Restaurant Reality *VS* Reality TV

In case you think yelling, swearing, ego and humiliation seen on restaurant “reality” shows has anything to do with how operators succeed in our business, check  out how many US restaurants “rescued” by celebri-chef Gordon Ramsey are still open.  From the first 5 seasons, out of 59 restaurants only 17 are still open today (28%).  The most recent 6th and 7th seasons bring up the average to 38% still open, but it’s likely those seasons are too recent to show the eventual full failure rate. 

Of course any consultant can tell you it’s tough to rescue troubled businesses, but that’s not the bigger point to be made here:

Truth is, Reality TV is far from Reality of Success in the Restaurant and Bar Business.  They are marketed as showing “experts in action,” but there is not one “rescue” show on TV that properly captures what real operators and consultants do to succeed.  Screaming at people is not on the list of keys to success.

Stop yelling, TV Celebrity Consultants, you look like idiots.  And even as mindless entertainment it gets boring pretty quickly.

Yelling for ratings, not venue success.


We at A-List Marketing are proud to have offered assistance to more than 100 bars, restaurants and beverage brands from pre-launch through sometimes 10 or more years of success.  With very little turnover and nearly 100% success and retention of our services long term.  Need help?  Reach out, we will be there for you.  Not yelling.

Restau/Bars can soon use .bar, .rest or .pub for their websites.

New website domains, .pub, .bar and .rest will soon be released, aimed at the hospitality industry.  Is this a good option for restau / bar / pubs to use these domains instead of .com?

Can customized domain names help restaurants, bars and pubs rank higher in searches?


Can you guess the most popular vodkas?

Can you guess the most popular vodka brands in the world?

US drinkers will probably be very surprised.

Also the #1 vodka brand sells 3x more than the next 3 top vodkas combined, and is the top selling spirits brand of any type, not just vodka – can you guess that well known name?

Take your best shot at the TOP 10 before you peek here.


Clue: this is not the top selling vodka in the world, but it does have something in common with #1


The most frequently neglected guest turn-off

Are you listening to your restaurant or bar?

Here is a very good article summarizing the most neglected customer negative in restaurants and even bars – too much noise for guests to communicate comfortably with each other!

The article offers a good overview of some of the fundamental solutions.  If you are building a bar or restaurant, contact us at A-List Marketing to learn all the best ways to create an environment with an ambient sound level that is the perfect mix of energy and comfort.


 Thanks to Aaron Adams and the NRA Show Website for the article, and to Metropolitan Acoustics for the image.


Is Olive Garden a symptom of a sick USA?

Restaurant Industry News: Darden restaurant group, the world’s largest full service restaurant company, with approximately 6.3 billion in annual sales, announced its fourth-quarter earnings this past Friday.

(Update on analyst reaction today from Nation’s Restaurant News…)

Olive Garden and Red Lobster, Darden’s largest casual dining brands, are aimed at middle class customers.  They are slumping in sales, and Darden is in the process of selling Red Lobster.  Meanwhile, Darden’s high end brand Capital Grille is doing the best out of all its concepts.  This article views these developments as a symptom of weakness in the US economy due to the growing concentration of wealth among society’s wealthy top few percent.  Is the middle class dying off along with mid-scale sit down restaurants?

I think it is more complicated than that, and Darden’s sales fluctuations are primarily due to the relative theme appeal of each restaurant concept. For example, Longhorn Steakhouse which is mid-scale was up in sales, although traffic and profits dropped.

But overall industry trends show mid-market consumers “trading down” from sit down casual dining to cheaper fast casual outlets such as Chipotle and Panera and even down to QSR fast feeders like Subway and Taco Bell.  How much of that trend is driven by shrinking middle class paychecks, how much is better marketing, service and theme relevance by Fast Casual and QSR, and how much is cultural with the quickening pace of American life, especially for younger demos?

There have  been a growing number of analyses that widening wealth disparity between the top and bottom earners in society is a drag on our economy, is that something to be considered?  Consumer spending is 70% of economic activity, driven primarily by the middle class.  Food for thought.

olivegardennewlogo Capgrille