5 Restaurant Trends You Should Know About for 2017

The new year is the perfect time for new beginnings. Make sure your restaurant is starting 2017 right by staying up-to-date on the newest trends for cuisine and dining.

Here are 5 trends the diners will love in the new year:

1. New and Interesting Cuts of Meat & Artisanal Butchery

A ribeye will never go out of style, but there are more cuts of meat than the three or four we’re used to seeing on a menu. As diners become more adventurous with their pallets, new and interesting cuts of meat (from quality butchers) are looking to take a leap in popularity. Try sourcing a whole animal from your local butcher and create specials from a different cut of meat every night of the week until it’s gone. It’s a great way to cut back on food waste, ensure fresh, sustainable ingredients, and force your team to come up with some creative and inspired new dishes that will peak the interest, and the tastebuds, of your customers—and have them coming back for more.

2. Plant-Based Meals that Resemble Classics

More and more diners  are trying to cut back on their meat consumption, for health and environmental reasons, so plant-based foods are gaining  popularity. The trend doesn’t look like it’s going to stop anytime soon, but just because they want to cut back on their meat intake doesn’t mean people are ready to leave the comfort of their dining habits behind. Add a roasted beet reuben sandwich, a chickpea burger, or a lentil sloppy joe onto your menu and surprise your diners with how delicious and seamless their decisions to be healthier in the new year can really be.

3. Dark Chocolate for Breakfast

According to a recent study, dark chocolate has the ability to help brain activity and cognitive function—making it the perfect start to any day. Tap into your customers sweet tooths by offering them an indulgence they can feel good about. Add some sea salted dark chocolate to a fresh bowl of berries, yogurt, and granola and you’ll have a simple, delicious dish that will satisfy your customers and give them the cognitive function to remember to tell their friends.

4. Sour Beer & Chilled Red Wine

The craft beer & wine industry has been exploding for a while and there are no signs of stopping, but, as the trend continues, people will be looking for options that are more off-the-beaten-path. Sour beer isn’t new. It’s been around since the mid-90’s and chilled red wine has always been a preference for some—especially in Europe. But neither has found their way into the mainstream markets here in America quite yet. By adding some unique items and serving styles for your customers, you’ll be adding talking points to your menu that will set you apart and have your customers feeling cool and ready to tell their friends.

5. Fermented Ingredients

The demand for fermented ingredients is growing in more than just dining. Fermented vegetables, hot sauce, and drinks like kombucha are set to continue their popularity into 2017. Consider jumping onto this surprisingly delicious bandwagon and you’re customers will be reaping the health-benefits of bacteria while you reap an increase in sales.

Changing with the times is necessary for a long-term business plan and it can be done with some minor adjustments and without sacrificing your original intent. Incorporate these culinary trends in the new year and your customers will be banging down your doors to start their new year off right with you. For even more tips and tricks on running your local business, sent straight to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter below:

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The Best 2017 New Year’s Resolutions for Local Business Owners

2016 is coming to a close and this is the time to kick 2017 off on the right foot. As you look back on your triumphs and challenges throughout 2016, turn an eye toward the future by committing to these New Year’s resolutions.

1. Get Organized

As you prepare to do your taxes for 2016 look around you. Are you surrounded by shoeboxes full of crinkled receipts? If so, then you might want to focus this year on getting organized. You can do this the old school way with file cabinets and binders galore or you can take things digital and invest in a scanner. Either way, develop a system so that all of your particulars are in order and at the ready for whenever you may need them.

2. Delegate Wisely

Your business is not an island and no matter how hard you try, you can’t do it all alone. Make 2017 the year you learn to delegate. Not only will this take some stress off your shoulders but also it will keep your best employees challenged and engaged in their work. Creating opportunities for your employees to grow is great for your schedule and for retention. Invest time in training employees so that they can save you time and stress later.

3. Boost Employee Morale

Now that you’re relinquishing some of those responsibilities to your employees, spend some time on making sure that your employees feel appreciated. Throwing an annual party or offering small tokens of your appreciation can go a long way in making your employees feel like their work is valued. This will not only be good for your retention but for your overall customer service.

4. Focus on Marketing

At the end of the day, your business needs to get butts in seats and the best way to do that is to focus time and money on your marketing. You can no longer depend on word of mouth to bring customers to your door. 2017 is the year to get proactive. Learn more about how SinglePlatform can help you attract new customers this New Year.

Kick off the New Year strong by committing to these New Year’s resolutions and your business can’t go wrong. An organized, focused business with happy employees is a business poised for success. For more tips and tricks sent straight to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter below.

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SinglePlatform 2016: A Year in Review

It’s new year’s resolution time and as the SinglePlatform team plans out how to make 2017 our best year yet—for our company as well as our customers—we’ve been looking back at all the things that we were able to accomplish in 2016.  We’ve expanded in new and exciting ways and we want to make sure that all of our customers are aware of these exciting developments. Check out our below accomplishments to make sure that you are update on all things SinglePlatform and that you are getting the most out of what we can offer to you.

The New SinglePlatform Brand

In February we launched our SinglePlatform website and brand. We wanted our company’s appearance to match out mission and values, so we created a logo and website that exudes the hard work we give to our customers and the fun we have while doing it. Read more about that journey and what our new brand means to us.

We Got Social

This year we revamped not one—but two—of our social media channels to make sure that we are providing you with easily accessible resources to make your local business thrive. Check us out on Instagram and Youtube for the latest tips to help your business attract more customers today. Want to see how we keep things fun at the office? Check out our Mannequin Challenge.

Oh, Canada

Any business owner knows that choosing the right time to expand is essential to the health of your business. In fact we recently went into depth about what the best time to open a second location looks like. Well this year we took our own advice and seized the opportunity to help even more businesses get discovered online by expanding into Canada. SinglePlatform is proud to know be able to accept customers in our neighbor to the north and look forward to continuing to grow internationally.

Review Monitoring Released

We expanded our product offerings with our Review Monitoring Suite. Adding this to your SinglePlatform subscription helps you monitor, protect, and upgrade your online reputation.  Learn more about this new option.

WordPress Menu Integration Made Easy

We made it easier for our customers with WordPress sites to integrate their menus with their SinglePlatform. This plugin makes it easier than ever to streamline your menu updates so that any changes you make in your SinglePlatform account are automatically update on your website. Search SinglePlatform in your WordPress PlugIn database to download today.

Webinar with Main Street Hub

We teamed up with our friends at Main Street Hub to host our first ever webinar. We’re dedicated to helping local businesses in any way that we can so we’re focusing on making resources that provide you with useful insights into running a local business in the ever-changing digital world.  Check it out to learn more about how your local business can get discovered online.

Looking back on the year, we’re thrilled with the work we’ve been able to do to improve the SinglePlatform experience for all of our customers. We’re excited to continue into 2017 and keep improving. New to SinglePlatform? Learn more.

4 Trends for Spas and Salons in 2016

Going into 2016, consumers want—and expect—convenience and options. Consumers will be drawn to the spas and salons that can give them what they want. Make sure that your spa or salon is keeping up with these new trends if you want to keep—and grow—your customer list.

1. Mobile Services

According to Groupon, not only is the industry shifting toward mobile websites but also mobile beauty professionals.  Professionals from hairstylists, estheticians, and nail techs are expanding beyond brick and mortar storefronts and offering to meet their clients wherever it is most convenient for them. As a salon or spa owner, you may want to invest in some portable equipment to meet the demands of busy and convenience-craving clients. 

2. Online Product Ordering

As more beauty professionals are opting to bring their services to their customers, retail sales have had to adapt. Hair stylists can’t schlep their entire inventory of products with them wherever they meet their clients. Companies like Loxa Beauty allow stylists to receive commission on products that their clients buy online, allowing traveling beauty professionals to capitalize on the boost that retail sales give their business.

3. App Booking

In keeping with the convenience-loving client, app booking is rapidly growing. It is not enough to have online booking options; your customers want to be able to schedule their appointments quickly and easily on their smartphones. MyTime is a great company that partners with small businesses, allowing consumers to connect with small business services through their beautifully designed and easy-to-use app. 

4. Men

The beauty industry is no longer an all-girls club. While men’s scents and personal care only make up 11% of the overall beauty industry, due to changing attitudes about gender roles, the growth in the male beauty industry outpaces the growth for services catered to women. Men are the final frontier in the beauty world and 2016 is the perfect time for the ambitious salon or spa owner to voyage westward. 

When mapping out your business strategy for the rest of 2016, ask yourself how you will be addressing and taking advantage of these trends. The consumer base of five years ago has evolved with the changes in technology. Check out how SinglePlatform can help you keep up with the digital landscape of the beauty industry.  

How to Create a Small Business Social Media Plan

Now that you’ve decided which social media networks your business is going to join, it’s time to write out your social media plan. Why Develop a Social Media Plan?

You may be wondering why a social media plan is necessary. After all, maintaining a social media account seems simple enough—you post content, share other peoples’ content, and interact with followers. While this is true to some extent, if your posts and interactions on social aren’t driven by a carefully crafted plan, you may be wasting your time. In order to get the most out of your efforts on social, you have to determine what your goals are and how you’re going to achieve them. Your content will then support those goals.

What Should a Social Media Plan Include?

Each business’s social media plan will be unique based on its individual needs. However, every plan should contain the following basic elements as a foundation:

  • Audience: Who are you trying to reach? Are they the same people on each social network, or different?
  • Goals: What do you hope to achieve by using social media? Do you want to drive engagement and repeat business from current customers? Connect with new customers? Boost traffic to your business’s blog?
  • Networks: Which networks will you be posting on?
  • Content types: Will you be posting news articles? Videos? Photos? Quotes? Will the type of content you post be the same across every network, or customized?
  • Content mix: What percent of content will you post to engage and inform your viewers, and what percent will you use to promote your business’s products, services, specials, and events? The standard mix is 80% informative content and 20% promotional content, but your plan may vary depending on your audience and industry.
  • Posting schedule: How many times a day will you be posting on each network? What times during the day will you be posting? Who will be responsible for posting on each network?
  • Customer service policy: Who will be in charge of responding to customer service inquiries? How will you handle negative feedback or angry customers?
  • Testimonials and reviews: Will you share positive feedback from happy customers on social channels? If so, what format will this feedback be presented in, and how often will you share it?
  • Contests and ads: If you plan to run any social contests or ad campaigns, make sure to include those in your plan as well. You should include your concept, budget, and desired outcome so that you can benchmark your results once the campaign has run.

How to Optimize Your Plan

Starting off with a social media plan is a great first step, but as you begin to post regularly and see how your audience interacts with your content, you’ll inevitably end up adjusting your social media plan to maximize your reach and engagement. Make sure to go back and put it down in writing; you never know when you might hand off social media responsibilities to someone else, and you’ll want your plan to be as accurate as possible for that person to follow.

The Bottom Line

Before you invest time and energy into posting great content and engaging with followers on social, make sure you have a solid social media plan in place so that your goals are clear. Then, any time you struggle to come up with content to share, you can go back to these goals for inspiration and guidance.

SEO for Small Business

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a key part of ensuring that your business gets found online. But what, exactly, is SEO? What does it require from you, the business owner? And what’s the pay-off for putting time and effort into doing it? In this article, we’ll cover the basics of SEO for small business, and set the stage for the rest of January, when we’ll dive into more detail about SEO as it pertains to specific techniques.

What is SEO?

SEO is an aggregation of techniques used to improve and promote a website to boost traffic from search engines.

Why Does SEO Matter?

Search engines are the primary driver of web traffic, and the most common way that consumers connect with new businesses online. While search engines are pretty smart (and getting smarter all the time), they still need some help when it comes to serving up relevant data to searchers. If your web content isn’t optimized to help people performing searches related to your business, you’ll miss out on valuable traffic to your website, listings pages, and social media channels.

What Does SEO Entail?

There are a variety of ways you can optimize your website and online content to boost your visibility to search engines. Some of the primary tactics include:

  • Optimizing your website’s design, information architecture, and browser compatibility to make sure your content is easy to access on a variety of devices and platforms
  • Including appropriate keywords in page titles, headers, text, URLs, and image tags
  • Making sure your contact information (address, phone number, and email) is included on each page of your site
  • Adding meta descriptions and a robots.txt file to your website’s backend
  • Creating and regularly updating your business listings on all major search engines—Google, Bing, Yahoo, CitySearch, Yelp, etc. (Good news: SinglePlatform gives you the power to manage all your listings in one place!)
  • Getting links back to your website or listings (by submitting links to relevant websites and sharing content on a blog or social media channels)
  • Using analytics to track and improve your overall SEO performance

What’s the Benefit of Improving Your SEO?

The bottom line is that the time and effort you invest in SEO will help more potential customers discover your business online. The more you optimize, the better chance you have of being discovered. The better your website and listings experience is for viewers, the more likely they’ll be to take the next step and become a customer.

4 Ideas for Small Business Team Building

It happens at some point in every workplace. Sometimes, the individual components of a team you hired are doing wonderful work, but together, they just don’t work at all. Even if your team functions harmoniously most of the time, tensions and disputes are bound to arise. Rather than waiting for conflicts to come to a head, a better way to manage your team is to start building a cohesive unit from day one. Here are 4 team-building ideas that will help your employees form stronger relationships and work through issues more productively together:

1. Host a Themed Event

An offsite event organized to specifically address an area of conflict in your business can often help ease strained relations. For example, if your team struggles with following directions, a scavenger hunt might be a good exercise to work on deciphering instructions as a unit.

2. Volunteer Together

Working together as a team for the benefit of others is often a good way to remove tension and competitiveness from the equation. A change of scenery can also eliminate judgmental behaviors—if everyone is doing something out of his or her comfort zone, no one can claim to be the expert.

3. Celebrate Group Successes

Rather than focusing on individual achievements, team building should celebrate successes that the entire group has contributed to. Make sure to plan separate incentives or events for group performance in addition to individual work.

4. Start a Team or Club

Extracurricular activities can often promote camaraderie among employees, even those who don’t ordinarily get along. Think about what common interests your team shares and how you could start a team or club that brings everyone together. For example, if you know your staff members like to read novels, you might start an after-hours book club.

The Bottom Line

The stronger your team’s foundation is, the more stable it will be when storms come. Laying the groundwork from day one won’t prevent disputes from happening, but it will help you resolve them more efficiently when they do.

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