Up Your Artistry: Lighting as Art + Design

Lighting sets the mood of your space. It highlights your guests and your food. So, having the perfect restaurant lighting to enhance your space is a must. As we’re lucky enough to work with the amazing, artistic team at Stroik Lighting Design (SLD) on an innovative, new restaurant project for our Farmers Restaurant Group client Farmers & Distillers, we approached our friend and colleague at SLD, Christopher Stroik, with a Q&A so he can offer us, and our clients, ideas and best practices re: the concept of Lighting as Art + Design. TELL US ABOUT SLD’s DESIGN APPROACH & PROCESS…. read more


VSAG on Seasonal Success: Top 3 Summer Menu Trends

Introducing seasonal ingredients, flavor profiles, and trends not only keeps menus interesting, but it also allows for more creativity in the kitchen. We discovered some seasonal trends we think are worth adding to your flavor profiles this summer. Wood-fire Cooking. Nothing says summer like some great, downhome bbq. And we couldn’t be more excited that the trend of authentic, rustic, wood-fire cooking is getting fired-up (yes, we went there!) this season. What’s not to love about the slow-roasted, natural, smoky flavor? Take your wood fire game up a notch by infusing flavors such as fruit woods like apple, apricot, and… read more

VSAG Client Expands Restaurant Group

Guiding our clients through a restaurant expansion is many times a long, and difficult road … but a journey we’re always happy to take. Recently we helped our client, DC-based Farmers Restaurant Group’s brand of restaurants Founding Farmers, do just that – as they recently announced that they are opening their first outlet outside the DC-Maryland-Virginia (DMV) region in: King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.  Located just outside the great city of Philadelphia, PA, Founding Farmers King of Prussia is slated to open in spring of 2017 within the King of Prussia Town Center, a state-of-the-art dining, retail, and residential destination. Founding… read more

VSAG on Watch: Taking a Page from our Client’s Manager in Training Program

Train your staff. Probably one of the most important restaurant success lessons you’ll read today. Whether your enterprise is large or small, your business and your staff will reap the rewards of implementing a comprehensive, consistent training program. Our operations management team oversees our Restaurant Staff Training and Development services, helping to guide our clients on creating proven training programs. Here’s a general overview of our Manager in Training (MIT) guidelines. Start at the Top. GM’s should be brought in to not only oversee the execution of your MIT program but to help streamline its focus and teachings. Your restaurant… read more

What’s the Most Important Information for a Restaurant Homepage to Display?

Your company’s website homepage is your brand ‘calling card’ if you will. It’s not a place to advertise per se, but to clearly define your business and your brand, to offer an enticing glimpse of what sets you apart. So, What’s the Most Important Information for a Restaurant Homepage to Display? Here are some digital marketing expert ideas to improve your online visibility … one (home)page at a time: C’mon In. Restaurant operators want to engage and entice customers. Many times, that begins with a restaurant’s website homepage. The design should allow customers to easily obtain pertinent information. Because in the… read more

Call to Action: Bettering Our Planet For a Sustainable Future

As active restaurant and hospitality industry participants, we believe in coming together for a great cause. And we can’t think of a better way to celebrate the universal cause of bettering our planet than by highlighting ways to bring about change in our environmental practices. Our Call to Action? Earth Day, celebrated this year on April 22nd, spurs us on annually, but we’re also inspired by the ongoing efforts we see implemented within restaurant kitchen operations every day. For example, cutting food waste and local sourcing offer operators an impactful dip into the sustainability pool, but what we oftentimes don’t… read more

Protect Your Brand + Reputation: The Social Media Neutralizer

Social media is a contact sport. The sooner that concept is embraced, the better prepared any restaurant business will be. Restaurants are a tough business for many reasons. One underrated issue is word of mouth – reviews are what can provide a boost as well as what can sink a fledgling restaurant. And more likely than not, the one person who has a bad experience at a restaurant will shout the loudest – louder than most satisfied customers. While grappling with this issue, VSAG Principal Dan Simons developed a methodology which he later coined: the Social Media Neutralizer. Creating a winning… read more

Best Practices: Streamlining Employee Labor Scheduling

Control your cost of business. Easier said than done? Not for us.  In an industry that serves high costs with oftentimes low profit margins, it’s imperative to put proven staff scheduling restaurant software, technology and systems in place in order to control labor costs without sacrificing service. Hence, allowing you and your managers to not only make the most of your resources to lower costs, but increase performance by getting out in front and working alongside staff – all in the name of bettering your business. Our methods of streamlining labor scheduling for clients, and hence our employee productivity measurement… read more

Kids Menus: Roundup of Trends & Ideas that Really Speak to Kids

Over the years we’ve watched and reported on the healthful kids meals trend. We’re always happy to utilize our client and restaurant industry-centric news blog platform to help shape healthy eating habits for the next, and we might add notoriously skeptical, generation of diners. As busy restaurant consultants, we sometimes get lost in the process of creating and sustaining concepts for our wide range of clients. But, what ultimately makes us tick is that many of us are parents and we want to do right by not only our kids, but your little eaters as well. We’ve stressed the importance… read more

On Trend: Making All Day Breakfast Work for Your Restaurant

We recently forecasted the rise of the All Day Breakfast restaurant industry trend.  It appears our trend-watching team was right on target as expanding breakfast to other dayparts seems a good bet as traditional breakfast food items are cost effective and the audience is reportedly there. According to a topical report by the National Restaurant Association, seven out of 10 diners say they want restaurants to serve breakfast throughout the day. But, as with any business decision, ask yourself if it makes sense for you. In this instance if you already have breakfast items on your menu that’s a plus…. read more