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Memorial Day

Spend Memorial Day Out at Restaurants

Memorial Day is a day to celebrate our nation’s veterans and fallen soldiers. While many parades and events take place to commemorate this holiday, families often use this day to kick-off summer and usually do so with a backyard barbecue. While everyone loves a backyard barbecue, here are great ways to entice customers to your restaurant.

Service Our Military

As Memorial Day celebrates our country’s military, so should your restaurant! If you use any signage at your eatery, show that you are celebrating Memorial Day. Use language like, “thank you US military” or “honoring our nation’s military members” on your Memorial Day banners, special menu or coupons. In addition, entice military members by offering discounts or special promotions. Give active members or veterans with discounts or specials such as 10% off their bill or a free appetizer or dessert with valid ID. Military customers will love these promotions.

Bring the Memorial Day Barbecue to Customers

Most Americans receive this holiday off from work, so they may want a day off from cooking as well. Advertise to your customers that they should take the entire day off and leave the cooking to your restaurant; they may be more willing to choose you over the competition. As many consider Memorial Day the beginning of summer, they may want to enjoy the day outside if the weather is nice. Open up your patio if you have one so customers can enjoy the sun. Offer take-out and delivery as well so people can enjoy your restaurant’s food from their own backyard.

As Memorial Day approaches, consider how to bring customers to your restaurant. Advertise to military members by offering free or discounted food items when they show their ID. Show that you appreciate their efforts towards our nation by displaying your thanks in various signage. For those enjoying the day off, bring them in with delivery or take-out options and let them know to leave the cooking to you. This Memorial Day, your restaurant will shine among American consumers.

Grand Rapids Local First

Proud Member of Grand Rapids Local First!

We joyfully announce our membership to the Grand Rapids division of Local First! Since first starting as a produce food truck back in 1920, we have always prided ourselves on local. Now, nearly 100 years later, we continue this commitment with our customers. In addition to our nationally-known products, we offer a wide-variety of local and Michigan-made products, helping out many local businesses.

Local First in Grand Rapids

Joining Local First, we are taking initiative in supporting the local Grand Rapids community. By supporting local business, the economy will grow and flourish. Now as a proud member of Local First, we have more opportunities to support the West Michigan area. We have always been proud to call West Michigan home; we are now a proud member of Local First as well!

Please visit the Local First website to learn more about this organization and their efforts in the community.

customers at a restaurant

Generational Preferences in Foodservice

Every American falls into a generational category; the generation dependent on the individual’s birth year. Alive today range from the Greatest Generation, the Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials and Gen Z. Generations form through common experiences and current events that shape the individuals in their age group. For example, the Vietnam War significantly impacted the Baby Boomers, while technology impacted their Millennial children. In general, generations each have certain preferences in which they base their consumer behavior. Scholars spend time studying these behaviors to assist the manufacturer or business owner. Different generational preferences include fashion, entertainment, language, work ethic, spending habits and even food.

The Older Generational Preferences

Restaurants must take note of generational preferences in food and dining out. However, Baby Boomers are usually the oldest generation eating out. The consumer’s generation heavily influences the choice of when and where to eat out, as well as what to purchase.  Many factors influence these preferences including free time, finances and children. Baby Boomers usually dine at the traditional restaurants that sell comfort food. According to an article written by Rita Negrete, this generation also eats out at more full-service restaurant than any other. However, do not assume this generation has the largest bill. Generation X spends the most money on a night out. These individuals do not worry about menu price. This stat is likely due to the fact that this generation has a generally high household income with steady jobs. They also prefer restaurants that promote authenticity and upscale items.

The Younger Generational Preferences

The largest gap between generations in regards to dining preferences is likely between Generation X and Millennials. Millennials tend to dine out for the experience rather than the food. To Millennials, restaurants serve as a social setting more than anything else. A Bloomberg.com article speculates that the Millennials are the reason that last year, dining out sales passed grocery sales for the first time in American history. Millennials flock to restaurants that offer something unique or authentic and serve food boasting natural and fresh labels.  Millennials are one a larger generation, second to Baby Boomers, so scholars suggest paying close attention to their dining preferences. Generation Z, very similar to Millennials, enjoy restaurants that provide natural, unprocessed, or sustainable food. Scholars consider Gen Z the digital generation, they love online ordering and digital marketing.

Each generation has the ability to influence food trends, menu items and restaurant products.  Many studies take into account generational eating habits and describe important factors that influence these habits. Consider these studies when planning and creating menus and marketing pieces for your restaurant.

Valentine's Day

2017 Valentine’s Day Trends

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching and although not a national holiday, restaurants treat this day more special than most. Valentine’s Day is celebrated across the globe, with origination in Rome back in the 3rd Century. Although the legends of Valentine’s Day beginnings differ, today we have come to know February 14th as a day for lovers. Here in the United States, restaurants see this as a huge day for sales. The holiday is the second busiest day of the year in the restaurant business, only behind Mother’s Day.

Valentine’s Day Statistics

American’s spend $147 each year on Valentine’s Day, 7 million of that towards dining out. The average couple will spend $147 on February 14th. Singles spend money too. On this holiday single men on average $40 while single women spend an average of $71. This increase in dining from both couples and singles gives restaurants everywhere an extra $$$ on the bill than a usual night out. No matter the relationship status, Americans are willing to spend a few more dollars on this holiday than the average Tuesday. With such an increase in sales, restaurants must take note as to what customers want to eat.

Valentine’s Day Dining Trends

Remember also, Valentine’s Day is not just for couples anymore. “Galentine’s Day” and single’s parties are cause to celebrate as well. However, couples and singles celebrate different. AaronAllen and Associates state that couples would rather have an experience on Valentine’s Day than receive gifts. A great way to incorporate this preference is giving your customers an amazing night at a restaurant. Fill their dining out experience with great service and food. Couples gravitate towards ethnic foods like Italian, French and Spanish cuisines. However, cuisine is not always the deciding factor on where to eat. 42% of diners will choose their favorite restaurant to celebrate this special day. Singles however, tend to order take-out or delivery. Eater states that  pizza, wings and egg rolls dominate their orders. Do not forget about dessert. Chocolate reigns supreme on Valentine’s Day as 50% of consumers prefer some sort of cocoa treat as dessert.

This February 14th, take both singles and couples into consideration when planning your restaurant menu. Remember to incorporate a great experience for those who dine in and a carry-out option for those eating at home. As diners flock to restaurants this year, remember your customer’s needs and you will have a very successful Valentine’s Day.

Super Bowl Sunday

Super Bowl Sunday Restaurant Ideas

Super Bowl Sunday Ideas

Just a few days remain before the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots face off in the biggest football game of the year. Super Bowl Sunday almost always guarantees a restaurant crowd every year. In addition, customers almost always plan to spend a little more money than usual. ShiftPlanning’s  David Galic weighs in on Super Bowl sales and restaurant deals, as well as how to attract a crowd. Galic even discusses how to attract both the stay-at-home viewers and the non-football enthusiasts.  Whether the Falcons or the Patriots score more points this Sunday, your restaurant will still be a success!

To learn more about restaurant planning for the Super Bowl, read here.

Serving Holiday Traditions

This year, Christmas Eve and Hanukkah fall on the same day; only the fifth time in over 100 years.  This means that Hanukkah will run Christmas Eve through New Year’s Eve. This is a huge holiday overlap, consolidating many American holiday celebrations. During the holiday season, many Americans prepare for their holiday traditions. Some people request their traditions with a twist. While every family has their own holiday traditions, most enjoy many of the same traditional holiday foods.

primerib2Christmas Traditions

Families and friends come from all across the country to get together during Christmas time. Many customers will celebrate Christmas with family or friends the weeks leading up to the holiday. Some families traditionally dine out on Christmas as well. Customers see Christmas as a time to splurge towards the fancier end. Traditional Christmas foods include prime rib or lobster. Restaurants including these dishes on a holiday menu will likely see an increase in sales. Often, Christmas goers will go out for desserts as a holiday treat. Common Christmas flavors include gingerbread, spiced apple and peppermint. A gingerbread or peppermint twist on a traditional cheesecake will surely win customers over.

Hanukkah Traditionslatke2

The Hanukkah holiday spans eight days and many Jewish consumers will eat out to celebrate. To follow along with Hanukkah tradition, many foods consumed during the eight day holiday contain large amounts of oil. The oil commemorates the jar of oil lasting eight days after the Jewish victory over the Syrian-Greek army. Traditional Hanukkah foods include beef brisket and latkes. Hanukkah celebrating customers will love ordering these foods off of a menu. For dessert, a fried, jelly-filled doughnut; in Hebrew, a sufganiyot; is the perfect Hanukkah treat.

Drinking Traditions eggnog1

Many of the drinks consumed during the holidays are seen as Christmas drinks. However, with the growing popularity of coffee and tea shops and happy hours, these drinks have become a part of society. Children and adults alike love ordering hot chocolate, especially with the addition of marshmallows or whipped cream. For the adults, many traditional holiday drinks may contain alcohol. Two examples are wassail and egg nog. Wassail, a holiday drink containing various juices, fruits and spices turns adult with the addition of whiskey or brandy. Eggnog, traditionally mixed with rum, is a cold creamy drink customers love during the holiday. Other traditional alcoholic drinks to feature on a seasonal menu include warm buttered rum and spicy mulled wine.  Remember when serving alcohol, to serve your customers wisely. Use tips from the National Restaurant Association for help serving holiday drinks.

Holiday Traditions with a Twist

Healthy foods trended upwards in 2016 and are still on the rise during the holidays. Many customers are looking for their traditional favorites with a healthy spin. Instead of the usual mashed potatoes or vegetable casserole, consumer search for the roasted alternative. Serving roasted winter vegetables allows customers to eat their traditional favorites and feel healthier at the same time. Vegetables are trending upwards and the holidays are a great time to showcase all of their glory. Serve spiralized squash or beets as an alternative for pasta noodles serves customers comfort food without the guilt. Plating the main dish on a bed of mixed greens instead of rice also reduces carbs. This substitute is a great way to cater to the paleo, celiac or gluten intolerant.

 

Another hot trend in the market is ethnic foods and flavors. Customers now crave their traditional holiday flavors with an ethnic spin. Adding coriander, curry, turmeric and cayenne will draw in customers for unique flavors. Currently, Mexican hot chocolate resonates with consumers everywhere.

This traditional holiday drink turns Mexican with the addition of a little cayenne and cinnamon. The spice brings the flavors in the hot chocolate to the next level. Customers love the ethnic addition to their classic drink.

This holiday season, tap into your customers traditional cravings with perfect holiday menu items. Since Christmas and Hanukkah fall on the same day, expect an influx of customers during this time of year. Whether these customers celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or time with family and friends, be sure to make the outing extra special. Customers love eating their traditional holiday foods, although, many would love trying a twist on a holiday classic. By placing traditional holiday meals on your menu, your customers will return no matter the time of year.

Van Eerden Fall Food Show 2016

Every year, Van Eerden hosts an assortment of food shows across the state. This year’s Fall Food Show brought in hundreds of customers as a last hurrah of the food show season. We held this year’s food show at Soaring Eagle Casino on October 11th and featured new items, promotions and a Holiday Party the night prior. A total of 179 vendors in took the booths and hundreds of customers attended. With so much action the casino walls buzzed with excitement during the entire the two-day event.