How Urban Development Shaped the Way 19th-century New Yorkers Ate

“New York City is famous for its food culture, whether it’s a $500 tasting menu at a Michelin-starred restaurant or a bodega bacon, egg, and cheese. It’s possible to find food from every corner of the world, no matter how obscure. Restaurants make, and sometimes unmake, entire neighborhoods.

This is a city that eats out. But that wasn’t always the case. Rewind just over 200 years, when New York was caught between being a Dutch colony and a city, and dining out was a rarity. As the city urbanized, how its residents ate profoundly changed.

An oyster cart, circa 1885

“Food serves as a nice medium to take a step back and look at the bigger picture of New York City history,” says Victoria Flexner, the founder of Edible History, a supper club that creates dinners themed around specific historical moments. Recently Flexner and chef Jay Reifel hosted a meal at the James Beard House that told the story of New York City’s urban development in the 19th century through how its residents dined out.

As the city became rapidly industrialized in the 19th century, a new system emerged to feed these workers: the mobile food cart.

While politicians, businessmen, and other white-collar workers went to oyster cellars and restaurants for their midday meals, lunch came to the working class. Vendors would park outside of factories and docks and, for a few pennies, would sell items like gingerbread, yams, oysters, and corn.”

Read more here.

Restaurant Menu Trends: What to Expect to See on More Menus in 2019

2019 restaurant menu trends

1. CBD (Cannabidiol) — up 99%!

It was only a matter of time before cannabidiol—or CBD—made its way into the restaurant industry. The non-psychoactive derivative from the cannabis plant has helped consumers looking for relief from inflammation, pain, anxiety, insomnia, seizures, spasms, and other conditions without the negative side effects of some pharmaceutical drugs.

According to the National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) What’s Hot Culinary Survey, a barometer of U.S. food and beverage trends, 650 professional chefs—all members of the American Culinary Federation—said infusing food and drink with cannabis and CBD could create unique cuisine opportunities and potential new markets for experiential dining occasions. Of the survey’s respondents, 77 percent identified cannabis/CBD-infused drinks as the number one trend in the restaurant industry right now, and 76 percent tapped cannabis/CBD-infused food as the second most popular trend.

Data from Upserve customers revealeda 99 percent increase in CBD menu items in 2018, setting up 2019 as the year of CBD. From baked goods to CBD-infused beverages, restaurants across the country are responding to a consumer demand to chill out.

“There has been growing popularity and support around CBD, and if it makes people happier and less stressed, then why not give the public what they want?” says Nick Duckworth, owner of cafe Banter NYC. They currently only sell Dirty Lemon CBD, a packaged, CBD-infused drink, but will be expanding their CBD offerings in 2019, allowing customers “to add CBD drops to most beverages.”

View all 2019 Menu trends here.

Key Ingredients For Successful Organizational Change

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As we approach the end of 2018, many of you are probably planning business transformations for the New Year. However, the loftier the goals, the more care needs to be given to the process in achieving them. All organizations today face the need for more frequent and ongoing change in order to maintain their competitive advantages and relevance in the the marketplace. But change is exceedingly difficult in today’s more complex business battlefield. In the Navy SEAL Teams, we operated in what we referred to as VUCA environments: volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous. Sounds just like modern business doesn’t it?

Five Key Ingredients

Successful change formulas involve (1) vision, (2) benefits, (3) sponsorship, (4) resources and (5) methodology. If any of these five ingredients are left out, the outcome won’t taste all that great. For example, if aligned vision is lacking confusion sets in quickly. The key word being aligned. If senior leaders have varying ideas of what success looks like, things get messy really fast. When the benefits aren’t clear (or not clearly communicated), ambivalence occurs. Without full sponsorship from leadership, resistance spreads. Without resources, frustration. Without a clear methodology and approach, procrastination becomes the norm.

Read more in Forbes article here.

The Biggest Surprises in NYC Dining in 2018

A dinner spread at Le Sia

“Serena Dai, editor of Eater NY: I suppose I shouldn’t be so surprised by this because the world is such a garbage fire, but it was interesting to see how quickly powerful people (and a lot of media) were to embrace the return of the Four Seasons Restaurant seemingly without any caveat. I guess I’m an optimist, which means I will always be a little bit surprised at how naive old-school power is. Did the 40 investors really think that Julian Niccolini’s past behavior wouldn’t impact perception of the restaurant among the new audience they were reportedly aiming to attract? Did they really think amazing food and a $30 million build-out could overcome years and years of baggage — now newly visible in the age of #MeToo — when nobody from the restaurant came out front to address the fact that the face of the restaurant is an admitted sexual assaulter? People can’t move forward without an apology, but here, there wasn’t even really that. Yes, it’s legendary; yes, it’s hugely influential. But we live in a different world now, and sometimes it is okay to pay our respects, and then lay a restaurant to rest.”

See more here.

Taco Bell’s Strategy to Win in Urban Markets Involves Delivery, Kiosks and Alcohol

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“Throughout its company history, Taco Bell has dominated with a development strategy that focused on sprawling suburban locations equipped with drive thrus wrapped around the side. That is beginning to change.

The gigantic American Mexican quick service chain has been testing a handful of small-format restaurant concepts, branded as Taco Bell Cantina and Urban In-Line restaurants, in various urban centers for the past three years. The Urban In-Line format is essentially a regular Taco Bell, modernized and shrunk to fit on a street corner. The Cantina format is similar but also features twists on the traditional menu, including alcoholic drinks and shared platters of food.

Both concepts are tailored for densely populated locations where the rent is overwhelming, the foot traffic is high, and there’s no space to fit a traditional Taco Bell unit.”

See more here.

 

Simple Tactics for Building a Solid Business Reputation

“According to new studies, one of the top ways you can go the extra mile for your customers is by personalizing their shopping experiences.

One report predicted that by 2020, the customer experience will be more important than price and product when it comes to setting your brand apart. And according to another source, this data is already starting to take effect. Forty-four percent of consumers said a personalized shopping experience would likely result in brand loyalty.

Going the extra mile for your customers by making sure their shopping experience is memorable isn’t just a recent trend, though. Treating customers as individuals has always been essential for business reputations. Who wants to talk to someone who is ushering them out the door? Some other ways you can show customers you care is by listening to complaints, rectifying problems, and establishing a loyalty program for small business.”

See more here.

Food Donations On The Menu For Many NYC Restaurants

Shoppers at the Union Square Greenmarket, which donates

“New Yorkers who want to be charitable this holiday season have no shortage of opportunities, from volunteering their time, making donations and writing checks to charities. But what about all that excess food at restaurants and markets that would otherwise be thrown away?

By collaborating with food rescue organizations, many of the city’s thousands of restaurants, grocers and farms are working to ensure that their leftover food also helps to feed the more than 1.2 million New Yorkers who face hunger each year.

Multiple partners are helping to make sure that food rescue is, as Gramercy Tavern executive chef Michael Anthony puts it, “not a passing trend but a defining characteristic of the restaurant industry.”

Read more here.