Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Our Website is Finally Up!

Check it out at tobaccoroadsportscafe.com. Huge thank you to David Link, the NCSU Design School student that created our temporary site, our new site and the graphics for our blog. Thanks so much for your creativity and your patience. Another thank you to Karen Crowe, a server at Tobacco Road that is also a photographer. Karen took some quick interior shots for us that allowed us to finally get the site up. We'll try to get some more photos, including some food shots, in the coming weeks and get them on the site.

Note on Free Parking
There is a parking garage directly behind our building with plenty of spaces. Just ask your server or the hostess for a token to exit the garage for free.

New Year's Eve
We will definitely be open on New Year's Eve, so stop by, say hello and check out Tobacco Road. There is no cover, no dress code and we will be serving food until 2 a.m. (as with every other night).

Sunday, December 28, 2008

ESPN's Mike Tirico at Tobacco Road This Tuesday

Don't miss ESPN's Mike Tirico, in Raleigh on Tuesday, Jan. 6, broadcasting live from the 99.9 "The Fan" remote broadcast studio located at Tobacco Road Sports Cafe. The live show starts at 1 p.m. and runs until 3 p.m.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Check out the Tobacco Road Sports Cafe Menu

First off, I'd like to apologize for not posting updates more often. We have all been pretty busy, although that is still no excuse--nothing is more annoying than yet another blog that never seems to be updated. We promise to be better moving forward.

The good news is that the hard work is paying off and we are very close to opening. Our website is receiving the final touches and will include photos of the interior and a few shots of menu items. Speaking of our menu, we are proud to provide a preview here. Click here to download a printable version.

This menu was created by our executive chef, Juan Esparza and features some North Carolina favorites including Sweet Potato Fries, a BBQ sandwich and Cheddar Grits--as well as some fresh alternatives including numerous vegetarian items such as Cabbage Rolls, Jumbo Black Eyed Pea Cakes and our Hurricane Tomato Sandwich. Many of our menu items are made with North Carolina products, seafood and produce. Let us know what you think of the menu. Of course, we hope that you'll come in and try it for yourself.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Election Night Party at Amra's

We are hosting an election night party this Tuesday at Amra's. Join us after work for some free food, great drink specials, tons of prizes donated by local businesses--and, of course, TV coverage of the election results on every TV screen (including a 10 foot screen). No cover charge. Full details below.

As you know, North Carolina is considered one of five toss-up states in this election. But, if for some reason you needed more reasons to make this election day memorable, see the "More Reasons" section below. Don't spend Election Night sitting at home flipping through the channels or even (gasp!) turning in early and waiting to hear the results the next day. Instead, join us at Amra's after work for some bipartisan partying - all night long! We'll have:

  • Free Food - Sub sandwiches, snacks, desserts
  • $5 red or blue martinis, $2 Budweiser American Lager 
  • Election coverage on EVERY TV plus a 10 foot screen
  • Wear your "I Voted" sticker - 1/2 off beer and wine
  • Election/Presidential Trivia "Are You Smarter Than a Democrat/Republican/Independent?"(Great PRIZES for every question answered correctly)

Prizes donated by local businesses:

More Reasons

1.     The 2008 election is particularly notable because it is the first time in U.S. history that two sitting senators will run against each other for president,

2.     and because it is the first time an African American is a presidential nominee for a major party,

3.     as well as the first time both major candidates were born outside the continental United States—Hawaii for Obama and the Panama Canal Zone for McCain.

4.     Since the Republican nominee for vice-president is a woman, the eventual winning ticket is very likely to be historic, as neither an African American nor a female has achieved either office.

5.     Also, the Republican presidential candidate, John McCain, would be the oldest first-term president

6.     and the Democratic nominee for vice-president, Joe Biden, would be the first Roman Catholic vice president.  

Source: Wikipedia

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Now Hiring. 80% Need Not Apply.

You've probably heard of the 80/20 rule. The idea that 20% of people do 80% of the work. The same is true in many restaurants. In addition, it is often 20% of restaurant employees that consistently deliver exceptional service. At Tobacco Road Sports CafĂ© we don't want the odds that our guests get exceptional service to be one in five or even worse. Every guest at Tobacco Road will receive exceptional service and we will only hire exceptional people. So, if any of the following characterizes your work ethic or is something that you've done in the past—DON'T APPLY. Trust me, you won't last long. We don't mean to sound harsh, we just don't want to waste our time or yours.

These examples apply to servers, since they have the most significant interaction with our guests. As a server, have you ever:
1. Stood at the hostess stand and complained that you aren't getting "good tables" (i.e. your tables have too many kids, too many non-drinkers or people sharing entrees)?
2. Not run food for a fellow server because why should you—you won't make any money off of their tables…?
3. Made a mistake with one of your tables but since they didn't bring it up, you didn't either. After all, why get a manager involved?

These are just a few examples of bad server habits that won't be acceptable at Tobacco Road. If these apply to you because you've spent years in the restaurant business and these bad habits are the norm in many restaurants—but you are willing to unlearn these habits and take your service to the next level, let us know. If you have no restaurant experience but a good attitude and a great work ethic, don't hesitate to apply. Mistakes happen. We understand that and will work with you. Not putting our guests first is not an accident; it is a conscious decision and won't be tolerated. This applies to all of our guests, not just those sitting at your tables. Are you part of the elite 20%? Click here to apply. We are hiring for server, hostess, busser and kitchen staff positions.

Origin of Our Service Philosophy
Why are we so focused on delivering the highest quality of service possible? Because of our experiences as employees and, of course, as guests in restaurants. My brothers and I worked in restaurants ranging from casual to upscale. Unfortunately, exceptional service is usually associated with upscale dining. As the price per person goes down, so do the service levels. There really aren't any good reasons why you shouldn't be able to get a good meal at a reasonable price with excellent service. Creating a culture of customer-focused service doesn't cost anything. At Tobacco Road it is our goal to deliver the type of service that is usually only found at expensive restaurants—but without the pretentiousness.

I hope you'll help us reach this goal by letting us know how we can improve and allowing us to correct our mistakes.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Partnership with 99.9 "The Fan"

We've had minor setbacks that will most likely mean a late October or early November opening date. We will keep everyone posted and put photos up here when construction reaches a point where we can give everyone a "sneak peek" at Tobacco Road.

Last week we officially announced a partnership between Tobacco Road Sports Cafe and 99.9 "The Fan" (view the full press release here). "The Fan" will have its own remote broadcast studio in Tobacco Road Sports Cafe, where they will host their pre-game shows for NFL, college football, NCAA basketball and other events. Tobacco Road Sports Cafe will be a "home away from home" for 99.9--as we hope to also be for sports fans that want to go out and watch the game while surrounded by other fans (and of course while enjoying delicious food and excellent service). We are proud to be the only area restaurant that will be home to live sports radio and hope that this partnership will deliver an even greater level of excitement and enjoyment for our guests.

We'd like to emphasize that Tobacco Road Sports Cafe will be a restaurant that also offers a dining option catering to avid sports fans. The broadcast studio will be located in the bar, where tables are situated for easy viewing of the 107” television screen and surrounding flat screens. The bar will also have eight recliners that have their own 42” TV screens. For a quieter dining experience guests can enjoy their meal in the main dining room or reserve Tobacco Road’s private dining room for special events.

More info coming soon as we start hiring and training the Tobacco Road Sports Cafe staff.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Construction, Menu, Hiring and More

Thankfully, construction has been going well so far and we are still hoping for an early October open date. As a result of the feedback received through the poll, as well as in person and in email--we will be a non-smoking venue (both in the bar and the main dining room), with a smoking area on the patio. Convincing and passionate arguments were made on both sides, but of the 350+ people that voted, over 80% favored non-smoking.

We are in the process of finalizing our website, which should go live next month. At that time we will post our menu and also begin the hiring process. We should also have a post here from our chef in the following weeks discussing the menu and our process for delivering fresh and delicious lunch and dinner fare.

We plan on holding numerous pre-opening events, including a fundraiser where all proceeds will benefit a local charity. Sign up on the Tobacco Road website to receive updates and invitations to these special events. As always, please continue to let us know your thoughts on food, sports and service so that we can create a dining experience that really does exceed your expectations.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Smoking or Non-Smoking Bar?

First of all, thank you to everyone that posted their thoughts on customer service and for the many emails that we received with feedback and encouragement. Your feedback has helped us shape our employee training program and we can't wait to prove to you that we truly are dedicated to delivering exceptional service.

We noticed quite a few comments regarding smoking in bars and wondering whether we would go with a non-smoking bar and restaurant. The answer--we don't know yet. What do you think would be best? Should the Tobacco Road restaurant and bar be non-smoking, with smoking only allowed on the patio? Or, should smoking be allowed in the bar? Please submit your opinion in our poll (in the right-hand column on this page) and feel free to post comments. Also, if you know people that might visit Tobacco Road Sports Cafe, please ask them to vote.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Help Us Reach Our Goal of Exceptional Service

As you may have seen on our temporary website, one of our main goals is to deliver exceptional service. We are developing our employee training program and will soon begin hiring employees. We know what good service means to us, but we would like to hear about your service experiences and preferences. I am always interested when my friends tell me about little things that restaurant employees do that either impress them or ruin their dining experience. For example, I have a hard time enjoying my meal when it starts off with a rude hostess, followed by a server that takes a long time to greet our table.

What are the things that drive you crazy when you dine out or the special touches that make your dining experience more enjoyable? Please don't post specifics such as restaurant or employee names. We would just like to know all of the things that we can incorporate into our standards to ensure a high level of service quality at Tobacco Road.