Van Eerden North Show

On April 25th, Van Eerden hosted the North Show Food Show at the Little River Casino in Manistee, Michigan. Just as Northern Michigan thrives this time of year, so did the North Show. With the conference center filled with customers, everyone at the show could feel the excitement in the air.

North Show WelcomeNorth Show Preparation

Preparation for the show began weeks in advance. In fact, as soon as the last show wrapped up, planning and preparation began for the North Show. With just a little over a month, so much had to get done. As the purchasing team worked negotiated with vendors to provide excellent deals for customers, the marketing team worked to secure a location, décor and door prizes. Before we knew it, the show was just days away and we were set for success.

The day before the show, many Van Eerden employees made the trip up to Manistee for final preparations. From the moment the doors opened, everyone worked hard to ensure the show would run smoothly. At about 6pm the night before the show, everyone called it a night and could not wait for the following day’s show.

The North ShowNorth Show Food

Many of the Van Eerden customers that attended the show are seasonal, meaning they are only open during the summer months. As the Michigan tourist season kicks off in May, these customers could not wait to see what the show had to offer. Vendors sampled products focused towards seasonal eats, as well as new and exciting products. Customers and vendors alike said that the show had more energy than any other show they had attended. Sales increased, excitement grew and every left ready for the summer season.

Still, two weeks later, everyone is seeing the success from the Van Eerden North Show. Orders continue to come in from “Hot Deals” put into place and shipping will start very soon. As customers open their shops this summer, they will remember what they sampled during the North Show, and share it with customers of their own. It is safe to say, the North Show was a success for all.

customers at a restaurant

Different Customers at Your Restaurant

In a restaurant, a customer is one of the most important aspects of the operation. Without the customer, business fails to exist. Depending on your restaurant’s concept, you may experience a different type of customers. While the customer might experience a different atmosphere, the treatment they receive should stay consistent. The service a customer receives determines whether or not they will return to your eatery.

New Customers

When new customers arrive, make sure they feel welcome immediately. Always ask a visitor if they have ever dined at your restaurant. This will help guide you in your experience with that customer. If the answer is no, make them want to come back. Share your knowledge of the restaurant and menu. When the customer knows more about where they spend money, they will feel more comfortable in doing so. Give suggestions based on your favorite menu item or special. Sometimes ordering can be daunting for new diners. Suggestions will help them feel at ease. Treat these new customers just as your regulars so they are more willing to return next time they eat out.  To go above and beyond, suggest cool places to go if they are a visitor in the area.

Regular Customers

If your restaurant has regulars, surely they are treated as royalty. Your regulars should be like family at the restaurant. You should remember their names as well as their favorite dishes. If these regular customers order the same dish every visit, ask if they would like their usual. You should still however, offer them something different that you think they would like. Since a regular customer brings in so much business, offer them something on the house a token of appreciation.

Complaining or Concerned Customers

Unfortunately, restaurants will always experience a few complaining customers. When this happens, just remember it is only temporary. To make the best of the situation, stay calm and listen to the customer. Understand and empathize what they say while taking responsibility upon whatever went wrong. Work with the customer to find the best solution for both of you. After resolving the situation, follow-up to make sure they leave satisfied. Finding a solution to a problem can sometimes result in a higher likelihood of return.

Take all customers seriously. Whether they are new to your restaurant, an old-timer, or have a concern, treat them all the same. Remember that great service accompanied with great food will leave a customer satisfied, increasing their likelihood of return.

social media

The Impact of Social Media

We live in a digital world where Americans can access almost anything on their phone. Ordering delivery? Order through the app. Forgot your credit card? Pay through the phone. Lost and need directions? Phone maps will get you to your destination. Americans love their phones, so businesses must adopt to digital advertising methods. People communicate electronically now more than ever and this trend will only increase, especially through social media. While print and electronic marketing is effective, consider using social media to increase your brand awareness.

First, sign up for an account and create a business page. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are great tools to connect on social media. In addition, these accounts can update customers on new menu items, special promotions and various events happening at the restaurant. Customers can also review a business on Facebook. This is a great way to receive insights on your restaurant while keeping the customer engaged. Twitter and Instagram both have trending topics and use will likely increase the probability of visibility to the post. Replying to customers is important as well; this shows you care about their thoughts and will increase their likelihood of return to the restaurant.

Buying Ads on Social Media

Ads are also available for purchase on social media. Customers will see your page on the side of Facebook, or while scrolling through their news feed on Instagram. Wondering about connecting with customers immediately? Buy a filter on Snapchat. Through the filter, customers will engage themselves with the restaurant by incorporating their face with your logo or image. When the customer chooses to share it on their story, Snapchat users can view that picture (or “Snap”) and your advertisement for 24 hours. Click here to read about Taco Bell’s phenomenal Snapchat success story on Cinco de Mayo.

Other social media options include Pinterest, Google +, LinkedIn and YouTube. Play around and see what option will meet the needs of your restaurant and brand. Knowing your customers will be the best way to customize your use of social media. Just remember, when the public rarely looks up from their phones, maybe that is the best way to reach them.

Michigan Restaurants May Allow Dogs

Next summer, Michigan’s restaurants could host a multitude of new guests. These guests however, will not order off of any menu as dogs cannot eat what the restaurant prepares. A new bill passed under Michigan’s State Senate will allow dogs to accompany guests on Michigan’s restaurant patios. Outside of service dogs, Michigan restaurants do not allow dogs in any area of the restaurant, patios included.

The Senate passed Bill 0727 passed on September 7th, but still needs to win over the House before making the bill law.  If passed, customers have to wait until summer 2017 to enjoy this new amenity as many restaurants and eateries close their patios for the season. While many dog parents would love to bring their pups along for dinner, rules and regulations limit the dog’s freedom.

Rules and Regulations

Customers must read the stipulations of the bill if they intend to bring their dogs along to dinner. In fact, the restaurant may not allow the dog at all. The bill states that local governments and restaurants reserve the right to ban or limit dogs allowed at their eatery. This could restrict dogs of a certain size and breed, or refusing dogs at all. Restaurants also reserve the right to limit the amount of patio space designated for doggy use. No matter the restaurant, all dogs must be leashed and accompanied by a person 18 years or older.

A large section of the new law also states the clean-up and sanitation regulations. Employees must clean and disinfect frequently and effectively in the areas of the patio that allow. Most notably, “dog accidents” receive immediate attention. If an employee pets a dog they must immediately wash their hands, regardless of if they ever handle food. No leftovers for the dogs either. Dogs cannot touch tables, counters or reusable tableware. These rules, along with many others are all in place to protect the health of the customers.

The State House has yet to review the bill, so residents have yet to know if they can bring dogs to dinner. If approved, the bill will go into effect 90 days after passing the legislature. If passed, customers have to check with the restaurant to know if they can bring a dog. To learn more about Senate Bill 0727, please read the article put forth by the Michigan Legislature regarding this bill.