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.  

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hollywood buzz all over new Clear Spiral Menu Covers

Continuing to defy trends, the clear spiral menu cover is making records as the menu cover of choice these days.  

Yes, casebound product in exotic and luxurious finishes is still in high demand, and will probably always be so. But- especially in trendsetting bistros in the glitz capitals of America- these crystal clear covers are emerging in force.

The appeal stems from an old-fashioned idea: keep the attention on the menu, make the eclectic fare transparent- literally and figuratively. When you have clients who may be close to the 'jaded' column, it's best to wow them with elegant simplicity, and keep it an open book. 

Apparently, surprisingly and somewhat counter-intuitively, the clear spiral menu cover is filling that hungry void as we speak; they are being recognized as the vanguard of the contemporary eatery's menu presentation.

Practically speaking, the covers are easy to keep clean, simple to change the menu within, and extremely affordable to augment and replace. The center spiral spine can be clear- which is certainly a big choice- or in a variety of colors. Spiralled menu covers lay flat.  

They are practical in another way: you can order them with as many pages as you need, and the vendor will spiral them for you.  

Clear spiral menu covers are now available from a variety of well-known menu covers vendors. A decent offering can be found at top-rated  

Upgrade your look today, with the covers that are sweeping the excitement venues from Hollywood to the Riviera, and join the club.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Microfiber Cleaning Cloths make deep-cleaning a greasy kitchen a snap.

Every restauranteur knows the feeling.  You turn on the bright lights, bring out the buckets, and set the crew to work, and you pitch in yourself.  Three hours later, you give it a grade: B+.  It's good, you won't get into loggerheads with the Health Dept., but you know you wish you could just get it one notch up.

Microfiber cleaning cloths are one of those unsung miracles of the lab that made it into common usage in the work-a-day world, and has become a must have for those in the know. Surprisingly, not too many know of the capabilities and benefits of this amazing fabric.

Microfiber cloth is just that- it's a dense weave of fibers that are hard to see with the naked eye. The miracle is that this structure will clean- even without water or cleaning agent. With water and cleaning agent, it cleans like nothing else.  It holds much more liquid than comparable-weight rags and cloths.  Additionally, it can be used scores of times and still get the job done.

Here's one of those products that costs a little more than a song, but will clean a commercial kitchen from top to bottom without excuses.  It will work anywhere there's a dirt, grease or grime condition in your restaurant, and your staff will thank you. 

Finally, it's an environmentally and economically sound alternative to paper towels and the over-use of cleaning agents.  Win, win, win.