How to Build a Better Wine List: Tips from Top L.A. Sommeliers

How to Build a Better Wine List: Tips from Top L.A. Sommeliers

By Allison Levine, Foodable Contributor

The world of wine is vast. From regions to varietals to producers, there are thousands of wines to choose from. Consumers are inundated with choice and it is very common and comforting to revert to a wine one is familiar with. But with so many options and variations, there is not one wine that will fit every occasion or cuisine.

With extensive knowledge about food and wine pairings, it is the responsibility of the sommelier to build a wine list that matches a restaurant’s menu, and engage and challenge the customer without intimidating them.

Building a Wine List

When building a wine list for a restaurant, while it seems like an obvious statement, it is best to select wines that fit the cuisine and the restaurant concept. “It does not make sense to have an all Italian wine list with Thai food or only Rieslings for white wines at a steakhouse,” says Ben Teig, wine director at Redbird in downtown Los Angeles. 

The key to a good wine list is balance. Jared Hooper, wine director at Faith & Flower, also in downtown L.A., explains that “balance can exist in many forms and take place over one page or 150 pages. There should be variety in terms of price, age, place, grape, texture, and then, most importantly, familiarity.” 

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3 Ways to Change Company Culture in Your Restaurant

3 Ways to Change Company Culture in Your Restaurant

By Donald Burns, Foodable Industry Expert

As you look back on the past year, are there things you wish you had done differently? Moving into this new year, are there things you want to improve? Surely you've heard that there’s a shortage of workers for restaurant jobs. Are you prepared to deal with that? 

Let's bust the bubble on that right away. While there are more and more restaurants opening every year, it's not that there are less workers. The real truth is that there are fewer restaurants that appeal to workers. Basically, most have not created a culture that attracts skilled talent.

That might sting a bit if you’re having a hard time finding talent to work in your establishment. As Gloria Steinem once said, “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” 

In order to attract better people to work in your restaurant, you have two options:

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How to Become a 4-Dimensional Leader

How to Become a 4-Dimensional Leader

By Donald Burns, Foodable Industry Expert

Things move rather quickly in the restaurant industry. One minute you're the assistant, then your supervisor gets terminated, and congratulations, you are now the boss. The sad thing is, most are not prepared properly for this rapid advancement.

Let’s face it, most of your time is spent keeping your head above water, just maintaining day-to-day operations. Who has the extra time to learn how to become a leader? So most will struggle with the responsibilities of their new position. A few will succeed out of the frustration and anxiety that often accompanies being promoted quickly when they tell themselves,“There has to be an easier way.”

The transition from being a manager to becoming a leader can be broken down into four dimensions. Learning these can help you move into a leadership role much faster than that old-fashioned trial-and-error method.

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3 Things You Can Do Today for a Better Restaurant

3 Things You Can Do Today for a Better Restaurant

By Donald Burns, Foodable Industry Expert

The restaurant industry can easily be described as a lesson in chaos theory. Things can be going smooth as silk, but can change in a second. The dinner rush comes and goes along with the adrenaline that it provides. You get caught up in the day-to-day activities and it’s easy to become reactionary to the stimulus of our environment. It’s difficult to create change and to have a better restaurant when you live in reaction.

There are basically two types of managers out there. There are thermostats and there are thermometers. The difference? One controls the room and the other reacts. Before you read on about things that you can do for a better restaurant today, you need to think about how you show up in your restaurant. It does very little good if you cannot step up and be the leader. 

To create change in a restaurant, it takes courage and conviction to implement the actions needed for real growth. You’ll have people test you, second guess you, and make you doubt yourself, which leads us right into the first things you can do to better your restaurant today…

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Waste Not, Want Not: 5 Tips to Reduce Food Waste

Waste Not, Want Not: 5 Tips to Reduce Food Waste

By Laura Abshire, Foodable Industry Expert

For restaurateurs who practice sustainability, the issue of food waste has become a very hot topic recently. In fact, food waste reduction — for the first time ever this year — made the list of top 10 trends on the National Restaurant Association’s 2015 What's Hot Culinary Forecast.

The buzz around food waste certainly is warranted. According to the Department of Agriculture, more than one-third of all food produced globally is wasted. In the United States alone, the agency estimates about 30 to 40 percent of the food supply ends up going to the landfill.

At the same time, more and more consumers want to support restaurants that align with their own values. And one of those values is the idea of reducing waste, whether it is waste of resources, packaging, or the most important restaurant ingredient: food. 

But even though they want to do it, reducing food waste often is challenging for restaurants. To make it a little easier, here are five tips operators can use to begin the journey. 

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