Twenty years ago, a foodservice operator could take a chart of the cheese market and overlay year after year in order to predict the cost for the next few months. Fast forward to cheese trades at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) plus an expansion to a world dairy market and predictions are a difficult science. Read more »
I live in one of the most spectacular areas in the country for hiking. Northern California is loaded with well-maintained hiking trails but the foothills of Mt. Tam (home to Muir Woods) is truly the top of the heap. With spring fully settled here, I headed out this morning to explore some new terrain. After losing myself in thought for a while, my brain stubbornly focused on work and business planning. It was then I saw the correlation to hiking and running a business. Read more »
BREAKING NEWS – JUDGE OVERTURNS NYC’S SODA BAN – calls new law “arbitrary” and “capricious”
March 12th the New York City’s ban on large, sugary drinks is scheduled to go into effect. Last September, I wrote a blog pointing out the policy failures and big brother thinking of this legislation. Today I want to update the issue.
To review, Mayor Bloomberg and the NY City Health Department, introduced a law that restaurants are not allowed to sell soda over 16 oz. Retail grocers are not affected, just restaurants. The law’s intention is to curb obesity by limiting the number of calories a person can buy at one time. Obesity is (pardon the pun) a huge issue in our country and we should praise the good mayor for addressing it. Their solution, banning large sodas in restaurants, however, is beyond foolish. Read more »
In 1974, I was busing tables in a steak house when the manager called me in to her office and said I was getting a promotion to dishwasher. It was a proud moment; my hard work was recognized and my performance rewarded. It set my teenage feet on a path of accomplishment that remains to this day.
A month after my promotion, the minimum wage was raised from $1.80 to $1.90 per hour. My 15 hours a week now netted an additional $1.50. The reward of the promotion endured, the buck and a half did not, and that is what is wrong with the government setting the price of labor. Read more »
If you study the history of pizza’s success in America, it is really a history of the success of America’s factories. Sure, there was pizza in NY, but the real mainstream success occurred around the Great Lakes. Auto production was booming in the 50’s and spawned hundreds of other factories, parts manufactures, machine tools, but also washing machines and refrigerators as America flexed its industrial muscle.
The “Big 4” have their roots in Detroit but also in Louisville, the home of General Electric’s gigantic Appliance Park. In the early 1950’s, Appliance Park was so big, it had its own fire department and zip code. There were 16,000 workers building 60,000 appliances per week. Employment peaked at 23,000 in 1973 and began a steep decline after. Offshore manufacturing became the rage in American business and factory workers lost jobs and income. Pizza’s meteoric rise was over and since, a saturated business continues to sputter along. Read more »
This past weekend I attended the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. After 25 years, I still come away amazed at the variety of foods and the passion of the producers.
Last year, Americans spent $677 billion on food from grocery stores and $641 billion in restaurants. For many years, foodservice grew faster as busy consumers paid restaurant operators to do more of their cooking. The current recession has seen retail take back the growth as unemployed and frugal consumers shopped more versus dined out. The Fancy Food Show is a chance to see consumer trends in retail and predict how foodservice may be impacted going forward. Here are a few: Read more »
The New Year is a perfect time to see your restaurant through a fresh set of eyes. When you are in your operation day after day, little things sometimes go unnoticed. In these days of consumers’ food safety concerns, you cannot afford to have customers think that a lack of attention to your dining area or restrooms is a reflection of your kitchen’s cleanliness. Clean bathrooms might be the most important marketing job in your restaurant. Consumers consistently site dirty bathrooms as the primary reason for not returning to restaurants. Read more »
Holiday season can be a mixed blessing. Even during the best of economic times, “The Holidays” pose daunting pressures to see all of our friends and family, attend all the parties, buy all the gifts, and send all the cards.
A wise man once said, “The unexplored life is not worth living.” On New Year’s Day will it be “business as usual” or do you plan to ”explore” how to be different and better for you and your company? Read more »
It started a few weeks back when the owner of Chick-fil-A expressed some personal opinions regarding the definition of marriage. The company’s chief executive, Dan Cathy, believes that marriage should be between a man and a woman. A group of Gay Rights supporters suggested a boycott of all Chick-fil-A restaurants. An equally strong group of traditional marriage supporters organized an “appreciation day” where traditional marriage believers would eat at the chicken restaurant to show support.