How often have you tried to clear your food tray at a fast food establishment only to find the trash bin is overflowing? Or you order a coffee and have to pour some into the trash to make room for the cream. And we won’t even mention the restrooms. If your restaurant suffers from one or more of these trashy issues, you are missing an important point. Customers will judge your business by how well or ill-kept it is, says Restaurant News. The fix is pretty simple: clean, clean, and clean again. If you own a bar, look into a compact insulated glass crusher. If you have a condiment counter, install a scrap ring with an easy-glide shelve for the base to accommodate a slide-out trash can. You might also wish to install a small drain for customers to pour off excess liquid rather than dump it into you trash.
Darden Dilemma Continues
On the heels of Darden’s contentious spinoff of Red Lobster, the restaurant giant is now offering 4 of the 12 seats on its board to activist investor Starboard Value L.P. Darden has suffered steep declines at its flagship Olive Garden chain, but pledges a turnaround with the rollout of online and tablet ordering, restaurant redesigns, and refreshed menus.
Pittsburgh Restaurants To Have Letter Grades
After years of successfully fending off county efforts to impose a letter-grading system, Pittsburgh restaurants will finally adopt such a system developed by the county health department in the near future. The Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association remains opposed to the idea, saying that the difference between an A or a B could mean the difference between an establishment surviving or failing. Still, the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette reports that posting letter grades on doors has been gaining favor nationwide. In New York City, for example, 57% of restaurants now receive a grade of “A” after only 27% received the top grade when the inspection system was first started. In a pilot program in Pittsburgh, 91% of restaurants checked received an “A.”
Perdue Eliminates Antibiotics in Hatchery
Perdue, one of the largest chicken producers in the world, says it will no longer use antibiotics in chicks, The New York Times reports. Chairman Jim Perdue says that the move comes after a number of watchdog groups expressed concerns that Perdue’s use of antibiotics was contributing to antibiotic resistance among consumers. Last December, the Food and Drug Administration began working to draft regulations aimed at curtailing the use of antibiotics in animals intended for human consumption, and it was clear that Perdue’s announcement in part was aimed at heading off such government fiat, The New York Times says.
Carrots Go Mainstream
Want to add something new to your menu? With the popular rise in healthy eating, carrots are not only along for the proverbial ride, they are becoming a main dish, Restaurant News reports. Roasted, grilled, barbecued, boiled, chopped, mashed, and even appearing in ice cream, carrots are no longer the lowly root veggies of the past. One of the more popular uses of carrots, in fact, is as a pizza topping. Fancier eateries offer patrons carrot butter, hummus and carrots as a dish, or simply barbecue the orange critters, then drizzle a sweet glaze over the finished product. Give it a try; your customers will love them.
Hispanic Consumers’ Preferences Differ
Hispanics avoid some U.S. food staples, reports research firm Packaged Facts. Hispanics, who comprise one sixth of American shoppers, are moving away from fresh vegetables and meat. Research claims Latinos also avoid peanut butter, pickles, and pretzels. Instead, they prefer tropical fruits, oranges, apples, and bananas instead of berries, melons, and grapes. What does that all mean? If you want to attract more patrons, you need to change your menus.
Hail To The Sandwich
According to CHD Expert, the Chicago-based foodservice database and analytics firm, sandwiches rank No. 5 on the all-time hit list of foods among Americans. In the typical restaurant with a sandwich menu, the icon food accounts for more than a half million dollars. Topping the list of sandwich restaurants is Subway, with over 26,000 shops in the U.S. And the state with the most sandwich shops? Nebraska, with over 11% of the state’s restaurants classified as featuring sandwich shops. Michigan, Kentucky, and Iowa follow.
Americans Willing To Pay For Better Tea
Forget about the Tea Party. Today, American diners are willing to pay a premium for a better quality tea experience, reports The Washington Post. Tea imports into the U.S. are now over $10 billion, up some 500% in 20 years, with consumption more than doubling. So the next time you suggest an after dinner drink with dessert, perhaps a nice selection of high-end teas might well augment that standard cup of coffee.
Predicted Cold Weather Raises Grain Prices
With weather expected to turn colder in the weeks ahead, grain prices are already moving up, says the Food Institute Report. With frost warnings for the upper Northwest portion of the U.S., expect to pay more for your grains in the short term. Over the long haul, however, it might be a wash, since record crops are predicted.