Culinary School vs. On The Job Training & Development

As we watch higher education rates within the culinary industry soar, we see eager, passionate young people yearning for a culinary career that may be prohibitive due to the costs of higher education. This important topic got our team thinking about – and debating – the notion of Culinary School vs. On The Job Training & Development. Is one path better than the other? The short answer is no. We believe that education is always a positive. But, where it takes place plays a big role in this debate: classroom vs. on the job training? To add some food for… read more

Farming In America: Our Present. Our Future.

As restaurant consultants, we work closely with trusted purveyors, sources, and third parties to run our business and help our clients achieve their goals. Through our trusted sources, we’ve gotten familiar with, and passionate about, farming in America. As we observed the industry grow, we got in on the ground floor as the farming community moved into Main Street, USA. From organic farms and farmers markets to co-ops and farmer-owned restaurant concepts, sustainable harvests have become a mainstay for us. Our focus on Farming in America: Present & Future is three-fold. Here’s a look at what we see from our… read more

Summer Food Feature: Part Two

This month’s Summer Food Feature is dedicated to watermelon. That infinitely delicious, sweet slice of seasonal goodness! For all things watermelon, we did some research and found some great info on this seemingly perfect summer food. Alas, with more than 300 varieties of watermelon harvested in the U. S and South America, the growing season extends year-round, but traditionally the summer sees the most demand. Some other fun facts: The first recorded watermelon harvest? Egypt about 5,000 years ago (harvests have even been found depicted in hieroglyphics on ancient Egyptian structures) By weight, watermelon is the most-consumed melon in the… read more

Guest Appreciation = Great Business

Showing guests love for their loyalty equals great business. And the good news that aligns with that sentiment? If they’re repeat customers, you’re obviously doing something right! Kudos to you and your team! Keeping that connection on your radar is vital to your business as these are the guests who will come back again and again, refer diners, host events in your space – and ultimately help keep you afloat. Precisely why we advise our restaurant clients to show devoted guests love and appreciate for their loyal patronage. One such program our client, Farmers Restaurant Group (FRG) has put into… read more

VSAG on Watch: Client News

In our efforts as restaurant consultants to assist clients in implementing their vision for the business of operating a thriving restaurant, we’re always thrilled to celebrate their ongoing accomplishments. One such success story, Drift on 7th – a local, Washington, D.C. client we’ve guided in reworking their concept, menu, interior décor, and layout – is getting lots of local buzz lately. Recent coups include Drift being named one of DC’s 11 New Restaurants You Should Try Right Now and a great feature write up in The Washington Post touting their commitment to deliciously enticing, sustainable fish dishes (such as Maine… read more

Summer Food Feature: Part One

For our inaugural Summer Food Feature, we’re inspired by our recent discovery that July is National Picnic Month. Yup, who knew? As a company that believes in American farming communities, tradition, and family, we love the idea of tying National Picnic Month back to restaurant and hospitality-centric concept ideas and related menus. Creating specialized July picnic-food-centric offerings for your patio or any outdoor space – or if you don’t have an outdoor area, developing your To Go services so guests can take their meal to their own backyard or local park – is a great way to usher in a… read more

Top 5 Restaurant Apps & Platforms You Need to Bookmark Now

Our staff loves being in the know. And, we might add, seeing their tips, tricks of the trade, and industry know-how highlighted here on our news blog pages. The focus today? Our team’s top go-to restaurant and hospitality industry apps & platforms. There are lots out there. In order to whittle it down to our team’s top-5 suggestions to get you started on your go-to list that’ll work within your business’s confines, our team offered up their favorites and we took it from there. 1) OpenTable. Aka the “big-daddy” of restaurant industry apps. Sure, maybe a slight overstatement but OpenTable… read more

Welcoming Guests: From Around the Corner and Around the Globe

As restaurant consultants, we advise clients on the art, and importance, of welcoming guests to their establishments. Good for business? Of course. Welcoming guests to your eatery, through universal touch points such as gracious, engaging service, inviting aesthetics, and great food, is the initial step to delivering a full, enjoyable guest experience – all in an effort to capture your audience and help guarantee return business. As these universal touch points should be part of your daily playbook, we always look for new opportunities to advise clients on ways to keep growing and widening their scope of clientele and service…. read more

VSAG on Watch: Restaurant Industry Minimum Wage-DC Vote & Beyond

It was announced that Washington, D.C. is poised to join other cities, such as San Francisco and Seattle, in increasing minimum pay wages to $15. In a unanimous City Council vote, set to be ratified next month, the wheels are in motion for legislature to gradually raise the District of Columbia’s minimum wage to $15 by 2020. Along with this increase in the minimum wage, is an increase in the “tipped minimum wage” from the current $2.77 per hour to $5.50 per hour. This is where the devil is in the details, unknown outcomes, and potential for unintended consequences. Tipped… read more

Up Your Artistry: Lighting as Art + Design

Lighting sets the mood of your space. It highlights your guests and your food. So, having the perfect restaurant lighting to enhance your space is a must. As we’re lucky enough to work with the amazing, artistic team at Stroik Lighting Design (SLD) on an innovative, new restaurant project for our Farmers Restaurant Group client Farmers & Distillers, we approached our friend and colleague at SLD, Christopher Stroik, with a Q&A so he can offer us, and our clients, ideas and best practices re: the concept of Lighting as Art + Design. TELL US ABOUT SLD’s DESIGN APPROACH & PROCESS. Founded… read more