Friday, November 25, 2011

The 21st Century Restaurant!

Back in the 1950’s many diners looked like the picture above. They were utilitarian, friendly places where an entire meal with all the fixings would cost only about a buck and a half! Wish it was like that today!

But, higher prices not withstanding, there is still a lot to be said for some of the modern innovations that one can find while casually dining out! One of the biggies for people like me has been the proliferation of WiFi hot spots that allow a guest to browse the internet on their laptop or smart phone while eating. And, while such places are very common in larger cities, they can be a bit hard to find out in the boonies. In my small town of Forsyth Missouri, there is only one quality establishment that also supports internet access and that is Charlie’s Steak Ribs and Ale. There is also a fast food place (McDonald’s) that offers this service but in a kind of ditsy way (i.e. unsecured). So when I dine out alone, I make it a point to go to Charlie’s, a venue that even has electric outlets at some booths should you need to plug you laptop or cell phone in for quick charge!

There are however, some other areas that I think could be improved upon by all the eateries and that is a web page that defines the business along with a presence on Facebook and or maybe even an active blog to keep customer informed. Any of these outlets could be used as mechanisms of promotion and advertising to help increase profitability. For instance, members of FB could be notified concerning upcoming specials; something that could be achieved with in-house posters asking customers to join. Well designed web pages, like the one for Fat Daddy’s BBQ can also be great sites for information concerning everyone about that fact that they can host catered events! Actually, the possibilities in this area have hardly been tapped by most the eateries I’m familiar with. The only one I’m aware of that uses direct Email promotions is Chili’s in Branson, a town about fifteen miles west of Forsyth, Missouri.

Other embellishments that I still have yet to find  include ‘saniwipe dispensors’ in strategic locations like those you already find in grocery stores. They could be used by germ conscious customers who want to wipe off a table surface themselves prior to dining. I think these would be an especially good idea to help ease people minds during the cold and flu season.

A final idea would be the inclusion of so-called fake salt (potassium chloride) at each table for the growing numbers of older diners who are on a salt restricted diet. I’ve begun to carry a little with me these days when I go out so that I can enjoy ‘salting’ my food without fear.

Wifi, an Internet presence, No-Salt salt and saniwipe despensors. Four little things that can set once location apart from another in today’s tough monetary market.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fat Daddy’s BBQ in Forsyth Missouri

Right off, let me be candid and state that I dislike using the word ‘fat’ to describe anything, much less a place where I’m planning to eat. (I’m at that age where my sartorial splendor is growing more and more…well splendid by the day). That said, I still wanted to try out the fare at Fat Daddy’s BBQ as I’ve heard many good things mentioned about the eatery located at 14974 US Hwy 160 in downtown Forsyth, Missouri.

As I pulled into the parking area, I noticed that most of the spaces were filled. (A sight I’ve grown used to every time I passed the place over the last few years). However, I was surprised to find out later on, that this was a bit deceiving. It turns out that this venue, which looks rather small from the front, also has a large meeting area located downstairs that can accommodate sizable catered events! On this occasion, there was still ample seating space to be had. By my estimate, the upstairs area has enough space to comfortably seat over sixty patrons!

After getting seated in a nice clean booth that seats four, I looked around and could tell that this was family owned business from all the pictures and local memorabilia that adorns the walls. The feeling I got was more of an old time café than anything else. The rectangular seating area is surrounded by booths along the walls, with separate tables that seat anywhere from four to eight scattered about in the central area.

My server, whose name was Sherry (hope I spelled this correctly), arrived shortly after I sat down with a menu and inquired as to what I wanted to drink. Since I’d already looked at the menu, I knew what I wanted and placed an order for coffee and the Smoked Breakfast Platter! While I waited, I kept seeing people I knew coming in that I knew from around town. That was nice!

After a short wait, my server brought my order and as you can tell from the picture, it looked (and tasted) fabulous! Everything was done just right and for a price that cannot be beat! As I ate, I heard a lot of friendly banter going on between the customers and the staff and got the idea that they must get quite a bit of repeat business as a result. Seriously, give this little jewel of a restaurant a try and if the parking area looks a little crowded, find a spot elsewhere and walk on in. It’ll be worth the effort.

Update! I'm planning to revisit this very popular eatery in May of 2013 - This time I'm going to go all out and try their 'steak and eggs' offering! 

Disclaimer: All information contained within this post is the sole property and opinion of the author.