Dessert remains a favorite even for grownups. Roughly one third of guests order dessert when dining out. So it’s safe to say that many consumers can’t resist a sweet after dinner treat, especially when it’s in a mini portioned dessert. Like appetizers and entrees, desserts are (and have always been) often dependent on the seasons. More restaurants are determining their menu solely based on the ingredients in season. Fall favorites like pumpkin and apple have already started to appear all over menus.
What does it mean when you use the term “quality ingredients”? Restaurants and brands toss the phrase everywhere on their menus and websites, but does that mean we buy the absolute best of everything? If not, why not? Quality is as subjective as flavor. Being open about quality in terms of a marketing device is much like listening to explicit music with your grandmother in the same room — uncomfortable, but quite relieving when it is a shared experience. I guess.
The dessert element of dining out is the encore after the applause. The superfluity of a standout meal is made more memorable with that last kiss goodnight. Attention to the detail of a good cup of coffee and a striking dessert plate presentation can set a dining experience just over the top. But what are the challenges that come with it? Dessert can mean a noticeable bump to a check average. It also slows down the dining room and requires talent lacking in today’s murky and shallow pond of skilled labor.
All trends seem to plateau sooner rather than later, but few ride along in full force before something takes its place or someone slanders its status. All types of foodservice outlets need to take note of trends and why they rise and fall. Quick-service, full service, fine dining, and caterers are all subjected to reviews as customers are quick to judge as soon as they read over your menu.
Bakeries and pastry shops are nothing new. No matter the city, we’re never too far away from a cupcake shop, ice cream parlor, or grocery store stocked with shelf upon shelf of cookies, cakes and other sweet delights. In Los Angeles alone, Yelp turned up nearly 2,000 results for the search term, “cupcakes.” But let’s face it, not all desserts are created equal. Consumers have too many options to settle.
The restaurant menu is the singular most important element of any operation. Yet, it is often relegated to a half-hearted (or misguided) effort at best, and a comical jab at juggling food cost at worst. Where is the logic? Food is the product of any restaurant. So why give such little thought to the device that describes, sells, and advertises your product? Restaurants fail when they don't stick to their mission.
Paris Baguette Is Rising Above the Franchisee Training Mold: Q&A With Chief Development Office Larry Sidoti
By Mae Velasco, Associate Editor
For some restaurant brands, the franchising model leads the way to success. We’ve seen big names such as Wendy’s and McDonald’s working their way to having 95 percent of their locations operated by franchisees, leaving only a small percentage to the companies themselves, and the ADP National Franchise Report showed that restaurants in the franchise sector offered an increase in job opportunities, suggesting its strength in the industry.
Still, franchising comes with its cricks and challenges. Aside from the capital and time it takes to build a solid infrastructure for operations and a solid relationship for all of those involved, most brands sitting on the fence of whether or not to jump on the franchisee bandwagon are concerned that their concept’s passion, mission, and values may not carry throughout in this model. The secret all lies in adequate and consistent training.
Looking for a little inspiration? Here is how fast casual bakery-café Paris Baguette is rising above the franchisee training mold — and trust us, their solution is no half-baked idea. In fact, their new training model may be the best thing since sliced bread.
Below, we share some of our favorite shots from our travels around the country. Enjoy!