Since 2003, organic food sales have increased to more than $32 billion a year, the Organic Trade Association reports. Organic foods are so popular that manufacturers are paying a premium to lock in supplies. Nature’s Path decided to buy its own organic farm in Montana, while Chipotle Mexican Grill pays Washington farmers a premium for its black bean crops, The Wall Street Journal says.
Pizza Chain Ups Technology Ante
Domino’s Pizza recently launched its Anyware program, a new technology that allows customers to place orders via smart phone, computer, and even Sync-enabled vehicles. We are starting to think of ourselves as an e-commerce company that sells pizza. E-commerce companies move fast and launch stuff and learn along the way," said Dennis Maloney, vice president of multimedia marketing at Domino's.
Not everything is about health foods. A number of restaurants are offering customers special entrees meant to satisfy occasional cravings, reports Nation’s Restaurant News. Case in point: The Johnny Rockets chain is offering special cheese-laden sandwiches built on a Barnyard bagel and topped with a fried egg. Several other eateries also offer special cheeseburger combinations and bacon choices that may not fare well with the health crowd, but they do hit the spot once in a while.
Tacos Go Upscale
Forget the taco trucks. A number of top chefs across the country are now offering gourmet Mexican foods. At Charleston’s Minero Restaurant, for example, iterations such as green-chorizo tacos with potatoes and grilled onions are hot sellers while Portland, Oregon’s Pollo Norte sells stacks of freshly made tortillas and rotisserie chicken for home cooks to make their own, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Packaged Foods Exceed Recommended Salt Limits
A recent survey of packaged foods found that more than 70% exceed the daily recommended intake of salt, HealthDay says. Among the products with high sodium levels are pizza, packaged sauces, cold cuts, soups, and even sandwiches. The good news: most breads, savory snacks, and cheeses came in below the daily recommended levels.
Sardine Shortage Predicted
Due to a significant drop in the population of Pacific sardine, fisheries along the Pacific Coast are cutting back production by some two-thirds, CBS reports. That will likely cause shortages for the little delicacies across the nation this year.
Sysco Merger Marches On Against Mounting Odds
Determined to see its merger with US Foods become a reality, Sysco is planning a vigorous defense of its merger plans, The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reports. The FTC, 11 states, and numerous cities across the country have different ideas and are lining up to oppose the deal next month in court. Both Sysco and US Foods call the government’s opposition ill conceived.
Millennials Are So Yesterday…Maybe
According to new findings from research firm NPD, restaurant marketers may be barking up the wrong tree. Why? Millennials have cut back on their dining and spending, leaving restauranteurs wondering who to target. Never fear. Technomic researchers say the new fertile ground is generation Z, the 26% of Americans who spend more than Millennials who also happen to be 20 or under. Still, the Millennial crowd spends a collective $96 billion a year on dining out, so they remain a force in the industry. But the next wave of customers is gaining momentum and restaurants would be well advised to be prepared for what QSR.com says are their precocious dining behaviors and taste preferences.
Where Brunch Is Popular, Where It Isn’t
If you are considering expanding into the lucrative business of brunch, it is important to consider where you are, The Washington Post reports. The brunch business is growing at a fast clip in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, it is slow in the Midwest. One promising note, the idea of brunching is especially popular among patrons who earn at least $65,000 a year no matter where they are, Google Trends found.
Major Companies Want To Delay Payments
To increase “flexibility,” a number of major companies, including Mars to Mondolez to Kellogg are now asking for up to 120 days to pay their bills, the Star Tribune reports. Critics of the practice say it could disrupt the distribution chain and prove to be a burden to suppliers that will lead to higher prices. Eventually,” V.G. Narayanan, chief of the accounting practice unit at Harvard Business School, told the Star Tribune, “the additional financing costs that suppliers incur because they aren’t being paid promptly work their way back into higher prices for consumers.”
Your Point of Sales System Can Be Hacked
A computer expert alleges that it is safer to charge on line than use a credit card in a restaurant, eater.com reports. According to cyber sleuth Brian Krebs, major restaurant chains have already been hit by hackers, who stole the credit and debit card numbers of customers. The culprit, says Krebs, is the Point of Sale system, which tracks sales, orders, credit cards, and is normally accessible by remote corporate locations… making it vulnerable to hackers. While restaurant chains loathe admitting they have been hacked, it happens with alarming frequency, Krebs notes. As a business, make sure you take extra security measures using your Point of Sales system, including frequently changing your passwords, limiting access, and transmitting data over secure lines.