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

Spotlight on Sustainability: VSAG Principal Dan Simons Speaks at NRA ‘Conserve’ Program Conference

VSAG Principal Dan Simons was recently asked to participate in the National Restaurant Association’s Conserve program expert panel sessions re: one of the most important and viable issues in the restaurant and foodservice industry today: sustainability best practices. One of Dan’s contributions focused on how to develop a sustainability-focused menu, here are a few of his guidelines: Clearly define what sustainability means for your restaurant, whether it means sourcing locally, serving sustainable seafood or supporting area farmers and manufacturers Walk the talk even if some criticize you or customers complain when a favorite item is no longer seasonal and off… read more

Facebook’s New SinglePlatform Tool Can Drive Guest Trial

As social media continues to grow in value and effectiveness as a marketing tool for the restaurant industry, the many new systems, techniques, and apps regularly coming onto the scene are helping to make strides for how we do business every day. As big believers in the power of reaching guests and potential guests through social media, we know the importance of refreshing social media pages with up to date profiles on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other popular apps, and also mixing it up by changing cover art and images on a regular basis to help keep your social media… read more

Patio Friendly Menus & Seasonal Décor

Warm summer days and balmy nights are the perfect settings for expanding guest services. Patios are a great way to expand your business and offer guests not only great patio menu choices, but also an inviting, seasonal setting to enjoy. As restaurant consultants, we are well versed in creating menus and designing décor, and know that not every item on a menu or element of patio décor may necessarily hold up to an outdoor dining experience. Consider these designer patio menus and seasonal décor that will work to set your restaurant apart this summer. In creating a successful patio-friendly menu,… read more

5 Characteristics of a Standout Recruiting Candidate

What makes a job candidate stand out from the competition? Is it poise? Passion? A killer resume? A funny, creative wit? It just might be all those things … and more. We turned to Dan Kelly, our VSAG resident authority on all things recruiting and recruiting services, for his top five characterizes that really make a recruiting candidate a standout in his book. Here’s what Dan’s years as a recruiting professional have taught him to look for in the coveted “great candidate” category: Attention to Basics. To illustrate this point, Dan shares a favorite story; “I heard an interview years… read more

Summer’s Bounty: Best Fruit Choices for Menus

Now that summer’s arrived, guests are craving dishes that fit the season’s light, airy vibe. And what’s one of the best ways to take advantage of this season’s bounty? Fresh fruit. In our ongoing efforts to consistently help our restaurant consulting clients maintain their food and beverage operations to offer diners options that are always fresh, healthful, and interesting, summer proves one of our favorite culinary seasons, and opens up a lot of possibilities for new dishes. As fresh fruits are packed with healthful benefits, the plethora of summer selections allow the chefs we work with inspired creativity. As their… read more

4 Key Strategies For Mastering Media Interviews

Knowing how to give a great media interview – and get the most out of it for your brand – is key to bringing more exposure to your restaurant name, concept or initiative. But wanting and securing more earned media for your restaurant business requires practice in planning, strategizing, connecting, and execution to get the best results. As media specialists, our team of Marketing + Communications professionals, led by VSAG Vice President, Jennifer Motruk Loy, know the importance of sending a clear, concise, and consistent message through various media outlets to get the recognition your concept deserves. Some of our top… read more