FOOD & BEVERAGE
What's on First?
Call them appetizers, starters or small plates but don’t neglect their power or importance. First courses are first impressions, opportunities to set a tone or elevate brand image. Chevys Fresh Mex, for example, introduced a 12-item line of sharable, tapas-style appetizers that Chief Culinary Officer Peter Serantoni calls “a menu within a menu.”
Contemporary Classics: Bowl Games
From sports bars or hotel dining rooms to schools and colleges, chili is a welcome, warming menu addition. Low food cost and ample room for customization make the cold-weather dish popular with operators as well.
A restaurant’s success often spurs the urge to open a second, different concept and then perhaps another. Such brand proliferation marks the transition from restaurateur to multiconcept operator. R&I identifies the cream of the entrepreneurial crop. Surviving the first year in business requires patience, tenacity and willingness to change a menu or even a concept. “You have to be flexible and you have to evolve to your clients’ tastes,” says Sanaa Abourezk, one of several operators who the process of creating it as it is about
Their ambitions restrained in recent years by the economy’s uncertainties, multiconcept operators are picking up the pace. In aggressive pursuit of cutting-edge menus and untapped locations, multiple- brand operators are enlivening the industry.
Top 75 Multiconcept Operators
Accounting for nearly $4.8 billion in sales last year, these 75 companies—from Restaurant Associates to Wynkoop Brewing Co. Restaurants—display impressive abilities to anticipate and influence the tastes of the dining public.
Surviving the first year in business requires patience, tenacity and willingness to change a menu or even a concept. “You have to be flexible and you have to evolve to your clients’ tastes,” says Sanaa Abourezk, one of several operators who share insights.
Something for the Table
Po Chiu, managing partner of Lot 401 in Providence, R.I., helped select the restaurant’s tabletop items—caramel-hued linens and silver napkins folded to mimic square serving plates—because he, like many other operators, understands how table presentation influences guest expectations.
Study Charts Impact of Food-Safety Audits
The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation disseminates a research study’s findings that food-safety audits can reduce both sanitation violations and chances for foodborne illness incidents.
Starbucks brews up big plans; Johnson & Wales University and Chartwells come together in Miami; Chefs Robert and David Kinkead take brotherhood to a new level at Sibling Rivalry; Duke University’s Jim Wulforst assumes presidency of the Society for Foodservice Management; Sodexho USA takes a culinary tour of U.S. cities; Einstein Bros. samples cafe society; Cracker Barrel celebrates the seasons. Menu Focus comes in with lamb.
House of Carbs