Food in Your City: Exploring Toronto’s Culinary Scene

Food in Your City: Exploring Toronto’s Culinary Scene

“Food in Your City,” a new original mini-series umbrellaed underneath the Foodable Network's "On Foodable Side Dish" channel, brings viewers into different cities around the world, painting a realistic picture of the local culinary canvas. An artistic interpretation that showcases various cultures’ approach to dining, “Food in Your City” celebrates food vendors, street markets, restaurants, and the people who have dedicated their livelihood to the craft of food production, in the most raw, original form. In this second installation, we visit Toronto. [Check out our first installation featuring Tokyo here.]

Toronto (and Canada in general) has been on our radar for some time now, hence Foodable’s recent Canada launch. Four years ago, David Chang expanded his Momofuku empire into Toronto with three restaurants, including a 3-story restaurant, but not just because the local culinary scene was heating up. Rather, he saw its potential. He even told The Canadian Press as recently as 2014, “We’re not there yet — I don’t think anywhere close — but I believe it will happen.” Now, with so much diversity to pull from — its population stands at 6M+ — and well-known chefs building presence in this city, Toronto, known as being the “New York of Canada,” has become a culinary force to compete with. True Torontonians know this sentiment goes beyond peameal bacon sandwiches at St. Lawrence Market (though there’s that, too).

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8 Ways to Increase Restaurant Sales During the Work Week

8 Ways to Increase Restaurant Sales During the Work Week

According to recent data from Thanx, a company that specializes in loyalty, 48 percent of U.S. adults make a restaurant purchase only on the weekend. For operators, this both poses a challenge and leaves a lot of room for opportunity during the traditional Monday thru Friday work week. So, we consulted with a handful of industry experts in our network. Below are some of their best answers.

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A Lawsuit Against Chipotle & What the Acquisition of Technomic Means for Big Data in Foodservice

Chipotle gets hit with a class-action lawsuit for GMO marketing and Technomic gets acquired by Winsight Media. We cover these topics in this episode of On Foodable Weekly, brought to you by the Foodable WebTV Network.

How might this lawsuit affect Chipotle, its brand message, and restaurant visits? Bill Bender, industry consultant and co-host of “Rock My Restaurant,” joins host Paul Barron to discuss. Also making a guest appearance in this episode is Jessica Bryant, the managing editor at Foodable, to discuss the Technomic acquisition, how data will continue to affect the restaurant space in different ways, and what the difference is between structured data and unstructured data.

3 Branding Lessons From Olive Garden’s Recent Turnaround

3 Branding Lessons From Olive Garden’s Recent Turnaround

By Jessica Bryant, Managing Editor

The land of breadsticks hasn’t always been so hot. For the past few years, Olive Garden’s sales have seriously slumped — until recently, that is. This isn’t good news for just Darden Restaurants, the group that owns Olive Garden, but for the casual dining segment in general. 

(Check out our article on “The Downfall of Romano’s and How Casual Dining Can Be Saved” here.)

The fast-growing fast-casual segment, alongside the benefits of what put fast-casual on top  — like demand for on-the-go dining, high-quality ingredients, and more affordable prices — has played a huge part in casual dining’s declining sales. And while Olive Garden isn’t expected to grow in foot traffic in 2016, it seems to have found its footing, at least for now.

Last month, at the end of June, Darden Restaurants, which has a new management team, experienced a surge in stock (up 4%) alongside a larger-than-expected growth in sales and profits. Starboard Value Partners, an investment firm that took a stake in the company in late 2013, seems to have played a big role in helping to recover the brand. After all, Olive Garden accounts for more than half (56%) of Darden’s total sales.

So, how did Olive Garden manage to turn itself around? It comes from a combination of things.

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Aaron Noveshen — Solving Operator Challenges to Adapt to the Modern Consumer

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In this On Foodable episode, brought to you by the Foodable Network, Managing Editor Jessica Bryant is joined by Aaron Noveshen, Founder & President of The Culinary Edge, a consultancy for restaurant brands.

Watch the full episode to learn: What’s the biggest missed opportunity for operators? What are the top 3 things consumers want? What are some of the common challenges between large restaurant brands and independents? And what technologies should small operations consider using to level the playing field?