Posted by: Jay Bandy | January 19, 2020

Incorporating the “New” Snack Trend


Great news! Snacking has become something we do 24/7. According to Skift Restaurant Megatrends of 2019, “customers are eating whatever they want, and whenever they want it” (1). Whether it is midday snacking or late night eating, “the definition of meals, where and when we have them, is becoming more fluid,” said David Portalatin, VP, food industry advisor at NPD Group (2). “People are going to restaurants saying a hamburger, something we would consider lunch or dinner, is just a snack.”

These snacking occasions create perfect opportunities for restaurants expand their menu and to increase traffic and sales. So how should you incorporate this new snack trend into your business? Here are three ideas:

Re-size your menu
QSRs have had great success transforming traditional meals like large appetizers or entrées to a sharable, snack sized portions (3). Dallas-based Chili, for example, repositioned their nachos and baby back ribs into smaller grab-and-go menu items (3). Meanwhile, Firehouse Subs began to offer half sized sandwiches, and Red Robin has offered drink and appetizer specials during their off-peak hours. Re-sizing your menu items to provide snack sized options for your customers allow them to sample multiple dishes and to share. It also appeals to those who want bite sized meals sold at value, as well to customers looking for a lighter fare. To start, try adding mini meals such as sliders and wraps, half sized sandwiches, snack appetizers, and non-alcoholic drinks into your new snack menu.

Offer a Variety
As Bradley Day, Chef of STK, a 13-unit steakhouse based in NYC said, “(snacks) are a little bit about variety and speed” (4). His restaurant lets their customers mix and match and add extra sliders for $5 each with a two-slider minimum. The appeal of a tasting menu, a mix-and-match is only growing (4). It also gives customers a chance to try something new—odd bits of meat like turkey necks, beef tongues or pig feet—while challenging chefs to dish out more inventive nibbles. According to Brian Landry, chef at Borgne at New Orleans, it can also be “a fun way for us to utilize the entire fish” (4).

Up the Health Factor
Datassential’s MenuTrends Keynote Report: Seafood showed that nearly 9 out of 10 consumers have snacked on seafood, such as popcorn shrimp, sushi or calamari in 2017, with popcorn shrimp being the most popular item (5). The rise of seafood snacks seems to linked to the overlapping popularity of snacking and health foods. Healthier and lighter fare such as tuna tartare, edamame and seafood taco trios particularly appeal to a younger customer base seeking health friendly, low calorie options. And according to Amanda Topper, food analyst at Mintel, millennials—that is, customers ages of 21 and 38—are significantly more likely than older consumers to snack frequently (6). Moreover, “they are also more likely than older generations to indicate snacks with added nutrition and flavor variety are important to them.” Adding calorie counts into your snack menu is also a good idea.

While the main appeal of snack foods comes from consumers wanting value, it seems to be a combination of variety, flexibility and portability that make snack foods so popular. But as Noveshen, co-founder of Pacific Catch restaurants in California said, “Trying to serve everyone is probably not the best idea.” Restaurants should aim to find the sweet spot on what and to whom to serve their snacks.
References:
(1) https://table.skift.com/2019/01/22/the-lines-between-meal-times-have-been-erased/
(2) https://www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/home/
(3) https://www.nrn.com/casual-dining/snacking-craze-really-happy-hour-disguise
(4) https://www.nrn.com/food-trends/menus-adapt-appeal-nation-snackers
(5) https://www.nrn.com/seafood-trends/popular-trends-converge-rise-seafood-snacks
(6) https://www.restaurant-hospitality.com/consumer-trends/trendinista-snacking-still-upswing

About Goliath Consulting Group
Goliath Consulting Group with headquarters in Norcross, Georgia offers a dynamic array of business development solutions, tailored to meet the needs of each individual client – in addition to a full suite of knowledge and tools that help make restaurants more profitable, including strategic planning, menu development, project management, new restaurant development, branding, marketing, franchising, equipment, technology, evaluations, outsourcing, and more. The company also has a management division that manages full-service restaurants. Goliath Consulting enjoys a ten-year track record of creating client success among local, regional and multi-unit national restaurant chains.
Goliath Consulting Group is actively involved in the Foodservice Consultants Society International and is an allied partner of the Georgia Restaurant Association.

Contact: getresults@goliathconsulting.com

Posted by: Jay Bandy | January 1, 2020

5 Steps to do Social Media Right


Using Instagram, Facebook or Twitter to grow your restaurant business

By Bora Kang

With more than 79% of the US population now using Facebook, Instagram or Twitter 1 and users projected to increase to 257 million by 2023, restaurants can no longer afford not to invest in their social media presence. Millions of users utilize social media to find and share their favorite restaurants; some browse it just to figure out where and what they want to eat. In fact, more than 63% of restaurants reported to have used social media to market their business in 2018 2. So how should you use social media to promote your restaurant?

Here are our top 5 steps:

Take Great Photos

You know the saying: a picture is worth a thousand words. According to Wansink (2006), the digital presentation of food is thought to influence more than 70% of the food eaten by American households 3. A study published in Brain and Cognition by Spence and his colleagues (2016) reported that our brain is wired to link food with visual cues, that is to say, “we eat with our eyes” 4. A well taken, beautifully staged photo of your restaurant or menu item will visually and emotional appeal to your potential customers, and make them want to come in taste your food. Having professional looking food photography doesn’t necessary mean that you have to break the bank, however. Nation’s Restaurant News offers some great tips on taking food photos on a budget here 5.

Share What’s New and Upcoming

According to CJ Jacobson, chef and partner at Ema, Chicago, social media allows us to “show our possible patrons what we’re working on, new menu items and what we’re excited about” 6. Using social media to tell your customers about limited time items or specials will help generate buzz around your restaurant and help increase foot traffic. Keep in mind, however, to make sure your social media pages include promotional timeframes and are up-to-date on new menu items.

 Open Up

You want social media to be a space where you can communicate and connect with your customers at a more personal level. This can mean posting what’s behind the scenes, spotlighting employees and sharing anecdotes and stories that might come from your vendors. Sharing your vision and goals can have great effect, as Joseph “JJ” Johnson, chef and cookbook author, New York City, said he uses “Instagram as a tool to share my story. Whether it’s food, my new cookbook or my family, Instagram serves as a platform to push forward all the things I’m passionate about and to have a social impact, as an African American chef, on the food industry” 6.

Be Responsive, Engage and Communicate

It helps to be responsive in social media. This can mean answering questions, responding to a review (especially bad ones) or just replying thank you to a comment. Not only do these actions give the impression that you care about your customers, being responsive also allows you to take notice of popular trends. For example, Todd Erickson, chef, Schwan’s Chef Collective, stated that “(social media) gives chefs the ability to see in real time what other chefs are doing anywhere in the world, which ingredients bloggers are going crazy over” 7. And we don’t have to look far for great examples.  Take Burger King’s recent pilot of Impossible Burgers, for instance (or KFC’s Beyond Chicken) and their massive marketing success. They simply took notice of the increasing demand for plant-based meats and answered it 8.

Promote

Give out coupons, do giveaways, host social media contests and post often. The top restaurant brands that dominate the social media universe use all the above methods and more by creating creative and fresh content paired with incentives, products and of course, it never hurts to have a bit of humor.

Reference:

About Goliath Consulting Group

Goliath Consulting Group with headquarters in Norcross, Georgia offers a dynamic array of business development solutions, tailored to meet the needs of each individual client – in addition to a full suite of knowledge and tools that help make restaurants more profitable, including strategic planning, menu development, project management, new restaurant development, branding, marketing, franchising, equipment, technology, evaluations, outsourcing, and more. The company also has a management division that manages full-service restaurants. Goliath Consulting enjoys a ten-year track record of creating client success among local, regional and multi-unit national restaurant chains.

Goliath Consulting Group is actively involved in the Foodservice Consultants Society International and is an allied partner of the Georgia Restaurant Association.

Website:  www.goliathconsulting.com

Contact: getresults@goliathconsulting.com

Posted by: Jay Bandy | December 5, 2019

3 ways to make your holiday cocktails extra special this year


There are quite a number of beverages that come to mind when we think of the holidays. There’s mulled wine and spiced sangria, hot buttered rum, eggnog, and hot chocolate. But if you’re looking to offer something extra special to your customers, here are three ways to craft a cocktail that is sure to spread the Christmas cheer.

Tweak the Classics

Holiday or not, people still order the classics. It’s familiar, it’s tried and true. Best of all they’re year round, and a seasonal twist on the favorites is sometimes all you need to showcase the flavors of the holidays. Take this Holiday Sidecar (1) recipe for example, where a cinnamon sugar rim and a star anise garnish accompany our well-loved classic. Aromatic bitters are also a great addition to any classic cocktail, like in this Winter White Lady (2), and in this Peppermint Bark Mimosa (3), a splash of peppermint schnapps puts a Christmas spin on the classic drink.

Taking advantage of flavored liquor is a must for this season. You can use schnapps or flavor infused simple syrups (4), like this Corduroy Daiquiri (5). Or use flavored spirits, like in this
Ginger Bloody Mary (6) and Butterscotch Martini (7). There are plenty of holiday flavors to get you started: try with cinnamon, clove, ginger, cranberry, orange, pumpkin, butterscotch, salted caramel, peppermint, chocolate and whip cream.

Make it Trendy

The beverage trends of 2019 can certainly be incorporated into your holiday cocktail recipes.
Go plant-based and substitute oat milk for dairy, like this Oat milk Honey Cocktail (8) or in this Last Minute Gift (9). Coconut milk is a terrific substitute in this Coconut White Russian (10) not only because it’s a vegan take on the classic, but because coconut milk imparts that creamy mouthfeel you’ll miss by substituting heavy cream. According to BeverageDaily (11), texture has been a big part of this year’s beverage trends. Carbonation and whipped drinks are still popular, which means that bubbly and creamy are textures that your customers will be eager to try. Use sparkling wine and champagne to top your cocktails like in this Northern Lights Cocktail (12) and Champagne Julep (13). Adding soda water is also a simple way to add bubbles to your drinks, like in this St-Germain Spritz (14). Likewise, the popularity of Coffee drinks has been on the rise these past few years and we expect it to continue. Drinks like espresso martini (15), Hummer (16) and Irish coffee (17) embody both the holiday theme and current trend. Add ice cream to great effect.

Garnish It

Our rule is that if it tastes like Christmas, then it must look like Christmas. It’s important for your customers to feel like they’ve ordered a seasonal—as in, limited time—item. For example, a sprig of thyme and skewered cranberries make this Under the Mistletoe Cocktail (18) extra special. A thick clove-studded strip of orange zest makes Autumn Sweater cocktail (19) a delight to look at. This Peppermintini (20) uses crushed peppermints, and this Sugar Cookie Cocktail (21) uses sugar cookie and vanilla frosting. The possibilities are endless.

From craft cocktail recipes to setting up and running a more profitable bar, Goliath Consulting Group can help you get the results you want. Email us at: getresults@goliathconsulting.com and visit our website at: goliathconsulting.com for a full listing of services provided.

Reference:
(1) https://bevvy.co/cocktail/holiday-sidecar/wary
(2) https://bevvy.co/cocktail/winter-white-lady/mzry
(3) https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/a25128817/peppermint-bark-mimosas-recipe/
(4) https://punchdrink.com/articles/guide-to-syrups-recipes-for-winter-cocktails/
(5) https://punchdrink.com/recipes/corduroy-daiquiri/
(6) https://www.chowhound.com/recipes/ginger-bloody-mary-10804
(7) https://www.livinglocurto.com/butterscotch-martini-recipe/
(8) https://imbibemagazine.com/oat-milk-honey-cocktail/
(9) https://punchdrink.com/recipes/last-minute-gift/
(10) https://drizly.com/Kahlua-Coconut-Milk-White-Russian/r-c2f7c7e40777487b
(11) https://www.beveragedaily.com/Article/2018/12/05/Top-five-predictions-for-2019-beverage-trends
(12) https://imbibemagazine.com/northern-lights-cocktail-recipe/
(13) https://punchdrink.com/recipes/champagne-julep/
(14) https://punchdrink.com/recipes/the-st-germain-cocktail/
(15) https://www.kahlua.com/us/drinks/classic/espresso-martini/
(16) https://punchdrink.com/recipes/hummer/
(17) https://punchdrink.com/recipes/st-john-frizells-irish-coffee/
(18) https://www.liquor.com/recipes/under-the-mistletoe/
(19) https://punchdrink.com/recipes/autumn-sweater/
(20) https://www.delish.com/holiday-recipes/christmas/a25415480/peppermintinis-recipe/
(21) https://www.delish.com/holiday-recipes/christmas/a25362483/sugar-cookie-martinis-recipe/

Posted by: Jay Bandy | November 3, 2019

Our Most Anticipated 2020 Food Trends List


2019 has been fun. We saw the rise of veggie entrees, oat milk, boba tea and new allergy-free foods (1). We saw the growth of veganism, and the amount of sensation the Impossible Burger has generated around plant-based eating. But what comes afterwards? What new food trend would the new year bring?  We’re pitching our predictions into the web-verse. Here they are.

Wellness
It’s a health-conscious world and people now place just as much importance in healthy foods as they do in exercise and other healthy lifestyles2. Veggies are being incorporated into the menu in creative ways (think jackfruit pulled “pork”, veggie rice and pasta), vegan entrees and sandwiches will keep rolling and “gut-friendly” fermented foods such as kimchi and kombucha are making its way into more restaurant menus3. The faux meat craze is just beginning, with chains such as KFC, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Dominos and McDonalds incorporating Impossible Burgers and Beyond Meats into their menus4. Additionally, we expect smaller servings and snack-size portions to become more widespread, as more people turn to read the nutrition labels to see not just the calories they are consuming, but also its carb, protein, saturated fat and sodium content5.

Instagram
Colorful? Big? Over the top? Unique? Photogenic foods have done well and we expect it will continue to do so in 2020 – all thanks to Instagram6. The big and crazy are back, and you’ll be seeing more fried chickens in a Bloody Mary, gigantic shakes and volcano drinks return to restaurants. It’s no coincidence that some of the most trending hashtags on Instagram are #foodporn and #instafood. The popularity of digitally shareable foods is also helping to introduce diverse cuisines into the industry, and fueling the widespread interest of international concepts like Japanese, Lebanese and Mexican cuisines7.

Sustainable
More people are valuing how the food is produced, obtained and packaged. Transparency has also become an important factor, and behind customer awareness of what constitutes a sustainably produced food8. We expect that the demand for local, organic, ugly (imperfect) produce and sustainable seafood will continue to grow in 2020. A recent Nielsen study reported how sustainable products had an 20% increase in sales since 20149. Zero waste has become a buzzworthy term, with restaurants being encouraged to be the vanguard of recycling and to take part of an initiative that is sure to resonate with today’s customers10. Some QSRs are already experimenting, with Starbucks using strawless cups, Pizza hut with round boxes and Dig testing reusable takeout bowls.

Experience
There’s no doubt that people will pay for a one-of-a-kind experience11. When restaurants embrace the task of creating unique, fun and personal memories, their customers return—and often with more friends. One way QSRs have done this in 2019 is offering limited time offers. LTOs can be a new flavor or a simple addition—for example, think Starbuck’s seasonal frappe or KFC’s faux chicken nuggets that was sold out in just 5 hours4. Customization is also good, and we’ve seen a fair number of quick serves introducing customized dishes to give their guests more control over what they eat11. What will most definitely continue to drive sales and build customer base is marketing via social media. Creating visibly exciting content through Instagram, for example, helps to increase awareness about your restaurant and generate engagement. It’s a chance for the business to interact with your customers outside of your restaurant and perhaps one of the easiest ways to determine what’s currently trending.

Online
Convenience is key. The Nielson study reported more people looking for new ways to get things done faster, easier and through a combination of on and offline channels9. Sam Fox, Founder of Fox Restaurant Concepts mentioned how, “Technology helps with speed of service, whether it’s using an app or mobile pay, or looking up calories posted. The more knowledge we can give to guests ahead of time, the more it can help with throughput.”8. Delivery will continue to grow as off-premise eating is becoming more favorable to onsite eating12.

Flavor
Do we need to say more? People are now craving the hottest and spiciest. Nashville’s “spiciest hot chicken” was a viral sensation on social media13; Popeye’s will be returning their spicy chicken sandwich back on their menu. Also, look for unique and non-traditional flavors in 2020. We’re talking sumac, za’atar, Aleppo pepper, nduja, black sesame, chimichurri, guajillo, achiote, furikake and XO sauce 14.

Fundamentals
It’s an exciting time to be in the industry. Technology is changing the way we eat and the momentum for new and innovative foods will challenge how restaurants make of these new opportunities to revamp their business. Nevertheless, consistency, value and quality still play a crucial role in building a successful business15. The fundamentals still are what they’ve always been and it’s the balancing of the new with the familiar that keep your customers coming back.

Now on with 2020.

We hope that helps carry you into 2020 with a wealth of knowledge. If you caught the hidden message, you win the “Thinker’s Award” for 2019 and are poised for success in 2020.

Menu development and understanding market trends are two areas that Goliath Consulting Group assists independent and chain operators. Contact us at getresults@goliathconsulting.com to learn more about our services and how we can get you the results you are looking to achieve.  

Reference
(1) https://www.yelp15.com/ 
(2) https://www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/blog/2019/can-food-be-thy-medicine-many-consumers-say-yes/
(3) https://upserve.com/restaurant-insider/restaurant-menu-trends/ 
(4) https://www.nrn.com/quick-service/look-most-successful-ltos-year-so-far 
(5) https://www.foodengineeringmag.com/articles/98164-who-reads-nutrition-fact-labels 
(6) https://www.restaurantbusinessonline.com/marketing/does-instagram-influence-where-customers-dine-out
(7) https://www.pcma.org/food-beverage-trends-2020-benchmark/ 
(8) https://www.nrn.com/news/restaurant-trends-watch-2020 
(9) https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/article/2019/fresh-trends-tracking-the-four-trends-driving-growth-across-fresh/ 
(10) https://www.nrn.com/marketing/opinion-let-s-change-conversation-around-plastic 
(11) https://www.qsrmagazine.com/customer-experience/10-ways-leverage-experience-economy
(12) https://statistacloudfront.s3.amazonaws.com/download/pdf/OnlineFoodDelivery_Preview.pdf
(13) https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/02/04/the-family-business-that-put-nashville-hot-chicken-on-the-map 
(14) https://www.nrn.com/people/key-lto-success-balance-new-familiar 
(15) https://www.goliathconsulting.com/blog/

Posted by: Jay Bandy | September 30, 2019

Fall Menu Trends: It’s All About the Comfort


Fall themed menus seem to crop up earlier each year¹, what with Dunkin’s launching their pumpkin and apple cider flavors on August 21, and Starbucks heralding the start of Fall with its pumpkin spice latte and other array of seasonal desserts on August 27th, weeks before the official start of the season.

There is no denying the consumer demand for these items—just look at how pumpkin spice has become a $600 million flavor.² Switching to a seasonal menu generates interest and excitement around the new menu items, and taking advantage of a wider sales window for fall-themed foods can therefore mean increased sales and happy customers.

So, what inspires a fall menu? Experts say that it’s all about the comfort³. Fall means going back to the roots, and being nostalgic for childhood traditions. This, in food language, means warm and aromatic spices; it means celebrating natural cooking techniques and creating comfort dishes that are rich, hearty and flavorful.

Here are a few fall menu ideas to include in your menu:

Savory Pumpkin dishes

Many have hinted at the coming of a pumpkin spice fatigue¹¹, but we think that pumpkin is an ingredient that is here to stay. For a new take on America’s favorite gourd, try using it in savory recipes such as adding it to chili, soups, salads, pasta and dips. It can also be incorporated into popular breakfast items such as breakfast sausages, grits and oatmeal.

Nuts and toasted flavors

Nothing says fall like pecans, particularly here in the south. It makes great additions to pies and desserts, and the ingredient is versatile enough that it can be worked into a variety of meat, stew, salad and even cocktail recipes. *A note on the Georgia pecan supply, as farms took at massive hit when Hurricane Michael dealt a loss of about 17% in total acreage¹². The crop is expected to be short this year and it will take years before growers reach the level of pre-storm production. While New Mexico is expected to be producing the majority of the crop this year, Georgia pecan growers are optimistic of a rebound; we may see Georgia back at the No. 1 spot sooner than you think.

Roasted vegetables

As with toasted flavors, roasted vegetables are as comforting as Fall-menus can get. No longer are vegetables reserved for “sides.” More customers are likely to order dishes that feature vegetable as the main. In fact, National Restaurant Association’s research on this year’s top food trends found that 3 of the 15 trending items were plant based¹³. Why not try roasted cauliflower, root vegetables, squash varieties and mushrooms?

Turmeric

Turmeric might not seem like a traditional fall-themed ingredient, but its earthy color and orange-gingery aroma says otherwise. While pungent and bitter, turmeric has become more prevalent in recent years thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties and health benefits. It’s perfect because it fits recent trends of health and well-being. Turmeric is easily incorporated to sauces, marinades and beverages like lattes and juices, but it can also be a great addition to pumpkin desserts as it boosts color and intensifies flavor.

Maple

The list would not be complete without maple, which has been advertised back in 2018 as the ingredient that would dethrone pumpkin spice in the flavor kingdom. It’s sweet, it’s rich, and it pairs splendidly with either dessert or savory recipes such as roasted vegetable, salad dressing, candied nuts and of course—bacon.

Menu development and maintaining a profitable cost of goods are two areas that Goliath Consulting Group assists independent and chain operators. Contact us at getresults@goliathconsulting.com to learn more about our services and how we can get you the results you are looking to achieve.

References:
1. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/yes-pumpkin-spice-season-is-creeping-earlier-every-year-and-this-chart-proves-it-2019-08-21
2. https://www.forbes.com/sites/maggiemcgrath/2018/10/31/inside-the-600-million-pumpkin-spice-industrial-complex/#1507f02d1b95
3. https://www.fsrmagazine.com/menu-innovations/designing-menu-around-flavors-fall
11. https://upserve.com/restaurant-insider/restaurant-marketing-ideas-pumpkin-spice-fall-flavors/
12. https://www.albanyherald.com/multimedia/a-grim-future-awaits-area-pecan-farmers-this-year-and/article_b9251c5c-946a-11e9-8e08-978bf74ca19c.html
13. https://restaurant.org/research/reports/foodtrends

Posted by: Jay Bandy | September 15, 2019

Who’s Eating Out for Thanksgiving


By: Bora Kang

Thanksgiving Day is synonymous to family and lots of good food, but that doesn’t mean that the food has to be made at home. Preparing Thanksgiving dinner can seem like a daunting task for those seeking a relaxing time off from work and quality time with their families. And with people (particularly millennials) cooking less at home, more are turning to restaurants seeking a stress-free solution to their holiday conundrums.

Let’s take a look at the numbers: in 2011, National Restaurant Association’s survey of 1,022 adults showed that about 6% of consumers planned to dine out for a Thanksgiving meal. The same survey conducted in 2017 showed that about 9% planned to enjoy Thanksgiving at a restaurant. NRA also found that 25% of consumers planned to order a full takeout meal from a restaurant, with consumers with children more likely to order full restaurant takeout meals than those without kids. The 2018 census showed that approximately 34 million families have one or more children under 18 living in the household.

And Black Friday? NRA found that 43% planned to shop on those days, with 72% of them expressing that they would eat out while they were out shopping.

With demand ever increasing, more restaurants are opening their doors on Thanksgiving Day to serve special holiday meals for their customers. Those that will open this year include not only the fast food chains such as Burger King, McDonalds, Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts but also restaurant chains such as Applebee’s, TGI Friday’s, Golden Corral, Capital Grille, Legal Sea Foods and Maggiano’s. Even a few Michelin-star establishments such as Eleven Madison Park in NYC and Acadia in Chicago will be open (full list in the reference).

There are, however, important figures to consider when deciding to open your restaurant during the holidays. For example, 31% of NRA’s survey participants said that on Thanksgiving Day they planned to dine at restaurant where they are regulars; 30% opted for restaurants that they considered for “special occasions” and 21% said they would dine at their favorite restaurant. Only 18% said that they would try a new restaurant on Thanksgiving. This means that restaurants have a better chance of higher sales reaching out to their established customer base.

Offering a variety of dining options seems to be another great strategy. Boston Market, for example, announced To-Go Thanksgiving meals back in 2016 and reported increased Thanksgiving sales. The restaurant has also come up with multiple meal package solutions, from Heat & Serve Thanksgiving Meals, Thanksgiving Catering Buffets and a La Carte, which all have been successful.

Deciding whether your restaurant should stay open for the holiday is not easy. And it isn’t for everyone. If you don’t have ample staff members working for you, the restaurant may not have enough employees who are willing to work on a holiday. A Thanksgiving menu might not fit in with the restaurant’s brand, and more planning might be needed in order to make changes and offer specials.

Despite the obstacles, staying open on Thanksgiving is a great opportunity for restaurants to generate more sales, showcase their iteration of favorite holiday dishes and give your customers who already know and love your restaurant something to remember you by.

About:

Goliath Consulting Group is a restaurant consultancy based in Norcross, Georgia. Goliath consults to independent, chain and franchised restaurant concepts across the US. In addition, the company manages and is in partnerships with several metro Atlanta restaurant concepts. For more information go to: www.goliathconsulting.com or email us at: getresults@goliathconsulting.com.

Reference:
https://www.eater.com/2011/11/16/6636269/14-million-people-to-eat-thanksgiving-at-restaurants
https://www.restaurant.org/Articles/News/Batch2/Are-consumers-dining-out-for-Thanksgiving
https://www.restaurant.org/Articles/News/Restaurant-sales-Thanksgiving
https://www.travelandleisure.com/slideshows/best-restaurants-open-on-thanksgiving
https://www.rd.com/food/fun/restaurants-that-are-open-for-thanksgiving/

Posted by: Jay Bandy | August 10, 2019

Why a Bar Consultant is Your Restaurant’s Missing Link


After weeks of time-consuming meetings with local liquor distribution reps, local market research, and decision wavering, you finally feel confident that your bar is set up and ready to go.  You put in your best effort to provide your customers with a great selection at a great value.  You stop by your local corporate chain restaurant to celebrate a job well done and can’t help but to look at their liquor list to compare prices.  Your mouth drops open.  How can they possibly have the same brands you so carefully negotiated for a fraction of the price?  How can they afford a $2 Tequila Tuesday and $3 Whiskey Wednesday?  It seems simple to justify the pricing structure the corporate giants maintain as volume-based deals.  The truth is far more complicated.

Before we dive into how bar consultants work, let’s briefly break down the structure of the liquor industry in America.  Suppliers (Anheuser-Busch, Diageo, Beam Sundatory, E & J Gallo, etc.) own multiple liquor brands across varying types of spirits and beverages.  Diageo, for example, controls beers (Guinness, Smithwick), spirits (Ketel One, Smirnoff, Cîroc), Gin (Tanqueray, Gordon’s), Rum (Captain Morgan, Zacapa), Bulleit bourbon, and much more.  Gallo’s products range from fine wines down to jug wines and well spirit selections.  Each supplier contracts out to local distributors on a brand-by-brand basis causing more confusion.  In order to carry an entire supplier’s product line, a restaurant may have to deal with up to 7 different distributors.  These distributors ultimately control the pricing on the products.  The local distributors deploy sales reps to meet with individual restaurant management to sway them into picking up their offerings.  As these reps are, at their most basic role, salespeople, they are incentivized by their management team to push certain brands and lock in long-term commitments with their accounts.  While distributor reps are a great resource for bar managers, they often have conflicting interests and responsibilities.

Seasoned bar consultants spend years cultivating relationships with distribution management as well as individual suppliers.  These networks enable a consultant to negotiate directly with an agent of the supplier who can, in turn, communicate your proposed deal structure to the local distributor for approval.  Suppliers are aware of a successful consultant’s cumulative portfolio and can unlock custom pricing tiers and promotions typically reserved for the national brands.  They are incentivized by brand exposure across multiple concepts along with a higher representation of their portfolio on each restaurant.  With Diageo, a consultant may promise a higher purchase volume of Bulleit in a bourbon bar concept while simultaneously agreeing to placing Smirnoff Vodka in the well at a sports bar.  E&J Gallo may receive upper tier wine by the glass placements in a fine dining restaurant for Orin Swift while securing house wine pours with Barefoot in a neighborhood grill.

Bar programs, like food menus, thrive most when they are continually updated and maintained.  A consultant will continually connect with suppliers and distributors to discuss upcoming sales opportunities as well as brands primed for national marketing pushes. The best part: the suppliers pay you for the product they are sampling at your menu price!  Suppliers are also investing local, regional, and national marketing dollars into these products, encouraging your guests to ask for them by name.  Using deals negotiated by your bar consultant, you can offer these high-demand brands at lower prices than your competitors.

Goliath Consulting Group offers a bar consulting program with a history of success.  Our portfolio includes sports bars, taverns, chef-driven upscale restaurants, neighborhood grills, and cafes.  Whether you are looking to open your first restaurant or tweak your existing inventory, Goliath can assist your restaurant and optimize your bar program.  Email Getresults@GoliathConsulting.com to schedule a consultation today.

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Goliath Consulting Group is a restaurant consultancy based in Norcross, GA. The company offers a wide range of consulting services for independent, chain and franchised restaurants across the US. For more information go to: http://www.goliathconsulting.com

 

 

Posted by: Jay Bandy | July 21, 2019

Good Branding Is Good Business


Your brand is your bond!

It is easy to focus on and get caught up with your product or service because it is the deliverable; the tangible asset you deliver to your customer. But what about your intangible asset… your brand? The value of your brand is equally as important as the quality and care put into your product or service. And, forgetting to cultivate your brand or ignoring it all together can have a negative impact on your company’s reputation and bottom-line.

A brand is a promise to the customer about what type of experience they can expect from your product or service. An innovative, attention-grabbing, and genuine brand will be one of the distinguishing factors that set your restaurant apart from the competition. Defining your brand and establishing your business’ overall values and attributes will speak volumes to your customers and the surrounding community. After all, your brand is a true representation of your restaurant, the perception you give customers about your business and the all-encompassing experience you create.

What is your restaurant’s brand?

There are several components of your brand identity. A brand is more than pretty colors and a cool logo. Although, those are part of a brand. Your restaurant’s brand includes everything from the logo and menu design, the interior atmosphere and aesthetic, organizational values, the quality, to the language used in advertising and promotions. The primary components of a brand identity, which essentially make up your customer’s overall experience, include: brand image, voice/personality, messaging, and your restaurant ambiance (including food and staff). Each brand element should align with one another and your organizational values.

● Your restaurant’s personality/voice embodies the emotion, value, and human characteristics of your brand. This helps establish your brand in a way that is relatable to your customer and provides them with an overwhelming sense of value. Your brand’s voice will dictate the demeanor you use to communicate with your customers. Simply put, this defines the relationship between your customers and your brand.

● Your restaurant’s brand image includes items such as a logo, graphics, food photography, menu design, etc. These visual assets give the customer a visual perspective of what they can expect from your restaurant. It is crucial that these “visual assets” mesh with your business’ personality/voice and ambiance.

● Your restaurant’s messaging refers to the outlets and platforms you utilize while promoting your restaurant (social media, email marketing, snail mail, billboards, etc.). The outlets and platforms you use to promote your restaurant may impact your restaurant’s brand image. Messaging must be consistent with your brand’s personality and voice.

● Your restaurant’s ambiance incorporates the overall atmosphere that customers encounter while dining with you. This can include the music being played, the employee attitudes, lighting, interior design fixtures, and of course the quality of food.

Understand that your brand is indefinite and amorphous. Structure your brand with the expectation of future growth, expansion, and shifts in consumer preferences. Your brand will continually develop over time and brand refreshes will be required. Establishing a shared internal understanding of what your brand stands for and what it means to your business allows for concrete organizational alignment as well as the future development of your restaurant.

Defining Your Brand First

As you begin the process of defining your brand, you should establish a few key aspects of your business. First, answer what it is you stand for. Knowing your values as a business will allow you to set standards and pave the direction for your brand. The eventual goal should be that customers can conclude exactly who you are and what your restaurant stands for from your brand. Second, know who your customers are. This should be an intimate knowledge of your customer’s wants, needs, and interests; not just a basic understanding of your general market. Finally, to reiterate, it is highly important to determine what it is that makes your restaurant stand out. Uncover your distinguishing competitive advantage and use your branding as the platform for displaying it.

Overall Brand Importance

Defining your brand gives you a much-needed edge in a highly saturated and competitive market. You are giving customers an immediate look into the value your restaurant offers and how it is different from every other restaurant. Defining your brand supplies more than just an image, it evokes emotion and perception. It builds a relationship. According to a two-year study done by Motista, a predictive intelligence company, customers who are emotionally connected to brands have a 306% higher customer lifetime value (CLV) on average. By defining your brand early and strategically you increase your chances of cultivating strong brand loyalty. A well-constructed brand definition will also provide guidance and motivation for your employees. Given that staff attitude and behavior play powerful roles in brand identity, it is important to your restaurant’s success that employees know and reinforce the values and desired results of your brand.

Constructing a structurally sound brand definition lays the foundational success for any organization. By defining your brand, you can strengthen your ROI, align your leadership, increase workplace engagement, and establish your value in the eyes of your customer. Your brand should saturate your entire organization so much so that customers know what your restaurant stands for just by looking at your logo. Loyal and referring customers are the outcomes of a successfully defined brand. Good branding is good business.

Struggling to define your brand? Contact us today at Getresults@GoliathConsulting.com for expert advice. Visit our website to learn more about our company:  www.goliathconsulting.com

References:

https://www.gourmetmarketing.net/develop-restaurants-brand/

https://www.thebalancesmb.com/define-your-brand-identity-2294834

https://www.emotivebrand.com/defining-brand/

View this collection on Medium.com

Posted by: Jay Bandy | June 8, 2019

Leveraging Relationships to Build a Better Bar Program


With an estimated $100 billion in annual sales, alcohol is a staple of the hospitality industry. Almost every restaurant with liquor on the menu has their share of creatively named house cocktails and luring drink specials, but is your restaurant making the most of its beverage program? Are you utilizing every perk your distributors and suppliers can bring to the table? More importantly, would you know if you were leaving bonus incentives on the table?

Every bar/beverage manager can tell you about their distributors purchase incentives. “Buy two bottles, get one free.” “Order a case of this liquor and get six bottles of their newest flavor added on.” These are the specials that your sales rep will inform you of as the incentives arise and work mutually to the restaurant and distributor’s advantages. Your bar gets free product to try out different flavors or drop the price on name brand spirits, the distributor keeps their inventory fluid and product shipping. Did you know many brands/distributors will offer special pricing if their spirit is featured in a specialty cocktail? Some brands will even reduce their price for allowing their logos to be printed on cocktail and food menus!

Already have set spirits and menus printed? Try an onsite promotion. Most brands have on-premise advertising budgets to alert the public of their brand or new products set for release. To capitalize on these options, restaurants typically need to meet directly with the brand supplier. You have no doubt met some of these reps as they tail a distributor from account to account sampling their newest product or attempting to convince you of their IPA’s superiority to one currently gathering dust in your beer cooler. These brand ambassadors are a bar manager’s gateway to endless promotions that rouse excitement from guests and reduce the ordering cost and inventory of brands.

Suppliers generally have a large amount of discretion when it comes to their marketing budget and tend to favor cultivating long-term relationships. Once you have their ear, most will help you develop innovative marketing events. These range from the traditional promotional models handing out merchandise and samples to more personalized events. Goliath Consulting Group has leveraged suppliers to sponsor weekly trivia events, donate beer barrels and tents for outdoor events; even month-long basketball tournament promotions including DJ’s and raffle promotions. Only looking to try out a new spirit instead of building a large promotional event around it? Some suppliers can even run their credit card for a case of product at your cost to allow you to promote it in the way you see fit.

What would a frozen drink machine add to your bottom line during the summer? How can a wine preservation system expand your ‘by the glass’ offerings? Distributors can work with you to procure beverage equipment at little or no cost to the restaurant. When negotiating these items, be aware that they are not free and require a commitment from the restaurant to the distribution company. This could range from allowing one company to monopolize your well-liquor program or a high percentage of your wine offerings. Often the distributor will mandate that certain brands are consistently used alongside the equipment. Make sure you calculate the cost of the equipment, projected additional revenue from the equipment, and the cost of the product you are agreeing to incorporate into your inventory before finalizing the deal. In our experience, these arrangements are both mutually beneficial and prosperous.

Are you ready to view your bar as more than a combination of liquor, beer, and wine? Is it time you elevate your beverage program into a marketing cornerstone of your restaurant? Emailing GetResults@GoliathConsulting.com is your first step to learning liquor industry perks and promotions to take your restaurant to the next level. Not only will our consultants work with your distributors and suppliers to arrange their perks, we will train your management team to continuously cultivate these relationships and capitalize on events in the future.

Want to stay on top of what’s new in the bar business? We go to: http://www.sevenfifty.com and http://www.punchdrink.com

Posted by: Jay Bandy | April 29, 2019

5 Ways to Prep Your Kitchen for Summer Weather


Repairs can be a huge (and unnecessary) weight on restaurant operators’ shoulders, distracting them from what matters most – providing their guests with a great experience. Whether you’re an owner, director of operations, or general manager, spending time on repairs and maintenance means you aren’t focused on your restaurant’s highest priorities, like increasing covers, training staff, and providing a memorable front-of-house experience.

The reality is that repairs need to be closely managed to avoid wasted money and unnecessary downtime in the kitchen. Most restaurant groups can’t justify the cost of having full-time technicians on staff to be the resident expert in each of the major repair categories:

• Hot-side equipment, like fryers, ovens, and grills
• Cold-side refrigeration equipment, like under-counter coolers and walk-ins
• Plumbing
• Electrical
• HVAC, including hood systems
• Fire suppression systems

That’s where a company like 86 Repairs comes in. Through their monthly subscription service, restaurant groups can delegate the end-to-end management of repairs and maintenance to a team of experts.

“Restaurant operators count on us to handle repairs so they can focus their time, money, and energy on elevating the guest experience,” says Daniel Estrada, CEO of 86 Repairs. “Our service includes 24/7 support, actionable data to improve back-of-house operations, and management of the entire service process from start to finish.“

To prepare your back-of-house for summer weather, including rising temperatures, power outages, and pest control issues, Goliath Consulting Group and the team at 86 Repairs recommended five preventative maintenance steps to avoid kitchen downtime and keep your equipment in tip-top shape.

Top 5 ways to prepare a commercial kitchen for summer:

1. Adjust thermostat programs up for warmer weather to avoid overloading A/C systems.
2. Verify all A/C units are running properly, and make sure filters are replaced and belts are tight (not loose or frayed).
3. Clean filters and defrost coolers, freezers, and walk-ins, which will work overtime in warmer weather.
4. Have your ice machines thoroughly cleaned.
5. Schedule exterminators to treat for pests that tend to show up when the weather warms up, like ants and flies.

Goliath Consulting Group  provides on-site assessments to keep your equipment working for you. Email Getresults@GoliathConsulting.com to schedule your walk-through today.

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