Summer’s here and it is time to roll out the specials to attract those summer crowds, fsVoice reports. One way to do that is through limited time offers. In California, one restaurant tied in with the Avocado Commission’s annual avocado celebration. In Milford, CT, local eateries host an annual oyster festival that attracts tens of thousands of oyster lovers to the small New England coastal town. Vermont’s Bruegger’s Bagels, meanwhile, partnered with the Florida Department of Citrus to pair its bagels and breakfast items with orange juice over a two-week period. The result? A 21% jump in sales. Using the seasons for Limited Time Offerings is as old as, well, the seasons themselves for places like Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts, who offer pumpkin-spiced lattes and donuts. Smart restauranteurs are just embracing a time-tested selling strategy, and there is no reason why your restaurant cannot do the same. Timing? Don’t just target the slow periods, fsVoice advises. Having LTOs during your busiest hours may well result in longer lines, more buzz, and higher sales, since it drives consumer behavior.
Creating Pesto No Longer Just A Pine Nut Experience
Chefs around the country are experimenting with pesto made from a variety of nuts, cheeses, and olive oils, reports bonappetite.com. One reason is the high cost of the traditional pesto ingredients, especially parmesan cheese and pine nuts. Substituting those sky-high priced products with more reasonable substitutes is making for some interesting new pesto flavors. Try it with fresh parsley, dandelion greens, watercress, and peas. Then maybe mix in some walnuts, pistachios, peanuts, or even pumpkin seeds. Top off with some Romano or aged cheddar… and of course garlic and you will see some very pleasantly surprised faces in your restaurant.
Barbeque Is Hot…And Varied
Once the specialty of Southern eateries, barbeque done right—smoked over hickory and fruit wood—is now gaining in popularity in mainstream restaurants like T.G.I. Fridays, Chili’s, and Applebee’s all across the country. But this is not your granddaddy’s BBQ. Infused with new flavors inspired by Latin and Pan-Asian menus, smoked BBQ is blurring the lines with meats like beef brisket, pork ribs, and chicken, Nation’s Restaurant News reports. Give your patrons a special treat this summer with smoked BBQ done your way.
Attention New York Sushi Lovers
Beginning next month the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will require all raw fish to be frozen first before it is served. The reason is to kill off bacteria and parasites. While purists are grousing about the new law, what they do not realize is this: many of the famed raw bar restaurants in New York have been quietly flash freezing fish for a while. The New York State Restaurant Association originally opposed the state requirement because of the added paperwork, but once that was rescinded, it has since embraced the law as a public safety issue. Fish will require a minimum freezer storage time of anywhere from 15 hours to one week, depending on the temperatures used in the freezing and storage process.
The Artisanal Marshmallow
From campfires to fine dining restaurants, the lowly marshmallow has come a long way, baby. The sugary puffs are increasingly finding their way into some pretty fancy dishes highlighted at fine restaurants from coast to coast, FORTUNE reports. Chef Phillip Foss of the Michelin-starred Chicago’s EL Ideas, who considers marshmallows part of the modern chef’s arsenal, says the ingredient isn’t just versatile — it helps “put familiarity on the table and have guests transferred to their youth” he told FORTUNE. Other chefs are working marshmallows into various hot dishes and drinks, since they nicely compliment various veggies and spices.
AMEX Rebuffed In Excluding Other Card Use
Thanks to a recent court ruling that rejected American Express in its efforts to prohibit merchants from promoting the use of competing credit cards, restaurants can adopt a number of new tactics to promote the use of other credit and debit cards, Nation’s Restaurant News reports. Such promotional efforts might include customer discounts, posting information to promote other cards, telling customers about the relative costs of accepting credit cards, and simply telling patrons what card you prefer. “The NRA has advocated for competitive interchange rates for years, so this decision is a big first step,” says Laura Knapp Chadwick, the National Restaurant Association’s director of commerce and entrepreneurship. American Express is appealing the ruling.
More than 62% of consumers say they sign up for digital sales, Blackhawk Engagement Solutions reports. Today’s buyers are looking for faster, cheaper, and easier ways to get deals. Here’s what researchers found:
· Nearly half of consumers are more sensitive to pricing than they were last year
· Only 15% of buyers believe loyalty programs provide the most savings
· 62% of consumers seek out and sign up for digitally delivered special promotions
· 54% of shoppers want to use a mobile wallet
Drawing A Shade To Increase Business
Sun glare is a real turn off, especially if you are trying to eat lunch or dinner. Not at Chipotle Mexican Grill. To eliminate the nuisance, the chain is installing solar-screen shades that reduce heat and glare while maintaining outward visibility. Are they expensive? Yes. Are they worth it? Absolutely. If your restaurant has a bright spot for all the wrong reasons, do your customers and your business a favor – get solar-screen shades.
Happy Hours Are Back In The Land Of Lincoln
After 26 years, Happy Hours are back in the Prairie State (that’s one of Illinois’s preferred nicknames, folks). Bar and restaurant owners are delighted by the news, while opponents predict more excessive drinking, drunken driving, and accidents. The new law also allows for meal and alcohol pairings for a fixed price and hotels now only need one license for multiple bars and restaurants operating under the same roof. While the debate rages on, one thing is certain. No matter where your business is located, your staff needs to be well versed in recognizing over-drinking as well as knowing the latest safety training techniques.
McDonald’s Still Struggling
According to a survey of franchisees, McDonald’s is a long way from getting back on a healthy track, Nation’s Restaurant News reports. Some blame the company’s slow response; others say it is increased competition. Either way, profits are down, but improving. To be fair, the recent survey is far from representative, since the company has 14,000 U.S. locations. Still, experts say it indicates that the giant is still struggling and getting worse. On a scale of one to five, with one being poor, operators’ six-month outlook averaged 1.69, the worst showing in the survey’s 12-year