Mobile technology is becoming increasingly prevalent in the lives of consumers, who are looking for more ways to interact with people and brands using their mobile devices. More and more, retailers and restaurants are making use of technology in their physical locations that allows them to enhance the experiences customers are having when they dine or shop.

SmartBrief talked to Maya Mikhailov, chief marketing officer of GPShopper, an integrated mobile platform that helps businesses like food retailers and restaurants build mobile applications that enhance features like commerce and loyalty and creates a “remote control for the brand,” and Ramsey Masri, CEO of OtherLevels, a digital marketing platform that helps mobile marketers engage mobile audiences effectifely. Mikhailov talked about the advantages of technology that uses mobile to interact with customers while they’re in stores, which is where most transactions take place, and three trends in particular that have emerged through the use of such technology. (read more…)

Chef Stephen “Smokey” Schwartz took home his third grand prize from the 18th annual Championship BBQ held at Chicago’s Navy Pier on May 17. More than 1,000 chefs, restaurateurs and other foodservice professionals gathered to mingle and sample food and beverages at the event, which benefits Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign.

Entries in the cooking competition ranged from cheeseburgers to pulled pork, but Schwartz chose to look beyond typical barbecue ingredients when constructing his winning dish.

“The judges at the 18th annual Championship BBQ and Cookout sure had a tough choice to make … all the food this year was incredible but in the end it was Stephen “Smokey” Schwartz from Burnt End BBQ who took home the prize, for his apple and pecan smoked rabbit rillettes, with rabbit bresaola, compressed watermelon and pickled watermelon rind, freekeh grains, micro greens, popped sorghum and citrus vinaigrette,” said Championship BBQ creator and former publisher of Food Arts magazine Barbara Mathias. (read more…)

When you sit down at a restaurant, it’s one of the first questions your server asks: What would you like to drink? Likewise, when you’re welcomed into someone’s home, it’s usually one of the first things your host asks: Would you like anything to drink? There’s a reason why beverages are such an important aspect of the food industry and day-to-day life — in part due to the biological need for hydration, the topic of beverages is a menu category that touches every consumer, across all day parts and all segments. In Datassential’s newest MenuTrends Keynote report on non-alcoholic beverages, we combine powerful data from MenuTrends, our industry-leading menu database, with opinions and behaviors from consumers, and data from operators. The following is just a sip of the insights included in our newest report detailing today’s beverage landscape.

After tap water, brewed coffee is the most consumed beverage

If you’re one of the many people who start every day with a coffee in hand, you probably won’t be surprised at this survey takeaway: brewed coffee is the most consumed beverage after tap water. (read more…)

Memorial Day marked the unofficial start of summer, and warm, sunny days sent bars, restaurants and cocktail fans to Twitter and Instagram to share ideas for #summercocktails.

Beer is by far the most popular alcoholic beverage for summer, followed by wine and then cocktails, according to NPD Group. Last summer, U.S. patrons downed 335 million beers, drank 179 million glasses of wine and sipped 158 million mixed drinks, according to NPD data. Those numbers cover May through July, and trends have held steady for the past several summers, said NPD Vice President Warren Solochek.

Microbrews continue to grow in popularity, a trend likely to spike in the summer months as beer consumption increases, while those who prefer spirits will increasingly seek out fresh ingredients this summer, said Solochek, who presented at the Vibe Conference in March, an event that brings together beverage manufacturers with restaurant operators and others in the hospitality industry. (read more…)

This post is sponsored by TraceGains.

Everyone in an organization has a role in providing our customers superior quality products, says Alejandro Cebado, senior director of quality systems at Bimbo Bakeries USA.

Bimbo Bakeries USA has become the nation’s largest baking company through a series of acquisitions, and now operates more than 60 bakeries across the country. Cebado says working in that kind of environment has enabled him to learn and grow from the influence of the various corporate cultures that have been melded together.

“I have the privilege to lead the BBU Quality and Food Safety team in building, implementing and operating a comprehensive and effective quality system that will support BBU operations in delighting our consumers every day with safe and superior quality baking products,” said Cebado.

SmartBrief recently spoke with Cebado about his role at the company and his advice for young quality professionals.

What are the aspects of your position that you are most passionate about, and why? (read more…)