word out about your bar or restaurant. This post will explore different items that can be used for merchandising as well as cover a few basic tips when it comes to selling.


    The Best Items for Merchandising


    custom restaurant t-shirt


    Items you’re selling should capture the essence of your bar or restaurant. So if you’re offering a T-shirt, be sure to make it unique. You can do so with a witty one-liner, bold colors, or even an interesting font. Not only will this make this customers more likely to buy the shirt, but it will also pique the interest of their friends, family, and whoever else is exposed to the shirt.

    If you own a bar or pub, drinking glasses are the obvious merchandising choice. Offering cocktail glasses, wine glasses, beer mugs, and shot glasses ensures there’ll be a type of glass for everyone. Bottle openers can be great, inexpensive alternatives. Especially if you don’t want to invest too much capital in merchandise.

    Other merchandising ideas include dinner plates, bowls, cozies, pens, key chains, caps, toys, and sauces. What you choose to offer largely depends on the type of restaurant you operate. If you run a family-style establishment that serves a lot of children, toys can be a great offering. On the other hand, renowned barbecue joints are better-suited by offering delicious sauces that patrons can bring home. Overall, apparel is usually the best choice since it’s so great at raising brand awareness. No matter what you choose to merchandise, make sure the item fits the vibe of your establishment.


    Tips to Maximize Merchandise Sales


    restaurant merchandise display


    Always ensure your merchandise is easily visible to customers. Ideally. It should be in the front where people enter and exit the restaurant. It’s not likely that people will go out of their way to find whatever items you have for sale. So the onus is on you give them every opportunity to make a purchase. Also make sure your merchandise items have prices on them so people know exactly how much they cost. If a patron is interested in a product but doesn’t know how much it costs, chances are he will just walk out without it. And if possible, also offer products through online outlets like your website and social media.

    If your restaurant doesn’t already have strong visual branding, consider hiring a professional who can help. After all, there’s no point in in putting your restaurant’s name and logo on items if it’s not appealing to customers.

    Always be brainstorming. The first merchandising idea you get might not be the best one so be sure to have numerous merchandising options you can choose from. Try asking each staff member to come up with several ideas each. Lay out all the ideas, choose the best one, and put a plan to action.

    If it’s an option, order custom merchandise from local businesses. A major advantage of this is shipping costs are minimized. Another perk is the owner and workers will be more likely to eat at your restaurant and even recommend it to their own customers.  


    No one knows your bar or restaurant as well as you do. So while it’s great to get other peoples’ opinions about what you should merchandise, the decision is ultimately yours. Take time to decide what items mesh best with your restaurant’s style. And as always—go with your gut.