People report recently announced their Fourth quarter Workforce Index, and our industry will continue to face challenges in finding quality job candidates and will continue to tax restaurant operators into the last quarter of the year. It will be an especially difficult time as operators also face the pressures of decreased guest counts. It is a vicious downward cycle that will continue to result in restaurant closures.
So how can operators succeed in such a challenging environment?
For more information, here is the link to the People Report Article: 2016 Q4 Workforce Index
Casual dining fights for survival
As 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
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Cracking the Labor Code
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!
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