Monthly archives of “August 2016

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Catering Done Right

Most of us have been there, we get into our normal daily routine and out of no where we get an inquiry about catering. For some these calls come easy but, for others we freeze at the idea of putting together an event and become nervous that we might fail.

Here’s the thing, catering is not scary and has the capability of brining in untraditional revenue to your venue. Just as you would every other day, caterers prepare, deliver and arrange delicious food for special events or occasions. Events that will eventually allow for you to market your venue as being versatile and there to make the customer exceedingly happy.

Catering various events, functions and venus not only give you the opportunity to increase your bottom line but, they serve as a place to promote your food, service and hospitality to a variety of clients who may not have been likely to walk into your facility. This improves internal marketing and increases the worth of your the business.

When out doing events you are able to showcase your best work, have photographers capture detailed story lines and capture the essence of your business. You have the ability to share photographs of the occasion and blog about the type of food required, the planning the logistics and the location itself. It allows you to become interactive with your clients and outline how you were able to plan a wonderful event and meet/exceed your guests expectations while showing the true splendor of the event.

Use catered events as a way show the different season in our area by using locally sourced foods when they are available. Brining the best food to your events and adhering to the seasons make your guests feel that all details are being considered and they will love having different elements and details that you place on their events. Remember no detail is ever too small.

So the next time you worry about that catering phone call or the email asking if you are able to service a wedding JUMP at the opportunity! Stay positive and focus on what you have for years, great service, great food and making your clients happy.

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Sangria for Every Season

Homemade Delicious Red Sangria

We have all been there, at a point in our lives where we want sweet fruity drinks, cocktails that we can sit around with a group of friends and enjoy the summers afternoon sun. Our go to picks may have been sweet wines such as Moscato, Lambrusco or the ever favorite Sangria. Today these libations have become increasingly popular again with Millenials and Gen Z consumer. Although considered be dessert wines, many of these consumers have been found to drink it all day making it an integral part of many recent restaurants’ wine lists. The general public has typically viewed sangria as a wine based cocktail for the warm summer months but, recently it has become an all-weather/ every season cocktail, with fruit, juice and spices that when done correctly can be adapted to any season and most importably any demographic basis. Drinking of course, in any sense is commonly seen as a communal experience which makes sangria an enjoyable treat in a group but, also creates a sense of community and makes the establishment offering the cocktail be seen in a very positive light and a place people truly want to be at! Considering we are about to go into the fall season, which is filled with delicious root vegetables and hot spiced wines, it is evident that Sangria is the mulled wine of summer and the young drinking demographic can’t get enough of it! Perhaps it is evident to some but, to those of you who are not promoting sangria on your wine list, you are missing a great profit opportunity. After all, when this younger generation goes out with friends, to enjoy great food and drinks they are likely to order pitches of Sangria because, they feel as though they are being offered a great deal. For the restaurant owners and manager, this “deal” helps your beverage cost and drive your bottom line. This is associated to the low cost associated with the production of Sangria and the high demand for the drink, it really can become a viable source of income. It is also a wonderful idea to make the sangria you serve to be individualized and customizable. We know it is always helpful to have delicious recipes to offer your clients so we want to supply you with a few:

Traditional Red Sangria


• 1/2 apple, cored, skin on, chopped into small pieces • 1/2 orange, rind on, sliced into small pieces, large seeds removed (plus more for garnish) • 3-4 Tbsp (41-55 g) organic brown sugar (or 3 Tbsp (37.5 g) organic cane sugar) • 3/4 cup (180 ml) orange juice, plus more to taste • 1/3 cup (80 ml) brandy, plus more to taste • 1 750 ml bottle dry Spanish red wine* • Ice to chill (~1 cup)


Add apples, oranges and sugar to a large pitcher and muddle with a muddler or wooden spoon for 45 seconds.
Add orange juice and brandy and muddle again to combine for 30 seconds.  Add red wine and stir to incorporate, then taste and adjust flavor as needed. I added a bit more brandy, orange juice and brown sugar. Stir to combine.
Add ice and stir once more to chill. Serve as is, or with a bit more ice. Garnish with orange segments (optional).
Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours, though best when fresh.

Traditional White Sangria


• 1/2 cup superfine sugar • 1/2 cup cognac • 1 mango, peeled, pitted and thinly sliced • 1 peach or nectarine, pitted and thinly sliced • 1 red apple, cored and thinly sliced • 1 to 2 plums, pitted and thinly sliced • 2 bottles (750 ml) dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio,chilled • Ice cubes, for serving


In a large pitcher, stir sugar and cognac until well combined. Stir in fruit slices until fully coated; let stand, refrigerated, overnight.
Add wine to pitcher and stir until well combined. Serve sangria over ice.

Champagne Sangria


• 3oz triple sec • 3oz brandy • 2oz rum • 2oz vodka • 1 cup strawberries, blended • Chopped up fruit as desired (apple, mango, tangerine, pear, peach) • 1 (750ml) bottle sparkling wine


Directions Prepare a large bowl or pitcher. Add in the Triple Sec, brandy, rum, vodka, strawberries, and fruit. Mix together well. Allow to sit for at least a few hours, and preferably overnight, so the liquids soak up the flavors of the fruits you have chosen.

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Restaurant Weeks and Why to Connect

Italian food

Restaurant Week.  Something that people buzz about, but what is it and what is the value to your business?  For the most part, a Restaurant Week is a period of time between one week and two in which local area restaurants offer a prix fixe menu of 3-4 courses for a fixed (typically low) price.  Price ranges are between $20-$30 for everything, and it’s a great chance for local diners to try a full, decadent meal at your establishment at a lower cost.

The cons of this model are pretty obvious, especially for fine dining establishments.  It’s just not a lot of money per course to cover food costs.  But done correctly, restaurant weeks can be an excellent marketing opportunity for your establishment to attract new customers and give a nice treat to your loyal following.  Here are some things to consider before signing up:

How is the restaurant week marketed?  Typically, a local media company will be in charge of your local restaurant week.  They may charge a flat fee OR have an advertising obligation to participate.  Because of this, as well as your lower profit margin, there may be a financial burden with participation, so ensure that the media company is going to market this well, and that it’s a popular and well established event in the community.  They should have, at least, a landing page where people can view your prix fixe menu, as well as some sort of advertising and social media campaign and/or TV spots on local morning shows to raise awareness of the restaurant week.  Also, consider the time of year.  You don’t want to lower your prices drastically when you’re in your busy season.  The best restaurant weeks will happen in the dead of winter or middle of summer – typically times which are slower (unless you’re a shoreline/seasonal establishment, in which case the exact opposite may be true).

When putting together your menu, think about food costs, but also consider what is a really good representation of your restaurant.  You don’t want to put out food which is not up to your usual quality – tempting though it may be – at that price.  This won’t give any new customers a good idea of who you are.  The main benefit of restaurant weeks are to fill your tables during a slow couple of weeks and also expose new diners to your establishment, so make a menu which is cost effective, yet highly appealing and representational of your overall brand.  In addition, consider offering add ons which can increase your overall ticket cost.  A bottle of wine for $30, or a $15 surchage for a lobster tail can raise the ticket price drastically per table and boost your overhead.

Finally, make sure you have the correct menu to market to restaurant week consumers.  If your average menu item costs around $10, for example, there may not be as much value in a $30 prix fixe meal for consumers.  In a situation like this, get creative – offer movie tickets or a beer flight, or a souvenir glass or t shirt, in order to justify the cost of the meal.  And be sure to advertise your offerings on your own Facebook and Instagram pages also!

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Shaken Not Stirred

The infamous lines by the legend him self, Mr. James Bond. A phrase that has been repeated in bars and restaurants sense its debut in 1958 and a cocktail that has become as famous as Mr. Bond himself. Even today, 50 years later, restauranteurs name and serve 007’s martinis in honor of the man who made the drinks famous, classy and above all dangerous.

But, what makes a dirty martini? What entices clients to purchase the drink repeatedly night after night? Does the name of the drink draw guests attention in? Or is it the perfectly balanced favor of vodka, vermouth and olive brine that make it perfectly delectable?

One thing is for sure, if you enjoy vodka this classic cocktail has a certain something about it which gives its consumers a sophisticated yet ahead-of-the-times vibe. Many times in todays bars and restaurants, when you see a group of young professionals walk through the bar and one of the friends orders a dirty martini, you better get ready to make many more. A trickle effect will more than likely occur and half will end up ordering the beverage. Its almost as though consumers believe they are seen in a brighter light when drinking a dirty martini with a group, and may slightly feel more mystical when one in hand.

Finding a bartender who can make this libation is with the correct proportions of ingredients, is not as easy as one would think. In fact it seems as though every consumer prefer their dirty martini, just slightly different, one “extra dirty”,  one “extra dry” and one may simple want that perfectly balanced cocktail they have come to love. Bartenders are able to play around with the cocktail, adding more or less of the brine, as every consumers has a different palate and distinguish what the standard amount for their cocktail should be.

Our consumers personal favorite seems to be the martini is the “Extra Dirty”. To make sure you are able to serve the classic cocktail, at its best we want to share our recipe with you!


  • 2 1/2 ounces vodka
  • 1/2 ounce dry vermouth
  • 5 teaspoons olive brine

Special Equipment

  • Cocktail Shaker
  • Chilled Martini Glass

1  In cocktail shaker, mix ingredients together over a generous amount of ice. Shake,                 and then shake some more..
2  Pour mixture into chilled martini glass, garnish with a few olives and sip away!


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Empowering Your Staff

It seems too often that the best new restaurant in town is slowing down or even worse closing their doors. Many times we automatically think the decline is attributed to the opening of the new restaurant down the street, or perhaps our clients tastes have changed. We find ourselves blaming others for our lose and become unable to criticize of ourselves find the true reason our venue failed.

One of the most important if not the most important aspects in our business, that we all to often forget is our internal customers. Those that make our restaurant thrive and succeed in all areas; our cooks, our hosts, our servers, bus boys, bartenders and bar backs. The individuals that are not only there for long hours but, are our biggest fans when kept engaged, trained and empowered. It is astonishing what a well trained team can do, especially when you set clear service goals, steps of service, and performance expectations is integral in the teaching process of instilling a consistent philosophy of service. Teach service every single day, lead and inspire your staff to focus on and improve performance issues on a daily basis.

Stay true to hospitality, and remember to pay attention to daily coaching sessions with particular areas of service you want to see improvement on. Also important to remember is that constant training in imperative, especially when taking into consideration that it takes 21 days to create and build habits, and it takes 21 days to slip back into an old one.

With this constant training your employees with know what is expected of them and have what they need to do their jobs and do them well. They want to feel comfort in knowing their managers have their backs, and will be willing to assist with any aspect of growing their own business. A positive culture in hospitality will thrive when and where the staff feels appreciated and supported.

Your staff wants to feel important and they want to know they are appreciated. Sometimes the simple pat on the back isn’t enough, Generosity goes a very long way with servers and staff member and will make your employees feel committed and compelled to do the best job they can! A simple gift card to a near by restaurant or wine tasting (that can be used as training, or a cooking class with your executive chef can truly make your team bond and feel a special connection.

Encourage your staff to be service professionals! Have them enjoy going above and beyond for your clients and always give them tools they need to make a difference with your guests. If you are able to build an organization that not only builds trust but, respect with your employees you will have a very rare opportunity to create an extraordinary experience for guest and employees alike.

So at your next pre-shift, empower your staff! Inspire them and build a community around impeccable service and make sure they are given the correct tools, are trained properly and amongst all over are a true asset to your establishment.