SugarCreek: Brandworthy Food Solutions

Steve Shutte

Recent Posts

Sous Vide Protein Choices Could Help Struggling Restaurants

Posted by Steve Shutte

Nov 4, 2016 11:30:00 AM

Realistically, there are only so many proteins available to a restaurant, and so many ways to prepare those proteins in the time and space afforded to a busy commercial prep kitchen. So, what's an innovation-starved — pun intended— restaurant industry to do to woo jaded consumers? Believe it or not, the answer is actually outsourcing. When your kitchen is small, your protein choices are limited, and your prep time grows shorter as lines grow longer. The answer is to utilize the work of your suppliers to add value to your own plates.

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Topics: Food Service, Sous Vide

Sous Vide Can Be Your Secret Weapon in the Fast Food Breakfast Wars

Posted by Steve Shutte

Oct 7, 2016 11:30:00 AM

Want to serve up perfectly prepared, slow-cooked brisket sandwiches or meaty, flavorful breakfast tacos to your customers during the morning rush? The tenderness and flavor that come from hours of slow cooking may sound like a pipe dream, but Ready-to-Eat (RTE) sous vide proteins can give you an edge when it comes to breakfast. With more fast food locations than ever catching on to the breakfast trend — and the most significant (and sometimes only) area of growth coming in the morning hours — offering quality proteins in the morning can give your brand a much-needed edge.

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Topics: QSR, Food Service, Sous Vide, Breakfast

4 Ways to Make a QSR Breakfast Menu Stand Out from the Crowd

Posted by Steve Shutte

Sep 23, 2016 11:30:00 AM

It may seem like everyone is jumping into the QSR breakfast game lately. And really, that’s not far from the truth. Breakfast is driving sales industry-wide, up 2.3% in just the past year even as other dayparts falter, according to USA TODAY.

Breakfast has become an increasingly on-the-go meal, too. Just 10 years ago, only 11 percent of breakfast eaters got their meal away from home. Today? It’s up to 28 percent.

But with the rush to put breakfast on the table, we’ve seen a lot of menu copycatting. Just how many breakfast burritos can the market accommodate before consumers become bored and move on? And that’s especially a worry for companies marketing to Millennials. The current generation of young adults has shown a marked tendency to seek new tastes and new experiences — and to quickly tire of the same old, same old.

So how can your fast food restaurant stand out in the breakfast crowd and keep younger consumers interested? Let’s take a look at 4 ways you can distinguish your QSR brand in the red hot breakfast rush.

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Topics: QSR, Food Service, Breakfast

3 “Ls” a QSR Brand Must Consider Before Testing a Breakfast Line

Posted by Steve Shutte

Aug 19, 2016 11:30:00 AM

Fast food breakfast has become a tightly competitive market, especially now that many QSR chains are offering breakfast items outside the traditional bounds of the morning daypart. But consumer demand for quick, convenient breakfast foods has proven itself to be very strong. At McDonald’s, for example, all-day breakfast items reportedly now account for an estimated 25 percent of all sales. Results like those have made breakfast so attractive that many fast food franchises — even those that have never before tested it — are taking steps to enter the market.

Before launching their breakfast lines, though, there are 3 “Ls” QSR companies should consider:

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Topics: QSR, Breakfast, Food Service

Why Breakfast Should Be the First Focus for the QSR Industry

Posted by Steve Shutte

Jul 11, 2016 2:00:00 PM

No matter how — or when — you eat breakfast, chances are it is no longer a sit-down meal prepared at home. At least, not all the time. Grab-and-go breakfasts are increasingly popular with busy Millennials headed to the office in the morning. However, they are also gaining favor as snack foods with young moms on the way home after running a carpool, with anyone who needs a comforting midday pick-me-up and with professionals who need a bit of protein on the way to a late afternoon appointment.

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Topics: QSR, Breakfast, Food Service, Trends

It Pays to Be a Pioneer: Sustainability in the Fast Food Industry

Posted by Steve Shutte

Jun 27, 2016 11:30:00 AM

The growing significance of sustainability and quality fast food sourcing were the key takeaways at the recent NRA show in Chicago as consumers continue to seek out better food options for themselves and their families, even in a fast food setting. What caused sustainability to be such a great concern to the mainstream buying public, and how can a business benefit from opting for transparent, sustainable food sourcing and packaging methods? A look at the history of the business of food and the shift of consumer perception over time reveals some surprising insights.

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Topics: QSR, Sustainability, Food Service, Trends

Is a Fast Food Chain's Commitment to Sustainability a Predictor of Success?

Posted by Steve Shutte

May 13, 2016 11:30:00 AM

The fast food industry is, for the most part, present-focused. Brands gain a competitive advantage by being the first to adopt the latest trends, to work with the fastest producers. It’s all about who’s bigger, better and faster.  Sustainability, which champions a "low and slow" approach, seems better suited to the artisan pulled pork sandwiches of fast casual than the bacon double cheeseburgers of the drive-thru window. For the fast food industry, expediency will always remain a core goal in supply chain performance, but that is — almost ironically — exactly why sustainability is so important.

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Topics: Supply Chain, QSR, Sustainability, Food Service

The Modern Food Supply Chain Must Be a Waste-Reducing Machine

Posted by Steve Shutte

Apr 20, 2016 12:31:00 PM

Initiatives like sustainable sourcing have a large impact on consumers in the food industry, but focusing on incoming ingredients or products is only half of the ethical marketing equation. As much as shoppers are voting with their wallets for companies that avoid disturbing the ecosystem during production, they're also very interested in the end of the product cycle.

  • How much was discarded or used to make this item?
  • How much packaging does it require, versus how much it uses?
  • Is it packaged in reasonable, useful units to prevent spoilage during storage in warehouses and consumer homes?

These questions are only a fraction of the scrutiny that will be turned on your food supply chain in a marketplace dominated by informed consumers, so prepare your brand accordingly with these tips.

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Topics: Supply Chain

The Right Technology Checks Can Make Your Procurement a Breeze

Posted by Steve Shutte

Mar 18, 2016 11:30:00 AM

Technology has revolutionized the growing, harvesting and packaging of food products, but too often, supply chain partners treat this as a one-way benefit. In fact, gathering data to analyze and use as a forecasting tool is one of best methods for improving procurement from a retailer's perspective. Food technology can be structured to convey considerably more information than mere stock shortages. It can become a mini SWOT-style analysis for what you're doing right — and help pinpoint areas that could use a little improvement. 

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Topics: Technology, Supply Chain

Why Bacon Manufacturing Is More about Food Technology Than Packaging

Posted by Steve Shutte

Feb 19, 2016 8:30:00 AM

A single recall or health scandal can turn a household name and market darling into the low bar for their competitors, virtually overnight. Just ask a brand like Blue Bell or Jeni's. Food safety is swiftly becoming a focus and a need for informed consumers, who expect impeccable behaviors in every step of the supply chain — from the initial supplier to the final plate. Ingredient viability and safety is a vital component when they're voting with their dollar, which is why they reach for brands that emphasize trustworthy handling procedures and innovative packaging solutions. However, these two brand-boosting moves alone aren't enough to fully secure a supply chain, especially if they're applied after the fact. Recovery from a food safety scandal can be infinitely more expensive than preventative measures, which is why you need to carefully evaluate your supply chain.

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Topics: Bacon, Technology, Supply Chain, Food Safety