Restaurants required to be More Transparent

saltThe Board of Health will vote today on whether chains will be required to add saltshaker symbols next to menu items with at least a day’s worth of sodium, which FDA defines as 2,300 milligrams. Mayor de Blasio’s administration has already expressed their support for this regulation, and want more transparency for customers in restaurants. “It’s quite difficult for consumers to understand which products might have too much sodium in them” a Health Department official expressed.

The New York State Restaurant Association has opposed implementing symbols identifying sodium levels, as it is a step toward food-warning fatigue, and seeing it as a warning label than food products for consumers. The New York State Restaurant Association lawyer said “The concern, at some point, is that warning labels and the confluence of warnings on menus will lead to a collective shrug by consumers…as every item on a menu will be flagged as inappropriate in one way or another.”

If this regulation is passed by the Health Department, New York will be the first in America to put transparency and regulations to salt levels.

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Cucumbers linked to Salmonella Outbreak

Cucumber-Boston-PicklingA California distributor, Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce, has began recalling their cucumber produce because of identified salmonella in tested cucumbers. These cucumbers were imported from Mexico, and at least 285 cucumbers are supposedly infected. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the cucumbers were most likely the cause of the outbreak of salmonella that began from July 3 over 27 states. These cucumbers distributed by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce are sold under the company’s “Limited Edition” label from August 1st to September 3rd. Fred Williamson, the company president has said “The safety and welfare of consumers is the highest priority for our company.” The cucumbers were delivered to grocery stores and restaurants in 18 states. Whole Foods has released statements that they do not carry cucumbers from the distributor.

The bacteria has killed a 99-year old San Diego women and nearly 300 people to the hospital with more than half of those infected have been younger than 18 years old. Another Minnesota women has filed a lawsuit as she spent a week in the hospital after learning the meal she ate at Red Lobster contained the cucumbers under suspicion.

The FDA and state officials are urging people to read the stickers on their produce.

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Bringing Concepts to New York City

It’s not news that the New York City hospitality industry is unlike any other in the world. With over 40,000 restaurants, New York is a mecca for foodservice. While this presents a great opportunity for operators from elsewhere, it is also not to be taken lightly—the NYC market is competitive and volatile. As advisors, it is our responsibility to ensure your success. The following is a brief overview of the work we do to achieve that:

Fully Understand the Concept
This means going to the source. As advisors, it’s of utmost importance that we really comprehend the entire experience—from product, to packaging, to interior design, to the location, to the culture. We need to understand what makes your business work where it is in order to properly plan out how it will succeed in New York City. Whether you operate in San Francisco or Sao Paulo, we will come to you to do our due diligence. Last month we were in Mexico City! (Stay tuned for more details!)

Refine the Concept
Next, we identify where your concept fits in the current landscape—is it entirely new, or is there already direct competition? Based on this, we begin to refine the concept accordingly. Any adjustments we suggest are driven by what will generate revenue. We want to maintain the authenticity and soul of the enterprise but ensure that it resonates with the NYC market.

In the same vein, we want the concept to appeal to a similar demographic. New York City is not one large homogeneous pot; it is a stew of different neighborhoods with different characteristics. As such, a high-volume, fine-dining concept from Japan that is frequented by businesspeople with high disposable incomes won’t fare well in Red Hook. We’re going to make sure you open in the right place.

Plan Accordingly
Once we’ve defined the concept for New York, we can honestly develop a business plan. Now, we can put the vision on paper and tie it to financials and a timeline.

Capital and operating budgets come from cold, hard data. We analyze your menu, equipment needs, labor scheduling, sales mix, floor plan, goals and vision, like concepts, menu pricing, average check, traffic counts, and market rents to flesh out a realistic budget. A steakhouse requires drastically different equipment and seating types than a coffee shop.

New York City is known for moving quickly—but that’s not actually case with restaurant development. Finding the right space, getting Department of Buildings approval, getting ConsolidatedEdison to turn on your gas, getting a certificate of occupancy, sourcing the right ingredients and finding the right team, and getting a cooperative’s board to approve plans are just a few of the items that can dramatically slow down the pace of a project. We’re going to make sure you open on time and on budget.

No matter where you’re from or what your model, we’re ready to bring it to life in New York City. Our town is booming with opportunity for those properly prepared—we’re here to shepherd you to success.