Top Restaurant Design Trends of 2019

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 2019 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.

People Want an Immersive and Engaging Dining Experience

From the communal seating design concept to the incorporation of local art, restaurants should strive to create an inviting social atmosphere that allows customers to enjoy and linger. Create warm and inviting dining areas that encourage interaction and keep consumers coming back for more.

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 2019.

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

Everything You Need to Know About First Fridays

Today, many cities and towns are finding innovative ways to support their small businesses. One popular choice is to hold First Friday events that encourage residents to come together once a month and explore what their city has to offer. As a business owner, you can give back to your community while also attracting new business by participating in First Friday. To learn more about what First Fridays are, why they're beneficial to your establishment, and how you can make your business stand out during the event, keep reading.

What Is First Friday?

Couple at a First Friday gallery exhibition

First Friday is an event held in many American cities and towns on the first Friday of each month. Some cities host it on other weeks of the month, so you may see Second Friday, Third Friday, or Fourth Friday instead. While each community hosts this event a little differently, here are some common elements that cities choose to include:

  • Live music
  • Extended business hours for shops and restaurants
  • Food trucks
  • Kids’ activities
  • Art exhibitions
  • Craft vendors

First Fridays not only help to support tourism for cities and towns, but they also encourage members of the community to engage with each other. This event brings out more people at once than a typical Friday evening might, so it is an opportunity to support local businesses, enjoy cultural experiences, and fit in some social interaction.

Why Your Restaurant Should Participate in First Friday

Now that you know what First Friday is, you can consider getting your business involved. Below, we’ve outlined some reasons why participation in First Friday would be beneficial to your establishment.

People walking through town on First Friday

Customers Are Already in Town

Because your city or town will already be full of more people than on a usual Friday evening, First Friday is an excellent opportunity for your business to attract customers. Many cities host First Fridays around dinnertime, so people could be interested in grabbing some food before they peruse the shops and vendors around town.

It Shows Your Support for the Community

If you choose to participate in such a community-centric event, this shows customers that you are interested in supporting your city and the businesses around you. Joining in on the First Friday festivities makes your business less of a stand-alone establishment and more of a member in a group. As a result, this could foster loyalty in customers who like your establishment’s commitment to the community.

It Helps with Publicity

Many cities and towns use social media or websites to advertise First Friday events, and if your business participates, it will likely be shared on these platforms. That means that before they even come to First Friday, customers will see your business name and know to look for you while they’re in town.

How to Attract More Customers on First Fridays

While just being open is a great way to bring in more customers on First Friday, here are some ideas for how you can make your business especially enticing to customers.

Offer First Friday Specials

Having some exclusive menu items that are only available on First Friday motivates customers to come in for the event. Whether you add a cocktail or a limited edition entree, these offerings will catch the eyes of patrons and encourage them to try out or revisit your establishment. If you want to really get into the First Friday spirit, show your city pride by naming one of your specials after a local landmark or characteristic of your locale.

Run First Friday Discounts and Promotions

Browsing a First Friday menu

Customers may go out on First Friday with the intention of shopping at boutiques and vendors, so a discounted meal or drink could convince them to eat out as well. Try offering promotions like a free dessert with the purchase of an entree, half-price cocktails, or 15% off of your bill during First Friday hours.

Host an Event

To offer something really special for First Friday, consider hosting an event. You could display artwork from local artists and hold a reception with drinks and hors d’oeuvres, hire some live music to play while guests enjoy your menu items, or even throw a party to celebrate your city. No matter what kind of event you decide to host, be sure to advertise it well in advance to increase curiosity and anticipation.

First Fridays are a growing trend in cities, and they’re an excellent opportunity for your business to integrate with the community. Try offering specials or promotions, or open your doors for a special event like live music or an art exhibition. Either way, you can bring in new customers and show your support for your town.

Posted in: Advertising & Marketing | By Christine Potts

Top Foodservice Trends of 2019

Just like in any art form, trends in the culinary world are constantly shifting to reflect the ever-changing interests and needs of people. Keeping up with these trends is important to restaurant owners, chefs, and really anyone working in the foodservice industry.

The past few years have marked significant change within the foodservice industry as the food culture shifts towards higher quality food and expediency. 2018 was an especially momentous year of change, with all sorts of innovations in equipment, service, food, and technology that have reverberated all around the world, and we expect that 2019 will also bring a lot of change. After researching all the forecasted developments in restaurant equipment, service, food, and even technology, we look forward to a 2019 filled with delicious cuisines and intelligent creations!

Should Your Ice Cream Shop Stay Open This Winter?

When the ground is frozen and the air is chilled, cravings for cold ice cream treats tend to diminish. Many ice cream parlors see a decrease in traffic and a loss of profits during winter months. But, of course, there are many factors that contribute to the decision of whether to stay open for business or close your ice cream shop for the winter. Read on to explore how you can still make a profit by staying open, and how to best use your downtime if you chose to close for the season.

Why You Might Keep Your Ice Cream Shop Open This Winter

It may seem counterintuitive to keep an ice cream shop open through winter, however, there are some reasons why you might choose this option for your establishment.


Open Sign for Ice Cream Shop

It may sound obvious, but the geographic location of your business plays a big role in whether or not you should keep your doors open all winter long. Of course, regions of Florida, California, and other states rarely, if ever, see snow. These are places where the rest of the country goes to escape winter and going out for ice cream is just another way your guests can indulge in imagining that it’s still summertime.

Paying Rent

Some ice cream shop owners have found that it’s in their best interest to remain open year-round because they need to pay rent on the space regardless of whether or not they’re open for business. In these circumstances, ice cream business owners have found that adjusting their menus held them get through the cold months of winter.


Although not many people think about going out for ice cream in the winter, some do. Various customers look to ice cream for celebrations or to satisfy a sweet tooth. Staying open in the colder months means that they still have access to your location while other shops may be closed. You may choose to continue operations at your business in order to keep your name in the forefront of customers’ minds so that they do not forget about you when the busier days of summer roll around. By keeping your location available in the winter, you may create some loyal customers year-round.

How to Successfully Keep Your Ice Cream Shop Open This Winter

If you’re looking for helpful ideas on how to prepare your shop for winter and make the most of your ice cream business, consider implementing a few of these tips:

  • Have seasonal hours of operation. If your shop is open 5 days a week during the summer, try staying open just on weekends in the wintertime. Or instead of being open 7 hours a day, cut back to 4 hours. This helps keep your business in customers’ minds while still creating a demand due to your limited hours. You can also bring in some cash while saving on operating expenses during the week.
  • Only hire seasonal staff during busy months. During the winter months, you can reduce your staff size due to the decrease in demand. If you’re an independent business owner, you can oversee your own shop in the slow season, reducing payroll expenses.
  • Produce less ice cream in the winter. It makes sense that if your hours and staff are cut back, you should make sure to cut down on your ice cream flavor options and quantities, too. You’ll have less product to worry about selling, while still keeping the old favorites on hand for your die-hard fans.
  • seasonal ice cream flavors
  • Try creating seasonal flavors. Offering unique flavors that are only available for a limited time is a great way to create some hype around your business. Some great ideas for winter flavors include candy cane, gingerbread, and eggnog. You can even use your regular vanilla ice cream to create an innovative milkshake flavor by adding flavored syrups.
  • Package to-go containers of ice cream. While going out for ice cream may not be as popular during the winter, people will still have birthday parties and other occasions where ice cream is served, so giving your customers the option of taking your product with them can broaden the potential for your sales. This can be in the form of pre-packaged pints or ice cream cakes.
  • Offer seasonal promotions. Keep your customers engaged with your business through advertisements or social media by offering discounts during the winter months. By reducing your prices, customers may be encouraged to purchase more often.
  • Make menu adjustments. You may choose to broaden your menu or change it entirely during the wintertime. One option is to add a warm drink menu including hot chocolate, coffee, and hot cider for customers to warm up with. Another alternative would be to include seasonal desserts like pumpkin pie, apple pie, or warm brownies that naturally pair well with ice cream. If you feel that offering ice cream in the wintertime may not work for your business, consider rebranding for the season and offer a new menu altogether with the possible inclusion of seasonal soups like pumpkin, barley mushroom, split-pea, or lentil soup.

Why You Might Close Your Ice Cream Shop This Winter

If your ice cream shop is located in an area that is either sparsely populated or relies on the summer tourist crowd, you may want to consider closing your doors when the snow starts to fall. Additionally, if the rent for your shop is inexpensive enough, it may wind up costing you more to staff your business than if you simply covered the cost of renting your dormant shop. The best way to approach this decision is to sit down and take a look at your finances. If it will cost you more money to staff your establishment, it’s probably a good idea to take a break and spend the season planning out your summer.

How to Use Your Downtime Productively If You Close Your Ice Cream Shop This Winter

If you do decide to close down during winter, there are a few different ways you can stay productive and ensure a successful reopening in the spring.

  • Brush up on industry trends. The foodservice industry is constantly changing and any business owner knows that keeping up with the competition is an important part of the job. Winter is a great time to do some research. Spend some time going to food shows and conventions, or read articles on the subject. Even something as simple as visiting new ice cream shops that may have opened recently can help give you a better sense of whether or not you’re keeping up with trends.
  • Brainstorm new marketing strategies to try. You can get involved in local events, host musicians or other acts at your shop, or organize some other activities that will help customers get acquainted with your brand. Some ideas might include an ice-cream-making demonstration, or a flavor development session that’s open to the public. Anything to help people become more familiar with and invested in your brand can help boost sales in the summertime.
  • banana split in ice cream shop
  • Sell your ice cream to other businesses. Try distributing gallons of your handmade ice cream to other restaurants in your area, so they can include your product on their dessert menu. Creating a partnership with other local business owners can help to create a sense of comradery within your foodservice community. Selling your product in new places is a great way to reach new customers that will keep you in mind when the snow thaws again.
  • Developing new flavors. Customers will always have their old favorites, but they love trying new things too! Use your winter to come up with exciting new combinations and test them out before introducing them to the public. This way, you can begin your summer with a whole set of new flavors to rotate and keep your ice cream supply interesting.
  • Prepare for summer. A decrease in traffic is inevitable during colder seasons, but that doesn’t mean this time is wasted. You can spend your free time organizing summer events, producing marketing materials, or purchasing nonperishable supplies to use when it’s finally warm again.

If you’re an ice cream shop owner, there can be a lot to consider when it comes to closing or staying open during the winter months. You may choose to poll your customers to gauge their interest in ice cream availability as the days grow colder and shorter. Whatever you decide, if you find that it didn’t work for your business this year, you can always try something else next year!

Posted in: Management & Operation | Seasonal | By Janine Jones