As director of procurement for Red Lobster, Jennifer Keith knows that good supplier relationships are critical to a restaurant’s success. That’s why the casual seafood chain’s procurement team makes it a priority to attend the annual NRA Show in Chicago.
The kitchen is the backbone of any restaurant, and when it’s chaotic, so is the entire dining experience. Customers at Captain’s Quarters in Prospect, Kentucky, outside of Louisville, are treated in an idyllic waterfront dining experience thanks to the restaurant’s position on the bank of the Ohio River.
There is no question that breakfast is a consumer favorite. The once early morning meal is now an all-day staple throughout the industry, and even concepts that are only offering breakfast within its traditional daypart are seeing growth.
For Karen Williams, vice president of operations services at Applebee’s, the annual NRA Show in Chicago is an opportunity to see what the future of the restaurant industry holds.“The biggest reason I go to NRA Show is to get steeped in what’s new and emerging in the restaurant industry,” she says.
Restaurants leaders know that they live and die by whether or not guests enjoy their food, but great flavor alone is not enough to keep guests coming back for more. Menus must appeal to diners, but customers must also feel comfortable in the physical space of a restaurant if they will return.
Beverage programs offer restaurants some of the highest profit margins in the industry and can be a key factor in where customers decide to eat. Coca-Cola’s 2016 “Away From Home Beverage Landscape Study” found that consumers actually choose which restaurants they frequent based on beverage selections 45 percent of the time.
Jimmy John’s culture is laser-focused on quality—high quality. It’s actually more than a culture, it’s a way of life that influences everything they do, from the delicious food to the work ethic instilled in the team and franchisees.
Restaurants are facing increasing financial strain as states and municipalities pass more legislation around wage and labor practices, healthcare costs grow, and the hospitality labor pool shrinks. At the same time, customers are also becoming more demanding.
Following and setting food trends is critical to the success of a brand, but frequently changing menu offerings or creating dishes that require new, expensive ingredients can put financial strain on the business and increase pressure on busy kitchen staff members.