eTundra Categories

Author Archive | Kasy Allen

10 Things That Make Restaurant Websites Great

If you thought that throwing up a picture of the front of your restaurant and contact information made for a great website, then you my friend need to see what other restaurants around the country are doing to encourage diners to walk their way.  Here’s a list of 10 things we’ve seen restaurants doing that keep guests coming back for more.

1. Food Photography

Give me pictures that make me say yum!  If I’m hungry, I don’t want to see pictures of the outside of your building, or the employees at your restaurant, I want to see tasty dishes that persuade me to come on in and dine, or at least check out what else is on the menu.

10 Things That Make Restaurant Websites Great

 2. Menus

I don’t know why this is such a big deal for restaurants, but there are two big things that restaurants do wrong when it comes to their menu: it’s not posted at all or it’s in PDF format.  If I can’t find the menu on your website, my first thought is that you have something to hide… why would I want to even venture in your establishment if you’re too embarrassed to share your menu?  And PDFs are bad news for your site.  Mobile users hate downloading anything – it takes too much time – and that downloadable PDF is killing your restaurant’s style.  And remember those search engines that you’re trying to compete in?  Yeah, they can’t see PDFs, so you’re wasting your time.

10 Things That Make Restaurant Websites Great

Vesta Dipping Grill also has their menu in PDF format, just in case their guests want to download it.

3. Special Menus

If you haven’t noticed yet, more and more restaurants are paying attention to their guests that have allergies, which, of course, is a good thing.  My son has tree nut allergies and can go into anaphylactic shock if he even touches a cashew or pistachio to his lips.  Are you willing to risk his life and your business because you don’t think it’s important to have an allergy menu?  I hope the answer is no, because you never know who’s going to walk through your door with allergies.  Make sure you have special menus set aside and online for allergy guests – help people make a choice on where they should eat before they even walk in your door.

And don’t forget about our vegan and vegetarian friends, they also like to know that they have different options when visiting your restaurant – Chipotle got it right with this one page menu.

10 Things That Make Restaurant Websites Great

4. Calories & Diets

Speaking of menus, giving calorie count and other dietary information can help your health conscious guests learn more about the foods they choose.  And don’t worry, showing big numbers doesn’t always have to be bad, people just want to know what it is they’re eating.  Make sure to include an online calorie menu so that guests that are counting calories, fat grams, or sodium can find the dish that works best for them.

10 Things That Make Restaurant Websites Great

5. Reservations

The majority of the things already mentioned can be figured out with online reservations.  Let me clarify.  If there are online reservations, perfect, I don’t have to call you and I can get everything done from my phone.  I can also enter in any special information (that is, if you have a comment box available for me), like that we have someone in our party with food allergies, or someone that may need help finding suggestions for lower sodium meals.  What if you knew that information before the party every arrived, and the server came to the table with the right choices without the party ever asking – I’d say you’re one step closer to creating evangelists for your restaurant!

10 Things That Make Restaurant Websites Great

6. Groups

Guests need to know your rules for groups of people.  How many people are considered a group?  Do you take reservations?  Should I call ahead of time?  Make it easy for groups to know what they should expect when visiting your website.  Linger, a restaurant in Denver, makes it nice an easy with an inquiry form – of course the group could always call, but who has time for that anymore?

10 Things That Make Restaurant Websites Great

7. Happy Hour

Bring on the deals!  One of the easiest ways to encourage people to come in during happy hour is to show them the deals.  Don’t be shy, share it all, including food and drink specials, times, and any bonuses – like getting special promotions on social media.  And believe me, your guests are smart enough to sniff out the deals, even if it means they’re standing at your front door and notice your competitors online happy hour menu is better than the one you don’t even have posted.

10 Things That Make Restaurant Websites Great

8. Social Media & Email Marketing

Speaking of social media, it seems these days everyone is dabbling in social media.  But the true winners in the restaurant industry are the ones that keep us coming back for more.  I’m a huge fan of Noodles & Company simply because they take care of their audience.  I don’t mind listening to what you have to say if I get freebies once in a while, and you mix up that sales-speak with some fun content (hint, sign up for the Noodlegram to get some great deals throughout the year).

10 Things That Make Restaurant Websites Great

One of our Tundrites said they checked-in at Foursquare at a local restaurant here in Boulder called Harpo’s and ended up getting 15% of the table’s entire meal – do you think that they’re going to get return business out of her?  You betcha, and she probably inspired new customers to head in as well!

9. Directions, Contact Information & Hours of Operation

For the love of the Internet, please don’t forget to put up your directions, contact information, and hours of operation.  And please don’t make it an image where it’s next to impossible for me to do anything from my phone.  Your contact information should be in plain HTML so that I can push your phone number and call with just one touch of my smartphone.  And the directions should be linked to Google maps so that I can tell my smartphone to go straight to your location.  This one sounds easy, but I’ve seen so many of you get it wrong.

10 Things That Make Restaurant Websites Great

10. Content

Okay, I mentioned in the first post that when your guests are hungry they want to see good food pictures, but those that are really interested in who you are will want to be able to learn more about your story.  How did you get to where you are today?  Who are your Chefs?  Do you source your food locally?  Is your building historical?   Do you have any special events that you put on?  Do you give back to the community?

There are tons of great examples of content you can put on your site or in a blog, just remember who your audience is and make the content relevant for them.

10 Things That Make Restaurant Websites Great

Fruition Restaurant does a great job of sharing their farm to table story over at Fruition Farms, which is linked to in their main navigation.

Continue Reading

Tax Day Word Search

Fun Fact: The IRS reported receiving 131,543,000 individual income tax returns in 2009. If each return were processed at the rate of one per minute (and that’s fast!), it would take more than 250 years for one person to do the job.

Continue Reading

A Visit With Ice-O-Matic

A Visit With Ice O Matic

Some of my co-workers and I recently had the privilege to tour the Ice-O-Matic factory in Denver, Colorado.

Now don’t go running off just yet, let me get one thing said up front: I know that factory tours, or even ice for that matter, aren’t exactly at the top of the list for must-do’s, but I think each of us learned something during that tour.  Not only did we learn more about ice in general, but we also learned that Ice-O-Matic is filled with passionate people that love to share that passion with others – yes, even over ice – and believe that investing in an ice machine is more than just another piece of equipment in your kitchen.

Okay, So What’s With the Ice?

Of course we had to start the tour with a run through of ice and how the machines work.  Among other facts, I think my biggest take-a-way was that I’ll never look at ice in my cup the same way anymore – cleaning and sanitizing is crucial with ice machines because ice is considered a food.

As a germ-a-phobe myself, I told our presenter that now I have yet another phobia to add to my list of foods to be scared of.  He of course laughed and said, “Well, as long as that machine stays clean and the water is filtered, consumers of ice should be just fine, and the life-span of the ice machine is greatly increased.”

But it wasn’t just the cleanliness of ice that I was able to walk away with; we also learned a slew of information about the frozen water:

  1. Cube Ice: Bars typically prefer to serve up bigger ice sizes because it makes the beverage look more appealing – some bars even buy blocks of ice so they can cube it themselves.  This style of ice is also preferred in hotter climates because it takes longer to melt.  75% of Americans prefer cube ice.
  2. Flake Ice: Schools, Universities and Healthcare facilities prefer flake ice because it can also be used for packing around injuries.  Grocery stores prefer flake ice to showcase seafood because it helps prevent the meat from bruising, and it can be formed into shapes – think waves of ice.
  3. Pearl Ice: Known by most consumers as Sonic Ice, the food service industry loves this type of ice because it’s chewable and takes the flavor of the beverage.  And believe it or not, 7 out of 10 people like to chew ice, and this is the preferred type to chew.  This ice is also commonly used for merchandising and displays.

But What Does That Have to Do With My Business?

Buying an ice machine isn’t just about choosing the right type of ice.  Our presenter was very insistent on making sure that each establishment looking to invest in a new ice machine was matched up with the right ice machine for them.  It’s not about the biggest, or most expensive; it’s about ensuring that the average ice usage per day is met, while leaving room for future growth.

A Visit With Ice O Matic

Okay, I’m listening, what else?

It’s also about knowing warranty details, like using a filter (and regularly changing it) can extend the ice machines warranty by 7 years!  And because water taste, hardness, chemicals, etc. vary in different parts of the country, having a filter is crucial to ensure the safety of the consumers. And the good news is that Ice-O-Matic will send out reminders for when your filter should be changed – you’ll have to make sure to register the warranty though.

After our presentation, we were then taken to the factory where we were able to see exactly how each of Ice-O-Matics ice machines were made.  Here’s a great video from the show “How it’s Made” so you too can see how they’re made:

Continue Reading

Tundra’s Waste Management System

Tundra’s Waste Management SystemLast April we put in place our own waste management
system, which evolved after studying our not so healthy
trash habits around the office. The result of this had us cutting down on our trash and ramping up our recycling and composting efforts. First, we installed composting bins to capture paper towels in the restrooms. Then we added recycling & composting bins next to the trashcan in our break room as well as smaller recycling cans at each cubical in the office. Finally, we educated our employees on where our trash is going and what can and cannot go into the different bins with the help of visual aids. Needless to say, the new green initiatives were well received by the staff at Tundra.

See our last blog post on our waste management efforts, or for more green tips, see our other blogs posts on going green.

Continue Reading

Food Waste by the Numbers Infographic

Our last infographic was fun and shared information on just how many wings we consume in a year – especially around the Super Bowl.  However, this infographic is taking a completely different approach and showing the reality of how much food is wasted around the world, in the US, and in restaurants.  It’s quite alarming to know that 1/3 of all food in the world is wasted annually when there are an estimated 925 million people in the world that are suffering from hunger!

Food Waste by the Numbers Infographic

Want to see more infographics like this one or our last one? Let us know what data you’d like to see visualized in the comment box below.

Embed This Image On Your Site (copy code below):

Continue Reading

The Juiciest Trend This Season

The Juiciest Trend This SeasonJuicing has become more and more popular and at an average of $8 per drink, there’s big profit in adding juice to your menu. But why are consumers willing to spend such a high price for these drinks?

First off, consider the price of a decent juicer or blender and what it would cost a consumer to begin juicing from home. Unfortunately, the appliance is not cheap, because the motor of a standard household blender can’t take on the power needed
to ground up the rinds and seeds used in whole juicing.

There’s also a big difference between the final costs of organic, local ingredients for a restaurant versus a consumer. Once the consumer is done hitting up the natural market for all of those fruits and vegetables, their final price is well over that $8.

Juicing is a total meal replacement, and when it comes to choosing between spending that $8 on a fast-food meal or healthy juice, consumers are quickly making the health conscious choice. In fact, juice bars are reporting profits of more than 19% year over year.

Check out just how fast the J80 Ultra Juicer by Robot Coupe can add revenue to your bottom line –

The Juiciest Trend This Season

Continue Reading

From Trash to Treasure: How to Repurpose Old Restaurant Supplies

From Trash to Treasure: How to Repurpose Old Restaurant SuppliesGetting Organized

  • Any type of cup with a handle can be mounted to the wall and with an S-hook attachment can become a unique utensil holder or flatware organizer.
  • ƒƒ There are multiple uses for Cambro food storage containers, most of which keep you and your staff organized. Check out our recent blog post to learn how: 100 Ways to Use a Cambro Storage Container!
  • ƒƒ Need hooks to hang pots and pans in the kitchen, a coat rack in the dining room or for personal belongings under the bar? Try serving spoons & flatware! Just bend the utensil into the desired shape.
  • ƒƒ Having trouble finding the correct o-ring for your stick mixer? Muffin tins are perfect for keeping track of replacement parts! By labeling each tin & educating your staff, quick & easy repairs can be made in a flash!

From Trash to Treasure: How to Repurpose Old Restaurant SuppliesUpcycled Decorations

  • Repurpose old wine bottles by turning them into table tents. All you need is chalkboard spray paint! This creative flair is sure to get people talking!
  • Cups and glasses are perfect centerpieces on tables for floating candles or displaying fresh cut flowers!
  • ƒƒFunnels, sieves and other containers were also found to make beautiful plant holders – think about growing fresh herbs too.
  • ƒƒPots worn out? Clean and then spray paint them for a cost effective way to make buffet risers, wine buckets & beverage tubs!

From Trash to Treasure: How to Repurpose Old Restaurant SuppliesBold Walls, Ceilings & Bars

  • Saved up all of those wine corks, but have no idea what to do with them? Frankly Wines in Tribeca, New York decorated an entire wall out of them.
  • Use wooden crates? That wood makes amazing wall art, but more importantly, can be used to cover entire ceilings, walls and even floors! That’s right- create a small stage out of wooden crates and start hosting occasional live music!
  • Glass is probably the most popularly reused item for walls, ceilings and bars. The bonus? They help with acoustic sound!
  • Plastic? You bet! One of our favorite walls was made out of water bottles. That got us thinking about all of the other plastic wall possibilities – hmmm.

From Trash to Treasure: How to Repurpose Old Restaurant SuppliesSpeaking of Pallets

  • Pallets can be cut down and stained to make a beautiful wine rack. Bonus, the shelving is low enough to still show off those enticing wine labels.
  • Take out some of the slats and hang the pallet on the wall for shelving. This is a great way to showcase the history of your restaurant starting with the first framed dollar spent in your establishment.
  • Stained different colors, and cut into different sizes, we found beautiful wall art that would look great in any restaurant.
  • Indoor gardening goes well with pallets, and helps restaurants bring in the outdoors, while adding to the décor.

From Trash to Treasure: How to Repurpose Old Restaurant SuppliesUnique Lighting

  • Make light fixtures out of old glassware, including chandeliers, track lighting and pendant lights.
  • Think about using old wine bottles and beer bottles for setting the mood at your tables. Flower vases are also an effective way to repurpose the colorful glass!
  • ƒƒHow about an old sieve, funnel or whisk, we found some very interesting light fixtures repurposing these kitchen items.
  • Did someone say wire guard? Not only does this protect your globes from breakage, we’ve also seen restaurants use them as modern light fixtures throughout the dining room and in bathrooms where maximum light is desired.

From Trash to Treasure: How to Repurpose Old Restaurant SuppliesWant to see how others have pulled these ideas together, plus many more like these?  Visit our Repurposing Restaurant Supplies board on Pinterest!

Continue Reading

Saving the Environment: One Scrap at a Time

Saving the Environment: One Scrap at a TimeComposting is often overlooked in restaurants; in fact, when it comes to talking about food waste, the majority of restaurant owners and operators say that the first thing on their list of priorities is honoring the chef’s culinary skills and making sure the freshest ingredients are being served. Food waste came in last on the list.

We get it; it’s easier to throw food in the garbage. That way the back ally attracts more vermin and the landfills fill up with an overwhelming amount of food waste (which produces an alarming amount of dangerous methane gas). But what if we told you that many cities now offer offsite composting and all you have to do is make sure you separate trash from food waste! Whether it is the trash company, your local school district, or a local farm, there are more and more businesses willing to return your food waste to the ground.

Why take action? The soil that is produced from composting helps build nutrient rich gardens and flower beds. When we look at our local surroundings here in Boulder, CO and take into account the numerous flower beds and gardens from Pearl Street to the University, local elementary schools and surrounding family owned farms, we realize what a difference your “trash” could make on their bottom line and for the environment.

Continue Reading