As Shakespeare might have said while haunting London pubs with his troupe, that is the question. If a party’s experience was horrible on a busy night, if grandma and grandpa’s celebration of their 50th went south, or a guest sends along a detailed email on how bad the service was, it is time to comp the meal. That may well win back a customer, but doing it at the drop of a complaint may not be such a good idea. Regulars will resent it, especially if it involves comping drinks. Doing it without discretion will kill off your profits. Remember, says one New York City restaurant veteran. “You comp to reel them in; you comp to make up for a mistake; you comp to celebrate. But you only comp the regulars when it presents an opportunity for them to show off their prowess to guests that they have brought into the restaurant.”
Need To Invigorate Sales? Take Some Tablets And Call Us In The Morning
Ruby Tuesday's is introducing computer tablets at tables for patrons to review menus, place orders, play games, and even pay the bill. The company is using the tablets to not only cut operating costs but attract families back to its restaurants when they fell out of favor with mom, dad, and the kids. What does that mean for your eatery? You might want to talk to an IT service to investigate the cost of installing a similar system at your restaurant. It could well reduce your overhead expenses, attract a new crowd, and create a buzz about your business.
Going Local And Organic
With the rise in popularity among young clientele for fresh and organic foods, even from fast food establishments such as Cousins Subs, the restaurant's response is ingenious -- be selective in what you promote as local and organic, like cheeses or breads, QSRweb.com reports. The concept appeals to all categories of patrons and can be tailored to any number of locations highlighting different produce and products.
Cod Fish Rising
Chefs are increasingly turning to cod to take center stage in a variety of dishes from traditional fish and chips to lightly grilled tacos, Nation's Restaurant News says. The popularity of cod in restaurant dishes has increased some 30% in just five years. A number of chefs around the country are now using the fish in a number of fanciful dishes, ranging from hot and spicy to delicate entrees with a French flair. According to Nation's Restaurant News, the beauty of using white fish is its abundance, so restaurants everywhere can take advantage of the free and local availability of a fish that patrons everywhere can enjoy once chefs have the chance to work their regional magic.
A new trend in dining in Washington, D.C. is going to the dogs... literally. Art and Soul in the D.C. Metro area caters to patrons' canines on the restaurant's patio, where man's best friend can sup on Bowser Beer and steak, a part of the canine menu on the pooch patio. According to The Washington Post, restaurants that cater to canine's are increasingly popular, and have developed promotions such as "yappy" hour, specialized menus, and designated seating areas.
Applebee's Now A Pure Franchise
Since acquiring the Applebee's chain of 500-plus restaurants in 2007, DineEquity Inc. has recently sold off the licenses to the last two dozen restaurants, making good on its pledge to transition from a corporate-owned business to 100% franchise-owned, The Kansas City Business Journal reports. In doing so, the franchisees, including American Franchise Capital with 56 of the restaurants, now own and operate nearly 2,000 Applebees internationally.
Corporate Diners Are Back
Based on second quarter results from thousands of restaurant receipts, corporate dining is up more than 3% over last year, Dinova reports, adding that restaurants processed over 4% more transactions in the quarter. At its current rate, corporate travel and dining are expected to surpass $300 billion this year. That would more than make up for the falling numbers of Americans who are actually going out, Dinova says.
Drones Over America
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the largest user of unmanned drones is agriculture. Drones “are now at the forefront of sophisticated technology in agriculture — in this case to learn whether low-flying specialized cameras can detect soybean aphids, one of the most serious insect pests in the Upper Midwest,” the Star Tribune reports. Calling it an exciting time in agriculture, Prof. Ian MacRae at the University of Minnesota, says that the use of drones is ushering in the dawn of precision farming, a practice that applies fertilizers and pesticides to where and when they are needed. Others are more skeptical, noting that it is too early to predict a revolution in agriculture drone technology. Only time will tell. Still, the promise of using fewer chemicals to grow our food makes both economic and common sense.
They’re supposedly coming. Thanks to a revolutionary post-harvesting process, hypoallergenic peanuts are about to make a global entrance, Food Quality & Safety reports. Dr. Jianmei Yu, a food scientist with North Carolina A&T is leading research on a patented procedure that is significantly reducing or virtually eliminating two key allergens from peanuts without affecting the flavor. According to Food Allergy Research and Education, the number of U.S. children with peanut allergies has more than tripled since 1997. Similar results exist for children in the UK and Canada.