According to QSRweb, fast-casual restaurant owners have plenty to keep them awake nights. Here are the top five worries:
1. Real estate – prime locations are hard to get and keep. Landlords keep raising rents and restaurant owners are caught between a rock and a hard place.
2. Technology – restaurateurs are often confused by what to do and often spend money on the wrong technologies to promote their businesses.
3. Lack of money – With so much money chasing even small businesses, many owners worry that they may fall victim to loan sharks or bad deals that could cost them their business.
4. Obamacare – Restaurant owners worry they will either lose their staff or lose their business to excessive costs associated with healthcare.
5. Fuel prices – Based on the premise that what does down, as in gas prices, will eventually go up and that worries cost-conscious restaurants.
New York Bids Adieu To Plastic Containers
In a long-expected move, New York City will join over 70 other American cities in banning the use of plastics and styrofoam single-use packaging QSRweb reports. The ban will take effect on July 1. New York’s sanitation department collects over 28,000 tons of styrofoam packaging each year, most of it in the form of single-serve packaging and cups. As a foodservice business, should you be worried? If experience from other cities is worth considering, the answer is no. Plenty of biodegradable options are available, and the buying public has been very supportive even if it means a few cents more per order.
How Safe Are Farm Markets?
In a recent check of California farmers’ markets, Researchers from Chapman University and University of Washington collected 133 samples of fresh herbs from 49 different vendors at 13 farmers’ markets. Among the samples, 24% tested positive for generic E. coli and 84.2 percent were positive for total coliforms. While farm markets are required to meet health standards imposed by local, state, and federal agencies, Food Quality and Safety advises all farm market patrons, including restaurant buyers, to thoroughly wash all produce before using it and serving it.
Forget about traditional pasta and noodles. Chefs are experimenting with new pasta and noodle dishes made from rice, buckwheat, carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, and untold other options, QSRweb reports. That trend is not confined to fast-food restaurants, either. Specialty noodles and pasta are showing up on the menus of both casual and upscale establishments as well. The new dishes are often served with equally exotic complimentary dishes including fish and meats not always thought of as pasta and noodle pairings Maybe it is time to get those creative juices flowing to create such tasty treats as carrot noodles in spicy peanut sauce or black bean spaghetti, shrimp, and avocado cream.
In a recent survey by the National Restaurant Association, reviewers found that the majority of Americans favor restaurants that highlight healthy, farm-to-table dishes. Restaurants are responding, the NRA a says, as more than 80% of table-service establishments now provide some locally sourced foods when in season.
New York Eateries Fight Frozen Fish Mandate
“Come on, ya gotta be kiddin me,” might sum up the response of restaurants from sushi bars to swank Gotham restaurants when New York health officials recently proposed that all fish to be served raw or undercooked must be frozen, Crain’s Business Review reports. City officials claim the pending rules are in response to new federal regulations meant to kill off parasites, several New York restaurants charge that the law would instead kill off businesses. If restaurants claim they buy their fish frozen, they need to present documentation to that effect, should the proposal be enacted. Time to pass that veggie plate.
There Is More To Expanding Menu Than Preparing Extra Food
If you are considering an expanded menu, you need to give some serious thought to a few critical questions. First, why are you doing it? One of the worst things you can do is have an overloaded menu. That costs money and increases waste. Better to do what you do best, reports Staples.com. If you are expanding based on strategic reasons, vet those reasons thoroughly with you staff. While there is no fault in trying something new to replicate what some of the trendy new dishes might buy, be sure you know your market first. Also, start small, add a few new entrees and appetizers and see how they fare. Better yet, before you do anything, do your homework. You might just find what you offer today is why people keep coming back.
Try As You Will, Most People Will Not Return
All the specials, extras, you name it, will not work to draw more than 30% percent of patrons back to a restaurant, a Thanx Inc. study says. In fact, more than half a location’s revenue is generated by 25% of customers, who become repeat patrons. In addition, most people visiting a chain restaurant usually visit only one such location. How does Thanx know? Its findings are based on over 18 million consumer transactions, lending credence to its report.
Top Performers By Category
What appear below are the top performers for the most recent quarter in each concept area, including their rate of revenue growth as researched by Nation’s Restaurant News:
* Quick Service: Sonic Drive-in, 8.5%
* Casual Dining: Ignite: Brickhouse Tavern & Tap, 8.5%
* Fast Casual: Chipolte Mexican Grill, 17.3%
* Pizza: Papa John’s (U.S.), 6%
* Coffee & Snack: Starbucks, 6%
* Family Dining: Denny’s (Corporate locations), 3.7%
Campbell Soup Refocusing
Nothing is forever, it seems. Campbell Soup recently announced a restructuring that has the company shifting away from its focus on soup and into three broad product areas, Reuters reports. The three groups include America’s simple meals and beverages, global biscuits and snacks, and packaged fresh products. The announcement comes on the heels of disappointing returns for Campbell Soup Co., which has struggled to improve profitability over the past few years through a number of acquisitions that have had little impact on the company’s bottom line.
Get Those Lenten Dishes Ready
As in past years, restaurants are about to go to sea with a wide selection of seafood dishes meant to attract the millions of consumers who avoid meat during Lent, Nation’s Restaurant News reports. From fish and chips to Fish Fry Fridays across the nation, eateries are cooking up a variety of items that have become seasonal favorites. With the mad rush about to begin to attract diners on Fridays with fish specialties, you may wish to talk to your staff and suppliers now before you might find yourself left with more loaves than fish.