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

Report: Consumers want more protein, need more education

A majority of U.S.  -More

California Walnut Beet Carpaccio Flatbread
Jump start their appetites with this fabulous flatbread appetizer topped with beets, goat cheese, arugula and California Walnuts. For this and more great recipes, visit http://www.walnuts.org/food-professionals/trending-recipes/.

Vegetables take over dessert menus

Top pastry chefs in the U.S.  -More

Rising takeout demand drives new Mama Fu's footprint

Austin, Texas-based Mama Fu's Asian House debuted a smaller footprint unit focused on feeding a growing demand for takeout an -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

Souplantation & Sweet Tomatoes Certified As Nation's Largest 'Green' Restaurant Chain

National Group Salutes Country's Only Large Restaurant Group to be 'Certified Green Restaurants®'

National Restaurant Association and EatStreet Release Online Ordering Guide

The National Restaurant Association and EatStreet have released a free educational guide focusing on online ordering and emerging restaurant technology trends.

Boyd's Coffee Launches Single-Cup Coffees For Retail And Foodservice

The coffees come in a variety of roast levels and include organic and Rainforest Alliance Certified™ options: French No. 6®, Red Wagon® Organic Coffee, Good Morning™, Hi-Rev® (delivers more caffeine), and Lost Lake™ Decaf Organic Coffee.

Arby's Announces Development Deals With New And Existing Franchisees

ARG recently sold 14 company-operated restaurants in Tampa, FL to Mosaic Investments, Inc. (Mosaic), a fully integrated investment firm based in Atlanta. In addition to remodeling existing locations slated to commence at the end of 2014, Mosaic has committed to build 13 new Arby's restaurants in the Tampa area over the next nine years.

Smoothie King Appoints Vice President Of Business Development To Drive Brand's Expansion Across The U.S.

Prior to joining Smoothie King, Bruno served as vice president of retail sales, operations and franchise development for Fannie May Fine Chocolates, a division of 1800Flowers.com, where he oversaw a $69.5 million retail division that included 100 corporate stores and 45 franchised stores.

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: Michel Laberge: How synchronized hammer strikes could generate nuclear fusion - Michel Laberge (2014)

Our energy future depends on nuclear fusion, says Michel Laberge. The plasma physicist runs a small company with a big idea for a new type of nuclear reactor that could produce clean, cheap energy. His secret recipe? High speeds, scorching temperatures and crushing pressure. In this hopeful talk, he explains how nuclear fusion might be just around the corner.

TED: Sarah Lewis: Embrace the near win - Sarah Lewis (2014)

At her first museum job, art historian Sarah Lewis noticed something important about an artist she was studying: Not every artwork was a total masterpiece. She asks us to consider the role of the almost-failure, the near win, in our own lives. In our pursuit of success and mastery, is it actually our near wins that push us forward?

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" positioned 50,000 km from a telescope to enable imaging of planets about distant stars. It is, he says, the "coolest possible science."

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