Mother’s Day is one of the busiest days of the year for restaurants. This creates not only an opportunity to boost business on the day itself, but also for repeat business. You’ll serve guests who may not frequent your restaurant, but are looking for something special. If they have a positive experience, they are likely to come back.
Offer a special Mother's Day brunch menu
Mother's Day is the perfect time to show moms and other special mother figures in your life just how much they mean to you. Eggs Benedict, special waffles, pancakes, omelets, breakfast casseroles, smoked salmon toast…the possibilities are endless! Add some freshly squeezed juice and mimosas to give it extra flair.
Mother’s Day also means there will be lots of children, and it’s hard for moms to enjoy themselves if the kids aren’t happy. Keeping children entertained could mean providing the usual crayons and colouring pages or you could go the extra distance by providing a craft that the kids could make for mom. One possibility would be to decorate cookies (see codes below). Of course, be prepared for the potential messiness of the craft.
- ENGLISH BAY MONSTER M&M COOKIE DOUGH RTB (128358)
- RICHS ICING CREAM CHEESE BAG-EEZ (105312)
- DAWN RAINBOW SPRINKLES (304780)
Decorate the restaurant with flowers and set up a special photo booth
Decorating a restaurant with mother-themed decorations can be a fun and creative way to show your appreciation. From vibrant flower arrangements that mimic the beauty of nature or stunning bouquets featuring various shades of pink, you'll find no shortage of unique decoration options to choose from. Additionally, using placards inscribed with inspiring quotes or messages will add a special touch to the atmosphere. Set up a special photo booth or area where mothers can take selfies and capture the moment with their families. The thoughtful gesture won’t soon be forgotten!
Give out discount cards for future visits to all mothers who dine with you
Offer mother’s a discount card to thank them for dining with you. Whether they come in as a group or bring their whole family, showing your appreciation with a discount card is an easy way to show them how much you appreciate their business. This strategy is particularly beneficial as Mother’s most often make the decision as to where to dine out for future visits, bringing them back to your establishment. Suggestions include 10% off when they dine again with you or even enjoy free items on their next visit.
Promote, promote, promote!
There are many ways to get the word out about your restaurant and special Mother’s Day promotions. Social media is the most obvious choice, in addition to the benefits of social (low cost, large reach) the post itself can be easily shared with family members. Also update your website with your special menu and any other pertinent information. Depending on your budget, don’t dismiss print advertisements and radio, as these more traditional forms of marketing are still effective.
With some forethought and planning, restaurants can capitalize on Mother’s Day. By offering special menus or kids’ activities while being fully prepared with sufficient staff for one of the busiest days of the year, restaurants can create a memorable occasion for families that will keep them coming back time and time again.
St. Patrick's Day is a time to celebrate Irish culture, heritage and traditions. Whether you’re Irish or not, it’s always fun to mark the occasion with some festive decorations and special menus for your restaurant. We have a variety of delicious ingredients and products that can help you create an unbeatable St. Patrick’s Day experience for your customers.
Nothing says “St. Patrick’s Day” like classic Irish fare. Traditional dishes such as corned beef and cabbage, fish & chips, shepherd's pie, bangers & mash, and colcannon are all popular favorites that you can easily feature on your menu for the day (or even for an extended period leading up to March 17). Save time and labour by considering some easy menu additions, such as Campbell's Bistro Beef & Vegetable soup or Shepherd’s Pie. Wow Factor Desserts has selected three cakes that will elevate your St. Patrick's Day sweet offerings, click here to view their recommendations.
Here are a few suggestions to get you started on your St. Patrick’s Day planning. Your Territory Manager will be happy to help you strategize and find more products:
191532 VERVE BISTRO BEEF SOUP 4/1.81KG
119213 CAMPBELL’S PIE SHEPHERD'S 4/2.27KG
225120 EUROPEAN FRESH CORN BEEF 2/2.25KG
105539 HILINER HADDOCK FLT BTTD LAGER 4OZ 1/4.54KG
134382 HILINER HADDOCK LOIN CF IQF 4OZ 1/4.54KG
134252 HILINER COD TENDER GUINNESS BTTD 2OZ 1/10LB
134254 HILINER COD GUINNESS BTTD 4OZ 1/10LB
137327 HILINER SHRIMP GUINNESS BTTD 27-33 CT 1/10LB
193700 MCCAIN POTATO CHIPPERS 1853 6/1.82KG
193012 CAVENDISH FRIES 3/8" S/C CLEAR COAT 6/2.04KG
222000 LEADBETTER LEAN GROUND BEEF 2/2.27KG
282586 LARGE WHITE POTATOES 50/1LB
St. Patrick's day decor doesn't have to be over-the-top - just a few simple touches can make all the difference! Hang green streamers and balloons from the ceiling and set out small pots of shamrocks on each table. You can also create a "Lucky Charm" wall full of pictures of four-leaf clovers, leprechauns, rainbows and other symbols of luck associated with Ireland, in addition to décor it can become a photo wall for your guests to snap pictures and share on social media.
Offer your customers classic Irish beverages such as Guinness beer or Baileys Irish Cream liqueur. Or get creative with classic cocktails like an Irish Mule or Shamrock Martini. Offering specialty drinks is sure to bring in more customers looking for something festive.
Don't forget to let your customers know about all the exciting things you have planned for St Patrick's Day. Use social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to advertise your event and any special offers that you may be running during the celebration. Also consider creating flyers or email campaigns so that current customers know what's going on at your restaurant.
St Patrick's Day is a great opportunity for restaurants to showcase their businesses and draw in new customers. By taking advantage of traditional Irish dishes, festive decorations, and marketing campaigns – you can take full advantage of this annual holiday celebration. Sláinte mhaith (Cheers)!
Looking for a fun way to woo guests back inside for dining? How about adding some game time to your menu? Increasingly, guests are bringing their “game face” to restaurants where they are expecting entertainment that goes beyond food and drink.
Kids’ games – such as paper placemats and crayons for colouring – have been around for years as a way to entertain the younger generation and keep them occupied while waiting for their meals. But what about the adults? How do you keep them engaged, ordering, and off their smartphones?
Many family restaurants, bars and sports-themed eateries already include active play on their menu, like such popular options as dart boards, billiards tables, trivia games, foosball tables, and more.
Games keep your guests engaged and may encourage them to linger longer – with more opportunities to upsell and increase check size. They also brand your restaurant as a fun venue and the place to be, plus games can help build a bond between staff and guests.
One restaurant offers a gaming option with a twist. Graffiti Market in Kitchener, Ont., a combination restaurant, microbrewery, market, coffee roaster and bakery, features highly interactive game play right at diners’ tables.
Ryan Lloyd-Craig, co-owner of the Ignite Restaurant Group, of which Graffiti Market is a part, wasn’t even thinking of games when he saw his first interactive smart table. “The idea didn’t come to me overnight. I was walking the technology section of the Restaurants Canada show and came across a gentleman standing on what looked like a giant iPad until I got closer and found that it was an interactive table made by Kodisoft (a tech company based in Ukraine).”
Lloyd-Craig’s original thought was not even about games but mainly about using the tables as a way for guests to order interactively, have food runners bring the items to the tables, and then have the tables function as a complete POS system. Other countries were already using the Kodisoft system successfully, but no one in Canada had tapped into combining business with pleasure right at the table.
Lloyd-Craig’s interest in the tables quickly evolved into something different from an ordering and POS solution. “The benefit of these tables is that you can visually see every item on the menu so it makes it easier to order, but their main appeal is keeping people engaged and entertaining them while waiting for their food. People are putting down their cellphones and actually talking to each other. That’s kind of neat.”
The tables offer a variety of gaming options. He started with a simple colouring application, then a doodling app after the first month, before adding puzzles for all age groups (from a basic jigsaw puzzle for kids), air hockey, Chinese checkers, and most recently, chess, all of which can be turned on or off depending on how busy the restaurant is.
The tables can also support advertising, both internal and external (for instance from sports businesses running commercials and interacting with guests), though so far Lloyd-Craig hasn’t tapped that potential.
Interestingly, far from encouraging guests to linger, guests using these interactive restaurant tables want to clear the menus and food off faster to get back to their games. Lloyd-Craig’s initial goal, in fact, was not to get diners to stay longer, but to realize labour savings from integrating ordering with serving and paying for a total POS solution – “any way you can save two or three per cent off the bottom line,” as he puts it. The restaurant hasn’t been open long enough for him to see these savings yet, but he has experienced a steady increase in sales since he brought in the game tables – and that means he’s already ahead of the game.
Not all games have to cost the earth for you to add. Take trivia. This option’s been around since Trivial Pursuit took off decades ago and has become a bar and casual restaurant staple. Trivia is a particular hit with Millennials looking for interactive experiences and can liven up slower winter months in any family-style restaurant. Companies like QuizRunners and Quizzholics design, create and can run your trivia games professionally. Who knows? Your eatery could become a stop on a trivia circuit.
Written by Jane Auster
Just when you thought you were getting the hang of social media and content marketing, along comes another digital platform to shake things up!
Although it may seem relatively new, TikTok began in 2016, and since then has become the fastest growing social media platform, with more than 1 billion people worldwide and an average of 3.2 million Canadians, engaging in the video platform monthly. That’s a BIG consumer audience that you can be tapping into, and similar to Instagram, food, drinks and recipe creation continue to be top trending topics.
Currently on TikTok there are more users generating restaurant content with a rise in hospitality brands beginning to utilize the platform. Let’s dive into 101 on how restaurants can utilize TikTok’s video sharing platform to generate buzz and reach more guests.
Since launching, the platform has continued to attract a younger audience with more than 50% of global users being under the age of 34, 41% of them aged 16-24, and in Canada 60% of users are female. Even if this core audience doesn’t represent your average customers, it is still worth having them connect with your restaurant brand for future business, and keep in mind, the other 50% are 35 and over. These audience profiles are critical to developing effective TikTok content and messaging.
TikTok videos can range between 5 and 60 seconds in length. One of the most exciting benefits for restaurant brands is that unlike other social platforms that are driven by highly professional and polished content, TikTok is popular for videos that are fun, creative, authentic, personalized, and humorous. As you get started, forgo hiring a professional videographer until you understand if this platform is right for your brand. However, invest in a phone camera adjustable tripod that allows you to set up shots from many angles, and provides some additional lighting. Prices range from $30-$200, and tripods can easily be sourced through Amazon.ca.
TIP: Natural lighting always produces the best video and photography results. If your restaurant space is darker, then it’s worth the $100 to invest in softbox lighting and reflectors to achieve the best shot. This type of portable equipment is available at photography stores as well as Amazon.ca.
TikTok’s unique in-app content creation features have set the platform apart, as the creative opportunities are endless yet they do take some time to master.
Start creating simple and fun video content that showcases what your brand does best.
Here are additional tips to effective posting, and growing your TikTok reach:
Stay tuned for TikTok 102 for restaurants, to learn how to leverage influencer campaigns and advertising best practices.
Written by Kate Engineer
Could catering help restaurants bolster their bottom line? The question may seem counterintuitive since catering, like other areas of foodservice, has been hard-hit by the pandemic. But restaurateurs who have weathered pandemic restrictions and public hesitancy about dining out may be considering whether or not to add a catering operation.
Glenn Whitehead, owner of Plant Matter Kitchen and Plant Matter Café in London, Ontario, says, “Adding any possible revenue stream is probably just good common sense, to be honest. […] If you own a business right now and you’re open, then offering whatever you can is certainly something that I would strongly suggest.”
Jeff Dover, principal at fsSTRATEGY Inc., a foodservice and hospitality industry consultancy, adds, “The pro is that catering is more profitable than the restaurant business. Some of the fixed costs that impact the profitability of restaurants are known. You know how many orders, of what, and at what time. It also makes use of kitchens and kitchen labour that are idle or have excess capacity during COVID.”
On the con side, he points out that pandemic gathering limits affect the size of events, decreasing demand for catering. And many businesses that used to have staff meals catered now have those staff working remotely for the foreseeable future. No staff = no office catering.
Which has a better future: event (e.g., weddings) or office catering? The answer depends on whether you’re looking at the short term or beyond.
Dover says he’d choose event catering because these contracts “are typically larger and can involve alcohol-generating additional revenues.” He also notes the pent-up demand for event catering.
Public health restrictions, however, continue to restrict catering demand for such events. Whitehead is well aware of the pandemic’s impact on this part of his business. He catered hundreds of events before COVID-19 took hold, but that business dried up once restrictions hit. “Basically, we haven’t done a thing in a year,” he says.
Many variables influence when a hundred or more people will be able to get together again, Whitehead says. He doesn’t anticipate catering large events of any kind before mid- to late-2022. However, he does see opportunity in catering office lunches, especially in office towers where there are multiple businesses open with non-skeletal staffing.
Adding a catering operation requires fresh thinking about what catering means and how to plan carefully, especially as the third wave of the pandemic is making its presence felt in Canada.
Whitehead says, “Looking for other [revenue] streams is a critical piece to try to get enough sales to cover things and keep moving forward.”
Rather than the traditional weddings and conferences, foodservice operators looking to get into catering need to consider smaller-scale approaches that can generate revenues in the short term. In addition to the office lunch trade, options include catering meals for small gatherings at people’s homes and meal kits, both of which have become more popular during the pandemic.
Technomic, Inc., which provides insights to the foodservice industry, reports that for the second quarter of 2020 in Canada “45% of younger consumers, including Gen Zers and millennials, are buying more meal kits now from restaurants compared to before the pandemic.”
Whitehead says that with people being more cautious but also bored of cooking, restaurants can offer them more variety through items like meal plans and seasonal kits. “It’s a little bit less catering and more meal kits, but I would put it under that same category.”
He has always offered a meal plan service, with clients who come twice a week to pick up several days’ worth of assembled meals. “They don’t have to do anything but heat them up,” he says, “so that’s certainly an option that I think will continue to grow.”
Operators exploring adding a catering operation should think about the following considerations.
Written by Marlene Cornelis.
Visit chefconnexion.com for more expert tips