If you did not know this already, high-priced steakhouses are officially experiencing lackluster sales, The Wichita Eagle reports. While sales are running slightly above last year, business dining is flat and overall spending at fine steak establishments is running only about 3% higher than last year. While that may seem decent, it represents only half of what restaurants in general are experiencing, notes MasterCard SpendingPulse, which tracks credit card sales. Behind the numbers is the fact that corporate buyers, who are responsible for as much as 75% of high-end steakhouse revenue, are still cautious about their spending. Also hurting sales is the price of beef, which is up dramatically from a year ago.
Catering To Ethnic Tastes
Ethnic foods and flavors are on a roll, the National Restaurant Association reports. Rather than attempt to satisfy all tastes with a multitude of ethnic dishes, the NRA suggests that restaurants hone in a few favorite specialty items that the majority of customers will like. Part of the process is to keep new food offerings with your clientele’s comfort zone. How? Test out new items before you put them on the menu. Talk to your regulars. Then educate patrons about your menu, company and brand.
US Foods Names New CEO
Following its yearlong and nearly disastrous merger dance with Sysco, US Foods is emerging from the shadows with a renewed vigor and brand new CEO – Pietro Satriano, formerly the company’s chief merchandising officer. Also announced was the cancellation of the sale of 11 US Food distribution sites to Performance Food Group, which was originally meant to win over the FTC’s approval of the Sysco-US Foods merger. Following the merger’s collapse, US Foods has 60 locations across the U.S. and employs an estimated 25,000 people and generates roughly $22 billion in sales a year.
Serving Customers With Allergies
Serving customers with allergies is nothing to sneeze at. Your restaurant better have an air-tight plan of operation in place before one of the estimated 15 million Americans suffering from allergies come in for something to eat. According to the National Restaurant Association, here are a few things to keep in mind:
* Training staff in how to deal with patrons who have allergies is critical.
* Appoint an on-floor manager as the point person to customers with allergies.
* Make sure the kitchen is in full compliance with allergen-specific food handling.
* Never leave anything to chance or to guess.
* Invest in back-of-house training and equipment in order to be prepared for the rising number of people who ask for allergy-free food.
Think the gluten-free trend is permanent or a passing fad? QSRweb reports the following on the gluten-free trend:|
* The gluten-free business is expected to reach $6.6 billion by 2017.
* 28% of adults say that they order gluten-free items at restaurants for health reasons.
* 27% of Americans order gluten-free as a weight watching strategy.
* 65% of people eating gluten-free do so because they believe it is healthier.
* 18% of consumers look for gluten-free products while shopping.
* 26% of consumers say they look for restaurants with gluten-free menus.
Full-service Restaurant Meals Have More Sodium Than Fast Food
The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition is reporting a real eye-opener. Full-service restaurant meals contain nearly a third more sodium than fast-food meals. Full-service offerings also contain nearly as much saturated fat, the report says. That led NPR national radio to recently broadcast a report that sit-down service is unhealthy. Take that as a wake-up call, chefs. We can do better.
Label Requirements Delayed
Federal menu labeling requirements have been pushed to December 1, 2016, Nation’s Restaurant News is reporting. The reason is based on the FDA’s need to provide more clarity around the new food labeling laws. The request came from a bi-partisan group of U.S. Senators, who asked for the extension. “Businesses, particularly small businesses, will need appropriate time to budget and plan accordingly to meet the rule’s requirements to provide nutrition information to consumers that is understandable and clear, and therefore of the greatest value to consumers,” the senators wrote. The FDA listened. When the law takes effect next year, it estimates that the law will affect 1,640 chains around the country, with a total of 278,600 locations.
Using Your Restaurant To Teach About Healthy Eating
Busy families mean eating out more. But that does not mean they need to eat unhealthy. It provides your restaurant with a teachable moment in offering parents and children more grown-up, and healthy food choices, The Washington Post reports. Among those choices are fruit juices and low-fat milk, better nutrient dishes and smaller portions, shared desserts, and cutting down on fried foods. When it comes to food choices, you can build a healthy food brand for you restaurant, and you might just find it becoming a more frequent family destination.
Grain Prices Head North
Due to continuing wet weather in the American Midwest, grain prices have seen a significant jump recently, the USDA reports. Corn, soybeans, and wheat are all affected, and prices may remain high unless the next few weeks dry out the saturated fields: