Category: Restaurant Consulting

What’s Hot in Holiday Flavor Profiles?

‘Tis the season to open your doors and welcome your festive guests, who are ready to get their party on! Now’s the time. Try new, seasonal food trends, popular flavors, ingredients, and preparations. Diners are open to new beginnings and discovering flavor trends for the first time or revisiting nostalgic flavors of holidays past. Either way, position your holiday to take guest’s taste buds happily through the season and into the New Year. Our culinary team, including our in-house R&D Specialist Amanda Webb, is hard at work guiding clients to making the most of their holiday menus. So, like kids… read more

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VSAG Founder Dan Simons Speaks to Responding To Bad Reviews & Coming Out Stronger

For those of us who’ve been in the restaurant business for sometime, we’ve all been served a piece of humble pie a time or two (or three!). But what defines us is how we deal with negativity that is par for the course in this subjective service industry. Bad reviews, negative press, customer grievances, and the like are never a pleasure to read or hear, but there are lessons to be learned IF you’re willing to put your ego aside and listen, analyze, and make necessary changes in order to better your business. Take note. “We’re transparent about who we… read more

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How Restaurant Chains Run Differently than Independent Restaurants?

Always striving for industry insight to better serve our clients, we went straight to our very own, Dan Simons, for his insight on this topic. Is one model better for business? What are the differences? What sets the daily operations of these two entities apart? Here’s Dan’s take: Resources. Chain restaurants have the benefit of more resources. From purchasing and food safety to facility management and more employees to expedite the workload, all can lead to positive results. On the other hand, many independents are under-resourced for these areas of operations and more, oftentimes leaving them feeling like they are… read more

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Fall Foods: Menu Pick

One of our favorite seasonal preparations? Pickling. This popular method of preserving foods with salt water or vinegar (try white distilled or cider vinegars) is a culinary mainstay for fresh vegetables (i.e. low acidic, root vegetables), and a great way to add, new seasonal ingredients to your menu as well as elevate your sustainable practices. As we’re seeing an uptick in sour over sweet in dining trends these days, now’s the perfect time to experiment with pickling. Here are a few fall pickling ideas and tips to enrich your menu this season. House-made Pickles. When most of us think ‘pickling’… read more

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Dan Simons Speaks to the Mission and Success of VSAG Client, Founding Farmers

A great big shout out to our very own Dan Simons on getting out in front of the Farmers Restaurant Group brand, Founding Farmers. His passion and dedication to increasing demand for family-farmed products and educating on the message of family farming vs. corporate farms-industries, is a common thread running through the farmer-owned, Founding Farmers brand. As concept developer and owner, Dan’s commitment to the brand is on display within two significant media pieces. In the recent Huffington Post blog feature, A New Deal for Farmers – How Founding Farmers is Changing the Game, Dan speaks to his belief that “Farmers… read more

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Successful Engagement for a Bright Future

Our business development focus is set on growth within all arenas. For us, one constant that always aligns within our growth structure? The next generation of restaurant operators, and our ongoing efforts to pass the baton – by engaging, inspiring, and supporting them. If encouraging and educating students already interested in a culinary career also appeals to you, here are some great scholarship and outreach opportunities to motivate you. Inspired by the amazing students and hospitality program at Washington, D.C.’s The George Washington University, in 2011 we developed the Scholarship for Sustainable Hospitality. Awarded to GW students pursuing a culinary… read more

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VSAG Feature: Bringing a Restaurant to Life 


Always willing to take part in a conversation focused on sharing ideas, building relationships, and therefore bettering our business, Founder Dan Simons (*photo: right) was happy to participate in a recent industry trends panel. The Focus: DC Retail & Restaurant Industry. Hosted by: Bisnow, a leading international commercial real estate team focused on local-market networking, reaching their millions of savvy retail industry fans through their annual conferences, e-newsletters, and outreach. Topics Covered: Consumer demand and trends facing the restaurant & hospitality industry, including: the art of creating a successful concept, finance and development strategies, design and construction best practices, and effective e-commerce… read more

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What are the Emerging Social Media Trends in the Restaurant Industry?

As restaurant operators and owners, we love exploring and leveraging technology to best guide our clients. We recently revealed our Top 5 Restaurant Apps & Platforms You Need to Bookmark Now, such as Pulse, GrubHub, and SinglePlatform. Now, we’re checking out the latest in social media.  Social media savvy is crucial for success in today’s marketplace. For example, looking to connect with specific target audiences? Facebook Ads is a great tool. Want concise, immediate, wide reaching promotion? Twitter is for you. Aiming to capitalize on social media’s power to network, capture new hires, and garner industry contacts? Check out Linkedin…. read more

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Culinary School vs. On The Job Training & Development

As we watch higher education rates within the culinary industry soar, we see eager, passionate young people yearning for a culinary career that may be prohibitive due to the costs of higher education. This important topic got our team thinking about – and debating – the notion of Culinary School vs. On The Job Training & Development. Is one path better than the other? The short answer is no. We believe that education is always a positive. But, where it takes place plays a big role in this debate: classroom vs. on the job training? To add some food for… read more

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Summer Food Feature: Part Two

This month’s Summer Food Feature is dedicated to watermelon. That infinitely delicious, sweet slice of seasonal goodness! For all things watermelon, we did some research and found some great info on this seemingly perfect summer food. Alas, with more than 300 varieties of watermelon harvested in the U. S and South America, the growing season extends year-round, but traditionally the summer sees the most demand. Some other fun facts: The first recorded watermelon harvest? Egypt about 5,000 years ago (harvests have even been found depicted in hieroglyphics on ancient Egyptian structures) By weight, watermelon is the most-consumed melon in the… read more

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