New Restaurants Are Waiting For You

Are you tired of eating at home every night? Having the same old meals, week after week? If you think you’ve tried every restaurant in town and are getting tired of the true home cooked meals, or even the reheated leftovers, you might want to think about branching out and finding a new restaurant. There are plenty of these establishments around you, regardless of where you are located, while some may be farther than others, you will be able to find some fine dining somewhere near you.

The best part is that because owning a restaurant is so profitable, more and more are popping up all the time, which means that you have an increased variety when it comes to thinking about what is for dinner or where to meet for that next business lunch. There are new restaurants waiting for you all over town, if you take the time to discover them.

If you aren’t the brave type that will just go out and test a new restaurant without hearing anything about it, then you may want to ask around to see if anyone you are familiar with has been there or has heard anything about it. Word of mouth is the best business for restaurants, and if your prospective diner has a good reputation, you are going to hear about it from friends and family, or other associates that you ask.

If you are brave though, you can find new restaurants and head out to enjoy a great meal, most of the time. If you fall into this category, you are going to stumble across a few that just have plain poor service, bad food, or lousy facilities, and this is all part of finding the best restaurants. Thankfully though, there are other people who are going to want to know what your bravery has earned you, whether it was a fantastic meal, or something that should be avoided at all costs.

Getting out of the house for the evening, or arranging a business lunch for a few of your associates is a great way to test out new restaurants. The owners will be grateful to serve you on most occasions, and you will add another diner to your list of places to visit when you are getting the home cooking blues. There are plenty of places to find new restaurants to dine at, but asking your friends and family for suggestions or checking out the Internet are going to be your best avenues.

Food and Drink Photography Hungry for Some Tricks

Thank God some tricks can be shared for all to imbibe. As food and drink photography becomes more of a niche, restaurant shutterbugs are in demand. Shooting irresistible pancakes and making them look oven fresh can be demanding. The trick lies in capturing the ‘freshest and ripest moment’. You may ask how many pancakes and honey syrup it takes to get the shoot right? Not more than a triple-decker of three pancakes! And the strategy lies in setting up the props before the ‘subject’ has arrived fresh out of the non-stick pan. A shutterbug with decent skills can do the lighting well in advance. So if you are in catering business, which is online, having delicious pictures of the menu can be the best bet for getting good business.

To make the food look digestible, the lead photographer will have the assistants arrange the studio bay first. The setting may take an hour or two. Why are we saying this? Because hot steaming food can look limp if it is bought before the shoot. The assistants will assemble the cameras, lens and the tripod stand. The controlling lights, white balance, bouncers and scrims will be positioned for the table top still pictures.

A photographer might use a camera that he can manually adjust to control the way he will shoot. A use of a compact camera is common for food and drink photography. Once the camera is loaded, the lens is another major component to choose. A good quality lens is fitted. A Canon has 50mm 1.4f. It is the best focal length that can capture great shots. A camera mounted on the tripod is steady and better suited for still photography sessions like this. The next comes formatting, i.e. Jpeg or RAW images. Most digicams have the two options. Why Jpeg is more popular-Because, it easily helps pictures to upload on the websites. It is lighter and speed is important when many images have to be seen together. Jpeg images are not necessarily of low quality. They can be scaled while photo processing. Some photographers like to use the RAW format too. The biggest advantage here is the many other elements around can be captured. If they are not required they can always be deleted during the editing. Several new age photographers are using live shot demos before the actual shots are clicked. Shooting tethering has become common. When the camera is plugged to the USB port of a computer the real time image is seen. It becomes easier to shoot the right frame. If a big difference needs to be made to a final shot this can be really helpful.

When these elements are done, the last thing that needs to be done is lighting. It creates the final impact on the product photography. Yes artificial lighting can be controlled and can do wonders. There is a choice of soft light box or halogen lamps with umbrellas. Throw off the lights or bounce them across the items on display. This makes the photographer take the delicious shot eventually.

Save Money on Happy Hours and Food and Drink Specials

At times when everybody lives on a tighter budget looking for money saving opportunities is high priority. People still love to go out, meet friends after work, enjoy a good dinner but it can get expensive to do that. Happy hours and discounted food specials are really popular among people every age group. Restaurants are trying to fulfill that need with discounted menus and happy hours. But discovering these deals is not that easy. Happy hours are not really advertised that much and finding out who has specials and when is almost impossible. Even online you have to dig deep.

Still, looking online for coupons is really popular. But not everybody wants to spend hours on the computer to search for the best deal and then it still needs to be printed out and taken to the restaurants. To be honest, not everybody likes to show up with paper clippings. Another way to look for bargains is to search local papers but most restaurants do not want to spend the money on costly ads anymore.

Membership programs offer members to save money and to find deals online. Restaurants and bars often post specials to spoil members with amazing food and drink deals. Members don’t have to clip out coupons anymore, they simply show their membership card to receive specials – it is like carrying a whole coupon book in the wallet. Some of these membership programs have a mobile phone application what makes it even easier to find the perfect deal on the go.

Restaurants and bars have always been looking for a way to advertise their happy hours to attract new guests. Customer satisfaction and appreciation is their top priority but it can be expensive to reach those goals. Restaurants have to look for a new way of advertising to reach out to new customers. One of the best and cost effective ways is being spoken about and recommended in blogs and other social media outlets.

It is very popular to share experiences on social media sites and people rely more and more on reviews and tips coming from sites like yelp and facebook. You know of a good restaurant that has good food and happy hour offers, you pass it on. Restaurants and bars can be certain that people will recommend the places where they get their specials and extended happy hours because all of us just love bargains and if you can enjoy more for less cash, that is called a real deal.

The Best Restaurant Hotel and Spa

Paris, also known as “The City of Light”, is one of the top tourist cities in the world, with over 30 million visitors every year. Having been a Paris shuttle driver for many years, it’s safe to say that I’ve got to know the city very well! I’ve written previously about visiting Paris on a shoestring budget – though the city is typically an expensive place to go, you can travel on relatively little if you plan carefully and know where to stay. But what if money is no object? Where do you go in Paris if you’ve got money to spend, and only the best will do? Fine restaurants, stunning hotels and fabulous spas are just the tip of the iceberg…

Restaurant – Pierre Gagnaire

French cuisine is justly world renowned, and Paris is liberally peppered with truly outstanding cafes, restaurants and patisseries; the larger and famous places in the main streets and the smaller, quieter eateries tucked away down the side streets. Asking a Parisian which restaurant is the best in the city is likely to ignite a fiery debate; everyone has a different opinion, but one name you’ll hear more often than the others is the Pierre Gagnaire Restaurant. Run by the legendary chef who has given his name to the establishment, this 3 Michelin Star restaurant offers up a feast of unusual flavours in truly stunning surroundings. The a la carte menu clocks in at a cool EUR300, but this is recognised as perhaps the finest restaurant in Paris…and one of the best in the world!

The Hotel – The Four Seasons George V

Whenever I pick up a customer for a Paris airport transfer and they are headed to the Four Seasons Hotel, I know they are in for a treat. Room prices can reach an eye-watering EUR1500 a night, but if you want to stay at the best hotel in town, this is the place for you – stunning décor, superb facilities and great service are the hallmarks of the Four Seasons chain, and this particular one has a premium location just off the Champs-Elysees. If you are looking for the most luxurious base imaginable for your holiday in Paris, you can’t beat a stay at the Four Seasons.

The Spa – The Ritz Health Club

The Four Seasons hotel is also home to one of the city’s finest spas, but judging from the reports of my Paris shuttle passengers, the spa over at the Ritz might just edge it out if you are looking for the finest pampering the city has to offer. Designed in a Greco-Roman style, the facilities are everything you’d expect from the Ritz – my passengers bring back reports of a spectacular array of treatments and high-tech facilities that need to be seen to be believed. Each of the top spas in Paris has its adherents, but I’ve heard the Ritz praised more highly than any of the rest.

There’s more to a holiday in this city than fine dining, grand hotels and luxurious spas, but take it from a Paris shuttle driver – these three places really do offer the last word in luxury, and are a great place to get started, so long as you can afford them!

5 Of the Best Restaurants in Paris

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Famed for it’s world class restaurants, here’s a quick rundown of places that are well worth a visit if you’re in the countries capital, but a word of warning, you may want to book ahead as these places get very busy!

Le Meurice

One of the cities most glamorous locations, Le Meurice is the height of decadence with an interior that is all about glitz. Recently refurbished by Philippe Stark the dining room is pure opulence, with mosaic floor, big crystal chandeliers and heavy damask curtains. Head chef Yannick Alléno has been in possession of three coverted Michelin stars since 2007, and his food is vintage culinary brilliance with a modern twist. It’s a smart dress only affair, and bring your wallet, as you’ll be looking 200 Euros a head.

Macéo

If Le Meurice had you sweating slightly with their prices, why not try out Macéo for size. This delightful restaurant overlooks the Palais Royal and is run by Englishman Mark Williamson.

This cute little eateries serves some of the best vegetarian food in the whole of Paris, offers a superb wine list, and all at prices that won’t break the bank. A little den of decadent dining with a dash of Parisian ‘je nais se qua’!

Le Stella

One of the last independent brasseries left in the whole of Paris, Le Stella is a perfect place to relax, and of course, people watch! As the corporate chains amass around them, Le Stella has stayed true to it’s roots, preparing traditional French classics with a real character. The perfect place to unwind after a hard day shopping, Le Stella offers up a good dollop of Parisian charm at a great price.

Spring

Based in a renovated 17th-century house and owned by American chef Daniel Rose, Spring is a fantastic ‘break from the norm’ in a city that can sometimes rely too much on it’s identity, and not it’s values. Daniel has been providing cutting edge culinary cuisine to his loyal band of Parisian followers for some time now, so expect to book ahead to grab a table, as this place is popular. Proof that you don’t need to a local to make waves on the French cooking circuit.

Les Tablettes

When you combined the cooking of Jean-Louis Nomicos and interior designer Anne-Cécile Comar, it was always going to be a mathc made in heaven. This is one of the finest restaurants that Paris has to offer, with a swank value of ten, with a price range to match. Book well in advance to secure a table for some truly magnificent contemporary French cooking, with a wine list sent from heaven. Bring your wallet though, you’re gonna need it!

So make the most of your trip to Paris by dining in one of these amazing eateries. After all, Paris is the city of love, and hey, we all love food! Get stuck in folks, (and book ahead!!)

Restaurant Marketing Indecision

Yesterday I went for a beer with a friend of mine who owns a small restaurant. We talked about the business (slow these days), we talked about his family (busy running the business) and, at one point, we talked about marketing.

“You know?” he said “These days, there are so many marketing people trying to get your money… ” He paused, drank a sip of Guinness and proceeded.

“They want me to do coupons, they want me to invest in my web site, they want me to advertise in the Yellow Pages, in magazines… I am not rich, I can’t afford all of this!”

I looked at my friend, and I understood what he meant. Marketing professionals pitching -of course – his or her product as the best way to promote the business bombard restaurant owners on a daily basis.

They all look good in paper, but which one is the right one for you? How do you know if a marketing initiative will bring you the clients that you so desperately crave for?

The answer is: you don’t, unless you have a marketing strategy in place.

You see, some of these initiatives might be beneficial for your business – and most will be a waste of money – but you won’t know which ones will work unless you know what to look for.

Before you start spending money in marketing, you need to have a strategy, a vision in place. You need to analyze your needs.

Ask yourself:

– Does your business struggle all week long and you are looking to attract more customers?

– Or perhaps you have slower days of the week that you would love to fill in with clients?

– Have you just opened your restaurant, and you want to increase awareness about your great food and service so that people know about your place?

– Do you want to market to your best customers to encourage them to become repeat clients? (This, by the way, is the best marketing strategy that you can implement.)

– Do you want to promote an event? (Such as a wine dinner, menu change, charity event, etc.)

– Do you want to target some specific customer profiles (such as families or professionals or older people, etc.)

You see where I’m going?

Each of these examples will require a different marketing approach.

If you are aiming to capture older, retired people, you may not gain much by having a great Web presence, since most are not very Internet-savvy.

Similarly, if you have a family-friendly restaurant, an ad placed in a weekly entertainment magazine devoted to young, concert-going people won’t work because your target audience won’t see your ad.

Ads in traditional broadcasting media like newspapers and radio are great for promoting a newly opened restaurant or announcing special events or promotions. They reach a wide audience and can spread the word about your place. However, they are ineffective marketing techniques if you simply want to fill your place; they are expensive and it’s difficult to quantify their results.

Coupons, however, are interesting.

They could be very effective since they allow you to measure their impact (you can count how many of them are redeemed at your place) and can be targeted to fill empty tables on specific days (valid only on Mondays, etc.).

However, it is important to consider how they will be distributed and, if they go in coupon packages, which other restaurants are advertising in them (you don’t want to be the only upscale restaurant packaged with fast-food joints and pizza delivery services).

So you see: Before you spend any money in marketing, sit down and look at your needs. Think strategically and make a master plan.

These are some of the questions that you’ll need to ask yourself:

  1. What kind of customers do you want? (Unless your restaurant is already very geared to a specific audience, such as families – with decor and food for kids, etc. In this case you’re already got the answer.)
  2. When do you need to fill the seats the most?
  3. What’s your profit margin per dish? (So that you know exactly how much can you afford to give away in coupons, etc.)
  4. What can you do to attract repeat clients?
  5. Do you have a formalized referral system in place? If not, you should! Not only is this the most cost-effective and revenue-generating system, but you can implement this yourself easily without spending any extra money!
  6. Do you need to promote a special event?
  7. Etc.

If all these considerations overwhelm you, perhaps you should call in an expert consultant.

Having a consultant that sits with you for a few hours or days and helps you design your own master Strategic Marketing Plan could save you thousands of dollars a year in wasted money and time.

Just make sure that this expert doesn’t waste your time going over your operational details. You want somebody that can help you define your strategy!

You need to make sure that you spend your marketing dollars wisely and you can ONLY accomplish this only with strategic thinking and planning.

Otherwise, it’s like starting a road trip in an unknown territory without a clear destination or a map that shows you the way. You may end up in some interesting place, but most of the time you’ll be wandering lost in small roads that take you nowhere.

You can’t afford to run your business this way.

To conclude: Sit down and create a marketing strategy for your restaurant. This strategy will drive your marketing plan and expenses, and will help you decide what works for you.