Social Media: 2Spaghi “Most Active”…Such a clever APP!

2Spaghi is the largest and most active social environment for restaurants in Italy…

We are simply thrilled! The collective efforts of SpaghiFriends (members of 2Spaghi) continue to disrupt traditional methods for sharing reviews and suggestions of restaurants in Italy. Continue reading

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I’ll Have the Authenticity, Please!

@jblawrence

Recently, while visiting a restaurant (The Colony Restaurant), I asked to look at the menu. I was handed an elegantly bound and foil-stamped leather menu with the tasty appetizers and entrees printed inside. Then the young lady said “Oh, here is a copy of the specials for tonight”. It was a photo copy of the handwritten specials, as created and described by the Chef (who also happens to be the owner). I asked “Do you hand these out to the patrons, or just have the servers read them?” “We hand them out to the guests.” was the reply. “We tried printing them on nice card-stock and handing them out, but everyone kept asking for the menu written by the Chef”.

Not that the descriptions were any different, it was the “authenticity” that they are craving.  Guests wanted to know just how the Chef was thinking and the exact words he used to describe his creations.

Guests felt connected to the Chef… he was writing these specials just for them…

What businesses need to do today… Continue reading

May I Recommend A Wine, Or Would You Like To See Our…iPad?

Whaaaat did he just say? You heard me correctly. This question could be asked of you the next time that you go out to dine.

I recently read an article that talks about some restaurants, with extensive wine lists, replacing those lovely leather-bound books of wine with iPads loaded with information on all their available wines.  The region, vineyard, brix, tasting notes and much more can be downloaded to the iPad; and it can even track inventory to prevent that embarrassing response from the sommelier returning to your table “I’m sorry, we just sold the last bottle to table 33”.  As tech savvy as we like to be, will this take away from the “complete wine experience”?  Will top notch restaurants still have a place for their sommelier to advise the patrons of the nuances of certain vintages…or the terroir traits of a particular varietal?

This will be the difference between “TAKE it with You” and “KEEP it with You”.

Regardless of the iPad vs. sommelier experience issue, new opportunities arise. For instance, QR codes will be incorporated into the equation.  A restaurant may choose to put their QR code on the wine list. Vintners can affix a QR code to the bottle or simply print QR code business cards, or bottleneck rings, to be presented with their wines; enabling people to refer back to that information during the next visit.

There also is the question: Are there people-to-people reviews available, either on the wine list or the bottle offering? We honestly respect and appreciate the reviews and thoughts of our peers.  Maybe we will just download an app, and forget about all the extra information on the wine list.

There is no doubt…We will be well equipped to be better informed.

Image Source: Cellar Key

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How Do You Write Your Menu?

Maybe because I was in the hospitality business for over 30 years, but I often reference things in a foodie kind of way.

I have written many menus. Many, many menus! There is a knack to writing good menus. What do I mean by a good menu? You know. Sometimes a menu just doesn’t fit the ambiance, theme, clientele, location or just doesn’t seem to make sense for the restaurant that it is in. It may be a well thought-out bill of fare with delicious dishes, but doesn’t sell for one of the aforementioned reasons. A person (chef, owner, foodie) can put together a great collection of entrees that will tickle the most finicky critic’s palette, but if it isn’t the right fit for that particular setting, customers will not be moseying through your entryway. If you open an eclectic high-ticket bistro in a retirement community… you may have targeted the wrong crowd and are destined for failure.

So what does all this menu/restaurant stuff have to do with your business?

It’s about your menu! Are you offering the right product/service to the correct market? Do you have a great concept…but pitching it to the wrong group of buyers? If you are working on your passion in life, you want to make sure you are marketing and engaging with the correct set of dynamics for your project. Too often we have a great product/service, but are engaging the wrong sector through the wrong tools. Be aware of what you have, who you are promoting to, who will buy it, how much they will spend, how you will let the right people know, and what tool(s) you will use. It’s not just having an excellent product, but getting that message to the right people and interacting with them.  Do your homework. Know the answer before you ask the question!

Make sure you have a well thought-out scenario with all of the correct tools in place. Find your market dynamic. Then… Write a menu that fits your niche.

For more thoughts on this…see our Emerging Trends Report.

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