SugarCreek: Brandworthy Food Solutions

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

3 Ways Restaurant Operations Can Improve Customer Satisfaction

Posted by Frank Barcelona

Nov 18, 2016 11:30:00 AM

No matter what the goals of your restaurant chain may be, rest assured that you won't achieve them without customer satisfaction. There's not enough volume to depend on one-and-done visitors, so each facet of the company shares responsibility for coaxing those visitors back. Smart managers understand that while most operational work is done "behind the scenes," that work has a large impact — positive or negative —on that all-important customer satisfaction metric. Operational managers at all levels need to incorporate customer satisfaction into their workflow decisions, even if their actions don't have any direct and immediate customer impact.

There are three basic areas where restaurant operations and counter-level customer service overlap.

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Topics: Food Service, Supply Chain

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: Sous Vide, Food Service

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: Sous Vide, Food Service

When It Comes to Sous Vide, Accept No Substitute

Posted by Alan Riney

Oct 28, 2016 11:30:00 AM

The complicated inverse relationship between time and flavor in quick service has spurred a number of kitchen innovations — like the conveyor-belt oven or new freezing techniques — that have been perfected over the years. With an audience of hungry customers who are low on time, but still toting high expectations, prep staff is having to work harder than ever to make their QSR chains stand out today.

Like most procurement and counter-delivered solutions in the fast food industry, for every true innovation, there's a host of pretenders to the throne, particularly when new and exciting trends emerge. Sous vide is one of those breakout game-changers, but restaurant managers must be wary. If you’re not getting the real deal, you risk falling short on both sides of the counter.

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Topics: Food Service, Supply Chain, QSR

2 Great Ways to Bring Your Restaurant Operations Up to Speed

Posted by Frank Barcelona

Oct 28, 2016 11:30:00 AM

In fast food restaurant operations, speed is everything. Customers make nearly instantaneous decisions — a long line at the drive-thru or walk-up window can mean the difference between a hungry customer pulling in or driving on to a competitor.

Menu items can’t take a lot of assembly time. Cook-to-order times can’t be very long. Asking customers to pull ahead and wait for their order to be brought out to them doesn’t work well — running orders slows down drive-thru times, and longer waits discourage repeat business. At the same time, modern consumers want fresh food prepared with premium ingredients. They want to be able to customize their orders. And they want their food at an affordable price.

So how can your QSR company stay ahead? How can it meet so many seemingly contradictory consumer demands? How can it be all things to all customers?

Let’s look at 2 strategies your restaurant could employ to speed up service, while meeting diners’ demands for fresh and inexpensive fare.

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Topics: Food Service, Innovation, Technology

Overcoming the Challenge of Managing Untested Kitchen Staff

Posted by Craig Fissel

Oct 24, 2016 11:30:00 AM

The path from your ingredient supply chain to your customer's plate is a winding one, with plenty of obstacles to overcome along the way. Balancing flavor profiles, designing an appealing menu, keeping both raw ingredients and finished dishes at the optimal temperatures — all that translates to a lot on your plate. If your kitchen is a well-oiled machine, your staff is the fuel that keeps it running, and many managers are so caught up with keeping issues like these at bay that they neglect the performance of that fuel. From sanitary best practices to sous vide, your employees should be able to handle it all without breaking a sweat, but what happens if untested staff is your only resource? There are three guidelines you'll need to incorporate into your operational approach.

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Topics: Food Safety, Food Service

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 Safety, Food Service

New Protein Choices Complicate Food Handling Practices

Posted by Jim Coughlin

Oct 17, 2016 11:30:00 AM

As customer demands for menu complexity continue to grow, the restaurant industry is struggling to implement store-level safety and handling procedures at the same speed. While the presence of meat on a fast casual or fast food menu was once the sole responsibility of the freezer and deep fryer, new ingredient options — including fresh, organic and local protein choices — have necessitated a crash course in potential food problems ranging from the supply chain to the prep counter. While an abundance of caution can needlessly drive up costs in many aspects of menu-planning, when it comes to protein sourcing and handling, it's an investment that definitely pays off.

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Topics: Food Safety, Food Service

Streamline Kitchen Operations With Sous Vide and Other New Technology

Posted by Jami Edgington

Oct 14, 2016 11:30:00 AM

The equipment you buy, the ingredients you source and even the energy your kitchen consumes all have an impact on both your bottom line and the efficiency of your operation. You can streamline your kitchen operations in a variety of ways, from making the most of the latest in appliance technology and ensuring that your pieces “talk” with each other and share data to eliminating complexity in your menu items — without sacrificing customer experience or end quality.

Some of the latest innovations in technology can be tailored to seamlessly integrate into a QSR or casual dining kitchen, while others are specifically designed with the industry in mind.

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Topics: Sous Vide, Food Service, QSR