The Restaurant Group Blog

Why the Kitchen Design of Your Restaurant Matters

Restaurant Kitchen Design

Restaurant Kitchen Design

 

When thinking of starting a restaurant, kitchen design is often not a top consideration for most. After all, isn’t the kitchen just a space that will facilitate the cooking?

The answer is a resounding “No.” Your kitchen design determines efficiency, speed, and safety – three key things that could make or break the reputation of your restaurant.

Consider this; if food is consistently late in coming out because of a kitchen that does not facilitate speed and efficiency, customers will either leave or rate you poorly. Similarly, if kitchen accidents are the norm, no one will want to visit your restaurant no matter how good the food is.

With this in mind, it’s time to think about what you should do to ensure the right kitchen design.

Consult with an Expert

As an aspiring restaurant owner, it’s more probable that architecture and design are not your forte. The solution? Find a reputable expert who can look at your space and help you come up with the best possible design. Preferably, it should be a consultant who has worked with restaurants before and understands how the kitchen should work.

As your chosen consultant works, here are three things you should ensure they take into account.

I. Adequate Allocation of Space

Sufficient space should be allocated to each basic area; storage, preparation, cooking, serving, dining, and dishwashing. The consultant should work with your space, and depending on how many people you expect to work at different times of the day, allocate each area the right footage.

II. Good Flow 

The kitchen shouldn’t feel too small or too big. There should be enough space between the different working areas to ensure movement is easy and that employees can efficiently work together without inconveniencing one another.

III. Meets All the Required Codes

If your restaurant doesn’t pass inspection, then you can’t work. During the design and construction, ensure your consultant takes the state, local and health codes into account.

Contact TRG Restaurant Consultants for a free consultation.

What Restaurants Are Doing to Try and Lure Millennials

Restaurant Millennials

With millennials expected to outnumber baby boomers by 2019, it follows that businesses are desperate to capture and keep the attention of this social media-loving generation. Restaurants are no different.

Just Two Weeks Ago, At the Beginning of This Month, Applebee Released an ASMR Video on YouTube Aimed at Millennials

ASMR is an Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. It’s a tingling sensation often experienced at the back of one’s neck when watching or listening to something that affects you deeply.

The video by Applebee is an hour-long video of different proteins sizzling and cooking over a grill. The idea is that consumers will connect with the sounds and visuals of the cooking protein and identify with the brand’s comfort food.

So far, the video has been viewed 4000 times. An executive at the Applebee insists that the only way to capture the attention of millennials is to be a bit different and think of social media from a broader perspective.

Whether it works is a question yet to be answered, so we can only wait and see.

A Restaurant Conference in Chicago Recently Addressed How to Build Loyalty Among Millennial Customers

The Restaurant Revenue Growth Conference via notable speakers attempted to help restaurateurs generate ideas that connect with millennials and are in line with 2018 consumer trends. Numerous restaurateurs attended because they understood how important it is to capture Millennials.

Verdict

Across the United States, restaurants are coming up with different strategies to try and attract the Millennials. Social media is no longer enough, it requires something else, something different.

While the above strategies might not work for you, it’s critical that as a restaurant owner, you find ways to do the same because there is clearly a need for the restaurant industry to capture the attention of Millennials.

 

How to Open a New Restaurant

How to Open a New Restaurant

5 Key Steps on How to Open a New Restaurant

Owning a restaurant can be a good way to make money as an entrepreneur. The constant flow of customers plus the stability the restaurant industry enjoys guarantee continuous flow of revenue throughout the year. Although having a restaurant may look like an easy way to make a living, it takes a great deal of effort, money and time to actually get the business up and running. Here are some crucial tips on how to open a new restaurant.

Develop a Concept

With hundreds of thousands of restaurants existing in the United States alone, it may seem right to think that all ideas have been exhausted and that there is nothing new you can create. This is absolutely wrong.  At TRG Restaurant Consulting, we help clients develop fresh and highly effective concepts for their restaurants. Our experts work to ensure that the concepts conform to the visions of our clients as well as their preferences for location, time, type of menu and style of service. We then research the market, study potential competitors, create a plan of action and prepare a comprehensive report to help our clients smoothly implement the ideas established in the concepts.

Develop a Brand

The brand matters. It is the voice of the restaurant in the market. It tells the story of the restaurant, including its key objectives and what it stands for. At TRG, we help clients create brands that express who they really are and what they believe in. Our branding gives customers a reason to share with others about your restaurant and instills confidence and trust in them. Branding services offered include graphic designs for signage, logo, menu and business cards, and internet marketing.

 Design the Kitchen and Bar

A perfectly designed kitchen and bar create a lot of space for storage, cooking, dining and dishwashing, provide good workflow and help the restaurant comply with health and building codes. TRG Restaurant Consulting experts design kitchen and bars that enhance efficiency, worker productivity and safety. They ensure proper architectural and interior design layout and offer professional installations, equipment selection, food service layout, ventilation system drawings and many more.

 Create a Business Plan

A business plan is an important tool that helps guide decisions in a restaurant. It provides clarity on the key goals of the business, from operations to finance and marketing. Our team of experienced and highly qualified experts provides up to 30 pages of business plans. The plans feature one and five-year profit and sale projections, mission statement, marketing overview and a rough draft of the menu.

 Conduct A Feasibility Study

A feasibility study is a factor an aspiring restaurant owner should consider. It looks at how viable the business ideas are by identifying potential problems and possible successes. At TRG, we conduct a preliminary analysis to screen the ideas established in the concept, conduct market surveys, analyze all relevant data and provide final recommendations to our clients.

Feel free to contact us today for free consultations and comprehensive feedback on our services.

Restaurant Consumer Trends: Dealing With Declining Lunch Sales

Restaurant Consumer Trends - Lunch Sales

Restaurant Consumer Trends

 

At your restaurant, you may have noticed a phenomenon that is definitively occurring nationally: lunch business is sagging a bit more than it used to.

According to market research firm NPD, lunch visits were down 4 percent at the end of the year, a notable decline in a broader context that has restaurant business in general sagging at all times of the day.

Why Lunch is Losing its Luster

Simply put, people have fewer reasons to leave their homes. Busy office workers are turning into busy home office workers, no longer commuting to business districts that tend to support a healthy community of restaurants. Working from home increased 24 percent over the last decade.

On the more casual end, one-time lunch customers who used to work in brick-and-mortar retail are largely moving out of that flagging sector and taking on work as subcontractors. Rideshare drivers, online customer service, and many more options are filling up the economic strata that once had a regular base of workers commuting to the same location every single day.

How to Attract New Lunch Diners

Value is the main driver. Yet diners aren’t looking for the cheapest food possible; fast food restaurants have also seen a decline during this same period because while people are dining out less, they’ve also raised their standards.

Here’s how restaurants can improve their lunch business: Customers want consistent quality, for lower prices. This is a tough proposition for restaurants to meet, but it isn’t impossible. Smaller lunch menus built around the most popular dishes lower overall food costs, streamline kitchen operations, simplify the server’s role, and keep regular customers happy due to all of those facts combining at once.

Focus on serving a few great dishes you know your customers love, cut out the food waste inherent to maintaining a larger menu, and you’ll likely see greater earnings on your lunch business overall.

 

For help with your restaurant contact TRG Restaurant Consultants.

5 Things Every Restaurant Owner Must Know

Open a Restaurant

 

Owning opening a restaurant is a fun and exciting experience. However, there are things that everyone must be aware of going into the business. Here are the five most crucial things every restaurant owner must know before opening.

1. Know Your Concept- To be successful, a restaurant needs a clear concept. Often, people go into the restaurant business knowing what food they like to eat or cook, but fail to have a clear image of things like atmosphere, dining style, and decor. To begin, a restaurant owner must develop a concept statement. A concept statement will include your culinary theme in terms that are broad enough for menu versatility but narrow enough for identity. Next, describe the atmosphere and dining style. Dining styles to consider are buffet, casual, fast food, bistro, cafe, counter service, and fine dining. Finally, your concept will be complete when you choose the decor that provides cohesion of the menu, atmosphere, and dining style.

2. Know Your Customers – Identifying your target market is a crucial step. To do so, you must understand how your restaurant concept will appeal to this group. Think about your customer in terms of demographics like gender, age, race or ethnicity, income level and geographic location. These factors will determine to whom you will market restaurant and help you develop successful advertising campaigns. It will also serve as a guide for you to use as you further develop your concept.

3. Know Your Community – It is important to know the community in which your restaurant is located to best determine hours of operation, peak hours, pricing strategies, and special promotions. If you are located in a bedroom community you could expect to have a larger evening and weekend service, whereas a community of retirees would be markedly different than a college town.

4. Know the Rules – The restaurant business operates under a number of regulations from the health department to regulations involving pay. There will be state and local regulations as well. You must ensure that you are in compliance with all these rules and regulations before you can expect success. A few employment regulations to be aware of are the minimum wage and tips reporting requirement. Depending on the size of your workforce you need to also be aware of human resources issues such as documentation of employees and discriminatory hiring practices.

5. Know Your Bottom Line – Most people that go into the restaurant business, do so for the love of the food, not for the love of crunching numbers. Understanding the business side of things, however, is one of the most important things a restaurant owner should do from the start. If you are new to the industry, taking classes in hospitality management and hiring an experienced management staff are two important first steps.

To learn more about the restaurant and hospitality industry and to discover how we can make your dreams of restaurant ownership a reality, connect with us today.

10 Key 2018 Restaurant Trends To Look Out For [Part 2]

2018 Restaurant Trends

2018 Restaurant Trends (Part 2)

The restaurant industry is constantly evolving and changing, from marketing to delivery, to service – each segment of the industry has experienced a massive shift. This will continue throughout 2018 and for restaurants to succeed, it is important to keep an eye on what trends are emerging in 2018. Here is part 2 of 2018 Restaurant Trends:

6) Upscale casual atmospheres will be on the rise

Restaurants will need to balance upscale options with casual ambiances going forward as that trend seems to continue full-steam in 2018. While casual upscale dining might sound a little contradictory, it does not need to be.

Restaurants should focus on striking a balance between premium ingredients and offerings while retaining a level of casualness in terms of the restaurant atmosphere itself to provide customers that experience. This could extend to keeping bookings and reservations somewhat casual and allowing for more walk-ins, or with its decor and music choices.

7) Greater focus on aesthetics

In a world driven by social media marketing, restaurants must absolutely focus on the aesthetic value of their food. While that does not mean that quality or innovation needs to take a backseat, but there must be a greater emphasis on presentation and looks of the dishes themselves.

With more users embracing visual platforms such as Instagram to document their experiences, restaurants must consider how to incorporate that into the overall dining for customers.

8) Healthy options for children

With so much focus on the millennial market, many restaurants have overlooked how to make their dining healthier for adults and children. That demographic holds a significant market share, so it is crucial that they are not left ignored.

With the increased importance of healthy food and diet, restaurants should also look for ways to provide children with healthier and creative food options. Parents will appreciate the effort, and that will go a long way in building long-term loyalty.

9) Local wine, beer and alcohol pairings

Alcohol is an important part of menus and many customers enjoy having a local feel with both their dishes and the alcohol they choose to pair it with. For 2018, restaurants should research and look for local options to provide this part of the experience and really innovate on how to showcase the best of what the area has to offer.

Whether it is partnering with local distilleries, wineries or breweries for long-term menu inclusion or even designing pop-up events to showcase local alcohol with food pairings, there are many ways to get creative with this.

10) Greater inclusion for those with dietary restrictions

Many restaurants have dragged their feet when it comes to updating menus to accommodate different dietary restrictions. However, many customers are increasingly choosing to go vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free – just to name a few and that means restaurants must adapt accordingly.

Consider taking a look at menus that have not been updated for a while to see where these options could be fit with existing options. Or consider adding new dishes that will be appealing to this new set of customers and how you can create a great experience for them where other restaurants may not be able to.

 

Contact TRG for your restaurant consulting needs.

Feasibility Studies – The Best Way to Maximize Restaurant Success

Restaurant Feasibility Study

Restaurant Feasibility Study

Starting any project or venture in the restaurant industry is a massive risk, and failure is common. Luckily, there is a way to pre-check the potential success of a new restaurant; it is called a feasibility study. As the name suggests, a feasibility study examines whether or not a project is feasible with the provided resources. Although there are many benefits to a feasibility study, the main ones are as follows:

Optimal Location

Feasibility studies examine multiple potential locations, as well as potential issues with said locations. Everything about these places is taken into account, from the demographics and foot traffic in the area to any natural or man-made barriers that could potentially affect business. For example, if one potential site is in a city center and another is on the outskirts of the same city, there will be different needs within the demographic. A feasibility study would take these demands into account and provide the best location for a specific restaurant.

Competition

When deciding whether or not to move forward with a restaurant project, considering any potential competition is crucial. A feasibility study will consider both direct competition and indirect competition. Direct competition is a company that produces a virtually identical service, while indirect competition is a company whose service could satisfy the same need. By examining both types of competition, a feasibility study can provide the most accurate picture of any potential competitors.

Staffing and Management Advice

Excellent staff can keep a restaurant running smoothly, and heighten the experience for customers. On the other hand, bad staff can quickly tank a profitable venture. A feasibility study can show the staffing potential of a project, as well as provide specific staffing and management advice for the restaurant. This helps avoid any staffing issues, as well as boosting the abilities of managers and staff.

A feasibility study will provide the best options for any new venture. If you think a feasibility study would help your project idea, feel free to contact us at TRG for more information.

Restaurant Trends 2017

2017 Restaurant Trends

The culinary scene in 2016 was all about matcha, food trucks, and farm-to-table. As the year comes to a close, it’s time to look forward to what your clientele will be asking for in 2017 restaurant trends.

 

2017 Restaurant Trends

Smarter Restaurants

From guest-facing digital ordering systems to takeout platforms catering to busy individuals, many modern restaurants are turning to technology to streamline the guest’s experience. While quick-serve concepts are typically the first to adopt new technology, high-end restaurants are also incorporating technical features to their dining rooms such as tablets and smart watches to keep the restaurant staff informed and operating in real time.

In 2017 expect more than just sandwich shops to utilize digitized custom ordering methods. The trend has already begun to expand to sushi restaurants and other popular lunch and after work venues.

 

2017 Restaurant Trends

Fresher, greener, cleaner ingredients

So many consumers today are concerned with clean eating, the sourcing of ingredients, and impact of their food choices. When selecting a lunch spot or where to place a dinner reservation, guests are more apt to choose an establishment with a clear commitment to the environment or new clean eating trends.

The “better burger” movement is one of the more prominent examples of clean eating coming to the forefront of American dining. From BurgerFi to Elevation Burger, these businesses are placing the importance of great ingredients and thoughtful preparation far ahead of heavy branding and low price points.

For those who are turning away from meat consumption, there are countless new concepts focusing on vegan and vegetarian cuisine. Even fresh juice bars are beginning to replace truck stop style soda fountains in high income areas.

The new year will likely usher in more concepts focusing on the fresher the better with their ingredients and menu planning.

 

2017 Restaurant Trends

Embodying that Homemade Feeling

Whether high end or fast-casual, so many new restaurants are embracing nostalgic and inviting atmospheres. Fine dining restaurants have always been exclusive, but many dining rooms are beginning to feel like an extension of someone’s living room rather than a sea of identical two tops covered in white tablecloths.

Staplehouse, a restaurant in Atlanta has gone as far as creating a unique entrance through a residential garage door in order to make guests feel as though they’re coming over to a friend’s house.

This intimate back to basics of hospitality is not limited to interior design, many kitchens are returning to basic cooking techniques and heirloom recipes to create a transportive and comforting dining experience.

 

2017 Restaurant Trends

Authentic, not brand-centric

It seems gone are the days of reigning restaurant chains complete with souvenir barware and menus designed to follow some sort of theme. Many of the newest and most successful restaurants pride themselves on their simple straight-forward concepts and the transparency of their menus. New restaurateurs and chefs are embracing the idea of doing one thing and doing it better than anyone else.

Ethnic cuisine has been on the rise especially in the last few years as the industry embraces the different backgrounds that make up today’s typical consumer. Coming with this trend to explore ethnic cuisines are millennials captivated by social media and the search for authentic ethnic cooking. With a largely global economy and a well traveled customer base, restaurants offering globally inspired foods need to claim their authenticity and larger established brands touting culturally inspired fare will need to face the music and convince restaurant goers that their offerings are as good if not better than the authentic cooking of a mom and pop startup.

Other ways restaurants are circumnavigating the modern consumers’ distrust of large brand names: combining forces with popular retailers, hotels, and even automotive brands. In 2017 expect to see more established food or restaurant brands partnering with high end retailers to present innovative mixed use retail and foodservice concepts.

 

2017 Restaurant Trends

Eastern Flavor Invasion

The Asian tigers have influenced the consumer economy in more than just apparel, electronics, and cars. These strong economic players and their accompanying dining preferences are now beginning to impact the American restaurant industry. Their numbers are growing each day from Asian inspired fast-casual concepts to elevating Chinese, Thai, Indian, and Japanese cuisine to a starring role in high end dining rooms breaking from their former home in your takeout menu drawer.

In 2017 prepare to see more Asian as well as African flavors being incorporated into menus, grab and go snacks, and even cocktail programs.

Today’s Restaurant Industry

Today’s Restaurant Industry

Ingredient, design, and culinary trends are not new to the restaurant industry, but with today’s rapidly evolving tastes and diners who are quick to share their experiences, chefs and restaurant owners need to be steadily aware of new trends coming into play.

Here are the current movements shaking up today’s restaurant industry:

 

The Right Angle

Today’s Restaurant Industry

Heads up, way up. When it comes to restaurant decor in 2016, so many designers are taking advantage of vertical space and adding interest with the use of hard 45 degree and 90 degree angles. These lines combined with the softness of wood paneling often made from reclaimed materials not only make a space inviting, but also speaks to a restaurant’s eco-friendly commitment.

Tall spaces are not the only ones getting the natural treatment, many interior designers are also bringing in tropical plants and wallpaper with natural textures or patterns to create a warm atmosphere.

 

Thoughtful Menu Planning & Ingredient Sourcing

Today’s Restaurant Industry

Today we are serving some the best informed diners we have ever served in the restaurant industry. That being said, menu planners cannot simply tout a locally sourced menu and not expect to be held to certain standards of sustainability and support of their local food industry. Likely the hottest topic within the realm of ingredient sourcing is the use of locally raised meat, dairy, seafood, and produce. Some of the most successful restaurants embracing this trend have built extremely strong relationships with local growers, ranchers, and fisherman and are very transparent about the origin of every single item on their menu.

Other ways restaurants are adding interest to their menus without sacrificing local ingredients: housemade ice cream, root-to-stem cooking, artisan butchery, house-made pickles, back-to-basics cooking, and curing meats in-house.

 

The Technology of Convenience

Today’s Restaurant Industry

It may be driven by millennials, but food convenience paired with delivery services such as Grub Hub, Ubereats, and Postmates represents one of the fastest growing areas in the foodservice industry. Many young professionals and working parents are the major supporters of these services because they bring well prepared, often nutritious, and fast meals to their doorstep with just a few quick swipes on their smartphone. Settling for rock hard pizza that takes an hour to arrive or waiting for a table with a gaggle of hungry toddlers just isn’t relevant anymore.

Other players in the food convenience arena include food trucks, dinner-in-a-box subscription services, and affordable chef-driven fast-casual restaurant concepts.

 

Working with Dietary Restrictions

Today’s Restaurant Industry

So many chefs and servers dread the question “What do you have that’s gluten-free?”

While it is true that the public’s concern for dietary restrictions has increased over the years, what is starting to change are restaurants’ approach to gluten free, paleo, vegan, and vegetarian dining. So many establishments are confronting the question head on and designing menus and even entire restaurant concepts that address and embrace these different eating patterns.

Some of the most popular trends from 2016 are: offering selections of raw or uncooked vegetable dishes, replacing pasta and white rice for ancient grains, healthy alternatives for kid’s meals, vegetable-centric menus, and milk substitutes made from cashews, hazelnuts, and oats.

 

Seasoned Seasoning

Today’s Restaurant Industry

Restaurants are big on flavor. With all the dietary restrictions circling around and a large demand for unique flavors, so many chefs are turning to spices for more than just heat. Spices, especially ethnically inspired or craft blended, are an ideal way to incorporate new and bold flavors into a dish without the use of animal fat, or excess salt and sugar. One of the more unique trends of 2016 are restaurants developing their own blend of spices to use in various dishes.

While ethnically derived spice blends are heating up in the kitchens, more and more customers are also asking for condiments that in the past have only been found at grocery stores in neighborhoods like K-town or Little Havana. From hot sauces to savory vinegars, expect to see a more eclectic assortment of condiments available at your table.

 

True Ethnic Cuisine

Today’s Restaurant Industry

Along with the never ending search for new flavors comes the quest for your area’s most authentic (insert country’s name here) cuisine. Today’s diners are very interested in trying authentic cuisines without the need for a passport. This trend can be seen with the fleets of food trucks hitting city streets and also in some of the nicest dining rooms around the country.

Vietnamese cuisine, new-Jewish cuisine, homemade Japanese rice balls, and new interest in African cuisine and ingredients have been some of this year’s most apparent trends in ethnic cooking.

 

Waste Not

Today’s Restaurant Industry

Lastly, it’s hard to talk about food whether it’s in the foodservice industry or home consumption without touching upon the topic of food waste. Not only has it been a big conversation leader in 2016, it has also turned into a big winner for business plans in the restaurant industry. Many restaurants cite their commitment to food waste reduction on their menus and equally as many are partaking in the food donation services that are springing up across the United States.

Other popular steps toward reducing food waste include: seasonal farm-to-table menus, smaller portion sizes at smaller price points, and a commitment to nose-to-tail and root-to-stem cooking.

 

2016 Beverage Trend Review

2016 beverage trends

We’re crazy about all things restaurants here at TRG. Forecasting trends, real time analysis, and review and reporting are our bread and butter as restaurant consultants. With the end of 2016 fast approaching, it’s time to take a look at some of the biggest 2016 beverage trends. No surprise, locally sourced ingredients tops the list (as we’re sure they will continue to), while thoughtfully composed mocktails have been a hit, and renewed fanaticism in Tiki has been a win on both sides of the bar. Read on to check out our full list of 2016 Beverage trends.

 

2016 beverage trends artisanal cocktails

Local and Artisanal Ingredients

The beverage world of 2016 has seen a continued move away from complicated ingredients, preparations, and presentations. Master mixologists with their overdone drinks are out, while fresh, simple, and local ingredients are in. Aside from local breweries and wineries, the likes of small batch tonic, ginger beer, and liqueurs have now made it to the big stage, and we couldn’t be happier about it.

 

2016 beverage trends cocktails

Mocktails

Long gone are the days of virgin daiquiris and margaritas as the only non-alcoholic cocktails options. Mocktails today are being crafted with equal attention to detail and composition as their boozy counterparts, utilizing savory elements such as herbs, as well as more premium ingredients like non-alcoholic falernum.

 

2016 beverage trends tiki cocktails

Tiki

Perhaps in attempt to pay homage to the cocktail kings and queens who paved the way,  bartenders today have gone tiki-crazy. A quick glance at the high end cocktail bars of San Francisco, Chicago, New York, and Boston show rifts on tiki-classics from the likes of Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic. With approachable flavors and ingredients, historical relevance, and eye catching presentations, Tiki drinks are a beverage trend here to stay.

 

2016 beverage trends OAC rum

Rum

Forget the spiced Captain Morgan handle you used to swig in college and make room for the new era of rums. A neutral spirit capable of many forms and expressions, today’s rums are on a broad spectrum with everything from Jamaican rum to Demerara rum and  AOC-protected rhum agricole. Complex and versatile, the past year has seen this once-forgotten spirit back in action.

 

2016 beverage trends draft cocktail

Draft Cocktails

Imagine being able to turn out a whole sleuth of good drinks – fast. Welcome to the world of Draft Cocktails. Bartenders prep and batch drinks prior to service so that a pull on the draft handle is all you need for a perfected composted cocktail. The advantages here are many, speed and efficiency topping the list, but be sure to keep an eye on things like proper scaling, dilution, and clean tap lines.

 

2016 beverage trends lower abv drinks

Lower ABV Drinks

Two martini lunches a la Don Draper are a thing of the past. Guests now are happy to enjoy sake, sherry, vermouth, and wine based cocktails and still be able to drive home. These are great bridges for non-cocktail drinkers, and a valuable tool for restaurants without a full alcohol license.

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