Join top hospitality and culinary leaders featured on Shari Bayer’s popular Heritage Radio Network podcast, All in the Industry, for an all-day, interactive and educational conference for, and about, the dynamic hospitality industry. Our inaugural summit, taking place Monday, January 27, 2020 at The William Vale in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, will feature informative panels, one-on-one interviews, and inspiring speakers — creating a forum for the exchange of ideas, innovation and networking opportunities. Attendees will enjoy outstanding food and drink throughout the day – including an energizing closing reception!

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Please click here to see more.

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NYC Officials Are Looking Into Grubhub’s Reviled Restaurant Fees

New York City government officials are now diving into the Grubhub debacle, in which several restaurants have accused the food delivery app of slyly charging fees for customer phone calls that never resulted in actual delivery orders.

City Council’s Committee on Small Business will hold an oversight hearing to investigate those fees, as well as others charged by similar apps like like DoorDash and Uber Eats — an act that could eventually lead to more government regulation.

The hearing will go down on June 27, giving local restaurateurs a chance to voice their concerns. City officials will specifically focus on how these fees and other policies are affecting NYC restaurants, especially small mom and pop shops, the Post reports.

“If we see there is abuse, or if there is a manipulation here, then it could certainly be referred to the legal authorities,” Bronx Councilman Mark Gjonaj tells the Post. The hearing’s findings could eventually lead to the involvement of the Public Advocate, the city Comptroller, or the state Attorney General, he says.

Read more here.

McDonald’s Spent $50 Million on TV Advertising in April

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“McDonald’s easily led all companies in TV ad spend last month for the second time in 2019, spending $50 million to promote its new any size $1 soft drink limited time offer, and mix and match 2 for $5 deal to customers.

The Illinois-based chain last topped the list in February when it introduced bacon as a new topping on its signature burgers. McDonald’s was pressed by analysts last week on its first quarter earnings call about when it would also delve into the growing plant-based food trend, which rival Burger King has tapped into with Impossible Foods. CEO Steve Easterbrook said McDonald’s is currently weighing additional complexities of launching its own product, while also assessing the sustainability of the consumer trend.

“Our menu teams are clearly paying close attention to it,” said Easterbrook. “They are discussing this amongst each other and with some of the options that are out there. So maybe more to come, but nothing much to say about it in the moment.”

Read more here.

Starbucks Launches Summer LTOs

“It’s already summer at Starbucks as the chain brought back three of its limited-time Frappuccino flavors this week and also created a few other LTOs. The Frappuccino optons include the:

  • S’mores Frappuccino, which combines marshmallow whipped cream and milk chocolate sauce along with a blend of coffee, milk and ice. It’s finished off with more whipped cream and a graham cracker crumble.
  • Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino, made with mocha sauce and Frappuccino chips blended with coffee, milk and ice layered on top of whipped cream and chocolate cookie crumble and finished off with whipped cream and chocolate cookie crumbles.
  • Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino, a dark caramel sauce blended with coffee, milk and ice on top of whipped cream and dark caramel sauce then topped with another layer of dark caramel sauce, whipped cream, caramel drizzle  and crunchy caramel sugar topping.”

Read more here.

McDonald’s Redefines Health In Terms Of Sustainability

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“McDonald’s is moving toward a menu free of artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, but every product has a unique challenge, said Amy Wilcox, director of quality systems and supply chain management for McDonald’s USA. She and her colleague, Cynthia Goody, chief nutritionist for McDonald’s, explained how “clean” ingredients are a key part of the chain’s sustainability initiative during the “Sustainable Approach to the Menu” panel at Restaurant Leadership Conference.

But “we can’t use the clean label description, because everyone has a different definition,” said Wilcox. “We had to create our own definition for suppliers, operators and customers. And that involved a lot of outreach to make sure all our suppliers were on the same page.”

The chain, in fact, announced this past September that is was removing artificial preservatives from its “classic” burger lineup in the U.S. “We have a great group of suppliers,” said Chris Kempczinski, president of McDonald’s U.S., at the time. And now, the chain announced that a third of its eggs are cage-free—and it expects to source 726 million cage-free eggs this year. Right now, chicken nuggets fit the sustainability criteria, as do American cheese and burgers. As far as McDonald’s burger goes, “the pickle presented a problem,” said Wilcox. “We couldn’t find one that fit our definition, so we went forward with what we had and put an asterisk next to it on the menu. Being truthful and transparent is important to us.”

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The New York City Restaurant That Prohibits Cell Phone Use

Il Triangolo

“(…) Gigliotti, who is 52-years-old, opened Il Triangolo in April 2011, which specializes in Southern Italian food. He created many of the recipes including homemade fettuccini ala Triangolo, chicken frangelico and shrimp limoncello.  It seats around 60 people.

He owns a cellphone bought for him by his daughter and thinks they’re a useful gadget for ordering items.

But back in 2014, when cellphone use started proliferating and most of his customers starting taking out their smartphones during their meals, Gigliotti became irritated. He noticed that “people weren’t paying attention to their food, their surroundings or their own family members.” No longer were his customers conversing; they sat there and ate and checked their cell phones as if they were dining alone. In fact, their behavior slowed everything down in the restaurant. Instead of eating and leaving quickly, they’d spend more time dining because they weren’t concentrating on eating their food and instead zeroed in on checking their emails or the web.  Meals that once took two hours were taking two and a half hours, and guests waiting longer for a table.

Gigliotti put up a small sign that said no cellphones placed on the table. When he encountered new customers, he’d tell them in person about the policy. If customers receive a phone call during the meal, they’re asked to step outside of the restaurant so as not to disturb any guests. Almost everyone complies.”

Read more here.

Will Legal Marijuana Create New Restaurant Opportunities?

Will legal marijuana create new restaurant opportunities?“If you’ve been to a food conference lately you’ll notice there’s at least one session talking about cannabis, CBD, cannabinoids, or whatever term we’re using now. I’ve been to two conferences in recent weeks that addressed the topic and I’m writing this post while in California, where voters legalized recreational use of marijuana via referendum in 2016. Therefore, I have pot on the brain — so to speak.

At NPD we’re always analyzing how trends affect the food and beverage industry and if you talk to a — what shall we call them, “pot enthusiasts” — you’ll know food plays a major role when they use marijuana. This can be from how they ingest the marijuana to the munchies leading them to eat a variety of indulgent foods.

We took a look in our SnackTrack information, which monitors the consumption of ready-to-eat, convenience-oriented snack foods in the U.S., to see if there are changes since legalization occurred. In those states that legalized recreational marijuana, brownie consumption has increased a whopping 107 percent compared to pre-legalization times. Chewy candies, which had a stable consumption level for years, grew by 17 percent after legalization, and fruit snacks also increased after legalization.

I’m not sure yet if this is a result of the munchies, pot brownies or gummies, and all I can fully say with confidence is these changes are correlations. However, these correlations are in line with what we’ve known anecdotally for some time about recreational pot usage and can point to growth opportunities should more states allow it.”

Read more here.