July 2015

3 Steps for a Casual Dining Brand Turnaround

As stakeholders in casual dining (CD) concepts continue to look at the turnaround potential of their investment, it is important to focus on techniques and strategies that accelerate success where others have failed.

Applied Food Studies Takes a Broad Perspective

The Culinary Institute of America’s Applied Food Studies (AFS) major debuted in January. This new program provides a broad and interdisciplinary perspective on the complex and interrelated issues in the food world today.

How Do Mobile Payments Impact Tips?

Mobile payments give customers a simple way to pay, and can even reduce the amount of time it takes to process customers’ checks to boost the efficiency of your restaurant’s operations. However, could the cost of convenience mean your staff won’t get the tips they rely on as part of their compensation?Here’s a look how mobile payments affect tips, and how you can ensure that introducing this payment method into your restaurant’s business model doesn’t unintentionally impact tips.

Mini Cocktails Encourage Multi Orders

“There’s something so charming about something small,” says Jess Schmidt, general manager at Dominick’s, an Italian-American restaurant and martini bar in Los Angeles. Open since the late 1940s, Dominick’s serves small plates as part of its menu, but the charming small options Schmidt is referencing are part of The Littles, a collection of $4 mini martinis served in small glasses during happy hour.

New Takes on Nutella

Across America, chefs are using Nutella, the hazelnut spread created in 1944 in Italy, as the foundation for creative dishes that go beyond breakfast to include savory entrées and gourmet desserts.Chef Lucero Martinez of Pampano Restaurant in New York City grew up in Mexico City.

A New Twist on Culinary Class

Photographer Alan Batt has been photographing restaurants in New York City for nearly 15 years, and he has befriended many key players in the kitchens. While chatting one night with Jean-Georges Vongerichten, executive chef at Southeast Asian eatery Spice Market in the city, he learned the culinary guru really needed line cooks.

Pay-to-Play Social Media for Restaurants

Creating good content is an integral part to any digital marketing strategy. The issue many brands face is how to generate exposure with that content they've developed. While quality content can sometimes stand alone and reach the right audience organically, paid social advertising helps align the right users with the proper content and ensure visibility at the ideal time in the customer lifecycle.

Appetizer Evolutions

There’s not an exact science to predict what’s hot in the world of menuing and foodservice, but Jennifer Aranas, a project director with Datassential, says a keen eye is the next best thing.

Take Two on a Timely Concept

A year before Urban Farmer Cleveland was set to open, a restaurant team from Portland, Oregon, traveled east to meet Cleveland’s farmers, ranchers, and fishermen.“We went to Cleveland and talked to farmers and ranchers to let them know what our intentions were,” says Matt Christianson, director of culinary operations for Urban Farmer.

Reset the Wine Clock

Milwaukee sommelier Nate Norfolk, who sells wine to restaurants through distributor Purple Feet Wines, thinks wine dinners often get stuffy and formal, making it difficult for him to work the room and answer guests’ questions about wine during a dinner.

Garden Delights

At the Chicago outpost of Fig & Olive, guests eat their goat cheese/caramelized onion/chive crostini and lemon/pine nut/zucchini carpaccio alongside drinks such as the Sweet Red Pepper, wherein the star ingredient unites with tequila, Aperol, freshly muddled strawberries, lime juice, passion fruit syrup, and bitters.

Culinary Executive

Thomas Dritsas is a busy chef who clocks a lot of miles.As vice president of culinary and corporate executive chef for the fast-growing Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group, Chef Dritsas oversees the chef teams at the company’s 19 Sullivan’s Steakhouse locations, 16 Del Frisco’s Grille units, and soon-to-be-12 Double Eagle Steak House restaurants around the country, managing multiple menus and conducting all the hiring, recruiting, and retention systemwide.

Copper & Kings American Brandy

Kentucky is indeed bourbon country, but it’s also home to Copper & Kings American Brandy Company, which turns out unusual brandies and absinthes.

Hong Kong Baiju

China’s national spirit, sorghum-distilled baiju, has piqued interest stateside over the last year.

Pisco Payet’s Torontel

A frothy Pisco Sour is an ideal summertime tipple. For an especially aromatic one, opt for Peru-made Pisco Payet’s Torontel expression.