Winning the Restaurant Game this Super Bowl Sunday

Super Bowl Sunday is an unofficial but extremely popular American holiday. Aside from the football game itself, and the commercials of course, food and drinks are big players for game day. More than 110 million Americans will be watching the game on television, either at home or at an establishment that’s showing the event. As a restaurant owner, you should be prepared to satisfy hungry fans, because while only 15 million people in the USA watch the game at a bar or restaurant, all 110 million will be hungry! What is your strategy for feeding them?!

Here are three ways you can impress Super Bowl viewers no matter which team they’re rooting for.

1. A Specialized Super Bowl Menu

Did You Know…

After Thanksgiving, Super Bowl Sunday is the second biggest day for food consumption ALL YEAR LONG! This is an automatic touchdown for your restaurant.

Over 1 billion wings will be eaten, 8 million pounds of guacamole will be consumed, and over 50 million cases of beer will be drank.

If you have an appetizing Super Bowl themed menu and great deals, then you’re sure to attract customers. What’s at the top of the popularity list? According to the Chicago Tribune, chicken wings, buffalo chicken dip, chips and dip, and pizza take the top spots. Football fanatics want easy-to-eat, filling foods that invoke a sense of fun. Are you creating a special Super Bowl Sunday menu for the occasion? Consider adding these items to the list. You can even add your own personal twist to the menu in order to stand out from the crowd. If you’re in Philadelphia, a cheese steak inspired pizza may be a top hit. For New England fans, incorporating lobster into your mac & cheese or offering a fresh crab dip could be a catch. Make sure your special menu can be discovered online by super fans everywhere.

2. Can’t-Resist Promotions

It’s no secret that people love a good deal & Super Bowl Sunday is no exception! Are you running a promotion? Consider specially priced beer pitchers, two for one deals, and discounts on bulk finger foods like wings and mozzarella sticks. People tend to watch the game in groups, so be sure to offer deals that will be kind to everyone’s pockets. You can even make things interesting and offer a different special for every quarter. In the first quarter you can promote half priced wings, while the final stretch can be all about discounted domestic beers hailing from the competing teams’ geographic area. Another fun way to deliver a deal is a beat the clock strategy, where pricing on food increases with every quarter or half. Allowing your guests to play along can make the experience more exciting and interesting.

3. Devotion to Delivery

Although you want to attract people to your bar or restaurant location for the game, you should also consider the revenue you can generate by offering delivery. Some people prefer to watch the game from the comfort of their own homes, whether they’re enjoying it with family or hosting a party. Still, there’s sure to be food involved! During the Super Bowl people are looking for easy solutions to feeding a household of hungry sports lovers.  Offering special serving size options for delivery to feed large groups is a sure way to increase your average purchase price!  Delivery is a method made easy today with online ordering apps like ChowNow and GrubHub available with a few clicks on a keyboard. Do you have a strategy in place to provide reliable delivery to customers who want to stay home but enjoy your food, too? Delivery is a great way to maximize your business potential on game day, just be sure you have the capacity to handle the additional orders.

Super Bowl Sunday is right around the corner, and as the second most popular day for food consumption in America, your restaurant should be prepared to delight dozens of famished fans. Utilize these tips to win your customers over and have a successful Sunday. For help with getting your game day menu everywhere that matters online, contact SinglePlatform today.

Small Business Ideas for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. For some, it may be an exciting time of year, and for others, it may be daunting. If you’re part of the latter population, you are probably stressing out over what to buy your significant other or where to make dinner reservations. If you’re a small business owner, the holiday can mean something entirely different than candy grams and hearts – it’s a day that can be maximized for profit and foot traffic – if you plan accordingly.

In 2017, consumers were projected to spend $18 BILLION DOLLARS on Valentine’s Day. This shows that the holiday is a dream for businesses, so you want to think strategically in order to get a piece of the pie. Did you know…

In this blog, we give small businesses four ideas to help you feel the love from your customers this Valentine’s Day.

1.       Run a promotion: Everyone loves a good deal, especially when they’re trying to plan an impressive date. Have you considered running a holiday-specific promotion? Salons and spas can offer special packages just for couples with the goal of doubling foot traffic. Restaurants can offer prix-fixe menus for Valentine’s Day with special meals just for the holiday. You can even entice guests by offering a percentage off of their next meal for dining with you on Valentine’s Day (and this means they’ll probably come back again, which is great for customer loyalty). Throwing in a champagne toast or complimentary chocolates for each table can show you want to go the extra mile to give customers an impressive experience.

2.       Create a contest: Incentives can drive awareness to your brand and inspire people to interact with you socially. Valentine’s Day is all about relationships, so consider coming up with a contest that incorporates social media. Motivate couples to share their “how we met” stories for a chance to win a free dinner or salon service. If you’re a pet service, you can ask owners to share their favorite memory with their pet for a chance to win. Ask people to use your hashtag, tag your company on social media, and share their story. Then, choose one lucky winner to enjoy the prize. Running a contest gives the potential to create buzz and engagement around your brand and can inspire more people to follow you.

3.       Offer a unique event: In the era of Instagram and live-streaming, dinner and a movie may not be the most impressive date plan. Couples, millennials in particular, are always looking for the most unique way to spend a night out and share their experience on social media. As a restaurant owner, consider hosting a cooking class or series of them around Valentine’s Day. You can even host a paint and sip or floral arrangement class at your location. Giving an opportunity for couples to work together and take home a souvenir may help you stand out from the crowd. As a salon, you can host a “couples makeover” event where they can spend the day getting a whole new look. You can even consider hosting a meet and greet for singles (who says Valentine’s Day had to be all about couples anyway?) Thinking outside of the box to create an exceptional event can go a long way in attracting crowds.

4.       Make it memorable: What is the last thing your guests will remember at the end of their evening with you? For many, Valentine’s Day evokes a sense of nostalgia. For others, the holiday is all about hope and looking forward to the future. Everyone has a memory of the holiday as a kid or is looking to create new ones. Play off of the nostalgia by incorporating some fun. Treats for your guests to take with them can be a great touch, or even setting up a photo booth for couples can add an extra element of fun to the night. Consider creating a special playlist to serve as a backdrop to conversation or set up a complimentary chocolate tasting for guests. Valentine’s Day only comes around once a year, so it’s a great opportunity to add another level of creativity to your marketing strategy.

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, and with so much money being spent on the holiday every year, you want to make sure to maximize your potential to make a profit. Unique and creative ideas, special promotions, and the extra attention to detail can help you bring couples (and singles alike) to your location for an unforgettable night out. Hoping to get your business discovered online ahead of the holiday? Contact SinglePlatform to find out more about how we can help you stand out everywhere that matters.

2018 Top 5 Restaurant Industry Trends

It’s the first few days of a new year and many industry influencers have already made their predictions for restaurant trends in 2018. Multiple Restaurant Week events are taking off across the country this month, & we are interested in seeing what menu offerings will be available to diners everywhere. We’ve observed trend forecasts from a variety of sources to come up with our Top 5 Trend List of 2018.

See our picks below & weigh in on what you think will be the biggest hits this year.

1. Ethnic-inspired ingredients: With the rise of culinary intricacy and a passion for travel, palates are adapting to different flavors from around the world. Gone are the days of satisfaction from a plain hamburger with lettuce and tomato. Foodies are looking for a more exciting offering that use ingredients inspired by unique places across the globe. Restaurant.org predicts that ethnic cuisine will be prominent in everything from kid’s menus to spices and condiments. We agree that diverse culture will have a large influence of what are on menus this year.

2. Good food that’s good for you: It’s no secret that Americans have been on a bit of a health kick in the past few years. We’ve seen a rise in veganism (with over 1.5 million Americans over the age of 17 identifying as vegan), ethical eating habits, and a focus on organic ingredients. This year, we believe we’ll see this trend go a step further with adding prebiotics and probiotics to food options and using food as medicine. Offering meals that taste great and are good for your gut is sure to attract health conscious diners everywhere.

3. Hyper-locally sourced foods: Consumers want the food that you’re serving them to come from your backyard—literally. Locally sourced ingredients can be a big hit for your restaurant’s approach in 2018 because they scream freshness and evoke a sense of trust (they’ll find peace in knowing exactly where their dinner is coming from). Have you considered the ingredients that you’re using and how you can potentially grow them yourself? Offering a menu of items sourced from your own garden may attract even more customers to your door. Olmsted of Brooklyn planted their own garden behind their dining facility in Prospect Heights, proving that NYC isn’t just a concrete jungle, but a fresh food sanctuary.

4. Waste not, want not: Sustainability is key in today’s eco-conscious society. Sadly, about 1/3 of all food intended for consumption ends up being wasted or lost. It’s predicted by Whole Foods that cooks everywhere will be cutting back on their food waste and instead recycling it for creative use. Utilizing every part of meat and vegetables will help to mitigate this issue in order to help save the environment and get the most out of ingredients. Some restaurants that are right in our neighborhood have even started utilizing this philosophy on their menus. Take Graffiti Earth, for example, a restaurant that practices sustainability by using the “ugly” fruits and vegetables and scraps. Some companies are even taking the concept of eliminating waste as an opportunity to give back to the community or repurpose food for other uses. With the environment in mind, we predict that we’ll see more restaurants becoming earth-conscious in the coming year.

5. Camaraderie from communal dining: “Table for two” may become an underused phrase in 2018. More and more restaurants are moving toward a communal style of dining, with long table layouts that foster mingling and interaction between patrons who may not have known each other when they walked in. This style can also maximize square footage in your restaurant and  the number of meals you can serve. We hope this open concept experience will nurture more conversation around the dining experience in a world where social media tends to become the default for human interaction.

The year is just beginning, which means there’s plenty of opportunity for the predicted industry trends to take off at full speed. Here at SinglePlatform, we’re interested to see how the year will unfold in the restaurant industry.

Do you agree with our Top 5 Trend predictions for 2018? Is your restaurant business prepared to take on a whole new year?  Learn more about how we can help your business Stand Out Everywhere That Matters.

8 Reasons Your Restaurant Needs to Take Advantage of Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is right around the corner; it’s time to start planning for it.

Occurring every year on the second Sunday of May, Mother’s Day was established in the United States in 1908 and is now celebrated throughout the country as a federal holiday.

Mother’s Day has become an important day not just for families but also for restaurants that can capitalize on these celebrations.

Here are eight reasons why your restaurant should be prepping for Mother’s Day this year:

1. Mother’s Day is the most popular day of the year to dine out, with nearly 50% of Americans spending at a restaurant on Mother’s Day.

2. 49% of Mother’s Day restaurant diners will choose to have dinner out, 33% for lunch, 24% for brunch, and 8% for breakfast.

3. Mother’s Day is the most popular day of the year for brunch reservations.

4. Compared to a typical Sunday, Mother’s Day reservations increase by 3X.

5. Mother’s Day boasts more group dining reservations than any other day of the year.

6. 73% of diners will make reservations at a restaurant they’ve never tried.

7. 75% of diners will book reservations within the week before Mother’s Day.

8. 62% of diners will choose a casual dining restaurant on Mother’s day, 25% will choose fine dining, 15 % will choose a buffet, 8% will choose fast-casual, and 2% will choose quick service.

Mother’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate moms as well as increase your restaurants’ revenue. Make sure that you’ve prepped for the day well.

Have you updated your menus? Try offering a festive special or an all-inclusive Mother’s Day brunch package. Some restaurants may consider a moms-eat-free promotion. No matter what you’re doing, make sure to tell your customers about it now while they are picking which new restaurant to try this year.

Need an easy way to update your menu online on all major listing sites, including: Google, Yelp, OpenTable? Reach out to SinglePlatform to get started!

Sources can be found here and here

A Real Food Fight: Restaurant sales beat out grocery store sales for first time ever

It’s December 2014, and the U.S Census Bureau has just reported that for the first time on record, monthly restaurant sales have exceeded monthly grocery store sales. Fast forward to April of 2015, and restaurant sales are continuing to exceed those of grocery stores.In fact, from July of 2014 to April of 2015, a $3.1 billion dollar shift in sales from grocery stores to restaurants occurred, which is almost as much as the last 4.5 years combined.
The billion-dollar question many people are asking, is what, or who, is to blame (or thank) for the dramatic shift in sales? Here are a few specific factors as to why people are getting the check, and ditching the cart:

1.) Lower Gas Prices

Believe it or not, less pain at the pump has resulted in a willingness to spend that money elsewhere – particularly on dining out. In fact, almost half of people surveyed attribute their willingness to purchase meals, snacks, or beverages from restaurants, fast food places, and coffee shops to lower gas prices, according to the National Restaurant Association.

2.) Financial Security

As the economy continues to show signs of post-recession growth, people are feeling more comfortable opening their wallets and swiping their credit cards, especially when it comes to eating out. In fact, one-third of people say they are patronizing restaurants more often now than they were one year ago.

3.) Higher Wages

With unemployment rates falling and campaigns for a higher minimum wage plaguing major U.S cities, people are earning more money, and investing it in the restaurant industry. In fact, Americans ages 15 to 24 saw their household income rise 10.5 percent in 2013, the age group that also happens to spend the most money on dining out.

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First reported in an article by Bloomberg, there is one stipulation to consider when comparing the sales of restaurants and grocery stores; the data doesn’t include the sales of big-box stores like Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Target Corporation, and Costco Wholesale Corporation.

Although these stores have been excluded from the study, the data serves as an example of the evolution that has occurred in American eating habits, and how the grocery industry is going to have to adjust to accommodate the change in lifestyle across different generations.

[News] Restaurants Given the Chance to Review Customers

Here’s a highlight of some of the top local-business-related news of the week:

[Restaurant News] Restaurants Review Customers with Dimmi ResDiary

News Source: Bloomberg Businessweek

Australia-based restaurant reservation system Dimmi ResDiary is now allowing participating restaurants to track and rate customers on “dining performance”—what they ordered, what kind of tip they left, what additional requests they made, and how they treated the staff.

The hope is that restaurant ratings will promote improved behavior by customers. The review system will also aid restaurant staff in identifying patron preferences and rewarding individuals who are big spenders or pleasant to serve.

Key Takeaway: Giving restaurants the ability to review patrons has the potential to affect negative customer behaviors. However, this system includes the same dangers as consumer reviews, opening the door to harsh or inappropriate comments by businesses that could affect customer loyalty and retention.

Restaurants have a lot more to lose by creating negative reviews of patrons than patrons do by criticizing a business. Those participating in such “reverse-Yelp” programs should tread very lightly when it comes to giving negative feedback.

[Social Media News] Facebook Rolls out New Design for All Business Pages

News Source: The Next Web

This week, Facebook began rolling out its new one-column Business Page design to users worldwide. Posts will now appear in a single main column instead of a two-column staggered layout.

The left column includes key Page information such as Likes, maps, hours of operation, website URL, About Us description, and any apps you’re using.

The Tab structure at the top of the page has also changed, going to a more streamlined link system under the Cover Photo.

Key Takeaway: These Page changes should benefit your business by (1) making it easier for users to view your key business information in the left column and (2) improving the flow of Post content on your Page. The two-column design made it difficult to read and easy to get distracted by other Posts.

Both of these updates will also provide a better experience for users who come to your Page via Graph Search, helping them find the information they’re looking for more quickly.

[Mobile News] Study Finds More than 30% of Consumers Use Mobile Exclusively

News Source: Marketing Land

A new study from xAd and Telemetrics this week confirms what we’ve all been hearing for a couple of years: Mobile is a key discovery channel for local consumers, and it’s only growing in importance.

Half of survey respondents consider mobile to the “most important resource” in their purchase decision-making process, and more than a third said they use mobile exclusively.

Additionally, the study found that mobile users tend to be the most likely to make a purchase: 53% of mobile shoppers called a business and 65% completed a purchase the same day as they performed a search. 64% of these purchases happened in store.

Pricing and location tend to be the two most important factors for mobile shoppers; deals also have an impact on promoting conversions.

Key Takeaway: We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again—making sure your business’s key content is accessible via mobile is crucial. If your website, online listings, menu, list of products & services, and location / contact information aren’t available on or optimized for mobile, now is the time to make it happen!

Other news catch your eye this week? Leave a comment and let us know! 

[News] Small Businesses Slow to Adopt Social Customer Service

Here’s a highlight of some of the top local-business-related news of the week:

[Customer Service News] Survey Says few Businesses Employ Social Customer Service

News Source: Roundpeg

A recent study from marketing strategy agency Roundpeg shows that few small businesses are using social media to field customer service requests. 66% of surveyed B2C businesses said they rely on social media to stay in touch with customers, but less than 20% are using social channels to resolve customer service inquiries.

B2B respondents were slightly more inclined to provide social customer service (29%), but generally spend less time on social engaging with customers than B2C companies.

Key Takeaway: Consumers are turning to social media to voice questions, complaints, and suggestions to companies of all sizes, but the majority of small businesses aren’t contributing to the conversation. Don’t miss out on this valuable opportunity to connect with clients and resolve issues more quickly. Even if you only have time to check your social accounts once a day, you can have a positive impact on individual customers and your social followers by responding promptly and helpfully to inquiries.

[Mobile News] U.S. Local Mobile Search Outpaces Global Markets

News Source: Street Fight Mag

According to recent research culled by Bonial International Group, the U.S. is still the clear leader in the local mobile search space, but international markets are starting to catch up.

60% of all search traffic in the US comes from mobile devices, and that percentage is expected to keep growing as smartphone sales increase year over year. Data from BIA/Kelsey also showed that 40% of mobile searches in 2012 were local. By 2016, analysts project that local mobile searches will surpass local desktop searches by 27 billion queries per year. That’s a lot of searches!

While the U.S. is the frontrunner in local mobile search right now, other countries are also starting to see rapid growth. Brazil almost doubled their mobile search traffic between 2012 and 2013; Germany mobile adoption is at 48%, with France and Russia both clocking in at 37%. Local mobile search has taken off in Russia particularly, growing from 7.6% of mobile searches in 2012 to 27.72% as of February 2014.

Key Takeaway: Local mobile search isn’t just a passing fad—it’s becoming the new standard way of finding local businesses, especially in the U.S. where smartphone adoption is high. All the more reason for small businesses to make sure their websites, online listings, menus, and product & service lists are accessible and easy to read on mobile devices.

Need help? Find out how SinglePlatform can optimize your product and service content for mobile!

[Restaurant News] Yelp Launches Proprietary Reservation System

News Source: Tech Crunch

Last week, Yelp announced the launch of a new free Reservations service based on technology from SeatMe, the OpenTable competitor it acquired in 2013.

Any restaurant that has claimed its Yelp profile page can now use Reservations to take bookings on the review site—all for no fee. SeatMe’s integrated (and more sophisticated) booking service used on restaurant websites will remain $99 a month.

Key Takeaway: Adding bookings to its local listings is a natural next step for Yelp as the company strives to keep up with competitors like OpenTable and Google. Providing a way for consumers to close the loop by making a reservation will benefit both customers and restaurants. It’ll also help Yelp by increasing its visitors’ time on site and boosting internal advertising and marketing revenue.

Will you be trying Yelp Reservations for your business? Leave a comment and let us know! 

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