Top 5 Restaurant Industry Trends 2019

It’s about that time of year again. It seems like we were just talking about the Top Trends for 2018 and now another year has gone by! I’ve done some research on what the top food mags, sites, and experts are saying about the restaurant & food trends for 2019. And I’ve picked our top 5 favorites to share with you.

Read on for my picks for the Top 5 Food Trends for 2019. And of course, comment below to tell me what you think will be all the rage in the new year!

Wild, Wild Hummus

hummus with pomegranates and cashews

Hummus is already popular, but why not take the craze to the next level? National Restaurant News predicts that the chickpea explosion will happen in ‘19. Exotic flavors of hummus will surface in restaurants around the country. Hummus milkshakes? It’s possible; the chain Hummus & Pita Co. released a line of dessert hummus, proving that the legume isn’t only meant for salty or savory dishes.

Chickpeas will also take centerstage, piggybacking off the healthy eating phenomenon that’s inspired the replacement of brown rice with cauliflower and broccoli. Chickpea tater tots anyone?

I also predict that along with the popular chickpea staple, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines in general will continue to flourish. In 2018 we mentioned that ethnic foods and ingredients would be a big hit, and they have. Middle Eastern food has even made its way into fast casual, with chains like Roti growing rapidly.

The Mediterranean diet, with its incorporation of vegetables and proteins, is highly sought after for its freshness and health benefits. Plus, who can resist the flavors of tzatziki, tahini, lemon and dill? They’re some of my personal favorites.

In large metropolitan cities, like New York, stand alone restaurants of these cuisines are popping up all over as well. I definitely think the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean influences will continue to gain prominence throughout grocery and restaurant concepts, so stay tuned!

Purposeful Purchases

bakery filled with bread and two employees in the background

Just as people have become for eco-conscious, they want their favorite brands to be considerate to causes. Whole Foods predicts that philanthropy will be a focus for consumers this year. People will feel more loyalty toward those brands whose values align with theirs and in turn will be inspired to purchase more often from them.

Of course, we’ve all seen different food brands and other companies aligning themselves with a cause, whether it be pet food advocating for animal welfare or donations for children’s hunger. You can adopt this concept too in your own restaurant by supporting other local business or donating a portion of your proceeds to a charity of your choice. Interested? We wrote a blog on different ways you can give back.

Owning a business goes further than just churning out great food and earning a profit; in 2019 people will be looking for businesses that go above and beyond to get involved and give back. Get a head start by thinking of ways you can show your support the causes you care about.

All Oat Everything

glass of oat milk on a cutting board

You may have recently heard about the oat milk craze. No, I didn’t say goat milk – oat milk, made from steel cut oats soaked in water, blended, and strained, is replacing other nut milks that have been popular in recent years. With more and more people adopting a plant-based lifestyle, it’s no surprise that milk is being made from all types of non-animal products.

Although I didn’t see oat milk coming, I’m excited to try it. I’ve replaced most of my 2% milk intake with almond or cashew, but experts say oat milk has less water and more heaviness, making it a more sustainable option. It also has more protein than nut milk, but less than soy or cow’s milk. So, pick your poison!

I’m sure oat milk will be popping up as an option in coffee shops everywhere in 2019. Step aside, Starbucks coconut milk (just kidding, that is my favorite). I can even see it being a new blended seasonal drink additive at major coffee chains. When there’s a craze, these places capitalize on it big time. And don’t rule out grocery stores. Supermarket News says Quaker will be launching an oat beverage in January, so look out.

Another NRN prediction for 2019 is the return of carbs, which relates to the oat phenomenon as well. Dare I say that avocado toast will be replaced with hearty oatmeal bowls at brunch? (Made with oat milk, of course). Only time will tell.

Get Ghost(ed) Restaurants

wok of vegetables being cooked on a stove

Although this trend sounds spooky, it will actually improve efficiencies and customer deliverability. As online ordering and delivery continues to trend upward, there is a need for a quicker way to get orders out. Ghost restaurants, much like ghost writers, do the behind-the-scenes work to churn out meals. Ghost restaurants don’t have physical storefronts, instead they are food kitchens used solely for the purpose of ordering and delivery.

Ghost restaurants already exist, but there will be more technological advances coming. According to Forbes, automation will take over with the incorporation of robots and AI programs. These establishments are great solutions for areas where the rent is high (cough, cough, New York and LA) because owners don’t need a fancy dining room to attract a crowd. The business can defer the sometimes high cost of delivery services by keeping other costs, like rent, lower.

Ghost restaurants even allow multiple food concepts to exist in one kitchen, so diverse meals can be churned out in one space, improving efficiency even further. Plus, with more investments focused on the kitchen, there is opportunity for more customization of food items.

If you’re looking to open up a risky restaurant business without funding a storefront, this may be a good option for you. If you find success with your concept and cuisine, you can consider opening a full brick and mortar.

In the same vein, we predict that online ordering will continue to explode, catering to the millennial generations that are always on the go and always on their phones. Check out our blog on online ordering and deliveries to learn more about your restaurant’s options.

For the Love of Protein

plate of dinner with steak egg and vegetables

And by protein, I don’t only mean big, juicy hamburgers (although I personally am a huge fan). As I mentioned above with the oat milk, people are looking for more diversified protein sources, both meat and non-meat. Whether it means turkey, veggie burgers, or meat made in lab, we’ll be seeing more of these innovative dishes in the new year.

What exactly is lab grown meat? Some companies are using fetal cow blood (nope, not appetizing in description), to grow cells and culture meat within a laboratory setting. The cost is quite high, but are beginning to be cut down as technologies improve.

The Beyond Burger, which we’ve talked about before, is known for being plant-based, but still having that meat texture that even has a blood-like ooze when you bite into it. And other veggie-based products that have been on the market for quite some time continue to see success.

Of course, the hunt for more diversified protein sources is definitely influenced by the health crazes, fad diets, and fitness trends. When you lift things up and put them down, you need the protein to refuel and grow muscle. But, pounds of chicken can get boring after a while (sorry Tyson and Perdue). Look out for the use of these alternate protein sources popping up, and think about how you can incorporate them into your menu.

In Closing

flat lay of mediterranean food hummus pita and vegetables

So there you have it, my top 5 picks for the 2019 trends in restaurants and food. Do you agree with my predictions for what will be hot in 2019? Comment below with your thoughts and prophecies for what the new year will bring to restaurants.

5 Holiday Preparation Tips for Your Restaurant

‘Tis the season for more restaurant business – whether it’s a company holiday party or just a celebration among friends, your restaurant will probably be experiencing an uptick in busyness in the coming weeks.

Although it’s a positive to bring in more customers and higher profit, it’s also wise to be prepared for the rush.

To get you in the spirit, and to prepare you for a busy season, we give you 5 holiday tips to incorporate into your restaurant strategy.

1. Make Your Staff Schedule & Check It Twice

Santa’s making his list, and you should too. Plan ahead when it comes to staffing for the holidays. Plenty of people will be requesting off for travel and hoping for earlier hours, so make sure you’re ready to roll throughout the season.

If you’re old school like Mr. Claus, you may still be using a pen and paper to write out daily schedules. This is both time-consuming and unreliable – it’s easy to lose a paper schedule and forget when your shift begins.

Utilizing a staff scheduling tool will help to make your operations easier and will keep employees informed about when they’re expected to work. If an employee needs the day off, they can request it easily through the system and wait for approval on an app.

Plus, with the app capabilities, any changes in your schedule will be reflected in real-time, ensuring everyone is in-the-know about last minute changes. Learn more about employee scheduling tools at 7shifts.com.

2. Make Sure Your Cupboards Are Fully Stocked, But Not Overloaded

There would be tons of disappointed kids on Christmas if Santa Claus forgot to load his sleigh with toys. And you’d have some hungry customers on your hands if you forgot to fully stock your kitchen with necessary ingredients.

Making sure your inventory ready for an influx of customers is key – and you can check your levels with the help of a point of sale inventory tool, like Toast. Utilizing a tool within your point of sale system again eliminates the need for pen and paper or convoluted spreadsheets.

Plus, inventory reports will give you a clear picture about your food cost and waste, helping you make better informed decisions. Although you want to make sure you have all the ingredients needed to serve your customers, you don’t want to throw out rotten food or unused goods because you ordered too much. Learn more about the benefits of a POS here.

If you’re introducing a seasonal menu, you’re probably using in-season ingredients, like those we mentioned in a previous blog. Keep tabs on the availability of these items, which could be compromised by weather conditions or other outlying factors. For example, there’s currently an avocado shortage, which is proving to be a challenge for Mexican restaurants and other businesses that rely on avocados for many recipes.

If you do in fact find out there is a pomegranate or clementine shortage, you’ll have to improvise and make menu adjustments to substitute the ingredient in your recipes.

3. Make Your Guests Feel At Home With Holiday Decor

‘Tis the season for decorating! The days are cold and the nights are long, it’s the time of year when most people opt for ordering in instead of dining out. Although you probably (or should) have a plan in place for online ordering and delivery, you still want guests to come through your decked out doors in the winter months.

An inviting, cheerful ambiance will help to inspire diners to join you. I know I’m partial to sitting home by my Christmas tree during December, but going to a place that’s draped in holiday cheer might just get me off the couch.

Show off your own personal style by incorporating holiday decor that suits you and your restaurant. Hanging lights, a tree, and some ornaments can liven up your space without breaking the bank. Something as simple as a festive place setting can make a subtle impact.

Rolf’s German Restaurant in New York City takes holiday decor to the next level and is well-known for their over-the-top Christmas displays.

  Rolf’s
Rolf’s

Although this may be a little extreme for your establishment, you can take some cues and put your own spin on holiday cheer.

For example, the Refinery Rooftop is more, well, refined. Simple string lights and a few sprigs of greenery immediately transform the space into a winter wonderland.

  via In Good Company
via In Good Company

Whatever decor you choose, make sure it keeps with the theme and atmosphere of your restaurant. And of course, make it merry.

4. Ensure Your Staff is Merry & Bright

Having disgruntled Grinches as employees won’t heed great feedback from your customers.

The season is about happiness and merriment, so make sure your staff is putting their best foot forward throughout their shift. You should have greeters welcoming each guest, attentive waitstaff ready to answer questions, and a well-oiled system for getting food out fast, not only to please guests, but to efficiently turn tables.

Creating a solid company culture can help inspire your staff to be at the top of their game. Make sure that seasonal employees are well-trained, call frequent staff meetings to ensure everyone is on the same page, and keep everyone updated on any new seasonal menus or bar items. The better informed your employees are, the better the guest experience will be.

Show your employees you care by hosting a holiday gathering or putting on a Secret Santa event. Making work fun is a way to increase staff positivity and loyalty, and it’s great for your company culture.

5. Give the Gifts That Keep on Giving

Of course you want to fill seats at your restaurant during the holidays, but what about after the trees are taken to the curb and the string lights are put in the attic? The winter months following the end of the holiday season are quite dismal, but you should strive to keep business alive during that time.

Think of ways to encourage repeat business after the holidays – gift cards are a great way to do this. People are always looking for present ideas for family members, friends, and co-workers. A gift card to their favorite restaurant (yours, of course), is a more personal option than just a generic gift card or cash. You get the profit ahead of time, and the recipient gets to enjoy a delicious meal.

Don’t offer gift cards? There are other ways to get customers to come back. Ask them to sign up for your email mailing list to receive exclusive offers and coupons throughout the year – if diners hear they can get free stuff or discounts, they’ll be more willing to give you their contact information. This is email collection is a great addition for your marketing efforts.

Keep the holiday high going by releasing an event series for the happenings you plan on hosting in early 2019. Get patrons excited about what’s to come in the new year so they can mark their calendars ahead of time.

In Closing

The holidays are here – is your restaurant prepared? There are plenty of ways you can set yourself up for seasonal success and ride on the high of holiday revelry.

From tasteful decor to checking inventory levels, make sure your restaurant is properly prepared for the most wonderful time of the year.

OpenTable Inspires Giving With No Kid Hungry

The holiday season is a time of reflection and a chance to give back. And our partner, OpenTable, is taking advantage of the opportunity by partnering with No Kid Hungry. These efforts strive to end childhood hunger in the United States with the help of donations.

From November 27th-December 10th, diners can donate their OpenTable dining points to the cause. Every 100 points will provide five healthy meals to a child in need. Plus, OpenTable is matching up to 250,000 meals in order to increase the impact.

Does your restaurant use OpenTable for online reservation management? Encourage your guests to participate in the campaign by mentioning it in your restaurant. If you’re dining out yourself on or before December 10th, consider donating your points as well.

Last year, OpenTable and No Kid Hungry ran the same campaign; they donated over 1.25 million meals! Help keep the positive trend going by donating and encouraging participation from your restaurant guests.

How To

Diners can visit their OpenTable profile page to view their points and donate them to the cause. To learn more about No Kid Hungry, visit nokidhungry.org/onedollar.

December Restaurant Marketing Ideas

I know December is all about festive fun and holiday celebrations, but there are other ways you can market your restaurant this month as well! Read on for some ideas on how you can make your business shine this December (aside from the major holidays).

December 3rd – National Apple Pie Day

You can’t get more American than apple pie, and it’s the perfect time of year to celebrate the delicious dessert. Although many families enjoyed apple pie on Thanksgiving, the classic sweet never goes out of style. If you’re a restaurant with apple pie on your dessert menu, offer up a discount for the day. If you’re a bakery, you can also market an exclusive deal on apple pie for December 3rd. Mention the offering on your social media pages ahead of time and add it into a customer newsletter to spread awareness.

December 4th – National Cookie Day

Keep the dessert trend going by celebrating National Cookie Day on the 4th. Whether it’s chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, or sugar cookie, diners will be delighted with your sweet discount. What’s better than one cookie? Two, of course. Promote a buy-one-get-one deal on cookies for the entire day.

If you offer catering or have a take-out bakery, you can even utilize this holiday to prepare for Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s Eve. Give guests 10% off holiday cookie orders if they place their order on the 4th. This will incentivize people to get their orders in early so you can prepare ahead of time to meet demands.

You can even host a cookie-centric event. People love immersive cooking classes and workshops, so take advantage of the hype. Get creative and host a holiday baking bash or cookie workshop for kids; this is great for your social media content and will show off your restaurant’s holiday spirit. Plus, you can charge an entrance fee and let guests take home a to-go bag of the treats they made- win, win for everyone!

December 21st – Winter Solstice Celebration

Friday, December 21st marks the official start to winter. Host a Winter Solstice Happy Hour; introduce new seasonal cocktails and food items to get guests excited about the months ahead. You can even make it more interesting with a “beat the clock” countdown; drink and food prices will start low and increase by the hour, inspiring people to get there early and stay late!

If you want to make an event out of the day, put on a Winter Solstice Party. Decorate your restaurant, give out prizes, and set up a winter necessities station with hot chocolate and cookies for guests to feast on. Play some cheerful holiday music to set the tone and let your guests have fun.

Consider raffling off a prize that includes winter snack essentials and a gift card to your restaurant. This is more great fodder for your social accounts and will get people excited about returning to dine with you to reap the reward.

December Donation Drive

December is the month of giving, so why not participate? Do some research to see which local charities and volunteer groups are in need. Toy drives are always happening prior to the holidays and are a great way to get involved while brightening up a child’s day.

Encourage guests to donate to your restaurant’s toy drive by advertising it on social media and your website. Post flyers around town and outside of your restaurant to spread additional awareness and mention the drive to customers.

Ask for an unwrapped gift for local children in need and set up a bin for collection. From there, watch the donations flow in! You can post about your progress on social media, thanking participants along the way.

Participating in charity work helps your restaurant build a stronger bond with your community and shows that you care about giving back. It’s what the spirit of the season is all about, so get involved!

December 31st – New Year’s Eve

On the last day of December ring in the New Year with a large crowd! Although only 9% of Americans plan to go out to celebrate, if you market it right, you’ll inspire partygoers to spend the night at your restaurant.

Consider creating a prix fixe deal, which is quite popular for NYE. This can include a buffet, champagne toast, and restricted open bar for a fixed cost per ticket. People in search of a fun time are willing to pay the price, but don’t price your tickets too high that they’ll choose to celebrate elsewhere. Consider your profits as well as the willingness of guests to figure out a sweet spot.

An upbeat playlist, delicious dinner options, and a party atmosphere will help to make the evening memorable for attendees. You can even incorporate party favors, a signature drink, and special one-night-only food items to make it even more special.

In Closing

If you get creative and pay attention to the holidays that aren’t the biggest celebrations, you’ll be able to find unique ways to market your restaurant in December.

The month is filled with holiday celebrations, seasonal spirit, and family-bonding, but there are also plenty of opportunities for your restaurant to draw large crowds. With strategic pre-event marketing and solid execution, you’ll impress guests and increase profits.

Incorporate These Key Winter Ingredients into Your Restaurant Menu This Season

The winter solstice is a month away, bringing cooler temperatures and a desire for more wholesome comfort food. A delicious hot meal is just as comfy as your favorite cableknit sweater. Are you releasing a winter-exclusive menu?

Introducing a new seasonal menu boosts profits, so you should consider them to bring in new business. Plus, the release of a new menu is the perfect opportunity to incorporate some winter-inspired ingredients. Maybe you’re not dropping a new menu, but simply offering some monthly specials to keep guests interested. Whatever the case may be, consider using seasonal ingredients that are fresh this time of year.

Today, we’re giving you some ideas on cold-weather items to incorporate into your winter restaurant recipes.

All Hail Kale

The kale craze has been going on for quite some time now, so you might not be surprised to see it on the list. But, winter ‘tis the season for kale, so kale your guests shall have! Kale is best when it’s rich green in color. The leafy green has a somewhat bitter component, which will add an element of diversity to any dish. Plus, it can be used in so many ways! Raw, baked, or sauteed, you decide how you’d like to incorporate it.

Kale is a bright addition to a winter soup, can be devoured as a snack in chip form, or simply sauteed with garlic and lemon as a side to any entree. Plus, it’s one of those most nutrient-dense food items on the planet! One cup of kale has just 33 calories, but 3 grams of protein and is loaded with vitamins and antioxidants. If used creatively, kale will be the gift that keeps on giving at your restaurant this winter.

My Sweet Clementines

A clementine can add a pop of sunshine and sweetness on an otherwise chilly winter day. The citrus fruit is happily eaten solo by many, just peel back the skin and you’ve got a quick, healthy snack. But, when incorporating clementines into winter recipes, you may feel like you have a challenge on your hands.

Cut up a few clementines and throw them into a fresh spinach, goat cheese and walnut salad that will be perfect for health enthusiasts. Combine them with brussel sprouts, onion, and olive oil to create a vibrant vegetable salad. When it comes to dessert, you can use clementines to top a chocolate mousse or as part of a trifle.

It’s A Date

Date fruits are used in many dishes these days, especially vegan recipes. They’re sweet in nature, but that doesn’t mean they can only be used in desserts. Add a new dimension to your brunch menu by combining dates with oats and fruit, which will pair perfectly with a morning mimosa. When in doubt, wrap them in bacon for a deliciously savory and sweet appetizer. Or, get creative and combine them with the above ingredients to create a citrusy sweet kale salad. You can even offer a sweet end to the meal with date caramel candies.

In a Pear Tree

According to the 12 Days of Christmas, partridges hang out in pear trees this time of year, so why not pluck some for your menu? We mentioned comfort food before, and nothing screams comfort more than grilled cheese. Combine bacon, your favorite cheese, and pear between the bread to create an elevated version of the lunch classic. Pair the sandwich with a signature soup for the perfect combo. Roasting pork loin? Incorporate pears and potatoes to round out the meal. Or, create a dessert focused on the full-bodied fruit. Stick to the classic, like poached pears, or use the ingredient in a tart or a pie. How about a cheerful cocktail? Make your guests’ dining experience merry and bright by adding a pear martini to your drink list.

Don’t Take Pomegranates for Granted

Pomegranate season runs from October through February, making it the perfect winter ingredient. Pomegranate seeds add bright, crunchy bursts of flavor and are great toppers for overnight oats, puddings, and even ice cream.

Although pomegranates can be tough fruits to crack, they’re well worth the effort. They’re also a great addition to your cocktail repertoire to add a bit of holiday cheer. Pomegranate gin fizz anyone?

Spreading Winter Cheer

Winter is coming soon, and will last until mid-March (for some of us that’s a good thing, and for others, not so much).  Whatever your opinion may be, the winter season gives you plenty of time to introduce a new winter menu at your restaurant and advertise it for a few solid months.

With a new menu, consider incorporating unique ingredients that are fresh and in season. There are plenty of options to choose from, from kale to pomegranates, and many different ways to use each item. Get creative in your recipes and in the descriptions of your menu items to entice your diners and keep them coming back all winter long. Cheers!

Find Restaurant Success This Thanksgiving Weekend

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on what we’re most grateful for, to be with family, and to introduce the upcoming holiday season. It’s a notable time of year for many people, and some argue it’s their favorite holiday all year. The days following Thanksgiving have, in recent times, become part of the holiday weekend celebration. Black Friday is the largest shopping day of the year, followed by Small Business Saturday, which allows local businesses to shine.

As a restaurant owner, you have many opportunities to take advantage of these three days. Read on for ways to find restaurant success this Thanksgiving weekend.

Thanksgiving

Let’s start with the official holiday that will be taking place on November 22nd. Thanksgiving, besides being focused on family and friends, puts food as the focal point. Some families choose to serve a home cooked meal, but others opt to skip the fuss and dine out. It’s expected that 1 in every 10 adults will take their turkey day celebrations to the restaurant dining floor.

If you’re offering a Thanksgiving menu this holiday, you should already be making your customers aware of it. By now, you should have a solid list of reservations and should turn your focus to staffing, food supply, and the overall flow of the day.

Posting your Thanksgiving-exclusive menu online will help guests get acquainted with their options and ensures you’re reaching a wider audience looking to dine out on the day.

When it comes to the service on Thanksgiving, you should plan ahead and train your staff accordingly. If you have any specials for the day, brief all servers ahead of time. Get them acquainted with your holiday-specific desserts and drinks as well so they can upsell during the meal. Make sure you have enough people on staff to handle the crowds and plan for any last-minute call-outs.

Your guests have chosen to celebrate the holiday at your restaurant – and Thanksgiving is all about being grateful after all. Let your customers know that you’re appreciative of their business by giving them a little something extra. You can create take-home goodie bags for children or offer a discount coupon for the next meal. You can even serve a complimentary dessert to each table. Giving back shows that you’re thankful for the patronage and inspires customer loyalty.

If you want to get extra-creative, prepare your guests for their Black Friday shopping sprees by offering a to-go cup of coffee. If you have time, get some disposable cups with your restaurant logo on it to serve the coffee in. What better way to spread the word about your business than having customers as walking advertisements?

Thanksgiving is a time for celebration, reflection, and of course, food. It’s a golden opportunity to make your guests that are dining with you on November 22nd feel welcome. Go above and beyond their expectations to make the holiday truly special.

Black Friday

Millions of people brave the cold weather in early morning hours to score some Black Friday steals. Although your restaurant probably won’t be opening at midnight like some of the big box stores, you can be the fuel to get shoppers through the mid-day shopping slump. In fact, the most popular shopping time on Black Friday isn’t in the wee hours, but instead at 4pm. Prime time for you!

Statistics show that 174 million people hit the stores during Black Friday weekend. As a restaurant, you can join in on the fun. Offer discounted lunch meals and BOGO coffee deals to delight hungry and tired customers. Want to make it more interesting? Host a “beat the clock” event, where your prices on select food and drink items increase at the top of each hour. Market this ahead of time on social media to inspire people to visit you.

Bonus Tip: Make sure your gift cards and other items for purchase are on display at your registers and hostess station.

Online Shopping

The truth is, more and more people are turning to online shopping to complete their holiday purchases. It’s much easier to wake up and walk to your laptop than to travel to a shopping mall! Although the official online shopping day is on Cyber Monday, the sales typically start earlier and earlier each year. In 2016, people spent $3 billion on online purchases on Black Friday alone!

This cyber-shopping phenomenon doesn’t have to hurt your business. The shoppers still need their fuel. Offer discounts on delivery or special Black Friday-only coupons to be applied to online orders. Delivering meals right to these shoppers doors ensures they won’t miss a beat (or a sale).

Small Business Saturday

Created in 2010 by American Express, the goal of Small Business Saturday is to give local businesses and purveyors a chance to shine. Big box, commercial chain stores take center stage on Black Friday & Cyber Monday, and American Express knew there needed to be a day to honor the thousands of small businesses that exist across the country.

As a small business owner, this is the perfect time to get involved in your community and take advantage of the day. Promote the hashtag #smallbusinesssaturday on your social media channels before November 24th and keep your followers informed on any offers or discounts you’ll have.

You may want to consider discounting gift card purchases (or adding an additional coupon to every gift card purchase), discounting any other items you sell at your restaurant (food items, cookbooks, swag), or donating a percentage of every meal to a cause you care about. It’s the perfect time to give back to your customers, and your community, while marketing your local business.

Get involved with other local businesses and find opportunities for a partnership. This cross-marketing effort can help you spread brand awareness and create a community alliance. Maybe a local boutique is hosting a sale on Saturday – be there to sell coffee and snacks to shoppers. You can also hand out free swag items, like pens or mugs, with your logo on it. This is a great way to keep your restaurant’s name top-of-mind.

In Closing


Thanksgiving is around the corner, and following the holiday is a weekend full of fun and holiday season preparations. You can make the most out of each day by planning ahead, getting creative with your offerings, and most importantly, showing your gratitude toward your loyal customers.

Creating an inviting atmosphere to dine in on Thanksgiving, providing the energy hungry shoppers need on Black Friday, and bonding with your community and fellow local businesses on Small Business Saturday, are all ways to find even more restaurant success for the holiday weekend.

Have any of your own unique ideas for the holiday weekend? Comment below! 

TechTable Summit 2018: A Round-up of This Year’s Restaurant Technology Event

The TechTable Summit 2018 took place on October 17th. SinglePlatform members attended the event to discuss trends and learn more about the current state of the restaurant industry. We’re sharing this year’s highlights with you.

About TechTable

TechTable Summit celebrated its fourth year with this year’s event execution. Founded in 2014, the vision was to create a way to intertwine technology and the hospitality industry. The annual summit brings top leaders and entrepreneurs across these industries together to discuss relevant industry topics, products, and ideas for the future of hospitality technology.

This year’s panelists and speakers included influencers from Dig Inn, Bareburger, Toast, Vivino, Sweetgreen, Lettuce Entertain You, Resy, and Chipotle, among many others.

As a hospitality-focused technology company, SinglePlatform was in attendance to represent the online presence management we provide to thousands of restaurateurs. We believe in staying ahead of the curve when it comes to innovation, and attending the TechTable Summit is a great way to be part of the conversation.

This Year’s Hot Topics

When marketing your restaurant with effectiveness, knowing your target audience is essential. We discuss the importance of defining your audience here. This was also chewed over at the TechTable Summit regarding loyalty programs and targeted marketing strategy.

Let’s face it, in a world of hyper-connection, we have the world at our fingertips. Diners are craving interactions with your business that are more personal and less mainstream. At this point, personalization is arguably expected. How can you, as a restaurateur, achieve this while doing everything else you need to in order to keep a restaurant in business?

There are plenty of technologies that can help you zero in on customer behaviors in order to take action. We recently discussed the importance of customer retention, which included a discussion on the impact of loyalty programs. Customer order history can also help you tailor marketing to them based on what they like to order, when they dine with you, and etc. Turning these insights into impactful marketing can help you maximize your revenue.

GoParrot, an online ordering and marketing platform powered by artificial intelligence (AI), was a part of the TechTable Summit. The technology GoParrot offers is helping restaurants achieve this personalization. They segment customers by behavior so restaurants can send targeted marketing through loyalty programs, emails, and even text messaging.

If this all seems overwhelming from where you’re at right now, don’t be afraid. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Take small steps to becoming more educated about your customer base, research technology partners, and plan marketing campaigns from there.

This topic isn’t anything new or groundbreaking. But, it is important. If you’re still completing restaurant operations all by hand, you’re living in another era. There are tons of products available to you to help make your life as a business owner easier. Sure, it comes with a cost, but the ROI to your restaurant is arguably worth the upfront or recurring fees.

Although you wouldn’t necessarily think it, TechTable discussed that restaurant owners should focus on the automation of daily tasks that don’t provide immediate value to customers. Using these tools that provide an owner additional visibility into their business and operation will ultimately improve quality and customer experience.

For example, point of sale systems streamline operations from inventory to checkout and also provide analytical insights to the restaurant owner. From those findings, owners can make more educated decisions on everything from menu items and pricing to adjusting inventory levels based on popularity. Plus, using a point of sale system helps to get customers checked out faster to improve not only the guest experience, but table turns as well.

Emmanuelle Skala, Senior VP of Customer Success at Toast, was in attendance at the TechTable event to discuss “Beyond POS” with Adam Landsman of Sunday in Brooklyn, a segment that covered automation in the restaurant and the future of mobile pay.

You don’t need to implement every hospitality tool there is, but you should explore your options and see what makes sense for your business.

It will be interesting to see how, with the influence of AI and other advances, the hospitality technologies continue to evolve.

With 1 billion active monthly users, it’s no secret that Instagram is an extremely popular social media outlet. This was echoed in all but one session of the entire TechTable Summit. Attendees discussed how restaurants can leverage the popularity of Instagram to build a strong audience to tell their story.

Of those 1 billion monthly users, half of them are accessing the platform every single day. There have been 50 billion photos shared since Instagram’s inception and 100+ million more being uploaded per day.

Food photos are popular with Instagram users, so if you post worthy content, you may just see your follower base skyrocket. You won’t, though, if you don’t have a plan for social.

Unfocused and unappealing photos won’t get you many likes in a world where tons of delicious food photos can be discovered. Use high-quality images, appropriate hashtags, and witty captions to win people over. Don’t forget about the additional features Instagram offers, like IGTV and Instagram stories.

TechTable Summit is a future-focused conference held annually to bring minds in both hospitality and technology together. This year’s event covered a wide range of topics, from eliminating manual processes in your restaurant to leveraging the power of social media and targeted marketing.

An important factor in your restaurant’s visibility is your online presence, which can be achieved by getting your menu and business information in the places people are searching for new restaurants. If you haven’t yet heard, we recently released a few exciting new features, including our Holiday Calendar, Activity Stream, and Navigation Pack.

SinglePlatform, along with the other technology participants of TechTable, looks forward to the future of hospitality innovation through the use of products and tools.

To learn more about how we can help your restaurant’s online visibility, contact us today!

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