It has been a year since Sysco announced plans to buy US Foods for more than $8 billion in a cash, stock, and debt assumption deal that would effectively eliminate Sysco's only national rival. But that was then, Nation's Restaurant News reports. With the deal still not completed because of Federal Trade Commission (FTC) concerns, Sysco is reportedly in talks with Performance Food Group to sell off some of its assets in hopes that it would help win over the FTC on the original Sysco US Foods merger. In doing so, however, Sysco is creating a new No. 2 in the industry, although it would still be dwarfed by the combined Sysco-US Foods. That leaves open the proverbial door for new players on the scene that may be specialized or regional at the moment but eventually could rise to national prominence in a free-market environment.
The Pluses Of Digital Customers
Sure, we all have horror stories to tell about rude diners on the phone or texting while they eat. It there is a positive side to the digital diner as well, says a new report by the Hartman Group. In addition to consumers using their cellphones to find restaurants and make reservations, more people are also placing orders by phone, paying by phone, and getting more involved in the restaurant experience as a whole through review apps. As a restaurant owner, you can, too, the Hartman Group says, by advertising specials via Twitter and Instagram and generating more buzz about your establishment with electronic coupons to just open dialogue.
Pork Sandwiches “On The Ryes”
Forget about that boring old ham and cheese sandwich. According to Dataessential Menu Trends, pork sandwiches of every description are appearing on restaurant menus across the country. Many of these sandwiches are the result of the Cuban influence sweeping across the U.S., but everything from barbecue pulled pork and roast pork shoulder to house-cured pork pastrami and pork schnitzel are now making an appearance between two pieces of bread. Want to get in on the action and use more of the pork you already are buying? Have your chefs get creative with some new pork sandwich offerings, like Red Apron's anti-Rueben made with pork in Washington, D.C. or Pilar Cuban Eatery's classic Cuban fare in Brooklyn, NY. Like these and many other restaurants are learning, their clientele are lining up at the door to give these new creations a try.
Beef Pricing Will Remain High
When it comes to pricing beef, the laws of physics may not apply. Beef prices have been soaring and industry observers say that the historic squeeze on U.S. cattle brought on by the drought and recession will keep those prices sky high through the end of the decade. Donnie Smith, the chief executive of Tyson Foods, the top beef packer in the U.S. ahead of JBS and Cargill, told Agrimoney.com that domestic supplies of the meat, which fell 5% on the group's estimates this year, will fall 4% next year too as producers attempt to rebuild herds.
Columbian Coffee Shortage
Need that cup of Joe? Better not ask for Arabica coffee anytime soon, unless you are ready to pony up some big money. Brazil recently announced a shortage of the popular beans due to heavy rains. That is bad news at the moment, but good news longer term for next year’s crop, The Wall Street Journal reports. Brazil produces about a third of the world’s coffee.
Turning Your Staff Into Your Team
Your employees can make or break your restaurant. If they are happy, customers usually benefit and so will management. If staffers feel threatened, pressured, need to compete against one another to make a decent living that makes for a toxic environment. How can you afford that from happening to your restaurant? Here are some tips:
- Make new staffers feel welcomed. Pair them with a veteran to show them the ropes.
- Put policies in writing. Employees cannot be expected to know your policies and procedures unless they are in writing made available to everyone. You cannot feel as if you are part of a team if you do not know the rules.
- Plan employee events. Maybe it is just a picnic, bowling event, or dinner out together. The key is to get your staff out together outside of the restaurant to build a sense of camaraderie.
- Discourage blaming and backstabbing of any type. Let employees work things out face to face and get involved. After all, it is your restaurant.
- Get feedback. Ask your employees for ideas, act on them, and always celebrate good news and victories.
Burger King Complete Tim Horton Acquisition
The Burger King is now even bigger with the completion of its acquisition of The Tim Horton chain. The newly combined company is known as Restaurant Brands International, Inc. And Burger King's former CEO, Daniel Schwartz, is taking the reins at the new company that will have annual earnings of $23 billion with over 18,000 restaurants in 100 countries.
Serving Foods With Benefits
In the old days, serving food that was good for you meant removing the bad stuff, QSRWeb reports. Now it means actually putting good ingredients into the foods you serve. Think more protein, for example, and nutrient-dense foods, including salmon, berries, Greek yogurt, ginseng, nuts, and more. Nancy Kruse, a menu analyst and president of The Kruse Company, told QSRWeb that the idea of 'foods with benefits' "appeals to both Baby Boomers and millennials for different reasons – the former is seeking vitality and youthfulness, while the latter is simply more aware and dedicated to eating better," she said.
IPO And Private Equity Deals Were Big In 2014
According to QSRWeb, there have been 288 IPO and private equity restaurant deals this past year worth more than $95 billion. That is a 27% increase over 2013. Deals this year also raised 54% more capital.