Top Bar Trends for 2018

Going out for a drink at a bar is a classic pastime and common way for people to connect. But while the purpose of these establishments hasn’t changed, there are always new techniques and trends emerging that keep bars interesting and fresh. From cutting edge barware to new takes on classic cocktails, let's explore some of the hottest trends hitting the bars this year.

Bartender Trends

Customers are willing to pay more for artisanal drinks, but for top dollar, they’ll also expect bartenders to fit the part. Whether that means a certain attire, banter, or even just a little frill in the way they shake the shakers, customers notice the extra details and can identify when a bartender is passionate about their craft.

This is not to say that all bartenders should wear uniforms or put on a persona, but they should be encouraged to dress and behave appropriately for the theme of the establishment. For example, if you own a prohibition-themed “speakeasy,” perhaps your staff could sport suspenders and vintage hats. Or if your establishment has a laid-back hipster vibe, perhaps more casual dress is fitting. Similarly, interactions with guests should reflect the mood of the setting. But no matter what type of bar you operate, allowing some space for bartenders to showcase their genuine personality will help them make that personal connection that customers always appreciate, and will be expecting throughout 2018.

Metal Barware

Barware Trends

The biggest barware trend we’ll see in 2018 is metal! While some speculate that the metal barware trend stems from the urban industrial decor trend, there are some styles of metal that look perfectly at home in rustic settings. Hammered and brushed finishes help to soften the steely appearance of metal shakers, mugs, and even martini glasses. You’ll also find that copper goes beyond Moscow mule mugs and adds a warm and welcoming glow to cocktail preparation and presentation.

Beer Trends

Most sources predict that IPAs will remain the most popular style of craft beer. Regional ingredients, inspiration, and styles will continue to shape the direction of craft brews. Celebrating hyper-local culture is a huge part of why the craft movement has found success. Local pride, heritage, and folklore are a great basis for brands, but the identity goes beyond brands to include flavor profiles as well. People love to drink beers that were brewed in their town, and tourists love to try the flavor of whatever town they’re visiting.

Wine Trends

Rose Trend

Rosé isn’t just a warm weather drink anymore, and we’ve begun to see more diverse varieties of rosé that are appropriate for many different settings. Red blends have also become increasingly more desirable for a couple years, and there’s no sign they’ll slow down now. Sparkling wine, especially Prosecco, has also risen in popularity, particularly in some areas of Europe.

With the success of the craft brewery trend, independent wineries will follow. And, as with most locally-owned businesses, they will adopt unique and creative visuals for their label design to help set themselves apart from other brands on the shelves. Customers on the whole have become more invested in the story behind brands and appreciate unique approaches to familiar products. So, it makes sense that this would translate to wine labels as well.

Liquor Trends

Local distilleries are popping up around the country. Because the legal process is slightly different for liquor than it is for beer, it’s unlikely that distilleries will see the same boom as breweries, but there has been great response to those that have opened. Independent distilleries will experiment with making things like “young whiskey” (A.K.A. whiskey that hasn’t been aged in a barrel), and gin with subtler juniper notes. Local liquors infused with unusual fruit, spice, or floral flavors will become staples for fancy cocktails.

Cocktail Trends

Cocktail Trend

In 2018, people who go out for cocktails will expect to be impressed visually. Bartenders are expected to put on a show, and the end results should have an artful, even dramatic appearance—from elaborate garnishes to flavored smoke. Conversely, drinks mixed at home will generally consist of no more than 3 ingredients, as people will save the mixology for the pros. As far as mixers, though, many grocery stores are starting to stock premium mixers, like tonic water and ginger beer, so that even simple, homemade mixed drinks taste great.

Some other cocktail trends include:

  • New Twists on Old Classics – You’ll likely find renditions of familiar favorites that feature an added ingredient or two.
  • Vegetable Cocktails – This can be credited to the culinary cocktail trend where savory flavors are showcased. Juices and syrups made with carrot or beet juice have vibrant and enticing colors and earthy flavors.
  • Coffee Cocktails – Possibly as a response to the nitro coffee trend, you might find more coffee cocktails on the menu. A Manhattan made with coffee vermouth, for instance.
  • Paloma – While this drink isn’t new, it may take the place of the margarita as America’s favorite Mexican cocktail.
  • Tiki Revival – With the resurgence of all things vintage kitsch, comes a newfound appreciation for fruity drinks with tropical garnishes.
  • Fancy Ice – Spherical, clear, and hand-chipped ice are all common styles of ice that we'll see more of in 2018.

While there are some things that never change about the bar scene, there are always new and interesting trends that make their way into the limelight. With each year comes a new chance to explore a different side of the beverage scene, whether it be craft wine or culinary cocktails. Infused liquors, skilled movement, and artful garnishes are all part of the experience of enjoying a drink—with all our senses. So, what trends will you embrace for your bar this year?

Posted in: Foodservice Trends | Bars & Breweries | By Jessica Wieser

What Is Nitro Coffee and How Can It Boost Your Coffee Shop's Profits?

The coffee industry has changed rapidly over the past few years, and baristas and coffee shop owners are constantly striving to create new and unique coffee drinks. One of the most popular coffee trends lately is nitro coffee. Nitro coffee has been around for years, but it's now gaining mainstream appeal, which creates an opportunity for foodservice establishments to make a profit. Keep reading to learn all about nitro coffee, why you should offer it at your cafe, and what you need to make nitro coffee.

What Is Nitro Coffee?

What is Nitro Coffee?

Typically made from cold brew coffee, nitro coffee is a beverage that has been infused with nitrogen gas, which gives the drink its name. Nitrogen gas, which is also used in varieties of beer like porters and stouts, creates small bubbles in the coffee, and gives the drink a thick and creamy texture. The nitrogen also forms a dense head that is similar to the head of a beer.

In addition to changing the texture of the drink, nitrogen also helps reduce some of the bitterness and acidity of the coffee, which makes it more palatable to non-coffee drinkers.

Where Did Nitro Coffee Start?

Nitro coffee was created by experimental baristas at Cuvee Coffee in Austin, Texas in 2012. Nitro coffee traveled to different cities around the U.S., and now you can even find it at some grocery stores and gas stations.

Does Nitro Coffee Have More Caffeine?

One of the main benefits to nitro coffee is that it has nearly 30% more caffeine than regular drip coffee. Some scientists also speculate that the nitrogen gas helps your body process the caffeine quicker, so you can get your caffeine boost faster.

Why Should You Serve Nitro Beverages?

How to make nitro coffee

Nitrogen-infused drinks like nitro coffee are a popular trend in coffee shops and cafes, but is it the right fit for your business? Here are a few reasons why you should consider serving nitro coffee and other nitrogen-infused beverages at your establishment:

  • It's popular. Nitro coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the coffee industry, and having it on your menu can bring a lot of customers into your business.
  • It's cost-efficient. Nitro beverages are easy to make and only require a few pieces of equipment. But because nitro coffee is so popular, you can sell it for a premium and make a nice profit without much time and effort.
  • It's healthier than standard drip coffee. Many people load up their drip coffee with cream and sugar, which makes it unhealthy. Nitro coffee, on the other hand, is less bitter and acidic than regular coffee, so your customers don't have to sweeten it with sugar and milk. Plus, coffee has lots of natural antioxidants that are good for you.
  • You can make beverages other than coffee. In addition to nitro coffee, there are many other types of nitro-infused beverages you can make. For example, some coffee shops have experimented with nitro green tea, nitro chai, and nitro cocktails.

What Equipment Do You Need to Make Nitrogen-Infused Beverages?

There are only a few pieces of equipment that your business needs to get started brewing and tapping your own nitro coffee or other beverages. All you need to make nitro coffee is a keg, nitrogen gas, and a nitro coffee tap. The nitro coffee tap is an important piece of equipment for the process, because it is specially designed to handle the acidity of coffee without rusting or wearing down.

It is important to note that you can make nitro coffee with either hot brew or cold brew coffee, although cold brew coffee is easier to make in bulk.

Keeping up with trends in the foodservice and coffee industry can help bring more customers into your restaurant and boost your profits, and nitrogen-infused drinks like nitro coffee are one of the most popular trends in foodservice today. While nitro coffee started in small coffee shops in select cities, it has grown exponentially and is now becoming available to the general public, which makes it an excellent time to start serving it at your coffee shop or bistro. Plus, because there are only a few pieces of equipment involved and you can offer the coffee for a premium, it's an excellent investment for your business.

Posted in: Foodservice Trends | Coffee & Tea | By Richard Traylor

Game Day Promotions for Your Bar

The beginning of February is host to one of the biggest sports events of the year, and with millions of people hosting watch parties and going out to bars to watch the game, it's an excellent opportunity to make a big profit. Because of the size of the holiday, you can expect a lot of competition among nearby bars and restaurants for football fans' business. Keep reading to learn how you to can make your business stand out from the rest, market your event to potential customers, and ensure that your customers spend more at your Game Day party.

5 Easy Game Day Promotions For Your Bar or Restaurant

Here are five easy ways that your business can bring in customers and then persuade them to make big orders.

1. Hold Giveaways

Hold Giveaways

Giveaways are an excellent way that you can bring customers in to your business on Game Day. You also have a lot of options when it comes to deciding what to give away. Sports merchandise like jerseys, posters, and signed memorabilia is an excellent choice for sports giveaways, but you can also choose sports-themed decorations and furniture that feature the teams playing in the game. To ensure that your giveaway has the biggest effect possible, post about it on your social media accounts in the weeks leading up to your NFL Championship game party. This will build excitement and anticipation and will help bring in customers on the day of your event.

2. Offer Discounted Rates

Customers are bound to spend sizeable amounts of money on food and drinks when watching the big game, so you don't have to worry about discounts cutting into your bottom line. Instead, offering discounts can persuade customers to order more. Additionally, NFL Championship promotions can set your business apart from your competitors and bring in more customers to your business. When it comes to discounting items, you have several options. You can offer discounts on specific items like taking 20% off beers or wings, or you can offer specials like giving customers a free beer with an order of two dozen wings.

3. Create a Sports-Themed Menu

Sports-Themed Menu

When planning your event, it's a good idea to adjust your menu. This is an excellent choice for two reasons: first, because it won't overwhelm your customers and second, because it's more manageable for your staff to make a few select dishes than your entire menu. Additionally, creating a new game sports-themed menu at your restaurant or bar allows you to show off your creativity and design dishes and cocktails based on the teams that are playing.

4. Stay Interactive

Once you have customers in your bar or restaurant, you need to keep them engaged and ordering more food and drinks, and one of the best ways to do this is to offer specials and promotions based on what's happening in the game. For example, you can offer $2 beers for five minutes after a team scores a touchdown or scores a field goal. Another excellent choice would be to offer discounted drinks and food during halftime, because it provides a break in the action where customers can re-stock up on drinks and food and prepare for the second half.

5. Offer Delivery and Take-Out Options

Delivery Options

While many customers will go out to watch the big game, some will choose to host their own watch parties, but your business can still profit from private parties by offering delivery and take-out deals. One way to get the most out of your delivery or take-out service on Game Day is to offer special delivery-only discounts, such as discounts when customers order a set amount of food. This gives the customers a discount while also ensuring that you'll get large orders that make delivery worthwhile. Additionally, if you don't have your own delivery driver on staff, you can take advantage of third-party apps and services like UberEats or Postmates.

Game Day is a busy day for bars and restaurants, but you can follow these five tips to take advantage of it. Advertise your promotions to bring in more customers, and offer specials and discounts to help ensure that customers place more orders and increase your profit margin. Additionally, offering NFL Championship promotions can help your business stand apart from your competition, and it can even bring in repeat customers after the Super Bowl is over.

Posted in: Advertising & Marketing | Bars & Breweries | By Richard Traylor

Top Restaurant Design Trends of 2018

Decor trends come and go in the restaurant industry fairly quickly as peoples’ tastes change. For instance, the rustic barn style that features lots of dark wood, earthy colors, and heavy pieces of metal with an aged patina has been a major trend for the past few years. But now that trend is starting to fade away, and it's being replaced by new styles of decor. How your restaurant looks, how the colors affect your guests, and how stylish your dining space is have a profound impact on your customers, which makes it important for restaurant owners and managers to be aware of design trends and update their restaurant design.

Implementing a new and unique style of decor can help bring in more guests to your establishment and boost your profits, so it's worthwhile to stay up-to-date with what design trends are popular. The top design trends of 2018 can be split into two main categories: conceptual trends that restaurants design their entire establishment and menu around, and design elements, which are small changes that restaurants can make to give their space a more modern feeling.

What Can We Take Away from This Year's Restaurant Design Trends?

In all of these emerging design trends, there are a few general takeaways that we found that you should keep in mind when updating your restaurant's decor.

Customers Want Restaurants with Instagram Potential

One of the most important aspects that millennials and younger generations consider when going out is the Instagram potential of a restaurant, or whether the decor is unique enough to post on social media. So, if you're planning on updating your restaurant's decor, you should keep in mind how photogenic your dining space is, especially if you're aiming at younger demographics.

When It Comes to Design, Less Is More

Rather than using a lot of design elements, restaurant owners are paring down their decorations and using a few highly stylized pieces. By only having a few design elements, each piece has a stronger impact on your guests. Plus, minimalist spaces tend to have a sleek and clean aesthetic.

Trends in the foodservice industry are constantly changing and adjusting based on society and what's popular with consumers. Design trends especially have gone through a dramatic change from previous years, so it's important for your business to keep these design trends in mind when you decide how to update your restaurant's decor in 2018.

Posted in: Foodservice Trends | Facility Design & Decor | By Richard Traylor
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