End of Summer Sale

End of Summer Sale

The outdoor furniture on your patio area is the first glimpse of your restaurant a customer gets when casually passing by. The atmosphere that you’ve worked so hard to create in your restaurant or bar should also translate to that glimpse. It could be the deciding factor of whether a customer decides to give your establishment a try.

So if your patio leaves something to be desired, check out our End of Summer sale! We’ve put your favorite outdoor furniture items on sale at our biggest discounts yet!

If you’re looking to furnish your restaurant or bar’s outdoor area, now is the time to buy. The beginning of fall is the perfect season to upgrade the outdoor space you already have and be ready for the new year.

Enjoy products from our Atlantic, New England (pictured below), Sydney, Cayman, Shipyard, and many more collections at prices you won’t see anywhere else in the industry.

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Whether you’re improving your patio layout or buying outdoor furniture for the first time, you can’t beat these high quality pieces at clearance rates. Choose from a wide selection of table tops, bar stools, and chairs.

All sale items are only available for a limited time while in-stock.  They won’t last long, so act now to make your restaurant dreams a reality with this summer sale.

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How to Market Your Restaurant to Millennials: Getting Social

Millennials

United States millennials span the ages of 18-35 and are a force to be reckoned with. This generation, also known as Generation Y, has surpassed the baby boomers (1946-1965) and now number 75.4 million.

Even with millennial numbers increasing, they don’t have control of the market at this point. Baby boomers still hold the buying power in today’s market; almost 50% of retail sales can be traced back to this group. But, millennials’ spending power will only continue to increase as they begin to earn more.

The true difference lies in how these generations communicate with businesses and brands. Generation Y is made up of extremely vocal consumers that are inter-connected and are not afraid to let others know what kind of experience they had at a business.

The millennial generation is often described negatively by their predecessors, but millennials are socially conscious and creative individuals that are becoming an increasing power in the market. This group’s craving for their peers’ opinions can often dictate many buying decisions, including where they choose to eat or drink.

Learning how to market to this rising group should be a priority for restaurant owners. By understanding the mind of a millennial, restaurateurs can uniquely tailor their marketing communications for this generation. Some call them self-oriented or naive, but millennials are changing best practices of the restaurant industry.

Social Media

Social media is an essential tool for restaurant owners to use when marketing to millennials. Restaurants that don’t use some form of technology platform to reach out and interact with customers seem out of date in today’s constantly changing society. Social media can give your business validity to those searching on the internet.

Celebrate what your business has to offer with your social media. Food is a visual commodity. Those who love to eat don’t only want flavorful bites; they want an aesthetically-pleasing experience they can share with others. Tailoring social media to your restaurant, guests, and mission can further brand your restaurant among many. For example, the “food and drink” category on Pinterest is the most pinned and browsed of all the categories and 90% of pinners are saving food and drink recipes on their mobile devices. This is a great indicator that these are items that people have interest in, so cater to it and get guests inspired by your selection.

You can promote events, menu additions, and even new staff on social media to give your business a face. Encourage your guests to check-in, tweet, post, and pin about your restaurant. Restaurants and bars that take the time to create quality content in their social media interactions can increase top of mind awareness and brand recognition. According to the State of Inbound Marketing, social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than traditional outbound marketing. Use that to your advantage!

Although it is on a larger scale, Chipotle does this very well and it is a brand that millennials want to follow on social media to see what they will post next.

Chipotle

Think of your business as a lifestyle brand that you need to promote. Consumers want to learn more about you and your company’s background and be able to relate on a personal level. Whether it’s about the latest rules on food safety or what your lunch specials will be, creative content about your business and its industry makes you an authority on the topic. Millennials appreciate the diverse but relevant subject matter and your business becomes a reliable resource your niche.

Do's and Don'ts of Social Media

Social Experience

Millennials are constantly branding themselves. By sharing their organic mango and black bean salad on social media, this generation expresses more than just what they’re having for dinner. When looked at closely, these actions say this consumer supports the story behind their food and that this is the type of restaurant they frequent.  Millennials brands themselves to coincide with the identity of the business. They are proud of their decision to eat out, and they want to share their experience with others. Of course, an Instagram feed is often a very skewed perception of reality but still presents a rose-colored lens for the rest of the world to take a peek.

Because of this show-all, tell-all way of thinking, millennials are buying experiences at restaurants instead of just food. Restaurants and bars take on a form of escapism where they can get away and have a gastronomic adventure. Going out to eat is seen as an event by millennials, so always try and exceed their expectations with your restaurant practices. For example, Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville has risen far above the standards of just being a restaurant chain; it’s now a lifestyle choice. This may seem like an overwhelming feat for a small business but it is possible! Rosarito’s Fish Shack (Williamsburg, New York) does a great job as a single location restaurant that brands themselves as a lifestyle. From its tasty Instagram pictures to the nautical exterior, Rosarito’s Fish Shack transports guests straight to the New England coast for a seaworthy experience.

Be proactive with your customer’s experience by training and communicating with your staff appropriately. A restaurant’s staff can make or break whether customers enjoy their stay. Take the time to show them the over-arching goal of the restaurant and your expectations of the team. How you train and communicate with your staff can be the difference between a good and bad experience for your customers. It is these little things that seem insignificant that truly add up in a consumer’s decision to visit a restaurant again.

Do's and Don'ts of Social Experience

Social Responsibility

Consumers can evoke change in the way that restaurants do business, especially consumers that are as vocal as the millennial generation. This generation is extremely cause-driven and wants to see their patronage to a restaurant have a deeper meaning.

Generation Y customers feel the need for a greater value proposition in purchases; they want to know they are making a difference in the world. As science and communication have improved, sustainable movements have been center on the world’s stage for the lifetime of millennials.

Eco-friendly activities strike a chord with this generation quicker than their predecessors. Millennials want the food and restaurant industry to share these same values.

To narrow down what works the best for your restaurant, you have to know your situation. What’s best for your theme, customer, and price point could be completely different than the restaurant next door to yours. This being said there are lots of ways to improve sustainable practices in your establishment. Use local meat sources, beef up recycling efforts, take steps to reduce food waste, find ways to reduce energy output, and visit farmer’s markets for produce.

Millennials are willing to spend more to support businesses that have these values in mind. Whether this way of thinking is selfish or not, Generation Y makes decisions that will increase self-esteem, which, in this case, works to the benefit of the environment. There are multiple ways for you to get involved in your community while also using it as an edge to market it to millennials. It’s not only social responsible for you to consider local and organic options for your restaurant, it could be lucrative as well.

Do's and Don'ts of Social Responsibility

Social Cause

The millennial generation is a melting pot of beliefs and cultural traditions. The widespread effects of social media have made them more aware of the world around them. This drives millennials to search for a greater purpose of community, which restaurants can get in on as well.

More and more restaurants and businesses are using cause marketing as a strategy instead of just an added bonus when you buy that certain product. This technique is attractive for both business owners to increase patronage and also millennial consumers that have deep interests in bettering the community around them. Cause marketing can inspire people to eat at your restaurant because you stand for something, especially if it is a cause already near and dear to that particular community.

For example, Rosa’s Fresh Pizza in Philadelphia started a movement where for a $1 you can prepay for a pizza slice for a homeless person. Rosa’s has championed single location cause marketing that has reached national recognition, with over 10,000 slices pre-purchased for others. This helped grow and aid the Philadelphia community to be more aware of others.

Another example of restaurants doing good (and through pizza) is the mission behind Malawi’s Pizza. This pizzeria’s “Pizza with a Purpose” tagline promotes the restaurant’s buy one, give one strategy. For each meal purchased here, another is given to a child in Malawi.

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Both of the restaurants are great cases for the success of what combining cause marketing and community can do. Championing a cause is a great way to actively earn free advertising but also allows customers to feel good about eating or drinking at your place of business.

Cause marketing campaigns can help your restaurant differentiate from your competition and do good deeds at the same time.

Do's and Don'ts of Social Cause

As they grow older and acquire more disposable income, millennials are becoming more of an influence in the restaurant industry. Restaurants need to know how to incorporate this demographic when making decisions. The connection that Generation Y feels for the world around them is unique, and it presents a great opportunity for restaurants to appeal to them. As these millennials become bigger consumers, it will be crucial for restaurateurs to craft their businesses to what is important to this generation.

Mobile Wallet Basics for Restaurants

Mobile Wallet Basics

Your smartphone is again evolving in usefulness.  At a point when you likely can’t imagine not having this device which serves as your phone, computer, planner, and social connection, it can now be your wallet.  In the restaurant industry, this concept poses a new adventure for owners because as with any new technology, the increased appeal to customers creates a massive adoption of the latest fad and convenience.  Your best bet is to become familiar with this concept and decide if you want to jump on the bandwagon to offer this new convenience to your customers.

What is a “mobile wallet”?

Termed “mobile wallet” or “digital wallet”, your smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch becomes the digital equivalent to that bulky wallet you carry around in your purse or back pocket.  Instead of pulling out a credit card to make a purchase, you just pull out your smartphone and pay with it.  This concept offers consumers two main benefits: convenience and security.  These benefits, as explained in a great article called Contactless Payments are Here. Are You Ready? by Brant Schelhaas from Vantiv Integrated Payments, are detailed as follows:

  • Convenience
    • No longer digging through a purse or bulky wallet to find cash or a credit card. Just grab your smartphone for payment.  Smartphones are more readily accessible these days than a card.
  • Security
    • More secure due to the fact that the technology uses encryption to help securely transmit data. Encryption is the process of encoding messages or information in such a way that only authorized parties can read it.
    • The customer never has to hand over a physical card therefore less likely to leave their card behind
    • Many contactless payment methods offer advanced identification technologies, like fingerprint readers
    • Payment networks that process contactless payments have the ability to detect attempts to use the same transaction information more than once
    • Contactless payments do not require the cardholder’s name to be passed between the card and the terminal
    • Many contactless payments do not use the customer’s actual account number when processing a payment

In addition to these customer benefits, Brant Schelhaas discusses the benefits to business owners.

  • Due to the benefits that are offered to customers, there has been and will continue to be a large increase in customer use. For those businesses that accept this new technology that customers are embracing, they will have a competitive edge over those who do not.
  • Contactless payments process faster than traditional payment methods. This means shorter lines and better customer service especially through peak times.
  • Contactless payments make business owners less vulnerable since they do not transmit the customer’s card information to the POS system.
  • Other benefits not listed in the article include:
    • Less wear and tear on your equipment due to no contact
    • Paper receipts are not required (unless requested) so there is less expense for you
    • More focus on selling versus handling cash or a card which can lead to more unplanned purchases
    • Less cash flow through your business

How do mobile wallets work?

A wallet begins with the download of a smartphone app that holds and stores debit, credit, and even loyalty card information for purchases in-store and through any virtual avenue.  Some smartphones already come with a wallet for your convenience but other apps can be downloaded if you prefer to not use the one on your phone. Below is a chart listing and offering basic information about some, but not all, of the best mobile wallets for 2016 ranked from bestcompany.com, an online company who reports real, unbiased reviews based only on consumer ratings, opinions, and experiences.  We have included the top seven of nineteen wallets listed in the article for your review in addition to some other apps on the list that are quite popular and frequently used:

Samsung Pay
  • Payment using a compatible Samsung Galaxy device
  • Swipe up to launch the app, secure with your fingerprint, and hover over the card reader to pay
  • Ability to add membership and loyalty cards
  • High-quality security
Apple Pay
  • Payment using an iPhone, Apple Watch, or iPad
  • Setup is easy with Wallet, preloaded on several apple devices
  • High-quality security with Touch ID
  • If your device is lost or stolen, use Find My iPhone or iCloud to stop the ability to use your phone for purchases
Android Pay
  • Payment using Android devices
  • Ability to add membership and loyalty cards
  • Setup is easy as it comes preloaded on some Android devices
  • High-quality security
  • If your device is lost or stolen, use Android Device Manager to instantly lock your device and secure it with a new password
Moven
  • Available on iOS and Android devices
  • Moven provides a digital bank account paired with an app to help you track your finances in real time and manage your spending
  • Can pair with your current Moven bank account and cards or you can link to your current bank account and cards
Level Up
  • Payment using iPhone, Android or Windows Phone
  • Get an instant digital receipt
  • Offers rewards for use so you can save money when you try new places and upon return
  • Engineered for security
PayPal
  • Pioneer of mobile payments
  • Send and receive payments using your desktop or iOS, Android, or Blackberry device
  • Compatible with lots of apps to make fast payments
  • Send a request for money with an e-mail or phone number
  • High-quality security
  • Free sign up, link bank info, debit and credit cards

 

Other popular apps that are frequently used:

Google Wallet
  • Send and receive money using select Android and iOS devices as well as on your desktop
  • Linked to your debit card or bank account
  • Google Wallet Fraud Protection and a PIN number for protection; high-quality security
  • If your device is lost or stolen, you can instantly remove access to your account at myaccount.google.com
Capital One
  • Payment using select Android or iPhone devices
  • Full access by Capital One credit card customers in good standing.  Capital One Bank and Capital One 360 debit card customers can use the app to receive real-time notifications, digitize gift cards, and view account balances and transactions; Wallet was designed to complement their app.
  • Instant purchase notifications and receipt capture

Once the chosen app is downloaded, the next step is to input personal payment information into the app for future use.  This can easily be done by following the instructions within the app paired with having access to your debit, credit, and/or loyalty card information as well as with your bank account number and routing number.

When loaded up with your personal information, your mobile wallet is ready to use.  Yet, not all stores/restaurants accept contactless payment.  Search on-line or in the app as to find out which establishments accept these types of payments.  Or, ask ahead.  You can also look for the contactless payment symbol within the store or restaurant as shown below.

To complete a mobile wallet transaction, the transaction requires two things:  a smartphone and an industry standard point-of-sale terminal that uses Near-Field Communication (NFC), a wireless connectivity technology that enables devices to communicate.  The smartphone just needs to be placed within 2-4 inches of the terminal and payment is completed.  Most smartphones are now equipped with NFC technology yet not all stores and restaurants have the equipment for this communication.  As time passes, this will most likely change.  With the concept of mobile wallets on the rise, customers are looking for convenience and speed with payments therefore requiring stores and restaurants to conform to these new payment trends.

How can my restaurant start accepting payments with mobile wallets?

With mobile payments on the rise, restaurants are looking to take the steps needed to adopt this new technology.  Here are some steps you can take to get the ball rolling:

Review your average sales traffic, customer base, and demographic area that you serve to determine if contactless payments are right for you.

Contact your payment provider to determine if your current point of sale terminal is already NFC/contactless payment-capable. If it is, ask your provider to enable it so that you can begin accepting contactless payments.  If it is not capable, find out what you need to do and the cost involved in changing out your equipment so that you have the ability to offer contactless payments.

Once the decision is made to offer contactless payments, develop a schedule of implementation and train your employees on how to use the contactless payment equipment and systems. Demonstration is always a great way to train so a mock set up to this process is ideal.  This would also be a great time to test the process to make sure that if any changes need made, they are done before offering it live.

When you are ready to offer contactless payments, it’s time to let your customers know! Send out an e-mail blast, communicate on all of your social media platforms, and order decals for the different payment methods that you are offering to put them up in your establishment’s windows.

These steps may sound simple but the process does take time and effort on your part to adopt.  Your current payment provider will be your biggest asset in this transition so working with them to assist you during your transition is key.

Will you jump on the bandwagon?

Mobile technology has really changed our lives.  Our phones have become more of a need than a desire because of the increased usefulness that it offers to our daily lives.  Because of this, you rarely find anyone without it.  When you add the option of using your phone as a wallet, an even closer attachment to a phone will be found and the benefits that it offers will guarantee it.  As a restaurant owner, will you jump on the bandwagon and accept contactless payments in your restaurant?  It’s a serious option to consider and one that offers benefits all around.

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How Your Restaurant Can Capitalize on the Pokémon Go Phenomenon

Pokemon Go Cover
Pokémon has made a strong comeback 20 years after its initial release in the form of a social media sensation, Pokémon Go. Nintendo first released Pokémon in 1996 in Japan where Satoshi Tajiri, the creator, and Ken Sugimori, the artist, were junior developers at. The game was later released in the United States in 1998 where it found great success. Now, the developmental giants at Niantic Labs, the Pokémon Company, and Nintendo have revived enthusiasts’ old love for the characters and friendly-competition with Pokémon Go. All players need is a smartphone with GPS and camera capabilities. Currently, Pokémon Go is the most profitable app on both the Google Play Store and Apple App Store, and Nintendo’s stock is going through the roof. At this time, the game is restricted to the US, Australia, New Zealand, UK, Canada, and Germany, with other locations becoming available day by day.

Pokemon GoSo how does this impact the day-to-day of the restaurant industry?

Many business owners may look at Pokémon Go as a distraction to their business. Something that will have gamers popping into their restaurant just to catch a rare Water Pokémon or Pikachu. They will roam the waiting area, pretend to look at the menu, only to leave and cause a distraction amongst the paying customers. It doesn’t have to be this way. Pokémon Go augments a user’s reality to include these collectible creatures. So why not be an asset to them? Pokémon Go can be used to your restaurant’s advantage; you just have to find what is the best method for your business.  Already there are businesses that are seeing increases in their numbers because of this game. Pokémon Go is a chance for restaurants to build community presence and increase traffic (and sales) by a fairly simple means.


Become a Pokéstop or gym.

A Pokéstop is where trainers can stock on items used to help them catch Pokémon and a gym is where you can train and battle against other players. As a business you should aim to become one of these. This is one of the ways many businesses are seeing huge spikes in foot traffic. There is a subset of the population that is actually preferring certain restaurants because of their interactivity with the game model. When you become either a Pokéstop or gym, your restaurant can then be placed on the map so players can find you. When Pokémon Go was initially released, Pokéstops and gyms were pre-determined which limited the availability in some regions. Users now have the ability to request that a location be activated. So no fear if you weren’t one of the original chosen. Likewise, those who are not fans of the game can request to be removed. Click here to turn your restaurant into a Pokéstop or gym!*

Food Truck Set up a food truck or stand.

Pokémon Go has elements similar to geo-caching, the biggest one being you physically must be in that location to play the game. If you have a town square or park that is open and already frequented by Pokémon trainers, this is a great opportunity for your business. A food truck or stand can be put in these locations to promote your restaurant. Walking around can certainly work up an appetite, hungry trainers will thank you. This can be especially useful if you have a small brick and mortar location and still want the opportunity to bring your name and products out into the community. Even something small like a coupon card that promotes your business being Pokémon-friendly could make a difference. The rewards can be great for restaurants who get out in the community and involved in this trend.

Make an experience out of it.

The more ways you advertise that your establishment is a Pokémon-friendly environment, the better. Create specials like the “Bulbasaur Bruschetta” or “Horsea Ham Sandwich on Rye” to entice hungry players that come for the creatures and stay for the food. Integrate your social media with Pokémon Go by making a rewards program that offers guests an incentive if they post a Pokémon Go pictures from your location and tag you. Enlist a coalition of businesses around you to host a Pokémon bar crawl or food walk. This way you can get a larger group on-board and have a wider range of resources to work with. Your avenue of creativity and level of involvement is completely up to you as a business.

Busy StreetUse Lure Modules to attract Pokémon and customers.

One of the most reliable ways to attract Pokémon Go players to your restaurant is to purchase a Lure Module. A Lure Module will bring Pokémon to a specific Pokéstop for 30 minutes, meaning any player at the particular location can catch them during that time frame. Restaurants can use these to appeal to trainers during slow periods of the day, with the goal being to turn them into customers. One Lure Module is 100 Poké coins for $0.99, making this a fairly cheap way to attract the Pokémon Go crowd. Other businesses are going so far as to letting their customers know when they’re going to be using a Lure Module. This gives trainers a definite location and time of when the Lure Module will be used so they can be prepared. If you have a big event coming up, let know your social media followers know a Lure Module will be in place so they can come and take part in it. Using this method of advertising, you can physically bring Pokémon players into your location and have them enjoy what you have to offer as a restaurant.

Pokémon Go allows restaurants and businesses to interact with their guests like never before. As a business, you will have to make the call whether this a trend you want to take part. If you have the creativity and time to plan on how you want to use this game to attract customers, it could be worth your while. Just remember, opportunities to drive massive traffic to your establishment don’t come around that often, and you have to take advantage of them when they do.

*07/25/16 UPDATE: Pokémon Go is no longer accepting submissions for new Pokéstops or Gyms due to an overwhelming influx of submissions. Changes such as trading, breeding, and more sophisticated Lure Modules are in the works for players as the app evolves. Check back as this is subject to change!

Meet the New Outdoor Collections of Summer 2016

Whether you’re looking to furnish an entire resort or a just need to fill a patio, we’ve added a quite a few new products to our outdoor furniture lines. Our goal is to educate you as a customer as much as possible so you can make the best informed decision. You’re also getting an exclusive sneak peek of a brand new collection that’s coming soon to our sites, so you will be ahead of the game with new trends. As establishments grow and want to offer more space and different atmospheres, outdoor areas are becoming increasingly popular. As a business owner, it’s important to know the options available to you and get inspired.

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Isotop Laminated Table Tops- A Versatile Option That Lasts All Year Long

In the commercial industry, it’s important that you can trust your table tops to endure heavy wear and tear. Introducing the Isotop Collection that’s perfect for a traffic-laden restaurant or bar. Our Isotop table tops combine aesthetics and science to create a durable, strong piece that is a great asset for your restaurant or bar. These tops are precision molded from a blend of resin, wax, and wood pulp to create a high density laminate. Depending on how you want your edges to look, the Isotops come in the Plus style, a 1 ¼” edge, and Sliq Compact style, a ½” edge. These tops are made to be strong with burn and scratch resistant surfaces. With the option of indoor or outdoor and a wide variety of colors, the Isotop table tops can be customized for your need as a restaurant.

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The Athena Collection- Classic Silhouettes with Modern Accents

Float on up to Mount Olympus with the Athena Collection this summer. A textured black powder coat offers a durable yet modern look, making the Athena great for a casual sidewalk café or a dining patio. To give this collection an ethereal, airy feel, slot detailing is used for a lightweight appearance. But these chairs are as sturdy as the goddess herself, each Athena chair, bar stool, and table is heavy gauge aluminum and rust-resistant. Even your staff will love the stackable features of the chairs for simple storage. Table tops are available in round for a more intimate experience or square that can easily be pushed together. To truly create a heavenly experience for your guests, umbrella hole grommets are included for straightforward umbrella installation. Let the Athena Collection bring a neoclassic atmosphere to your patio and increase your curb appeal.

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The Atlantic Collection- Poly Slats for Easy Maintenance

Bring this collection back to your coastal paradise for a unique look Appearing more modern and streamlined than its sister collection, the New England, the Atlantic Collection offers a stark contrast between the teak coloring and aluminum frame. Don’t let the teak-inspired poly slats look like maintenance mayhem; this collection is easy to clean and simple to store. You get all of the advantages of this outdoor furniture look like real wood without the nightmare of trying to take care of it. To keep your pieces looking happy as a clam on your patio all year long, the aluminum frame is powder coated in deep black to prevent rust and resist the harsh outdoor elements of seascapes. Whatever kind of furniture (bar stools, chairs, and tables), the Atlantic Collection has it all. With the range of bar stools, chairs, and tables that are low maintenance, the Atlantic Collection offers a seating solution that’s just as perfect by the sea as it is in the city.

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The New England Collection- Bring the Rustic Trend to Your Patio

A new collection is coming to port soon. The New England Collection plays on the rustic trend that’s been popping up all over patios this past year. Perfect for a seafood restaurant or cocktail hour on a terrace overlooking the bay, this trend is easy to integrate with your establishment. Poly lumber slats, inspired by the northeastern United States and reclaimed wood, used in conjunction with a powder coated aluminum frame to give off an urban edge. The poly slats of this collection make for easy cleaning and are reminiscent of coastal reclaimed wood, without the hassle of caring for them. The New England Collection is ideal for outdoor spaces with its durability and strength. With an array of bar stools, chairs, and tables, you’re sure to find what you need to bring the rustic with an edge theme to your restaurant or bar. This collection will be here soon, so stay on the lookout for this trendy set!

 

Now that you know a little bit more about the new outdoor collections, feel free to start your journey by going here.  If you have any questions at all about the collections, feel free to give us a call at 1-800-986-5352. What are outdoor furniture must-haves for your business? Which one of these collections speak to you and your restaurant’s theme? Leave a comment below and let us know!

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How to Increase Summer Traffic in Your Restaurant or Bar

patio

Days get longer, the sun gets stronger, and everyone is taking vacation days. After Memorial Day Weekend comes and goes, summer is here in full force. This can mean more traffic, different clientele, and new struggles for your business. But no need to stress, there is more opportunity to summer than what meets the eye.
This transition to a new season is an easy way for you as a restaurant or bar owner to include fun activities into the calendar. Summer is a great time to differentiate your business and show off your niche!
Here are some tips to start sprinkling a little summer sunshine (and beat your competitors to the punch).

1) Know Your Audience
Market to your audience smarter, not harder. It is essential to know who you are trying to draw in. Is it all out-of-towners that flock to you during this time or is it your regular crowd shuffling in? By doing a little research, you will have a better idea of interests that attracts this group. If summer also means tourist season where you are, be ready for traffic increases. Train the staff on this shift as well, explain the importance of making sure each guest has a memorable experience (in a good way). Understand what you have to offer and who you will be offering it to.

OutdoorSpace

2) Spatial Awareness
If you are the type of establishment lucky enough to have an outdoor area, it’s time to break out the patio furniture. The end of May is a great benchmark to start having outside seating available to guests, but it all depends on your climate. Not only does it allow guests to enjoy a nice breeze, it helps with overflow seating as well! Just make sure your furniture is up to par before you stick it outside in the inevitable summer storms.

3) A Dash of Summer
Got a fierce strawberry spinach salad you’ve been dying to put on the menu? What about a frozen drink that your bartender came up with by just throwing a mix together? Take advantage of what’s now in-season to put on your menu and come up with summer specials. This is a great way to show off food or drinks that are too expensive to routinely feature. Highlighting these items will present more of an opportunity to be noticed by your patrons, and therefore, ordered. Take it one step farther and get some feedback from these specials. Finding what works may lead to a new staple for your regular menu!

Music

4) Turn It Up Some
While you’re taking the advice of tip #2, use your outdoor area to host live music. Whether it’s a singer-songwriter, DJ, or local band, find an entertainer that fits your genre. Bringing an artist in is a great way to publicize all the extras your establishment has to offer and it might even turn into a tradition. This type of event may also bring people to your restaurant or bar that wouldn’t typically visit. You may be introducing them to their new favorite haunt!

5) Fiesta Like There’s No Manana
There are quite a few holidays that fall within the summer months; so why not celebrate them? Between Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, or just the fact that it is summer, you’ll be able to find a celebration that you can throw a party for in your restaurant or bar. Decorate, have themed entrees or drinks, sponsor a contest- the opportunities are endless! If your budget only allows for one of these types of celebration, no worries, just make it work for your restaurant or bar! Go all out without abandoning the main focus of your establishment or bankrupting your business.

Now that you have some tips to expand your summer plans, the key takeaway is to entertain your clients. Take this chance to have old customers remember why they consistently pick your establishment and invite new ones into an exciting environment to make memories. Variety is the spice of life; the same goes for your summer business when the seasons change.
Does your restaurant or bar have any summer traditions or any advice for starting them? Let us know in the comments below, we love to hear feedback from our readers! Check us out on Pinterest for more inspiration.

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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!

Pizza Parlor Seating: An Important Piece of the Pie

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Pizza parlors and pizza shops are everywhere.  You often see several of them in every town, seemingly on every corner.  This popularity comes not only from the convenience of picking up a few pizzas 10 minutes after you order or having it delivered right to your door in 30 minutes, but also from the decreased cost of feeding the typical family of four with one large pie.  For pizza shop owners, this presents one heck of a challenge of how to pull customers into to their shop and away from the competition.

I’m sure you’re thinking of the more obvious ways to pull customers in; coupons, discount prices, increased advertising, refining your recipes, and/or offering more menu selection.  Those are all great ways to increase customer sales.  But, let’s step out of the “pizza box” and look at something a little less obvious; your pizza parlor seating.  Yes, we said seating and we are referring to just what you thought…  chairs, bar stools, and booths…or a mixture of all three.  Who doesn’t love a comfortable seat while enjoying a scrumptious slice of pizza with their favorite toppings?  Nobody, that’s who!

Depending on your vision and the design you want to implement in your pizza parlor, there are many different seating suggestions that you can choose from and that we’d like to recommend.

Traditional Pizza Parlor Seating Ideas

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When you think of an Italian restaurant or pizza parlor, there are probably various visions that engulf your mind.  One of those mental pictures may include a more traditional style hosting tables covered with red and white checkered table cloths, matching linens, and a candle in a wine bottle as the table’s centerpiece all accompanied by wood chairs.  Decorating the room are grapevines and other plants in conjunction with photos of major attractions in Italy or family pictures on every wall.

If you’re sticking with a traditional style, we recommend both commercial grade wood seating and cozy booth seating.  Wood chairs and bar stools offer your customers an environment of warmth, an important element in the traditional style.  And, choosing items that are commercial grade which are designed for the constant use and abuse of restaurant seating will save you money in the long run.  Wood seating can come with many options including various stains, type of seat, back style, and even different frame styles.  You’ll see stain options in natural, cherry, mahogany or walnut, seat options in vinyl, plywood, or solid wood, and back style in ladder back, cross back, vertical back, or full vertical back. Some back styles may even mix wood with metal or host a unique shape or cut-out in the back to add a little more to the design of the chair.  Booths are also great for the traditional pizza parlor design.  They offer comfort and privacy and unconsciously invite your customers to stay a while.  Booths come in different sizes with many design options as well, all of which can be tailored to your own design plans.  You’ll see size options in single, double, and deuce.  You’ll also see design options in vinyl, fabric upholstery, plastic or laminate, as well as wood.  For the traditional feel, we recommend a nice wood booth or a cozy vinyl booth or a mix of both.  The wood will lend to the warmth of the environment and the vinyl will lend to the increased comfort your customers will enjoy.  If you can mix that option by choosing a vinyl booth with wood trim or a wood back and a vinyl seat, you’ll offer your customers the best of both worlds.

Modern Pizza Parlor Seating Ideas

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Maybe your vision of a pizza parlor is less traditional and more modern.  If so, your thoughts may bring you to an atmosphere with metal chairs and bar stools surrounding wood table tops, tiled floors, and walls of sporadic shelves filled with wine bottles.  Add to that a few rustic influences throughout with minimal extra design elements to complete your modern vision.

For the more modern style, we recommend commercial grade metal restaurant chairs with solid or reclaimed wood table tops.  The newest trend is modern design for the restaurant industry is rustic-industrial design.  This style hosts natural elements like wood or other organic materials and pairs it with metals and shiny finishes to complete the look. Offering a solid wood table top with a metal chair or a reclaimed wood table top with a metal bar stool that hosts a reclaimed wood seat would both be great ways to follow through with this design.  Wood table tops come in different stains like natural, cherry, mahogany, or walnut and made of different types of wood with popular choices being oak and beech wood.  A reclaimed wood top is one that is made out of salvaged wood from old barns, factories, and warehouses hosting a weathered look and a charm that no other table top can offer.  You can also get the look of a wood table with table tops that are less expensive but made of laminate, plywood, or resin.  And, don’t forget the chairs.  Metal chairs should be commercial grade and add to the look and feel that you so desire. Think about a black or silver powder coated metal chair, steel chairs, or a metal chair with a wood slat in the seat back to compliment the wood table tops.  There are so many metal chair designs out there.  You just need to select the one that is just right for your pizza parlor.

Economical Pizza Parlor Seating Ideas

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If neither of these are your vision, you may be envisioning a more simplistic, cost effective, setting.  Your visions may be a pizza parlor with wood booths lining one wall, a row of tables with wood chairs down the center, and an ordering station on the other side of the room.  All of this complete with a menu board on the wall and the fast food feel.

There are many pizza parlor owners who just want to keep it simple when it comes to design.  For a simplistic shop set up, we recommend plastic or laminate booths with laminate or resin table tops and a basic wood or metal chair.  Plastic or laminate booths might not be as cozy as their vinyl counterparts, but they do offer booth seating for a far cheaper price.  They also fit in with a clean line look without all of the “fluff.”  To add to the booth seating, try laminate or resin table tops with a basic wood chair.  When we say basic, we mean without all of the design elements that some chairs offer.  You can also opt to select a basic metal chair without all of the bells and whistles especially when budget is a concern.

Whatever design you go with or even if you come up with a whole new pizza parlor look of your own, making the right choice with seating is an important piece of the “pie.”  That piece will affect the look and feel of your shop as well as the comfort of your customers.  Customers want to eat great food with great customer service and have a comfortable place to eat it.  When all of that happens, pies will surely fly out of your ovens!

 

Restaurant Trends for 2015

If you own a restaurant, you may be wondering what trends will start to surface for 2015. Fact is, many “new” trends are actually continued from 2014 and are gaining speed. They touch on all aspects of the business, from food to marketing to menus to tastes.

 

What’s New for Next Year

If you’d like to try something new, take a look at this list and see if your customer base would embrace some of these ideas:

 

Photo credit: NatalieMaynor / IWoman / CC BY

Photo credit: NatalieMaynor / IWoman / CC BY

  • Locally-sourced Food. With the organic market taking off—you can even shop organic in your neighborhood grocery store—it’s not surprising that the farm-to-table movement has grown. Be sure that you’re taking advantage of produce, meat, and other food that is local to your area. Supporting these businesses means that your customers will support them too!

 

  • Promote Yourself. You can’t always rely on your customers to promote your business. But since as much as 70 percent of new business is gained from word-of-mouth, you can’t afford to lose your rightful share of the market. Pepper your restaurant with comment cards that survey diners, or ask them to leave a review on Yelp or Facebook if they enjoyed their experience.

 

  • High-tech Help. Most eateries have a Facebook page, Twitter account, or website. Your restaurant should be easily accessible—just a click or two away on someone’s smart phone or tablet. Use apps like OpenTable or Wait Time so that your customers can get in line for their dining experience before they even walk onto your property.

 

  • Healthier Choices. With so much emphasis being placed on health, it was going to affect people’s food sooner than later—and now it may influence the food that you prepare and serve in your restaurant. Some people prefer nutritious food to make up every part of their meal, instead of just having a salad at the beginning. Others may have dietary restrictions, such as gluten-free or sugar-free, while some cannot eat certain ingredients due to possible severe allergy reactions.

 

  • Mashups. When your customers watch culinary TV shows, they are starting to see entire dinners placed on waffles, bacon put on cupcakes, and potatoes layered on pizza. Don’t turn up your nose—it’s a great tactic to get new folks in your doors! Just a few people raving about a mash-up meal will have everyone else wondering what the fuss is about.

 

  • Bitter is Better. Everyone is talking about this—darker coffee and chocolate, hoppier beers, and vegetables like watercress, dandelion greens, kale, and endive are all coming back in style. Post a sampling on your menu and see if it gains traction!

 

 

With 2015 poised to be a successful year for our industry, we suggest that you consider a few new concepts to keep your customers coming through your doors, and of course, pick up some new fans.