Dine In Diners Organic & Local Restaurants Trends Uncategorized

The Most Cost-Efficient Plastic Straw Alternative is…

If you haven’t heard yet, you might want to jump on this new restaurant trend fast. Well, it’s not quite a trend yet but it’s right at the tipping point. There is a movement to ban plastic straws and replace them with sustainable alternatives.

Don’t believe us? Then consider the fact that Starbucks announced plans to eliminate plastic straws by 2020 and that McDonald’s has already started mobilizing plastic straw alternatives in Europe. Then there is the State of Seattle, which jumped ahead of all of us by banning plastic straws back in July 2018!

As you may know, many restaurant trends involve going green such as using biodegradable packaging. It’s become so widespread that almost any restaurant you visit today will have an eco-friendly take-out box. Just like this, plastic straw alternatives are the next to take over the restaurant industry.

Which Plastic Straw Alternative is Best For Your Restaurant?

It takes a whopping 200 years for plastic straws to decompose and 500 million are thrown out daily. That’s a gazillion straws in the ocean over two lifespans.

Whether you care for the environment or not, eco-friendly alternatives are a trend and adjusting to them can help you win over customers. In addition, these alternatives are reusable and can help you actually save on costs.

So which is the most cost-efficient plastic straw alternative? Let’s take a look.

Paper Straws

Plastic straw alternative - paper straws

Paper straws are a relatively cheap alternative to plastic straws that are quite high in supply. They are great for the environment for their fast decomposition time in the ocean of 2-6 weeks and won’t harm wildlife if ingested.

What about on the business side of things? Well, just like the great contradiction of saving the environment by taking from forests, it’s not so brilliant.

The straws actually get a little soggy and alter the taste of your customer’s drink. For this reason, restaurants that use paper straws usually provide multiple straws for one drink. So although paper straws are cheap, they can add up to a more costly option for you and the change in taste can give customers a bad experience.

Bamboo Straws

Plastic straw alternative - bamboo straw

The idea of bamboo straws is undoubtly cool and can really add to the aesthetic of an Asian Fusion or Tiki-themed restaurant. In addition to their cool look they are reusable unlike the paper straws.

Being naturally grown and free of preservatives they also offer many attractive natural benefits. These benefits include being naturally anti-microbrial and highly resistant to rotting.

The strength and durability of bamboo also make it great for use with hot beverages. All-in-all they will save you money because they are cheaper than most alternatives and you can reuse them for a long time.

While they do have many great natural benefits, it may not actually be the right fit for your restaurant. Bamboo straws can actually absorb drinks and alter taste. It can even absorb saliva which would pose a health risk. Also, due to having a smaller hole, it is not ideal for thicker drinks like smoothies. So if you serve mostly water and can dedicate time to clean the straws effectively, it might just work out for you.

Pasta Straws

Plastic straw alternative - pasta straw

Unlike bamboo straws, pasta straws don’t alter the taste and they are more durable than paper straws because they hold their shape up to 3 hours. Their make up of wheat and water make it an ideal alternative for eco-conscious restaurant goers for it’s 100% biodegradability.

The issue with pasta straws however, is that it could be a health risk for those who are allergic to gluten. This makes it an alternative that can’t be catered to every guest and therefore isn’t the most efficient for your budget. And even though 1 pasta straw lasts as long as 3-5 paper straws, it is still a 1-time use alternative.

So even though it may be a better alternative for the environment, it isn’t outstanding for the bank. The goal is to find the plastic straw alternative that hits the sweet spot of benefiting both the green in the world and in your wallet.

Glass Straws

a glass straw in a drink

Glass straws are perhaps the most versatile of them all. They can be made with various colors and withstand both hot and cold beverage temperatures. They also don’t alter taste like paper and bamboo straws do.

All in all, they are a pretty good cost-efficient plastic straw alternative that can save you a lot of money because of their re-usability and easy cleaning. The only real big disadvantage is that, well, they are glass and still breakable. If your kitchen is careful enough, the glass straws may be a great long-term investment.

Metal Straws

metallic straws with cleaners

There are metal butter knives, forks, spoons, and cups so why couldn’t metal straws be a norm? Obviously the strongest of all the straws mentioned in this post, metal straws are reusable and if needed to be disposed of, the most recycle-friendly.

Metal straws do have some drawbacks however. They are very sensitive to temperature and can become hot or cold with the beverage. Hot beverages in particular could pose burn risks and would be a restaurant liability.

What is the Most Cost-Efficient Plastic Straw Alternative?

The best plastic straw alternative that will save your restaurant the most money varies widely across manufacturers since it is still considered a novelty. Regardless of the price differences, we can conclude that reusable straws will be a better long-term investment than single-use straws.

This leaves glass and metal straws the winners of this plastic straw alternative shootout. Both are highly versatile and reusable but have their own unique disadvantages. Which one do you want to use in your restaurant?

Delivery Diners Organic & Local Restaurants

4 Major Ways To Support Restaurants During COVID-19

Local Restaurants Depend On Your Help

With the recent Coronavirus outbreak, businesses are being struck hard. Social distancing has been ordered to help prevent the spread of the viral outbreak. Though it is completely necessary, it has forced restaurants to close it’s dine-in operations. As a result, the restaurant industry is estimated to lose 15.6 million workers and 1/4 of annual sales. So what can be done to support restaurants during COVID-19?

All restaurants are feeling the weight on their business but a little help from their loyal customers can help! Below are 4 major ways you can help your favorite restaurant during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Order Takeout

Local Restaurant with a 'takeout' sign during COVID-19
Many restaurants are still open for takeout and some are even incorporating it into their operations for the first time ever

Since many restaurants have been forced to shut down, they are forced to modify their business practices. Establishments have now opted to limit orders to drive-thru and take out only.

The pandemic doesn’t have to stop you from having a meal from your favorite restaurant. There is no concrete evidence that the virus can spread through food or the packaging.

For further assurance, you can even opt in for no-contact delivery. With this option, the restaurant will drop it off in a designated spot like in the hallway or front porch. Panera bread even implemented “pickup shelves” where customers pick up orders left on the counter and continue on with their day.

Since restaurants are making sudden adjustments, they are highly likely to update customers via social media. Check their social media pages for new delivery options or something akin to the Panera Bread’s pickup shelves.

Social media post from a local restaurant about their delivery options during the coronavirus outbreak
Social media is the fastest way to get updated on delivery options

Buy Gift Cards

gift cards from local restaurants are a great way to help during the Coronavirus epidemic
“Gift cards are like interest-free loans” – Steve Mchugh, chef and owner of Cured in San Antonio

Stocking up on gift cards is an excellent way you can help your favorite restaurant survive during the Coronavirus outbreak. When you buy, say a $25 gift card, the funds are instantly deposited into the restaurant. The result is like sowing the seeds for recuperation.

Surprisingly, many have been sold lately and restaurant owners have shown appreciative feedback. So go ahead and stock up on some gift cards for future birthday or holiday gifts! Get them for yourself even. If it’s one of your favorite restaurants, chances are you’re going to eat there anyway. You could even use the gift cards to buy merch such as t-shirts or mugs to support the business.

A local restaurants online merch webpage displaying items for sale during COVID-19
Not hungry? You can still use gift cards to buy restaurant merch

Sign A Petition To Support Restaurants During COVID-19

A man signing a petition online to help support restaurants during COVID-19
Online petitions calling for Government action are rallying tons of support

Currently there are many petitions going around to support restaurants during COVID-19 and you can easily contribute. You can find a petition to sign on Among these petitions are:

  • A Call for Government action to help support food servers
  • Calls for emergency employment benefits for laid off workers
  • Requests to waive payroll tax
  • Rent and loan abatement requests
  • Permit requests for the delivery of alcohol by the bottle
  • Requests to waive zoning restrictions to allow interaction with potential customers via booths or tables outside

These petitions are quickly rallying up more support. A petition called “Save American Restaurants” for example had over 60,000 signatures just last week. Celebrity chefs like Alice Waters, James Beard, and more are also endorsing these petitions.

Write Positive Reviews and Give 5-Star Ratings

Giving a positive review on listings such as Yelp will help restaurants get a surge of new business as soon as things go back to normal

Here’s a powerful way you can use your time in quarantine to support your favorite restaurant. Positive reviews and ratings on local listing sites like Google and yelp go a long way for staying in business. Now that were encouraged to stay home, why not spend time on writing a quality review? When restaurants re-open, the positive review could help them hit the ground running by attracting a surge of new business.

Choose To Support Restaurants During COVID-19 Today

Is there a restaurant that’s been heavy on your mind (and stomach) during the Coronavirus outbreak? Restaurant owners work hard to host a memorable experience, support their employees and their families. You most likely dine at your favorite restaurant for more than just the food. Local restaurants have been the hub for a host of memorable conversations, budding friendships, and family-bonding. They bring our community to life. Let’s be proactive and give back today!

Dine In Diners Marketing Organic & Local Restaurants Technology Trends Uncategorized

7 Ways To Attract Millennials To Your Restaurant

Social media, health trends, and social responsibility are among a few things that millennials value in a restaurant

According to Forbes, “millennials have over $200 billion in buying power and will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025.” This means that millennials are an important target for restaurants and learning how to reach them will be crucial. So how do you attract millennials to your restaurant? With endless dining options available at the fingertips, you need to stand out but also align with their values. Keep reading to learn 7 things you can do to keep them coming back!

Use High Quality Ingredients

Appeal to the health conscious generation by using high quality ingredients

Studies have shown that Millennials are willing to fork over more money for high quality food. Since healthy eating is a trend more than ever before, be sure to use wholesome ingredients for everything. These include organic vegetables and meats that are free of hormones/anti-biotics. It would also help to emphasize phrases like “sourced locally” and “non-GMO” in the menu.

Boost Social Media Presence

Stay engaged and present in your millennial guests’ lives through social media

Since Millenials and Gen Z are tuned into the world of social media, grab their attention there. Your internet presence speaks volumes to these generations. Promote your restaurant and menu in engaging ways like posting a question or a raffle for a free giveaway. Also leave trails in your restaurant that lead to your social media. A couple ideas include inserting hashtags or your social media handle in menus or cups. Finally, update your directory listings and ask guests for 5-star reviews on Yelp and TripAdvisor.

Prep Food For The Gram

Posting food photos on social media is still a trend and shows no signs of dying

You’ve seen it. Pictures of food being posted by the millions. Food pictures are hot content for Instagram and Facebook feeds so why not use this in your favor? First, you’ll want to make sure the presentation of your dishes are worthy of a photo. Then, take a handful of snapshots yourself and experiment with various lighting edits and filters. Don’t be afraid to spend significant time on these. The photo you select needs to be captivating enough to stop people from scrolling. And you have lots of competition.

Build a Brand and Tell a Story

Fatt Matt’s reinforces their brand through merch items and even their very own BBQ sauce

Your restaurant is a brand and should have a compelling story. Make sure your social media, theme colors, and logo all reinforce the story of your brand. Millennials love their brands and aren’t afraid to endorse them through purchased merchandise. Make T-shirts, stickers, and other merchandise to make them a part of the story. You can somewhat easily attract millennials to your restaurant but a cool story will keep them.

Host An Experience

Create an experience to keep them coming back for more

To keep millennials coming back, you have to transcend beyond just providing a great meal. You have to provide an experience. It’s been shown that millennials prefer to live for new and unique experiences. This priority extends to eating out which you can thank the wave of pop-ups, food trucks, and food festivals for. If you don’t know where to start, just put some heart and soul in the atmosphere. You can use ambiance, art displays, music and aesthetic interior design to help create an experience. Additionally, you can keep them coming back through game nights, live music, art shows, and open mic nights. When in comes down to it, you want to envelop them in an immersive world they can’t to return to.

Have A Unique Menu

Millennials like taking risks with bizarre novelty menu items like the donut burger from “Sublime Donut Burger” in Atlanta

As mentioned in the paragraph before, Millennials live for experiences. This means that novel menu items will go a long way with this generation. This generation is the most diverse and open to new cultural cuisines. With that being said, offer something fusion and even quirky. To top it off, give your dishes distinct names that’ll catch their attention. You don’t want to only offer what millions of restaurants can. For instance, offering only pizza in a market where you can get pizza anywhere. This is why many restaurant chains are closing.

Be Socially Responsible

Being a restaurant that demonstrates corporate responsibility will go a long way. With the accessibility of information through the internet, any news of unethical or controversial actions can be found. Studies show that millennials would rather support businesses that do good and have no hesitancy to boycott. Due to this, establishing a good online reputation and supporting a good cause would be key for longevity. To start, you can make it known that you use biodegradable wear and consistency recycle. “Millennials don’t mind spending more money on things that are good for the planet.”

Take Your Restaurant To The Next Level

Going through the list, it can seem like a demanding task to attract millennials to your restaurant. Though it takes a lot to catch the attention of this generation, your restaurant will improve in many ways. Have fun with it while you become more than just a restaurant, but a brand!

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