Steven Chan opened the first Tin Drum Asia Cafe near Georgia Tech in 2003 and has since expanded the fast-casual chain to 10 locations, with three more slated to open by year’s end and 10 planned for 2013. From the beginning, the playlist was nearly as important as the menu, said Chan, whose passion for picking the right music had him personally compiling songs the first few years. Today, the task is outsourced to a service that refreshes the streaming-music lineup of 500 to 700 songs monthly based on a strict set of criteria established at the outset.
I talked to Chan to hear more about music’s role in the restaurant.
What role does music play in your restaurants?
Not just for restaurants but as a retail component, it’s no different from the smell of the food or the color of the walls — it’s part of the experience, whether the consumer notices. (read more…)
Chick-fil-A is no stranger to controversy, with much media attention paid to President Dan Cathy’s vocal expression of his conservative Christian views and the company’s contributions to conservative causes. The chain’s contributions to anti-gay causes have raised ire in the past, but it ratcheted way up this week with comments from Cathy.
Mostly, companies that depend on the public’s goodwill and continued patronage shy away from politics and taking a controversial public position on a hot-button social issue, for good reason. They want to appeal to as many customers as possible. While Cathy has been unusual for his relatively outspoken support of conservative positions, he took it further this month with quotes in the Baptist Press clarifying his support of “the biblical definition of the family unit,” as part of a long article on how Cathy and his father, who started Chick-fil-A, incorporate their religious beliefs into the business.
Since then, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino has let the chain know it’s not welcome in his city, vowing to keep Chick-fil-A out and telling the Boston Herald, “You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population. (read more…)
There is growing consumer confusion about what gluten-free means as more companies, such as Chuck E. Cheese’s and Domino’s Pizza, continue to introduce gluten-free products. For example, while Domino’s called its pizza crust gluten-free, it also said it is appropriate only for people with mild gluten sensitivity, not those with celiac disease. Dr. Stefano Guandalini, president of the North American Society for the Study of Celiac Disease and founder and medical director of The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, explained where the U.S. is headed in terms of gluten-free regulation and what food manufacturers and restaurants can do to ensure people understand their food’s gluten content.
Food and menu items are coming out that claim to be gluten-free but contain varying amounts of gluten, which can cause serious reactions for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. How close is the FDA to setting a proposed maximum standard of 20 parts per million for gluten-free products? (read more…)
Americans aren’t known for making the healthiest food choices – we eat too much salt, sugar and fat and not enough fruits, vegetables and whole grains. It’s the reason we’re too fat and the reason so many of us suffer from diabetes, heart disease and other preventable conditions.
We know the “what” all too well. An annual survey from the Food Marketing Institute, Prevention magazine and Rodale gives us a glimpse into the “why,” as well as a look at how many of us are trying to do better. The Shopping for Health 2012 report looks at motivations and intentions behind our food choices.
First, the survey shows that most of us have good intentions. Nearly 80% of consumers said they try to make healthy food choices at least some of the time, although the statistic drops dramatically when the question becomes whether healthy food choices have become a habit – 31% said they put “a lot” of effort into healthy eating. (read more…)