John Dumbrille's Blog (18)

Fair or not, here they come

Dan Simons is a DC area restaurant & hospitality industry consultant and former employee of TGIFridays, The Cheescake Factory and eatZi's Market & Bakery. Dan is quoted last week in the New York Times, on the phenomenon of citizen reviews of restaurants. The customer is not only right these days, he is empowered to criticize effectively:



“Social media for business now is life or death...You could open a business and… Continue

Added by John Dumbrille on August 9, 2009 at 5:32pm — 6 Comments

Learning from Best Buy

- the company as wiki. Best Buy?… Continue

Added by John Dumbrille on July 23, 2009 at 7:10am — 5 Comments

Food industry impact of Facebook, Twitter and cel phones

Clay Shirky's recent talk to the State Department has ramifications for the food industry. Means… Continue

Added by John Dumbrille on June 17, 2009 at 12:13pm — 1 Comment

Restaurant chains and the new corner restaurant

An excellent article by Alice Julier, Professor of Sociology, makes me think of how to apply this knowledge to restaurant chains.



"Food seems like a pretty basic and obvious necessity -- everyone needs it. The problem is that in our previous incarnation as a Land of Abundance, we produced enough food to feed our… Continue

Added by John Dumbrille on February 19, 2009 at 2:39pm — 2 Comments

Givin er

Check out what Dancing Deer Baking Company is doing. (2 minute MonkeyMediaclip at the SF Fancy Food show).



Even now, and especially now in these difficult times, Trish Karter is investing her food brand equity in giving. There's something magnetic about doing what's needed, and being generous with your time and effort; if the success of Dancing Deer is any indication, the bottom line seems to know… Continue

Added by John Dumbrille on February 10, 2009 at 9:26am — 4 Comments

Leading by modeling change

This may come off as an ad for a high end, local catering company. Making an ad for them wasn't the idea, but if this video does promote them I'm OK with that.



Because - when the rules change, when the predictable doesn't work, leadership matters. And maybe leadership is most effective when people, like Out To Lunch Catering in Vancouver, quietly lead with their conviction and example - effectively modeling change for the rest of us.



Sustainability is still a significant… Continue

Added by John Dumbrille on January 19, 2009 at 6:28am — 2 Comments

My podcast with Vance

Vance Carlton, of the Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, speaks about capitalizing on untouched catering & delivery opportunities while keeping existing customers satisfied. The company is bullish about the future, and should be.

"Adding new customers each day is just something we're doing right now... A telephone podcast I did at my place of employment - MonkeyMedia - this week. Hopefully worth your… Continue

Added by John Dumbrille on November 13, 2008 at 3:30pm — 5 Comments

Driving sales with updated comfort foods

Economic downturns freak us out - the need for comfort is more deeply felt than ever. This is something operators must know.

We get comfort from two main sources, by pampering ourselves with scarce pleasures ( the drive for luxury) and indulging in familiar things ( the drive to Mom's house).



Luxury can quickly become cost prohibitive, from both the operator and customer’s point of view. Providing an experience that is purely familiar also won't do either. By going 'back to the… Continue

Added by John Dumbrille on October 30, 2008 at 12:23pm — 2 Comments

Earning liquidity, against the flow.



We all know how uncomfortable it is have our business or prospects stuck, or to feel the business wavering in uncertain times. Now's the time to be proactive.



Liquidity, in the form of capital and credit, can free us out of a current situation, allowing us to shift gears - but today, after years of being spoiled by easy credit in many sectors, we're seeing things dry up across the board. This is a deep concern, especially for companies that have little or no… Continue

Added by John Dumbrille on October 27, 2008 at 10:10pm — 1 Comment

How can we apply this to restaurants?

The idea of the "right way" to prepare spaghetti sauce or coffee has recently been smashed into a million pieces that make up an elongating tail of the market. The same can be applied to most restaurant items.



Change for change's sake can be misleading. And we will always like to bond over what is imprinted as common - for instance, a Big Mac is a Big Mac, and Thanksgiving dinner is very similar from home to home. One lesson seems to be this: there is room to be distinguished, and… Continue

Added by John Dumbrille on October 3, 2008 at 8:55pm — No Comments

Ready for menu transparency?

First it was trans fats; today Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill that enforces the posting of calorie information on menus and indoor menu boards throughout California.



Already, services like Calorie Count(TM) provide web access to nutritional information; some establishments like chicken restaurant chain Koo Koo Roo are using nutritional transparency as a selling point.



As of July 1 2009, chains with… Continue

Added by John Dumbrille on September 30, 2008 at 9:54pm — 12 Comments

Presentation!

What distinguishes casual catering from regular sandwiches or takeout is an element of presentation. In practice, the added edge can be very subtle, like nice distinct boxes, delivered by a polite staff member. But it has to be there.



Odd build up maybe for this video that shows the CREATIVE MAGIC of presenting food

...and food is, if not magical, pretty wonderful. Easy to lose sight of that. And easy to lose sight of the importance of the sensual side of presentation - in this… Continue

Added by John Dumbrille on September 26, 2008 at 2:06pm — 4 Comments

Financial markets/ how should we respond?

Like it or not, a bunch of people made an obscene amount of money doing reckless things with other people's stuff. Go figure.



Seth Godin's respone:

"And for most people, it won't matter so much. Because most of us aren't focused on flipping assets. We're building value by creating interactions that work, by writing stories that spread or by designing products and services that actually create… Continue

Added by John Dumbrille on September 16, 2008 at 5:02am — 3 Comments

Just how valuable is "expert advice"?

The example set by Fohboh is loud and clear: Facts and knowledge can only go so far. So can the words from the stars in the business. I've recently helped bring together a group of experts in deli, bakery, catering and food branding: Ari Weinzweig, Roy Bergold, Trish Karter, Michel Suas... - all willing to answer everyday questions.…

Continue

Added by John Dumbrille on September 11, 2008 at 8:02pm — 5 Comments

What happens when you ignore your customers

This hilarious video shows what might happen if customers are left to their own devices, with no interaction. The customer is not a passive "audience". At all.

Look familiar?



By Jan…

Continue

Added by John Dumbrille on September 7, 2008 at 8:21am — 1 Comment

Recipe Helper

Chefs have to introduce variety and good taste on a regular basis.



For instance, fresh sheets/specials are often about using foods you have on hand, and delivering them in a new way; for any menu item, the trick is to provide taste and variety without expanding your inventory too much, or increasing food costs.



Maybe a little geeky for some chefs, this online tool from Food for Design is actually pretty easy to use once you get into… Continue

Added by John Dumbrille on September 4, 2008 at 9:01am — No Comments

Good business for customers with food alergies: FAAN

Food sensitivity is all the rage now, with one in 25 Americans report a food allergy. A lot of business owners are wary of bending their business out of shape to accommodate small segments of the population. But if you are wondering if it's not a lot of business to go after, consider this: if the allergenic customer eats with just one other person on average, turning them away may means turning more than 1 in 13 potential customers.…

peanuts warning

Continue

Added by John Dumbrille on August 29, 2008 at 9:02am — 3 Comments

Think the market is fragile?

We’re often told that markets are fragile. But when it comes to food, the market lives on...and a train runs through it.





A story from Bangkok, via Rudy Maxa's…

Continue

Added by John Dumbrille on August 27, 2008 at 5:36pm — 2 Comments

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DEPARTMENTS

Social Wine Club for Craft Wineries

Smartbrief

Eateries turn to rationing as lime prices soar

Unrest caused by Mexico's drug cartels, along with floods in Mexico and a drought in California, are taking a toll on this ye -More

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Burger King to upgrade wireless with Whopper Wi-Fi

Burger King has teamed with AT&T to replace existing in-store wireless Internet with an upgraded system dubbed Whopper Wi-Fi  -More

Late-night indulgence pays off for Jack in the Box

Jack in the Box saw its profits rise sharply in the first quarter, a few months after introducing its $6 Munchie Meal menu of -More

JOBS & CAREERS

Posting a job or finding a job starts here at FohBoh. Call us about special $25 posting packages to syndicate across all major jobs boards.

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.

CROWD FUNDING

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 TALKS VIDEO

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.

TED: David Brooks: Should you live for your résumé ... or your eulogy? - David Brooks (2014)

Within each of us are two selves, suggests David Brooks in this meditative short talk: the self who craves success, who builds a résumé, and the self who seeks connection, community, love -- the values that make for a great eulogy. (Joseph Soloveitchik has called these selves "Adam I" and "Adam II.") Brooks asks: Can we balance these two selves?

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