March 2018 Culinary Depot Blog Posts

    April Fools Pranks for Restaurants

    april fools day


    April Fools’ Day offers jokers and pranksters of all ages the chance to let loose and get a couple good laughs. While formal restaurants probably shouldn’t dabble in April Fools’ Day festivities, laid-back foodservices can certainly get in on the fun. Ideally if you’re playing a prank on a patron, you’ll want him to be regular who you know will take it well. If you joke around with a new customer, there’s a chance he might not be appreciate it and consequently never come back. So be sure that a customer will be okay with a prank, as offending anyone is the last thing you want to do on April Fools’ Day. With that said, here are a couple of April Fools’ Day prank ideas for your restaurant or foodservice.


    Birthday Cake


    happy birthday cake restaurant


    One of the safest and most fun ways to celebrate April Fools’ Day at your restaurant is to have staff deliver a cake to a table while singing Happy Birthday. If you can, make sure beforehand that nobody at the table is actually celebrating a birthday. At the end of the song, the staff yells out, “April Fools” and good times ensue. The cake stays with the table, and everyone’s happy.


    Fake Menus


    fake restaurant menu


    Another option is to offer fake menus that contain ridiculous meals that would never be offered at your restaurant. Stuff like cereal in chocolate milk, toasted waffles with Jell-O, and maybe some Pop-Tart a la mode. Let your imagination run wild. After the patron’s confusion simmers for a minute, a server should stop by the table, drop an “April Fools” and deliver the proper menus.




    the lonely island


    Altering your restaurants music playlist to feature joke songs is another route to take. You can’t go wrong with classic parody songs by an artist like Weird Al Yankovic. Andy Samberg’s comedic trio the Lonely Island also has some great options that will leave your customers in stitches. You might need to seek out censored versions of those songs, as some might contain profanity. It’s always a good idea to listen to songs beforehand and making sure there aren’t lyrics that you don’t want to broadcast.


    Complete Restaurant Transformation


    mariachi band restaurant


    For restaurants that want to go all out for April Fools’ Day, there’s always the option of a complete transformation. If you operate a Greek restaurant, consider offering Mexican food for the day instead. Servers can dress up in traditional Mexican clothing, and a classic Mariachi band can serenade your diners. Before doing this, you’ll want to make sure your chefs are capable of cooking Mexican food and they have the ingredients required to do so.

    If you don’t want to stray too far from your restaurant’s typical offerings, try to stay within the same culinary region of the world. So if you operate a Chinese restaurant, maybe offer Thai food or Japanese dishes. If you’re an Italian restaurant, switching to Greek for a day is a fine choice.


    The main thing to remember for April Fools’ Day at your restaurant is everything should be in good fun. What’s most important is that customers appreciate your joke and enjoy themselves. So above all, play to your customers’ tastes and never make them the punchline of a joke.

    7 of the Best Bar Games

    Written by: J. Vigotsky


    bars with games


    Operating a bar or pub entails more than just providing patrons with drinks. Part of your responsibility as owner is to make sure your customers enjoy themselves. Whether you do this by offering live music, featuring sports on TV, or outfitting your establishment with games, the important part is ensuring your patrons have options. This post covers some of the best bar games that your customers would love the chance to play.




    bar darts


    Throwing darts is perhaps the quintessential bar game. Requiring only a dart board and the darts themselves, the game is inexpensive, takes up minimal space, and—as long as you position the board off to the side of the bar—is relatively safe. Since dart boards come in many styles, you can get one that perfectly suits your establishment. This gives sports bars the opportunity to show pride in their local college or sports team.




    bar billiards


    A more substantial investment compared to a dart board, a billiards table is on the pricey side and requires far more room. Not only do you have to account for the space taken up by the table, but you also need to consider the extra room players need to comfortably make shots. Luckily, pool tables come in a wide range of sizes. Since you’re running a bar and not a professional pool hall, you can get away with a table that’s smaller than regulation size. Keep in mind that you’ll need to populate your bar with plenty of pool cues and also keep chalk on hand.

    One of the best parts about billiards tables is they can be customized. So whether you want to put an emblem of your bar or a local sports team symbol in the middle of the table, the choice is yours. This will undoubtedly cost you a little extra, but it’s a nice touch that will remind your patrons where they are. It also makes a great picture, so it could lead to more exposure via social media. Other game options that are similar billiards include ping pong and air hockey.




    bar trivia


    Who says drinking beer can’t be educational? Trivia is a great way to test the knowledge of your patrons while encouraging a little friendly competition. If you want to up the stakes a bit, offer a special prize to the winning team. Whether that’s free drinks, food, or even a party at your bar, a reward will help draw in more contestants and get people excited about your trivia night.

    Hiring a DJ to run the event might seem like an unnecessary expense, but doing so can make a significant difference in how enjoyable the night is. A good DJ brings energy to the game and will get even the most trivia-averse patrons excited to play.




    bar cornhole


    Especially perfect for bars that have large outdoor areas, cornhole is a classic summer time game that can be easily played with a drink in hand. It requires a couple of raised platforms with holes in them, half a dozen bean bags, and some spare space. The raised platforms are relatively easy to build and can be customized with paint jobs and logos. Giving bar owners the opportunity to hold tournaments and attract new crowds, cornhole can be played in singles or doubles.  




    bar shuffleboard


    If you have space along an extended wall that’s not being used for anything, a shuffleboard might be a perfect fit for your bar or pub. Ideally that wall won’t be next to any windows, as a change in temperature or sun exposure can dry out a shuffleboard and make its surface play inconsistently. This means the board might play one way during the day but a completely different way at night. And for serious shuffleboard players, that can be very frustrating.

    Shuffleboards also require a bit more maintenance than other games on this list. To get that slippery smooth surface that the game demands, you’ll need to keep the board clean and apply certain substances. The precise substances depend on what your board is made of, so make sure to research before making a potential misstep.


    Arcade Games


    bar arcade games


    Although arcade games are traditionally enjoyed by a younger clientele, they certainly have their place in bars and pubs. Games like Golden Tee have been staples for years, while other classics like Pacman, Donkey Kong, and pin ball machines can help transport patrons back to a simpler time. Even though many of these games are available through smart phones these days, there’s still nothing like the real thing.


    Board Games


    bar board games


    A classic throwback, board games at bars has been becoming increasingly popular over the last few years. Especially great if you have a lounge area with large tables, board games are fun, social, and inexpensive. Even if you want to pick up a bunch of used sets, the cost is minimal, and your customers will thank you for it.


    What games are best for your patrons will likely depend on the patrons themselves. Consider your crowd and make a decision based on what you think they’ll get excited about. If you have more of a sports bar, you’ll want to stick with physical activities like billiards and darts. More cerebral environments will do better with board games or trivia. No matter what you choose, you’ll know you’re doing all you can to make your bar or pub a success.

    Dog Friendly Restaurants – The Pros and Cons

    Written by: J. Vigotsky


    dog friendly restaurant


    Diners have differing opinions when it comes to dog friendly restaurants. Some love the idea and jump at the opportunity to eat out with their four-legged friends. But others staunchly believe that dogs and dining out should never be mixed. If you’re considering opening a dog friendly foodservice, this post breaks the pros and cons of such an establishment.




    dog friendly restaurant - outside


    Fun Atmosphere

    Wherever a dog goes, he brings a unique joyful energy. Consequently, a restaurant full of dogs offers a special dining environment that patrons won’t find elsewhere. It can even attract patrons who don’t have dogs but want to eat a meal in a different atmosphere than usual. For maximum fun, decorate your walls with dog-themed posters like the classic Dogs Playing Poker.  



    According to the ASPCA, a little less than half of the households the United States have dogs. These dog lovers make up a tight knit group that enjoys spending time together. A dog friendly restaurant taps into this sense of community, giving dog lovers the perfect place to catch a meal and make new friends.



    Research shows that Millennials are opting more and more for owning dogs rather than having children. So if your restaurant is located in an area—particularly an urban one—that’s heavily populated by adults between the ages of 20-40, you just might be in the perfect spot to capitalize on the trend. Many Millennials treat their dogs as if they’re children, and bringing them out to eat would be expected.




    dog friendly restaurant - dogs on table



    While studies differ on the precise number of people who suffer from dog allergies, the important thing to remember is that many people do. And those with dog allergies will likely never step foot in a dog friendly restaurant. It doesn’t matter how good the food or service is, the prospect of sneezing all night is far more frightening than a great meal is enjoyable.


    Not a Dog Person

    If losing all the customers with dog allergies wasn’t bad enough, also consider that some diners fear dogs or just plain don’t like them. This further reduces the potential number of customers a dog friendly restaurant will attract, making the idea a somewhat a risky proposition.



    Dogs don’t hold themselves to the same hygiene standards that cats do. This means they can track dirt into your restaurant or even leave other types of special surprises on the floor. As a result, your restaurant will need to have plenty of supplies on hand as well as staff workers who are willing to get down and dirty.


    Dog Manners

    Although many dog owners will assure you that their pooch is a perfect guest, that’s not always the case. There’s a chance a dog might bark or even climb up onto tables for food. Nobody wants to think about what might happen if a patron is bitten by a dog, but it’s certainly possible. To make matters worse, your restaurant would be held liable in such an unfortunate circumstance.


    The Final Verdict


    Restaurant owners need to take all these variables into account before deciding if a dog-friendly establishment is what they really want. They’ll also want to check local ordinances to ensure that dog friendly restaurants are legally permitted. There’s no doubt that these types of restaurants require a lot of work and are not the safest investments, but for dog lovers they just might be worth it.


    dog friendly bar