FRIDAYS AT FOUR Volume Ten Issue Five

Volume Ten Issue Five
News and Trends of Interest from GF Strategies
Finding New Revenues for Food and Beverage Operations

WE are just back from the HD Expo in Las Vegas..Here are few things we can share with you from those meetings..

  • Customers are still wanting boutique, experiential and unique and are willing to pay for it.
  • Cocktails with fancy names and fancy ingredients are the biggest sales leader in the bar business..
  • Bars need to be designed to provide the “perfect cockpit” for the bartenders.
  • There is a difference in the restaurant business between “concept” and “genre”. Concept is what the restaurant theme will be. Genre defines a category.
  • Craft cocktails are not just for San Francisco and New York anymore. They are sweeping cities large and small at an average price of twelve dollars.
  • 9 out of 10 bars will fail in the first year, and 9 out of 10 fail in first three to five years. Biggest factor in this is the economy, and close behind that is the failure to make your place hip, unique or offering something no other place does.
  • Movement with new restaurants is the combination of chef and designer from the beginning of the design to opening. Famed designer Jordan Moser and chef/owner Michaal Cordua spoke about how this has been successful in their recent openings in Houston of Americas.
  • What makes a successful nightclub, and how do you manage to keep getting tables to be bought for $2000 per night in Las Vegas…according to Jason Strauss of the Tao Group it is by always reinventing. He cites the Electronic Dance Music craze as the biggest example of that. Another key is to listen to your customers via all social media channels, they will tell you what they want. Interesting to note that the biggest trend and most profitable part of their club business has now become the day pool club parties at their locations.
  • Bar consultants spoke at a panel called “At the Bar”. The major point made by all three on the panel was that the design of the bar is the most important part of gaining and keeping customers. Know your customers..the fastest growing segment of the business is the 22-29 year old woman, helped by the emergence of the boutique cocktails. This has helped average order to rise to as much as fifteen dollars.

Other news from our readings in the past two weeks.

  • ESPN The Magazine came out
  • Interactive digital signage and video walls. Digital way finding by use of multi-touch technology.
  • Digital out of home media (DOOH) the fastest category of spending growth by major brands and advertisers. Reaching the consumer where they are at with timely information at the venue.
  • New arena signage featuring products like the capability to show multiple zones of content create a digital canvas on which to present video, animation, graphics, scores and stats in unlimited layouts. (The Times Forum in Tampa has installed this screen system.
  • Exhibition cooking—the ability to show how the food is being prepared, do taste samplings and other ways to engage with the buyer
  • Chef cams—show live feeds on screens to those in seating areas of chefs cooking for a more dynamic experience (seen in new build outs at the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Washington
  • Sonic identity—what is the music mix at your venue. Music fine tuned to the roots of the chef’s cooking and the space
  • Mobile phone applications—Face book now tracking the apps that people use via its Face book Connect feature, and then having the ability to target ads to the phone user based on that data. How are venues mining their own fan base data? Lots, some, not at all?
  • Everything from dynamic pricing to one price pays for it all to the resell market to how and when and ever will all tickets become paperless?
  • Phones coming out with NFC already in the phone, allowing venues to use Near Field Communications to send personal messages while walking inside the venue.
  • Agritourisim and how this can be a new source of convention business
  • Mobile bill payments by snapping a picture of their monthly payment coupon with their phone and the Square total pay solution using an IPod, no longer a need to invest in a spendy POS system.
  • Putting sensors into clothes and accessories, such as a jacket that heats up when you are cold, eyeglasses that display directions as you walk down a street. Wearable technology.
  • The connected fan. Here’s a fact from the NFL…29 percent of NFL Fans said they would rather be at the game than at home watching on TV, down from 54 percent in 1998.

These are just a few of the trends and ideas that will be talked about “around the water cooler” at the District Four meeting in Victoria. If you have a wager you want me to place at the Derby, you can send a text and we will do our best for you. AS for my picks, look for Revolutionary or Vyjack to come home and get the Roses.

And if you are seeking help with a look at redesign of your food service locations, selection of a new food service firm, or a review of your current food services at your venue, contact us at or visit our website at

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