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.

Posted by: Jay Bandy | April 19, 2019

Restaurants That Go Cashless: Pros and Cons


For many of us, it’s hard to remember the last time we paid for a meal using cash. We are slowly but surely moving towards a cashless society. This is evident in the way we make routine dining purchases. Research by TSYS reveals that 40% of Americans pay with credit cards, 35% with debit cards, and 11% with cash. Interestingly, of the Americans between the ages of 25-34, only 5% pay with cash. TSYS also found that 99% of consumers with a disposable income of $100,000 or more will use a credit or debit card for purchases. The support of cashless payment options such as Venmo, ApplePay, GooglePay, Bitcoin, and Square will only continue to increase the number of Americans who opt out of paying in cash. Those in favor of cashless restaurants believe that it will increase efficiency, safety, accuracy, and aid in data collection. Even so, there are always both pros and cons…Let’s take a look at both.

PROS

Efficiency

Restaurants continually seek operational methods that will increase efficiency. Going cashless can afford restaurants the opportunity to process transactions quickly, which keeps lines moving during busy hours and shortens ticket times. According to an article from eater.com, cashless payments can save an average of seven seconds in deposit transaction time. Seven seconds may seem trivial, but that time adds up and can prove quite beneficial during rushes. If employees are spending less time counting coins, digging for loose change dropped under the counter, or running to the office to grab change – it means they are spending more time with the customer, ensuring an overall better customer experience. Additionally, cash-based transactions can lead to tedious and mistake-prone bookkeeping. Going cashless allows for automated transactions and real-time financial updates.

Safety & Fewer Errors

Cashless transactions reduce errors such as miscounting change or misplacing bills. In addition, it eliminates the possibility of register skimming, theft from within. And, let’s face it, most outside thieves are not interested in holding up a restaurant for a soda or burger. The most coveted product of theft is cash. Removing cash from the register and safe immediately curtails this type of theft.

Customer Orientation

The digital era has afforded businesses the opportunity to collect a wide range of customer data which in turn provides worthwhile insight into consumer habits. Going cashless aids restaurateurs in compiling helpful consumer information. They are then able to better serve customers by incorporating appropriate apps, online purchase opportunities, and loyalty reward programs.

CONS

Inconvenience & Discrimination

Although most transactions are cashless, there are customers who opt to pay in cash. In fact, many consumers can only pay in cash. This can be an inconvenience. Surprisingly, a small percentage of restaurant customers are “unbanked”. This refers to those who for personal reasons choose not to use banks or to those who are unable to establish bank accounts. For this population, cashless operations can seem discriminatory or exclusive. Restaurant owners who choose the cashless route essentially isolate themselves from this customer segment. Subsequently, a Shake Shack in New York recently reversed their decision to go cashless due to a large number of customer complaints and foregone cash sales.

Increased Prices, Employee Morale, & POS Failure

Unfortunately, going cashless usually means raising prices to cover the credit and debit card fees incurred. Customers who are willing to pay in cash if it means paying less, often become frustrated. Cashless restaurants may also dampen employee morale, specifically waiters who no longer receive cash tips. Low employee morale often leads to high employee turnover and poor customer service. Finally, technology is not fail-proof. If the power goes out, systems crash and reset randomly, and things simply break. Restaurants that are completely cashless don’t always have backup. In this case, if there is any POS failure, all business ceases.

Whether you choose cash or plastic, everyone has got to eat! Cash versus cashless will most likely be an ongoing conversation. In an increasingly competitive market, it’s important to consider the community you are serving.

References:
https://www.restaurantbusinessonline.com/technology/cash-losing-clout-bitcoin-brain-whats-state-payment
https://www.eater.com/2018/2/15/16974980/cashless-restaurants-credit-card-only-legal-problem-discriminatory
https://www.tendergreens.com/blog/cashless
https://pos.toasttab.com/blog/cashless-restaurants
https://www.tsys.com/Assets/TSYS/downloads/rs_2016-us-consumer-payment-study.pdf

Posted by: Jay Bandy | March 2, 2019

Planning for the “Big Game”


What comes to mind when you hear there is an expected surge of over a million possible guests entering your city for a weekend event? Disbelief? Excitement? Anxiety? How about all three? Having weathered major city-wide events in the past (BCS bowl games, March Madness, even one weekend that merged two huge NCAA football teams, a NASCAR race, and a comic/anime convention) we learned to remain cautiously optimistic towards promises of large influxes of people into our city – you can’t always guess where they want to go when they are in town.

But this was Super Bowl LIII – one of the biggest events in the country each year. Not every city can have an event of this magnitude, but there are lessons to learn for other major events that your city is hosting from conventions to NCAA events…even parades and outdoor festivals.

Nothing is more important than organizing, planning and knowing when to be flexible. The decision to plan early and think outside norms paid off huge dividends for us, leading to impressive profit margins and well-maintained inventories amid many other restaurants running out of product and staffing.
Knowing that major sponsors initiated their partnership search at the beginning of the previous year, “haste” was the team buzzword. Acting quickly enabled us to pair up with two major brands synonymous with the Super Bowl. These partnerships brought a critical cash influx to the restaurant to support purchasing and planning expenses while capitalizing on joint marketing to promote our brand and increase customer awareness. With these agreements signed and secured, we compartmentalized the restaurant into: menus, beverage program, FF&E and staffing.

A quick assessment of the kitchen demonstrated the line would prove to small to handle the anticipated guests and the menu too broad to efficiently maintain the demand. Working with the chef and suppliers enabled us to streamline the menu and showcase more profitable options. This included a plan for outdoor sale of wings, hotdogs, and other stadium fare. This led to the kitchen running smoothly and maintaining the targeted quality and inventory of product.

We believed that a full bar with 75-plus types of spirits would force delayed drink times and lost revenue as customers abandon ordering more rounds. A simplified bar strategy called for a well and one top shelf option of each liquor reducing selection to less than 20 brands. Liquor distributors submitted case discounts on popular brands and assisted in securing additional bottle openers, shakers, strainers, and other essential bar tools. Using the POS, we eliminated the ability to start tabs, requiring our bar staff to use a pay as you go system. These combined strategies eliminated walk-out tabs, reduced service bar drink times, and minimized bar comps. Bartenders quickly adopted the new protocols and retained efficiency during the restaurant’s busiest moments.

With the plan and layout in place, attention turned to tackling labor. A list of all staffed stations and estimated schedules created an ideal quantity of each position. The team also established a minimum quantity of each position needed. To hire additional staffing, we marketed a job fair across multiple hospitality social media groups and targeted job boards. Candidates submitted detailed hourly availability surveys and we quickly posted a schedule with additional staffing to provide a buffer for unexpected circumstances. A mandatory staff meeting with both temporary and established team members covered expectations, walk-throughs, and allowed employees a forum for a “Q & A” session. Restaurant management took employee support roles to help all the new staff feel part of the team.

All the planning meetings, coordination, and, most importantly, team work helped us realize a seamless and successful Big Game weekend. Any hiccups during the weekend were easily tackled thanks to alert and ready team members and management created an environment of clear communication. We conquered the weekend and are ready for our next big challenge

Goliath Consulting Group is an Atlanta-based restaurant consulting firm that works with clients across the US.

Website: goliathconsulting.com  Email: getresults@goliathconsulting.com

Posted by: Jay Bandy | February 16, 2019

2019 Restaurant Trend Report


Each new year brings new trends. In the Food Service industry, 2019 is bringing in its own wave of fresh trends!

The desire for convenience and the popularity of fast-casual dining remains important to diners in this new year. Time is an asset that everyone values, making it a major factor in consumer dining. To protect this asset, diners choose restaurants that serve quality food in an efficient manner. In addition, several fast-casual restaurants are now using “luxury ingredients” in their simply fashioned foods in order to provide quality as well as convenience. According to researchers from Restaurant Business, natural food enhancements will continue to grow in popularity among restaurateurs in 2019. These ingredients typically include natural remedies that enhance nutrients and their absorption by the body helping with vitamin and mineral deficiencies. These “natural remedies” are expected to improve the bottom line for those in the Food Service industry as well.

Use of local foods and flavors is also a Food Service trend that you can expect in 2019. Restaurants are continuing to embrace what many refer to as the “local food movement.” Consumers enjoy sitting down to menus that read “locally grown ingredients.” Local grown ingredients give diners confidence and peace of mind about their food. It also gives a sense of advocacy towards the local community. Some restaurants are going a step further with hyper-local foods. Restaurants that use hyper-local grown foods are growing specific ingredients such as produce in-house.

As social media platforms continue to flood the internet, restaurateurs are beginning to create innovative menus that adapt well to the funky images and elaborate styling seen on social media. Technologies inside and outside of the Food Service industry impact how restaurants operate and advertise. The same goes for the ever-changing preferences and behaviors of the customers. All of which affect how restaurants will operate not only in 2019, but every year following.

In addition to the typical Food Service trends this year, we will see some less obvious trends affect restaurant operations and the overall bottom line. For example, tariffs that the US and Canada face. These tariffs serve as an opportunity for some restaurant owners. Specifically, local restaurateurs could experience these tariffs as an advantage. As mentioned previously, the use of locally grown food and produce is on the rise. As larger chain restaurants suffer high import tariffs on produce and other products, they often begin raising prices to combat this incurred cost. Hometown restaurant owners who buy locally or produce in-house ingredients may well be able to maintain competitive prices.

A negative trend in the Food Service industry witnessed in 2018 is hitting harder in 2019–the record low unemployment rate. Unfortunately, for an industry with high employee turnover, the low unemployment rate can prove to be detrimental. Now that there are more jobs available in the restaurant industry, employees are often less inclined to remain loyally employed at a restaurant. As restaurants become desperate to keep employees, they may experience a rise in negotiations for higher wages from employees. Another continuing trend…competition for quality real estate and high insurance/real estate prices. These trends will continue to present concerns for growing chains in 2019.

Although trends in the food industry may vary from year to year, there is one thing that remains the same–the importance of customer preferences. No matter the year, consumer trends will continue to affect the Food Service industry, keeping it fresh and exciting!

Visit us at: goliathconsulting.com or Twitter @goliathgroup

References:
https://www.thebalancesmb.com/local-food-trends-for-restaurants-288860

https://www.restaurantbusinessonline.com/consumer-trends/trends-will-shape-restaurants-2019-technomics-take#page=3

https://restaurantsuccess.touchbistro.com/touchbistro-blog/how-import-tariffs-affect-food-costs-for-restaurants

https://www.singleplatform.com/blog/current-state-employment-effect-on-restaurant

https://www.buxtonco.com/pages/2019-retail-and-restaurant-real-estate-outlook-qsr

Posted by: Jay Bandy | January 6, 2019

Why Outsource Management of Your Restaurant?


Management companies provide restaurants with a franchise like operating system without having a franchise agreement. Management firms, like Goliath Restaurant Management, help restaurant owners reassess their food costs and supply chains, rein in bar costs and consolidate their liquor inventory to better suit their demographic, create marketing calendars and promotional materials to keep sales growing, and serve as a human resource department for recruiting, hiring, training and retaining staff. The right firm helps restaurants improve their financials, staff the restaurant with skilled workers, cultivate better vendor relationships, and maintain consistency in day to day operations.
After a detailed business assessment, the team creates a work plan for each department. Britt Cloud, Goliath’s Consulting Chef, directs back of house operations and works with the current chef/kitchen manager to restructure inventory, food costing, menu, labor, and health policies. With over twenty-five years of industry experience, Britt is skilled in problem-solving and uniquely tailoring back of house solutions to each kitchen. His vendor connections and negotiating clout will help reduce ordering costs while maintaining the highest quality product.
Front of House operations is a steady balance of guest needs, employee personalities, efficient strategies, and health and safety enforcement. With fifteen years of front of house management experience, our operation consultant, Colin Kopel, lives for training front of house management, empowering staff with pride of their restaurant, and developing beverage programs that work for each concept. Colin works hand-in-hand with management, teaching scheduling techniques to keep the restaurant staffed and employees satisfied. He works with liquor distributors to cut waste and capitalize on deals/specials that work for your concept without inflating your liquor cost with excess inventory.
Once the restaurant’s training, inventory, financials, and human resources are aligned, Clay Darden, Goliath’s Marketing Manager works within the community to drive sales and volume. Clay utilizes twenty-two years of experience to customize each restaurant’s marketing calendar, identify under-reached markets and demographics, and cement the restaurants reputation as a destination spot in the community. He will manage social media accounts to create a noticeable online presence and create trackable promotions to increase the marketing budget efficiency.
With our customized team approach and decades of industry experience, Goliath Consulting is ready to handle every concept from fast casual counter service to full service fine dining. To schedule your site assessment or receive more information email GetResults@GoliathConsulting.com.

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