Small Spaces with Large Offerings



New York has its fair share of tiny restaurants. Ones where you are basically sitting on top of your neighbor, listening to their conversation, basically sharing a meal with them. Ever wonder why these places were made so tiny? Why didn’t the owner just get a bigger space or design the floor plan better? Well, maybe the owner did plan better, and smarter than everyone else. Look at Talula’s Table, a 12-person restaurant in Chester County, PA. From a practical perspective, a small restaurant is also a smart restaurant. Servers here also do clean-up, saving the owner from having to pay a busboy or busgirl. Chefs also throw the towels in the laundry in the back, saving money that could have been spent on a laundry service. If the food is good enough to charge guests a little more money, a small restaurant can make a profit with less risk than a large restaurant. The rent is cheaper, the build out is cheaper, and the return comes in a little faster. To read more about the business model of a small restaurant and how they offer just as much, if not more than a large restaurant  click here.

Del Posto Says Goodbye to Mark Ladner


Chef Mark Ladner of Del Posto will be leaving the Mario Batali owned Del Posto, in Chelsea next month to pursue his own project. Ladner will be heading into the world of upscale fast food with his new concept, Pasta Flyer. The first location, already under construction in Greenwich Village. Ladner wants to create a place where consumers can get a bowl of pasta — reasonably al dente, appropriately sauced, made with high-quality ingredients — in the same amount of time it takes a Chipotle to roll a burrito and for about the same price. As for Del Posto,the restaurant will introduce a menu in February from the new executive chef, Melissa Rodriguez, who was Mr. Ladner’s chef de cuisine. Rodriguez will be the first woman to head the kitchen of a New York City restaurant that has received four stars from The New York Times. To read more about Mark Ladner and Del Posto, click here.

Food-Delivery App, Maple struggles to Turn a Profit.



When operating a restaurant there is one guaranteed expense that will haunt you until the day you close – rent. Rising rent costs have put restaurants out of business. So, any easier way to operate is by delivery service operations. Maple, a Manhattan based food-delivery start-up allows consumers to search through their daily lunch and dinner options, order with the click of a button, and have their meals delivered to their doorstep. However, just like any food operation, food-delivery services struggle too. According to a new report in Recode the delivery app is struggling to expand and make money on the food it delivers, claiming Maple “appears to have lost money on average on every meal in 2015, resulting in an operating loss of $9 million for the year on $2.7 million in gross revenue.” Food costs at Maple were at a high of 63% of revenue in 2015, 26% food waste, and 17.5% for marketing. However, this past March, Maple managed to get their food costs down and allowing the company to turn a small profit of 30 cents for each meal it delivered. To read more about the struggles of food-delivery based operations click here. Also, to sign up for Maple or just browse their site click here.

Is the Tipping Culture Almost Gone?


Photo Credit: Francesco Sapienza for The New York Times

We first saw a switch to a non-tipping system at Danny Meyer’s, The Modern back in November of 2015. Since then several other restaurants have eliminated the traditional practice of tipping such as, Huertas, Le Pigeon and Park Kitchen in Portland, Ore.; Dahlia Lounge and Canlis in Seattle; and Comal, Cala and Petit Crenn in the Bay Area. With restaurants eliminating tipping and paying their staff a salary, price increases have been seen on the menu. Huertas, a spanish tapas in the East Village has increased their octopus dish to $21 from $16 and has added an extra tentacle to the dish. By paying staff a salary now, restaurants not only have to raise menu prices but they need to manage costs in other aspects of the business. At Huertas, as mentioned above, not only did the octopus grow another leg, but the kitchen staff has gone from six cooks to four or five per shift. The Union Square Group has been purchasing in bulk and coordinating with other restaurants within the group about sharing whole animals instead of buying individual cuts. The non-tipping culture hasn’t quite caught on everywhere but it is slowly making its way. To read more about the transition click here.

Union Square Cafe to Re-Open Next Week


Union Square Cafe, a beloved Danny Meyer restaurant, that sadly closed its doors almost a year ago is set to re-open at a different location next week. Danny Meyer opened Union Square Cafe in 1985 but was forced to close it a year ago due to an increase in rent. The new Union Square Cafe will be just four blocks down from where it used to be located. The new location has increased the capacity to more than 150 and has also added a second bar upstairs. Other characteristics from the original restaurant have been added as well such as, warm cherry wood, dark-green wainscoting, decorative elements with an Arts and Crafts look, and most of the art on the walls. As for the menu, old favorites will be featured  such as gnocchi, calamari fried in graham cracker crumbs, a tuna burger, pan-roasted chicken and a banana tart. The restaurant will now be baking its own bread now that there is more space available. To read more about the re-opening of the Union Square Cafe click here.

Can Breakfast All-day Boost Your Sales?


“This quarter marked the 10th consecutive quarter of positive sales growth and our 20th consecutive quarter of outperforming the casual dining industry,” said Sandra B. Cochran, president and chief executive officer, during a Nov. 22 earnings call with financial analysts. “We believe the differentiation of our brand experience and our excellent operations execution and our broadened marketing efforts helped us in outpacing the industry.”

Read more about Cracker Barrel’s 18% growth in net income here

Texas Judge Blocks New Labor Regulations


Photo: Shutterstock

As we all know, new labor laws are set to take effect on December 1, 2016 allowing overtime to be paid to salaried employees. However, not everyone is excited about this new regulation. A Texas court issued an injunction on Tuesday opposing the regulations that are set to take effect next week. Judge Amos Mazzano believes the Department of Labor “exceeds its delegated authority and ignores Congress’s intent by raising the minimum salary level such that it supplants the duties test.” The injunction also mentions the financial burdens it will cause on state agencies.  It is likely the case will at least go to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Louisiana and quite possibly the Supreme Court. To read more about the labor laws and Judge Amos’s  injunction click here.