You heard that you should never judge a book by its cover. But, how about a menu? According to the National Restaurant Association, dim lighting and poorly designed menus can cost you big bucks. How? Patrons cannot read them. While some establishment now provide guests with takeaway mini-flashlights to read menus, it is a lot smarter—and cost effective—to plan and lay out a readable menu that has 12-point sans serif type as well as appropriate lighting. Menus, after all, are your main sales tools, so make them legible, including all of the specials. Here is a rule of thumb. Design the menu so that guests can find what they want in less than two minutes. Never use dark paper, and font size should never be below 12-point and ideally should be 15-point. Also, keep descriptions brief and to the point with no jargon, please.
Cattle And Calves Market Down Again
Cattle And Calves feed for slaughter in U.S. feedlots totaled 10.8 million as of December 1, down slightly from year ago numbers, the USDA reports. Placements in feedlots in November were down 11% from 2014, which is the lowest number since the USDA started collecting data in 1996.
Making A Profit Serving Lunch
Turning a profit at lunch is hard work. Why? The traditional hour lunch is shrinking, the Subway food chain found in a recent survey. Here is what Subways’ survey found:
* More people are eating at their desks.
* Seven in 10 people taking lunch keep it to 30 minutes or less.
* Millennials and GenXers take even less time to eat lunch.
* Over half of those surveyed say they would like to nap at lunch.
* 49% of those asked admitted that they would make better food choices if they took a true lunch break.
Olive Garden As Guinea Pig
Not long ago the Olive Garden was struggling with a stale menu and stagnant profits. Thanks to a physical makeover at 40 restaurants that has boosted bar sales and a new takeout service, the Darden-owned chain is now reporting a healthy growth trend in same-store sales over the past five quarters, The Washington Post reports. Look for those enhancements to become part of the “new” Olive Garden in the near future.
New York Food Incubator Looks To Hit the Big Time
A Brooklyn warehouse known as FoodWorks is gaining a much-deserved reputation as an incubator site for great new chefs, The New York Times reports. Free Bread turns out gluten-free loaves for tables at some New York’s fanciest restaurants, while Bronx Hot Sauce bottles its secret recipe for sale at New York’s Greenmarkets and Whole Foods. Upstairs, the Hella Company concocts bitters and tonics in huge steel tanks for several restaurants in New York City. More hot ideas are in the works, The Times reports, earning the warehouse a reputation that joins more than 1,000 other such companies employing over 16,000 workers for their artisanal, specialty products.
The Future Of American Dining: Fancy Chains
It was not a great year for the Goliaths of the food industry. Most were in crisis mode as customers melted away along with profits due to tired menus, unhealthy, poor-quality fare, and the rising reputation of more nimble, eco-friendly, and just better tasting food concepts like Shake Shack, Fuku, Sweetgreen, and many more, Eater.com reports. What makes these new eateries so popular is more than just great taste, it is also about healthy, sustainable, and usually locally sourced food. So the question really is not about how the Goliaths prevail over the Davids of the industry. History has already determined the outcome of such showdowns. What will be interesting is to see which of these brash upstarts can scale up to the challenge as the next “Big Thing” is always right around the corner.
Specialty Waters And Sodas Growing In Popularity
People go to restaurants for a reason. They love the atmosphere, the food, the bar, and increasingly, the specialty sodas. That’s right, folks, across the food nation, restaurants are introducing a slew of new tastes in sodas, ciders, sparkling drinks, and artisan waters, FSRmagazine reports. At Gastropub Graze in Madison, Wisconsin, for example, James Beard Award winner Tory Miller introduced a sparkling cider, from Normandy, France, called Duche de Longueville to rave reviews. Also on the Graze menu are Creamsicle Soda, Tart Cherry Spritz, and a homemade vanilla soda dubbed Alicia’s Folly. In San Antonio, meanwhile, Cured offers a number of specialty sodas and drinks featuring local fruits and vegetables. One in particular is a 6-oz. soda served with a straw and carrying the restaurant’s logo, “making the offering an even greater boon for brand building and recognition,” FSRmagazine says.
In Oregon, the craft sodas at Falling Sky Brewery in Eugene are almost as popular as the beer. Just like the beer, the sodas are on tap, with flavors running from ginger to lemon-and-lime. Still other restaurants are using specialty sodas mixed with alcohol for some unique, low alcohol-content flavors.