As of October 1, credit card users are expected to use the new computer chip-enabled cards for all purchases, including restaurant charges. While rollout of the new cards continues at a steady pace, only about 20% of merchants have the new credit card equipment in place to process the cards, CBS reports. That could prove costly to any merchants where card fraud is involved. According to industry sources, if the merchants are unable to process the new cards and fraud occurs, merchants could be held responsible for the charges. That alone should serve as incentive to get the systems in place in your restaurants.
Dunkin' Donuts Stumbles
Donut giant Dunkin' Donuts is reporting that prices are going up 1.9% while customer traffic is expected to drop for a number of reasons. Chief among them are the higher cost of eggs and the fact that the company overestimated the amount of increased traffic at Speedway stations due to cheaper gas prices. The company also says it grew too fast in certain markets, but vows to regain its momentum and own the afternoon market, its CEO promises.
Restaurant Sales Drop
First the good news. A majority of restaurants are reporting higher sales in August. Now the bad news… that majority number shrank by nearly 20% since July, National Restaurant is reporting. Sales performance is actually at its lowest point in nearly a year, giving rise to concerns of a softer market ahead. “The RPI's August decline was the result of broad-based declines in the current situation indicators,” says Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the NRA’s research and knowledge group, noting that all four of the factors measured declined.
How To Expand Your Brand
Growing your brand does not always require deep pockets, Fast Casual.com reports. One way is to bring your business to your customers—literally. An increasing number of restaurants are opening satellites within corporate buildings, airports, even college campuses. Another approach is to sow the seeds of growth for your business by allowing employees to get an inside track on becoming franchisees. Then, too, you might want to join forces with a related or complimentary business that could help share the cost of additional locations. Whatever you do, do not lose track of the basics. Maintain strong business relationships, do not stretch your talents and resources too thin, and always strive to provide a product that makes you and everyone associated with it proud. Good things just do not happen by themselves. You have to make them happen.
Clean Food Craze
Consumers are enamored with the idea of all natural foods that are devoid of everything artificial, from flavor and coloring to GMOs. Restaurants and producers have responded with a number of “clean” products, Nation’s Restaurant News reports, but is there a sound scientific reason behind the trend? According to two distinguished food nutritionists, natural is always a good thing, but there really is no hard science behind the removal of artificial ingredients that have been tested many times as safe for human consumption. Yes, they should appear in the ingredients for what they are. However, in the final analysis, the clean craze comes down to what all trends are about… giving customers what they want.
Leveraging Science To Feed Athletes
More college sports programs have taken on the task of offering all of their athletes a balanced diet, says The Collegiate and Professional Sports Dietitians Association. The result may come as a surprise to most people as major sports programs are pumping millions into food programs to fuel better athletic performances. The average expenditure, in fact, has more than doubled in the last year since the NCAA lifted food restrictions in spending for meals, snacks and dietary supplements. The increases have made for happier athletes and a boom for dieticians, who are joining college staffs in increasing numbers.
Futures Cattle Market Hits Two-year Low
The futures cattle market is down more than 3% on concerns that the overall slump in demand for beef will continue, reports MarketWatch. The drop came as a surprise to many in the industry who have been looking for a buying opportunity and lower prices. Beef prices have fallen some $30 per hundredweight, but that has only helped to stoke more volatility and fear in the market, one Texas broker says.
More Women In The Kitchen
The stereotype of a woman’s place is in the kitchen is about to be replaced by a new reality. According to The Portland Press Herald, almost half of the students at the famed Culinary Institute of America are now women, up from just 21% since the early 1990s. While more professional kitchens are destined to be run by female chefs, they are quick to point out that if that actually happens it is because they are better at what they do than the competition and gender has nothing to do with it. Bravo chefs!
Vegan Is No Longer Boring
High-end eateries are opening across the nation and hanging out the vegan sign, The New York Times reports. In an article entitled Vegan Goes Glam, NYT talks to “Julie Piatt and Rich Roll, the couple behind a recent cookbook and lifestyle guide called ‘The Plantpower Way.’” The book’s popularity is just one element in a growing trend around vegan dining as a healthy, sexy, and profitable way to live. Consider Crossroads, a restaurant on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, NYT says. The wait staff recently unveiled a “seafood” extravaganza fit for glutinous royalty. “Instead of lobster, it had lobster mushrooms; in place of calamari, sustainably harvested hearts of palm. And was that oysters Rockefeller? No, it was an artichoke leaf cradling a shiitake mushroom that had been poached in olive oil and covered with spinach and bread crumbs,” the NYT reports. And you know what they say about what appears in the Times, right? Better think about adding a few glamorous vegan dishes to your menu if you hope to partake in the next big trend in food service.