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

VSAG and EVEN™ Hotels Create New Wellness-Focused Food & Beverage Concept

The latest in hotel innovation comes from the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) with the launch of their new wellness-minded brand, EVEN Hotels. Designed to set the industry standard for meeting the needs of today’s busy travelers, EVEN Hotels chose VSAG to partner with them on the food & beverage program to be featured within each hotel property. The end result is Cork & Kale™ … Simple. Natural. Good Ingredients. Read the full press release HERE. Our mission from day one? To develop, test, and implement a new menu for Cork & Kale that embraced the wellness-minded guiding principle, and would… read more

Grilled to Perfection: Summer’s Bounty on a Plate

The char-lines are unmistakable; vibrant colors appear to jump off the plate; and the amazingly savory, smoky flavor makes mouths water … Yes, we’re talking grilled summer vegetables. As the flavors and local harvests of summer are arriving, adding fresh, grilled vegetables to your restaurant’s seasonal summer selections should be part of your menu development plan and a way to keep guests interested in what’s new. From artichokes to zucchini, and anything in between, adding grilled vegetables (alone or in yummy combinations) will give new life to pizzas, pastas, proteins, seafood, and salads. Another option is to finely chop or… read more

VSAG Believes in Giving Back: What CSR Means Today

Whether you give of your time, money, expertise, goods and services (or any combination of these), there is something to be said of the gratification received from giving back … and the example you set for staff and guests alike through Corporate Social Responsibility. The restaurant and hospitality industry is no stranger to charitable work. In fact, according to the National Restaurant Association, 94% of U.S. restaurants make some sort of charitable donation annually to the staggering tune of $3 billion – those are impressive numbers that should spur thoughts of your own corporate giving. Whether supporting local youth athletic… read more