DC Restaurant Chains Show Breakfast Can Be a Winner by Staying On-Trend

DC Restaurant Chains Show Breakfast Can Be a Winner by Staying On-Trend

By Rick Zambrano, Foodable Industry Expert

In the restaurant industry, breakfast is a daypart that is getting a lot of attention as of late. Increasingly, restaurant operators that offer breakfast are playing up to its strengths. Consumers are also looking for snacks, lighter meals at anytime of the day, and switching up breakfast with dinner or lunch, part of what is known as the fluid dining trend. McDonald’s is in the process of implementing all-day breakfast throughout all of its U.S. stores after a successful test. Subway and Taco Bell have also looked to add incremental business with launching breakfast in recent years. 

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Mediterranean Grows in the D.C. Area

Mediterranean Grows in the D.C. Area

By Rick Zambrano, Foodable Industry Expert

Mediterranean cuisine has continued to grow in popularity around the country, and in the Washington, D.C. area, there are many Mediterranean restaurant choices for diners. 

Home-grown Cava Mezze and its fast-casual sister Cava Grill have received a lot of attention as of late on top of $16M in investment to expand to the west coast. The Greek-centric Cava Grill chain, with $30M in annual revenues, has competition in Roti, a Mediterranean fast-casual chain with 11 restaurants in D.C. Roti is now a regular part of the fast-casual dining scene in the D.C. area, although it’s imported from Chicago. Kapnos by celebrity chef Mike Isabella has been a mainstay in the 14th Street corridor of D.C. since 2013, and has remained popular due to tasty adoptions of regional Greek influences in its cuisine.

Arlingtonians across the Potomac River from D.C. were glad to see the arrival of Kapnos Taverna. If anyone could easily challenge the fast-casual empire of Cava, it would be Chef Isabella and Taverna Executive Chef and Partner George Pagonis. Kapnos Taverna received good reviews from critic Tom Sietsema, who enjoy a wide variety of dishes there. Some of his favorites were the Seafood Tower, a plate of crustacean delights that will run about $125, the 3-pound whole lamb shoulder ($75), and whole branzino (European seabass, $20) infused with dill butter. Dinner at Kapnos Taverna will leave a good dent in your wallet, but appears to be well worth it.

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Making the Case for EMV Chip-Cards

Making the Case for EMV Chip-Cards

By Foodable Industry Expert Rick Zambrano & co-authored by Anthony Ventre, relationship manager for Heartland Payment Systems

There’s an old saying in the world of commerce: Never separate your customers from their wallets. Sounds like a no-brainer, but time and again, independent restaurant owners ignore this sage advice:

“No credit cards under $10.”

“Sorry, no American Express!”

“Cash only – ATM next door.”

We’ve all seen these handwritten signs scotch-taped to the counter. And sometimes, we turn around and look for a restaurant that wants our business.

Soon, your customers will be walking in with a new kind of credit card.

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Bubbling up: Fermented Foods on the Menu and in the Grocery Aisle

Bubbling up: Fermented Foods on the Menu and in the Grocery Aisle

By Rick Zambrano, Foodable Industry Expert

Fermented foods are becoming a more appealing option to diners, as they become more exposed to them in restaurants and food retailers are also leveraging the trend. Experts are touting the benefits of eating fermented foods that have gone through lactic-acid fermentation because of their potential probiotic benefits. These types of foods include yogurt, drinkable yogurts, like kefir and skyr, naturally-fermented pickled vegetable and fruit, particularly kimchi, miso, and tempeh. Kimchi has seen a dramatic rise in its popularity and profile to the everyday consumer. Celebrity Korean-American chefs, including Roy Choi (Kogi BBQ Food Truck), David Chang (Momofuku), and Hooni Kim (Danji in Hell’s Kitchen), have pushed Korean cuisine forward. As an integral element of Korean cuisine, Kimchi has nearly 200 hundred varieties and has clearly benefited from this trend. 

Fermented foods find new popularity

Kimchi’s evolution has taken it from the tables of the independent Korean restaurant to casual and upscale Pan-Asian and American concepts, like Revel in Seattle, as well as national chains like Boston-based Legal Sea Foods. Revel features a Pork Belly Pancake, served with kimchi and bean sprout. At Legal Sea Foods, diners can enjoy the Beef Lettuce Wrap, served with kimchi and scallion ginger sauce. Kimchi is a revered topping for the Japanese fusion taco found in many Korean food trucks like Korilla BBQ in New York, which offers four types of kimchi, and has even become a pizza topping.

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Trending: Foodservice Leverages the Power of Protein

Trending: Foodservice Leverages the Power of Protein

By Rick Zambrano, Foodable Industry Expert

Protein is gaining importance and on the radar of consumers who are seeking health benefits and weight management from increased consumption. A total of 62% of consumers agree that they “make a point of getting plenty of protein” in the foods they eat, according to a 2014 survey by food research firm Packaged Facts. With the popularity of diets that emphasize protein intake and seek to minimize carbohydrates, like Atkins, Primal and Paleo, it’s not hard to understand why protein’s influence and importance is on the rise. Protein has been associated with health benefits, including weight management, controlling blood sugar and boosting satiety, or the feeling of fullness, which can combat overeating. Additionally, protein contributes to growth, maintenance and the repair of bodily functions.

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