Month: May 2015

We have long had a fascination with wine and spirits and what they can add to a meal, but wine is not the only alcoholic beverage that can complement food. Cocktails are becoming more popular than ever, and bartenders are working with chefs to come up with interesting pairings to dazzle diners.

Bringing flavors together in combinations that delight customer’s taste buds seems to be a delicate art. You have to know how the heat of the alcohol will affect the palette, and it’s good to err on a lower alcohol by volume in most cases.

The amount of ethanol also dictates what foods the cocktail will pair well with. Higher ethanols are better with meals higher in fat, while lower ethanols are more suited to desserts and lighter fare.

If a customer is craving a particular spirit it’s good to have a few cocktail options with unique ingredients to recommend!

Read the full article here: Menu Diversity

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As a small business owner, it’s important to familiarize yourself with marketing terminology. This article from FoodService.com describes how advertising and branding are connected but different, and also offers definitions for many marketing terms.

Advertising and exposure through media and engaging with your customers are also covered.

Read the full article here: The Difference Between Advertising and Branding

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Typically when people belly up to the bar they want as much alcohol as they can get for their money, often requesting their drinks strong (what bartender isn’t used to that?). However, a new consumer trend is headed in the opposite direction with low-alcohol cocktails called shims, or low-proofs.

The cocktails are reminiscent of older times, with as many as a third of the drink recipes in vintage cocktail books were considered low-proof.

Read the full article here: Low Alcohol Cocktails May Be the Next Big Thing

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McDonald’s is working hard to implement some changes to pull itself out of a massive sales slump, including a smaller drive-thru menu that focuses on the most popular items, while also adding more mid-price items inside while testing new unique items in certain markets. While that may sound contradictory, they are also improving technology, allowing consumers more choices all around.

Giving your customers options is more important than ever, but simplifying and catering to what they want the most could streamline the experience and make you more money.

Read the full article here: Could menu cuts follow McDonald’s drive-thru change?

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Many Americans suffer from food allergies, and that makes dining out less of a fun adventure and more of a challenge. Catering to customers with food allergies can be hugely beneficial to your restaurant. Picture a group of friends looking to go out for a meal. One of them has a food allergy. Guess who’s deciding where they go?

This Buzztime article lists a few practices you can implement to become a restaurant allergy sufferers can rely on. Make sure your staff is trained well when it comes to food safety protocols and that your hosts and servers know how to answer questions with the right answers.

Make sure your restaurant has a code in place that everyone follows in order to prevent food allergy cross contamination. Remember, some food allergies are deadly!

Also, consider simplifying your menu and designating certain areas for gluten-free products or other allergy-aware offers.

Read the full article here: How to Cater to Food Allergies

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Avian flu has struck again, causing a loss of 8 percent of laying hens spread across 16 states. Consumers are worried about their risk of contracting disease due to potentially contaminated meat and eggs. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state the risk of catching avian flu is low, since the virus typically does not infect people.

Read the full article here: NPD: Bird flu outbreaks concerning consumers

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There is a lot of talk about what’s trending in food service. Trends change the business landscape, such as the push toward sustainability, transparency, healthy food, the expanded use of technology, social media marketing and more. Jumping on board the trend train can potentially make you more money, but don’t fix what’s not broken!

In this article from Nation’s Restaurant News, Jonathan Maze shares the story of how Dickey’s Barbecue Pit attempted to implement a healthy side to their menu with a variety of interesting salad selections, including a tofu meatball salad. Their customers weren’t interested.

Customers come to your business looking for a certain experience, and when you’ve got a good thing going there’s less pressure to conform to trends. Remember that it’s impossible to be everything to everyone, so pick and choose what works best for you and your patrons.

Read the full article here: Why restaurants should keep things simple

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Unless your restaurant or bar is located out in the boonies, there’s a good chance it has been impacted by technology in recent years. Young people are especially technologically savvy, and in order to keep them coming through your doors you need to offer them an attractive experience.

This article from Buzztime features three ways to show customers you’ve got a technological edge, including the use of table tablets, strategic use of TV screens, and interacting with them on social media.

Read the full article here: Engaging Customers in the Smart Phone Era

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The biggest food trend in America is the movement toward quality, natural food, reminiscent of the olden days and prepared with unprocessed, real ingredients. Millennials have changed the way we approach healthy eating and menus are adapting across the nation.

This article from Fast Casual explores the trend, fueled by greater societal trends toward sustainability and awareness. Restaurants can benefit by including buzzwords like “real” and “authentic,” and including foods like bone broth and preparing dishes using traditional fats like butter and lard. Consumers are less worried about calories, and more concerned with quality. What’s considered “healthy” has changed.

Diners also look for an adventure as part of their eating experience, and are often eager to try daring new foods that are not typically seen in your average restaurant like lamb, duck, and figs.

One thing is for sure – this trend is likely to endure for many years to come!

Read the full article here: NRA: Menu trends beckon return to simpler times

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Mediterranean cuisine has long been known for being healthy and well balanced, and with America’s movement toward healthy and sustainable food, Mediterranean meals are becoming more popular. This article from Fast Casual discusses how restaurants can take advantage of the trend and incorporate some Mediterranean foods to their menu.

Read the full article here: Mediterranean cuisine growing in popularity, study says

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