Category Archives: Restaurant Spotlight

restaurant-customers-told-to-be-quiet

Quiet, Please! Restaurants Shush Customers

Restaurants are noisy affairs. Loud cooking in the kitchen, awkward dropping of plates and glasses, and conversations run throughout the night as couples enjoy their meals and company, children whine, and…

Actually, no. One restaurant has decided to do away with children, at least after 7PM. Houston restaurant La Fisheria has announced that, after 7PM, they will no longer allow children in the restaurant, Consumerist reports. The restaurant posted a notice on their Facebook page:

After 7:00 pm, people over eight years old only.
For your understanding,
Thank you.

We are a familly friendly restaurant, and we also respect all of our customers so we introduce this new policy to the restaurant.
thanks for your understanding.

Consumerist reports that responses to the restaurant have been largely positive, and that their clientele appreciate the absence of children running around. The rule doesn’t prohibit all children, either, since many would consider people from eight to twelve children (not that teenagers are usually considered more polite to many adults, but they do manage to keep their screaming and spilling in check)

For a few though, any sort of vocal communication at all is a detriment to the act of eating. Buddhist monasteries that have a quiet breakfast have inspired one restaurant in Brooklyn to take up that mindset. Eat in Brooklyn has a four-course meal that starts at 8PM, with silence encouraged.

How do you order? How do you get drink refills? The first is handled very simply; you order your food before the 8PM meal serving starts. For refills, questions, and other concerns, you have to get creative. Waving over a waitstaff member and pointing to an empty drink may be simple enough, but make sure to offer a smile for politeness-sake. The concept of a quiet meal allows customers to focus on the food’s taste and deliciousness, not the banal conversation about what movies they want to see, or how the local sporting team are doing. It might actually be a good test of a relationship for couples, though; can they enjoy the company of one another without simple words being said?

The New York Times has covered the benefits of eating in quiet. “Mindful eating” rises from Buddhist culture and teachings, with such extreme practices as focusing on a three raisins or a tangerine for around a dozen minutes, give or take. While not a large amount of food for most people, they are nourishing dishes that are a bit simple for time and effort when it comes to consuming. Focusing on them makes the eater a bit more appreciative. The concept doesn’t limit you to small amounts, or even certain kinds of food, but it does encourage you to take each bite with an appreciation for what went into it, how it’s tastes, feels, smells, and looks, and what it does for your body. A slower eating regiment does have the natural effect of letting your body realize when it’s fuller, instead of allowing you to eat more than you need to because you finished eating before your body registered what had gone into it.

Could your restaurant use a bit more silence, or even more appreciation for the food coming out of the kitchen?

halloween-dishes

Scare Up Some Halloween-Inspired Dishes

It’s October, which means that Christmas decorations are out in full force in the retail world. Beyond that, many restaurants are engaging their customers with Halloween-themed dishes and drinks. Have you decided to jump on this bandwagon with some scary and spooky concepts of your own?

  • Brand Eating reports that Krispy Kreme has brought back their Krispy Skremes variety of Halloween-themed donuts. Their variety includes the Jack-O-Lantern donut (shaped and stylized as a pumpkin with orange icing), the Spider Web donut (a cream-filled donut with a spider-web glaze), and a Chocolate Iced with Halloween Sprinkles donut (orange and black sprinkles). The intensity of creating these donuts varies from simplistic (the Chocolate Iced one only features a different variety of sprinkles), to moderate (the cream-filled one includes a unique design on top) and notable (the Jack-O-Lantern donut has to be shaped like a pumpkin).
  • IHOP has also brought back their Scary Face Pancakes, also according to Brand Eating. The standard pancakes has miniature OREOs, candy corn, and a strawberry for a nose, with whipped cream all as the base. This item shows what fun can be done with an item that traditionally has a lot of open area to be creative with.
  • Taco Bell has launched a new Ghost Taco (no ingredients) and Ghost Taco Supreme (loaded with sour cream). Actually, not really, but Consumerist has reported on these two (and more) fake secret menu items.

While the above items design themselves, or include ingredients traditional with Halloween, many companies have latched onto the concept of pumpkin drinks. Starbucks has their Pumpkin Spice Latte that consumers clamor for at this time of year. It has become a major focus of advertising and discussion regarding the chain, to the point where the obsession over the drink has driven people to figure out how to make their own at home for $1. Their recipe includes more natural ingredients (honey vs. high fructose corn syrup) and does not include the most cost-intensive purchase of production: an espresso machine.

Do these restaurants give you an idea on how you can add a bit of Halloween flare to your menu with your commonly-kept ingredients and items? You may actually be able to challenge Starbucks at their own game with a superior pumpkin-spiced drink, or might make parents a little annoyed at putting an extra dose of sugar on their children’s breakfast items. If you’re in the business of decorating confectionaries, though, you might want to take Krispy Kreme’s head start as a sign that decorating them in the fashion of spider webs, pumpkins, and even simply topping them with orange and black sprinkles as a guideline to be a bit more festive in the season.

Do you have any ghoulish tips about increasing Halloween sales?

mcdonalds menu changing

McDonalds Changing Menu And Payment Options; What Can You Learn?

For easily being one of the most successful brands globally, McDonald’s clearly has a plan in place for success. Something’s working well for the company, so paying attention to their movements would be smart for any restaurant, whether they’re wanting to franchise or not.

McDonalds has started to introduce steak on their breakfast menu items, allowing consumers to order new (and simply swapped out) orders such as a steak, egg, and cheese biscuit, according to Nation’s Restaurant News. Many consumers will want to move up to the higher quality, thicker protein in their breakfast dishes. In addition to this dish, they’ve added Mighty Wings, a spicy breaded set of wings and drums. The Mighty Wings run counter-intuitive to most of McDondalds’ menu, being slightly harder to eat (for the sheer inclusion of bones).

On top of new menu items, they’ve begun testing a Blitz Box for party-goers, including two Quarter Pounders with cheese, 10 Chicken McNuggets, and two medium orders of French fries. This package of some of their most-popular menu items makes ordering food easier for consumers and quicker for staff; ordering a Blitz Box means the staff can start working away on all the ingredients, instead of individually managing different items. and possibly messing up a large order.

Their menu is increasing in other ways, too. The Dollar Menu menu is possibly becoming the “Dollar Menu And More” menu, focusing on cheaper dishes, but not limiting themselves to a self-imposed $1 price point. This allows for a few more flavor variations in their already cheap sandwiches, meeting customer demands for taste and low prices.

One diversion that McDonald’s is looking into that might change the fast food landscape is varying up the ways consumers can pay.

According to a memorandum of notes recapping a June meeting of an NLC meeting, McDonald’s Corp. is testing the solution to include for mobile payments, including an outdoor payment device for the drive-thru; mobile ordering and pick-up for both in the stores and curbside; and customer-engagement solutions like targeted offers and a mobile-loyalty system.

Given technological advances, it does seem a bit redundant that consumers need to order at one menu, drive forward, and physically hand their card to a cashier who has to swipe it, followed by driving farther to pick up the meal. It’s not a stretch to imagine a future situation where someone could order on their phone from work and pick up a meal on the way home for dinner, or drive up to a menu, tap in their order, swipe, and only interact with an employee as they pick up their food at the end of the drive-thru. This commitment to technology is not completely new to McDonald’s; earlier this year, they introduced QR codes to their packaging so consumers can see the nutritional facts of their meals with smart phones.

McDonald’s may be on to something with their various initiatives; do you see anything that can be applied or expounded in your establishment?