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The National Restaurant Association’s NRA Show in Chicago kicks off Saturday with an anticipated 58,000 attendees from all 50 states and 100 countries, and a trade show floor featuring an array of exhibitors showing off new products from more than 900 categories including beverage, food, uniforms, equipment and furniture.
The show’s four-day agenda includes a keynote from Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and a talk and book signing with Anthony Bourdain, along with a slew of sessions and features aimed at addressing hot topics in the industry, including health care, sustainability and nutrition.
The Affordable Care Act puts health care on the front burner for restaurant companies as they navigate new rules and work to calculate the costs. (read more…)
Smoothie King founder Steve Kuhnau opened his first store in 1973, began franchising the original smoothie concept in 1989 and last year sold his controlling interest in the 600-unit chain to SK USA and successful South Korean franchisee Wan Kim, who took over as CEO.
The company announced last week that it has signed 49 new franchise agreements, and Smoothie King is seeing signs that the post-recession funding shortage is starting to ease, Kim said this week. We talked with him Tuesday to get his thoughts on franchising and hear about what’s next for the New Orleans-based chain.
On motivating franchisees
I told my team “I think like a franchisee, I know what they need.” So for less than a year, I have been telling my team that whatever we do, we should be able to translate it into sales or profits to the franchisees, then they will understand why they have to do this. (read more…)
Consumers might be pinching pennies when it comes to some dining-out choices, but they’re not shy about spending more for a pre-dinner cocktail or wine to go with a meal, according to studies by Restaurant Sciences.
Spirit prices increased between 4.5% and 11% in the six months through April at eateries where the average check is $40 and at high-end restaurants where the tab totals $90 or more, according to one study, while bars, nightclubs and family-dining chains haven’t seen a similar bump. The report cites a combination of mild price taking by independent eateries and increased demand by consumers for premium spirits and experimental cocktails.
A look at wine sales shows a steady increase in prices, with family-dining chains booking the biggest jump, followed by fine-dining establishments. That increase stems from a shortage, coupled with increased demand as wineries work to win over more young people, the Chicago Tribune reports. (read more…)
Sons and daughters across the country will honor mom this weekend with brunches, lunches and dinners to celebrate Mother’s Day. Some 80 million Americans have plans to dine out for the holiday, according to a survey by the National Restaurant Association. About one-third of respondents said they’ll celebrate at steak, seafood or barbecue restaurants, 24% will choose American cuisine, 21% will opt for ethnic cuisine — with Italian topping that list — and 19% are headed to buffet restaurants.
The National Retail Federation expects Americans to splurge a bit on consumer electronics for mom — in addition to flowers, candy and cards — and they’ll also spend about $3.5 billion on outings and meals including brunch and dinner.
This year, the holiday, historically the busiest one on the calendar for dining out, may be even more important for restaurants seeking to melt the deep freeze of the first quarter and warm up to what they hope will be a busier spring and summer, as the Los Angeles Times reported Monday. (read more…)