Tuesday, 20 September 2016

controlPLAY’s secret to increasing productivity and innovation: LUNCHTIME!


Planning your lunch during the week can be a pain.

You can save money and take the time to pack a lunch from home, but it has to stay fresh or re-heat well. Or you can leave the office for takeout or a sit-down meal at a restaurant, but the cost can add up quickly. And none of this includes the lost time from having to figure out what you’re going to do each day when lunchtime rolls around.

Let’s not forget the energy factor, either. Years ago, I heard Denis Waitley—the renowned motivational speaker and author of The Psychology of Winning—ask a group, “Are you fueling or feeding your body?”

That always stuck with me. I believe that if you want to get the most out of your time, you need to fuel your body—not just feed it. Think of it this way: you’re going to be at work for eight hours a day. Why not make those hours as effective as possible, both for yourself and for your career?

At controlPLAY, one of our core values is promoting a positive work/life balance, and we’re committed to making that an important part of our culture. As part of this commitment, every day we offer all team members an assortment of healthy snacks and beverages, such as smoothies, granola and energy bars, fruit, yogurt, nuts and oatmeal.

In addition to snacks, we keep our team with a daily catered lunch program that includes our (staff favorite) salad bar, soup of the day and hot entrĂ©e. We also enjoy mixing it up every so often—for example, how can you say no to lunch from an on-site food truck? And we look forward to special occasions (for St. Patrick’s Day, shepherd’s pie and Irish biscuits are on the menu!).

When I tell people that controlPLAY offers these nutritional perks to all of our team members, many can’t believe that it’s part of what we do. Frankly, I can’t believe that everyone doesn’t do it. An in-house lunch program helps keep our team happy, healthy and focused on their work. We believe that bringing people to together is the key to developing a collaborative company culture.



Contact me at jim.juniper@787networks.com if you’d like more information on our lunch program, or check out our Careers page at www.787networks.com/careers if you’d like to read more about our culture or current opportunities. (Better yet—come by and visit us on Tuesday! The curried chicken with rice rocks.)


Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Score a Revenue Touchdown this Football Season: How Digital Signage and an Online Jukebox Takes Your Bar or Restaurant into the End Zone


For many of us the end of summer is a bummer. But for football fans, the first week of September is what they’ve been waiting for all year: time to gear-up and pull on their jerseys to start cheering on their favorite team. However, this time of year isn’t just for football fans; it’s a golden opportunity to boost your sports pub’s revenue by setting the right vibe, creating targeted digital signage and leveraging the magic of an online jukebox.

The 97th NFL season kicks off on September 8, when the Carolina Panthers visit the Denver Broncos in their home stadium. Is your sports pub ready for the kickoff? If you make the right play you can ensure that your pub is the local football hot spot and the next best thing to the stadium—and increase your monthly revenue by $1000/month!

Don’t fumble through the season. Time for a huddle to learn controlPLAY’s five easy tips to hike your pub’s revenue this fall:


  1. Create the vibe

  2. Of course the sport is the most important part of game day, but for some fans it’s all about the atmosphere: great tunes, food, friends and fun. The ambience of your pub directly impacts the tone of the game.

    Make sure you start strong by playing upbeat tracks and music videos that pump-up your guests, and showing relevant and engaging content on your screens. An energized and fun vibe will encourage guests to stick around for the game and increase the chances that fans will come back and bring their friends for the next game.

  3. Game time specials

  4. Offering game day specials is a great way to enhance your pub’s vibe, increase food and beverage purchases and encourage your customers to come back. For example, during the game you might consider offering a discounted beverage to encourage guests to come for the game, and after the game you could promote an appetizer deal to entice guests to stick around.

  5. Arrange post-game and pre-game entertainment

  6. One of the best ways to increase your pub’s game day revenue is by stretching the celebration out beyond just the duration of the game. Pre and post-game entertainment, contests and specials start the fun early and keep it going long after the game to maximize your guest experience and increase their average spending.

  7. Make it social

  8. Your football fans will undoubtedly share their excitement about the game on social media. This is a great opportunity to engage with your customers and promote your specials and entertainment. Some ways to incorporate social media into your promotion plan are:

    • Post your game plans on social networking sites leading up to the game
    • Incorporate popular football-related hashtags to help target your posts on Twitter and Instagram
    • Create a hashtag that includes your pub’s name and host a Twitter contest for your guests during the game
    • Use controlPLAY’s FREE myJAM app to engage your guests and increase your social media marketing reach before and after the game


  9. Leverage your television with digital signage

  10. Your televisions are your pub’s best friend on game day. But your TV’s can do a lot more to support your bottom line than just play sports. To get the most out of your televisions on game day:

    1. Place many TVs in visible places
    2. Opt for larger screens whenever possible
    3. Turn the volume wayyyy up! Big sound is a key ingredient to game day success
    4. Incorporate digital signage to share targeted messages for your pub. For example, during commercials use your TV to promote your own specials and events


Why not save yourself some time and money? Handoff your entertainment to contolPLAY and score a revenue touchdown for your pub this season. For more tips on how your bar or restaurant can make the most out of football season, check out our FREE After the Game guide.

controlPLAY Guide - After the Game

controlPLAY is the only music, music video and digital signage service provider created just for bars and restaurants. For more information, send us a note at info@controlplay.com



Monday, 22 August 2016

A Modern Twist on an Old Jive; How the Online Jukebox Brings New Life—and Business—to Restaurants and Bars



Times may have changed, but the love for our favorite songs hasn’t. The jukebox is an old idea, but when reinvented with a modern twist, the online jukebox could be the key to energizing your establishment.

So what do we mean by an online jukebox?

We’re talking about myJAM—the app from controlPLAY that lets guests use their smartphones to request their favorite songs from your restaurant or bar’s custom-created playlist.

Pretty cool, right?

myJAM does more than just add to the fun; it also promotes your brand through social media recommendations—one of the most effective ways to share your message!

How does it work?

Customers download the myJAM app to their smartphones where they can choose songs from a customized music library with tens of thousands of options that are updated daily to keep your playlists fresh and relevant.

Through the app customers can like, request and share music with their friends on social media—helping to promote your brand by linking to your bar or restaurant and letting their contacts that they’re having a great time at your establishment.

Just 25 myJAM shares can lead to more than 6,250 social media impressions.

But where does the music come from?

controlPLAY gets your guests’ toes tapping or their heart beating—whatever your desired vibe—with a customized music library and playlist tailored just for your restaurant or bar. Our music databases are updated daily, so you’ll never get bored of the same old tunes…and the latest hits will always be ready for your guests’ requests!

myJAM puts the fun in the palm of your customers’ hands, while giving your establishment a hand with marketing and saving you money: fewer than 15 paid jams per day can give you your music solution for FREE.

Watch the video to learn more about how myJAM will energize your business.




For more information contact us at info@controlplay.com

Friday, 19 August 2016

There’s something in the air: how a little common scents improves business and inspires employees



At controlPLAY we understand that atmosphere is everything and that our employees can only be as innovative and inspired as our environment allows. After all, we’re in the business of creating the perfect ambiance for other companies, so it only makes sense to start in our own back yard.

Every day we strive to eliminate the creativity crushing staleness of a traditional office-setting, and establish our headquarters as a place that ignites the imagination, encourages inventive thinking and stimulates our employees. After all, happy people are the most productive people.

I’ve been thinking about our next investment into enhancing our workplace environment, and I’m intrigued by aromatherapy for business; often known as ambient scenting or scentscaping. I’ve always admired how Westin Hotels has successfully used this technique to create a significant brand emotion; their proprietary White Tea scent was specifically developed as part of their Welcome program to create a relaxing and inviting atmosphere for their guests. Scent is proven to evoke certain emotions and memories—this is reconfirmed whenever I set foot in a Westin property, their signature scent instantly feels familiar.

I started wondering if aromatherapy could benefit our employees and productivity. So I started to do a little research, and—as I anticipated— there’s definitely a benefit to scent-scaping:


  1. Smell is the strongest of the senses and is best able to influence brain activity.
  2. Essential oils help improve job performance as well as health. Employees are less likely to take sick time.




But not just any scent will do. There’s a science to it, and specific aromas are more effective at producing different outcomes. For example:

Lemon promotes concentration and has a calming and clarifying effect. Lemon can be used to help relieve cold and coughs and to support the immune system.

Lavender has calming properties that help control emotional stress. Lavender has a soothing effect on nerves and can help reduce feeling of stress. 
Jasmine is used to calm nerves and is most commonly used as an anti-depressant because it promotes a feeling of confidence, optimism and revitalized energy.
Rosemary improves memory retention and stimulating properties that fight physical exhaustion, headaches and mental fatigue.
Cinnamon can help fight mental fatigue and improve concentration and focus.
Peppermint is an energy booster; it invigorates the mind, promotes concentration and stimulates clear thinking.  

We met with Essential Oil Consultant & doTERRA Wellness Advocate Mindy Menard to determine how to incorporate aromatherapy into our office environment. Mindy commented, “Getting started with Essential Oils is one of the easiest ways to significantly shift the energy, boost employee morale and productivity in every area of your company.”

She has created the following plan for our sales and development work spaces

Start the day with the uplifting and awaking aroma of Peppermint and Wild-Orange.  Peppermint is a great oil to wake up the senses to and put a little “pep” in your step while Wild Orange provides a purifying & a comforting effect.

After lunch, a blend of coriander, basil, melissa, and peppermint in the diffuser to help improve concentration and stay on task.

I’m excited about this next step to enhancing our creative culture at controlPLAY. We’ll let you know the results!



Jim Juniper
787 Networks - Home of controlPLAY
President/Co-Founder

Questions or comments? I’d love to hear from you.
Contact me at jim.juniper@787networks.com or check out our careers page for more info about working at controlPLAY.


Thursday, 11 August 2016

Social media for bars and restaurants: five easy Facebook tips to build a community and enhance your brand


We know you've heard it a thousand times: social media can make or break your business.

Running a restaurant or bar is time consuming; unless you have a fully devoted marketing team, social media promotion can seem daunting. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube... where do you even start? And how do you promote your restaurant or bar? Is it worth it?

The good news is that it's a myth that you need to be everywhere all the time to see results from your social media efforts. It's better to choose one platform and do it well than spread yourself thin and communicate halfheartedly. 

But which social platform should you choose?

There are pros and cons to every social networking site; however it's hard to ignore the networking and communication powers of Facebook.

Why?


Facebook is currently the most popular social media site-with more than 1 billion users worldwide. Facebook provides your restaurant or bar an online space to engage with a captive audience, promote your business, build brand loyalty and receive valuable feedback from your patrons; think of it as an interactive brochure.

So now you have a Facebook page. What's next? How do you use it promote your business and engage your followers?

Here are five easy tips to creating effective Facebook content for your bar or restaurant:
  1. Be genuine and consistent

    You've invested a lot of time and money into cultivating your restaurant or bar's perfect vibe. It's one of the best parts of your brand and what your patrons seek when they visit your establishment. That vibe should be extended onto your Facebook page. Make sure the language and branding visible in your restaurant is also reflected on your Facebook page-keep things consistent.

    Your Facebook page is your greatest connection to customers beyond the walls of your business-it either enforces their image of you or changes it

  2. Provide value

    Nothing's going to get you unfollowed faster than spamming others' newsfeeds. Think of self-promoting posts as the commercials to your content; if your posts come across like a sales pitch, you're going to lose engagement.

    A good rule of thumb is to follow the 3:1 posting ratio-share three value-add posts for every self-promoting post.

    What does that mean?

    Well, every time you post something to promote your business, make sure to share at least three other posts that are interesting, helpful, interactive or funny-something that gives your audience a reason to follow you.

    Examples of value-add posts might be:

    • A recipe
    • Share a post from one of your followers
    • Something funny that's related to your content
    • An entertaining YouTube video that's related to your content
    • An exclusive deal: FACEBOOK DEAL OF THE WEEK: Free upsize to a large pop. The password is "fizzy"

    Promotional posts are only effective when your audience is engaged.

  3. Interact

    Social media etiquette follows the same rules as basic human interaction: it's typically considered rude to dominate a conversation by only talking about you.

    It's called social media because it's meant to be SOCIAL. You won't get much out of a conversation if you don't participate. Make sure you frequently interact with your followers.

    For example:

    • Respond to comments whenever possible
    • Like or comment on others' posts
    • Share positive posts and pictures taken at your restaurant or bar
    • Answer questions asked on your page
    • Address complaints or concerns; show you care about your customers and value their business

    Don't be afraid to initiate the conversation-there's nothing more engaging than showing an interest in someone else.

  4. Ask questions

    People love to share their opinions-especially on the internet!

    Asking questions is a win-win: you engage your customers and receive valuable feedback about your business. When your clients feel included in your decisions they feel loyal to your brand.

    For example:

    • Want to know which band you should hire to play next weekend? Create a poll.
    • Need ideas for a new cocktail? Ask for help.
    • Thinking of adding or removing a menu item? Ask for feedback.

    Asking questions is also a great way to start conversations that help you to interact (tip #3) with your followers.

  5. Include a call to action

    So maybe you've mastered creating the perfect post and building an exceptional Facebook community. Now what? How do you convert that community into actual business?

    Simple: include a call to action. Let your followers know what you want them to do; sometimes all you have to do is ask.

    For example:

    • The best wings in town are on for half price today. Don't believe us? Come in for lunch and see for yourself!
    • Here's a great article we found on how to grill the perfect steak. Share with the griller in your family.

    Suggesting a clear and concise call to action engages your customers, and also helps you measure and track the effectiveness of your post.

    Building an engaging Facebook community helps to build buzz about your bar or restaurant, attract and maintain customers, and enhance your brand. It doesn't have to take up all of your time. Just hop online, follow our tips and start building your tribe.

Join the controlPLAY Facebook community to learn more about how to elevate your bar or restaurant's brand.  



Monday, 8 August 2016

How infotainment and digital signage can increase your pub’s game day revenue


Does digital signage really make a difference to your pub’s bottom line? You bet. Incorporating infotainment into your marketing strategy can have huge pay-offs, especially during the big game.
Who doesn’t love the big game? Nothing can compare to the energy, the feeling of comradery and the anticipation of jumping out of your seat to cheer on your team with friends and strangers alike. For sports pubs and bars, game day practically sells itself.
But what about before and after the game? Are you hearing crickets?
controlPLAY can help you leverage that game day buzz by bringing in more customers before the game, keeping those customers in their seats after the game, and increasing their purchases the entire time.
HOW?
Simple: give your customers a reason to arrive early, stay for the game and stick around for the after-party—and make sure they know about it!
One of the key plays to dominating game day revenue is incorporating infotainment into your entertainment roster. To set the scene and get your guests pumped-up, controlPLAY creates a custom playlist of music and music videos for your bar or restaurant. Strategically selected music videos entertain and grab the attention of your clients, creating the perfect platform to invite them to enjoy pre-game incentives, game time programming and promotions, and post-game entertainment and specials.
Game time commercials are transformed into a golden opportunity to remind your patrons about specials, promotions and post-game fun by putting your messages where everyone’s eyes are already looking: the television.
But does it really make that big of a difference?
Restaurants and bars that use controlPLAY’s digital signage and music video services have seen an average revenue increase of $1000/month…and that’s being conservative.

controlPLAY Guide - After the Game

Set your bar or restaurant up to WIN next game day! Get started by downloading your FREE copy of After the Game - Create a Game Day action plan to increase revenues for more tips and tricks to maximize your game day revenue.




Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Four important tips to navigate restaurant and bar music licensing fees



It’s no secret that most patrons are looking for a certain ambiance when they select a venue for a night out; the right music is the most important ingredient in creating the perfect vibe. However, restaurants and bars without licensing fees risk losing the important background music that sets the tone for your guests’ experiences.

What’s a bar or restaurant without music? Background music licensing fees for bars and restaurants can seem complicated or frustrating—but they don’t have to be. controlPLAY can help you understand and navigate the requirements and limitations of your bar and restaurant’s music licensing fees.


  1. Know who’s in charge

  2. In the USA, most public music is licensed through ASCAP, BMI or SESAC: professional organizations who act as agents for their members (publishers, composers and songwriters) to negotiate the music license agreements and fees that protect artists’ work.  Building a rich playlist with a variety of music often means you’ll face bar or restaurant music licensing fees from each organization.

    However, controlPLAY makes music licensing easy for you— we have agreements with all three organizations, which allow our clients to play licensed music without the hassle.

  3. Know what you DON’T get

  4. So you have a standard music license—that means you can hire a live band and set up a karaoke night, right?

    Well, the answer is: probably not.

    A standard background music license for a bar or restaurant usually doesn’t give your establishment the right to:

    • engage a DJ to play music
    • hire a live band to perform
    • use a karaoke service
    • charge a cover
    • utilize any other music sources such as radio, television, CD, karaoke or MP3 players

    That’s right, even playing music off your iPod requires a special license.

  5. Know your TV limitations

  6. Most standard music licenses don’t include music or music videos from TV programming.

    According to the National Restaurant Association, if your restaurant or bar is 3,750 square feet or larger, you’ll need a special public performance rights agreement if you’re using any of the following:

    • more than four TVs
    • more than one TV in any one room
    • any TV with a diagonal screen size greater than 55 inches
    • if any audio from the TV is put out by more than six loudspeakers, or four loudspeakers in any one room or outdoor space
    • if there is a cover charge

    It’s a lot to remember, but it doesn’t have to be complicated…

  7. Make it easy on yourself

  8. Save yourself the headaches and let us take care of your restaurant or bar’s background music licensing for you. For more information about controlPLAY and music licensing for your restaurant or bar, visit controlplay.com or contact us directly at info@controlplay.com.