It’s that time of year when trend watchers kick into high gear to predict what the coming year holds. Vying to stay on top of trends? Fast Casual made some recommendations. If you have a quick-service or fast-casual outlet, adapt to customer expectations by offering fresher, more customized menu options. Speed up your service, whether that means making your carry-out options speedier or introducing service and guest management processes that help people get what they need quickly. Contribute to the greater good, through contributing to charity, supporting local and sustainable farms, striving to improve the nutritional value of your menu and being transparent about your menu. Use technology to collect data and boost efficiency. While mobile apps and content get a lot of buzz, it’s just as important to use technology to collect and analyze data from your full operation so you know your customer wait times, delivery speed and ingredient supply cold – and how those items impact each other.
Avoiding What Is Happening To Chipotle
It is all about the supply chain. Lose sight of it and you are in trouble. Once you can no longer control your line of supply, even a company with deep pockets has little chance of finding the real source of food-borne illnesses. Not that Chipotle does not have strict policies in place. More likely, they were not followed uniformly. Here are a few quick reminders to help protect your brand and business:
- All food handlers not only need to wear gloves, they need to change them frequently
- Keep all prep areas clean, from counters, cutting boards, and utensils to anything else that may come in contact with raw meat and other raw materials
- Sanitize all fruits
- Vegetables need to be cooked at 160 degrees for at least 15 seconds
- All vegetables and fruits not cooked need to be scrubbed thoroughly before use
- Deal with trusted venders and distributors
As 2016 approaches, the annual prognosticators issue their favorites for next year. Among the top 10 hot trends reported by Nation’s Restaurant News are:
1. More veggie entrees and smaller meat portions
2. Poke, a Hawaiian dish made with raw fish, salt, and a wide array of flavorings is becoming a staple across the country
3. An expanding line of “sliders,” from traditional burgers to a variety of other fillings
4. Spicy and hot dishes
5. Lobster rolls
6. Bits and pieces turn into new dishes, made of lesser-utilized vegetable parts, such as broccoli stalks, kale stems, and cabbage cores
7. Restaurant-ground flour
8. A variety of cucumbers
9. Stuffed dough, such as Indian Somosas, Central American empanadas, and Chinese dumplings
10.Tableside service expands
Diabetes-friendly Rice Coming Your Way
Researchers at Indira Gandhi Agriculture University have identified a variety of white rice with a low glycemic index, NDTV reports. That is not only great news for diabetics who need to monitor their glycemic index closely, it is also good news for everyone else, since rice can now become part of a regular health diet. The new rice strain will be released for planting in January. Indira Gandhi Agriculture University, meanwhile, is looking for a brand and marketing partner for the new rice.
Most Elderly Hispanics Rarely Eat Out
In a recent survey of Hispanic shoppers 50 and older, Nielsen learned that 73% of these scions of family tradition would rather cook in than eat out. So what are they cooking and why? Most use recipes and adopt cooking styles from their countries of origin using dried vegetables, grains, fresh eggs, meal starters and baby foods. The moral? If you want to attract more Hispanic diners in your restaurant, you may want to revisit your menu with an eye towards featuring more healthy Hispanic-inspired dishes.
New York’s $15-an-hour Wage Is Upheld
The National Restaurant Association failed to convince The Industrial Board of Appeals that New York’s $15-an-hour minimum wage for fast-food workers should be overturned. NRA argued that the law is discriminatory in singling out the food industry, The Wall Street Journal reports. In losing the appeal, the NRA said it would take the case to the New York State Supreme Court.
Turning Around Bad Reviews
Star ratings last forever. That is the lesson one chef shares in his experience to convert bad reviews into true believers, The New York Times reports. When Slapfish, a new California chain serving sustainable choices, got whacked with a series of poor reviews about high prices and small portions, Chef Andrew Gruel went out of his way to contact each reviewer, asking them to return to a revised menu. The payoff, he tells the Times, can be tremendous. Turning around one-star reviews creates lifetime customers — and better reviews draw more customers.
The Top 100 Restaurants
Relax, we are not listing them here. What we will do is say that based on 5 million reviewers contributing to OpenTable, the top restaurants also happen to be upscale, fine dining establishments, led by St. Francis Winery & Vineyards, Santa Rosa, CA. Most of the top 100 feature American and French cuisine. Nearly half feature multicourse prix fixe meals and tastings. While more than 25% have been open within the past five years, 14% have been around for 30+ years. Farm-to-table is also so prevalent at the top eateries, they have stopped pitching it, since patrons consider it a given.
Good Food From Scraps
In a recent editorial in The Wall Street Journal, Chef Massimo Bottura, owner of Osteria Francescana in Milan, made a concerted pitch for his colleagues around the world to use their creativity to turn their restaurants’ scraps into tasty and nutritious meals. Calling it salvaged food, Bottura says it best: “Cooking is a call to act. At its best, it can unite, revive and restore. As populations grow and food supplies are threatened, we are called to educate and spread ideas that will be the motivational force behind the evolution of our kitchens, our communities and our future. Let us begin by turning our waste—in our homes and our restaurants—into food that is ethical and delicious. Because something salvaged is something gained.”
McDonald’s All-day Breakfast Menu Is Working
The power of the Egg McMuffin is for real. According to The Wall Street Journal, the mega chain is experiencing a revival of sorts as old and new customers are making their way to the Golden Arches to breathe new life into the company’s lunch business. Better yet, 61% of luncheon diners added a non-breakfast item to their order.
Tropicana Pure Premium OJ To Carry GMO Label
PepsiCo said it will label its Tropicana brand of premium orange juice as GMO free beginning in January, The New York Times reports. Several other PepsiCo brands carry a non-GMO label, but Tropicana is the company’s largest brand to do so.
Big Spenders Identified
At least part of this report should come as no surprise. Men and Millenials are the most likely candidates to spend the most money in restaurants, Michelin reports. According to the recent report, Westerners are the biggest spenders, saying that they would pay north of $350 for an unsurpassed meal. That is double what Americans in other parts of the country say they would pay for the same meal and service.