SugarCreek: Brandworthy Food Solutions

Jeff Cowles

Recent Posts

Sous Vide Protein Choices Make Fast Casual Service Even Better

Posted by Jeff Cowles

Nov 21, 2016 11:30:00 AM

In an era when fast casual growth is beginning to slow and the segment faces increased competition from QSRs, convenience stores and ready-to-eat grocery brands, fast casual restaurants must find new ways to regain their competitive advantage. Sous vide protein choices could be the answer.

Incorporating sous vide prep gives fast casual chefs and managers the time they need to focus on food quality, value, and overall dining experience — 3 areas fast casual outlets must get right to outperform their less expensive competitors.

Today, let’s take an in-depth look at how sous vide cooking can help your restaurant in each area.

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Topics: Sous Vide, Food Service, Fast Casual

QSR Companies Who Are Innovating the Breakfast Supply Chain

Posted by Jeff Cowles

Sep 12, 2016 11:30:00 AM

If your morning market share could use a strong cup of coffee, chances are you're slipping when it comes to breakfast. Appealing to the sensibilities of the early morning crowd's hunger is the "moving target" of the QSR industry. While lunchtime and even dinnertime palates are a little flexible, few American consumers care to venture too far afield when it comes to the day's first sustenance. That presents an interesting challenge for QSR breakfast purveyors. Not only do they have to prove themselves in the normal arenas of customer hearts and minds — variety, taste and value — they also have to prove they're a better place to spend precious minutes in a hectic morning routine.

What's an upstart chain to do in such a volatile battlefield? Look to the — pardon the pun — well-seasoned veterans of the breakfast battle.

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Topics: Food Service, Supply Chain, QSR, Breakfast

5 Finishing Touches for Your New QSR Breakfast Menu

Posted by Jeff Cowles

Aug 5, 2016 11:30:00 AM

You’ve seen how well McDonald’s and Taco Bell are performing in the morning and noticed that breakfast is the only segment of the QSR industry that is seeing growth. How can you make the most of breakfast and stand out from competitors seeking to target the same customers? The finishing touches and little details that you offer morning customers can truly make a difference. From offering customization to ensuring that your customer leaves with the right order, here’s how finishing touches can make you stand out from the crowd.

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Topics: Food Service, QSR, Breakfast

Does Your Fast Food Supply Chain Hit Consumers’ Sustainability Goals?

Posted by Jeff Cowles

Jun 20, 2016 2:00:00 PM

The speed with which the food sustainability movement captured the attention of consumers surely took many in the fast food industry by surprise and left not a few supply chain managers scrambling.

As Tove Danovich aptly wrote in Eater, “Not too long ago, people who identified as ‘vegetarian’ in the United States were often met with cockeyed stares and questions like, ‘but you can eat chicken, right?’ Animal welfare was a term applied to dogs and cats — not farm animals.”

Formerly niche food categories — all organic, cruelty-free, sustainably raised, non-GMO, gluten-free — quickly rose to the forefront of American consumer consciousness. Some of that may be attributable to Millennials’ coming of age, but is all of it?

Most likely not.

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Topics: Food Service, Sustainability, Supply Chain, QSR

Where the Fast Food Industry Can Find Inspiration for Better Supply Chain Design

Posted by Jeff Cowles

May 6, 2016 12:00:00 PM

At the store level, the many metrics that determine a QSR's success or failure are predicated on the movement of the supply chain. Most business decisions are made with the assumption that product cost and supply chain speed will remain a constant, barring any unforeseen supply or distribution issues. This stability — something of a rarity in an industry that seems to change from moment to moment — is a benefit that C-suite decision-makers are understandably reluctant to tinker with. Innovation, however, must be incorporated into any supply chain design that hopes to stay competitive. Imagine that generations past had failed to innovate. Meats and produce might still be arriving by horse-drawn carriage in sawdust-packed glacier chunks. But if change doesn’t come from within, where can the fast food supply chain — essentially unmatched in terms of speed and varietal demands — look for inspiration?

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Topics: Food Service, Supply Chain, QSR