Give Customers What They Want With These Clean-Label Dessert Recipes

Give Customers What They Want With These Clean-Label Dessert Recipes

Welcome to Foodable’s Smart Kitchen where chefs share innovative ideas around the challenges you work with every day. In this episode, Agnes and Chef Adrianne are cleaning up your customers' favorite desserts.

Customers are demanding clean ingredients and transparency in everything they eat from entrees to indulgent desserts. Many concepts are taking, cheesecake, a classic customer favorite, and adding fruit flavors to take the traditional plate to the next level. But while apple and cheesecake are a winning pair, ensuring consistent quality and flavor can be a strife for multi-unit operators. In this episode, see how Chef Adrianne makes adding fresh and clean fruit flavors to your dessert menu easy and cost-efficient.

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How To Better Profit From Crafted Cocktails


Crafted cocktails are not a new invention, but from the days of the good old “Harvey Wallbanger” to today’s gastronomy driven “Old Fashioned,” they have evolved to complex, costly, and labor-intensive items.

“What is a crafted cocktail?,” you may ask. First off, nothing pre-made out of the bottle mixes—Fresh, fresh, oh did we mention you need freshness in your drink? That would consist of using real fruit juice made to order or prepared the day of. Please keep lime-in-the-bottle out of the bar and remember to use fine liqueurs with no artificial flavors and opt for natural flavored syrups. Fine spirits stay away from the well brands. You just can’t make it work, this is not the way to save or cut costs on the main showpiece.

So, many barmen and women think they should just stay behind the bar, but this is wrong. Today’s crafted cocktails are full of exciting ingredients from spices to fresh herbs, and use co-kitchen ingredients like pork fat, tomatoes, and fruit and vegetable scraps.

Here are some tips to keep it crafty and profitable:

  1. Pick fine spirits for your cocktail. A little goes a long way here. A one ounce fine whisky pour in a cocktail will standout versus a two ounce well whisky. People ordering crafted cocktails are becoming more knowledgeable and will seek a small batch liquor when selecting. Yes, a fine liquor will cost more than a well brand, but lower pours will aid your costs.

  2. Batch make some of the more labor intensive items like fresh juices, and syrups during prep. They should be stored in glass not plastic. This will save labor and timing and you can control your usage throughout the day. You can also calculate your yields from your raw ingredients.

  3. Know your COSTS! Use measuring tools like jiggers to calculate costs. Set a cost goal that you are comfortable with and gives the customer value. Many times, owners are surprised to find out their cocktail list is costing them 40 percent just in products.  Know before you pour.


Total cost of ingredients divided by the sale price equals the cocktail cost percentage per menu item. 

  1. Keep all cocktail production under three minutes each. This has been one of the biggest speed bumps for many bar programs. Time is money, and customers don’t want to wait until their meter is out. How to make a crafted cocktail within a reasonable time? Train bar staff and know what items can be prepped beforehand and still be fresh within the given shift. You can pick off mint leaves and precut some garnishment. People still want to see the whole process, but if the bartender is making cocktails for a table away from the bar, this will not matter, as the taste and level of freshness will be the same; so saving the show for the bar top is not short changing anyone.

  2. The kitchen has a wealth of free ingredients you can use to make syrups and garnishments from just scraps. Ask the chef what he is throwing out—peels, herb, stems and more. Michelin star restaurant, Providence, in Hollywood uses many kitchen scraps in their cocktail program daily, and bar manager Kim Stodel had no previous cooking knowledge but has learned from on-staff chefs how to best utilize ingredients. It would also be great to include your chefs on your cocktail creations, as they will give you insight on which free kitchen scraps you may be able to exploit.

  3. Ask your supplier what crafted spirit specials they have. Many times you can work out a deal for case discounts and/or refunds if you just place the liquor brand name on your cocktail list. We have more small batch spirit companies than ever, and they are thirsty for business and willing to give a break in cost for a spot on your list and sales. ASK ASK and ASK and you will find a fitting brand willing to invest in lowering spirit costs. Spirit companies are willing to do joint promotions, which will also aid you in costs. Ask for package deals being offered with other items, like ginger beer. Also remember that many times your sales rep will be forgetful in offering, so you have to keep asking every week.

  4. Changing up the menu and keeping it seasonal will also keep costs down, as many of the fresh items, such as citrus and herbs, will rise in costs as they fade out of season. Use the seasons as your guide for refreshing your cocktail menu; it’s a great way to keep your cocktail menu from going stale.

When creating crafted cocktails, the end goal is to make a refreshing beverage that will leave a lasting memory on your guest.  So many bar programs end up with a list of ingredients longer than a French cookbook; don’t get caught up in making it complicated, and just keep the glass full of value and quality.

Cost Control and Operator ROI with ENERGY STAR

The path to sustainability and energy saving doesn't mean you have to start running off the grid — it can be with a simple step in the right direction. In this episode of "Rock My Restaurant," join show hosts William Bender and Eric Norman as they sit down with Kirsten Hesla, product manager at ENERGY STAR, and Carly Burke, energy efficiency consultant at ICF International, to chat about how ENERGY STAR can take your brand to the next level.

The EPA's ENERGY STAR program is the largest, most successful voluntary energy conservation movement. Anyone familiar with the blue label knows to a certain extent that it means a product was stamped with efficiency approval, but what exactly does that entail?

Every year, ENERGY STAR products go through series of testing and are certified by third parties, signaling that those tools meet the highest standards in quality, performance, and efficiency — everything an operator should be looking for.

"So, that really means they're [operators] getting a high-efficient, high-quality product, and I think that operators who are looking to incorporate those types of products, or want to move to a more sustainable practice, or save money in general, these are the products that have been vetted through rigorous testing," Burke said.

ENERGY STAR also recognizes products through the Emerging Technology Award, which is an honor bestowed upon the best innovative technologies that reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, all without sacrificing features or functionality. How can you find these products? On ENERGY STAR's commercial foodservice equipment page, operators can use a product finder tool that allows them to search for specific models or by category. There is even a rebate finder tool that allows buyers to find the best deals in their region.

The program aims to make the choice for sustainability and energy-saving easy. While some operators do not have the time or resources to research the best technology effectively, these ENERGY STAR tools take the guess work out through search engines and blue labels. But efficient products don't just save energy, they also save money.

As far as ROI, ENERGY STAR encourages the idea that they are two price tags associated with all equipment.

"One is the cost at the point of purchase. And second, and most importantly, is the cost of energy to run that product throughout its entire lifetime," Hesla said. "With ENERGY STAR, you know you're getting an efficient product, and your cost of energy over the course of [the] 10, 15 years you have that product, you're going to reap a lot of benefits as far as money."

Watch the full episode now!

Matt Hood of The Habit Burger Grill — Breaking Down the Better Burger Boom

Better burger concepts in the fast-casual arena are booming and competition is becoming tighter. An American staple that was first captured in mass production by McDonald’s has been driven to a state of better quality in the fast casual sector, and the “better burger” boom continues to soar — and evolve. Shake Shack and The Habit Burger Grill are now both public companies, proving in a literal sense that burgers are money.

But as beef prices continue to rise and alternate proteins are added to more menus — a result of both cost-effectiveness and consumer palates more open to exploring beyond the traditional burger — what will become of this segment?

In this episode of Fast Casual Trends TV, brought to you by the Foodable Network, host Paul Barron sits down with Matt Hood, CMO at The Habit Burger Grill, to discuss the evolution of the burger: where it’s been, where it’s at, and where it’s going.