Restaurant Design for 2020 and Beyond: Creativity Takes the Cake

Last updated on February 17th, 2020

Stay competitive with trending restaurant designs to enhance diners' experience.

Wondering what’s new in restaurant design for 2020 and beyond? If you own any type of foodservice, your answer should be: A lot! Indeed, savvy restauranteurs, caterers, bar managers, and even pizzerias, coffee shops, and ice cream parlors know that in today’s competitive milieu, success in the food-and-beverage industry requires much more than “keeping up with the Joneses.”

The fact is that there are bigger fish to fry if you want to emerge ahead of the pack and entice customers to not only choose your eatery but to walk through your door. With takeout and home delivery on the rise, and with the explosion of digital apps that allow customers to pre-order online, pickup without waiting, and eat on-the-go, restaurants need to work harder than ever to attract in-house crowds.

For these reasons, alluring restaurant designs are more vital than ever before and in fact may be central to business success in the coming years. Fortunately, there are many time-proven and new strategies that can keep your restaurant on the map and keep your foodservice ‘biz in the game.

Dining Spaces Redesigned

It’s a new era in the world of eating out, and food and beverage providers are rising to the challenge with innovative redesigns. While some restaurants are downsizing their dining-in spaces and changing the focus to design details that enhance their customers’ experience, others are expanding outwards, upwards, and even downwards. Think al-fresco (outdoor) dining under the stars, all-night rooftop bars, and basements-turned-hipster-hangouts with large rooms for live music and dancing. In fact, industry reports indicate that restaurants adding outdoor seating can increase their revenue by up to 33%, while rooftop bars and restaurants are flourishing around the world. Not only are they changing the face of global skylines and providing breathtaking views of the cities below, but they have become a magnet for adventure-seeking consumers, international DJs, and the best chefs and bartenders.

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Unique Fall and Winter Vegetables to Add to Your Restaurant’s Menu

Last updated on January 30th, 2020

Add these unique and largely unfamiliar fall and winter vegetables to your menu

With the fall vegetable season still in full bloom and the winter vegetable season looming, now is the perfect time for your restaurant, catering service, or other eatery to cash in on the plethora of delicious, nutritious vegetables currently available. To help your menu really stand out from the crowd, we have created a list of some the most unique fall and winter vegetables on the market, guaranteed to tweak your customers’ culinary curiosity, please their palates, and keep them coming back for more.

The selections – including shiso, fennel bulbs, crosnes, fiddleheads, celeriac, and many more – are some the most unusual, head-turning vegetables you have ever heard of. Add these veggies to your restaurant’s menu, combine them with some savvy business-boosting marketing techniques (think Pinterest and Instagram…), and what you have is a recipe for winter recipe success.

And that’s not all. If your chefs feel like they have exhausted their repertoire of recipe ideas for dishes made from run-of-the-mill potatoes, onions, squash, and other staples, it’s time to step out of the culinary box and sink your teeth into the likes of blue potatoes, tree onions, Hakerei turnips, delicata squash, Chinese water spinach, Chinese artichokes, Jerusalem artichokes, dragon carrots, black radishes, white asparagus – and the list goes on.

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Trash Fish Dining on the Rise as Chefs Embrace Sustainable Seafood

Last updated on January 27th, 2020

Learn why chefs are adding delicious, sustainable seafood, known as trash fish, to their menus.

If you work in foodservice, you are more than likely know that ‘trash fish’ and ‘sustainable seafood’ are the talk of the town in the food industry. They are also the most prolific catchphrases among fish providers, ecologists, and oceanographers these days. But do you really know what the phrases mean and what relevance they have to you and your customers?

For many, the answers to these questions still lie at the bottom of the sea Moreover, what is being labeled as trash fish (aka ‘garbage fish’ and ‘rough fish’) is probably NOT what you think it is! In fact, the term is a misnomer. So, let’s take a dive into the waters to separate the facts from the fiction and to get schooled on the latest buzz in the ‘biz.

Bycatch in the Seafood Industry

Did you know that over half of all U.S. seafood consumption comes from only three fish types – tuna, salmon, and shrimp – which are imported from outside of the United States and which are highly overfished? At the same time, hundreds of sustainable fish species swimming off local U.S. shores are being discarded by fishermen as part of their ‘bycatch’ – another trending term in the industry today. Bycatch refers to fish that are perfectly edible but that are being discarded as seafood caught ‘by mistake’ while fishermen target more in-demand varieties.

How Local Fish Are Becoming High-End Restaurant Dishes

In response, seafood providers and foodservice professionals have begun to collaborate by taking less-known, locally caught fish and turning them into high-end gourmet dishes. Leading these efforts is the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) – a global nonprofit organization established to protect wild seafood, to educate the public about the value of different fish, and to end the trajectory of labeling entire schools of fish undesirable.

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Guide to Demerara and Brown Sugar Varieties

Last updated on January 27th, 2020

Discover why you should be adding demerara and other brown sugars to recipes.

If you work in the bakery business or run a coffee shop, there is a good chance that one of your star ingredients is demerara sugar. Not only is its distinctive toffee-caramel flavor ideal for baking cakes and pastries but it has become a favorite among coffee and tea lovers who prefer its taste over other hot beverage sweeteners. The larger and grainier texture of demerara sugar crystals have also made it a popular pick among bartenders who use it to adorn the rims of cocktail glasses and as an accompaniment to brown liquors such as dark rum, bourbon, and whiskey.

We discussed maple syrup, and birch and walnut syrups as natural sweeteners in previous blogs, also rising in the popularity charts are natural brown sugar varieties such as molasses, muscovado, and evaporated sugar cane. With white processed sugars continuing to fall out of favor with consumers, now is a great time to get the full scoop on demerara sugar and its counterparts and learn how you can add them to your foodservice menus.

What Is Demerara Sugar?

Demerara sugar is made by pressing sugar cane to extract sugarcane juice. The juice is then boiled until the water has evaporated, thickening first into a syrup and then cooling and hardening. Retaining about 1%-2% of the natural cane molasses, the sugar is light brown in color and boasts a uniquely large and crunchy crystal which lends itself well for many dessert recipes and toppings.

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Naturally Sweeten up your Menu with In-Demand Maple Flavors

Last updated on October 27th, 2019

Add maple flavors to your recipes and get a sweet increase in revenues.

Maple season is back and with the falling of the leaves comes a great opportunity for your catering service, bakery, or restaurant to add maple’s sweet flavor to your customers’ favorite dishes. And if your current use of maple still falls within the ‘maple-syrup-on-pancakes-waffles-and-French toast’ paradigm, it’s time to update your recipe repertoire to maximize maple’s full palate-pleasing potential.

Maple Beyond the Pancakes

With maple’s popularity on the rise, global markets are soaring with new products such as organic maple waters that are being used as flavoring agents in foods or as a replacement for liquids called for in recipes. Meanwhile, chefs around the world are dabbling in adding the natural sweetener to sauces, toppings, desserts (think maple pecan coffee cake smothered in vanilla ice cream drizzled with maple syrup…), baked goods, energy drinks, and even cocktails.

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Beyond Maple Syrup: Discover Birch and Walnut

Discover the latest in syrups: birch and walnut, and how to add your menu.

Did you know that there are multiple varieties of syrup beyond maple that you can offer your customers the next time they order pancakes, waffles, or French toast? Although sales of maple syrup are booming, also rising to the top of the popularity charts are a diverse menu of alternatives. Birch syrup and walnut syrup, for example, are made from sap tapped directly from the tree (just like maple), while other trees that can be tapped are elder, box elder, hickory, basswood, sycamore, beechnut, butternut, and more. Thanks to technological advancements, there are also syrup hybrids such as earthy tasting maple-walnut and nutty flavored maple-birch.

To treat your customers to an expanding menu of syrups teeming with taste and nutrients, enjoy the following guide to the birch and walnut types. As you will discover, although they are made using the same tools for tapping as sugar maples, each variety boasts many unique characteristics and can be used in cooking and baking to create novel dishes and add a savory twist to your customers’ favorite recipes.

Tapping the Value of Walnut and Birch Trees

For the past decade, teams of organic tree sap specialists (such as those at the Cornell Maple Program), alongside food technologists and manufacturers, have been researching the commercial potential of tapping walnut and birch for syrup. Among their key objectives has been determining the best tapping methods (i.e. the old-school bucket-hung-on-a-tree method where gravity pulls the sap from the tree vs. the more modern vacuum tube method where tubes are hooked up to the trees with a pump); the best times of year and climate conditions; the expected sap flow and yield; the comparative sugar levels; and the value of blending sap varieties. Last on the list: Taste tests to determine the potential of the new food products. In the words of Michael Farrell, co-founder of New Leaf Tree Syrups: “Part of the fun is seeing how people like it. Everybody loves maple, and we’ll have to see how they like these.”

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An Insider’s Update on Outdoor Catering

Discover the latest ideas in outdoor catering strategies to meet demand.

Great news for caterers! With the popularity of cafes, casual restaurants, and outdoor dining on the rise, there could not be a better time to be in the foodservice business. Whether you already work in the industry, are embarking on a new career as a professional caterer, or whether you want to expand your restaurant operation by going mobile, now is the time to be in-the-know and learn how you can capitalize on the opportunities to seize the market.

The Proliferation of Catering Venues

If you are looking for a lucrative opportunity in the competitive food-and-beverage space, this is it! Over the past few years, the range of events being catered has exploded, including adult and children’s birthday parties, sweet 16 celebrations, corporate catering, sporting events, art exhibits, music festivals, street food events, beach parties, and more. Moreover, in addition to craving new culinary experiences, consumers are hungry for unusual locations that stand out from the crowd, leave an indelible memory, and that are Instagrammable to boot. While terraces, patios, gardens, and parks remain popular outdoor catering picks, some of the new kids on the block include the likes of famous art museums, landmark historical buildings, private yachts, and even the zoo!

Catering Headline News

To give you a taste for what’s been cooking on the grand-scale, elite side of catering, check out the following headline news items. Then sink your teeth into some more practical, down-to-earth tools and strategies that you can use to promote your small business or local catering company.

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Snacks Take The Food Industry by a Storm

Last updated on September 17th, 2019

Update your menu to cash in on the booming snack and all-day breakfast food market

If you’re wondering what’s new in U.S. foodservice these days and what popular items are filling consumers’ plates – well, you can start by putting the plates aside because it’s snack time, America!

Indeed, snacks have become one of the largest and fastest growing segments in the food-and-beverage biz with no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Replacing traditional meals are small grab-n’-go items, portable cups and bowls, single serving-size eats and treats, and miniature – well – just about everything.

And there’s more. The estimated $100 billion-plus snack market is anything but conventional. While the traditional fanfare is still holding its own (think potato chips, pretzels, nuts, and popcorn), the once narrowly defined market has expanded to include the likes of microwaveable soup cups, fruit kabobs, yogurt parfait cups, cut veggies, smoothies, and pancakes on a stick as consumers reach for small snacks that offer big taste and anything that can be marketed as portable. The largest percentage of snackers are Millennials at 66%, with Gen Z and Gen Xers close behind. However, since all age groups and demographics enjoy snacking, a plethora of service opportunities are now available to providers.

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