The Daily Rail: Is This the Path to No Tipping?

Thursday, June 7, 2017

MARKETING: Are You Ready for National Chicken Wing Day?

National Chicken Wing Day is coming up next month. Are you prepared to turn it into a grand spectacle at your restaurant? Here are some marketing ideas to get your guests excited about your wings. Everything from creating special events to leveraging your social media.


An Entire Restaurant Dedicated to Nutella is Now Open

This might be the first restaurant that is immune from failure, right? Everyone loves Nutella. How can you not? Regardless, the Nutella Café opened its doors a week ago in Chicago. And their menu looks delightful.

Jerry Remy: No Translators in Baseball

NESN color commentator Jerry Remy might be feeling the heat after complaining that NY Yankee pitcher Masahiro Tanaka needs a translator on the mound. Remy said he “thinks [translators] should be legal” and that foreign players need to “learn baseball language” (whatever that is). Can you imagine how long the games would be if there weren’t translators?

TV: Soccer, NBA Audiences Grow Younger; NASCAR, Golf, WWE Grow Older

It’s important for sports bars to understand the growing changes of sport fan audiences, as it directly ties in your customer base. And the growing trend isn’t good for NASCAR, golf and pro wrestling, which are all seeing their audiences turn grey. The average golf fan is 64 y/o, NASCAR is 58 y/o, and WWE 54 y/o. Meanwhile, the average age for MLS is 40 y/o and the NBA 42, the youngest fans.

Seattle Passes Soda Tax

Seattle restaurants fear a new soda tax will be detrimental to their sales. The Seattle City Council passed a 1.75%/ounce soda tax on all sugary drinks, including soft drinks, energy drinks, fruit-based drinks, sweetened iced tea, and prepared coffee drinks. Diet and coffee drinks prepared on-prem are exempt from the tax. Other soda taxes have resulted in low-income residents consuming 21% less soda.


Why it matters to you: If you are considering a no-tipping policy, here’s your blueprint.

The Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG) is synonymous with innovation and thought leadership. It’s founder, Danny Meyer, was the first to recognize the merits of the Union Square neighborhood where his flagship restaurant resides, quick to catch on to the potential of fast casual with his Shake Shack brand, and is blazing the trail in converting his restaurants to a no tipping (or Hospitality Included) approach.

While lots of operators have tried to implement the conversion to service included, fewer have succeeded. However, USHG has taken an incredibly thoughtful approach that requires analysis, patience, an open mind and open ears.

Chief Restaurant Officer Sabato Sagaria explained in a recent Nations Restaurant News interview, “In essence, it’s us opening a restaurant all over again.” After implementation, the real work of analysis begins. For Sabata, the best example was in their North End Grill location where they saw orders of the New York strip steak decline. In response, they added a new size and cut to match what the guests wanted. “That was an example of a lot of listening and making sure we were able to solve for those issues we came across,” Sagaria said. If you are considering this move, then following in the footsteps of an operator as accomplished as USHG can’t steer you wrong.


Why it matters to you: We can all use a primer on how to best leverage social for marketing.

All social media platforms include some visual elements, but they aren’t all equally committed to it. First, the key in leveraging social is understanding the relative focus of each platform. Second, building your approach to best take advantage of it.

Of the four relevant services to our industry (Yelp, Facebook, Foursquare and Instagram), Facebook and Instagram give you the most flexibility for visual images. However, Yelp provides better tools for marketing and a more specifically designed approach for our industry.

Sifting through the best places to focus can be an arduous task, but once you have chosen your preferred platforms, no question video is the most effective method. The problem is that most of you are reticent to commit to creating content because it’s hard to see a coherent return on the time invested. All analysis points to the value of full motion video in capturing the essence of your restaurant and conveying it to guests. The real challenge is overcoming the inertia and getting it done.