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    5 Awesome Post Ideas for Your Restaurant’s Instagram

    Written by: J. Vigotsky

     

    Engaging with customers through social media is becoming increasingly important for bars and restaurants. Not only is the practice free, but in many cases it’s just as effective as paid marketing. If your bar or restaurant isn’t already posting on Instagram, then it’s time to start. This post highlights 5 ways you can use your restaurant’s Instagram to win over customers.

     

    Food Pics

     

    instagram food pics

     

    Amazingly, research shows that people aged 18-35 spend an average of five days per year looking at pictures of food on Instagram. So what better way to represent your restaurant than by posting pictures of its most delicious meals? While it might be easy to just snap a picture and post it online, you’re better off putting tender love and care into each photo you share. First consider what meals are most photogenic. A rack of glazed ribs certainly looks more appetizing than a bowl of white rice. Next, make sure your lighting is perfect. Use a reflector if you have to. Better yet, opt for natural lighting. If you or someone in your restaurant is savvy with editing, play around with different settings to help your pictures look good as possible.

     

    Outdoor Eating Areas

     

    outdoor eating areas

     

    Especially during the warmer months, people love to eat outside. If your bar or restaurant have an outdoor eating area, there’s no shame in showing it off through Instagram. Pick a beautiful, sunny day and snap a photo of it. If there are already people dining there, make sure they’re okay with you taking a picture. To make your outdoor eating patio most appealing to customers, take your picture during the golden hour. This is the time before sunset or after sunrise when the sun’s light is softer and better for photography. Since your bar or restaurant likely isn’t open during sunrise, your best bet is to snap that photo a little before sunset.


    Unveil New Menu Items and Special Deals

     

    food and drink specials

     

    Before social media was around, making customers aware of new menu offerings could be very difficult. Word of mouth could get to them or you could advertise in the local paper. But now sites like Instagram make it easier than ever to make announcements. If you’re unveiling a new food offering or a drink special, simply make an Instagram post about it. You can even hint that something will be announced in the near future to keep your customers waiting anxiously. After all, a little showmanship isn’t the worst thing.

     

    Behind-The-Scenes Photos

     

    chef preparing food

     

    Consider giving customers a glimpse behind the curtain by posting pictures of your staff in action. Maybe your chefs want to demonstrate how they prepare a restaurant specialty. Or your bartender wants to show off the liquor offerings of his bar. It’s easy to think of a restaurant as just a place to get food. But pictures like these remind customers of the people who make your bar or restaurant what it is.

     

    Re-Share Your Customers’ Content

     

    instagram reshare

     

    Sometimes customers will have already taken pictures at your restaurant and shared them. To see what’s out there, simply look up your location on Instagram or search to see if your restaurant has been hashtagged. If you come across a picture that you’d like to repost, contact the original poster and make sure it’s okay if you re-share the picture from your account. The last thing you want is to repost the photo without permission and find out the customer didn’t appreciate it. If you want to reward customers for letting you use their photos, consider offering a free drink or dessert.

     

    The ideas listed in this article only scratch the surface of what can be done with your restaurant’s Instagram account. Keep in mind that as we move further into the social media generation, marketing strategies will continue to evolve. For bars and restaurants that are looking to stay ahead of the curve, maintaining a strong online presence can help in a big way.

    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.

    Sushi Grade Fish – What is It?

    Written by: J. Vigotsky

    raw fish

     

    Raw fish can carry dangerous foodborne illnesses like Salmonella and Vibrio vulnificus. As a result, it’s best to use higher-quality “sushi grade fish” if you’re not cooking your fish. But what exactly makes fish sushi grade? This post will answer that as well as cover where to find it, how it should look, and how you should handle it.

     

    How Does Fish Get Labeled “Sushi Grade”

    Since there are no official standards for sushi grade fish, labeling is the responsibility of the vendor. The Federal Drug Administration provides detailed fish handling procedures that include steps to destroy parasites. However, the FDA has nothing to do with the sushi grade labeling.

     

    Where to Get Sushi Grade Fish

    When it comes to buying sushi grade fish, trust is extremely important. Ideally, you’ll want to get all your fish from a vendor you’ve worked with before. If that’s not an option, make sure you’re buying from someone who comes highly recommended. Ask other local restauranteurs or read online reviews to get a feel for different vendors.

     

    How Sushi Grade Fish Should Look

     

    sashimi grade tuna

     

    It’s great to have a fish vendor who you trust completely. But knowing what fresh sushi grade fish looks and smells like will give you even more of a leg up. The fish should smell like seawater and never have an overly “fishy” odor. Its eyes should be clear and mildly bulging. Gills should be red, scales should be intact, and flesh should firm. Finally, the fish shouldn’t feel too slimy when you touch it.  

     

    How to Store Sushi Grade Fish

    When you go out to buy sushi grade fish, make sure to bring a cooler with ice. This is because transporting fish on ice helps reduce the chance of foodborne illnesses. When you get the fish back to your kitchen, refrigerate or freeze it immediately. When it’s time to thaw the fish, always do so in the refrigerator. Thawing frozen fish on the countertop can result in its temperature reaching 40°F, which makes it prone to dangerous bacteria.

     

    Raw Fish Protocol

    When you have to handle raw fish, it’s best to do so with gloves. Keeping your tools and food prep area clean will help reduce the chance of spreading foodborne illnesses. And as always, thoroughly wash your hands both before and after dealing with sushi grade fish.

     

    handling raw fish  

    How to Get More Online Restaurant Reviews

    Written by: J. Vigotsky

     

    online restaurant reviews

     

    Today, many diners read online restaurant reviews before going out to eat. According to one study, 60 percent of people reference online reviews before deciding where to dine. Perhaps even more surprising, a Harvard Business School study found that a one-star bump in a restaurant’s Yelp rating leads to a 5-9% increase in revenue. This all points to the importance of leveraging online restaurant reviews. Especially for new restaurants and those located in touristy areas, Internet reviews can make or break a business. This post will focus on what owners can do to increase their number of online reviews.

     

    Provide Excellent Service

    Providing superior customer service is a surefire way to net some positive customer reviews. But the key is to truly go above and beyond. While most restaurants offer good service, it falls on you to do more. Patrons should leave your restaurant feeling like they want to share their amazing dining experience with the rest of the world. The best way to ensure your service leaves this kind of impression is by fostering a positive restaurant culture.

     

    Don’t Be Afraid to Ask

    Getting online restaurant reviews is largely a numbers game. The more customers you ask, the more likely it is that someone will leave a review. If you sense that a patron dining in your restaurant is likely to leave a positive review, go ahead and politely ask them. If you have an email list, try asking for reviews through there. But keep in mind that while asking is great, you never want to repeatedly solicit or pressure customers. Doing so makes you come off as desperate. And as a result, customers will be less likely to return to your restaurant in the future.

     

    online restaurant reviews

     

    Make a Landing Page on Your Website

    Featuring a testimonial page on your restaurant’s website is a great idea. But what you really want is a landing page that leads to popular review sites like Yelp, Tripadvisor, and Google Plus. This makes it easy for patrons to click a link and leave a review. And the easier you can make the review process, the more reviews you’re likely to get.

     

    Engage in Social Media

    If you’re already on Facebook and Twitter, make sure to provide links to pages that feature your restaurant reviews. And always try to keep an active account. One of the most common reasons people don’t leave reviews is because they forget. The easiest way to combat this issue is by maintaining an active social media account that shows up in customers’ feeds. If people forget to leave a review, your social media account will serve as a reminder.

     

    Maintaining an online presence is more important than ever these days. By following the listed tips, you’ll be putting your restaurant in the best position to get more online restaurant reviews. And with enough positive reviews, more and more patrons will want to dine at your restaurant.

    How True Refrigeration Units Can Save You Money

    Written by: J. Vigotsky

     

    true refrigeration products

     

    True has been a leader in the commercial refrigeration industry for over 70 years. And although this blog has already covered a few of the many benefits offered by True products, there are still plenty of other reasons for the company’s success. This post will focus exclusively on how one specific feature of True refrigeration units can save you money.

    Also known as RCU, a reverse condensing fan motor does enables users to reverse the condensing fan motor of a refrigeration unit. This action helps keep the condensing coil clean while also reducing negative effects of a dirty coil. So while a fan still operates in a conventional manner, it’ll run in reverse for the first 20 seconds after the unit starts up. Doing so cleans the unit by blowing dust, dirt, and debris off the condensing coil. So since these coils don’t need to contend with unwanted debris, True refrigerators and freezers use 20% less energy than similar units. This helps users save money on electric bills.

     

     

    While a reverse condensing fan motor doesn’t eliminate the need for maintenance, it does prolong the lifespan of your True refrigeration unit. This means you won’t need to purchase new refrigerators and freezers at the same frequency you would with other brands. RCU technology also helps True refrigeration units maintain the coldest temperatures and freshest products. So whether you’re operating a large dining hall kitchen or a cozy concession stand, using a True refrigeration unit pays off in the long run.

    Preparing for Thanksgiving Eve - The Busiest Bar Night of the Year

    Written by: J. Vigotsky

    thanksgiving eve

     

    Thanksgiving always takes place on the fourth Thursday of November. It’s a day of family, food, and football. But the party really starts the night before. Also known as Blackout Wednesday, Thanksgiving Eve is the busiest bar night of the year—outclassing holidays like New Year’s Eve and St. Patrick’s Day. College students return home from school and reunite with friends, while workers enjoy a night out before their day off on Thanksgiving. As a result all this foot traffic, bars and pubs need to be on their A-game for Thanksgiving Eve. This post offers 5 tips that will help you get the most out of the night.

     

    Use Plastic Beverageware Instead of Glass

     

    broken glass


    If you usually use glass beverageware to serve drinks, consider switching to plastic for Thanksgiving Eve. When bars and pubs get overcrowded, the chance of accidental collisions between patrons increases. Add in the fact that people will be in an especially celebratory mood, and the chances of glass shattering on the ground are unusually high. The last thing you want in your bar is broken glass. Not only can customers cut themselves, but it’ll be difficult to clean since the bar will be so crowded. Proactively nip the issue in the bud by using plastic beverageware.

     

    Hire Some Extra Muscle

     

    bar bouncer


    There’s a reason Thanksgiving Eve is also referred to as Blackout Wednesday. And while nearly all patrons will be able to maintain control of themselves, there’s an increased chance that an issue will arise. Hiring a bouncer is a great way to prevent unwanted problems. If there’s a fight or even a threat of a fight, a bouncer can help quell the situation before it gets out of hand. The extra business that comes from Thanksgiving Eve is great. But the last thing you want is to end up on the local news as the site of a big bar brawl.

     

    Know When Enough is Enough

     

    know when enough is enough

     

    If you sense a patron is getting too rowdy, it’s your responsibility to cut them off—even if they’re trying to buy a round of shots for the entire bar. You might lose out on a little bit of money. But you’ll be ensuring a safe environment for the rest of the night.

     

    Re-Up on Beverages

     

    full bar


    You don’t want to be the bar that runs out of someone’s favorite drink. Maybe the customer will opt for something else, and you won’t lose any business in the moment. But that patron will likely remember the instance and next time choose to go somewhere else. So make sure your bar or pub is fully stocked with all kinds of beers, liquors, and wines.


    Have Cleaning Supplies On Hand

     

    cleaning supplies

     


    Where there are large groups, there are often large messes. Drinks that are spilled on the floor lead to wet surfaces that are potential safety risks. And if your patrons are fleet of foot enough to avoid slipping, those wet surfaces soon turn extremely sticky. Customers will labor just trying to separate their shoe from the floor, and your bar will soon be known as dirty. Luckily, there are steps you can take to prevent such a fate. Always keep a couple mops and towels on stand-by. If there’s a spill, you’ll be ready to clean it up before it has a chance to offend anyone.

     

    When it comes to Thanksgiving Eve, everyone needs to up their focus. The large crowds put extra stress on staff, so it falls on the owner to make sure everyone is ready. Start preparing early so by the time Blackout Wednesday arrives, you’ll be ready to handle the busiest bar night of the year.

     

    busy bar

    Why Your Kitchen Needs a Commercial Can Crusher

    Written by: J. Vigotsky

     

    edlund can crusher

     

    Restaurants, cafeterias, and dining halls can go through hundreds of cans of food per day. And after a while, the empty cans start to pile up and take up significant space. That’s why many kitchens have commercial can crushers that help handle waste. If your kitchen does not currently use an Edlund can crusher, here are a few reasons why it should:

     

    Crushing Cans Saves Money

    It doesn’t matter what size or shape a can is. An Edlund can crusher quickly compresses it by 84%. And since crushed cans take up much less space than uncrushed cans, they drastically reduce trash volume. So much so that your number of recycle pick-ups can realistically be cut in half. So if you spend $4300 annually on trash removal, you can expect to save roughly $2000 per year with the help of a can crusher.

    Another way that crushing cans saves money is that it reduces the use of garbage bags. About 42 uncrushed #10 cans fit in a standard 55-gallon trash bag. But if you’re crushing your cans, you can fit a whopping 200 in one of those bags! So if you usually spend $1000 per year on trash bags for cans, a can crusher will reduce your spending to about $200. 

     

    Can Crushers Save Time and Labor

    Transporting garbage bags from the kitchen to the outside dumpster can be a time drain. If cans aren’t crushed, the recyclables might need to be taken out several times per day. During winter this might mean bundling up to deal with the cold. There’s also a risk that kitchen staff might stop and get involved in conversations when they should be working. But by utilizing can crushers, your kitchen staff will be able to work more efficiently and make the most of their time in the kitchen.

     

    Edlund offers a few different commercial can crushers than can effortlessly compress as many as 2000 cans per day. It’s simple as this: