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Facebook Partners with Constant Contact to Include Restaurant Menus on Pages

Last month, Facebook and Constant Contact announced that restaurants can now upload menus through SinglePlatform from Constant Contact to Facebook pages. SinglePlatform helps businesses showcase their most important information everywhere local consumers are making decisions online.

As a result, Facebook users can both find and “like” a restaurant, in addition to view its menu to help them decide if they want to check it out. Considering that 78 percent of online local-mobile searches result in offline purchases, this is a major benefit to restaurants promoting their businesses on Facebook’s 1.23 billion active users.

For restaurants already using SinglePlatform and located in the U.S. or Canada, their menus featured on SinglePlatform will automatically appear on their Facebook business page. For others, restaurants can upload their menus in PDF format to their Facebook page to take advantage of this new feature. (Here’s how)

In a blog post about the announcement, Pete Chen, VP and general manager of SinglePlatform from Constant Contact wrote, “With this update, restaurants can take advantage of the size and influence of Facebook’s audience to attract potential new customers that search for places to dine. Facebook makes it very easy to find new restaurants (if you click on the Facebook search bar you will automatically see an option to search “Nearby Restaurants”).

Now that you have added your menu to your restaurant’s Facebook page, here are some tips to further leverage this feature to your business’s marketing advantage.

1) Send out an email blast inviting fans and customers to check out your restaurant menu on Facebook.

Let your opt-in email subscribers know to check out your menu on Facebook, giving you a good reason to connect with them and increase social media engagement on your Facebook page.

2 ) Cross-promote your menu on Facebook to other social networks:

Promote the menu on your Facebook page with your other social networks to expand its reach to more audiences. Using a free service like bitly, you can shorten and custom-brand your URL and track response rates.

3) Share updates to your menu with customers and fans:

If you have updated your Facebook menu or added a new item, let your customers and fans know about it. Doing this gives you multiple opportunities to stay connected with your Facebook page community.

4) Spark conversations about your menu with your Facebook fans:

After your Facebook fans have had the chance to view your restaurant menu, ask them what they think about your menu. Facebook’s polling feature is a useful way to garner feedback about your menu from both potential new and existing customers.

5) Share photos of your menu items from Facebook on Pinterest and Instagram:

Posting your menu on your Facebook page gives you more reasons to sell the menu with pictures. Post new food and drink photos from your menu on your Facebook page and cross-promote them on Pinterest and Instagram, as well.

Article provided by Buzztime.

For daily tips, ideas, and concepts for your bar or restaurant, please visit

http://www.BuzztimeBusiness.com/smarts

Recipe of the Week: Watermelon and Squid Salad

Try a refreshing twist on this seafood dish by adding the flavor of watermelon and squid for a unique and delicious taste!

Ingredients:
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup Champagne vinegar
3 scallions, thinly sliced
2 jalapeños, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon finely grated lime zest
2 tablespoons lime juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound baby squid, bodies and tentacles separated but left whole
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/3 cup chopped tarragon
1/3 cup chopped mint
1 small seedless watermelon (about 3 1/2 pounds)—halved, rind removed, flesh sliced 1/2 inch thick
Ground sumac, for sprinkling (optional)

Directions:
  1. In a bowl, whisk the rice vinegar, Champagne vinegar, scallions, jalapeños, 2 teaspoons of the lime zest and 1 tablespoon of the lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Light a grill. In a medium bowl, toss the squid with the oil, orange zest, crushed red pepper and the remaining 1 tablespoon of lime juice and 1 teaspoon of lime zest; season with salt and pepper. Grill the squid over high heat until lightly charred, 4 minutes.
  3. Arrange the watermelon slices on a platter. Drizzle with the dressing and sprinkle with the tarragon and mint. Top the watermelon with the squid, sprinkle with sumac and serve right away.

Recipe from FoodAndWine.com

Is it time to raise your prices?

Making sure the price is right for each menu item takes a lot of work. This article from the National Restaurant Association outlines 8 factors that determine whether it is time to raise your prices.

Making sure the price is right for each menu item is no game — it takes lots of work. Before adjusting your prices, consider the following eight factors:

1. Food costs. “You’ve got to know your costs before setting a price,” says restaurant consultant Linda Lipsky of Broomall, Pennsylvania. She recommends that food costs run about 33 percent of menu prices, on average. This can differ per operation, with fine dining restaurants typically posting higher food-cost percentages and casual pizzerias running lower percentages. The percentages also vary widely from item to item. “A soup could cost as little as 18 cents per serving to make, but you’re not going to sell it for 54 cents,” Lipsky says. Soups, appetizers, desserts and alcohol tend to have lower cost percentages than entrees, she notes. Consider your sales mix when pricing items.

2. Margins. Food-cost percentages are only part of the equation. “The biggest mistake I see operators make is that they rely too much on food-cost percentages and not enough on food-cost margins,” says Dennis Lombardi, executive vice president of foodservice strategies for WD Partners, Dublin, Ohio. Take an expensive item, such as lobster. If operators base their menu prices strictly on food-cost percentages, they might price the lobster too high to sell. If they determine they want, say, a $9 margin on entrees, they can price the lobster to sell with a profit.

3. Additional costs. Don’t forget to factor in your labor costs. The cost of baking and decorating a chocolate cake in-house — rather than buying it premade — is more than just the price of the ingredients. Include the price of any giveaways, such as bread and olive oil, and the cost of food waste and spoilage.

4. Volatility. Food costs can change at a moment’s notice — based on anything from world politics to weather conditions. While large chains might sign contracts that lock in prices, smaller restaurants usually don’t have that option, Lombardi says. “Give yourself a cushion for volatile items,” he notes. Limit items, particularly those with volatile ingredients, to specials or seasonal dishes, he advises. Lipsky recommends printing your menu in-house, so you can easily reprint it if your costs suddenly soar. “If your menu looks the same, your guests probably won’t notice the price change,” she says.

5. Competitor’s prices. When was the last time you dined at a competing restaurant? If it’s been a while, you’re missing crucial information that can help you set your prices. Find out what your competition offers and their price points. Don’t look just at online menus, Lombardi urges. Go in person so you can see the portion sizes, the preparation, the presentation—all factors that impact the value perception.

6. Menu mix. Lombardi recommends analyzing your menu composition by sorting the items into a matrix like the one below:

Low Margin High Margin
High Volume
Low Volume

Using this format, you can spot places to adjust prices, push sales or drop items. For example, can you increase the margin on a high volume/low margin item without losing significant sales? Can you increase sales of a low volume/high margin item by placing it more predominantly on the menu or giving servers a sales incentive? Remember: Different spots on the matrix play different roles in building your business. “You need a couple of items that are priced low enough to avoid the ‘veto vote’ from those in a group who want to go out but don’t want to spend a lot,” Lombardi says.

7. Ingredient adjustments. Before raising a menu price, consider whether you can make the dish for less, Lipsky recommends. Can you select a less expensive vendor, substitute similar but more affordable ingredients or make the portion size smaller? If none of these are feasible, you might need to raise prices. “But that doesn’t mean you have to raise the prices on your whole menu,” Lipsky says.

8. Historical data. Review your menu prices at least twice a year, if not quarterly, Lombardi recommends. Be sure to examine previous price changes, and see how they affected your bottom line before enacting your next set of changes.

To keep an accurate account of food cost and ensure you are making the best profit, sign up today with a MenuMax account. Our food cost and restaurant management tools provide an easy way to manage your back-of-house operation.


Turn your restaurant into a tourist destination

In this article from the National Restaurant Association, learn how to attract tourists this summer with these helpful tips.  Travelers spend more than $200 billion annually on food service in the United States, according to the U.S. Travel Association. On average, tourism accounted for nearly a third of fine-dining sales and almost a fourth of casual-dining sales in 2012, according to National Restaurant Association research.

Try these 10 tips to attract tourists:

1. Connect with concierges. “The concierge is the first person that hotel guests ask for a dining recommendation,” says Julie Zucker, director of marketing and promotions for Branded Restaurants USA in New York City. “We invite concierges for a meal so they can recommend us with confidence.” The company owns and operates three restaurant concepts, Big Daddy’s, Duke’s and City Crab.

Supervisors from San Antonio’s Mi Tierra Cafe & Bakery visit area concierges weekly, greeting them with baked goods and a stack of “Amigo cards” to give hotel guests. The cards, which feature the concierge’s name and hotel, entitle customers to free desserts. Mi Tierra tracks the referrals, rewarding a concierge for every 20 customers.

2. Plug into social media. As soon as tourists head into Las Vegas and “check in” to a location with Facebook, the ads for local attractions start. Among them is Blondies Sports Bar & Grill on the Strip. “That’s been a great tool,” says manager Catherine Pavesich. “We find it works better than the old-fashioned visitors’ guides.”

Branded Restaurants USA uses Twitter to get the word out. “We look for the Twitter handles that tourists follow and post there,” says Zucker. For example, she might tweet at #nycgo that Big Daddy’s is offering free milkshakes with a purchase.

3. Act as area ambassadors. Build your reputation as a restaurant that welcomes visitors. “We train our servers to talk knowledgeably about the area and the local culture,” says David Cortez, co-owner of Mi Tierra. Some team members are certified city ambassadors through a program a San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau program that develops customer service and area expertise. Similar Certified Tourism Ambassador programs are available throughout the country.

4. Team up for cross-promotions. Work with local theaters, museums and other area attractions to piggyback promotions. For example, Havana Central in New York City’s Times Square, which specializes in Cuban cuisine, found a natural partner in Broadway’s “In the Heights,” which is set in a Latino neighborhood. The restaurant promoted a 20 percent discount code for “In the Heights” and offered a dining discount to guests presenting their ticket stubs. “We also catered their cast party,” says founder Jeremy Merrin. “That was tremendous exposure for us.”

5. Become a “bus stop.” Havana Central brings in the tourists by the busload, usually at off-peak times. “We offer a prix-fixé meal at a discount,” says Merrin. “It’s a win-win for everyone.”

Building up the tour clientele took time, says Merrin. “Originally we would spot bus drivers on the street and ask them what tour groups they were with.” After some cold calls to tour agencies, the restaurant began to land tour groups. “One you get on their schedule they come back again and again,” he says.

6. Make time for timeshares. Mai Kai, a Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., restaurant that runs a Polynesian revue show, offers a bulk discount to a local timeshare. The timeshare company purchases vouchers for a fixed-price dinner and show, using them as tour incentives.

7. Manage your online reputation. Monitor what tourists say about your restaurant on review sites such as TripAdvisor. Respond to reviews, especially negative ones, so you control your reputation. For example, if a tourist tries oysters and dislikes them, restaurant staff thank him or her for dining at the restaurant. “Then we might say: ‘While we think oysters are great, they’re not for everyone. Next time you’re in town, let us know if you want something you don’t see on our menu,’” Zucker says.

8. Become a site to see. Tourists flock to Mi Tierra for its festive décor and strolling musicians, to Mai Kai for a tropical waterfall view and to Polynesian revue and to Big Daddy’s for pop culture memorabilia, such as an autographed photo of the “Bay Watch” cast.

9. Work with your local convention and visitors bureau. These organizations can help promote your restaurant through their websites, visitor centers and more.

10. Find out how the tourists found you. On their comment cards, Mai Kai asks guests how they heard about the restaurant. The responses help guide future marketing decisions.

Recipe of the Week: Banana Meringue Pudding

Ingredients:
Pudding:
4 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
4 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch of kosher salt

    Assembly:

    1 11-ounce box vanilla wafer cookies
    3 ripe bananas, thinly sliced
    4 large egg whites
    1/2 cup sugar

      Pudding:

      Lightly whisk eggs in a large bowl just to blend. Whisk sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan. Gradually whisk milk into sugar mixture and heat over medium heat, whisking often, until very warm to the touch. Gradually whisk half of hot milk mixture into eggs, then whisk egg mixture back into milk mixture in saucepan.

      Cook, whisking constantly, until thickened and whisk leaves a trail in pudding (it should be the consistency of mayonnaise), about 4 minutes. Remove from heat, add butter, vanilla, and salt and whisk until butter is melted and mixture is smooth.

      Strain pudding through a fine-mesh sieve into another large bowl. Cover pudding with plastic wrap, pressing directly onto the surface. Chill until cool, about 2 hours.

      Assembly:
      Spread one-third of pudding evenly in a 2-qt. baking dish. Top with half of cookies and half of bananas. Repeat layers one more time and top with remaining third of pudding. Cover and chill at least 4 hours.

      Just before serving, heat broiler. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat egg whites until foamy. With motor running, gradually add sugar. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until stiff peaks form.

      Spoon meringue over pudding and swirl decoratively. Broil until meringue is dark brown in spots, about 1 minute.

      Note: To check if your meringue is stiff, lift the beaters out of the bowl and upend them: The peaks should stick straight up.

      Do ahead: Pudding (without meringue) can be assembled 2 days ahead. Keep chilled

      Recipe from Epicurious.com


      6 Ideas for Bars and Restaurants to Cash in Big this Father’s Day

      As Father’s Day 2014 swiftly approaches, this article from BuzzTimeBusiness.com provides some useful tips and promotion ideas for restaurant managers to make the most of the upcoming holiday.

      National Restaurant Association (NRA) projects that 50 million Americans will dine out on Father’s Day this year (Sun. June 15). It’s also ranked as the third most popular holiday for dining out after Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day.

      NRA research also reveals that the most important factor for dining consumers when choosing a restaurant on Father’s Day is whether it is dad’s favorite restaurant, regardless of specials. With that in mind, hopefully your bar or restaurant is already on many dads’ top lists. But regardless of where you rank on the list, below are some sure-fire ways to boost profits on Father’s Day.

      Create a special pre-fixe Father’s Day Menu:
      Give dads something special on Father’s Day, beyond your bar or restaurant’s normal menu. When devising your menu think about what dads like to eat and drink. One idea is to play on the wine pairing concept, instead offering a pre-fixe beer pairing menu catering to your men clientele. But in addition to serving classic “guy food,” such as steak, burgers and potatoes, make sure you have options on the menu that everyone will enjoy.

      Be ready for an influx of kids:
      In most cases, dad will be enjoying his Father’s Day meal with his family, which means keeping kids happy must be an important part of your guest experience. For your guests with young children, make sure to offer plenty of coloring paper and crayons at the table and a fun kid’s menu.

      Encourage reservations:
      Encourage reservations to help minimize wait times for guests and get a better handle on what kind of business you can expect throughout the day and/or evening. This will ensure that you maintain consistent service and food quality, even during unusually high rush periods.

      Plan ahead:
      Father’s Day is one of those major holidays when you’ll need to be ready for a bigger than usual rush. So it’s important to think and plan ahead. For instance, have the kitchen staff prep certain foods ahead of time, where possible, such as potatoes, onions, ground beef patties, etc. Also, anticipate a full bar or restaurant by staffing accordingly. It’s better to be over-staffed then under-staffed on major holidays, such as Father’s Day.

      Hold a fun contest or giveaway:
      Give dads an opportunity to enter to win free tickets to the baseball game, movie theatre tickets, etc. Promote the contest on your social networks, as well, to use it as an extra way to drive patronage to your bar or restaurant on Father’s Day. Then take a photo of the winning dad to announce and congratulate him on your Facebook page, blog, etc.

      Boost sales with a Father’s Day gift:
      Honor and celebrate dads with a gift that their families can choose to buy in your restaurant. For example, The Porch Restaurant and Bar in Sacramento, Calif. will be serving a Jack Daniel’s paired dinner on Father’s Day with the option of purchasing a Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Engraved Bottle for $60.

      So for all of America’s bars and restaurants, cheers to a lucrative Father’s Day!

      2014 Consumer Trends

      Learn what consumers look for in a restaurant from this helpful video from the National Restaurant Association.

      Recipe of the Week: Confetti Shrimp Cocktail Pasta Salad

      A colorful, zesty pasta and shrimp salad served ice-cold has the flavor of a Mexican-style shrimp cocktail for a very refreshing lunch or light supper. This dish is perfect to serve on the patio during the warm summer months. See more great recipes at Allrecipes.com

      Ingredients:
      13 ounces spiral pasta
      1 ripe avocado – peeled, pitted and
      chopped
      2 teaspoons lime juice
      1 pound cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
      2 tomatoes, chopped
      4 green onions, chopped
      1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
      1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
      1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
      1/4 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
      1/4 cup chopped orange bell pepper
      1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
      1 1/2 cups vegetable juice cocktail
      1/4 cup olive oil
      1/4 cup ketchup
      1/4 cup fresh lime juice
      1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
      1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
      1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, or to taste
      1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
      1 clove garlic, minced
      1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

      Directions:
      1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil; cook the pasta at a boil until tender yet firm to the bite, about 8 minutes; drain and rinse under cold water until chilled
      2. Place avocado into a bowl and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons lime juice to prevent browning; cover and refrigerate.
      3. Toss cooked pasta, shrimp, tomatoes, green onions, red onion, green, red, yellow, and orange bell peppers, and cilantro in a large salad bowl until thoroughly combined.
      4. Pour vegetable juice cocktail, olive oil, ketchup, and 1/4 cup lime juice into a food processor; add horseradish, jalapeno pepper, hot pepper sauce, salt, garlic, and black pepper. Pulse a few times to mix the dressing, then process until jalapeno and garlic are chopped very small, about 30 seconds. Pour dressing over pasta salad and stir to combine. Cover salad and chill thoroughly in refrigerator, 2 to 3 hours; just before serving, gently stir in avocado.


      4 Surefire Ways to Increase Liquor Sales

      Increasing your liquor sales is one of the best ways to increase your bar’s profits. Of course, that’s easier said than done. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be complicated—in fact, by following these tips and investing a little bit of time, you can definitely increase your bar’s liquor sales! Here’s how:

      1. Focus on your staff.

      Your bartenders make a huge difference—after all, they’re the ones who talk to and serve your customers. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your bartenders are perfectly trained. They should know how to perfectly make every drink your customers ask for, as well as how to suggest drinks to unsure customers. To take it a step further, your bartenders should also be trained in upselling. But it’s not all about business! Aside from knowing the ropes, your bartenders should also be friendly and able to hold a conversation with just about anybody. Rude bartenders definitely won’t help you increase your liquor sales, but personable, knowledgeable ones will.

      2. Use in-house marketing.

      How can your customers order your fancy new cocktails if they don’t even know they exist? Be sure to show off your drinks in house by using table tents, digital signage, or old-school chalkboards. And make sure your cocktail menus make your drinks sound appetizing—don’t just list the ingredients, but give customers an idea of what the drink tastes like. Don’t forget to use high-quality photos!

      3. Have specials.

      Give your customers a reason to buy more drinks! Create a specialty cocktail that customers can’t find anywhere else. And be sure to offer customers deals, like a great happy hour or another deep discount. You might also consider promoting a cocktail or beer of the month.

      4. Keep it clean.

      It doesn’t matter if you have the swankiest cocktail lounge or the darkest dive bar—being dirty won’t help you sell more drinks. Sticky counters, crumbs, and dirty glasses turn customers off. A sparkling clean bar makes all of your drinks look more appealing. And don’t forget about keeping things organized! Keeping your stock in order might not seem like a priority, but think about how much faster your bartenders can make (and sell) drinks when they know where to find everything.

      Increasing your liquor sales doesn’t have to be hard. By training your staff, using in-house marketing, creating specials, and keeping your bar clean, you can watch your liquor sales go up!

      Article provided by Buzztime.

      For daily tips, ideas, and concepts for your bar or restaurant, please visit
      http://www.BuzztimeBusiness.com/smarts

      Trusted by over 3,200 bars and restaurants in North America since 1985, Buzztime integrates trivia, card and sports games with in- and out-of-venue messaging and communication tools. With over 4.2 million player registrations on the Buzztime platform and over 52 million games played each year, Buzztime players spread the word and invite friends and family to their favorite Buzztime location to enjoy an evening of fun and competition.

      Memorial Day Margarita Grilled Chicken

      Try this delicious recipe to celebrate the unofficial start of summer from AllRecipes.com

      Ingredients:
      2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
      2 tablespoons coarse black pepper
      2 teaspoons garlic powder
      2 teaspoons onion salt
      1/2 cup margarita mix
      1/4 cup lime juice
      1/4 cup orange juice
      3 tablespoons tequila
      3 tablespoons triple sec
      2 tablespoons honey
      1 cup light olive oil
      6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

      Directions:
      1. Place cilantro, pepper, garlic powder, and onion salt in the bowl of a blender. Pour in margarita mix, lime juice, orange juice, tequila, triple sec, and honey. Puree on high speed until smooth, then reduce speed to medium-low, and slowly add the olive oil; blend until creamy. Place chicken breasts in a resealable plastic bag or glass bowl; pour marinade overtop and toss to coat. Refrigerate for 5 hours.
      2. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat and lightly oil grate.
      3. Remove chicken from the marinade, shake off excess, and discard remaining marinade. Grill the chicken until tender and juices run clear, approximately 7 minutes per side.

      To manage your recipes, try MenuMax. Access your recipes from any where with Internet access and gain vital information including food cost and nutrition analysis.

      5 nutrition trends on the menu at the NRA Show

      In this great article from the National Restaurant Association, learn about the op trends at the NRA Show in Chicago, IL.

      As restaurants make nutrition part of their menu-development process, they looked for advice, ideas, innovations and ingredients at the NRA Show. The four-day show featured a dozen education sessions on health and nutrition and hundreds of exhibiting companies with healthful options.

      Among the popular sessions: “The Current State of Nutrition in the Restaurant Industry,” featuring executives from Darden, McDonald’s and Yum Brands, and “Nutrition Trends on the Menu.” In the latter, author Carolyn O’Neil and food strategist Janet Helm offered tips to satisfy consumer demand for healthful options.

      Here are some of the trends operators are exploring:

      Gluten-free goodness

      A need for gluten-free options brings Ben Breslauer to the Organic & Natural Pavilion, where he visits Smart Flour Foods. Breslauer, executive chef, The Club at Crested Butte, Colorado, says he’s trying to design menu items for guests who have “hopped on the gluten-free bandwagon.” Austin, Texas-based Smart Flour uses only ancient grains for its pizza crust: sorghum, amaranth and teff, which elevates its taste, texture and nutrition profile, says Charlie Pace. “A lot of consumers aren’t gluten-free, but they want multi-grain products,” he says. “Tastes great,” Breslauer says.

      Glorious grains


      “There’s a high understanding of whole grains by consumers,” says David Schmidt, president and CEO, International Food Information Council. Steve Hilton, vice president, global government and public affairs, McDonald’s, notes the chain’s eight-grain breakfast muffins and oatmeal. “We’re working on it,” he says.

      On the Show floor, operators ask Cathy Nehl of Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods how to use its gluten-free baking mixes, whole-grain flour and hot cereal and other products. They want recipe ideas and information on how to use the products for breakfast, lunch and dinner, she says. “More people are interested in offering them, and more channels of distribution are available than in past years,” she says.

      Plant-based protein

      Since opening the Peanut Butter & Co. Sandwich in 1998 in Greenwich Village, Lee Zalben has become known as an expert on peanut butter. So now he supplies peanut products, including peanut flour, to fellow restaurateurs. The flour adds protein and flavor without as many calories as peanut butter because the oil is pressed out, he says from his booth at the NRA Show. “It’s not for every application,” he says. “What we’re showing are examples of innovative ideas for people interested in peanuts.”

      Meat alternatives are more acceptable than they’ve been in decades, says Steve Zimmerman, vice president, sales, foodservice, Dr. Praeger’s Sensible Foods. “Big concepts that you wouldn’t think were interested in healthy, vegan or vegetarian food are adding meatless items to the menu,” he says.

      “We’re seeing growing interest from people who want to eat meatless,” Cheryl Dolven, director, health and wellness, Darden, says. Some want to know whether the restaurants uses animal rennet in the cheese. Others aren’t as strict. But having meatless items “helps you avoid the veto vote.”

      Ingredient-centric options


      “People want to know specifics about what’s in their food,” Helm says. “Clean eating is the new buzzword: minimally processed and ingredient-centric.” That’s the thought behind 78 Red Ketchup, says founder Amir Bavani. He believes ketchup should be all about the tomato, so he slashed the sodium count and eliminated potato starch and corn syrup. Tomatoes represent 78 percent of the ingredients, thus the name. “Ketchup is overlooked, but it’s used every day, especially by kids,” he says. Likewise, Jennifer Connor, the Mustard Girl, says her condiment is GMO and gluten-free, low-sodium and kosher with little sugar. Says O’Neil: “The more information people have about their food, the more it empowers them.”

      Fresh produce

      What’s something the restaurant industry could do to make the biggest health impact with consumers? Cut the salt, and add more fruit and vegetables, says CSPI’s Michael Jacobsen. ”Those are exactly the things we’re working on,” McDonald’s Hilton says. The company is working with its suppliers to make fruit, vegetables and dairy more appealing in its restaurants, he says.

      Recipe of the Week: Strawberry Basil Margarita

      Celebrate the warm weather with this Strawberry Basil Margarita from AllRecipes.com. The combination of basil and strawberries work with tequila to make a delicious and refreshing blended cocktail.

      Ingredients

      1 cup hulled strawberries
      1/4 cup tequila
      1 tablespoon orange-flavored liquor
      1 tablespoon lemon juice
      2 tablespoons white sugar
      3 large basil leaves
      8 ice cubes

      Directions:
      1. Combine the strawberries, tequila, orange-flavored liqueur, lemon juice, sugar, and basil leaves in a blender; mix on low until smooth. Add the ice and puree until the ice is crushed, 30 to 60 seconds.


      Marketing Ideas for June

      Restaurant owners and operators will find many opportunities for marketing during June.  In this great article from RestaurantNews.com, learn about how you can market your restaurant. Father’s Day is one of the busiest days of the year for most restaurants, but your promotional activities don’t have to end there.  As June is also Entrepreneurs “Do It Yourself” Marketing Month, it only makes sense to explore other possibilities to grow your business.

      For food related marketing, June is Country Cooking Month, National Dairy Month, National Frozen Yogurt Month, National Iced Tea Month, and National Soul Food Month, among others.

      If that isn’t enough to get your menu marketing ideas sizzling, specific days of the month include National Cheese Day, National Frozen Yogurt Day, National Doughnut Day, Corn on the Cob Day, National Strawberry Shortcake Day, National Catfish Day and much more.

      Corn and Cucumber Month
      Country Cooking Month
      Lemon and Mango Month
      National Candy Month
      National Dairy Month
      National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month
      National Frozen Yogurt Month
      National Iced Tea Month
      National Papaya Month
      National Soul Food Month
      National Steakhouse Month
      National Turkey Lover’s Month
      Child Vision Awareness Month
      International Surf Music Month
      National Adopt-a-Cat Month
      National Camping Month
      National Drive Safe Month
      National Fireworks Safety Month
      National Rose Month
      National Safety Month
      Great Outdoors Month
      National Zoo and Aquarium Month

      1 – Say Something Nice Day
      1 – Dare Day
      1 – Flip a Coin Day
      1 – National Cancer Survivors Day
      2 – National Rocky Road Day
      2 – Leave the Office Early Day
      3 – National Egg Day
      4 – National Cheese Day
      4 – National Applesauce Cake Day
      4 – Running Day
      4 – Old Maid’s Day
      4 – Hug Your Cat Day
      5 – National Gingerbread Day
      5 – World Environment Day
      6 – National Doughnut Day
      6 – National Yo-Yo Day
      6 – D-Day
      7 – National Chocolate Ice Cream Day
      8 – World Oceans Day
      8 – Best Friends Day
      8 – Upsy Daisy Day
      9 – National Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day
      9 – Donald Duck Day
      10 – National Iced Tea Day
      11 – National Corn on the Cob Day
      11 – National German Chocolate Cake Day
      12 – National Peanut Butter Cookie Day
      12 – Red Rose Day
      14 – National Strawberry Shortcake Day
      14 – World Gin Day
      14 – National Flag Day
      14 – World Juggling Day
      14 – World Blood Donor Day
      15 – Father’s Day
      15 – National Lobster Day
      16 – National Fudge Day
      16 – National Fresh Veggies Day
      16 – National Vinegar Day
      17 – National Apple Strudel Day
      17 – Eat Your Vegetables Day
      18 – International Sushi Day
      18 – National Cherry Tart Day
      18 – International Picnic Day
      18 – National Splurge Day
      18 – Go Fishing Day
      19 – National Martini Day
      20 – National Vanilla Milkshake Day
      20 – National Ice Cream Soda Day
      20 – American Eagle Day
      20 – Flip-Flop Day
      21 – National Peaches & Cream Day
      21 – International Surfing Day
      22 – National Chocolate Eclair Day
      22 – National Onion Rings Day
      23 – National Pecan Sandy Day
      23 – Pink Day
      23 – Public Service Day
      24 – National Pralines Day
      25 – National Strawberry Parfait Day
      25 – National Catfish Day
      26 – National Chocolate Pudding Day
      26 – Canoe Day
      26 – Beautician’s Day
      27 – Sunglasses Day
      27 – “Happy Birthday to You” Day
      28 – National Tapioca Day
      29 – Camera Day
      29 – Waffle Iron Day
      30 – Meteor Watch Day
      30 – Social Media Day

      Recipe of the Week: Grilled Pork Chop with Fresh Nectarine Salsa

      Try this mouthwatering recipe to help welcome the warm spring time weather. This recipe from AllRecipes.com has been described as “zippy, sweet and spicy” a surefire hit for your restaurant customers!

      Ingredients:

      2 nectarines, pitted and diced
      1 ripe tomato, seeded and diced
      1/4 cup diced onion
      2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
      2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
      1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
      salt to taste
      1 teaspoon ground cumin
      1 teaspoon chili powder
      salt and ground black pepper to taste
      2 tablespoons olive oil
      8 (4 ounce) boneless pork loin chops

      Directions:
      1. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat. Lightly oil grate, and set 4 inches from the heat.
      2. To make the salsa, place the nectarines, tomato, onion, cilantro, lime juice, and red pepper flakes in a bowl; toss to blend. Season to taste with salt. Cover, and refrigerate 30 minutes to blend flavors.
      3. Stir the cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper together in a small bowl. Place the olive oil in a small bowl. Brush the pork chops with oil, and season both sides evenly with the cumin mixture.
      4. Place pork loin chops on the preheated grill. Cook until lightly browned and juices run clear, about 4 minutes on each side. Place pork chops on serving plates, and top with a generous spoonful of salsa.


      Recipe of the Week: Mexican Chicken Soup

      In honor of Cinco de Mayo, try this zesty soup loaded with chicken, corn and black beans in a mildly spicy red broth from TasteofHome.com.

      Ingredients

      1-1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
      2 teaspoons canola oil
      1/2 cup water
      1 envelope reduced-sodium taco seasoning
      1 can (32 ounces) V8 juice
      1 jar (16 ounces) salsa
      1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
      1 package (10 ounces) frozen corn, thawed
      6 tablespoons reduced-fat cheddar cheese
      6 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
      2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

        Directions

        1. In a large nonstick skillet, saute chicken in oil until no longer
        2. pink. Add water and taco seasoning; simmer, uncovered, until chicken
        3. is well coated.
        4. Transfer to a 5-qt. slow cooker. Stir in the V8 juice, salsa, beans
        5. and corn. Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours or until heated
        6. through. Serve with cheese, sour cream and cilantro. Yield: 6
        7. servings.