All-American Classics

As we gather today to celebrate our nation’s Independence, we love the plethora of all-American, timeless dishes that represent the foods and tastes of our great nation. From classic, creamy potato salad and deviled eggs to traditional apple pie and freshly made, ice cream (after all, July is national ice cream month!), we want to savor it all. So, why not strive to keep the spirit alive and celebrate the all-American classics of summer on your restaurant’s menu(s) all year long? Sure, your brand concept and menu direction might not reflect all-American flavor profiles, but you can capture the essence… read more


VSAG on Transparency: Top 3 Tips for Designing an Open Concept

Miriam Webster defines “transparent” as: able to be seen through, easy to notice or understand, honest and open, not secretive. What better way to welcome your guests and have them connect with your space the minute they walk through the door, then with the transparency of an open design concept? While it may not be your style to put your full restaurant on display, carving out specific areas where guests can get a great view of your team and their culinary skills (i.e. a portion of your kitchen or a dessert station), is great for the business of transparency. Bonus:… read more

Making the Most of Your Restaurant Partnerships

Cultivating successful partnerships with purveyors, vendors, local businesses, and the like is a crucial element to long-term success. Not always an easy task, as the quick-paced nature of the restaurant industry and its many moving parts can alter set plans at any time. Our Principal, Dan Simons, is well versed in the art of forming great partnerships, as he understands and appreciates the value and dedication that goes into a successful VSAG collaboration. For example, we’ve guided our restaurant consulting client, Farmers Restaurant Group, through the ongoing process of growing lasting partnerships with bar & beverage partners, Copper Fox Distillery… read more

Tap into Your Talent & Reap the Rewards

Industry Research shows that a key factor in securing repeat business is engaging with customers, thus helping to ensure positive word of mouth referrals. For instance, of those surveyed 57% would be “for sure” likely to recommend a business if they identified a specific employee for recognition. This level of guest-to-staff connection is something money can’t buy. What better way to engage guests than to showcase your team (and their talents) in order to connect with customers? Great guest service relies on positive guest relations. Look for personable, approachable staff. If you can easily talk to them and make a connection… read more

Seasonal Servings: Top 3 Summer Food Trends Direct from our Kitchens

Summer is here! Time to revamp menus to reflect the lighter, refreshing foods and ingredients of the season. We’re diving into summer with great ideas from our culinary R&D Specialist, Amanda Webb, and her team. Let’s see what seasonal superstar dish components and food trends they’ve uncovered. Farro. This Mediterranean grain is quickly becoming a popular alternative to couscous and other small grain pastas. Farro’s consistency proves perfect for incorporating into salads and soups as it really envelops the flavors added to it. This summer, expect to see farro as a nutritious addition to green salads with spinach, kale and arugula,… read more

VSAG Works with Client to Develop New Restaurant Concept at Jacksonville’s Unity Plaza

As food & beverage consultants, we have the opportunity to work with some of the top creative partners, designers, and developers in the industry. One project we have been excited to be part of is the development of Unity Plaza in Jacksonville, Fla. We have worked closely with the Unity Plaza development team at NAI Hallmark Partners to help find a restaurant concept to fit within Unity Plaza’s dynamic, innovative community featuring residential and retail space, a state-of-the-art performing arts amphitheater, as well as beautiful gardens and play + gathering areas for residents and visitors to enjoy. In order to… read more

Craft Beers Take Center Stage

Whether brewed on premises or fashioned in nearby craft breweries, craft beers are making their mark on the beer and beverage industry. As craft beers and the art of creating a specialty and/or seasonally influenced beer are gaining popularity with guests across the country. In fact according to, the average American lives within 10 miles of a craft brewery. And the Brewers Association reports that craft beer volumes are steadily achieving double-digit market growth. The typical American craft beer brewer is defined by the Brewers Association as having three major components: Small: annual production of six million barrels of beer or… read more

VSAG Loves Great Barbeque

Who doesn’t love themselves some great barbeque? Apparently we’re not alone in our love of all things barbeque. Topping the National Restaurant Association’s 2015 Top 10 Perennial Menu Favorites list and with May being National Barbecue Month, we couldn’t resist talking barbeque – great grilling tips, techniques, and highlighting some of our favorite barbeque joints. Whether you enjoy savory or spicy with a flavor base of smoky, chipotle, honey, brown sugar, vinegar or bourbon, barbeque offerings are permanent fixtures on menus from coast to coast. And, in our experience, great barbeque gets personal. As we’ve found that grill masters usually… read more

Great Spring Ingredients: Foods to Highlight on Menus

Reworking menus to focus on spring menu ideas is a great way to experiment with and incorporate seasonal ingredients into dishes. So, we peeked into the kitchens of our resident culinary R&D Specialist, Amanda Webb, to find out what’s cooking. And true to form, Amanda shared an array of amazing spring ingredients, components, and ideas that are captivating her and her team this season. Infused Waters. Coconut water was arguably the first, but now we’re seeing all types of infused waters (maple, artichoke, and even cactus and aloe) popping up on beverage programs. In fact, we recently developed a popular infused… read more

Green Roofing: The Benefits. The Process. The Pitfalls.

In our quest to continually strive for sustainability, we have the good fortune of meeting some really interesting, knowledgeable industry folks who are willing to share their expertise and work collectively towards a better future for us all. With that, we recently met Kim Fritzke, Marketing Director at Gordon Contractors and were intrigued by her knowledge and passion for green roofing. As Gordon Contractors have reportedly installed more green roofs in the greater DC-metropolitan area than any other contractor and are currently working on a 5,000 sq. ft. green roof installation at DC’s National Museum of African American History and… read more