Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Healthy Oils Please Customers and Boost a Restaurant’s Bottom Line

July 10, 2013

The fact that more and more adults are looking for healthier options in the restaurant is a trend that has been growing for years. As people become more educated about what healthy eating truly means, they are moving away from ‘elimination’ diets in favor of smarter choices.

One of those smarter choices involves the use of healthy fats and oils to help our bodies digest food. Gone are the days of trying to eat healthier by choosing light or no-fat dressings, or avoiding dressings and oils used for frying altogether. Fortunately, this trend represents an opportunity for restaurants to meet customer demand for healthier foods while still boosting their bottom line.

Research Shows that Certain Fats are Necessary for Proper Absorption of Nutrients

Research has shown that certain fats are necessary to help the body absorb nutrients such as Vitamin A (needed for vision), D (helps absorption of calcium), K (for blood clotting), and E (antioxidant that protects cell walls). If a person doesn’t have enough fat in their diet, their bodies will not be able to absorb and store these vitamins properly.

That said, not all fats are created equal. Research has also shown that monounsaturated fats are superior to saturated and polyunsaturated fats in terms of the amount of fat a person needs to ingest for their body to absorb these critical nutrients. Olive oil and canola oil are both good examples of healthy, monounsaturated fats that are good choices for healthier eating options.

The Qualities Consumers are Looking for in Their Dressings, Sauces and Cooking Oils

Along with healthy oils that assist the body’s absorption of nutrients, the top features that consumers are looking for on restaurant menus are a quality product with a superior flavor, made of high-quality ingredients. They do not want products which contain MSG, high fructose corn syrup, artificial ingredients, or gluten.

Consumers also care about low sodium and great flavor profiles. This creates a challenge for restaurants as they try to maximize flavor (and minimize cost), while still offering something that is a truly healthy option. Shifting to the provision of naturally occurring monounsaturated oils is one simple way of meeting this demand.

Utilizing Healthy Oils can Actually Increase a Restaurant’s Bottom Line

While it’s true that premium oils cost more per case than lower-quality options, premium oils deliver better tasting food and have a longer fry life than their lower quality brethren. Longer fry life alone translates into fewer frying oil changes, which saves money, time, and labor – making the use of premium oil a better overall value.

When you add in the additional fact that using better quality oils creates better tasting food, it is no surprise that using it ends up creating a better experience for your customers – who are, in turn, more likely to visit your establishment again because they know they can expect both value and quality from what you provide.

Many restaurant owners are choosing cheaper oils in an effort to trim food costs, but when you consider that you ultimately end up paying more per day to use cheaper oil, which, in turn, creates a lower-quality product that does not meet customer demand, using high-quality oils in your establishment becomes a no-brainer.

Mobile Websites for Restaurants vs. Mobile Apps for Restaurants

February 9, 2012

While patrons still rely on traditional media like print ads, newspaper reviews, and word of mouth to guide their restaurant decisions, an increasing number are also using the Internet and their mobile devices for the same – and often in strange ways.


Mobile Usage is Growing Every Year – and Why this is Good for Restaurants


Every year, more people reach the web more of the time through mobile devices – and less through “traditional” means like laptops and personal home computers.


While this may not be a great thing for computer manufacturers, it’s great news for the food service industry. Why? Entertainment, shopping, and dining out are three things that the average smartphone user looks for when he or she is out and about.


If your restaurant is able to connect by way of mobile device, you’ll get “impulse traffic” for sure. But more importantly, you’ll get groups of friends and other medium-to-large parties who didn’t start the night with a restaurant in mind – but who now want to walk through your doors.


Should You Go for a Mobile Website or an App?


If you have to choose between the two, spend your money first on a mobile-friendly website. Mobile websites are one-size fits all for every kind of smart phone, as well as other mobile devices like tablets and touchscreen iPods.


If you want mobile apps, however, you need to build one for each operating platform. Straight out of the gate, that means you need one for Android, one for Apple (iPods, iPads, and iPhones), one for Blackberry, and one for Windows (for the up-and-coming Windows phone).


What You Should Put on Mobile Websites for Restaurants


The difference between a mobile site and a regular website can be confusing if you’re not immersed in the online world. The long and short of it is this: a mobile site is a stripped-down version of your restaurant’s regular website.


A mobile website should give your same basic information, without all the bells and whistles of your great design. You may even want to leave off some of your content, in order to keep it simple.


A mobile website should have: easy-to-find contact and location information (integration with Google Maps is a plus), phone number, booking information, and business hours.


If there’s anything else you want to add, that’s all up to you. Discounts for mobile or first-time customers are usually a good idea, but the most important thing is to make sure guests can easily find your menu – and then easily find their way through your doors!


How Franchisers can Cash in on the Benefits of Being Local

January 27, 2012

More and more people these days are making a conscious effort to patronize local mom-and-pop establishments. And while that’s great for local economies, the down side is that many franchise operators are starting to see less-than-positive effects on their own operations. But it doesn’t have to be that way.  Yes, there are some patrons on the extreme end who will avoid nationwide chains just because they are nationwide chains. But the majority of guests who have chosen to patronize local establishments more often are doing so to get more practical needs met. Local franchisers can court local business by paying attention to needs like trust, local community, and relationships.  Building Trust with Your Local Clientele  Patrons often trust local establishments more because of how well those establishments handle problems. If you want to develop this same kind of trust, make sure you handle any complaints as quickly as possible and with maximum attention paid to your customer.  It doesn’t matter whether you live in an urban, suburban, or rural area: friendly, personalized attention when a problem arises is something that guests associate with “down home” mom & pop service. And it is this kind of attentiveness will help you create the same level of trust with your patrons.  Sponsor Local Events Whenever Possible and Practical   Be a (visible) part of your community – just like (other) local establishments. This is important in small areas where the local mom-and-pop competition can be fierce. It’s equally important in larger markets, where all competition is fierce!  Finally, it’s also important in tourist areas. Locals who remember your community participation will recommend you to visitors. Combined with name brand recognition, this can be the “tipping point” that sends more out-of-towners through your door.  Encourage Relationships  Want to be seen as a local part of every patron’s life? Encourage your guests to create moments with family and friends – over and over and over again!  One of the best ways to do this is to offer two-for-one and similar specials. Two-for-one drinks are good with the right crowd, as are “half-price-when-you-bring-a-friend”.   In a more food-minded approach, you can offer specials on appetizers or even entrees to patrons who bring a friend during designated times of day.

Restaurant Social Media: How Good Is Your Branding?

December 15, 2011

How good is your word-of-mouth reputation? Chances are if you aren’t actively participating in a restaurant social media campaign, you have probably fallen off the radar. In our last blog post, we reviewed some of the best restaurant websites in the industry. A large factor that contributes to the success of these websites involves customer interaction. If you don’t have a social media manager for your corporation, you are giving away business.

National Restaurant News Releases New Social Media Tool

The NRN website announced the release of Restaurant Social Media Index (RSMI) in 2011. The tool was invented to give an analysis of how customers are interacting with restaurant social media. Effectively, this will tell you how the general public rates your brand.

You may submit your restaurant for analysis here. The tool measures and reports on activities concerning your restaurant from the following platforms:

  • Facebook
  • Google+
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Blogs
  • Gowalla
  • Foursquare

By monitoring the activity of your friends and followers, you can tell how well your brand is doing and what customers think. The tool provides the following data:

  • RSMI score out of 300
  • Klout score out of 100
  • Social media growth
  • Ranks your website’s importance on major social networks
  • Customer sentiment

RSMI Top 100 for the Third Quarter

RSMI released the Top 100 social media brands. Here is a quick peek at the top 10.

  1. Starbucks
  2. Wendy’s
  3. Chick-Fil-A
  4. McDonald’s
  5. Outback
  6. Jimmy Johns
  7. P.F. Chang’s
  8. Applebees
  9. Chipotle
  10. Pinkberry

It’s very interesting to see the switch of advertising from print and TV to digital media. For example, Chili’s discontinued three weeks’ worth of TV advertisement in lieu of an intensive social media campaign. The results were astounding. They went under budget and had better results than TV.

We’ll be keeping a close eye on these scores and report interesting findings in the coming months as this scoring becomes standard in the restaurant industry.



The Wild Food Movement Moves into the Commercial Arena (and hits snags)

December 13, 2010

So here’s an interesting trend that has started to take root in the United States: becoming foragers for food. No, we’re not talking about the homeless diving into your dumpster to look for the leftover food you threw away at the end of the working day. We’re talking instead about people who forage for food in the forest, collect the food and eat it. In other words, they take a bounty from Mother Nature’s wild food sources and enjoy eating stuff that is truly organic and fresh.

Selling Free Food

While the trend of gathering food in the wild has gone on for some time, a new phenomenon is potentially of more interest to the nation’s restaurateurs – people who go out and gather this food are now trying to turn it into a business and actually sell the foods they find, both to consumers and to restaurant owners.

Restaurateurs Get Truly Wild, Fresh Food

The result has been an interesting mix. On the one hand, you have truly organic produce, which was grown wild and which has never seen an artificial growth stimulus of any kind, which many restaurateurs prefer because it gives their foods a more natural flavor and allows them to claim a connection to the environment that others can only dream of.

The Law Has Its Say on the Subject

However, the foraging movement has also led to a backlash from government agencies who say that first of all, the foragers are violating state and federal laws when they gather food in forests and parks owned by state and federal park services and second of all, they may be putting the public’s health in danger by offering food which may not really be all that safe to consume.

Bottom line, as with many things today, we’re offering the advice of caveat emptor – let the buyer beware. Those wild mushrooms may look tempting, but if they poison your diners, you’ll regret having bought them.

Bob Evans Closes Plant

August 31, 2010

In a continuing sign of the hard times we live in, Bob Evans Farms–which runs both factories and a chain of retail restaurants across the Midwest–announced recently that they will shutter their plant in Galva, Ill. The sausage plant, which has operated since 1972, employed about 70 people.

Why is Bob Evens Closing Up Shop?

In explaining the move, Bob Evans Food Products President Mike Townsley said that the company was being forced to take these measures in order to “adapt to these tough market conditions.” The move leaves Bob Evans Foods with just four additional plants in Xenia and Bidwell, Ohio, Hillsdale, Michigan and Richardson, Texas.

The move is seen as a further blow to the hard hit town of Galva where the recession has already taken a severe toll and unemployment remains high. City administrator Dave Dyer described the move as a “major blow” to the city where the sausage and restaurant chain had been one of the major employers.

From Humble Origins…

The company began life as a single truck stop style diner in Rio Grande, Ohio.  Under the steady hand of founder Bob Evans, the company grew to offer a total of 570 locations throughout 23 states and later became a major food processor as well.

Famous for their sausages, which Mr. Evans had always heard from his friends was “the best around,” the company started packing sausage and became a major sausage company after Bob Evans turned to his cousin Tim Evans who owned a meat packing company.

The Evans Packing Company made an agreement to package the Bob Evans sausages and both cousins went on to extreme fame and fortune. Mr. Evans passed away in 2007 at his ranch in Ohio and the company is now managed through corporate headquarters in Columbus, Ohio.

Hard Times for Bob Evans’ Stock Prices, Good Times for Gross Earnings

Investors of late have been punishing the stock, with shares of the company trading at or near their 52 week low of $23.10 for some time. In other news however, the company did post the highest gross earnings in the restaurant industry meaning they should be expected to rebound. .

Church’s acquisition

August 11, 2009

It was interesting to see Friedman Fleischer & Lowe LLC acquire the Church’s concept.  Clearly the end game here is global expansion and the belief that low price point QSR’s are here to stay.  This appears to be the first restaurant acquition for FF&L, and we wish them the best of luck.

Customer Feed Back

August 9, 2009

In managing and turning around a restaurant it is important to remember that people always talk thin, but eat fat. While people applaud menu labeling and wanting to know about the healthiness of their neghiborhood deli, when they find out they ignore the information. I have worked with several chains where we try to offer more healthy alternatives, unfortunately the menu mix does not change. We even tried running them as promotios and offering them as Limited Time Offers. Something to keep in mind when reinventing a menu.

Restaurant Receiver / Restaurant Management Group

August 5, 2009

News today talks of Friendly’s moving to a new prototype which is fast casual.  As more restaurants try to limit the unit size to maxmize dollars per square foot, many are trying more limited service restaurants.  Interestingly, customer feedback indicates that diners feel it is typically a better value in these types of express services restaurants as there is not tipping.  Additionally, as time concerns continue, these offer excellent alternatives.

Jack in the Box

August 4, 2009

For those that havne’t heard Jack In The Box will be offering a breakfast burrito with chorizo.  Just another sign that anything is game.