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2017 Restaurant Buyer’s Guide

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In the fourth installment of the annual Buyer’s Guide, we’ve curated a list of products designed to improve operations, elevate menus, and enhance flavors across all dining segments.
By Connie Gentry December 2016 Research

Operators across all dining segments will find something of interest among the many products featured in our 2017 Buyer’s Guide. From fresh harvests courtesy of multigenerational farmers to technologies that drive efficiencies to biographical cookbooks from famed chefs (and even a novelist turned vegetarian), the items included speak to improved operations for full-service restaurants. Many of the products included also reflect a growing commitment by restaurant operators to make decisions that foster sustainable rewards—whether those benefits translate to environmental improvements, business viability, or labor resources.

For this, the fourth year FSR has curated a compilation of recently introduced or enhanced products, nominations poured in from readers—and we evaluated them one and all. Our editorial team also tracks product announcements and industry-making headlines throughout the year in an attempt to contemplate a comprehensive selection of best new products for the annual Buyer’s Guide. Enjoy browsing these pages, and flag your calendar to offer your own nominations for next year’s collection, beginning in May.


Back to the Future

The front of house and center of plate may be where operators make a lasting impression, but it’s what happens in the back that sets the stage for the future.

Weight Off Your Shoulder

Menuing lamb has never been this easy: Superior Farms’ Precooked and Pulled Lamb Shoulder enables chefs to elevate menus with one of the hottest proteins. From pulled lamb sliders to lamb benedict, small plates to signature entrées, options abound. Fully cooked and seasoned only with salt and pepper, the product boasts a 100 percent cook yield as it reheats in the bag and retains moisture. Packed in two 5-pound vacuum-sealed bags, $7.99 per pound.

SuperiorFarms.com

CAKE

Cake Walk

CAKE’s POS and Guest Manager provide the perfect icing for restaurants. The software is designed for the challenges facing the foodservice industry, and it seamlessly connects front- and back-of-the-house operations. This allows owners to make data-driven decisions to increase efficiencies, track guest preferences, reduce table-turn times, and identify profitable items. Starting as low as $69 per month for hardware and $49 per month for software. Additional terminals are $29 per month.

TryCake.com

Toast the Tablet

Designed to simplify wine ordering for restaurant guests and reduce administrative hours for operators, InVine’s software platform creates an iPad wine list that can be automatically updated with new offerings and inventory changes as well as revised wine notes and pairing suggestions. The software is customizable, allowing operators to augment their traditional paper menus, audit inventory, and receive updated pricing in seamless communications. Plans range from $99 to $299 per month.

InVine.com

VERTEX CHINA

Bright Whites

Nothing shows off food like a perfectly clean, white palette, and the Rubicon collection from Vertex China offers a super-white body and an amazingly diverse assortment of dinnerware and serving pieces. Versatile and popular shapes include three oval platter styles, coupes, rectangles, and traditional rim plates. Features include a finely polished foot and a magnesium-reinforced body for strength and pristine whiteness. The recently introduced 11.5-inch oval platter is priced $825.88 per dozen; an 8-inch rim plate is priced $175.57 per dozen; and the 10.5-inch rim plate is priced $341.07 per dozen.

VertexChina.com

Cloud Cover

Seems everyone has hopped onto cloud platforms, which make all manner of operational decisions so much easier, efficient, and economical. Featured here are two cloud solutions that are taking the full-service space in select cities by storm:

Resy app

With both consumer- and restaurant-facing components, the Resy system appeals equally to diners and operators. It streamlines operations via a front-of-house management console, and it powers reservations, supports waiting lists, and enables customer-to-restaurant communications. Consumers can download the app to make and change reservations, pay the check, and manage their dining profiles. The consumer-facing app is available in Charleston, South Carolina; Los Angeles; Miami; New York City; San Francisco; and Washington, D.C. Pricing starts at $89 per month.

Resy.com

Reserve for Restaurants

Reserve for Restaurants is a full-service table-management system that can be used for waitlists, walk-ins, and reservation management. Within its first two months, hundreds of restaurants had begun using the intuitive system, which allows guests to be seated in “two taps” and staff to be trained easily. Available in Boston; Chicago; Los Angeles; New York City; Philadelphia; San Francisco; and Washington, D.C. Plans start at $99 per month.

Reserve.com