SPORTS: Creating a Menu Worthy of the Bruins-Blackhawks NHL Winter Classic
For decades, January 1st belonged to the NCAA and the multitude of football bowl games played to ring in the year. Since 2008, however, the day has shared the spotlight with the NHL, as the league has taken the game of hockey back to its outdoor roots. With snowy, picturesque scenes reminiscent of frozen ponds, the annual Winter Classic shares a side of the game not normally seen by wider audiences.
Catering to a Boston and Chicago heavy crowd will give you plenty of options for specials. Offering a prix fixe menu for each team offers you a chance to showcase several of the two cities’ signature dishes. And both cities have no shortage of classics.
DID YOU KNOWS…
Yet Another E.coli Outbreak
The romaine lettuce E.coli outbreak has spread to cauliflower, so everyone’s favorite ghost broccoli is being recalled. The recall also includes two other lettuces – red leaf lettuce and green leaf lettuce – as they and cauliflower were grown next to the tainted irrigation pond suspected of poisoning our romaine. Is 2018 over yet?
The European Parliament has agreed to ban throw-away plastic items such as straws or polystyrene cups by 2021. The measures are being introduced in a bid to reduce marine waste. The following infographic uses data from NOAA and Woods Hole Sea Grant to show just how long it takes for a range of plastic items to bio-degrade in a marine environment. Plastic bottles can take up to 450 years, but fishing line takes the top spot – 600 years.
FA Cup on ESPN+
Every FA Cup third round match will be aired this season on ESPN+. This comes after years of the FA Cup deciding to just not air some of its tournament because ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. This year, however, they’re looking to appease international broadcasters. ESPN+ will carry all 32 games live for the first time ever.
A CHANGE IN THE MIX
Why it matters to you: Are we nearing the end of the franchise frenzy for restaurants?
No industry has benefited more from the explosion of the franchising than ours. Although recently we are seeing what appears to be, a shift in the popularity and efficacy of the highly franchised (aka light asset) approach.
For instance, back in 2007, when IHOP bought Applebee’s, they embarked on a major re-franchising push. However, last week they announced the buy-back of 69 restaurants from their largest franchisee Apple Gold. While that may not be remarkable by itself, they have shown no sign they will sell them off to another franchisee. As we have observed, a franchisor must be competent and successful running restaurants if they want to inspire their franchisees to the same level of performance.
Sure franchising allows you to grow quickly with little out of pocket expense and no operating headaches. However, if you also followed the outcome of Julia Stewart’s tenure, Applebee’s CEO from 2007, you’ll know the initiative she drove that torpedoed her career was forced on franchisees and it failed miserably. Had she been able to test the hand-cut steaks and wood-fired grill program at company restaurants, she would have known it wasn’t going to fly. We believe that large chain and small group operators should keep it 50/50 company to franchise locations. This allows the chain group to have skin in the operations game while giving them a faster path to grown. Given that Buffalo Wild Wings and Arby’s owner Roark capital has proven this works, it’s a decent lesson to any franchisor that wants to develop while maintaining their current success.
BWW LEADS THE WAY, AGAIN!
Why it matters to you: Follow the leader to delivering a premium sports on TV viewing experience
You’ve likely heard Buffalo Wild Wings’ (BWW) tag line: Wings, Beer, Sports. Well it turns out, they have their tagline out of order. With the opening of two new prototype restaurants, BWW is letting the world know they are dedicated to the ultimate sports viewing experience. Check out this slide show to see some of the concepts they are incorporating. From private viewing areas to tiered seating, they have attempted to transform the guests’ options for watching games and the comfort in which they can do it. The private viewing areas are especially interesting with comfort seating, multiple displays, and a feel more like living room that restaurant.
Of course, that is BWW’s aim. Their clear goal is to deliver the right solution for every guests’ viewing need. This is their first major design rollout since 2012 and the results prove they are the leader in our industry. Following their lead is a no brainer. You may not be able to do the same upgrades that BWW has incorporated in your location, but you can focus on improving the viewing experience you deliver to your guests. Take a moment and sit in your bar/dining room and experience watching a game the way a guest does. I guarantee you’ll notice something you can fix. If you want to make big splash at least you can learn from a leader how it is done well.