Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Have we found the lowest-priced menu covers on the continent?

Could these be the lowest-priced menu covers in North America?

Certainly you get what you pay for. And certainly in the restaurant and hospitality business you want to look the part, and showcase your offering in classic and classy fashion. And thus there exists a great body of superior designs, styles and materials from a host of menu cover manufacturers.

However, it is equally true that not everyone needs more than what is simple, clean and utilitarian. Compelled by preserving the bottom line, restauranteurs in both the United States and Canada have been holding on to their old menu covers a little longer, and when they do upgrade, they don't necessarily purchase the same quality or quantity that they might've back in the day. Though, this voice in the wilderness would like to proclaim that- all things being equal- the menu cover is a direct line to the soul of your patron, and if you can avoid dumbing the presentation down, don't.

Having said that, finances will often dictate an outcome where sensibility and good taste might've in a more flush season. So let's cut to the chase. Suppose you wanted to spend the least amount you possibly could, and still get a high-quality commercial menu cover. It's doable, and the costs are ridiculously low, even for recession times.

Most of the clear vinyl menu covers with leatherette edges are double-stitched for strength; some domestic manufacturers point to their single-stitched product, with very high tensile strength stitching, and say it's just as good. When it comes to lowest price, always shop around. However, you may wish to consider the Menucoverman's ultra-low-priced Cafe Menu Covers, which are without question among the lowest priced anywhere. And if it's a question of quick delivery, they keep them in stock and are able to ship anywhere in North America or to the Carribbean instantly.

Dad used to say: Don't say cheap menu covers. Say inexpensive menu covers. But, gosh, if they are really cheap menu covers, tell it like it is: cheap menu covers.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Metro & Retro Menu Covers - Like Monorails & Surfing.. They're Back!

Retro Menu Covers are an exciting leading wave of classic fun. They are a knockout. They work well in a variety of environments, but most especially where you want to have that 50's "feel good" zeitgeist. The edges are clear, but the spine is fabric. The stitching matches the fabric spine; silver corners with no ornamentation round out the look.

Then there're the Metro covers.. they have a clear spine, and as such are less campy and more able to transition to modern, contemporary, and trendy dining rooms everywhere. They're surprisingly affordable, and don't require an imprint- nor can they take one if you wanted one. You just put in your fabulous inserts, and they'll speak volumes. We understand that only the Menucoverman makes these at present. Give them a call.. they've got samples!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Summer Menu Cover Styles

Get ready for Summer!Fabulous Bistro menu covers from The Menucoverman will renew and refresh your summer style.

Contemporary, straightforward- yet with the casual classiness so much in demand- and smartly burnished with your logo on the linens of summer.. they'll be an inviting welcome to your patrons.

Dust off the winter of our discontent- and startle the world with clean, fresh and new!

• Casebound, Hardback.

• Choose from patterned and textured materials. Here are a small sample, showing some of the linens. Many, many more finishes shown on the website.

• Matching interior and album-style corners.

• Fast turn-around time.

• Always benefit from the lowest prices in the industry.. shipping factory direct to you!

• Friendly & knowledgeable customer service.

The Menucoverman • USA & Canada Phone Free • 888-777-4522

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Get a handle on this menu and condiment holder. It's a hometown winner.

Built for family restaurants, BBQ houses and casual dining establishments wherever they may roam, here's something new under the sun. It's a neat idea, will work tirelessly for decades, and it's made in the USA.

The Restaurant Menu and Condiment Holder- exclusively from the Menucoverman- is designed to please both patrons and management. It keeps everything neat and organized on every table, and makes refilling easy as well.

An ultra-convenient top handle lets you carry the holders back to a central station for cleaning and refilling. The handle also allows an easy and temporary lift- making tables and spills cleanup infinitely simpler than old-fashioned handle-less units.

Let your diners reach for their menu covers the moment they arrive- and, at any time during the meal.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Restaurant traffic falling off? Fight back!

The Top Ten List of Generating Restaurant Traffic During A Severe Economic Downturn

You hear it from the talking heads and it makes you mad.  "During an economic downturn, cut out the unnecessary expenses, like eating out." Don't they know they're talking about the livelihood's of millions of Americans and Canadians who depend on the restaurant and hospitality industry for their daily bread? Well, it makes me mad too.
Fight back.. don't let "popular wisdom" bull doze you into submission.

Here's a "top ten" list of assertive actions YOU can take to make sure your traffic stays high enough for not only breakeven, but solid profitability. Some of the items, in better times, you might consider tacky. But for now, please swallow your pride, and do the right thing for you, your employees and their families, and the future of the industry.

1. Work your email lists. If you don't have one, establish one now. Add names, and send exciting and scintillating copy to your patrons.

2. Offer 2-Fers. Buy one.. get one free. This is no time for just a free drink or a free glass of wine.. offer an absolutely free entree with the purchase of another of equal value. Perhaps you confine it to your two slowest evenings.

3. Put coupons in your local publications: newspapers, coupon-clippers and money-savers. Make sure the coupons offer real value.

4. Have your waitstaff give out coupons at the end of a meal, with a compelling offer for their next visit within 30 days: 1/2 price on any entree!!
5. Put a sandwich sign on the street. Make sure that the passersby know you are running a variety of specials, and invite them in. In some locales, hundreds and even thousands of potential patrons pass by your restaurant.  Tell them there's a genuine bargain inside.

6. Ask all of your employees to invite their friends and families. Give them a little flyer to hand out. That can often be a considerable network of folks, and they will be motivated both by the show of solidarity for the people they know and love and the continuity of their livelihoods, as well as by the 1/2 price entree offer.

7. Open up on the night you are closed. Shift the load among managers and employees, and announce that as a temporary measure, Mondays will now be an open night, and there will be 5 specials for under $10.00. It's a temporary measure, but remember: The overhead marches on. You pay rent, insurance and depreciation on everything in that quiet, dark closed up restaurant on Monday night. Sure, everyone needs a day off.. but right now the issue is survival, so open up, light it up and let the world know.

8. Get some PR, just like the big boys do. Call the local newspaper, and ask them if they'll run a little piece on the entertainment you are showcasing on Wednesday nights. It's a double hit.. the entertainment brings in folks, and a newspaper article that talks about the classical guitarist- and the Wednesday night low price specials- will fill your restaurant to the brim.

9. Perk up the atmosphere. Nobody wants doom and gloom.  Everyone wants a place where everyone knows your name, or at least acts as if they do. Put out flowers, clean up the corners, ask your staff to smile and be upbeat, solicitous and welcoming, personally make certain that your entrance at night is well-lit and there isn't a single bulb out, and put on a show yourself. I know you always do, but let's do it even better. This is the menu covers blog, so you know we're going to recommend fresh, new and exciting menu covers to excite your patrons.

10. Finally, sit down and create your own top ten list. This is like where the Genie gives you 3 wishes, and your third wish is for 10 more wishes.. You know what's worked in the past, and you've been reading about what will work now in this horrible economic debacle. The important thing is to act, and act boldly. 

Whatever you do, keep experimenting, and do many things. I promise you that traffic will be maintained and you survive and thrive if you DO.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Communicate to your patrons more effectively.. with table tents.

My dad liked to say: "Your best patron is your current patron."

Sure, new customers and warm bodies coming through the door are always welcome and always part of the mix. But in the restaurant business as in most businesses, repeat customers are your bread and butter.  

There's another take on your current patron:  when they're in your dining room, they surely want to know what's new. They love what you make and bake, and they're willing to try the next thing.

There's that moment when everyone's paying rapt attention to your specials as the waiter reels them off. But you know what's better?? If when he/she finishes the crisp and well-rehearsed dissertation, & says: "..and, if you missed any of that, just take a look at the table tent next to the candle, where you'll find a synopsis."

The highest and best use of a table tent in an upscale restaurant is for specials. But showcasing bar items, and dessert options comes in a close second. Table tents were once viewed as tacky- yet more and more restauranteurs now see them as appropriate, and providing genuine service and information to their guests. There is little doubt that table tents, as well as table stands a close but decidedly more pedestrian cousin, will increase your ticket and bar tab. They are a miniscule investment for a profound and ongoing benefit.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Theme Nights, Live Entertainment.. Flamenco, anyone?

Recently I had the joyous and unexpected opportunity to dine at a swank Virginia restaurant, surrounded by a packed house.
There was a raised wooden platform smack dab in the middle of the dining room; I assumed it was construction in progress, and really didn't let it rise to the level of discursive thought.  

Lo and behold, as I worked on my ginger-crusted sole, the lights came up on the 'construction,' and there emerged three players:  one man with a well-worn acoustic guitar, and two women in colorful Flamenco garb. The stamping of rhythmic feet, the 
provocative guitar strings, the flicking hand-fans and ecstatic shouts, all conspired to lift the atmosphere to electric excitement. Oh! That's why the place was packed!!

Consideration of adding entertainment and 'themes' - or both! -to bring a good restaurant to a higher level of notoriety is something YOU can do on your home turf, no matter how great or humble your establishment may be. 

The recession stings, and people are looking for 2-fers, ways to get out of the house, ways to leave their troubles behind for a few hours. What better way can you think of than combining your great cuisine with bright entertainment or a fetching theme?

There are plenty of entertainers these days who are happy to get the exposure, and who will not insist on onerous fees to perform. Local people are the best, for as we know, the community is what will get us through. Themes? It can be anything that adds life, color or excitement. We've heard of soup night.. put out 4 tureens buffet style, and let your patrons sample them all, no limit. 

What about networking night?? No kidding. A special night each month, and a special menu for the local business crowd to schmooz, hob-nob and share their business cards. And let's not forget travel night, where your guests are regaled with film, photo and story from other guests and your local travel agents. The list of themes are endless, subject only to the limits of your imagination.

Start small, test the waters, play it all out on a Tuesday or Thursday.  Pick your least trafficked day and go for something a bit different. Try out various ideas, and let it morph and evolve naturally. It may not work for you, that's a possibility we concede in advance.  But on the other hand, what would it be like if a backwater of an evening became your top-producing night?  Those crowds will tell others, and for you, the economic gloom times could become economic boom times.  It's possible.. others are doing it all over the United States and Canada.

Your restaurant IS the local gathering spot.  Let's add some value-added and scintillating fare to our already wonderful menu, let's get the word out through the local paper, circulars, signs in the window and an email blast, and give people another reason to pack your house.