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

VSAG on Beverage Industry Trends Watch: Spring Cocktails to Share

As you open your restaurant’s windows and patio doors to usher in the warmth of spring, it’s a great time to focus on your spring cocktails and beverage trends. Guests want something new, light, and refreshing … to share. Yes, we said ‘share.’ From posting to tagging to following friends online, the concept of sharing abounds for today’s social media savvy consumers. So, why not make the most of that concept at your bar and offer guests a selection of shared cocktails to enjoy with friends on a fun night out? Festive punch bowls filled with spiced rum and great,… read more

Make Your Mark: Earth Day 2015

Mark your calendars. Earth Day is: April 22. As this year marks the 45th anniversary of this global environmental movement, it’s a great time to make your mark in support of Earth Day by having your staff and even guests get in on the movement. The Earth Day Network (EDN) reports that it works with 22,000 organizations in 192 countries on various Earth Day campaigns such as: Climate Voters Education (promotes climate change initiatives) Billion Acts of Green® (secures a sustainable future) The Canopy Project (protects & preserves our natural lands) Green Schools (provides educators with green practices information/resources to… read more

Scratch Soda: The Art of a Great Tasting, Fresh Soda

As spring is (finally) on the horizon, so too are efforts to focus on lighter, better-for-you beverages to feature on seasonal bar menus. This isn’t about alcohol or bar cocktail trends; it’s about artisan soda, and finding a fresh and delicious alternative for non-spirits-imbibing guests. Enter: scratch made sodas. Embracing the process of crafting soda offerings that are actually better for guests is not as daunting as you might think. Why serve scratch sodas? You can get really creative with flavor profiles and seasonal inspirations to complement food menu offerings The simplified ingredients can be cost effective if you purchase… read more

VSAG on Industry Watch: National Restaurant Association (NRA) Releases New Restaurant Industry Forecast

  The numbers are powerful… $709.2 billion: restaurant industry sales projected this year 14 million: people expected to be employed in the restaurant industry this year alone (translates to about one in 10 working Americans) Nine in 10: Americans say they enjoy dining out 7 million: restaurant industry jobs expected to emerge over the next decade (with employment reaching approx 15.7 million by 2025) 16 years (& counting): years the restaurant industry has outpaced other U.S. industries in job growth The NRA’s 2015 Restaurant Industry Forecast is an overall look at the U.S. restaurant industry, segmented into six comprehensive topic… read more

Global Recruiting: Best Practices in the Middle East

Conducting business abroad is always a lesson in best practices, cultural discovery, and mutual respect. And we welcome any opportunity to improve our business – at home and overseas. For example, last month we featured a news story outlining our experience conducting a global business fact-finding strategy session we spearheaded for a private Chinese investment group looking to venture into the U.S. restaurant & hospitality industry market. Now, we switch gears to another intriguing global business destination: the Middle East. The region is experiencing exponential growth due to the likes of mass pipeline construction and a subsequent boom in the… read more

Who’s Spending What & Where?

Utilizing key demographic and psychographic data representing area resident’s needs, wants, habits, and the like is a great way to glean insight into who your guest really is. Demographic data is valuable in understanding geographic density and income levels, but combined with psychographic data and related research, demographic data can also help direct your menu offerings, pricing strategies, and services. As well as serve as a guiding principal for target marketing and outreach programs far more effectively than with just one of these data sets. As the most recent U.S. consumer spending data was released by the National Restaurant Association… read more