News from East Coast Chair & Barstool

A Hard Dose of Reality at NRA 2016

NRA Show Session - Reality Gets Real with Jon Taffer & Chef Robert Irvine

In May, I had the opportunity to attend the NRA Show’s first crowdsourced session Reality Gets Real with Jon Taffer & Chef Robert Irvine, two of the industry’s most recognizable television personalities.  As a huge fan of both of their shows, and as the marketing manager for East Coast Chair & Barstool, the national furniture sponsor of Bar Rescue, Season 4, I had been looking forward to this session since it was announced by the NRA.

As I made my way into the packed Grand Ballroom at McKormick Center in Chicago, IL, I had no idea what to expect, but I was pretty sure that it would be worth the trip – and it didn’t disappoint.  What followed was an hour of candid, rock solid advice from two hospitality pros that have seen and done it all in the industry.  Without any of the showmanship and bravado of their TV personas, these two highly intelligent thought leaders gave insights into everything from evolving to stay ahead of the competition to why they are so hard on the bar and restaurant owners that appear on their respective shows.

Hats off to moderator Phil Kafarakis of the NRA, who did an excellent job of keeping the conversation moving while still allowing for plenty of give-and-take between Jon and Robert.

Below, I’ve summarized some of the key takeaways from the session.   If you would like to watch the recording (which I recommend), you can find it here.

Leadership

  • Leadership, or lack thereof, is the biggest factor in whether a restaurant succeeds or fails. Both Jon and Robert have around a 70% success rate in turning around bars and restaurants on their respective shows; they are able to achieve this level of success by turning failing owners into more effective leaders.
  • Both Jon & Robert said that the biggest failures they’ve had were caused by owners that never really accepted responsibility and refused to acknowledge that they were the reason their business wasn’t working. Both have witnessed owners undo all of the renovations and processes that they have put in place…before their shows have even aired.
  • Jon and Robert use fear as a motivator on their shows to get failing owners to take responsibility for their failure. Both say that nothing gets a failing business owner to take action quicker than appealing to the fear of losing their house and putting their family in serious financial trouble.

 

Marketing

  • A brand isn’t a logo, it’s not a color, and it’s not a marketing material. A brand is what we do.  Brands aren’t created; they’re built one guest at a time.
  • We don’t create food and beverage in this industry, we create human reaction. If a guest doesn’t react to your food, then you are going to be stuck in mediocrity.  Whoever creates the best reactions wins.
  • In Jon’s experience, if somebody comes to your bar/restaurant and has a flawless experience, the likelihood that they will come back is less than 40 percent. If they come back a second time and have a flawless experience, then the likelihood that they will come back is still under 50%.  However, if they come back a 3rd time and have a flawless experience, the likelihood that they will come back for a 4th visit is over 70%.  So, as operators in the hospitality industry, we should be marketing for at least 3 visits.
  • Millennials look at their phones about 260 times per day, so we, as marketers, need to find a way to get on that phone to communicate with them.
  • Jon believes that technology is bothersome when it gets between a server and a guest. He stated that people don’t come to your establishment for food, drink, or to watch sports, all of which they can get at home; rather, they come for the experience…and that is how you compete by giving them a world class experience.  So, don’t let technology get in the way of creating that experience.  Robert, on the other hand, believes that technology, when used effectively, enhances that experience.
  • Cell phones (technology as a whole) can be a killer of business, because they put all of the power in the hands of the consumer. It’s extremely easy now to get on your cell phone and tell a worldwide audience how your meal/server/experience was terrible.

 

Operations

  • About 70% of the restaurateurs that Jon comes into contact with on his show don’t even have data on their food costs, beverage costs, or overhead.
  • Both Jon and Robert believe that it is so important to know your costs and your weekly P&L. Robert gets daily reports on all of his restaurants’ profits & losses so that he knows what he made and what he lost.  “It’s my money, and I want to know where it’s going”.
  • Robert thinks that, as a restaurant, if you aren’t redoing your interior every 3 years, you run the risk of becoming stale and losing to the competition.
  • Robert believes that wallet-less payments will soon take over the industry. The technology is already there, the only thing lacking is consumer acceptance.  He said that servers will have a credit card that wages and end-of-the-night tips will be paid to, and the money will be made available to them immediately: “Uncle Sam will love it, and the servers will hate it”.
  • We are creatures of habit. We love to go to the same restaurants and eat the same food.  Excellence can only be achieved through consistency.  If you aren’t producing a consistently great experience, there will always be somebody newer that is.

One thing was clear from attending this session: Jon and Robert create successful restaurants by taking a top down approach.  If you are a struggling business owner, you don’t have to be on television to change your fortunes; you can learn a lot by watching this session and questioning your leadership, processes, and attitude toward change.  Don’t expect your employees to do it for you: any major changes are going to have to start with you.

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Get Ready Chicago…Here We Come!

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East Coast Chair & Barstool is heading to Chicago! Also called “the windy city”, Chicago is known for its famous Navy Pier; splendid architecture; and food like deep dish pizza, Italian beef, and hot dogs.  This great city is again hosting the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Trade Show from May 16th through May 19th at McCormick Place.

If you haven’t heard about this spectacular event, the NRA Trade show is one of the biggest shows that restaurant and hospitality owners can attend.  Known as the international foodservice marketplace, this show will have the latest and greatest products and trends in the industry, as well as provide every attendee an opportunity to develop their own business to keep their customers happy while still making a profit.  Looking for information on food & nutrition, operations, franchise, or sales and marketing?  How about sustainability, technology or workforce engagement?  The NRA show will have all that through various educational sessions where you can learn from the best in the business.  Plus, thousands of exhibitors line the halls with new products, technologies, services, and foods that any restaurant owner would want to check out.  As an added bonus, many celebrity chefs will be in attendance on the show floor holding demonstrations as well as providing information that you’ll want to know in educational sessions.  Chefs including Robert Irvine, Jeff Mauro, Geoffrey Zakarian, Fabio Viviani, Anne Burrell, and Rick Bayless will all be in attendance.  It will surely be a busy couple of days but with so many great resources in one place, how can you miss it?

All of us at East Coast Chair & Barstool hope that you will visit our booth and check out the amazing restaurant furniture that we are bringing to display.  From indoors to outdoors, we will have chairs, bar stools, tables, bases, and booths that you can get your hands on to see the quality that we are so proud of.  We will also be bringing some of our latest styles that have never been seen before.  We are excited to have you be the first to sit in our chairs and bar stools, check out our tables and bases, and explore the uniqueness of our reclaimed wood furniture.  Our booth staff will be ready for your arrival, so we’ll see you in Chicago!

Our Viktor Steel Restaurant Chairs looked “Groovy” Last Night on Restaurant Impossible!

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Last night on Restaurant Impossible, a popular Food Network TV show starring Robert Irvine, our Viktor chairs made an appearance!  And, they sure looked “groovy” in the newly renovated retro modern ristorante!

The show, which airs on Wednesday nights at 10/9 central, features struggling restaurants whose owners and staff are led by Irvine to improve the menu, organization, design, and internal relationships – which are often the cause of the chaos within.  Irvine has two days and $10,000 to turn each restaurant around, a challenge that he always seems to take head-on and with no excuses.  In addition, he leads a design team to complete a total makeover of the interior of the restaurant and, in every episode, the WOW factor is evident.

On last night’s episode (2/18/2015), Irvine visited Be’ne Pizza and Pasta Restaurant, a retro style establishment in Omaha, Nebraska.  At first, the dining room at Be’ne looked more like a cafeteria than a restaurant, with black banquet chairs and cheap red tables adjacent to an arcade filled with classic video games.  The designer on this episode, Taniya Nayak, took that retro motif and went with it!  She used our brushed silver Viktor chairs and filled them into the new dining room along with beautiful gray table tops and new banquette seating to offer a split booth feel.  She also added cream colored Tolix-style backless bar stools with bar height tables to offer more seating for patrons.  The lighting was so fitting, the video game pixel design on the main wall was perfect, and the mixture of colors gave the dining room that retro feel that Be’ne’s restaurant needed.  When the new Be’ne’s opened to service a slew of customers at the end of the show, it was great to see our Viktor chairs being used in this fabulous new atmosphere.

We are so proud to have our furniture make an appearance on this fantastic series!  Our sincere thank you goes to Restaurant Impossible and designer Taniya Nayak for making it possible.

Please leave a comment to let us know what you thought of the show.

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Vegas Here We Come!

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As an online restaurant furniture company, we don’t get many opportunities to meet our customers face to face.  But, we think it is very important to make every attempt to, especially when our customers are making such an important investment into their business.  We have found that trade shows are a great way to accomplish this.  And, GOOD NEWS…we have confirmed our exhibitor booths at two trade shows in Las Vegas this spring!  We invite you to attend these shows and visit our booth not only to meet our hard working crew, but also to experience the latest and greatest products in restaurant seating and dining.

International Pizza Expo, March 24-26, 2015, Las Vegas Convention Center

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The International Pizza Expo is a trade show specifically for the pizza industry.  Attendees include pizzeria or pizza-concept restaurant owners, operators, and managers as well as distributors and food brokers who sell to pizza shops or pizza concept restaurants.  If you fall in this category of business, here are some things to look for at this show:

  • First and foremost, look for East Coast Chair & Barstool! We have confirmed out exhibit booth and are ready to show you the latest and greatest in commercial grade restaurant furniture.  This year you’ll be able feast your eyes on our popular reclaimed wood table tops which seem to be the current trending item in restaurant design.  In addition, you’ll be able to sit in a variety of chairs and bar stools from our warehouse, including the steel Aero line as well as metal and wood seating from our popular Gladiator line.  In these lines, we will have an offering of different back styles, seat options, and frames to suit your establishment’s needs.  But that’s not all we will have.  We’re bringing more chairs and bar stools, a variety of table tops and table bases, and our newest commercial grade outdoor furniture items.  Come and see us at Booth #1615.  You won’t be disappointed!
  • A must see while in attendance is the World Pizza Games, a freestyle dough-tossing competition with five exciting events that you won’t want to miss.  These events include freestyle acrobatic dough tossing, fastest dough, largest dough stretch, fastest pizza box folding, and a pizza triathlon.  You will sit in amazement with eyes fixated on the uniqueness of these action packed events that you won’t want to miss.
  • New and only into its 3rd year, the pizza expo hosts the Craft Beer Pavilion.  Smaller brewers have recently noted strong sales growth as customers prefer these brews over the much larger beer companies.  And, what better drink goes with a good pizza?  Brewers will be lined up to share their tasty beverages and confirm their place in the beer market.
  • Keynotes, seminars, and workshops to help you grow your business as well as hundreds of exhibitors that offer the newest products and services for the fast paced pizza industry.

For more information about this show and all it has to offer, check out the event website at http://www.pizzaexpo.com/index.cfm.  We hope to see you there!

 

 

Nightclub& Bar Convention and Trade Show, March 30-April 1, 2015, Las Vegas Convention Center

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Celebrating its 30th anniversary, the Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show is an event that hosts products, tools, demonstrations, and current information for those in the bar and nightclub industry.  Attendees include owners, managers, and staff who work at bars, pubs, taverns, nightclubs or lounges as well as buyers, suppliers, DJ’s, chefs, security staff, marketers, and other related industry professionals.  Get ready for loud music, flashing lights, on-going special events and guests, and beverages galore as this is known to be the definitive on-premise beverage show.  Not only that, but here is what to look for at this action packed show:

  • East Coast Chair & Barstool!  We are excited to have again confirmed our booth at this high energy show.  We promise to bring you the newest products in restaurant furniture with a focus on durability and design.  We will highlight our reclaimed wood table tops and seat options as well as our steel Aero and metal/wood Gladiator lines of seating.  You will be able to sit in and feel our products instead of look at them online to get a firm grasp on the quality of the products we sell.  Check us out at Booth # 1019!
  • Main stage bartending competition events featuring top United States Bartender’s Guild bartenders from around the country competing to attend the 2015 World Cocktail Competition in Sofia, Bulgaria.
  • Special guests including Jon Taffer from Spike TV’s “Bar Rescue” hosting special events and offering a powerful keynote address.  Also in attendance will be Sammy Hagar for the ribbon cutting ceremony, a live performance by Nelly, and well-known DJ’s Tiesto, Avicii, and DJ Vice.
  • 70+ seminars to boost your business and 600+ booths offering products and solutions for the bar and nightlife industry.

For more information about this show and all it has to offer, check out the event website at http://www.ncbshow.com/.  We hope to see you there!

The Hidden Shamrock Chooses Rustic Restaurant Furniture for Remodel!

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When Sean Griffin, General Manager of The Hidden Shamrock, started looking at remodeling he knew he wanted to incorporate reclaimed furniture into the new design. He began searching for the perfect fit for his traditional Irish bar located in Chicago, IL. Griffin soon became frustrated in his search. “I couldn’t find what I wanted and I was really put off by other prices” stated Griffin.

Running out of options, he decided to try the National Restaurant Association Show, one of the biggest annual trade shows for the restaurant industry. It was there that he spotted East Coast Chair & Barstool’s display of reclaimed restaurant furniture and knew that his long search was over. “I loved your stuff and it was shockingly economical,” Said Griffin.

He was pleased to purchase our reclaimed wood table tops and metal chairs with reclaimed wood seats. These products were able to create the rustic, homey atmosphere that he was going for in his restaurant and pub. He was finally able to create the aesthetic that he had been searching for during his remodel.

When we asked him about his experience with remodeling, he told us it’s no picnic. Remodeling is a stressful process and needs to be a labor of love explained Griffin. Owners need to ask themselves if the change is going to enhance the guest experience better. If the answer is yes then do it, if the answer is no, then don’t. Thankfully he decided the reclaimed furniture was going to enrich the patron’s experience and he wasn’t wrong. “People can’t help but notice them,” Griffin explained.

As for aesthetics during a remodel, Griffin suggests keeping it simple. “Don’t go too trendy. Do it because you like it and feel a connection. Know what you want and don’t be afraid to ask for help.”

The seasoned general manager also recommends taking what you think you are going to spend and multiplying it by 1.3. Griffin acknowledged that the restaurant industry is full of surprises and it is better to be prepared for anything that might come your way.

pic3“I would use East Coast Chair & Barstool again. They do a good job and seem to have a good relationship with their Amish vendors who produce their quality reclaimed products.” said Griffin speaking of our Amish craftsmen.

If you would like to incorporate rustic furniture into your restaurants design, these products and more can be found on the company’s website www.tableschairsbarstools.com.

 

 

Pink Tables Add Pizazz at J.P. Licks

9CC2B69B-25AA-489D-AFDC-3B528E5AC895If you are ever traveling in the Boston area and get a hankering for ice cream, you need to visit J.P. Licks at one of their thirteen locations. They don’t just serve delicious ice cream but what they like to call “love in a cone.”

The owner and founder Vincent Petryk says, “Ice cream regresses you to be the best you can be. It’s strange that a frozen, cold, hard dessert can have such a warming effect on people.”

His love of people is what drew him to ice cream. Petryk was hooked into the business by his customers and tries to make sure each of his stores offers a great experience and gives back to the community it is in.  Many stores display work from local artists and offer services to local charities.

A few years after his initial opening the store added coffee to its menu. Petryk says, “Coffee is dessert for adults.” Coffee and ice cream are a great dessert combination which has allowed him to increase his customer base, while continuing the fun atmosphere of his stores.

“Coffee is much more complicated than ice cream, but ultimately, I’m glad we were able to see a void and fill it,” explains Petryk.

Having a happy, and playful atmosphere in the stores is crucial. Each J.P. Licks store has such a unique feel and East Coast Chair & Barstool wanted to provide this great company with furniture that fit their personality. So when Petryk came to us looking for outdoor tables, one of our sales representatives thought immediately of our Amish poly lumber table tops. The cherry on top was that these tables come in a bright pink color that is part of J.P. Licks’s signature look.4C069775-5602-41B1-A81B-1904F4FA33F2

Petryk loves the tables and says, “The pink tables stand out like a very pleasant thumb. They are beautiful, interesting, easy to clean, and look sharp.”

Poly lumber furniture can be made out of almost 100% recycled plastic and comes in a variety of fun colors. These colors are dyed the whole way through, so even if the lumber is nicked the color still shows through. Poly lumber is also very easy to clean, making them ideal for almost any restaurant.

We are honored when our commercial furniture can be functional and fun. It’s wonderful when our customers and their guests enjoy the experience of using our products

Petryk made our day when he said, “I appreciated the product, quality, value and the personal service was icing on the cake.”

East Coast Chair & Barstool Ice Bucket Challenge – Better Late Than Never!

You thought we forgot! Well we didn’t. We just needed some time to make sure that we could raise as much money as possible for this worthy cause.

Our Furniture is Coming to a Theater Near You, Debuts in Big Screen Movie

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When you head to the theaters on September 12, you may get a glimpse of our furniture on the big screen! Check out this article, and comment below if you’ll be catching our Gulf Coast tables and chairs in a theater near you!

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.