Fast Casual published a useful feature about how restaurant operators can use trend monitoring and customer feedback to surprise and delight restaurant visitors. Coming up with new ideas that are fun and unexpected is essential to retaining a solid customer base and ensuring that the same people keep coming back to your restaurant.

Paying attention to what customers are saying on social media and reviews sights is obviously incredibly important. Addressing negative feedback is of course crucial, but responding to praise with a personal thank you can also be a great tool because it makes loyal customers feel special.

Another way to leverage social media to your advantage is by making your restaurant’s appearance shareable. If a customer sees a joke they like written on the sandwich board or a cute piece of decoration, they will be likely to snap a picture and share it online. This gives you free advertising, and will make the customer who took the picture remember your restaurant favorably.

You must always pay attention to external factors that could affect your restaurant’s business. Keep your eye on food trends and the demographics of your neighborhood to make sure that you’re serving customers exactly what they want. Staying ahead of the trends will keep customers coming back again and again.

Read the full article here: 3 Ways to Surprise, Delight Customers


Mike Walsh, author of FUTURETAINMENT and CEO of the innovation research lab Tomorrow, gave a speech at the PMA Fresh Summit in Atlanta where he said that food companies who want to be tech leaders must think like people born after 2007. This is because that generation of kids will be raised in a world where everything is a digital product, including food. Walsh discussed how technological changes like inexpensive drones and flexible digital sensors will revolutionize agriculture and food safety, and how social media like instagram has been changing consumers’ relationships with food.

Read the full article here: How to Reinvent Yourself as a Leader as Technology Evolves


New research from Mintel shows that Millennials (defined in the study as peopled aged 21-38) are far more likely than older consumers to distrust large food manufacturers. Millennials also care more about transparency from food manufacturers, and the majority of Millennials will stop buying brands they perceive to be unethical. In general, Millennials care more about the provenance and sourcing of foods they buy than non-Millennials, and are passionate about food quality, labeling themselves as “foodies.”

Read the full article here: 43 Percent of Millennials Distrust Large Food Manufacturers


Cornell’s Center for Hospitality Research just released the third version of their Wine Cellar Management Tool application. The software is available for free and does not store any of its users’ data online. The tool allows wine owners to keep track of the drinkability windows of different wines in their collection. This lets owners make revenue-generating decisions about which wines to promote for quicker sales and which can afford to be stored longer.

Read the full article here: Updated Wine Cellar Management Tool Available From Cornell


It’s no secret that coffee and tea are trendy now, and restaurant operators at all price points have been working to take advantage of these beverages’ cultural cachet. On the higher-end side of things, restaurants like Eleven Madison Park have been asking their sommeliers to create tea pairings for their dishes that mimc traditional wine pairings. Tea is especially suited to this application because, like wine, it contains tannins and is grown in many different locations with their own terroirs. High-tannin black tea roughly corresponds to red wine, lighter green tea is reminiscent of white, and oolong can be thought of like high-quality rosé.

Introducing pairing menus for beverages that don’t usually get this sort of treatment is a sound strategy for operators to increase check averages and encourage customers to try out things they wouldn’t order or are unfamiliar with. Servers should be trained to know the pairings and be able to talk about them in their own words. This gives customers the sense that unique beverage pairings are authentically adding value to their meals, and will often lead them to spend more.

Read the full article here: Brewing Coffee and Tea Pairings


Sometimes it’s hard to know what questions you can reasonably ask your friendly bartender without making them wish you never walked up to the bar. Thrillist surveyed a bunch of real bartenders to come up with a list of questions they wish people wouldn’t ask. The worst offenders? Many of the questions on the list somehow involve the customer asking for a strong drink without paying extra. Another no-no is complaining that your glass isn’t always filled to the top.

Read the full article here: The Dumbest Questions You Can Ask Your Bartender


Eater release a big feature today that follows everything that happens in a Panda Express in the suburbs of Los Angeles over the course of one day. Eater reporters watch the workers at the restaurant start the day with hours of prep, and observe how the staff deals with the crazy lunch and dinner rushes. The reporters also talk to customers throughout the day, trying to glean how people feel about eating at Panda Express.

This piece is great because it shows the inner workings of life in a quick-service restaurant to readers who may have never held a quick-service job and have no idea of the challenges and joys of working in the industry. The article showcases how people from all stages and walks of life work in the quick-service industry, and how much pride can go into providing food even at the quick-serve level. One great character from the story is Rui Xi, an immigrant from China who is the Panda location’s lead chef and is proud to work at the chain despite offers he’s gotten from fancier restaurants.

Customers don’t necessarily appreciate how hard it is to keep a quick-service restaurant running efficiently, and how much love goes into preparing quick-service food. Everyone who’s ever eaten fast food would benefit from checking out this article to get a taste of what life is like behind the griddle.

Read the full article here: One Day at Panda Express


The Belgian startup Do Eat is marketing a new kind of compostable, edible dishware. The small takeout containers manufactured by Do Eat are made of a mixture of potato starch and water and coated with waterproofing that prevents them from going soft. The company currently offers all shapes of their containers, called ‘verrines,’ in 25-packs for $11. Unfortunately, the company’s recent Kickstarter effort didn’t fund, but customer desire for an alternative to normal disposable dishware may make edible options popular in the future.

Read the full article here: Trendinista: Edible, Compostable Containers Could End Throwaway Plate Debate


The NPD Group has released new data that shed light on Americans’ snack preferences. It turns out that the attractiveness of savory versus sweet snacks varies depending on the time of day and what month it is. During the day people tend to prefer savory snacks and healthier snack options, while sweet treats are preferred at night. Consumption of sweets also peaks in November, probably because of Halloween. This coincides with a decrease in healthy snacking that occurs during the same time period.

Read the full article here: Sweet or Savory? Snacks Depend on Time of Day


There is less than a week left to stop by Manhattan’s Market Diner. The iconic restaurant, which has been a fixture of its neighborhood since opening in 1962, will be closing down to make way for a new luxury mixed-used building on the property it now occupies. Market Diner was a notable example of midcentury Googie architecture, and was still a bustling business when it was purchased for redevelopment by the Moinion Group.Vanishing New York has a bittersweet blog post remembering this classic diner and mourning the passing of neighborhood businesses in New York.

Read the full article here: Last Days of Market Diner