Looking to offer something a bit different in your restaurant when it comes to snack items? How about organic and healthy choices? According to Nielsen’s Global Snacking Report, organic and healthy snacks are especially attractive to older clientele. Nearly half of respondents to the survey say that all-natural ingredients are important to them when it comes to snack items, with fresh fruit leading the choices. According to the survey, most people snack to satisfy hunger or a craving, but 63% also say they snack for nutrition, while 64% admit they snack to improve their mood. Not surprisingly, Nielsen found that 81% of respondents under 20 love indulgent snacks from ice cream and salty items to cookies and cake.
Panera Bread Leads The Way To “Clean” Products
Panera Bread Company says that it is making huge strides in its pledge to use antibiotic-free products from animals that are also not caged. This past year, the restaurant chain says that more than 90% of its pork contained no antibiotics and was fed a vegetarian diet. Approximately 80% of the beef used by Panera was grass-fed and 18% of the eggs served came from cage-free hens. The company announced that it plans to remove all artificial flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives from its foods by 2016.
Want To Stay In Touch With Customers? Yelp!
The review site Yelp recently launched a new app aimed at businesses, Louisville Business First reports. The app provides businesses with a means to track reviews as well as stay in touch with customers. In the past, they had to visit the Yelp site through a web browser. Yelp says that 55,000 messages a month are sent to businesses from customers through the free service. “With more than 64 percent of Yelp searches done on mobile and 73 million monthly unique visitors using Yelp via their mobile device as of Q3 2014, it is clear there is a demand to conduct these conversations on the go,” a Yelp press release says. For more information, follow this link: https://biz.yelp.com/support/free_tools
Oregon GMO Bill Falls Short
A recent ballot measure requiring labeling for GMO products in Oregon fell short by 837 of the more than 1.5 million votes cast, The Associated Press reports. Proponents of the labeling law say they will continue working towards GMO legislation across the country. Food manufacturers and agricultural companies, meanwhile, spent millions to defeat such legislation in several states. They argue that GMO foods are not only safe, but to prohibit their production will lead to shortages and more world hunger.
Trayless Dining Saves Big Money
It began as a pilot, but Rutgers University in New Jersey is now expanding its “trayless” meal initiative across campus, FM Weekly Update.com reports. In the first 10 weeks of the program, Rutgers saved a whopping $300,000 in food costs and realized a 20% reduction in waste. Three of the University’s four dining halls have gone trayless. A study is now underway at the last dining hall to evaluate the economy of installing a conveyor system to handle plates and dinnerware without trays. The trayless trend is not a new one in the foodservice industry. As of 2009, The New York Times reported that 126 colleges of 300 surveyed were trayless, saving the institutions millions of dollars a year in reduced waste. Most collegestudents seem to adapt to the policy quickly, but some do complain they have to keep getting up and in line for more food.
Fast Casual Sector Is Outpacing Competition; Overall Growth Rate Is Low
The latest numbers are in and the fast casual sector outpaced other sectors by 8% in the third quarter of 2014, Technomic reports. Casual dining and quick-service restaurants grew at 1.9% and 1.2% respectively over the same period. "Our quarterly Technomic sales tracker continues to report low restaurant growth across all segments but fast casual,” Darren Tristano, Executive Vice President at Technomic, says. “Growth rates around 2% continue to signal heated competition for share of stomach and strong trends in consumer frugality." In other words, times are still tight in the restaurant business, folks.
People Buying More Chicken, Less Beef And Pork
In a new survey conducted by the University of Oklahoma, consumers say they are buying more chicken over beef or pork based on pricing. Consumers also believe the price of all three items will continue to rise. The USDA projects the 2015 annual average five-area direct choice steer price will fall in the $149 to $162 range, compared with about $153 this year and $126 in 2013. While these numbers should come as no surprise, here is something that might: the number one reason behind meat purchases is taste, then food safety, followed by cost.
Fast Delivery Is Pitched As Alternative To Fast Food
The fast delivery sector is growing rapidly in major cities around the U.S. based on claims that the services are not only more convenient, they are better for you than traditional fast food, Bloomberg Businessweek reports. Called “restaurants in the cloud," these new businesses take orders via phone apps, run their own kitchens, cook to order, and promise delivery within 30 minutes. Pricing is also competitive, Bloomberg says. Might be something your restaurant may be interested in doing, since most of you already have everything covered but the delivery. Where is Uber when you need it?
Keeping Customers Coming Back
The basics for keeping your customers coming back for more have not changed much through the years, QSRWeb argues. It is how you deliver on convenience, value, and service that has changed. Convenience, for example, is about saving time. Competitive restaurants now tackle that issue with mobile apps for smartphones, tablets, smart boards, and even payment options via handheld devices. When it comes to value, smart restaurants are also listening to their clientele and providing them with the varied menu choices they want, including fresh, locally sourced foods at prices diners are willing to pay. It also pays to be creative with innovative dishes that provide a bit of a twist on an old favorite, whether it is a new sauce, spice, or multicultural influence. Finally, there is service. Whether it is a single diner, a group of young people out celebrating, a family with kids, or seniors looking for a quiet night out, you need to tailor your business to meet the needs of all these groups--from offering Wi-Fi and sampling portions to easy-to-read menus.
New California Regulations To Affect National Egg Supply
Come January 1, egg farmers doing business in and with California must show proof that they meet new regulations on the size of hen houses, which is generally double what is used now. That regulation is predicted to cause a massive egg shortage in California as egg producers from around the U.S. will seek out new markets, lowering the price of eggs significantly in all but California. Initially, the new legislation could mean the loss of some 10 million egg laying chickens (or roughly 3.3 percent of all egg laying chickens in the country), says Scott Ramsdell, who owns Dakota Layers LLP, an egg farm in Flandreau, South Dakota.