Eateries from white-tablecloth restaurants to casual chains have been on a mission to improve their bar menus for several years, with new twists on familiar fried favorites and original exotic dishes designed to keep patrons sipping and spending from happy hour to late night.

Chains have been spicing up their offerings, with bar menus like Applebee’s new Apps & Bar Snacks menu, BennigansCrowd Pleasers and Chili’s extensive appetizer list. But independent eateries have greater leeway to get even more creative and to change bar menus up on short notice.

“We love to eat, and we get bored easily,” said Kate Jacoby, co-owner of V Street in Philadelphia. “So we are always experimenting with new stuff. Just the other day, we ran a meaty South African sandwich called a Gatsby. We made ours with seitan. The beauty of it is stuffing it with some crispy french fries and a tangy sauce.” The sandwich was a hit, and now the team’s “looking for new inspiration — new ways to play,” she said. (read more…)

For restaurateurs, practicing sustainability can be challenging, but ultimately rewarding. It is important to start small and make incremental steps, but sometimes it’s fun and illustrative to think big.

Going zero waste is thinking and acting big! It can also boost your business.

So what is zero waste? Basically, it means reducing the amount of material you send to landfills by 90% or more.

Restaurateurs undertaking zero-waste efforts are essentially using nearly all of their raw resources efficiently (e.g., food, packaging, service ware) and adopting a “thou shall not waste” mentality. It is a mentality that they teach (and enforce) to their employees and, perhaps, even their guests. Once you do though, it could position your business to operate extremely efficiently.

If you’re wondering why you should care about practicing this zero-waste concept, here are four solid reasons:

  1. It can save you cash. The former Chicago restaurant Sandwich Me In,[1] which didn’t create trash for two years, is a great example.
  2. (read more…)

Whether it’s a fresh-cooked burger made on your grill, a mini cheeseburger slider from your neighborhood pub, or a classic lettuce-tomato-pickle burger from your favorite fast food chain, chances are you’ve had some type of burger recently. In Datassential’s latest MenuTrends Keynote Report on burgers, we found that three out of four Americans consume at least one burger in any given week. In our extensive report, we showcase key insights on what types of burgers consumers eat most, where they eat them and how operators can get a piece of the burger business.

Burgers 101

Being able to grill outside is the top reason consumers eat burgers at home. Otherwise, for the majority of Americans, burgers are an away-from-home affair. The speed and ease of purchasing a burger at a restaurant is the main barrier to at-home consumption, but even so, the majority of consumers still would rather create burgers from scratch at home, versus using frozen or pre-formed patties. (read more…)

Power brands are not just cash cows. They are brands whose position in food culture and shrewd management have, together, allowed otherwise dated brands to remain contemporary and to continue to drive profit growth. Most leaders in the industry define power brands purely on the basis of scale, usually in excess of $1B in annual sales. We want to introduce to you a more future-leaning definition, one based on selecting for a proven track record of above-average market growth.

Specifically, we define power brands to mean brands that:

  • had greater than $1B in sales in the past year
  • had conventional channel distribution prior to 1980 (i.e., legacy brands)
  • have grown faster than inflation for the past ten years (i.e., > 21%)
  • AND have outperformed their respective sector growth rates during the past four years by at least one percent (i.e., 7.2% for packaged food, 6.4% for soft and hot beverages.

The reality is that, of roughly 213 legacy brands studied, only 8% can meet our strict power brand criteria. (read more…)

This post is sponsored by AFS Technologies.

As senior vice president of sales at Sunny Delight Beverages, Eddie Young understands that to be effective with the management of trade spending, you need to implement scenario planning to create an annual calendar of trade promotions.

Young, who joined the Cincinnati-based beverage maker after it was spun off from Procter & Gamble in 2004, has learned the critical role that scenario planning plays in all aspects of a company’s operations, and its value in strengthening relationships with retail customers.

Young began his career in beverage sales at Nestlé, but it wasn’t until after he joined Minute Maid and began working as a regional sales manager in 2001 that he began to use scenario planning to refine the effectiveness of his company’s trade spending at the customer level.

“You had to be able to build an annual plan, understand what kind of funding that would lead to, and how you could deploy it for a maximum return for each customer,” he said. (read more…)