Cigars are the rage with men of all ages. Stock a humidor for add-on sales without extra labor.
Tim Dale, owner of Fumé in San Francisco, has made cigars the highest priority in his operation.
After spending the last decade kicking smokers out of your dining room, deal with this new trend: Gen Xers and yuppies have discovered that they can’t live without cigars and restaurants, bars and clubs around the country are finding ways to make these puffers comfortable. Some establishments simply sell a few cigars at the bar and welcome customers who want to enjoy them with a beer. Others host special cigar dinners. The most aggressive operators are developing outright cigar-oriented smoking lounges, complete with masculine decors, cigar menus and waiters who will cut and light customers’ stogies for them.
“When asked to explain the resurgence of interest in cigars, we begin by pointing out that the industry never saw it coming,” admits Norman F. Sharp, president of the Cigar Association of America, in Washington, DC. “It took everyone by surprise.” Sharp says America has more than 10 million cigar smokers, many of them occasional smokers, and 96% of them men. His educated opinion about the origins of the resurgence? More than 2,000 cigar dinner evenings held nationwide every year, the first being held in 1985 at Boston’s Ritz Carlton Hotel; media attention; the cigar’s alliance with other high-end specialty items such as coffee, microbrews, single malt Scotches and single barrel bourbons; and “the backlash factor.” Explains Sharp, “Cigar smokers tend to be more independent and mature individuals who resent being told what to do, what to eat and what to drink.”
Why would operators encourage cigar smoking? Profit, of course. Labor costs are close to nil while tabs can quickly rise. “Cigars give you one more thing to sell the customer,” explains Tim Dale, owner of the Fum