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This edition of Modern Restaurant Management (MRM) magazine’s “According to …” research roundup offers St. Patrick’s Day and March Madness research as well as hot chili toppings brand intimacy and gender balance in hospitality.
St Patrick’s Day: Good for Bars, Not Restaurants
Here are a few interesting data points from the experts at CAKE.
Data confirms St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday for bars, not restaurants:
In 2017, the average number of bar transactions was 43 percent higher on St. Patrick’s Day (March 17) compared with the Friday prior (March 10). The average number of transactions fell by 30 percent on the following Friday (March 24).
On the other hand, restaurants saw only a 7 percent rise in number of transactions on St. Patrick’s Day (March 17), compared to the previous Friday (March 10).
In 2017, average bar sales saw a 33 percent increase (compared to the previous Friday) on St. Patrick’s Day and average sales jumped over $1,000.
Restaurants experienced minimal sales increase (compared to the previous Friday) of 7 percent.
St. Patrick’s Day Sales Climb YOY:
From 2016 to 2017, Bars saw a 30 percent increase in average transactions on St. Patrick’s Day, and a 40 percent increase in average sales. Average ticket size rose by 8 percent between the two years.
Although average transactions and sales are markedly lower for restaurants on St. Patrick’s Day when compared with bars, restaurants still saw a YOY increase in both categories on the holiday. Average transactions rose by 15 percent and average sales rose by 39 percent.
As evidenced by the findings above (and not surprisingly!) the majority of customers are flocking to bars to celebrate the holiday. This presents a great opportunity for restaurant owners to offer themed food and drink specials to drum up extra business, according to Cake
Data show last year on March 15th, beer sales hit their highest point of the year and were 23.65 percent higher than the rest of the year. This year, St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Saturday along with the second round of March Madness, so restaurants better stock up on all the beer.
But, they are not eating as much as they are drinking:
While beer sales went up in the U.S., they only saw a steady increase of nearly four percent for food sales
Unless you are in the Northeast, then food sales actually went down, but beer sales still increased
The makers of HORMEL® Chili wanted to provide fans from each region a way to celebrate and introduced the 16-Topping Chili Nation Bar – paying homage to one of the most-watched portions of the big tournament; this chili bar is sure to please fans from all over the country with specific ingredients tied to each region. A
In addition to the 16-Topping Chili Nation Bar, below are some interesting stats pertaining to HORMEL® Chili purchases during March, 2017:
March 2017 – Chili Purchasing Stats
Last year, over 8 million pounds of HORMEL® Chili was purchased during March in America!
The South region purchased more HORMEL® Chili than any other region – nearly 3 million total pounds to be exact
This was over 1 million pounds more than the next highest region (The West) at 1,828,160 pounds
The Midwest region came in third at 1,695,987 pounds
With the East region rounding out the list at 1,591,754 pounds
Red Bell Peppers
Tough February for Restaurants
Restaurant same-store sales growth saw another disappointing month in February. The last two months have reversed the positive momentum we experienced in the fourth quarter of 2017 and have revived concerns that the industry may not yet be positioned for sustained growth. Same-store sales dipped -0.8 percent in February, a 0.5 percentage point decline from January and the weakest month since September of last year. These insights come from TDn2K™ data through The Restaurant Industry Snapshot™, based on weekly sales from over 30,000 restaurant units, 170+ brands and represent over $68 billion dollars in annual revenue.
Same-store traffic declined -3.1 percent in February; the worst month since September 2017. Although traffic growth dropped by only 0.1 percentage point compared to January, the negative effect on sales was amplified by a significant slowdown in the growth of guest checks. On average, consumers spent 2.4 percent more than they did a year ago in February. By contrast, the year-over-year growth in average spending was 3.0 percent in January.
“However, the trend that continues,” explained Victor Fernandez, executive director of insights and knowledge at TDn2K, “is higher guest check growth compared with the first three quarters of 2017. Since the beginning of Q4 2017, all months except December have posted year-over-year check growth of at least 2.4 percent. The average for the first nine months of 2017 was only 2.0 percent. Furthermore, the latest TDn2K research indicates that restaurant brands with sustained top sales growth over the last two years have been successful at increasing their average guest checks even more.”
Too Early to Call It a Downturn
There is some concern about restaurant industry performance so far in 2018. The fact that prior year sales were very weak (-3.7 percent) makes the February 2018 results even more disappointing. Taking a longer view, sales last month were 4.5 percent lower than they were two years ago in February of 2016.
“It’s probably too soon to determine if this is an aberration or the start of a new trend,” continued Fernandez. “We had several external factors in February that cloud our view into the underlying performance. There were weather events that included winter storms as well as record rainfall in some areas. The Winter Olympics captured the attention of almost 20 million Americans nightly for two weeks. Plus, Valentine’s Day fell on Ash Wednesday, a time when many people were involved with church activities. Each of these events impacted sales to some degree. We’ll watch results carefully over the next few weeks to evaluate restaurant trends in a more normalized environment.”
Increased Consumer Spending Expected
“While job gains have remained solid, the economy has yet to accelerate as much as we hoped for when the tax cuts were passed,” said Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors and TDn2K economist. “It may be early, especially since income growth was robust in January. But that has not yet translated into strong retail spending.
“Consumer confidence remains solid, but the chaos in Washington has created massive volatility in the equity markets that could be weighing on consumers. Nevertheless, with wage pressures rising from the strong demand for workers, look for consumer spending to improve. We may not see a sudden surge, as it takes time for the tax cuts and wage increases to translate into improved demand, but the acceleration should become clear by the end of spring or early summer. Growth in the three percent range for this year is still likely and that means most sectors, including restaurants, should be in for better sales going forward.”
Fast Casual Climbed to The Top, Fine Dining Underperforms
February results were soft across the industry and all segments reported negative sales. Fast casual was the top performing segment in February, a welcomed improvement in its relative sales performance. Although fast casual continues to gain market share through new unit openings, it hadn’t been the top performing segment in comp sales since the beginning of 2015.
Fine dining, which led the industry in comp sales for 2017, experienced a dramatic downturn in February, posting its third-worst month in three years. The external factors noted earlier could have been particularly troublesome for this segment.
Counter Service Brands Continue to Capture Consumer Spending
Chain restaurants may have a same-store sales problem, but total sales continue to grow as the industry keeps generating net growth in its number of locations. According to TDn2K’s Market Share Report, which includes data representing over 125,000 individual restaurant locations, chain restaurants grew total sales by 2.9 percent in 2017.
As total sales continue to grow, so does the share of those sales that flow to counter service brands. Quick service and fast casual sales account for 72 cents of every dollar that was spent on chain restaurants during the fourth quarter of 2017. Especially telling in the data is the fact that for years consumers have been slowly shifting their spending to these segments, signaling the increasing appeal of chain restaurant brands for value, convenience and off-premise based dining (over half of counter service sales are for food not consumed at the restaurant).
Top Performing Restaurant Brands Better at Containing Employee Turnover
Employee turnover throughout all levels of restaurant operations, from front-line hourly employees to restaurant managers, have climbed to historically high levels and show no signs of easing. In January, TDn2K’s People Report™ data recorded another increase in the 12-month rolling turnover rate for hourly employees as well as the rate for all levels of management.
Data also shows that the turnover challenges are worse for back-of-house hourly positions than for their front-of-house counterparts. As restaurants compete for kitchen talent they will have to look to their compensation plans as part of the strategy. Restaurant companies reported the number one reason back-of-house employees leave is for higher compensation.
Even if the tightening labor market affects all restaurant companies, top performing companies seem to be more focused on strategies to retain their employees and have been more successful in maintaining lower turnover rates. TDn2K analysis indicates that top-performing companies have experienced a drop in their management turnover rates. Not surprisingly, management turnover for brands in the group with the weakest sales performance has increased by about 10 percentage points during that same period.
Restaurant Management Salary Survey Report
Gecko Hospitality, has released its 2017 Restaurant Management Salary Survey Report. The report reveals that across nearly all hospitality categories and levels, the gender pay gap is still prevalent, with bonuses and starting pay for men considerably higher than women. Spanning numerous segments and job titles in the industry, the survey results shed light on the compensation inconsistencies hospitality workers are facing nationwide.
Nearly all hospitality categories and levels, the gender pay gap is still prevalent, with bonuses and starting pay for men considerably higher than women.
Gecko Hospitality’s annual report is widely considered to be the industry benchmark for job titles, salaries, gender comparisons, location, turnover, and pay increases. This year’s report includes trends and conclusions based on survey data from 2,089 restaurant management professionals, collected by Gecko Hospitality between January and December 2017.
“We strive to provide mutually beneficial and the most up-to-date information from our annual survey to our candidates and clientele,” Said Gecko Hospitality President, Robert Krzak. “This year’s data clearly shows that the pay discrepancy between men and women is still a prevalent issue within the industry. By using our survey results, employers can develop acquisition and retention strategies that attract top talent, while maintaining employee satisfaction.”
Covering quick service restaurants (QSR), fast casual, family dining, casual, upscale casual, and upscale establishments, this year’s report includes some interesting data and trends:
Average starting salaries for men are higher than those for women in all measured categories except one: District/Multi-unit Manager.
Across all positions, men made an average of $4,728 per year more than women.
In hourly positions, women make an average of $0.76 less per hour than men.
The positions of executive chef, sous chef, kitchen manager and general manager are dominated by men, while women make up the majority of catering, sales and event manager positions.
Of managers who accepted a management position with a new company, 37 percent of women received a salary increase vs. 31 percent of men, emphasizing the rush to hire female talent.
The data and statistics from the Restaurant Management Salary Survey Report are used by both restaurant organizations and restaurant-management professionals to learn where they stand with compensation, relative to the U.S. marketplace average. This helps with the planning and positioning of their recruitment efforts and growth strategies.
Sodexo, a food services and facilities management company committed to improving Quality of Life, has found that teams managed by a balanced mix of men and women are more successful across a range of measurements. The five-year, one-of-a-kind study of 70 entities across different functions represents 50,000 managers worldwide.
Operating margins, client satisfaction and employee retention, among other key performance indicators, were all higher among gender-balanced teams, meaning a ratio between 40 percent – 60 percent women to men.
“These results add a new, compelling dimension to a growing body of research that demonstrates the business benefits of gender equity,” said Rohini Anand, PhD, Senior Vice President, Corporate Responsibility and Global Chief Diversity Officer, Sodexo.
“The distinctive nature of the study, with its examination of both financial and non-financial performance indicators across so many levels of management and the pipeline to leadership, is a significant piece of the overall picture on importance of gender in the workforce for enhanced outcomes.”
Operating margins significantly increased among more gender-balanced teams than other teams.
Gender-balanced entities had an average employee retention rate that was 8 percentage points higher than other entities
Gender-balanced entities had an average client retention rate that was 9 percentage points higher than other entities.
Gender-balanced management reported an employee engagement rate that was 14 percentage points higher than other entities.
Gender-balanced entities saw the number of accidents decrease by 12 percentage points more than other entities.(PRNewsfoto/Sodexo)
This unique Sodexo Gender Balance Study builds on previous internal and external research and amplifies Sodexo’s commitment to gender parity and an inclusive culture.
Sodexo, already a leader in diversity & inclusion, is breaking new ground in gender parity. Today, women represent 50 percent of our board. Thirty-two percent of senior leadership positions are held by women globally – a 6 percent increase at the very top levels since 2013. Middle management and site management positions are balanced at 46 percent. Currently, 59 percent of the total workforce works within gender-balanced management.
The company has committed to reach 40 percent women in senior leadership ranks by 2025 and has linked 10 percent of bonuses to this metric.
New convenience-enabling technologies, like mobile ordering and delivery apps, are a bright spot in an otherwise slow period for the restaurant industry. U.S. foodservice traffic has been stuck between a 1 percent gain and flat for several years now, but restaurant visits paid by mobile app increased by 50 percent over the last year, finds a new study released by The NPD Group.
Mobile apps and other technologies are meeting the needs of time-strapped consumers and have given new meaning to quick service, according to the NPD report, Digital Evolution of Foodservice . Among the top reasons consumers are using mobile apps and other technologies are so they can order, pay, and have their food ready when they arrive. Other reasons include the ability to earn rewards and loyalty points, receive specials and coupons, and look up menu items, according to the report, which explores awareness and use of digital services including barriers, most- and least-liked features, and demographic and geographic differences.
The NPD report also finds that not all consumers are embracing technology when using restaurants. In 2017 two in five visits to restaurants were paid in cash. Of these digital non-user s, 22 percent said they preferred to pay in cash, while 18 percent didn’t want to pay service fees, and 16 percent were worried about identity theft or credit card fraud.
“Providing the ability to easily order food from a restaurant is no longer a nice-to-have, it is a need-to-have,” said Warren Solochek, NPD’s senior vice president, industry relations. “Restaurant operators seeking to gain more visits and grow the bottom line must decide which convenience enablers, digital or non-digital, are worth their investment.”
Chicagoland Drinkers Name Top Spots to Imbibe
Canada’s premier farm-to-glass distillery, Eau Claire conducted a survey of Chicagoland imbibers to explore local spirit preferences ahead of the distillery’s Chicago launch in late March. According to the survey, vodka was identified as the most preferred spirit choice by Chicago area residents, followed by whiskey rum and gin. The survey results also provided insight into where Chicagoland drinkers’ favorite spots to imbibe.
Survey respondents named Three Dots and a Dash as best cocktail bar and honored Bar Louie with the title of best happy hour. According to the survey, Chicago imbibers are most likely to be found at Moody’s Pub on a bad weather day and at Roof on theWit (voted best rooftop bar) on a good day. Drinkers with an appetite for more than spirits selected HopLeaf as the bar with the best food.
Of those surveyed, 87 percent said they drink cocktails 43 percent of respondents prefer craft spirits over spirits from major distilleries. The study also indicates that Chicagoland residents pay attention to alcohol brands, as 57 percent of respondents expressed that they ask for specific brands when ordering drinks in bars and restaurants. Furthermore, if craft spirits were available in bars and restaurants, 67 percent of respondents said they would prefer them over other brands. This places craft spirits ahead in competition with major liquor brands.
Respondents were also asked which factor most influences their decision to try new alcohol products. They were given the following options: bottle label/packaging, advertisements, beverage reviews, public tastings or friends and family. Public tastings at restaurants, bars or liquor stores was the biggest influencer as cited by 35 percent of respondents, closely followed by recommendations from friends and family. In regards to cocktail preference, 48 percent of respondents preferred classic cocktails and 41 percent showed a preference for new and creative ones, while only 11 percent preferred seasonal cocktails.
Chicago bars and restaurants may benefit from placing more craft spirits on the menu as most survey respondents, 76 percent, said they would drink more craft spirits if available to them. Furthermore, 64 percent of respondents said they would be willing to pay more for craft spirits. Expanding craft spirit menus could mean increased revenue for restaurants, liquor stores, bars and craft distilleries alike as 67 percent of respondents said they would ask for and prefer craft spirits in drinks ordered at restaurants or bars, if they were available.
“With our Chicago launch just around the corner, we were delighted to see the growing demand for craft spirits within the area,” said Eau Claire Distillery Founder David Farran. “This month, we look forward to bringing our award-winning spirits to distinguished Chicago imbibers looking for a true farm-to-glass experience.”
Other findings include:
73 percent of respondents indicated they already know where to purchase craft spirits
Only 17 percent of respondents said that label art or bottle design does not influence their alcohol purchases at all
48 percent of respondents indicated they prefer classic cocktails and 41 percent prefer new and creative cocktails, while only 11 percent prefer seasonal cocktails.
Implementing new technology in the restaurant industry is no different than any other in that it requires a plan of action. The pace of technology might have you overwhelmed and unfocused too. It’s easy to be distracted by the shiny and new elements of the technology industry instead of looking at its purpose, your goals and the ROI you’re looking for. Technology now touches every aspect of your operations, and you have to decide what kind of adopter you’re going to be as a franchiser, restaurant group or restaurant owner. If you’re looking to upgrade or implement entirely new technologies, there are a few particularly relevant solutions for restaurants in 2018: business intelligence solutions and systems integration.
It is easy to be distracted by the shiny new elements of tech instead of looking at its purpose, your goals and the ROI you’re looking for.
Big data is the other buzzword you’re likely to have heard recently. Through technology, you have access to a much more thorough picture of your customers and their behaviors. Business intelligence is what will help you visualize and understand that picture better. Business intelligence solutions that gather data from various aspects of the franchise or restaurant give leaders a new perspective on their business. Take data from mobile interactions for ordering, loyalty programs and more. The average American consumer spends around 10-12 hours a day on some form of a digital device. Of that, they spend five hours collectively on a smartphone. This is gold for businesses in general and for restaurants, it’s no different. The data gathered will not only give better insight on who their patrons are, but what future campaigns can be run to drive in more traffic and revenue. Using systems like these also provides insight into popular items, a way to track and predict demand and ultimately, reduce food waste to improve profits.
Business intelligence for staff monitoring and training can also be very impactful. You will be able to see who your rockstar servers are that know how to upsell the appetizers and desserts. Those performers can be empowered with this information to train and teach others as well. On the flip side, you’ll have hard numbers on who may not be great at the front of the house and might be better suited for a kitchen role.
Technology isn’t just giving you more information more quickly. Consumers are looking for ease and speed in their experience with you as well. If restaurants can provide fast and easy ways to engage, repeat business is a likely response to that. For example, bots remove common barriers to conversation and provide customer support in reservations and ordering. With automatic responses from bots, businesses can increase customer satisfaction while maintaining a positive brand reputation and freeing up staff for more important and complex tasks.
Technology now touches every aspect of your operations, and you have to decide what kind of adopter you’re going to be as a franchiser, restaurant group or restaurant owner.
When you think of applications for performance improvement, delivery tracking technology might come to mind. It’s an important feature for you and for your customer. Business intelligence can do much more for performance improvement though. These systems can unveil seasonal trends you might not have noticed before, demographic and patron information you haven’t had access to, or places to maximize sales based on server/employee performance. Say the system could track regulars for you, their order history, and tie it to the mobile loyalty program to make it easy for them. Servers could be provided information on that patron to tailor the dining experience, offer a last-minute perk or reward, and more. This level of service and more can be tracked and analyzed to monitor employee performance, identifying your very best for improved training practices that pull from experience on the floor.
Now that you have or are considering different solutions, it’s time to look at systems integration. Chances are you’re running various custom and plug-and-play technologies to gather the information and make these offerings to your patrons. This year, it’s important to look at how you might integrate all of these in one custom platform. This allows for gaps in data in be filled in and gives you the 360 degree, birds eye view you are looking for. Integrating your systems allows for improved reporting that intertwines data from all aspects of the business to create overall business operations. When you can share information amongst the entire business, you can create a better customer experience. Additionally, you have full visibility to empowers leadership with information needed to make well-informed decisions.
Technology is a win for all stakeholders involved in the restaurant – patrons, staff, and investors. It makes the franchise or restaurant attractive to future franchisees or buyers as well. It’s an opportunity to stand out and ensure any opportunities that bring change can be taken on with smooth transition. If you’re looking for more information on business intelligence, this white paper details more information about implementing it in your business.
This edition of MRM’s Daily Bite features Restaurant Revolution Technologies, Inc. and DoorDash, Toast and B.GOOD, Fundbox, Juice It Up!, Healthy Fats Coalition, E la Carte, Inc., ezCater, ShiftPixy, World’s Best Cookie Dough and the James Beard Foundation.
Send news items to Barbara Castiglia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Revolution Teams with DoorDash
Restaurant Revolution Technologies, Inc. (Revolution) is partnering with DoorDash to help streamline online ordering for participating restaurants. The Order One software from Revolution is an off-premise omni-channel ordering platform that captures and submits all customer takeout and delivery orders placed by phone, website, mobile or chat. Order One integrates into multiple point of sale (POS) systems, meaning once the order is submitted, it is incorporated directly into the restaurant’s POS and operational system for optimal efficiency. Order One also captures all customer information and customer order history so that customers can easily re-order and restaurants can keep in touch with their customers.
Once an order is ready for delivery, the Order One platform notifies DoorDash’s innovative catering and fulfillment service, DoorDash Drive, through its API integration. A DoorDash Drive driver, called a “Dasher,” picks up the order from the restaurant and couriers it directly to the customer. From the customer’s perspective, the experience feels like the order was placed directly with the restaurant and delivered by the restaurant versus two third-party services.
“For many restaurants, the delivery market is either untapped or a phenomenal growth area that comes with operational hurdles,” said Revolution CEO Brad Duea. “Current out-of-house delivery options require additional tablets and dedicated team members to accept delivery orders and re-enter them into the restaurant’s POS system. With our integration with Drive, our restaurant partners will be able to streamline the entire delivery process with Order One sending delivery orders direct to their POS without the need to transfer orders from tablets, resulting in an efficient and premium experience. Order One will also capture customer order history so customers can simply and easily reorder from any channel.”
Through Order One, customers can not only place their order via the restaurant’s website, they can also call in their delivery order and speak with a live agent. These agents are trained as brand ambassadors to be well-versed with the restaurant’s brand, know the menu inside and out, and provide quality customer service. With Revolution’s unified phone, mobile and online ordering platform and related services, such as data capture, live phone support and real-time order monitoring and issue resolution, no other company in the space provides a similar solution.
“DoorDash is thrilled to continue expanding our capabilities, enabling our merchants and customers to experience the most efficient delivery,” said Toby Espinosa, Head of Business Development at DoorDash. “The partnership with Revolution’s Order One will allow us to onboard new restaurants through the year and we look forward to what we can achieve together.”
Toast’s B.Good Partnership
Toast is teaming with B.GOOD for all 50+ B.GOOD North America locations.
“Data quality was the primary reason we started looking for a new POS system; our former provider didn’t offer the kind of data access needed to grow with our business,” said Austin Brinson, B.GOOD’s vice president of analytics. “There were a lot of options in the market, but very few that were aligned with our focus on data and integrations. Toast was different. Toast allows us to take our reporting a couple levels deeper – transforming the data into actionable insights.”
B.GOOD was founded in 2003 in Boston by best friends Jon Olinto and Anthony Ackil who were on a mission to make great, wholesome food the way their family made for them growing up. B.GOOD was founded on the belief that food can be the roots that connect a community of people who grow, prepare and eat it.
“In our Toast Restaurant Technology in 2017 industry report, we found inexpensive solutions like white-label ordering apps create repeat visitors through loyalty integration, yet only 22 percent of restaurants offer this option,” said Aman Narang, president and co-founder of Toast. “This is clearly not the case with B.GOOD, which leverages the Toast API for loyalty to connect directly with customers, drive repeat business, and gain insights into consumer preferences. We’re proud to partner with a group like B.GOOD that is not only mission-driven, but data-driven too.”
Toast Restaurant POS offers advanced functionality to manage the day-to-day operations of the restaurant, including quick menu modifications, real-time enterprise reporting and labor management on an easy-to-use interface. The platform also features revenue-driving tools including physical and digital gift cards, loyalty programs and online ordering.\
Fundbox Pay Launches
Fundbox launched Fundbox Pay, a new payment and credit solution servicing the $4.5 trillion small business-to-business (SMB2B) transactional market in the U.S.
Fundbox Pay provides a two-sided solution so that businesses no longer have to extend each other credit and wait on payments. With this product, buyers can make purchases with Fundbox Credit™ and sellers get paid right away less a processing fee. Moreover, buyers get 60 days with no interest on their purchases and can choose to extend their terms for a fee. Fundbox Pay builds on the company’s fundamentally unique approach to small business underwriting after five years of AI investments. Fundbox’s approach dismantles traditional credit barriers like FICO requirements and manual underwriting costs, finally empowering small businesses to break free from cash-flow gaps and seize growth opportunities.
“Fundbox Pay was designed to be the infrastructure for an already-existing economy that’s been sorely underserved,” said Prashant Fuloria, Chief Operations Officer at Fundbox. “Millions of small business provide free capital to other businesses on a daily basis. And yet no one has developed a credit and payment network that delivers the same radical convenience, flexibility, immediacy and overall value that consumer-facing SMBs have the benefit of using – until now. Our goal with Fundbox Pay is to become the point-of-sale platform for this SMB2B market and to make business transactions as simple as buying a cup of coffee.”
“Small businesses serving other businesses–from small to large–have wanted the option to have their own credit/payment solution for some time now. This is a massive market opportunity, and it’s surprising that no one has brought this sort of solution to market until now,” said Laurie McCabe, Cofounder & Partner, SMB Group. “With their new Pay network, Fundbox has a perfect opportunity to become the POS for SMB2B transactions by filling a need that traditional or alternative lenders have yet to resolve.”
“The Fundbox Pay solution creates opportunity for businesses like ours,” said Lisa Fiore, Founder and CEO of LandscapeHub. “The Pay network allows us to provide more attractive terms to customers who don’t have immediate access to credit.”
Braun in at Juice It Up!
Juice It Up!, was acquired by SJB Brands, LLC. and appointed Chris Braun as company CEO. Purchased from longtime owner and former CEO, Frank Easterbrook, SJB Brands was formed as a partnership between California-based private investment firms, Dover Shores Capital, LLC, led by Braun, Britt Private Capital, LLC, and Jupiter Holdings, LLC.
After over two decades of leadership at Juice It Up!, Easterbrook has passed the baton but remains committed to the brand as a franchisee. The partners of SJB Brands, LLC, possess over 30 years of experience in the franchise space while sharing a passion for healthy living and the vision of growth for Juice It Up!
“We are grateful for the incredible leadership and support that Frank Easterbrook provided to the Juice It Up! brand and franchisees for over 20 years,” said Braun. “We are excited to begin this journey and build upon the legacy that Frank, the management team and dedicated franchise partners have created, cementing Juice It Up! as a major player in the growing smoothie, raw juice, and bowl market.”
Juice It Up! currently has 100 locations open and in development across California, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, and Florida. Under the new ownership, the brand will continue to enhance its core offerings of hand-crafted smoothies, fresh raw juices and superfruit bowls. In addition to focusing on product innovation and a customer-centric strategy, growth in prime markets while sourcing high quality site locations and franchisees are key initiatives.
Braun continued, “We’re going to continue to add value to an already established and beloved brand, as well as take a proactive role in the company’s growth. It is our principal objective to pursue initiatives that are designed around innovation, growing average store sales, and expanding our franchise base to continue to build on the success of the brand.”
National Healthy Fats Day
Under the auspices of the Healthy Fats Coalition and coinciding with the arrival of spring, March 21 will mark the first annual National Healthy Fats Day, a celebration of traditional healthy animal fats – pure lard, beef tallow, duck fat, goose fat and the like – that are now enjoying a resurgence within America’s food culture, in restaurants, fast food operations and home kitchens.
National Healthy Fats Day is the brainchild of the HFC, a group of like-minded organizations, companies and individuals that have developed a new educational initiative dedicated to the proposition that healthy fats aren’t merely having a moment – they’re here to stay, as an essential part of the American diet. Its mission is simple: affirm that animal fats deserve a central place in the American diet and in the popular imagination.
For the HFC, National Healthy Fats Day is just the beginning. The Coalition is also promoting National Beef Tallow Day, set for July 13 (and coinciding with National French Fry Day), and National Lard Day, December 8, one day ahead of National Pastry Day, Dec. 9. The HFC’s message for each day: mark the occasion by tasting the difference yourself.
“Fat is the soul of flavor,” wrote Nina Teicholz in her groundbreaking book, Big Fat Surprise (Simon & Schuster, 2014). “Food is tasteless and cooking nearly impossible without fat. Fat is essential in the kitchen to produce crispness and to thicken sauces. It is crucial in conveying flavors. It makes baked goods flaky, moist, and light. And fat has many other essential functions in cooking and baking.”
“We wholeheartedly agree with Nina — healthy animal fats are on trend for flavor, wellness and sustainability,” said Ernest Miller, Corporate Chef for Coast Packing Company, a founding member of the HFC. “Artificial trans fats are out, and minimally processed animal fats — for superior baking, frying and a host of other cooking applications – are making a comeback. The color, texture and flavor that healthy animal fats impart make them a vastly superior alternative to heavily processed, industrially produced substitutes. More and more consumers are seeking out food that is made with integrity and respect for culinary traditions. Natural, healthy animal fats are a big part of authenticity in cooking.”
PrestoPrime at Applebee’s
E la Carte, Inc.,will deploy its latest-generation PrestoPrime EMV tabletop terminals, top photo, across Applebee’s restaurants in the U.S. A leader in technology innovation, Applebee’s first began providing the Presto tablets in 2014 and will be continuing to provide them for multiple years, in order to give casual-dining guests more control over their dining experiences, increase operational efficiencies and more accurately track guest feedback. With this latest deployment, Applebee’s will continue to exclusively offer the newest and most innovative guest tablet technology with the PrestoPrime EMV tablet.
PrestoPrime’s unique guest feedback capabilities enable nearly real-time data capture that helps restaurants improve the guest experience and drive operational efficiencies. The new terminal also supports all of the latest EMV and mobile payment technologies, including Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay, Chip-and-PIN, Chip-and-Signature, PIN-Debit and mobile payments. It has best-in-class payment security with full end-to-end hardware encryption and PTS certified PIN capture.
“Applebee’s has been pioneering new digital experiences for years. With our next generation PrestoPrime tablets, the restaurants will be able to offer guests and operators the latest in tabletop entertainment, security, tablet functionality and data capture,” said Rajat Suri, Founder and CEO of E la Carte. “Restaurant brands will only succeed if they stay ahead of the rapidly evolving expectations of today’s tech-centric consumer, and our PrestoPrime tablets help them do that.”
Rand Joins ezCater
Jim Rand, a longtime restaurant industry executive who built the catering business at Panera Bread and P.F. Chang’s, has joined ezCater as Catering Practice Leader. In this new role, Rand will apply his decades of experience in building and scaling catering operations to help ezCater’s partners grow their off-premises business.
With more than 40 years of restaurant experience, Rand focused much of his career on building successful off-premises operations. As Vice President of Catering at Panera Bread for nearly a decade, Rand built the company’s catering business and grew catering revenue from 2 percent to nearly 10 percent of individual store sales. Prior to this executive role, Rand developed more than two dozen Panera franchise locations where he created the successful catering model that he later introduced company-wide.
Earlier in his career, Rand held executive roles at Metromedia Restaurant Group, working with Bonanza and Ponderosa Steakhouses, and held various roles at Au Bon Pain. Most recently, Rand was Vice President of Off-Premises Dining at P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, where he built a catering program that doubled the channel’s sales growth in just 18 months.
“I love talking about catering and helping operators succeed, which is why ezCater is the perfect place for me. Catering has been an important piece of the organizations where I’ve worked in the past, and I’m so excited to join ezCater where it’s the only focus,” said Rand. “The industry is changing drastically and I believe ezCater is the new model for success. I’m eager to help ezCater’s restaurant partners seize the opportunity that catering represents for them.”
Off-premises dining has been a bright spot in a restaurant industry faced with flat or shrinking revenues. Business catering in particular has grown by nearly 40 percent in the past four years to become a $22 billion market, according to data from the foodservice research firm Technomic. As the only nationwide marketplace for business catering, ezCater has helped restaurants serve over 36 million businesspeople in every corner of the country and is in a unique position to help its partners quickly tap into this growing market.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Jim to our team,” said Victoria Brady, ezCater’s VP of Caterer Partnerships. “He brings unmatched industry experience to ezCater, plus he’s innately kind and helpful so he’s a natural fit. Adding Jim to the team will ensure that we provide the very best solutions to help our restaurant partners grow their catering businesses.”
ShiftPixy’s New Driver Management Layer
ShiftPixy is introducing a highly disruptive proposition for the Company’s fast food and fast casual restaurant operator clients. The new driver management layer for operators in the ShiftPixy ecosystem will now allow ShiftPixy clients to use their own team members to self-deliver a brand intended customer experience. ShiftPixy has taken the compliance, management and insurance issues related to the support of a delivery option and created a turn key self-delivery opportunity. “This changes the game in a big way”, Scott W. Absher, ShiftPixy’s Co-Founder and CEO stated that “we listened to the stories our operator clients told us and saw we could leverage our ecosystem and the way we served them to make it simple for our clients to take on the growth opportunity that self-delivery represents for their business”.World’s Best Cookie Dough is now open at 164 Bleecker Street in New York City, and is the largest edible cookie dough and dessert shop in the US, housing incredibly smooth and sumptuous flavors, dough varieties and a year round service.
Scott Absher ShiftPixy’s Co-Founder and CEO stated that “Delivery is the fastest growing wave in the fast food and fast casual dominated by GrubHub, UberEats, DoorDash. They have created a wave we are calling the convenience economy. We see that none of the large fast food and fast casual brands could have predicted the delivery demand wave, but they should not have been surprised by the damage to their brand and their customer experience from surrendering their completed customer connection to a stranger”. One ShiftPixy client in Southern California who uses third-party delivery providers explained that “happy customers say nothing, but angry customers tell everyone, we don’t find out until it’s too late that there was a problem and then we have lost a customer.”
A Lot of Edible Dough
World’s Best Cookie Dough is now open at 164 Bleecker Street in New York City, and is the largest edible cookie dough and dessert shop in the U.S.
The online store menu features 20 flavors and 50 varieties.Cookie dough isn’t meant to be eaten raw, but World’s Best Cookie Dough sells only edible, vegetarian dough. The brand also offers other specialty desserts such as the ookie dough cheesecake, strawberry cheesecake, and Crazy Freakshakes.
At World’s Best Cookie Dough, one can buy cookie dough in multi-packs of four, six or twelve combo packs, with flavors available in 4oz, 6oz and 8oz sizes. All ingredients are made in the same facility with pasteurized eggs and heat treated flour, and may contain wheat, peanuts, nuts, milk and soy.
The James Beard Foundation is proud to announce the nominees for the 2018 James Beard Foundation Awards. The nominees were announced today during a breakfast at Parc by Stephen Starr in Philadelphia, co-hosted by Clare Reichenbach, CEO of the James Beard Foundation; and Meryl Levitz, president and CEO of VISIT PHILADELPHIA®.
Levitz, along with James Beard Award winner Stephen Starr, represented Philadelphia at the event, speaking on behalf of the city and announcing nominees in several categories. Additionally, David Whitaker, president and CEO of Choose Chicago, made key remarks. James Beard Foundation executive vice president Mitchell Davis and Anne Quatrano, James Beard Award winner and chair of the restaurant and chef committee, announced several categories of nominees alongside Foundation CEO Reichenbach. The event was streamed live on Twitter. William Quinn, executive chef of Parc, prepared breakfast for the event guests, including Poached Eggs with Piperade and French Feta; Herb-Encrusted Cold-Poached Beef Filet with Watercress-Mint Salad and Horseradish Cream; and Hazelnut Financiers and Miniature Coffee Cakes.
Nominees were announced in nearly 60 categories of the Foundation’s various awards programs, including Restaurant and Chef, Restaurant Design, Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America, and Media.
Winners of the 2018 James Beard Media Awards will be announced at an exclusive event honoring the nation’s top cookbook authors, culinary broadcast producers and hosts, and food journalists at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York City on Friday, April 27. Winners of the remaining awards will be announced at the James Beard Awards Gala at the Lyric Opera of Chicago on Monday, May 7, 2018. During the event, which is open to the public, awards for the Restaurant and Chef and Restaurant Design categories will be handed out, along with special achievement awards Humanitarian of the Year, Lifetime Achievement, Design Icon, Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America, and America’s Classics. A gala reception will immediately follow, featuring top chefs and beverage professionals from across the country.
2018 James Beard Foundation Awards Nominees
2018 James Beard Foundation Book Awards
For books published in English in 2017. Winners will be announced on April 27.
The winner of the Book of the Year Award and the Cookbook Hall of Fame inductee will be announced on April 27.
Homegrown: Cooking from My New England Roots
The Lost Kitchen
The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen
Sean Sherman with Beth Dooley
(University of Minnesota Press)
Baking and Desserts
BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts
(W. W. Norton & Company)
Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh
(Ten Speed Press)
The Sweet Spot: Dialing Back Sugar and Amping Up Flavor
Bill Yosses and Peter Kaminsky
(Pam Krauss Books)
(Ten Speed Press)
Meehan’s Bartender Manual
(Ten Speed Press)
Mezcal: The History, Craft & Cocktails of the World’s Ultimate Artisanal Spirit
Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street: The New Home Cooking
Ask any hotel industry executive to describe the biggest misstep in their industry over the past 20 years and it’s a safe bet you’ll get the same answer: Hotel brands didn’t understand the significance OTA’s would play quickly enough, and once they did see the big picture, they didn’t act forcefully enough to take control of the situation.
Will history repeat itself in the restaurant industry? Not if brands take control now.
Yes, we’re talking about hotels. Why? Because it’s hugely relevant and the table is set for the restaurant industry to end up in the same situation.
Let’s start with the basics. OTA is an acronym for “Online Travel Agent”. You’ve likely used one to book a room or airfare by using sites like Expedia, Orbitz, or Booking.com — all popular OTA’s (there are dozens more).
The OTA’s got their start in the mid-1990’s by marketing, mostly, what was considered surplus hotel room inventory. They charged brands a hefty 10-20 percent commission for each booking, and since the bookings were considered largely incremental, the hotels were happy to pay. After all, an empty hotel room is the purest expression of perishable inventory. So far, so good… right?
In 2004, things began to change. After Google OK’d the use of trademarks as advertising keywords, even if the advertiser didn’t own the trademark, the OTA’s pounced. By quickly taking advantage of these new guidelines, OTA’s launched expansive digital advertising campaigns using the hotel brand’s own trademarks and amassed huge consumer bases. Their market share skyrocketed. Then, commissions increased. Then, commissions increased again. And, again.
Think it can’t happen to the restaurant industry? Think again.
A Google search for “order Denny’s” displays a Seamless (Grubhub) ad ahead of Denny’s own digital ordering site.
By 2010, OTA’s were booking in the ballpark of 20 percent of all hotel rooms in the US, and the brands (now, fully enlightened) began taking steps to reclaim consumers. OTA’s and hoteliers had become, in the truest sense of the expression, “frenemies” — frustrated with one another’s tactics, but increasingly reliant on each other to meet their respective goals. Brands launched comprehensive (read: expensive) campaigns to recapture consumers by stepping up their in-house e-commerce capabilities, and by offering loyalty programs and discounts only available directly. They also took their tensions to courtrooms and the corridors of government, arguing and maneuvering to restrict one another via rules and regulations.
Fast forward to 2017 and the song remains the same. OTA’s control, in the ballpark of, 30 percent of hotel bookings (that’s nearly 70 percent of bookings made digitally!). And, when all is said and done, OTA commissions cost the industry in excess of $2.5 billion annually. The advertising, courtroom, and regulatory battles continue, and most experts predict that despite the brands’ efforts to rebalance the equation, OTA’s will gain even more share over the coming years.
So, does any of this sound familiar yet? If not, let’s complete the analogy:
Restaurant marketplaces, like Grubhub, Postmates, and DoorDash are the food equivalent of an OTA. Most use inexpensive delivery as a consumer acquisition tool and charge commissions of 20-30 percent to the restaurants. They already control significant portions of the small chain and independent landscape (especially in the ‘NFL cities’). And, like the OTA’s, they position themselves as bringing incremental sales to a brand by promoting a brand’s offerings to their (the marketplace’s) loyal consumers. At the foundation, this all holds up, many consumers visit marketplace sites first when they’re hungry. Today, a cheeseburger, tomorrow ramen, the next day a burrito — marketplaces have many choices on display for every craving.
But, without control and wisely structured agreements, the marketplaces have ample opportunity to take advantage of the industry, just as the OTA’s did in 2004. Here’s the short list of smart steps every brand should take to gain the most, and lose the least, while employing marketplaces as a sales channel:
Make sure your own, branded, e-commerce sites and apps are world class so that your most loyal consumers love ordering directly and won’t be tempted to order elsewhere because of a better, faster, or more accurate user experience. Utilize a service like Olo’s Dispatch to offer delivery via your own sites and apps. Make sure that the marketplaces that are delivering your food when someone orders from their apps and sites are equally willing to deliver for you when a guest comes to your sites and apps.
Be tough but fair in your agreements with marketplaces. Prohibit them from using your trademarks in any advertising (after all, it’s not an incremental consumer that goes looking for how to order food from your brand). Demand lower commissions for any sale that is demonstrably a prior customer or began their search on your site.
Demand marketplaces fully integrate to your in-store systems and operations so that you have the ability to understand throughput from the marketplaces by geography, by day-part and by food type. This is also important in franchise systems where marketplace orders that are received on ‘out-of-band’ tablets can be ‘forgotten’ and not entered into POS.
So, that’s the $2.5 billion conundrum. Where it goes from here depends on each restaurant’s commitment to furnish great e-commerce sites to its customers, offer delivery as an option to its existing customers through its own e-commerce channels, and demand even-handed and tightly integrated partnerships with every marketplace.
The answer should encompass everything related to your restaurant business, from the logo to the staff’s attitude, from the interior design to the food menu.
So how do you achieve success in the restaurant branding process? We’ll give you 15 rules to follow.
1. Be Remarkable
Your target audience has plenty of restaurants to choose from. Why should they come from you?
Your restaurant must be remarkable in a unique way. That’s what branding is all about. This unique vibe should encompass everything: the interior, menu, website, uniforms… everything.
2. Pick the Words that Describe Your Place
To find out what makes your idea remarkable, ask yourself: what adjectives would you use to describe your brand?
Positive, customer-friendly, modern, urban, upbeat, eclectic, unique experience, home-cooked vibe… depending on your concept, different descriptions will come to your mind. Use them to identify the overall appeal of your brand.
3. Choose the Color Palette
Branding has a lot to do with color. The colors you choose will dominate the logo, the interior, the menu, the website, the uniforms, and everything else related to your brand.
It’s smart to contact a graphic designer and an interior designer, who will help you choose the right color palette.
4. Develop a Logo
We cannot stress this enough: the logo is what makes your brand recognizable. You need a really good one! Don’t even think of imitating famous restaurants’ logos; that’s been done and it doesn’t work.
5. Develop a Branded Menu
If, for example, you’re opening a restaurant for fitness junkies, you’ll offer all kinds of healthy and highly nutritional meals. If you’re starting an Italian restaurant business, you must add a unique flare to a common idea. Add something special in your menu, such as gluten-free pizza and pasta options.
Analyze your audience. Find out what they like and don’t like about your competition. Then, develop a menu that’s better than any competitive offer.
6. Invest in Comfort
Remember: this will be a place where you want your target persona to relax and bring dates or business partners. If you’re not that good with the aesthetics, it’s wise to hire an interior designer, who will take care of the flooring, wall decorations, furniture, accessories, and lighting.
7. Hire Great Staff and Train Them Well
The chefs, waiters, bartenders and hosts are responsible for the reputation of your brand. Finding great talent is not easy, so be very careful when you interview candidates. Start the hiring process early and take your time.
When you have your team, you have to train them well. Inform them about your brand’s vibe and teach them how to act in accordance with its values.
8. Invest in a Website
Someone was at your restaurants and they told a friend about it. The first instinct the friend is going to have is to check out your website.
Your restaurant’s website should provide all information a potential guest needs. It should feature a searchable menu, a fun About Us page, and photos of the interior. You should definitely make online reservations possible, too. Don’t forget to link to the social media accounts.
9. Invest in Social Media Marketing
People like tagging themselves at places they’ve visited. They are also sharing Facebook and Instagram stories of direct experience. Your social media marketing campaign should be on point, so you’ll benefit from all that potential.
All pages should evoke the brand’s spirit. Someone should always be available to answer questions and possible complaints. People will be able to rank your business on Facebook, so that will serve as an inspiration for you to provide a great service every single time. The positive Facebook rating will be your best promotion.
10. Invest in Content Marketing
You want your restaurant to be “searchable” on Google. That’s why you must invest in content marketing. You may do that through a blog section at your website, where you’ll publish useful articles on how to behave in a restaurant, how to choose a meal, how to combine meals, how to pair a meal with wine, and more.
11. Claim Your Business Online
Yelp, Google Maps, Google Places, Swarm, and Facebook allow you to claim your business. That’s a smart thing to do, since it adds to your authority. You’ll be able to respond to people’s reviews and you’ll get a chance to show what your brand is all about.
12. Invest in the Sign
Presentation is everything. Adding a new, attractive sign that makes your restaurant noticeable from a distance will attract people your way. Naturally, the sign will be in the spirit of your brand.
13. Give Them Nice Music
What kind of music describes your brand? Is it Bob Marley? French chanson songs or Italian music, perhaps? Classical music or maybe even opera? Think about the people your brand is trying to attract. What kind of music would they like to listen to while they eat?
14. Pay Attention to the Details
Branded napkins and deserts with your restaurant’s logo as a decoration will make your restaurant brand memorable!
Chances are, you’ll be upgrading your restaurant over the years. That’s why your brand must be flexible for growth. The uniformed image will stay, but it has to accept changes that will align it with the growing needs of your audience.
That’s why you must make ongoing assessments of your brand and reinvent it when necessary.
The on-demand economy is changing the face of the restaurant business. Consumers are spending $4.6B annually on food/grocery delivery, which means that the first (and sometimes only) person from a business that they will interact with face-to-face is the driver bringing food right to their doorstep.
The driver experience can serve as a differentiator in a competitive environment that continues to get more crowded.
As the person frequently on the front lines with the customer, drivers should represent their brand well. If they don’t – say by arriving late for deliveries, dressing sloppily, acting disinterested, or worse, being rude to the customer – customers will quickly switch to a competitor.
In many of these cases, the driver experience can actually serve as a differentiator in a competitive environment that only continues to get more crowded. Indeed, online delivery currently represents 43 percent of all delivery orders. And if that isn’t enough, delivery companies like DoorDash are implementing cutting-edge artificial intelligence technology to provide its customers with faster delivery service.
With convenient online and app delivery options readily available to consumers, it’s more important than ever for restaurant owners to hire delivery drivers who embody “good driver” characteristics if they want to stand a chance for success. This is especially important concerning third-party delivery drivers, since more are legally being considered contractors. As contractors, restaurant owners have little to no say over the type of vehicles drivers can use to make deliveries, how they dress, or when and how long they can work.
In a crowded marketplace, sometimes all it takes is a driver who goes above and beyond to provide excellent service to keep customers coming back with repeat business. Here is a list of the “good driver” qualities that restaurant owners should be on the lookout for to set their service apart from the rest.
Reliable and Flexible
All business owners expect their employees to show up to work on time and be ready to hit the ground running. This is even more pertinent in the restaurant industry, where customers become impatient if their food arrives later than originally scheduled.
Flexibility also goes hand-in-hand with reliability – that is, good drivers are ready and willing to help out the restaurant in other ways when not making deliveries. Responsibilities can include taking customer orders or stocking up on ingredients when supplies are low. Proactively taking on these tasks helps restaurants deliver food to their customers on time since owners don’t have to worry about missed orders or supplies running low during rush hours (e.g., lunch and dinner time).
To avoid hunger pangs influencing customers’ opinions of their services, restaurant owners should hire drivers they can constantly rely on to make every delivery on time, and to be flexible to help with non-driver duties as needed.
Restaurant owners must trust that their drivers maintain a sense of professionalism when dealing with customers. The importance of this trait became apparent recently in the UK where a driver sent unsolicited texts to a female customer.
Although the restaurant stepped in to contact the customer and apologized for the driver’s actions, harm to the brand’s reputation was already done, and worse, the customer’s sense of safety was jeopardized.
No customer should have to experience this kind of ordeal, which is why restaurant owners should hire drivers they can trust to treat customers with respect, all the time. One way they can deem if a driver is trustworthy is by collecting references from past employers who can provide information on a driver’s character.
Above all traits, a safe driver who obeys the rules of the road should be of utmost importance to restaurant owners. Always using a turn signal, avoiding reading and sending texts while on the road, and keeping both hands on the steering wheel at all times are just a few examples of the habits that help drivers avoid costly accidents.
As a complicating factor, if the restaurant provides its drivers with company-owned vehicles, then accident costs, like vehicle repairs and insurance hikes, will be charged directly back to the business. Additionally, many states have safe driver laws that if not adhered to can cost restaurant owners and their drivers a pretty penny for each infraction (e.g., MA, CA).
To avoid serious accidents and their subsequent costs, restaurant owners should make it a priority to hire safe drivers. They can do this by pulling the driver’s motor vehicle reports, which tells employers if the driver has any previous tickets or has been involved in any accidents. Additionally, restaurant owners can research and participate in safe driver programs that offer safety assessments and personalized training for drivers to better avoid distractions while on the road.
Licensed and Insured
We can all agree that drivers should have a valid driver’s license and are insured before getting behind the wheel, especially if they are driving for business. However, busy restaurant owners who are strapped for time take it for granted that those applying to drive already have the important legal documents in place.
Driving without a license or insurance never ends well. If pulled over by law enforcement, drivers must provide their license to prove they are legally allowed to operate a motor vehicle. Without it, they could be heavily fined, or worse, have their license revoked or even taken into custody.
Drivers should also be insured since both the driver and restaurant owner are liable if an accident occurs within the scope of the driver’s work for the restaurant. There are many variables as to who bears responsibility for what if a driver gets into an accident, but in a nutshell, reimbursement for damages depends on insurance coverage.
If not insured, both the owner and driver will be responsible for damages caused by an accident while on the clock.
The new customer-facing opportunities ushered in by the gig-economy means restaurant owners need to give even greater attention to their delivery operations. When a customer gets the wrong food order or has a negative experience with a grumpy delivery driver, those negatives will be attached to your restaurant brand. To stay afloat in today’s on-demand world, “good drivers” are a restaurant owner’s ticket to success.
Toronto’s vegan company, The 5700 Inc., is transforming Parkdale into Vegandale, a one-of-a-kind destination for the vegan and vegan curious.
The site is currently home to three vegan brands —Doomie’s Toronto, The Imperative and Mythology, top photo — and the company plans to double their footprint. Five more vegan projects currently in the works.
Located on one city block of Queen Street West, Vegandale is a mecca for the ethically minded and hungry, offering the best of vegan food, goods and services as well as promoting a world where animal exploitation is a thing of the past.
“Vegandale is just the beginning,” says Hellenic Vincent De Paul, Owner of The 5700 Inc. “World vegan domination begins in Toronto!”
The 5700 Inc. has their sights set on the expansion of Vegandale and has taken over leases at nearby locations including 1312, 1316 and 1346 Queen Street West. Joining the neighbourhood in 2018 will be three new vegan concepts:
With their roots in abolitionism, the company’s unapologetic vegan messaging is the connection between all of the projects they have a hand in.
Heading into its fourth season, the company’s Vegan Food & Drink Festival has also been overhauled with a fresh look and name – the Vegandale Food Drink Festival. Vegandale can’t be contained to just one city block, so organizers are packing up and taking their utopia on the road – showing other cities the ease and enjoyment of living without the use of animals.
Modern Restaurant Management (MRM) magazine asked Eva Lampert, the Director of Vegan Operations to share some of the project details.
What makes Toronto such a vegan-friendly neighbourhood?
Toronto has become more and more vegan-friendly as new vegan businesses have opened and existing businesses have expanded their offerings. The availability of alternatives is making it easier than ever to be vegan!
What kind of response have you received?
We’ve had a great response in our hometown and abroad. Our two favourite customer experiences are that of a grateful vegan having vast choices and the non-vegans who experience a lightbulb moment through our outlets.
How do you plan to attract non-vegans?
It’s very important to us to attract non-vegans to Vegandale, in our effort to help more people go vegan. We do that by veganizing classic comfort foods (burgers, pancakes, etc.) and experiences (festivals, selfie rooms, etc.) so all tastes are suited.
How do you see the concept growing?
We plan to open more businesses along the Vegandale block, including three new restaurants in 2018. We will also expand the cities we travel to with the Vegandale Food Drink Festival. Since our first event in 2015, we’ve added a new city season! Entering our fourth season this year, we are set to kick things off in Houston this June.
Do you see it expanding to other locales, possibly where the festivals are located?
Our roots are in Toronto, but it would certainly be a dream to veganize businesses outside of the city!
What is the mission of Vegandale and The 5700 Inc.?
To put it simply, our mission is to help others go vegan. With the moral imperative of justice for animals as our ignition, we continue to grow our company inline with that mission.
What do you mean by “world vegan domination?”
We say “world vegan domination” as a sort of tongue in cheek nod to taking the vegan message all over the world.
Why do you feel growing a vegan empire is so important?
It’s most important for the animals. The further our reach, the more we are able to educate other’s on the importance of veganism.
What factors do you feel have influenced the growing interest in vegan culture?
Veganism has certainly been picked up by the media and is becoming more talked about each day. It’s important that we continue the education of veganism, so the growing popularity of it doesn’t minimize the movement to a diet or a trend.
As people see their friends and families thriving as vegans, it’s breaking down a of the misconceptions of who can go vegan, too.
This edition of MRM’s Daily Bite features OpenTable, LevelUp and FullContact, Clune Construction Company,Drop Bar and Lounge Sdn Bhd, Texas de Brazil Churrascaria and the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.
Send news items to Barbara Castiglia at email@example.com.
OpenTable Launches Open Kitchen
OpenTable unveiled its “Open Kitchen” initiative at SXSW 2018. The PSA-style campaign spotlights the need for the restaurant industry to make a shared commitment to put an end to an exclusionary, abusive culture and refocus on creating safe and respectful workplaces in restaurants. OpenTable collaborated with prominent restaurant owners, GMs, and chefs to release a public service announcement in which they advocate for professionalism, inclusiveness, and equality.
OpenTable launches “Open Kitchen” campaign at SXSW 2018
“No matter who you are or your role in a restaurant, whether you work in the kitchen or front of house, everyone deserves a safe seat at the table,” said Christa Quarles, CEO of OpenTable. “It’s on all of us – chefs, managers, restaurateurs, leaders, and more – to call out and stamp out inappropriate behavior and hold offending parties accountable. Together, we can bring about real change to ensure a positive and safe work environment for all.”
“We as an industry put a heavy emphasis on quality and service when it comes to our guests, yet great service begins within, in the way we interact with one another and treat our staff,” said Mary Sue Milliken, Chef and Restaurateur, Border Grill. “Moving forward, we must continually engage with our employees, lead by example, and emphasize respect and diversity to cultivate a healthy and more hospitable culture.”
To underscore a restaurant’s commitment, OpenTable has also released a ‘pledge poster’ that restaurateurs can display in the back of house asserting their restaurant to be one where everyone has a “safe seat at the table” and pledging to an Open Kitchen where they:
Uphold a zero-tolerance policy for harassment of any kind
Treat one another with the same hospitality as they treat their guests
Listen to one another with care, compassion, and respect
Grow the team with a focus on diversity and inclusion
Cultivate a professional environment always
To commit to an Open Kitchen and learn more about the campaign, click here. To read more of Quarles’ thoughts on this important topic, click here.
LevelUp Partners with FullContact
LevelUp partnered with FullContact, an identity resolution provider, to power precision marketing programs by providing restaurateurs with a detailed understanding of their guests’ interests and social networks.
FullContact offers industry-leading customer intelligence, which LevelUp’s restaurant partners can now access as an added service through LevelUp’s new “LevelUp Labs” feature suite. By matching a customer’s email address, FullContact provides operators deeper guest insight, including demographic information, company information, favorite sports teams, hobbies, and social network size and influence. As a result, restaurants on the LevelUp platform can now better segment their digital marketing efforts to speak directly to their guests’ interests.
“We’re excited to add FullContact’s customer intelligence capabilities to our suite of services, giving our restaurant partners a way to create targeted and compelling digital marketing campaigns that will impact their bottom line,” said Theresa Dold, VP Agency Strategy. “We’re always looking for new ways to help our partners leverage cutting-edge technology, which is why we’re launching this as part of a new set of services we’re calling “LevelUp Labs,” available today in the LevelUp Hub.”
“LevelUp is a leader in customer engagement for the restaurant industry, and we are thrilled to layer on our customer intelligence to their robust suite of services,” said Jon Tallman, Director of Solutions Architecture at FullContact. “For the first time, restaurant brands can now truly understand their customer and create a unique one-to-one relationship through this partnership.”
LevelUp partners can access FullContact and additional “LevelUp Labs” services in their dashboard. Today in “LevelUp Labs,” restaurants can list their menu across LevelUp’s Broadcast network, build digital advertising audiences from credit card transactors, and enrich their precision marketing efforts with FullContact.
LevelUp partners can leverage FullContact today to:
Identify top social influencers among their customers and invite them to engage in an influencer marketing program, which is increasingly a preferred marketing approach for leading consumer brands.
Grow their catering revenue by running a catering-specific campaign targeting guests in decision-making roles at nearby businesses.
Craft custom segmented digital marketing campaigns based on guests’ interests. For example, restaurants can run a campaign targeting fans of each team in upcoming March Madness brackets, or target foodies for an exclusive first look at their menu.
Clune Completes Eataly L.A.
Clune Construction Company completed construction on Eataly L.A., an Italian marketplace designed by Studios Architecture at the newly renovated Westfield Century City shopping mall in Los Angeles. This new location is Eataly’s first West Coast store, the fifth in the United States, and the 39th globally.
“Our team is excited to have played such a key role in creating Eataly’s first-ever West Coast location,” said Clune Construction Executive Managing Director, West Region President Bob Dahlstrom. “The project was very detailed and required precise coordination of many local construction trades, imported materials and client vendors directly from Italy. We would like to thank everyone who worked on the project and made it a success.”
The project included the construction of an expansive, three-story, 67,000-square-foot space for the new Eataly L.A. To complete the intensive LEED project, Clune constructed four restaurants, multiple kitchens, nine take-away food counters, a cooking school, retail space, and two chilled wine storage rooms.
Clune installed two interconnected spiral staircases to link three floors within the marketplace. The company worked with an out-of-state manufacturer in Minnesota to fabricate the stairs, shipped them to Los Angeles in large pieces and then carefully installed them into the space with the use of a crane.
Clune installed the in-house greywater system designed to recycle water, significantly reducing the amount of drinkable water the store uses for flushing toilets and watering plants by up to 33 percent. The project included the construction of a clean room designated for the on-site preparation of gelato and mozzarella. The team installed customized pasteurizers to replicate the authentic taste of gelato and mozzarella from Italy. Clune coordinated with Eataly’s kitchen experts to create these rooms, both of which adhere to state regulations.
“Helping Eataly come to life in Los Angeles was truly a special experience,” said Clune Managing Director, General Superintendent West Region Peter Bahruth. “I couldn’t be more impressed with the way our team was able to collaborate with inspectors, client vendors, and subcontractors on a tight deadline and deliver an incredible experience that we can all be proud of and enjoy.”
“We had a very good experience working with Clune, and we are very proud of the final product,” said Alex Saper, COO and Partner of Eataly USA.
Clune is also currently working with Eataly on Terra, a special project located on the third floor.
Drop KL Drops in Kuala Lumpur
Drop Bar and Lounge Sdn Bhd (Drop KL) opened at The Terraces, TREC on 438 Jalan Tun Razak in Kuala Lumpur.
“The American Association of Malaysia aims to bring a feeling of home away from home to our members, with our American Hospitality styled social events. Drop KL does this by offering regional American cuisine, with a modern twist. So no matter where in America you come from, you’ll be sure to find a taste from home,” said Jill Nanne, President of AAM as she officiated the soft launch.
Drop KL is the latest Modern American casual dining restaurant and lounge to open in KL and offers customers the opportunity to Eat, Drink and Drop in TREC. Malaysians are invited to take “A Journey for the Senses” and taste Modern American slow-cooking methods, molecular beverages and international hospitality standards. Brainchild of Hong Kong-based entrepreneur and renowned music DJ Joel Lai, Certified Sommelier Alison Christ and Executive Chef Tim Jay, the trio helm Drop hospitality group with investments of US$850,000 pledged over the next three years in Malaysia.
There are three different dining and drinking atmospheres at Drop KL; the main Zen-inspired casual dining room with private booths and high tables, a luxe black marble bar and a tropical alfresco area with views over the Royal Selangor Golf Club and KLCC Tower. An expansive yet-to-be-revealed rooftop bar will launch later in the year as part of Drop KL’s phase two. The ambiance has been created by renowned architect and interior designer Tracey Stoute who worked under the late Zaha Hadid and Sir Norman Foster before setting up his own practice, the award-winning Hong Kong firm EightSixThree. The 3,000 sq.ft. Drop KL marks a first in Malaysia for the firm after laying down plans for Drop Hong Kong, Apple, BMW, Dolce & Gabbana, Cartier and Zegna among other projects.
“In building a global brand such as Drop, we chose Malaysia as our first overseas outlet due to its location in the region as a hub for business and leisure travellers. We are also impressed by Malaysia’sdesire to raise hospitality and tourism standards and are eager to play a part in fulfilling that vision with our friendly and professional team,” said General Manager Alison Christ.
Executive Chef Tim Jay (TJay) presents the art of slow-food cooking and is influenced by European, Asian and Latin American heritage from North America, sourced from the freshest local ingredients from Asia Pacific.
“I’ve incorporated flavors from traditional dishes while I was growing up in the US”, said Chef TJay. “The menu is influenced from my travels to the Middle East and Asia with a little homage to my Italian roots.”
The Real Deal Mac and Cheese
The menu features house-made flatbreads with toppings such as stewed rabbit, grilled artichokes and Taleggio cheese, or the blue cheese, miso smoked duck and goose foie gras version. Other highlights include The Real Deal Mac and Cheese – a creamy mainstay with five cheeses, Go Ask Alice – a rabbit stew served with roasted with red peppers in chickpea ‘Sope’ and the Creole Sweet Potato Pie – a medley of seafood in sauce nantua and gratineed sweet potatoes and the Japanese Wagyu strip served with Yuzu pickles. All food served is pork-free.
Guests are invited to drop in for a taste of drinks originating from distilleries in all four corners of the globe. The Drop KL Aperitivo Hour from 5pm-8pm offers quality molecular beverages handcrafted by professional barman Tim Clark. For wine connoisseurs, Certified Sommelier Alison Christ has handpicked a selection of natural, biodynamic and organic wines to pair with your dinner. Before midnight, the main dining room transforms to serve chilled out tunes, fantastic voyages back to old school disco, or dancers breaking alongside Detroit deep house beats. Drop KL offers room for discovery and creativity as our music and entertainment component will be curated by founder Joel Lai himself, who has decades of experience as one of Asia’s best DJ’s and promoters of quality music.
One Texas de Brazil Churrascaria Inside Missouri
Texas de Brazil Churrascaria opens its first Missouri location at the Saint Louis Galleria in the inner-ring suburb of Richmond Heights. The family-owned Brazilian-American steakhouse brand now has 57 restaurant locations in 20 states and seven countries worldwide.
Texas de Brazil celebrates its grand opening in the Saint Louis Galleria.
“We’re very happy to welcome guests to our new location in the bustling Saint Louis Galleria and the community of Richmond Heights,” says Salim Asrawi, Chief Operating Officer for the Brazilian-American steakhouse brand. “We look forward to treating visitors and locals alike to the authentic Brazilian churrasco and genuine service we are dedicated to providing every day,” he adds.
The new 6,500 square-foot restaurant accommodates over 200 guests in an inviting environment that features an expansive salad area, an open grill kitchen, a feature table, wine cellar, an intimate lounge, and a private dining room for up to 35 guests. Guests are also treated to a continuous dining experience that showcases freshly-grilled meats on skewers carved tableside by costumed gauchos. At all Texas de Brazils, gauchos use the time-honored methods of grilling meats over charcoal, resulting in savory aroma and exceptional flavor. Selections range from succulent Brazilian picanha (sirloin), lamb chops, leg of lamb, filet mignon, chicken breasts wrapped in bacon, and Parmesan-crusted pork loin, to Brazilian sausages and more
World’s Longest Cheeseboard
Wisconsin is making cheese history at SXSW by creating the world’s longest cheese board for attendees. The enormous cheese board, top photo, features more than two thousand pounds and 100 different varieties of cheese from brands across the state.
“We wanted to let SXSW attendees embark on the ultimate cheese journey of flavor, texture, style and variety while recharging, relaxing and connecting,” says Suzanne Fanning, VP of Marketing Communications at Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. “Wisconsin artisan cheesemakers possess a rare combination of rich heritage and incredible innovation, and we’re excited to share their many award-winning cheeses with the world at SXSW.”
The board is over 70 feet long and features some of Wisconsin’s finest cheeses from caved-aged cheddars to fresh, squeaky curds and includes hand-rubbed wheels, blue-veined cheddars, stinky limburger and the 2017 US Cheese Champion, Sartori Black Pepper BellaVitano®. Special events in the lounge include a morning hangover remedy featuring a Bloody Mary bar and afternoon happy hours with expert-inspired wine and cheese pairings.
Participating cheese companies from Wisconsin include Artisan Cheese Exchange, Arena Cheese, BelGioioso®, Carr Valley Cheese, Caves of Faribault, Cedar Grove Cheese, Chalet Cheese, Comstock Creamery, Cow Candy, Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese, Decatur Dairy, Edelweiss Creamery, Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery, Roth Cheese, Hook’s Cheese, LaClare Family Creamery, Maple Leaf Cheese, Marieke Gouda, Norseland Cheese, Odyssey Feta, Pine River Pre-Pack, Prairie Farms, Red Barn Family Farms, Roelli Cheese, Saputo Specialty Cheese, Sartori Cheese, Saxon™ Creamery, Schuman Cheese, Specialty Cheese, Swiss Valley, Uplands Cheese, V&V Supremo, Widmer’s Cheese, Winona Foods and Wisconsin Cheese Group. Meat provided by Columbus Foods.
The giant cheese board is built inside a wooden barn that was created with digital fabrication tool technology (basically a giant printer for wood) by urban design nonprofit Better Block.
Wisconsin cheesemakers stole the spotlight at the World Championship Cheese Contest, winning more awards than any other U.S. state or country. Five of the top 20 global cheese finalists in contention for World Champion were from Wisconsin.
This year’s contest drew a record-breaking 3,402 entries, 15 percent more than the 2016 competition, in 120 categories from 26 countries and 32 U.S. states. Wisconsin captured 40.5 percent of all awards, winning 147 awards in total – five times more than its closest competitor, New York, with 26 awards, followed by Switzerland and The Netherlands with 19 awards each.
Wisconsin cheesemakers won 49 Best of Class Awards, 51 second place, and 47 third place awards. Wisconsin also swept 22 of the 120 competition classes: Traditional Waxed Cheddar, Sharp to Aged; Parmesan; Aged Asiago (over 6 months); Feta; Brick, Muenster; Havarti; Havarti, Flavored; Gouda, Mild; Smoked Gouda; Brie; Latin American Style Melting Cheeses; Paneer; Open Class: Semi-soft (Semi-hard) Cheeses; Open Class: Flavored Cheeses with Sweet or ‘Dessert’ Condiments; Cold Pack Cheese, Cheese Food; Cold Pack Cheese Spread; Spreadable Natural Cheeses, Flavored; Flavored Soft & Semi-soft (Semi-hard) Sheep’s Milk Cheeses; Lowfat Yogurt- Cow’s Milk; Flavored High Protein – Cow’s Milk; Open Class Shredded Cheese Blends, Flavored & Unflavored; Natural Snack Cheese.
Ten Wisconsin cheese companies won five or more total awards in the competition: Klondike Cheese Co. (12 awards), BelGioioso® Cheese Inc. (8 awards), Schuman Cheese (7 awards), Saxon™ Creamery (6 awards), Lactalis (6 awards), Sartori Cheese (5 awards), Carr Valley Cheese (5 awards), Emmi Roth USA(5 awards), Marieke® Gouda (5 awards), Yodelay Yogurt (5 awards).
These days, most jobs involve knowledge work, where an employee’s main contribution is subject-matter expertise, which in turn drives a growing need for individuals to take responsibility for managing their own performance.
Consequently, the role of “managers” is transitioning to that of true “team leaders” and “coaches.”
But for employees to embrace taking personal responsibility (also known as discretionary effort), they need to be highly motivated by the organization. As work transitions into a more autonomous environment, businesses need to communicate a meaningful purpose that resonates with each employee. Leaders should think of creative ways to interact with their employees that drive a motivated and engaged team
Here are a few ideas to keep in mind when connecting with your employees on an individual level:
The authoritative management style is fading
The powerful concepts of motivation defined by Professors Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Ryan’s “self-determination theory” (SDT), points to three psychological needs:
autonomy – control of one’s own life (free will),
competence – the ability to master one’s environment, and
relatedness – the ability to interact and form relationships with others.
In the past, a predominant focus for management has been on shaping the next generation of leaders through extrinsic rewards/perks such as pay and promotions. As research has shown, the effects of monetary rewards tend to be short-term and may even backfire if better rewards are not continuously extended.
The non-routine nature of many jobs calls for subject matter expertise, collaborative problem-solving, and tacit knowledge that accompanies unstructured work and relationships. Intuitively, managers know that recognizing people who consistently put in that “extra” effort is directly linked to high levels of motivation and engagement. As a result, leaders of autonomous workers need to deliberately seek out and identify their top performers.
Create Thoughtfully Designed Employee Interactions and Touch Points
The art of creating consistent employee touch points that lead to high-quality exchanges requires an internal commitment, particularly from its leadership team. The challenge is sustaining a high level of employee interaction over time and across borders. Ultimately, the value of these efforts needs to be embedded in the culture. One of the many key responsibilities of leadership is to evolve the company story by recognizing new developments and achievements through multiple channels of communication.
Technology helps to transcend geographical borders, but if the message is not meaningful at the individual level, it will not be heard. Of equal importance is how these messages are reinforced in person within teams. If a team leader does not bring the message to life, it is just another communication that gets filed away.
Employees Bring Energy to their Role and the Company
Employers should not see themselves as the dog and the employees as the tail. Most businesses rely on the energy that employees bring to their roles; and that is driven from the quality of the employee experience. If a company’s mission and values resonate with employees, they will genuinely care about the results and consequences of their own performance, as well as the overall organization.
Businesses can control non-human resources like data and finances. However, controlling people is an illusion in today’s work environment, where employees exercise their free will and make choices. It is the employee’s choice if they wish to put in discretionary effort, be ambitious, or learn a new skill.
Often the best people to transform existing jobs into something more are the employees themselves. It is the role of management and HR to facilitate this process and learn from it. Successes can be replicated by applying enhancements to jobs once an individual demonstrates proficiencies and capabilities that go beyond average. A key source of motivation is the collective engagement from the entire organization through leaders that inspire a meaningful purpose. When this occurs, the company’s overall performance becomes a multitude of self-fulfilling prophecies.
The food and beverage industry is one of the most sought-after fields. While many people have wonderful concepts for theme-based restaurants or a fancy eatery, there is no clear roadmap on how to set it up in the first place.
There is even a misconception that for building a restaurant of your choice, a heavy financial backup is required. But in reality, the business plan in opening a restaurant can be quite simple and straightforward. For those wary about the financial and creative aspects of embarking upon a restaurant venture, we offer a strategy to build any type of restaurant and also get it run successfully in the midst of competitive market.
What are the Basic Costs for Opening a New Restaurant?
Fortunately, the banking system is so customer friendly these days that they would lend a decent loan to set up for restaurant- provided you have clean records and no credit overdue. Another best way is to look for other sources of money lending which are abundantly available such as relatives interested in partnering and other angel investors.
Grab an Angel Investor
Angel investors are financially sound and have such great faith in your idea that they are willing to invest in the business plan. The angel investors will expect a return on their investment. Usually, a long term bond is signed to ensure trustworthiness and confidence.
What Do You Need to Have Handy?
Create a well designed business plan that outlines the basic concept, theme, target audience, initial costs and predicted turnovers. This document is simply to sell the idea of the restaurant and showcase the necessary skill set to make it happen.
Food Truck- The New Age Restaurant Idea
Mobile food courts have become a big trend these days for its ease of operation, lesser costs and also higher returns. Of course, the investment required for a food truck is considerably less as there is no need to rent a space.
Try a Catering Business
There is an incredible demand for catering business where the food can be prepared at another space and delivered to a destination. It’s also a great way to learn how to run a full-fledged restaurant — more like a warm up session.
Here are some of the well-proven tips for running a restaurant:
Be Positive: You intentions must be quite positive and have a unique agenda on what service you prefer to give the customers. The idea should be appealing, unique and also serve a good business purpose. A restaurant idea can be more successful when it is passion driven.
Strong Market Plan: Any restaurant can be made more popular and accessible with stringent marketing plans. Give the taste of your food to the customers in the form of samples, offer them attractive discounts for repeated visits and make the best use of social media platforms for attractive brochures.
Find the Best Location: For a restaurant to run well, location matters a lot. The location should be in such a way that it is easily affordable and also has proximity to the target audience. Say, you are planning to target younger audience for a restaurant- choose an area where more colleges are present.
Taste the Menu: It is always good to get the feel of the customer before something is served to them. The food should have something quite unique compared to other restaurants to offer a competitive advantage.
Manage Cash Flow: Stable finances are quite important for a restaurant to run successfully. Coverage of equipment costs, investments and also remember an important fact. It takes time for restaurants to actually accumulate money and should be prepared to get less return initially. But once the attention is gained, there is no looking back in the world of restaurant business!
Make Use of Right Tools: There are many good tools available for restaurant owners which aid them to track data , keep track of the customers such as Pepper Touch- a POS system to get rid of bottleneck situations.
A restaurant business plan is something that might look quite intimidating in the beginning but with the right approach and analysis, it is an easily achievable dream even with little costs.
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