Wood-fired cooking goes back to early man. You might say that the smoky, delicious flavor from a wood-burning grill is in everyone’s DNA. Wood-fired cooking remains alive and well today. Chefs can — and do — cook almost anything over a flame, from steaks on the grill to paella in a skillet. Restaurateurs continue to cash in on diners’ love affair with the taste and theater of the open-fire process.
Ask any corporate executive to name big, lose-sleep-over issues, and it’s likely that finding and retaining quality employees loom near the top of the list. Over the past couple of decades, companies have addressed those two perennial challenges in part with benefits and perks that make old-school insurance and retirement packages seem downright fuddy-duddy in comparison.
Purchasing custom equipment can be a great way for operators to get exactly what they need. If the design of a custom piece isn’t well thought-out, though, an operator could end up with an expensive, underperforming unit that’s difficult to repair and/or replace.
An older building may be replete with charm or in just the right neighborhood for your restaurant’s demographic, but it can also present supersized challenges. That’s especially true when it comes to the kitchen, where new installations in adaptive reuse projects and even seemingly simple renovations of existing facilities can leave operators months behind schedule and hundreds of thousands of dollars over budget if those challenges aren’t understood and planned for well before construction begins.
Global flavors are on the tip of every foodie’s tongue. Younger Millennials and Gen Z continue to drive demand, according to Technomic’s Consumer Trends report. Boomers are not far behind, looking to treat
tired palates with novel tastes.
Food may have the big name-making potential, but any restaurant operator will tell you that when it comes to adding energy and boosting profitability, the bar is the star. Markups and margins on liquor are exponentially better than those on food. What’s more, liquor isn’t perishable, and a tight team in a relatively small amount of space can run a highly profitable bar.
Rutter’s Farm Stores, a c-store operator with 70 locations in central Pennsylvania and West Virginia, has a longstanding history with foodservice. The chain bills itself as the oldest vertically integrated food company in the country with its roots in agriculture, which became a still-operating dairy operation and eventually added its first c-store in 1968.
Restaurants and foodservice operations of all types are becoming more interested and active in food waste reduction. However, one might argue that noncommercial foodservice operators — those in the college and healthcare sectors, especially — have led the charge. That’s based on the fact that they tend to produce the greatest amount of waste compared to others and realize the impact they can have on the environment by reducing that amount.
By mid-summer, 2018 had already been a busy year on the food-safety front. Hit with a long list of recalls and high-profile outbreaks from a variety of sources — romaine lettuce, precut melon and veggie trays, fresh eggs, a cereal brand and McDonald’s salads among them — industry and consumers alike were reminded that victory remains elusive in the battle against foodborne illness. Despite today’s more sophisticated systems and increased regulation, pathogens, pests and other substances harmful to human health continue to make their way into the food supply.