Month: January 2015

This July a ban on the use of foam packaging will go into effect in New York City. Food and drink providers that have been using polystyrene foam (also called styrofoam) will need to find different materials with which to serve their products.

The foam has been determined a hazard to wildlife and not recyclable. New York City’s waste program has had trouble dealing with the nearly 30,000 tons of expanded polystyrene waste from the city in 2014.

Read the full article here: New York restaurants scramble for alternatives after city bans foam packaging

News

With the new FDA regulations requiring many restaurants to list calorie counts taking effect at the end of the year, now is the perfect time to redesign your menu. Your menu is second only to the server as a selling tool, and it’s one you have complete control over. These tips from FSR Magazine’s Guide to Menu Design can help you redesign your menu so it communicates exactly what your establishment is all about.

Before you start planning a new menu design, start with your restaurant’s mission and objective. What idea are you trying to get across to your customer? Play to your strengths and think about what foods you’re known for.

Fewer menu options are generally associated with higher quality. Slimming your menu to your best items allows your chefs to focus on making the food the best it can be. Emphasize freshness and sustainability to capitalize on those trends.

Color scheme, spacing, typography, white space and description play an important part in all menus. They should be easy to read and easy to navigate. Advanced menus add photos, design elements and infographics. Items with photos sell 30% more, so use them strategically to highlight favorites.

For many more tips, read the full article here: The Guide to Menu Design

Commentary

Patent trolls are companies that purchase patents for the sole purpose of threatening businesses with infringement claims. Usually these patents are general and or vague, and they often target technology. POS systems, smartphone apps, and digital menus could be vulnerable to attack.

A coalition called United for Patent Reform, formed by the National Retail Federation, is fighting to enact legislation to stop the patent trolls from harassing businesses. Legal costs when battling patent trolls can be very high.

Read the full article here: Why operators need to know about patent trolls

News

One of the biggest trends happening this year is a consumer push for healthier food options, but it’s not just restaurants that are capitalizing on this movement. Vending machines are starting to offer more options for health conscious people on the go.

Banner Health has recently implemented healthier vending food choices in their Arizona hospitals in an effort to promote healthy eating, and they will be expanding the program in seven other states soon.

I remember when vending machines only carried soda, chips, and candy bars – including the ones in the local clinic. In some places you can now purchase entire healthy meals from these machines. Is this the vending of the future?

Read the full article here: Banner Health gives vending machines a makeover

Commentary

With Americans turning toward more unique and exotic flavors this year, restaurants like soup chain Zoup! are answering the call. This month Zoup! introduced a new stew made from rabbit and rattlesnake sausage that has people talking.

People have been eating rattlesnake for years, but it’s rare to see it on a restaurant menu. Rabbit is much the same way, so it’s interesting to see them together in the same meal. The soup took more than half a year to develop.

Read the full article here: It’s got a bite to it: Zoup! serves up Rattlesnake Stew

News Trending

Are you one of those people who has been in the food industry so long that you know everything there is to know about food safety? Or maybe you need to get your Food Handlers Card and are nervous about the test you have to take? No problem.

We’ve created a free food handlers practice quiz that will help you gauge if you’re a food safety guru or if you still need to brush up on a few topics before you can pass the food handlers test. Or you can share it with your friends and see who scores the highest. Ready?

Take the free food handlers practice test and find out if you have what it takes to keep your customers safe.

 

Quiz

Working as a manager in a family owned establishment is different from working in a chain or quick service restaurant in many ways, and it comes with its own unique set of challenges and benefits.

When applying for a position at a family owned business, make sure you receive a detailed written job description. Restaurant managers tend to do a little bit of everything in a family establishment, but you want a solid contract in case they start asking far too much of you.

Some family restaurants offer valuable growth opportunities, but most won’t offer you much in the way of advancement or preparation if you want to move on to a larger restaurant. Many have their own ideas of how things need to be run and are not looking for feedback. This can create problems if you identify ways to make things run more smoothly, but they won’t hear it. Also, families fight, and you can be sure some of that drama will make its way into the restaurant.

Make sure you ask the right questions during the hiring process and get a feel for what the owners (and the rest of the staff, if possible) are like.

For more, read the full article here: Hospitality Jobs: Working for Family Owned Restaurant

Commentary Trending

Chicken is a diet staple all over the world. It has a mild flavor (some would call it boring), but it’s that gentle taste that makes it pair so well with so many different things. International chefs are really mixing things up!

Chicken dishes continue to be top sellers in many markets, and school cafeterias are adding different Internationally-inspired flavors to their menus.

Read the full article here: Chicken goes global

News

Keeping your employees safe is a high priority for owners and managers in food service. Restaurants see a high number of claims due to minor injuries, but even cuts, burns and sprains from heavy lifting can slow down productivity – and that’s bad for business.

A careful approach to risk management is necessary. Identify hazards, make sure your staff is educated in safety procedures, document everything, and be proactive.

Read the full article here: Best Practices to Increase Employee Safety

News

A chef is the heart of the restaurant. You can have the best food and the best service, but if you don’t have a chef that can deliver a quality meal, you’re not going to keep customers coming back through your doors. If you’re looking to start up a restaurant and you’re seeking a chef, there are a few things to consider.

Many chefs want complete control over their kitchens, so before you hire you need to decide just how independent you’re okay with your chef being. Chefs want to be involved in the hiring and firing process because they’re going to be directly working with the kitchen staff. They also want some control over the menu and ingredients. If you’re not willing to work with them on these points, you’re not going to keep them around. Developing a working business relationship is super important.

You also need to ask yourself some questions and come to an agreement with your potential chef, such as deciding who owns the recipes, and whether or not outside work (books, television and other media) are allowed for the chef if he/she is interested in pursuing those things.

If you’re looking to form a partnership or give your chef equity interest in your restaurant there are legal considerations. You want your chef to be committed exclusively to your restaurant for a negotiated period of time, so it’s important he/she has an interest in your mission.

For more, read the full article here: Don’t Get Burned in Your Kitchen

Commentary