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10 Ways to Make Your NYC Restaurant Less Boring

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Do customers think your restaurant is boring? There are a few things you can do about that, 10 to be precise:

2011_forager12.jpg10) Hire a Forager: Foragers will help you find herbs, roots, and grasses that will make your food really sing. They are basically like the restaurant world's drug dealers. On that note, there are two important things to remember: 1) Always know your forager. 2) Never take more foraged goods than you can handle. [Photo]

2011_whole_pig_list1.jpg9) Serve Whole Animals: As we know, whole animal feasts are a win for diners and a win for restaurateurs. They also tie into the current foodie fascination with "adventure dining," and they add some flair to service. When a whole hog is paraded out into the dining room, the effect is similar to seeing a sizzling plate of fajitas delivered to a table — the guests that ordered it will feel special, and everyone else in the restaurant will feel just a little bit jealous. [Photo]

2011_portland1.jpg8) Hire a Chef from Portland: New Yorkers have a big time crush on Portland right now. Maybe it's because of Stumptown, or The Beagle, or that cable show with Fred Armisen. For whatever reason, Portland is really hot these days and if you hire a chef from that city — particularly one that has a knack for foraging — it will drum up some automatic interest for your restaurant, especially from the food media. Just make sure they're in it for the long run. [Photo]

2011_otis_redding_MGMT1.jpg7) Don't Play the Same Music Everyone Else Plays: There's one big playlist that seems to be on the stereo at 73% of the new restaurants in New York (it features Phoenix, David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, Otis Redding, that one song by MGMT, and that other song by MGMT). On the whole, customers and restaurant workers seem to dig this mix of accessible indie rock, New Wave hits, and oldies. But, if you are able to create a playlist of your own favorite music that is different from the norm, and that won't make dogs bark and babies cry, then that is really something to consider. Your guests might actually notice, appreciate, and remember your restaurant because of the awesome tunes you picked. See: The Frankies, The Momofukus, Paulie Gee's. [Photo, Photo]

2011_garlic_bread1.jpg6) Give Your Guests Garlic Bread Instead of Regular Bread: This one's actually pretty self-explanatory. Garlic bread is delicious. [Photo]

2011_chefs_counter_1.jpg5) Start a Chef's Counter: It doesn't matter if you're a taco place, a neighborhood pasta parlor, or even a specialty grocery store: you can have a chef's counter. If you commit to it, your customers might even think that your restaurant is maybe, quite possibly the next Momofuku Ko. If that sounds weird, just remember that foodies love nothing more than paying good money to sit on backless stools while watching a bunch of sweaty chefs silently cook and then serve them their food. [Photo]

2011_mixologist1.jpg4) Invest in a Serious Mixology Program: Any old restaurant bartender can pour whiskey and Coke into a glass. But only a select few can blend Rittenhouse rye with a splash of root extract and a drop small-batch bitters, pour it over a giant hand-carved ice cube, mix it with Boylan's cane cola, and finish it with a light Aperol spray. The suspenders and pencil mustaches might seem strange at first, but it will all pay off in the long run. [Photo]

2011_barista_1.jpg3) Invest in a Serious Coffee Program: Any old restaurant worker can pull a shot of espresso, and add some hot water to it. But only a select few can tease the subtleties out of fresh ground Kenyan beans via a pour-over coffee system, or brew the perfect 10 oz. cappuccino with a $18,000 Slayer espresso machine, and draw a perfectly symmetrical fleur-de-lis shape in the milk foam with a toothpick. The suspenders and pencil mustaches might seem strange at first, but it will all pay off in the long run. [Photo]

2011_greenmarket_veggies1.jpg2) Serve More Vegetables: Haven't you heard? Vegetables are (maybe) the new meat. One of the most forecasted food trends of the last year still hasn't fully come to fruition, but there is currently an increased interest among diners for appetizers and entrees that showcase fresh market produce as something other than a side dish. And one thing's for certain: these days, vegetable dishes are a whole hell of a lot more interesting than special-blend burgers and plates of lacquered pork belly. [Photo]

2011_deals_and_steals1.jpg1) Offer a Great Deal Every Night of the Week: The best kind of restaurant deals are the ones that don't involve Groupon/Living Social/Blackboard Eats, etc, etc. If you offer a special pre-theater meal, a standing three-course prix fixe, or a late night drink and entree combo deal, your restaurant looks generous, and not desperate for dollars. These are the deals that diners actually remember when they're thinking about where to go eat, and if the value is good, they will tell their friends about it. By adding some sort of regular deal, you are giving your guests more ways to enjoy your restaurant. [Photo]

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