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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org and visit our website at: goliathconsulting.com for a full listing of services provided.
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.
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: email@example.com.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
• 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org