Adding Ethnic Foods to Your Menu

An insightful post from Technomic. Although it’s specific to Canada it resonates with any restaurant that may be anxious about adding supposedly exotic menu items.

A key finding of the Canadian Ethnic Food & Beverage Consumer Trend Report. According to the study, unfamiliarity with ethnic foods is the biggest impediment to consumers trying new cuisines from beyond Canada.

Most intriguing was “Interestingly, younger consumers are more likely than older consumers to say a lack of a description on the menu dissuades them from trying ethnic foods or flavours. Perhaps that is because Millennial and Gen Z customers are so accustomed to having information they need readily accessible at all times on smartphones and tablets. The unknown appears to be a big turnoff for this demographic.”

You can read the entire post here.

The world outside the restaurant business

Yes, the restaurant business can force us to keep our heads down and just plug away. But it’s super important to keep up with the world outside. What’s happening with food delivery services? Where do you need to position yourself in this new market. And are those customers my customers? Where is it all heading and how will my business play a role in it? So read on from the WTF? Blog (What’s the Future of Work):

In the new world of on-demand everything, you’re either pampered, isolated royalty — or you’re a 21st century servant.

The world outside

The company meeting, where poetry ruled

Sitting in a company meeting I realized our ages span from 26-62, converse and inverse. And our conversations often revolve around pop culture, not just contemporary but reminiscenses. And so it is that several of us were thinking about current chef rock stars and wondering aloud who were the non-rock, rock stars of the 1980’s.

Not yet chefs, but poets. Yes, indeed, Thom Gunn, Anne Sexton. Full of energy, and fury, highly personal, confessional, dealing with subjects majestic and forbidden.

So, take a little break and read a poem for a moment!

Two dumpy women with buns were drinking coffee
In a narrow kitchen—at least I think a kitchen
And I think it was whitewashed, in spite of all the shade.
They were flat brown, they were as brown as coffee.
Wearing brown muslin? I really could not tell.
How I loved this painting, they had grown so old
That everything had got less complicated,
Brown clothes and shade in a sunken whitewashed kitchen.

But it’s not like that for me: age is not simpler
Or less enjoyable, not dark, not whitewashed.
The people sitting on the marble steps
Of the national gallery, people in the sunlight,
A party of handsome children eating lunch
And drinking chocolate milk, and a young woman
Whose t-shirt bears the defiant word WHATEVER,
And wrinkled folk with visored hats and cameras
Are vivid, they are not browned, not in the least,
But if they do not look like coffee they look
As pungent and startling as good strong coffee tastes,
Possibly mixed with chicory. And no cream

CostGuard and the Don Bosco Hotel

We are extremely proud to announce that we are sponsoring the food service software education program  at the Don Bosco Hotel in Sihanoukville, Cambodia.

The program takes in 100 orphaned and under privileged Cambodian youth per year and trains them for two years in hospitality. Upon graduation they are all guaranteed jobs in 4 & 5 star Hotels. They are taught Front Office, Housekeeping, F&B and Culinary skills with the addition of English, and tourism.

The one part of their program that they found missing was food costing using the most up to date software. And we are happy that we’ve been able to provide it!

Having traveled in South East Asia we were struck by the high quality of hospitality in hotels and restaurants. And we’d like to think we’re helping the Don Bosco students become prepared for working in 21st century restaurants and hotel kitchens.

Restaurant Mangement Part II

Standards and Consistency

Repeat business is our lifeblood. Customers come back again and again because they like your food, atmosphere, and service all the time, not just that one time. Specials are a great draw, but make sure the persillade on your regular rack of lamb always has the same amount of garlic and parsley. The guy who comes in every Wednesday after work wants the Old Fashioned he’s used to, not a fruity concoction thrown together by a budding mixologist. Set your standards and enforce them rigorously.

Compromising our Standards

A busy restaurant has more in common with a Roman gladiator arena than with a corporate offices. We work with live ammo and there are no time outs. We have a limited amount of space in our heads and it can be tempting to sacrifice the standards we worked so hard to implement in the name of speed and efficiency. But if tonight we decide not to notice that Julie didn’t set the forks the proper distance from the edge of the table, how soon until we decide not to notice that she stopped smiling when thanking customers? How soon until we decide that medium is “close enough” to medium rare? That the bathrooms are “clean enough for a Monday”?

Restaurants Management: Letting the Urgent Crowd Out the Important

Restaurants exist in a state of entropy.

There’s always a leaky toilet, messed up veg order, hungover waitress, or broken oven that we need to deal with RIGHT NOW.

We can spend all day staving off these unanticipated bits of chaos while letting the big picture stuff get pushed farther and farther down our to-do list because strategic planning and financial analysis don’t give us the same sense of urgency.

The problem is that while we’re elbow deep in a grease trap, our business is stagnating. Independent restaurant operators are a tough, proud group of people who usually came up through the ranks. It can make us feel soft and weak to hide in an office while other people do the “real” work. But unless we’re protecting and growing the business from above, they won’t have any work to do at all.

Who we are following

No matter how long you’ve been in this business, it’s energizing to learn and connect with what’s new. We’re guessing you don’t have time to scour the internet either. That’s what we’re here for!

Today’s tip:

The James Beard Foundation Why? Because they run Chef’s Boot Camp for Policy and Change. It’s how members of the food service industry can make their mark.

From their website (see link above):

The Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change provides a unique opportunity for civically and politically minded chefs to become more effective leaders for food-system change. During thematic retreats around the country, participants receive advocacy and media training while learning about important issues, challenges, and opportunities facing the food world. The goal is to build a growing network of like-minded chefs, provide support for personal interests and passions, and give tools and guidance that will help them act as influential advocates.

Back of the House and food costing

You need superpowers if you are in the food service business. No doubt about that.

And you need tools to help you acheive that superpower status!

There are thousands of apps out there, so how do you sift through everything to find the most useful ones for you?

That’s why we read blogs! With that in mind I’d like to share this link to Zapier’s blog post

10 Unsung Apps that Help You Write Better, Organize Work and Track Progress.

Learning about even one app that can relieve you of some responsibility or make remembering an easier task is a boon to your workday.