The Daily Rail: Indie Restaurants Should Track Chain Restaurants Testing Efforts

BUSINESS: Could Your Restaurant Patio Be Boosting Your Revenue?

We know there’s snow outside for many of you, but with any luck spring will be here soon. Now’s the time to start planning your outdoor service plan. Simply adding a few chairs and tables isn’t the most productive way to attract new guests and increase your income. You need to stop treating your patio or terrace like an afterthought. It’s time to transform it into a comfortable area for your guests to enjoy – and one that will give you a competitive edge over your competition.


How Safe is US Food?

The frequency and severity of food recalls can provide an insight into the standards of food safety in a certain country. A new report from U.S. PIRG shows that the total number of food recalls across the U.S.  dropped between 2017 and 2018. Even though that might seem like good news, the long-term trends are less rosy with recalls of meat and poultry up 66% since 2013. Even more troubling, the most dangerous Class I recalls of meat and poultry increased 83% between 2013 and 2018. Class I refers to food with serious health risks such as containing botulinal toxins or undeclared allergens.

Infographic: How Safe Is U.S. Food?  | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

Consumer Confidence Hits New Low

The University of Michigan’s monthly Index of Consumer Sentiment, which gauges Americans’ view on their own financial situation as well as the state of the general economy, saw a steep drop-off in January, reaching its lowest level since October 2016, shortly before Trump was elected. “The loss was due to a host of issues including the partial government shutdown, the impact of tariffs, instabilities in financial markets, the global slowdown, and the lack of clarity about monetary policies”, Richard Curtin, chief economist for the Surveys of Consumers said.

Infographic: Shutdown Cools Consumer Confidence to Trump-Era Low | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

Free Beer for LA or Boston

Bud Light has promised free beer for the winning city of this year’s Super Bowl, meaning fans of the LA Rams or New England Patriots will have some extra reasons to celebrate. Anhesuer-Busch will reveal more details leading up to the Super Bowl.  


Why it matters you: Tracking the testing efforts of the large chains is a great way to confirm if a trend is real.

Chain operators often follow trends after they have already become established. This is generally because little mis-steps can be amplified when you operate hundreds of restaurants. For those of you also averse to trying unproven trends, you can benefit from monitoring what the big players are considering. These four menu experiments by chain operators are a good place to start if you want to see what’s potentially up next.

For example, Chik-Fil-A is experimenting with more healthful menu items to address the demands of more health conscious consumers. They are testing two new healthy bowls -- the Harvest Kale & Grain Bowl and Egg White Grill Grain Bowl. Each features fresh ingredients like roasted squash, diced apples  and chopped broccolini, just to name a few.

Taco Bell is testing portability with their new Walking Nacho. Ok, so it’s a riff Frito Pies, but the goal is to deliver on the demands of folks to have their food be more mobile friendly. Both of these efforts address trends that we can all benefit from understanding. So, keep your eyes open and let the major players do all the heavy lifting.

[Source: Restaurant Business Online]


Why it matters you: GoFundMe to the rescue for one Caribbean restaurant operator.

If you are a Ja Rule fan, then you may share his outrage at his treatment in the two recently released documentaries about the ill-fated Fyre Festival. Setting aside the famous rapper’s hurt feelings, these documentaries also revealed that many of the folks that provided services to the fake festival got stiffed for their hard work. Maryann Rolle claims to have lost $100,000 on her efforts to provide catering services to the festival attendees. Rolle staffed 10 people that were working around the clock throughout the event schedule and she had to pay them and for the food she served.

While here situation was dire, the release of the documentaries (and exposure of her story), has prompted a GoFundMe to be created to help her. The fund raising goal was eclipsed with more than $160k collected to help Maryann. Unfortunately, Ms. Rolle was not the only vendor left out in the cold after the collapse of the Caribbean music festival. According to Chris Smith, director of the Netflix’s documentary, plans are under way to support those folks as well. While nobody won as this event imploded, it’s nice to know the hard working people in my industry will have help recovering from it.

[Source: Mashable]