SugarCreek: Brandworthy Food Solutions

Olga Bitsakis

Recent Posts

2 Ways to Use Sous Vide Protein Choices in the Restaurant Kitchen

Posted by Olga Bitsakis

Nov 7, 2016 11:30:00 AM

QSR and fast casual restaurants face increasing competition from convenience and grocery stores. That’s because customers are increasingly drawn toward food they can buy and eat fast. Modern consumers are constantly on the go; they need meals ready to eat right out of the package. And quick-marts and convenience stores have learned the language that attracts them, according to QSR Magazine contributor Daniel P. Smith.

“Forget your grandfather. These aren’t even your father’s convenience stores,” Smith wrote. “There are menus touting spicy chorizo and smoked Gouda on ciabatta, baked tilapia and arabica coffee. There’s signage broadcasting terms like artisanal, organic and free range.”

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Topics: Food Service, Sous Vide

2 Restaurant Operations Objectives You Should Be Focusing On

Posted by Olga Bitsakis

Oct 21, 2016 11:30:00 AM

The very heart of a restaurant, regardless of market segment, comes down to two things: maintaining momentum and pleasing customers. Restaurant operations staff should consider these the primary goals at every single level of planning and implementation. Essentially, if it doesn't keep the restaurant moving forward or make customers happy, or if it does one at the detriment of the other, it should read as a signal that it’s time to stop, assess and fix. If moves that don't serve these goals are pushed through anyway, the negative impact on your success and restaurant safety procedure adoption isn't far behind.

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Topics: Food Service, Food Safety

4 Things Every Quick Service Restaurants Should Look for in a Breakfast Meat Supplier

Posted by Olga Bitsakis

Sep 30, 2016 11:30:00 AM

Looking to take advantage of the hot quick service breakfast market? You need a reliable vendor to supply your fast food restaurant with the breakfast meat it needs. But what should a QSR supply chain manager or chef look for in a breakfast meat supplier? Are there common characteristics that you could use to narrow the field and find the right vendor partner?

Today, let’s examine 4 things quick service restaurants should require of a breakfast meat supplier —  before they sign a vending contract.

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Topics: QSR, Food Service, Breakfast, Supply Chain

4 Breakfast Trends Fast Food Restaurants Need to Leave Behind

Posted by Olga Bitsakis

Aug 22, 2016 11:30:00 AM

Breakfast is blurring boundaries in all sorts of ways for the QSR industry. The lines between meal and snack, the time distinction between early morning and later in the day or even late night, and the frontier between old fashioned familiar tastes and new, unexpected flavors are all up for redefinition.

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Topics: QSR, Breakfast, Food Service

One Simple Test a QSR Breakfast Item Must Pass to Be Successful

Posted by Olga Bitsakis

Jul 25, 2016 12:00:00 PM


It may be an inconvenient truth for fast food chains, but no matter how appealing breakfast offerings may be, if they don't spell convenience to the customer, the resulting market share will be disappointing. In fact, this is one reason some chains are still resisting the move to add breakfast items to the menu.

If the food isn't portable enough, or if the location isn't well-suited to a "grab and go" clientele, the food is apt to languish on the shelf rather than being grabbed by the hungry crowd. And that adds little to the bottom line of any quick service restaurant.

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Topics: QSR, Breakfast, Food Service

3 Signs the Fast Food Industry Should Invest in Sustainable Sourcing

Posted by Olga Bitsakis

Jul 1, 2016 11:30:00 AM

The definition of "good" food has historically revolved around a single consideration: taste. As long as your food had the right flavors in the right proportions, facets of the fast food dining experience like the ambience or menu pricing were somewhat flexible. But the internet has been changing the face of the fast food industry for years now, most notably in marketing, so the fact that it's shaking the very bedrock of what "good" food means should come as no surprise.

While digital outreach and engagement has undoubtedly helped with cementing QSR brand identity and marketing, it's also given procurement professionals unprecedented insights into the wants and habits of their consumers. The signs are loud and clear: sustainability reigns supreme.

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Topics: QSR, Sustainability, Food Service, Trends

Panera Is an Example of Sustainable Sourcing for QSR

Posted by Olga Bitsakis

May 23, 2016 3:00:00 PM

With the rise of ethical consumerism over the past decade, many QSR companies have been scrambling to build sustainability and transparency into their supply chains. Panera Bread, which boasts an operation that is ranked among the best in the market today, offers an example of what could be done. Why is that? For one, they’ve been steadily improving their food safety practices for years. For another, they have upped their game on the consumer-facing side to promote new sales channels and same-store sales.

Here's how Panera is setting an example that other quick service restaurants are quickly starting to follow.

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Topics: Supply Chain, QSR, Food Service

Technology Empowers Sustainability in the Fast Food Supply Chain

Posted by Olga Bitsakis

May 20, 2016 11:30:00 AM

One of the biggest problems fast food supply chain managers and procurement directors have historically faced has been a lack of transparency within the supply chain. In a consumer environment in which we are seeing more demand by the day for increased transparency, the lack of knowledge about what is going on upstream is a real dilemma.

No one wants to be in the position of being caught in the middle of a social media-fired bad PR frenzy because of a supplier’s missteps or misdeeds. Companies, like Chipotle, have so far been able to stay ahead of them; other companies — Adidas, Nike and Apple for example — have found themselves in some cases behind the curve.

So how can procurement directors and supply chain managers keep better tabs on their suppliers and logistics vendors? For that matter, how can they find cheaper, more efficient and more ethical vendors? Technology offers us many capabilities that can be leveraged to do just that.

From greater visibility to better vendors, technology plays a critical role in ensuring sustainability in the fast food supply chain. Crowdsourcing software, data analysis tools and tracking technologies offer managers better top-to-bottom visibility over a fast food company’s entire supply chain.

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Topics: Supply Chain, QSR, Food Service, Technology

3 Ways the Fast Food Industry Fails at Supply Chain Innovation

Posted by Olga Bitsakis

Apr 4, 2016 11:30:00 AM

The "fast" in fast food refers to agile fulfillment and ordering as much as it does serving speed at the consumer level. One surprising place that quick service restaurants fall behind, however, is in innovation. Watch the trends and promotions carefully and you'll start to see an echo chamber of similar ideas bouncing from one major chain to the next. Additionally, while these offerings may be unique to the fast food supply chain, they're usually on the heels of the same breakthroughs in consumer-facing market segments like grocery stores.

The following are 3 ways that fast food industry often trips over its own feet in the quest to turn heads.

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Topics: Supply Chain

Transparency Will Be Your Biggest Risk Management Initiative in 2016

Posted by Olga Bitsakis

Mar 22, 2016 9:30:00 AM

Do customers have a right to know the intricate details where their food comes from and how it is grown? Increasingly, they are affirming they do by voting with their dollar, supporting and financing transparent food supply chain reporting over opaque or obscured information availability.  Additionally, food recalls and scandals have made working and moving through the food industry more perilous than ever as we approach the second quarter of 2016, which means that supply chain professionals have seen their job duties increase in weight and importance by degrees of magnitude. Risk management and meeting consumer expectations don't have to be mutually exclusive propositions for your business, as long as transparency is the goal of both.

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Topics: Supply Chain