Turmeric: From the Middle East to… Everywhere
Middle Eastern cuisine in general, and Mid-Eastern spices, in particular, are big trends this year, with caterers using exotic tastes to lure trend-savvy clients. Dishes spiced with turmeric are popping up everywhere due to their amazing taste and turmeric’s powerful health benefits. Learn more about turmeric here and start using this increasingly popular spice in more of your dishes.
A prominent member of the ginger family, turmeric has been used in East India and the Middle East for thousands of years, but only lately has it become one of the most popular spices in the world. Turmeric is packed with the powerful medicinal properties of curcumin, which research indicates may have strong anti-inflammatory properties. In ancient times, turmeric was used to treat a wide variety of conditions, such as jaundice, toothaches, bruises, chest pain, and colic.
The name “turmeric” is derived from the Persian word for “saffron,” and the spice provides the intense color of the pricey spice, as well as classic yellow mustard and curry powder. A domesticated plant, with a peppery flavor and a mild kick, turmeric it is grown primarily in India, while Indonesia, the Philippines, and China are also major producers of the spice.
The Great Stone-Fruit War
Peaches and nectarines are, for many, the peak of summer fruit. Sweet, juicy, and delicious, this duo of nature’s bounty – so similar, yet so different – is completely irresistible. Both peaches and nectarines are considered stone fruit —fruit that has a hard, large pit (the stone) surrounded by sweet flesh. Learn more about peaches and nectarines now – moments before they hit the fruit stands.
Peaches vs Nectarines
Nectarines and peaches are basically the same, except for the fuzz, or lack thereof. Contrary to popular belief, nectarines are not a cross between a peach and a plum. Typically, nectarines are smaller and firmer than peaches, but both have either yellow or white flesh on the inside. So while they might look slightly different on the outside, their insides are very much alike. Their genetics are nearly identical as well – aside from a recessive gene in nectarines that gives them their smooth skin, versus the peaches’ fuzzy skin.
The Wondrous Strawberry
As winter morphs into spring, it’s time for everyone’s favorite fruit to hit the marketplace: strawberries. Although strawberries are available in most places all year ‘round, their peak seasons – when they’re at their reddest, juiciest, and most delectable – are spring and summer. Their sweetness and juiciness have earned them a reputation of being nature’s candy, loved by children and adults alike. Whether you like your strawbs straight up, dipped in sugar, or smothered in whipped cream, now is the time to put them on your produce list and bring them home to enjoy.
A Few Strawberry Facts
Strawberries are members of the Rosaceae family, and they are known botanically as Fragaria ananassa. Technically and botanically speaking, strawberries, like raspberries, aren’t really berries. While true berries stem from one flower with one ovary and typically have several seeds, strawberries are derived from a single flower with more than one ovary, making them what is known as an “aggregate” fruit, fruits that develop from multiple ovaries of a single fruit.
Real berries have seeds on the inside of the fruit, while a strawberry wears its seeds on its exterior. (The definition of a berry as something produced from one flower with one ovary containing seeds on the inside means that some of the lesser known berries are bananas, pumpkins, avocadoes, tomatoes, watermelons, and kiwis… strange but true.)
The Meal Kit Delivery Services Market
A meal kit is a subscription service that sends food ingredients and recipes to customers’ homes for them to prepare their own fresh meals according to the instructions. Services that send these kits are called meal delivery services. For on-the-go consumers – working parents and busy singles – with limited time at the end of the day, meal kits offer a reasonable and healthy alternative to take-out options and full home-cooked dinners. Delivered directly to households or bought at local grocery stores in prepacked portions, meal kits include pre-measured ingredients and easy-to-follow instructions, allowing customers to skip complicated and time-consuming meal preparation and to take a shorter, easier route to get their meals.
Meal Kit Stats
In the United States, the meal kit trend is booming. It is estimated that one in four adults has purchased a meal kit for delivery to a home or made an in-store purchase at least once in the last year, and 70% of those consumers continue to buy them after making their first purchase. With 60% of Americans opting for healthier diets to try to prevent sickness and disease, many consumers buy meal kits, which include fresh foods and easy-to-follow recipes, because they offer healthier and more nutritious options.
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.
The Amazing Chickpea
You may not realize it – certainly not just by looking at it – but the little chickpea (also known as the garbanzo bean) is pretty amazing. This legume has been around for hundreds of years, devoured through the ages for its health benefits and high nutrition level. Chickpeas are a mighty source of protein, favored in particular by vegans and eaten in great quantities around the world. The chickpea is loaded with dietary fiber – your colon will thank you; the equivalent of one cup of cooked chickpeas offers half the recommended amount of daily fiber.
How to Reduce Restaurant Staff Turnover
Developing a loyal and devoted staff may seem like an afterthought, compared to everything else that running a successful restaurant entails. But even without realizing it, every time a staff member leaves, your bottom line is affected by the expense of recruiting, hiring, and training new workers. To prevent this type of drain on your profits, the trick is planning a long-term strategy for lowering your employee departure rate, while at the same time increasing the efficiency level of your business and its financial results.
High Turnover = Lower Revenue
According to restaurant statistics, the turnover rate for employees in the restaurant sector averages about 62.6%, compared to 42.2% in the overall private sector. Even more alarming, the cost of hiring an hourly employee can total more than $3,500 when you factor in the entire hiring process. In other words, staffing your restaurant is an investment, and, when part of that investment walks out the door, your bottom line will take a direct and debilitating hit.
Employees leave jobs every day for a variety of reasons. A restaurant is a high-stress environment that offers relatively lower pay rates; and together, these two factors can lead to employee burnout. However, with time and effort, this situation can be remedied.
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.
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:
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.