Most chefs probably don’t think back to elementary school lunches when they look for menu inspiration, but maybe they should. Tots—that school cafeteria classic—are experiencing tremendous growth in restaurants.
Providing guests with high quality food and great service are crucial objectives for full-service restaurants; however, they are only part of the experience. In an age of connected consumers and Yelp reviews, restaurants can’t afford to leave guests with a bad experience.
Today, outside of alcohol sales, coffee and tea represent the largest margin return for dining establishments, says Bill Bowron, President, Chairman, and CEO of Red Diamond®. With the potential for up to 30 percent of the market moving to cold brew, restaurants shouldn’t overlook the drink and its possibilities, notes Bowron, who expects cold brew coffee drinks to eventually become the hottest item on the beverage menus of eating establishments, from fast food to formal dining.
Umami Burger founder Adam Fleischman literally wrote the book on bold flavors, so it should come as no surprise that he looks for ways to boost the taste profiles of his food. One incredibly effective method he’s found is to use animal fats.
The restaurant industry accounts for a whopping 10 percent of the entire U. S. workforce. With its 14.7 million employees nationwide, the sector is projected to add another 1.6 million jobs within the next 10 years, according to National Restaurant Association.
For Fabio Viviani, a celebrity chef, former Top Chef contestant, cook book author, and restaurateur, the annual NRA Show in Chicago is all about networking. “This is a business based on people, and in order to connect with people you have to be where they are,” Viviani says.
Employee turnover hurts. Not only does it cost restaurants an average of $5,864 to replace each employee, according to Cornell’s Center for Hospitality Research, but it also strains restaurant operations when a team is short staffed.
A lot of industry and financial chatter seems to be coming to the same conclusion: 2018 is looking to be a lot like 2017 was for restaurants. Yes, the consumer price index remains strong, and disposable income appears stable (maybe even ticking up).
Though many hourly employees choose to work in foodservice because they need more flexible schedules than they can find in other fields, this same flexibility has also put strain on workers. Many common practices in restaurants, such as short notice of shifts, on-call scheduling, sending employees home when they are scheduled, and scheduling closing shifts followed by opening shifts, can make it difficult for employees to plan their budgets and schedule childcare or transportation, all of which can lead to increased stress.
Consumers have come to expect bold flavors and ethnically inspired dishes on virtually all menus, despite traditional concept or daypart distinctions. Yet while many consumers want options, some have been reluctant to try unfamiliar ethnic fare, as spending $15–$20 for an unknown meal makes it riskier to try.