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On the Move – How to Add Delivery Services to Your Take-Out Program

Restaurant Delivery Service

If you’re trying to think of a way to generate additional profit for your restaurant, and you already have a take-out program, consider adding delivery services. Delivery is no longer used just by pizza parlors and Chinese restaurants. It’s become a new way for restaurants to reach out into the community and serve their patrons at home.

I’m Going to Do It! How Do I Let People Know?

Your audience for a delivery service may not be the same as your pick-up or sit down customers. Think of where your restaurant is located, and determine how large your delivery will be. Then, you can start to promote your new service.

How To Effectively Advertise Delivery Services

  • In Your Restaurant. Capture your own client market first. Include postcards on your tables and add a mention of delivery service on your menus. Include your information in your phone system and ask your phone greeters to mention it when someone calls in. For example, “Good evening, Meloni’s now delivers right to your home! May I help you?” When someone arrives to pickup food, include coupons and a delivery menu.
  • Keep in Touch.  Send out postcards (if you have customer addresses) to current diners. If you have a system for storing emails such as Constant Contact, send out weekly email updates that include your delivery service area, hours, and menu.
  • On Your Social Media Pages. If you already have Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus pages set up, let your followers and fans know that delivery is available, and attach a menu.
  • Reach Out to Likely Customers. Who is interested in delivery? Families and professionals are a good bet. Find a hyper-targeted way to reach these groups, such as asking local daycares to hand out delivery menus to parents. Or, ask permission to post your menu on a bulletin board in a local company. Another great idea is to talk to local hotels and arrange a delivery deal for their patrons.
  • Send Out a Press Release. Write a press release and send it to your local newspapers and online community websites. Announce your hours, attach a delivery menu, and let everyone know that you’re open for (delivery) business!

Delivery Details to Iron Out

Think about how your business will be taking delivery orders—using the phone? Online? Using an app? Maybe you’ll be using all three. You’ll need a system that can sort clients by multiple phone numbers, recalls customers’ previous orders, and prompts order takers to ask specific questions about food allergies.

Your software system should also have map data on your surroundings so that you know how long it will take to deliver the food to the right location. Make sure that your delivery software system can be integrated with your regular system, too, to cut down on miscommunication. Remember, also, that you’ll need to hire drivers who can be trusted to deliver food and then bring the payment back to you if they’re paying with cash.

If it’s done right, delivery service can be a boon to your bottom line. If you feel that your location and food will support delivery, start planning it today.

 

 

Choosing Beer and Wine for Your Restaurant’s Menu During the Fall and Holiday Seasons

Choosing Beer and Wine at Your RestaurantWalk into any local restaurant or bar during this time of year, and you’ll find at least half the customers have a craft beer or special fall-favored wine perched on the table in front of them. Most beer and wine drinkers enjoy the new flavors that pop up during the last few months of the year. This is a great time to take advantage of some of these perennial favorites.

Craft Beers for November and December

Here’s what you’ll be seeing (and drinking) in beer, lagers, and ales:

  • Pumpkin. Pumpkin flavors abound this fall! Stock Pumking form the Southern Tier Brewing Company is a must, with a true pumpkin pie taste. Samuel Adams sells their popular Fat Jack, which carries a lot of spice and malt flavors. Destihl Brewery introduces Samhain Pumpkin Porter, a dark drink with spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.
  • Fruit . . . and Vegetables! Add a little goodness with Atwater Brewery’s Blueberry Cobbler Ale, which has blueberry and vanilla flavors. Sweet Yamma Jamma Sweet Potato Ale from the Indeed Brewing Company is perfect with a meat and (sweet) potatoes meal.
  • German. Oktoberfest celebrations last from September through November and call for malty, Germanic flavors. The Sly Fox Brewing Co. has an excellent Oktoberfest Lager and the Free State Brewing Co. shares a great beer that has a mild aroma.

And don’t forget the presents that Santa may be leaving under the tree!

  • Anchor Christmas Ale is flavored differently every year, a tradition since 1975. It’s a closely guarded secret as to what 2014 will bring for this popular Ale, but you can count on it to be mellow.
  • Troegs Mad Elf, brewed out of Pennsylvania, has a just a bit of cocoa for those cold winter nights and large holiday meals.

Fall and Holiday Wine Suggestions

Let’s not forget about the wine. It’s important, especially in restaurants, to add some new wine to the list that evokes the meals and celebrations held in November and December.  Some wines to consider for fall and holiday celebrations include:

  • 2011 Saint Cosme Côtes-du-Rhône Rouge is spicy and fruity—an excellent choice for post-holiday meal time.
  • 2010 McManis Family Viognier is a white wine with a peachy taste that will go well paired with New Year’s Eve hors d’oeuvres.
  • If you’re looking for something a little different—and you’re ok with leaving the wine behind for a bit—Albee Hills is a dry cider that’s tart, refreshing, and doesn’t have carbonation.

Increased holiday crowd levels call for something different, so choose beer and wine that will keep people returning for their upcoming celebrations.

SnagaStool Helps Bars Boost Traffic with Online Bar Stool Reservations

SnagaStoolWould you like to fill up your bar stools during off-peak periods?  Or guarantee a packed house during the big game?  A start-up company out of Boston is offering a service they say is similar to OpenTable but for bar stools.

“It started when the Bruins were in the playoffs.  I offered to pay someone to sit in their seat at the bar, because it was so crowded,” explains CEO and Co-founder Jamie Manning. “When I get to a bar, I like to sit right at the bar facing the big screens, rather than at a table or standing behind someone.”

Knowing the frustrations of being a guy who just wants to find an empty bar stool at the bar, Manning came up with the idea of using an app to reserve a stool before arriving at the bar.

“People are willing to pay for that privilege,” says Manning. “Bars can determine how many and which stools to assign as SnagaStool stools based on supply and demand principles, and then use our service to increase their profits.”

SnagaStool shares the premium snag profits with the bar in a 50/50 split and is currently working out other “bundle” packaging opportunities to entice more bars to accept stool reservations.

“We are still in our pilot program,” explains Manning. “We want to work with our bar partners to come up with the best type of service for their patrons and to increase their profits.”

In addition to stool reservations, they are experimenting with offering pre-sale “tickets” during premium time slots (e.g., championship games), bundling a stool with meal packages (i.e., reserve your stool…and burger, too!), as well as allowing the bar to offer special promotions (e.g., half off appetizer) during the off-peak times.

“I worked in the bartending industry for years and designed the service to improve the interaction between bartender and customer,” says Manning.

Bars simply put the SnagaStool tent on the stools that can be reserved or are waiting for their reservation to show up.  Then, people who have a stool reservation just check in with the bartender by showing the confirmation on their mobile device, and the bartender shows them their stools!

Bars in Massachusetts and Florida are already participating, and SnagaStool is signing up new bar partners to join in on this service.  If you’re a bar interested in running promotions to your customer base using SnagaStool, visit them online at SnagaStool.com.

 

Pink Tables Add Pizazz at J.P. Licks

9CC2B69B-25AA-489D-AFDC-3B528E5AC895If you are ever traveling in the Boston area and get a hankering for ice cream, you need to visit J.P. Licks at one of their thirteen locations. They don’t just serve delicious ice cream but what they like to call “love in a cone.”

The owner and founder Vincent Petryk says, “Ice cream regresses you to be the best you can be. It’s strange that a frozen, cold, hard dessert can have such a warming effect on people.”

His love of people is what drew him to ice cream. Petryk was hooked into the business by his customers and tries to make sure each of his stores offers a great experience and gives back to the community it is in.  Many stores display work from local artists and offer services to local charities.

A few years after his initial opening the store added coffee to its menu. Petryk says, “Coffee is dessert for adults.” Coffee and ice cream are a great dessert combination which has allowed him to increase his customer base, while continuing the fun atmosphere of his stores.

“Coffee is much more complicated than ice cream, but ultimately, I’m glad we were able to see a void and fill it,” explains Petryk.

Having a happy, and playful atmosphere in the stores is crucial. Each J.P. Licks store has such a unique feel and East Coast Chair & Barstool wanted to provide this great company with furniture that fit their personality. So when Petryk came to us looking for outdoor tables, one of our sales representatives thought immediately of our Amish poly lumber table tops. The cherry on top was that these tables come in a bright pink color that is part of J.P. Licks’s signature look.4C069775-5602-41B1-A81B-1904F4FA33F2

Petryk loves the tables and says, “The pink tables stand out like a very pleasant thumb. They are beautiful, interesting, easy to clean, and look sharp.”

Poly lumber furniture can be made out of almost 100% recycled plastic and comes in a variety of fun colors. These colors are dyed the whole way through, so even if the lumber is nicked the color still shows through. Poly lumber is also very easy to clean, making them ideal for almost any restaurant.

We are honored when our commercial furniture can be functional and fun. It’s wonderful when our customers and their guests enjoy the experience of using our products

Petryk made our day when he said, “I appreciated the product, quality, value and the personal service was icing on the cake.”

East Coast Chair & Barstool Ice Bucket Challenge – Better Late Than Never!

You thought we forgot! Well we didn’t. We just needed some time to make sure that we could raise as much money as possible for this worthy cause.

Our Furniture is Coming to a Theater Near You, Debuts in Big Screen Movie

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When you head to the theaters on September 12, you may get a glimpse of our furniture on the big screen! Check out this article, and comment below if you’ll be catching our Gulf Coast tables and chairs in a theater near you!

What’s New in Restaurant Website Design

Restaurant Website

When was the last time you turned a critical eye toward your restaurant website? Is it attracting the customers you want? If you haven’t refreshed your site in the past few years, consider these helpful tips:

  • Put the most important information front and center. Think of what’s important, and place it in a prominent position. Usually, customers are looking for hours, maps, directions, menus, reviews, specials, and coupons. All of this information should stand out or be easy to find on your site—if it’s not on your home page, it should be no more than one click away.
  • Your website must be mobile-friendly. With nearly half of all websites being viewed by tablets, smart phones, and other devices, your website must seamlessly condense into a site that is easy to navigate while still offering information from your regular site.
  • Update your design. Your website’s design should match the dining experience. If you own an upscale, intimate restaurant, your site’s design should complement it. Colors should be muted, the font used should be inviting, and the overall look should be chic. If your restaurant is a neighborhood staple that’s kid friendly, then your website can use larger graphics, brighter colors, and a friendly look.
  • Your website must be social-media friendly. Be sure that anyone who finds your website can be transported to your Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, and Pinterest pages with just a click. It’s an easy way for someone to share their great experience at your restaurant. These icons should be at both the top right or left of each page—and place them at the bottom of each page, too. (But don’t make the mistake of replacing your website with a Facebook page; you need both!)
  • Show off your food! Whether you prepare organic items with a monthly chef’s table, or dole out down-home BBQ, you want to make your customers’ mouths water. Hire a professional photographer who has experience taking shots of food and display them on a graphics rotater on your site.
  • Consider developing an app. A restaurant app can deliver information quickly and concisely. Since many people have smart phones, an app can be used to build your brand through an experience that gives potential and current customers what they need—immediately. Offer coupons and specials that are only available with the app, and soon you’ll have a new way of connecting with your diners!  Click for other ways to incorporate technology into your restaurant.
  • And, of course, make sure that your website is optimized for SEO (search engine optimization) so that potential diners can easily find you through an Internet search. Content, design, and SEO will deliver local and regional customers right to your doorstep.  Click for more tips on how to get found fast online.

 

The Arrogant Bean Shops Local and Loves It

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As an e-commerce company we deal with people from all over the United States. But we love being able to visit local customers and support their businesses whenever we can. The Arrogant Bean is a coffee shop that opened along Pittsburgh Road in Butler, PA, this May, not that far from our very own warehouse. So we took some time a few months after their initial purchase to see how things were going for them.

While talking with Shana, the owner, she expressed her passion for buying local. All of her fresh ingredients are purchased locally (except, of course for her Peruvian fair trade coffee beans). But it isn’t just her delicious ingredients that are local, almost all of the products she uses are, too. Including some of our furniture!

Shana says that her love of local started from her own childhood in a small West Virginia town. “We always bought local,” said Shana. The small business owner feels strongly about supporting the community in which you live. She seeks to continue that feel in her very own shop. “The girls that work here are wonderful. They know people by name and when they come through here they have their drinks ready. It gives them a personalized experience.”

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Shana wanted to support a local business and when she found us online she felt that it would be a good fit for her and her coffee shop. She and her husband were close enough to visit our showroom and were able to find the perfect fit for their store. They knew that they wanted black and orange chairs but weren’t sure if they were going to be able to find such a specific item. Fortunately we had some black Gladiator bar stools with orange vinyl seats and high top tables in stock. Upon reflecting on her experience, Shana said, “We were pleasantly surprised to see you had what we were looking for in stock! We’ve already shared you with friends!”

We love being able to make our customers happy and The Arrogant Bean has definitely made us happy with their delicious cannoli and easy access drive thru. So stop in and try their specials. Everything is baked fresh daily, and they post their next day’s menu on their Facebook page. While you’re there try out the furniture and give it a review here.

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How to Navigate Our Site

We love being able to offer as many products as we can. But we understand that because of the volume of products we offer our site is a little bit large. So to help out we created a video on how to navigate our site. You can watch it here and quickly find what you are looking for.

Six Ways to Use Reclaimed Wood in Your Restaurant

You may have noticed recently that using reclaimed wood is all the rage. It’s vintage, it’s trendy, it’s hipster. Not only is reclaimed wood pleasing aesthetically, but it is a green product. By re-purposing old barn rafters and flooring, you are giving new life to the lumber. If the wood was not used again, it would end up in a landfill and eventually turn to dust, or it would be burned sending smoke pollution into the air.

Some people might have concerns that the wood might not be as strong since it has been previously used. What you might not know is that reclaimed wood is actually a stronger product than virgin lumber. It also saves energy. It takes fewer natural resources to use reclaimed wood than it does to use new forested trees for a project.

Also it just looks really cool. With such awesome stories behind where the wood came from, how could you not be intrigued? So here are tips on how to incorporate reclaimed wood into your restaurant.

1.Table tops/Counter tops


One of the easiest ways to bring some reclaimed wood into your space is by using it for your table tops or counter tops. Reclaimed wood table tops bring a softer look to your restaurant, and can offer a rustic charm to your décor. The same can be said of reclaimed wood bars. When put with the right décor and can really make a place stand out. And it is one heck of a conversation starter.

2.Seats

 

A rust colored chair with a reclaimed seat.

A rust colored chair with a reclaimed seat.

If you want to match your new table tops or just are not quite able to afford an overhaul of your furniture consider purchasing reclaimed wood seat for your chairs or barstools. Reclaimed wood seat tops on a metal café chair can give you an industrial vibe with a twist. You are saving the environment one step at a time.

3.Wall paneling

 

Found on afflante.com

Found on afflante.com

If you have a passion for reclaimed wood and design, using reclaimed wood wall paneling might be a perfect fit for your space. Using wood paneling is not a new technique, but has recently come back in to style and add interest to a previously blank wall.

4.Shelves

 

Found on http://www.remodelista.com

Found on http://www.remodelista.com

No ready to commit to an entire wall of wood paneling? That’s okay. Consider using the same old barn wood for shelving. You get additional storage, dress up some wall space, and are doing your part to save the environment, clearly a win-win-win situation.

5.Display Cases

 

Reclaimed Display Case

Reclaimed Display Case

If you have any signature items or merchandise that you want to display in a classy way, consider purchasing a reclaimed wood display case. These cases are a great way to show off your items while adding a contemporary rustic aesthetic to your space.

6.Flooring

Probably one of the most common uses of reclaimed wood is to repurpose it for flooring. Doing this is a wonderful Eco-friendly option. The refining process is a little more complicated if you want to use it for flooring. Nobody wants to have uneven flooring. So the wood has to be re-milled and sawn into new smooth planks for use. A lot of times this process takes away a lot of the beloved characteristics of old barn wood that people love. For this reason some establishment owners may choose to also incorporate their reclaimed wood in to other pieces. This allows them to complete the look they are searching for.

So whether you are ready to make the leap towards an entire wall of wood or simply want to add a few accent pieces, reclaimed wood adds character and style to any venue. Not to mention the peace of mind knowing you chose an Eco-friendly option, all while fulfilling your dream of managing a beautiful bar or restaurant.