Copperhouse Eatery + Lounge in Yellowknife

National Restaurant Consultants announce their latest grand opening

By Sarah Ann Noel - April 19, 2018

National Restaurant Consultants celebrated the grand opening of Copperhouse Eatery + Lounge with clients and friends in Yellowknife, Canada. The capitol city of the Northwest Territories, Yellowknife can feel wild and remote. Our clients at Copperhouse wanted to create an urban environment that felt like a transformative experience for Yellowknife residents and tourists alike. 

Peek inside the restaurant and listen to Cabin Radio's interview with the owners during the grand opening event here. 

Below, pictures of the final product, everything looking polished and reading for opening! If you are thinking about opening a restaurant, contact a restaurant consultant today!


The Importance of Portion Control

Our restaurant consultants are advocates for portion control--and it's not just for your health.

By Sarah Ann Noel - April 16, 2018

There is always a lot of discussion about portion control in restaurants across America. With good reason: In New York City, you can get a pizza slice as big as your face. Los Angeles has destination burger joints with sandwiches a foot high. And in Nashville and Kansas City, you don't have to look far to find an all-you-can-eat BBQ special. Americans are obsessed with more, more, more, and it's a craze that is causing the more health-concious of diners to pay attention.

But our restaurant consultants say it's not just the diners that need to watch out. If you're a restaurant owner, portion control can mean a big deal for your costs and profits. 

Restaurant consultant Jared Flowers says, "When we go onsite for an Operations Analysis, we often can see a consistency issues with food and bar costs." In menu development, prices for dishes should be set based on the costs to make a certain portion size. "We'll see that at some point, proper plate costs were figured," Flowers explains; but slight, seemingly insignificant alterations can throw those numbers out of whack.

It's all in the details, Flowers says. "It's the specific portions that are on the plates. But then you also have to watch the operations. Are bartenders making drinks without jiggers? Are cooks building food without the proper tools? It's impossible to remain consistent if you have multiple people making plates and drinks without proper tools."

In a recent Pizza Today article called "Portion Theory", there is a convincing case made for a cup system or the weight system--and it's for exactly this concern. The article specifically addresses portion controlling cheese, a high-budget item that can quickly drain money if not measured properly. 

"Measuring is why large chain restaurants are so successful," Flowers mentions. "They have a system and tool for every task." Yep, that even includes cheese.

Often when addressing the operations of a restaurant, these details--like weighing cheese by the gram or scooping guacamole with a specifically-sized spoon--can seem unimportant or even comical. (Oh yes, we've seen the guacamole memes.) But in business, the money is in the details.

"While it is often inconvenient, a portioning system is one of the most important to adopt if you want to grow and be profitable," says Flowers.

Our restaurant consultants are experts at stopping the money drain, and it's thanks to the little details like portioning. If you have a question about our Operations Analysis or if you want to find out how to hang on to more of your money, contact a restaurant consultant today.

Photo by Edward Guk on Unsplash

Taxes for Restaurants

National Restaurant Consultants shares advice on tax management for restaurants

By Sarah Ann Noel - April 9, 2018

While our restaurant consultants wouldn't suggest waiting until this week to get your taxes in order, Tax Day is next week in the United States, and so it's certainly on the forefront of business owners' minds. Whether or not you've already filed, each year's tax deadline brings to light some questions or concerns you may have about how you're managing your restaurant's taxes.

The best piece of advice our restaurant consultants have? Don't consider it a separate issue. "Taxes are a part of your business and should be thought of as an expense--just like food or labor," explains National Restaurant Consultant president David Kincheloe. "That means it should be included as part of your overhead calculations, a pass-through expense." 

Considering your taxes as an expense means you are factoring them into your budget ahead of time. You eliminate the scramble to pay back last year's tax expense from this year's revenue. 

It can be a tough mental switch, but it's worth it to make. "Remember," says Kincheloe, "If you're paying income taxes, then you're making money! It is painful, but think of it as a good thing."

Our restaurant consultants are experts in business management, and that includes budgets and financial plans. If you have concerns about how you are managing your restaurant's taxes, take a look at these great tax tips for restaurants from the Rewards Network. Then, contact a restaurant consultant today and we can begin formulating an expert plan for your business expenses that will grant you peace of mind and set you up for success.

Photo by Bethany Legg on Unsplash

6 Tips for Making Your Restaurant Greener

This month, we celebrate Earth Day, and National Restaurant Consultants offers tips for an environmentally-friendly restaurant

By Sarah Ann Noel - April 3, 2018

It may be chilly today, but for the most part, Denver is warming up. And maybe there was a snowstorm in New York City this week, but that won't stop New Yorkers from pretending that it's fully spring. At least we can always count on Los Angeles to feel warm. But whatever the weather where you are, we all function by the same calendar. It's officially April and we all have spring on our minds and we're turning our attention to greener things. 

This year, Earth Day falls on April 22. In celebration, we'd like to take those springtime vibes and turn them into a different sort of green. Spring isn't just about green grass and fresh buds--it's about our efforts to take care of those things. It can be difficult to implement eco-friendly practices into a big operation like a restaurant; but that doesn't mean it can't be done. Often, it's just about baby steps. Our restaurant consultants have six tips on making your restaurant a little bit greener; and even if you only implement one, it will make a difference.
  1. Take a look at your cleaning supplies. Restaurant-grade cleaning is tricky. You have to meet high standards of cleanliness for the safety and enjoyment of your guests. But there are some cleaning products with more modern chemicals that are friendlier to the environment and still clean with industrial strength. Take a look at some options through Green Janitorial Products or Envirofluid.
  2. Reduce your non-recyclable waste. The age of styrofoam is over! There are lots of environmentally-conscious products available for "disposable" supplies, such as carry-out containers and napkins made from biodegradable or recycled materials. 
  3. Eliminate paper. While paper is recyclable, with technology increasing, paper use can easily decrease. Our restaurant consultants are particularly fond of integrating technology into restaurants. This Toast blog argues in favor of modern-day receipting--with some added benefits for the earth and your bottom line. 
  4. Reevaluate your lighting. Whenever possible, utilize the natural light--it makes your guests happier and your space brighter. As the day wanes and you need to switch on the light fixtures, consider using energy-efficient bulbs. It's another eco-friendly practice that will also equal money back in your business.
  5. Research your composting options. As the New York Times wrote, composting in restaurants can be complex. But that doesn't mean it's impossible. In Denver, there are bike-powered composting services available. Denver does tend to be especially green, but the National Restaurant Association has a list of ten tips for composting at your restaurant. And if you'd like to do it yourself, there's a great how-to here.
  6. Make your menu local. Our restaurant consultants talk a lot about the the trend back toward local sources, especially farm-to-table food options. If you don't know where to start to meet your local farmers, take a look at Local Harvest, complete with a search database.
Not only will going green steward the earth we've been given, it will save your business money in the long-term and offer appeal to your guests. If you have questions about managing a green business or restaurant, contact a restaurant consultant today. 

Photo by Lacey Williams on Unsplash

Denver Shake Shack

New York's favorite gourmet burger chain comes to the Mile High City

By Sarah Ann Noel - March 28, 2018

A couple of years ago, our restaurant consultants wrote about the rise of fast casuals, with proofs from Shake Shacks announcement it was going public. The famed New York City burger chain is now expanding across the United States, and we are pleased to see them make not one, but a few, homes in Denver. 

It will come as no surprise that the first of the shacks has taken up in Denver's overwhelmingly popular RiNo neighborhood, a massive space right on Larimer. As a nod to its new hometown, the location has created an exclusive Green Chile CheddarSnack, just for its Colorado fans. 

The best news is that Shake Shack isn't going to stop there. Just last month, Highlands Ranch saw the opening of their very own Shake Shack. And, the Know announced that Shake Shack (along with several other Denver favorites) has been "cleared for takeoff" at Denver International Airport. 

What is evidenced in these openings is two-fold: first, these establishments continue to build Denver's burgeoning reputation as an elite United States foodie town. It also continues to prove the growth of new models--that even fast-casual dining can be a healthy, exciting experience. It takes attention to details; committment to fresh ingredients; and a grade-A marketing plan that catches the eyes of those in-the-know.

Congratulations again to Shake Shack, and welcome to Denver!

(Our restaurant consultants are always up-to-date on restaurant announcements and trends. For assistance with your restaurant, contact a restaurant consultant today.)

Photo via Shake Shack Instagram.

13 Spring Cocktails with Edible Flowers

National Restaurant Consultants launch the spring equinox with a huge list of floral cocktails

By Sarah Ann Noel - March 20, 2018

Sure there's snow on the ground in Denver and at our Golden office, and more expected to fall around the Great Lakes and the northeast; but, today is March 20, the spring equinox, and so our restaurant consultants are ready to warm things up for the season. If there's one thing that comes to mind when you think of spring, of course it's flowers; but we're not talking about a boring vase of carnations as a makeshift seasonal table centerpiece. 

With a trend toward the organic and an expectation for experimental drinks and dishes, it's time to incorporate some edible flowers into your spring season menus. There is a long list of flowers that are safe for eating, and we've included those below. It's a fun way to dress up any dish or salad; but with the sun warming up those outdoor patios and guests shifting into a more carefree state of mind, our restaurant consultants thought it a fun idea to pinpoint floral cocktail recipes--and not just your average lavender-infused whiskey. We found some unique concoctions, whether incorporating flowers or just inspired by them, that are bound to get your guests excited about spring.
  1. Kitchen Riffs shares a storied history behind the daisy cocktail, which has a number of variations. Add your own little twist to the recipe if you like--but instead of garnishing with a twist, garnish with a daisy itself. They're delightful and edible!
  2. Anthropologie did a gorgeous how-to video for a marigold cocktail--complete with perfect presentation that you should definitely take into account. (Consider the tea and syrup recipes, too!)
  3. We've talked a bit about the return to clear liquors, and this will only increase as spring warms up and guests are looking for refreshing gin treats. This cornflower gin cocktail via Chilled Magazine is the perfect pastel picture of springtime in a glass.
  4. Another cocktail named for a flower is the chrysanthemum, which Epicurious features here with absinthe for a fresh take. Don't forget the floral garnish--chrysanthemums are edible, too!
  5. Okay, okay--we said no lavender-infused whiskies. But that's not going to stop us from pointing out this Lavender Lemonade Martini from Creative Culinary.
  6. Geraniums in the pots on the front porch--take that childhood nostalgia and pour it into a pretty pink cocktail with this geranium simple syrup recipe on Gardenista.
  7. There are any number of recipes using roses, especially for cocktails; but this caught our eyes because of the cardamom addition!, Thanks View From the Great Island!
  8. Sugar + Charm has the sweetest recipe for a lilac pisco, with a presentation that is subtle and light, just like the start of spring.
  9. Dandelion has many health benefits, which is a great way to play up a special dandelion cocktail, like this G+T crafted in response to a Chicago Reader cocktail challenge.
  10. We are loving the vintage-inspired drinks our restaurant consultants have come across in the search for floral cocktails, especially this red clover and blood orange bourbon that uses a red clover tea.
  11. The "tulip" in this tulip cocktail via Galumbi is inspired by the aroma and floral notes--the very sight and scent of it will evoke the feeling of spring. (But tulips are also edible--toss a few petals into a spring salad!)
  12. Here is a simple recipe from Small Screen Network for the perfect Violet Fizz using a violet liqueur. (Our consultants also stumbled upon some creme de violette variations that would be worth experimenting with for a sunny springtime treat.)
  13. An orange pansy cocktail (from Marx Foods Blog) is bound to brighten up those spring happy hour menus--skip the pink and go right for the bold, and don't forget that edible pansy for garnish.
Enjoy the first day of spring and contact a restaurant consultant today for tips and tricks for your seasonal menus!

Photo by Patrick Nouhailler via Flickr.

St. Patrick's Day Menu

National Restaurant Consultants shares how to dress up your menus with the luck o' the Irish

By Sarah Ann Noel - March 13, 2018

By the luck o' the Irish, St. Patrick's Day falls on a Saturday this year, and in Denver, that's a big deal. From Kegs + Eggs to the parade downtown, Denver--and Boulder, alike--loves to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. (If you're in Colorado, here is a list of all the festivities going on this weekend.) For our friends and clients not in the Denver area, this green-hued holiday is a great chance to offer up some fun specials and draw in a new crowd.

Here are some easy ideas for a St. Patrick's Day menu:
  1. Green Beer. It really is as simple as green food coloring. Make sure to use a light beer and drop a few drops of green food coloring into a frosty pint glass first. Then pour in the beer for the perfect green. Of course, if your guests aren't looking for shamrock pours, consider a different Irish-inspired drink special; whiskey drinks and Irish coffees are a great place to start. (Of course, to be authentic, you'll need an Irish whiskey, like Jameson; but we are pretty partial to the Colorado brands we mentioned in a previous post, too.)
  2. Traditional Irish fare. The Food Network has a great gallery of all the dishes guests will be searching for on St. Patrick's Day--corned beef, Irish soda bread, colcannon, shepherd's pies, and stews. 
  3. Quick bites. It's pretty likely you'll have a lot of guests crawling from one restaurant to the next...and, with an emphasis on the drinks on a day like St. Patrick's Day, it is a great idea to have some quick bites available for quick guests. Bar snacks like nuts and popcorn are a great idea; but to turn hoppers into lingerers, consider some themed appetizers. We like this list on the Forkly website.
  4. Sweet treats. Any holiday is a day to celebrate, and this wekeend will be no exception. With guests in a jolly mood, many will likely want to treat themselves. Beer floats are a fun way to tie in dessert to the theme; but with some time on your hands, any of these desserts would be the perfect touch--especially for families trying to find a kid-friendly way to join in the fun. (But here are some good "grown-up" desserts, too.)
Our restaurant consultants are experts in menu development, and we love a reason for a fun theme. If you have questions about your menu or other upcoming special occasions, reach out to a restaurant consultant today!

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

5 Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Restaurant

Just like at home, spring is a great time to refresh your space and your menu

By Sarah Ann Noel - March 6, 2018

The temperatures are schizophrenic from Denver to New York City--sunny and unseasonably warm one minute, cold with a blustery wintery mix the next. But in our Phoenix office, things are heating up; our friends in Seattle have started their gardens; and even in Minneapolis, there have been days of rain instead of snow, and shoots of new life in the forests. What we're saying is: Spring is on its way in.

Spring ushers in with it a sense of freshness and renewal; and likely, at home, you're tending to projects long left ignored, like sweeping beneath furniture and organizing clients. Our restaurant consultants believe it's important to do the same in your restaurant space as well.

Here are five tips for a spring refresh in your establishment.
  1. Start with the actual deep cleaning. Of course, you have health codes to adhere to, and you keep things clean and comfortable for your guests; but you should take the time to go above and beyond and really get in the nooks and crannies. Scrape off the gum that kid stuck underneath the table; dust inside your chandeliers; clean all of the glass, polish all your metal. Really make the place sparkle.
  2. Declutter! Purging isn't just for your clothes closet. Consider the community areas in your restaurant--a bulletin board in the entry, fliers on the bathroom stalls. Clear away all that is worn and irrelevant. Take a look, also, at organizational systems--both those in and out of sight of your guests. Find a way to nicely store the additional paper products, or finally install a solution to keep the soap dispenser from leaking all over the bathroom counter.
  3. Spring clean your menu. Here's a spot you might not have thought to declutter, but our restaurant consultants find it incredibly prudent. Take a hard look at all of your menu offerings. What isn't selling? What is draining money? What doesn't fit with your culinary aesthetic? Be ruthless and slash it. Pare down your menu into something simple, that really packs a punch. (Need some help with this? Our restaurant consultants are menu development experts!)
  4. Refresh your look. Spring is a great time to update some of your interior and exterior design elements. If your booths or stools are looking a little shabby or your light fixtures a little too old fashioned, use your spring cleaning as an opportunity to make a few updates. If this is unnecessary or not in your budget, start smaller. Observe your signage on the table or around the walls. Brighten up your menus and advertising. Start fresh and clean for spring.
  5. Clean up your outdoor space. With spring knocking at the door, it's just a matter of time before your guests will want to be dining al fresco. Don't miss the first great day for outside dining--have it ready to go now!
Need more tips on sprucing up your place? Contact a restaurant consultant today!

Photo by Jennifer Burk on Unsplash

Add Craft Distilleries to Your Liquor Program

Why National Restaurant Consultants recommends including new craft distillers on your menus

By Sarah Ann Noel - March 1, 2018

Last year, VinePair named the top ten distillery tasting rooms in the country, picking out spots in Seattle, Brooklyn, Chicago, and Minneapolis--plus our own Golden Moon Distillery, right up the street from the National Restaurant Consultant offices in Golden, Colorado. While Colorado has long been known for its craft beer scene, it's craft distilleries our restaurant consultants are paying attention to now.

"Craft distilleries are growing by 30 percent every year," says National Restaurant Consultants president, David Kincheloe. "They need to be a part of a restaurant's liquor program."

It's all part of the finer, simpler things movement--the trend that has diners looking for the purest, most expertly crafted ingredients and products for the richest experience. We've seen it in the farm-to-table movement in restaurants, with a lot of special diets thrown in for good measure. And we've certainly seen it in craft beer, and now most guests will expect to find a local brew on your beer lists. With the extreme growth in craft distilleries, if it isn't happening in your establishment yet, it's just a matter of time before guests are asking for a local, craft whiskey, gin, or other spirit.

If you're in the Colorado area, you probably know well of Stranahan's and Laws whiskeys. A few other Colorado distilleries that are making a big name for themselves: Spirit Hound in Lyons; Elkins in Estes Park; Denver Distillery on South Broadway; and Mile High Spirits in RiNo.

Our restaurant consultants have expertise in liquor licensing, cocktail creation, and specialized tap systems. If you have questions about integrating more craft offerings into your menus, contact a restaurant consultant today.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Wine on Tap

Why our restaurant consultants are recommending kegged wine for great taste, lower costs and less waste

By Sarah Ann Noel - February 20, 2018

In Denver, which has had a long run as a microwbrewing city, our restaurant consultants have enjoyed exploring new markets in the beverage world. We've seen some distilleries pop up for whiskeys and clear liquors; we've explored one of the first urban wineries, Infinite Monkey; and one trend we've spotted, loved, and think is a smart move in our restaurants is wine on tap.

Kegged wine, or a wine on a tap, is a growing trend around food-centric cities and millennial diners. At first thought, perhaps you think it sounds like cheap wine--a nod to boxed wine, maybe. But with the latest keg and tap system technologies, wine on tap maintains the notes, and quality intended for the wine at the source. Not only does it provide a superior product that's on-trend with diners-in-the-know, it does so at a fraction of the cost.

One of the main reasons that wine one tap is more cost-effective is because it eliminates so much packaging and waste materials--no bottles, no labels, no corks, no boxes. This reduces the cost, meaning more money in your pocket, while also lowering your restaurant's carbon footprint, which should make your guests and neighbors happy as well.

Free Flow Wines provides excellent information about kegged wine, including a Wine 101 course. To get you started, read a little bit about the company and some FAQs. Our restaurant consultants are regular subscribers to their newsletter and other tips so that we stay on top of this growing, common sense trend. This blog also has an easy-to-understand breakdown of the benefits of kegged wine.

National Restaurant Consultants has included wine tap systems in many of our restaurant projects, so contact a restaurant consultant today if you would like guidance with kegged wine at your restaurant.

Photo via Free Flow Wines