With beef supplies still 1.5% below last year's level and more than 6% below 2010 levels, beef prices continue to climb, says Beef Producer. October marked the fifth time in the last five years that cattle on feed were the lowest for that calendar month. Industry observers predict that pricing will remain high at least through the first half of 2015.
Chefs Who Can See Diners Do A Better Job
Leave it to The Harvard Business Review to determine that food tastes better when chefs can actually see the diners who order it. Whether in person or online, if chefs see the customers, they tend to take fewer shortcuts and diners say they can actually taste the difference, researchers from Harvard say. "This is more about gratitude — which is a powerful force," researchers noted. "Cooks constantly said how much they loved seeing their customers."
Responding To Negative Customer Reviews
No one likes criticism, especially if you run a restaurant. But it happens and it can cost you dearly unless you respond appropriately, American Express advises. Here are a few top tips:
* Whatever you do, don’t say that the problem is a result of something the commenter has done, even if you think that’s true. Also don’t blame the commenter for a false or misleading comment. Never take a comment personally and write something emotional or accusatory in return. Instead, pay attention to what’s been said, then respond in a balanced, appropriate and professional manner,
* Keep it simple and encourage the commenter to reach out to you directly.
* Consider the online comments as free customer research that might be tough to get on your own. You may not like what you read, but it's unadulterated.
* Keep in mind that everyone else is reading these comments, too, so be careful what and how you say it. Handled properly, it is a golden opportunity to burnish your brand and your business.
Berkeley, CA Taxes Sugary Drinks
Berkeley, CA, became the first city to pass a tax on sugary drinks, USA Today reports. The new law levies a one cent per ounce tax on sugary drinks, including soda and energy drinks in an effort to curb dependency and cut obesity. The soft drink industry spent over $10 million in an unsuccessful bid to defeat the proposal.
Dairy Prices Sour Restaurant Profits
The National Milk Producers Association reports that the average price for milk rose to $2.16 a gallon in September, the highest level ever. Restaurants are feeling the pinch, The Washington Post says. From Chipotle’s cheese and sour cream to Panera Bread’s soups and baked goods, to the Cheesecake Factory’s $4.3 million spent on dairy for the quarter, the cost of milk is soaring. Why is it happening? Overseas
sources for dairy have shriveled up and U.S. production just cannot keep pace with demand. That is the makings of a classic supply vs. demand scenario with the consumer facing higher prices.
Restaurants Are Booming In Colorado
The reviving economy appears to be making Coloradans hungry. This year alone, restaurant jobs are up 6.2% accounting for one in five new jobs in the state. "When people have jobs, they have more disposable income. And when they have more disposable income, they go out to eat," Sonia Riggs, president and CEO of the Colorado Restaurant Association, told The Denver Post recently. Restaurant workers in the state earn from $16 to $22 per hour, which certainly plays a big part in the industry’s $9.8 billion success story there.
Veggies Elbow Their Way To Center Plate
The ‘good-‘ol days of a huge hunk of meat as the main entrée is so last century, The Wall Street Journal reports. From Boston and New York, to Chicago and L.A., meat is no long the star of the plate, as chefs are striking a better balance between meats and vegetables. The old formula of 8 oz. of meat plus a veggie side is now turning itself upside down in what is being called a perfect food storm stirred by health consciousness, the national alarm over obesity, and higher beef and pork prices.
Turkey Supplies Are Down; Prices Are Up
With turkey supplies down over 10% for frozen birds and nearly 9% for fresh Toms from a year ago, it comes as no surprise to learn that prices are up about 17%, The Pork Merchandizer reports. As we enter into the holidays, turkey production is up nearly 10%, but don’t look for prices to come down any time soon.
Gluten Free Staples For Your Kitchen
Thanks to The Miami Herald, here is a list of essential gluten-free cooking ingredients to have in your restaurant’s kitchen:
* Cornstarch: A common thickener for sauces and stews, even in gluten-filled pantries. Be sure to choose a verified gluten-free brand like Argo.
* Potato starch: Another great thickener for sauces and soups, potato starch can tolerate higher temperatures than cornstarch.
* Corn flour: The base of polenta, grits and corn tortillas is 100-percent gluten-free.
* Brown rice flour: Try this healthier alternative to white rice flour.
* Nut flour: Almost any nut, from almonds to cashews to hazelnuts, can be ground into a flour to add depth of flavor to pastries and other baked goods.
* Chickpea flour: Indian roti and French socca are two of many dishes made with chickpea flour.
* Lentil flour: A hearty alternative flour that’s quite easy to make at home by grinding uncooked lentils.
* Gluten-free all-purpose flour: Can be a mixture of anything from chickpea flour to tapioca flour to potato starch and more depending on the brand.
* Flaxseed: An important tool in any gluten-free arsenal, ground flaxseed is a good substitute for eggs in baked goods.
* Chia seed: Similar nutrient profile to flaxseed, including protein, fiber and antioxidants.
* Xanthan gum: A binder and thickener, xanthan gum is made from fermented corn sugar that gives dough elasticity and extensibility — gluten’s job.
* Guar gum: The ground endosperm of the guar bean, it can be used like xanthan gum in doughs to improve texture, but it also is used in dairy and meat products as a thickener or binder.
* Tapioca: A product of the cassava root, tapioca powder can be used to thicken sauces in place of flour, or help to add viscosity to doughs and batters.
For more information on the flavors of gluten-free cooking, follow this link: http://www.miamiherald.com/living/food-drink/recipes/article3558032.html