News/Blog

VSAG Principal Dan Simons Speaks to the NRA On the Importance of Reducing Food Waste

It’s no secret that we are firm believers in advising our clients on the importance of reducing overall restaurant and hospitality business food waste with new, innovative techniques and ideas* on repurposing ingredients and strategic sourcing. We’ve successfully counseled Farmers Restaurant Group and Founding Farmers restaurants, one of our concept development and restaurant management clients, on many sustainability areas. Not only are their restaurants dedicated to environmentally-friendly practices at every turn, the flagship Washington, D.C. location was the city’s first LEED Gold Certified restaurant with certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The restaurant has also been named a Certified… read more

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Spice Up Your Menu!

Market research firm, Technomic, released a Consumer Flavor Trend Report which found that a majority of Americans (54 percent to be exact) prefer hot or spicy foods, sauces, dips, and condiments. And from our vantage point in helping to create innovative, enticing menus for our clients on a daily basis, we can attest that this trend is only getting hotter! End of summer and early fall are a great time to explore using more spices, herbs, and exotic flavors in your menus. We turned to one of our resident foodies, formally known as our ‘R&D Specialist’ – Amanda Webb, for… read more

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

VSAG Celebrates the Opening of New EVEN™ Hotel in Rockville, MD

Another successful grand opening was held tonight for the InterContinental Hotels Group’s (IHG) innovative, EVEN Hotels, with the Washington D.C. area debut of this new brand in Rockville, MD. The second property (the first is located in Norwalk, CT) in the growing EVEN Hotels network, EVEN Hotel Rockville offers guests a signature, health and wellness-centered brand experience. From large, outdoor spaces created to bring nature closer to the guest and flexible, inviting work spaces to the state of the art fitness options and healthy food & beverage offerings, EVEN Hotel Rockville has all that today’s wellness-minded, busy traveler could want… 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