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Marketing Restaurants Trends

5 Of The Best Apps for Restaurant Owners

As technology is growing every day, sometimes it feels like you can’t keep up with the latest app trends for your business. It seems like there’s always a new app trending, and you find yourself always asking the question, “Is there an app for that?”  Business App development has been booming so there are a lot of options out there available for restaurant owners and diners.

This can make it hard to narrow which App fits best for your needs.

So, which apps are really the best for restaurant owners? Here are the apps that we believe you can best benefit from and utilize to influence and grow your business.

Here are 5 of the best apps to generate more business and make your life as a restaurant owner a little easier.

1. ChowEasy

Want to attract the perfect customer? ChowEasy is an easy and efficient way to grow business by offering a marketing tool that provides promotions for diners looking for your type of restaurant cuisine. Unlike other sites, ChowEasy allows you to directly set up promos on your terms and conditions. This marketing tool allows your business to grow by offering promotions that define your brand. Allowing diners to bid for the food and type of restaurant can match diners with bids that fit them and what they are looking for. Diners save money, and restaurants attract and retain new customers. It’s a win-win for both parties.

2.  Hootsuite

It’s crucial in today’s age to have an active social media presence. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram can gain you exposure and customers that may not know about your restaurant. So being there is a must for any restaurant but keeping up can be a difficult and daunting task.

Apps like Hootsuite allow you to manage posting and engagement, along with being fully involved in your community. Managing all your social media accounts on one easy-to-use platform, and allows you to schedule posts months in advance. Available for Apple and Android products, you can create the online presence you want for your restaurant with help from the App’s tools.

3. Partender

Selling alcohol generates revenue for restaurants because the markup is high and it’s easy to upsell it to your customers. The average revenue that comes with selling alcohol is anywhere from 20 to 25 percent of a restaurant’s income, sometimes even higher.

This App is a life save for restaurant owners serving alcohol and all you need is an iPhone. Partender helps owners manage and track liquor inventory in their bar by measuring their liquor and sales data. Creating this type of data lets you know what is being sold and calculate how much your bartenders are pouring correctly. It’s really an easy, must-have that is worth the monthly investment.

4.  Yelp

Social proof can make or break a restaurant. Managing that is an important part of marketing your restaurant.

Many diners wouldn’t even consider a restaurant until they have checked the reviews on Yelp. That’s because sites like Yelp are powerful and more influential than any other for the restaurant business. Yelp allows you to build customer loyalty and gain new customers with loyal customer reviews. This FREE tool has 132 million monthly visitors; that’s why managing a Yelp account is essential for your restaurant to grow.

5.  Feedly

Stay in the know! There’s so much going on every second, and there’s information being shared that can sometimes feel overwhelming. Don’t be left out on all the latest and greatest industry trends. Now you can stay up to date with Feedly.

Feedly is a power news aggregator, compiling information from sources all over the internet. Choose publications, blogs, and set up keyword alerts for content related to your restaurant. This App is full of helpful information, super user-friendly, and easy to read because of its minimal layout design.

What apps will your restaurant use?

Maybe you’re already using some of these.

When you stumble onto a new app, research it, find its value and determine if you can implement its use in your day-to-day restaurant business. When implementing any new tool for your restaurant, determine your end goal then find the best app to help you accomplish that goal.

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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?

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The Movement To Ban Tips In Restaurants

Restaurants are banning tips and increasing prices
Some restaurants are joining the no tip movement by banning tips and increasing prices

Why Are Some Restaurants Banning Tips?

We all know the protocol after finishing a great meal. You receive the check and pull out your phone to calculate how much to pay in tips. This standard courteous gesture however, has lately been challenged by a growing movement to ban tips in restaurants.

Restaurant tipping is a practice that dates back a few centuries. Tipping was adopted among wealthy Americans in the 1800’s and stretches back as far as the 17th century.

Like many ‘norms’ today, society is mostly accustomed to it without question. Sure, restaurant tips have been important in helping servers pay the bills and we don’t suggest you stop. Some restaurants however have been joining the movement to ban tips altogether. Diners have also been joining in the movement claiming that tipping is outdated and even unethical! Continue reading to learn why.

Tips Are Unfair To Kitchen Staff

An objective of the no tip movement  is to equalize pay between the kitchen and front end staff
One objective of a no tip policy is to equalize pay between the kitchen and front end staff

The purpose of the movement to ban tips in restaurants is to equalize the wages between untipped and tipped employees. In a restaurant setting, this means closing the gap between kitchen staff and servers. The average federal minimum wage for tipped workers is $2.13/hr. Although the wages are low, tips often accumulate to a higher income than Dishwashers and cooks. The initiative taken by restaurants is as follows: ban tipping, raise menu prices, and pay everyone a higher wage.

Tips Are Often Paid With Biases

Amount of tips earned can sometimes be determined by discriminatory factors rather than quality of service
The amount received in tips can vary between servers and sometimes may not be dependent on level of performance

Restaurants are also joining the movement to ban tips because of the bias behind tip amount paid. There are many factors that affect the amount of a tip given. Some are based on the quality of service provided where higher tips would be rewarded on excellent service. Others however, tip the same regardless. This means extra effort given by exceptional servers sometimes goes unrewarded. The amount paid then is in many cases, random. Not only are there arguments for the biases between servers on a performance level, but also on demographics. For example, studies have shown that women in general are paid higher tips than their male counterparts.

Why Some Restaurants Are Abandoning The No Tip Movement

Joe's Crab Shack is a pioneer of the no tip movement for restaurants
Joe’s Crab Shack is a pioneer for the no tip movement. But even they are abandoning the no tip policy in a few locations

There are a handful of restaurants that agree with the flaws of tipping and proudly became pioneers of tip banning. Even a major restaurant chain like Joe’s Crab Shack decided to ban tipping. Joe’s Crab Shack and other restaurants haven’t stayed with the changes for too long however. So what is stopping restaurants from continuing the no tip movement?

Negative Customer Feedback

Joe’s Crab Shack was a pioneer of the no tipping movement, initially testing it in 18 locations. As a result of banning tips, the prices of menu items were increased. 60% of Joe’s Crab Shack customers showed opposition to the new policy. Customers doubted that extra payments were distributed to employees from management. They also believed that a no tip policy would decrease the quality of service. In response, Joe’s Crab Shack turned away from the policy but kept it for 4 locations.

Server Complaints

Customers weren’t the only ones to show negative feedback. Servers have also responded in opposition. The Bar Agricole Restaurant in San Francisco was losing servers in two locations because of the no tip policy. Thad Vogler, owner of the restaurant, said that management and kitchen staff were happy but servers left for other restaurants. Clearly, the no tip policy benefited the kitchen with raises and left servers with less. He said the mistake was in not raising the prices high enough to benefit both ends of the restaurants.

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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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Iconic Restaurant Chains That May Close In 2020

Get To These Restaurants While You Can!

It’s the last call for several restaurant chains in 2020

When visiting another state or city have you immediately craved a particular restaurant chain for that one-of-a-kind dish like we have? You may like everything on the menu or just the complimentary bread rolls and nothing else. More than just food, some iconic restaurant chains can provide a familiar environment that is consistent across the map. The result can be a ‘home away from home’ type of comfort for some. Though these restaurant chains have multiple locations and seem like they’ll be around forever, time isn’t on their side. Millennials, Gen Z, and endless food options available at the fingertips have hit these restaurant chains hard. Continue reading to learn which major restaurant chains we may lose in 2020.

Steak ‘n Shake

Shaken up to see this prime steak burger and joint on the list? Forming from the depression era, Steak ‘n Shake lived up to it’s slogan, “Famous for Steakburgers.” The steakburgers were made up of T-bone, sirloin, and round steak parts. What attracted customers was founder Gus Belt’s campaign to prove the wholesomeness of his steakburgers. At the time, there was much skepticism regarding the purities of ground beef. To break this stigma, Gus Belt performed live meat grinding demonstrations within the vicinity, leaving no room for suspicion. This stunt was groundbreaking at the time, but Steak ‘n Shake neglected other aspects that would sustain them today. Steak ‘n Shake stated in a letter to shareholders that their outdated kitchen design was anchoring them down. High overhead costs and slow service lead to the decision to close 100 locations until a franchise partner is found.

Steak ‘n Shake newspaper campaign ensuring purity of meat

Golden Corral

Only a few restaurants can even come close to Golden Corral’s range of adaptability over the past few years. Formed in Fayetteville North Carolina in 1973, this classic all-you-can-eat buffet and grill has taken many punches and rolled with them. Salad bars were expanded after news of under cooked meat and renovations were made to appear more hip. Golden Corral also implemented a takeout component a few years ago and recently integrated delivery services like Grubhub and Ubereats. If anything, Golden Corral deserves acknowledgement for proactive adaptations. Despite this, incidents including salmonella outbreaks, norovirus epidemics, and improper food storage allegations hit the franchise hard.

Pizza Hut

Can you remember when Pizza Hut was a popular hub for birthday parties, teenage hangouts, and even dates? Pizza Hut’s prime days are like a distant memory. Pizza Hut is split into several different formats such as dine-in, carry-out, and bistro. There is talk of Pizza Hut moving in the direction of becoming a takeout establishment only. Pizza Hut Express, a fast-food version of the chain with a limited menu, has kept it relevant today. These days most customers are acquired through the express version of the restaurant. It is almost exclusively found in venues, college campuses, theme parks, and food courts. They are also often conjoined with sister brands like Wingstreet, Tacobell, or KFC. Pizza Hut announced its decision to close up approximately 500 dine-in locations within 2021. Go dine-in at the Pizza Hut around your corner while you can in 2020!

Applebees

Would monthly $1 drink specials convince you to make Applebees your new pregame spot? Applebees’ $1 drink specials successfully rallied enough attention from millennials and helped make an astonishing comeback in 2018. Before the drink specials, the casual dine-in almost completely disconnected from their millennial audience upon introducing pricey $20 steak dinners. Millenials were likely to eat at home or spend that kind of money at a local novelty restaurant. Applebees, like other casual dine-in restaurants, are struggling to juggle their mixed-generation audience. With over 200 restaurant closes since 2016, Applebees needs to carefully plan their next strategy. The $1 specials proved to be a success but will it be enough to carry them through 2020?

TGI Fridays

TGI Fridays is planning to go back to its roots – a trendy gastropub for singles

Fridays was yet another classic American dine-in that filled a unique demand for the time period but it isn’t aging quite nicely. Founded in Newyork in 1965, Allan Stillman wanted to create a public space to meet single women. With interior designs like brass rails, Tiffany lamps, and stained glass windows by the bar, the perfect public “cocktail party” environment was created. TGI Fridays nowadays is going through the same types of problems that all casual dining restaurants are facing. One possible solution is breaking away from the casual-dining industry altogether. TGI Fridays is doing this in 2020 by rebranding themselves as a trendy gastropub and shifting their focus to the urban market. 

2020 – The End For Many Restaurant Chains

It might be unbelievable that 2020 may be the last year for these famous American restaurant chains. Millennials, food-delivery apps, health trends, and Gen-Z brought a whole new dynamic to the industry. Options are endless for today’s consumers and unless restaurants can learn to adapt to new demands, they will fade away. 

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Diners Restaurants Trends

Whole30, Keto, and Paleo – Demystify The Menu!

“I’m not dieting, it’s a lifestyle!”

-Your health conscious friend

Many Restaurants Are Adapting To Lifestyle Diet Trends – What Are They?

With increased awareness of how different foods affect our biology, many people have adopted Keto, Paleo, and Whole30 lifestyles. These lifestyle diets serve a variety of health-related functions and people with specific needs are infusing them within their everyday life.

Due to their popularity, many restaurants now provide Keto, Paleo, and Whole30 menu options to harmonize with their guest’s lifestyles.

Chipotle for instance, introduced “Lifestyle Bowls” containing ingredients that adhere to the diet regimen of customers following a Keto, Paleo, or Whole30 lifestyle.

It is no question that restaurants are starting to see the value in adapting to popular trends as more people convert. Have you seen these diet options in the menu but don’t know enough about them to place an order? Learn to demystify the menu today!

The Ketogenic Diet

More Fat = Weight Loss

Eat more fat to lose weight? Yes, the healthy kind mind you. Like there are good and bad carbs, there are healthy fats that are preferable to saturated and trans fats.

The ketogenic diet has gained a lot of traction with those who want to lose weight or stay lean. The diet consists of high fat, moderate protein, and low carbs. As little as only 20-50 grams of carbohydrates are consumed daily which forces the body into ketosis.

During ketosis, fat is broken down into ketones, which are then used as the body’s main energy source. In other words, the purpose of a keto diet is to essentially trigger the body to use fats instead of carbohydrates for energy.

The Paleo Diet

Eat like a caveman for optimal health!

Inspired by our paleolithic ancestors, the paleo diet suggests that peak health is obtainable from the hunter-gatherer lifestyle that humans evolved with. It’s followers blame obesity and metabolic diseases on food processing instigated by the Agricultural Revolution.

The paleo diet consists of foods that are rich in lean meats and seafood, accompanied with plenty of fruits and non-starchy vegetables. It is protein-rich, moderate in healthy fats, and low in carbohydrates.

The Whole30 Diet

Identify your trigger foods with Whole30

Cleanse your body. The whole30 diet is all about resetting your metabolic system by eating with a quality over quantity mindset. By temporarily adopting a pattern of quality eating, the body is being cleansed of inflammatory or digestive issues left by certain foods.

Many people participate in the cleanse to help identify the specific foods that are acting as triggers for a particular reaction. The foods to be avoided in a whole30 diet include: Added sugar, legumes, alcohol (cooking and drinking), dairy, soy, and grains.

Ingredients of processed foods such as carrageenan, MSG, and sulfites are also avoided. Lean meat, seafood, eggs, veggies, fruits, and natural fats are sought out in this diet regime.

Will Your Restaurant Menu Adapt To Keto, Paleo, and Whole30 lifestyles?

Even with the endless food options available from a variety of restaurants ranging anywhere from traditional American to fusion, people are restricting themselves in accordance with their specific dietary needs.

Like no other time in history, there is an increased awareness of the foods we are consuming and how it affects our individual bodies. Through an increase in awareness, people have become empowered over specific health limitations in their lives by choosing what to restrict and what to consume more of.

Will we see more restaurants adapt their menus to these trends to accommodate more guests? The people who follow these lifestyle diets constantly face limited options when eating out with friends. By modifying your menu to be Keto, Paleo, or Whole30 friendly, you can help others reach their health goals while increasing your business.

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