February 2015

Textured Tastes

From the crunch of something crisped, to the chewiness of dough, snap of a radish, or smoothness of purée, combining textures in the same dish adds depth, excitement, and balance—just like adding acidity or heat.

A Well-Planned Coup

In one year’s time, the aptly named coup d’état in uptown Minneapolis has managed to transform the neighborhood’s culinary landscape with more upscale cuisine, better service, and sophisticated beverage offerings.

Mobile Pay Begins to Make its Mark

The smartphone has already reached deep into the restaurant industry. Reservation systems like OpenTable and Yelp’s SeatMe allow customers to reserve tables without ever making a phone call. Diners can locate and review restaurants with apps like Yelp and Urbanspoon.

Finding The Right Time To Franchise

Franchising a full-service restaurant concept is the goal and the dream of many successful restaurateurs, but taking the next big step to package a successful concept into a business model that can be replicated by franchisees requires careful consideration, typically after years of hard work to grow a business.

Love a Faire

The delight is in the details.Translated literally, the word faire means to make in French, and Faire—the steak and seafood concept opened in October by Eschelon Experiences—is all about making, just not in the traditional sense of a dark-hued steakhouse.

How Big Data Technologies Are Revolutionizing Restaurant Marketing

Since taking over as CEO of Fishbowl in late 2014, I have met with a number of our clients to understand the challenges facing restaurant CEOs, CMOs, and CIOs, and one trend really stood out. Restaurant marketers have a lot of data about their guests, but they have a hard time leveraging it to get a detailed picture of them.

Raised with Respect

In his formative years as a chef, Conor Hanlon didn’t think too much beyond the kitchen.“I was much more concerned about keeping my head above water than about where we were sourcing ingredients,” Chef Hanlon acknowledges.

A Bitter Victory

Surveying menu data from restaurants across the country from 2013 through 2014, the numbers make one thing clear: Bitter will make its mark as a key menu trend this year. Customers are demanding more of the bitter flavors typically present in vegetables such as cauliflower, collards, kale, and Brussels sprouts as well as India pale ales and bitter tinctures in cocktails.

New York Restaurant Dresses for the Seasons

As the chill sets in over the winter months, the ever-looming threat of snow hovers in the air, the dishes get heartier, and the best escape from the nipping cold is a warm restaurant with a wide selection of brown spirits.

The Best of the Big Easy

Three newcomers are earning raves for bringing innovative ethnic fare to the already rich and vibrant flavors that personify New Orleans. With an emphasis on local products, these restaurants pay tribute to cuisines from different parts of the globe but share an unwavering commitment to authenticity and creativity.

Shortage of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Predicted

The industry may need to prepare for a different kind of oil crisis: Olive growers are seeing a dramatic decrease in crop yields worldwide. This shortage, combined with an ever-rising demand for olive oil, could mean higher prices for restaurants, especially those that use pure extra-virgin olive oil.

The Moxie is in the Menu

Amidst the sea of chains in Jacksonville, Florida, one independent stands out—literally. Chef/owner Tom Gray built Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails as a brand new restaurant within a busy town center already experiencing chain restaurant domination by the likes of The Cheesecake Factory, P.

Bringing Table Management into the 21st Century

It’s easy to tell which restaurants continue to rely on outdated table management systems. Walk in during peak hours, and you’re likely to see guests looking at empty tables while being made to wait at the host stand.

Toasting Cocktail Trends for 2015

Last fall I was in Portugal, waiting for friends at a fashionable restaurant overlooking the Douro River when a waiter handed me a drink. “A White Port and Tonic,” he said with a smile. And so I sipped.

A Fresh Take on Foodservice Distribution

Very little is set in stone for 2015 foodservice distribution. What can be said with certainty is that the distribution paradigm is undergoing scrutiny, speculation, and—at least to some degree—consolidation and segmentation.