The Daily Rail: It's not all fire & brimstone for indie operators

August 16, 2016

Today's Special


Why it’s important to you: The statistics don’t lie, culinary school doesn’t appear to pay off.

While there has been a significant upsurge in culinary students, one has to wonder what is motivating their attendance. The cost of a single year of culinary education averages $27,000 for the top 10 national programs. This makes a culinary education more expensive than state colleges and universities, but the job prospects simply don’t support the additional investment.

We want to know your opinion. Are culinary schools really all that valuable? Complete this three question poll, and tell us where you stand on culinary education and how it fits with your business.


Turned Off & Unpluggxed

With the emergence of streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video, traditional TV is finding itself under increased pressure to retain its place as the go-to medium for a bit of home entertainment. While people still spend more time watching TV then they do using any other medium, there are signs that indicate its future may not look quite as bright. 

Infographic: Young Americans Turn Their Backs on Traditional TV | Statista
You will find more statistics at Statista

As figures from Nielsen’s quarterly Total Audience Report indicate, young Americans are watching less and less TV. 

Being a Winner is Expensive

Most of us know that it’s really expensive to be an Olympic athlete, but it’s even more expensive if you’re a winner. Good ol’ Uncle Sam hits Olympians with a “victory tax” on their medals. A gold medal costs athletes $600; silver goes for $300; and bronze “next to nothing.” On top of the medals, the USOC pays out cash prizes for each medal a US Olympian wins (which the US taxes). For example: Michael Phelps owes the US $55,000 for his six medals in Rio.

Finally, Some Good News from Rio

It’s been non-stop bad news for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, but we’ve finally found some good news (outside of the US medal winners, of course). One Rio restaurant is feeding the homeless with Olympic leftovers. Refetaorio Gastromotiva takes the donated leftover ingredients from local restaurants. Owner Massimo Bottura and chefs from all over the world then create some delicious dishes for the homeless. Bottura hopes it changes the way Brazilians and the world think about hunger, food waste and human dignity.


Why it’s important to you: It’s been all bad news in casual/full-service dining, so a little positive news is welcome news.

Everyone knows our industry is a tough place to succeed. Lately the news has been even more depressing than normal. After several quarters of sustained growth, the 2016 Q2 saw massive trouble for casual full-service dining. Restaurants chains like Ruby Tuesday are closing a ton of locations or declaring bankruptcy. Even the most reliable growth players like Buffalo Wild Wings are seeing a slowdown.

But is the news all bad? Turns out no. It appears that independent operators are feeling the pinch less than the chains, and even some chains are still experience same-store sales growth. Certainly pizza-delivery is also being spared with huge growth still happening for the revitalized Domino’s brand and Papa John’s. The moral of the story is follow the lead of player’s like Shake Shack, who peg their success — 30% margins on AUV of $3.6 million — to the introduction of new and innovative products.


Why it’s important to you: Rudy Giuliani might be your next Attorney General, that’s why!

Former Mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, who served from January 1994 until December 2001 has been a top Donald Trump surrogate since just before the convention in July. So, it stands to reason that the guy in charge of NYC when the World Trade Centers fell would be acutely aware of that catastrophic attack. Well, it appears reason left the building yesterday as Giuliani exclaimed, “Under those eight years, before Obama came along, we didn’t have any successful radical Islamic terrorist attack inside the United States.” Oops?...maybe. We can’t wait to hear the claim of sarcasm or the clarification that make this one the media’s fault.


Why it’s important to you: Millennial opinions matter given they are a serious consumer bloc.

The rise of the Millennial generation brings with it new attitudes towards everything from the way they enjoy their food to social issues. One place where those two things intersect is with the controversy on public bathroom policies. In a recent USA Today poll, Millennials are in favor of folks using the bathroom for the gender they identify, by a 2-1 margin. Opinion among older voters fold that they are in favor of the opposite by a 2% difference (43% – 41%).

While this isn’t official guidance there is a little instruction here. If you don’t have an official bathroom policy there may be no need to set one. If you live in a red state, of course, you may be forced to address this given that 55% of Donald Trump supporters favor a policy forcing people to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender at birth. The more instructive insight here is that your up and coming guest group, Millennials, are far more libertarian and liberal than they are conservative. For now we are walking the line between generations, but soon enough their influence will pervade our culture. Are you ready?