Chalk the Block is a two day event featuring artists decorating the town square at Easton Town Center with unique and colorful temporary artworks.
Shoppers are invited to wander the square to view over 40 artists work and listen to music from a half dozen live bands. Several awards will be given out in the categories of Best of Show, Most Realistic, Most Imaginative, and audience members will allowed to vote for a People's Choice Award.
As I head out to the Hilliard Chamber “Taste of Hilliard and Business Expo” event this evening, I think of the prep work and food cost invested for the 4 hour event. So…at this particular event, the residential and business community is invited to attend. They will experience bite size samples from over 25 restaurants with a voting opportunity in various categories. There are also over 50 local businesses sharing how their company can help with personal/professional needs.
I really like the set up for this event. The guests pay a $10 admission (children under 2 are free) and are able to make their way around the restaurant booths to try out the goods. They can chat and enter to win prizes at the business tables while they munch on the “best item of the moment” and then move on.
This proves to be invaluable to the participating restaurants…well worth the cost of goods and prep time. The exposure to the community is priceless, what a perfect opportunity to be able to open your doors to a few new quests that may not have known about you.
As far as the business participants, this format provides a great networking opportunity with other businesses and the community alike. Food is always a great way to open a conversation and from here, the relationship builds.
Are you looking for a way to give back to your community? Here’s an easy way…team up with a local or national charity and give back to them. This allows you and your guests to be a part of the contribution and its nearly effortless on both parts.
Here in Columbus, we are surrounded with important causes that need support. Some to keep in mind may be:
- The Mid-Ohio Food Bank
- Ronald McDonald House
- Capital Area Humane Society
- Share Our Strength
- Meals on Wheels
The thought process behind this is simple…
1st Choose a date or period of time
2nd Decide how much in proceeds you can give – often 5% or 10% of sales
3rd Decide if you want to include your whole menu, limited menu, or even just one item
4th Contact the charitable organization to inform them of your intent. They may provide you with their logo or specific verbiage that they would like you to use in your marketing efforts
5th Promote the event everywhere. This is a good opportunity to market your establishment in places or publications that you wouldn’t typically use. Don’t forget your social media outlets.
6th Promote the event within your establishment. People who are already support may decide to bring others who would be interested in supporting the cause. Great opportunity to create new regulars.
7th Be prepared for extra business during the event. Doing it on a typically slow business day will help to increase your sales. Make sure your staff is fully informed about the promotion and the charitable organization. Be present as guests may want to thank you for your compassion.
8th Thank your guests for coming in for the special occasion and provide them with a bounce back coupon to use on their next visit. Bounceback coupons have a 40% redemption rate and were responsible for 11% in sales increases in 2011.
9th Don’t forget to market the delivery of your contribution after the event. Your guests may want to know what the final contribution equaled and will be more willing to contribute to charitable organizations again with you if they feel it had an impact.
10th Plan your next one!! Perhaps, take a poll from your guests to choose your next organization or make your event an regular happening in your establishment so your current guests and new ones will look forward to it and spread the word about your mentality and efforts to give back to your community.
After all, we all need to support those who support us. Most importantly, we need to support those who need it the most!
So, this weekend, I attended the infamous ComFest for a beer or three with my friends! I absolutely love it! Such a great time for relaxing, listening to music, shopping, drinking, and eating!
As the night rolls on, I realize that the last bite of food I had was hours ago and I should eat something if I want to consume more beer…which I do. I am so weird about eating food at fairs and festivals because of the safety concerns that go along with raw food coupled with hot temps and little space for refrigeration. Things like proper food handling kinda concern me. However, one of the best things about ComFest is that there are so many local vendors that are used to working in those conditions and do it so well, there is no way to pass it up. Between the food trucks and the local merchants from The North Market, the food was outstanding. They delivered a wide array of choices from all types of cuisines…it was fresh and prepared perfectly.
Thank you to all who participated! Thank you to the organizers for allowing Columbus to have great festival food! And thanks to my friend Meredith and Nida’s on High for my new fave…Pad Thai!!
So, I was watching LIVE! With Kelly this morning. It was extra great because Mike Greenburg from ESPN’s Mike and Mike was her co-host. Anyway, the poll that she read this morning was interesting to me so I thought I would share…along with my opinion, of course! The article comes from Zagat.com and was written by Kelly Dobkin.
Poll: 10 Most Annoying Restaurant Trend
- Dogs at cafes and outside restaurants…IMO…I eat with mine at home so why not out; however, I understand how others (non-dog lovers) would not want to have dinner with dogs.
- Tables that are ridiculously close together…for me…I enjoy intimate spaces as long as our chairs aren’t touching and the server doesn’t have to climb over anyone to get to me, I mean, my drink could be at risk!
- Over zealous wine pouring…IDK…just inform your server that you prefer to pour it yourself. No biggie if you ask me.
- Designer ice cubes…I don’t think I have an opinion on this, as long as, the glassware and the ice bin never meet!
- Enormous wine glasses…I feel that in some markets, it has taken a long time for proper glassware to make a presence so, as a craft beer drinker and red wine drinker…I say, bring it on!
- Ketchup snobbery…my typical quote for ketchup is “why ruin perfectly good food with ketchup…next…
- Sparkling, flat, or filtered tap water…whatever…it’s just a side note to my cocktail or craft beer!
- Unisex bathrooms…I recently experienced this for the first time and um…yeah, no. It’s definitely not for me but when you gotta go, you gotta go. Just keep them clean and sanitary, please.
- Excessive punctuation/lower case letters in restaurant names/menu items…depends on the place, could be fun
- Wood infused food…I like some of it. I say, nothing wrong with a some hickory chips to put a spin on your pork. Plus, it will taste delicious with a nice smoked porter. Better yet, skip the pork, just go for the porter…prioritie!
Well, that was fun. As you can imagine, this article prompted many, many comments. You can find the full article here
Do you have some thought on these? What is annoying to you at a restaurant?
People most remember the peak of the experience and the last part of the experience. The memory can be either good or bad. The timeline of the experience varies for each guest depending on their specific occasion for visiting the restaurant. Are you focused on customizing the hospitality to give full focus to each guest, each experience, each transaction, one at a time.
I’m not good at typing to list the best and the second best and so on…so my list is inclusive of the best of ColumBest Food and Beverages…it will keep you busy for the summer!
- Hyde Park
- Milestone 229
- Columbus Fish Market
- The Refectory
- P.F. Chang’s China Bistro
- El Vaquero
- Marcella’s Ristorante
- J. Gumbo’s
- The Happy Greek
- Aladdin’s Eatery
- Aab India
- Cap City Fine Diner
- Hounddog’s Three Degree Pizza
- Katzinger’s Delicatessen
- City Barbecue
- Chipotle Mexican Grill
- Five Guys Burgers and Fries
- The Thurman Cafe
- Dirty Frank’s Hot Dog Palace
- Mikey’s Late Night Slice
- Surly Girl Saloon
- Raising Cane’s
- Basi Italia
- Northstar Cafe
- First Watch
- Red Robin
- Schmidt’s Sausage House
- Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
- Pistacia Vera
- Stauf’s Coffee Roasters
- Brazenhead Pub
- The Cheesecake Factory
- Columbus Brewing Company
- Char Bar
- World of Beers
- The Wine Bistro
- Grandview Cafe
- The Melting Pot
- Park Street Patio
- Union Cafe
- Eddie George’s Grille 27
Congratulations to all of these amazing eating and drinking establishments! Many of them were winners in more than one category, I guess they are doing something right!
For more info, visit 614columbus.com.
Have a great week and we’ll see you at the Memorial!!
Remember to smile!