Archive for August, 2014

The Arrogant Bean Shops Local and Loves It

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As an e-commerce company we deal with people from all over the United States. But we love being able to visit local customers and support their businesses whenever we can. The Arrogant Bean is a coffee shop that opened along Pittsburgh Road in Butler, PA, this May, not that far from our very own warehouse. So we took some time a few months after their initial purchase to see how things were going for them.

While talking with Shana, the owner, she expressed her passion for buying local. All of her fresh ingredients are purchased locally (except, of course for her Peruvian fair trade coffee beans). But it isn’t just her delicious ingredients that are local, almost all of the products she uses are, too. Including some of our furniture!

Shana says that her love of local started from her own childhood in a small West Virginia town. “We always bought local,” said Shana. The small business owner feels strongly about supporting the community in which you live. She seeks to continue that feel in her very own shop. “The girls that work here are wonderful. They know people by name and when they come through here they have their drinks ready. It gives them a personalized experience.”

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Shana wanted to support a local business and when she found us online she felt that it would be a good fit for her and her coffee shop. She and her husband were close enough to visit our showroom and were able to find the perfect fit for their store. They knew that they wanted black and orange chairs but weren’t sure if they were going to be able to find such a specific item. Fortunately we had some black Gladiator bar stools with orange vinyl seats and high top tables in stock. Upon reflecting on her experience, Shana said, “We were pleasantly surprised to see you had what we were looking for in stock! We’ve already shared you with friends!”

We love being able to make our customers happy and The Arrogant Bean has definitely made us happy with their delicious cannoli and easy access drive thru. So stop in and try their specials. Everything is baked fresh daily, and they post their next day’s menu on their Facebook page. While you’re there try out the furniture and give it a review here.

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How to Navigate Our Site

We love being able to offer as many products as we can. But we understand that because of the volume of products we offer our site is a little bit large. So to help out we created a video on how to navigate our site. You can watch it here and quickly find what you are looking for.

Six Ways to Use Reclaimed Wood in Your Restaurant

You may have noticed recently that using reclaimed wood is all the rage. It’s vintage, it’s trendy, it’s hipster. Not only is reclaimed wood pleasing aesthetically, but it is a green product. By re-purposing old barn rafters and flooring, you are giving new life to the lumber. If the wood was not used again, it would end up in a landfill and eventually turn to dust, or it would be burned sending smoke pollution into the air.

Some people might have concerns that the wood might not be as strong since it has been previously used. What you might not know is that reclaimed wood is actually a stronger product than virgin lumber. It also saves energy. It takes fewer natural resources to use reclaimed wood than it does to use new forested trees for a project.

Also it just looks really cool. With such awesome stories behind where the wood came from, how could you not be intrigued? So here are tips on how to incorporate reclaimed wood into your restaurant.

1.Table tops/Counter tops


One of the easiest ways to bring some reclaimed wood into your space is by using it for your table tops or counter tops. Reclaimed wood table tops bring a softer look to your restaurant, and can offer a rustic charm to your décor. The same can be said of reclaimed wood bars. When put with the right décor and can really make a place stand out. And it is one heck of a conversation starter.

2.Seats

 

A rust colored chair with a reclaimed seat.

A rust colored chair with a reclaimed seat.

If you want to match your new table tops or just are not quite able to afford an overhaul of your furniture consider purchasing reclaimed wood seat for your chairs or barstools. Reclaimed wood seat tops on a metal café chair can give you an industrial vibe with a twist. You are saving the environment one step at a time.

3.Wall paneling

 

Found on afflante.com

Found on afflante.com

If you have a passion for reclaimed wood and design, using reclaimed wood wall paneling might be a perfect fit for your space. Using wood paneling is not a new technique, but has recently come back in to style and add interest to a previously blank wall.

4.Shelves

 

Found on http://www.remodelista.com

Found on http://www.remodelista.com

No ready to commit to an entire wall of wood paneling? That’s okay. Consider using the same old barn wood for shelving. You get additional storage, dress up some wall space, and are doing your part to save the environment, clearly a win-win-win situation.

5.Display Cases

 

Reclaimed Display Case

Reclaimed Display Case

If you have any signature items or merchandise that you want to display in a classy way, consider purchasing a reclaimed wood display case. These cases are a great way to show off your items while adding a contemporary rustic aesthetic to your space.

6.Flooring

Probably one of the most common uses of reclaimed wood is to repurpose it for flooring. Doing this is a wonderful Eco-friendly option. The refining process is a little more complicated if you want to use it for flooring. Nobody wants to have uneven flooring. So the wood has to be re-milled and sawn into new smooth planks for use. A lot of times this process takes away a lot of the beloved characteristics of old barn wood that people love. For this reason some establishment owners may choose to also incorporate their reclaimed wood in to other pieces. This allows them to complete the look they are searching for.

So whether you are ready to make the leap towards an entire wall of wood or simply want to add a few accent pieces, reclaimed wood adds character and style to any venue. Not to mention the peace of mind knowing you chose an Eco-friendly option, all while fulfilling your dream of managing a beautiful bar or restaurant.

How to Set up an OpenTable Reservation Facebook App

These days, it’s all about your customer’s convenience. They want to be able to reach you, find your menu, see your location, take a picture of what they’re eating and drinking, and then post a review for everyone to see.

That can all be done through social media, because last year Facebook and OpenTable, a restaurant reservation website, paired up to introduce a reservations system on a restaurant’s Facebook page using their mobile device’s Facebook App. It’s perfect, because according to Facebook, more than 654 million users access Facebook every day from a mobile device. Facebook also says that it has 1.07 billion monthly active users who look at Facebook using their mobile device. Even if the Facebook user doesn’t have the OoenTable app on their phone, they can still see it under the tab and use it to reserve a table at your restaurant.

Setting Up an OpenTable Tab is Easy
Here’s a step-by-step guide to setting up your OpenTable Reservation tab on your Facebook page.

  1. First, you must be using OpenTable. If you aren’t, go here to set it up. Once you are set up, you’ll receive an OpenTable account number.
  2. Your restaurant must have a Facebook Business page, and you must be the administrator of that page. (If you don’t have a Facebook Business page, go to this link to learn how to set up one.)
  3. Follow the instructions for a restaurant with a single location or instructions for a restaurant with multiple locations. These documents will show you how to add reservations to your wall posts and then how to add the reservation application to your Facebook Business page. You will now have a new tab that will say “Book a Table” in both a desktop website and a mobile website. This is what it looks like on an iPhone:

OpenTable

 

Notice that the phone screen will show reservation times you already have listed in your OpenTable account, and that your customers can choose the date, time, and party size, just like on the OpenTable website. When they press a button with the proper time on it, their contact information that is already stored in Facebook will appear, which will allow you to contact them to confirm the reservation.

Promoting Your New Facebook Online Reservation System
Now that you have the OpenTable tab set up, you should start promoting it. Add some text to your website and write a blog about how this new tab works. On your Facebook page, tell your fans how easy it is to make reservations now—right from their mobile device! You may want to pay to have that post boosted so that it reaches all of your fans, and you can also direct Facebook to find potential customers within a 10-mile or more radius and within a certain age range. In your restaurant, set out cards or other marketing materials that will let your customers know that they now have a convenient option for online reservations.

This is one of the easiest changes that you can make—it shouldn’t take more than 45 minutes. If you don’t already use OpenTable, you may want to consider it. Integrating a reservation system with the Facebook app will help drive customers to your restaurant!

What music should be streaming at your bar or restaurant?

music in the restaurantMusic plays an important role in a customer’s experience. Therefore, it requires careful consideration. Figuring out what your bar’s or restaurant’s brand should sound like is a big decision.  Music choice can affect a person’s attitude (both staff and customers), sets the tone for the entire brand perception, and there’s even research that ties the type of music played at a restaurant on the size of tip customers leave.  Here are some pointers to help you find the right music fit for you and your customers.

1. Who’s Choice?Brand managers, staff on shift, or customers?  Most restaurants control the music as decided upon by the owners or brand managers. This proves to offer a consistent brand sound without anyone on shift needing to make a decision or change the settings.  But it is dictatorial compared to the other options.  Some locations offer their staff the opportunity to decide which station plays on which nights as a way to boost employee morale and show staff appreciation.  This may work well for retention and job satisfaction, but sometimes staff debate over which channel gets chosen which can negate the positive boost you were striving for. Not to mention the customer isn’t considered when the waitstaff and cooks are making the call.  Yet, other bars or casual cafes have digital jukeboxes or tabletop audio controls that put the musical power into the customers’ hands. Often viewed as an added form of entertainment for your patrons, this becomes a fun element in the customer experience.  However, not every customer will love every other customer’s song choice, and depending on the amount of songs in the library, customers may (knowingly or unknowingly) repeat songs that could annoy the staff.  Another approach would be to consider if you want to have ear bud ports readily accessible at the tables for customers to listen to their own personalized playlist.  Deciding who will manage the song choices will be your first step.

2. Genre
Finding the best music sound to match your brand can be very challenging, but most brand managers will be able to know it when they hear it. If you have a “theme,” music choice will simply match that theme. For example, country bars will play country music and a salsa nightclub will play salsa music. For most restaurants, it’s just not that clear. Knowing your target audience and their preferences is important, but so is knowing what perception you want people to have of your brand and what type of experience you want to create for customers based on all five senses.  Choose from mellow melodies (think coffeehouse vibe), classic American pop standards (great for multi-generational audiences), or more upbeat tunes (to draw a younger, fun crowd) based on your restaurant’s overall environment. A craft brewery might lean a little folksy and unplugged, whereas a city-center restaurant that attracts young professionals may sway more urban with some R&B or top 40 hits. You have to find what sounds like your menu, your decor, and your restaurant’s personality.

3. Volume
Heart thumping, head bopping, or hardly noticeable?  If you want to get your bar guests up on the dance floor, crank that music up!  Want to give your lunch guests the chance to hum along?  Then keep it at a moderate – but not overbearing – volume.  Just want some noise to fade off in the background?  Then turn the dial very low to cover up those periods of dead silence.  Another consideration is whether or not you want to make the volume variable in your different locations.  Many chains set a volume level that is consistent in every store, but when a customer complains that the music is too loud, you won’t be able to turn it down for them.  How much control do you want the waitstaff to have over the volume?  That’s another choice you’ll need to make.

4. Dayparts
If you are a bar and grille turned nightclub after nine, then your musical strategy will change.  You might be play today’s pop during mealtime then switch to hip hop and rap after dark.  Or, you may find that your breakfast crowd is older than the young families you often serve during dinner, so switching from American standards in the morning to more contemporary tunes during the supper rush may increase your customer satisfaction scores.  Knowing when to play what is an essential part of your overall music strategy.

5. Service
After you decide what music you want to play, you need to figure out the how. Pandora, Spotify, Mood Media, Sirius, and a variety of other digital music libraries offer businesses, like yours, special licensing to use in bars, restaurants, or retail locations.  You’ll need to pay for the appropriate licensing in order to be legally allowed to stream that music to your customers.  Finding the right music partner that fits your budget and your playlist needs is only half the battle. Then, you’ll need to find a way to wire (or go wireless) to speakers in the right locations throughout your establishment to create the best acoustic experience for people sitting at your bar, at your every restaurant table, on your patio, or dancing on your dance floor.

6. Live Entertainment
Music can be more than just some background noise; it can be an essential part of your brand. If you want to promote your bar or restaurant as the place to go for cool music, then booking some live entertainment can up the ante.  Find local or regional artists that match your brand’s musical style, or offer open mic nights to increase traffic to your venue.  Create a regular calendar of events, or just book live bands for special occasions.  Would you like a romantic troubadoor strolling through your dining room every Saturday evening with violin in hand?  Or an acoustic band playing on your patio every weekend this summer?  Would your guests swoon over a pianist or harpist playing near the entrance?  Make the entertainment work best for you.

So tell us, what’s playing on your restaurant’s speakers?