Very Important Beverage Professionals Chain Beverage Buzz: February 3, 2014

SaladWhat Consumers Are Looking For In Salads
Options, options, options: If there’s one theme to be gleaned from Technomic’s new Left Side of the Menu: Soup & Salad Consumer Trend Report, it’s that consumers want more options when it comes to restaurant salads. They want choices of portion sizes, and to be able to bundle salads with other items (especially sandwiches). They want a variety of dressing options, and the vast majority (90%) would be willing to pay more to add meat or seafood to a salad that doesn’t already contain it. MORE>>

MoneyHow State Minimum Wage Hikes Impact Restaurants
The federal minimum wage has again taken center stage after President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, but as the debate over raising it continues, operators must deal with the changes already occurring at the state level. Thirteen states have already increased or will raise minimum-wage levels higher than the $7.25-an-hour federal level, requiring restaurant operators to adjust to higher labor costs. At least another dozen jurisdictions are considering increases this year either at the ballot box or in their legislatures. MORE>>

BevnetFDA to Revise Guidelines of Nutrition
It’s been a decade coming, but the snail of food and beverage regulation, also known as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has at last sent revised guidelines for nutrition facts labels to the White House, according to The Associated Press. Introduced to the U.S. on Jan. 6, 1993, nutrition facts labels have long served as one of the best ways for consumers to monitor their health by what they eat and drink. MORE>>

National Restaurant AssociationRestaurateurs Seek to Help as Drought Overtakes California
As California faces record droughts, restaurateurs and other business operators as well as area residents are being asked to conserve and reduce their water usage. “There is an across-the-board awareness among everyone that we need to conserve water,” said Angela Pappas, spokeswoman for the California Restaurant Association. “Our governor has asked everyone to reduce water usage by 20 percent, and our members are taking this very seriously. Restaurants are heavy water users for a number of reasons, many of which have a lot to do with food safety.” MORE>>

TechnomicTechnomic's New Takeout Report Highlights Need for Consistency, Convenience
Today's consumers order takeout on a regular basis. In fact, more than half (51 percent) report doing so at least once a week. When consumers think of takeout, fast food usually comes to mind. However, with the exception of fast-food concepts, prepared foods from grocery stores are utilized more often for takeout than any other segment. Takeout poses special challenges for operators and catering programs, but is also an attractive way to increase unit sales, especially as the economy continues to recover. Focusing on creating products specific to takeout—not just logistics—will help grow programs. MORE>>

DiageoTougher Global Conditions Slow Diageo's First Half Results, But US Delivers 6% Growth
Challenging conditions in key emerging markets like China tempered Diageo’s results for the six months through December, its fiscal first half, but a robust 6% advance in the U.S. market helped its overall net sales rise 2% to £5.9 billion ($9.7b) for the period. Diageo’s strong performance across its U.S. spirits and wine business was driven by a 26% increase within its reserve brand stable, including Cîroc (+16%), Bulleit (+59%), Ketel One (+7%) and Johnnie Walker (+16%). MORE>>

Fast CasualAre Your Recipes Protected by Law?
Offering customers something they cannot find anywhere else is one of the best ways to entice consumers, but some restaurateurs and chefs may not realize that their "one-of-a-kind" recipes may not stay that way unless they have legal protection. That's where phrases like "trade secrets" or "our proprietary formula" come into play, said Michael James Duff of Duffy Law in Philadelphia. His firm often fields calls from restaurant owners asking how to protect their recipes after a head chef has departed, but by then, it's usually too late. MORE>>

QSRSurvey Finds More Chains to Raise Prices
America’s chain restaurants this year plan to ask customers to dig a bit deeper into their pockets, hoping to offset higher food costs and put a bit more cash in their wallets, according the latest national menu price survey conducted by restaurant supply chain co-op SpenDifference. Last year, 83 percent of the chains surveyed increased prices somewhat, while this year 92 percent are planning hikes. This year’s increases are expected to average 1.8 percent, compared to last year’s 1.65 percent. The chains predicted their food costs will go up an average 1.7 percent. MORE>>

Chili'sChili's Spices Up Menu with Eight New Fresh Mix Offerings
Known around the world for bold flavors distinctive of the Southwest, Chili's Grill & Bar is expanding the breadth of 'Fresh Mex' offerings like only Chili's can do. Beginning Jan. 20, guests can enjoy a number of new, Tex-Mex inspired menu items aimed at appealing to both Chili's enthusiasts as well as those guests looking for something different to satisfy their evolving tastebuds. Today, Chili's menu items like fajitas, quesadillas and tacos are consistent guest favorites, making up a significant portion of the brand's entree mix.

pizza marketplaceRestaurant Industry Ranks High For Mobile-Friendly Websites
The hospitality industry is best at providing mobile-friendly websites, according to new research from hibu, a provider of digital marketing solutions and websites. Hibu audited 10 industries as part of its research, and restaurants ranked No. 2 with 52 percent of websites considered mobile-friendly. Hotels and bed and breakfast websites were No. 1 with 63 percent. MORE>>


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