Table-loids: What’s Going on in Chicago, a Few Noteworthy Matriarchs, and More Industry News You Should Know


Hello friends and welcome to another edition of Table-loids. This week we’ll take a look at some easy ways to boost your venue’s visual presence and sales along with a shout-out to a few of the ladies that enhance the hospitality industry as well as to our very cold comrades in Chicago.

1. Don’t overlook the signs
It seems like we’re always talking about and touting outward marketing outlets like social media, but there are other means to grab the attention of prospective customers, and those means start and end at your venue. I’m talking about the simple yet oh-so-important marketing tool, signage. The Rail was nice enough this week to break down five of the most popular and successful sign types. You can read all of their examples here, but there was one that stood out to me, the story of Frenchy’s Bistro in California. Frenchy’s was lovingly referred to by locals as the restaurant next to the paint store because the paint store had a large neon sign and Frenchy’s, let’s just say, had something a lot less impressive. Once the owner decided to switch it up to a new illuminated sign, the restaurant’s sales increased by 16% in the first year and 32% the second year. I’d say that’s evidence enough to start paying more attention to the signs.

2. Fyre Festival
Most of us have seen at least one of the two documentaries released this month exposing the greed and lies behind the failed Fyre Festival. For those of you that did, you’re sure to remember the innocent Bahamian restaurant owner who had to use her entire life savings in order to pay her staff back after she never saw a dime from the catering she supplied to would-be festival attendees. Well fear not, she is getting her money back. Not in the form of a paycheck from festival curators (surprise, surprise), but from people like you and I who, after watching one of the documentaries, felt so bad for her they agreed to donate their own money to help replenish hers. You may have had your doubts recently but there are, in fact, good people in this world.

3. Where my ladies at?!
Kudos to Tripleseat customers Morph Hospitality Group, Commander’s Palace, and Union Square Hospitality Group for making NRN’s 2019 Power List. The yearly lineup includes NRN’s top 50 picks of the most influential people in the restaurant industry. Maneet Chauhan, founding partner of Morph Hospitality Group, was chosen because of her innate ability to deliciously merge Indian cuisine with that of the American South; she’s also widely known as a judge on the uber-popular cooking show Chopped. Commander’s Palace co-owners Ti Martin and Lally Brennan were selected for their ability to successfully maintain and build upon the legacy of their family matriarch, Ella Brennan. As for Union Square Hospitality Group’s chief culture officer, Erin Moran, she was chosen for upholding her belief that restaurant groups should put their employees first, allowing them to have full lives outside of their demanding work environments. As you take a look at the full list for yourself, keep in mind that this list wasn’t meant to highlight women specifically, its definition is the most influential people in hospitality. Take it straight from the NRN if you don’t believe me, “Gentle readers, as you learn about these smart, resourceful executives, remember that this isn’t a women’s list. This is the Power List. No qualifiers needed.” I hope that last quote makes you as happy as it makes me. You’re welcome.

4. Team Bachelor
Here in New England, we’re pretty spoiled when it comes to sporting teams, sporting events, and pretty much anything else that has to do with sports in any way whatsoever. But there are places that experience lulls in sports seasons or days of the week when there aren’t any TV-worthy games playing — even New England experiences these. If your venue relies heavily on sports to book events and bring in the revenue, these “timeouts” can wreak havoc on your bottom line. So what can you do to keep the business rolling in? Sports Bar Marketing online released a useful guide to help you establish a following beyond sports fans, and that following is based around reality TV. This seems like a no-brainer to me. The girlfriends and wives of the guys you rely on most nights are as fanatical about The Bachelor as their significant others are about basketball. Let’s be honest, some of the guys are just as obsessed with reality TV as their female counterparts are. Start hosting a reality TV night, and before you know it, your former slow night will turn into a full house of paying customers chanting their bets on who will receive a rose.   

5. Shoutout to our Midwest peeps
I’m sure you’ve all heard about the record-breaking low temps that have recently made themselves quite comfortable in Chicago, among other Midwestern cities. If you’ve been living under a rock, I’ll save you the trouble of Googling it. As I am writing this blog on Wednesday, Jan. 30, Chicago’s current temp is -23 degrees. To give you some comparison it’s currently -10 degrees in Antarctica. That’s not even Chicago’s “real feel,” which meteorologists say could hit -53 degrees! Yes, your eyes are not failing you, you read that correct, NEGATIVE FIFTY-THREE DEGREES. So what does this have to do with the restaurant and event industry, you may ask? Well, for Chicago and surrounding cities, it has a lot to do with it. According to Restaurant Business Online, many restaurants had to make the tough call to close their venues for the duration of the deep freeze. It is just too dangerous to allow their employees to be out in temperatures that low, and let’s face it, who in their right mind is risking immediate frostbite for a dinner at their local bistro? Luckily for Chicago, relief is coming as it’s predicted the temperature by Saturday should make it into the 40s. But that doesn’t mean this won’t and can’t happen again. There’s a reason there aren’t any restaurants in Antarctica: Because there aren’t any people. Because it’s too freaking COLD. (For all you foodies out there, I do realize there is one research restaurant located in Antarctica, and if you are interested in learning more about it, check out this Food & Wine article.) So, to all my Chicago friends, good luck and godspeed. Turn up the heat, grab a blanket, and warm up with a hot toddy.

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