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Coffee & Breakfast for Dessert?

As a kid, breakfast for dinner was always an incredibly exciting weeknight twist. For students and night shift workers, breakfast 24/7 from fast food restaurants like Jack in the Box has its cachet. But now, breakfast for dessert is what’s on everyone’s mind!

This emerging 2014 food trend adds day-break foods to the modern chef’s weakness for mash-ups and also ties in American’s re-found love for tea! Earl Grey panna cotta is the lighter side of breakfast for dessert; doughnut sundaes are the extreme!

There’s really no way to get it wrong. Creativity is where you’ll find your own hit. Serve any kind of coffee- or tea-infused panna cotta in this modern gelato dish by Libbey. Could chocolate covered bacon be served in a pretty Dobla chocolate cup with some fresh whipped cream and candied nuts. How about serving kids a plate of cookies and milk from an old-fashioned milk bottle or a sundae in a cereal bowl with an assortment of cereals as toppings?

Respecting Your Elders (While Keeping Business)

For many people, a trip to the restaurant, especially a quick-service one, follows a few beats. Get to the restaurant (wait on friends or family if you’re meeting people there), deduce what you’re going to order, place the order and wait on it to be ready, enjoy your meal leisurely while making a few jokes or sharing stories, wait on everyone to finish and reach a point where they realize they need to go about their day, and leave. Hopefully, some sort of payment was included in the timeline.

For many restaurants, though, one step might take a bit longer than desired. While no restaurant wants to kick a person out, eventually there’s a reasonable limit of time spent in the restaurant. If you’re sitting in the restaurant for hours after you’ve finished your meal, and especially after you’ve stopped ordering drinks or snacks, you’ll drive the staff a bit crazy.

While we’ve given you tips on how to take care of “Internet Squatters,” there’s a bit more of a sensitive subject when it comes to elderly.

Consumerist reports that a McDonald’s in Queens, New York, has run into problems with a group of elderly ordering minimal amounts of food (a cup of coffee, or splitting a small French fry order) and staying in the restaurant for hours, from morning to the evening hours. Various measures have been taken in the effort to get the group out of the restaurant, with police being called to remove them (only for them to return minutes later) and posting signs indicating that customers have 20 minutes to complete their meal and leave the premises.

It took elected officials to reach a compromise; during the peak hours of 10AM to 3PM, the group will have to abdicate their seats if they are needed by others. As these particular customers speak Mandarin and Korean, signs will be posted in both languages, and a local senior center has offered up shuttle service to get them to other places to wile away the day.

At a Burger King near Boston, though, the staff had an opposite problem. They had 14 seniors who would park at the Burger King and then disappear with a rented van into the city for a day excursion. Despite the fact they have done this for two decades, the restaurant decided to post signage indicating that cars of non-customers would be towed. Eight cars were towed, which the seniors were unhappy to find to be the case when they returned. The total sum of the towing was $800 (after the towing company reduced it).

Have you run into seating issues with certain demographics? No restaurant profits when customers take up seating spaces without purchasing food, and when parking spots are taken up without customers, actual paying customers won’t be able to park. While police and towing companies might be pushing it too far, addressing the subject with the “offenders” might be the best course of action; in the first situation, a compromise was reached by simply talking things out.

Do you have any suggestions on keeping your restaurant moving, and getting customers in and out?

The Big Uproar Over A Baby Uproar?

We’ve all had the situation where you sit down for a nice meal and a child begins to cry. In some situations, it’s alright and expected; while nobody really enjoys hearing a kid cry, at a location that does specifically cater to children, such as a Chuck-E-Cheese or a fast food place with a playground,

At a major, award-winning restaurant, the cry of a child could be a complete mood-killer. Grant Achatz of Alinea brought much attention to the problem with a tweet.

Alinea is the only restaurant in the Chicago area to get three Michelin stars. Huffington Post points out that the restaurant runs on a ticket system, with meals running from $210 and $265 and are paid in advance. They aren’t refundable, but they are transferrable and can be resold.

Still, at that price, anybody will have problems a child crying; given that Alinea doesn’t in any fashion cater to children, this was an unexpected and unpleasant surprise for customers who spent a lot of money for dinner.

Have you had this problem with customers in your restaurant? For many casual dining restaurants, at worst it’ll be an inconvenience to you, your staff, and guests. If you’re in the budget of a middle-class family of four, you’re going to have those one or two children in your restaurant eating your kids menu that just aren’t happy with how they’re sitting, where they are, or even something completely unrelated to your restaurant.

Many restaurants have come up with their own solutions to this problem. Taco Bell has found that children’s meals weren’t worth it, simply because families weren’t eating out as much as they once were. A few restaurants have found that the key to getting families in to eat might be a shift in focus to targeting dads.

These two options deal more with the fact that children aren’t frequently in the restaurant; once you’ve figured out how to appropriately market and get them in the restaurant, do you dare silence them? La Fisheria found itself in the news once it banned children after 7PM, but the restaurant received much praise from appreciative adults who were able to enjoy their night and dinners in peace.

Banning children might not be the worst thing for you restaurant, especially if your restaurant doesn’t particularly cater to them. If you don’t have a children’s menu, or even a menu that children would appreciate, there’s a good chance the children might be unhappy in the first place. If your establishment particularly targets adults, whether it be from having an extensive alcohol list or just simply a place that couples tend to consider for “date night,” you don’t want to alienate your target audience and ruin their night with the chance that children just might cry.

Invariably, some people may be turned off, but the success might just be worth it.