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So far Marshall Ottina has created 12 blog entries.

INFOGRAPHIC: 4 Stats for Creating the Perfect Gameday Menu

Sponsored by RO*TEL With your gameday menu in full swing, you’ll want to stay on top of emerging trends and customer preferences in order to adapt to changing tastes. Conversations with your guests are vital in this regard, but only as a microcosm. To get ahead of the curve, you’ll want to take a look at things on a larger scale. Analyzing statistics from outside your doors can clue you into the next big thing in the industry before it even hits your area. Consider it a way to buy in on the ground floor. If you could hop in a time machine and go back to 2005 to be the first restaurant in your city to put sriracha on your menu, you’d take that kind of buzz in a heartbeat. Sadly, you can’t do that, but with market research [...]

How to Successfully Execute Your Gamday Menu

Sponsored by Conagra RO*TEL Gameday has finally come. You’ve visualized, created, tested, and perfected your menu, in theory. Now comes the execution. Just like the teams playing on your flat-screens on gameday, your staff must play their roles, cooperate smoothly, and remember the common goal they’re all working for. Gameday Starts with the Front of House Staff Your hosts and hostesses need to control the pace of operations and ensure the guests are being seated with the proper menus. It may seem like it can go without saying, but no shortcuts today. Make sure your hosts team know to only gives guests the gameday menus during the right times. Dropping your full menu when your kitchen is set up for fewer offerings can be a disaster. Even one table ordering rogue when you’re not properly prepped sets your kitchen behind [...]

How to Market Your Gameday Menu

Sponsored by Conagra RO*TEL Your new gameday menu will be a vital spoke on your marketing wheel when it comes time to promoting your overhauled gameday experience. Determining the strengths of the menu and presenting them front and center will help sell guests both new and old on why your establishment deserves the marathon sessions of patronage that come with a full day of sports indulgence. In-House Marketing Your Gameday Menu First, let’s discuss the in-house marketing and how to turn your visitors into repeat customers. Whether you’re using time-tested staples like posters, table stands, and other print materials, or are using digital displays such as tabletop tablets, the goal is the same: get your guests thinking about their next visit before they’ve even paid tonight’s bill. Intrigue and exclusivity can be incredibly valuable cards in your deck. When your [...]

Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance: Building & Testing Your Gameday Menu

Sponsored by Conagra RO*TEL Composing and perfecting your gameday menu should begin long before the season does. When considering all aspects of the menu -- from ordering to execution -- balance should be at the front of your brain. Just like your full menu, you never want your special offerings to come off as one-note or repetitive. Varying proteins, textures, temperatures, flavors, cooking methods, and price points ensures that every guest can find something to entice them. This same attention to parity on the line will keep any one station from getting bogged down during the gameday rush. Your kitchen cannot operate at maximum efficiency if your grill cook has a half-full rail while your sauté station has printer tickets about to hit the floor. Spreading the load is vital. Ideally, your grill and sauté cooks should be the strongest [...]

Can a Specialized Gameday Menu Help Your Restaurant’s Efficiency?

Sponsored by Conagra RO*TEL You have a dinner menu. You have a lunch menu. You have a brunch menu, a function menu, a cocktail list, a wine list, a beer list, and about 20 more slates of options. Creating another specialized menu probably gives you a little apprehension but rest assured that a properly planned and executed gameday menu will relieve far more headaches than it causes. Picture your sports nights. Whether it be football, college basketball, or the Olympics, there should be throngs of hungry and thirsty guests packing your building. You need quick food, but not “fast food.” The difference always boils down to quality. Anyone can take frozen, prepackaged, ready-to-eat dishes and heat them up in the blink of an eye. You’d be hard-pressed, however, to find a group of people excited to spend a Sunday afternoon [...]

Creating & Executing the Perfect College Basketball Tournament Menu Experience

Sponsored by the maker of Tyson Red Label® Wings Since its expansion to the field of 64 in 1985, the Men’s College Basketball Tournament has become one of the most popular and successful sporting events in the nation. Now with four additional play-in games, the 68 teams play a total of 67 games over the course of three weeks. The hype and fever surrounding the tournament is infectious, spreading to office pools, friendly wagers, and campus rallies throughout the country. For bars and restaurants, this can represent a steady stream of revenue in an otherwise slow time of year. Professional football has recently wrapped its season up, while professional basketball and hockey are playing out their final regular weeks before the playoffs begin. The excitement around the basketball tournament fills this gap and can bring in a slew of new [...]

No Sports? No Problem: How to Keep Business Booming on Off-Nights

Every sports bar experiences lulls, slow seasons, and dead nights. When your business model depends on basketball fans packing your bar, naturally your sales will be leaner on basketball-free nights. How do you occupy the building from July to October? How do football bars fill the till from Tuesday to Friday? While live sports will always dominate the Nielsen ratings, there are a few other programs that can hang with them. Reality television and many premium dramas have proven to be DVR-proof in an age where streaming and watching on one’s own time dominate viewing habits. The best part about these shows, as it pertains to us in the restaurant industry, is how well they lend themselves to communal watching. There are people out there who take their favorite shows as seriously as sports fans take their games. Take a [...]

Creating a Menu Worthy of the Bruins-Blackhawks NHL Winter Classic

For decades, January 1st belonged to the NCAA and the multitude of football bowl games played to ring in the year. Since 2008, however, the day has shared the spotlight with the NHL, as the league has taken the game of hockey back to its outdoor roots. With snowy, picturesque scenes reminiscent of frozen ponds, the annual Winter Classic shares a side of the game not normally seen by wider audiences. Though television numbers have been in decline since 2014, this year’s game will be the first time the game will be contested between two top-10 U.S. television markets since 2015. The Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks will face off New Year’s Day on the hallowed field of Notre Dame University. Puck drop is slated for 1 PM, coinciding with the Fiesta Bowl and preceding the Rose Bowl and Sugar [...]

By |2018-12-18T11:55:51-04:00December 18th, 2018|Sports Bar Marketing|0 Comments

Bowl Your Guests Over for the End of College Football Season

With the calendar about to roll over, the number of days you have to boost your sales with hungry, thirsty football fans keeps growing smaller. Fortunately, the NCAA ends their season like a Fourth of July fireworks display -- with a spectacular grand finale. With 40 bowl games left on the slate, there are plenty of opportunities to close out this year on a high note and jump start your 2019. With all due respect to the Boca Raton Bowl, the Taxslayer Bowl, and the always delicious Idaho Potato Bowl, you should be focusing your efforts on the big games to get the biggest numbers. Unless, of course, you have some local interest in those bowl games. Here are a few pointers to tailor your service, with a special wing idea thrown in for each game. Saturday, December 29th, 2018 [...]

By |2018-12-17T12:38:50-04:00December 17th, 2018|Sports Bar Marketing|0 Comments

Leveling Up: Understanding eSports & Their Marketing Potential for Sports Bars

On paper, the concept may seem absurd. Who wants to watch somebody else play video games? Is there really a market of third siblings forced to spectate while their older siblings take turns with Mario and Luigi out there? To ask those questions in the first place is to fundamentally misunderstand the appeal of eSports. Nobody questions why millions of people tune into the NFL every Sunday afternoon or shell out hundreds of dollars for baseball tickets. The concepts of professional eSports and major league athletics are not as different as you might think. Sure, the gladiator aesthetic and the barbarism is virtually non-existent -- or is it existent, virtually? -- but at the end of the day, in both events, you have spectators observing someone else playing a game. There are flamboyant personalities, tense drama-inducing moments, and fanbases cheering [...]

How Restaurants Can Attract & Host Amazing Alumni Group Events

There’s a reason why seemingly every classic TV show from the 1980s has been rebooted in recent years. Nostalgia is a powerful drug. Whatever it is that forces us to see the past through rose-colored glasses, its effect is undeniable. And no reminiscence is stronger than that of those yearning for their college years. When adults get a chance to reunite and recreate their early 20s it can represent a windfall to your bottom line. How, then, do you get alumni groups in the door? The key is two-fold: connect with college alumni groups and host events – such as college sports “viewing parties” -- for those groups. Step #1: Connecting with Alumni Groups A proactive marketing and event planning manager is your point-person for this operation. They must be able to use their social media skills and networking contacts [...]

By |2019-03-01T12:08:02-04:00December 10th, 2018|Sports Bar Marketing|0 Comments

Team-Themed Chicken Wing Recipes to Attract NHL Fans & Build Fan Loyalty

It’s autumn, which means one thing: football. Right? Wrong. If your marketing program is putting all of its eggs in the Saturday/Sunday basket then you’re likely missing out on a few market segments, including hockey fans. Having spent a number of years running some of Boston’s busiest sports bars, I can tell you that hockey fans are extremely loyal -- not only to their favorite teams but also to an establishment that goes out of their way to make them feel special. Sure, you can do big numbers with the football crowd, but that’s once or twice a week for four months. Hockey is every night of the year from October to June. One method that always ingratiated our restaurants to hockey fan clubs was to give them a little something specific to their team of choice. An easy way [...]

By |2018-12-03T17:08:20-04:00December 3rd, 2018|Guest Management, Sports Bar Marketing|0 Comments