The samplers craze has now moved on to the dessert menu, Nation's Restaurant News reports. Little cakes, pies, cupcakes, and cookies are all the rage on a growing number of the nation's restaurant menus… and the trend is leading to some big profits. The tiny goodies are appealing to weight watchers who still have a sweet tooth for the pint-sized versions of some restaurant favorites. According to the latest research from Datassential MenuTrends, miniature desserts appeared on nearly 12 percent of all menus in 2014, an increase from about 6 percent in 2005.
Subway To Dump Artificial Ingredients
Subway, the international sandwich giant, says it will eliminate all artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives in its foods by 2017. According to Nielsen, natural ingredients draw more customers, USA TODAY reports. The company says it will take 17 months to convert all of its restaurants.
Flavors Of The USA
The US Government is hoping its new website “The Flavors of the USA” will bring more foreign tourists inside your restaurant this season, Restaurant Hospitality.com reports. "Culinary tourism is a way for international visitors to experience the diversity of America through our cuisine," Brand USA President Christopher Thompson, told Restaurant Hospitality. "By promoting exceptional gastronomic offerings, we hope to inspire travelers from around the world to visit and experience the USA, one dish at a time." The campaign also is appearing on the Travel Channel and is running in 98 countries.
Soft Shell Crab
Will be Hot Item Eastern blue soft-shell crab will soon be hitting the fish markets, The New York Times reports, and it will be one hot item on this season's restaurant menus. Without their hard shells, the crabs are a delicacy that will have your customers coming back for more, The Times says.
Blue Bell Is Back
Blue Bell Creameries is working with the State of Alabama to bring back its ice cream under strict sanitary conditions. Terms of the agreement are similar to terms the company agreed to with Texas and Oklahoma. The agreements call for Blue Bell to institute new sanitizing procedures and will produce products for inspection prior to distributing them to customers, the company says.
GMO Corn Displays Its Achilles Heel
A new research report from North Carolina University and Clemson finds that a chemical bred into GMO corn is becoming less effective in fighting off earworms, the Southeast Farm Report notes. While the issue is not considered a major threat to the corn crop, researchers warn that such an issue may well be the proverbial canary in the coal mine and a warning that GMO products are not impervious to diseases and infestation.
Attracting Business Diners
It is a known fact that business diners spend more money than private diners -- by nearly two-to-one. So how do you get them into your restaurant? Some restauranteurs claim it requires a big hunk of meat on the menu, because sales types love meat. Beyond the stereotype, restaurants need to be flexible in their layout in order to accommodate last-minute reservations for sales groups that are sometimes quite large. That means having the right size tables that can be reconfigured as well as portable walls to create private meeting spaces. Another key strategy is to consciously develop a deep relationship with corporations within a 10-block radius. Among the ways to do so include complimentary desserts, special email deals, and VIP treatment for key players.
Turning A Bad Situation Into A Golden Opportunity
When a local franchisee of Marco's Pizza in Knoxville, TN, learned that a Delta flight had been diverted from Philadelphia and its passengers were now stranded aboard the flight on the tramac, he baked up a bunch of pies and delivered them to the plane. That proved to be a stroke of pure marketing genius. Not only were the passengers grateful, but his act of kindness made CNN and the story went viral. Not only are sales up, but the publicity was priceless. No word yet if Delta plans to add pizza parties to its grounded passenger strategy.
Tipless Restaurant Triples Profits
Looking to up the ante in your restaurant? If one Pittsburgh restaurant has it right, it means going tip free and putting your wait staff on full salary, with paid vacation and benefits. The result? Business has tripled at Bar Marco, Eater reports. According to the restaurant’s owner, staff salaries top $35,000, and business is booming, largely because employees are going the extra mile to take care of business, since their livelihoods as decent wage earners now depend on keeping service at a high level.
Restaurant Cancellation Fees
More restauranteurs fed up with no-shows in New York City are now taking names… and credit card numbers… when taking reservations, The New York Times reports. If guests do not show, they are told they will incur a cancellation fee ranging from $30.00 to $200.00. Some eateries are actually making guests pay in advance for meals, but OpenTable notes that less than 1% of Gotham’s restaurants are involved in a practice many people think is offensive. Others, however, note that they understand that cancellation fees are meant to keep restaurants solvent and penalize serial no-shows. According to the Times, however, most restaurants never really charge their no-show customers, because once they do that usually ends the relationship. Still, if large groups leave a restaurant high and dry, some owners do charge a fee, but it is usually donated to charity. The point? Restaurants want patrons to take the reservation process seriously and understand that a no-show costs them money. If that means taking names, numbers, and credit cards to have customers come in and enjoy a great dining experience, so be it.