News/Blog

Where Can I Find the Best Market Research on Restaurant Industry Trends?

What helps define a brand from the get go? Their clientele. Many restaurant brands have a wide lens when envisioning what they hope their restaurant will become. But in our experience, that lens usually needs refining in order to set a restaurant business apart and find their niche… to not only get customers in your door, but keep ‘em coming back. As such, a concept’s focus should be routed in and shaped by the audience to which they speak to, cook for, and foster relationships with. Enter: the value of Market Research. What are the characteristics of a population? Where… read more

VSAG Client News: Farmers & Distillers Opens!

The reservation call center is busily up & running, the staff is trained and happily serving hungry guests, the booze is flowing, and yes, the doors are open. We’re thrilled to announce that our longtime client, Farmers Restaurant Group, has opened their latest venture. Located in the cool, culturally diverse Mt Vernon Square neighborhood in the heart of Washington, D.C. Farmers & Distillers is primed to be the next successful venture in this growing restaurant group. Along with sister restaurants, Founding Farmers and Farmers Fishers Bakers, Farmers & Distillers continues the brand’s farmer-owned concept, but with a twist: this restaurant… read more

5 Tectonic Shifts and Challenges Facing Restaurant Owners and Operators in 2017

As we move into 2017, our team is ready to take on new business and guide our established clients to successful restaurant and hospitality endeavors. An important part of our business practices is forecasting the trends we see as viable industry practices, ideas, and evolutions for the coming year. Our biggest callout? Sustainability. The importance of leaving this planet better than how we found it, is a continued, evolving source of interest, education, and involvement. Here are the Top Five Tectonic Shifts and Challenges We See Facing Restaurant Owners and Operators in 2017. Food Trend: Hand-Pulled Noodles. One of the most beloved,… read more

VSAG on Sustainability Watch: Client News Feature

Word of our company’s and our client’s sustainability efforts and work with The George Washington University (GWU) has been featured in the GW Hatchet, an independent, well-established student newspaper serving the GWU community of Washington, D.C. Our very own Vice President of Conceptual Projects, Valerie Zweig, is featured in the article discussing our successful partnership with GWU’s undergraduate honey bee research and beekeeping program, now approaching it’s sixth year “It’s been a great partnership,” Zweig said. “We love the connection within the community and really love how the bees have inspired us through everything.” As a company, we guide our… read more

VSAG Team Talk: Dan Simons on Corporate Sustainability Responsibility

“I think no matter what your political or scientific views, everyone can agree that clean air, greenery, and a sense of community are important to happiness.” Here, here … Dan Simons! Just a taste of VSAG Principal Dan Simons’ feature this week on top entrepreneurial resource site, Alltopstartups, as he discussed the important, relevant restaurant & hospitality industry topics of corporate sustainability and environmental mindfulness. As a nation, we’ve watched and listened as these issues have been discussed, and debated, of late. But, how do these broad, overarching themes boil down to our business practices? Speaking on behalf of our… read more

A Look Back: Top Restaurant & Hospitality Industry Trends We Saw in 2016

As we end one year and plan for the next, we believe in taking a look back in order to clearly see our future: for our team, our clients, and our industry. This year brought us the power of guest appreciation = great business. In this subjective, and albeit crowded, industry we believe that it’s always a smart move to recognize loyal guests. Not only to foster and strengthen relationships, but it can also have a lasting effect on your brand’s longevity – as happy guests will surely return and recommend you to family and friends. We also saw top… read more

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

VSAG Principal 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

From Sea to Shining Sea: We Support Sustainable Seafood

We’ve talked a lot about the state of sustainable seafood in the last few years. And what part overfishing, endangered fish selections, and in turn the importance of choosing seafood wisely within the food service industry, have played. Yup, we’re getting on-topic again. Because it needs to remain in our dialogue. Because we can continue to have a positive impact on the sustainable seafood movement if we make good choices. What does that mean, exactly? It means, continuing to educate ourselves through research and open conversation in order to make our sustainable seafood menu choices count. Really count. For us…. read more

How Restaurant Chains Run Differently than Independent Restaurants?

Always striving for industry insight to better serve our clients, we went straight to our Principal, 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 fighting… read more