Archive for January, 2013

Be a Winning Bar on Super Bowl Sunday: Tips for Success

After weeks of anticipation, we finally know who will be dueling for the title of Super Bowl 47 Champ on February 3.  If you’re a sports bar, you’re looking forward to the biggest night of the year.  Here’s some tips for how you can ensure your bar is the best place in town to watch the final four quarters of the NFL season this year.

PROMOTE
Even if you’re not sure what your menu will be or how many drink specials you’ll have, yet, you need to let your own fans know that they can count on you for a Super Bowl blast they’ll really enjoy.  Start promoting it now, so as people make plans for the night, they include your hot spot as the venue of choice!  Just letting customers know you’re planning a party and that you’ll be open that night is a great start.

SUPER BOWL WORTHY TVS
Chances are, you have a TV or two in your bar already, but for the Super Bowl, you need to make sure every seat in the house has a large enough screen to catch all the action on.  If you need to rent larger screens or add additional TVs, you should contact your local electronic rental company today and get a plan for delivery or installation if needed.

DECORATE
Get in the spirit of things with some Super Bowl 47 decor.  If you’re on the East Coast, you may opt for Baltimore Ravens jerseys, pendants, or pom-poms.  If you’re on the West Coast, you will likely decorate in red and gold to show support to the San Francisco 49ers.  Somewhere in the middle?  Split your bar into sides or opt for a more neutral football-themed decor.  Anyway you do it, the Super Bowl is a special day, so you want the game watchers to walk in and feel special, too.  They probably don’t want to see your same everyday decor when it’s the big game day.

RE-ARRANGE YOUR FURNITURE
Does your bar furniture all point toward the screens?  Perhaps you need a few more bar stools or want to add some stack chairs or folding tables to make room for more guests.  Make sure your restaurant seating is adequate and ample before the toss of the coin.

CHOOSE A MENU
Offer game munchies that are easy to share while concentrating on the score. Create new specials themed around the day.  And decide what drinks you’ll be promoting during the game.  You may want to do a 49 wing special (in tribute to the 49ers) or a Raven cocktail that’s purple in color and yummy in taste.  Make sure the items are easy to understand, priced well, and somewhat simple.  You may also want to talk to your vendors about having chips, popcorn, or extra nuts on hand.

CONSIDER A HALFTIME SHOW
Sure, your TVs will be tuned to the real Halftime Show, but you could invent some entertainment of your own.  Whether it’s a live band, an interactive guest game show (maybe a play on the “Harbowl”), or football on the Wii™, offering something extra fun for your guests may be a great break from the hardcore fan shouting and also edge out your own competition in the battle of the Super Bowl bars.

THINK ABOUT POST-GAME MARKETING
Is there a fun way to collect some guest information during the game festivities, so you can re-market to them post-game?  If your bar does email marketing, you may want to target a message to fans about all the great stuff you have going on, even after the NFL season ends.  Want to try a direct mail piece, or how about going mobile?   Be sure to collect some information from your Super Bowl customers, so you can continue to let them know about your events, specials, and every day happenings.

Have you had successful Super Bowl parties in the past?  Let us know how your bar keeps your customers cheering all game long!

Beans & Barstools: Grand Opening of Our New Showroom

We are really excited to announce the grand opening of our new showroom, and we’re calling our customers and our community to come check us out!

We’ll be hosting a morning coffee break open house on Thursday, January 31, 2013 from 9 to 11 a.m., at our new facility at 966 Perry Highway.  The event will be catered by Beans on Broad of Grove City, and guests will enjoy meeting all of the employees (including me!), be entered to win a door prize, and each receive a small gift of appreciation.  The Mercer Area Chamber of Commerce will perform a ribbon cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. to welcome us to the neighborhood.  As many of our readers know, we recently relocated from a downtown Grove City location.

“We are thrilled to be in our new office and warehouse space!” exclaims Janene DiSanti, co-owner of East Coast Chair & Barstool.  “My husband, Dave, and I started this business in our Slippery Rock home ten years ago, and we have worked hard to grow what began as an eBay hobby. Today, we are fortunate to have a great team of staff and are excited for the opportunities our new, larger location is giving us.”

 

We are a national hospitality furniture retailer, and we are proud to be an authorized dealer of many national furniture manufacturers; plus, we directly import several commercial furniture product lines and have launched an in-house production.  Our staff of Amish craftsmen construct restaurant booths and solid wood tables from the workshop space in our new location.  Since moving in October, we’ve grown our in-house production, are now more convenient to the major interstates for shipping and receiving, and continue to expand our business.  Nearly doubling in staff size in 2012, we have 15 employees and ship to the 48 continental United States.  Selling to a range of business customers, from small corner bars to large theme parks, the company’s client base includes the Denver Broncos, the Mr. Hero restaurant chain, several Golden Corrals, and the local Springfield Restaurant Group, among others.

“The open house will give our new neighbors a chance to stop and see who we are and what we do,” explains Dave DiSanti, co-owner.  “I’m looking forward to meeting some new faces and letting the community know we are here.”

Click for our Beans & Barstools flyer.

2013 Restaurant Trends

Balancing good quality with low prices is going to be the main act restaurants must master in the new year. Here are the restaurant trends we’ll be seeing in 2013:

  1. FRESH, HEALTHY, & ALL OVER GOOD – Quality is being questioned at every turn these days.  People want made-in-house meals with fresh, locally grown ingredients.  They want less grease, less artificial sweeteners, and more health-conscious items.  And they want it to taste great too!  If you are an unfreeze and re-heat kind of kitchen, you may want to consider what small changes you can make or menu items you can add to make your products more competitive in today’s chef-inspired culture.  Form a relationship with your local bakery for freshly made desserts or start a special salad menu that promotes ingredients from your local farmer’s market.
  2. PRICES IN CHECK – All that locally grown food cannot mean higher prices on the menu, though – at least not obviously to your customers.  It’s almost a catch 22, so for successful restaurants, it’s about adjusting the profit margins on different items across your menu, negotiating with your food suppliers, or offering different types of specials and sales. You may opt to increase some of your drink items to offset food losses, or vice versa.  Experiment with the bottom line, so the customer isn’t feeling robbed at the register, but you’re still making money.  With the ‘fiscal cliff’ and ‘debt ceiling’ all over the news, you know money concerns are on everyone’s mind.  You may opt to do smaller, seasonal menus instead of committing to the same one big menu all year round in order to keep things fresh yet your budget in check.  Plus, it’s intriguing for guests to know that every time they come, they can try something new.  However, I do recommend keeping a few signature items that people will want to come back for again and again.
  3. QUICK & CASUAL – With fine dining down and quick serves rising in popularity, more people will expect quick (but high quality) food in a casual atmosphere.  They want to stop in after class with friends, or not have to worry about changing their kids’ outfits, and they want to wear jeans and caps everywhere they go.  It’s a more casual world today, and restaurants need to cater to that sense of being part of their customers’ everyday routines.
  4. FULL COURSE TAKEOUTS – You know the mom who works a full day (probably is running late), and still has to get her son to basketball and help her daughter with that book report that is due tomorrow?  Yeah, well she’s looking for a healthy and hearty meal for her family on the run, and your restaurant could save her day.  Restaurants who splurge on their takeout packaging and promote their ‘to go’ menus will win in 2013.  Include heating instructions and an after dinner mint for that added touch.  Launching a new takeout strategy may work well for the existing finer dining establishments who want to try to target a new more casual customer base this year.
  5. MOBILE FRIENDLY – As mobile continues to integrate into everyone’s every day, your restaurant will need to continue to adopt to its fury (whether you like it or not).  Make sure your restaurant is being found on mobile GPS units, your website is mobile-friendly, and your menu is easy to find and up-to-date.  Offer paperless discounts and be sure your point-of-sale system is equipped to record such transactions.  Use social accordingly, and integrate everything you do to promote your business with mobile in mind.  Keep your eye on new restaurant apps, emerging technologies, and evolving customer behaviors to come in the future.
  6. SPECIAL DIETS – Pick a trend and go with it.  Whether you want to offer Weight Watchers® points on some of your meals, provide gluten-free courses, or star your low carb items, making it easy for someone to read your menu and pick a meal that fits their special diet will do wonders for your reputation and improve your customer satisfaction scores.  You may want to do something simple – like separating your vegan meals – or go full out with sections dedicated to people who must eat pareve or who are on the Atkins diet. If you’re not sure what special diet most of your customers are committed to, ask them.  Have in-store conversations, host a poll on your website, or open up some diet-related discussions in online social media spaces to see what’s trending within your target audience.
  7. INTERNATIONAL FLAVOR – Asian cuisine has been popular for a few years, and maybe that’s why dine-outers are more experimental when it comes to international flavors.  Regardless of what new cuisine you introduce, try something exciting from a different part of the world.  South America and the Mediterranean might be good places to draw inspiration from this coming year.  Cautious?  Try it as a monthly special before putting it on the menu year-round.
  8. GO BIG, OR GO SMALL – America is torn deciding if bigger is better or if they want small sample-sized tastes.  Fast food and quick serve joints are doing phenomenal with their big dinner box type promotions, but also ranking high in popularity are dessert shots, small sized meals, and snacky kind of foods.  ‘Average size’ seems almost boring these days. So try something big – or something small – and see what portion size works best for you.
  9. SIMPLE FOODS INFUSED – Some of the best selling items are the most common ones.  But how can your restaurant do them better?  Whether it’s a burger, a meat-and-potatoes meal, wings, or even a sloppy joe, you can turn something simple and ordinary into something out-of-the-ordinary by infusing some unexpected ingredients.  Get creative!

Are you trying something new or innovative in 2013?  Let us know how you’re keeping things exciting this year.

PS: If you’re looking for a fresh new look this year, please remember that some new, fashionable restaurant furniture will spruce your space up. (And we can help!)