Don’t Let Them Go to Waste: 5 Steps to Kick-Starting Your Sustainability Efforts

Don’t Let Them Go to Waste: 5 Steps to Kick-Starting Your Sustainability Efforts

By Tarah Schroeder, FCSI, principal at Ricca Design Studios

Creating a sustainability program can be overwhelming for foodservice operators, as it often brings up questions and conversations beyond the realm of foodservice. And with so much information available, it can be difficult for operators to sort through the noise and  know where or how to start.  

If you truly respect innovation, creativity, people, and problem solving to include sustainability in your culture, then turning broad sustainability goals into reality requires thoughtful commitment and careful preparation. Developing a plan is the best way to truly reduce your impact to the environment, as well as build a stronger internal and external community. Read on to learn about the steps any foodservice operation can take to embrace sustainability.

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3 Reasons to Go Gluten-Free on Your Menu

3 Reasons to Go Gluten-Free on Your Menu

By Jaclyn Morgan, FCSI, JM Foodservice Consulting, LLC

Gluten is the sinister villain of today’s diets. Like Superman to Lex Luthor, gluten-free claims shout from supermarket shelves and fly into your newsfeed, ready to save the day. Even hundreds of mobile apps have been launched to help consumers find gluten-free restaurants, stores, and recipes.  

For many, gluten truly is something to fear. In the United States, an estimated four million people suffer from celiac disease — that’s about one in every 100 people. A very strict gluten-free diet is the only way to manage this autoimmune condition. Gluten sensitivity is on the rise, due to general awareness of today’s consumers. While gluten is not life-threatening to these millions of people, it can make life much more uncomfortable. Add this to the number of consumers who are choosing gluten-free fare because of increased awareness of healthful foods, and the market size booms to over 40 million individuals.

With a customer market this big, and in honor of Celiac Disease Awareness Month this May, do not dismiss having gluten-free fare on your menu. Understanding the trends and risks can lead to increased sales and traffic at your restaurant.

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10 Ways to Save Energy in Your Commercial Kitchen

10 Ways to Save Energy in Your Commercial Kitchen

By Ivim Pelloso, FCSI member and partner and executive manager at Placontec

There are basic concepts in industrial kitchens that allow energy reduction: electric power, gas usage, the physical area, equipment, and employees. These concepts are true for any business — commercial and industrial restaurants, coffee shops, bars, supermarkets, hospitals, hotels, fast food restaurants, etc.

The design of an industrial kitchen is directly connected to the basic data related to the operation. The average number of client services, kinds of services, types of menus, the public, seats, and the medium ticket are crucial data for the design.

Below, we break down each area and/or operation and the efficiency gain of each.

10 Ways to Reduce Energy and Maximize Efficiency

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How to Improve Line Flow, Increase Speed of Service

How to Improve Line Flow, Increase Speed of Service

By Juan Martinez, PhD, PE, FCSI and Principal at Profitality® 

To Queue or Not to Queue…that is the question. If you think about it, you already have an answer when you consider that your life is but a series of queues throughout your day, made up of activities and waits. Perhaps you might want to process-map yourself through the day to help you understand this concept. This exercise may even give you a base knowledge to help you run your life better, or maybe just more efficiently.

Just like in life, running a restaurant is a set of queues. If you want to run it right, make sure you accept this, understand it, and manage it. How do you improve line flow and optimize the way you manage queues in your restaurant concept? It could be a queue that a customer experiences, a production queue in the back of house, or a queue in equipment usage, among many others.

In a service system, the total time is made up of smaller time segments and queues. If you think about the total change or impact that you want to achieve — in customer wait time, for example — you might think it’s not doable. But when you attack it in terms of components, the story and complication may be quite different.

The following are examples of what I’m talking about, and how looking at the queuing components and the theory of constraints can help with this quandary. Both of these are Industrial Engineering techniques that we use constantly to help drive impact in line flow and queuing management for foodservice concepts.

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Marketing Your Restaurant: How to Make an Impact on a Small Budget

Marketing Your Restaurant: How to Make an Impact on a Small Budget

By Jaclyn Morgan, FCSI, JM Foodservice Consulting, LLC

You step into your restaurant at the start of the day. The kitchen is humming with prep work, the back door is full with your fresh food deliveries, and the front-of-house staff is readying the tables with armies of salt and pepper. You are operational, but how can you beat the odds knowing that nearly 60 percent of restaurants will fail within their first few years?  

Part of the solution for success is having a solid, executable marketing plan. Knowing your product, price, placement, and promotion schedule is paramount to your business’ viability in the local market. As a rule, most established restaurants budget three to five percent of sales for marketing dollars. If your sales are under $500,000 annually, this budget can get crimped quickly. You may even have the majority of your budget tied up in traditional print campaigns, local mailers, and signage.  

With only a few dollars—perhaps quite literally—left over for marketing, you can still create fresh marketing campaigns through clear visibility online and within your local community. Focus on your website, social media, and community events.

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