Recipes, Restaurant Stories, Social Media

Cheers! To These Creative Fall Cocktails

We asked our oh-so-creative customers to submit some of their signature fall cocktails to share with our readers. We hand selected some of our favorites, and here they are for your drinking pleasure!

First up is a fun cocktail from our friends at The Grey Goose Restaurant in Hampton Virginia. The Grey goose is owned by a couple who is not only both from Virginia, but who compliment one another with their culinary passions and knowledge going back to college.

With a sincere love for their following, and ability to carry out their passion for hospitality daily, you’re sure to not only have a great meal at The Grey Goose, but some pretty fun cocktails as well!

This one’s called the Poison Apple.

poison apple recipe

Next we head a little farther south to Culhane’s Irish Pub, located in Atlantic Beach Florida. This authentic Irish pub gets a lot of buzz surrounding their appearance on the popular show ‘Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives‘, but it’s not all about the show that gets people excited. The 4 sisters who own & manage Culhane’s (originally from Ireland) bring their heritage, love of food, and impeccable service to their loyal guests!

Here, as shown by employees of Culhane’s Irish Pub, is one if their signature cocktails this time of year…

The Pumpkin Spice Irish Coffee!

pumpkin coffee recipe

Heading to Huntington New York, we visit Restaurant Joanina. This family owned Italian restaurant is home to many regulars who come to enjoy the fresh homemade pastas, brick oven pizzas and rotating specials. Aside from a hand selected wine list, both by the bottle and by the glass, the bartender is always willing to whip up a seasonal cocktail to fit with the time of year. Here we have a twist on a classic…

The Port Wine Old Fashioned

joanina recipe 2

We always encourage our customers, and other restaurants and bars to send us fun cocktail and recipe ideas to share with our followers! If you have a recipe you would like to share, and for your business to be featured on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram — email us at!

Halloween, Marketing Tips, Restaurant Stories, Social Media

Halloween And Beyond: The Value of Holiday Marketing

October is here, and with it, we’re inching ever closer to everyone’s favorite fright night of the year, Halloween.

It only seems fitting to take this opportunity, and propose some ideas that we’re confident can generate business — and more importantly, REPEAT business at your establishment throughout the Halloween season and beyond.

Halloween itself is great and all, but before we even get to that spook-tacular night, there’s the entire season of Fall to welcome! For those in areas that experience this glorious change of season, you know that it’s more than just a date on the calendar or a change in the weather, but often represents a shift in the tastes of consumers.

In addition to an invasion of all things pumpkin flavored, the Fall season is also a time when some of the following flavors are typically highlighted:

  • Apple & Apple Cider
  • Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato
  • Butterscotch, Caramel & Toffee
  • Cinnamon, Chai & Nutmeg
  • Chestnuts, Pecans & Walnuts
  • Cranberry
  • Ginger & Gingersnap
  • Maple flavors

A chance to slip some of these flavors into your menu over the course of the season may help you stand out against some of your competitors.

For those that serve beer at their establishments, when the seasons change, or holiday’s approach, beer taps typically change with them. Hosting a beer tasting or two while waiting for Halloween to arrive would be a great way to get some people in your door and some eyes on your beer and food selection. Perhaps a beer and cheese pairing night? A paint night with a Fall or Halloween theme while the pumpkin and Oktoberfest beers are pouring?

It seems like every year, Halloween becomes more and more of a commercial and cultural fixture. Halloween has become more than just a day, but an almost literal month-long celebration of all things frighteningly fun. This offers a tremendous opportunity for your business to tap into the “spirit” of the occasion.

Adjusting some of your menu items (even if just by name) can be a playful way to freshen up your menu:

  • “BOO”-shi
  • “Ghoul”ash
  • BONE-appetite Wings
  • Goblin up burgers
  • Monster mashed potatoes
  • Witch’s Cauldron Chili
  • Sand-witches

Not to mention any number of Halloween inspired cocktails that can help customers keep your name in the front of their minds when heading out for a bite or a night of fun during this time of the year.

Outside of wordplay, there are some more concrete events and promotions you can offer to appeal to your community.

During these “31 Days of Halloween” you can offer customers a punch card, or tracking system of some kind to keep them coming in weekly for a special Halloween-themed food or drink that you can switch up as often as you’d like. Customers who return each week within the month, can earn a gift card or credit towards a future bill after the Halloween season is “laid to rest.”

Maybe each visit earns them a raffle ticket for a larger prize like a free meal. Or link up with other local shops to cross promote your businesses, and perhaps they will offer to donate a prize like a spa day, electronics, movie tickets or something of the like. Providing opportunities like these for your customers are a great way to organically grow your email contact list, giving you the chance to keep them informed of any future offers or events at your establishment.

If something long term like that doesn’t really appeal to you, something as simple as a Halloween movie screening on a typically slow night could be a fun way to break up the norm. Costumed karaoke anyone? The possibilities are endless.

We don’t want to alarm you, but October does feature a Friday the 13th. Some fanfare on that date is sure to be a hit for those too old for trick-or-treating looking to start their weekend off with a fun twist.

Encouraging kids and parents to attend your establishment in costume could be a fun way to initiate some playful buzz. Maybe that can be incentivized with a discount of some kind, on an order over a certain amount of money. Certainly, on Halloween itself, encouraging a costumed visit from children as a trick or treat stop will be something they won’t soon forget, and likely nor will their parents.

Halloween is a unique and special time, but being able to recognize the marketing opportunities offered by holidays in general, is key in keeping your establishment fresh in the minds of consumers — and getting new eyes on what you offer and more feet consistently through your door.

Social media and specific promotions will be key to getting the word out, and we’re happy to say we’ve got your back!  Whatever you need to promote these events or specials, or simply providing holiday themed posts on social media, we’re here to help!


Marketing Tips, Restaurant Stories, Social Media

Why Bad Reviews Are Written About Your Restaurant.

Unfortunately, there are times when bad reviews can be justified; but in some cases, they might just be written by someone having a bad day, and they decided it should be taken out on you.

Thankfully, as the act of leaving reviews has become more popular, people tend to take the outrageous ones with a grain of salt, especially if they are few and far between amongst a sea of positive feedback.

Whether you seem to have a strong hold on your online reputation or not, reviews tend to hold tremendous weight on the success or decline in business at many food service establishments. Below are some of the most common reasons a negative review might be left about your restaurant.

1.) Poor Customer Service.

The customer wants what they want, when they want it; And although some may not meet you with dissatisfied remarks right then at the table, if they feel that their service was lacking in any way, they very well may leave a review about it — and more often than not, never return.

2.) Inconsistency

You are running a well-oiled machine and you have a lot of happy regulars. They are regulars for a reason — you’re doing something (or everything) right! The problem can arise however, if someone has visited your restaurant a few times to experience stellar food and service, and sporadically get met with a night where things are just “off”.

Maybe you are understaffed, the fryer broke, a table of 15 just walked in and are slowing up the kitchen… whatever it may be, your customers won’t care about your problems if they don’t know what’s causing delays with the food or have to wait to be seated. They are there for THEIR meal, THEIR time, and THEIR enjoyment. If the service is not consistent, or the food somehow isn’t how they remember, they may not return.

In addition to this, many often choose that one poor experience to review. Customers tend to be more apt to share the negative before raving about the previous few occasions in which they left your restaurant happy and full.

Sometimes transparency is key. Let your customers know, while they are still in your restaurant, that it’s a bit of a rough night and it doesn’t reflect the norm. You may just earn some hospitality points right there with your honesty!

3.) Food Quality

People dine out for a variety of reasons. Some, simply never cook at home, while others view dining out as something that is done on a special occasion. Either way, the food you serve should be a reflection of you, your standards, and the business you run. If the quality of your food or how it’s presented to your guests is causing it to be sent back or not eaten, you bet someone will not only write a review sharing their experience, but you can be sure that there will be photos attached to the post for all to see.

The point here, is that the food you serve should be as high of a priority as customer service. Guests may even choose to return somewhere with less-than-stellar customer service, just because the food is so amazing.

So consistency, quality, and pride in what comes out of the kitchen is a MUST if you want to remain successful, and avoid negative reviews.

4.) Cleanliness

This really goes without saying. If you don’t run a clean restaurant, chances are your customers won’t be the only ones giving you a poor review — the board of health won’t be far behind.

It is common however, that customers will point out dirty floors, greasy looking kitchens, and even unorganized hostess stations. So for the sake of safety, the health of your customers, aesthetics, and of course preventing a review pointing out that you’re a complete mess… keep things clean!


As we mentioned, not all of this is entirely in your control, so unfortunately we must take the bad with the good and respond to the negative reviews when they do happen to roll in. Need help? You can always talk to one of our Customer Success representatives about our options to manage your online reputation for you, or you can check out some tips in our past blog post on how to answer negative reviews.

Marketing Tips, Restaurant Stories

6 Marketing Tips To Attract New Customers

Marketing your business in 2016 is a mix between products, technology and customer engagement.  Having a restaurant before the era of review sites and social media wasn’t as complicated; you went off of word of mouth and cost.  However, times are changing and the demand for a heightened quality of food, efficiency, and dining experience is what really counts.  Not only does it count but now people can write reviews and spread word about your establishment via the internet.

Don’t get stuck between a rock and a hard place by not managing your online reputation and not advancing with the times.  Get ahead of the curve and use Gen Z’s increased sense of engagement via technology to your advantage.  Offer more promotions, coupons and even incentives for people who tag themselves at your business or post a positive review about you on social media.  Make sure all of your listing information is cohesive throughout the internet to avoid wrong phone numbers, hours of operation, or address.  Any wrong information provided about you can deter customers from trying you and going to a new place.  Here are 6 Marketing Trends to Help Attract New and Old Business in 2015.

1 . Dining ‘Farm-to-Fork’

A very popular trend that is emerging is the Farm-to-Fork (or Farm-to-Table) movement.  This is a community food system in which food is produced, processed, distributed, and consumed all within a local community.  Many people are turning to a more natural diet with less processed and more organic meats, fruits and vegetables.  This allows people to eat fresher food while helping out to enhance environmental, economic, social and nutritional health within the area.


2.  Moving to Gen Z

Millennials are also known as the ‘Demand Generation’ which is based on instantaneous gratification.  While this demand will continue, restaurateurs are going to have another issue on their hands.  The next generation known as ‘Gen Z’ are the early adopters, the brand influencers, the social media drivers, the pop-culture leaders, and are the most connected, educated and sophisticated generation ever.  With this generation up-and-coming, restaurateurs are going to need to please this crowd with high-tech service, electronic menus, a heightened level of dining experience and more unique/creative menu offerings.

3.  Expanding Technology

As technology spreads its wings we encourage restaurants to keep up with the changing times.  Instances like below are definitely a step in the right direction:
·         Accepting mobile payments.
·         Providing a tablet to join your mailing list.
·         Presenting menus on tablets.
·         Allowing customer to electronically place their orders on the table.

While Gen Z still requires a high level of demand, they are all about efficiency.  Think about it, allowing people to view and place their order on a tablet provides less room for human error.  Customers can no longer say that the waitress ‘messed up their order’ or claim that they were charged for more than what they had ordered.  Offering mobile payments allows less running around for a waitress so they can attend to more tables which allows you to use less staff.
As with anything new, this trend will be continuously changing and evolving.  Making sure you do your homework and brush up on newer ways to attract customers will help you out in the future.

4.  Designing Shareable Plates

Customers were very intrigued with ‘family-style’ dining in the year of 2014.  This trend does show it is still high rising and will last throughout 2015 and into 2016.  Providing the option to purchase the family-style portion for only a couple dollars more will seem like the right way to go when you have a party of 2 or more.  Customers like to see more ‘bang for their buck’.

Not comfortable with changing around your whole entire menu on a theory?  We suggest creating a ‘Shareable Plates’ section on your menu to see if this is something more and more customers order off of.  Testing its success is a great way to tell if it is something you should implement on your whole menu.

RBK Porky.jpg

5.  Creativity with Your Beverage List

Gen Z and Millennials all love to try new things and if you serve alcohol you want to capitalize on this trend in 2015.  These generations have a more extensive palette when it comes to food and drinks.  Providing shareable punches and a more extensive collection of flavored whiskey, vodka and rum will help you out with creating new and exciting drinks for them to try.

Don’t have alcohol?  That is fine!  Try bringing in some herbal teas, coconut water or any other mixed non-alcoholic beverages you might find interesting.  These people are on a quest for something new and being that they are brand managers it will most certainly be helpful to appease them.

6.  Menu Items for People with Allergies

Did you know that between 1997 and 2011 there was a 50% increase of children with food allergies?  Now you ask yourself; Why do I need to do this?  Answer is very simple, when customers are deciding to go out usually the person who picks the place they are going to will be the one with a food allergy.  This is to ensure that person will have a good time dining out as well.

We know providing a safe-haven for people with food allergies is a big burden and requires strict preparation techniques. However, once you become fluent on all processes you will attract new and old customers who stopped or wouldn’t come to your establishment due to their restrictions.  Make sure you advertise the menu to ensure people know that they should come and try you as well.

Have other trends that you foresee becoming big it 2016-2017?  Share them below!