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

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JOBS & CAREERS

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National News

Domino's Pizza Announces Second Quarter 2014 Financial Results

Domino's Pizza, Inc. (NYSE: DPZ) announced results for the second quarter of 2014, comprised of strong growth in both same store sales and global store counts, which resulted in 17.5% EPS growth, or 67 cents per share.

McDonald's Reports Second Quarter 2014 Global Comparable Sales Flat

Global comparable sales were relatively flat, reflecting higher average check and negative guest traffic in all major segments - Consolidated revenues increase of 1% (1% in constant currencies), benefiting from expansion

Huddle House Diner Franchise Expands Into New Jersey

Huddle House recently announced its 10-unit deal in Long Island and has now signed an agreement with an experienced multi-unit investor to build six restaurants across the bridge in Northern New Jersey. Huddle House previously extended only as far as West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. Second Quarter 2014 Revenues Up 28.6%

Comparable restaurant sales increased 17.3% - Restaurant level operating margin was 27.3%, a decrease of 30 basis points

Tava Indian Kitchen Appoints Jeremy Morgan As New Chief Executive Officer, Announces Expansion Plans

Tava Indian Kitchen, the Bay Area's rapidly expanding fast casual Indian restaurant concept, announced that Jeremy Morgan, formerly SVP of Marketing and Consumer Insights for Smashburger, has been appointed to the position of Chief Executive Officer.

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: Ze Frank: Are you human? - Ze Frank (2014)

Have you ever wondered: Am I a human being? Ze Frank suggests a series of simple questions that will determine this. Please relax and follow the prompts. Let's begin …

TED: Heather Barnett: What humans can learn from semi-intelligent slime - Heather Barnett (2014)

Inspired by biological design and self-organizing systems, artist Heather Barnett co-creates with physarum polycephalum, a eukaryotic microorganism that lives in cool, moist areas. What can people learn from the semi-intelligent slime mold? Watch this talk to find out.

TED: Shih Chieh Huang: Sculptures that’d be at home in the deep sea - Shih Chieh Huang (2014)

When he was young, artist Shih Chieh Huang loved taking toys apart and perusing the aisles of night markets in Taiwan for unexpected objects. Today, this TED Fellow creates madcap sculptures that seem to have a life of their own—with eyes that blink, tentacles that unfurl and parts that light up like bioluminescent sea creatures.

TED: Nikolai Begg: A tool to fix one of the most dangerous moments in surgery - Nikolai Begg (2013)

Surgeons are required every day to puncture human skin before procedures — with the risk of damaging what's on the other side. In a fascinating talk, find out how mechanical engineer Nikolai Begg is using physics to update an important medical device, called the trocar, and improve one of the most dangerous moments in many common surgeries.

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