www.matrixrestaurantconsulting.com/restaurant-consultants.htmlAs 2016 has been a challenging year for all sectors in the restaurant industry, casual dining continues to fight for survival. According to Knapp Track, casual dining traffic has declined on average 3-percent a year since 2008. I do think there is a need for casual dining restaurants, but I also have said for years - the industry needs to make some dramatic changes in order to survive. For brands to survive in the future - they must find ways to attract younger customers, they need to become "un-chains", they need to find ways to become locally relevant, and they need to invest in the basics - their people and their product. At Matrix Restaurant Consulting, we are here as a resource to re-energize your brand and to help up and coming brands survive in the future. Let's get started today! Contact Us.
For more on the issues casual dining is facing, check out this article: Casual Dining Fights for Survival
I recently returned from Kenya and Tanzania and I am not surprised but the recent article from Nation's Restaurant News. Kenya offers such diverse foods - the coast offers the flavors of India and the spice trade, the central province is rich with produce - specifically Cabbage, Potatoes and Carrots, and Maize is a key staple throughout the country. It is wonderful to see the vibrant and unique flavors becoming more mainstream. While I was in Kenya, I spent time in the kitchen of an orphanage where I volunteer. While I was there, I made Sukuma Wiki - a dish made from greens (Kale, Spinach, etc) and other vegetables such as carrots. Sukuma Wiki literally translates to "push the week" or "stretch the week" - as the family would make this to stretch their food budget. I also made my version of Lentil Stew - where I seasoned it with onion, garlic, oregano and curry powder - and Ugali - a starchy side dish made from Maize meal.
To read more about this trend: African Food Takes the Slow Road to Trendiness
I was recently in Los Angeles and had dinner with my family at one of my favorite sushi restaurants, The Izaka-ya by Katsu-Ya West Hollywood, and I was amazed at the number of families in the restaurant. Almost all of the tables had young children eating sushi! It's not surprising that children are becoming more sophisticated in their eating habits and as a result your restaurant's Kid's Menu should reflect this shift in taste. Additionally, with the issues we are facing with child obesity, parents are looking for healthier options for their children. The Matrix Restaurant Consultants have extensive experience in developing great Kid's Menus and building brand advocates at an early age.
Here's a great article on what some restaurant companies are doing to overhaul and improve their Kid's Menus.
Kids' meals leap beyond child’s play
The 2016 James Beard Awards Gala, hosted by Carla Hall, took place at Lyric Opera of Chicago on Monday, May 2. I was very excited that Nashville's own, Tandy Wilson of one of my favorite restaurants - City House - won Best Chef: Southeast. (pictured below)
I was also jazzed (pardon the pun) to hear that Leah Chase of Dooky Chase’s Restaurant in New Orleans won the 2016 JBF Lifetime Achievement Award! Congratulations to all the award winners!
For a complete list of winners: 2016 James Beard Award Winners.
@cityhousenashville @cityhouse #cityhousenashville #nashville #nashvillerestaurants
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released late last week its final guidance on menu labeling. The announcement last week further specified that the compliance clock would begin counting down from the date that the Notice of Availability (NOA) is published in the Federal Register. The NOA for the guidance is expected to be published in early May 2016.
So what does this mean for my restaurants? If you have 20 or more locations, you will have until May 2017 to post calories on your menus and provide nutritional analysis for each menu item. This is a lengthy and arduous process and Matrix Restaurant Consulting is here to help you through the process.
For more information: FDA Guidance Documents
I wanted to continue the conversation from my Feb 4 Blog entry on game changers in the restaurant industry. As many of you know the Craft Beer industry has exploded as consumer tastes move from mass produced products to more specialized and unique products that fit their lifestyle and personality. Now small distilleries are making the same waves in the spirits market, hoping to shake up an industry long dominated by mass distillers. So are there lessons the restaurant industry can learn from these artisan and craft distillers and brewers? There certainly are many lessons we can learn! Consumers are searching out products that are not mass produced, products that are connected to their communities, products that have a story, products that have a purpose and mission and products that fit their lifestyle. Now many would argue that there are restaurants that fit these needs, such as farm-to-table restaurants. And I would certainly agree. However, there are two lessons we have missed - less is more and craft can be approachable. Less is more - menus have, yet again, become a laundry list of ingredients, packed with buzz words; and dishes are loaded with ingredients, so much so, the essence of the craft ingredients are getting lost. Craft can be approachable - it's ok to be passionate and knowledgable about the craft or artisan ingredients you use, but we need to be careful that this doesn't bleed into pretension. Consumers should have the option to have as little or as much information as possible, and by using these ingredients, restauranteurs should not use this as an opportunity to charge exhorborant prices. Being a game changer is about harnessing knowledge, passion and consumer needs, but being humble and down-to-earth in your approach.
For more about the changes in the Craft Sprits industry, check out this article.
Craft Spirits Come of Age
One of things that fascinates me, is to see a business break barriers and become a true innovator and game changer. I have worked in the restaurant industry my entire life, and have often felt as though the industry approaches business conservatively, moving slowly to change and lacking true innovation. In the past years, we have seen other industries change and evolve, and now it is time for us, as restauranteurs and business leaders, to become true innovators and game changers. As food costs rise, as our labor pool shrinks, and as we see consumer needs changing quickly, it is an opportune time to learn from other industries and become true innovators and game changers. Here is an interesting article on how restaurants are borrowing from other industries in an effort to become innovators.
Starting Off Like a Startup
At Matrix Restaurant Consulting, we are poised to help you break barriers and change the way you do business today in an effort to be more profitable tomorrow.
As 2016 approaches, industry experts are predicting the trends for the upcoming year - from technology to food - here are some things we may expect to see or experience in 2016. Food Predictions: DIY Everything - Returning to our true culinary roots - chef's and restauranteurs will be churning their own butter, making their own cheese and more. Beyond Sriracha - In 2015 Sriracha was the "Hot" condiment, but in 2016 we will go beyond Sriracha - making our own hot sauces and pulling from other cultures. Go Veg or Go Home - Vegetables will be the hero, a trend I am very excited to see!
To see more food trends check out these articles:
NRN predicts 2016 menu trends 14 hot food trends for 2016 Chefs predict hot food trends for 2016
And on the technology front - technology executives will take on bigger roles as restaurant companies begin to take control of their digital presence from delivery to ordering to payment. Check out some of the predictions for 2016:
NRN predicts digital disruptions coming in 2016
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