Last Minute Menu Changes

Why being flexible with your spring menus will work in your favor

By Sarah Ann Noel - May 23, 2019

Spring can be a tricky time. Our Denver offices have been getting snow all week, under overcast skies--an intense storm that's been somewhat unusual, even for Colorado's unpredictable weather. Our friends in New York broke out their winter gear on their way to a restaurant event last week, but now the sun is shining. And though the rumor is that California weather is always nice, it unexpectedly rained in Los Angeles yesterday. No one is safe from the fickle spring.

While our restaurant consultants are big advocates of the seasonal menus, which are both more appealing to guests and cost effective, we believe these same benefits apply to some small menu flexibilty. Though the supermarkets are currently filled with fresh summer produce, Colorado residents are still looking for "hibernation foods"--warm drinks and soups and hearty entrées. 

This is a thing to keep in mind when creating your special menus. If you've got an unexpected snowstorm plaguing what locals are expecting to be a bright and sunny spring day, capitalize on that and whip up a filling chili or bake a dense bread. Be a beacon of warmth, when that's what people need. 

This works outside of Colorado snows, as well. Is the rain unending where you are? Brighten up your menus--and your guests' days--with colorful cocktails on happy hour, reminiscent of the summer sunshine hopefully to come. When it does come and the heat and drought are unbearable, craft refreshing plates of watermelon and fresh lemonades to cool everyone down. 

It's excellent to have a sustainable, dependable, cost-effective plan for your menu; but remember that there is a lot of benefit in being relevant to the times, too. For more questions, contact a restaurant consultant today. 

Ben's Friends

National Restaurant Consultants takes a look at alcoholism and recovery in the restaurant and hospitality industries

By Sarah Ann Noel - May 16, 2019

Our restaurant consultants in Denver and Phoenix have worked in the industry all around the world, including in New York, Los Angeles, and Denver establishments where food is a popular attraction and the nightlife is prime. Anyone familiar with the work of the late Anthony Bourdain knows of the darker side of the restaurant industry--the stress, the hours, and the substances restaurant workers may turn to to alleviate these hardships. 

Recently, our CEO Richard Weil stumbled upon a related article on Poached, about alchoholism and recovery in the restaurant industry. It sheds light on the use of alcohol among restaurant employees.

"After a long and busy shift, blowing off steam can be a necessity and for a long time, turning to alcohol has been an easy option. In some ways, it’s just natural in our industry since we’re always around it: we serve alcohol all day, we traditionally get a shift drink after every shift and we work odd hours where only a few establishments remain open by the time we clock out — most of which are bars," writes Ashley Lange.

It makes it easy to see the why and how behind restaurant employees' alcohol use; but the next question is, what can be done about it?

Thanksfully, Lange's Poached article offers up a great solution: a support group known as Ben's Friends. 

"Ben’s Friends participates in the conversation on alcohol and substance abuse in the Food and Beverage industry by creating a safe space for those in recovery and offering support through acceptance, dialog and community," says Lange. 

Her article goes on to encourage restaurant owners and managers to keep an eye on things.
"As a restaurant owner or manager, there are constructive ways to encourage a healthier lifestyle for your employees and it can all start by laying out expectations and not turning a blind eye when you notice an employee who is drinking on the job, clocking on intoxicated, or even frequently showing up hungover. In instances like this, Bakst believes having an open conversation is a great start to being supportive."

Please take time to read the full article here, and you can learn more about Ben's Friends here. Our restaurant consultants are experts in restaurant operations, a lot of which is reliant on dependable, healthy employees. Contact a restaurant consultant today to help make sure your staff is at its best.

Photo by Michael Discenza on Unsplash

Employee Retention in the Hospitality Industry

National Restaurant Consultants is teaching their clients how to be better employers

By Richard Weil - May 7, 2019

National Restaurant Consultants president David Kincheloe's friend Brent Tilson published an article in Forbes Books online, addressing the importance of hospitality businesses working to retain their staff.  Tilson noted, “Over three million employees have left their jobs voluntarily every month since June 2017, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Keeping good employees is becoming harder and harder for employers, and retention is at an all-time low.”

At National Restaurant Consultants we have been working with our clients across the country to become better employers. How you treat your employees matters! Tilson wrote, “in 2018 over 40 million employees quit their job and the vast majority of new hires are quitting their current jobs and moving to the new opportunity”. 

Why are these employees leaving? Staff members aren't quitting their jobs--they are quitting their managers or owners of the restaurants. It is well published that bad management is the number one reason people leave. Employees surveyed by UDEMY responded that 56% of the time, they feel their managers are not qualified to lead; and 60% survey believe managers need managerial training. This study further indicates lack of management training, interpersonal skills, and poor organizational hierarchy and protocols. 

National Restaurant Consultants can review your management's organizational alignment and create customized training solutions to help your management team become better leaders. Your ability to attract and retain quality staff, improve your overall guest service, and employ the type of management that truly leads, will result in reduced expenses of staff turnover and the eventual increase in profits and cash flow your restaurant needs. Contact a restaurant consultant for help!

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash


Death & Co. in Denver

National Restaurant Consultants visits this NYC hotspot, bound next for LA

By Sarah Ann Noel - May 1, 2019

What began in the East Village of New York City has made its way to Denver, and our restaurant consultants were pleased to finally stop by Death & Company last weekend to take in the grandeur of the setting and sample the newly refreshed cocktail menu. With an ambiance of luxury and mystery, D&C offers a broad book of housemade cocktails, organized flavor profiles, rather than by specific liquors. 

We sampled the Sister Ruby--creamy, sweet, and topped with cocao nibs--as well as the Good Enough Gatsby, perfectly crisp with pear-infused brandy, cinnamon, and an aloe leaf. The cocktails are thoughtful, from construction to presentation, delighting all of the D&C guests (including non-drinkers, as there are many mocktails available as well). Of course, this makes sense considering the release of their cocktails book, Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails

Located in the lobby of RiNo's Ramble Hotel, Death & Co also serves up a varied food menu, offers weekend brunch, and stays open late. 

Death & Co is bound for Los Angeles next, and we feel their presence in Denver is proof of the still burgeoning food scene of our home city. To see more delightful cocktail presentations and learn a bit more about Death & Co, visit their Instagram.

Our restaurant consultants enjoy sampling new and exciting restaurant locations to keep a finger on the pulse of what's happening in the industry. Contact a restaurant consultant today to see what we can do to bring your restaurant in-line with the current, most popular practices and trends.

Image via Death & Co website.

The Best Summer 2019 Recipes

National Restaurant Consultants rounds up the foods you need on your menus for this summer

By Sarah Ann Noel - April 24, 2019

Though it seems like we were only just poking around for spring-inspired cocktails, it's already time to prepare summer-themed recipes for your menus. Already, diners near our Denver and Phoenix offices are taking to those outdoor patios, and it's just a matter of time before the rosé orders start rolling in at happy hour.

Summer is the perfect time to take advantage of fresh, crisp dishes, with nods toward lighter fare and playful designs. Top everything with fruit and herbs, don't shy away from colorful combinations, and always remember that heaping side of earthy greens. To follow this summers biggest food trends, we turned to the predictions at National Restaurant News--think runny eggs, global dishes, and bonus points if you make it waste-free.

If you're looking for some inspiration to dress your menus for summer, we've found some recipe and menu ideas across the internet to get your creative culinary juices flowing.  While the growing seasons will vary across locations, along with temperatures, school schedules, and other summetime events, it's good to start preparing your menus now. Our restaurant consultants are experts in menu development and seasonal menu development. Contact a restaurant consultant today to get your summer menu in working order.

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Hotspots Premiere Features Denver's Potager

National Restaurant Consultants attends a private screening of a short documentary honoring chef Teri Rippeto

By Sarah Ann Noel - April 17, 2019

Cool Cactus Media
, a production company based out of Boulder, has created a new series of stories entitled Hotspots. The collection focuses on local, interesting stories, a glimpse into the personal piece of hot button issues like climate and culture.

Last weekend, the team released the first episode, featuring Denver's Potager chef, Teri Rippeto. Potager has been a longstanding foodie spot, since even before Denver's major influx, drawing in repeat guests with their seasonal, farm-to-table dishes. 

In this first Hotspots episode, Rippeto discusses her journey to becoming a chef, founding Potager, and ultimately why she chooses to prepare food in the conscious manner that she does. It was indicative of the direction our restaurant consultants have seen the restaurant industry moving, and we were pleased to see this beautiful feature on such a landmark of Denver food.

National Restaurant Consultants takes pride in following the latest and most important trends in the food industry and in industry projects surrounding the restaurant business. If you would like to speak with us about your restaurant project, either an existing business or a new startup, contact us today.

Costs of Credit Card Purchases on the Rise

National Restaurant Consultants weighs in on increased fees for merchants accepting credit cards

By Sarah Ann Noel - April 10, 2019

With restaurant consultants just back from New York City, we are reminded of how much of the city operates on a cash-only basis. Bodegas, cafés, and restaurants tape signs to the windows, doors, cash registers, declaring "CASH ONLY." It's not as prevelant a practice near our Denver or Phoenix offices; but as citizens turn back to city living, we'll see metropolitan areas begin to mimic some of these big city behaviors.

In some locations--in New York City and elsewhere--some stores and restaurant spots are swinging to the opposite end of the spectrum and are cash FREE. It's caused some backlash among neighborhood residents; but still the businesses state their cases. In this New York Times article, there are several local businesses listed as Cashless, and they will only accept credit or debit cards or various money sharing apps.

Reasons abound, from sanitation claims to human error prevention. And while these are valid concerns, especially in major cities, our restaurant consultants are also eyeing the increasing fees on merchants accepting credit cards. These little cost hikes can add up. According to the Wall Street Journal, this year both Mastercard and Visa stated that they would be increasing merchant fees yet again, "a move likely to inflame already fractious relations between businesses and card networks."

These fee increases are set to take affect this month, and the most obvious move for restaurant owners is to pass those costs onto the consumer.

When budgeting, National Restaurant Consultants CEO Richard Weil says, "Merchant service fees need to be figured into prime costs. This is going to cause customer costs to rise, and is more offset as customers continue to pay with credit cards and also tip on credit cards." Weil adds that the 12 percent factor on payroll tax is now evidenced in the raising labor costs elements as well.

Be on the look out for these increasing fees to go live on your April invoices, and make sure that you've prepared your business budgets accordingly. Our restaurant consultants are experts in the financial matters of the restaurant business and can help to adjust your budgets as necessary. If you're in need of financial reorganization, contact a restaurant consultant today. 

Photo by Two Paddles Axe and Leatherwork on Unsplash

80 Spring-Inspired Cocktails

Warm up your happy hour menus with National Restaurant Consultants' favorite cocktail round-up

By Sarah Ann Noel - April 3, 2019

It's the first week of April, and hopefully it's spring where you are. Here in our Denver offices, we're still battling a chill; but at least it's warm in Phoenix! We had consultants in Nashville over the weekend, where it was cold and rainy; but others are heading to New York this week, and there we've heard tell of the promises of springtime. 

So how about, at the very least, spring in your glass? In keeping with tradition, we went to some of our favorite food and drink publications and found great spring cocktail trends for this year. So cheers to warmth and color and sweetness--even if it's just what's on the happy hour menu.

Over at Town & Country, they've featured a ginger sage cocktail, with Prosecco, that's bound to warm you up--plus more than 30 other spring-inspired recipes.

Our featured photo is a cherry blossom cocktail from The Adventure Bite, via Design Sponge. If you're waiting for your cherry blossoms to bloom, perhaps this delicious drink--or any of the other 20+ recipes--will tide you over.

Feeling a little playful as the season turns? Give your cocktails a fun name. We like The Secret Garden, featured on Marie Claire's list of cocktails, not just for it's name, but also because of its gin base. Gin is still going to be a good go-to this spring and summer.

If it's called "Sunshine", then it must be a good option. Sunshine, and a few other high-end twists on classic warm weather cocktails are featured in this gallery on Esquire.

Food & Wine is a trusted resource, and they did not disappoint with spring cocktail suggestions. This Mango-Elderflower Margarita is a great way to dress-up a classic cocktail with a spring flare. Check out more Food & Wine spring cocktail suggestions here.

National Restaurant Consultants specialize in menu development and crafting cocktail recipes. We turn to these outlets for inspiration, but it is also important to cater menus to your business and your guests. Contact a restaurant consultant today for advice on how to adjust your menus with some springtime brilliance.

Photo via Design*Sponge.

Los Chingones in Denver West

National Restaurant Consultants visits Troy Guard's Golden location

By Sarah Ann Noel - March 25, 2019

This past week, our restaurant consultants visited Los Chingones in Denver West, one of the newest locations from Troy Guard's Mexican food sensation in the Denver area. This newest spot is just minutes from the National Restaurant Consultants Golden office--apologies to our Phoenix location, that they're missing out!

Troy Guard's concept has been charming RiNo in downtown Denver since 2013, and it's popularity has grown the company to many metro-area locations. It is an excellent example of what the perfect combination of choice ingredients, unique receipes, and a committed aesthetic can do for a restaurant business. 

While all the locations thrive with irreverant and spicy foods and attitudes, each location seems to wisely use their space, maintaining the brand's purity with locational independence. The Denver West location makes fun good use of a wide open dining space, with some fun touches--swing chairs, high booths, and a lofted area for private dining. Our restaurant consultants especially liked the large plant installation in the bar, a great authentic touch and also a smart way to tie in the high, industrial ceilings.

Our restaurant consultants specialize in all areas of the restaurant industry--from menu development to interior design to recipe creation and business management. We love to keep our eyes on local establishments perfecting their venture into the restaurant industry, just as we like to work with brands and businesses that want to improve. If you'd like some tips on improving your restaurant, contact a restaurant consultant today.

Cleaning a Commercial Refrigerator

National Restaurant Consultants and Webstaurant Store share tips on keeping your fridge and kitchen up to code

By Sarah Ann Noel - March 19, 2019

"The daily and ongoing organization of your entire kitchen--and in particular, your refrigeration storage--is critical in maintaining proper food handling procedures," says National Restaurant Consultants CEO Richard Weil. As a member of the  State of Colorado Health Department Appeals Board, Weil is especially in-tune with the requirements of health codes, and all of our restaurant consultants agree that clealiness and organization in the back-of-house make for an efficient, enjoyable experience in the front of house.

Weil says, "Food safety and quality go hand-in-hand. Rules set by state and local health professionals should be viewed as an asset to help operators achieve their goal of delighting guests. Quality guest experience is critical to your operations success and so are these processes.”

But in the midst of daily restaurant tasks, tackling larger cleaning and organization projects can seem daunting or even impossible. Still, we're nearing spring and there's a natural inclination toward sprucing up and cleaning out. In an effort to eliminate stress, Webstaurant Store recently posted an article with eight easy steps for cleaning out your commercial refrigerator

"It's always a good time to clean out and organize your commercial fridge, walk-in, or freezer. Follow this simple step-by-step guide to ensure that your refrigerators and freezers are as clean as the day you installed them," the article promises.

Weil also notes that these necessary tasks aren't just about organization or efficiency. "Quality of ingredients, quality of prepped product and the end result in presenting to every guest with every meal starts with organized and well executed policies and procedures," he says.

Our restaurant consultants are experts in restaurant operations. With offices in Denver and Phoenix, and clients across the country and worldwide, we know what sets the standard for efficient, clean, pleasing kitchens. Contact a restaurant consultat today and let us help you get your operations on track. 

Photo by nrd on Unsplash