BLOG MojoBistro | Blog en-us Restaurant Rave: Reel Club at Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook Looking for a happy hour place in the suburbs? Reel Club in Oak Brook has half-priced sushi, appetizers, and drinks from 3-6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Reel Club $$, Oak Brook

272 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook, IL 60523

(630) 368-9400

Reviewed by: Amy Skarnulis

I have always seen Reel Club under Wildfire when I would go out to eat at Oakbrook Center, but I never went in until last week when a friend suggested we go there for lunch. I couldn’t believe that I had not tried it before! My friend had been craving a lobster roll for a couple of days at this point, so her meal decision was easy. The Main Lobster Roll came on a New England style roll stuffed with fresh lobster with garlic butter drizzled on top.

I was tempted to get the lobster roll as well, but I opted for sushi since seafood is one of Reel Club’s specialties. All of their rolls come with an option to order a half of a roll, which makes it easy to try more than one type at a time. I got a half order of the Shrimp Tempura Roll and a half order of the Spicy Tuna Roll. You could taste the freshness of the fish. The rolls were served with a side of garlic mayo dipping sauce along with traditional soy sauce. I would love to go back soon for their happy hour to try some of the other rolls they offer.

Between our meals and the delicious pop-overs that were brought to our table before we had even ordered, it was safe to say we had very little room for dessert. However, the warm brownie topped with vanilla ice cream with a side of salted caramel on the side seemed too good to resist, and I think it goes without saying that it was!

Our server was very attentive with refills of water, iced tea, and the previously mentioned delightful popovers as well as informative about the happy hour and weekend brunch the restaurant offers on Sundays from 11 am. -2 p.m. Reel Club offers both table and booth seating as well as an outdoor area that is perhaps perfect to sit at on a summer afternoon for happy hour.

Reel Club partners with the Shedd Aquarium to ensure sustainably harvested seafood is served, but this does not compromise the taste or the freshness of each meal. Weather you want to share some sushi at the bar with some friends after work or plan to go out for a nice dinner, Reel Club caters to all occasions.

Thu, 17 Jul 2014 16:17:47 GMT
Restaurant Rave: GT Fish and Oyster, River North, Chicago

GT Fish and Oyster $$$-$$$$, River North
531 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60654
Reviewed by: Amy Skarnulis

I am such an advocate of the River North neighborhood when it comes to restaurants and bars. GT Fish and Oyster is no exception. If you love oysters, this is your place. I went with a party of five and we got a dozen and a half order that included every type of oyster they had from both the East and West coasts, and I still could have eaten more. The oysters take a while to come to your table as they are freshly shucked in the kitchen, so I recommend ordering them when you order your drinks to get them as soon as possible.

However, I understand oysters are an acquired taste and not everyone is going to be excited about these flavorful and almost buttery appetizers. GT Fish and Oyster has plenty of other options including king crab legs, lobster mac and cheese, mussels, and non-fish options like eggplant, duck, pork, and tenderloin. Their portions are small plates and perfect for sharing and trying many different dishes as opposed to just one.

I also tried caviar for the first time at GT, and I can now add that to the list of my favorite seafood. There was two different options one from California and one from Israel (we opted for the more local option for the check’s sake). A one and one sixteenth ounce of caviar was served with blinis and six different pairings that included egg white, egg yolk, pickled onion, and chives. It was delicious, and I now wish I could eat caviar for dinner every day.

GT also has a list of specialty cocktails that were delightful. I started with a martini and then switched to a glass of wine from their extensive bottle list. They also have unique craft beer available on tap if that is more your style.

The decor of the restaurant is cool and modern with a basic black and white color palette with touches of wood and netting, which seemed reminiscent of a fishing boat. The wait staff is very friendly, professional, and attentive. Your napkin is folded for you when you get up from the table and clean plates replace your used ones between each course.

The place is fairly small, so I highly recommend making a reservation. However, if you are in the area and want to stop in there is seating at the bar and a long table up front that multiple couples were sharing. Overall, this upscale oyster bar fits perfectly within River North and is a perfect taste of the sea right here in Chicago.]]>
Tue, 08 Jul 2014 17:40:44 GMT
Restaurant Rave: Citrus Diner, Westmont

We were sad to find out one of our go-to diners in Westmont closed, but Intern Amy has the scoop on the tasty place that replaced it. Check back weekly to find other Restaurant Raves for great dining spots around the Chicago area.

Citrus Diner $-$$, Westmont

844 Ogden Avenue, Westmont, IL 60559

(630) 655 -1840

Reviewed by: Amy Skarnulis

I am no stranger to a good breakfast restaurant. Actually, I love almost all of them. Going out to breakfast on Saturday and Sunday is frequently the most relaxing part of my weekend. So, you can imagine my disappointment when I found out one of my go-to places, Moondance Diner in Westmont, had closed. However, last weekend, I went to its replacement, Citrus Diner. I was far from disappointed.

Citrus Diner revamped Moondance in every sense of the word. The basic setup is the same, but with vast improvements to the decor and all of the favorite Moondance menu items are still there (phew)! The new restaurant looks and feels tremendously fresher and has been brightened with white walls and vibrant lime, orange, and yellow accepts on the booths, flatware, tables, and wells.

If you liked Moondance before, you will be happy to know the food is still as good as ever. The Zucchini Bread French Toast, The Farmland Omelet, the Ba-Ba Benny & The Eggs benedict: they’re all still there. The staff is just as friendly as well as accommodating. My coffee mug was never empty before I was offered a refill and the food came out hot quickly after it was ordered.

With the restaurant being open until 2:30 p.m., the menu features some great lunch items worth trying as well. The tortilla soup was a regular favorite before, and customers were elated to see it on the Citrus menu.

Want to bring the kids? No problem, they have plenty of high chairs, booster seats, coloring menus, and crayons to keep them satisfied while they wait for the food. If you could not get enough of their coffee, Citrus Diner also sells their coffee along with travel mugs stamped with their logo on your way out.

If you are debating where to grab breakfast any day of the week, make sure to check out this new and improved hotspot conveniently located in the James Crossing Shopping Center on the corner of Ogden Avenue and Route 83.

Fri, 27 Jun 2014 20:05:40 GMT
Seven Tweets to Market your Restaurant’s Mobile App on Twitter So you have a MojoBistro mobile app, and you have a Twitter account, what do you do next to promote your restaurant? Well, make sure you promote your app via social media. It’s really easy, but we know it’s hard to find the time.

Whether you have a dedicated social media team member or not, here are some tasty tweets to schedule on a periodic basis to keep your fans engaged with your restaurant via your mobile app.

Seven Tweets to Market your Restaurant's Mobile App on Twitter

  1. Check out our special Happy Hour event this week! Get our mobile app to stay up to date with our daily specials.
  2. Have your date night reservation all set? Get our mobile app for VIP access to reservations.
  3. Want to know the daily specials before you dine? Our mobile app has all our new menu details.
  4. Did you know we offer in-app ordering? Download our app today for the convenience of ordering from anywhere!
  5. Keep up to date on chef specials with our mobile app. Keep the app on your phone for special reward notifications!
  6. Did you know we offer specials deals via social media throughout the week? Get our mobile app to stay connected.
  7. On vacation and looking for our closest location? Our mobile app will steer you in the right direction. Download it today!

Don't forget to include a link to download your mobile app in your tweet. And for social media measuring benefits, use bitly to make a custom link to your app download so you can track how many people click through your tweet to get your restaurant's mobile app.

Are you looking for more help with promoting your app via social media? Contact us today!

Wed, 25 Jun 2014 15:09:06 GMT
Restaurant Rave: Standard Market Grill, Westmont Looking for a place to grab lunch before grocery shopping? Standard Market in Westmont is your one-stop-shop for a quality meal and groceries in the Western suburbs. Check back weekly to find other Restaurant Raves for great dining spots around the Chicago area.

Standard Market Grill $$, Westmont

333 E Ogden Ave Westmont, IL 60559

(630) 366-7030

Reviewed by: Amy Skarnulis

If you haven’t tried Standard Market Grill yet, put it at the top of your list. The restaurant, located inside the Standard Market grocery store, has yet to disappoint. The restaurant is one of three in the area. The others being located on Fullerton Avenue in Lincoln Park and on Aurora Avenue in Naperville.

One of my favorite dishes is the Buddha Bowl. Along with all of the other menu items you can taste the freshness from start to finish of each ingredient. This is a bowl filled with brown rice, seasonal market vegetables, and peanuts all topped with a peanut ginger glaze. You have your choice of adding more vegetables, tofu, chicken, steak, tuna, or salmon.

However, this is just one of many, many choices on the menu. There are a variety of sandwiches, burgers, pizza, and seasonal options. Beverages choices are not limited to Coke or Pepsi products but include smoothies, juices, and a plethora of high-end wine and beer.

Place your order at the counter and the very attentive wait staff brings your order out to the table. While you wait you have your choice of water infused by fruits and vegetables such as raspberries and cucumbers. When you are done with your meal you and every member of your party are served a small, warmed brownie or cookie from the bakery.

Which brings me to the bakery, after your meal, even if you don’t need groceries, I highly encourage you to walk around the store. The produce section is the equivalent of the world’s best farmers market and just around the corner is the bakery with cakes, tarts, and cookies galore.

Although this is an extremely popular place for lunch or dinner, make sure to keep it in mind when thinking of places to grab a drink after work or on the weekends. The wine shop, located at the back of the store complete with patio seating, is a great place to unwind and taste some wine paired with cheeses from all over the world. The staff is very helpful when making a decision and eager to offer any suggestions they may have.

If you really love it, make sure to join the Cellar Club where you will get monthly tastings and your choice of three favorite wines to bring home. Standard Market and Standard Market Grill are more than places to just shop and eat. Each customer is guaranteed a great experience with each visit.

Mon, 23 Jun 2014 19:53:53 GMT
Restaurant Rave: Old Town Pour House Oak Brook, Oakbrook Center A downtown favorite, Old Town Pour House, opens its doors to suburban diners. A new location with the same great food and wide variety of beer is now open at Oakbrook Center.

Old Town Pour House Oak Brook, $$-$$$, Oakbrook Center

8 Oakbrook Center

Oak Brook, IL 60523


Reviewed by: Amy Skarnulis

Although most commonly known for the vast selection of local and global craft beer, Old Town Pour House Oak Brook offers delicious meal options for both lunch and dinner. The modern take on the classic American menu leaves customers wanting more. From the truffle popcorn appetizer, to the large and in-charge pork belly grilled cheese, these items will not disappoint.

The downtown atmosphere is a low key yet classy place to lunch and is easily converted to a swanky bar on nights and weekends, and the Oak Brook location is more of the same. The outdoor patio at the Oak Brook Pour House features two fireplaces perfect for a cozy yet posh night out with a new flame or old friends. Your choice of seating varies from traditional tables and booths, to bar-style seating and spacious private dining areas. The wait staff is accommodating, friendly and eager to offer any recommendations on food and beer. Multiple flat screen TVs, indoors and out, make this a desirable destination to watch a good game accompanied by an even better beer.

Make sure not to overlook Pour House when debating where to brunch on the weekends. From 10:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, they offer a menu full of delicious breakfast dishes along with specialty morning libations if beer is not your drink of choice before noon. And, you can go shopping afterwards without moving your car!

Located near Neiman Marcus and across the parking lot from the Cheesecake Factory, you can’t miss Pour House’s modern copper awning. Stop in for lunch, drinks, or reserve an area for a private party for a special occasion. The menu variety and functionality of the space lends its atmosphere to both a family-friendly vibe as well as a nighttime hangout. If you are stopping in during the lunch or dinner hour and are not planning on shopping, definitely take advantage of the valet parking services as parking in that area is tight.

Like this restaurant review? Please feel free to share with friends via social media!

Wed, 18 Jun 2014 15:22:56 GMT
Our Dads Recommend the Perfect Spots for Father’s Day Dining
Brian Pautsch wouldn't turn down a trip to Mama Maria’s Taco and Tequila Bar in Orland Park, Illinois! Dads who appreciate a fine tequila and a sizzling fajita platter will love this place!

Chris Pautsch is a foodie with a taste for the fine dining at Perry’s Steakhouse and Grill at Oakbrook Center. For several years now, Chris' urge for a great steak has subconsciously limited his options to those well-established, go-to fine steak restaurants in Chicago such as Gibson’s, Smith & Wollensky, and Kinzie Chophouse. However, in an effort to avoid the long drive to downtown Chicago from the suburbs, a recent impromptu dinner with friends landed him at Perry’s Steakhouse and Grill in Oak Brook, Illinois. They found the restaurant spacious with a contemporary atmosphere and chose to sit at a table in the bar. The group started with orders of the Cherry Pepper Calamari and the Asian Ahi Tuna Tartar, which were exotic and tasty. Next, Chris had the delicious Iceberg Wedge Salad with Applewood Smoked Bacon. For dinner. he devoured the 12oz. Filet Mignon topped with a perfect helping of crab meat (Oscar style). It was perfectly prepared, and he says it was one of the best steaks he ever had! Desert included a shared order of the Warm Chocolate Cake and Rocky Road Bread Pudding and both were excellent. They finished off the night with a glass of Port. They had such a memorable meal and experience, it is now on their top 10 lists for steak joints. Perry's is having a special on their famous Pork Chip entree for Father's Day so call now to reserve a spot for your pop!

Geoff Skyles says take your dad to Sweet Baby Ray's! Geoff would love to go to Sweet Baby Ray’s in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, which usually has a Father’s Day brunch. But he's not positive they are having one this year. Bummer, Geoff. Sweet Baby Ray's is the perfect choice for the dad who loves to BBQ but wants to relax on his big day even without a special buffet.

Keith Franklin has a taste for the Meed, a honey wine, at Ethiopian Diamond, or the margaritas could pull him in the direction of a Mago Grill and Cantina. Keith also says he wouldn't turn down a trip to Florence, Italy for some authentic Italian food. Since you eat off a shared platter with your hands and Injera at Ethopian Diamond, Keith says that it is a real family experience. Followed closely by Mago Grill & Cantina with their great margaritas and not your run of the mill Mexican food. These restaurants are fabulous for a dad with a taste for the exotic or a father with a flair for adventure.

Dan Strabbing likes that the kids are entertained at Dave and Buster's and Meatheads. Dan prefers places that keep the kids entertained as well as fed so he says Dave and Buster’s is the best place ever to go with his kids. There are a lot of food choices, but really his family goes there for the games. The kids love the racing games and games that award tickets so they can pick out a toy when the family leaves. Another place Dan and his family like to go a lot is Meatheads. They have really good food, but they also offer small extras to keep the kids entertained. They give each kid a little gift bag that has an activity sheet – connect the dots game, etc. – but also has Wikki Stix. Dan's family uses them to make glasses, bracelets, crowns, animals or write their names. But the most fun Dan says is when he makes handcuffs and tells the kids they can’t escape from him. They laugh when they break them. Dan says that they also have temporary tattoos that the boys like to put on their arms. Both places are really fun for families of all ages and dads of all ages, too. (We think Dan is using his kids as an excuse, and he really loves it more.)

Mike Biasi picks dinner with Da Coach at Ditka's. This is a great selection for the Chicago sports fan dad who appreciates a good steak and a cold brew.

Thu, 12 Jun 2014 19:43:36 GMT
Should your Business Develop a Mobile App or a Responsive Website? By: Kristy Brost, Interactive Marketing Strategist

Recently, a question was posed on LinkedIn as to whether or not a business should invest in a mobile app. The basis for the inquiry was to point out the efficiency of this mega-trend over other current and traditional methods.

The first thing a company needs to have before making this decision is a strategy, documenting what the objectives and goals are and the possible technologies that will accomplish them. In this blog post, we are going to look at the pros of creating mobile apps vs. responsive websites.

Here are three foundational pros of a Mobile App:

1. User Experience: Native apps have a better UX across the board. You should consider touch screen navigation, interactive features, and the incorporated use of other phone features such as GPS and cameras. You have so much to work with compared to other mobile optimized solutions.

2. User Engagement: Mobile apps can significantly increase your user engagement and keep your company relevant by taking advantage of some unique characteristics like social, interactivity, real-time, and geo-location.

3. Works Offline: A mobile app is available offline. Content is provided or referenced within the package.

Here are three pros of a Responsive Website:

1. Single Website and URL: This option covers all devices as content is adjusted based on the device and screen size. No redirects are necessary, which can be annoying on slower connections.

2. SEO: More efficient and can be easier as you do not need to create separate content for a mobile website. However, you do still have to think about what information makes it on the mobile-sized site. A good rule of thumb is to design for the mobile size first and add as you get to larger desktop views. This way your most important content is the focal point at all times.

3. Cost: The cost of a responsive site is usually quite a bit less than a customized mobile app, and there is no extra maintenance required. However, there are companies that have invested a lot of money into solving some common business problems with a mobile app and made that platform available to the market at a lower cost than designing frameworks from scratch.

Overall, the goals of your company should be thoroughly reviewed before making your decision. The technology that best provides the functionality you need and the convenience for the customer should tip the scales in the direction you need to go.

Even if Mobile Apps and/or Responsive Websites are only the latest trends, we have to consider them seriously as all trends are based on a similar, very important notion... they have the POWER to influence A LOT of people, which is what we all strive for in marketing. You just have to find the right formula and use it correctly to turn it into something that will be successful and lasting for your business.

Do you have additional questions about the benefits of either a mobile app or a responsive website? Ready to develop one or both? Contact me today at

Mon, 02 Jun 2014 21:09:22 GMT
MojoBistro CEO Chris Pautsch Talks Restaurant Trends with CBS Chicago News ]]> Tue, 20 May 2014 19:31:49 GMT Building Our Mojo in Anticipation of the 2014 National Restaurant Association Show 0 0 1 90 515 KeyLimeTie 4 1 604 14.0

Our team was on-site this week at McCormick Place to build the MojoBistro booth for this year’s National Restaurant Association Show. We are excited for our third year in a row at the NRA show!

Look for our signature fork and knife emblem t-shirts throughout the show. Our team loves hunting for the best food samples. Follow one of our team members around the show and you are guaranteed to eat well!

After you snack at the show, make sure to stop by our booth #6070 to find out more about the new MojoBistro app offerings this year including in-app and online ordering. See you there!

Fri, 16 May 2014 15:09:14 GMT
Visit MojoBistro at Booth #6070 at the 2014 National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago

Are you heading to the National Restaurant Show this weekend in Chicago? Come visit us at booth #6070 within the Technology Pavilion to check out our new features including in-app and online ordering.

MojoBistro mobile apps are exclusive to the restaurant industry and offer proactive restaurant owners the chance to engage with customers from the comfort of their own mobile phones. Our full suite of app features includes reservation system integration, push notifications, coupons, social media, events, photo galleries, menus, locations, and new this year, in-app ordering!

MojoBistro’s new feature offering this year: Tap into the mobile ordering market without abandoning your existing point-of-sale system with our in-app ordering function. Customers are granted access to your full carry-out or delivery menu within the custom-branded app, they select a time for pick-up or delivery, they can choose to enter their payment info or pay at pick up, and then, you receive a notification of the order on your custom MojoBistro iPad to accept or deny the order. The final transaction goes through your restaurant’s existing point-of-sale system for your convenience. Our all-in-one iPad app ordering management system makes it simple and easy for your employees to manage to-go and delivery orders. And, that’s not all! Your delivery folks will love our in-app map systems with geo-fence to verify that the order is placed with your delivery zone.

Why does your restaurant need a mobile app? A custom-branded mobile app from MojoBistro builds a connection with your customer that goes above and beyond food and atmosphere. Actively build restaurant loyalty and engage your customer base by offering your restaurant virtually in your customer’s pocket. From easy-peasy in-app reservations to no-nonsense in-app ordering, a MojoBistro app offers your diners a non-stop, 24-hour connection to your restaurant.

Stop by our booth this weekend at the 2014 NRA show to get a full tour of our app offerings, including ordering, from one of our mobile app experts. ]]>
Fri, 16 May 2014 15:01:00 GMT
Top Apps for a Better You in 2014 2014 is quickly approaching and with it comes a new set of resolutions for a better, brighter year. To make it a bit easier to stick to this year’s resolutions, here are some apps that will help you develop better habits, stay sharp, keep up to date and be more effective in your activities.

    Lift1. Lift: This year, focus on developing good habits. It can be easy to get started but often, after a few days, we lose track or start making excusing. With Lift, you can track your habit-forming activities as an added motivator to keep you going. Once you have downloaded the app, you can write your own habits, draw on suggested habits from the community or even join a group of people who are working toward the same goal. Once you have decided on a habit, start tracking. The app will plot your check-ins on a calendar and highlight when it becomes a regular occurrence. Free for Android and iOS.

    Cozi2. Cozi: Having trouble keeping track of your family’s busy schedule? The Cozi app makes it easy to coordinate your schedules and manage errands. Set a reminder to your calendar or add an item to a shopping list and Cozi will share it to your family’s device so they are updated on what’s going on and who is responsible for what. Free for Android and iOS.

    Manilla3. Manilla: Stick to your budget this year with Manilla, a website and app that stores your bills in one place, sends you reminders when they are due and files them for you. Now it is easy to see exactly how much cash you have left and stick to your planned budget. Free for Android and iOS.

    Push.co4. Never miss out on the news you are interested in ever again! With the app, you can enable real time notifications for your favorite blogs and news sites. You choose the headlines you want to read and get the news in real time. It is a simply way to stay on top of the days latest headlines. $1.99 for iOS.

    Everest5. Everest: Does the thought of tackling your resolutions overwhelm you? Not sure where to start? Check out the Everest app. Everest encourages you to take your goal and break it down into more manageable, bite-sized bits. Not sure what to focus on for the coming year? Everest has a Challenges tab that allows you to accept someone else’s dare with options ranging from “cutting out sweets for a week” to “running a half marathon.” Keep yourself accountable by connecting with your friends and the Everest community. Free for iOS.

Start off the new year with these mobile apps on your phone and sticking to your resolutions will be a piece of cake! Make sure to check out the MojoBistro Blog for more insights into the world of mobile.

Wed, 18 Dec 2013 13:58:13 GMT
Mobile Apps v. Mobile Websites Mobile App v. WebRay Pun, Strategic Marketing Manager at Adobe, recently sat down with Small Business Trends to discuss his insights into Adobe's recently released Digital Index 2013 online shopping data for Cyber Monday. The statistics, collected by Adobe, back up claims that we are now living in a mobile age, with a record 18.3 percent of sales originating from mobile devices, an increase of 80 percent over last year. When comparing mobile experiences, Adobe found that the average time spent in a mobile app versus on a mobile website ranged from two and a half times longer to four times longer depending on the mobile device used.

For more from Ray Pun, make sure to check out Brent Leary's interview for Small Business Trends.

For more insight into the world of mobile, make sure to check out the MojoBistro Blog!

Mon, 16 Dec 2013 16:40:25 GMT
Restaurant Rave: Uptown Cafe Ready for a hearty meal? Stop in at Arlington Heights favorite neighborhood joint, Uptown Cafe! Check back weekly to find other Restaurant Raves for great dining spots around the Chicago area.

Uptown CafeUptown Cafe, $$, Arlington Heights
24 E. Miner Street, Arlington Heights, IL 60004
(847) 398-1720
Reviewed by: Trish Gorecki

A neighborhood staple located in the heart of downtown Arlington Heights, Uptown Cafe has been serving up delicious breakfast and lunch items for years. Formerly known as Granny’s, Uptown Cafe maintains its “mom-and-pop” atmosphere with its recently updated menu and schedule.

Stepping through the doors is like walking back in time with the memories of meals past and the friendly greetings from the owners. If you are a regular, you can bet that the owner Georgia will be greeting you by name and with a warm hug.

Uptown CafeThe food is amazing. The portions are huge and super filling. If you are looking for top-quality, down-home breakfast items, Uptown Cafe is a sure bet. The menu is filled with traditional breakfast favorites included loaded omelets, fluffy pancakes and over sized waffles. If you are looking for something besides your usual breakfast menu, Uptown Cafe also offers a wide range of standard diner fare including wraps, burgers and soup. The seasonal specials are always something to look forward to. From pumpkin pancakes in the fall to the fruit festooned waffles in the spring, make sure you give them a try.

The service is unmatched. The wait staff are super friendly and the owners are constantly walking around, visiting with customers and helping with orders when things get busy. Overall, Uptown Cafe is just a great option for those looking for a cost-friendly, delicious, low-key meal at a quaint neighborhood cafe. My only wish is that they were open for dinner!

Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

Fri, 13 Dec 2013 17:17:42 GMT
Restaurant Trends for the New Year The new year is quickly approaching. 2014 is set to continue blurring the lines of hospitality, as vegetables are incorporated into desserts and ice cream sandwiches get the gourmet treatment.

MojoBistro has the rundown on what is sure to be trending in the restaurant industry starting in 2014.

Ice Cream Sandwich

Top Food Trends for 2014

  • Ice Cream Sandwiches: As food trucks and pop-up restaurants continue to grow in popularity, these portable desserts are about to get the same treatment as the cronut of yesteryear.
  • Seafood: Sea-to-table will introduce far out fish dishes including octopus and monkfish liver.
  • Combinations: Unusual pairings are sure to be a hit. Follow in the well-received footsteps of the ramen burger or dessert pizza with your own concoction.

Infused IceTop Beverage Trends for 2014

  • Tea: Tea is the hot item for 2014. Look for the introduction of tea cocktails in the coming months.
  • Infused Ice: Bars and restaurants are enhancing the flavor in their drinks with infused cubes of ice. From herbs to lavender, cocktails are sure to be filled with new flavors.
  • Drink Fusions: Restaurants will continue to expand their food/drink combinations. Spiked snow cones and other treats are set to remain on menus into 2014.

Top Restaurant Trends for 2014Top Restaurant Trends for 2014

  • Multipurpose Dining: It is two restaurants in one. Look for local eateries to begin implementing a more multipurpose design with fine dining on one side and a more casual atmosphere on the other.
  • Specialized Ethnic: 2014 introduces the concept of hyper-local ethnic cuisine. From small geographic regions to a single city focus, specialized ethnic cuisine is becoming very specific.
  • Tableside Service: From the traditional—tableside guacamole—to the exotic—tableside margarita carts—tableside service is getting a renewed focus in 2014. These entertaining presentations are sure to delight customers and translate to an increase in sales.

Looking for more tips and trends? Check out the MojoBistro Blog for the latest news and inspiration.

Wed, 11 Dec 2013 14:45:27 GMT
Mobile app usage up 68% during Thanksgiving Mobile AppsThis Thanksgiving was a record breaker for mobile app usage with an upswing in use of 68% over last year. In addition to dining on delicious turkey, catching up with the family and cheering on their favorite football team, mobile device users logged 1.3 billion app sessions over the Thanksgiving weekend. This increase highlights a growing usage trend as mobile and mobile apps continue to gain in popularity. It is clear that today's individuals are more likely to be found burying their noses in their phones and tablets during family celebrations than before. Get all the details on this Thanksgiving's mobile app numbers with this article from the AppleInsider Staff.

Want to get in on this growing trend? Contact MojoBistro to get started on building your restaurant's mobile app!

For more insight into the world of mobile, make sure to check out the MojoBistro Blog!

Mon, 09 Dec 2013 16:48:00 GMT
Restaurant Rave: Woo Lae Oak Time to give Korean BBQ a try! Stop in to Woo Lae Oak out in Northwest Suburban Rolling Meadows for a taste of authentic Korean delights. Check back weekly to find other Restaurant Raves for great dining spots around the Chicago area.

Woo Lae OakWoo Lae Oak, $$-$$$, Rolling Meadows
3201 Algonquin Road, Rolling Meadows, IL 60008
(847) 870-9910
Reviewed by: Trish Gorecki

If you have never tried Korean barbeque, now is the time to give it a taste. Take a trip out to the Northwest Suburb of Rolling Meadows for a bit of authentic, traditional Korean dining.

Woo Lae OakOne of the first things you may notice when you are seated is the removable table center and controls on the side of the table. Once removed, the center of the table transforms into a grill that allows your food to be cooked right in front of you. You are welcome to cook the meat yourself or have your server assist.

We decided to order the Dak Gui—marinated chicken breast—and Chadolbaegi—thin sliced beef brisket. Both were amazing. The chicken was tender with just a tad of heat while the brisket was the thinnest I have ever seen and cooked to perfection. Three dipping sauces are provided to enhance the flavors.

Each menu item is accompanied with a large selection of banchan—traditional Korean side dishes. This includes unique but delicious items such as Sukju Namul Muchim—Korean-style bean sprout salad, Sigeumchi Namul—seasoned spinach salad, Baechu Geotjeori—Napa cabbage kimchi, Mu Saengchae—radish kimchi, and Dubu Ganjang Jorim—soy sauce boiled tofu. Thankfully our waiter was more than happy to describe all the side dishes to us!

Woo Lae OakThe restaurant does not look like much from the outside, but enter through the doors and you are greeted with warm wood accents, vibrant colors and a welcoming atmosphere. Wait staff dressed to the nines in slacks and crisp dress shirts bustle throughout the restaurant, visiting with guests and answering questions regarding the menu. Our server was amazingly helpful, patiently answered all our questions and explained the dining process. They are more than happy to refill any side dishes and are attentive without being intrusive.

If you are looking to try something new, I would definitely recommend you make the trip out to Woo Lae Oak. Even my somewhat picky mother was absolutely thrilled with her meal!

Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

Fri, 06 Dec 2013 15:49:22 GMT
Restaurant Marketing Tips for the Holidays

Tis the season for celebration. As the holiday season moves through December and into January, the desire for dining out and entertaining increases as customers are looking to celebrate out and about with their family and friends. With this potential influx of customers, it is important that you make sure your restaurant is on their list of hot spots.

At MojoBistro, we have put together our top marketing tips to help you attract customers during the holiday season.

    1. Deck the walls. Showcase your holiday spirit with seasonal decor. Incorporating seasonal touches and holiday decorations adds a fresh quality to the dining experience and is a great way to set the festive mood for your customers and staff.

    2. Send holiday greetings. Share your wishes for the holiday season with a special holiday card. Focus on greeting and thanking your customers rather than sharing your other promotional messages. This is the perfect way to make customers feel special and entice them to keep you in mind when planning their holiday celebrations.

    3. Host a holiday party. Whether it is a Christmas-themed happy hour or a New Year’s Eve countdown, the holidays are the perfect time to celebrate. Focus on offering seasonal favorites and unique entertainment. Advertise with flyers, direct marketing and social media.

    4. Run a special promotion. Add value to your current menu offerings with extra services or items. Maybe it is a free slice of peppermint pie with an order over a certain dollar amount or discounted sales of a creative seasonal menu item. A unique holiday promotion is a great way to drive customers through your doors.

    5. Help your community. Give back to your local community with a holiday fundraiser. From a food drive to donating a percentage of sales to a local charity, your good deed is sure to create some buzz and drum up warm feelings. Spread the news of your fundraiser by reaching out to the local media and posting on social media.

Looking for more tips on how to market your restaurant? Check out the MojoBistro Blog for the latest news and inspiration.

Wed, 04 Dec 2013 16:17:00 GMT
Holiday desserts offer twists on the classics Holiday DessertThe holiday season is here—time for traditions, nostalgia and memorable moments. This season, use your menu to tug on your customers' heartstrings. A twist on customers' favorite traditional desserts is a great way to spice up your holiday offerings. From Yule logs and pumpkin cakes to eggnog cheesecake and sugar cookie milkshakes, these holiday desserts are sure to win rave reviews with your fans. Read more about this year's holiday dessert trends in an article by Bret Thorn.

For more tips and inspiration for your restaurant, make sure to check out the MojoBistro Blog!

Mon, 02 Dec 2013 19:35:32 GMT
Thanksgiving in Chicago: Dining Out Options Still recovering from last year’s deep fryer disaster? Overwhelmed with the task of feeding the entire family? Scrambling for a last minute solution following a kitchen melt-down? We have got you covered with our top picks for dining out in Chicago this Thanksgiving.


(312) 573-5160
11:30 am to 6:00 pm
$130/person, $45/children
Located in the Ritz-Carlton, deca offers an unparalleled Thanksgiving day brunch and dinner. Go traditional with brined and roasted turkey, sauteed green beans and cranberry chutney or try something out of the ordinary with seafood gumbo and sushi and sashimi prepared to order. Do not miss out on dessert which includes such sweet options as pumpkin pie, cinnamon flan and cranberry almond puffs.


(312) 917-3404
11:00 am to 6:00 pm
$70/person, $65/senior, $40/children
Spend your Thanksgiving meal at the luxurious Palmer House Hilton with seating options available in the dining room or mezzanine, overlooking the hotel’s historic lobby. An expansive spread starts with autumn greens and Belvedere cheeses before moving on to entrees of smoked lake trout and maple honey molasses-roasted turkey. As an added bonus, children five and under eat free.


(312) 360-9500
2:00 pm to 7:00 pm
$65/person, children’s menu available
Delight your taste buds with a four course menu fit for a true foodie. Pumpkin raviolo, wild boar terrine, fame consomme and turkey roulade all promise a savory take on your Thanksgiving staples. Just make sure to save room for some pecan ice cream.

Looking for a budget-friendly option for your meal? Here are some great choices for $60 and below.

Big Jones

Big Jones:
(773) 275-5725
$48/person, $20/children
Celebrate Thanksgiving the Southern way with a Southern-inspired feast from Big Jones. Deep-fried turkey, giblet gravy and cranberry sauce are sure to please. Dessert options include sweet potato pie, coconut cream cake and bourbon bread pudding.

Mity Nice

Mity Nice:
(312) 335-4745
12:00 pm to 7:00 pm
$47/person, $17/children
Head to Water Tower Place for Mity Nice’s annual Thanksgiving dinner buffet. Oven-roasted turkey, pineapple glazed ham and traditional sides such as stuffing, brown-sugar glazed sweet potatoes and green bean casserole are sure to please even the pickiest of eaters. Leave room for dessert, with options ranging from pumpkin chiffon and pecan pies to chocolate layer cake and New York-style cheesecake.


(312) 266-6691
11:00 am to 8:00 pm
$49/person, $24.50/children
Offering the largest selection of menu items out of all the restaurants on the list, ZED451 has got your family covered. You can be sure that everyone can find something to enjoy with their bountiful Thanksgiving buffet.

Celebrating the epic holiday mash-up that is Thanksgivukkah? We have just the place for you!

Red Door

Red Door:
(773) 697-7221
12:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Gourmet dining at a reasonable price meets the holidays at Red Door’s Thanksgivukkah feast. Dine on everything from roasted turkey breast and brussel sprouts with lamb bacon to noodle kugel and latkes.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wed, 27 Nov 2013 13:47:27 GMT
Restaurant Rave: Pizzeria Uno Ready for a showstopping meal? Stop in at Chicago's famed Pizzeria Uno, home of the Chicago deep dish pizza! Check back weekly to find other Restaurant Raves for great dining spots around the Chicago area.

Pizzeria UnoPizzeria Uno, $-$$, Near North Side
29 East Ohio, Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 321-1000
Reviewed by: Trish Gorecki

If there is one iconic Chicago dining establishment, it is Pizzeria Uno, or simply “Uno’s." Since introducing the dish in 1943, Uno’s has been serving up the original deep dish pizza that has become a lasting symbol of Chicago.

Pizzeria UnoLocated in Chicago’s Near North Side, Uno’s is convenient to a wide range of popular Chicago attractions including the Magnificent Mile and Navy Pier. Unique among the modern skyscrapers and boutique shops, Uno’s red brick facade and green and white striped awnings hearken to its origins, remaining unchanged since its introduction in 1943.

The interior of the restaurant is small and can get a bit cramped during the dinner rush, but the food and inviting atmosphere certainly make up for it. Service is fantastic and streamlined to make your dining experience as easy and convenient as possible. Pizzas take an average of 45–60 minutes to cook. With this in mind, the wait staff take your order while you are waiting for a table and your pizza is ready for you to eat almost as soon as you are seated.

Pizzeria UnoAnd now for the food. If you have never tried Chicago-style, authentic deep dish pizza, you are in for a serious treat. Uno’s has combined some of Italy’s authentic recipes with the finest meats, spices, cheeses and vegetables available. The result is pure deliciousness. The crust is thick and flaky and is coated with the perfect amount of butter without being greasy. The sauce is simple, fresh and contains chunks of real tomato throughout. This is followed with a thick layer of creamy cheese and topped with your choice of fresh ingredients, from high quality meats to crisp vegetables.

No matter what pizza you choose, you can’t go wrong. Hands down, Pizzeria Uno offers the best pizza in the city! Make sure you stop in for a slice. One bite and you will be glad you did!

Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

Fri, 22 Nov 2013 19:59:57 GMT
Make Your App Go Viral: 5 Tips for Increasing Customer Engagement and Sharing Make your App ViralYou have already gone ahead and built an amazing app that showcases your restaurant. You have marketed your app online and in the restaurant, but you are not seeing the number of downloads you were hoping for. How can you turn things around and get your app to go viral?

We have put together the top five principles that are vital to creating an app with viral potential. Now it is time to step back and take a look at your app to make sure you are hitting these key areas.

    1. Is my app easy to use and conducive to sharing? You want your app to seem effortless. Confusing and cumbersome apps are a sure-fire turn off for customers. It is important that you remove the obstacles to using and sharing your app. Incorporate one click sign-in via social networking sites so customers can register quickly, allow customers to mass share with their current social media connections, or allow users to post to multiple platforms at one time.

    2. Am I rewarding my customers for interacting with my app? The easiest way to encourage behavior is to reward it. Provide gift incentives for each friend a customers refers to your app as well as for the referred individual. Rewards can range from discounts and coupons to loyalty program points and free items. Set up limited time sharing promotions to create urgency and encourage timely sharing.

    3. Am I giving my customers control over what is being shared? With today's concerns about privacy and excessive sharing, transparency is key to building trust. Let customers know what content will appear on their social networks and what will be shared publicly. Remind users that your app will not share information without their permission and allow them to control what is shared with an easy-to-use settings screen.

    4. Is my app keeping my customer’s interest long term? You do not want customers to visit your app once and then forget about it. Create useful notifications to convince them to visit, share tips on how to get the most out of the app and remind them of new rewards and events. Just remember not to overdo it with the notifications and reminders. We recommend giving users the ability to control what notifications they receive and how often they want to receive them.

    5. Is my app worth sharing? The answer to this question is key to your viral potential. If your app is not providing any benefit or meaningful information to the user, it will not be shared. Make sure you are giving a tangible benefit to your user and they will want to share it. Build in value with discounts, promotions and coupons for app users. The more users find benefit in your app, the more likely they are to share with their social network.

Looking for more tips on how to make the most of your mobile app? Check out the MojoBistro Blog for the latest news and inspiration.

Wed, 20 Nov 2013 14:23:28 GMT
Delicious by Design Restaurant DesignYour restaurant's interior design is key in selling your brand. A great atmosphere and ambiance can set you apart from the competition and lead to success. The National Restaurant Association has put together some great tips on how to update your restaurant to help you stand out from the crowd.

  • Let your restaurant's personality drive your design. Your look should reflect your concept and menu.

  • Keep it timeless. Focus on creating a design that will withstand the test of time and will still look fresh 15 or 20 years down the line.

  • Use your design to tell your story. Include some unique, personal elements in your design. Customers will enjoy seeing those little touches throughout your restaurant.

  • Looking for some more tips on how to design your restaurant for success? Read the entire article here.

    Mon, 18 Nov 2013 15:36:48 GMT
    Restaurant Rave: Ras Dashen Want to try something new for dinner this weekend? Stop in at Chicago's Ras Dashen! Check back weekly to find other Restaurant Raves for great dining spots around the Chicago area.

    Ras Dashen

    Ras Dashen, $$-$$$, Edgewater
    5846 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL 60660
    (773) 506-9601
    Reviewed by: Trish Gorecki

    Located on the popular Broadway Avenue in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood, Ras Dashen serves up some of the best Ethiopian food in Chicago. The wide variety of delicious, authentic menu items makes for a truly unique dining experience.

    Ras Dashen (pronounced Rahs Dah-Shen) is named after the tallest mountain in Ethiopia, located in the Simien Mountains National Park. Thanks to Chef Zenash Beyene, the traditional home-cooked meals of the region can now be enjoyed in Chicago.

    Upon entering the restaurant, you are greeted by the warm and friendly staff. Afro-Latin music mixed with authentic sounds fills the air but is set at the perfect volume as to not disrupt your dinner conversation. Seating options range from traditional rattan tables with carved wood topper and leather chairs or standard, American-style tables. For a truly authentic experience, definitely go with the Ethiopian-style seating.

    DiningThe menu offers traditional Ethiopian foods and includes many vegetarian and vegan options, making it a perfect place for large groups with varied food requirements. If you have never tried Ethiopian food before, you might be a bit surprised by the presentation. Each individual at the table orders their choice of authentically spiced meats, veggies and side dishes. The orders are then served to you on a large tray lined with Injera—a sourdough flavored bread. The flavorful Injera is your only utensil and is used to scoop up the meat and veggies and soaked in the leftover juices for an added treat.

    It is hard to pick out a single favorite as all the dishes are delicious (the sides too!) The Doro Wat—chicken and egg cooked in a spicy berbere sauce—is deliciously tender and spicy while the Kitfo Tere—Ethiopian steak tartare seasoned with spiced butter and red pepper—is super hot and a great choice for those looking for something with a bit of a kick!

    Sides of Ib—soft buttermilk cheese—and Yeqay Tikil Gomen—Ethiopian-style sweet and sour red cabbage—are perfect compliments to a spicy main course. For a real treat, try the Ethiopian iced tea called Qezqaza Chai. My friend swears it is the best iced tea she has ever had!

    No matter what you order, you are sure to leave completely stuffed. Ras Dashen is a delicious choice for those looking for a unique dining option. You won’t regret it!

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Fri, 15 Nov 2013 16:10:59 GMT
    Top 5 Thanksgiving Mobile Apps November is here which means Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Whether you are preparing to cook a traditional Thanksgiving feast for the entire extended family, looking for some new dishes to add to the menu or planning a trip back home, we have got you covered with the Top 5 Apps to make this Thanksgiving perfect.

      FlightView1. FlightView Free Flight Tracker: Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel times of the year. Combine that with unpredictable November weather and your holiday flight can be full of delays and frustration. With the FlightView Free Flight Tracker, you can track flights, view weather maps and receive real-time alerts about flight delays. Whether you are picking up relatives or getting ready for your own flight, you will be "in the know." Free for iOS and Android.

      Thanksgiving Menu  Maker2. Thanksgiving Menu Maker from Fine Cooking: Looking to change things up this year? Tired of the old Thanksgiving standbys? With the Thanksgiving Menu Maker, switching things up is simple. Recipes are broken down into categories for easy searching. Add the dishes you want to make to the planner section and a shopping list will automatically be created. This section also schedules out the necessary prep time for your entire meal. Free for iOS.

      Epicurious Recipes3. Epicurious Recipes: Ready to plan the perfect gourmet Thanksgiving? Check out the Epicurious Recipes app, dedicated to creating the ultimate foodie menu. Recipes from Gourmet and Bon Appetit magazine are sure to delight your guests. More than 30,000 recipes range from Clementine-Salted Turkey with Redeye Gravy to Pumpkin Stuffed with Vegetable Stew. Free for iOS and Android.

      KitchenPad4. KitchenPad Timer: Nervous about your first time hosting Thanksgiving dinner? Overwhelmed by managing the ten things you need to cook simultaneously? With KitchenPad Timer, you can track up to five stove top items and four oven items at once. Label each time clock, give it its own alarm signal and even designate the temperature you are using. Now you don’t have to worry about over cooking the turkey! $1.99 for iOS.

      ScoreCenter5. ESPN ScoreCenter: Once the meal is over, it is time to sit down for the National Football League’s Thanksgiving Classic. Keep up on all the games with the ESPN ScoreCenter App. You can set up a personalized scoreboard and view live game details. Now you can track your favorite team's score from the palm of your hand! When football season ends, this app keeps going, tracking basketball, baseball, hockey and more. Free for iOS and Android.

    With these apps, it is easy to sit back, relax and enjoy the season! Know of any other great Thanksgiving apps that you can’t live without? Let us know!

    Tue, 12 Nov 2013 14:04:57 GMT
    Back to Basics: Social Media Fundamentals Social MediaSocial media has proven itself to be a key component in any successful business marketing plan. But with so many social network options available, getting started on social media can be a daunting task. Celebrity chefs John Besh, Chris Cosentino and Andrew Zimmern shared their social media tips at the 24th Annual American Express Restaurant Trade Program.

    Top tips on how to navigate popular social media sites from Facebook to Twitter included sharing a behind-the-scenes look at your restaurant, showcasing valuable and unique cooking techniques and scheduling messages to reach fans across time zones.

    Want to learn more about using Social Media to market your restaurant? Find more social media tips with a visit to our Social Media Maitre D' Blog Series!

    Mon, 11 Nov 2013 15:37:15 GMT
    Restaurant Rave: Eros Restaurant If you are passing through Arlington Heights and looking for a cozy, family-friendly place to stop in for a meal, look no further than Eros Restaurant! Check back weekly to find other Restaurant Raves for great dining spots around the Chicago area.

    Eros RestaurantEros Restaurant, $-$$, Arlington Heights
    18 S. Dryden Place, Arlington Heights, IL 60004
    (847) 255-3171
    Reviewed by: Trish Gorecki

    Located in the newly renovated Arlington Market Shopping Center, Eros Restaurant offers the ultimate Mom and Pop dining experience in Arlington Heights. While the neighborhood surrounding the restaurant has certainly changed over the years, from a popular shopping mall to a more residential development, Eros has withstood the test of time. One visit and it is easy to see why.

    Eros Pasta PrimaveraNo frills here, just down home, quality cooking. The soups are a meal within themselves. They always have their cream soups made from scratch and are the best cream soups I have ever had. You can even get a container of the soup to go! A wide range of menu offerings features your standard burgers and salads to gyros, pasta and ribs. All sandwiches and burgers, including the gyros have the option to upgrade to deluxe for a large side of fries.

    Make sure to save room for dessert. The ice cream creations are amazing. From the super thick malts to the Brownie Sundae, you will not be disappointed! Much like the soups, you can get a container of their tasty ice cream to go. As an added bonus, all ice cream specials come with a mini umbrella!

    The biggest draw to Eros is the history and the memories. On any given day, you will find families celebrating birthdays, girl scout troops stopping in for dessert after the father-daughter dance or a couple out for their anniversary. For more than forty years, Eros has been a neighborhood establishment and that position in the community is clear with one look at the diverse clientele.

    The interior decor feels a bit dated, with painted frescos and some metalwork art on the walls, but the delicious food and friendly staff more than make up for it. If you are ever passing through Arlington Heights, make sure to stop in to Eros for a meal.

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Fri, 08 Nov 2013 14:00:05 GMT
    Study: Consumers to dine out less often in 2014 Consumer SurveyAccording to a twice-annual survey conducted by the North American Restaurant Consumer Sentiment Review, restaurants' key concern for 2014 will be maintaining customer traffic. Consumers are reporting that they plan to eat out less often in the upcoming year, but the reason why may surprise you.

    Health concerns tops the list of reasons for limiting the number of restaurant visits, surpassing concerns of budget constrains and other financial woes.

    National Restaurant News' Lisa Jennings has more information on the survey findings that health concerns trump saving money in consumer plans to curb dining-out.

    With the increased competition, what can you do to set your restaurant apart? Check out the MojoBistro Blog for tips and inspiration on maintaining and building upon your restaurant's success.

    Mon, 04 Nov 2013 15:01:06 GMT
    Mobile Marketing: Can You See Me Now? Mobile MarketingMobile phone usage is on the rise, with analysts predicting that sometime in 2013, over 50% of all website traffic will be coming from mobile devices – cell phones (feature phones and smartphones), and tablets. Mobile has become so vital for consumers’ lives that the time they spend on (non-voice) mobile activities will surpass that spent online on desktop and laptop computers sometime in 2013, according to eMarketer.

    Is your restaurant business investing in mobile? Now is the time to build relationships with your constantly connected customers. Not sure how to go about creating your mobile success story? Check out this article from Restaurant Briefing discussing the keys to building a mobile presence— from mobile optimized email to text message marketing.

    Looking for more tips on how to expand your marketing plan and campaigns? Check out MojoBistro's Mobile Marketing Blogs for more tips and tricks.

    Mon, 28 Oct 2013 14:42:55 GMT
    Restaurant Rave Round-Up: Chicago Comfort Food The weather outside is getting a bit chilly. Warm up this weekend with some quality comfort food. From the far suburbs to the heart of the city, we've got you covered with restaurants offering meals that feel like home. Check back weekly to find other Restaurant Raves for great dining spots around the Chicago area.

    Lady Gregory'sLady Gregory’s, Gastropub, $$, Andersonville
    5260 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60640
    (773) 271-5050
    Reviewed by: Patricia Gorecki

    Floor-to-ceiling windows, dark-wood, warm hues and a massive hand carved bar welcome you to this authentic gastropub. Lady Gregory’s cozy and sophisticated decor—from a library room, fireplace and stained glass to high-top tables, plush booths and expansive bar seating—creates an intimate and inviting atmosphere for a relaxing dinner out or drinks on the town.Read more.

    Cheesie'sCheesie’s Pub & Grub, Lakeview, $-$$
    958 West Belmont Avenue (Additional New Evanston Location)
    (773) 388-1574
    Reviewed by: Betsy Kraft

    Cheesie’s Pub & Grub is probably the best place in the world. OK, so maybe that is a little extreme, but it is the best place in Chicago to get a grilled cheese sandwich. If you love a great grilled cheese, or just cheese in general, you have to try this place! Read more.

    NookiesNookie’s, $$, Edgewater
    1100 W. Bryn Mawr Avenue, Chicago, IL 60660
    (773) 516-4188
    Reviewed by: Patricia Gorecki

    I love breakfast. All the delicious choices and variety of savory and sweet. My love for breakfast has made me very picky about where I choose to dine in the a.m. hours. Thank goodness I found Nookies in Edgewater. Now here is a place that knows how to do breakfast and brunch right.Read more.

    DMKDMK Burger Bar, Multiple Locations, $-$$
    2370 Fountain Square Drive, Lombard, IL (Our personal favorite location)
    (630) 705-9020
    Reviewed by: Mike Mulhausen

    The casual atmosphere at DMK Burger Bar is very relaxed, quiet, and laid back. It is definitely a family-friendly dining experience as well as a great place to grab lunch with hungry coworkers. The decor is fresh and modern with a mix of cozy booths and spacious tables. I appreciated and enjoyed the alternative/indie music that was playing while I was there. Also, if you hear a tune you like in the restaurant you can check out more of DMK’s favorite tunes on its website. Read more.

    Sweet Baby RaysSweet Baby Ray’s, $$, Elk Grove Village
    800 E. Higgins Road, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007
    (847) 437-9555
    Reviewed by: Patricia Gorecki

    Looking to enjoy some classic American BBQ? Stop in at Sweet Baby Ray’s, home of some of the finest, award-winning BBQ around. Warm color combinations, stone and wood finishes and soft lighting create a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere where you can indulge in one of America’s favorite comfort foods. Weather permitting, the outdoor patio is the perfect spot to kick your feet up while enjoying top-quality BBQ.Read more.

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Fri, 25 Oct 2013 15:35:21 GMT
    Restaurant Marketing Round-Up Restaurant MarketingIs your restaurant marketing plan stuck in a rut? Looking for new, creative ideas to reach out to new and current customers? We've rounded up our top marketing blogs to help inspire you.

    Tips for Using Social Media to Market your Restaurant’s iPhone and Android apps

    Social media platforms are the perfect partner when promoting your restaurant mobile app. If you have an iPhone or Android app for your restaurant then most likely you already use social media vehicles such as Twitter, Facebook, FourSquare, and Yelp. These are also four savvy ways to promote your smartphone app. Here are some strategic suggestions on how to use these social media outlets to promote your restaurant’s mobile app.Read more.

    QR Code8 ways to use QR codes for restaurant mobile marketing

    QR codes were initially used in the automotive industry to track cars across factory lines. Today, QR codes are used more in in consumer advertising and packaging due to the proliferation of smartphones. QR codes are beneficial because they are an easy and mobile access point.Read more.

    Top Tips for Effective Push Notifications

    Engagement with your mobile app users is key to the continued success of your app. Push notifications are a great way to boost engagement. A study conducted by mobile technology company Urban Airship, proved that while the percentage of users opening an app over time predictably dropped across all apps, 31 percent of users remained active if notifications were in place, compared with just 14 percent for apps without notifications.Read more.

    Marketing MythsRestaurant Marketing Myths

    You've decided to spend some time dedicated to marketing your restaurant. You do some research, ask friends and family, scoped the internet ... and you are all ready to go with your restaurant marketing campaign. But are you sure you've gotten the best advice? Read more.

    Wed, 23 Oct 2013 14:37:37 GMT
    Consumer Reports Round-Up: iPhone 5s and 5c, Droid Maxx, Ultra and Mini Consumer Reports

    Consumer Reports, the monthly magazine focused on publishing reviews and comparisons of consumer products and services, has put out its reviews on both Apple and Motorola's newest smartphone offerings.

    AppleApple's newest iPhone 5s and 5c received great reviews. Both phones were found to deliver improved performances and longer talk times. The upgrade to the iOS 7 operating system brings the Control Center swipe feature and Siri voice-activated assistant access. Despite these updates, the iPhone fell short with shorter batter life and small screens.

    DroidMotorola's new Droid Maxx, Ultra and Mini introduces Google Now's touch-less voice control, Active Notifications which enable users to set up battery-friendly notifications and gesture interpretation even when the screen is off. The Droid also won rave reviews for its extended battery life and talk time.

    Check out this Consumer Reports round-up for more information.

    Mon, 21 Oct 2013 15:42:02 GMT
    Restaurant Rave: Duck Walk If you are on the lookout for tasty Thai cuisine on Chicago's north side, look no further than Duck Walk in Lincoln Park! Check back weekly to find other Restaurant Raves for great dining spots around the Chicago area.

    Duck Walk

    Duck Walk, $$, Lincoln Park
    1217 W. Fullerton Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614
    (773) 327-6200
    Reviewed by: Trish Gorecki

    Craving some flavorful noodle dishes, bubble tea and savory curry? Looking for a unique dining atmosphere? Look no further than Duck Walk! Located in Chicago’s bustling Lincoln Park neighborhood, Duck Walk offers traditional Thai cuisine at a price that is easy on your wallet.

    Crab Rangoon

    Unlike your typical Thai restaurants, Duck Walk has a very modern atmosphere. Colorful furniture, gleaming white tables and wood details create an upscale feel. Typical of many Chicago restaurant’s, Duck Walk makes the most of the small storefront space they are housed at. Tables line the walls with seating available for around 25-30 people yet patrons rarely way for seating. The staff is very efficient in getting people in and out during the dining rush.

    I first experienced Duck Walk when I was visiting my younger brother, who was then a senior at DePaul. The restaurants convenient location just on the edge of campus makes it a popular destination for students looking for some tasty Thai.

    Pad ThaiWe started our meal with the crab rangoon. It was amazing. The outsides were perfectly crisped and the insides were gooey with cheesy deliciousness combined with fresh crab. My brother ordered the Pad Thai which looked amazing. Unlike many other restaurants, the pad thai noodles were cooked slightly al dente while the sauce was thick and flavorful. Wanting to try something both sweet and spicy, I ordered the Panang Curry. One bite and it is clear why this is considered the best Panang in the city! The sweet curry was cooked with bell peppers, citrus leaves and coconut milk, creating the perfect blend of sweet and spicy.

    The service was fantastic. Although it was a bit busy, our waitress was very friendly, never rushed us and was super attentive. As much as you may be tempted to order out, I would definitely recommend dining in to experience all that Duck Walk has to offer. My only regret was not discovering it sooner!

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2013 14:00:28 GMT
    Top Tips for Effective Push Notifications Push NotificationsYou have spent time designing and developing a mobile app for your restaurant. You have brainstormed creative marketing campaigns around your app. Now what?

    Engagement with your mobile app users is key to the continued success of your app. Push notifications are a great way to boost engagement. A study conducted by mobile technology company Urban Airship, proved that while the percentage of users opening an app over time predictably dropped across all apps, 31 percent of users remained active if notifications were in place, compared with just 14 percent for apps without notifications.

    There is a fine line between informative engagement and being too pushy. Campaigns that provide little value to the customer can often lead to opt-outs and app uninstalls. Your users want notifications that are useful so make sure that your notifications provide information that people want to receive.

    Ready to start encouraging customer engagement? We have put together a list of helpful tips to keep in mind as you develop your push notifications.

      1. Focus on quality content. It is important that you value your customer’s time. If your message is not worthy of an interruption in their day, do not send it. Send notifications that benefit your customer. For example, Walgreen's notifications remind app users when prescriptions are eligible for refills while Twitter’s app notifies users when they are mentioned in a tweet.

      2. Connect your conversations. Whenever possible, link your notifications to your social networks. Driving users to your pages allows them to learn more about your company and contribute to your ongoing conversations.

      3. Allow users to customize their experience. Let your users fill out their preferences to tailor notifications to their interests. Do they only want to hear about sales and promotions or are they interested in upcoming events. Do they want notifications once a week, only during the early evening hours? Be mindful of these end-user preferences when sending out notifications and your customers will look forward to receiving applicable content.

      4. Make notifications sharable. Let your app users share their notifications with friends and family, even if they have not downloaded your app. The sharing capability will promote viral spread and increase the outreach of your message.

      5. Avoid notification burn-out. Even if you have the most valuable, interesting content in the world, sending notifications six times a day is going to turn off your customers. You do not want your messages to become expected and lose their effect. Focus on timely and important notifications to avoid over-messaging.

    And finally, remember that practice makes perfect. Make sure you track your campaigns and use analytics to determine what approach does or does not work for you. It may take you a few tries to find the perfect recipe for your notifications.

    Looking for more marketing tips? Check out our Mobile Marketing Blogs for more insider tips and ideas.

    Wed, 16 Oct 2013 15:13:57 GMT
    Restaurant Marketing Myths Restaurant Marketing MythsYou've decided to spend some time dedicated to marketing your restaurant. You do some research, ask friends and family, scoped the internet ... and you are all ready to go with your restaurant marketing campaign. But are you sure you've gotten the best advice?

    The internet is full of ideas and "rules of thumb" for marketing a business, but many times, these cookie-cutter ideas are not the best fit for your situation. To bring some clarity to the situation, Jeffrey Summers, founder of Summers Hospitality Group, has outlined some of the top myths surrounding restaurant marketing. Check out his article, Restaurant Marketing Myths and Bad Best Practices for the inside scoop.

    Looking for tips on how to do restaurant marketing the right way? Find great tips and ideas with our Mobile Marketing Blog Series!

    Mon, 14 Oct 2013 15:32:12 GMT
    Restaurant Rave: The Safe House Columbus Day weekend is finally here. We know that many of you will be traveling for your long weekend, so we've put together a special spotlight Rave. This week, we take you north of the border to Milwaukee—home of the Brewers, Miller Brewery and Summerfest. Staying in the Chicago area? Check out our archived Restaurant Raves for great dining spots around the Chicago area.

    The Safe HouseThe Safe House, $$, Milwaukee
    779 N. Front Street, Milwaukee, WI 53202
    (414) 271-2007
    Reviewed by: Trish Gorecki

    Tucked away down a nondescript alley in the midst of Milwaukee hangs a plaque for a business titled International Exports Ltd. Behind the door, you are greeted and led into a small waiting area. There you are asked for the password. Don’t have the password? Be prepared to perform something embarrassing, from waddling like a duck to dancing the hokey-pokey. When you have finished “proving” yourself, a wall slides open to reveal a hidden restaurant. Welcome to The Safe House.

    The Safe House InteriorThis popular spy-theme restaurant, based on the secret refuges set up for spies involved in covert operations, is filled with real memorabilia, espionage displays and deceptive nooks and crannies. Make sure to check out all the historic artifacts on display, including an actual piece of the Berlin Wall, a pair of bank doors holding actual bullets from their encounter with famed outlaw John Dillinger, and a cell door from a former East Berlin KGB prison.

    The spy-theme continues throughout every inch of The Safe House, right down to the expertly-named drinks and specials such as “The Soviet Defector” and “Parallel Universe.” Not only are the dishes aptly names, they are seriously delicious. Start off your meal with a Wisconsin classic—”Flash-Fried Wisconsin Cheese Curds.” The white cheddar curds, batter-dipped and served with a Top Secret sauce are absolutely amazing.

    The Safe House

    For your main meal, choose between a selection of American classics with a twist. Try out “Our Man from Havana”—a reuben with Caribbean island dressing to give it a bit of a kick. The “Spyburger” can be upgraded with the addition of an “International Cover,” from the “Greek”, with blended spinach, artichokes and cheese to the “Mexican” with pico de gallo and pepper jack cheese.

    The Safe HouseOh and remember that embarrassing display you had to perform to enter? That was being displayed on a monitor inside the restaurant. Don’t worry though. Patrons are always known to applaud the performances.

    When it’s time to leave, try and find the secret exit ... you don’t want to blow your cover!

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Fri, 11 Oct 2013 14:00:49 GMT
    Top 5 Apps to Celebrate Fall

    Fall is finally here! With it comes pumpkin picking, apple bobbing, haunted houses, late-night hay rides and much, much more. To help you celebrate the coming of the Autumn season, we have put together the top five apps you are sure to love. From game day to sightseeing, we’ve got the perfect app for you. Check them out:

      LeafPeepr1. Leaf Peepr: Can’t wait until the leaves start to change colors. With Leaf Peepr, track the changing colors nationwide with the help of fellow trackers. Users upload photos of the changing colors, map the location and use the Peak Slider to rate their foliage as green, turning, moderate, peak, fading or gone. Sharing options make it easy to post your favorite pictures to Twitter and Facebook. Free for iOS and Android.

      Corn Mazes2. Corn Mazes: Love the idea of participating in a corn maze but afraid of getting lost? Try your hand at completing a 3D style virtual corn maze. The goal of the game is to find the pumpkin in each maze, which will then unlock the next maze. There are 20 maze puzzles in total to keep you busy. No worries about getting lost here ... there is a trail of popcorn left wherever you go so you can avoid turning down the same path twice. $0.99 for Android.

      TailgateChamp3. TailgateChamp: Do you love watching your favorite team? Love the competition that comes hand and hand with Football season? You need the TailgateChamp app! Recruit your fellow friends and tailgaters to compete for the title of best tailgate! Players register their tailgates, complete fun challenges and earn points. It's time to break out that award-winning wings recipe! Free for iOS.

      GetCrocked4. GetCrocked: Time to bring your crockpot out of storage. With GetCrocked, you can easily search from more than 1,000 great recipes and cooking tips, create new recipes, track your favorites and share with a community full of people who love making delicious slow cooker dishes. Once you’ve finished creating your amazing meal, share your pictures on the community photo wall. $0.99 for iOS.

      Pumpkin Carving5. Pumpkin Carving Ideas: Need some inspiration for this year’s pumpkin carving? Scroll through the gallery for patterns and templates to get you started. Choose from a wide variety of styles, from cool and funny to scary and intricate designs. You can even share your selected image and set it as your wallpaper! Free for Android.

    Whatever your favorite fall activity, we have got you covered! Have an app you would love to see featured? Want recommendations on apps for a certain topic or theme? Let us know!

    Wed, 09 Oct 2013 13:40:10 GMT
    Tumblr tips for your restaurant Tumblr LogoYou've heard of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. But have you heard of Tumblr? For those who are new to the world of social media sites, Tumblr is a microblogging platform and social networking website which allows users to post multimedia and other content to a short-form blog.

    As of October 2013, Tumblr hosts nearly 140 million blogs publishing more than 62 billion posts. On average, over 86 million posts are created daily with more than 13 billion global page views.

    So how can you use this outlet to market your restaurant? Check out these great tips from Anna Tauzin, the National Restaurant Association's manager of digital innovation and social strategy development.

    Want to learn more about using Social Media to market your restaurant? Find more social media tips with a visit to our Social Media Maitre D' Blog Series!

    Mon, 07 Oct 2013 16:09:00 GMT
    Restaurant Rave Round-Up: Oktoberfest Edition October is finally here and with it comes our favorite fall flavors. This week, we are celebrating the arrival of fall with a look at the best Chicagoland locations to enjoy Oktoberfest! From the far suburbs to the heart of the city, we've got you covered. Check back weekly to find other Restaurant Raves for great dining spots around the Chicago area.

    Bulldog Ale HouseBulldog Ale House, $$, Multiple Locations
    1021 Fountain View Dr., Carol Stream, IL 60188
    (630) 690-0333
    Reviewed by: Anthony Avallone

    Looking for a great place to bring the family or go out with the guys to watch the big game? I recommend you check out the Bulldog Ale House in Carol Stream. About half of the restaurant is table seating, great for families, and the other half is bar area, perfect for hanging out with friends. No matter where you sit here you can see a television making it an ideal spot to watch your favorite Chicago sports teams. During the warmer months, there is even an outdoor patio for dining that includes a fantastic fire pit. Bulldog is definitely a casual sports bar. As it gets later in the evening, the younger and much louder crowd comes in to the restaurant to party. Read more.

    Gordon BierschGordon Biersch, $$, Bolingbrook
    639 E. Boughton Road, Suite 100, Bolingbrook, IL 60440
    Reviewed by: Brian West

    This free standing brewery and restaurant is a great dining destination for a fun night out in a casual dinner setting. The real standout at Gordon Biersch is the beers. The on-site brewery creates a variety of award-winning house beers and limited-time seasonal brews, made using only the finest and purest ingredients. Each of Gordon Biersch’s handcrafted beers is served in a traditional European half-liter glass, a nice touch that also provides you with more beer than the average pint. From light, refreshing lagers to a classic Bohemian-style pilsner, they have it all. Not sure which beer to try? Order the Beer Sampler! Read more.

    Tap House GrillTap House Grill, $$, Multiple Locations
    24402 W. Lockport Street, Plainfield, IL 60544
    (815) 733-5540
    Reviewed by: Tammie Babbitt

    With seven locations throughout the Chicago area, Tap House Grill is a convenient stop for top quality burgers and homemade beer brews. Loft styling creates a unique and wide open feel. The atmosphere is super casual and very welcoming, making it the perfect choice for a lunch with coworkers, family dinner or a night out for dinner and drinks. Read more.

    Berghoff RestaurantThe Berghoff Restaurant, $$, Chicago
    17 W. Adams Street, Chicago, IL 60603
    (312) 427-3170
    Reviewed by: Patricia Gorecki

    A family-run icon, The Berghoff has served German-American cuisine to Chicago residents and visitors since 1898. While the menu has evolved over the past 114 years, adding newer, lighter and more contemporary dishes, it still reflects the top-quality German fame customers have come to expect. Regardless of what you order at Berghoff, make sure to come with an appetite, as the array of tantalizing food choices are sure to keep you full and satisfied for a while. Read more.

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Fri, 04 Oct 2013 15:58:47 GMT
    Use Social Media to Drive Traffic to Your Restaurant Social Media PromotionsAccording to Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics, social media visits are the #1 activity online. Every day, Facebook has nearly 700 million active users, more than 45 million photos are uploaded to Instagram and nearly 200,000 people sign up for LinkedIn. With such a large percentage of the population active on social media, it is quickly becoming a key market in promoting your business and brand.

    All restaurant owners know, the key to lasting success is to drive traffic through your doors. As such, we have put together some great tips on how to use social media to drive customers to your restaurant.

    1. Go Mobile
      A large percentage of social media users are “mobile only.” Make sure you are reaching this portion of the population with your message. Check-In deals through Facebook and Foursquare are a great way to take advantage of customers being on the go.

    2. Reach out to New Customers
      Reward your first-time customers to encourage them to keep coming back! Craft deals for new customers focused on introducing them to your restaurant. Try offering discounts on your signature dishes or even offer free samplings of your menu favorites.

    3. Don’t Ignore your Loyal Customers
      You might be tempted to focus your efforts on acquiring new customers, but don’t forget about your regulars. Tailor deals towards your loyal customers, rewarding them for reaching a certain number of check-ins over time or achieving the “Mayor” status on Foursquare.

    4. Add Some Variety
      Don’t just pick one offer and stick with it. Change the rewards and requirements time to time to ensure that you are reaching all your customers. Mix it up with limited time offers and special holiday promotions. Keep it interesting to keep your customers engaged.

    5. Plan Your Reward
      Whatever you choose to offer to your customers, make sure it is something that they would want. Don’t go overboard with a deal that will cost your business money in the long run and don’t offer a reward so small that no one will want to come in to claim it. Balance is key. Take a look at what you are currently doing, revisit successful past campaigns and put together a plan that works out best for you and your customers.
    6. Mobile Check-In

    Want to learn more about using Social Media to market your restaurant? Find more social media tips with a visit to our Social Media Maitre D' Blog Series!

    Wed, 02 Oct 2013 20:17:24 GMT
    Restaurant Marketing Ideas for October Apple CinnamonIt’s that season again! Pumpkin spice, cinnamon apple and harvest flavors galore! Fall is the perfect time to ramp up your restaurant marketing. The month of October is full of festive food focused days that create the perfect starting point. From National Caramel Custard Day on the 3rd to National Chocolate Day on the 28th, you are sure to find inspiration for your next marketing campaign. Looking for some ideas? Make sure to check out this piece from for some more ideas and motivation.


    Mon, 30 Sep 2013 17:21:41 GMT
    Restaurant Rave: Sweet Baby Ray"s Looking for authentic BBQ in the suburbs? We're raving about Sweet Baby Ray's in Chicago's Northwest Suburban neighborhood of Elk Grove Village! Check back weekly to find other Restaurant Raves for great dining spots around the Chicago area.

    Sweet Baby Ray'sSweet Baby Ray’s, $$, Elk Grove Village
    800 E. Higgins Road, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007
    (847) 437-9555
    Reviewed by: Trish Gorecki

    Looking to enjoy some classic American BBQ? Stop in at Sweet Baby Ray’s, home of some of the finest, award-winning BBQ around. Warm color combinations, stone and wood finishes and soft lighting create a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere where you can indulge in one of America’s favorite comfort foods. Weather permitting, the outdoor patio is the perfect spot to kick your feet up while enjoying top-quality BBQ.

    Sweet Baby Ray's RibsThe menu features everyone’s favorite, award-winning sauce incorporated into smoky favorites and new selections of steaks, chops, seafood and pastas. While most joints braise their ribs, at Sweet Baby Ray’s, you are sure you are getting authentic, southern-style smoked ribs. And they are amazing. These were some of the biggest, meatiest ribs I have ever had, cooked to perfection, charred but not burnt and juicy on the inside with a slight smoky flavor.

    Also popular is the beef brisket—seasoned with a pepper rub and smoked for hours, the pulled pork—seasoned with a dry rub, smoked and hand-pulled, and the BBQ chicken—smoked before being grilled and brushed with the signature Sweet Baby Ray’s sauce. With so much to choose from, I highly recommend ordering multiple dishes and sharing amongst the group. It’s clear from the satisfied looks on diners faces that Chef Duce Raymond, an award-winning competition pitmaster, truly knows how to do BBQ.

    Sweet Baby Ray's Brisket SandwichThe best part of eating at Sweet Baby Ray’s? The portions. You know you are always going to get a ton of food. Every time I have gone, we have had enough leftovers to make a meal the next day!

    The atmosphere can get a bit noisy, with nights featuring live bands, special days with live entertainers and game nights. But the noise only seems to add to the authentic, old-school BBQ shack atmosphere. Service is great. The wait staff is warm and friendly and sure to make you feel at home.

    Whether you are looking to fulfill a craving for some authentic southern BBQ or just looking for a relaxing, laid-back dining experience, Sweet Baby Ray’s is the place to go. Don’t miss out on this Northwest Suburban gem!

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Fri, 27 Sep 2013 18:02:56 GMT
    Let MojoBistro help restaurants in your group succeed In today’s mobile market, it is vital that your business have a mobile app in order to stay connected. Smartphone usage in the U.S. has surpassed 133.7 million people, personalized, unique mobile apps are vital to building brand visibility, customer loyalty, promotional ability and overall interaction with customers. However, many restaurants operating as part of a restaurant group are featured within the group’s app but fail to have their own unique app. Much like having its own unique website, having a personal branded mobile app is important for the success of these restaurants.

     Restaurant Mobile AppSeparate restaurant apps enable the individual personality of each restaurant to be reflected through a unique branded experience—a feature that has proven to be important to mobile customers—while also providing the ability to target users with push notifications, coupons and personalized content based upon their interests and other identifying attributes (birthdate, locations, gender, favorite food, etc.).

    Additionally, a mobile app tailored to each individual restaurant allows customers to create viral buzz for their favorite restaurants through integrated social media sharing capabilities, while also linking to the individual restaurants Facebook, Twitter, Yelp and Foursquare profiles. A unique app for each restaurant also creates increased geo-location potential to be further maximized as Apple’s App Store introduces its “Apps Near Me” feature this fall, allowing consumers to discover restaurant apps based on proximity to their physical location.

    Mojo Dining ClubMojoBistro supports a variety of 3rd-party reservation systems, including OpenTable, widely used reservation system. MojoBistro also supports 3rd-party and custom plug-ins, allowing the platform to be easily extended to support different needs. For example, the Restaurant Group Dining Club programs can be easily integrated, displaying the customer's point balance within each restaurants' app. In-App notifications could be instrumented to remind customers that they have earned rewards, inviting them to visit a location to redeem.

    Each individually branded app has the potential to be linked to the restaurant group app through app-to-app launching—a feature recently supported by both iOS and Android. Not only does this feature promote the restaurant group itself, but also other restaurants within the group. In addition, linking apps would help to promote the restaurant group features such as the loyalty program with patrons that have an affinity with the individual brands, but are not necessarily familiar with the benefits of the group’s dining club.

    Beyond generating native apps for iPhone, Android and Windows Phone, along with mobile-optimized websites, MojoBistro is working on the ability to support iPad, Windows Surface and SmartTVs, further adding to the benefits to restaurant groups and their individual restaurants.

    Want to learn more about a mobile app from MojoBistro and how we can help your restaurant group succeed? Contact us today.

    Wed, 25 Sep 2013 06:00:00 GMT
    Apple sets record with weekend sales of iPhone 5S and 5C Apple

    Lines outside Apple StoreIn the wake of Apple's less than successful past year, which saw shares slump by a third, investors were anxious to see how successful Apple's new iPhone launch weekend would prove to be. With analysts forecasting sales anywhere from 6 to 8 million, long lines and stories of sold out models at the flagship store seemed to put Apple on track to meet or exceed it's previous opening weekend record set last year with the introduction of the iPhone 5. Don't miss USA Today's article by Alistair Barr for more information on the importance of Apple's weekend performance.

    iPhone purchaseRecent reports point to a combined total of 9 million iPhone 5S and 5C sold over the first weekend. Already, Apply has sold out of its initial stock of the iPhone 5S, with the gold version proving to be most popular. While Apple's post-sale press release did not reveal the breakdown of sales between the two offerings, analytics firm Localytics has estimated that sales of the 5S far outsold that of the 5C. With positive news coming from opening weekend, Apple's company stock has gone up over 6 percent. The Verge's Aaron Souppouris has all the details on Apple's opening weekend. Make sure to check it out!

    Mon, 23 Sep 2013 14:38:50 GMT
    Restaurant Rave: Central Gyros Looking for an authentic Greek meal? We're raving about Central Gyros in Chicago's Cragin neighborhood! Check back weekly to find other Restaurant Raves for great dining spots around the Chicago area.

    Central GyrosCentral Gyros, $$, Cragin
    3127 N Central Ave Chicago, IL 60634
    (773) 545-1276
    Reviewed by: Trish Gorecki

    Chicagoans looking for delicious, authentic Greek food may be surprised to learn that some of the best greek food isn’t found in Greektown, but a little further north, in Chicago’s Cragin neighborhood.

    Central Gyros has been a neighborhood favorite since it opened its doors in 1979. Award-winning gyros, authentic greek dishes, individualized service and an at-home feel make Central Gyros a must visit restaurant.

    The atmosphere is reminiscent of a family gathering around mom’s kitchen table complete with stucco walls, greek music and old-school decor. The friendly wait staff are always available to lend a helping hand and make recommendations while the owners are a regular sight, stopping by tables to ensure everyone is happy with their meal.

    Gyros PlateThe menu is full of high quality, authentic, traditional Greek cuisine from such staples as Gyros (both chicken and lamb) and Kabobs to Souvlaki (pork skewers) and Dolmadakia (meatless vine leaves stuffed with rice and herbs). Less adventurous diners can enjoy a selection of burgers, steaks and chicken dishes. Vegetarians have a wide range of choices from the saganaki to the spanakopita (spinach pie) or greek salad.

    SaganakiMake sure to start your meal off with an order of Saganaki (flaming cheese) served by the waitresses with a signature “Opa!” You can’t go wrong with an order of the Gyro Platter. Served piping hot, the portions are super-sized and amazingly delicious. It’s clear why Central Gyros has been voted Best Greek Restaurant by Chicago’s Best.

    With free parking close by and easy street parking along Central Avenue and its location along the #77 Bus line, a visit to Central Gyros is convenient for city dwellers and suburbanites alike. Make sure to stop by this award-winning restaurant for some top-quality Greek. You won’t be disappointed!

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Fri, 20 Sep 2013 14:49:52 GMT
    Countdown to Apple"s newest iPhones Apple

    iPhone 5sOnly one day remains! In case you haven't heard, Apple is introducing their latest iPhone to the world on Friday, September 20th. With the move to their new iOS 7 operating system taking effect yesterday, expectation is growing for Apple's latest offering. Fanboys everywhere are already swooning over the announced 64-bit A7 processor with its lightening quick speeds, extended battery life, upgraded camera features and, most importantly, Apple's new fingerprint access feature. Want to learn more? Engadget's Brian Heater has some great information about the iPhone 5s features ahead of the September 20th release.

    iPhone 5cNot sure about splurging on the iPhone 5s? Apple has introduced a more wallet friendly iPhone, the 5c. Complete with the iPhone 5 features we've come to love, albeit with better LTE, battery life, iOS7 software and upgraded camera features, the new iPhone 5c introduces users to a bright, fun colored plastic casing that has been popular among other smartphone providers. Interested? Check out the great article from The Guardian's Charles Arthur for more information.

    Tue, 17 Sep 2013 21:30:09 GMT
    The Founder of #Foodiechats Chats with MojoBistro

    The Internet is a wonderful and tasty place for food lovers to unite. Foodies everywhere are documenting their craft brews and unique dining experiences via social media. One clever guy, Steve Green, is making the Internet an even more delicious place for foodies with his Monday night chat on Twitter, #Foodiechats.

    Foodies from all over the world come together on the Monday night chats to discuss all things gourmet and all things simple, as long as it involves food. This is a great opportunity for restaurants to increase their social media engagement by jumping in on the chat with their customers. It is the perfect way to interact with a ready-made demographic of food lovers. So why should you join the #Foodiechats community? We talked to the main man himself to bring you the answer.

    What was your inspiration to start #Foodiechats on Twitter?

    My inspiration to start #Foodiechats was to create a worldwide social foodie community where foodies, restaurants, and brands can share who they are and what they are up to. I have been a community builder my entire life and what better way to bring people together than over a live and virtual meal.

    Why should a restaurant participate in #Foodiechats and how do they get started?

    A restaurant can participate in #Foodiechats in two ways. They can host a live (in their restaurant) and online #Foodiechats or they can just participate on Twitter. Restaurants can participate on our weekly Monday night #Foodiechats or they can tag their foodie pics with our hashtag #Foodiechats any day of the week. This is a great chance for restaurants to network with social foodies.

    What is your favorite food related mobile app?

    My favorite food related mobile app is Instagram. This is the best platform to showcase what you are eating and comment on what others are eating.

    Social media and technology have really created a great community for foodies to bond. What is your fondest memory of #Foodiechats yet?

    I have so many fond memories of #Foodiechats, and the very first night was amazing. We trended nationally on Twitter and the very first chat lasted for 5 hours.

    Recently, I went to Seattle with Negra Modelo and Celebrity Chef Rick Bayless, which was awesome! Earlier in the year, I went to New York City to kick off restaurant week with Norwegian Cruise Line and Celebrity Chef Geoffrey Zakarian.

    #Foodiechats was created on May 9, 2011, and foodies worldwide have participated every Monday. Participants use the hashtag #Foodiechats for Monday chat time as well as every day for their foodie pics and tips! I just hired several people and look forward to adding many new channels and features to #Foodiechats!

    Thanks to Steve Green, founder of #Foodiechats, for taking the time to connect with us on the MojoBistro and KeyLimeTie blogs. We look forward to chatting with you all during #Foodiechats on Twitter!

    Mon, 16 Sep 2013 20:33:25 GMT
    Restaurant Rave: Nookie"s Looking for the perfect breakfast spot? We're raving about Nookie's in Chicago's Edgewater neighborhood! Check back weekly to find other Restaurant Raves for great dining spots around the Chicago area.

    Nookie's Edgewater

    Nookie’s, $$, Edgewater
    1100 W. Bryn Mawr Avenue, Chicago, IL 60660
    (773) 516-4188
    Reviewed by: Trish Gorecki

    I love breakfast. All the delicious choices and variety of savory and sweet. My love for breakfast has made me very picky about where I choose to dine in the a.m. hours. Thank goodness I found Nookies in Edgewater. Now here is a place that knows how to do breakfast and brunch right.

    Outdoor sidewalk seating, complete with blooming flower boxes and shady umbrellas are perfect for the warmer months. Enter through the revolving door and you are welcomed to a very upscale, beautiful restaurant complete with dark wood tables, airy spaces, unique artwork and a sleek full service bar. The bustle of diners can be heard right away, but don’t worry, while the restaurant may be packed during the peak breakfast and brunch hours, wait times are always short and the display of Nookies memorabilia up front is sure to help pass the time.

    Nookie's EdgewaterThe food is delicious. I have only gone for breakfast and brunch but have always been completely satisfied, not to mention absolutely stuffed for the remainder of the day.The menu is huge and includes options for all dining needs including vegan selections. Their creative takes on your standard breakfast and brunch fare is right on.

    Be sure not to miss their seasonal specials. From the berry themed spring and summer dishes to the holiday themed trio featuring pumpkin pancakes, carrot cake french toast and plum pudding pancakes, you can’t go wrong.

    Nookie's Edgewater SpecialsFor those looking for something sweet, I highly recommend the Combo Crepes, filled with sweet creamy mascarpone cheese filling and topped with fresh strawberries or blueberries. I had to fight off the others at the table with my fork just to keep this amazing breakfast creation to myself.

    Prefer a savory meal? The omelettes are a great choice. Probably the largest omelettes I have ever seen, you can choose from a wide variety of iterations, from vegetarian to a smokehouse version filled with smoked gouda, bacon, mushrooms and caramelized onions.

    The staff is amazing, from the friendly hostess to the skilled servers, cooks and management. Combined with quick service, it’s easy to see that the staff at Nookies really has their act together.

    Street parking can be sparse on a busy weekend morning, but Nookie’s location just a block off the red line’s Bryn Mawr stop make it easy to reach via public transportation. And it’s location in the heart of Edgewater’s historic district makes it the perfect starting point to a day in the city.

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Thu, 12 Sep 2013 15:03:35 GMT
    MojoBistro named one of 100 finalists in the 12th Annual Chicago Innovation Awards

    MojoBistro is proud to announce its selection as one of the top 100 finalists of more than 550 companies nominated for the 2013 Chicago Innovation Awards. Entering into its 12th year, The Chicago Innovation Awards honor the most innovative new products or services in a specific region and is the only organization in the country dedicated to celebrating region specific innovation.This marks MojoBistro’s second nomination for the prestigious award.

    “It is a great honor to be selected as one of the 100 finalists,” said Chris Pautsch, CEO and Co-Founder, KeyLimeTie and Mojolicious. “With such a talented and diverse nomination field, to be recognized as one of the most innovative new products is truly a testament to all of our hard work and dedication. We couldn’t be more thrilled with the news.”

    Competing in the category of B2B Software and Services, MojoBistro was built specifically to offer restaurants a robust collection of features for iOS, Android and Windows phones at an affordable price. Using our intuitive, easy to use web-based Test Kitchen application, Restaurants nationwide, ranging from small independents to large national chains, from quick-serve locations to fine dining establishments, are able to establish and build upon their mobile presence for a fraction of the cost normally associated with creating a mobile app or mobile website. Without the complexity normally associated with building and maintaining mobile apps and mobile websites, restaurants are able to create fully personalized mobile apps with comprehensive features such as event calendar integration, menus, reservation capabilities, social media connections and coupons.

    This year, 13 judges representing a balanced range of Chicago area companies, will begin an exhaustive and complex process to select the final ten winners of the Chicago Innovation Awards as well as ten “Up & Comer” award winners—presented to organizations still in the startup phases of their innovations, ten “Social Innovation” award winners—presented to organizations focuses on advancing a social cause, and ten “Collaboration” award winners—recognizing team collaborations between corporations and startup companies. In additional, all 100 finalists are automatically entered into the running for the annual “People’s Choice Award,” selected through online voting. The final winners will be announced on October 30th and celebrated at an event featuring more than 1,500 business and civic leaders at Chicago’s Harris Theater.

    Vote for MojoBistro today!

    Wed, 11 Sep 2013 18:33:29 GMT
    Marketing to families: Promotions, pricing, presentation Many restaurant customers are families with children under 12. Still, it’s often easy to overlook kids this demographic as vital parts of a restaurant’s service and marketing strategy. Why should you be sure to pay attention to this segment?

    Dining with Family

    Because nearly seven out of 10 consumers say they take into account a restaurant’s family or child friendliness when choosing where to dine, according to National Restaurant Association research.

    “Parties with children under 12 account for $17.7 billion in annual restaurant spending,” says Ian Davidson, brand insight senior manager for C3, a marketing agency that specialized in children and family promotions.

    “The degree to which kids are considered depends on the brand,” says A.J. Mesalic, general manager of Las Vegas–based The Family Hospitality Group, which specializes in children’s premiums and ways to engage and entertain kids. “When they are considered, they can boost the bottom line. Bob Evans is just one good example. By revamping their kids program, they increased their revenue by 30 percent in that segment.”

    Mesalic also maintains a long-term view of children at restaurants.

    “Beyond being customers, children are the future of the restaurant industry. The positive experiences they have at your establishment now can attract them to the profession – and even to working for your restaurant – later on. It’s important to always create comfort and familiarity between families and your brand.”

    Here are six ideas to help you enhance your appeal to families:

    1. Designate a family night. Create one night, such as Monday, as a “kids eat free” promotion. Those promotions often are successful at casual-dining restaurants and can help boost dinner sales.

    2. Aim your marketing at Mom. Moms want their kids to be treated special, so you’ll win them by how you make their kids feel, says mom blogger Julie Casey, known as the Restaurant Mom.

    3. Develop a coupon strategy. Although many restaurants have robust coupon strategies to encourage repeat visits, many overlook families, says Ian Davidson, brand insight senior manager for C3, a marketing agency that specializes in children and family promotions. Create coupons that allow patrons to bundle low-priced individual items for combination meals. Such promotions are particularly successful at quickservice operations.

    4. Stand out from the crowd.Offering memorable presentation will encourage children to ask their parents to revisit your restaurant regularly. “Presentation is a must for children, and marketing/promotional materials should reflect that,” says Jennifer Bilbro of consulting company Out to Eat with Kids. “Variety is essential.”

    5. Engage young guests through interactive activities.Casey encourages operators to offer a variety of games and interesting content on take-home menus and update them regularly. “If kids like the restaurant’s play materials, they’ll take them home.”

    6. Consider digital entertainment.“Kids as young as 12 months are playing games with their parents’ technology,” Casey says, noting that many children are using their parents tablets or smart phones on the way to or from the restaurant.

    “Digital gaming is the modern bridge between parents and children,” says Ian Macdonald, managing director of Kidzsmart Concepts, a Canadian marketing company that specializes in children’s promotions. “It is where restaurants will need to go in marketing to the whole family.”

    Dining with family at restaurants

    An example of digital gaming is the Legend Hunters game for Texas Roadhouse. The program features an ongoing story with characters discovering legends such as Blackbeard. A QR code on children’s menus activates a downloadable application for their parents’ iPhones, smartphones and tablets. Kids can then color scenes from the story, save or print them, upload them to their Facebook pages or e-mail them to family and friends.

    Mesalic of the Family Hospitality group says digital entertainment is the future. He recommends designating at least six tables for kids’ entertainment, depending on the restaurant’s concept and size. “This engages kids in a branded experience that can occupy them for a good part of their restaurant visit.”

    By understanding and adapting to children as profitable and influential customers, you have great potential to grow your business well into the future.

    Source: National Restaurant Association,

    Mon, 09 Sep 2013 22:44:21 GMT
    Restaurant Rave: Old Town Social Looking for the perfect mix of atmosphere, good food and unique drinks? We're raving about Old Town Social in Chicago's Old Town neighborhood! Check back weekly to find other Restaurant Raves for great dining spots around the Chicago area.

    Old Town SocialOld Town Social, $$, Old Town
    455 W. North Avenue, Chicago, IL 60610
    (312) 266-2277
    Reviewed by: Trish Gorecki

    Don’t let looks fool you. Old Town Social may look like your typical sports bar, but a diverse drink menu, upscale amenities and top-quality food take it to a completely different level. Walking in the door, you are met with a unique gastropub feel with dark wood accents, hand-blown glass fixtures and a carved-wood fireplace. Depending on your outing, you can choose from picturesque booths for two, extensive bar seating, high boy tables and outdoor seating surrounded by flower boxes.

    The atmosphere is energetic, fun but also a bit laid back. Throughout the day and into the evening, you can enjoy lively music and even live performances by some lesser known groups and indie bands.

    Old Town SocialA solid beer selection features 18 on draft while a creative cocktail menu is sure to please. Unlike other sports bar, the food at Old Town Social is amazing. Their menu takes standard bar food and elevates it without being over-the-top. Their biggest draw is the charcuterie program with a large selection of offerings made in-house. For a fun twist, try out the hot dog sliders featuring a Chicago-style, Corn Dog and Chili Dog. You can’t go wrong with their selection of burgers and tacos. And don’t miss out on the amazing fries. It’s a hard choice between the Sweet Potato with Avocado Dip or the Hand-Cut Fries with Aioli. Both are a fun and interesting twist on the standard french fry and are slim cut making it easy to savor each and every one.

    Service is great. Even on a busy night, the wait for drinks was short and our waitress was super attentive. We had a large group and they went out of their way to make sure we were all taken care of.

    Old Town Social

    Come game day, you can’t lose at Old Town Social. The booths are the place to be with your own personal TV providing you the opportunity to choose which game to watch. Can’t snag a booth, flat-screen TVs are sprinkled throughout the bar area for your viewing pleasure.

    All in all, Old Town Social is a fantastic choice for a group outing or an intimate night out. Its vibrant bar scene makes for a great time while its tasty menu offerings make it a true neighborhood hot spot. Stop on in to grab a pint, munch on some delicious bites and hang out with friends.

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Fri, 06 Sep 2013 15:07:16 GMT
    Annual Gallup poll shows Americans retain positive view of restaurants Americans continue to view restaurants in a positive light, according to a Gallup survey released last week. The restaurant industry was again found to be one of the most highly regarded business sectors in America – a position the industry has held since Gallup started its annual poll of consumer perception of industries in 2001.

    This year, restaurants came in second only to the computer industry, with farming and agriculture ranking third.

    According to National Restaurant Association research, 93 percent of Americans say they enjoy going to restaurants, and 79 percent say that dining out is a better way for them to make use of their leisure time than cooking at home.

    Restaurants are also strong contributors to the nation’s economy and to local communities. Employing more than 13 million people, the restaurant industry continues to post job growth at double the rate of the overall economy and is expected to outpace overall employment growth for the 14th consecutive year in 2013.

    In addition, more than nine out of 10 restaurants are actively involved in charitable activities. Collectively, the charitable contributions of the nation’s nearly one million restaurants are estimated to reach up to $3 billion each year.

    The Gallup poll asks Americans to rate industries on a scale from "very positive" to "very negative." Lowest on the list this year are oil and gas, the federal government, and the healthcare industry.

    Source: National Restaurant Association,

    Wed, 04 Sep 2013 16:39:24 GMT
    MojoBistro Competes in the 12th Annual Chicago Innovation Awards MojoBistro, a Chicago area-based developer of mobile apps has announced its nomination for the 2013 Chicago Innovation Awards. Entering into its 12th year, The Chicago Innovation Awards honor the most innovative new products or services in a specific region. This marks MojoBistro’s second nomination for the prestigious award.

    “We are honored to once again be nominated for the Chicago Innovation Awards,” said Chris Pautsch, CEO and Co-Founder, KeyLimeTie and Mojolicious. “We are dedicated to creating a product that makes it easy and cost-effective for restaurant owners to create a custom app for their restaurant. It’s a true testament to our success to be recognized for that effort.”

    MojoBistro was built specifically to offer restaurants a robust collection of features for iOS, Android and Windows phones at an affordable price. Restaurants nationwide, ranging from small independents to large national chains, from quick-serve locations to fine dining establishments, are able to establish and build upon their mobile presence for a fraction of the cost normally associated with creating a mobile app or mobile website.

    At the core of MojoBistro is the MojoBistro Test Kitchen, an intuitive, easy to use web-based application, designed to eliminate the complexity normally associated with building and maintaining mobile apps and mobile websites. The web-based app-building platform’s comprehensive feature set includes event calendar integration, menus, reservation capabilities, social media connections and coupons.

    For this year’s Chicago Innovation Awards, 13 judges representing a balanced range of Chicago area companies, will be responsible for determining the top 75 nominees. Once the top 75 nominees have been selected, the judges will begin an exhaustive and complex process to select the final ten winners of the Chicago Innovation Awards as well as ten “Up & Comer” award winners—presented to organizations still in the startup phases of their innovations, ten “Social Innovation” award winners—presented to organizations focuses on advancing a social cause, and ten “Collaboration” award winners—recognizing team collaborations between corporations and startup companies. In additional, all 75 nominees are automatically entered into the running for the annual “People’s Choice Award,” selected through online voting. The final winners will be announced on October 30th and celebrated at an event featuring more than 1,500 business and civic leaders at Chicago’s Harris Theater.

    About Mojolicious
    Mojolicious enables companies to extend the reach of their brand and build relationships with the always-connected and on-the-go mobile customer through enhanced mobile solutions that provide ongoing reciprocal value. MojoBistro Test Kitchen™ is an intuitive and easy to use platform developed exclusively for restaurants, enabling them to manage and maintain their own iPhone, Android and Windows app, along with their mobile-optimized website.

    Mon, 02 Sep 2013 17:35:03 GMT
    Restaurant Rave: Leonardo"s Ristorante Craving some authentic Italian cuisine? We're raving about Leonardo's Ristorante in Chicago's Andersonville neighborhood! Check back weekly to find other Restaurant Raves for great dining spots around the Chicago area.

    Leonardo’s Ristorante, $$, Andersonville
    5657 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60660
    (773) 561-5028
    Reviewed by: Trish Gorecki

    Leonardo's Ristorante

    Tucked into the bustling Andersonville neighborhood, Leonardo’s is a hidden gem. Rustic decor, exposed brick, hardwood floors, inviting red walls and crisp tablecloth service welcome in from the crowds along popular Clark Street. The contemporary Tuscan menu is filled with five-star dining options and quality Italian cuisine at an affordable price.

    My family and I went to Leonardo’s to celebrate my sister-in-law’s birthday. We were seated immediate and right from the start, the service was excellent and the staff was super friendly. As we were perusing the menu, we were presented with baskets of warm bread, olive oil and cheese. The bread was fresh and soft. Between the five of us, we managed to go through almost four baskets.

    Leonardo's Ristorante

    For our group of five, we ordered the Chicken Parmesan, Fettuccine Carbonara, Rigatoni Alla Vodka and the Truffle Risotto. The chicken parmesan was perfectly breaded, topped with marinara sauce and provolone cheese aside a serving of spaghetti and was definitely a favorite. The fettuccini carbonara dish consisted of homemade fettuccini tossed with prosciutto, mushroom, peas and a light but delicious parmesan cream sauce, while the rigatoni alla vodka featured imported italian pasta served with a tasty tomato mascarpone cream sauce. Finally, the truffle risotto, which contained creamy arborio rice, chicken, truffle paste and goat cheese combined into a delicious meal.

    Leonardo's RistoranteBetween all the amazing dishes, we couldn't decide on a favorite. All the dishes were skillfully prepared and absolutely delicious. Because it was a birthday, Leonardo’s surprised us with a special serving of their homemade tiramisu. After such a rich meal, it was hard to find room for another tasty treat, but between the five of us, we managed to finish it off.

    Leonardo’s is truly a gem, hidden away in the popular Andersonville neighborhood. Parking is usually easy to find along Clark or its nearby side streets. For a fabulous meal in a classy, upscale atmosphere, you can’t miss a trip to Leonardo’s.

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Fri, 30 Aug 2013 15:40:09 GMT
    Top 5 Mobile Apps for Foodies The term foodie has gone mainstream. No longer the realm of diners frequenting only the most decadent of restaurants, today’s foodies have taken over. Always looking for a thrifty, but tasty choice, today’s foodies are on-the-go and always connected. With a wealth of food and dining apps available, foodies have plenty of options for tracking down delicious dining.

    Whether you’re a serious foodie or just looking to get your feet wet, there’s an app for you. Lest the choices get too overwhelming, we’ve uncovered the top 5 apps that self-proclaimed foodies are sure to love:

    1. SavoredSavored Created by the geniuses behind Groupon, Savored is great for those looking to save money on their next meal without compromising taste. The app allows you to find new restaurants, make free reservations and earn discounts for doing so. Set your party number, date and time and you get to choose from a variety of restaurant options and discounts. Not sure which to choose? The app also allows you to view the restaurants’ menus and reviews. Free for iOS and Android.

    2. FoodSpotting
    3. Foodspotting Presentation is an important part of the dining experience. With Foodspotting, foodies can search restaurants nearby, view ratings and browse through photos of actual dishes from that location. Visual recommendations from friends and fellow app users are a great way to find the best place to eat. Just browsing? You can bookmark dishes and restaurants to try later. Free for iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows.

    4. NessNess Pandora meets Yelp in this awesome foodie app. Create a taste profile by rating your favorite restaurants and Ness will give you personalized suggestions for your next dining experience. “Likeness scores” predict how likely you are to enjoy a restaurant and allow you to choose from a list of personalized recommendations. You can also check out reviews from Facebook and Foursquare friends. Free for iOS.

    5. Chefs Table
    6. Chefs Table Now you can get insider secrets and dining tips straight from the pros. With Chefs Feed, more than 750 chefs, including Mario Batali, Graham Elliot and Stephanie Izard, share their recommendations on where to eat and why. The app allows you to search by proximity, neighborhood, type of cuisine and more. Free for iOS.

    7. LocalEats Eat like a local. With LocalEats, it's easy to find the perfect local eatery. A strict “no chain restaurant” policy ensure that you will be presented with one-of-a-kind dining choices. Each restaurant features photos and user reviews to help you with your decision. And make sure to take a peek at the “Top 100” list to see which restaurants LocalEats' editors consider the best in town. $0.99 for Android, iOS and Blackberry.

    Food lovers and culinary aficionados alike are guaranteed to love these Top 5 Mobile Apps for Foodies. Know of any other great Foodie apps? Let us know!

    Tue, 27 Aug 2013 20:04:42 GMT
    Report: Deals not driving restaurant traffic Offers must be revamped to attract younger diners, NPD researchers say

    Restaurant Traffic ChartDeals and discounts did not drive restaurant traffic in 2012 as much as they did in prior years, and operators need to re-engineer offers to appeal to younger diners, according to research released Monday by The NPD Group.

    Restaurant visits driven by a deal or discount declined 3 percent for the year ending in December 2012 compared with the prior year, according to Port Washington, N.Y.-based NPD’s foodservice market research.

    Researchers blamed the decrease in deal traffic on the increased reliance on bundled meals and value menu offerings, tactics that many restaurant chains used last year with the hope of weaning consumers off of straight discounts.

    “Deals and special offers definitely influence restaurant visits, and if it weren’t for deals during the recession, the industry would have fared much worse, but some of the deals being offered today aren’t resonating with consumers,” said Bonnie Riggs, restaurant industry analyst for NPD.

    In 2008, when consumers were hit hardest by the recession, restaurant visits based on deals or discounts rose 5 percent, while non-deal traffic fell 1 percent, NPD said. That trend continued into 2009, when deal-related traffic rose 3 percent, while non-deal traffic declined by 4 percent.

    By 2012, however, those trends were reversed. Deal-related restaurant traffic fell 3 percent last year, and non-deal traffic rose 2 percent.

    One factor may be that many restaurant deals, such as "two for $20" lunch deals in casual dining, have been in place for several years now. “After certain deals have been in the marketplace for a while, they become the norm," Riggs explained. "It becomes no longer a deal to consumers."

    In addition, in the quick-service world, in particular, the disparity between deal and non-deal pricing is shrinking, she added. That factor has hurt traffic among younger consumers specifically, an age group that continues to be very price sensitive.

    Going into 2013, value remains top of mind for all consumers, especially as the payroll tax increase and rising gas prices take a toll on discretionary spending, said Riggs. NPD has projected that overall traffic overall will remain slightly negative in 2013, especially among full-service restaurants.

    The NPD report, “Planning for Growth in the New Normal Marketplace,” explores how restaurant operators can rethink their value message. “Considering current consumer sentiment and their continuing frugality, the deals that have historically appealed to restaurant customers need to be re-engineered and the next generation of deals introduced,” Riggs said.

    Mobile CouponsRestaurant operators are going to have to get more innovative and creative, she noted. “They’re going to have to make deals seem like something new and different.”

    Coupons — especially those available on restaurant company websites — continue to be traffic drivers, Riggs said, while bundled meals and value menus are not as effective in getting diners through the door.

    “People tend to want a discount on regular menu items, things they like,” said Riggs, rather than targeted items with low prices. “You can have something that costs $1, but if it’s not decent quality and doesn’t taste good, it’s not worth $1.”

    Looking for innovative ideas to drive traffic? Check out MojoBistro's Coupon Feature for details on how app coupons can help your business!

    Source: Lisa Jennings, Nation's Restaurant News,

    Mon, 26 Aug 2013 15:08:28 GMT
    The Scoop on Instagram Food Photos Instagram LogoCustomers snapping artful pictures of their meal has become a common sight in restaurants and cafe’s across the country. Instagram food photos are a widespread phenomenon no longer limited to fancy, upscale restaurants. Nowadays, people are taking enormous amounts of photos in everything from mom-and-pop diners to chain restaurants such as PF Chang’s and the Cheesecake Factory. In fact, a study conducted by MomentFeed at the end of 2012 reported 4,899 Instagram user posted photos with a Cheesecake Factory location over an 18-day period.

    While restaurants have often found the over-abundance of “snap-happy” smartphone users to be an annoyance, many are now embracing them and their role as “brand ambassadors.” Not only do the posts help to bring followers to the restaurant’s own instagram feed, they also increase a restuarants reach to a larger market. A single user with a large Instagram following has the potential to share an image of your enticing menu offerings with a network of anywhere from 500 to 20,000 users who might not otherwise be aware of your restaurant.

    Realizing the immense potential in using social networks to boost business, many restaurants have begun courting Instagram users with off-menu freebies and special offers. Some restaurants have gone so far as to change the plating of their food to display better on Instagram.

    Instagram food photos are not going away anytime soon so make sure your restaurant is taking full advantage of all the benefits. Here are three tips to get you started:

    1. Instagram Food PhotosMake sure to publicize your social media hashtag. Having it displayed at the table, on tent cards or on the menu, is a great way to promote your Instagram presence.

    2. Court Instagram users with freebies. Offer free non-menu items to Instagrammers who post a photo during their meal. If someone has their phone out, it’s the perfect opportunity to mention the special offer.

    3. Offer special perks to loyal and popular influencers. You want to maximize your outreach by targeting influences with larger numbers of followers - often 500 or 1,000. From free food to special perks like VIP seating, these offers are a great way to increase your Instagram presence.

    Find more tips on using social media at your restaurant, visit our Social Media Maitre D' Blog Series!

    Fri, 09 Aug 2013 15:10:39 GMT
    Restaurant Rave: Pazzo"s Cucina Italiana Taste Off ChampionCongratulations to Pazzo's Cucina Italiana - winner of MojoBistro's 2013 Taste of Chicago Taste Off! We're raving about their award-winning menu! If your on the hunt for some top quality, traditional Italian cuisine, you can't miss this city favorite! Check back weekly to find other Restaurant Raves for great dining spots around the Chicago area.

    Pazzo'sPazzo’s Cucina Italiana, $$, Chicago Loop
    23 E Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60604
    (312) 386-9400
    Reviewed by: Trish Gorecki

    Modern chic upstairs, classic sports bar downstairs. At Pazzo’s Cucina Italiana, you get two restaurants in one.

    Upstairs, warm colors, wood tones, and mock wave features set an inviting mood. Settle into a comfortable booth or spacious table for a meal filled with traditional Italian dishes, made fresh. Seafood lovers will delight in the Linguine Capesante, featuring jumbo seared sea scallops, sun-dried tomatoes and leeks tossed in a white wine saffron cream sauce and served over a bed of fresh linguine. The sauce is rich and creamy, a perfect addition to the perfectly cooked scallops. Or give the Fettuccine al Frutti di Mare a try. With shrimp, scallops, clams, roasted garlic and basil with a spicy tomato sauce, it's a definite must try.

    Pazzo's Make sure you don’t miss out on the gourmet pizza offerings! From the traditional Margherita and Pepperoni to crusts topped with creamy goat cheese, caramelized onions and pancetta, you are sure to find a combination to tickle your taste buds!

    On game day, head downstairs and you will find a row of flat screens creating the perfect viewing location. And you can always find your favorite drink on tap along with a wide range of game day specials. Be sure to get your spot early on DePaul Blue Demon game days as Pazzo’s is a popular stop for students at the university’s city campus.

    Whether you are looking for a nice spot to enjoy a taste of old Italy or want to cheer on the hometown team with some buddies, Pazzo’s fits the bill. Quality service, delicious menu offerings and an inviting atmosphere make it the perfect choice for dining out in the Windy City!

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Fri, 02 Aug 2013 14:48:14 GMT
    How Can Instagram’s New Video Feature Help Your Restaurant? Instagram VideoWhat is Instagram you ask? It’s the photo-based social network that connects with all your favorite social media sites. Users snap a photo with their mobile phone, choose a filter and share them with their friends. Today, Instragram has 90 million monthly active users, uploading 40 million photos per day, 8,500 likes per second and posting 1,000 comments per second.

    Recently Instragram introduced its new video feature, allowing users to post videos up to 15 seconds in length. But how does Instragram’s video feature affect restaurant owners? Restaurant managers already know that posting photos of a restaurant's menu and interior are great ways to boost attendance and interest. The video feature of Instragram is a great way to show off your restaurant to a wider, connected audience in a more in-depth and action packed way.

    Here’s some tips on how to use this great new feature to your advantage:

    1. Highlight your unique atmosphere. Take a video of a busy day or popular event. Make sure to focus on a fun, energetic moment in your restaurant.

    2. Showcase your menu. If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine how many a video is worth! Create great videos featuring your most popular menu items or focus on showing off your chef’s skills.

    3. Feature your employees. Let your customers get to know who’s behind the scenes. It’s a great way to build a positive, friendly environment.

    4. Market your special events. Have a holiday party? Happy Hour? Get the word out with an Instragram video advertisement.

    5. You can also search keywords to view any photos or videos taken at your restaurant by your customers! You can also search keywords to view any photos or videos taken at your restaurant by your customers! It’s a great way to market your dining establishment.

    For more details on the launch of video on Instagram, click here.

    Thu, 25 Jul 2013 15:19:42 GMT
    An Inside Look at Analytics AnalyticsThe transition to mobile communications is changing the way we work, play and live our lives. Today, more than half of mobile subscribers in the U.S. own smartphones. And as the number of smartphone owners rise, so too does the popularity of mobile apps. The average number of apps per smartphone has risen to 41 apps. In fact, more than 15 billion and 25 billion Android and iOS apps have been downloaded, respectively, since their introduction.

    For business owners, understanding their mobile apps and how they drive traffic and build loyalty is vital to success in today’s hi-tech world. Having insight into customer’s mobile interactions allow businesses to create targeted and efficient marketing campaigns and determine best practices in their mobile strategy.

    Analytics are an easy way to collect data on customer’s mobile habits - measuring the journey from discovery to download through to engagement. Through tailored reports, users can pull data that it is important to them . Want to know the number of Android versus iOS users? Looking to see what your app’s most popular feature is? Customizing your analytics reports allows you to pull that information.

    For restaurant owners with mobile apps, analytics are a great way to track effectiveness and ROI. Track the number of daily app views, determine your most visited areas or even track downloads by location.

    Looking to engage in a mobile campaign? Want to determine the number of coupons being redeemed via customer’s mobile phones? Track your success through analytics.

    MojoBistro Test KitchenMany mobile app platforms like MojoBistro give restaurant owners the ability to interact with customers via push notification and coupons. These are prime ways to increase your app popularity with your mobile customers. Use these functions to remind them of special events at your restaurant and offer them personalized discounts based on their dining preferences.

    For MojoBistro customers, tracking analytics is easy. Within the MojoBistro Test Kitchen, analytics are collected on app usage, downloads and views. Simply log into the Test Kitchen and view your data in easy-to-read graphs. It’s the first step in taking advantage of the growing mobile scene and building a loyal, mobile customer base.

    Wed, 03 Jul 2013 14:26:28 GMT
    Introducing the Apple iOS7 iOS7 ComparisonApple fanboys can rejoice! The next version of Apple’s mobile software is here and we are very excited to fill you in on all the great new features.

    Lauded by Apple CEO Tim Cook as, “the biggest change to iOS since the introduction of the iPhone,” the iOS7 promises to be the makeover of all makeovers. While the redesigned software won’t be coming to an iPhone 4, iPhone 4S or iPhone 5 near you until this fall, the beta version is already active.

    Here’s a sneak peek at some of the features to be found in “the world’s most advanced mobile OS":

    1. Slick New Design The end has come for textures and patterned backgrounds. The new iOS7 has replaced them with a cleaner design, brighter colors and increased use of white space. Despite these changes, the layout remains user-friendly and familiar. The icon grid and pull-down notification tray users have come to love are here to stay.

    2. Siri Revamped Also here to stay is the lovable, knowledgeable Siri, although with some changes. The redesigned, mature Siri comes with a “new brain” allowing for faster and fuller results pulled from Bing, Wikipedia and Twitter. And now, you can customize with male and female voice options.

    3. Control Center Working your phone has just gotten a lot simpler. The introduction of the Control Center feature allows users quick access to their favorite controls. With a swipe of the hand, you can easily access Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Airplane mode toggles, adjust the brightness and volume, turn on Apple’s new built-in flashlight and control your music.
    1. Camera and Photo Updates Addicted to Instagram? Then you’ll love the new iOS7 camera interface that allows you to apply filters to your photos directly on your phone. iPhone photographers will enjoy the new organization features that categorize your photos based on the date and location they were taken. And the introduction of AirDrop will make sharing your photos a breeze - simply select your friends and share your photos wirelessly.

    2. Anti-Theft No more nightmares about having your iPhone stolen! Apple’s new security features make stealing iOS devices a hassle. With the “Activation Lock” setting, thieves will be required to enter your iCloud username and password in order to reactivate an iPhone. While not a guaranteed fail-safe, these additional security mechanism can bring you a little piece of mind the next time you leave your phone behind at a restaurant.iOS7 Features

    With all these new features, diehard Apple fans might worry about sweeping changes, but have no fear! While the apps and design may look different, the functionality is still very familiar. You’ll be an expert user in no time!

    Thu, 27 Jun 2013 16:39:03 GMT
    Restaurant Raves: Javier"s Sabor Mexicano We're raving about Javier's Sabor Mexicano! If your on the hunt for some top quality, authentic Mexican cuisine, you can't miss this suburban hot spot! Check back weekly to find other Restaurant Raves for great dining spots around the Chicago area.

    Javier's Sabor MexicanoJavier's Sabor Mexicano, $$, Arlington Heights
    8 West Miner St., Arlington Heights, IL
    (847) 255-7075
    Reviewed by: Trish Gorecki

    Just steps from the train station in downtown Arlington Heights, Javier’s Sabor Mexicano offers delicious, authentic Mexican cuisine amidst a bustling neighborhood. Anyone looking for some great Mexican food out in the Northwest Suburbs can’t miss this popular joint.

    The atmosphere is fun and laid back. The dim lighting helps set an intimate mood, offset with wall lanterns, recessed lighting and tabletop candles. Authentically Mexican decorations, including Mexican masks and vibrant artwork, stand out against the warmly painted walls. Step inside and you are transported to a true Agave Bar. When the weather is right, you’ll want to make sure you get a spot out on the covered outdoor patio!

    Javier's Sabor MexicanoImmediately upon being sat, your meal starts with complimentary chips and salsa. These aren’t your typical supermarket chips, but authentic, crisp and salty treats. The salsa is moderately spicy and you can taste the freshness of the ingredients. You can always request something more mild if you prefer.

    The menu features many of the Mexican dishes you have come to know and love, but make no mistake, this isn’t some Americanized version. At Javier’s you know you are getting tasty, traditional Mexican food.

    I always treat myself to the chicken enchiladas. The chicken is juicy and flavorful while the soft corn tortillas, enchilada sauce and melted cheese made a to-die-for meal. Tamale lovers will enjoy the choice of pork or chicken tamales all served in the husk.

    Not sure what to get? Too many choices? Try a combination platter. Served with rice and beans, you can choose up to 4 different dishes. It’s the perfect way to try a little bit of everything!

    Street parking is fairly easy and the garage one block over offers a large number of spaces. Javier’s is a popular stop in Arlington Heights so make sure to make a reservation if you don’t want to wait on a busy Friday or Saturday night.

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Thu, 20 Jun 2013 15:33:56 GMT
    Apple’s new “Apps Near Me” feature great for restaurants Apps Near MeLast week, Apple hosted it’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, showcasing their latest updates and releases. We’re really excited about Apple’s new “Apps Near Me” feature which is being released along with iOS 7.

    Apple’s “Apps Near Me” feature will show users a collection of popular apps relevant to their current location at any given time. Say you are taking a family vacation to the Windy City and are looking for family-friendly attractions or a great restaurant within walking distance of the Lincoln Park Zoo. “Apps Near Me” will recommend apps to help you find the best venues and attractions near your current location.

    This new feature will be a great opportunity for our MojoBistro mobile app customers. We at MojoBistro are often asked how to promote restaurant apps so that both new and existing customers will download it. Now, MojoBistro’s mobile app customers’ restaurant apps will show up in the iTunes App Store in the “Near Me” section when individuals search for activities and dining options in their vicinity.

    “Apps Near Me” is a great benefit to restaurants with iOS mobile apps who will now receive free marketing every time an individual in their area searches for something to do or somewhere to eat. By making their apps relevant to a location, restaurants will gain the visibility need to acquire new users who will discover their app on the go. It’s a great way to build up a customer base and pack the house!

    Want to learn about additional releases showcased at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference? Check out our blog.

    Tue, 18 Jun 2013 19:49:19 GMT
    Apple Answers “What’s Next?” at Worldwide Developers Conference WWDCFrom June 11 - 14, Apple is hosting it’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, providing fans and followers with an in-depth look at what’s next in the Apple universe. The event kicked off on Monday with its keynote address announcing the latest updates and releases.

    Software upgrades were the focus of this year’s conference with additional hardware updates focused on Apple’s Mac offerings.

    The standout feature of the event was the introduction of Apple’s new mobile operating system, iOS7. Lauded as the biggest upgrade to its mobile platform since the launch of the original iPhone, iOS7 includes a sleek new design and forward-thinking feature upgrades. At the forefront of these new features is the Control Center, designed to make the user experience easier, faster and more enjoyable with swipe-able access to your most used features.

    Additional software upgrades include a revamp of its current OS with the OS X Mavericks. Promising to give users the power to do more with an energy-efficient Mac, OS X Mavericks extends battery life with software features including “app nap”—which kills the power being used by one open app if you switch to a different one, “safari power saver”—which converts website’s plug-in content to static previews, and compressed memory.

    WWDC KeynoteWhile the company’s featured reveal focused on major changes to its current desktop and laptop operating systems and its platform for mobile devices, Apple fans can also look forward to a new line of MacBook Airs and the new Mac Pro. The MacBook Air touts an all-day battery life, fourth-generation Intel Core processor and faster flash storage. Meanwhile, the Mac Pro, coming out later this year, has been redesigned and rethought to offer state-of-the-art performance, increased processing speed and expanded memory.

    These announcements mark the latest in Apple’s software and hardware revamping and promises to make the Apple user experience more streamlined, user-friendly and convenient. Stay tuned for more updates and information on the Worldwide Developers Conference.

    Tue, 11 Jun 2013 21:57:25 GMT
    Restaurant Raves: Weber Grill We're raving about Weber Grill! If you haven't taken the time to check out this barbecue lovers paradise, now is the time to stop on by! You'll be glad you did! Check back weekly to find other Restaurant Raves for great dining spots around the Chicago area.

    Weber Grill LogoWeber Grill, $$, Schaumburg
    1010 N. Meacham Road, Schaumburg, IL 60173
    (847) 413-0800
    Reviewed by: Trish Gorecki

    A bright red grill stands tall at the entrance of Weber Grill in Schaumburg. Walk inside and you are greeted by the classic, smoky smell of summer barbecues. Grilling paraphernalia decorates the walls while dark wood accents, leather booths and soft lighting create an upscale pub feeling. Weber Grill, Schaumburg

    Weber grill accessories are scattered through the restaurant. From the grill lid heat lamps to the over-sized cooking grills, everything about Weber Grill Restaurant evokes the feeling of a luxurious backyard barbecue.

    Weber Grill’s menu is filled with classic grill items, from New York Strip Steak to Grill Roasted BBQ Chicken. Everything on the menu is top-quality, fresh and prime cut. Gluten-free and children’s menus are available on request and ensure that all diners can enjoy some amazing grilled meals.

    I went to Weber Grill as a treat for some friends from out-of-state. We started our meal off with a cup of the Baked Onion Soup. It was delicious—creamy, smooth and full of flavor. The soup was served with a soft pretzel bread and assorted cheese spread, a nice alternative to the standard bread rolls. It was all we could do to avoid eating the bread by the basketful!

    For entrees, we selected the Beef Brisket and the Citrus Pesto Tuna. The brisket was slow-smoked and slathered with Weber’s Classic BBQ Seasoning and Hickory BBQ Sauce. It was cooked to perfection and the serving size made it easy to bring some home for the next day. The tuna was grilled perfectly to order, drizzled with fresh herb citrus pesto and served atop a bed of orange fennel salad. The tuna was juicy and tender and the citrus pesto and orange fennel salad were delicious and refreshing.

    Don’t miss out on the amazing drink offerings. Wine is the feature at Weber Grill and the selection is extensive. From Cabernet, Merlot and Shiraz to Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and sparkling wine, finding the perfect accompaniment to your meal is simple. Not sure what to pair with your filet mignon? The wait staff is knowledgeable and ready to offer their insights.

    We were too full to try out a dessert, but the offerings looked delicious. The Caramel Apple Pie and Mini Cupcakes seemed to be exceedingly popular based on their traffic to the neighboring tables.

    Anyone who loves a meal straight from the grill will love Weber Grill Restaurant. Evenings can be very busy so make sure to make a reservation. You won’t regret it!

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Wed, 05 Jun 2013 17:38:41 GMT
    Mobile Apps: Are They Right For My Restaurant? Make your restaurant mobileOur MojoBistro support team receives many questions from restaurant owners about developing mobile apps, and the how and why of it all. Questions like... Is a mobile app right for my restaurant? Why do I need a mobile app for my restaurant? Is a custom app worth the investment? Can’t I just use the Yelp app to market my restaurant?

    The short answer is really a question: Don’t you want to be where your customers are?

    With more and more people jumping on the smartphone bandwagon, if you aren’t available on mobile then you might get overlooked as a restaurant brand. According to comScore, 133.7 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones at the end of February 2013. That’s a lot of people searching for a restaurant to eat at while on the go. A lot of people that could find your app in the app store and subsequently dine at your restaurant (return on investment!).

    According to an April 2013 update from Smart Insights, “App usage (80% of time) dominates browsers in mobile usage.”

    While managing your Yelp presence is important to your marketing plan, so is having a custom branded appearance in the app stores. Custom branded apps are the best way to connect with your mobile customer. You have full control of what goes in your mobile app. For instance with a custom branded MojoBistro app, your restaurant can feature your restaurant’s story, menu, events, social media accounts, and much more.

    Many mobile app platforms like MojoBistro give restaurant owners the ability to interact with customers via push notification and coupons. These are prime ways to increase your app popularity with your mobile customers. Use these functions to remind them of special events at your restaurant and offer them personalized discounts based on their dining preferences.

    We would not be doing what we are doing here at MojoBistro if we thought your restaurant did not need a mobile app. At MojoBistro, we believe that mobile apps are an important part of a successful restaurant’s marketing strategy. And, we believe your app should be completely loaded with features without a high price tag. Interested? Contact us today!

    Mon, 03 Jun 2013 21:51:19 GMT
    MojoBistro Celebrates a Successful Return to the 2013 National Restaurant Association Show MojoBistro at the NRA
    MojoBistro marked its second appearance at the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show, held at McCormick Place, Chicago, Illinois from May 18-21. Once again, the show was a huge success, drawing in a crowd of interested restaurateurs and potential partnerships. The app design station featured at the booth was extremely popular, attracting convention goers with the opportunity to have their very own app created while at the show.

    MojoBistro's NRA BoothMojoBistro’s app design station provided attendees the opportunity to preview what a custom branded mobile app would look like for their restaurant. Onsite design covered all available features including event calendar integration, menus, reservation capabilities, social media connections and coupons. In addition, attendees’ apps were personalized using the available App Icon and Splash Screen features as well as the customizable app backgrounds and fonts.

    More than 60 lucky attendees were given the opportunity to reserve an app preview in advance of the show. In addition, all convention attendees were able to have MojoBistro’s onsite design and development team create a preview app while at the show. In total, over the course of the show, more than 200 restaurants took advantage of the opportunity to preview their mobile app. Interest was so high, that MojoBistro required offsite assistance to keep up with the overwhelming demand.

    In honor of the show, MojoBistro is offering a show special available through June 15, 2013. Simply purchase the 12-Month, $99 Interactive Subscription—providing you with a robust collection of features including event calendar integration, menus, reservation capabilities, social media connections and coupons—and you will receive Built By MojoBistro app design ($250 Value) and 2 Free Platforms, one of which must be Windows 8 ($499 Value).

    Take advantage of this great offer and you will have the opportunity to create a unique app tailored to your brand and style. It’s the perfect way to successfully build upon your growing mobile presence.

    Want to learn more about MojoBistro and our advanced, in-app features? Contact us today!

    Thu, 23 May 2013 17:17:49 GMT
    MojoBistro and Microsoft Corporation join together at 2013 National Restaurant Association Show MojoBistro at the NRA
    MojoBistro has partnered with Microsoft Corporation to provide an additional platform for its restaurant-centric mobile apps. The partnership will be highlighted at the upcoming 2013 National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show, held at McCormick Place, Chicago, Illinois from May 18-21. This will be the second NRA show for MojoBistro, who will be promoting its newly created Windows 8 phone platform at their booth, #5670, within the Technology Pavilion.

    MojoBistro Windows 8 App Platform

    The Windows 8 platform, resulting from the collaboration between MojoBistro and Microsoft, will enable restaurant owners to reach their mobile customers through additional channels. The enhanced platform will feature all the advanced, in-app features currently found in MojoBistro’s existing Android and iOS apps including event calendar integration, menus, reservation capabilities, social media connections, coupons and the ability for customization and personalization.

    A Microsoft representative will be available at the MojoBistro booth discussing the Windows 8 features that will be available in the next release and answering any questions NRA attendees may have about the new platform and its capabilities.

    To celebrate this successful partnership and new platform launch, stop by the booth during the show and you will receive a free Windows 9 app!

    Can’t make the show? Sign up today for your 12 month MojoBistro subscription and you’ll get three platforms free (Windows, iOS and Android). Now is the perfect time to go mobile. Let MojoBistro help you reach your on-the-go customers today!

    Want to learn more about MojoBistro and its advanced features? Contact us today!

    Fri, 17 May 2013 16:29:59 GMT
    Restaurant Rave Roundup for the 2013 National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago Veteran visitors of the National Restaurant Association Show (NRA Show) know that eating all day at the show comes par for the course. If you are still hungry afterwards, it’s a miracle. However, if you are visiting from out of town for the 2013 NRA Show, you might want to take this opportunity to try some of Chicago’s unique and delectable dining venues—even if it is just to grab a cocktail, craft brew, appetizer, or dessert.

    Here is a roundup of some of MojoBistro’s favorite haunts in town to try while you are visiting:

    union sushiUnion Sushi and Barbecue Bar, Near North Side, $$$
    230 W. Erie St., Chicago IL
    (312) 662-4888

    I wasn’t an obsessed sushi fan until I found Union Sushi. Now I am hooked! Union is my go-to place to hangout with girlfriends after work for cocktails and sushi. Whether we sit at the sushi bar, by the barbecue, or in the dining room, we always have a fabulous time! Read our full review here.

    The Cape Cod Room
    The Cape Cod Room, The Gold Coast, $$$-$$$$

    The Drake, 140 East Walton Place, Chicago, IL
    (312) 787-2200

    There is truly something magical about the historic Cape Cod Room at The Drake. Perhaps it is the divided dining spaces and enormous wooden booths that create a cozy and intimate atmosphere, making you feel like you are dining in your own home. It could be the historic relevance, literally carved into the famous wooden bar, of a restaurant that dates back to 1933 and has continuously been named as one of America’s finest dining spots. Read our full review here.

    Market Restaurant and BarMarket Restaurant and Sports Bar, Near West Side, $$
    1113 W Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60607

    Looking for the perfect place to watch the big game, to enjoy a cool drink year round in a covered and heated beer garden, or to take in the beautiful Chicago skyline unhindered? Look no further than Market Restaurant & Sports Bar. Read our full review here.

    Mercadito Chicago, Near North Side, $$$

    108 W. Kinzie St., Chicago
    (312) 329-9555

    Mercadito just might be my favorite Mexican restaurant in Chicago! It definitely gets my vote for restaurant with the best margarita in town. There is simply nothing better than a margarita on the rocks made with freshly squeezed lime juice and good tequila after a long week at work. Hands down as far as I’m concerned, Mercadito has one of the freshest and tastiest margaritas in town as well as a first-rate line up of tequilas. Read our full review here.

    The Gage
    The Gage, The Loop, $$$

    24 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60603
    (312) 372-4243

    Just steps from Chicago’s famed Millennium Park, The Gage combines the laid-back atmosphere of a European pub with the refinement and high-quality menu of a top-notch dining establishment. The vintage decor, from the historical facades to the floor-to-ceiling windows evoke a feeling of classic elegance. For a peak at the past, check out the early 20th century theater magazine advertisements for Gage hats that line the staircase to the restaurant’s lower level. Read our full review here.

    Chuck's Manufacturing
    Chuck's Manufacturing, The Loop, $$

    224 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60601
    (312) 334-6700

    This unique dining destination is conveniently located at the heart of Chicago’s renown Michigan Avenue. The atmosphere can only be described as bold and eclectic, resembling something out of a Roald Dahl novel. Bold acrylics and bright CMYK colors—the base colors used for all color construction—represent the restaurant’s manufacturing roots. Read our full review here.

    Read all of our Restaurant Raves here. And, don’t forget to stop by Booth #5670 at the show to say hello to MojoBistro!

    Wed, 15 May 2013 15:38:29 GMT
    Develop an App for your Restaurant at MojoBistro"s NRA Show Booth MojoBistro at the NRA
    On May 18-21, MojoBistro will be participating in the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show, held at McCormick Place, Chicago, Illinois. For the second consecutive year, MojoBistro will be showcasing its comprehensive, convenient and accessible mobile app platform. Make sure to visit MojoBistro, located at Booth #5670 within the Technology Pavilion, as they will be pulling out all the stops with their new, interactive app design station.

    MojoBistro Test Kitchen

    MojoBistro understands that between running a restaurant and catering to customers, it can be hard to find the time to develop and implement a mobile app. Creating your mobile app doesn’t have to be a chore. With MojoBistro, restaurant owners can simply follow the integrated wizard to create a fully functional, personalized app. At this years’ show, MojoBistro is focused on showing customers just how easy it is to create a fully-functional, top-of-the-line, mobile app for their restaurant.

    Convention goers can check out MojoBistro’s intuitive Test Kitchen at their booth’s design station. Featuring an integrated web wizard that navigates users through the content entry process, the Test Kitchen makes it easy for customers to created a fully personalized app. The MojoBistro team will be on hand to build a fully custom branded mobile app preview for interested visitors.

    Onsite design will cover all available app features. Using the Test Kitchen, guests will be shown the development process and have the opportunity to personalize features including event calendar integration, menus, reservation capabilities, social media connections and coupons. In addition, attendees can update the appearance of their app using the available App Icon and Splash Screen features as well as the customizable app backgrounds and fonts. For a more in-depth view of our available features, check out our MojoBistro: Feature Series.

    Make sure to stop by Booth #5670 to learn more about how MojoBistro can help your restaurant connect with the mobile market and let our developers create an app for you! Want to learn more? Contact us today!

    Mon, 13 May 2013 18:52:58 GMT
    Tips for Encouraging Users to Keep Your Mobile App on Their Phone Keep Your Mobile App on Their PhoneIt is tempting to create your restaurant’s mobile app and then leave it in the app store for your customers to discover on their own. However, it is a more prosperous tactic to be proactive and promote your app where you know your customers will see it—in your restaurant!

    In addition to consistently promoting your restaurant’s mobile app on marketing materials throughout your restaurant, it is also a smart idea to keep your app updated and filled with fresh content. Do you have a seasonal menu special that could be added? Do you have a special happy hour or wine tasting event that you can promote in the calendar section of your app? These are all savvy ways to keep your app content fresh and engage your mobile app audience.

    Basically the rules of encouraging users to keep your restaurant’s mobile app on their phone are simple. Keep the app updated, promote your app around your restaurant, and utilize the interactive features of your app to keep app consumers engaged. That means dedicating a couple hours each month (at least) to looking over your mobile app for any holes that could be filled with new content. Think about new events, photos, menu items, and more that you can add to your app to spruce it up on at least a monthly basis.

    Here are some more specific suggestions for engaging your app consumers:

    Hook Customers with Mobile Coupons and Keep Them Coming Back to Your App and Your Restaurant!:
    Offering app users a special coupon immediately after they download your restaurant’s app is a smart start! Providing them with an instant benefit is a tasty incentive to join your mobile base. Follow up on a routine basis and give them soon-to-expire coupons to drive consistent traffic and encourage customer loyalty.

    Utilize Push Notifications to Increase Customer Engagement with Your App:
    Be clever and timely with your push notifications to increase customer response. Instead of the standard number “codes” try something more memorable, like a clever phrase promoting a new menu item or special event. Send out fun facts or tidbits of information about your restaurant or menu in addition to specials and deals. Whatever you send, make sure that you are providing valuable information to you customers.

    Allow Diners to Make Reservations Through Your App:
    Putting reservation capabilities in the palm of your customer’s hand is a delicious benefit for them to keep your mobile app on their phone. And with the ability to make online reservations ranking near the top of the list in a Washington Post survey, it is important that your restaurant meets this growing demand. Making it easy to book a table with your restaurant’s mobile app is a simple way to turn diners into loyal app users.

    Create a Loyalty Program:
    Speaking of loyal customers, why not use your app to offer a loyalty program and reward customers for frequent dining? Loyalty programs allow restaurants to collect important information from customers like contact information, birthdays, anniversaries, and more. You can then use this information to tailor deals specifically to each individual app user. Talk about fabulous customer service!

    Read more about promoting your app in-house with marketing materials.

    Fri, 10 May 2013 16:21:38 GMT
    Restaurant Raves: Torajiro Sushi We're raving about Torajiro Sushi! If you haven't taken the time to check out this hidden Lincoln Park favorite, now is the time to stop on by! You'll be glad you did! Check back weekly to find other Restaurant Raves for great dining spots around the Chicago area.

    Torajiro Sushi ChicagoTorajiro Sushi, $$, Chicago
    432 W. Diversey Parkway, Chicago, IL 60614
    (773) 477-5000
    Reviewed by: Trish Gorecki

    Looking for a true hole-in-the-wall Chicago dining experience? Craving some top quality sushi in the Windy City? Torajiro Sushi in Lincoln Park is the perfect spot for those looking for a quiet place to hide away and enjoy fresh, authentic sushi dishes. Torajiro Sushi

    Transcend the front stairs into the garden-level restaurant and you are instantly greeted by the chef. The walls in this cozy and quaint sushi joint are lined with postcards sent by loyal customers from their worldwide travels as well as the traditional oriental mainstains such as Samurai swords, paintings and scrolls. The atmosphere is super friendly with the staff open to providing suggestions, explaining menu items or even showing how the rolls are prepared. Closely positioned tables make for a laid-back but inviting experience.

    The quality of the food is superb. From the standard selection of sushi rolls to Japanese entrees such as udon, shrimp tempura and chicken teriyaki, you are sure to find the perfect meal. The Spicy Tuna Maki is guaranteed to become a favorite, with its combination of tuna, scallion and spicy mayo, while the Sweet Potato Maki is a unique twist on the growing popularity of sweet potatoes.

    Don’t miss out on the featured specials. Try the Fiery Torpedo Maki, featuring spicy tuna and shrimp tempura. The combination makes for a delicious and super spicy roll. Be sure to order the amazing Chicago Fire Maki! This deep fried roll dipped in a spicy sauce and served without rice is by far the most interesting and delectable way I have ever seen spicy tuna prepared.

    No matter what you order, Torajiro is sure to delight. Make sure to check out this hidden gem the next time you are in the neighborhood!

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Tue, 07 May 2013 15:05:59 GMT
    Eight Tips for Marketing your Restaurant’s Mobile App In-House Marketing your restaurants mobile appYou put major effort towards preparing and releasing your restaurant’s iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone apps. Now, you have to dedicate some time to promoting the app to your customers. There are many ways you can advertise your restaurant’s smartphone app without spending a ton of money. Look around you, there are plenty of marketing items within your restaurant that you already print that you can add a plug for your app on. And, you most likely have a ready supply of team members that can market your app to customers simply by mentioning while serving them their ice teas or guiding them to their table.

    Make sure to take advantage of these small ways you can market within your restaurant that will not blow your marketing budget. Here are some of our ideas on how you can promote your mobile app within your restaurant with your existing manpower.

    1. Update In-House Marketing Materials: Update your current marketing materials such as posters, table tents, beeper stickers, download cards (like at Starbucks), coasters, postcards, etc. with a plug to download your mobile app from the appropriate app store.

    2. Send Push Notifications: Utilize Push Notifications as a coupon. Basically, make sure that you reward customers that download your restaurant’s mobile app by sending out weekly discounts for using and keeping the app on their phones.

    3. Utilize Social Media: Use Facebook and Twitter as a way to build awareness of your mobile app. Send out tweets and update your status with links to download the app from the iTunes Store, Google Play, or the Windows Store. Increase the chance of more people downloading the app by offering an incentive for showing the app to their server during their next meal such as a free dessert or 10 percent off their check.

    4. Encourage Social Sharing: If someone downloads the app and shares the app on Facebook, then offer them a free dessert. Tons of foodies are taking pictures of their meals and sharing on their social media pages so why not reward them by giving them an incentive to share socially while dining with you? It’s a win win!

    5. Create a Social Media Contest: Engage your social media fans by creating a contest that offers them a reward at your restaurant. Ask them to tweet to their followers promoting your restaurant app with a special hashtag on Twitter, and the person with the most retweets wins a free meal.

    6. Blog About It!: Does your restaurant already have a blog? Make sure to write a post about your new mobile app. Don’t have a blog but you do have a website? Add a quick note on the homepage with a link to download the app.

    7. Release a Press Release: If you create a fabulous marketing promotion for diners that show your app to their server such as a free appetizer, why not share that news with your local media outlets? Right a press release and email it out to the local newspaper about your new app and the special promotions for local diners.

    8. Ask Staff to Participate: Encourage hostesses and servers to promote the app naturally during the dining process. Staff could even show the app on their own phones to customers at appropriate times during their meal.

    Keeping up with the engaging features of your mobile app such as sending out push notifications and encouraging social sharing is a surefire way to get customers more excited about your app. Give your customers a stellar reason to download the app and an even better reason to keep your mobile app on their phone by offering incentives!

    You don't have a mobile app? Learn more about MojoBistro's mobile app platform!

    Fri, 03 May 2013 15:22:46 GMT
    Restaurant Raves: Twin Anchors Restaurant & Tavern If you haven't dined at Twin Anchors Restaurant and Tavern in Lincoln Park, you definitely need to add it to your list! Combine the amazing history with the delicious meal and you have a perfect night out. Check back weekly to our Restaurant Raves to find more great dining spots around the Chicago area!

    Twin AnchorsTwin Anchors Restaurant & Tavern, Lincoln Park, $$
    1655 N. Sedgwick St., Chicago, IL 60614
    (312) 266-1616
    Reviewed by: Kate Seifreth

    Looking for a little bit of dining history to accompany your savory meal in Chicago? Then you definitely have to stop by Twin Anchors Restaurant & Tavern in Lincoln Park, just a few blocks from the Second City Theatre in Old Town. You might recognize the barbecue restaurant from its cameos in the Bonnie Hunt, Jim Belushi, Minnie Driver, and David Duchovny movie, “Return to Me,” from 2000. The joints old school ambiance could have something to do with the fact that Frank Sinatra used to also hang out here when he was in town. It’s like stepping back in time when you enter Twin Anchors.Twin Anchors

    If you want to dine here on a Saturday night, be prepared to wait. Nestle up to the bar with your favorite brew and prepare to work up a crazy appetite as you watch the platters of ribs go by to other lucky diners who scored a table before you. They don’t take reservations here. It’s first come, first served. We arrived around 6 p.m. on a Friday night and waited about 45 minutes for a table of four. The place was packed to the brim!

    Everyone in our dining party ordered the ribs. No doubt that ribs are what this restaurant is best at! I devoured a full slab slathered in the new Prohibition sauce, which is just the right blend of fiery and sweet. My side of creamy spinach was healthy and naughty at the same time. Twin Anchors is definitely a place to indulge. If you are watching your calories, the restaurant also offers chicken and healthy salads. But I recommend you go big or go home. Get the full slab of ribs, slather them in sauce, and wash them down with a couple draft brews.

    And before you leave Twin Anchors, make sure to get an Instagram picture with your crew under the “Positively No Dancing” sign! If you are looking to impress a date that is new to the city or your family visiting from out of town with your Chicago knowledge, make it a unique night out Chicago-style with dinner at Twin Anchors and a show at Second City or Zanies. I’m pretty sure Sinatra would approve.

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Wed, 01 May 2013 21:47:52 GMT
    MojoBistro Returns to the National Restaurant Association Show MojoBistro at the NRA
    MojoBistro will once again be participating in the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show, held at McCormick Place, Chicago, Illinois from May 18-21. This year will mark MojoBistro’s second time at the NRA show. Make sure to take the time to visit MojoBistro, located at Booth #5670 within the Technology Pavilion, as they will be pulling out all the stops with their new, interactive app design station.

    Show attendees will be able to check out MojoBistro’s integrated web wizard while the MojoBistro team builds them their own custom branded mobile app. Onsite design will cover all available app features including event calendar integration, menus, reservation capabilities, social media connections and coupons. In addition, attendees can personalize their app using the available App Icon and Splash Screen features as well as the customizable app backgrounds and fonts. Learn more about available features with our MojoBistro: Feature Series.Mobile apps for restaurants

    In addition to this year’s app design station, MojoBistro will also be offering 99 apps for pre-show reservation. Interested parties will be able to reserve a spot in advance of the show and MojoBistro’s designer with create a custom mobile app just for them, ready to be viewed immediately upon arrival. It’s a great way for busy attendees to see a finalized, branded mobile app for their restaurant without having to do any of the design work—MojoBistro will do it for you! Only 99 app reservations are available and they are going fast! Click here to grab yours today! No commitment and no contract make it the perfect opportunity to test drive a mobile app for your restaurant.

    MojoBistro was built specifically to offer restaurants a robust collection of features for both iPhone and Android at an affordable price, while enabling restaurants to easily create a unique app tailored to their brand and style to successfully build upon their growing mobile presence. Want to learn more? Contact us today!

    Mon, 29 Apr 2013 21:12:09 GMT
    Restaurant Raves: Gumrai Thai Trish Gorecki is raving about Gumrai Thai! We think you will love it, too! Check back weekly to find other Restaurant Raves for great dining spots around the Chicago area.

    Gumrai ThaiGumrai Thai, Thai, $$, Arlington Heights
    170 N. Arlington Heights Road, Arlington Heights, IL 60004
    (847) 590-1000
    Reviewed by: Trish Gorecki

    Classic wood interiors, colorful cushions and oriental decor are trademarks of Gumrai Thai, a quaint Thai restaurant toting high quality, authentic cuisine. Enter into the dimly lit, expansive dining area and you are immediately greeted with friendly customer service and delightful aromas.Gumrai Thai

    The menu is filled with tantalizing Thai favorites as well as selections of traditional Chinese and Japanese cuisine. I highly recommend you start off your meal with an order of crab rangoon. The crispy pastry shell is cooked to perfection while the crabmeat, cream cheese and celery filling is sweet and savory.

    Follow this up with an authentic Thai entree prepared with fresh ingredients and premium spices. The Panang Curry, available with your choice of chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, tofu or vegetables, is simmered in thick coconut milk along with citrus leaves and red peppers for the perfect blend of flavor and spice. You can’t go wrong with an order of Pad Thai. This classic Thai meal features stir-fried thin rice noodles, egg, bean sprouts and green onions and is topped with crushed peanuts. And don’t miss out on sampling some Thai-style fried rice. Unlike traditional fried rice meals, Thai-style fried rice is sweet and is filled with egg, onion, carrot, green peas and corn. It is definitely a great choice for diners looking to try something different.

    Sushi lovers will enjoy the wide selection of budget-friendly options ranging from the traditional Spicy Tuna to the unique and flavorful Sweet Potato Maki, combining sweet potato, cream cheese, avocado, spicy mayo and tempura crumbs into a delicious and hard-to-resist treat.

    The presentation is superb and expertly showcases the tantalizing menu offerings. Serving sizes are enormous and a true value with each meal easily feeding 2-3 people. Don’t like to share? Take some home. Believe me, it is just as good the next day!

    Nestled into a popular strip mall along the bustling intersection of Arlington Heights Road and Northwest Highway, Gumrai Thai is the perfect choice for a unique dining experience in the ever popular suburb of Arlington Heights. Ample parking is available in the adjacent lot and parking structure, and the restaurant is also conveniently located just steps from the train station, making it easy for diners from the suburbs and the city to stop in and enjoy an amazing meal.

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Thu, 25 Apr 2013 20:01:30 GMT
    MojoBistro Feature: Analytics MojoBistro Features

    So you’ve made the decision to venture into the fast-growing mobile world. You’ve created a customized mobile app for your restaurant, personalized it to showcase your atmosphere and cuisine and marketed it to your loyal customers. Now what? How can your restaurant best track the popularity and success of its new mobile app?

    With MojoBistro’s Analytics Feature, it is easy for restaurant owners to gather important information on the effectiveness of their mobile app and coordinated marketing initiatives. In today’s tech-centered world, analytics are key to tracking success. MojoBistro’s Analytics Feature is a simple, convenient way to measure the return on your investment allowing you to see value of all the hard work you put into your app.

    Within the MojoBistro Test Kitchen, analytics are collected on app usage, downloads and views. Restaurant owners simply log into the Test Kitchen and view their data in easy-to-read graphs. Tracking the number of daily app views as well as the most visited pages within an app are great ways to assess user behavior and determine which parts of your app are the most popular. Want to track the number of users by phone type? MojoBistro’s Analytics Feature also allows you to view the number of new installations by app platform (iOS, Android, Windows and an iPod optimized app interface) and by location.

    Using the information gathered through the MojoBistro Analytics Feature, your restaurant can easily determine best practices and identify the most effective ways for marketing your app and building a loyal, mobile customer base.

    What’s that? You don’t have a mobile app for your restaurant?

    Want to learn more? Check out the MojoBistro: Feature Series for additional information about MojoBistro’s robust feature set and how to use them to their fullest!

    Wed, 24 Apr 2013 16:42:53 GMT
    KeyLimeTie and MojoBistro Staff Volunteer at Feed My Starving Children Feed My Starving ChildrenDID YOU KNOW: Every hour you volunteer with a non-profit organization in Illinois is worth $22.77 to that charity. (

    On a recent Saturday in April, KeyLimeTie and MojoBistro staff and their families volunteered for the day at the Feed My Starving Children non-profit organization in Aurora, Illinois. Feed My Starving Children is a charity organization that works to provide nourishment for children in nearly 70 countries worldwide.

    Feed My Starving Children uses volunteer efforts to package meals, which results in an increased direct impact to those in need. A single meal only costs 22 cents for the organization to produce, and 92 percent of the organization’s total donations goes directly toward the food program. That’s a great impact of donated dollars!

    David Mansch, a graphic designer for KeyLimeTie and MojoBistro, helped organize the event after volunteering at Feed My Starving Children with his own family. He thought it would be a compassionate way for staff members to get to know each other better while at the same time helping others who need it.

    Feed My Starving Children“When I volunteer with Feed My Starving Children, I can go to sleep knowing my work made a child's life better,” said Mansch. “With the simple act of helping prepare food, little kids won't go to bed hungry. They can grow up to be happy, healthy adults. Hopefully they will remember the kindness that a group of volunteers showed them in their time of need, and they in turn will pass that on to someone else.”

    Volunteering at Feed My Starving Children is a positive team experience for corporations, schools, and community groups. Our organization strongly believes in giving back as a way of business and of life. KeyLimeTie and MojoBistro highly recommend volunteering at Feed My Starving Children!

    "I was very impressed with the organization of Feed My Starving Children," said Mary Wenzel, a project manager for KeyLimeTie. "They didn't waste any time putting us to work and were encouraging us along the way to stay on task. I found it rewarding to know that the work we did on Saturday will feed 102 children for a whole year. Just 2 hours of our time produced such big results! It was a great experience, and I will do it again."

    Feed My Starving ChildrenMore About Feed My Starving Children
    Founded in 1987, Feed My Starving Children is a Christian nonprofit that provides nutritionally complete meals for starving, malnourished, and hungry people in nearly 70 countries. The prepackaged dry meals – costing less than a quarter each to make – are funded and assembled by donor volunteers in the United States. Our in-country partners use the food to prevent starvation and curb malnourishment in children and families worldwide.Volunteers hand-pack all of our fortified meals. More than half of FMSC volunteers are under the age of 18. In 2012, more than a half million volunteers joined FMSC to package 163 million meals for children around the world.

    Do you know of a non-profit organization in the Chicagoland area that could use a helping hand of volunteers?
    Our company is interested in more activities such as this for our team to lend a helping hand in the community. Please leave a comment below with a link to the organization’s website so we can look into volunteering for other organizations.

    Thu, 18 Apr 2013 21:29:23 GMT
    Restaurant Raves: Shaw"s Crab House We are raving about Shaw's Crab House! Check out what we have to say about this amazing dining experience! Check back weekly to our Restaurant Raves to find more great dining spots around the Chicago area!

    Shaw's Crab HouseShaw’s Crab House, Near North Side, $$$
    21 E. Hubbard St., Chicago, IL 60611
    Reviewed by: Kate Seifreth

    Whenever I am in the mood for something of the surf varietal for supper such as crab legs and oysters, I head straight to Shaw’s Crab House on Hubbard Street in Chicago. Located in the heart of tourist heaven near Michigan Avenue, this delectable restaurant is always packed to the brim with both locals and out-of-towners.Shaw's Crab House

    As was the case when my husband and I decided to dine there for Good Friday in March 2013. We arrived early for our reservation and took a seat at the crowded bar. I highly recommend making a reservation through OpenTable before you head to the restaurant. I ordered my usual, a cosmopolitan, and my husband opted for a glass of red wine. We barely had a sip of our drink when our beeper went off that our table was ready!

    We were lead to the back room by an extremely polite host. The back room has a very cozy feel with the walls lined with booth seats for mostly couples and the middle filled with family-sized tables. The place was packed with a mixture of families and couples out for a stellar night of seafood in the city. The atmosphere is lively and very quintessential Chicago with its dark wood decor and overall old school feel. The servers and staff are very professional in their white coat uniforms and extremely knowledgeable about the food---ready at the drop of a hat with recommendations.

    The menu at Shaw’s is stacked with delicious options such as South African rock lobster tails, Florida stone crab claws, sea scallops, Alaskan halibut, and even filet mignon for the meat eaters. The last time we ate at Shaw’s, I had the fabulous surf and surf consisting of crab legs and a lobster tail. I feel like you could eat here daily and never eat the same combination for a year!

    This time, we started with oysters rockefeller, my favorite, and a half dozen oyster sampler as well. We skipped soup and salad and dug right into the main courses. We were on a mission to eat seafood. I splurged on the steamed Alaskan red king crab legs, a house specialty, which come pre-cracked for easy eating and with a side of warm butter for dipping. My husband went for a delicious and buttery filet of dover sole, which was a special for the evening. And, we shared the tasty braised brussels sprouts with bacon as our side.

    We topped off our delightful seafood dinner with a couple of coffees and a sassy piece of key lime pie. Leaving Shaw’s, we were totally satisfied, and we can’t wait to go back! It’s always a delightful dining experience filled with fresh seafood.

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Thu, 18 Apr 2013 13:49:10 GMT
    MojoBistro Feature: Coupons MojoBistro Features

    So you’ve gone ahead and created a customized mobile app for your restaurant. Now it is time to build up a devoted customer base around your amazing app and drive traffic into your restaurant, but how? Coupons are a simple but effective option for independent restaurant owners.

    Coupons are known to “pull in the business” and have made remarkable strides in their popularity and acceptance among the consuming public. According to the A.C. Nielsen Co., 95% of all consumers like coupons, with more than 60% actively looking for them. With such an attentive audience, don’t let your restaurant miss out on this great opportunity to reach out to your fans.

    MojoBistro’s Coupon Feature is the perfect way to reward your loyal mobile app users and increase visits to your establishment. Offer soon-to-expire coupons for special events, holidays, new menu items and even birthdays to your restaurant’s mobile customers to encourage loyalty. Coupons are also a great way to drive traffic and increase repeat visitors with just the click of a button.

    Once you have decided what you want to offer, enter the MojoBistro Test Kitchen and simply plug the details into the coupon generator form. A preview will display on-screen for your review and approval. Once you are happy with it, send it out to all of your mobile app users for them to enjoy.

    Coupons are also a great way to measure the interest of your mobile app users and the success of your marketing efforts. It is as simple as tallying the number of coupons redeemed to determine the effectiveness of the promotion. Use this consumer feedback to guide your creation of future offers and increase their effectiveness.

    Another great tip? Offer your patrons a coupon immediately after they download your new app. Providing them with an instant benefit to downloading is a great incentive to join your mobile base. And your customers will enjoy having discounts, literally, in the palm of their hand.

    What’s that? You don’t have a mobile app for your restaurant?

    Want to learn more? Check out the MojoBistro: Feature Series for additional information about MojoBistro’s robust feature set and how to use them to their fullest!

    Wed, 17 Apr 2013 14:52:59 GMT
    How to Attract the “Foodie” Segment to Your Restaurant

    Foodie is one of those trendy terms that has infiltrated the social media, marketing, and restaurant industries and spawned a plethora of food-themed blogs. You may even consider yourself a foodie, and we definitely consider ourselves foodies here at MojoBistro. According to the Oxford Dictionaries Online, a foodie is “a person with a particular interest in food; a gourmet.” Sounds pretty simple, right?

    Wrong! Seeking new experiences is high on a foodie’s radar. Attracting the foodie demographic to your restaurant takes a lot of concerted effort. Being a foodie has become a hobby labeled with sophistication, and using the same marketing tactics you’ve always used at your restaurant isn’t enough to attract this refined segment of the population with discerning palates.

    Here are a few quick tips on how to start attracting more foodies to your restaurant.

    Develop an Innovative Menu with Daily Specials Aimed at Foodies
    Foodies want to try menu items they’ve never tried before. Think of the current trendy menu features such as pork belly, foie gras, and duck eggs. So, consider a refresh of your menu often or a delightful array of daily specials at the very least. Consider this statistic from the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade, Package Facts and the 2012 Culinary Visions Panel Survey, “54 percent of casual diners are considered foodies because of their desire to always or usually try new menu items when going to a restaurant.”

    Are you catering to this demographic? And, gnaw on this statistic from the same survey, “Three-quarters (76 percent) of U.S. adults enjoy talking about new or interesting foods.” That means, they are ordering your fancy new special and talking about it with their family, friends, and coworkers.

    Also, consider sourcing at least some of your ingredients locally. Foodies want to know where their food is coming from, and bonus points if it’s locally grown and sustainably sourced.

    Offer a Connection with your Chef and Staff
    Foodies desire a personal connection with your restaurant. Mostly likely they are checking in at your restaurant on social media and even posting pictures of your food on their online profiles. That means if they have a good experience, everyone knows. And if they have a bad experience, everyone knows. To ensure your foodie guests have a positive experience make an effort to make a connection with your guests beyond the ordinary.

    Chefs and their talents and personalities become important here. Is your chef in the running for a reality show? Or at the very least, is she a social media rockstar? So maybe your chef won’t have her own reality show anytime soon but at least get her a Twitter account or start a weekly blog about her culinary expertise.

    Also, consider offering some cooking classes aimed at the foodie segment to engage them with your restaurant and chef. After all, according to the survey mentioned previously, “53 percent of U.S. adults regularly watch cooking shows.”

    Create a Custom Mobile App
    Once you make sure your menu and staff are foodie ready, show off your new found foodie prowess with a custom mobile app. A mobile app is a fabulous way to showcase your new menu options, cooking class events, and more.

    Did you know you can even add “foodie” as a skill on LinkedIn? Foodies wear the label like a badge of honor. So giving them a mobile app to connect with your restaurant no matter where they are, is definitely an investment that will reap rewards with this connected demographic of the population that you already know loves food.

    Fri, 12 Apr 2013 17:22:16 GMT
    Restaurant Raves: Market Restaurant and Sports Bar Trish highly recommends Market Restaurant and Sports Bar for the upcoming summer days or to just grab a delicious bite to eat during the big game. For more ideas on great dining experiences in the city, visit our weekly Restaurant Raves!

    Market Restaurant and BarMarket Restaurant and Sports Bar, American, $$, Near West Side
    1113 W Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60607
    Reviewed by: Trish Gorecki

    Looking for the perfect place to watch the big game, to enjoy a cool drink year round in a covered and heated beer garden, or to take in the beautiful Chicago skyline unhindered? Look no further than Market Restaurant & Sports Bar.Market Restaurant and Bar

    The exposed wood, pipes and craftsmanship create the feeling of dining in a loft, while strategically placed fireplaces create a cozy, at-home atmosphere. The beer garden features ceiling heat lamps and table tennis, the perfect location for an afternoon out with friends and the sidewalk cafe is a fantastic spot during the warm Chicago summers.

    Market’s menu is filled with traditional American classics with a twist. Over-the-top presentations ensure that the meals look just as good as they taste! Meat lovers will enjoy the Market Burger, with 8 oz.. of Angus Beef, shaved red onion, shredded lettuce and tomatoes and served with a large portion of delicious truffle fries.

    My favorite is definitely the Ahi Salad. A refreshing choice on warm days, it features seasoned Ahi tuna, cooked to perfection, sprinkled with a ginger vinaigrette and served over a bed of julienne vegetables, wakame and buckwheat udon noodles.

    No sports bar is complete without a comprehensive drink menu and Market certainly does not disappoint. A wide array of craft beers, domestics, red and white wines and exotic cocktails are sure to compliment your meal.

    Don’t forget to visit the rooftop deck before you leave. The view of the famed Chicago skyline is unmatched. Heat lamps, plush patio furniture, cushioned cabanas and great music make it the perfect location year round for happy hour, social events and or a night out on the town.

    It’s these fantastic offerings, superior service and high energy that make Market a true neighborhood hotspot!

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Wed, 10 Apr 2013 15:14:32 GMT
    MojoBistro Features: Custom Content MojoBistro Features

    Is there something really unique about your restaurant that you want to highlight to your customers? Have content you want to include in your app but can’t find the right feature to do so?

    With MojoBistro’s Custom Feature you can create your own unique section to fit your restaurant’s needs. Whether you are looking to promote the homestyle recipes that make your restaurant popular or want to share a restaurant blog with the latest happenings, MojoBistro makes it simple to create an individualized app experience tailored to your restaurant.

    Using the MojoBistro Test Kitchen you can create a custom feature that reflects not only your restaurant, but also fulfills all your mobile app needs. A wide-range of layouts allow you to make a feature that maintains the look and feel of your app and restaurant. Add photos, pdfs, lists, event details, social website feeds or web pages to fit your needs.

    MojoBistro makes it easy for your restaurant to feature a robust and individualized app to showcase your restaurant to loyal customers and fans.

    What’s that? You don’t have a mobile app for your restaurant? Click here to get started.

    Want to learn more? Check out the MojoBistro: Feature Series for additional information about MojoBistro’s robust feature set and how to use them to their fullest!

    Tue, 09 Apr 2013 21:31:18 GMT
    MojoBistro’s Social Media Maître D’: Leveraging LinkedIn to Promote your Restaurant LinkedIn to promote your restaurantSo far in the MojoBistro Social Media Maître D’ Blog Series, we have discussed how to use Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest to promote your restaurant. These are all prominent, efficient, and free social media platforms that restaurants can use to elevate their brands online by engaging with customers. We have another not so obvious platform that you can use to build your online presence with social media. Have you added your restaurant’s profile to LinkedIn yet?

    If you are not using LinkedIn, you are missing a prime opportunity to not only recruit talented individuals to work in your restaurant but a perfect way to showcase your catering products and event spaces to the business and corporate world.

    Attract Talent with LinkedIn
    Create a LinkedIn profile of your restaurant that showcases not only your current job openings but also your company culture. You can do this by adding a header photo that shows photos of your staff, food, and physical restaurant space. Or, you can also customize pages with videos about your restaurant and the staff. Highlighting what is unique about your organization with custom photos and videos is a great way to attract new talent to consider your restaurant for their next job. Highlight excellent employees and your history in the “Our Story” section and spread the news of your accomplishments with an “In the News” section.Leveraging LinkedIn to Promote your Restaurant


Promote Corporate Catering and Business Event Space with LinkedIn
    LinkedIn offers services and products pages within your profile so that you can highlight your offerings. This is the perfect place to highlight catering options as well as event spaces. Companies are always looking for new places to cater food in for big meetings to wow new clients or for sales meetings. They may even be looking for the next place to hold a sales meeting or a company outing. Having your information handy on your LinkedIn profile could just score your restaurant a huge corporate order! The Southern and Lou Malnati’s restaurants in Chicago do a fabulous job of highlighting products and services on LinkedIn. You can even get recommendations for services on LinkedIn. Take a look at Skuddlebutts profile page for an example of a product with a recommendation.

    Research your Competition on LinkedIn
    There are several benefits to scoping out your competition on social media platforms and the same holds true for LinkedIn. First, you should check out what others are doing with their pages to see what options you have and want to implement on your page such as custom videos. Next, you should check out the “Insights” section of your competition’s profile page to see statistics like who is employed you may know, employed with titles, where people come from, and most recommended. It is in the last section, most recommended, that you could scope out your competitions talent by viewing the “most recommended” staff on your competitor’s page.

    Whether you need to currently recruit new talent or not, you can still gain value from LinkedIn by simply updating your restaurant's profile page with your products and services. So get social with LinkedIn, and update your profile page today!

    Find more social media tips visit our Social Media Maitre D' Blog Series!

    Fri, 05 Apr 2013 18:34:32 GMT
    Restaurant Raves: Lady Gregory’s Trish Gorecki, one of our content editors, is raving about Lady Gregory's in Andersonville. From the atmosphere to the menu, her experience was outstanding. Check back weekly to find other Restaurant Raves for great dining spots around the Chicago area.

    Lady Gregory'sLady Gregory’s, Gastropub, $$, Andersonville
    5260 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60640
    (773) 271-5050
    Reviewed by: Trish Gorecki

    Floor-to-ceiling windows, dark-wood, warm hues and a massive hand carved bar welcome you to this authentic gastropub. Lady Gregory’s cozy and sophisticated decor—from a library room, fireplace and stained glass to high-top tables, plush booths and expansive bar seating—creates an intimate and inviting atmosphere for a relaxing dinner out or drinks on the town.Lady Gregory's Chicago

    Lady Gregory’s menu is filled with distinctive specials and traditional comfort foods. Focused on farm-to-table, sustainable and local ingredients all menu items are top-quality and fresh. Gluten-free and vegetarian menus are available on request and ensure that all diners can easily find something to tickle their tastebuds.

    We started off our meal with a cup of the Tomato Basil Soup and the soup of the day, Cauliflower Cheddar. Both soups were creamy and smooth and included a bit of seasoned flatbread for dipping. For entrees, we selected the Buffalo Chicken sandwich and Classic Burger with sides of the Fresh Cut Russet Fries and Sweet Potato Fries. Contrary to other restaurants, sides are served ala carte, allowing you to personalize your meal. The all-natural angus burger was cooked right to order on a butter toasted bun and the Buffalo Chicken sandwich was grilled nicely and expertly spiced. The pretzel bun and garlic dill dip were perfect additions. The Sweet Potato Fries are amazing. Lightly seasoned with chile sea salt dust and served with a maple syrup dip, they are worth a visit in and amongst themselves.

    The real standout here is the drink menu. Presented in a bound “Beverage Book,” Lady Gregory’s drink menu features more than 300 varieties of whiskey, a wide-range of international beers and a reserve wine list. Drink connoisseurs will take joy in the massive selection, from local draft beers and international import to top quality malts and aromatic Rieslings.

    To top things off, the service at Lady Gregory’s is top-notch. Hostesses are quick to greet you and the waiters are more than happy to make recommendations and pairings.

    Located at Andersonville’s epicenter—the corner of Berwyn and Clark—Lady Gregory’s is a beautiful addition to the neighborhood and the outdoor dining is sure to be a draw during the warmer spring and summer seasons. I, for one, will definitely be visiting often!

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Wed, 03 Apr 2013 21:22:56 GMT
    MojoBistro Features: QR Codes MojoBistro Features

    You’ve seen them at the supermarket and in magazines. Those blocks that look like bar codes. But what are they and what do they do?

    Those two-dimensional matrix bar codes are called Quick Response (QR) codes and they are the latest in mobile marketing. Mobile users can scan the code and a web page will automatically download onto their phone.

    Sounds great, but how can you make use of this marketing platform? MojoBistro’s Test Kitchen includes a QR Code Generator that creates a QR code for use in promoting your new mobile app.

    Your mobile customers simply scan the QR code, created specifically for your app, with their smartphones and are then immediately taken to the iTunes App Store or Google Play to download your app. Having a direct link takes all the guess work out of trying to download your mobile app and makes it easier for customers who want to connect with your restaurant while on the go.

    Incorporate your QR code into your marketing materials such as posters, table tents and more to increase customer downloads. Need more ideas for marketing your new mobile app? Check out our blog on marketing tips for additional ideas.

    What’s that? You don’t have a mobile app for your restaurant? Click here to get started.

    Want to learn more? Check out the MojoBistro: Feature Series for additional information about MojoBistro’s robust feature set and how to use them to their fullest!

    Mon, 01 Apr 2013 20:58:22 GMT
    MojoBistro’s Social Media Maître D’: Twelve Accounts Restaurants Should Follow on Twitter 10 Tweets for Busy Restaurant OwnersWhether you are overwhelmed with Twitter and just don’t know where to start, or just want a few knowledgeable accounts from the food industry to follow, we have some recommendations on where to begin by following some stellar national and local established accounts.

    Here are twelve Twitter accounts we think every restaurant with an account should follow and interact with:

    1. @NRNOnline: The Nation’s Restaurant News Twitter feed is a great place to find the latest industry news and trends. Need we say more? Definitely follow this news outlet to keep up to date with the restaurant industry.

    2. @NRAShow: Follow the tweets of the National Restaurant Association Show from Derrek J. Hull to keep up on the latest show information. With fantastic speakers like the CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz and Anthony Bourdain at the 2013 show, you won’t want to miss out on this news!

    3. @NRAEF: Twitter is also a great place to look for professional development tips and attract new talent to your restaurant whether established or just starting out. Start by following the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation for insights on developing your workforce.Twelve Accounts Restaurants Should Follow on Twitter

    4. @MonkeyDish: If you are looking for inspiration to spice up your restaurant with fresh ideas, check out the Monkey Dish tweets by Restaurant Business magazine’s website,

    5. @ChefArtSmith: Everyone loves Chef Art Smith, especially on Twitter! He’s a former personal chef of Oprah, starred on “Top Chef Masters,” owns beloved restaurants, and even founded his own non-profit organization, Common Threads. If you want to cultivate an online personality, Smith is the perfect food dude to watch for inspiration.

    6. @FoodieChats: Every Monday night the Twitterverse goes gaga for food with the hashtag twitter chat started by @steveGOgreen. It’s a large foodie party that you won’t want to miss if you are part of the restaurant industry. Generate some online buzz for your restaurant by participating in this supreme foodie chat.

    7. @zagat: Their review system with user-generated content can make or break a restaurant’s reputation. Make sure you keep up to date with all things Zagat rated by following their stacked Twitter feed.

    8. @beardfoundation: Celebrate America’s culinary heritage by following the Beard Foundation on Twitter. This is a tasty feed to retweet for cuisine related intelligence to share with your hungry followers.

    9. @eater: This national blog covers restaurant and nightlife dispatches that is perfect for sharing with your followers. You probably already read this blog so why not keep up with them on Twitter?

    10. @HubSpot: Looking for some savvy online and general marketing tips to promote your restaurant? HubSpot is a knowledge mecca when it comes to marketing. They are constantly sharing tips on how to up your marketing game.

    11. @PaulBarron: A magical combination of digital and restaurant knowledge makes Paul Barron a prime follow on Twitter for restaurant owners. Like what he has to say? Read his book @chipotleeffect.

    12. @IlliniRestAssoc: MojoBistro is headquartered in the Chicago area so we love the Illinois Restaurant Association. Restaurants in Illinois should watch their feed for local news, and restaurants out of state should identify their local organizations working hard to promote the restaurant industry.

    Did you find this information helpful? Leave a comment below! Get other great Social Media tips in our Social Media Maitre D' Blog Series!

    Fri, 29 Mar 2013 14:06:27 GMT
    Restaurant Raves: Union Sushi Kate Seifreth, one of our content editors, had a great experience at Union Sushi during Restaurant Week. We think you will love it just as much. Next time you are in the mood for sushi, check it out! Visit our blog weekly for other great dining suggestions in our Restaurant Raves.

    union sushiUnion Sushi and Barbecue Bar, Japanese, $$$, Near North Side
    230 W. Erie St., Chicago IL
    (312) 662-4888
    Reviewed by: Kate Seifreth

    I wasn’t an obsessed sushi fan until I found Union Sushi. Now I am hooked! Union is my go-to place to hangout with girlfriends after work for cocktails and sushi. Whether we sit at the sushi bar, by the barbecue, or in the dining room, we always have a fabulous time!Union Sushi

    Most recently, a friend and I went to Union for Chicago’s Restaurant Week. We were amazed at how fabulous the menu and portion sizes were for the Restaurant Week menu! We both ordered the same thing. Great minds think alike! For the $33 Restaurant Week dinner menu you start off with a cup of miso soup. It’s the perfect starter before sushi, it whets your appetite and prepares you for the next course. The servers also bring out complimentary edamame with a special seasoning to the table. Next up was the truffled tuna appetizer. We always get this appetizer anyways to share and were amazed that the individual portions for Restaurant Week were almost as big at the usual appetizer portion. This isn’t always the case with restaurants during Restaurant Week. The tuna is super fresh paired with avocado and then scooped up with homemade wonton chips. The chips are so crispy and a perfect match to the chilled fresh tuna.

    Next, we both chose the sushi sampler as our entree, which included eight pieces of black rice spicy tuna rolls and five pieces of shrimp tempura rolls. I hadn’t yet tried the black rice sushi rolls and was very impressed. Loved it! The masago mayo on the shrimp tempura rolls was a nice addition. The best part about Union is you don’t have to just get sushi. There is a whole barbecue side to the restaurant as well. Other entrees on the Restaurant Week menu include surf and turf, which includes filet of beef, jumbo shrimp, sweet potato cream, and crispy potato, or a pork loin, which features coconut milk, enoki mushrooms, fried onions, and Japanese curry peanut sauce. Almost of the dishes at Union have an exoctic side that make it a unique dining experience every time you order a new dish.

    We finished up our meal with the Pumpkin Mochi Cake. Oh man was this cake good! The cake was filled with cream cheese ice cream and topped with caramel and pumpkin brittle. Plus, it was a full size dessert. Typically for Restaurant Week, restaurants tend to give you smaller portions of desserts, not Union!

    Overall, my experiences at Union have been super. The service is always friendly, the food is delicious, and the selection of dishes never ceases to amaze me. Definitely give Union a try!

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Thu, 28 Mar 2013 02:03:37 GMT
    MojoBistro Features: Push Notifications MojoBistro Features

    So you’ve set the atmosphere, uploaded your menu and connected to social media. Now it’s time to engage and connect with your customers. Let them know about your specials, seasonal deals or new menu items. Mobile App Push Notifications

    “Stickiness” or customer engagement is key to the success of any business, especially restaurants. With MojoBistro’s Push Notification Feature, reaching out to customers is simple and convenient.

    Using the MojoBistro Test Kitchen, simply type in your message, click send and your app users will instantly receive a notification with your message on their phone. A live preview feature allows you to view your notification as it is being crafted allowing you to see exactly how it will appear to your customers.

    When crafting your message, keep in mind that lengthy notifications are more likely to be deleted by busy mobile users so keep your notifications short and sweet. And make sure not to overload your customers with constant notifications.

    Not ready for your notification to go out? Want your Happy Hour notification to go out in the early afternoon? The simple process allows you to schedule the delivery date and time. You can even segment your notifications to go out to only iPhone or Android users or both.

    Want to see what notifications you sent out last month? The MojoBistro Test Kitchen stores your push notification history, allowing you to review and track your outreach.

    Be clever and timely with your notifications to increase customer response. Instead of the standard number “codes” try something more memorable, like a funny phrase. Send out fun facts or tidbits of information about your restaurant or menu in addition to specials and deals. Whatever you send, make sure that you are providing valuable information to you customers.

    Don’t have a mobile app? Click here to get started.

    Want to learn more? Check out the MojoBistro: Feature Series for additional information about MojoBistro’s robust feature set and how to use them to their fullest!

    Mon, 25 Mar 2013 20:35:57 GMT
    Five Must-Have Mobile Apps for the Spring Season Mobile apps for springThe sun is shining longer each day, and the weather is gradually warming up here in the Midwest. That means it’s time for spring break for school folks, March Madness for basketball fans, and for many families, their traditional Easter holiday celebration. Whether you celebrate the coming of spring with days filled with basketball games, with a luxurious trip to a faraway land, or with a traditional family brunch, here are some fabulous mobile apps to welcome back warm weather and sunlight into your life!

      Mobile Apps for Spring1. Happy Easter, Little Critter: If you have little ones in your life, the Happy Easter, Little Critter mobile app for both iPhone and Android is a great way to kick off the Easter holiday. You can even record your own voice reading the story and let your child peruse the book mobile app on their own. How cool is that? There is also an in-app Easter egg hunt in which kids can find 100 eggs while reading this cute little holiday-themed story.

      Mobile Apps for Spring2. Egg Dyeing 101 from Martha Stewart Living: Looking to take your egg decorating up a notch this Easter? Check out the Egg Dyeing 101 mobile app from Martha Stewart Living for some great do-it-yourself decorating tips and videos for creating unique Easter eggs. This savvy Easter app will help you create whimsical egg creatures that are sure to impress guests of every age at your family brunch. With the help of this app you can even put your family monogram on your Easter eggs. How charming!

      Mobile Apps for Spring3. MacaronsHD: Many people who celebrate Easter give up something during Lent, and many of these people give up sweets. What better way to celebrate a successful Lenten season than with a Macaron buffet on Easter? Skip the usual culprits like Cadbury eggs and jelly beans, and create a sophisticated sweet selection for your Easter buffet with the MacaronsHD mobile app. This tasty app is filled with delicious recipes and how-to recipe videos for macarons that are sure to delight a guest with even the most discerning palate.

      Moblie Apps for Spring4. GifBoom: Have some fun sprucing up your family photos this spring! Make animated gif files super easily with the free GifBoom mobile app available in both the iTunes Store and Google Play. Basically, you use the snazzy photography app to take a series of pictures and then add some cool effects to create your unique animated gif file that you can share with your family and friends within your social media networks. A custom gif of your crazy uncle reluctantly dressed up like the Easter bunny is sure to get some retweets in your Twitter feed.

      Mobile Apps for Spring5. NCAA March Madness Live: Okay, we can’t forget that it is also March Madness time! Keep track of your bracket and your favorite men’s college basketball teams no matter where you are with the free NCAA March Madness Live mobile app. Not only can you use the app to watch the games but you can also keep track of your bracket picks, check out what is going on in the “Social Arena,” set game alerts, and much more.

    So those are just five of our office picks for some must-download mobile apps for the spring season. Tell us in the comments below what mobile apps you can’t live without lately!

    Fri, 22 Mar 2013 16:12:38 GMT
    Restaurant Raves: Thai Happiness Are you looking for a new restaurant to try this weekend?? We have plenty of suggestions for you! Today, Donna Gailus, our Quality Assurance Specialist, is raving about Thai Happiness in Downers Grove. To check out our other suggestions, go to our Restaurant Raves. and visit weekly for new additions!

    Thai HappinessThai Happiness, Thai, $, Downers Grove
    1212L 75th Street, Downers Grove, IL 60516
    Thai Happiness
    Reviewed by: Donna Gailus

    If you are looking for a cozy, quiet place to enjoy a traditional Thai meal in Downers Grove, Thai Happiness is the place for you. Conveniently located off the intersection of Lemont and 75th, Thai Happiness is a quaint, intimate restaurant, tucked inside Downers Annex.Thai Happiness

    The menu features standard Thai cuisine, from Tom Yum to Panang Curry. Cooked in the traditional Thai method, blending elements of Asian traditions and strong aromatic components, the food is prepared from scratch using fresh ingredients and no MSG.

    The menu is varied enough to satisfy any taste buds, with tofu options available for vegetarians. Like your food with a little kick? Thai Happiness knows how to do spicy!

    I highly recommend the Pad Thai—stir-fry Pho noodles and Thai condiments. It is the best I have ever had. The spring rolls we ordered to accompany our meal were light and refreshing. For something different, try the Lad Nar—a noodle dish covered in gravy—or Pad Kee Mow—a stir-fried noodle dish sometimes referred to as “drunken noodles.”

    The owners are highly involved in the running of the restaurant and love to visit with the customers. They truly go out of their way to make you feel at home.

    This exceptional restaurant may be small, but with great prices, large quantities and delicious food, you won’t want to pass it up!

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Wed, 20 Mar 2013 14:40:05 GMT
    MojoBistro Features: Social Media MojoBistro Features

    According to the International Telecommunication Union, there are currently over one billion users of social media worldwide and the majority are accessing social media networks on their mobile phone. With such a large percentage of the population active on social networks, it’s vital that restaurants build and maintain a social media presence in order to stay relevant. Mobile App Social Media Feature

    We understand that running a restaurant is a busy job with little time left over to manage and market social media. So how can you make sure your on-the-go customers can easily access your social media pages? MojoBistro’s Social Media Feature allows you to connect your mobile app users to all of your social media platforms at once.

    Using MojoBistro’s Social Media feature, your restaurant can easily connect customers to your active social media sites through your mobile app. Once connected, customers can share with friends, review menu items and upload photos. Having customers connected to your social media through your app is a great way to stay in touch and update followers on your upcoming events and promotions.

    Adding your Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare and Yelp! accounts to your app is as simple as entering your URL. With MojoBistro’s Test Kitchen, you can also update and add additional social media accounts as needed.

    Don’t have time to focus on a social media plan? Check out our Social Media Maitre D' Blog Series for quick tips. And don’t forget, not only can social media help to market your restaurant, but you can also use it to market your app! Our Tips for Using Social Media blog will help you strategically utilize social media to promote your amazing app.

    Want to learn more? Check out the MojoBistro: Feature Series for additional information about MojoBistro’s robust feature set and how to use them to their fullest!

    Mon, 18 Mar 2013 15:36:11 GMT
    MojoBistro’s Social Media Maître D’: Attract New Customers with Google+ Attract New Customers with Google+Google+ allows restaurants a social media outlet to attract a new customer base. The key difference with Google+ versus Facebook’s new Graph Search is that people have already been Googling restaurants for ages. Restaurants should not wait any longer to join Google+ especially if you are a standalone. Larger franchises with the budget for full-time social media employees will be all over adding their locations. If you aren’t there, you might miss out of gaining a new audience for your restaurant. Attract New Customers with Google+

    Restaurants should use Google+ to build a community of followers and segment them into circles to create different target audiences for your social media marketing plans. The ultimate goal of building a Google+ community for your restaurant is referrals. Your circles of friends will share your Google+ content with their circles and expand your target audiences. The bonus with Google+ is that user reviews are automatically indexed with Google so even non-Google+ users could potentially view the reviews in a Google search.

    How do you build a community on Google+? Content! Create pithy updates and link back to your website menu and other good information. Have a blog? Share that information and increase your website traffic. Ask your followers for feedback on your page. Encourage suggestions on menu items. Thank positive reviewers and share links to their reviews. Encourage checking in.


When Google+ users search via the “Local” option, reviews that other users have submitted of restaurants come up along with your restaurant’s information. The listing also shows the latest Zagat ratings and even gives diners suggestions on similar restaurants nearby. So you definitely want to have a Google+ page to ensure you show up on your competitor’s page. It’s possible the restaurant with the best Google+ page featuring a plethora of positive reviews could win the business of a diner searching on Google Local. Make sure you are there!

    Does your restaurant rely on events to attract new customers and to keep loyal customers coming in for something new? Create an event and encourage attendees to save photos to the Google+ event page. Invite people via email addresses if you are still building your Google+ community. Ready to get started? Click here to create a Google+ account for your restaurant.

    Did you find this information helpful? Leave a comment below! Get other great Social Media tips in our Social Media Maitre D' Blog Series!

    Fri, 15 Mar 2013 20:02:22 GMT
    Restaurant Raves: Bulldog Ale House Bulldog Ale House is a great place to catch a game, hang out with friends, or just grab a delicious bite to eat. Anthony Avallone, our web analyitcs specialist, loves everything about this place and can be found there almost every weekend. Definitely check out Bulldog Ale House along with all of our other restaurants that we recommend in our weekly Restaurant Raves!

    Bulldog Ale HouseBulldog Ale House, Multiple Locations, $$
    1021 Fountain View Dr.
    Carol Stream, IL
    Reviewed by: Anthony Avallone

    Looking for a great place to bring the family or go out with the guys to watch the big game? I recommend you check out the Bulldog Ale House in Carol Stream. About half of the restaurant is table seating, great for families, and the other half is bar area, perfect for hanging out with friends. No matter where you sit here you can see a television making it an ideal spot to watch your favorite Chicago sports teams. During the warmer months, there is even an outdoor patio for dining that includes a fantastic fire pit. Bulldog is definitely a casual sports bar. As it gets later in the evening, the younger and much louder crowd comes in to the restaurant to party. Bulldog Ale House

    The American-style bar menu is mostly made up of burgers, pizzas, wings and wraps. Think your typical bar food of nachos, quesadillas, buffalo chicken salads, etc. If you love comfort food paired with beer, Bulldog has something for you. Bulldog also offers a kids menu with selections such as mini corn dogs, mac and cheese, chicken tenders and spaghetti. Kids even eat free on Tuesdays (one per paid adult entree). They also always have daily specials so good you can’t pass them up! I especially love $1 burger night on Mondays, 89 cent chicken tenders on Thursdays and 39 cent boneless wings on Sunday. The food is always good, and I’ve never had a complaint. I do usually stick with the boneless wings or wraps, or anything that goes good with a beer.

    They also have great drink specials every day of the week. The younger crowd tends to infiltrate the bar especially on Thursdays for the $3 you call it special and of course on Saturday nights. The service at Bulldog Ale House is very helpful and friendly. The bartenders always make sure your glass is full! Dani and Matt are always around and making sure everyone is having a good time. If you are looking for a fun and affordable place to watch the game and have a couple of beers, this is the place to be. During the summer, teams of all ages come after their games to celebrate a big win and to enjoy some pizza, wings and beverages.

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Wed, 13 Mar 2013 17:19:02 GMT
    MojoBistro Features: Reservations MojoBistro Features

    Today, over 1 billion smartphones are being used by consumers worldwide. With online consumption on the rise, more of your customers are relying on online tools to fulfill their dining needs.

    With MojoBistro’s Reservation Feature, customers can easily book a table from the palm of their hand. Incorporating reservation capabilities into your smartphone app is a great way to make online reservations accessible wherever your customers are, 24/7.

    Customer satisfaction is key in the restaurant business. And with the ability to make online reservations ranking near the top of the list in a Washington Post survey, it’s important that your restaurant meets this growing demand. Making it easy to book a table is a simple way to turn app users into customers.

    The MojoBistro Test Kitchen enables restaurants to easily connect their app to an existing OpenTable account and offer a direct link for your mobile customers to make reservations on the go. Don’t have a mobile app? Click here for more information about setting up your MojoBistro restaurant app.

    Not only will MojoBistro’s Reservation Feature help to boost customer’s experience, but it can also save on your restaurant’s labor costs by reducing the number of incoming phone calls and minimizing the risk of over booking. Now you can spend more time focused on the meals and service that make your restaurant so popular.

    Want to learn more? Check out the MojoBistro: Feature Series for additional information about MojoBistro’s robust feature set and how to use them to their fullest!

    Mon, 11 Mar 2013 15:33:49 GMT
    MojoBistro’s Social Media Maître D’: Preparing your Restaurant’s Facebook Page for Graph Search Facebook Graph SearchSo you have a Facebook page for your restaurant, now what? Once you search Facebook for all your restaurant locations and claim each page, the next step is to make sure all the information is up to date. More and more people are searching Facebook for their next dining option, and with the impending rollout of Graph Search, it is even more important for restaurants to claim local places, merge pages with places when relevant, and clean up information on Facebook.

    Once you are certain that all the contact information, hours, and website links are correct on Facebook for your restaurant’s page, the next step is building your fan base. Look for all places in your restaurant that are relevant to promote your Facebook page. Think menus, table tents, posters, coasters, etc. Add a link from your website so customers know to like you on Facebook, too.

    Claiming your restaurant’s Facebook page and garnering some fans is the easy part. Then, you must build a strategy for engaging with your fan base. Interacting with your fans is the key to success on Facebook.


Here are four ways to interact with your fan base on Facebook that will ultimately help optimize your restaurant’s page for the launch of Graph Search:

      1. Encourage Check-Ins: When customers check in at your restaurant on Facebook, a post goes on their wall and is broadcast to their friends. Most likely if they go to the trouble to post a check-in, they include a photo of what they ate as well. This is stellar and free promotion for your business. Encourage this type of checking in by posting reminders and offering manageable promotions for participants. A simple, “Show your server your check-in on Facebook and receive $5 off your meal,” is a great way to reward diners for their loyalty and promotion of your business. Once Graph Search rolls out user-wide, Facebook searches will customize depending on the individual searching and relevant to their network of friends based on “likes” and check-ins. The photos your diners take will also feature prominently in a Facebook Graph Search of your restaurant.

      2. Post Photos that Entice Fans to Share: Posting photos of your food, cocktails, and venue are par for the course on Facebook. What you really want is to post photosFacebook Graph Search so enticing that your fans will share your post and photo with their friends on their own Facebook walls. This is why it is extremely important to be strategic about the photos you post. Think out of the box and get an action shot of a chef making your most popular meal or a bartender shaking up your signature martini.

      3. Ask Questions: What’s for dinner? It could be as simple as that! Interaction is more than a one-way street. Every once in awhile you should talk to your Facebook fans and find out what is going on with them. The best way to do this is to post questions on your wall specifically for diners. Ask for feedback on the current menu, ask for suggestions on new menu items, or even just ask what people think about current food trends. The more your fans interact with you, the more likely their friends will see your posts, too.

      4. Post Relevant Information that is Not Just About You: A best practice on Facebook is to share information periodically that benefits your fans that is not just directly related to your business. Share fun food trends or local news to add value to your fans’ timelines.

    And if a Facebook fan posts on your wall, do not forget to respond and thank them! Use the same etiquette with customers online that you would in your restaurant.

    Did you find this information helpful? Leave a comment below! Get other great Social Media tips in our Social Media Maitre D' Blog Series!

    Fri, 08 Mar 2013 14:50:50 GMT
    Restaurant Raves: Gordon Biersch Brian West, our CMS Specialist, is raving about one of his favorite places in the Chicago area. He highly recommends visiting this brewery and also enjoying a great meal as well!

    Gordon BierschGordon Biersch, American, $$, Bolingbrook
    639 E. Boughton Road, Suite 100, Bolingbrook, IL 60440
    Reviewed by: Brian West

    This free standing brewery and restaurant is a great dining destination for a fun night out in a casual dinner setting. The decor is modern, spacious and inviting. Have a seat at the bar, the main dining room or on one of two outdoor patios, weather permitting! A private dining area is also available for parties and social gatherings.Gordon Biersch

    The menu is diverse and will surely satisfy even the pickiest diners. A vegetarian menu is available on request and the staff is very accommodating of dietary restrictions. Gordon Biersch promises a made-from-scratch American menu sprinkled with bold flavor and they do not disappoint. Try the Kobe Cheeseburger or Steak Frites for a real treat. And don’t forget to upgrade to a side of garlic fries. Tossed in fresh garlic, oil and parsley, these crisp fries are amazing! Just make sure to bring a breath mint for later.

    The real standout at Gordon Biersch is the beers. The on-site brewery creates a variety of award-winning house beers and limited-time seasonal brews, made using only the finest and purest ingredients. Each of Gordon Biersch’s handcrafted beers is served in a traditional European half-liter glass, a nice touch that also provides you with more beer than the average pint. From light, refreshing lagers to a classic Bohemian-style pilsner, they have it all. Not sure which beer to try? Order the Beer Sampler!

    The service at Gordon Biersch is excellent. It was a bit crowded when we arrived and there was a brief wait to be seated, but the hostess as polite and spot-on with her estimated wait time. Our server was very friendly and was happy to answer any questions we had about the menu. His recommended drink pairings perfectly complimented the meals we ordered.

    Overall, Gordon Biersch is a great choice for a fun night out with great food and quality drinks. Weekends can be crowded, so I highly recommend you make reservations.

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Wed, 06 Mar 2013 20:52:48 GMT
    MojoBistro Features: Gallery MojoBistro Features

    A picture is said to be worth a thousand words, so why not showcase your restaurant and food with amazing images. To the majority of diners, the appearance of a restaurant is a deciding factor when choosing a dining location, with website photos rating high in a Washington Post survey of criteria diners look for in making a decision. Mobile App Image Gallery

    But translating your web media into a mobile optimized format that will display on computers and mobile phones can be difficult. So how can you make sure to reach your on-the-go customers? MojoBistro’s Gallery Feature allows you upload images to your app for easy and clear viewing on any Android or iOS platform.

    New customers like to know what to expect from a restaurant and a gallery with photos of the interior and exterior of your establishment offers important information about your style and atmosphere. Be sure to include visuals of your dining room and customers enjoying their meals. The more images you can upload that show a packed house, the better.

    And don’t forget the food! Make mouths water and stomachs rumble with amazing food photos. From standard menu fares to season favorites, showing off your delicious offerings is a great way to drive traffic.

    Recently hosted an event? Added new menu items? With MojoBistro Test Kitchen, adding new images and galleries is simple and can be done at your convenience. This easy-to-use feature is the perfect way to ensure customers can always view your most recent images.

    Want to learn more? Check out the MojoBistro: Feature Series for additional information about MojoBistro’s robust feature set and how to use them to their fullest!

    Mon, 04 Mar 2013 22:24:19 GMT
    Restaurant Raves: Taphouse Grill Tammie Babbitt, our Junior Interactive Graphic Designer, is raving about one of her favorite dining spots in the Plainfield area. If you are looking for American comfort food, Taphouse Grill is the place to go! They have multiple locations throughout the city, so you are sure to be in the neighborhood. Check back to hear more from our employees about their favorite dining options around the Chicago area in our Restaurant Raves.

    Tap House Grill

    Tap House Grill, American, $$, Multiple Locations
    24402 W. Lockport Street, Plainfield, IL 60544
    (815) 733-5540
    Reviewed by: Tammie Babbitt

    With seven locations throughout the Chicago area, Tap House Grill is a convenient stop for top quality burgers and homemade beer brews. Loft styling creates a unique and wide open feel. The atmosphere is super casual and very welcoming, making it the perfect choice for a lunch with coworkers, family dinner or a night out for dinner and drinks.Tap House Grill

    The menu is filled with traditional American favorites including wraps, sandwiches and burgers. Gluten-free options cater to a wider dining audience, while Eat and Drink Local features promote freshness and local partnerships. For a true American comfort meal, order the Classic 5 Cheese Mac N Cheez. Made with a special five cheese sauce, cavatappi pasta and mozzarella bread crumbs it is a definite favorite.

    Don’t pass up a chance to try one of Tap House Grill’s burgers, made with locally baked breads and rolls. The Tap House Brew Burger is a classic while The King Kobe—made with 1 ½ pounds of Kobe Beef and topped with a ½ pound of cheese—is a culinary challenge!

    The service at Tap House was great. Our waitress was very polite and made sure to check in with us throughout the night to make sure we were satisfied with our meal.

    If you’re looking for a casual restaurant for some good ol’ burgers and beer, Tap House Grill is the place for you. And with their wide-selection of classic American favorites, menu items catering to dietary restrictions and specialty beverages, you will not be disappointed!

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Wed, 27 Feb 2013 14:26:28 GMT
    MojoBistro Features: Events MojoBistro Features

    Weekly Cooking Class, Thursday Night Happy Hour, Wednesday Wine Tastings. Special promotions and events are an important part of any business. But for restaurant owners, these events are vital to increasing sales and drawing in new customers during slow seasons.Mobile app Events

    No matter what type of event your restaurant is hosting, promotion is key to packing the house. But with the day-to-day responsibilities of running a restaurant, finding time to plan and promote an event can be difficult. Let MojoBistro do the work for you with our Events Feature.

    With MojoBistro’s Events Feature, adding and editing events and important dates to your restaurant’s mobile app calendar is easy and convenient. Offer a wide array of events? MojoBistro’s Events Feature also allows you to organize your events in groups such as Networking Events, Tastings and Community Fundraisers.

    Your on-the-go subscribers can access the calendar directly from their mobile phones or you can take advantage of MojoBistro’s Push Notifications and send a notice to your customers when new events are added. They are also able to save the events that are in the app directly to their native calendars for iOS or Android devices.

    Make sure to update your calendar with upcoming events to keep your customers coming back! With MojoBistro Test Kitchen, making updates to your events is simple and can be done at your convenience. This easy-to-use feature is the perfect way to ensure customers stay up-to-date on all your happenings.

    Want to learn more? Check out the MojoBistro: Feature Series for additional information about MojoBistro’s robust feature set and how to use them to their fullest!

    Mon, 25 Feb 2013 16:55:27 GMT
    MojoBistro’s Social Media Maître D’: Six Essential Pinterest Boards for Restaurants Pinterest Boards for RestaurantsPinterest continues to dominate the social media scene and should definitely be a part of your restaurant marketing plan for 2013. The trendy social media platform just recently raised an additional $200 million in funding, which will most likely bring even more Pinterest buzz and new functions in the coming year. 

For this session of MojoBistro’s Social Media Maître D’ blog, we recommend the six essential Pinterest Boards that every restaurant should create. If you only have an hour or so to dedicate to social media a month, definitely take some time to explore promotion options with Pinterest. Pinterest is a social media platform in which users “Pin” photos and videos to curated virtual boards, usually based on a central theme. Restaurants can use Pinterest to tell the story of their business sharing everything from pictures of menu specials to action shots of staff members.


Pinning photos and videos on Pinterest---instead of just broadcasting words with platforms like Twitter---allows for a more emotional connection with your potential diners. Plus, the built in links from “Pins” to the original content on your website increase your restaurant’s online presence. You can create a virtual atmosphere with photos of your food, staff, and more. Also, give folks a glimpse behind the scenes with a photographic tour of the kitchen or even pin a video from your YouTube page.Pinterest boards for restaurants


Here are six basic boards every restaurant should create, at a minimum, on Pinterest:

      1. Daily Specials: Add daily or weekly photos of special menu items to entice lapsed diners to stop in on a weeknight or inspire new ones to dine with you every night!

      2. Everyday Menu Items: Feature a photo board of everyday favorites from your menu.

      3. Cocktails: Have a new stunning cocktail on your menu? Share photos to get mouths watering for happy hour.

      4. Event Space: Promote special events like weddings and showers by offering people a look at your event spaces all dolled up.

      5. Chef’s Inspiration: From trips to the farmer’s market to artwork around the restaurant, share some out-of-the-box photos to really build a unique personality around your brand.

      6. Recipes: Next to fashion, recipes are one of the most popular things to pin on Pinterest. If you are willing to share some recipes from your popular menu items, chances are you will strike Pinterest gold!

    Beyond Selling: Building a trustworthy and authentic community is key to successfully using Pinterest and really, all social media platforms. Pinterest allows brands a unique experience to interact with customers directly by sharing unique content as well as repinning followers content. Don’t forget to follow your fans back and interact with them on Pinterest by liking and commenting on their pins, especially if they pin your content, too.


At the very least, take five minutes to sign up for Pinterest and play around with it. It is super addictive! You will quickly see what all the hype is about.

    Get other great Social Media tips in our Social Media Maitre D' Blog Series!

    Fri, 22 Feb 2013 18:59:17 GMT
    Restaurant Raves: Portillo"s Maybe you have already visited this Chicago icon, but if you haven't, it is a must! Mike Shuck, our Program Manager, is raving about Portillo's, the famous hot dog joint in the Windy City. Don't miss out on this great Restaurant Rave and check back weekly for other great dining suggestions!

    Portillo's Hot DogsPortillo's Hot Dogs, Multiple Locations, $
    Reviewed by: Michael Shuck

    My family and I go to Portillo’s Hot Dogs in Arlington Heights every weekend. We love the casual and friendly atmosphere, and the service is always pleasant and super efficient. Portillo’s has a good variety of menu items such as burgers, Italian beef, salads, and pasta. The meals here are definitely higher quality and the menu offers way more selections than a typical fast food restaurant. This is primarily what keeps us coming back weekend after weekend.Portillo's Hot Dogs

    This past weekend, my wife and I split a Big Beef sandwich and a chopped salad. On other occasions, I usually stick to the pretty healthy chicken sandwich and garden salad. Portillo’s also has a small bar area where adults can get a frosty glass of beer for a reasonable price.

    My kids love this place! I love that the 20’s themed decor is really busy and keeps the kids preoccupied. My oldest son is 13 and he always orders the spaghetti and meatballs. He forces us to go to Portillo’s because he loves it so much. How can we argue with him when it is so affordable and delicious? My 11-year-old daughter loves the spaghetti but is super picky so we have to bring along her own sauce and cheese to top the pasta. She is silly, but that is how she loves it! My youngest son, who is 7, always eats the hot dog. He loves those Portillo’s hot dogs. All my kids are real fans of the place.

    My coworkers tell me that the chocolate cake and chocolate cake shakes are to die for! I’m going to have to try one the next time we are dining at Portillo’s, which is most likely this weekend. Portillo’s has locations throughout the city and suburbs of Chicago so I definitely recommend you run out and try it soon. I’ve also heard good things about the cheese fries and chicken parmesan if you still aren’t sold on stopping by. I highly recommend Portillo’s for families with picky eaters and anyone looking for great food for a good price.

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Thu, 21 Feb 2013 17:40:26 GMT
    MojoBistro Features: Menu MojoBistro Features

    No restaurant website is complete without a menu. More and more, customers turn to the web to research their dining options. In fact, according to the National Restaurant Association, nearly half of the population research restaurant websites when deciding where to eat. And with nearly a quarter of adults using mobile phones to access the web, having your menu available via an app is an easy, hassle-free way to reach the public.

    Mobile App Menus

    Your menu is a powerful marketing tool that can influence customers. But how can you make sure that your menu is readable not only on your website, but will display clearly on smartphones as well? MojoBistro’s Menu feature allows you to either create a detailed list that includes all of your menu items with the specifics that make them so delicious or you can upload your complete menu as a pdf, for easy updating in the future. Both options allow customers to easily browse from the convenience of their phone and are easy for you to incorporate in your mobile app.

    Does your restaurant cater to a wide-range of taste buds? Highlight your special offerings on your app, from gluten-free and vegetarian to kosher and organic. Specialize in unique cocktails or tantalizing desserts? Showcase your signature offerings with customizable menu categories and pages.

    Make sure that you keep your menu up-to-date with current prices and specials. Updates are simple with MojoBistro Test Kitchen, allowing you to update your app when it’s convenient for you! And highlighting specials lets regulars know when their favorite dish is being offered and helps lure in customers wanting to try something new.

    Want to learn more? Check out the MojoBistro: Feature Series for additional information about MojoBistro’s robust feature set and how to use them to their fullest!

    Mon, 18 Feb 2013 15:11:23 GMT
    Restaurant Raves: Chuck"s Manufacturing Liz Karagitlieva, one of our Interactive Graphic Designers, is raving about Chuck's Manufacturing. We think you will love it too. Check out our weekly Restaurant Raves where we are bragging about our favorite Chicago area restaurants.

    Chuck's ManufacturingChuck's Manufacturing, American, The Loop, $$
    224 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60601
    (312) 334-6700
    Reviewed by: Liz Karagitlieva

    This unique dining destination is conveniently located at the heart of Chicago’s renown Michigan Avenue. The atmosphere can only be described as bold and eclectic, resembling something out of a Roald Dahl novel. Bold acrylics and bright CMYK colors—the base colors used for all color construction—represent the restaurant’s manufacturing roots.

    The menu reimagines classic American fare with an added twist—the ability to “Manufacture your Dinner.” Simply select any three items from the “Manufacture” list to customize your own meal. The portions are perfect and the ability to customize makes it easy to try multiple menu offerings.Chuck's Manufacturing

    We started off our evening with the hummus trio, made with citrus, mushroom and apple-fennel and served with zatar spiced pitas and veggies. Our group all opted to try out the “Manufacture your Dinner” selections. The arugula salad, garnished with goat cheese, pecans and grilled pears was refreshing while the roasted asparagus seasoned with Hawaiian sea salt, was a unique and delicious choice. For the main entree, I ordered the Whitefish flavored with pink peppercorn vin blanc. The side order of french fries included a barbeque ketchup which was amazing.

    The service was great from start to finish. At Chuck’s traditional servers and bartenders are replaced with “apprentices,” “engineers” and “foremen.” Our server was very polite, friendly and helpful. As an added bonus, as soon as we sat down, we were offered complimentary phone chargers to use while we dined.

    Chuck’s is a great place to start, end or spend your night with some quality dinner and drinks with friends or a loved one. The atmosphere is very unique and trendy and makes for an entertaining and one-of-a-kind night out.

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Tue, 12 Feb 2013 20:41:12 GMT
    MojoBistro’s Social Media Maître D’: Ten Handcrafted Tweets for Busy Restaurant Owners 10 Tweets for Busy Restaurant OwnersWe know as a busy restaurant manager or owner it is hard to carve out the time for social media. However, dedicating time to social media outlets can mean the difference between an okay night and a packed house.

    MojoBistro wants to help you make social media easier. Occasionally, we are posting blogs dedicated to busy restaurant personnel who want to incorporate social media into their restaurant marketing plans but don’t have the extra time to develop a full blown plan. We call these blogs: MojoBistro’s Social Media Maître D’.

    While we do encourage you to start a conversation with your loyal restaurant fans in social media, we also understand that your time is precious. Ideally, you would craft original messaging and foster a conversation, but when time just won’t allow for this, utilize these handcrafted tweets.

    Spotlight on Twitter: Ten Handcrafted Tweets for the Busy Restaurant Owner

      1. Today’s tasty lunch special is (Insert Special Here)! Have you tried it yet? Tweet us a picture!

      2. It’s time for dinner! Tonight’s special is the delectable (Insert Special Here). When will you be here?

      3. Delivery is officially on for today. Remember, we open for delivery every day at (Enter Time).

      4. Tuesday is ½ off wine bottles! Chef (Enter Name) recommends a bottle of cabernet with tonight’s special!

      5. Have you decided on a family brunch spot for the weekend? We have a few reservations left for Sunday brunch. Filling up fast!

      6. Had a long day at work? It’s time for a cocktail! Show this tweet at our bar between 5-6 p.m. for a $5 martini! Who said Happy Hour!?

      7. Did somebody say bacon? We are open every day for breakfast. Come in for your next business meeting and enjoy bottomless coffee service!

      8. Have you checked in on FourSquare lately? Remember, Mayor gets the special table on Friday nights and a free appetizer! Impress your friends!

      9. Looking for a Saturday date night reservation? We have a few spots left. Make a reservation via our iPhone or Android mobile app today!

      10. Download our iPhone or Android mobile app today. Show the app to your server and receive a free ice cream sundae for your table to share!

    These tweets were created to make your life easier. Just fill in the blanks to customize for your restaurant. Feel free to mix and match language so these tweets work best for your restaurant.

    Up next on MojoBistro’s Social Media Maître D’: A focus on how to use Pinterest to market your restaurant and build a loyal fan following. Until then, check out our blog on Tips for Using Social Media to Market your Restaurant’s iPhone and Android apps.

    Thu, 07 Feb 2013 21:14:30 GMT
    MojoBistro Features: Contact Information MojoBistro Features

    Nothing turns off customers like being unable to quickly find your location or contact you. If your information is not readily available to the public, your potential customers are going to pass your restaurant over for one that is more consumer-friendly.

    mobile app contact information

    You want your current customers to share their experiences with you, from rave reviews to suggestions. And you want potential customers to be able to find and visit your location with ease. Consequently, your contact page is an integral part of your website and mobile application.

    MojoBistro’s “Contact” Feature is the perfect medium for allowing your customers to connect with you while on the go.

    Whether it is as uncomplicated as listing your address and phone number or as elaborate as a contact form and interactive map with directions, a “Contact” page is a simple way to ensure that current and potential customers can reach you. And don’t forget to include your hours!

    In addition, including your location on your mobile app’s contact page is an uncomplicated way to make your restaurant Social, Local, Mobile and reach out to the wide market of smartphone and mobile-device users through geo-location technology and social media.

    Want to learn more? Check out the MojoBistro: Feature Series for additional information about MojoBistro's robust feature set and how to use them to their fullest!

    Wed, 06 Feb 2013 15:19:53 GMT
    Restaurant Raves: The Gage Trish Gorecki, one of our content authors, is raving about The Gage. She had such a wonderful dining experience. From the meal and drinks, to the exceptional service, it was perfect! The Gage is also a participant Chicago Restaurant Week. Check out our other Restaurant Raves to help narrow down the choices for the best week of the year!

    The GageThe Gage, The Loop, $$$
    24 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60603
    (312) 372-4243
    Reviewed by: Trish Gorecki

    Just steps from Chicago’s famed Millennium Park, The Gage combines the laid-back atmosphere of a European pub with the refinement and high-quality menu of a top-notch dining establishment. The vintage decor, from the historical facades to the floor-to-ceiling windows evoke a feeling of classic elegance. For a peak at the past, check out the early 20th century theater magazine advertisements for Gage hats that line the staircase to the restaurant’s lower level.

    The innovative menu features savory, upscale versions of traditional comfort foods, boutique beers, and a wide selection of top quality wine and liquor. The Amish Chicken is amazing and perfectly complimented by the butternut squash, goat cheese and cardamom. The vegetarian in our group raved about her Roasted Sweet Potato Ravioli. And don’t forget about dessert! Upon the recommendation of our waiter, we ordered the Chocolate Caramel Pave and were not disappointed. The combination of Dulce de Leche, toasted meringue and Creme Fraiche was delicious.The Gage

    For the lunch crowd, I highly recommend you start out with an order of the chips (fries) and curry gravy. The gravy gives just the right amount of kick to the crispy chips. Burger lovers will enjoy “The Regular” Burger or its upgrade with Camembert and Onion Marmalade. Looking to try something a bit removed from the traditional burger? The Smoked Salmon Sandwich is a tasty alternative, with grain mustard and pickle aioli adding flavor to the smoked salmon served on a sourdough roll.

    The service is top-notch. Our waiter was very well-versed on the menu and his recommendations were perfect. Our drinks were refilled quickly and plates cleared in a timely manner.

    Situated in the heart of the city near the Art Institute and Millenium Park, The Gage caters to those looking for an upscale business lunch, a classy dinner out on the town or special occasions. You’ll be glad you stopped in.

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Mon, 04 Feb 2013 19:28:26 GMT
    Restaurant Raves: Mercadito Chicago Kate is sharing another one of her favorite dining spots, Mercadito Chicago, to kick off Chicago Restaurant Week! Check back weekly for additions to our Restaurant Raves!

    mercaditoMercadito Chicago, Near North Side, $$$
    108 W. Kinzie St., Chicago
    (312) 329-9555
    Reviewed by: Kate Seiferth

    Mercadito just might be my favorite Mexican restaurant in Chicago! It definitely gets my vote for restaurant with the best margarita in town. There is simply nothing better than a margarita on the rocks made with freshly squeezed lime juice and good tequila after a long week at work. Hands down as far as I’m concerned, Mercadito has one of the freshest and tastiest margaritas in town as well as a first-rate line up of tequilas. I’m not a fan of margaritas made with cheap tequila and generic sweet and sour mix, which you definitely won’t find here. The bar at Mercadito is always packed with folks sipping on margaritas and that should tell you all you need to know!

    The modern decor is just as fabulous as the margaritas at Mercadito. This isn’t your typical chain Mexican restaurants, no pinatas or sombreros, everything is very upscale here. The tables are very close together so be ready to get close with your dining neighbors. If you come with a big group, there are some fabulous large booths that can handle a happy margarita drinking and taco eating party! The atmosphere is very lively and swanky. There is a cosmopolitan lounge in the front just calling your name for your next afterwork happy hour. And, Mercadito is perfect for a hot first date or a romantic occasion for a couple who wants to try something new and spicy. mercadito

    As for the food, my husband and I always start off with two guacamoles. The traditional guacamole is delicious but we like to try new things each time and rotate through the other options like the poblano or mango guacamoles. If guacamole isn’t your thing, try a couple of the house-made salsas.

    If you like trying new things, Mercadito is the place for you. This place was made for sharing tasty treats, and my husband and I always share everything we order. My absolute favorite Mexican dish is queso fundido, and Mercadito’s version is stellar with pork belly on top when they offer it or the mushrooms. Next up, we usually get an order of tacos. We’ve had the pescado, carne, and pastor tacos, which are all delicious! The pastor tacos were very spicy so be prepared with a cocktail on the side. Mercadito also partners with Share our Strength to offer a special taco each month, which are usually to die for. After the tacos, we typically run out of eating steam and only have enough room left for a dessert margarita! Although Mercadito does offer some tasty sounding desserts if you have the room.

    We are going to try to get back to Mercadito for Restaurant Week this year because the offering looks pretty stellar for both lunch and dinner. Check out Mercadito’s Chicago Restaurant Week Menus and make a reservation soon!

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Fri, 01 Feb 2013 21:36:51 GMT
    Restaurant Raves: Table Fifty-Two Table Fifty-Two left an impression on Kate, our content author, and we think you will love it too! Table Fifty-Two is also a participant in Chicago Restaurant Week! Check back weekly for additions to our Restaurant Raves!

    Table Fifty TwoTable Fifty-Two, Gold Coast, $$$
    52 W. Elm Street, Chicago
    (312) 573-4000
    Reviewed by: Kate Seiferth

    My husband and I first went to Table Fifty-Two last summer when we were given a gift certificate as a wedding gift from a savvy foodie friend. We had heard excellent things given the owner and chef, Art Smith, used to work for Oprah and had been on Top Chef, but somehow we had never managed to plan a night out there. One thing's for sure, you need to make reservations well in advance!

    The restaurant is located in a beautiful old house in the Gold Coast neighborhood of Chicago. You could drive past and not even realize what’s hiding inside. There are a couple coveted tables outside in the front during the warm season. The main dining area when you walk through the front door is super cozy and very down to earth given the restaurant’s glam location. It’s refreshing after eating at all the super modern spaces in Chicago! It’s like eating dinner at your rich aunt’s house in Alabama, but only in the ritziest neighborhood of Chicago. Apparently there is more dining downstairs, which we haven’t seen yet. But my very in-the-know friend was texting me while we were dining to say that Jennifer Hudson and her family as well as Bravo’s Andy Cohen were both at Table 52 dining while we were there (must have been hiding downstairs). It’s always exciting to eat where the fancy celebrity people eat, right?

    In college, I worked at a restaurant on the Wabash River in Indiana that specialized in catfish so of course I had to try the Cornmeal Crusted Illinois Catfish at Table Fifty-Two. Who would have thought a high-end restaurant in Chicago would offer catfish? Love it! It was delicious and came paired with cheese grits, collard greens, and a hush puppy. My husband tried a pork special that he could not stop raving about. The highlight of the meal was the side we ordered, a bourbon glazed cornbread. It was so tasty the people at the table next to us were laughing when we were fighting over who got the last bite! I won!

    Chef Art Smith was in the house that night running around making everyone feel at home. You can tell he loves his restaurant and his customers and that keeps the place packed! The kitchen brought out a special complimentary egg dish before the meal and cat’s tongue cookies afterwards. Even after all that, we still managed to order and devour Art’s Hummingbird cake, a banana-pineapple cake with cream cheese frosting and pineapple grastique. And, I had at least two freshly made cocktails with mashed blueberries.

    The cocktail, dessert, and dinner menu usually have fresh creations for each season so you have to keep coming back to try out all the new delicious food concepts that Chef Art creates! If you have a craving for high-end southern food in Chicago, Table Fifty-Two is the place to dine. We are headed back for Chicago’s 2013 Restaurant Week, and you should, too! Check out Table Fifty-Two’s Restaurant Week Menu here.

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Thu, 31 Jan 2013 21:43:34 GMT
    Restaurant Raves: The Cape Cod Room If you were to ask me which Chicago restaurant was my absolute favorite, The Cape Cod Room would definitely be in my top 3. The Cape Cod Room is also a participant in Chicago Restaurant Week! So this is a great time to experience this iconic Chicago restaurant. Check back weekly for additions to our Restaurant Raves!

    The Cape Cod RoomThe Cape Cod Room, The Gold Coast, $$$-$$$$
    The Drake, 140 East Walton Place, Chicago, IL
    (312) 787-2200
    Reviewed by: Betsy Kraft

    There is truly something magical about the historic Cape Cod Room at The Drake. Perhaps it is the divided dining spaces and enormous wooden booths that create a cozy and intimate atmosphere, making you feel like you are dining in your own home. It could be the historic relevance, literally carved into the famous wooden bar, of a restaurant that dates back to 1933 and has continuously been named as one of America’s finest dining spots. Or maybe it is the fact that I always dine here with my wonderful father-in-law when he is in town, staying at the Drake, and the company couldn’t be better. My best guess? The magic at the Cape Cod Room comes straight from the kitchen and is served to perfection!

    The Cape Cod Room is seeping with history. If you go during off hours or are lucky enough to be there when it is not overly crowded, I highly recommend you take the time to speak with your server about all of the Chicago political figures, Hollywood celebrities, and other heavy hitters that frequented this historic hot spot. The stories will start coming out of the woodwork—literally! From the initials of famed actress Marilyn Monroe and Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio carved into the beautiful wooden bar to the old-school, top-notch service that harkens to days gone by, a visit to the Cape Cod Room is a visit to the past.The Cape Cod Room

    Even with all of the other amazing things about this restaurant, I can honestly say that the food is the highlight. Each of the menu items is well thought out and traditional to the restaurant’s namesake. You can’t make a bad choice! If you are looking for a suggestion or two, I will be happy to give you my favorites. For this dining experience, skip the salad, and make sure to order a cup of one of their savory soups. Choose from any of the three: the Signature Bookbinder, The Cape Cod Clam Chowder, or the Lobster bisque. You make the call! As for an entrée, The Maine Lobster Thermidor, served au gratin, is possibly the best meal that I have ever eaten. The perfectly cooked lobster swimming in a delicious mushroom cream sauce is pretty close to heaven here on earth. The Coriander Crusted Mahi Mahi is also an amazing choice, especially if you pair it with the Maine Lobster Mashed Potatoes. If you have come to the Cape Cod Room for a land loving meal, you won’t be disappointed with their mouthwatering steaks and rack of lamb. I have never successfully made it to desert. Please feel free to let me know if you find a favorite!

    If you have a special occasion, or just have a hankering for the best seafood in the Midwest, you have to try the Cape Cod Room. It is family friendly and definitely takes reservations. Get there a little early to explore the history of the Drake and this landmark restaurant. It is truly a Chicago institution that you can not miss!

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Wed, 30 Jan 2013 19:44:17 GMT
    Restaurant Raves: Tokyo Steakhouse Our Director of Human Resources, Christen Blaze, is sharing one of her favorite dining spots in Tinley Park. Tokyo Steakhouse is an outstanding place to enjoy a night out for sushi or traditional Japanese Steakhouse dining. Don't miss out on this great find or any of our other Restaurant Raves!

    Tokyo SteakhouseTokyo Steakhouse, Japanese, $$, Tinley Park
    9436 W. 179th Street, Tinley Park, IL 60477
    (708) 429-8988
    Reviewed by: Christen Blaze

    The casual atmosphere at Tinley Park’s Tokyo Steakhouse is very relaxed and laid-back—great for a low-key night out or dining with the family. The decor is minimalist with some Japanese themed pictures and hangings on the walls. Seating is done in groups, with hibachi tables seating roughly 8-10 people. You may end up sitting at a table with other diners you don’t know which can make for a very fun and social evening. If you are looking for more intimate dining, there is a dining room and tea rooms available.

    The menu includes a great selection of Japanese favorites including sushi, udon and noodles, bento box combinations and hibachi. The included children’s menu is perfect for pickier youngsters. Order your meal “hibachi style” and the chefs will cook your meal in front of you on a giant grill. Watching your meal being cooked can be very entertaining, with vegetables being tossed, onions being lit on fire and put out with a squirt gun! Tokyo Steakhouse

    Everything from seafood and chicken to steak and vegetables can be cooked on the hibachi and each dinner includes soup, salad, your choice of entree, a side of sauteed vegetables, sauteed noodles, steamed or fried rice and an ice cream dessert. The portions are large and for a minimal fee, you can share a meal—providing you with two servings of the soup, salad, sides and dessert. Make sure to try out the ginger salad dressing. I have yet to find anything that can compare!

    The food is fresh, high-quality and always cooked to order. The presentation is colorful and appetizing. If you choose to eat “hibachi style,” your food is cooked in stages with noodles and vegetables first, rice and then meat included at the end, ensuring your food is served together at the right temperature.

    The servers and hostess are always polite and the restaurant is very accommodating of special requests. I don’t eat dairy and they have no problem cooking my food with that in mind. There is certainly something for everyone and with dazzling cooking presentations over the hibachi grill, diners of all ages are sure to be entertained. Weekends tend to be very busy so you definitely want to make a reservation to avoid a long wait.

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Tue, 29 Jan 2013 17:13:19 GMT
    Restaurant Raves: Osteria Ottimo Brian Pautsch, our President and Co-Founder, is raving about another one of his favorite restaurants. Check out what he has to say about Osteria Ottimo! We post weekly Restaurant Raves about the best restaurants around the Chicago area!

    Osteria OttimoOsteria Ottimo, Italian, $$, Orland Park
    16111 S. La Grange Road, Orland Park, IL 60467
    (708) 403-3366
    Reviewed by: Brian Pautsch

    Does your family go out to dinner to celebrate each family member's birthday? Does everyone seem to pick the same restaurant birthday after birthday? If so, you must be in my family and eating at Osteria Ottimo at least once or twice a month.

    Located in South suburban Orland Park, Osteria Ottimo is my favorite Chicago area Italian restaurant. Unique name, amazing food. The interior is nice, designed like most Italian restaurants albeit with a rustic feel. There's a bar area up front, good sized dining room and a patio with 6-7 tables—perfect for a relaxed lunch or for warm summer nights.

    Recently, we were at Osteria Ottimo for my sister-in-law’s birthday. Having been there before, we knew they get fairly busy on the weekends and made sure to make a reservation. We were seated promptly and the kids were given crayons and a paper with games and cartoons to color. This kept them busy. A busboy quickly filled our water glasses and brought fresh, warm bread, oil and parmesan cheese. Our waitress soon arrived to welcome us, describe the specials and get our drink order.Osteria Ottimo

    The food is certainly the highlight of Ottimo's. While the menu is not as extensive as other restaurants, they offer a great selection of Italian classics. On any given day, they are sure to have 5 or 6 specials including an appetizer, a few entrees and a dessert. The main reason we continue to go to Ottimo's is for the homemade pasta. Unlike most Italian restaurants that serve boxed pasta, Osteria Ottimo makes theirs fresh.

    On this visit, we started off with an appetizer of fried calamari. It was cooked perfectly and served with two dipping sauces that complimented it very well. For my entree, I went with the homemade gnocchi and my wife, as always, ordered the Pollo Rustico (grilled chicken breasts marinated in red chili flakes, oregano and roasted garlic). Both of our meals were amazing. The portions are generous, although I found a way to finish mine!

    Even though we were already pretty full, we just could not pass up dessert. This time, we went with the tiramisu. As always, they did not disappoint. The chocolate and coffee soaked lady fingers mixed with whipped cream paired with a fresh cup of coffee was a perfect way to end the meal.

    Once again, Ottimo's delivered with another amazing meal. If you're in the area, I highly recommend you give them a shot. You will be glad you did.

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Mon, 28 Jan 2013 18:35:50 GMT
    Restaurant Raves: Carmichael’s Chicago Steakhouse We are featuring another Chicago Restaurant Week star in this week's Restaurant Raves! Do you have your reservations for Restaurant Week yet? If not you should make a move to make sure you will be spending the week at some of the most popular and delicious restaurants in the city. After reading this, we are sure you will want to give Carmichael's Chicago Steakhouse a call!

    Restaurant RavesCarmichael's Chicago Steakhouse, West Loop, $$$
    1052 W. Monroe, Chicago IL
    (312) 433-0025
    Reviewed by: Kate Seiferth

    Now that the Chicago Blackhawks are back in full swing, I have Carmichael’s on the brain! Carmichael’s Chicago Steakhouse in the West Loop is my go-to steak restaurant for dining before events at the United Center. The restaurant even offers a complimentary shuttle to the majority of events at the UC (call ahead to confirm). We’ve taken the shuttle to see the Blackhawks and Bulls. For a past holiday gift, we treated my mother-in-law to dinner at Carmichael’s and tickets to see her favorite team, the Blackhawks. It’s a great place to treat your loved ones to a special meal! We’ve dined at Carmichael’s for birthdays, anniversaries, and for fun date nights. Our friend even had her daughter’s first birthday party there on a Sunday afternoon. Whatever the occasion, Carmichael’s is a friendly place with delicious food to celebrate at!

    We love the cheese dip that comes with the bread basket. You have to watch yourself with that cheese or you won’t be able to eat your steak. We almost always start with the Carmichael's Chicago SteakhouseBBQ Shrimp and Onion appetizer. It’s colossal and consists of huge shrimp wrapped in bacon and topped with fried onion strings and barbeque sauce. It’s gluttonous and great for a group. Of course, I’m a cheese girl so I also get Dubliner cheese melted on top of my filet mignon. Oh my goodness, it’s juicy and cheesy deliciousness. If I get the cheese on top, I go for the 8 ounce Sally’s Cut. If I’m feeling ravenous for a substantial piece of steak, I go for the larger Gentleman’s Cut filet sans cheese. They also offer the add-a-crust feature for all the steaks so you can add a yummy garlic herb butter, al forno, five peppercorn, blue cheese, horseradish, or a roasted garlic and peppercorn crust to your steak. The creamed spinach side is a tasty complement to the steak as well. Carmichael’s always offers a bunch of specials, but I tend to stick to my same order with a couple Cosmopolitans to start. Of course they offer a fine wine menu and full bar offerings as well.

    The atmosphere and decor is classic Chicago steakhouse. Think dark woods, white linens, attentive service, and a lively atmosphere. In the summer, they have a fabulous outdoor patio with seating that is great for groups. There is also a fabulous bar at the front to grab a beer and steak during the week for low key dinners as well.

    Also, you never know who might be dining at Carmichael’s. One Saturday evening, we were lucky enough to spot Rocky Wirtz, chairman of the Chicago Blackhawks. He was very gracious and stopped by our table when my husband couldn’t contain his excitement and said hello to him.

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Fri, 25 Jan 2013 17:27:54 GMT
    Restaurant Raves: 100 South Chop House Rich Pesek, one of our Technical Project Managers, is raving about 100 South Chop House. We think you will love it too!

    100 South Chop House100 South Chop House, Elmhurst, $$$
    100 S. York St., Elmhurst, IL
    (630) 782-9091
    Reviewed by: Rich Pesek

    When you step through the front door of 100 South Chop House in downtown Elmhurst, you feel like you entered a 1940’s supper club. The refined yet cozy atmosphere is highlighted by dim lighting and jazz music. The restaurant is filled with old-school mementos and has a mysterious vibe reminiscent of my favorite Mafia movies. The restaurant overall has an upscale feel with white tablecloths, and the wait staff even wear stellar bow ties.

    The service rightly reflects the atmosphere. The staff are all very friendly and have an in-depth knowledge of the broad menu. The tasty menu is filled with pasta, steaks, ribs, chops, seafood, and chicken. The last time I dined there, I ordered the filet with broccoli and mashed potatoes. The steak was cooked perfectly and the garlic mashed potatoes were so good! 100 South really relaxes you after a long week of work especially when you pair your steak with a Seven and Seven like I did. They also have a nice wine list and beer selection in addition to a full bar with featured martinis. 100 South Chop House

    I would recommend casual to fancy dress for your visit to 100 South Chop House. It is definitely a place where you can sport your finest attire for a weekend night out on the town or a nice pair of jeans and dress shirt for a casual business dinner. I enjoy dressing to the nines so I typically get dressed up when I head out to 100 South. I would also classify it as not that kid-friendly since the atmosphere has more of a grownup aura about it.

    The downtown suburban location with people out and about on the weekend nights lends to the upbeat atmosphere and creates a certain sophistication for fine dining. The owner, also named Rich like me, is usually around and always is super friendly to us when I visit the restaurant with either my wife or group of friends.

    The convenient location in downtown Elmhurst is really close to the train station so you can drive in from the suburbs for a group date night or take the train out from the city for a romantic dinner with your significant other. I highly recommend checking out 100 South Chop House for your next special occasion or an adventurous night on the town. The atmosphere is super cozy and dark making it great for a romantic dinner for two!

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Thu, 24 Jan 2013 21:43:32 GMT
    MojoBistro Features: The About Section MojoBistro Features

    Diners frequent your restaurant because they love your food, but chances are there is more to your restaurant than just your menu. And with consumers increasingly interested in creating personal connections with the businesses they frequent, it is vital that you share your story in a medium that is easily accessible to your tech-savvy clientele. A website “About” page is the perfect tool to share your restaurant’s background and personality with your customers. In fact, the “About” page is now considered one of the most visited pages on business sites, surpassed only by the home page.

    But how can you translate this storytelling medium into your mobile app? MojoBistro is here to help with their “About” Feature, allowing you to easily create a friendly, engaging “About” section to share with your on-the-go customers.

    Use your “About” page to build trust and credibility. Do not turn it into another sales pitch. It is important that you explain who you are, not what you do. Use this space to share Mojobistro Featureswhat makes your restaurant tick, its history and its personality. If your restaurant has a fun, laid-back vibe, than your “About” page should be fun and laid-back. This is the place to really let your personality shine through.

    No restaurant is successful without the hard work and dedication of the many people toiling quietly behind the scenes. Use your “About” page to introduce your diners to your diligent staff. It can be as simple as providing management biographies and photos. Or take it a step further and include a feature on your restaurant’s chef.

    And don’t forget to showcase your accomplishments! Direct quotes from restaurateurs, reviews, Zagat, Yelp and Foursquare are great additions to your “About” page.

    Connecting with your clientele does not have to be difficult. MojoBistro’s “About” feature is a quick and easy way to build relationships with customers on-the-go.

    Want to learn more? Check out the MojoBistro: Feature Series for additional information about MojoBistro's robust feature set and how to use them to their fullest!

    Thu, 24 Jan 2013 16:08:20 GMT
    MojoBistro Features: Personalization MojoBistro Features

    Since its introduction in May of 2012, MojoBistro’s Do-It-Yourself technology has allowed restaurants to easily create and manage their mobile presence. With features ranging from reservations and menu galleries to social integration and marketing, MojoBistro is a comprehensive, convenient and accessible platform for restaurants to go mobile. MojoBistro has done all the heavy lifting necessary to connect your restaurant with a wide audience.

    With all the great features and capabilities offered through MojoBistro, one might feel overwhelmed. Don’t worry, the design process is easy and intuitive, and MojoBistro is here to help you along the way.

    Ready to get started? Let’s take a look at some of MojoBistro’s features aimed at providing a tailor-made mobile app for your restaurant.

    A key element of MojoBistro is the ability to personalize your app. Your restaurant has a unique atmosphere and feel that sets it apart from the crowd, and at MojoBistro, we believe your app should too.

    MojoBistro Features Series

    Start off with creating your App Icon, the image that will be displayed on your customer’s phone as well as in the app store. It is important that your icon is something that customers can easily identify with your restaurant. Whether it’s your company logo or other unique restaurant feature, make sure your icon is hi-res. Fuzzy or blurry icons are a definite irritant for potential customers and a deterrent for anyone interested in downloading your app.

    Every restaurant has a one-of-a-kind look and feel, whether it’s an old-world Italian eatery or a chic, modern fusion restaurant. Make sure to carry over your unique ambiance with a customizable app background and fonts. With the option to upload your own background, change fonts and text colors, creating a distinctive look and feel for your app is simple. Carry over your restaurant’s environment to create instant recognition and keep things familiar for your customers.

    Want to get creative? Showcase your originality with your app’s Splash Screen, the image that will be displayed on your customer’s phone while your app is loading. From an image of your featured menu item to a good humored view of your waiting area, this feature is the perfect outlet for using your originality to entice and entertain customers.

    It’s that simple to create a customized, one-of-a-kind app for your restaurant with MojoBistro’s personalization features!

    Want to learn more? Check out the MojoBistro: Feature Series for additional information about MojoBistro's robust feature set and how to use them to their fullest!

    Thu, 24 Jan 2013 14:47:35 GMT
    Restaurant Raves: Wildfire David Mansch, our Interactive Graphic Designer, is raving about Wildfire! Wildfire is also participating in Chicago Restaurant Week. Check out our other Restaurant Raves! to help narrow down the choices for our favorite week of the year!

    Restaurant RavesWildfire, Multiple Locations, $$$
    232 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook, IL
    (630) 586-9000
    Reviewed by: David Mansch

    The Wildfire at Oakbrook Center mall has a casual yet upbeat feel flowing through the intimate and dimly lit restaurant. It has a 1940’s vibe thanks to the jazz music cascading throughout the many levels and sections making you feel instantly in a positive mood. It was the perfect setting for a weekend date night for my wife and me. That said, since our visit was a special occasion (my birthday) and we left the kids at home, my review may have a slight bias in the positive direction.

    The menu is exactly what you would expect of a high-end steak and seafood restaurant, simply perfection. There were not many surprises, which for us is a very good thing. Restaurant RavesObviously not many options for vegetarians being a steakhouse and all (just the way I like it!). My steak was cooked to perfection, and the garlic mashed potatoes were delicious. My wife’s salmon was perfectly seasoned and just the right level of juicy. The open kitchen area makes the evening very entertaining while you wait for your food. And, we could not have been happier with our waiter. In fact, all the service staff were very friendly and attentive.

    Overall, my wife and I had a really nice time at Wildfire for my birthday. We definitely made the right choice for us not to bring the kids with us. It’s a bit crowded for dinner and the different levels would be hard for little legs to negotiate. But the result of the unique restaurant layout is a very intimate setting perfect for adult date nights, special occasions, or even business dinners. My wife said she would even come back for a girls’ night out! The restaurant gets a lot of foot traffic at this busy outdoor mall so definitely make reservations if you don’t want to wait too long for a table. You can always grab a cocktail at the lively bar while you wait though.

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Tue, 22 Jan 2013 15:33:25 GMT
    Restaurant Raves: The Tribes Alehouse Our Co-Founder and President, Brian Pautsch is raving about one of his favorite restaurants, The Tribes Alehouse. Don't miss out on this great dining experience or any others included in our Restaurant Raves.

    Restaurant RavesTribes Alehouse, Multiple Locations, $$
    9501 West 171st Street, Tinley Park, IL, (708) 966-2051
    11220 W. Lincoln Highway, Mokena, IL, (815) 464-0248
    Reviewed by: Brian Pautsch

    For all you craft beer fans, this Restaurant Rave is for you! Located in Chicago’s South Suburbs, Tribes Alehouse is my favorite pub. There are locations in Tinley Park and Mokena. I make a point of visiting Tribes at least 2-3 times per month, at least. Whether it's dinner with my family or drinks with friends, it's my go-to place for amazing beers and great food.

    The original Tribes in Mokena is smaller and has more of a pub feel. They often have about 40 beers on tap including a few hard to find beers. Because the Mokena location became popular and crowded so quickly, the owner promptly opened a much larger location in Tinley Park this past October. The Tinley Park location is much larger and has a patio area during the warmer months, but is also always packed. Be prepared to wait on Fridays and weekends, but it's well worth it.

    The interior is nicely decorated. And, as you would expect with a pub, there is a large wooden bar, beer paraphernalia, and artwork everywhere as well as hundreds of beer handles (the owner is obviously a collector). About half the restaurant is tables and the other half is high tops with bar stools. There are two areas setup for larger parties.Restaurant Raves

    The beer selection can be quite intimidating especially if you aren't familiar with craft beers. Besides the 50 beers on tap, they also have dozens of bottles and wine. If you're not sure what to pick, ask the your waitress or bartender because they know the beers very well. Each time I come here, I try something new. Recent selections include beers from Three Floyd's, Founders, Goose Island, and Lagunitas. The most recent time, my pick was Revolution Eugene Porter. Delicious!

    If you're not a beer nut, the food is just as much a highlight. They offer some of the typical brewpub options such as burgers and wings, but also unique items like the lobster roll, aged cheddar pancetta, and pork belly sandwich. You can¹t go wrong with the burgers. Meat options include chicken, beef, turkey or bison. I recommend your choice on a pretzel roll. I've tried almost everything on the menu, but this time, I'm going with the tried and true 10 oz. Filet Mignon medium rare and blackened with house cajun spices along with smashed red potatoes with cheddar and sauteed spinach. I've never had dessert here. To be honest, another pint is the perfect dessert for me, but I hear they're very good, too.

    So if you find yourself in the South Suburbs of Chicago looking for a great meal and a huge craft beer selection, there is only one place to go: Tribes Alehouse. And if you can, go on a Wednesday in Mokena or Thursday in Tinley Park. On these days there are special beer tappings of usually hard to find beers. You're often limited to just one glass because the beer is so popular so get there early!

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Tue, 22 Jan 2013 14:50:58 GMT
    Restaurant Raves: Rockit Bar & Grill As we get closer and closer to Chicago Restaurant Week, we will be focusing on restaurants that participate in the best week in Chicago! We hope that our Restaurant Raves will give you some great ideas for places to eat through out the week of February 1-10th. Don't forget to make reservations early so you don't miss out!

    restaurant ravesRockit Bar & Grill, River-North, $$
    22 W. Hubbard, Chicago, IL 60654
    (312) 645-6000
    Reviewed by: Patricia Gorecki

    Located in the ever-popular River North neighborhood of Chicago, Rockit Bar & Grill offers casual American favorites with a contemporary twist. The atmosphere is very urban and trendy with exposed beams, 75 ft. skylight and cocktail tables made from authentic tree stumps. For more casual dining, head upstairs to the lounge showcasing an island bar and flat screen plasma televisions. It’s the perfect place to kick back and relax after a long day in the office.

    The menu offers a variety of salads, sandwiches, entrees, cocktails and burgers. The entrees are delicious. The Jerk Seasoned Mahi Mahi had just the right amount of spice and theRestaurant Raves Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese is the ultimate in upscale comfort food.But what really makes Rockit Bar & Grill the place to go is the burgers. Their upscale interpretation on the classic burger and sandwich menu is mouth watering.

    Chicken lovers will enjoy the Pesto Chicken Sandwich, a savory mix of grilled chicken breast, pesto mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato on tomato focaccia while vegetarians can get their fix with a BBQ red bean burger topped with cheddar cheese, bell peppers, lettuce, tomatoes and chipotle mayonnaise. Don’t forget to try the famous Rockit Burger! Named the best in the nation by “Good Morning America,” the burger has certainly earned the accolades, combining kobe beef, melted brie, fried shallots and medjool date aioli on a red onion brioche bun. Delicious.

    A visit to Rockit Bar & Grill would not be complete without a order of the Sweet Potato or Truffle Fries. They are seriously the best fries I have ever had. The Sweet Potato Fries are perfectly crispy, sprinkled with brown sugar salt and served with chipotle mayo, the perfect blend of sweet and tangy, while the truffle fries are coated in truffle oil and parsley, creating an amazingly decadent side dish. The portions are huge, so make sure to bring your appetite!

    Rockit Bar & Grill is open for lunch and dinner, and for a special treat, stop by on Saturday and Sunday for Brunch, complete with Mimosas and a “Build Your Own” Gourmet Bloody Mary Bar!

    Find out more about Chicago's Restaurant Week here.

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Thu, 17 Jan 2013 20:49:33 GMT
    Tips for Building Your Restaurant’s Mobile App Tips for Building Your Restaurant's Mobile AppSo you’ve decided to join the social marketing wave and create an app for your restaurant. What’s next? Between running a restaurant and catering to customers, it can be hard to find the time to develop and implement a mobile app. We’re here to make it easier. Just follow these tips for building an amazing restaurant app and you will be on the right track.

    • If you want customers to use and enjoy your mobile app,“stickiness,” or customer engagement is key. Push notifications are a great way to connect with customers when used properly. Letting customers know about gift certificate specials, seasonal deals or new menu items are perfect for driving traffic. Use an “Events to Calendar” feature to promote restaurant happenings and keep customers in the loop on new and recurring events. While you’re at it, make sure to offer reservation services within your app. Making it easy for guests to reserve a table is a simple but easy way to keep them engaged.

    • Make sure you upload a hi-res logo for your app. You want people to recognize your restaurant and stand out among other apps. A crisp design and high resolution will ensure that your logo appears clearly throughout the app. You don’t want anything to appear blurry or fuzzy.

    • Does your restaurant give off a vintage diner vibe or transport you to the tropics? Bring your unique atmosphere into your app design. Your customers love your restaurant, from the food to the feel. Carrying that environment into your app will keep things familiar and showcase your style.

    • No one wants to struggle through a complicated app, so make sure your mobile app is user-friendly. It is important that guests can find exactly what they are looking for without too much hassle. Structured, logical tabs and well-organized content make it easy for customers to navigate from page to page.

    • They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so why not incorporate photos into your app. Had an event recently, make sure to put some photos up in a gallery. Show off the the amazing things you are serving by uploading photos of menu items, new additions and seasonal favorites throughout your app. Plus, a sampling of menu favorites is sure to make stomachs rumble and mouths water.

    • Don’t let your app get lost in the shuffle. Make sure to implement marketing tools to inform customers of your new mobile presence. From table cards to menu inserts, marketing tools can go a long way in driving traffic to your app. Not sure what marketing tool to try, check out our blog on marketing tips for ideas.

    • Keep it simple. Your restaurant is popular for its delicious menu. Don’t overshadow it with over-the-top bells and whistles. Your app should compliment your restaurant and its offerings, not overwhelm them. A clean, simple app is easy to use and showcases the best you have to offer.

    Building a mobile app for your restaurant doesn’t have to be a chore. Just keep these simple tips in mind and you are sure to hit the ground running. Need some more help or have any questions? Contact Mojobistro for assistance.

    Thu, 17 Jan 2013 15:34:20 GMT
    MojoBistro Celebrates Chicago Restaurant Week 2013 with Restaurant Raves chicago restaurant weekIt’s time for the tastiest week in Chicago folks, it’s Restaurant Week 2013. If you couldn’t already tell, food is our favorite thing here at MojoBistro (next to mobile apps). And, we love when the fabulous city of Chicago dedicates a whole week to our favorite thing! Our stomachs are growling with the anticipation!

    Chicago’s Restaurant Week Details:
    From Friday, Feb. 1 - Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013, diners at more than 250 Chicago restaurants can reserve tables to enjoy prix fixe menus at designated rates. Lunch menus start at $22 and dinner menus are either $33 or $44 depending on the restaurant. Prix fixe menu prices exclude beverages, tax, and gratuity. Find out more about Chicago's Restaurant Week here.

    Some of our Favorite Business Lunch Places Participating in Restaurant Week:

    • Quay: During the Restaurant Week lunch hours, diners can indulge in any soup or salad with any entree or entree salad from Quay’s regular lunch menu. Plus, you get your choice of butterscotch panna cotta or chocolate hazelnut dome to finish off your lunch on a very sweet note.

    • Nick’s Fishmarket Grill and Bar: Grab a cup of lobster bisque soup, a carne asada cobb salad, and finish it off with a key lime tart for a very satisfying lunch hour. Or, go for the slightly lighter caesar salad starter followed by the pecan encrusted tilapia. Then, take your pick of the white chocolate cheesecake or chocolate molten cake for dessert. You might need a siesta after these rich and indulgent meals!

    • Carnivale: Ready to spice up your lunch hour? How about starting off with a roasted tomato and piquillo pepper soup with roasted garlic, almonds, and toasted bread from Carnivale. Sounds pretty tasty, right? Then, tingle your taste buds with the wood-grilled prime sirloin steak with purple potatoes, cotija cheese, and red wine aji panca sauce. Finally, indulge in the saffron rice pudding with dates, pistachio, and blood orange syrup.

    chicago restaurant weekThese restaurants are just some of MojoBistro’s suggested lunch spots to hit up during this year’s Restaurant Week. All three are also offering stellar dinner menus. You can view lunch and dinner menus for all restaurants participating in the 2013 Chicago Restaurant Week on the designated page online here.

    Leading up to February 1, we are featuring detailed Restaurant Raves on more of our favorite restaurants participating in this year’s extravaganza of food in Chicago. So make sure you come back to our MojoBistro blog often for Restaurant Raves on where to eat this year! Spots at some of our favorite restaurants fill up quickly for Restaurant Week so make sure to make reservations using the restaurant’s mobile app or online via Open Table.

    Wed, 16 Jan 2013 21:33:59 GMT
    Restaurant Raves: DMK Burger Today, our Restaurant Rave hits on a company-wide favorite, DMK Burger Bar. This is our go-to local lunchtime gathering place. We love it and know you will too!

    Restaurant RavesDMK Burger Bar, Multiple Locations, $-$$
    2370 Fountain Square Drive, Lombard, IL (Our personal favorite location)
    (630) 705-9020
    Reviewed by: Mike Mulhausen

    The casual atmosphere at DMK Burger Bar is very relaxed, quiet, and laid back. It is definitely a family-friendly dining experience as well as a great place to grab lunch with hungry coworkers. The decor is fresh and modern with a mix of cozy booths and spacious tables. I appreciated and enjoyed the alternative/indie music that was playing while I was there. Also, if you hear a tune you like in the restaurant you can check out more of DMK’s favorite tunes on its website.

    Everyone on staff was friendly and polite. Our table was served immediately and the food was delivered promptly. The DMK menu is filled with a wide variety of burgers, sandwiches, and sides. There are options for meat eaters and vegetarians. Options include beef, turkey, bison, portobello, and even lamb burgers. You can even mix and match the style of toppings on your burger with any of the different patties offered. Restaurant Raves

    Everyone at our table ordered a burger and fries. I chose to get the #8, which included lettuce, tomato, onion, and bread and butter pickles. It was simple yet fantastic! One buddy’s burger looked really tasty! He got the #1, which was topped with aged cheddar, smoked bacon, charred balsamic red onions, and Rufus Teague’s BBQ sauce. I also loved the sea salt and black pepper fries with DMK’s homemade ketchup. The sweet potato fries looked swell as well and another friend went crazy for the parmesan fries with truffle cream sauce. Fries are ordered separately from the burgers and come in small individual orders or bigger orders to share.

    Overall, my experience with DMK was great! I think it is the perfect place to grab a friendly and tasty lunch with your buddies or coworkers. The food was amazing and so was the staff! Oh, and did I mention their HUGE list of draft and bottled beer? There is even a small bar at the front, which is just perfect for a happy hour beer and some fries after a long day at work.

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Fri, 11 Jan 2013 17:07:15 GMT
    Top Five Mobile Fitness Apps for 2013 Top Five Mobile Fitness Apps for 2013The holidays are over and the new year has just begun. After weeks of cookies, candies and potlucks, many people are marking the arrival of 2013 with plans to get healthier and lose weight. In today’s digital world, losing weight can be made easier with the help of your smartphone and its health and fitness apps. Ready to get started? Here are the top five mobile fitness apps for a happier and healthier you.

    Top Five Mobile Fitness Apps1. Lose It!, by FitNow, Inc.
    Losing weight can be a daunting challenge. Lose It! helps simplify the process by combining your workout journal and food diary into one, easy-to-use tracker. Track meals with an extensive library of name brands and generic food categories. A separate page shows statistics on calories, carbs, fiber, sodium, fat and protein intake. Add in your exercise for the day and the app will calculate the number of calories you ate, how many you burned and how much more you can eat.

    Top Five Mobile Fitness Apps2. Run Keeper, by FitnessKeeper, Inc.
    Consistently ranked the top mobile running app, Run Keeper uses GPS to accurately incorporate elevation, distance and time into tracking your run. Audio cues can be set for speed, pace and distance and progress reports provide detailed statistics of your pace, distance covered, time taken and calories burned per day. Trying out a new route? Run Keeper provides a map of the area and your route in case you get lost!

    Top Five Mobile Fitness Apps3. Nike Training Club
    Spice up your workout with the Nike Training Club app. Utilizing the concept of circuit training to jump start your workout, the app creates a custom combination of quick, targeted exercises for a time-saving, full-body routine. Choose from three different levels—beginner, intermediate, and expert—for an individualized experience. New to circuit training? Don’t worry. All exercises in the Nike Training Club include videos with tips and directions for perfect form.

    Top Five Mobile Fitness Apps4. JETFIT
    The perfect app for training enthusiasts, JEFIT helps track your workout stats including reps, sets and weights. Pre-designed routines and over 500 exercises allow you to easily customize your regimen. All exercises include animations and procedure tips to ensure correct form and are searchable by specific muscle targeted or even equipment type, making it easy to create the perfect fitness plan to reach your goals.

    Top Five Mobile Fitness Apps5. Zombies, Run! by Six to Start
    Turn your workout into a survival challenge with the Zombies, Run! app. Surviving a Zombie Apocalypse will require strength, speed and agility, and this app is sure to prepare you. The app combines music and professional voice-overs to get you motivated to run faster every time a zombie gets too close or to pick up supplies necessary for your survival. Fail to run fast enough and the game is over. With your workout turned into a game, it’s easy to get so involved in the game that you forget you are on a treadmill!

    Regardless of your fitness level, these mobile apps will make sticking to your new years’ resolution easy and fun. Good luck and best wishes for a happy and healthy new year!

    Wed, 09 Jan 2013 19:38:00 GMT
    Restaurant Raves: TWO Restaurant and Bar TWO is a new hot dining destination in Chicago's West Loop. If you haven't been there, you must get in soon before it is too popular to get reservations! Check back weekly for our Restaurant Raves!

    Restaurant Raves - TWO Restaurant & BarTWO Restaurant and Bar, West Loop, $$-$$$
    1132 West Grand Avenue
    (312) 624-8363
    Reviewed by: Betsy Kraft

    TWO is a great new restaurant on the West Side of Chicago. When we walked into the quaint space, I immediately felt at home with the rustic inspired décor. As I learned more about the restaurant, I found out that all of the details that make up the decor are on “life number TWO.” From the barn doors to the spigots used as faucets, every inch of space is second hand, creating a stunning and inspiring dining experience.

    The service at TWO is phenomenal. From the host/hostess to the bus staff, everyone is very friendly and well versed on the space and food. Our server, whose name has left me, was not only professional and friendly, but had such patience with us, as we were a lively group. We Restaurant Raves - TWO Restaurant & Barwere also lucky enough to personally speak with the chef, Kevin Cuddihee, who stepped away from the kitchen long enough to accept our raving reviews.

    Not only is the staff and atmosphere warm and inviting, but also the food at TWO is truly amazing! The chef duo successfully master farm-to-fork cuisine and create an overall comfortable dining experience. The selection of “medium plates” is extensive and changes seasonally, keeping the menu fresh. Attending a small/medium plate restaurant is always more fun with a group so you are able to share your plate selections. Our table of four began our meal with the Roasted Beet Salad, which included Swan Creek Farm honey with Sartori cheese over local greens; a delicious light start to our meal. Then came the P.E.I. mussels and the Duck fat potato croquettes. The potato croquettes are to die for and the presentation is just as magnificent!

    For our main meal, we ordered a number of items; all were thoughtfully crafted and delicious! Our selections included the Swan Creek Farms Half Roasted Chicken, Hampshire Pork Shank, Raviolo, Risotto and Homemade Ricotta Cavatell. Each and every dish was prepared perfectly and the time was taken to make each one look as appetizing as it tasted.

    Don’t worry; we also made room for desert! Our table shared the Flourless Chocolate Rum Cake with chocolate espresso mousse and Chantilly whipped cream and the Banana Bread Pudding topped with salted bourbon caramel and homemade ice cream. Outstanding! Definitely save room for these decadent dishes when you visit.

    TWO is a “must” dining experience in the Chicago area. Whether it is a nice evening out with someone special or a large celebration, make your way to the West Side. Valet parking is available for $10 and they do accept reservations.

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Wed, 02 Jan 2013 19:20:51 GMT
    MojoBistro Test Kitchen™ Features Enhanced Capabilities for Restaurant Mobile Apps Setting up an iPhone or Android app to promote a restaurant can be easy and affordable. In fact, building a smartphone app with MojoBistro’s Test Kitchen™ technology makes it simple and seamless. Built specifically to offer restaurants a robust app-building platform for both iPhone and Android, Test Kitchen™ now features new and improved capabilities.

    Fresh features include in-app reservation services for customer convenience, the ability for users to add restaurant events to their smartphone calendars with helpful reminders, and a marketing function for restaurant owners or managers to easily create QR codes to add to their strategic promotion materials. These capabilities maximize the MojoBistro experience for both the restaurant owner and the end user.

    Read more about the newly enhanced features of MojoBistro mobile apps:

    • Make Reservations: Mobile apps for restaurants exist for promotion and to encourage customer loyalty. A restaurant mobile app should entice new customers to visit and coax loyal customers to return. This makes adding reservation capabilities to a restaurant’s smartphone app a no brainer. MojoBistro makes it easy to incorporate reservation capabilities into an in-app function. The Test Kitchen™ platform connects with a restaurant’s existing OpenTable account to allow restaurant owners to offer a direct link to mobile customers wanting to make reservations from the palm of their hands while on the go.

    • Set Event Reminders: An enhanced offering of a MojoBistro custom restaurant app allows users to add events straight from the mobile apps to their personal smartphone calendars. This ensures that the customer will receive a reminder about the event on their iPhone or Android phone. For instance, Suzy sees a wine tasting next month advertised in Carlucci’s iPhone app and she is dying to attend. With the press of the screen, the wine tasting is immediately added to Suzy’s Calendar.

    • Create QR Codes: Once the custom MojoBistro mobile app is complete, it is time to promote the restaurant app to customers. Another savvy function of the Test Kitchen™ allows restaurant managers to generate QR codes to incorporate into marketing materials such as posters, table tents, and more. QR codes allow customers to scan marketing materials with their smartphones in order to immediately view and download the restaurant app from the iTunes App Store or Google Play.

    MojoBistro Test Kitchen™ is a do-it-yourself mobile app development platform designed exclusively for the restaurant industry. The development platform is entirely web-based and can be accessed from any computer connected to the Internet. Test Kitchen™ is an intuitive, easy to use web-based application. Integrated content wizards navigate users through a series of steps to successfully launch a restaurant mobile app. The MojoBistro mobile preview app even allows users to view newly created apps as a native app prior to publishing.

    Try MojoBistro for free! Click here to learn more about our mobile app builder created exclusively for the restaurant industry.

    Thu, 27 Dec 2012 14:51:33 GMT
    How Marketing Agencies can ensure their Clients are Social, Local, Mobile

    SoLoMoAs an agency, it is important to stay on top of recent marketing trends to ensure your clients remain up-to-date and relevant. The latest marketing trend is the introduction of Social, Local, Mobile, also referred to as SoLoMo. SoLoMo represents the mobile-centric version of local entries being featured in search engines results. With the growing popularity of smartphones, tablets and other mobile computing devices, making sure that your clients are SoLoMo is important to ensuring a positive return on investment.

    • Incorporate Search Engine Optimization (SEO) into clients’ websites. By editing content, HTML and website coding, clients can optimize their website to appear more frequently and higher up on search results pages, increasing the number of new visitors and potential customers to their site.

    • Make sure clients have a Mobile Optimized Website. Tricky navigation and slow loading times are a sure turn off for customers and can be damaging to your client’s brand and reputation. If customers can’t find what they are looking for on a site, not only will they seek out a competitor’s mobile-friendly site, the frustration and annoyance of a non mobile-friendly site can create bad feelings about a company.

    • Encourage your clients to Go Mobile. Built from the ground up, taking full advantage of mobile devices, an app will allow clients to attain much higher levels of customer involvement with one product. Combining social media, mobile optimization and customer communications, a mobile app is the perfect way for clients to engage with potential visitors and market their business. Click here to build a mobile app!

    • Utilize Geo-location Technology to attain higher levels of engagement for your clients. With the prominence of GPS-enabled smartphones, clients are able to identify the location of online visitors and attract potential customers who are in close proximity to their location. For example, restaurants might offer special discounts or deals to people within a certain radius of their location.

    • Ensure clients are registered on Location-based Services and Social Media. Having a presence on social media and location-based sites is important in cultivating relationships with customers. Make sure that clients are registered and active on sites such as Yelp, Foursquare, Facebook and Twitter and are working towards engaging customers. It can be as simple as posting photos, tweeting daily specials or offering discounts to visitors.

    It’s essential for clients to stay up-to-date on marketing trends and innovations. Taking advantage of Social, Local, Mobile technology will allow businesses to provide information on demand in a convenient, easy-to-use platform for visitors, creating increased customer engagement and promoting customer cultivation.

    Fri, 21 Dec 2012 16:28:43 GMT
    Restaurant Raves: Cheesie"s Pub & Grub Today, I am sharing one of my favorite places to eat in Chicago, Cheesie's Pub & Grub. If you are like me, and love cheese, you have to try this place. Check back on a weekly basis to find more Restaurant Raves!

    Restaurant RavesCheesie’s Pub & Grub, Lakeview, $-$$
    958 West Belmont Avenue (Additional New Evanston Location)
    (773) 388-1574
    Reviewed by: Betsy Kraft

    Cheesie’s Pub & Grub is probably the best place in the world. OK, so maybe that is a little extreme, but it is the best place in Chicago to get a grilled cheese sandwich. If you love a great grilled cheese, or just cheese in general, you have to try this place!

    Cheesie’s has the grilled cheese sandwich mastered. If you can think up a grilled cheese combination, chances are they have it on their menu. I LOVE “The Popper,” which is cheddar cheese, cream cheese, cheddar sauce, fresh jalapeno slices and bacon on sourdough bread, served with spicy chipotle mayo dipping sauce. I prefer it sans bacon, though that may be sacrilegious to most of you. They also have a sandwich called “The Mac.” Yep, you guessed it! It has American Cheese, Merkt's Cheddar Cheese, Homemade Macaroni & Cheese, all on Texas Toast with tomato soup dipping sauce. You can’t beat “The Original” grilled cheese. Restaurant Raves Simple but classic, "The Original" features American cheese and Merkt's cheddar cheese on Texas Toast, served with tomato soup dipping sauce. Don't forget the Tater Tots! It's the perfect partner for an amazing grilled cheese. Life becomes simple when you sit down to devour this 100% American meal. Mmmm…!!

    If you aren’t in the mood for a grilled cheese, there are many other options that hail to our favorite dairy product. With pizzas, mac & cheese, delicious soups, salads and a great kid’s meal selection, Cheesie’s has something that will please every appetite!

    Cheesie’s is a very casual atmosphere with great character. You can dress up or wear your pajamas if you would like. Kids are definitely welcome. It might even be their favorite place to eat, too!

    So, you say, “That was a pretty bold statement you made earlier. It's just grilled cheese.” Here is why I feel this may be one of the best places in the world: Cheesie’s delivers, it's open late (Sunday – Wednesday until 3AM, Thursday – Saturday until 5AM,) AND they have a full bar! What else can one ask for?!

    Next time you are in the neighborhood, swing by and check out Cheesie’s Pub & Grub, located on the corner of Belmont and Sheffield or in their new Evanston location. This is one you don’t want to miss!

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Thu, 20 Dec 2012 16:26:07 GMT
    Restaurant Raves: Mastro’s Steakhouse In honor of the holidays and the season of celebration, we are raving about Mastro's Steakhouse. Whatever you are celebrating, whether it be the holidays with loved ones, the beginning of a New Year, or just your love for a delicious meal, Mastro's is the perfect place to have a special night out. Make sure to check our blog weekly for our Restaurant Raves!

    Restaurant RavesMastro’s Steakhouse, $$$-$$$$, Downtown
    520 North Dearborn Street, Chicago IL 60654
    (312) 850-9870
    Reviewed by: Kate Seiferth

    The first time we dined at Mastro’s on Dearborn in Chicago, the server asked us if it was a special occasion. It wasn’t for us, but it was clear why she asked. This place oozes sophistication with its polished finery, high-end menu, high-class servers, bustling bar, and cosmopolitan crowd. You definitely want to dress up for this dining experience because Mastro’s Steakhouse was clearly created for birthdays, anniversaries, and any occasion worth celebrating in style with fantastic food and even better company.

    Even though we had reservations, we started off our evening in the lively bar area. Once you enter the doors of Mastro’s, the effervescent bar crowd beckons with the nightly piano bar and entertainment. We squeezed up to the bar and ordered Mastro’s Cosmos, which came cladRestaurant Raves in a billowing fog of dry ice. The bar customers oohed and awed all around us and I saw at least three ladies immediately order Cosmos. The pleasant hostess then escorted us to a cozy, semi-private table in the upstairs dining room. Even in the dining room, the diners were buzzing with excitement. People clearly love to be in this place.

    All around us were seafood towers, which is obviously a popular appetizer on the menu. Pick and choose what you want on your seafood tower. We went for the oysters rockefeller appetizer and they were delicious. No time for salad. We dove straight into the Mastro’s bone-in filets cooked medium rare and served perfectly to our order on a sizzling plate. The juicy filets were served up on plates so hot you could fry an egg. The Brussels sprouts tasted more like dessert than a vegetable. We ogled the lobster mac and cheese on the table next to us but saved our appetites for the butter cake, oh the butter cake. Mastro’s most popular dessert is a melt in your mouth cake full of butter served up with a small scoop of ice cream and a magnificent side helping of homemade whipped cream. The couple at the table next to us joked about sharing it with us, but we don’t share our butter cake.

    We went back again for a special occasion and ordered the same exact meal. It was just as fabulous the second time around. The following day, one of the delightful hostesses called and thanked us for dining with Mastro’s. She said they were looking forward to seeing us again soon. We will be back for steaks and a Mastro’s Cosmo or two or three for New Year’s Eve.

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Mon, 17 Dec 2012 15:44:46 GMT
    Restaurant Raves: Mago Grill & Cantina Keith Franklin, one of our software architects, is raving about Mago Grill & Cantina. Definitely check out this Bolingbrook restaurant! Check out the other restaurants highlighted in our Restaurant Raves.You don't want to miss out on the best restaurants in the Chicago area!

    Restaurant RavesMago Grill & Cantina, Mexican, $$, Bolingbrook
    641 E. Boughton Road, Bolingbrook, IL 60440
    (630) 783-2222
    Reviewed by: Keith Franklin

    Tired of the standard burritos, tacos and enchiladas? Craving something a little bit more authentic? Looking to spice up your dinner? Then don’t miss Mago Grill & Cantina.

    Walls decorated in a kaleidoscope of brightly colored ceramic tiles and eclectic adornments, including Lucha Libre masks, create a warm and inviting atmosphere while on Thursday, a live mariachi band transports you south of the border.

    The menu at this upscale Mexican restaurant features traditional Mexican and Latin favorites with a bit of a modern twist, creating a truly one-of-a-kind dining experience. Delectable salsas, fresh salads, hearty main dishes and family recipes from the chef’s own Doña Paula make it hard to decide on just what to order. Everything sounds and looks delicious.

    Meals start out with homemade chips and three types of salsa, a red, orange and green one ranging from mild to spicy. Don’t skip the smash-to-order guacamole prepared raves Choose among an array of fresh ingredients to customize the texture, flavor and spice of the guacamole. Amazing!

    For your entree, choose between classics such as suiza-style burritos, enchiladas and fajitas or build your own dish with Mago’s wide selection of moles (sauces). Blending anywhere from 20 to 30 ingredients, moles are a celebratory and festive dish and Mago devotes an entire page to the history and details of each of the four house specialities and daily special. Pair them with the meat and vegetable combination of your choosing for a complete and individualized meal. Not sure which mole is best? Ask your server to bring out a sample of all five to make the decision a little bit easier. The servers are knowledgeable, friendly and ready to answer any questions about the menu or provide recommendations about pairings, etc.

    Make sure to try out a drink from The Cantina, shaking up refreshing margaritas, cocktails, sangria and Mexican mezcals, cervezas and wines. Whether straight up or on the rocks these are some of the best margaritas you will ever have!

    With a wide selection of options and the unique ability to individualize your meal, Mago caters to carnivores, vegetarians and vegans alike, making it the perfect choice for hard to please groups.

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Fri, 14 Dec 2012 17:30:42 GMT
    Tips for Using Social Media to Market your Restaurant’s iPhone and Android apps Tips for Using Social media to Market your Restaurant's iPhone and Android appsSocial media platforms are the perfect partner when promoting your restaurant mobile app. If you have an iPhone or Android app for your restaurant then most likely you already use social media vehicles such as Twitter, Facebook, FourSquare, and Yelp. These are also four savvy ways to promote your smartphone app. Here are some strategic suggestions on how to use these social media outlets to promote your restaurant’s mobile app.

    Twitter is the best way to interact with your customers and potential diners one on one via the Internet. Start a conversation with your followers and spark their interest by tweeting about events and new menu items at your restaurant.

    Asking your followers to participate in a RT (retweet) contest and offering a restaurant gift card to one lucky participant is a fabulous way to get things moving on your Twitter account and build a bigger following. Focusing the RT on a message promoting your restaurant’s mobile app is an even better idea!

    At the very least, send out daily creative tweets that your app is available for download (see examples below). Please note, we inserted some of our clients into the sample tweets below just for some added fun, these are not actual promotions currently available through these restaurants.

    Sample Twitter Tweets:
    “RT to win a $25 Carlucci gift card! Download the Carlucci iPhone or Android app this week for a sneak peek at our new holiday menu!”
    “Follow us @CarlucciFood and RT to win a dinner for two! Make reservations for New Year’s Eve using our FREE and handy iPhone app!”
    “Download the @Carnivalle312 iPhone app and show it during dinner to receive a free dessert of your choice!”

    Feel free to use similar messages on your Facebook page to entice users to download your restaurant’s iPhone app. Instead of asking for retweets, you can run a contest to have people post a photo of their favorite meal at your restaurant and ask their friends to “like” both the post and your restaurant’s page. Then, feature some of those photos and credit the diners in your mobile app.

    Facebook is a lot more visual so make sure to add some appetizing photos of your restaurant’s most popular dishes whenever you post a marketing message. Or if you have the time and capacity, create a quick video of a customer using your app to make a reservation and post that video on your Facebook page.

    FourSquare is a social location-based app that lets your diners check in when they are at your restaurant as well as post photos of what they are eating. Creating an account for your restaurant will allow you to interact with your mobile savvy clients and even know when they are in the restaurant so you can offer them special service. Make sure to post updates on FourSquare to remind already avid mobile app users to download your app to make reservations and receive special deals.

    Remember, customers who are using social media daily are more than likely using mobile apps every day as well. Make sure you hit this target audience when promoting your new restaurant app. And the best part, promoting your app with social media is free!

    Keeping up with Yelp reviews about your restaurant should be a part of your ongoing marketing plan. Yelp reviews can be helpful when gathering feedback about new menu items and the current service levels at your restaurant. Say a customer complains about a long wait on a Saturday night, you can respond to their Yelp review and tell them about the opportunity to make reservations using your FREE mobile app. Ta-da! Providing a Yelp section within your app also puts authentic diner reviews at your customer’s fingertips.

    Did you just mumble that you don’t have a smartphone app to promote your restaurant app yet? Click here to get started.

    Learn about more ways to market your mobile app!

    Thu, 13 Dec 2012 16:00:35 GMT
    Restaurant Raves: Macello Chicago Our Restaurant Rave, today, is a Chicago Italian favorite. It is perfect if you are in the mood for traditional Italian style comfort food! Check back, weekly, for more Restaurant Raves!

    Restaurant RavesMacello Chicago, Italian, $$-$$$, Downtown
    1235 W. Lake St., Chicago IL 60607
    (312) 850-9870
    Reviewed by: Kate Seiferth

    My husband and I first stumbled upon Macello at the restaurant’s booth during The Taste of Randolph. We liked the braciole sandwich so much that we immediately walked over to the restaurant to try more of the classic yet modern Italian dishes. Braciole is an Italian dish consisting of stuffed meat rolls cooked in Sunday gravy. The thinly sliced and pounded steak is stuffed with yummy goodness like garlic, pecorino cheese, Italian parsley, homemade bread crumbs, and lined with pancetta. Recipes for Italian braciole typically vary based on region and family preferences. Macello’s braciole is amazing, and almost as good as my husband’s grandma’s recipe. It’s not really a fair fight because grandmas always give a touch of love to food that no restaurant can match.

    Macello Ristorante and Pizzeria’s location on Lake Street in Chicago under the L gives it a foreboding experience that harkens back to the days when Capone was in town. You get therestaurant raves feeling that gangsters would have loved to hang out and eat here during the prohibition era. When you walk in to Macello, you are greeted by an olden style deli counter. Then, you walk into the main dining area and are hit with one of the most unique restaurant atmospheres in the city. It’s welcoming and upscale at the same time. In the daytime, the restaurant is flooded with light thanks to skylights in the roof. This makes the restaurant perfect for special occasions like Mother’s Day or even a business lunch. At night, you feel like you stepped into a secret hideaway when the nooks and crannies are shadowy and you notice more that the restaurant use to be a slaughterhouse. Macello itself means slaughterhouse in Italian and is a fitting name for a restaurant located in Chicago’s meatpacking district and famous for an Italian meat dish.

    Homemade pasta, pizzas from the wood-burning ovens, and fresh seafood also star on the Macello menu. Don’t let the predominantly Italian language menu scare you, ask your friendly server for an explanation. They are more than happy to help. A Pizza Macello (burrata, cerignola olive, and barese sausage) or Gamberi Origanati (oregano shrimp hot appetizer) from the wood-burning ovens are great to share with a table full of hungry diners. Or skip the appetizers and go straight for the cannoli after your main meal. The wine list is filled with Italian wines and cocktails are also available. Grab a cocktail and pizza at the bar for a fun date night or grab a table on Sunday for a big authentic Italian-style family dinner.

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Tue, 11 Dec 2012 15:30:23 GMT
    Five Important Restaurant Trends to Remember for the Holidays Five Important Restaurant Trends to Remember for the HolidaysThe holidays are here and with them come a whirlwind of shopping, traveling and celebrations. For millions of Americans, restaurants will play a key role in their holiday planning and festivities, whether as a break from a hectic day of shopping or an alternative to the cooking and cleanup of large family meals. To make your restaurant stand out from the crowd this season, keep in mind these important restaurant trends that are sure to drive traffic.

    1. The holidays are a time to bring families together, and with family members traveling far and wide to gather together for the season it is important that dining experiences are satisfying for everyone. For large group dining, all-inclusive menus and services are a must. Make sure your menu features a wide-selection of options from gluten-free to vegan meals to ensure all diners find something they enjoy. Kitchen flexibility with dietary restrictions is also important so make sure your staff is prepared to make substitutions and omissions on standard menu items.

    2. Healthy dining is making waves in the restaurant world and the holidays are no exception. In the midst of all the cookies, candies and potlucks, consumers are looking for better-for-you options when dining out. From dishes featuring healthy ingredients including brown rice, high-fiber grains and vitamin-rich vegetable broths to published nutritional information, health-conscious fares and transparency are a sure way to draw a crowd looking to enjoy some guilt-free indulgence.

    3. This season, make sure to spice up your yearly menu with some holiday items. From Starbucks’ red holiday cups to McDonald’s Egg Nog Shake, holiday menu items and promotions have proven to be a huge draw and are the perfect way to get consumers in the spirit and into your restaurant. Have some fun and create your own traditions, from specialty drinks to whimsical desserts. These items are sure to delight customers and keep them coming back year after year.

    4. Convenience is key during the holidays. As busy schedules overfill with social gatherings and festivities, consumers are looking for a way to step back, relax and spend quality time with family and friends. Takeout items, ranging from meal supplements to full feasts offer the convenience and accessibility of restaurant meals with the closeness of traditional family dining.

    5. And don’t forget to take advantage of mobile apps for your restaurant. From holiday event promotion and deal notifications to reservation services and coupon offers, mobile apps are the perfect way to market your restaurant during the holidays and year-round.

    Don’t have a mobile app? Check out MojoBistro’s features and feel free to contact us with any questions. We are happy to help answer any questions you have about setting up a mobile app for your restaurant.

    This season, make sure to keep with the latest trends and you’ll be sure to attract both new and old customers to your restaurant for the holidays.

    Tue, 11 Dec 2012 14:57:58 GMT
    Restaurant Raves: The Berghoff As you enjoy the holiday season, try a new restaurant to celebrate with your friends and family. Our Restaurant Raves are a great place to start looking for a new favorite. Check out our weekly updates!

    Restaurant RavesThe Berghoff Restaurant, German, $$, Chicago
    17 W. Adams Street, Chicago, IL 60603
    (312) 427-3170
    Reviewed by: Patricia Gorecki

    “Cream colored ponies and crisp apple strudels,
    Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles,
    These are a few of my favorite things.”

    While we can’t promise ponies and sleigh bells, The Berghoff Restaurant in Downtown Chicago is sure to provide your fill of schnitzel and strudel. A family-run icon, The Berghoff has served German-American cuisine to Chicago residents and visitors since 1898. While the menu has evolved over the past 114 years, adding newer, lighter and more contemporary dishes, it still reflects the top-quality German fame customers have come to expect.

    Located in two buildings rebuilt following the Great Chicago Fire in 1872, old-fashioned brass lanterns, wooden revolving door and painted stone facade welcome you to the historic restaurant. The dining room decor brings to mind a bygone era with oak paneling, brass chandeliers, 20-foot ceilings and framed photographs of old Chicago and the Columbian Exposition.

    The menu combines German favorites with an array of traditional continental European dishes. If you are looking for authentic, great tasting German food, don’t miss the Restaurant Raveswienerschnitzel. The lightly fried veal cutlet is prepared perfectly and with sides of German fried potatoes and creamed spinach you are guaranteed to get your fill. Also highly recommended is the sauerbraten, marinated roast beef sirloin with sweet and sour gravy, a Berghoff staple. For a side dish, you can’t miss the traditional spaetzle, little bits of fried dough, buttered for flavor. It is the ultimate choice to round out your meal.

    And don’t forget dessert! Choosing between the cinnamon-seasoned apple strudel with its granny smith apples, flaky, buttery crust and caramel sauce, and the German Chocolate Cake with its toasted almond, coconut frosting and chocolate sauce, is impossible. I recommend ordering one of each and sharing.

    Regardless of what you order at Berghoff, make sure to come with an appetite, as the array of tantalizing food choices are sure to keep you full and satisfied for a while.

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Fri, 07 Dec 2012 20:19:11 GMT
    Promote your Restaurant’s Mobile App with these 9 Marketing Materials Promote your restaurant's mobile app with these 9 marketing materialsSo you have a fancy new mobile app for your restaurant, now what? Promote your fabulous new smartphone app with strategically placed marketing materials throughout your restaurant. Here are some stellar suggestions to get you started.

    1. Posters and Window Clings
    Your restaurant doors are the first impression customers receive when the walk up to the building. This is prime real estate for marketing any seasonal campaigns and of course, your new mobile app. Window clings are the perfect way to advertise on your door. They also give your customers the opportunity to find out about your restaurant, even when you are closed. Posters can also help promote your app and can be used in strategic places throughout the restaurant such as the waiting area, hallways to bathrooms, bar and lounge areas, etc.

    2. Beeper Stickers
    No, not your customer’s beeper. When the restaurant is packed and on a wait list, most likely you hand out beepers to customers to alert them when their table is ready for occupation. This beeper is prime space for promotion. Most likely your customers are staring at it with stealthy determination and anticipation of being the next to be sat. Use this opportunity to promote your restaurant Android or iPhone app with a marketing sticker.

    3. Menu and Bill Inserts
    When the customer sits down and it is about to devour your delicious menu, use this opportunity to mention the benefits of downloading your smartphone app. Then, when the bill comes, add a custom insert to remind them of all the benefits they will receive by getting your restaurant’s mobile app. Consider giving an onsite discount or benefit if they download the app before leaving your restaurant.

    4. Business and Promo Cards
    Add a brief message about your restaurant mobile app being available for download in the iTunes App Store or in Google Play to your staff member’s business cards. A subtle way to do this is to add the respective icons. Or create similar size promotion cards that staff can give to customers or leave for promotion at point of sale positions.

    5. Table Tents and Placemats
    Utilize table real estate when debating promotion vehicles for your restaurant app. After all, the table is where your customers spend most of their time while in your restaurant. Table tents are a pretty inexpensive way to market seasonal offerings as well as your mobile app. Advertise your new holiday pie on one side of the table tent and your app on the other side. Or if you already print custom placemats for your restaurant, consider highlighting your new smartphone app next time you send to print.

    6. Coasters and Napkins
    In addition to the above suggestions, coasters and napkins are another place to consider placing advertising for your mobile app. Coasters can be used throughout the restaurant at tables and at the bar.

    7. To-go Containers and Cups
    Make sure your carry-out customers are aware of your app by placing advertising on your to-go containers, cups, and even bags. This could be as simple as adding a sticker that you previously printed for beepers or new custom ordered containers and cups. At the very least, throw an app promo card in a diner’s doggie bag.

    8. Comment Cards
    You probably already have comment cards so that you can seek feedback from diners about what you do good and what can be improved at your restaurant. Add a QR code to promote your iPhone and Android app or even ask for specific feedback about it.

    9. Pieces of Flair
    Take a cue from the fictional Flingers (“Office Space”) and print buttons for your servers to wear that promote your mobile app. Or, print magnets with your carry-out number and use the magnet as another advertising vehicle to promote your app. Just don’t require your waiters and waitresses to wear a specific number of flair!

    At MojoBistro, our customers ask us about strategic ways to market their restaurant mobile apps to their customers, and we are always ready to help out with suggestions on marketing and more. For more information on creating a new and affordable mobile app for your restaurant, feel free to contact us.

    Thu, 06 Dec 2012 14:34:26 GMT
    Top 5 Electronic Gifts for the Holidays The holidays are just around the corner and holiday shopping is in full swing. But what does the gadget lover in your life dream of finding in their stocking this year? We have researched some of the top electronic gifts that are sure to please this holiday season.

    Top 5 Electronic Gifts for the Holidays1.) Kindle Fire HD, $199

    The perfect gift for the reader in your life, the Kindle Fire HD tablet allows you to read books, listen to songs and watch movies all on one device. Simply download from over 22 million popular movies, TV shows, songs, books, games and apps. With stereo speakers delivering virtual surround sound and anti-glare technology providing vivid picture definition, you can be sure that your favorites will appear in perfect HD quality on the 7” touchscreen.

    Why they’ll love it: The Kindle Fire provides access to a never-ending trove of popular content on one device.

    Top 5 Electronic Gifts for the Holidays2.) Nexus 7, Starting at $199

    With all day battery life and vivid 7” display, the Nexus 7 tablet is the ideal travel companion for gamers and media lovers alike. Quad-core performance, high resolution display and gyroscope and accelerometer sensors bring gaming to life in the palm of your hand. Google Play integration provides the world’s largest collection of eBooks, songs, movies and TV shows and over 700,000 apps and games.

    Why they’ll love it: No more wires! All your digital content is stored in the cloud and instantly available.

    Top 5 Electronic Gifts for the Holidays3.) Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13, $999 - $1,449

    It’s a laptop and a tablet! Unlike other convertibles, the screen of the Yoga folds back 360 degrees, converting easily from laptop to tablet. Windows 8 touch-friendly interface supports all standard touchscreen gestures including swiping, pinch-to-zoom and two-finger scrolling. With motion control, you can use the webcam as an input device, allowing you to flip pages, change the volume and gesture commands with the flick of your hand.

    Why they’ll love it: The flexible design makes it easy to switch between laptop and tablet modes, making it the ultimate two-in-one gift.

    Top 5 Electronic Gifts for the Holidays4.) iPad Mini, Starting at $329

    Fall in love with this new introduction from Apple, the iPad mini. Just under 8”, the Mini provides everything you enjoy about the iPad – brilliant graphics, fast performance and thousands of amazing apps – at a fraction of the size! Not ready to convert to mini tablets? The iPad 4 is a great full-sized option offering the same features.

    Why they’ll love it: Pencil thin and unbelievably light, the iPad Mini is the ultimate hand-held computer tablet, delivering top quality performance and content at a fraction of the size.

    Top 5 Electronic Gifts for the Holidays5.) Samsung Galaxy S III, Starting at $199 with contract

    With enough cutting edge technology packed into 5” to make even the most discerning among us jump for joy, the Samsung Galaxy S III is the supreme Christmas gift. With 4G LTE speeds, downloading is high-speed and painless while, S Voice, the Galaxy’s intelligent personal assistant allows you to control your phone using voice-activation. The ultimate in sharing, the Galaxy’s S Beam feature transfers photos, videos and documents between two Galaxy S III phones by placing them back to back.

    Why they’ll love it: Wireless charging, easy sharing and increased storage is designed to make life fast and convenient.

    This year, as you set out to do your Christmas shopping, make sure to add our Top 5 Electronic Gifts for the Holidays to your list and bring a smile to the face of your
    family and friends.

    Tue, 04 Dec 2012 13:51:51 GMT
    Restaurant Raves: Hackney"s Today, we celebrate a Chicago staple. Kate highly recommends Hackney's in historic Printers' Row. Check out the other restaurants highlighted in our Restaurant Raves. You don't want to miss out on the best restaurants in the area!

    Hackney’s Printers’ Row, American, $-$$, DowntownRestaurant Raves
    733 S. Dearborn St., Chicago IL 60605 (additional suburban locations)
    (312) 461-1116
    Reviewed by: Kate Seiferth

    Located in the heart of historic Printers’ Row in Chicago, Hackney's has an old school vibe, family-friendly atmosphere, classic cocktails, ever-changing beer menu, and heart-warming dishes. This classic American restaurant is the perfect spot to hit before, during, or after a chilly day at Soldier Field, a hectic day of shoe shopping on State Street, or a fun-filled holiday shopping round on Michigan Avenue. Hackney’s Printers’ Row offers special breakfast/brunch items on the weekends and often offers half-price burgers during the Bears’ game. Fair warning: The Bloody Marys are spicy and delicious!

    Diners on a diet will fall in love with the strawberry spinach salad featuring grilled chicken and a homemade muffin. Less calorie conscious folks will devour the French fried onion restaurant ravesloaf and mini-Hackney burger appetizers. You can even order smaller portions of appetizers for smaller parties. The homemade kettle chips with blue cheese and hot sauce is available in a half or full order and is just right for munching with a beer or glass of wine before your main meal is served. The burgers at Hackney’s are big and juicy. The burgers come in a variety of styles such as traditional, buffalo, cajun turkey, and lamb. Adventurous diners should try the “Inside Out” burger that is stuffed with cheddar cheese and bacon. Oh, and the French fries are perfectly golden and crispy on the outside with just the right amount of soft on the inside (but not mushy, never mushy!).

    And, just because Hackney's Printers’ Row has an old school vibe doesn’t mean the dishes can’t take a modern and healthy spin. Check out the gluten-free Hackney burger with a side of quinoa. There are also plenty of tasty vegetarian options to choose from at Hackney’s such as the black bean burger or the grilled cheddar, avocado, and tomato sandwich.

    Savvy diners will delight in the economically-priced menu items featured as daily specials. There are always new menu items to try at Hackney’s! There are often Italian and Mexican entrees offered daily as well as specials on seasonal beer, cocktails, and desserts.

    With its proximity to Loop offices, South Loop condo buildings, and the local colleges expect to see a varied mix of professionals, families, professors, and cunning college students who know where to grab a tasty meal. Observe the locals at the bar and do not dare to take one’s beloved barstool. Our favorite time of year to visit is when diners sing Christmas carols at the bar and roast chestnuts on the sidewalk outside. Don’t leave without trying a slice of the candy cane ice cream pie (a holiday special) or the chocolate chip cookie sundae!

    If you live close enough, try out the online ordering system. It’s easy, fast, and the you just might not cook ever again.

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Fri, 30 Nov 2012 19:42:39 GMT
    Restaurant Raves: Ttowa Welcome to our Restaurant Raves! If you are looking for a great dining experience in the Chicago area, you have come to the right place. Our employees love trying new restaurants or sharing old favorites. Patricia has some great things to share with you this week about Ttowa in Arlington Heights!

    Ttowa, Korean, $$, Arlington HeightsRestaurant Raves
    161 West Wing Street, Arlington Heights, IL 60005
    (847) 749-4493
    Reviewed by: Patricia Gorecki

    For those who don’t speak Korean, Ttowa translates to “come again,” something you will definitely want to do after a visit to this Arlington Heights establishment. Offering a unique mix of dishes designed to delight your taste buds, Ttowa’s menu features Korean staples and Asian favorites, making it the perfect place to dive in and explore the distinctive flavors of Korea.

    The atmosphere is sparse but elegant, with carved wood screens providing privacy between tables and cultural artwork adorning the walls. Make no mistake, at Ttowa the food takes center stage.

    The menu compiles traditional and contemporary revamps of Korean dishes including mainstays such as Mandoo, Korean dumplings filled with pork, beef, shrimp or chicken, Hae Mul Pajean, a seafood pancake served with homemade soy dipping sauce, and an assortment of Kimchi, seasoned fermented vegetables with a spicy kick.

    For those new to Korean cuisine, I highly recommend the Dal Kalbi or Spicy Fire Grilled Chicken. This simple meal packs a big punch with its chili pepper paste sauce and a side of Mashed Acorn Squash. For the more adventurous diner, the Ojingeo or Stir-Fried Squid is a must. Served on a hot iron platter, the squid is tender and savory while the added chili sauce provides flavor and heat.

    For sushi loves, Tttowa’s selection of bite-size Kimbap, a Korean twist on sushi, is the perfect choice to ease yourself into a Korean dining experience. Explore the wide selection of restaurant ravesrolls from the basic spicy tuna to the Fatty Terry roll, comically named after the owners’ son, filled with pork belly and avocado and topped with spicy Hamachi and house mayo.

    Ttowa’s one and only dessert, Ho Dduk, is a real stand out. Consisting of a cinnamon rice pancake, a scoop of green tea ice cream and a swirl of sweetened red bean sauce, it is a picture-perfect ending to your culinary adventure.

    If you have questions about the food or any part of your meal, the staff is always open to making suggestions and explaining the nuances of Korean cuisine. The service is exceptional with servers providing refills on sides and keeping the table clean of used dished.

    Located in a quiet corning in downtown Arlington Heights, Ttowa is a short walk from the Metra station, providing easy transit to and from the city while a lot next door provides ample parking. Children are welcome and attire is casual.

    If you are looking for a truly unique dining experience, Ttowa is the place for you!

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Wed, 28 Nov 2012 19:10:43 GMT
    5 Ways to Increase Holiday Traffic with your Restaurant"s Mobile App 5 Ways to Increase Holiday Traffic with your Restaurant's Mobile AppDon’t forget to take advantage of updating your iPhone and Android apps in order to drive extra traffic into your restaurant this holiday season. It’s the best time of year to offer an extra incentive to loyal diners or take the time to organize a new event or promotion in order to attract new customers and ultimately boost your holiday revenue.
    Here are 5 ways to increase holiday traffic with your restaurant's mobile app:

    1. Promote Holiday Events
    Add any and all holiday-themed events to your in-app calendar so your guests always know what’s happening next at your restaurant. The more events you offer, the more chances that a guest will be intrigued to stop in for an after work cocktail or an impromptu holiday supper with family and friends. Think wine tastings, deals on bar food and brew for football and basketball games, or even just as a simple as a special holiday happy hour with festive cocktails and some free passed appetizers. Most people are looking for an excuse to get out of the house to mix and mingle during the holiday season so offer a festive holiday event, promote it in your smartphone app, and they will come.

    2. Send Push Notifications
    Remind guests about holiday deals and events with push notifications. Send push notifications about gift certificate specials like buy one get one deals and remind guests that gift cards make super smart stocking stuffers! Or, send reminders about booking holiday parties for family, friends, and businesses. Push notifications can drive traffic quickly when used properly. But steer clear of sending too many push notifications that may overwhelm your app users. Once or twice a week is a good rule of thumb and always make sure that the timing is right. Why not schedule a push notification for 3 p.m. on a Friday to remind last-minute diners to grab their weekend reservations?

    3. Encourage Reservations
    Make it easy for guests to reserve a table by offering reservation services within your personalized app. Offering in-app reservation capabilities streamlines the process for both your patrons and your staff. Guests may think twice about calling in for a reservation when they know they can just open up your app and secure their table. That means more time preparing the restaurant and escorting guests to their tables for your hostesses and less time talking on the phone to frazzled guests who just want to reserve a table.

    4. Offer Coupons
    Have you noticed less dining traffic in your restaurant on certain nights of the week during the holidays? Attract guests to make their way to your restaurant on your slow nights by offering special coupons via your mobile phone app. A buy one get one free entree coupon for a Tuesday night might just entice a reluctant diner to add another night of eating out to their calendar. Make sure they continue to pick your restaurant by periodically offering relevant coupons through your app throughout the year.

    5. Feature Holiday Menu Items
    Update your menu with any special holiday items you are offering during this festive season. Add appetizing photos of featured holiday dishes and don’t forget those yummy desserts! What better way to entice diners to swing by and try your restaurant out again then by featuring a new dish or dessert in your iPhone and Android apps.

    Do you have questions about creating a mobile app for your restaurant? Check out features of MojoBistro and feel free to contact us with any questions. We are happy to help answer any questions you may have about generating buzz with mobile apps for your restaurant. Happy Holidays!

    Wed, 28 Nov 2012 16:21:57 GMT
    Top 3 Must-Have Black Friday Mobile Applications Mobile applications have become the go-to destinations to make sure all of the special
    people in your life have that perfect gift for the perfect price. We have researched some
    of the awesome shopping helper apps available on the market and have come up with the
    Top 3 Must-Have Black Friday Mobile Applications for 2012.
    (And guess what?! They are all FREE!)

    Must-Have Black Friday Mobile Applications1.) TheFind
    Price: Free
    Platforms: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad

    TheFind mobile application is the perfect little helper this holiday season. It allows you to scan barcodes of products, bringing up a list of prices and places where you can buy the item. You are also able to search keywords for desired gifts to see what stores are carrying them to compare prices.

    The searches will not only pull up the local stores, but also the online shopping options as well. You can select the items for the product description, reviews, and even to purchase through your mobile device.

    The app also syncs up with the website, allowing you to shop from your laptop or tablet at home. You can create shopping lists and choose which stores are worth your time, organizing your shopping experience.

    Why we love it: TheFind takes convenience to a whole new level. You are able to shop with confidence, knowing that you are getting the best deal on the market. It is the must-have app for comparison-shopping.

    Must-Have Black Friday Mobile Applications2.) Coupon Sherpa
    Price: Free
    Platforms: iPhone, iPod Touch, Android

    Coupon Sherpa is a great way to make sure you are getting the best deal during the holiday shopping season. The app allows you to search for coupons to use while standing in the checkout line, shopping online, or to plan your shopping day around the best deals.

    Coupon Sherpa not only searches for all of the coupons that are available in print and online, but they also build loyalty with major retailers and offer exclusive deals just through their app and website.

    You are able to search the app by product or by store. There are coupons for all of the major retailers, including grocery stores. You don’t even have to print the coupons out, just show them to the clerk straight from your mobile app.

    Why we love it: Coupon Sherpa is the perfect app to make absolutely sure you are getting the best deal available. If there is a coupon out there, you will find it on Coupon Sherpa!

    Must-Have Black Friday Mobile Applications3.) ShopKick
    Price: Free
    Platforms: iPhone, iPod Touch

    ShopKick is an app that rewards you while you shop. With ShopKick, you earn points or “Kicks” by walking into stores, scanning product barcodes, or by making purchases.

    As you earn “kicks,” they accumulate and can be redeemed for gift cards, iTunes downloads, or movie tickets, along with many other options including donating them to charity. You get rewarded for doing what you would normally do during the holiday season or any other time of year.

    Now is the perfect time to make sure you are taking advantage of ShopKick, as you will probably be doing more shopping in the next few weeks then you will for the rest of the year. Rack up the points and treat yourself after all your shopping is done!

    Why we love it: ShopKick rewards you for doing what you would already be doing during this time of year. You might as well get rewarded for all of you hard work and enjoy the holidays that much more!

    As you get geared up for Black Friday and the shopping season, make sure you have our
    Top 3 Must-Have Black Friday Mobile Applications, to ensure your holiday shopping will be easier and much more enjoyable. Good Luck and Happy Black Friday!

    Wed, 21 Nov 2012 16:16:14 GMT
    Restaurant Raves: RPM Italian In Chicago and the surrounding areas, there are so many amazing restaurants and not enough time to try ALL of them. We would like to help narrow them down for you with our Restaurant Raves blog posts. We will share with you outstanding restaurants that our employees try and give a review of the experience along with any details that you may need to have a great night out!

    RPM, Italian, $$$, DowntownRestaurant Raves
    52 West Illinois, Chicago, IL 60654
    (312) 222-1888
    Reviewed by: Liz Karagitlieva

    RPM is one of the hottest restaurants in downtown Chicago. If you can get reservations, you will enjoy every minute and every dish! This upscale contemporary Italian hot spot is perfect for a special night out or ideal for a date, especially if you really want to impress someone.

    The menu at RPM is outstanding. There is a wide selection and options for everyone. Dishes are served a la carte, so don't forget to order your sides. restaurant ravesThe menu is well laid out, making it easy to find and order everything you want. The cocktail menu is just as great, offering very unique combinations.

    I would highly recommend each and every dish that we tried, which included: Fresh Homemade Ricotta with Semolina Toast, Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad, Tuscan Kale Heirloom Spinach Salad, Butternut Squash Pasta, and the Whole Grilled Branizino (Sea Bass.) Most of all, the dessert was out of this world, a rice pudding with creamy vanilla ice cream on top and donut fritters with nutella inside. Delish!

    Our service was impeccable from beginning to the very end. Our server was very polite, friendly and well versed on the menu items. The bus staff was excellent, too, always keeping our table clean and prepared for the next course.

    I would highly recommend RPM to anyone looking for a great night out for dinner. It is a wonderful place any night of the week and for a date or large group. The atmosphere is upscale, so dress accordingly. It would be best to leave children at home for this evening out and definitely make reservations in advance!

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Fri, 16 Nov 2012 13:43:02 GMT
    Restaurant Raves: Taverna 750 Restaurant RavesTaverna 750, Small Plates, $$, East Lakeview
    750 West Cornelia Avenue, Chicago, IL 60657
    (773) 904-7466
    Reviewed by: Betsy Kraft

    Taverna 750 is a delightful old school Italian restaurant with a contemporary flair situated in the heart of East Lakeview. The atmosphere is swanky and modern but quaint, tucked away just off of Halsted Street. The outdoor space resembles an authentic Italian cafe with beautiful hanging plants and garden boxes. With a date or a large group, Taverna 750 is a great spot to enjoy a night out in the city.

    The menu at Taverna 750, yes, is mainly made of small plates, but they are more generous then most small plate restaurants. If you don't have a huge appetite, you could fill up on restaurant ravesone or two plates. Though selecting a few items to share is much more fun! There are so many options for all types of diets. The drink menu is unique and extensive as well. Most of the cocktail choices come with a "sidecar," making them some of the most affordable drinks in the city.

    Menu items that are exceptional include: Quattro Formaggio Housemade Pizza, Spring Risotto, Mini Italian Cheeseburgers and of course the Sausage and Peppers. Honestly, we have ordered practically everything on the menu and it has been amazing. The deserts are phenomenal, especially the chocolate lava cake. The menu changes seasonally, so there is always something new to try.

    The service has always been friendly and knowledgeable. The food comes out at various times, so staff is always on the go and very attentive. From the bartenders to host and servers, professionalism is always present at Taverna 750.

    If you are in the area or want to just try something new, Taverna 750 is a must! Reservations are recommended. Children are welcome, but it may be a place you want to go and enjoy with those over 21. Attire is casual, but you wouldn't be out of place if you wanted to get a little dressed up. Enjoy!

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Fri, 16 Nov 2012 13:43:02 GMT
    Restaurant Raves: Meson Sabika Restaurant RavesMeson Sabika, Spanish-Tapas, $$, Naperville
    1025 Aurora Avenue, Naperville, IL 60540
    (630) 983-3000
    Reviewed by: Christen Blaze

    Meson Sabika is a stunning white mansion, built in 1847 and converted to a restaurant in 1990, situated on a 4-acre estate in Naperville. The mansion offers a beautiful outdoor seating terrace surrounded by gardens and 150-year-old oak trees. Eating indoors is just as delightful, while you are able to dine in various rooms that, at one time, were used as parlors, dens, or even bedrooms.

    The menu is extensive with a large variety of hot and cold tapas. All tapas is ordered individually and is designed to share. Ordering a handful of dishes for a couple to share is recommended. With such comprehensive dish options, those with particular tastes and dietary restrictions will have no problem finding something to suit their liking. The chef is also very accommodating with special food requests.

    Though there are many delicious menu items, some of our favorites include: Datiles con Tocino - roasted dates wrapped in bacon, Tilapia Marinada- Grilled tilapia with artichokes restaurant ravesand spinach, Solomillos con Moniato - Grilled beef tenderloins served with a sweet potato puree, cherry tomatoes and red wine sauce, Patatas con Alioli - Robust garlic potato salad, Champiñones - Stuffed mushroom caps... Ok, let's be honest, everything is AMAZING! All of the ingredients are fresh and very flavorful with immaculate presentation.

    Service at Meson Sabika is superb. The staff is always friendly and very knowledgeable on all of the menu items as well as the different wines they offer. The wine list is extensive. Every suggestion the server gives is spot on and truly adds to the dinning experience.

    The atmosphere at Meson Sabika is casual to business casual. It is an excellent place to go on a date or have a quite relaxing night out. Children are welcome, though it isn't common to see many children in this environment.

    Overall, this is one of our favorite places to eat and we go there every chance we get. I have referred friends and family to Meson Sabika and it is now a favorite of theirs too. Meson Sabika is great for a cozy date night, a bit upscale, and slightly gourmet, but still casual enough to wear nice jeans. We celebrate all of our special events there. Reservations are required.

    Visit our blog for weekly updates to our Restaurant Raves.

    Fri, 16 Nov 2012 13:43:02 GMT
    Restaurant Owners: How to Deal with the Deals Dealing with Restaurant Deals
    Some restaurant patrons have become addicted to the deals and discounts restaurants offer them. Discounts have become the crack cocaine of restaurant marketing. And like any drug, it requires more and more to get any response at all.

    This dilemma is magnified through the recent scrutiny of daily deal websites like Groupon, who offer deals on things like manicures, vacations and restaurant meals. The recent uproar has created a sputter of sorts for websites like Groupon and LivingSocial who have seen their appeal (and stock prices) plummet. What some restaurant owners have said is consistent with recent reports on the deal and discount addiction.

    Restaurant patrons who respond to these deals do so in mass, and then mostly disappear until the next deal comes out. The restaurant owners may see more tables getting filled with these deals but are these the type of customers they really want?

    In fact, here is a breakdown of a couple of restaurant owners' general observations:

    • Most of the people who took advantage of these discounts never become regular customers.
    • Most of the people who used a coupon were generally more of a pain in the ass to deal with than their regular customers.
    • Most of the people tried to circumvent the system bypassing any fine print or limits involved in the deal and would get angry when confronted.

    Additionally, here is how repeated discounts, in general terms, can hurt restaurants:

    • They make the restaurant appear desperate.
    • They re-position the restaurant as a low-end operation.
    • They attract bargain hunting "junk traffic".
    • They cut into a restaurant's sales and profits.
    • They train customers to "wait" for the deal.

    So how should restaurants deal with the deals?

    Deals and discounts should be used sparingly and mostly for driving new traffic to your restaurant. These new customers brought in from discount offers should be immediately enrolled in a customer data base or rewards program for follow-up marketing in exchange for the discount. Much like retail brick and mortar companies use loyalty cards that must be presented (or looked up) to qualify for a discount (i.e., A supermarket preferred customer card), restaurant owners should continue to offer deals and discounts to their current customers building on their continued loyalty to your restaurant. Use this data to create new marketing ideas for your restaurant.

    Find unique and creative ways to offer discounts to your most loyal customers and entice potential customers with discounts to join in your program. This will help enhance your connection with all of your customers.

    Mon, 12 Nov 2012 21:19:01 GMT
    Top 5 Ways to Keep Restaurants Successful During a Slow Economy top 5 ways to keep restaurants successful during a slow economyLiving in the Chicago Southwest suburban village of Orland Park has provided my family and me with a great place to live and play. Great schools, decent location to highways and commuter trains, plenty of places of worship, a plethora of car dealerships and yes, lots of restaurants. In fact, if you are ever in the vicinity of LaGrange Road between 143rd and 167th Streets, you will understand what I mean by saying “lots of restaurants”. From the national chains to the single, family owned locations, Orland Park has a restaurant for just about everybody. While the unemployment numbers and general poor economy keeps coming up in the headlines and presidential debates, it baffles me to drive down LaGrange Road on a Friday or Saturday night and see all of the restaurant parking lots full and people hanging out in front of these restaurants waiting for tables. “Recession Proof” is how my wife described these restaurants on one of our recent excursions.

    To be fair, Orland Park is by itself an anomaly to the rest of the area. People come from surrounding areas due to their somewhat lackluster choices they have in their own towns just to frequent one of these establishments. And not unlike restaurants in other cities, even Orland Park restaurants have seen their share of economic hangovers. Filling tables is seemingly a lot easier on the weekends but not so easy during the off peak hours.

    So what should restaurants do to remain successful during a slow economy?

    Make sure you address the following 5 areas:

    1.) Staff
    Keep them Focused - Increasing the average per-person check doesn’t happen unless you have the right staff in place to do this. If you are ever going to increase sales in this economy, it has to start with the customers you have. That can only happen with the right labor in place to satisfy the needs of your customers. Keep your staff focused on one main objective: hospitality.

    Provide Training and Development – Continuously look for ways to improve your staff. By educating them on your menu, how to interact with your customers and the general blending or professionalism with personality, your staff is often the only touch point, food excluded, that your customers have with your restaurant. They should be the ideal representative for you in every facet of your business. Arm them with the tools they need - through training and development - to take on this heavy responsibility.

    2.) Menu
    Keep it Fresh – Freedom to choose their sides through a la carte items and heart healthy options have been well documented in the latest trend reports for the restaurant industry. Changing up your menus provides your customers with options and demonstrates that you are on their side when it comes to offering variety in your menus.
    Yet, Stay the Course – You are famous for a particular dish and people drive for miles just to taste it. Don’t mess with success. Remain that destination and make their visit one they keep talking about to all of their friends and family.

    3.) Marketing and Promotions
    Someone once said that 50% of his advertising spend was wasted – he just didn’t know which 50% it was. Marketing and promotions can cost your restaurant a lot. To make it more confusing, every advertising rep you talk with tells you how great their options are. First you have the traditional outbound marketing methods like a newspaper advertisement or even direct mail coupons. Grounded in hope, you try and reach your customers in places you think they may be. Alternatively, non-traditional, inbound marketing methods like having a good Search Engine Optimization (SEO) program in place where customers find your restaurant through the search engines are becoming a much more effective way to get some attention for your restaurant.

    4.) Social Media - Making it work for your restaurant
    They say that referrals from friends and family are the most important source that people look to when deciding on things. Considering that people also tend to mention a bad experience 20X more often than a good experience, it makes sense to have a presence where customers may go to express their feelings about their experiences with your restaurant. Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, etc. Are all on-line places where people like to hang out and talk about anything and everything. Make it a point to monitor anything related to your restaurant. Engage your customers by participating in these social sites with things like discount offerings or postings on the very latest happenings at your restaurant.

    5.) Using Technology to your Advantage
    10 Years ago, if you were to tell me that I could look around a restaurant and see a few people at their tables pounding out emails and text messages looking down at their mobile devices instead of conversing with each other, I would have thought you were crazy. Think about it, we do everything on our mobile devices. They are everywhere and the ways to use these devices are endless. Assuming you already have a website, restaurants who want to be on the cutting edge of technology would be wise to set up their own mobile app that provides basic information about their establishment including menus, specials, locations, photos, events, etc. The highly tech savvy restaurant would take their mobile app one step further and use it to promote their specials, events and offers by sending their customers a notification. Linking the app with your reservation system and on-line ordering are also mobile app things that restaurants should be considering.

    Remember, in the end, even in these challenging economic times, it’s all about getting back to basics and satisfying your customers. It’s like a giant Circle of Life – You take care of your customers, they will keep coming back and tell other people about you and they become your customers. Take care of them and they will return and tell others.

    It can be argued that exceeding customer expectations during a down economy is even tougher to do. Your customers, even those in Orland Park, can easily take their business elsewhere and will hold you to a high standard when it comes to their expectations. Stay on task with these suggestions and show them that you truly value their business.

    The restaurant industry is one of the last great industries where actual interpersonal communication skills are used. Someday, a mobile device may be able to serve up a sirloin and baked potato on-line. But for now, customers can still enjoy the real meal in your restaurant served by a very hospitable human being. Take the time to do things right and your customers will stick with you through this and future economies.

    Fri, 26 Oct 2012 19:30:09 GMT
    Mojo Loves Mustaches! Mojo Loves Mustaches!
    In support of Men's Health, MojoBistro is sprouting mustaches, company wide! Movember is a dedicated cause that raises awareness all over the world to support men's health issues, specifically prostate and testicular cancer initiatives.

    The basic idea is for men to begin the month of November clean shaven and spend the next 30 days growing and caring for a beautiful new mustache. In doing so, the whiskered men will prompt conversation and promote awareness around, often ignored, men's health issues. MoBros (Gentlemen growing or supporting staches) and MoSistas (Ladies that join in the cause) join forces to collect donations and seek out sponsorships for their efforts.

    So, in honor of our fearless fellows, we are kicking off our efforts with a list of our favorite stache styles. Go Mo!

    Mojo Loves Mustaches!Chevron
    A thick and wide mustache, usually worn long to cover the top border of the upper lip.

    Mojo Loves Mustaches!Dali
    A narrow mustache with long points bent or curved steeply upward. Named for artist Salvador Dali.

    Mojo Loves Mustaches!Fu manchu
    A mustache that begins on the upper lip and whose whiskers are grown very long to extend down each side of the mouth down to the to jaw. The areas just past the corners of the mouth are shaven, thus differentiating this style from the “horseshoe”.

    Mojo Loves Mustaches!English
    A narrow divided mustache that begins at the middle of the upper lip, with long whiskers pulled to either side of the center. The areas beyond the corners of the mouth are typically shaved.

    Mojo Loves Mustaches!Handlebar
    A handlebar mustache can be worn large or small (“petit handlebar”); it is characterized by the fact that it is bushy and must be worn long enough to curl the ends upward, which is usually achieved with styling wax.

    Mojo Loves Mustaches!Horseshoe
    A full moustache with vertical extensions grown on the corners of the lips and down the sides of the mouth to the jawline. The whiskers grown along the sides of the mouth in the horseshoe are sometimes referred to as “pipes.” Not to be confused with the “fu manchu” which is grown long from the upper lip only– the sides remain shaven in the fu manchu.

    Mojo Loves Mustaches!Imperial
    A large mustache growing from both the upper lip and cheeks, whiskers from the cheeks are styled pointing upward.

    Mojo Loves Mustaches!Lampshade
    A mustache similar to the “painter’s brush,” but with corners angled slightly, resembling the shape of a lampshade.

    Mojo Loves Mustaches!Painter’s brush
    A thick mustache covering the width of the mouth, usually worn short, with slightly rounded corners.

    Mojo Loves Mustaches!Pencil
    A thin, narrow, closely clipped mustache that outlines the upper lip. Pencil style mustaches can be trimmed in different manners (see below). Also sometimes called a “mouthbrow.&rdquo

    Mojo Loves Mustaches!Pyramidal
    A general name for mustaches shaped narrow on top and wide on the bottom, like a pyramid. Pyramidal mustaches can be shaped in a variety of ways, as shown below.

    Mojo Loves Mustaches!Toothbrush
    A thick mustache, shaved to be about an inch wide in the center.

    Mojo Loves Mustaches!Walrus
    A large, bushy, droopy mustache that hangs down over the lips, often entirely covering the mouth.

    Join us in celebrating Movember and raising awareness for a great cause! Stay tuned for updates on our mustaches and fundraising efforts from MojoBistro!

    To find out more about our team or to learn more about Movember, go to

    Source: American Mustache Institute,

    Wed, 24 Oct 2012 21:53:05 GMT
    Top 5 Ways that Technology has Influenced the Presidential Election Top 5 Ways that Technology has Influenced the Presidential ElectionIf you are following the 2012 Presidential Election, even just a little, it is pretty difficult to not notice how much technology has influenced this year’s campaign efforts. Technology has played a major role in campaigns for ages. Whether it was radio, television, or the Internet, evolving with technology trends has always been a
    vital part of any presidential campaign.

    So, without further ado, here is our
    Top 5 Ways that Technology has
    Influenced the Presidential Election.

    YouTube. In this year’s campaign, US voters can watch the presidential debates live from any computer, iPhone, iPad, Android, or any other mobile device. Whether you are traveling, in a meeting, or just not able to get to your television, you can still have live access to the presidential debates through YouTube.

    Facebook. Though Facebook was around for the 2008 presidential election and played a major factor, it has become more of a mainstream tool than in the past. Candidates in 2012 are reaching out to all demographics, when before the focus was more on the younger generations. Facebook users are able to share video clips and post their opinions about the candidates, while also, the campaigns stay connected with their audience through their own pages.

    Twitter. In the past couple years, Twitter has saturated the social media market. Users can follow twitter feeds and get a live stream of national narrative to debates, as well as other highlights throughout the election. Campaigns are finding Twitter to be a great way to communicate with their followers about their agendas and viewpoints, along with a way to raise funds and encourage voter registration.

    Mobile Apps. Mobile apps are also extremely popular this election season and have allowed followers more leverage in supporting their candidate. Campaigns have used mobile apps to announce running mates, assist in registering to vote, raise funds and generally involve voters in their campaign efforts. President Obama’s campaign has also released Dashboard, what the media is calling “The Holy Grail” of political organizing, on their mobile app to help their volunteers and staff to be efficient when targeting their efforts. On Election Day, mobile apps will also be able to be used to report problems and update voters on polling sites.

    Behavioral Retargeting. Strategic campaign teams have also utilized behavioral retargeting with each of the candidate’s websites. Retargeting is a powerful way for campaigns to continue to get their message out to the people who have visited their websites. The information gathered will then be used for online advertising to repeat their campaign messages to visitors after they have left the candidates’ sites. Strategists are able to measure the information collected to better focus their campaign efforts.

    There are many ways that technology has influenced the presidential election this year. However, the ways listed in our top 5 have been pivotal in the 2012 campaigns and in shaping our future.

    Tue, 23 Oct 2012 15:09:08 GMT
    Good Marketing Ideas Gone Bad Marketing ideas designed to help get more customers into your restaurant are usually grounded in good intentions. Coupons, events, text deals and mobile apps are all great ways restaurants attract more customers. Well it’s October and America’s pastime is in full playoff swing. While your team may or may not be in it this year, the sheer excitement of the playoffs could help add to your overall bar receipts at your restaurant. While you continue to search for that magical connection to bring in more customers, we wanted to look back at some of those not-so-great ballpark marketing promotions from the past. At least we can learn from their pain and have some fun reminiscing in the process.

    Cleveland Municipal Stadium - 1974
    The Promotion: 10 cent Beer Night.

    To bring fans to see the miserable Cleveland Indians, management decided to sell 10-ounce cups of beer for only 10 cents at a game against the Texas Rangers.

    What went wrong: Management forgot one small detail: Drunk people get restless. More than 25,000 fans showed up for the event, most of them already tipsy at the gate. Among the more tame incidents was a woman who flashed the crowd from the on-deck circle, a father-son team mooning the players (good bonding experience, I guess) and fans jumping on the field to meet and shake hands with the outfielders. Then, in the bottom of the ninth, the Indians tied the game, but never got a chance to win. Fans started throwing batteries, golf balls, cups and rocks onto the field and one even took the glove of the Rangers right fielder. As the player rushed into the stands to get his glove back, fans starting swarming the field to stop him and threw chairs to block his way.

    The Outcome: The Indians were forced to forfeit the game and nine fans were arrested. The AL president forced the franchise to abandon the promotion idea after understating “There was no question that beer played a great part in the affair.”

    Comiskey Park - 1979
    The Promotion: Disco Demolition Night.

    White Sox fans were encouraged to bring old disco records to the park in exchange for a reduced admission price of 98 cents. The records were to be destroyed in between the two games of a doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers.

    What went wrong: Believe it or not, a lot of people wanted to see disco records destroyed. 50,000 people showed up at the gates and many who were turned away at the gate tried to climb the walls of the stadium to get in. The crowd, who were reportedly heavily under the influence, soon realized that records could double as Frisbees, which naturally led to fans throwing firecrackers and drinks. When the demolition moment came, the explosion was bigger than expected and ended up ripping a hole in the outfield grass. Thousands of fans ran onto the field to join the mayhem, burning banners and throwing objects. The batting cages were even destroyed in the riot.

    The outcome: The Tigers refused to take the field, forcing the White Sox to forfeit the game. The quick patch job on the outfield left the grass uneven and players complained about it for the rest of the season.

    Dodger Stadium - 1995
    The Promotion: Ball Night.

    Fans entering the game were given a souvenir baseball.

    What went wrong: Turns out baseballs are pretty convenient things to throw. In the seventh inning, fans threw balls at an opposing outfielder when he bobbled a play. The real drama happened in the bottom of the ninth, though. Dodger Raul Mondesi and manager Tommy Lasorda were ejected for arguing a strikeout call, inspiring about 200 fans to throw their promotional balls onto the field. The umps urged the Cardinals to stay on the field, but finally decided to end the game after more fans decided to contribute their gifts to the game.

    The Outcome: The Dodgers were forced to forfeit the game, the first forfeit in the National League in 41 years.

    Fifth Third Ballpark - 2006
    The Promotion: Cash Drop Night.

    The West Michigan Whitecaps, Detroit’s class-A affiliate, had a helicopter drop $1,000 in various bills from a helicopter after a game.

    What went wrong: People love money more than they love other people. Two children were injured scrambling for the cash. A girl received a bloody lip being pushed to the ground, while a seven-year-old boy was bruised when he got trampled in the fray.

    The Outcome: The boy was taken to the hospital, but released after treatment. The team management summed up the incident by reminding everyone that they had signed waivers.

    Mon, 15 Oct 2012 22:15:24 GMT
    Top 5 Reasons to Vote for MojoBistro for the Chicago Innovation Award MojoBistro is very proud to be a finalist in the 2012 Chicago Innovation Awards. Being one of 75 finalists from the Greater Chicago area, we identify our client's needs and work hard to creatively solve for them.
    Here are the Top 5 Reasons You Should Vote for MojoBistro in the 2012 Chicago Innovation Awards:

    1. It’s an Innovative Marketing Tool!

    MojoBistro gives restaurants the ability to reach their customers through a new platform, mobile apps. Though, mobile apps have been around for a little while, not always for the specific needs of a restaurant. Having the ability to reach their customers through their mobile devices, restaurants now have endless marketing opportunities!


2. It Helps Make the Connection!
    MojoBistro allows restaurants to easily connect with their customers through social media, push notifications, and the app itself. Restaurants can also let their customers know about special events and promotions going on through their mobile app.

    3. It’s Easy to Use!

    With MojoBistro’s easy-to-use technology, even the busiest restaurant owners can find the time to create their own app. The MojoBistro Test Kitchen walks you through a series of steps taking the guesswork out of creating an app that is sure to be a hit!

    4. It’s Affordable!
    We have made mobile apps affordable for restaurants of all shapes and sizes. MojoBistro offers the technology at a fraction of the cost normally associated with creating a mobile app, making them feasible for all marketing budgets.

    5. Because It's Really All About YOU!

    MojoBistro's design platform allows you to create an app that is customized to fit your needs. Users will be able to design their app to have the same look and feel as their restaurant, creating that familiar environment customers have grown to love.

    Voting ends Thursday, October 4th! So please go to and exercise your right to vote!

    Tue, 02 Oct 2012 15:39:00 GMT
    Mobile Marketing: The Next Big Thing for Restaurants According to a comScore Mobile Metrix 2.0 study, nearly 86 million Americans now shop on their smartphones. Additionally, the study revealed that 4 in every 5 smartphone users – 85.9 million in total – accessed retail content on their device in July alone.

    This pronounced shift in consumer behavior is simply too large for restaurants to ignore, with the future of their business depending on how well they adapt to the new environment.

    Among all interactive marketing platforms, mobile marketing is expected to grow 38% over the next five years with an estimated $8.2 billion being allocated to it by the year 2016.

    Restaurant owners who best understand how consumers are engaging in mobile shopping behaviors and design their strategies accordingly will be best positioned to capitalize on these shifting market dynamics.

    Some other findings from the study included:

    •234 million Americans own a mobile device.
    •As of July 82.2 million Americans owned smartphones, up by 10% from April 2011.
    •The number of advertisers using mobile advertising has doubled in just two years.
    •Revenue from mobile commerce will increase tenfold from 2010 to 2014 in the US.
    •1/3 of us would rather give up sex than our mobile phone.

    For more info on the study, visit

    Mon, 24 Sep 2012 20:46:54 GMT
    What Makes Us So Addicted to Our iPhones or Other Mobile Devices? Lines have been forming outside of stores across the country, waiting for, as Apple states, "The biggest thing to happen to iPhone since iPhone." Apple broke records with 2 million pre-sale orders in the first 24 hours. Delivery dates have climbed rapidly as the orders roll in. The world is about to explode with the anticipation of Friday, September 21st and the unveiling of the iPhone 5!

    There is a new design that is thinner and lighter than the 4s, a vibrant 4-inch retina display, ultrafast connectivity that doesn't drain your battery, a new camera... oh, and we can't forget about Siri, your very own personal assistant. We get it! It is fully loaded with all of the features you could ever need or want. But does this really explain our obsession with the iPhone 5? We have all become dependent on and somewhat addicted to our mobile devices, whether it be an iPhone, a Blackberry, an Android, or "the next best thing" that is about to be released.

    Is it because we have to stay connected with our friends, family, co-workers, clients, schoolmates, or cousin's boyfriend's mother's sister's dog? With Facebook, Twitter and all of the other social media outlets that we have become so accustomed to, we are able to communicate with anyone in our network with a click of a button.

    Or is it the convenience? Time is money, right? We are able to save time, and therefore money, by using our mobile devices to make dinner reservations, check the weather, book a hotel, grocery shop, and, of course, check our email. We can save hours in our day by downloading the appropriate app for the moment.

    Could it be the endless resources that enhance our daily lives? If you are lost, there is a map to help you find your way. If you are bored, download and read a book. If you are hungry, order Chinese food for delivery. If you don’t know who pitched for the Chicago Cubs in 1913, look it up on the Internet!

    I suppose we can all agree that, no matter what we use our mobile devices for or how they have changed our lives, it is for the better. So, as you sit reading this blog on your new iPhone, be grateful for technology and all that it brings to your fingertips!

    Thu, 20 Sep 2012 19:48:38 GMT
    Connecting Restaurants with Customers through Mobile Apps this Football Season As we start another glorious season of football, restaurants around the country can collectively be heard taking a deep breath as more of their customers return to their establishments and hang out longer while spending more money on entrees, appetizers and drinks. These customers are also likely to be on their mobile devices, checking up on how their fantasy football teams are doing against their friends who have team names like “Packer Backers” or “Bubba’s Bandits”. They are connecting with their teams and their friends through their mobile devices – and are doing it all at your restaurant.

    Now, let’s take this scenario one step further. Imagine the bond your restaurant can make with these customers if you were able to alert them of upcoming football related food or drink specials and events going on this weekend? You can make this connection happen by giving your customers a free iPhone or Android app for your restaurant! Once they download your app, you can communicate with them on a regular basis by notifying them of all of the reasons - and this is where you get creative - that they need to be at your restaurant to watch the games this weekend.

    Great food, awesome beverages, good friends – all together at your restaurant. An almost certain recipe for scoring repeat Touchdowns for your restaurant each week. Better start working on your touchdown celebration dances!

    Mon, 17 Sep 2012 19:46:50 GMT
    Social Media is a Key Ingredient for Restaurant Marketing Today's highly anticipated announcement about Apple's iPhone 5 have millions of people excited. The potential market for the new iPhone 5 includes current iPhone users looking to upgrade, other mobile device users seeking a change and brand new users who have never had a mobile device at all.

    What does this mean for restaurants? More and more of your customers are using mobile devices and restaurants need to "jump on the mobile device bandwagon" before they get left with doggy bags.

    In fact, in a recent article, users of mobile devices continually use Social Media as a way to stay connected with their friends and family. The goal for all marketers, including those handling restaurant marketing, is to break into these social circles of their customers. Nobody wants to be "sold" things anymore, those are old antiquated marketing methods of the past. It's now more of the reliable referrals from the people you know and trust that resonate with the mobile consumer.

    For instance, which would you be more likely to believe, a good review about a restaurant you read in a newspaper article or a Facebook post or "Tweet" from one of your friends talking about their experience at a restaurant and "liking" them in their posts? They have nothing to gain from this restaurant other than wanting to share similar experiences with the people they like most - those in their social networks.

    Restaurants can encourage this kind of social behavior from their customers by offering things such as loyalty programs that reward them with points, discounts, priority seating, etc.

    Staying connected with your mobile customers is where it all begins. Restaurants can get started immediately by getting their mobile app developed by MojoBistro. Once downloaded by your customers, they can then easily share their experiences about your restaurant directly with their social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

    You can also use the "push notification" feature of this mobile app that alerts your customers about your specials, events or coupon offers.

    Unlimited, do-it-yourself, real-time updates to your restaurant app are also available.

    So the bottom line for restaurants looking to tap into the Social Networks of their customers consists of a 3 step process:

    1. Get connected with your customers (Get a MojoBistro mobile app)
    2. Stay connected with your customers (Interact regularly through your mobile app)
    3. Reward your customers for bringing you more customers through their social networks (Use of Loyalty programs through your mobile app)

    Get all of the above with a mobile app from MojoBistro.

    View related article -

    Wed, 12 Sep 2012 16:34:35 GMT
    Now We"re Cooking! MojoBistro Named 1 of 75 Finalists for 11th Annual Chicago Innovation Awards MojoBistro has been named as one of the top 75 finalists of the nearly 400 companies nominated for the 2012 Chicago Innovation Awards. Celebrating its 11th year, The Chicago Innovation Awards is the only organization in the country dedicated to honoring the most innovative new products or services brought to market or to public service from a specific region. The final ten winners will be announced Monday, October 22nd and celebrated at an event with over 1,500 business and civic leaders at Chicago’s Harris Theater.

    MojoBistro is an innovation created by Mojolicious designed exclusively for the restaurant industry. Restaurants nationwide, ranging from small independents to large national chains, from quick-serve locations to fine dining establishments, are able to establish and build upon their mobile presence for a fraction of the cost normally associated with creating a mobile app or mobile website. At the core of MojoBistro is the MojoBistro Test Kitchen, an intuitive, easy to use web-based application, designed to eliminate the complexity normally associated with building and maintaining mobile apps and mobile websites. With MojoBistro Test Kitchen, restaurant owners can successfully and efficiently engage their mobile, on-the-go customer.

    For the restaurant, MojoBisto provides a new marketing channel for engaging their most loyal customers. Promotions and events are given heightened awareness through the use of timely alerts. Coupons can be generated and distributed to drive traffic and increase repeat visitors.

    For the consumer, having their favorite restaurant’s mobile application on their iPhone, Android or Windows mobile device, allows them to receive the latest news, events, deals and discounts. They can also share their dining experience, favorite meal or their interest in an upcoming event with their social network.

    “The most important message of the Chicago Innovation Awards is one of confidence and courage,” said Thomas D. Kuczmarski, co-founder with Chicago journalist Dan Miller of the awards. “The economy is challenging but each nominee believes the simple truth that a powerful new product or service will find a rewarding market and has the courage to pursue their vision.”

    This year 13 judges, representing a range of Chicago’s business community, will be involved in an exhaustive and complex judging process to select the final ten winners of the Chicago Innovation Awards as well as ten “Up & Comer” award winners for smaller organizations still in the start-up phases of their innovations. In addition, each of the 75 finalists is automatically in the running for the annual “People’s Choice Award,” selected through online balloting at

    Fri, 07 Sep 2012 15:33:46 GMT
    Hey Restaurants, Have Your Mobile App yet? Get Ready for Your Future Customers - The Class of 2016 This year’s entering college class of 2016 was born into cyberspace and they have therefore measured their output in the fundamental particles of life: bits, bytes, and bauds. They have come to political consciousness during a time of increasing doubts about America’s future, and are entering college bombarded by questions about jobs and the value of a college degree. They have never needed an actual airline “ticket,” a set of bound encyclopedias, or Romper Room. Members of this year’s freshman class, most of them born in 1994, are probably the most tribal generation in history and they despise being separated from contact with friends. They prefer to watch television everywhere except on a television, have seen a woman lead the U.S. State Department for most of their lives, and can carry school books--those that are not on their e-Readers--in backpacks that roll.

    The class of 2016 was born the year of the professional baseball strike and the last year for NFL football in Los Angeles. They have spent much of their lives helping their parents understand that you don’t take pictures on “film” and that CDs and DVDs are not “tapes.” Those parents have been able to review the crime statistics for the colleges their children have applied to and then pop an Aleve as needed. In these students’ lifetimes, with MP3 players and iPods, they seldom listen to the car radio. A quarter of the entering students already have suffered some hearing loss. Since they've been born, the United States has measured progress by a 2 percent jump in unemployment and a 16-cent rise in the price of a first class postage stamp.

    Each August since 1998, Beloit College has released the Beloit College Mindset List, providing a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college this fall. Originally created as a reminder to faculty to be aware of dated references, it quickly became an internationally monitored catalog of the changing worldview of each new college generation.

    See the entire list at:

    Tue, 21 Aug 2012 22:23:09 GMT
    Restaurant Patrons with Smartphones Have Immediate Purchase Intent Smartphones have opened up new opportunities for restaurants. Over the past two years, study after study has confirmed the importance of mobile apps for the restaurant vertical market. One such study, released last week, looks at the mobile path to purchase in the restaurant vertical.

    The study found that 89 percent of smartphone owners have immediate purchase intent and take action within 24 hours of their research. However 64 percent of smartphone owners in Restaurants make a decision within an hour.

    The “takeaway” is that half of smartphone users who conducted research on a mobile device ultimately made a purchase. This is a dramatic finding.

    On-the-Go Mobile Users

    Confirming lots of other data, smartphone owners mostly use their devices “on the go” (68 percent) — although there is substantial at home smartphone usage as well. “In the car” was the dominant single location for smartphone-based Restaurant searches.

    Calls and Map Lookups

    As that suggests, a very common use case for smartphone owners is looking for business contact details and directions. The study found:

    • 73 percent of the mobile users had looked for a phone number and contacted a business within the past 30 days.
    • 84 percent of mobile users had looked for a business location or maps and driving directions in the past month.
    • 53 percent of smartphone users find local directory apps are most popular for restaurant searches

    This study reinforces the notion that smartphone users are much more “ready to buy” than their PC counterparts. For more information regarding this recent study, visit

    Wed, 15 Aug 2012 20:33:16 GMT
    3 Steps to Creating Your Mobile Strategy We were going to wait until July for marketing recommendations, but we couldn’t help but start generating ideas to help restaurants make the most of their mobile apps. In this app marketing series, you’ll learn useful tips for increasing downloads and improving mobile app feedback.

    Creating your mobile app is just the beginning! Next, you’ll need to do a variety of tasks to achieve serious success. In this article, our goal is not for you to create a 50 page document outlining your strategies. Rather, we encourage you to articulate your marketing goals, ways you'll achieve those goals & measure your success.

    Identify 5-10 places to advertise

    Think to yourself of at least 10 places you’ll be able to feature your mobile app in your local, regional and potentially--even national community.

    • Send out a press release that your restaurant has a new mobile app. Do other restaurants in your community have mobile apps? Would this differentiate you from others?
    • Is there space for posters featuring your mobile apps in your restaurants?
    • Does your restaurant use social media? That’s a great outlet to feature your apps.
    • Have you included a link to your mobile app web page on your website?
    • Further, have you optimized your website?
    • Overall, use all online and offline resources you have within your local community to publicize your restaurant and your new app!

    Create 3-5 measurable goals

    You can’t manage what you can’t measure. Dually, if you don’t have goals, you can’t reach toward those goals. Write your goals down, and ensure your marketing person or department are able to understand and reach toward your goals.

    • Would you like to fill your tables up quicker on the weeknights?
    • Would you like to increase sales 5%?
    • How are your Yelp reviews? Would you like to improve those?
    • Would you like more social media engagement?

    Measure your success

    Measuring your success can be difficult, but it is possible--especially with our analytics tools (coming in August). Below are some questions to help you consider tools to start measuring your success once you're off and running.

    • Has your restaurant been increasing business?
    • Since launching your app, have you seen more customers during your more slow periods?
    • Are customers on Yelp increasing their ratings for your restaurant? Are there more check-in's on Facebook, Yelp or Foursquare?
    • Do you have more social media followers on Facebook or Twitter?

    Soon, we'll feature successful apps on our blog, so we’d love to share your restaurants’ story across our social media channels! Feel free to e-mail us directly or share your comment below.

    Picture credit to Glambition from Flickr

    Thu, 14 Jun 2012 21:22:34 GMT
    14 Mobile & Social Stats Your Restaurant Should Know We encounter restaurants frequently that wonder, "Why should we use a mobile app? In the food service industry, customers aren’t using their mobile phones."

    Think again! Customers utilize information they obtain from their mobile phones to make purchases and mobile experiences have become an important part of everyday life for many of your customers.

    These are just a sample of mobile and social statistics that explain what we're talking about.

    Mobile stats

    1. U.S. smartphone ownership has passed the halfway point, with 50.4% of mobile users now owning smart devices, up from 47.8% in 2011. Currently, there are over 108 million smartphone users in the U.S. today!
    2. The worldwide smartphone market grew 54.7% year over year in the fourth quarter
    3. Check-in’s have more than doubled in the past 9 months
    4. Mobile advertising is an important driver of smartphone shopping activity and the majority of respondents (70%!) found mobile ads as a welcome personal invitation from brands, rather than an invasion.
    5. Android and iOS owners accounted for 88 percent of all apps that were downloaded in May 2012, it says (up from 74 percent last year).
    6. Smartphone owners are now the majority in the US, Nielsen notes there's a total of 84 million Android and iOS users in the country, more than double over 2011.

    Restaurant consumers mobile stats

    1. According to the National Restaurant Association, 46% of restaurant consumers would use a restaurant’s smartphone app if available.
    2. Another 48% of restauranteurs say smartphone apps will become more popular.
    3. 82% of quick services restaurants, online and smartphone ordering will become more popular.

    Social media stats

    1. On Facebook alone, there are 250 million photos uploaded every day
    2. 20% of all page views on the web are on Facebook
    3. Monthly active users now over 900 million
    4. There are 175 million tweets a day and 465 million accounts
    5. YouTube gets 2 billion views per day, and handles 10% of the internet’s traffic

    Tue, 05 Jun 2012 15:10:36 GMT
    10 Reasons Your Restaurant Should Have an App The mobile marketing space is growing constantly. In 2012 alone, smartphone owners in the USA doubled to 84 million Android and iPhones in just one year. In May 2012, Nielsen noted mobile customers are downloading more apps than ever, using them an average of 39 minute per day.

    Businesses are rushing to be the first to market, but until only recently, development costs have been prohibitively high. Luckily, with costs lower than ever, there are many reasons to create your restaurant app.

    On a related note, we understand it’s not just about creating, but iterating and marketing your app. That’s why we’re launching an app marketing series this July. We also offer a series of app marketing tools to our customers so join us today and let us connect with you when we launch in June! Please visit here, scroll to the bottom and ‘add your e-mail’ address!

    Below we’ve outlined the top 10 reasons restaurants create their own mobile apps:

    1. It’s where many customers are (for more on mobile statistics, see our upcoming blog post)
    2. Having an app can boost your social marketing efforts (increase followers who learn about your restaurant through mobile app press and otherwise)
    3. Increase press coverage with a press release surrounding your app
    4. Gaining new potential customers and audiences you may have never reached
    5. Expand your brand online (have your own page on Google Play, the App Store and the MojoBistro website)
    6. Reviews and analytics offer a deeper perspective on customers likes
    7. Your app provides a space to improve on customers dislikes (does one menu item get more clicks? Did you get negative feedback within your app? Solve your problems here before they influence other potential diners.)
    8. The MojoBistro interface is simple enough for restaurant owners with little time to create their own apps
    9. With several clicks, Mojo makes it easy to update your app
    10. Mobile development costs have been reduced vastly (want an app in the App Store or on Google Play? It’s only $299; once and done if you won’t edit your app).

    Not sure how to keep your app successful? We have plenty of recommendations, and will keep you full of ideas on how to keep your app compelling. Follow our social media channels to get constant recommendations for marketing your apps. We’re on Facebook. We’re also on Twitter @MojoBistro. Need help? Tweet us at @MojoBistroRX.

    Fri, 25 May 2012 16:51:50 GMT
    MojoBistro launches at NRA Show 2012

    Have you considered an iPhone, Android or Windows Phone 7 app or mobile website for your restaurant? Starting June 2012, KeyLimeTie will equip the restaurant industry with a platform to quickly create custom apps.

    Today, in April 2012, there’s more reason than ever for restaurants (and retail industries for that matter) to participate in the mobile space.

    Specifically designed with restaurants in mind, our unique set of features showcases the menu, increases reservations, offers an ordering solutions, connects users with your location wherever they are, and interacts with your and their already existing social networks such as Yelp, Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare.

    Launching on May 5, 2012 at the National Restaurant Association, KeyLimeTie is proud and very excited to announce this industry-changing product that’s already getting national attention even before its launch.

    What is it called, you ask? It’s name is MojoBistro; the newest and best tool for restaurants to create their own mobile presence in under an hour.

    Throughout the coming months, we’ll highlight upgrades to MojoBistro and other happy news that you will definitely want to pay attention to. Of course, you can expect that at KeyLimeTie, we’re making waves in designing, developing and delivering high-quality interactive solutions.

    Not sure how to keep your app successful? We have plenty of recommendations, and will keep you full of ideas on how to keep your app compelling. Follow our social media channels to get constant recommendations for marketing your apps. We’re on Facebook. We’re also on Twitter @MojoBistro. Need help? Tweet us at @MojoBistroRX.

    Sun, 06 May 2012 22:19:33 GMT
    4 Steps to Taking Your Restaurant Mobile Like numerous business processes, others have identified successful steps involved. Many companies are considering or have creating mobile apps. This is good news for you, as others have learned the ideal process to market apps.

    Once you create your apps and/or mobile website, MojoBistro will provide tons of wonderful recommendations to let customers and the press know about your apps. Below is the framework for undergoing a marketing campaign around your app.

    #1 PlanCreating a plan is an essential component to your success. Your objectives will likely change periodically so create your plan. Components of a successful marketing plan include business objectives, social media strategy & tactics, schedule and success metrics. Check-in with your marketing plan often.

    #2 Execute After you’ve created a set of objectives and success metrics start yourself off with a bang. Planning a launch party, tweet-up or other activity with lots of positive branding materials (such as posters, banner ads, table tents or otherwise).

    #3 Report How are you measuring against your success metrics? Create another document outlining analytics like Facebook engagement (available in several formats on your Facebook Page admin), measuring Twitter followers and Retweets. Moreover, have your Yelp reviews improved or increased? Have your reservations increased? Has per person spending increased?

    These are all valuable representations of how your mobile presence is affecting your business.

    #4 Improve Creating your app is the easy part. Improving it takes work, but is very much worth it! Have you changed your current business objectives to include a new item or money maker? Your apps and/or mobile website should reflect your new goals in order to maximize your budget. Are your users recommending you include another feature on the App Store or on Google Play?

    We’re constantly reflecting the most important recommendations into mobile app features. This ensures your app continues to get the highest ratings and increases downloads.

    Not sure how to keep your app successful? We have plenty of recommendations, and will keep you full of ideas on how to keep your app compelling. Follow our social media channels to get constant recommendations for marketing your apps. We’re on Facebook. We’re also on Twitter @MojoBistro. Need help? Tweet us at @MojoBistroRX.

    Mon, 23 Apr 2012 22:04:14 GMT
    8 ways to use QR codes for restaurant mobile marketing QR codes are two-dimensional barcode, very similar to scanning UPC barcodes at the supermarket. With a very small area, black modules are arranged on a white background can be decoded at a quick speed.

    QR codes were initially used in the automotive industry to track cars across factory lines. Today, QR codes are used more in in consumer advertising and packaging due to the proliferation of smartphones. QR codes are beneficial because they are an easy and mobile access point.

    These are just a sample of the numerous marketing tips we’ll provide when you create your apps with MojoBistro. QR codes can be very useful to promote your app, just follow these recommendations.

    1. Use your QR code to point to your mobile website or another mobile-enabled location. Remember, users are going to snap these codes with their smartphones!
    2. Make sure your QR code is big enough for mobile phone users to scan it where it’s located (ie. if it’s on the ceiling, will visitors be able to scan the code with their phone without standing on a chair?)
    3. Remember, your QR code is pointing to your mobile website. If you’re printing materials especially for mobile phones, like your mobile website, you shouldn’t include your QR code on said materials.
    4. QR codes are ideal in places like company brochures, recipes and other printed materials which are generally not more than 6’ away from the consumers’ eyes and mobile phones
    5. If you want people to scan your code, entice the user with a special deal or coupon
    6. Point your QR codes to videos or pictures of dishes, available within your app
    7. Have interviews with your executive chef? Feature them on your mobile app or mobile website & direct QR codes there!
    8. Have a coupon section of your mobile website? Create a QR code for it!

    Not sure how to keep your app successful? We have plenty of recommendations, and will keep you full of ideas on how to keep your app compelling. Follow our social media channels to get constant recommendations for marketing your apps. We’re on Facebook. We’re also on Twitter @MojoBistro. Need help? Tweet us at @MojoBistroRX.

    Fri, 13 Apr 2012 22:20:26 GMT