Table-loids: The Great Allergen Debate, User-Generated Content in Hospitality, and More Industry News You Should Know


Another week, another assortment of useful industry features to keep your head in the game and out of the “slow-season” fog.

1. Excuse me? Is there gluten in this?!
It’s no secret that the number of customers claiming to have food allergies is on the rise. I say “claims” because there are those that truthfully do have a food allergy and those that claim to have an allergy when what they really have is an aversion. Yet, as hospitality industry professionals, we can’t ignore the fact that real allergies exist just because of a few high-maintenance customers. Food allergies can create a very serious situation with even more serious repercussions if not addressed properly. Restaurant Business Online released an article this week discussing ways to equip your staff with the information they need about each menu item and how they should handle food allergy allegations. Their suggestions carry over from main dining room customers to private events. One very important point they make is to always ensure accuracy. Your employees may have memorized the ingredients in a certain dish but changes on the fly are sometimes made in busy kitchens without alerting front of house staff. You have to be diligent about keeping up with these changes especially when an item may be viewed as a common allergen. 

2. First, let me take a selfie
In last week’s Table-loids we discussed how the Yelp Elite are losing stamina and Instagram influencers are gaining speed. So the next step is to reach out to the influencers, right? Well yes, but also no. This week on NextRestaurants, they’re giving us 7 Ways to Establish Your Restaurants Brand with User-Generated Content. A few of their suggestions should definitely happen before you start reaching out to the kings and queens of Instagram. For one, updating the look of your venue. No need to go through an entire renovation. Adding one unique feature can set you apart from the competition and give you that Instagram-worthy look. I recently read an article about the coolest restaurant bathrooms in NYC to take a selfie in — proof that even your restrooms can make you a social media front runner. I highly recommend checking out the rest of NextRestaurants’ ideas. Social media is the easiest and cheapest on-trend marketing tool for your venue. It’s a no-brainer for sure.

3. Don’t blow it
Since we’re on the topic of marketing your restaurant, why not talk emails? This is an old read that was reposted this week but it’s certainly still relevant. The Rail gave us an article explaining how your venue is probably blowing their email marketing campaigns. I still believe that social media is top dog when it comes to simplistic marketing tools, but what is also true is that you can reach a lot more customers in less time with email marketing. The key is to not blow it. How could you blow it, you might ask? One common way is to email too often or not enough. When it comes to social media, more is definitely better. You have to constantly post new items to keep up with the Joneses. But with email marketing, the opposite is true. Twice a week is plenty when it comes to emails. Even worse than too many emails? Not enough. There’s definitely a happy medium to be found. 

4. Spring, is that you?
Eater is proclaiming this week that the beloved McDonald’s Shamrock Shake is a more reliable sign of spring than Punxsutawney Phil and truthfully, I have to agree. As I type this, I’m looking out of my office window at about a foot of snow, an icy river and ghostly looking trees with bare limbs. I couldn’t possibly be craving a Shamrock Shake more than I am at this very moment. That first sip is sure to enliven my senses and put a little “spring” in my step. If you live in warmer climates, screw you. Just kidding. ???? But you probably have no clue what I’m talking about and can’t relate at all. What can you relate to? The fact that the Shamrock Shake is delicious. So treat yourself, and as you sip it, pretend you’re standing in a foot of snow to get the full effect.

Interested in more trends?
Check out Tripleseat’s posts on trends and information for the event industry.