As we hope you all know by now, in 2017 the importance of Instagram to restaurants cannot be underestimated.

In recent years, the craze for taking photos of your food and posting them on the social media platform has snowballed, and Instagram now plays a powerful role in influencing where diners choose to eat.

A London restaurant which recognises this has taken an unprecedented step – offering “foodie Instagram packs” encouraging customer to take the most enticing photos of their food.

Foodie Instagram Packs

Anyone who has tried to emulate those foodie Instagrammers who make everything they eat look picture perfect will know it’s not as easy as it looks.

Which is why Dirty Bones in Soho, London are offering their diners a kit which includes a portable LED camera light, a multi-device charger, a clip-on wide angle camera lens and a tripod selfie stick for overhead table shots.

The kits have been designed to provide Instagrammers with everything they need to capture the perfect Instagram shot.

A spokesperson for Dirty Bones said: “People love to share what they’re eating on social media, so we wanted to put together something that made it easier to get that perfect shot regardless of the lighting or time of day.”

“More and more people are also using Instagram to help them decide where to eat, so as a restaurant group it’s key for us to make sure that people are getting the best possible shots of all our dishes and drinks.”

Importance of Instagram to restaurants

Not only that, the Dirty Bones’s entire interior and menu has been designed with Instagram in mind.

The menu is packed with those super “in” dishes that look great on Instagram, like a Mac Daddy Burger, fish tacos and cheeseburger dumplings.

Letting Instagram dictate your entire restaurant decor and menu – a step too far or the future?

How simpleERB can help

With simpleERB you can help encourage their customers to take Instagram worthy snaps of your dishes.

You have the capability to edit simpleERB booking emails sent out to your diners so why not add a note asking diners to take pictures of your food? You could even add a prize for the best shot of the month.

simpleERB builds a complete record of all your customers and their preferences, ensuring that if if they love to take photos of their food they can be placed at the table with the best natural light (we all know how important natural light is for those #foodporn pics).

With simpleERB’s help, you can allow Instagram to help run your restaurant without letting it run you.

simpleERB is free for small restaurants and easily affordable for bigger ones.



Christmas. The dreaded ‘c’ word. Organising large bookings, managing deposits, dealing with no shows. It can be tough running a restaurant in December. Luckily, simpleERB has some neat features and clever hacks which can help make Christmas a little easier for you.

Make sure you’ve got the right availability on your booking widget

The simpleERB booking widget defaults to allow bookings for six months in advance. This means customers can book dates in December NOW! Get ahead of the game and make sure you’ve got any closed dates or alternative opening hours set up so you don’t take bookings you can’t accommodate.

You can amend your widget availability in the configure widget settings or set your whole diary up for Christmas using closed or partial open days.

If you have split sittings, you can enter multiple opening times for the date in ‘partial open times’.

Is your table layout different at Christmas?

If it is, there is a way for simpleERB to help you. Create a second table layout in your simple settings and call it something like Christmas 2017. Add the tables as they will be set out in December or on a particular occasion and then in advanced settings, using closed areas, close this area off from now until December and again after December. Then in December, close your normal layout so that bookings aren’t taken on those tables.

There’s a guide on how to do this in more detail here.

Take deposits

Deposits are a great way of ensuring that customers attend their booking so you avoid the dreaded no show which although unwelcome all year round, is particularly problematic over the busy Christmas period. We have customers already using our deposit system who have said the no shows have been virtually eliminated. Deposits are flexible and you can set specific amounts based on date or time and party size, you could charge per cover or per table and you can also set deadlines for customers to pay by. All of this is done securely and PCI compliant so that you don’t have card numbers or payment details lying around or visible to staff. It also usefully helps out your cash flow!

 

Booking reminders

Booking reminders are a simple way to remind your staff about certain details that they may need to pass on to customers or be aware of when entering bookings. You simply choose the dates you want your message to show and then when a member of staff adds a booking on a certain date, they’ll be prompted with date specific info. You might want to advise customers that on a certain date you are only serving a certain menu, or you could use it to remind staff to get an email address for the customers. This is an easy and flexible way to remind your staff about the little extras which happen at Christmas so that everyone is on the same page.

Create offers

We see more and more restaurants offering a normal a la carte menu as well as a Christmas menu in December and you might want to give customers the choice when they book so you can get a rough gauge on how many turkeys that the kitchen brigade may need to prep. Setting up offers is easy and like most simpleERB features, it can be used to fit around certain dates and times. You could show specific offers and price levels on some days and then maybe an increased price on a Friday. Our offers guide is here but this is a great way of giving your customer an option when booking and letting them know that things might be a bit different in December from when they normally book.

Get a step ahead of the rush and let simpleERB be your little helper this Christmas.

 



Did you know your restaurant could be saving money on taxes simply by experimenting with new recipes and cooking techniques?

According to research by Catax, 60% of restaurant owners and managers in the UK have never heard of R&D tax credits.

R&D tax credits

R&D tax credits are government tax relief rewards for companies in the UK investing in innovation.

Hospitality operators that spend time and money developing new products, processes or services or improving existing ones may be eligible for a tax reduction or cash reimbursement.

This could be anything from coming up with a new cooking technique or food preparation technique.

One restaurant client of Catax received R&D tax relief against the cost of developing a new process for removing fish skin on wild sea trout, without damaging the flesh.

Another client received tax relief against the time and money spent testing the ageing process of beef, and density of the marinade required to affect the flavour.

Restaurant tax relief

With over 50% of respondents to the Catax survey saying they have spent time and money “developing a new product over the past two years” whether it be creating new recipes or food preparation processes, the tax relief advisors believe lack of awareness around R&D is costing the UK’s restaurant and pub owners millions in tax relief.

The survey of 500 bosses found that three in five (60%) restaurant owners and managers in the UK have never heard of R&D tax relief.

Nearly half (46%) of restaurant owners and managers that had heard of it thought it was restricted to specialist tech, drug and science companies and not available to hospitality businesses.

Almost half of UK restaurant owners also said they thought any eligible R&D activity must be successful and end up on the menu for a claim to be made. This is not true – the outcome of the R&D is irrelevant.

Lack of awareness

Mark Tighe, chief executive of Catax, said: “Not enough restaurant and gastro pub owners are aware that a big part of what they do, experimenting with new recipes and food preparation techniques to differentiate themselves, will often be eligible for R&D tax relief.”

“What’s more, they don’t even need to actually sell the recipes they are experimenting with or use the cooking or preparation methods they trial: what matters is the time and money spent trying to do something new and innovate. Importantly, cash can also be realised in as little as eight weeks for reinvestment in future food experimentation.”



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