A recent survey by Technomic shows that 65% of patrons expect full Wi-Fi access while dining out, especially in the quick-service market. “Over the years, Wi-Fi has really transitioned from nice to have, to a point where operators should believe that it is an expectation of their customers,” Darren Tristano, executive vice president at Chicago-based Technomic, says. “It is a no-brainer and because it is such a huge expectation, I don’t know how you avoid it.” But what about the cost? According to one expert, installation fees could run up to $1,000, plus a monthly service rate. But that varies on the size of the network, the provider, and the services provided. “It’s a modest cost,” Tristano says. “And it is one that is very well justified and appreciated by customers, and it can very likely attract patrons.”
Rail Shipments Of Grain Ordered To Report Weekly
Following a series of hearings in North Dakota and Washington, the nation's railroads are being ordered to provide weekly reports on grain shipments around the country. The new order is meant to help speed grain shipments to market, Bunge reports. Coal, crude oil, ethanol, and other products are also covered in the action. Railroads will be required to report average line speed and dwell times, total cars on line, number of trains held short of destination, and the number of grain cars loaded weekly.
Olive Garden Tops Among Business Travelers
In a recent national survey of business travelers, Olive Garden earned top billing, says Certify, which reviewed millions of credit slips among business travelers. Rounding out the top five children chains in popularity are: Chick-fil-A, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Panera Bread, and Dunkin Donuts.
Not Your Average Mess Hall
Chefs representing all branches of the armed forces who earned top honors at a Food Service Forum in May recently attended special training sessions. Their commitment to excellence earned them military foodservice awards in May and a trip to the Armed Forces Forum for Culinary Excellence in October, reports Restaurant News. "The forum, organized by the National Restaurant Association Military Foundation, featured a week of interactive workshops at the Culinary Institute of America-Greystone led by CIA chefs as well as special career training," reports Restaurant News. Today's military chefs are a far cry from the potato slingers of the past. In addition to a rigorous training and advancement program, service men and women who specialize in food preparation often continue on in the industry following their military service.
Food Trends For 2015
Want to prepare your restaurant for the upcoming year and earn it the reputation as "cutting edge?" Smaller dishes, more choices, and more ethnic foods are on the restaurant horizon, Technomic's researchers say. Included among the items they believe will grow in popularity are such things as dark chocolate, darker roast coffee, collard greens, and even cauliflower. Also on the way are flavored liquors and non-alcohol drinks—from handcrafted or small-batch sodas to pressed juices to health-halo teas. Also popular are Asian foods and flavoring, which diners cannot seem to get enough of. That trend will grow, in addition to what Technomic calls "staged" dining experiences, whether it is for a good cause or simply to earn bragging rights.
Olive Oil Use Is Confusing
Although 40% of Americans use olive oil regularly, they admit they are confused by what grade of olive oil they should use for different purposes, the North American Olive Oil Association says. Some findings:
- Only six percent know the color of olive oil is not related to quality
- A mere 15 percent understand light-tasting olive oil does not have fewer calories.
- Only one in four regular users knows that unlike wine, olive oil does not get better with age. According to the North American Olive Oil Association, consumers need to know that extra virgin olive oil is the most flavorful olive oil, with an unlimited range of flavors spanning from smooth and subtle to peppery and pungent. A finishing drizzle of extra virgin olive oil can enhance the texture, taste and aroma of food.
- Olive oil, sometimes referred to as "classic" or "pure" olive oil, has a milder flavor with just a hint of fruitiness. The subtle flavor of olive oil makes it perfect everyday cooking oil and easily adapts to a number of cooking methods such as grilling, sautéing, roasting, frying and baking.
- Light-tasting olive oil is almost flavorless, bringing the benefits of olive oil to recipes without influencing the overall taste. Light-tasting olive oil is the perfect choice when looking for an oil that won't alter the flavor of a dish.
Consumer Beefs Should Be Addressed Immediately
It turns out that most of us are a forgiving lot, Delawareonline recently found. When diners are not happy the first go-around, the majority of diners surveyed said they usually give a restaurant another chance, especially if management goes out of its way to make thing right. A case in point is Danny Meyer, founder of Shake Shack and owner of a number of upscale restaurants. According to Delawareonline, Meyer notes that he adheres to philosophy from his grandfather: “success lies not in the elimination of problems but in the art of creative, profitable problem-solving.” Meyer admits that you cannot undo bad experiences but you can come up with a new ending. And if that ending is a happy one, Meyer says he usually wins back a customer. Good advice from a legend.