Archive for December, 2011

Is your bar or restaurant hosting holiday parties?

This is a busy time for families and friends to meet up at a local bar or restaurant to reconnect over the holiday season and at the turn of the new year. If you are a newer bar or restaurant or have experienced a lot of growth this year, it might be a little overwhelming to manage all these reservations or impromptu gatherings in your establishment. So, we are here to help! I’ve put together a list of tips to help your bar or restaurant survive (and succeed) this holiday season.

1. Review your menu. Do you have holiday favorites, like spiced apple cider, peppermint milkshakes, or sugar cookies available?  It doesn’t take much for even the smallest restaurant or cafe to add some special treats to their holiday menus this season.  If you are hosting many sit-down dinners, do you have turkey, ham, and pork & sauerkraut meals with all the trimmings listed?  You may suggest family-style dining to your larger parties and try something new that could be very pleasing to your guests!   It’s also a great time of year to test market some new ideas or try out some new seasonal customs.  For example, you could try a ‘decorate your own’ gingerbread cookie for the kiddies, ‘top your own’ hot cocoa (think flavored whipped cream, holiday-shaped marshmallows, or shots of holiday flavors),  ‘create your own’ cocktail, or just add in some new products or promotions you’ve been wanting to try.  Maybe you want to introduce a new dessert buffet or try new mixed drink concoctions. The possibilities are endless, and if it’s popular and well received, you could find a way to work it into your everyday menu.  You may want to add just a small holiday menu, dress up some of your regular menu items in a new way to fit the holiday season, or create a holiday option in each category on your menu (beverage, appetizer, meal, dessert).  Any way your chef, brew master, or caterer addresses the holidays this season, your customers will be thrilled!  Make sure any changes or additions you make fit your bar or restaurant theme and coordinate well with your entire menu’s cuisine (for example, French restaurants could introduce a cranberry crepe or drinking establishments could sample an adult eggnog beverage).  Don’t forget: Be sure to add any new ingredients or required kitchen equipment to your regular purchase orders.

2. Check your staff schedules. With large parties needing extra attention and more people in general coming and going from your establishment, you will need to bump up your salary budget this time of year.  Make sure you are fully staffed and ready to give your patrons the joyous holiday get-together they are anticipating.  We know that end-of-year spending might be tight, but cutting staff at your busiest time of year could prove very detrimental to service and quality of your customers’ experiences.  In addition, take advantage of the prelude to the busy season to re-train or remind your staff on best service practices, speedy kitchen and delivery times, quick and clean bus habits, and overall quality standards.  There’s never a good time to make a blunder at your bar or restaurant, but during the holiday season, you want to make sure everyone and everything is running smoothly. This is especially important if you are introducing new menu items or expect your bar staff to learn how to make new drinks or properly serve in new glassware.

3. Define the space. If you are not used to hosting large parties, you may need to look at your tables and chairs and reconfigure your space in order to keep larger parties all seated together.  Can your tables push together?  Do you need to add extra tables?  Would it be better to place parties in certain rooms or areas and keep the smaller parties in a different section?  Should you swap out your bulky restaurant chairs with more sleek backless barstools to help more people fit around the room?  Large parties will need to feel like they are the only ones in the joint and be able to carry on conversations from end of the table to the other.  Being prepared for a large group of people at your bar or restaurant is your best defense this holiday season. (If you need help with future bar or restaurant furniture needs to help define your space, we can help!  Let East Coast Chair & Barstool show you tables, chairs, and barstools that will eliminate your worry.)

4. Re-design the take-out process. Whether it’s baked goods, holiday party catering, or extra 6-packs of beer, your customers may be demanding more take-out service this holiday season.  Is your bar or restaurant prepared?  Is there a special wait line for take-out orders only?  Do you offer carry-out parking/delivery?  Are the orders being marked accurately, and do you offer in-house order tracking on an order board or customer tracking digitally?  Are your prep cooks ready to handle the bulk of orders and getting enough lead time?  Working out the details for a smooth take-out process now could save you, your staff, and your customers a lot of grief.

5. Address extended wait times. It’s busy.  Your customers are told it might be an hour or longer before they can be seated.  Depending on your establishment and the party, they might have young children with them.  What do they do?  Is there a special room for guests to wait?  Can you hand out holiday-themed coloring books in advance to any kids?  Do you have a bar and appetizer area, so they can get started nibbling?  What about music/TV/other entertainment?  Will a long line that’s visible deter others from stopping?  Will waiting guests get in the way of your wait staff?  Do you have enough seating for waiting guests, too?  Considering how you might address this in advance will be a great help to you when you have a crowd waiting.

6. Set the mood. Decorations. Music. Party gear.  It doesn’t take a huge budget to make a large impact.  Worried you’re crossing a politically incorrect line?  Stay simple and just add a little oomph to dress it up for the season.  If you are doing a New Year’s Eve special event, make sure you have champagne goblets (glass or disposable) on hand for a toast and some kind of party hat, noise maker, or favor for your party-goers.  You want to make your bar or restaurant feel festive, so people have a good time and remember you when they’re looking for a place to eat or drink the whole rest of the year.

7. Announce any special holiday hours. Closing for the holidays?  Or offering extending hours?  Make sure people know!  Post signs on every door, add your new hours to your Web site, let regular customers know via wait staff, and add your holiday schedule to your regular promotions. The one reason why people aren’t at your bar or restaurant this holiday season shouldn’t be because they didn’t know if you were open. And if the only thing someone wants this holiday season is your famous pie, let them know if you are going to be closed so they can pick up a slice ahead of time.

No matter what challenges your bar or restaurant may face from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, remember to stay jolly and show your patrons a merry good time!  Shake off the small stresses and feel honored that your neighbors want to celebrate in your establishment. No matter how big or small you celebrate this season, remember that it’s a special time of year for everyone.

Happy holidays to you and yours!

East Coast’s Favorite Things

In memory of Oprah’s Ultimate Favorite Things, we thought we’d keep the tradition alive in 2011, and put our own spin on a favorite things wish list!  I’ve taken a staff poll and have rounded up some of our most popular items from tables, chairs, and barstools.

Looking for some year-end spending opportunities?  We think you’ll love our favorite things:


1.
One of our staff loves this black with gold dot stacking chair so much she owns one!  Great for banquet centers, social club halls, meeting facilities, event venues, or other businesses looking for easy-to-stack and store chairs, this banquet stacking chair features a fabric upholstery in black with a gold dot and is designed with a solid gold frame of 16 gauge steel.  With an extra brace on the front, this chair is sturdy and durable.  It ships in 1-2 days of ordering and comes with a limited lifetime warranty on its frame.

On sale now, order your selection of these stacking chairs for just $21.99/each plus shipping.
Item # TCB-W60126-XY-017BLK

2.
This mahogany wooden ladder back bar stool tops the favorite things list of another one of our staff members.  Besides the owners, this staffer is our most veteran staff and has the greatest product knowledge of anyone.  The timeless style of this class wooden with ladder back bar stool includes a double support bar structure, a foot rest with kick plate, durable nylon floor glides, and a 7-year limited commercial warranty.

This bar stool will add some class to any bar or restaurant!  Order your shipment today at the low sale price of $59.99/each plus shipping.
Item # TCB-WB101-MAH


3.
Several of our staff voted for our new Steel City Collection.  While our East Coasters have added the tall-backed steel chairs and bar stools to their kitchens and can visualize them in their home’s man caves, our business customer base have also fallen in love with the Steel City.  To read more about our Steel City Collection, read our previous blog entry.

With a variety of chairs and bar stool options available, find the right item for you!


4.
Who doesn’t love a picnic?  When I see our line of outdoor commercial picnic tables, I think about all the fun times I had while growing up, of gathering around a table with my girlfriends at our local amusement park, sharing Potato Patch fries or Dippin’ Dots.  Give your outdoor park, school yard, ball field, or outdoor beer garden guests the same kind of warm, fuzzy feeling and memories of a lifetime by adding this park table to your casual outdoor dining space!  Not only is it heavy-duty and weather resistant, it is even graffiti proof! (Now you can’t beat that!)

We have coordinating outdoor trash receptacles, benches, and an entire line of outdoor commercial umbrellas for your entire outdoor area!

This model comes in several colors and is on sale for $629.99/each plus shipping today.
Item # TCB-LC-T46RO


5.
Looking for a cafe table top?  One of our East Coasters likes our resin table tops.  They come in cherry, natural, walnut, and her favorite, mahogany finishes.  Available in many different sizes, in both square or round, they feature a waterfall edge and are extra thick, proving durable in a commercial setting.

A 30″ round mahogany resin table top costs $44.99 plus shipping.
Item # TCB-W-RS30R-MAH

In an attempt to be humorous…or honest...when asked what his favorite product was, one of our owners said, “the one that sells!”  Who says you can’t give your customers a special gift for the new year?  Give your restaurant, bar, or other business a mini-makeover with one of our favorite things!  You’ll be happy, your customers will be happy, and our owner will be happy, too!

Whether it’s tables, chairs, barstools, or something different…we wish you a season surrounded by all your favorite things.

Are you from the Steel City?

When you are from Pittsburgh, you are proud of it.  You root for the Steelers, you eat sandwiches with slaw, and you actually know the names of the three rivers.  Located an hour north of the city of bridges, we are proud to be from western Pennsylvania.

That’s why we’re excited to introduce our new Steel City Collection!  This line of metal restaurant chairs and bar stools offers a lot of variety for your unique decor and can fit a classic, more traditional atmosphere or a trendy, contemporary design.  By adding wood elements to the metal frames, we’ve meshed the warmth of wood with the sturdiness of steel.  Available in either silver or black steel frames, give your bar or restaurant a more customized look by choosing color of wood back, type of seat (vinyl or wood), and color of seat.  This Steel City Collection is sure to please!

Driving in Pennsylvania, there are a lot of businesses that give the steel city a tribute in their name.  From Steel City Bars & Grills to Steel City Saloons, it’s clear to see bar and restaurant owners are proud of their city’s roots.  But a quick online search will prove that the love of Pittsburgh spreads all across the United States with establishments carrying on the steel city theme in places like Tallahassee and Los Angeles.  So what is it about this great city?

Whether it’s the Penguins or the Primanti Brothers, the steel city has a lot of fame and a lot of fans!

We hope you become a fan of our newest Steel City Collection metal restaurant chairs and bar stools, too.  The pieces offer a versatility that will look great in a sports bar or a family diner, in a fitness club’s cafe area or a corner pub.  You don’t have to be a steel city fan to like these trendy pieces of restaurant and bar furniture.  We ship to all 48 continental states.  But be forewarned: many of our friendly sales consultants wear black and gold, so you may want to skip the football chat if you root for anyone but our beloved Steelers.

We would be happy to talk more to you about our great Steel City Collection! Mention this blog entry and receive 5% off your order of $1,000+ in our Steel City line (Please note: this coupon has expired, effective September 1, 2013. Call us to discuss current pricing, please.).  Then sit back and enjoy your new metal restaurant chairs or bar stools for years to come!