Dunkin’s Croissant Donut

The cronut craze arrived in New York last year courtesy of Dominique Ansel Bakery, who still has a line out the door. This caused other food businesses to attempt to copy the infamous cronut such as Crumbs Bake Shop’s Crumbnut and Jack In The Box’s Croissant Donut. Although a bit late to the game, beginning November 3rd Dunkin’ Donuts will begin to offer its own version of the croissant and donut hybrid.

Dunkin’ Donuts told the Associated Press that their version is not a copycat version and that the cross of a donut and croissant has been around for decades. The Dunkin’ locations in Korea were even selling one which they called the New York Pie Donut last summer. The Korean version isn’t glazed, but this new croissant donut in the U.S. will be and consist of 24 layers of dough. If all goes well, perhaps in the future they may offer their croissant donut with cream filling.

According to the press release and similar to Dominique Ansel’s marketing strategy, the croissant donuts “will be made in limited quantities and served each day while supplies last.” To add a sense of uniqueness and ‘luxury’ the pastry will be packaged in clear boxes for $2.49. To read more about the launch of Dunkin’s Croissant Donut, click here

DIY Restaurant PR Workshop

On Thursday, November 13th a fun workshop will be held at the NYC Chapter office at 1001 Avenue of the Americas, 3rd Floor on do-it-yourself public relations techniques for restaurants. The workshop will take place from 10am to 11:30am and will be presented by Nancy A. Shenker, Founder & CEO of the marketing company, theONswitch. Nancy’s company specializes in growing companies through digital and conventional strategies. theONswitch has worked with food service businesses, restaurants and other industries to come up with innovative PR strategies. Nancy has also blogs for the Huffington Post and is the author of “Don’t Hook Up with the Dude in the Next Cube: 200+ Career Secrets for 20-Somethings.”

This seminar will be helpful to restaurant owners and managers or PR and marketing professionals who work in-house for restaurants or restaurant groups that are interested in learning about how to increase their press coverage. Nancy will walk through how to achieve this using traditional and digital media through an interactive session. There will also be a prize for one participant of a free pitch and a list of 10 media contacts.

The workshop will also teach how to write the perfect pitch, how to engage with the right media people, and how to prevent the ‘post-PR depression’ and deal with bad reviews. To sign up for the workshop and learn how to reach the press register with the New York State Restaurant Association by November, 11th here.


Webinar Event: Food Waste vs. Food Excess

The first ever Zero Food Waste Forum was held earlier this month in Berkley, CA hosted by the Northern California Recycling Association (NCRA). The forum consisted of a gathering of global leaders in food waste prevention and recovery that brainstormed together on how decrease the current 40% food waste in the U.S. This is an absurd statistic being that 1 in 6 adults and 1 in 4 children are food insecure at some point during the year.

One of the topics discussed at the forum was the need to re-determine the meaning of “food waste.” As it stands now, ‘waste’ in this context means “material that is not wanted; the unusable remains or byproducts of something.” The issue is that a lot of this so-called ‘waste’ is actually edible, recoverable food. Referring to this ‘waste’ as ‘food excess’ could impact people’s perceptions.

On November 14th a LeanPath webinar will be available to guid you through designing a food waste management plan. You can sign up for the webinar, Managing Food Waste: A Micro-Training Session for Foodservice and Culinary Professionals, here. For more information on the food recovery hierarchy visit Food Recovery Challenge page on the EPA website here.


Restaurant Letter Grade System Reform

As Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration is looking to eliminate letter grades for public schools, the NYC Hospitality Alliance  believed it is a good opportunity to urge City Hall to focus on the letter-grade system in restaurants. The reasoning behind removing the letter grades in public schools was that it affected reputations and could feel punitive, which is the same case for restaurants. Letter grades can be misleading for diners as they only reflect a restaurant’s sanitary condition in the period of time that they were inspected.

The point allocation is also something that the NYC Hospitality Alliance believes should be rethought so that the point values fairly reflect their impact on food safety. Another suggested reform is to eliminate points for non-food-safety-related violations as well as seeing the adjudication process  through to the end before scheduling a second inspection. Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, fully believes that the restaurant industry believes in high food-safety standards and would do a better job of upholding these standards if they were not being slapped with fines and punitive letters from a letter grade system that is in need of a reform.

To read more about how the restaurant grading system currently works and what could improve the current system, click here

Pride of NY Harvest Fest

Tis the season for fall harvest fairs! The Pride of NY Harvest Fest will be taking place this year on November 8th & 9th at The Desmond Hotel and Conference Center in Albany. This will be a great opportunity to taste the best regional food and wine products. About 100 vendors from throughout the state will be showcasing and sampling their products ranging from wine to sauces. An auction will also be taking place during the event, the Harvest Fest Silent Auction, which will benefit the NYS Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.

The event will be a great place to explore and find new food and wine products for the holiday season be it for offering gifts or for dinner! The event will take run from 8am to 11pm on both the Saturday and Sunday. The weekend tasting pass is being sold for $60, and as part of any ticket purchase, access to one seminar of your choice is free. There are more ticket options for different events on only the Saturday or Sunday. For more information on the event and to purchase tickets, click here.



NYC Restaurant Openings & Closings

New York City hasn’t seen this many restaurant openings since 2007, however, it also has had double the amount of restaurant closings compared to last year. There were 160 New York restaurant openings in 2014, and 82 closings compared to 42 last year. Tim Zagat, co-founder of the Zagat Survey explains his take on why some restaurants are failing and others are spreading, “The discrepancy between openings and closings is the largest since 2005…there are a lot of rent-caused closings that are maybe driving up the number. And that will affect in the industry in the coming years.”

Zagat goes on to explain that rents will always go up in New York City and if a restaurant has been open 10 years (it is common  there will be a large increase, which is what is happening all across the city and explains so many restaurants going out of business.  When restaurants have 10 year leases, which is fairly common, at the end of that lease landlords tend to increase the rent up to ‘market rates,’ which usually are just not feasible for the restaurant forcing them to close.

A few notable restaurants which are experiencing this phenomenon include Danny Meyer’s Union Square Cafe and WD-50 on the Lower East Side. Meyer comment in his New York Times Op-Ed, “It’s hard to come to grips with the notion that our success has, in part, contributed to our inability to remain in our neighborhood.” WD-50 will close end of this month to make way for a new building. To read more about the openings and closings of NYC restaurants, click here

Taste NY Expands To Promote NY State Artisan Foods

Taste NY was launched by the state of New York three years ago and aimed to market the state’s artisan food and agricultural businesses. Governor Andrew Cuomo is announcing plans to expand the program to help producers triple their sales. Deb Morris, co-founder of Barkeater (handmade gourmet chocolate company) says, “We like the trend we are seeing, we like the efforts launched by the Department of Agriculture and Markets. We haven’t seen that kind of effort before and it’s gaining a lot of momentum.”

New York-based companies are seeing the benefits from being a part of Taste NY. For example, Bobby Sue’s Nuts began as a company that aimed to raise funds for a local cause in Westchester. Founder Barb Kobren joined Taste NY and now has her snacks as one of the many in-state products for sale at Taste NY shops opened last year at LaGuardia and JFK airports. While a lot of the focus has been placed on prepared-food ventures such as chocolates and snacks, Taste NY is also focusing on fresh produce and partnering with farmers, farmer’s markets and other retails to promote the state’s fresh fruit and vegetable growers.

New York’s economic development agency recently launched a new grant program to encourage beginning farmers to get started and be successful. Grants will be issued from $15,000-$50,0000 under the New York State New Farmers Grant Fund. Morris says,“There are always certain ingredients we would love to source locally, there are some we do have here like maple and apples. And obviously there are some things that are naturally here that we would love to get at a lower price. If the farmers are getting some kind of cost benefit, that means we will too.”

To read more about the expansion of Taste NY and the benefits for New-York based farmers and companies, click here


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