March 2009 Blog Posts (112)

Paying It Forward... Restaurant People Helping Eachother

I have been thinking about this for sometime now, trying to figure out how to be of use in lifting our industry and economy up from the doldrums.

I read about a business owner who, instead of cutting back the hours of his employees, paid them to go provide community service.

Another story was in a grocery line someone passed around an envelope containing $50 inviting anyone who wanted to take what they needed to pay for their groceries. By the time it went through all the… Continue

Added by Paul Paz on March 20, 2009 at 3:50pm — 5 Comments

Kogi Is Kool: How 1 Taco Truck Is Taking LA By Storm

Los Angeles has long been famous for roaming taco trucks that service the myriad neighborhoods of this sprawling metropolis, serving classic Latino fare.

L.A. is also known for its distinct Asian cuisine, which is often blended with more traditional American foods to create wonderful hybrids.

Well, now Korean BBQ, a hot food trend in America as it is, has met and melded with the classic Mexican taco to create a tantalizing blend of tangy, slightly spicy meats and sesame… Continue

Added by Caribou on March 20, 2009 at 10:33am — 1 Comment

Lots of Choice Beef

The chart of the week is the change in select and choice cattle slaughter during the first two months of this year. As one can tell, choice and prime cattle slaughter have been notably above prior year levels. Now that may seem surprising to some. After all, through March 15th, the USDA is estimating 2009 cattle slaughter to be 5.5% lower than the previous year. So how can choice and prime cattle slaughter be up 5%? Good question. Roughly 77% of the makeup of total slaughter are steers and… Continue

Added by David Maloni on March 20, 2009 at 6:43am — No Comments

Idle Thoughts On The History And Future Of Franchise Finance

About two weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal had a rather alarming article about the rising problems in the franchise finance world. Using data from the SBA and Coleman Report, which is a trade publication focused on the lending industry, the Journal reported that the number of defaults by franchisees rose 52% from the prior year, and the amount of loan losses involved rose 167%.

There are several important clarifications to mention regarding this report, before discussing its impact… Continue

Added by Rod Guinn on March 20, 2009 at 6:00am — No Comments

And the Winner is...? 7 keys to winning business awards

Cuzini, the Srindian Fusion restaurant based in Crawley-by-Gatwick competed with some of the largest companies in Greater Gatwick to win the coveted Innovation in Marketing & PR category of the Gatwick Diamond Business Awards at a glittering ceremony at the Gatwick Hilton, hosted by celebrity guest speaker Declan Curry, the BBC presenter… Continue

Added by Alan 'Brand' Williamson on March 19, 2009 at 11:56pm — 1 Comment

Keep It Simple Stupid!

*Please be advised that I am not calling anyone stupid.

As we look for ways to cut cost and increase revenue, look for the simplest solution. It could turn out to be the million dollar winner.

To quote an old adage:

"An inventor spent 1.5 million dollars to invent a pen for NASA to use so that Astronauts could write in space..."
"The Russians used a pencil"

Added by Leslie Howard on March 19, 2009 at 10:06am — 5 Comments

So..You wanna be in the Restaurant Business

Okay, let's not Sugar Coat this...Why does this particular segment of commerce attract so many Failures? Everyone thinks they can run a Restaurant better than the next person, every mans Job seems easier to the person who never did it before. I've met so many of these people in my career, as did most of you. We shake our heads in wonder and repeat ourselves over and over, "Did he just say, he spent $3 Million on this Place?" Then you eat there and the Food.."BLOWS." This is the beginning of the… Continue

Added by Chef Joe DiMaggio, Jr. on March 19, 2009 at 9:51am — 18 Comments

Blog Report from the International Boston Seafood Show, March 2009

The City of Boston is a nice town to visit in the spring. Every year, in mid March, people from all over the world come here for two reasons; St Patrick's Day and the Seafood Show. Buyers and sellers of all things fish come together to tell each other mermaid stories.

I arrived on Saturday morning to clear skies and temps in the mid 50's. Not bad for a New England late winter day.

Here's a view of the city from the airplane prior to landing…


Added by Steve Paterson on March 18, 2009 at 11:50pm — 21 Comments

Southern Oregon Wine Is the Real Deal

A number of Willamette Valley's most prestigious winemakers -- like Ken Wright (pictured below), Lynn Penner-Ash (left), and Laurent Montalieu -- have been crafting Southern Oregon sourced wines for years.

You may think this has been just for "fun,"… Continue

Added by Randy Caparoso on March 18, 2009 at 6:30pm — 1 Comment


Check out this interesting blog from the People Report on the current trend in job loss and the exodus of workers from the food industry into other industries, most specifically the growing segments of health care and education.

Now keep in mind the job loss in the restaurant industry is specifically due… Continue

Added by Andy Swingley on March 18, 2009 at 6:24pm — 8 Comments

I feel so sorry for this poor guy

A friend of mine told me a franchisee he knows recently opened a restaurant with 30 seats. This restaurant costs 450K and the owner’s rent is 8K per month. He asked me if I thought this restaurant, with an average per person ticket of $10 could survive? I unhesitatingly answered no.

One does not have to be a financial genius in understanding these numbers simply do not work and yet for some reason this franchisee, with more than likely the aggressive prodding of his franchisor, made… Continue

Added by Mark Frank on March 18, 2009 at 4:36pm — 4 Comments

Performance Based Bonus

I have to admit I'm stumped over this entire bonus issue with AIG and that ilk. As a restuarateur and Chef my bonus came when I performed a service leading to increased profit or by exceeding expectations.

How can I hand out bonuses for underachievement and expect my staff to aspire to improve their performance? It seems to me that rewarding mediocrity, and even failure, (golden parachutes), sets us up for a devastating catastrophe.

If a… Continue

Added by Paul Green on March 18, 2009 at 6:59am — 3 Comments

The world is coming to an end, Part 2

A while ago, I wrote a blog post entitled 'The World is coming to an end - turn off your TV," about the pervasive negativity coming from our mainstream media.

I've been thinking lately that the world - at least the world as we know it, probably is coming to an end and in fact, already has. Look at all the buzz words today that would not have resonated five years ago -"going green," "organic," "sustainable" and many more. Look at the new emphasis on frugality, conservation, helping… Continue

Added by susan holaday on March 18, 2009 at 4:18am — 3 Comments

IHOP Hopping on Coffeehouse Trend

Flip, sip, enjoy, says IHOP Cafe.

I love surprises when it comes to new restaurant concepts. Last week I was buzzing around suburban San Antonio looking for what's new in supermarket delis when BAM! I caught a bright royal blue awning hanging over a brightly lit strip mall-based store with a strange sign called "IHOP Cafe."

While IHOP has been making news of late with funny-faces and free pancakes across the country to compete with Denny's Grand Slam it hit two days after… Continue

Added by Christopher Wolf on March 17, 2009 at 11:04am — 2 Comments

Shrink with Morgan Stanley - or not

A securities analyst for Morgan Stanley (remember them?) recommends that restaurants shrink now.

I'll try to rise above the difficulty I have listening to Morgan Stanley these days after their… Continue

Added by Erle Dardick on March 17, 2009 at 9:54am — 3 Comments

Elevating Women Leaders in the Foodservice Industry

I’m here in Dallas at the Women’s Foodservice Forum Convention and learning a lot. Last year was the first time I had attended the event...check out my Top 10 Blog Recap from 2008.

I’m becoming a huge advocate of the organization and I love their mantra, “Elevating Women Leaders.” I'm taking full advantage of the smorgasbord of Strong Successful Women Mentors. As would be expected, attendance is down… Continue

Added by Amanda Hite on March 17, 2009 at 8:45am — No Comments

It all makes sense

Often I get the chance to challenge my editors to the theory of Fast Casual. Is it a segment or is it something even more? Many of my years tracking this segment were dedicated to the differentiation of itas it deals with challenges like its competitive counterparts of QSR and Casual Dining.

The real test of a segment often involves the awareness level of a consumer, how they perceive the segment, how they address it and how they interact with the segment. QSR is clearly identified… Continue

Added by paul barron on March 17, 2009 at 5:25am — 1 Comment

Real Roots Irish Isn't Corned Beef - It's Hedgehog

Archeological evidence shows nomadic people in what we now call Ireland over 8,000 years ago, with agricultural development beginning in the Ceide fields of Mayo County aronnd 3,000 later.

A History of Irish Cuisine at Ravensgard .org relates the following:

If any attempt is made to record the history of Irish Cuisine and diet it should start with the use of the cauldron a large three legged pot which was… Continue

Added by Paul Green on March 17, 2009 at 2:25am — No Comments

Can Employees Be Friends With the Boss?

Doing an assignment for a class I came across this article. I found it interesting and decided to share it.

Can Employees Be Friends With the Boss?

By Tom Rath

Published 09/3/2007

When compared to time spent with relatives, children, customers, colleagues, or bosses, time spent with friends is rated as being the most enjoyable, according to a recent study. On average, time spent with a friend ranks even higher than time spent with your spouse. How could… Continue

Added by Daniel on March 16, 2009 at 7:33pm — No Comments

What can FOH staff do to help reduce food costs?

Much I have read about saving on food costs deals with purchasing and portioning.

What can FOH do to help reduce food costs?

I read that in restaurants there is about a 30% waste factor of food thrown out because diners don't eat the entire meal.

My experienced observation tells me that a number of wasted products could have been saved if the waiter had mentioned this option when taking orders., "Bye the way, our burgers come with tomatoes, lettuce, pickles,… Continue

Added by Paul Paz on March 16, 2009 at 10:12am — 3 Comments

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Social Wine Club for Craft Wineries


Kids LiveWell atwitter over Twitter party

In its continuing effort to promote more nutritious and flavorful children's menu options, the NRA will hold a Twitter party  -More

Starbucks could become top on-premise wine seller in U.S.

Starbucks is planning to slowly expand its evening sales of wine, beer and small plates to thousands of selected stores throu -More

The evolving nature of snacks

Snacks have shifted from an after-school treat to a meal alternative as meal times become more fragmented.  -More


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National News

Wahlburgers Announces Expansion Plans Including Franchise Agreement in Philadelphia

Wahlburgers has signed a franchise agreement with Hingham Associates, LLC that will bring five Wahlburgers to the metropolitan Philadelphia area over the next several years. The franchise group is actively looking at sites and is targeting a late 2014-early 2015 opening for its first restaurant.

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. First Quarter 2014 Revenue Up 24.4%

Comparable restaurant sales increased 13.4% - Restaurant level operating margin was 25.9%, a decrease of 40 basis points

Jamba Juice Announces Grand Opening of New St. Louis, MO Location

Jamba Juice Company announced the brand’s continued expansion in the St. Louis market with the opening of a Jamba Juice® store at 11477 Olive Blvd. on April 16, 2014.

Expert in Real Estate Analytics Joins Luna Grill

Luna Grill, the San Diego-based Mediterranean restaurant chain, is welcoming retail real estate industry veteran Greg Thorburn to its leadership team. Thorburn has been brought on board to fill the newly created position of Vice-President of Real Estate.

Rita's Italian Ice Awards Area Development Agreement for Kansas

Rita's Italian Ice has awarded franchise and area development agreements for Kansas and the Kansas City area, which extends to the Missouri side of the city, to franchisees and local residents Jay Miller, Jeff Miller and Pat Reilly.


If you are looking for capital to start or grow your restaurant, create the next 501c3, develop and launch the next app for the restaurant industry,or want to help your peers in some meaningful way, we want to know about it.


TED: Matthew Carter: My life in typefaces - Matthew Carter (2014)

Pick up a book, magazine or screen, and more than likely you'll come across some typography designed by Matthew Carter. In this charming talk, the man behind typefaces such as Verdana, Georgia and Bell Centennial (designed just for phone books -- remember them?), takes us on a spin through a career focused on the very last pixel of each letter of a font.

TED: Jeremy Kasdin: The flower-shaped starshade that might help us detect Earth-like planets - Jeremy Kasdin (2014)

Astronomers believe that every star in the galaxy has a planet, one fifth of which might harbor life. Only we haven't seen any of them -- yet. Jeremy Kasdin and his team are looking to change that with the design and engineering of an extraordinary piece of equipment: a flower petal-shaped "starshade" that allows a telescope to photograph planets from 50,000 kilometers away. It is, he says, the "coolest possible science."

TED: Norman Spack: How I help transgender teens become who they want to be - Norman Spack (2013)

Puberty is an awkward time for just about everybody, but for transgender teens it can be a nightmare, as they grow overnight into bodies they aren't comfortable with. In a heartfelt talk, endocrinologist Norman Spack tells a personal story of how he became one of the few doctors in the US to treat minors with hormone replacement therapy. By staving off the effects of puberty, Spack gives trans teens the time they need. (Filmed at TEDxBeaconStreet.)

TED: Jennifer Senior: For parents, happiness is a very high bar - Jennifer Senior (2014)

The parenting section of the bookstore is overwhelming—it's "a giant, candy-colored monument to our collective panic," as writer Jennifer Senior puts it. Why is parenthood filled with so much anxiety? Because the goal of modern, middle-class parents—to raise happy children—is so elusive. In this honest talk, she offers some kinder and more achievable aims.

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