As usual, it was a busy week in the restaurant and events industries, but we’ve been on top of the best trends and news for event managers. Here’s our four picks for this Valentine’s Day week:
1. Bye, bye elitists
It’s finally happening, folks. The disdain of restaurant workers worldwide is losing its thunder. Eater reported this week that Instagram influencers are taking over Yelp Elite as the top tier in restaurant reviewers. Being a former restaurant worker myself, this fills me with unabated joy. To this day I despise the Yelp Elite. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure they’re not all bad, but the unfair reviews certainly outweigh the good. As the late, great Anthony Bourdain said in a 2017 interview, “There’s really no worse, or lower human being then an Elite Yelper,” claiming them to be “universally loathed by chefs everywhere.” A one-star increase on Yelp can turn a once empty, insignificant venue into a thriving business without an empty seat in the house while the opposite can do, well, the opposite. That’s a scary reality when you’re basing your success on a self-proclaimed “foodie” who doesn’t have a speck of hospitality experience. This isn’t to say that all Instagram influencers do, but in my experience, they are more inclined to partner with restaurant owners and therefore are less apt to go off the hinge because their water didn’t get filled enough times. After reading this article, my advice would be to do a quick search of who the Instagram influencers are in your market and reach out to them, buy them dinner, and cross your fingers their iPhone can take a picture good enough to highlight all your venue has to offer.
2. It’s time to start listening to your staff
This next piece is a great juxtaposition to the Yelp Elite vs. Instagram Influencer debate. This week, The Rail talked about why restaurant operators should give the same amount of weight to staff feedback as they do to their guests’. This makes a lot of sense. As highlighted in the article, your staff, especially your servers, are the ones “in the trenches.” Your guests aren’t going to review every single aspect of their experience, but your staff can. Not to mention we all appreciate being acknowledged and listened to, so it can only increase your staff’s motivation to work hard. If they respect you, they’ll respect the business as a whole. Their opinions may even lead to suggestions that boost your business. It’s a win, win for sure.
3. Facebook or bust
If you’re still having doubts about promoting your venue on Facebook, check out this feature posted by NextRestaurants that discusses how your venue can beat slow nights with Facebook Ads. According to a poll done by Pew Research Center, 68% of US adults have a Facebook profile, and roughly 75% of those users access it on a daily basis. So, it’s no surprise then that Facebook is the place to promote your venue. In addition, Facebook is super user-friendly when it comes to setting up ads, and you can target a specific audience which, let’s face it, is an extremely important feature when it comes to the diversity within restaurant venues.
4. The modern dinner date
I thought it only right since it is Valentine’s week to post a little something about the Hallmark holiday. I’m sure a lot of you are hosting Valentine’s specials at your venue. Maybe it’s a night exclusively for reservations or one with a specific prix fixe menu. Well, according to Nation’s Restaurant News, the evolution of the modern dinner date is taking a fast and casual turn. Today’s single set is ditching the white tablecloth and candlelit dinner for a more fun and affordable date. This really opens up a new opportunity to the fast-casual dining world. Chains like White Castle have already cashed in on this trend by offering Valentine’s date night specials that include a red plastic tablecloth and roses at every table. So what does this mean for our more upscale friends, you might ask? I’d say this is a great opportunity for you as well! Switch it up from the old school tired Valentine’s traditions and offer something more approachable like inexpensive shareable plates and a lively atmosphere. Maybe offer a balloon artist to stop by every table or a live band to get your guests moving. The possibilities are endless and won’t cost you or your guests a fortune. It’s unfortunately too late to try out these ideas this year but this trend isn’t going anywhere. I’d keep this advice in your back pocket for Valentine’s Day 2020.
Interested in more trends?
Check out Tripleseat’s posts on trends and information for the event industry.