With bumper crops expected for corn and soybeans and an anticipated drop in wheat exports, grain prices in the U.S. are expected to decline between 10-30%, The Food Institute reports. Corn prices per bushel are expected to average between $3.20 to $3.80. Soy, meanwhile is projected to fetch between $9.00 - $11.00 a bushel, and wheat could range from $5.50 to a high of $6.30 a bushel.
Price Point Problems
“Let me count the ways” things can go south in product pricing between buying the products to actually serving them, warns Nation Restaurant News. Two tips in isolating potential trouble spots: 1.) capture accurate and real prices from the start, not theoretical costs. 2.) You need to bird dog receiving costs, inventory, any necessary unit conversions, and recipe amounts you need. Then you need to know what you sold, how much of a product you used in a recipe, and what you actually paid for it. Once you have those benchmarks, you can monitor any variances and identify problem areas. If you have high volume or multiple locations, you may want to use a back office software solution, says Nation Restaurant News, which offers just such a program called CrunchTime. For more details, follow this link: http://info.crunchtime.com/request-online-demonstration?utm_campaign=2014_Penton_NRN_ArticleLink_RequestADemo&utm_medium=Industry&utm_source=Display
More On Shake Shack
Talk about thinking big. Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack started as a food kiosk in New York City. Now it is about to go public in an effort to raise over $1 billion, Bloomberg reports. The chain has over 50 locations around the globe with $62.3 million in U.S. sales last year, alone. As its name implies, Shake Shack is famous for its burgers and milkshakes. The company is part of Union Square Hospitality Group, which is funded by private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners LP.
What Your Employees Really Want
Pensions? Bonuses? Longevity? Sure, they would be nice, but today’s younger workers have adapted to the new reality of restaurant work in America. In many cases, that equates to shorter hours and less money. In return, an overwhelming number of young workers want flexible work hours. A third of young employees are also looking for training and development opportunities, says QSRWeb, while nearly 40 percent want special perks, such as preferred parking and shift preferences. In many ways, the young may have a lesson or two for older workers about work-life balance, QSRWeb says.
Do Specials Work? Ask Olive Garden
Amid its sagging sales, Olive Garden, a Darden chain, sold out 1,000 seven-week endless pasta passes for $100 in a little more than an hour. Popular? There is no question about that judging the amount of press the offer has received. Will it help pull the restaurant out of the doldrums? Probably not, says The Washington Post. Many customers who were unable to take
advantage of the deal, in fact, are hopping mad and are letting everyone know using social media outlets.
Groupon To The Rescue
Groupon, the on-line daily discount service, is helping to fill restaurant tables in the off hours, reports Entrepreneur. The new service has patrons buying a deal right after making a reservation. That is helping restaurants like Chicago’s famed Frontera Grill to sell tables during off-peak times and turning new customers into fans. Frontera is one of 100 eateries involved in the Groupon pilot, which is now expanding to many other businesses as well.
Fraudulent Olive Oil Claims Increase U.S. Sales
Widespread reports of fraud in the European olive oil business is good news for U.S. producers, The Food Institute is reporting. Long dominated by Italian olive oil producers, U.S. producers are gaining traction with a 5% market share, which has more than doubled since 2012.
Millennials Want Organic And Fresh Foods
The Atlantic says that Millennials are willing to pay extra for organic produce, natural products, and fresh meat. That’s good news. The bad news is 42% of the Millennials are avoiding restaurants as extravagant expenses, says the venerable magazine. One way to possibly avoid becoming a victim is to know your market, then respond to it. Fresh greens, anyone?
Apple Pay Is On The Way
One of the biggest announcements from Apple recently is the introduction of something called Apple Pay, a phone-payment platform that threatens to revolutionize credit sales with an easy phone scan. First up in offering the game-changing technology will be McDonald’s, Subway, Starbucks, and Panera Bread, Nation’s Restaurant News reports. If all goes as expected, the plastic credit card’s days are numbered, folks. Looks like Apple’s done it again.
The More Detailed Your Menu, The More Sales
According to Food Genius, you cannot over-describe the items on your menu. In fact, research shows that the more you talk about ingredients in your offerings, the more items you will sell. At Five Guys, for example, ingredients transparency is a given, and that leads to a stronger following and healthier bottom line. One other reason to go into greater detail is this: Nearly 10% of diners suffer from gluten sensitivities while nearly 23 million more are vegetarians. Carrot sticks, anyone?
Congratulations… Restaurant Industry Is Most Respected In U.S.
According to Gallup, 60% of Americans view the restaurant industry favorably, trusting it even more than the computer industry, which comes in at a 56% acceptance rate. The federal government, in contrast, has a -36% rating among Americans, while oil and gas companies are a close second-to-last at -27%.
Fast Food On The Decline
Generation Xers. Millennials, and Baby Boomers are all cutting back on restaurants, Forbes reports. Research by Brand Keys says fast food establishments are not logging into the core values of these groups, and the result is clear: they are losing money. What’s the issue? Gen Xers wants better service, the Boomers want better prices, and Millenials just want healthier food at a better price. The solution? Good or bad, you need to stand for something, Forbes says. “And it really ought to be something other than ‘dollar food.’ Otherwise loyalty for fast food brands is only going to move in one direction. Down.”