Dunkin’ Donuts To Launch Dark Roast Coffee

For the first time in 64 years, Dunkin’ Donuts launched a dark-roast coffee at a store in Modesto, California. Dunkin’ plans to sell this roast nationwide starting September 22nd.  This will be the most significant launch since 2003 when Dunkin’ introduced espresso, cappuccino and lattes. Dunkin’s dark-roast coffee will be advertised as a smoother roast than other dark coffees on the market. Dunkin’ Brands president of global marketing, John Costello, has said, “We saw an unmet demand for a dark roast product that had a bold flavor but a smoothness that’s often associated with Dunkin’ Original Blend.”

The existing dark-roast iced coffee at Dunkin’ will be replaced with this new roast at the locations that offer the iced beverage. The Dunkin’ dark-roasted coffee that is bagged and sold in grocery stores however, will not be replaced with this newer version; it will remain the same dark-roast from when it was first sold in 2009 through a collaboration with J.M. Smucker Co. The new roast has been in the works for several years. Food scientists working with Dunkin’ set out to develop a coffee that would cut out the bitterness known to be found in dark-roasts; Costello states, “It provides an alternative choice for our current users as well as new users who wanted a bolder flavor than Dunkin’ original.” The brand will spend millions of dollars marketing this new roast to appeal to a mass audience.

To read more about the launch of Dunkin’ Donuts’ new dark-roast coffee blend, click here

Seasonal Food Offerings to Boost Sales

Let the pumpkin-flavored products begin! Beginning this week many chains are rolling out their seasonal pumpkin-flavored treats. McDonald’s will be offering their pumpkin-spiced latte beginning Labor Day, and Starbucks will roll out their PSL the following day. The pumpkin craze has increased over the past few years which has shown an increase in the demand for this seasonal treat. According to Nielsen, In 2013 pumpkin-flavored sales in the U.S increased 14%. This extra demand allowed for an 11% price mark up on pumpkin-flavored products according to the US Department of Agriculture.

Dunkin’ Donuts is also using the seasonal food offering as a strategic way to boost sales by introducing pumpkin coffees, muffins and of course doughnuts. Aside from the 200 million PSL Starbucks sold last year across its 11,700 U.S locations, it is also offering pumpkin scones, pumpkin cream cheese muffins, and pumpkin-flavored instant latte drinks. For this coming season, Dunkin’ is introducing a pumpkin creme brûlée coffee and Baskin-Robbins is rolling out a pumpkin-cheesecake flavored ice cream.

Coffee, doughnut and ice-cream chains are not the only ones to take part in this seasonal craze, packaged-food companies are also taking part. Quaker brand will be offering a pumpkin spiced instant oatmeal for the fall and General Mills Inc (GIS) will also be rolling out seasonal pumpkin-flavored products including Pillsbury cinnamon rolls, Yoplait yogurt and Betty Crocker cookie mix. Even Purina is jumping in on the action! Purina stated last month that they had introduced a salmon, egg and pumpkin blend of dry dog food.

To read more about how seasonal food offerings are key to boosting sales, click here

Growing Business Using Images

Menuboards and promotional materials are as just as important as the food in quick-serve restaurants. The amount of time, money and effort poured into food photography should not be overlooked, as it may mark the difference between tempting thousands or millions of hungry guests or completely putting them off. The food’s authenticity and integrity must be depicted in the images and pictures a brand uses.  Taco Bell’s director of public affairs and engagement states, “We want our food photography to be as craveable as the food we serve, so during photo shoots, we insist on using the same high-quality ingredients and portion sizes that we serve in our restaurants.”

Many food photographers who understand the needs of quick-serve brands take the liberty to add a customized approached with their clients which is crucial in order to get the most out of the food photography. Food photographer and partner at Bruton Stroube Studios ,Brandon Voges, has worked with McDonald’s, Sonic and Pizza Huts amongst others, and stresses the importance of this customized approach: “One brand might want more comfortable food, another might want something higher-end; every brand has a different desire for how they want to be perceived..It’s always about showing the delicious food, but doing it in a way that works for the brand.”

Vosges mentions the importance of having a sit-down with the client in order to really grasp what is most important to them and what they want to portray and highlight in their images. New photos are constantly being taken as brand philosophies tend to change. This has especially been the case with many brands advertising new healthier menus including gluten-free and low-sodium offerings; these photos have to be taken to show a more healthful look.

Food Photography is as important now as it has ever been given the shift to a much more photo-driven social media experience with apps such as Pinterest and Instagram. What may appear as an accidental candid food photo on a brand’s social media is in fact perfectly crafted and intentional. There is also a fine line when taking candid photos as they still need to remain professional-looking, authentic and be in tune with the brand’s philosophy.

To read more about the intricacies of fast-food photography and its important relevance in the industry, click here


Burger King Acquiring Canadian Coffee Chain Tim Hortons

Burger King announces on Tuesday that they are acquiring the Canadian coffee and doughnut chain Tim Hortons in an $11 billion dollar deal. The aim is to convert Tim Hortons into a major player in the breakfast business in and outside of Canada. The new company will become one of the fastest growing fast food chains globally according to Burger King’s executive chairman, Alex Behring. Tim Horton’s could help Burger King become a part of the coffee and breakfast market within the USA which are currently controlled by Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonald’s. CEO of Tim Horton’s, Marc Caira, has mentioned the chain plans to re-design the stores to include couches and fireplaces as part of the efforts to be more noticeable in the U.S. Both parties will benefit from the deal, as Caira states that Tim Hortons will “win much quicker” within the U.S with Burger King’s help.

The lack of brand recognition will cause a struggle for Tim Horton’s to establish a clientele, especially while Starbucks is expanding its breakfast offerings and TacoBell are launching a national breakfast menu. McDonald’s also has plans to amp up the marketing for their breakfast business. Hopefully the newly partnered companies of Burger King and Tim Hortons will be able to successfully compete. The chains will continue to run independently in the sense that whoppers will not be on Tim Hortons menus, neither will doughnuts be offered at Burger King. CEO of Burger King Daniel Schawrtz states, “There’s no plans to mix the products or do co-branding.”

The new company will have roughly $23 billion in sales and over 18,000 locations after the deal is complete early next year. To read more about the acquisition and implications, click here



First Seafood CSA Model In NYC

The first seafood CSA in NYC, Dock to Dish, will attempt to return restaurants to the older way of doing things, where they worked around what was in supply over what was in demand. We are more familiar with CSA’s where consumers sign up for a memberships to be provided with seasonal, local, fresh produce from local farmers. Dock to Dish operates in the same manner just with seafood rather than produce. Restaurateur Sean Barrett has come together with fishermen to apply the same CSA economic model to seafood and established Community Supported Fisheries (CSF).

Dock to Dish will help to foster the relationship between growers and eaters by shortening the distribution chain. Dock to Dish was founded in Montauk, Long Island to provide members with a weekly portion of high quality seafood caught sustainably within the last 24 hours. Dock to Dish then took off in New York City where it became the first Restaurant Supported Fishery with chefs such as Bill Telepan, Dan Barber and April Bloomfield subscribing amongst others. They receive an abundance of whatever is caught fresh such as bigeye tuna, fluke, black sea bass, swordfish, squid and many others. According to Edible, “Chefs used to rely on fishermen who came to their kitchen doors offering what was local, plentiful and in season. Then they wrote the menu. It put excitement into preparations: a little surprise to get the creative juices flowing.”

To read more about the CSF and watch a short video on how it operates, click here

Pizza On The Rise In Fast-Casual

According to Telsey Advisory Group, pizza will be the next trend in fast-casual dining. Perhaps the reason this is not yet a craze in fast casual concepts is because the cooking time for pizza is typically longer than say a sandwich or a burrito. A research firm, NDP Group, has showed that new pizza chains are using smaller ovens that can cook pizza in a shorter amount of time. Tom Ryan, founder of Smashburger, also is the founder of a fast-casual pizza chain called Live Basil Pizza. In it’s six restaurants the company uses gas-fired brick ovens that enable the pizzas to be produced at a faster pace. According to Tom Ryan, another reason the chain is successful is because guests are opting for Neapolitan pizzas over deep-dish pizzas which have a longer cooking time.

Warren Solocheck, vice president at NPG states that, “The concept of being able to have a fast casual pizza restaurant has been proven..it is now all about who has the capital to expand.” Buffalo Wild Wings has invested $9 million dollars in an L.A-based pizza chain, PizzaRev, and now operates 11 locations throughout California as well as five franchised restaurants in Utah and Minnesota. Chipotle has also invested in Pizzeria Locale which is mostly focused in Denver.

To read more about the rise of pizza in fast casual dining, click here

Menu Shrinkage to Lower Costs, Increase Profits

For a long time, in order to satisfy the consumer demand for more menu options, restaurants would try to add more choices. However, this is not the most effective way to stay competitive and increase profits. Here at TaraPaige Group we work with our clients to reduce their core menus in order to keep the offerings streamlined and simple. Shrinking the menu will allow a restaurant to cut costs and focus more of their efforts more on their most popular offerings.

The theory of less is more definitely applies here, as consumers (especially millenials) appreciate food quality over quantity. Chief Operating Officer of Tony Roma’s, Brad Smith, states that “We can no longer be everything to everybody all the time..I don’t think customers are out there counting the number of items. It’s about producing better quality products.” Tony Roma’s has already reduced their core menu items from 92 to 60. Other chains are doing the same.

BJ’s Restaurant has cut their entrees by 30 items and is aiming to get closer to 100 down from 181. Julia Stewart, CEO of IHOP’s parent company DineEquity has shared that IHOP has reduced its emu items from 200 down to 170. Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic noticed that the average number of menu items in chain restaurants began to fall this year for the first time in a decade. Tristano mentions that, “Too many choices make it hard for consumers to make a choice..it also can make it difficult for consumers ‘to remember why they go to a particular restaurant,’ so the industry is moving from ubiquity to specialization.”

To read more about the less-is-more philosophy and how to reduce core menu offerings in order to lower costs, increase profits and still keep guests satisfied, click here


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