50 Great Ideas

50 Great Ideas

21. Coaster-led convos

When guests are seated at Granite City Food & Brewery, each diner gets a coaster printed with an icebreaker such as “What’s the worst lie you ever told your mother?” that the server must ask the guests to answer. It’s one of several things servers have to do under the concept’s new image, designed to be more “fun.”

50 Great Ideas

20. Extended parental leave

In a move that aims to set new standards for restaurants, fast casual Sweetgreen has expanded its perks for employees to include five months of paid leave for new parents. The leave extends beyond new mothers to fathers, adoptive parents, foster parents and “others with new additions to their families,” the chain said. The leave is available to all employees who have been on the payroll for at least six months.

To increase checks as well as play into consumers’ growing interest in CBD, The Bakery at Fat Rice in Chicago lists the option of adding CBD to cocktails and coffee drinks for an upcharge.

To drive delivery before peak times, Cornerstone Restaurant Group offers loyalty points or perks such as free delivery for orders placed during off-hours. It has been effective, Director of Operations Elizabeth Tomlinson said at the Food On Demand Conference.

Hannah’s Bretzel makes sure its customers know its better-for-you stance, even after they’ve ordered. The fast casual provides health-forward information on its e-receipts for digital orders. In a “Did You Know” section, it highlights that “High intake of whole grains has been associated with help in weight management, reduced risk of heart disease, some cancers and Type 2 diabetes,” and continues with more information on grains.

California Pizza Kitchen is targeting families with catering packages specially designed for this group. It offers Dinner for 4 and Dinner for 6 options to ease ordering dinner for a family. The chain also offers a CPKids catering package that includes some of its classic pizzas and pastas for up to 12 diners.

Each table at Pieces Board Game Bar & Cafe in St. Louis has a flag with three flowers: One can be raised to order a drink, another to get the check and the last to ask a question about the game. This service style limits interruptions while patrons are playing games.

Dessert menus at Silo in Nashville and Cache Cache in Aspen, Colo., offer treats for more than just the guests. Silo’s menu lists a “Buy the cooks a round of beer” option for $20, and Cache Cache similarly suggests that guests can buy a six-pack for the kitchen.

Chuck E. Cheese’s built a business on kids birthday parties, and now it’s bringing that home. Available through a third-party delivery company, the chain’s Pizza Party Packs include three large pizzas and a cake, plus decor and other supplies, for $124.99.

Upscale-casual chain Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants rewards general managers and executive kitchen managers with free BMW leases for three years based on their ability to develop staffers. At a time when good labor—especially at the management level—is hard to come by, the program encourages managers to develop and mentor quality employees and build new leaders, even as they work on the day-to-day business.

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