2019 HB Industry Spotlight , Business Trends – April 2, 2019

BizEats: For Your Next
Business Meet & Greet


Encore Saloon

Named after the original building, Encore Saloon is Chinatown’s premiere mezcal bar and restaurant. With an exclusive outdoor courtyard, Mexican-inspired food, and the largest mezcal collection in Hawaii, the Chinatown community frequents Encore for lunch, pau hana, dinner, and late night eats. With good times in mind, Encore’s menu is made fresh daily and offers small bites to shareable meals including tacos, bowls and burritos, nachos and fried avocados. Weekly specials for Taco Tuesday, Al Pastor Saturdays, and a daily happy hour from 2:00-5:30pm creates a draw for regulars and newcomers alike.

Hand-crafted cocktails, mezcal flights, and knowledgeable bartenders make exploring the noteworthy mezcal collection a highlight. With margarita slushies, signature cocktails like the Otra Saloon and Madre Medicina, or classic mezcal cocktails, there is a drink for everyone. If agave spirits are not your flavor, try the local draft beers, a custom drink from the well curated bar, or non-alcoholic shrubs and agua frescas.

A place for gathering, Encore Saloon’s courtyard is the perfect setting for private parties, small get-togethers and everything in between. Recognizing Mexican-inpsired food as a great connector, the Taco Bar offers catering options for office lunches and parties large and small. Reserve special events and catering online.

Encore Saloon
10 N Hotel Street
Honolulu, HI 96817


Nico’s Upstairs Steak & Seafood

“Up” Bacon Cheeseburger at Nicos Upstairs

Nico’s Pier 38 has brought the Nico’s experience to another level with Nico’s Upstairs Steak & Seafood. While Nico’s is best known for casual local fare and the freshest fish in town, Nico’s Upstairs offers a change of pace with a more relaxed ambiance. Nico’s Upstairs features a French inspired bistro menu, lunch – dinner, with full service sit down dining, a Sunday buffet brunch and entertainment 6 nights a week. The expansive dining room boasts floor-to-ceiling windows, overlooking Honolulu Harbor, with sunsets and twinkling harbor lights at night. 

There is a copper top bar with great selections of craft cocktails created by highly skilled mixoligists.  Nico’s Upstairs offers a bar menu with select appetizers and happy hour drinks between 3 p.m.–6 p.m. The bar includes a juicy “Up” bacon cheeseburger, crab and artichoke dip, half dozen NZ oysters, pupu style New York steak, and garlic rosemary fries with truffle aioli.

There are creative daily and nightly specials, an array of fresh seafood, and live tunes played by some of the best Hawaiian, Blues and cool Jazz artists on the island.   Whether you are having a business lunch, looking for a romantic dinner, throwing a private party or bringing the gang for Sunday Brunch, Nico’s has you covered.  There is something for everyone at Nico’s Restaurants.

Nico’s Upstairs
1129 N Nimitz Hwy
Honolulu, HI 96817


Light Monument: New Video Art Installation

ʻAlohilani Resort Waikiki Beach is Oahu’s go-to destination, named among the top hotels in Hawaii by Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice and one of the top 10 best new hotels in USA Today’s 2019 10Best awards.

‘Alohilani has made a name for themselves in international culinary circles with two restaurants led by Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto. Along with the best happy hour in Honolulu at Swell Pool & Bar, guests can enjoy the wonders of the Hawaiian undersea up-close at the resorts three-story saltwater Oceanarium.

At night, Swell Pool & Bar transitions into a vibrant evening hot spot with live, local music. Every Tuesday and Friday from 7-9pm, experience a new video art series featuring mesmerizing Hawaii landscapes by local artist and filmmaker Joseph Pa‘ahana, set to evening vibes spun by DJ Jodhi and DJ KK. Gather around a fire pit or book a private cabana and enjoy delectable light bites and craft cocktails on the 5th floor rooftop Swell Pool & Bar at ‘Alohilani Resort.

‘Alohilani Resort
2490 Kalakaua Ave
Honolulu, HI 96815


Nico’s Upstairs

Award-winning restauranteur Chef Nico Chaize opened his fourth dining concept, Nico’s Upstairs Steak & Seafood.

The bistro-inspired restaurant features an expansive dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows, overlooking Honolulu Harbor just above Chaize’s flagship premier fish restaurant Nico’s Pier 38.

The newly decorated second floor restaurant includes a copper top bar, chef table/counter seating, and a private dining room for 40.

The copper bar has a great selection of craft cocktails created by highly skilled mixoligists. A must-try is the “Chotto Matcha”, Tito’s vodka, Rumhaven coconut water liqueur, matcha, yuzu, and egg whites, shaken. 

The bar menu features select appetizers and happy hour drinks between 3 p.m.–6 p.m. Bar grinds include a juicy “Up” bacon cheeseburger, crab and artichoke dip, half dozen NZ oysters, pupu style New York steak, and garlic rosemary fries with truffle aioli.

The private dining room that seats 40 features flat screen TVs and sound for group presentations, and there are also semi-private lounge spaces for small groups to gather and meet. Groups are welcome to order off the menu or prix fixed menus can be provided.

Another group option is one of downtown Honolulu’s only Sunday brunch buffets. The buffet consists of Nico’s breakfast house specialties, Chef Meghan’s Marsala Crème Anglaise French Toast, Angry Orchid Corned Beef Hash, kim chee fried rice, seafood jambalaya, shrimp cocktail, brown sugar rubbed prime rib, Nico’s famous poke and a variety of local breakfast favorites.

Nico’s Upstairs is perfect for one person to enjoy harbor views, or small groups to meet and take advantage of the happy hour prices.

Nico’s Upstairs
1129 N Nimitz Hwy
Honolulu, HI 96817


Pagoda Floating Restaurant & Catering

Mahalo for supporting the Pagoda & allowing the business to celebrate its 55th anniversary this year! The Pagoda Restaurant & Catering has built their reputation in the food and hospitality industry by serving the traditional regional cuisines of the islands. Located in the heart of Honolulu, it’s become one of the popular establishments where the people of Hawaii celebrate special occasions. From meetings, birthdays, graduations, yakudoshis and wedding ceremony & receptions; the Pagoda Restaurant & Catering will not only give you a unique dining experience but also a memorable one.

Discover Pagoda’s culinary versatility from the restaurant to the banquet rooms. Surrounded by a Japanese koi pond and serene waterfall, the restaurant can accommodate a private party of 8-18 and a semi-private room that seats up to 55. The Pagoda Restaurant & Catering also has four banquet spaces that accommodate small intimate gatherings to large scale events of 50-400 people. Equipped to fulfill every need of all guests, the facilities offer capable communication and presentation technology as well as the flexibility to enhance the atmosphere for the event. It is the perfect location to hold any meeting big or small and any special occasion.

The Pagoda offers a wide range of selections with menus that will please any palate. The restaurant’s buffet has become a family tradition. Taking inspiration from their ohana, every dish is designed to stimulate the appetite and impart the feelings and comforts of home cooking. The Pagoda now provides farm-fresh products and in-house made pies prepared daily. Their team of experts are sure to provide exactly what you envision for your event and will cater to the expectations to ensure each guest has an unforgettable experience.

Pagoda Hawaii
1525 Rycroft St
Honolulu, HI 96814


Brick Fire Tavern

In the heart of Chinatown, kamaaina are biting into handcrafted slices of Neapolitan pizza, oozing with melted mozzarella, bursting with farm-fresh toppings, and made crisp with the slight char of airy crusts. As the Downtown business crowd will tell you, these pizza indulgences are not strictly for leisure. With its central location within walking distance of Honolulu’s busiest metropolitan area, Brick Fire Tavern (BFT) has become a go-to spot for work meetings and events alike.

With its affordable prices and customizable menus, BFT has been a popular spot for lunch and dinner events since opening in 2016. But the locally run eatery recently welcomed a whole new wave of business groups after introducing happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m. daily. Whether looking to host a small afternoon meeting or a hip pau hana cocktail event, groups of all sizes can take advantage of happy hour pricing before the dinner rush. Among the most popular pau hana bites are mini pizzas as well as meatballs slathered in house-made marinara and sprinkled with freshly grated Parmesan.

With warm, exposed-brick walls and a cozy fire crackling within the imported Italian wood-burning oven, BFT’s intimate dining space is also ideal for buyout events and company parties. The venue holds up to 42 guests seated or 50-plus reception-style. Additionally, customers have the option of reserving the Real Office Centers upper patio located in the back of the restaurant, one of Honolulu’s hidden gems when it comes to event spaces. Under the shade of a large tree, the al-fresco lanai has a secluded rooftop vibe, complete with string lights, for an unbeatable ambiance in the evening.

Regardless of the event or meeting, BFT offers set menus and pre-ordering for ease of planning, though hosts can customize a fresh, gourmet menu of pupus, salads, pizza and drinks anytime.

Brick Fire Tavern
16 N Hotel St
Honolulu, HI 96817


Vintage Cave Café

Vintage Cave Café is the casual sister restaurant to the exclusive Vintage Cave Club. It delivers the same philosophy as the club but to a wider, more inclusive clientele. It is accessible and affordable without compromise in quality. This is apparent from the moment you walk through the rustic, iron vineyard gates and are greeted with the meticulously detailed and art laden interior. Vintage Cave Café elicits a sense of security in the natural embrace of a cathedral-like environment. Guests are encouraged to relax, hit reset, and escape the ordinary.

vintage-caveFeaturing an unparalleled wine list, exceptional Italian cuisine, hand-crafted cocktails, and live music nightly, Vintage Cave Café offers the perfect setting for your next group gathering. With 9,000 square feet of space, three private rooms, two main dining areas, and a total seating capacity of 150 or standing capacity of 240, Vintage Cave Café can accommodate many different types of events.

Our food and beverage service options and access to our in-house professional sound system and lighting offer great flexibility in creating the perfect setting for your event. From business meetings to cocktail soirees, product launches to wedding receptions, our warm and professional service team will attend to every detail so that you may enjoy your special event with your guests. Vintage Cave Café is located in the Ewa Wing of Ala Moana Shopping Center and is open 7 days a week for afternoon tea and lunch from 12 to 3:30PM and for dinner from 5:30 to 10PM.

Vintage Cave Cafe
1450 Ala Moana Blvd STE 1380
Honolulu, HI 96814


The Leadership Challenge

Its easy to take our best team members for granted. They’re doing such a great job, we trust they’re content then focus our time and attention on those that need the most help. High performers need to continually stretch their comfort zone to maintain their energy and enthusiasm at work. The best way to retain top performers is to challenge them! Provide them with opportunities to learn and grow by continually upping the game and recognizing their accomplishments.

CHALLENGE plus SUPPORT over TIME (not over night) equals DEVELOPMENT. One of the highest forms of recognition is your complete and undivided attention. –Lawrence King


Keeping Score

Sometimes solving even the most challenging problem can be as simple as setting a realistic target and measuring performance on a weekly basis. The key to achieving results is posting the daily or weekly performance factors on a scoreboard where everyone on the team can see them. Whether its reducing food supply, labor costs or increasing guest counts and check averages; sharing performance results on a scoreboard with all team members can be a real game changer. You may be pleasantly surprised at the level of camaraderie that develops as your team rallies to meet the goal.


Prevent Employee “Poaching”

The current job market is very challenging. So keeping your best employees is critical to guest satisfaction. Studies confirm that only 29% of the workforce is engaged with high morale, 45% are not engaged or apathetic, and 26% are actively disengaged or ‘toxic’.

While belief in the company brand and trust in senior leadership matter, the most important factor in the level of employee engagement is the quality of the relationship with one’s direct supervisor. What is your organization doing to ensure your supervisors are trained in developing engaged employees? Don’t lose your best to the competition.


Who’s “In” Your Kitchen Cabinet?

Solving tough problems and vetting new ideas in your business alone can be a challenge and even risky. Effective leaders understand the value of getting different perspectives from outside the team when making important decisions. Having three to five close friends as trusted advisers you can rely on informally to give you straight advice and challenge you with contrary opinion can be a most valuable asset to you and your organization. Make a list, invite each for lunch, take their pulse, make the request, offer your help in return. Who’s in your Kitchen Cabinet?


Training ROI – Begin With The End In Mind

Feel the need for training in your organization? Ask your team, “What do we need to do differently or better? Most importantly, How will we know if and when we achieve success?”

By identifying a measurable outcome, the time, effort, and money deployed to solve a problem or improve performance will be leveraged. Effective training is conceived, designed, implemented, and evaluated with measurable outcomes as the goal. Significant improvements can often be accomplished by simply posting information. Other times a bigger investment is required. Either way, don’t settle for “break even” results.


The work environment and company culture play a critical role in the level of each employee’s self esteem and mental health.

How Healthy Is Your Company?

A company’s general health is driven in large part by how its employees feel; about the brand, about their co-workers and most importantly about themselves. Since almost 25 percent of our time is spent in the workplace each week, the work environment and company culture play a critical role in the level of each employee’s self esteem and mental health. A positive supportive culture can really help create a sense of well being which should carry over into and enhance an employee’s personal life. Conversely, personal problems from the outside can make their way into the workplace and have an adverse affect on the team and overall morale.

It really pays to take the time and ‘diagnose’ your organization’s collective fitness. Periodically conducted Organizational Check Ups and Employee Satisfaction Surveys are a great way to take the pulse of the work culture and identify specific areas the company can focus on to improve overall Esprit De Corps. Likewise, it is widely recognized that poor mental health is a risk factor for chronic illness, which can affect productivity and attendance. Adding an Employee Assistance Plan [EAP] to your benefits package, can be an effective way to aid employees needing help in solving personal problems and prevent them from migrating to the job.

Whether you are the CEO or a rank and file staffer, nothing improves relationships, makes work more enjoyable, is easily and inexpensively administered than time honored human relations principles like smiling, showing a genuine interest in others, listening, being sympathetic, giving praise, expressing heartfelt appreciation and following the Platinum Rule: Treat others the way, they want to be treated.

Most doctors agree that prevention is much more effective than treatment. Paying attention to your organization’s work culture might well be the best prescription for success. What does your company HEALTH PLAN look like?


The Ultimate Question

The true level of your customer’s satisfaction can be measured by a single question. “How likely is it that you would recommend [company] to a friend or colleague?” If you are not tracking your Net Promoter Score (NPS) on a regular basis, you probably should. Understanding how well your customers speak about you to others is a key factor in managing your success. It can be a manual survey card, follow up email or online survey. Information on scoring the survey can be found on the internet. Track your score, take actions to improve your NPS and watch your sales grow.


Taking Your Customer’s Pulse

Want to know what you can do to improve your customers satisfaction? Just ASK THEM!! A simple Needs Gap Analysis will do the job. Define 6 to 10 Service Touch Points. Ask your customers to rate the importance of each 10 – 0 and then again on how well you rate in delivering each of them from 10 – 0. Measure the gap of each Touch Point. The items with the biggest gap between importance and delivery are a great place to start. Sometimes all we need is confirmation of what we suspected in order to take action.



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