Friday, November 11, 2016

Superior Spotlight: Las Casa Restaurant & Patio


Small Business Saturday is on November 26th. This is a great opportunity for small businesses to drive more traffic into their stores, businesses and restaurants.

In honor of the Shop Local Initiative and Small Business Saturday, we are highlighting one of our favorite small businesses, Las Casas Restaurant & Patio in Temple, Texas. 

Meet Ralph Sheffield. Ralph and his wife Debbie have owned Las Casas Restaurant & Patio for the past 34 years! Ralph loves being in charge and has been working in the restaurant business since he was 12 years old. See his success story.

What inspired you to go into the restaurant business?
I went to work at age 12 in the pizza business.  When I was 19, I opened a pizza place in Temple with another guy that I used to work for. In 1977, when I was 21, I opened a pizza by the slice restaurant in the mall. Over the next 4 years I built 40 more pizza shops. I sold that business in 1982, and that year I opened Las Casas and Catering.

How many employees do you have?

Do you have any mentors, or have you had any along the way? 
My grandfather was my mentor. He was in the cement business and he taught me about hard work and how to be a people person.

Where do you get your recipes from?
I create all of my own recipes.

Do you offer daily specials? 

What is the most successful promotion you have ever run for your restaurant? 
White Wing Wednesday. It was a promotion that we ran for 10 years. You could get wings for ½ price when you dine in. It would pack the house and our sales for margaritas and beer tripled. We stopped the promotion about 5 years ago because of the high price of bacon. People still call on Wednesdays to see if we are still doing it.

How often do you change your menu? Do you have a seasonal menu? Do you offer daily specials?
I update our menu about once a year.  We have daily lunch and drink specials on the Patio. And we do offer a children’s menu. We use
Superior Menus for our menu printing.

What is your biggest challenge?
Labor and managing food costs.

What do you love most about owning your own business?
I am in control of what happens.

Do you have any additional achievements?
I was the State President of the Texas Restaurant Association from 2002-2003. I was elected in 2007 to serve as State Representative in the Texas House until I left in 2015.

Would you like to be in our next restaurant spotlight? Email us at attention Wendy

Monday, October 10, 2016

Menu's Made Easy

7 Things You Need to Think About When You Create Your Menu
Your menu is a very important reflection of your restaurant. Other than the meal itself, your menu is the most important piece in making the right kind of impression to your patrons.

In our last post, we covered the 5 essential elements for creating your menu. Now comes the fun part, actually designing and creating your menu. Here are some important things to consider:

1.      Menu Style
Decide which menu style you would like. Are you looking for an affordable option that is basic but still durable? Clear menu sleeves are a low cost alternative for your menu covers. You can easily slide in your new menu as you make changes or updates. Or maybe you are looking for a high end elegant menu with a smooth vinyl cover and album style corners? If these don’t sound like your style, you could create a custom menu that is unique to your business. 

2.      Menu Layout
Research shows that most people will read your menu like a book, starting in the top left corner and read it left to right. So what does this mean for you? Well, if you want to increase profitability, you can place your higher priced menu items in the left hand corner. If you catch their eye early with an enticing menu item, chances are, that is what they will order.  Blocking can also help to organize your menu and help direct eye flow.

3.      Make it Easy to Follow
Group like items together and put them in the order that the customer would order them in. Start with appetizers, move on to entrees, next comes side dishes and lastly desserts. And keep it simple. Having just 20 amazing dishes are far better than 100+ mediocre items. And PLEASE don’t forget to proofread! Nothing is worse than getting all of your menus printed out only to find a glaring typo!

4.      Gather Feedback from Customers
Before you order copies of your brand new menu, stop first and gather some feedback. Ask some of your best customers to come in and take a look at the new menu. You could even pitch the idea as a VIP event with drinks and appetizers. This is a small price to pay for the invaluable feedback you will receive before you launch your new menu!

5.       Choose the Right Kind of Visuals
Just say NO to clip art and illustrations! These types of images won’t do your menu items any favors. And be VERY careful if you are using actual photography of your entrees. We recommend hiring a professional photographer to take these pictures. Some things are just better when left to the professionals!

6.      Print Daily Specials
Most likely, you will have specials. We suggest printing your specials separately each day. Specials are special and should be treated as such.

7.      Don’t Forget to Update!
Food and market prices vary, so it is expected that your prices will fluctuate. You are in business to make money, so when rent goes up or wages are increased or food prices are on the rise; make sure you are making the necessary changes to your menu to cover these increased costs. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

5 Ways to Create a Rock Star Menu!

As a restaurant owner, you are probably always looking for new ways to innovate and create more buzz for your restaurant. Whether you are brand new to the business or a seasoned owner, you know how important the menu is for your business.  From designs to descriptions, there are so many things to think about.

 Here are the 5 necessary elements that you need for an irresistible menu.

1    Decide What to Include
Do you have a family secret recipe for lasagna that is to die for? Well of course, you will have to include it on your menu. Or maybe you grow your own garden and you want to include fresh ingredients; you will want to build your menu options around your garden goodies! Pasta primavera, anyone? Just make sure that your style, your culture & your personality is somehow weaved into your menu.

2    Descriptions
You have decided what you want to put into your menu, now the next step is putting it down on paper. Keep it simple and remain true to your brand identity. If you own a French restaurant, your patrons may expect the menu to be in French. You want your menu to fit the style of your restaurant. The meal names are important, but the descriptions are just as critical. 

Make sure to use descriptive words for the appearance, texture and flavor. If you are describing a savory dish words like “creamy” and “succulent” are good options. Desserts can be described as “light”, “airy” and “rich”.

When referring to how a meal is prepared these are good options:


3    Highlight the Good Stuff!
Seasonal Ingredients and special accommodations are definitely things you will want to bring attention to on your menu. Remember those garden veggies we were talking about earlier, make sure to mention those! And what’s that, you don’t use any chemicals to grow your garden? Feel free to brag that you offer organic fruits and vegetables. If you use local farms for your meats and dairy, mention that too! Make it a point to highlight your low carb, low calorie, vegetarian, vegan or gluten free items. People LOVE that stuff!

4    Organization
Now that you have all of the elements in place for a stellar menu, you have to decide how you will lay out all of your delicious options. Many restaurants offer a separate menu for desserts and wines. We recommend starting with breakfast (if offered), then lunch, then appetizers and then finally moving on to the entrees. Many owners list the most expensive meals first in hopes to catch the eye and wallet of their customers!

5         Style & Design
Now comes the fun part! You get to design your menu! First you get to pick the menu cover or menu sleeve. Are you looking for something formal and embossed or maybe something more casual? Here are some great options in custom menus for covers and inserts! And don’t forget about the Kid’s Menus!

The trick to designing your menu is creating something you are passionate about. When you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like work. Your menu is a reflection of your business, so make it yours and make it great!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Why Do Gift Certificates Pay for Themselves?

Let's face it big chains have it made... they have marketing galore! TV ads, social media campaigns, and more, so what can you do to get more bang out of your marketing bucks?

Offer Gift Certificates!


Because a customer giving a gift to their favorite place (Your Business) is:

a. Cheap Advertising
When you offer Gift Certificates, customer are vouching that your place is great and someone else should try it.

b. Additional Sales Opportunities!
When you offer Gift Certificates, you are typically receiving an additional sale at the time of the initial purchase or visit and there is the chance the person receiving the gift won't redeem it... OR
they will and will buy more than the gift amount creating.
Fact: More than 1/2 of customers spend more than the value of a purchased gift certificate!

c.  Proven to be the #1 Selling Gift 
Gift Certificates are a year round top selling gift and customers choose them for every occasion, from holidays to birthday's and more.

Give your business a boost and offer customers the perfect gift, a reason to visit to your establishment!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Shop Local - Support Small Business!

Small Business Saturday is around the corner! An American shopping day held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving (after Black Friday and before Cyber Monday), this annual event encourages shoppers to do their holiday shopping at small and local businesses — like yours!

Small Business Saturday is anything but small and all about community. It was founded by American Express in 2010 as a way to celebrate and promote the local businesses that make America’s neighborhoods so great. Due to the big response, in 2011 it became recognized as an official shopping holiday.

This year Small Business Saturday falls on November 29th.
No matter what type of business you are in, it pays to participate! Take advantage of this unique opportunity to promote your business and boost sales for your business.

Encourage your customers to Shop Small®.
Encourage your customers to shop your business by creating memorable marketing materials that promote your business and invite customers to Shop Small®.
1.    Extend an invitation. Create an in-store event to attract new and old customers to come to your business. Send out simple customized invitations. You can also promote online by creating an event on Facebook.
2.    Let it fly. Put up a flyer in your store window that reminds shoppers of the date and encourages them to shop local. Not only is it a great way to support your community, but it is also a great way to boost your brand image.
3.    Gear up on giveaways. Plan a special giveaway that reminds your customers to shop at your establishment all year long. Customized 2015 calendars, personalized pens, and custom-printed t-shirts are all great, functional gifts your customers can use every day of the year.
4.    Create special offers. Increase the incentives with special one-day discounts and promotions that will improve foot traffic into your store location. Giving away gift certificates for every $XXX spent is a smart way to encourage repeat business.
5.    Give them something to smile about. Create even more excitement for your local small business by doing something unique to generate attention. Have a DJ play music in the store. Hire a magician or clown. Serve free coffee in the morning. Display balloons outside your store and give away free cake.
6.    Be social. Social media played a critical role to the first Small Business Saturday’s success. Be sure to follow the movement on Facebook and hashtag #SmallBusinessSaturday on Twitter.

Regardless of whether you are a retail store or restaurant, a beauty salon or a bakery, Small Business Saturday is a fantastic opportunity to reach out and show your community that small businesses matter. The only “wrong” way to participate is to not participate at all.

Be sure, too, to check out the free materials American Express provides to assist you in promoting this fantastic and meaningful event.

Thing big. Shop small.
Have you celebrated Small Business Saturday in the past? Are you planning to participate this year? We want to know! Please tell us your story below.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Superior Tips for Your "Superior" Menus

Your menu is your biggest form of marketing. More than a list of food items and prices, your restaurant’s menu is a reflection of your brand and a means for driving profits. Not to mention, it may be the only marketing tool that nearly all of your customers read.

Taking the time to plan, organize, and design your menu can go a long way in terms of driving your restaurant’s success. Consider the following five tips for creating superior menus that can help take your restaurant to the next level.

  1. Think quality over quantity. Focus on your best and most popular dishes. While providing hundreds of options may seem like an easy way to please choosy customers, limiting options makes it easier for patrons to find and select what they want.

    Menu engineer Gregg Rapp says that diners tune out anything more than seven options. His advice? Choose no more than five appetizers, entrées, or desserts. Anything else is overkill.

  1. The eyes have it. For years, restaurants have assumed that customers’ eyes are naturally drawn to the upper right hand corner. However, new research suggests that diners tend to read menus like books, starting in the top left corner. 

Consider how your customers read your menu and organize items accordingly. Give your signature dishes prominent placement.

  1. Keep it simple. Organize items in a logical manner and choose words that are easy to understand. Make it easy for customers to search for dishes by arranging items sequentially and in logical groups, starting with the appetizers and ending with desserts.

  2. Picture this. While incorporating images of your food items may seem like a natural fit, keep food photography to a minimum. For one thing, not all dishes will appeal to all customers. Plus, high quality food photography can be expensive — and tricky to get the optimal results.

    In general, it’s often better to leave the quality of the food to the customer’s imagination. Consider using illustrations instead.

  1. Type matters. Choose typography that best communicates your restaurant’s brand.  It should be legible and sized appropriately. If your customers can’t read your menu, they won’t be able to order anything off of it.

In the end, there are no hard fast rules when it comes to menu design. What works for some establishments may fall flat for others. Do what’s right for your restaurant’s brand and personality. Don’t be afraid to experiment — and count on Superior Menus to help!
We offer custom printing and design services – Call 1-800-527-6368 and mention code AUGB14  for $10 off your next custom printing order of $100 or more.

Superior Solutions
Whatever your restaurant’s style — classy and contemporary, fun-loving and wild, kid friendly and colorful — Superior Menus offers a wide range of menu stock covers, inserts and sleeves that make it easy to update and change your menu.

  • Stock Covers and Sleeves — Update and protect your menu as little or as often as you wish. Simply slide your choice of menu paper inserts between the sleeves. Superior Menus offers a variety of stock covers and sleeves in a wide range of styles, sizes and materials.
  • Menu AccessoriesAdd and expand your menu as needed with flexible and functional menu accessories.
    • Menu paper inserts are a tasteful and affordable way to update and enhance the look of your menus — and are available in 25 different styles.
    • Add-A-Pages are a convenient and easy way to quickly make updates.
    • Vinyl page protectors prolong the life of your menu papers and help prevent moisture and food from creating undesirable stains.

What’s YOUR strategy for designing superior menus? What works best for you? We’d love to know. Please post your thoughts and comments below. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Digital Dining: It Pays to Be Social

As a restaurant owner or manager, you are probably well aware of the power of social media. When hunger strikes, today’s digitally connected diners simply pick up their mobile phone and check Yelp or Urbanspoon to find a restaurant, read reviews, and make decisions about where they want to eat.

At your restaurant, they may use that same mobile phone to “check-in” on Foursquare. They may snap a photo of their meal, “hashtag” and post it on Instagram or Foodspotting. They can “like” you on Facebook, “tweet” about you on Twitter, and later, post their own review of their experience on the exact same site where they originally discovered you.

Consider the following statistics:

  • Six out of every ten American adults use social networking sites.
  • More than a quarter of U.S. consumers have recommended a brand, product or service to a friend via social media within the last three months.

Yep, there’s no doubt about it. Your customers are using social media to make the most of their meal. But how about you? Are you making the most of social media?

Social Media for Restaurants
Social media works two ways. As a restaurant owner or manager, you should be putting social media to work as well. Social media is a powerful way to:

  1. Reach out and attract new customers.
  2. Monitor your reputation and resolve customer complaints.
  3. Gain feedback and insights to what your customers like – and don’t like.
  4. Promote and show new menu items.
  5. Give prospective visitors an “inside look” at what goes on in your restaurant.
  6. Increase awareness with contests, discounts and giveaways.
  7. Promote special events — such as grand openings, wine tastings, and live music.
  8. Assist with recruiting new employees.

Tips to Consider
With so many options available, choosing the right social media outlet for your restaurant can be a daunting task.  Here are three tips to consider when deciding which social media platforms might work best for you:

1. Define your goals. While the power of social media is a little difficult to measure, determining what you want to achieve can be an important step. For many restaurants the goal may be “become part of the conversation.” As one restaurant owner we talked to put it, “People are talking about us — my goal is to not only listen, but also respond.”
2. Determine who you want to reach. Every social media network has their own demographic. While Facebook may be universal, sites such as Instagram  and Tumblr are more popular with younger adults. Women under 50 tend to be fans of Pinterest. Sites such as Foursquare and Twitter tend to resonate more with urban residents. Take stock of who your restaurant patrons are — as well as who you want them to be — and decide which outlets work best for building your community.
3. Decide what you want to share. Reaching out on social media can be taxing and time-consuming. Consider what your own capabilities are and what your bandwidth may be for building and maintaining your social media presence. If you take pictures with your smart phone, outlets like Instagram might be a nice fit. If you like to keep things short and sweet, a Twitter feed might be the way to go. Want to poll your patrons and interact with them directly? Facebook is a natural fit.

For more ideas on how to make social media part of your restaurant’s marketing mix, check out the National Restaurant Association’s Social Media section. There, you’ll find a bunch of great resources, including a guide for monitoring online reviews.

Got your own ideas for how to make social media work? We’d love to hear about it!. Please post your story below.