Valentine's Day

2017 Valentine’s Day Trends

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching and although not a national holiday, restaurants treat this day more special than most. Valentine’s Day is celebrated across the globe, with origination in Rome back in the 3rd Century. Although the legends of Valentine’s Day beginnings differ, today we have come to know February 14th as a day for lovers. Here in the United States, restaurants see this as a huge day for sales. The holiday is the second busiest day of the year in the restaurant business, only behind Mother’s Day.

Valentine’s Day Statistics

American’s spend $147 each year on Valentine’s Day, 7 million of that towards dining out. The average couple will spend $147 on February 14th. Singles spend money too. On this holiday single men on average $40 while single women spend an average of $71. This increase in dining from both couples and singles gives restaurants everywhere an extra $$$ on the bill than a usual night out. No matter the relationship status, Americans are willing to spend a few more dollars on this holiday than the average Tuesday. With such an increase in sales, restaurants must take note as to what customers want to eat.

Valentine’s Day Dining Trends

Remember also, Valentine’s Day is not just for couples anymore. “Galentine’s Day” and single’s parties are cause to celebrate as well. However, couples and singles celebrate different. AaronAllen and Associates state that couples would rather have an experience on Valentine’s Day than receive gifts. A great way to incorporate this preference is giving your customers an amazing night at a restaurant. Fill their dining out experience with great service and food. Couples gravitate towards ethnic foods like Italian, French and Spanish cuisines. However, cuisine is not always the deciding factor on where to eat. 42% of diners will choose their favorite restaurant to celebrate this special day. Singles however, tend to order take-out or delivery. Eater states that  pizza, wings and egg rolls dominate their orders. Do not forget about dessert. Chocolate reigns supreme on Valentine’s Day as 50% of consumers prefer some sort of cocoa treat as dessert.

This February 14th, take both singles and couples into consideration when planning your restaurant menu. Remember to incorporate a great experience for those who dine in and a carry-out option for those eating at home. As diners flock to restaurants this year, remember your customer’s needs and you will have a very successful Valentine’s Day.

Super Bowl Sunday

Super Bowl Sunday Restaurant Ideas

Super Bowl Sunday Ideas

Just a few days remain before the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots face off in the biggest football game of the year. Super Bowl Sunday almost always guarantees a restaurant crowd every year. In addition, customers almost always plan to spend a little more money than usual. ShiftPlanning’s  David Galic weighs in on Super Bowl sales and restaurant deals, as well as how to attract a crowd. Galic even discusses how to attract both the stay-at-home viewers and the non-football enthusiasts.  Whether the Falcons or the Patriots score more points this Sunday, your restaurant will still be a success!

To learn more about restaurant planning for the Super Bowl, read here.

end food waste

2017 Food Trends- Food Waste Reduction

The third installation into our Trendy Tuesday segment will focus on food waste in restaurants. Reducing waste is both a top restaurant and top concept trend predicted for 2017. In simple terms, restaurant food waste describes any food or food product thrown out in the restaurant. This waste also extends to take-out, which ends up trashed if not eaten. The skins shaved off of the potato; waste. The leftovers you don’t take home; waste. The garnish on the plate no one eats; waste. This year, restaurants and consumers both look for ways to minimize food waste.

Food Waste Statistics

Food waste divides itself into two categories: pre-consumer waste and post-consumer waste. According to the organization, End Food Waste Now, pre-consumer waste includes trimmings, spoiled food or overproduction. In contrast, post-consumer food includes uneaten leftovers or returned food; essentially any uneaten food that has left the kitchen. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that Americans waste 30-40 percent of the food supply. This equals to about 520 million tons of food from Food Waste Reductionrestaurants each year. Bottom line for restaurants; food waste can kill profit. While some restaurants compost waste, the majority end up in landfills. One might wonder why Americans produce so much waste. Simply put, food waste went almost unnoticed until recently.

Food Waste Solutions

 

Anyone from the government to the consumer can help solve the wasted food problem. In fact, the National Restaurant Association has teamed with the Food Waste Reduction Alliance, or FWRA. This partnership strives to reduce waste by increasing donations and diverting unavoidable waste from landfills. Another resolution includes keeping track of tossed plated food, helping to control portions served. This may indicate your kitchen prepares too much food for consumption.  Other solutions include composting, storing food properly to ensure it does not go bad or re-purposing food.

An increasing number of restaurants have started to re-purpose food. In addition, “leftover meals” have helped feed soup kitchens, homeless and hungry. Turning scraps into meals are an easy way to re-purpose what would have become waste. For example, broccoli and cauliflower stems taste great mashed into soups or potatoes. Crusts or day-old bread also make a great crouton. One festival, Feeding the 5,000, partnered with an environmental organization and a Michelin-starred restaurant to reduce waste while feeding the hungry. This program turned many high-end restaurants’ waste from the previous night into enough meals to feed 5,000 for free.

As 2017 continues forward, think about ways your restaurant can reduce waste. While consumers love great deals on food, they now show concern about food waste as well. Many initiatives are in place to help reduce waste and restaurants and consumers alike can take action. For more information on this topic, and how you can help reduce waste, visit www.foodwastealliance.org.

2017 Food Trends- Clean Eating

In the first segment of the four-week “Trendy Tuesday” segment we will discuss clean eating. Clean eating combines transparency, organic foods, and nutrition into one. This trend focuses more on wholesome eating rather than dieting. While many consumers have different ideas and guidelines regarding clean eating, the general idea follows a healthy lifestyle.

Clean Eating Defined

Customers crave clean eating, meaning they look for minimally processed and nutrient rich foods. A major component of clean eating is transparency; customers want to know what exactly they are eating. Transparency begins with the growing and raising methods of the product. Next, the manufacturing process put in to the product. Last, the preparation of the dish. Put simply, transparency lets the customer know exactly what they eat from farm to table. Organic foods often add to transparency clean eating in whole foodsas customers know the product contains no artificial additives. In addition to whole foods, customers are concerned about nutrition now more than ever. The clean eating lifestyle uses a great deal of whole foods; fruits, vegetables, whole grains and proteins, to give consumers the nutrients they desire.

Clean Eating Foods

As clean eating grows in popularity, many whole foods and drinks are also appearing on menus across the nation. Many customers search for protein-rich whole grains or legumes to receive protein in non-animal products. These plant sources; such as quinoa, farro and black beans, provide customers with excellent nutrition and when cooked from raw, contain only the ingredient itself. Another popular clean eating food item is coconut. Coconut has mainstreamed the US market for a few years now. In addition to coconut water, milk and oil, items such as coconut flour and sugar have hit the market. For gut health, fermentation is all the rage in today’s market. Fermented foods including miso, kimchi, sauerkraut and other vegetables are showing up on menus everywhere.

Clean Eating on a Menu

Restaurants can easily incorporate these food trends into their menus. Adding grains to a salad, or making a black bean burger easily integrates these plants into your dishes. A great way to add coconut into yourClean eating from the garden menu is through a drink. Adding coconut water to cocktails, or this year’s popular mocktail trend is a great way for customers to receive the many health benefits of coconut. In addition, consider adding fermented veggies to a shared plate or appetizer dish. Colorful fermented vegetables will also add a great visual appeal to a meat or cheese board.

Adding clean eating menu options to your restaurant will allow customers to follow food trends while sticking to their New Year’s resolutions. Stick with a transparent menu and train your wait staff on the ingredients in each dish. When possible, try to add organic or minimally processed ingredients to your restaurant’s grocery list. The more whole foods and clean foods used in your restaurant, the more customers will come back for more.

Stop Crying When Chopping Onions

Anyone who chops onions knows crying is almost guaranteed.  Some eyes are less prone to tears and some onions are less likely to cause tears. Think, less juice equals less tears. But why do we react like we just watched the ending to the Titanic every time we chop an onion? The answer lies within. Literally, within the onion.

 Chopping Onions Releases Chemicals

Onions contain an amino acid sulfoxide which releases from the onion when the cell walls of the onion break down. This breakdown occurs upon slicing, chopping or dicing an onion. When mixed with the atmosphere in your kitchen, the acid creates a compound called propanethionions_1ol S-oxide. The S-oxide is known as a tear-inducing factor, hence the stingy tears produced when onion air reaches the eyes. The tears start a sort of waterfall effect, no pun intended. As the S-oxide reaches the eyes, it converts into sulfuric acid, causing irritation. The irritation produces itching which then produces more tears, producing more sulfuric acid and so on. The waterfall effect. To keep this effect at a minimum, get that onion chopped fast.

Techniques to Stop the Tears

Through the years many techniques have developed to control the tears when chopping onions. The effectiveness of each technique varies, although some techniques work better for certain individuals than others. These methods have been tested by multiple food scientists and columnists and each article rates them a little different. Here lists a few techniques that might just keep the tears away.

1- Use a sharper knife. This technique will create sharp edges on the onion; therefore less cell wall breakage. Reviews agree that this method does not prove much effective.  2- Freezing the onion, or soaking the onion in cold water works slightly better. The chill slows down the creation of the chemicals; think how blood flow slows when cold; consequently giving you more time before the tears start flowing. 3- Possibly the most effective of these tried methods is the onion goggle. The goggles act as a barrier for your eyes, blocking the chemicals to ever reach you. Companies actually make goggles designed specifically for onions, which you can purchase on online.

Chopping Onions at the Core

Maybe these methods work, maybe they don’t, maybe you do not want to purchase onion goggles. There is yet another way to keep you from crying when chopping an onion. The S-Oxide houses itself in the core of the onion. To keep from releasing any chemicals, do not cutonions_2 the core. This method, while proven effective by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey, takes a little more effort in the cutting process. To core an onion, one must carve out the core in a teepee shape, keeping the onion intact. This takes precision to make sure the core goes untouched and you do not cut yourself in the process. Cutting out the core may take more time, but the extra minute is worth no tears.

In the end, many methods have been tested to keep eyes from watering while chopping onions. Some swear by certain methods while some believe tear production is inevitable. The only way to know what works for you is to test it out.  One thing we can all agree on is that onions add flavor to many meals, and cutting them out is probably not an option.