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
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I realize I wrote about this topic last month, but it is probably the single most talked about issue amongst restauranteurs. With the national unemployment number standing at 5 percent, the lowest level since April 2008, and with more than half of the country’s 387 metropolitan areas boasting rates below 5 percent, it has been increasingly difficult for restauranteurs to staff their restaurants. But is it impossible? I think not. They key is attracting and retaining Millennials. Millennials make up the biggest generation in the U.S. (some 75 million in all), but they account for barely 30 percent of employed Americans! As restauranteurs, we need to ask ourselves WHY? For one, we need to grow and adapt our management philosophies and methods to better suit this important group. Interestingly, a recent report noted that “100 percent of focus group attendees (all millennials) . . . reported observing disrespect or even bullying in the workplace.” It is crazy to think we still manage our restaurants this way, and it shows that now more than ever, this type of management needs to change or our industry will suffer. At Matrix Restaurant Consulting, we are here to help develop and implement management tools, systems, and benefits to not only attract millennials, but to also retain this important group.
For more on the shrinking labor pool, check out this article from Restaurant Hospitality: Cracking the Labor Code
I was very excited to see Chef Norman Van Aken, a pioneer in modern American cuisine, being inducted into the Nation’s Restaurant News MenuMasters Hall of Fame. Congratulations Chef Van Aken! For more on Chef Van Aken's career...
Norman Van Aken to be inducted into MenuMasters Hall of Fame
At Matrix Restaurant Consulting, we can help you create a menu that is worthy of a MenuMaster's Award. In fact, our Founder and Managing Partner, Steve Anderson, is a three-time MenuMaster's Award winner! Let's get started today, just click on this link: Let's Talk and Get Started!
Over the past few months I have had several recruiters and restauranteurs reach out to me, as they are finding it increasingly difficult to find great managers. Nashville is also experiencing unprecedented growth, which is making the issue of staffing even more difficult. So it was no surprise to me that the People Report 2016 Q1 Workforce Index, which measures expected market pressures on restaurant employment, rose again this quarter to 76.4.
And barring any economic disasters, restaurant operators will continue to face staffing challenges, such as increased vacancies, recruiting difficulty at peak levels and high turnover in 2016. This past labor day, I wrote about the importance of "treating your staff well," and it could not be more important today! Successful restaurants will be those that can maneuver through these difficult staffing times - those that can effectively retool operations to reduce the number of staff members needed at any one time - and those who invest in their employees and managers, creating opportunities to attract and retain the best people. Matrix Restaurant Consulting can help you retool your operation and to become that employer of choice.
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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