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How to Avoid the 5 Most Common Problems with Restaurant Furniture

 

It takes a chunk of change to furnish a bar or restaurant.  And when you spend that “chunk” on commercial grade items, you want to see them last.  Proper maintenance and cleaning is the key to long lasting furniture but it won’t fix some common problems that may arise.  So, if they are common problems, shouldn’t you then be able to avoid these issues if they are happening everywhere?  Absolutely!  Our hope is that by providing you with this information, you are able to take a proactive approach to caring for you bar and restaurant furniture so that these common issues don’t happen to you.  Like the old saying goes, “an ounce of prevention can be worth a pound of cure.”

 

Problem #1:  “The metal legs on my chair and/or bar stool are bending and don’t seem as strong.”

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Solution:  Damage to the legs of chairs or bar stools often stems from improper use by customers and staff, something that can happen on a regular basis.  For example, customers may lean back in their chair putting all of their weight on the back two legs. Yikes!  If you see this happening, politely ask the customer to refrain from doing this in hopes to keep the leg strength strong…and of course to save your customer from getting hurt.  Another example is when staff members unknowingly use a chair or bar stool improperly.  As a standard procedure when sweeping and mopping floors, most restaurant staff members place the chairs upside down on the tables.  They clean the floors, let them dry, and proceed to lower the chairs back to the floor.  The issue arises when the staff member slams the chair or bar stool onto the floor with such force that the leg strength is compromised.  After this occurs many times, it can in fact make the legs of chairs and bar stools look bent.  To avoid this, it’s important to show and/or communicate to staff members the proper procedure to gently lower chairs and bar stools back onto the floor so as to keep the legs nice and strong.

 

 

Problem #2:  “My chairs and/or bar stools are scratching up my flooring.”

 Problem-2

Solution:  Scratches on floors from chairs and bar stools are often due to the absence or wearing of one or more floor glides.  Floor glides are the pieces of rubber or hard plastic that are placed on the bottom of the legs of a chair or bar stool to protect the floor.  Without them, the chair will scrape along the floor, cause some scratch marks, and even make a sound that can be like fingernails down a chalkboard.  To avoid this, be sure to regularly check the wear of floor glides as well as that they are all in place.  It’s also a good idea to keep a few extra glides on hand, just in case.  Following these suggestions will keep your floors scratch free and looking fabulous.

 

 

Problem #3: “My tables are peeling, staining, or cracking.”

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Solution:  It’s important to be aware of what your table tops are made of and how to properly care for them, especially when it comes to wood table tops.  In the case of wood, it is a natural material that expands and contracts with the changes in temperature.  With any wood product, including table tops, it is important to keep them away from direct heat to avoid cracking.  When we say direct heat, we mean in direct sunlight through a window, under a heating vent, or in a warm area that can become humid and warm from the heat of a hot oven.  It is equally as important to not place a hot tray, sizzling pan, pizza pan/pizza box, or anything right out of the oven directly on the wood top, or any table top for that matter.  If there is no way around it, invest in products to protect the table tops from heat generated from hot foods like a hot plate or an elevated pizza tray.  These items will be worth your money and you won’t have to witness an altering of your table top finishes or heat stains that will appear if you’re not extra careful.

 

 

Problem #4: “My chairs and/or bar stools are wobbly.”
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Solution:  If you are experiencing wobbly chairs or bar stools, first check the floor glides to make sure that all four are present and not worn out.  If they are in place and not causing the wobble, loose screws that were either not tightened at assembly or have worked loose over time could be the issue.  With regard to assembly, a lot of commercial restaurant furniture companies ship their chairs and bar stools with the seats unattached.  This enables them to stack the furniture and ship more products at a lower price.  Also, by packing the seats tightly together, it reduces the likelihood of shipping damages.  So, when assembling your seats on site, it is important to follow the proper instructions as well as use the suggested tools with the hardware provided.  Make sure that screws are snug and not too tight so as to avoid further damage to the seat.  In addition, it is just as important to routinely check the hardware on all tables, chairs, and bar stools, and tighten them as needed.

 

Problem #5: “My furniture isn’t lasting as long as I thought it would.”

Problem-5

Solution:  When purchasing furniture for your bar or restaurant, it is important to know where these items are going to be placed and how they are going to be used.  If you need chairs, bar stools, and tables for an indoor dining area, it is important to purchase items that are intended for indoor use.  The same goes for outdoor furniture items.  An outdoor chair, bar stool, or table intended for outdoors, should only be used outdoors.  Or, maybe you want items that can be transferred to and from an indoor space to an outdoor space.  Buying items that have this dual use is the key.  Also, chairs and bar stools are meant to be sat in and tables are meant to be used for eating off of.  Any other uses that customers or staff might be using them for can affect the longevity of the item.  Staff and management should be aware of the intended use of all restaurant furniture and doing what is necessary to make sure that use is maintained.

 

 

Buying restaurant furniture is an investment.  As with any investment, you want to protect it so that you get your use out of it for years to come.  But along with that comes your responsibility to do what it takes to keep your furniture in its most pristine state.  Taking care of your items with the suggestions above will help deter common problems and likely, will last for the years that you were hoping for.

 

 

Our Viktor Steel Restaurant Chairs looked “Groovy” Last Night on Restaurant Impossible!

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Last night on Restaurant Impossible, a popular Food Network TV show starring Robert Irvine, our Viktor chairs made an appearance!  And, they sure looked “groovy” in the newly renovated retro modern ristorante!

The show, which airs on Wednesday nights at 10/9 central, features struggling restaurants whose owners and staff are led by Irvine to improve the menu, organization, design, and internal relationships – which are often the cause of the chaos within.  Irvine has two days and $10,000 to turn each restaurant around, a challenge that he always seems to take head-on and with no excuses.  In addition, he leads a design team to complete a total makeover of the interior of the restaurant and, in every episode, the WOW factor is evident.

On last night’s episode (2/18/2015), Irvine visited Be’ne Pizza and Pasta Restaurant, a retro style establishment in Omaha, Nebraska.  At first, the dining room at Be’ne looked more like a cafeteria than a restaurant, with black banquet chairs and cheap red tables adjacent to an arcade filled with classic video games.  The designer on this episode, Taniya Nayak, took that retro motif and went with it!  She used our brushed silver Viktor chairs and filled them into the new dining room along with beautiful gray table tops and new banquette seating to offer a split booth feel.  She also added cream colored Tolix-style backless bar stools with bar height tables to offer more seating for patrons.  The lighting was so fitting, the video game pixel design on the main wall was perfect, and the mixture of colors gave the dining room that retro feel that Be’ne’s restaurant needed.  When the new Be’ne’s opened to service a slew of customers at the end of the show, it was great to see our Viktor chairs being used in this fabulous new atmosphere.

We are so proud to have our furniture make an appearance on this fantastic series!  Our sincere thank you goes to Restaurant Impossible and designer Taniya Nayak for making it possible.

Please leave a comment to let us know what you thought of the show.

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Vegas Here We Come!

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As an online restaurant furniture company, we don’t get many opportunities to meet our customers face to face.  But, we think it is very important to make every attempt to, especially when our customers are making such an important investment into their business.  We have found that trade shows are a great way to accomplish this.  And, GOOD NEWS…we have confirmed our exhibitor booths at two trade shows in Las Vegas this spring!  We invite you to attend these shows and visit our booth not only to meet our hard working crew, but also to experience the latest and greatest products in restaurant seating and dining.

International Pizza Expo, March 24-26, 2015, Las Vegas Convention Center

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The International Pizza Expo is a trade show specifically for the pizza industry.  Attendees include pizzeria or pizza-concept restaurant owners, operators, and managers as well as distributors and food brokers who sell to pizza shops or pizza concept restaurants.  If you fall in this category of business, here are some things to look for at this show:

  • First and foremost, look for East Coast Chair & Barstool! We have confirmed out exhibit booth and are ready to show you the latest and greatest in commercial grade restaurant furniture.  This year you’ll be able feast your eyes on our popular reclaimed wood table tops which seem to be the current trending item in restaurant design.  In addition, you’ll be able to sit in a variety of chairs and bar stools from our warehouse, including the steel Aero line as well as metal and wood seating from our popular Gladiator line.  In these lines, we will have an offering of different back styles, seat options, and frames to suit your establishment’s needs.  But that’s not all we will have.  We’re bringing more chairs and bar stools, a variety of table tops and table bases, and our newest commercial grade outdoor furniture items.  Come and see us at Booth #1615.  You won’t be disappointed!
  • A must see while in attendance is the World Pizza Games, a freestyle dough-tossing competition with five exciting events that you won’t want to miss.  These events include freestyle acrobatic dough tossing, fastest dough, largest dough stretch, fastest pizza box folding, and a pizza triathlon.  You will sit in amazement with eyes fixated on the uniqueness of these action packed events that you won’t want to miss.
  • New and only into its 3rd year, the pizza expo hosts the Craft Beer Pavilion.  Smaller brewers have recently noted strong sales growth as customers prefer these brews over the much larger beer companies.  And, what better drink goes with a good pizza?  Brewers will be lined up to share their tasty beverages and confirm their place in the beer market.
  • Keynotes, seminars, and workshops to help you grow your business as well as hundreds of exhibitors that offer the newest products and services for the fast paced pizza industry.

For more information about this show and all it has to offer, check out the event website at http://www.pizzaexpo.com/index.cfm.  We hope to see you there!

 

 

Nightclub& Bar Convention and Trade Show, March 30-April 1, 2015, Las Vegas Convention Center

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Celebrating its 30th anniversary, the Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show is an event that hosts products, tools, demonstrations, and current information for those in the bar and nightclub industry.  Attendees include owners, managers, and staff who work at bars, pubs, taverns, nightclubs or lounges as well as buyers, suppliers, DJ’s, chefs, security staff, marketers, and other related industry professionals.  Get ready for loud music, flashing lights, on-going special events and guests, and beverages galore as this is known to be the definitive on-premise beverage show.  Not only that, but here is what to look for at this action packed show:

  • East Coast Chair & Barstool!  We are excited to have again confirmed our booth at this high energy show.  We promise to bring you the newest products in restaurant furniture with a focus on durability and design.  We will highlight our reclaimed wood table tops and seat options as well as our steel Aero and metal/wood Gladiator lines of seating.  You will be able to sit in and feel our products instead of look at them online to get a firm grasp on the quality of the products we sell.  Check us out at Booth # 1019!
  • Main stage bartending competition events featuring top United States Bartender’s Guild bartenders from around the country competing to attend the 2015 World Cocktail Competition in Sofia, Bulgaria.
  • Special guests including Jon Taffer from Spike TV’s “Bar Rescue” hosting special events and offering a powerful keynote address.  Also in attendance will be Sammy Hagar for the ribbon cutting ceremony, a live performance by Nelly, and well-known DJ’s Tiesto, Avicii, and DJ Vice.
  • 70+ seminars to boost your business and 600+ booths offering products and solutions for the bar and nightlife industry.

For more information about this show and all it has to offer, check out the event website at http://www.ncbshow.com/.  We hope to see you there!

Pizza Parlor Seating: An Important Piece of the Pie

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Pizza parlors and pizza shops are everywhere.  You often see several of them in every town, seemingly on every corner.  This popularity comes not only from the convenience of picking up a few pizzas 10 minutes after you order or having it delivered right to your door in 30 minutes, but also from the decreased cost of feeding the typical family of four with one large pie.  For pizza shop owners, this presents one heck of a challenge of how to pull customers into to their shop and away from the competition.

I’m sure you’re thinking of the more obvious ways to pull customers in; coupons, discount prices, increased advertising, refining your recipes, and/or offering more menu selection.  Those are all great ways to increase customer sales.  But, let’s step out of the “pizza box” and look at something a little less obvious; your pizza parlor seating.  Yes, we said seating and we are referring to just what you thought…  chairs, bar stools, and booths…or a mixture of all three.  Who doesn’t love a comfortable seat while enjoying a scrumptious slice of pizza with their favorite toppings?  Nobody, that’s who!

Depending on your vision and the design you want to implement in your pizza parlor, there are many different seating suggestions that you can choose from and that we’d like to recommend.

Traditional Pizza Parlor Seating Ideas

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When you think of an Italian restaurant or pizza parlor, there are probably various visions that engulf your mind.  One of those mental pictures may include a more traditional style hosting tables covered with red and white checkered table cloths, matching linens, and a candle in a wine bottle as the table’s centerpiece all accompanied by wood chairs.  Decorating the room are grapevines and other plants in conjunction with photos of major attractions in Italy or family pictures on every wall.

If you’re sticking with a traditional style, we recommend both commercial grade wood seating and cozy booth seating.  Wood chairs and bar stools offer your customers an environment of warmth, an important element in the traditional style.  And, choosing items that are commercial grade which are designed for the constant use and abuse of restaurant seating will save you money in the long run.  Wood seating can come with many options including various stains, type of seat, back style, and even different frame styles.  You’ll see stain options in natural, cherry, mahogany or walnut, seat options in vinyl, plywood, or solid wood, and back style in ladder back, cross back, vertical back, or full vertical back. Some back styles may even mix wood with metal or host a unique shape or cut-out in the back to add a little more to the design of the chair.  Booths are also great for the traditional pizza parlor design.  They offer comfort and privacy and unconsciously invite your customers to stay a while.  Booths come in different sizes with many design options as well, all of which can be tailored to your own design plans.  You’ll see size options in single, double, and deuce.  You’ll also see design options in vinyl, fabric upholstery, plastic or laminate, as well as wood.  For the traditional feel, we recommend a nice wood booth or a cozy vinyl booth or a mix of both.  The wood will lend to the warmth of the environment and the vinyl will lend to the increased comfort your customers will enjoy.  If you can mix that option by choosing a vinyl booth with wood trim or a wood back and a vinyl seat, you’ll offer your customers the best of both worlds.

Modern Pizza Parlor Seating Ideas

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Maybe your vision of a pizza parlor is less traditional and more modern.  If so, your thoughts may bring you to an atmosphere with metal chairs and bar stools surrounding wood table tops, tiled floors, and walls of sporadic shelves filled with wine bottles.  Add to that a few rustic influences throughout with minimal extra design elements to complete your modern vision.

For the more modern style, we recommend commercial grade metal restaurant chairs with solid or reclaimed wood table tops.  The newest trend is modern design for the restaurant industry is rustic-industrial design.  This style hosts natural elements like wood or other organic materials and pairs it with metals and shiny finishes to complete the look. Offering a solid wood table top with a metal chair or a reclaimed wood table top with a metal bar stool that hosts a reclaimed wood seat would both be great ways to follow through with this design.  Wood table tops come in different stains like natural, cherry, mahogany, or walnut and made of different types of wood with popular choices being oak and beech wood.  A reclaimed wood top is one that is made out of salvaged wood from old barns, factories, and warehouses hosting a weathered look and a charm that no other table top can offer.  You can also get the look of a wood table with table tops that are less expensive but made of laminate, plywood, or resin.  And, don’t forget the chairs.  Metal chairs should be commercial grade and add to the look and feel that you so desire. Think about a black or silver powder coated metal chair, steel chairs, or a metal chair with a wood slat in the seat back to compliment the wood table tops.  There are so many metal chair designs out there.  You just need to select the one that is just right for your pizza parlor.

Economical Pizza Parlor Seating Ideas

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If neither of these are your vision, you may be envisioning a more simplistic, cost effective, setting.  Your visions may be a pizza parlor with wood booths lining one wall, a row of tables with wood chairs down the center, and an ordering station on the other side of the room.  All of this complete with a menu board on the wall and the fast food feel.

There are many pizza parlor owners who just want to keep it simple when it comes to design.  For a simplistic shop set up, we recommend plastic or laminate booths with laminate or resin table tops and a basic wood or metal chair.  Plastic or laminate booths might not be as cozy as their vinyl counterparts, but they do offer booth seating for a far cheaper price.  They also fit in with a clean line look without all of the “fluff.”  To add to the booth seating, try laminate or resin table tops with a basic wood chair.  When we say basic, we mean without all of the design elements that some chairs offer.  You can also opt to select a basic metal chair without all of the bells and whistles especially when budget is a concern.

Whatever design you go with or even if you come up with a whole new pizza parlor look of your own, making the right choice with seating is an important piece of the “pie.”  That piece will affect the look and feel of your shop as well as the comfort of your customers.  Customers want to eat great food with great customer service and have a comfortable place to eat it.  When all of that happens, pies will surely fly out of your ovens!

 

A Guide to Booth Seating for Your Bar or Restaurant

Restaurant Booth Seating

All restaurant owners know that the dining room is the revenue producing area of their business.  So, shouldn’t it be laid out and designed with comfort and efficiency in mind?  The most cost-effective and space-efficient way to design and add comfort to your dining area is through the use of booth seating.  By adding booths, you’ll save floor space, and that means that you can offer MORE seating to MORE people who will be ordering MORE from your menu.  And, booths are MORE comfortable and offer customers MORE privacy as added bonuses.  Sounds like a WIN-WIN all around!

Before adding booths, planning for their addition is a must.  Not only do you need to know the lingo, specifically regarding the types and sizes of booths, but you’ll also need to measure and determine what space you have available.  With booth sizing, you will see terms like single, double, split, and deuce. The smallest of the booths are deuce booths which offer seating for just two people across the table from one another.  Single booths offer seating on one side and a flat back on the other and these booths are typically used for the end of a row of booths.  Additionally, double booths are the booths in between tables with two backs and two seats, kind of like two single booths built back to back together as one piece.  Finally, split booths are the ones you see with booth seating on one side of the table and chairs on the other.  All of these booths come in different heights and widths so taking measurements of your dining area to plan for spacing is going to be an important task, one that will require a little extra from you.

Space planning should start with exploring the internet for examples of booth seating arrangements or restaurant dining area layouts.   These layouts are plentiful and can offer you a starting point or a general idea on how best to situate your dining area.  Next, we suggest a simple drawing to give you a visual; it can be done free hand, with a desktop drawing program, or with the assistance of a professional designer who can help you make sure the spacing is just right.

To guide you in your planning, consider these simple “rules of thumb” when it comes to booth seating and spacing for your restaurant dining room layout:

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Rule #1: Allow for the total booth width to be between 64” to 74”, from the top of one seat back to the top of the other

Rule #2: Allow for the seat back depth to be between 3” to 6”

Rule #3: Allow for a clearance of at least 16” from the seat back to the table edge; 16” to 18” is typically a comfortable seating depth

Rule #4: Allow for the table top height of 30”; for a split booth, allow this height to be 31”with the distance to the underside of the table to be at least 30” in order to accommodate a person who uses a wheelchair

Rule #5: Allow for the table width to be between 24” and 42”; for 24” wide tables, booths require 66” from center to center of top caps and 30” wide tables require 72” between the center top caps

Rule #6: Allow for a clearance of between 19” and 22” from the table edge to the back of the seat cushion

Rule #7: Allow for a seat height between 16” and 18”

Rule #8:  Allow for the table edge to align vertically with the outer edge of the booth seat.  This is considered standard layout for booths.

In addition to these rules of thumb, be sure to consider cantilever table bases for your booths.  These are bases that attach to the wall underneath the table in order to offer the best support and plenty of leg room for your customers.  And, don’t forget to allow ample space in the isles for customer and wait staff traffic so that people are not running into each other and to accommodate a wheelchair if needed (at least 36”).

Once you have done all of the “dirty work” to figure out the layout of your dining area, it’s time for some good, “clean” fun…shopping for the actual booths to install into your restaurant!  Is it possible to find the perfect booth seating to fit with your restaurant design and offer warmth to your atmosphere?  Absolutely! There are so many options with regard to style that we know you’ll find booths that will impress you and your customers.  Just remember, spacing and layout are keys to your success, and booths are a great way to increase comfort while bringing in more customers to relax and enjoy your food.

Restaurant Trends for 2015

If you own a restaurant, you may be wondering what trends will start to surface for 2015. Fact is, many “new” trends are actually continued from 2014 and are gaining speed. They touch on all aspects of the business, from food to marketing to menus to tastes.

 

What’s New for Next Year

If you’d like to try something new, take a look at this list and see if your customer base would embrace some of these ideas:

 

Photo credit: NatalieMaynor / IWoman / CC BY

Photo credit: NatalieMaynor / IWoman / CC BY

  • Locally-sourced Food. With the organic market taking off—you can even shop organic in your neighborhood grocery store—it’s not surprising that the farm-to-table movement has grown. Be sure that you’re taking advantage of produce, meat, and other food that is local to your area. Supporting these businesses means that your customers will support them too!

 

  • Promote Yourself. You can’t always rely on your customers to promote your business. But since as much as 70 percent of new business is gained from word-of-mouth, you can’t afford to lose your rightful share of the market. Pepper your restaurant with comment cards that survey diners, or ask them to leave a review on Yelp or Facebook if they enjoyed their experience.

 

  • High-tech Help. Most eateries have a Facebook page, Twitter account, or website. Your restaurant should be easily accessible—just a click or two away on someone’s smart phone or tablet. Use apps like OpenTable or Wait Time so that your customers can get in line for their dining experience before they even walk onto your property.

 

  • Healthier Choices. With so much emphasis being placed on health, it was going to affect people’s food sooner than later—and now it may influence the food that you prepare and serve in your restaurant. Some people prefer nutritious food to make up every part of their meal, instead of just having a salad at the beginning. Others may have dietary restrictions, such as gluten-free or sugar-free, while some cannot eat certain ingredients due to possible severe allergy reactions.

 

  • Mash-ups. When your customers watch culinary TV shows, they are starting to see entire dinners placed on waffles, bacon put on cupcakes, and potatoes layered on pizza. Don’t turn up your nose—it’s a great tactic to get new folks in your doors! Just a few people raving about a mash-up meal will have everyone else wondering what the fuss is about.

 

  • Bitter is Better. Everyone is talking about this—darker coffee and chocolate, hoppier beers, and vegetables like watercress, dandelion greens, kale, and endive are all coming back in style. Post a sampling on your menu and see if it gains traction!

 

 

With 2015 poised to be a successful year for our industry, we suggest that you consider a few new concepts to keep your customers coming through your doors, and of course, pick up some new fans.

The Hidden Shamrock Chooses Rustic Restaurant Furniture for Remodel!

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When Sean Griffin, General Manager of The Hidden Shamrock, started looking at remodeling he knew he wanted to incorporate reclaimed furniture into the new design. He began searching for the perfect fit for his traditional Irish bar located in Chicago, IL. Griffin soon became frustrated in his search. “I couldn’t find what I wanted and I was really put off by other prices” stated Griffin.

Running out of options, he decided to try the National Restaurant Association Show, one of the biggest annual trade shows for the restaurant industry. It was there that he spotted East Coast Chair & Barstool’s display of reclaimed restaurant furniture and knew that his long search was over. “I loved your stuff and it was shockingly economical,” Said Griffin.

He was pleased to purchase our reclaimed wood table tops and metal chairs with reclaimed wood seats. These products were able to create the rustic, homey atmosphere that he was going for in his restaurant and pub. He was finally able to create the aesthetic that he had been searching for during his remodel.

When we asked him about his experience with remodeling, he told us it’s no picnic. Remodeling is a stressful process and needs to be a labor of love explained Griffin. Owners need to ask themselves if the change is going to enhance the guest experience better. If the answer is yes then do it, if the answer is no, then don’t. Thankfully he decided the reclaimed furniture was going to enrich the patron’s experience and he wasn’t wrong. “People can’t help but notice them,” Griffin explained.

As for aesthetics during a remodel, Griffin suggests keeping it simple. “Don’t go too trendy. Do it because you like it and feel a connection. Know what you want and don’t be afraid to ask for help.”

The seasoned general manager also recommends taking what you think you are going to spend and multiplying it by 1.3. Griffin acknowledged that the restaurant industry is full of surprises and it is better to be prepared for anything that might come your way.

pic3“I would use East Coast Chair & Barstool again. They do a good job and seem to have a good relationship with their Amish vendors who produce their quality reclaimed products.” said Griffin speaking of our Amish craftsmen.

If you would like to incorporate rustic furniture into your restaurants design, these products and more can be found on the company’s website www.tableschairsbarstools.com.

 

 

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

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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.