Mixology: NRC Spritz

A custom cocktail by our restaurant consultants, perfect for your spring menus

By Jared Flowers - March 21, 2017

As we predicted in our Top Trends for 2017, mixology is on the rise. It is the year of the cocktail, and it's not just about the drink anymore. It's an art--from taste to presentation, to the overall creativity. Our restaurant consultants are applying growing trends and developing some custom cocktails for you.

This month, senior consultant Jared Flowers whips up a peach-colored spritz that is perfect for spring happy hour menus. Serve this over ice with some fresh fruit garnish and wow all of your cocktail hour guests.

NRC Spritz

1.5 oz gin
1.5 oz aperol
1.5 oz Yuzu Sour
.5 oz lemon juice
.5 oz Peychauds

Combine ingredients and shake well. Pour over ice in a wine glass. Top with Prosecco.

3 Tips for a Stand Out Happy Hour

Our Top Trends 2017 feature the rise of mixology--here's how to draw a crowd to your happy hour!

By Sarah Ann Noel - February 21, 2017

As our restaurant consultants found and reported in our Top Trends for 2017, mixology is on the rise. No secret to major metropolitan areas like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and London, happy hour is a great way to draw in millennials at what could be a lull before the dinner hour. With increased interest in beverages, and more and more young professionals dining out with expectation, consider adding a happy hour to your schedule.

Our senior consultant Richard Weil shares some quick tips for your best happy hour that’s guaranteed to draw a crowd!

What are your top three tips for a great happy hour?

Use food as the leader and don’t discount the beverages as much—cheap food will attract more guests and spending, but they’ll pay for the drinks anyway. 

Make sure your happy hour menu includes at least one really hot beer, a good wine price, and two to three food items.  

Don’t over extend the time! You can convert your happy hour to dinner with an extra discount or free dessert or discount moving from happy hour to dinner.

What is your recommendation for a stand-out on-trend cocktail? 
Whiskey is still hot, especially if you have a local distillery to feature.

How can you promote a happy hour that sets it apart from others?  
Try starting at a quarter hour and end at a quarter hour or 3:15 -5:59.

Want more tips and tricks from a restaurant consultant? Contact us today!

Photo by Sonny Abesamis.


The Resurgence of Maximalism

Restaurants may want to start dressing up their stark interiors with rich, warm decor

By Sarah Ann Noel - February 14, 2017

For years, restaurants have been employing a minimalist design to appeal to the broad Millennial audience that is paring down and focusing energy on simple living. But like most trends, taste eventually moves on, and in terms of restaurant decor, it's taking a hard swing across the spectrum.

Maximalism reentered the scene in the States a few years ago, the hottest clubs and restaurants in New York and Los Angeles featuring heavy wallpapers, deep colors, and opulent accessorizing, like gold accents and crystal chandeliers. Of course, our restaurant consultants have spotted this design in international locations, cities like London, Paris, and Dubai, for even longer than that. And we now see it working its way across America; even some of our Denver cafes, almost always leaning into the city's casual culture, have opted for extravagances like velvet tufted booths and rich green wall hangings.

Lifestyle influencers are making a push toward maximalism too. No more whitewashed walls on the blogs and Instagram--in fact, many of these culture queens are now self-proclaimed "Maximalists", veering off the path of modern lines and light living. The Wall Street Journal noted the trend a few weeks ago, and even gave tips for effortlessly achieving the look. (You may need to subscribe to read the full article.)

While National Restaurant Consultants places a heavy influence on business and operations, you cannot neglect the experience your restaurant offers your guests. Most diners are on top of current trends; and if they see that you are not, they will move on to an establishment that places importance on what is popular. Our consultants also advise on restaurant aesthetics and interior design, and we are committed to following these trends. 

If you need assistance with your interior design--from the start, or perhaps just a facelift--reach out to our consultants today and let's work together to make your restaurant the spot to be. 

Image discovered via Pinterest.

NRC Announces New Arizona Office

An Historic District office allows our consultants to best serve the Southwest

By David Kincheloe - February 8, 2017

National Restaurant consultants is pleased to announce the establishment of a brick and mortar office in an historic district of Gilbert, Arizona. Managed by lead consultant Jared Flowers, this beautiful location will further our efforts with clients in the southern region of the US.

"This office allows us to better serve clients in the Arizona, Southern California, and Nevada markets," says Flowers. 

While our consultants are mobile, and experts in business markets around the globe, a physical presence helps us to keep a finger on the pulse of an expanding market. Just like we encourage our clients to establish themselves in their local communities, our consultants make sure to advise based on experience.

If you have a business in the southwest and are seeking advice, reach out to Jared Flowers at the new office space. You can call at (480) 696-1672, or stop by for a visit at 207 North Gilbert Road. As always, you can reach a consultant through our website for advice on your restaurant business, anytime, anywhere. 


Colorado State Legislative Update

Senior consultant Richard Weil breaks down legislation effecting restaurants this session

By Sarah Ann Noel - February 1, 2017

National Restaurant Consultants is active in monitoring the political processes effecting the restaurant business industry. Last week, our senior consultant, Richard Weil, testified on behalf of the Colorado Restaurant Association (CRA) before a Senate committee, regarding regulatory reform with SB 001. Weil also monitored a double-taxation bill presented to a legislative committee of nine members.

In today’s blog post, Weil will update us on the legislation and what it means for your restaurant or business.

What exactly is in this legislation?
SB 001 will assist small business owners in removing onerous fines for small omissions and errors with state regulations. These errors will not relate to any health or safety violations, but is aimed at curtailing bureaucratic agencies from fining small business for small clerical errors or reporting components.  

(For a bit more information on SB001, here is the Denver Post coverage.)

The double-taxation bill was placed into law in 2010, taxing essential paper items as if they were non-essential items. This included items such as napkins, to-go containers, and pizza boxes. 

What was the progress of SB 001?
The senators with bi-partisan support approved the bill by a vote of 6-1. The legislation now moves to the senate floor for review. 

And will there be changes made to the double-taxation legislation? 
While the legislators were sympathetic to the small business owners, they voted along party lines to defeat the bill, stating that the assistance to small businesses—mainly restaurants—would not overcome the needs for other social assistance programs.
What other key legislation will you be monitoring this session?
There is proposed language change for a bill to allow liquor license holders to grant permission to managers, who are over 21, to order alcohol. Currently, Colorado liquor laws provide only the agent of record can legally order alcohol. This bill has already passed committee and is expected to move forward in both the state Senate and House.  

There is another positive House bill to control how music-licensing companies push onerous charges to restaurants and to set a protocol of process in place. This particular issue has plagued our industry for years in terms of "money grabs" relating to commercial music and entertainment. While this proposed legislation will not eliminate the need to be properly licensed, it will control the violation and notification process.  

Our consultants recognize the connection between political and business nuances. As a team, we are committed to assisting our clients in all areas of business, and are dedicated to improving the business climate for the restaurant industry. We continue to monitor legislation and business trend, ensuring we can provide the best solutions. If you have questions about these legislative issues, or another business matter, contact our consultants today. 

Photo by Mr. TinDC

Trending: Succulent Art

The hipsters and Milennials are ensuring plants make a comeback. We've been spotting boutique plant shops and garden stores in New York, LA, Denver, Portland, and Nashville. Instagram is practically green with all the plant photography, kids showing off their "babies" like they take photos of their pets. And we're seeing this reignited love affair with plants trickle into art.

Plants wouldn't be a new addition to restaurant decor and environment; but how you could do it is changing. Flowers on the tables and planters in the corners are nice touches; but remember that your Milennial guests are looking for more--what feels custom, curated, and more interesting than the run-of-the-mill option.

One trend we've currently enjoyed is succulent art. The least needy of plants, succulents and air plants can be tucked into beautiful arrangments; and we've seen restaurants and storefronts using them as wall coverings and art installments, ranging from DIY to professional creations.

Here are a few favorites we've found on Pinterest:

rustic and whimsical via Carly Paige Styled Living

with step-by-step instructions via Better Homes & Gardens

artsy DIY via The Garden Glove 

color gradient from How Sweet Eats

To get help with your restaurant interior, or for other questions for our restaurant consultants, contact us today here.

Signature Cocktails: Millers & Rossi Smoked Old Fashioned

It's a new year, and a time when many of our clients start dreaming up new ideas. One of our restaurant consultants' specialties is menu development--we've had our hand in some of the best dishes and drinks from New York City to Los Angeles. And here in Denver, we're working closely with new businesses to create excellent cocktails--because if you read our Top Trends for 2017, you know there's only more attention being drawn to the art of mixology.

We're going to help you pick your poison, featuring a signature cocktail each month this year. This week, our friends from Denver's RiNo district, Millers and Rossi, give us tips for a great old fashioned. Enjoy for your at home happy hour or share with your friends (via our Pinterest) for the next social gathering.

Millers & Rossi Smoked Old Fashioned
Cedarwood Smoked Bullet bourbon or rye
Angustura bitters
Colorado maple syrup
Garnish with orange peel and torched cedarwood
Serve in a 12 oz rocks class with one large ice cube

For more tips on menu development, 2017 trends, and other advice, get in touch with a restaurant consultant to better your business this year! 

Top Trends 2017

It's a new year, and there are many who are glad to see 2016 go. Our restaurant consultants saw nearly all of our Top Trends 2016 come to fruition, and we are excited about what's coming to the industry in 2017.

Every year, we make predictions in all facets of the restaurant and hospitality industry--business and finances; recipe trends; and innovative technologies--so that you can prepare your restaurant for your best year. 

Open our full 2017 Top Trends here; and pay particular attention to our notes on the "local" expectation; a rise in mixology; what can be expected in the minimum wage debate; and how you can keep those Millennials happy with a great chart on social media and technology use. 

As always, our restaurant consultants are up-to-speed on all the latest in the restaurant industry, from the food and menu development to the business side and possible law-making implications. Make 2017 the year you stayed on top of it all, and contact a restaurant consultant today to see how we can help.

4 Technology Tools A New Restaurant Needs To Consider

The following is a guest post submitted to National Restaurant Consultants by Sling. While the content is relative to restaurant ownership, this is not an endorsement of these technology tools by National Restaurant Consultants. If you have questions about technology in your restaurant, contact our consultants!



Being a restaurateur is a difficult job. You have to become an expert in multiple skills—hospitality, managing staff, creating menus, marketing, and finance—very quickly. This, plus the possibility of tight budgets, makes growing your restaurant a difficult task.


Sure you could do it on your own. But why not use the best tools available to make the job significantly easier? This article describes four restaurant technology tools for key functions like management, hiring, and scheduling that every new restaurant needs to consider.

1. Upserve

Upserve is software that helps restaurateurs manage guest experience, marketing, finance, even the menu. Upserve remembers key information about your guests including their favorite dishes, past visits, upcoming reservations, average spend, and more. It blends reservations, point-of-sale, marketing, and guest feedback into a single app that is available across one location or one hundred. With the information gleaned from Upserve, restaurants can get a 360-degree view of each guest. This can help you elevate their experience.




Upserve also helps you improve server productivity by tracking sales per cover (or per guest check) and breaking it down by menu category so you can recognize which servers are performing best. You can even measure such important metrics as guest retention, turn time, discounts, voids, and much more. All of this helps you run a smoother operation that delights guests, keeps employees happy and engaged, and leads to higher profits.

2. Ubereats

Ubereats opens up a whole new market to the burgeoning restaurateur. Instead of just relying on bringing the customers to the food, Ubereats allows you to take the food to the customer. With hundreds of couriers on the road, Ubereats makes it possible to deliver your food to the customers who want it in an average of 15 minutes. You can also track orders from the moment they leave your restaurant to the moment they arrive in your customer’s hands.



But Ubereats provides more than just delivery service. They also partner with you to help you do more business. They promote your menu and work with you to improve pickup and delivery times.

3. Snagajob

Snagajob is a marketplace that helps you find the right employees, faster and easier. Snagajob gives you immediate access to a large pool of workers. Once your job is posted, job seekers in your area are instantly notified. This helps the right job seekers find you faster. You can also view local job seeker profiles and invite them to apply to your position.



Snagajob can also help you connect with job seekers who have worked in your industry before. Their core job seekers are 16-30 years old with three years or more of experience in industries including retail, restaurant, and hospitality. Once you’ve received applications, Snagajob makes it easy to review applicants, schedule interviews, and hire straight from your account so you can keep everything organized.

4. Sling

Sling is the easiest way to schedule and communicate with your employees. Sling is built around four powerful features: Shifts, Tasks, Messages, and Newsfeed. These features make it possible to organize and manage your work on a single platform. Through the Shifts feature, you can set up shift schedules, manage time off requests, confirm availability, deal with shift trade requests, and handle unexpected changes with ease...and without stress. With the Messages, Newsfeed, and Tasks features, you can work to bring teams together, keep everyone informed, and build better company culture.



Michael Courtney, Director of Operations at the popular New Jersey-based Surf Taco, had this to say about Sling:


“Sling has quickly become an extremely efficient and effective tool on both the individual store level and the organization as a whole. The program is easy to use and has streamlined creating our weekly schedules and getting them directly to our staff as soon as they are done.


As a communication tool, inter-store communication has never been better and our ability to reach out to our staff on a multi-unit level has had an amazing impact on our business. From filling open shifts, to informative news messages, we have used Sling for all aspects of our business.”


Sling is the easiest way to streamline employee scheduling and communication. Best of all, it’s free. So don’t make the restaurant business more difficult than it has to be. Give these restaurant technology tools a try today.




Helgi Hermannsson is the CEO of Sling, a free shift scheduling and communication software for non-desk working industries. An Icelander living in New York, Helgi is a veteran of the technology industry.


3 Tips for Your 2017 Budgets

Sooner than it feels, we'll be wrapping up 2016. For a lot of industries, that means winding down early; but we know the restaurant industry only gets busier during the holidays. So make sure you're ready to take on the start of a new year before it catches you by surprise.

Particularly, our restaurant consultants advise you have your new year budgets ready to go. Our president, David Kincheloe, offers up three tips that are applicable to any size and genre of restaurant.

1. First, budget generously. The restaurant industry can be volitile, and there are a lot of unpredictable factors that come into play, particularly when it comes to wages. "The Department of Labor originally dictated a minimum wage increase where there is overtime to be paid, from about $24,000 to $48,300." This would have been a significant increase for most managers, or they would be paid overtime. "As a result, managers were going to have to make at least $50,000. The regulation has now been put on hold by a federal judge, but you need to plan accordingly. Either list your assistant GM as an hourly wage or increase their pay."

2. Keep an eye on the hourly wage increase. Hourly wage increases are driven my by the states, not really driven federally. "Some states have now gone far beyond the federal minimum, Colorado being a prime example," Kincheloe explains. "It's important to keep an eye on your local market."

3. There will be increased food costs to consider. Every year, the cost of food rises; this year, watch for gains in the cost of meat and proteins. Kincheloe says, "Fair treatment for animals laws are going to drive up protein costs. For example, egg prices will rise in California." 

Our restaurant consultants are experts in budgeting and business plans. If you have questions about creating budgets for the coming year, or what these law changes could mean for your finances, contact our restaurant consultants today.

Photo via.