News/Blog

VSAG Principal Dan Simons Featured in the NRA’s Conserve Conversations Sustainability Videos

We are always thrilled to partner with restaurant and hospitality industry innovators and to work with them to get our voices heard on various topics that affect our business. Recently, VSAG Principal Dan Simons was asked to partner once again with the National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) Conserve program and their outreach efforts in the newly developed, innovative Conserve Conversations (see additional Conserve VSAG News mention here) where he shared the importance of sustainable practices from his perspective as the head of a group of restaurant managers and operators. As the Conserve Conversations mantra focuses the uniqueness of each restaurant operator’s… read more

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Your Desk is Ready: Career Path Options in the Restaurant & Hospitality Industry

We know that the restaurant and hospitality industry is a faced-paced, ever changing, challenging, yet highly rewarding long-term career choice. And, it seems as though the approximate 13.5 million employees agree with us. In fact, a recently released Workforce Research study entitled “An Industry of Opportunity” was conducted by the National Restaurant Association (NRA) from information gathered from nearly 5,100 of the U.S. restaurant and hospitality industry’s current (or former) workers. The study offers compelling insight into the sense of pride, contentment, opportunity, and growth seen at all levels and age groups of the restaurant workforce. Promising news for the corporations,… read more

Celebrating Our Nation’s Kids!

As September marks back to school, this prompted us to think about our nation’s kids and highlight some recent news of amazing programs that the restaurant and hospitality industry facilitate and support in order to bring healthful food options and nutritional education to them every day. The National Restaurant Association’s Kids LiveWell campaign is one that we happily support (click here to view past news feature). We are thrilled to watch this volunteer program not only celebrate its recent third anniversary, but also see it flourish from 19 to now over 150 participating restaurant brands and companies, representing more than… read more

VSAG Principal Dan Simons Speaks to the NRA On the Importance of Reducing Food Waste

It’s no secret that we are firm believers in advising our clients on the importance of reducing overall restaurant and hospitality business food waste with new, innovative techniques and ideas* on repurposing ingredients and strategic sourcing. We’ve successfully counseled Farmers Restaurant Group and Founding Farmers restaurants, one of our concept development and restaurant management clients, on many sustainability areas. Not only are their restaurants dedicated to environmentally-friendly practices at every turn, the flagship Washington, D.C. location was the city’s first LEED Gold Certified restaurant with certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The restaurant has also been named a Certified… read more

Spice Up Your Menu!

Market research firm, Technomic, released a Consumer Flavor Trend Report which found that a majority of Americans (54 percent to be exact) prefer hot or spicy foods, sauces, dips, and condiments. And from our vantage point in helping to create innovative, enticing menus for our clients on a daily basis, we can attest that this trend is only getting hotter! End of summer and early fall are a great time to explore using more spices, herbs, and exotic flavors in your menus. We turned to one of our resident foodies, formally known as our ‘R&D Specialist’ – Amanda Webb, for… read more

What’s in a Name? Considerations for Food & Beverage Brand Success

Everything is in a name! Choosing a name for your restaurant or food-based concept is a critical step in the branding process, as it immediately sets an image of the concept, what your target demographic, customer or guest might expect to find, and the type of guest you may attract. A strong, successful business name defines your concept for the media, for attracting new business, and for potential investors down the road if a capital raise is necessary. In counseling clients regularly on the development of restaurant concepts and for all types and varieties of questions, from launching a concept,… read more

VSAG on Waste Watch: Reduce Food Waste with New Toolkit

As we continue to champion waste reduction and applaud restaurant industry efforts to do so, we thought we’d highlight a recent discovery that takes positive steps for reducing food waste piling into America’s landfills every day. Because the concern isn’t going away soon, there are some helpful resources and tools to aid businesses in their efforts to reduce waste and negative impacts on the earth. The Food Waste Reduction Alliance (FWRA) has created a Toolkit that is a product of the combined forces of the manufacturing, retail, and restaurant industries (namely the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Food Marketing Institute & National Restaurant… read more

That’s the Spirit! Great Summer Cocktails

What do your guests want to sip this summer? Chances are it’s something refreshingly cool and delicious, with a twist, and out of the ordinary. Keeping cocktail beverage menus fresh can be challenging, but during the summer months there are so many simple and interesting ingredients, techniques, and solutions that will have your guests gravitating to, and ordering more than one ‘out of the ordinary’ summer cocktail. To keep profit margins (and your creativity cred) up, look to add new, interesting combinations of ingredients such as fresh produce, like organic cucumber, cantaloupe, honeydew or another seasonal melon) to a clear… read more

Communal Tables: Practical or a Pain for Guests?

In most full-service restaurants, long gone are the days of white tablecloths, ‘bad’ tables near the kitchen or restrooms, and tables spread across oversized dining rooms. Restaurant guests today are embracing the more casual feel to dining, where communal dining has become more than a small trend – it’s often critical for restaurants to maximize seating capacity and flexibility. And what’s not to love? Interesting behavioral trends amongst guests and diners in public offer some insight and support for the idea that communal-style, familial seating (different parties at one large table) could do well for restaurant owners today. Some thoughts… read more

VSAG Celebrates the Opening of New EVEN™ Hotel in Rockville, MD

Another successful grand opening was held tonight for the InterContinental Hotels Group’s (IHG) innovative, EVEN Hotels, with the Washington D.C. area debut of this new brand in Rockville, MD. The second property (the first is located in Norwalk, CT) in the growing EVEN Hotels network, EVEN Hotel Rockville offers guests a signature, health and wellness-centered brand experience. From large, outdoor spaces created to bring nature closer to the guest and flexible, inviting work spaces to the state of the art fitness options and healthy food & beverage offerings, EVEN Hotel Rockville has all that today’s wellness-minded, busy traveler could want… read more