How OpenTable Works For Us

My epiphany with OpenTable struck in the fall of 2008. Mike Vucurevich and I had just opened our first Founding Farmers in Washington, D.C. The restaurant opening had all of the usual panic, fear, and excitement, but magnified by the world dangling over the economic precipice as markets cratered and the Great Recession set in. I knew we were birthing our little company in a recession. I knew that meant our odds of failing as a business just went into the stratosphere. We were going to need to think differently, act differently, and we’d need to challenge ourselves to develop new… read more

Dan Simons Speaks to Forbes: The Road to Becoming America’s Most Booked Restaurants, 5-Years Running!

As an experienced, sought-after restaurant & hospitality consultant, VSAG Principal Dan Simons has morphed his years in the industry into an acquired narrative of the business of running successful restaurants and keeping a keen eye on what diners want. Dan loves participating in open, honest, valuable conversation about the industry he loves. One such conversation recently took place with Forbes contributor Brian Rashid. The outcome: How Founding Farmers Became the Most Booked Restaurant in the U.S. for 5-Years Running, where Dan dished on the amazing success of VSAG client, Founding Farmers, and the journey Dan has taken with Farmers Restaurant… read more

Taking Your Brand Global

Taking your brand global is a huge, and many times complicated, undertaking. As markets and businesses expand globally, we asked our Vice President of Conceptual Projects Val Zweig for some intel as to when a restaurant operator should take that leap and take their brand global. Specializing in researching and developing our U.S. and international restaurant projects, we knew Val would be the perfect resource to shed some light on knowing if, and when, a restaurant brand is ready to translate on a larger, global scale. Know who you are. When gearing up to expand globally, the first step is to… read more

Is a Sustainable, Global Food Supply Within Reach?

We offer a hopeful… yes. In these times of burgeoning populations, the strides we’ve made as a company to honor the invaluable service family farms provide our industry, forecasting the developing farmer-owned restaurant concept, and our commitment to offering client guests sustainable menu options at every possible turn, is paramount to our work. We’re encouraged by recent reports from the Environmental Defense Fund indicating that due to initiatives begun at grassroots levels, such as ours that promote sustainable methodology, are having a positive uptick on practical, innovative global food supply efforts and solutions.  Some of those solutions derive from sustainable… read more

Dan Simons Out Front with Forbes: Formula for Leadership Model Success.

Principal Dan Simons was recently approached by Forbes magazine to discuss his business leadership style and recipe for success. When a business industry media giant like Forbes comes calling, what’s one to do? You set forth and provide contributor Jeff Boss with an honest, hard-hitting account profiling your business leadership style – the highs, the lows, the lessons learned.  The result: Why This Leadership Model Simply Cannot be Argued With. Now garnering media and industry attention, Dan wanted to share some snippets from the article outlining our work with longtime VSAG client, Farmers Restaurant Group. “The seed from which a… read more

Dan Simons on Industry Watch

Recently named one of Entrepreneur’s 10 Personal Branding Experts to Follow This Year for his innovative concept development and championing of environmental protection, workers rights, and ethical operations, Principal Dan Simons is oft sought out for his honest, well versed take on the daily challenges of running operations for a successful restaurant consulting company and restaurant group. Now, Dan is out-front once again addressing restaurant & hospitality related topics for consumer and industry operators’ consumption.  With topics ranging from Corporate Responsibility to Handling Explosive Growth to New Business Concepts & Ventures, here’s a roundup of some of Dan’s recent press coverage.*NOTE:… read more

For All You Sweet Potato Lovers…

Oh yeah, February is Sweet Potato Lovers Month! And we concur. Our team loves the yummy, satisfying sweet potato for its naturally sweet taste, nutrition value, and versatility. Bake, boil, roast, mash, sauté, or glaze ‘em – sweet potatoes are one of the most well-loved, versatile, and oldest veggies out there. Fun facts: sweet potatoes come in over 400 varieties, with colors ranging from orange and cream to deep purple and pink, and can be traced back to prehistoric times. So, for all you sweet potato lovers out there… here are some sweet potato nutrition facts, dish ideas, and more…. read more

Let Your Restaurant’s Artwork Speak for Itself

Choosing artwork for your restaurant may seem an arduous task you feel you’re bound to fail. Fear not. We’ve gone straight to our Creative Director Leah Frankl for her aesthetic expertise. As an interior designer and LEED Accredited Professional, Leah’s art & design experience and well-trained eye allow her to guide clients on creating fully functional, cohesive, sustainable design spaces. As artwork is oftentimes an investment, we were interested in exploring this concept. How to choose restaurant art that fits within the design and feel of a space? Are there any general rules of thumb when choosing artwork? How to… read more

Ongoing Investment in Food & Restaurant Technology

As we look to the future, making an ongoing investment in food and restaurant technology will help you grow as a brand and as a company. Food Science & Technology. An interesting topic as it’s continually evolving. Defined by the Institute of Food Technologists as the study of the physical, nutritional, and chemical makeup of food, food science also seeks to uncover the causes of food deterioration. Whereas, food technology applies those disciplines to the selection, processing, packaging, and preservation of food. In short: maintaining food safety and making a conscious effort to impart advanced, sustainable, repurposing methods to reducing… read more

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