You'll find watermelon every season at Spring Chicken, the fast casual baby sister of successful South Beach and Vegas concept Yardbird. In this episode of "Fast Casual Nation," brought to you by the National Watermelon Promotion Board, we sit down with the brains behind Spring Chicken and discover how the idea for this fast casual hatched up.
Of all the culinary options available to consumers nowadays, chicken is without a doubt the least sexy choice. Chicken is considered the “bland” option, the preferred food of people who don’t want a lot of flavor in their meals. This is unfair; after all, any food can be as bland or as flavorful as you make it (for proof, look no further than the steak on the menu at your local greasy spoon).
The consumer eats two times as much chicken as any other protein. It's no surprise that is a growing arena for fast casuals. Sean Kennedy, president and CEO of Cowboy Chicken, said his brand sets itself apart because they do not fry their products. Their chicken is artisan, cooked naturally over a hickory wood-burning fire, and their service target time is four minutes.
A partnership with the land is made between labor and food costs. You could argue that one is as valuable as the other, but becoming a good tactician to the exclusion of all other concerns always felt like a hollow victory to me. Did driving an acceptable food cost mean that the only connection to the land that made fiscal sense came by way of neat, Cryovac packaging?
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 — but quality isn’t just throwing money at the most expensive ingredients.
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?
No Rules in Dining: What Big Trends Will We See Next?
By Jim Berman, Foodable Industry Expert
Upscale chefs playing down-scale roles. Fast-fooding of the eclectic palate. What is next for this "No Rules" era of dining? Edison lights, shrunken menus, refreshingly loud music, and shareable plates are de rigueur. So, where are you going?
Breakfast Playing a Part Long After the Work Day Has Begun
Frittatas have long been a lunch staple. Alas, move over for omelettes and even the up-ended breakfast sandwich sliding their way onto lunch menus. Breakfast for dinner? Not just a Western omelette with toast and homefries. Rather, look for craft egg dishes with a shave or two of truffle, a drizzle of herb oil or dollop of the oh-so-on-trend compound butter. Forget not the humble pancake. Built of more bold flavors than all-purpose flour, the pancake plays the role of a gentle canvas. Think buckwheat, herbs, and protein.
Below, we share some of our favorite shots from our travels around the country. Enjoy!