Posts in December 2013
Word on the street is that food prices are expected to increase. Between June and October of this year, international food prices declined, though they are still close to all-time highs and tend to rise over the years, according to the World Bank. Every year, food prices naturally fluctuate for a number of reasons. Fuel prices and weather conditions are huge factors affecting the food costs of ingredients. As fuel prices go up, transportation costs of wholesale produce and other ingredients go up. This factor tends to change frequently, effecting market prices starting up to six weeks later. Weather conditions have generally been relatively predictable. However, recent years have shown drastic changes in the typical weather of many regions, decreasing the yield of raw ingredients and therefore increasing food costs. In order for food businesses to maximize profits moving forward, they will have to strategize how to save money on food or reduce their expenses.
Becoming a Green Restaurant
Off-peak hours are those awkward times in the day or early evening when there are barely any customers. These hours can be expensive for food businesses since kitchen and wait staff will be paid for their time regardless of the amount of work. Here are 5 tips on how to make the most of the off-peak hours to increase restaurant business and profit:
1. Offer Restaurant Deals
Everyone likes a good deal, making offering restaurant deals one of the best ways to increase restaurant business during typically slow hours. Offering discounts such as “happy hour,” prix fixe, or business meals during hours projected to have low restaurant traffic can draw customers who enjoy good restaurant deals.
2. Throw Special Restaurant Events
For the stuffing
- 2 red bell peppers, roasted and seeded
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 leek, cut into 1/4" pieces (white part only)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 30 spinach leaves
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 1/2-pound flank steak
For the crust
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- 8 medjool dates (pitted)
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 4 tablespoons fresh grated horseradish
- 4 oz olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
For the stuffing
Take the bell peppers and place over an open flame until charred. Rotate it until the whole bell pepper is black. Allow the pepper to cool before removing the skin and seeds under running water. Rough chop the pepper into 1/4" chunks.
Preheat the oven to 425°. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the leek and garlic and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper and cook for another 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the rosemary, parsley and season with salt and pepper. Let cool.
Pound the steak until 1/4 inch thick. Lay out on a cutting board with the long side facing you and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the spinach leaves flat on the meat so it covers all the surface space. Place the roasted pepper mix evenly over the meat, leaving a 1-inch border all around. Roll the meat away from you into a tight cylinder, tucking in the filling as you roll.
Make the crust: Pit the dates and place in a bowl. Pour hot water over the dates to soften them (2-3 minutes. You don’t want to let it sit too long or it will kill the sweetness. Drain the water and rough chop or macerate the dates with the side of your knife. Mix the breadcrumbs, corn starch, parsley, dates, horseradish, olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste in a medium bowl until mixed thoroughly. Press the breadcrumb mixture over the top and sides. Tie the steak in four places, and make sure it’s not very tight (but will hold its shape when cooking).
Place the steak roll on a rack in a roasting pan and roast until the crust is golden and a thermometer inserted into the center registers 125 degrees for medium-rare, about 40 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and loosely wrap with foil. After 15 minutes carefully cut off the twine, then slice the roll crosswise into 1-inch pieces.
Fat tastes good. According to a study from Purdue University, people and animals can sense fat with their taste receptors, making it a possible sixth taste, along with sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami. Given the results of this study, a restaurant concerned with restaurant nutrition facts may be at a disadvantage. What many people forget when planning healthy menu options is that fat is not always unhealthy. In fact, some fats, such as those from nuts, olive oil, avocadoes, and fish, have high nutritional value. A restaurant can take advantage of the flavor and richness that these fats have to offer, in order to cater to recent culinary trends such as healthy eating. Other foods with high nutritional value such as fruits and vegetables can be used as inspiration, together with fish, white poultry meat, slim cuts of meat, grains, and legumes to create healthy restaurant menu items.
"Superfoods" Can Raise Restaurant Nutrition in any Dish
Nuts and seeds, beans and lentils, blueberries, salmon, spinach, and tea are just
Increasing business energy efficiency and conserving water does more than just help the environment; it can also help cut significant costs. When cutting back on costs, many businesses search for how to save money on food. However, electricity and water can severely affect a business’s finances as well, and are easier to cut back on, since methods for how to save money on food sometimes require compromising on quality. Food businesses can benefit greatly being a “green restaurant,” since water and electricity are such integral part of the business, providing cooking methods, storage, and sanitary measures. Food businesses cannot afford to be stingy with their use of water and electricity, but they can apply measures that will allow them to use them wisely. There are obvious solutions that exist for every home and business, such as installing solar panels for clean energy. The investment in the solar panels now can pay off with the reduction in electricity bills, over time. However, for those businesses looking at other strategies to save them money and lower their carbon footprint, there are various other methods for how to run a restaurant efficiently that can
Restaurant managers and business owners can sometimes be at the mercy of restaurant critics. Pampering a diner simply because he/she will be writing a restaurant review can be a great source of aggravation for a business. The costs of the on-the-house dishes and pains of having to watch your every move, in order to impress, is far from pleasant. Though excellent, far-reaching restaurant reviews, especially those by a respected restaurant critic or on social media sites, may help draw new customers to a business, a negative review can deter potential customers. Sometimes, the restaurant critic does not have a particularly notable reputation, making doting upon them lead to fruitless results in the future, since their opinion will not necessarily affect readers and potential diners.
Whether or not a business respects a restaurant critic, cares about gaining a Michelin star, or feels the need to impress, it is never a positive thing to have a negative restaurant review. The first step to ensuring a restaurant critic has a positive dining experience at a venue is to identify the restaurant critic. Waiter training should include notifying the restaurant managers about any “unique” diner that does not look “typical.” Sometimes a restaurant critic will dine alone, which can be an alert to restaurant managers to bump up customer service or request that the restaurant staff pay extra attention to the diner. Restaurant staff should always exhibit top customer service skills and ensure that they have a clean uniform and mannerism. However, these customer service skills should be improved a notch if it is suspected that a restaurant critic is dining in the venue. Though sometimes a restaurant critic is not particularly prestigious among the public, making doting upon them and giving them freebies a hassle, upping the chances of receiving a good write-up, as opposed to a negative restaurant review, can make the extra effort pay off. When it comes to
The implementation of the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” is off to a shaky start, with website technicalities and low purchase numbers tainting the high hopes the government had for the healthcare plan’s first month. For the most part, the restaurant industry is nervous about the implications of the Affordable Care Act for restaurants, as one of the industries most affected by it. Some restaurant businesses are reevaluating the way they run in order to brace themselves for the financial repercussions predicted as a result of the law, and in an attempt to try keep their restaurant profits as high as possible.
Obamacare Impact on Restaurants
Obamacare will affect restaurants in a few ways. Firstly, the Affordable Care Act requires restaurant nutrition information to be printed on menus for chains that have more than 20 locations, effective six months after the FDA’s rules are finalized. This requires budgeting for new printed menus and menu boards for those not using electronic menus, and possibly
As the public leans toward food not only with more nutritional value, restaurants will have a harder time selling dishes that contain the worst aspects of restaurant nutrition: high fat, calories, sodium, and cholesterol. Some of the rising nutrition-related culinary trends are purely based on health, such as the raw food diet, while others such as vegan and vegetarian are more idealistic, and yet others are linked to food allergies, which are on the rise. Celiac, for example, is a disorder that requires eliminating products that contain gluten. However, going gluten-free has become one of the standard culinary trends, reaching even diners who are not sensitive to gluten. What these nutrition trends mean for businesses is a long list of restrictions that should be followed for at least some menu items. By offering at least one dish per restriction, restaurants can draw in more customers, increasing restaurant profit. Restaurants with healthy menu options usually already offer dishes that cater to these culinary trends. In this case, making changes to the menu to better accommodate customers following nutrition trends, is more optional.
A Dish for Each of the Nutrition Culinary Trends
A restaurant does not have to be a healthy restaurant to appease customers looking for nutritional value. Restaurants with healthy menu options are already at an instant advantage when it comes to current culinary trends and attracting customers. However, by ensuring that at least some dishes on the menu cater to nutrition-related culinary trends, restaurant nutrition can draw customers to a venue. Chefs and restaurant managers can begin the process of drafting menus that accommodate nutrition and culinary trends by listing the relevant culinary trends and selecting dishes to match accordingly. Many of the dishes
Vegan diets focus on eliminating all animal products, usually with the ideology that the food industry mistreats animals in the process of producing the foods. Vegans are vegetarians who also avoid dairy, eggs, and honey. Catering to vegan diets can be challenging for food businesses that are not vegan restaurants, since the ingredients that can be used are rather limited. Vegan diets are one of the rising culinary trends, and therefore food businesses should weigh how to appeal to those who follow the trend. On the bright side, in terms of both raw and vegan diets, most restaurants already offer foods such as salads and soups which follow the diets’ guidelines. However, with the rise in these culinary trends, restaurants may want to consider doing more to appeal to vegans.
Offering the Best for Last
The most problematic course for vegan diets is dessert. Chocolate mousse, crème brulée, cheesecake, and ice cream all contain dairy and/or eggs, making them unsuitable for vegan
With the holiday season just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about what to get loved ones and employees. Purchasing holiday gifts for chefs and culinary enthusiasts can be a piece of cake, when given a little thought. Whether looking for stocking stuffers or a larger gift for employees, or to invest in ”a gift” for a restaurant kitchen to improve functionality and quality, kitchen gift ideas from TigerChef.com can be the perfect solution. Here’s a roundup of the top 10 cooking gifts to make this holiday season special.
Ice Cream Machine
Foodies are being drawn more and more towards unusual flavor combinations. What better way to experiment with one of the latest culinary trends than to experiment with an affordable and high-quality ice cream machine at home? An ice cream machine is a novelty that most chefs do not own, both at work and at home, making it one of the best holiday gifts for a cook.
No kitchen, no matter how small, is complete without a food processor. From dough and fillings, to spreads and salad dressing, the homemade food possibilities that can be prepared with a food processor are endless. For chefs who do not already own a food processor, it can be one of the simplest kitchen gift