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Really good restaurant blog by Nancy White
Tasteful Design: Restaurant and Bar Design Awards
Tips from the T-list.com
In the world of design, there are bars, and then there are bars. The same goes for restaurants – at some places, the food is good, but the atmosphere is not so memorable. At other places, the atmosphere almost improves the flavor of the food and drink.
Just having completed its second contest year, the Restaurant and Bar Design Awards, are managed by an independent group of judges interested in nothing but the finest in eatery design and concept. The contest accepts entries from around the world, and winners stretched out as far as Thailand. The ceremony itself was held at the Victoria House in London, and was orchestrated by Cinimod Studios, who managed to make the event fully interactive for everyone in attendance.
The event itself was decidedly modern, as were both the entries and the winners. The entrants are judged in eleven categories, with one winner selected in each – with no double dippers. Categories include Best Independent Restaurant (London’s Galvin La Chapelle), Best Independent Bar or Club (Newcastle’s theCut), Best International Bar (The Tote in India), Best Lighting (Thailand’s SOUND), and others.
Finally, the photography of the competitors is mesmerizing. Concepts abound which, at initial investment, must have been undoubtedly expensive, but important for articulating a particular restaurant’s unique sense of ambience and culture.
For the design auteur, the contest meant an assemblage of important designers and restaurateurs. For the everyday restaurant-and-bar-goer, the contest means new places to visit, catalog, and judge against your own standards.
Does your restaurant currently furnish your guests with nutritional information? The big question is whether you should if you are not already. Recently, Panera Bread offered calorie counts for every item posted on their menu boards, do you think that is a competitive advantage for them?
I have been researching to different platforms for restaurants to obtain nutritional information for their guests. In an effort to help independent restaurants I have been working dilligently to understand the benefits of these two programs. Fortunately both platforms are very effective and unlike so many of the programs that are offered to restaurants these actually add value to the restaurant.
I believe the need for restaurants to provide nutritional information is increasing. It is being fueled by a variety of factors not the least of which is Obamacare. Additionally, local governments and municipalities are dilligently proposing menu labeling laws and companies are promoting wellness programs. Has anybody seen Michelle Obama and the anti-obesity campaign that she is promoting for the children of the US?
Did anyone see all the Chef’s at the Whitehouse? http://www.whitehouse.gov/videos/2010/June/060410_LawnChefs.mp4
Obamacare will require it for for chains exceeding twenty units I think that many restaurants have dismissed the idea when they realized it did not apply to them. I think that many are missing a tremendous opportunity when competitors fully embrace the implementation of nutritional information in their operations.
I am always looking for innovations, processes, and products that benefit the independent restaurant community and researching both of these platforms has been very interesting. I am going to say emphatically that I am not compensated by either company for endorsing or testing their products.
Would you like to know who they are and what I have discovered?
By Laura Lake, About.com Guide
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with the President of an international food chain and discuss social media. He understood the importance, but like most executives wasn’t sure how to turn social marketing into social commerce. I was happy to share with him some of my thoughts and ideas. We discussed the restaurant and entertainment industries that are doing it well and how he could use it to increase traffic and create brand awareness as well as customer loyalty.
Why does social media work well within the restaurant and entertainment industry? That’s a question that has an answer that is somewhat obvious. The reason social media works well is because we attend restaurants and entertainment districts to be social and interact. Those who enjoy these venues also enjoy social media.
There are many ways that social media can be turned into social commerce and I’m going to share with you a few of them.
You can use social media to:
•Engage and interact with existing customers and patrons.
•Introduce events and new menu items as well as specials.
•Gain feedback on menu items and events.
I often receive the question, “Laura, I understand social media is important, but how does it make me money?” I hear you. I’m not going to sugarcoat it, social media takes time to turn non-revenue producing activities into revenue producing activities, but it can and it does happen. Consider the following things that social media can do to help in saving time, money and resources therefore increasing revenue:
1.Gaining feedback and insight on service, events and menu items
2.Promote events or new menu items and specials
3.Encourage trials by offering specials and discounts
4.Using employees as your own brand ambassadors that spread the word about your brand
5.Having a direct dialogue with your current customers and potentially reaching new ones
6.Updating customers and your community on new projects, such as new openings or remodels
7.Increase excitement and foot traffic by sharing information, such as contests and giveaways
8.Use social media to connect with your franchises and create an online support community
10.Monitor reputation and provide complaint resolutions
Let me give you an example of a how a small local bar experienced success using social media. I was talking to the manager and I asked him “what’s your slowest night?” He responded by telling me Tuesday was his slowest night. I could understand that. I said what if I could fill this place up with people on a Tuesday night and it didn’t cost you a dime? Of course, he jumped at the opportunity and by using social media we filled the neighborhood bar with 40 people on a Tuesday night and I’m sure he would tell you it was the best Tuesday night he has had since they opened.
There are many things you can use social media for, but the ultimate goal is to move it into a social commerce for your business. This will take time and effort, but it can be done and be successful. It’s a mistake to overlook the opportunity that social media brings to the entertainment and restaurant industry. As I left our meeting I saw the glimmer in his eye and could tell he had that “a-ha” moment!
“Simply Delighted Customers”
I recently had lunch at Burtons Grill in Virginia Beach and everything was absolutely awesome. I learned the phrase “Simply Delighted Customers” from something that I read, printed, copied and faxed to a restuarant owner many years ago. Probably before the internet as we know it today. The phrase has stuck with me ever since and I love to use it to describe exemplary service and the attitude that fosters such behavior.
While at Burtons Grill a customer came into the restaurant with his laptop. He asked the server/bartender if there was a table with a power outlet so that he could hook up his laptop. This very articulate young grad student (wish that I could remember his name or have it printed on the receipt) showed the guest to a table and pointed to the ceiling where a power outlet was visible. The guest promptly replied that the outlet was pretty high and the server replied no problem. In less than two minutes he appeared with a 10 foot step ladder and an extension cord.When the guest saw the ladder and the extension cord and the ladder he didn’t even look surprised although I can’t believe that he was not. Subsequently, the customer moved to the bar and the server plugged his laptop in behind the bar.
I never saw even the slightest bit of hesitancy on the servers face and nothing he did showed that he was even the slightest bit phased by the customer. He acted as though everything he did for the customer was just part of the deal.
I was really impressed by his actions and recalled how many times that I have heard the simplest of requests while in restaurants and can’t remember a time when I have seen someone so willing to serve the customer. How many times have you asked for something in a restaurant and been told “no” or “sorry”, or “that will be an extra $.25”? To see this guy in action really made me think about the difference between the really good restaurants and the mediocre.
My hat is off to the people at Burtons Grill, they know what it takes to create “Simply Delighted Customers”, when in Virginia Beach be sure to check them out, they really are doing a great job.