Discover the Health Values and History of Chocolate

Fill Your Senses with Fabulous Chocolate

Wonderful, Delicious, Healthy Chocolate

Chocolate is the ultimate comfort food: we reach for it in times of stress, it improves our mood when the going gets rough, and it is downright delicious under any circumstances. Amazingly, after years of getting a bad rap, as unhealthy and high in sugar, chocolate is experiencing a renaissance of sorts and research now shows that high-quality chocolate, in moderation, is actually good for us. That’s a win-win situation for the chocoholics among us – which is pretty much everyone, right?

The History of Chocolate

In “A Brief History of Chocolate,” the Smithsonian Institute Magazine interviews Alexander Leaf, who runs Chocolate Tours of New York. As Leaf says, chocolate is “the best-known food that nobody knows anything about.” Etymologists trace the origin of the word “chocolate” to the Aztec word “xocoatl,” which was a bitter drink brewed from cacao beans. Today, the term “cacao” is usually used to refer to the plant or its beans before processing, while the term “chocolate” refers to anything that is made from the beans.

Chocolate has been around for about 2,000 years, though some experts claim that it may be even older. Recently, anthropologists discovered cacao residue on pottery excavated in Honduras that could date back as far as 1400 B.C.! In pre-modern Latin America, cacao beans were considered so valuable that they were used as currency. And the ancient Mayans and Aztecs believed the cacao bean had magical properties, using it in many rituals related to birth, marriage and death.

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Follow These Steps to Increase Your Customer Retention Rate

Maintain Customer Loyalty by Paying Careful Attention to Details

How to Keep Loyal Customers

When you first opened your restaurant, your goal was to attract new customers – to get them through the door and have them try your food. But now that you’ve established a successful business, your goal should be to maintain your customer base or, conversely, to prevent customer interest from waning. Attracting new customers is important, but keeping loyal customers may be the most important goal of all.

Return Business is Vital

Return business is the meat and potatoes of the restaurant industry. Return customers provide your business with a regular income and they can be your best marketing tool. The results of a survey, conducted among a large number of fast-food restaurants, indicated that customer satisfaction drives higher returns than food or price. The chances that a customer will return increases from 20 percent, to more than 80 percent, when he or she leaves a restaurant satisfied and happy. In addition, a satisfied customer is more likely to recommend your restaurant to friends and relatives.

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Restaurant Tech Can Boost Your Restaurant Business

Using Restaurant Technology to Highlight Your Business

Restaurant Tech: A Must in Today’s World

Although you may have started your restaurant business in the days of paper menus, paper flyers, and newspaper ads, times have changed. Technology in the restaurant industry is rapidly becoming the new normal, and you could be missing out on many benefits if tech tools aren’t yet on your restaurant’s menu. According to Toast, 79 percent of restaurant-goers say that “restaurant technology improves their experience.” In addition, restaurant operators say using technology – for back-office purposes and for relating to the public – improves productivity, increases sales, and provides a competitive edge.

What is Restaurant Technology?

In today’s digital world, restaurants cannot afford to keep their service, accounting systems, and customer interface back in the last century. Back-office operations – the part of the business that customers generally don’t see, such as bookkeeping, staffing, and food-ordering – has left the pen and paper behind, allowing technology to take over. Streamlining operations through automation and by electronically connecting all facets of the back office has saved restaurants untold amounts of money, despite the initial investment.

Similarly, restaurants can no longer depend on word of mouth and print media to reach their target audience and bring in business. In the age of smartphones and tablets, any restaurant that doesn’t take advantage of the latest technology to interface with customers, is simply losing business with every day that passes.

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How Sustainability Will Draw Customers to Your Restaurant

How to Incorporate Sustainability in Your Restaurant

Sustainability: The Sign of the Times for Restaurants

In many ways, the traditional restaurant business model is under attack from all sides. Although new restaurants are opening up every day, overall industry revenues have drastically decreased in the last few years. Parallel industries, like supermarkets and fast-food chains, are offering more health-oriented foods, forcing restaurant owners, as well, to explore original ways to attract customers. Health- and budget-conscious consumers are growing more sophisticated about demanding high-quality, fresh ingredients at low prices. In addition, the environment matters, and restaurant owners can no longer ignore the fact that sustainability is at the forefront of everyone’s mind.

Sustainability: Part of a Restaurant’s Concept

Sustainability” is the study of how a natural system remains diverse while producing everything it needs to maintain a balance. The goal of sustainability is to prevent the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain ecological stability. Sustainable food takes into account environmental, health, social, and economic concerns, and it consists of eight inter-related principles:

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Catering a Great Brunch Within Any Budget

Cater a Fabulous Brunch to Impress Your Clients and Their Guests

Catering a Fabulous Brunch – An Impossible Task?

For most of us, brunch – that blissful meal that combines breakfast and lunch – has been around forever; so long, that it’s impossible to imagine a world without this important meal. Everyone loves brunch… except, perhaps, chefs and caterers. While there is a plethora of brunch-appropriate dishes to choose from, the fact is that it’s not so simple to get this meal together on a Sunday morning, in time to lay out the spread of your client’s dreams by 11:00 (start later than that and it’s lunch), and have it continue for four or five hours – until mid-afternoon. For a caterer, the very thing that people love about brunch – its flexibility and lack of structure – is what makes it hard. The challenge is finding the right combination of breakfast foods and lunch foods (and miscellaneous intriguing additional dishes) and always keeping it interesting. A daunting task, perhaps, but by no means impossible.

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Great Food Photography is the Key to Advertising Your Restaurant

Using Food Photography to Highlight Your Business

Why Food Photography is Vital for Your Restaurant or Catering Business

In today’s world of social media, restaurants owners and caterers have no choice but to market through the Internet and social media. To stay relevant, you have to put your food on a pedestal for all the world to see. Your menu is your calling card; in a sense, it is who you are. When potential customers hear of your restaurant or business, chances are that the first thing they will want to do is see your menu – so they can start planning and dreaming about the perfect meal or event. But what can make even more of an impact – what can transcend place and language – are photographs. Food photography adds a dimension that words cannot. A picture adds color and depth, and nothing beats photos for conveying everything that is wonderful about your food.

Clichés are clichés because they are generally true and this certainly goes for the saying: “We eat with our eyes.” People love to see what they’ll be eating before they dig in. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a waiter on the way to another table with a luscious-looking  (…Read More…)

Social Media is a Marketing Tool for Your Restaurant

Successfully Market Your Restaurant Using the Internet and Social Media

Establishing an Internet and Social Media Presence to Market Your Restaurant

When it comes to marketing a restaurant or catering business the bottom line is: You can never rest on your laurels. You must always assume that the new kid on the block will usurp your place at the top of the heap, or that your loyal customer base is not a devoted as you think, and that they will desert you in a heartbeat to try out the next best thing. In other words, even if you are at the summit of the industry, you cannot assume that it will all continue – unless you give your business a continuous boost.

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Six Tips for Updating Your Restaurant Menu This Fall

Ensure that your fall menu is seasonably pleasing to diners.Not only do seasonal foods have tremendous benefits for both people and the planet, but they’re also increasingly in vogue, due in no small part to the inspiration of the White House Kitchen Garden.

In fact, consumers are showing a strong preference for all things seasonal, with CNN Money recently declaring, “Seasonal is the new local.”

As your restaurant prepares to make the shift from summer to autumn, let’s take a closer look at why seasonal matters, along with six tips aimed at helping ensure that your fall menu is seasonably pleasing to diners. (…Read More…)

Changing your Menu Often: Should You, or Not?

A constantly changing menu can keep a restaurant interesting for returning customers.

A constantly changing menu has the potential to build customer intrigue, persuading loyal customers to frequent the venue on a regular basis in order to get a taste of the chef’s new creations. However, constant menu changes require monetary investment in the form of ingredients for recipe and dish trials, and work hours for employees responsible for developing the dishes. A changing menu also presents a danger of disappointing customers who will fall in love with a dish that they know won’t be repeated in the near future. Weighing the pros and cons of having a menu that changes often should be done on a venue to venue basis in order to reach a good decision about whether or not to adopt the custom.

Why you Should

People get bored really easily. I’m sure we can all relate to that feeling of staring into a full fridge, not knowing what to eat, bored with all the options and possibilities we can think of. One cure for that could be to dine out. The wide variety of restaurants (…Read More…)

Pizza Marketing Tips

Know your strength, and don't be afraid to flaunt them for the best pizza marketing.Pizza is a top favorite dish and relatively easy to prepare, which may be why so many venues offer it on their menus. From street fare to pizza shops to fine dining venues, pizza has reached every nook and cranny of the food world. The commonality of pizza on menus emphasizes the importance of advertising and marketing in order to draw in customers and convince them that your pizza is worth a try. Here are some of our pizza marketing tips.

Know Your Crowd

Targeting the right customers is the key to drawing in business, building customer loyalty, and shaping marketing strategies in any type of business or service. Pizza is often thought of as a simple, fast food option. However, a pizza complete with pesto and well-aged cheeses, or pizza with Alfredo sauce instead of tomato sauce, mushrooms, truffle oil, and high quality parmesan can easily grace the fanciest menus. Depending on the type of pizza and the type of venue, the target customer group will change. The customer group you are trying to reach should shape your marketing plan. For example, if you are advertising a high end venue, you may consider purchasing an ad in a local paper and focusing on the restaurant itself, rather than the pizza specifically. On the other hand, if you have a casual pizza restaurant, you may consider purchasing a radio ad and creating a jingle, in order to make your number memorable for customers looking to order out. Since high end restaurants usually don’t advertise one main food item, the rest of the tips in this article will be geared towards pizza restaurants.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Out of sight, out of mind is such a common and cliché phrase because it is true. Think about the last time you decided to order takeout food from a pizza parlor just because you happened to notice their new, clean, brick oven as you were driving past the venue? For most people, the answer to this question is probably never. The truth is, when you are looking to order some take-out food to pick up or be delivered, you are probably most attracted to the most hassle-free solution. That hassle-free solution will naturally be the pizza shop which makes it easiest for you to see the menu and place your order. What this means for businesses is that offering menu handouts and business magnets can define the profit margin which the venue can potentially reach. It can place the business at the forefront of customer’s minds and dining choices. Ads on the radio with catchy jingles has been proven to enable listeners to remember the ad better, as well as the phone number sung at the end of the jingle. Placing advertisements in the local newspaper can help get the name and number of the restaurant out to potential customers as well. Even sponsoring local sports events with free pizza, while handing out a brochure with each slice, can get the name of the venue out there. Finding multiple outlets to be in potential customers’ faces as often as possible can have huge effects on the amount of business a venue receives.

Know your strengths

It’s not enough to just target your most-likely customer group and be in-your-face about your business. You must also know how to advertise and market your business to put an emphasis on your strengths and be as honest, yet attractive to potential customers, as possible. For example, if you use especially delicious homemade tomato sauce, flaunt it! If you have unique and varied toppings, make sure everyone knows it. Boast about your unconventional qualities as a business, while seeking ways to draw attention by thinking out of the box. Not so creative but offer great deals? That’s a great thing to show off as well! Having special deals such as giving away a free bottle of soda with each order of a family sized pie can be a great way to draw business. Throughout high school, my friends and I would always go to this one pizza place that had the best pizza offered at the lowest price bracket. It was always packed, simply because they offered decent food and a great deal.

Marketing your pizza is all about making yourself stand out among the more than 60,000 pizzerias in the United States. Yes, that number may be an exaggeration since the typical pizza restaurant is only up against similar venues within a certain radius from it, but the numbers do hint at cutthroat competition that can break a business. Though the would-be restaurant owner entrepreneur may dream of offering the highest quality food possible, the market sector has shown time and time again that it is often worth compromising partially on ingredient quality in order to invest the money in marketing. The best restaurant is worth nothing without loyal and new customers creating a steady cash flow, and the best way to get that restaurant traffic is through thoughtful and pointed marketing. Thinking about the target customer group, the advantages of your business over similar ones in the area, and making sure that your name and number are constantly out there and available to customers, will help make your marketing successful and beneficial to your business.