Article: “”Name game: Chefs who give their food silly names may not be so foolish.”

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excerpt:
“The grosser a dish sounds the better. That’s the philosophy some chefs are adopting when coming up with names for dishes on their menu. From Kitchen Sink Chopped Salad to Debris Sandwich, chefs are giving food a bad name. Luckily, they’ve been able to convince customers the dishes taste better than they sound, and for many, the marketing gimmick has paid off.

San Pedro chef/co-owner Michael Goodman created the Fat Boy Man Salad at home a few years ago, when he wanted to eat more nutritiously. His vegetarian creation consisted of baby field greens, carrots, grape tomatoes, beets and green beans. It tasted terrific, but Goodman found it wasn’t enough to satisfy his hunger. Soon, he began super-sizing it.

“It was obnoxiously large,” says Goodman. “People started calling it the Fat Boy Man Salad.”

source: “Name game: Chefs who give their food silly names may not be so foolish.” by Nancy Ngo (Pioneer Press, Aug.3.2006)

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Article: “How to increase your prices” (Aug.2006)

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excerpt:
“The thought of price increases causes anxiety for many operators. But clever pricing is a great opportunity to practise your marketing skills, build your reputation and increase your profits.

When inflation was high, price rises were almost a sport – now they’ve become an agonising debate. One thing’s for sure – you live by price and you die by price. Operators still holding the price of meals to what they were 12 months ago are bearing the brunt of massive increases in the cost of fuel and ingredients. Profitability is suffering.

So how do you put up prices with confidence and style?”

source: “How to increase your prices” (ProfitableHospitality.com, Aug.2006) [public access til Aug.19th]

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Article: “Survey of Top On-Premise Wines Released” (Aug.2006)

excerpt:
“The Restaurant Wine newsletter, published by wine consultant Ronn Wiegand MS, has released its annual ranking of the 100 best-selling wine brands in restaurants as well as the 60 most frequently ordered wines. Beringer Vineyards of Foster’s Wine Estates tops the list of brands, followed by Franzia, part of The Wine Group portfolio. Rounding out the top five are: Kendall-Jackson; Yellow Tail, from W.J. Deutsch & Sons; and Inglenook, part of Constellation Brands’ Centerra Wine Company portfolio. The Restaurant Wine survey covers the entire spectrum of U.S. restaurants, from casual dining chains to fine dining restaurants.

The report found that case sales in the on-premise segment grew 6 percent, or 4 million cases, to reach 64 million cases sold. The value of on-premise wine sales now exceeds $12 million. In terms of the overall market, on-premise sales account for 22 percent by case volume and nearly 50 percent of dollar value…”

source: “Survey of Top On-Premise Wines Released” by Mary-Colleen Tinney (WineBusiness.com, Aug.8,2006)

related link: “Restaurant Wine Newsletter” by Ronn Wiegand

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Article: “Lehndorff: Spell-check those menus” (Aug.2006)

excerpt:
“I should be relaxing during these dog days of summer, but big questions plague my overheated mind. I get picky, picky, picky and wonder:

Why don’t people who write restaurant menus use spell-checker or have someone proofread them before they print them? I constantly catch spelling and grammatical errors among the starters and entrees. When I see “prosciutto wrapped shrimp,” I wonder why there isn’t a hyphen connecting the modifiers, i.e., “prosciutto-wrapped.”

It makes me think there are other details that have slipped below the management’s radar…”

source: “Lehndorff: Spell-check those menus” by John Lehndorff (Rocky Mountain News, Aug.4,2006)

related link:
Resource: Customers list their restaurant pet peeves and annoyances [WaiterBell Blog]

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Article: “Customer demand means beverage options overflow” (Aug.2006)

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excerpt:
“Walk into any of the area’s Potbelly Sandwich Works and, next to the counter, there’s a large, refrigerated cooler full of soda, tea and water.

Unlike many chains, most Potbelly outlets don’t offer fountain drinks. The decision to offer bottles and cans is part of the chain’s quirkiness.

But it turns out that an increasing number of restaurants, even those that rely largely on fountain drinks, are increasing the variety of offerings by adding beverages in bottles and cans…”

source: “Customer demand means beverage options overflow” by Barnet D. Wold (The Columbus Dispatch, Aug.1,2006)

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Free: Restaurant Industry, Hospitality, and Foodservice Discussion Forums

If you would like to hear how others in the restaurant, hospitality, and foodservice industry feel about a topic, then visiting and/or participating in a discussion forum can be very helpful. While there are some fee-based membership forums for restaurant owners, here are some message boards where restaurant folks are talking for free:

Foodservice.com’s Industry Discussion Forums

sample forums:
Restaurant Biz Talk
TechTalk – Restaurant POS / Software
Chefs and Cooks Corner

Chef2Chef’s Professional Community Forums

sample forums:
Ask a Chef! Get an Answer!
Restaurant Equipment Forum
Wine Beer Spirit and Beverage Forum

Topix’s Restaurant Management Forum
Restaurant Report’s “The Great Debates” and “Question & Answer
StarChefs’ Message Board

ChefTalk’s Cooking Forums
Atlanta Cuisine’s Restaurant Talk

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Article: “A menu of tasks” (Jul.2006)

excerpt:
“About a quarter of U.S. restaurants fail within a year, and 50 percent to 60 percent by the third year, according to three studies cited by the California Restaurant Association.

Many owners underestimate the start-up costs and do not do enough market research or staff training, said Jordan Traverso, the group’s director of communication.

Experts said problems can arise if the quality of the cooking slips.

Mark Smallwood, owner of Harvest Moon restaurant in Modesto, said this is not a problem in his restaurant because he makes sure the kitchen crew knows what he wants…”

source: “A menu of tasks” by John Holland (Modesto Bee, Jul.30,2006)

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