A Look Back at Top Restaurant & Hospitality Industry Trends

In an industry known as much for the quick-pace as for the long hours, as restaurant & hospitality consultants and operators, we continually focus our efforts on making strides that move our client’s businesses forward. How do we succeed? By making it our business to stay informed on the industry’s latest technologies, food trends, research, and resources. By listening to guests and crafting real solutions for giving them what they want. By looking at the past to help our clients forecast their future. Each year we look back at the top restaurant and hospitality industry trends of the year, and… read more


Kudos to VSAG Principal Dan Simons on Recent National News Coverage Inclusion

A big VSAG shout out to our VSAG Principal, Dan Simons, for being quoted recently in national restaurant industry news coverage for The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Even as a seasoned restaurant professional, it’s always a thrill to be asked to impart your experiences in the media. Hence, we wanted to share Dan’s coverage. The New York Times recently approached Dan to share our company culture and thoughts on advising our restaurant client, DC-area’s Founding Farmers, where Dan is also the Concept Developer and one of the Owners, regarding the timely topic of providing (and labeling)… read more

Take Your Seasonal Flavor Profiles to the Next Level

With summer firmly in our rearview mirror and fun, fall festivities upon us, we’re ready to take our seasonal flavor profiles to the next level. And what better way to infuse fall-centric flavors into your menus this season, than by some fresh ideas we’ll furnish from our culinary team? Always in search of the latest and greatest ingredients, preparations, and profiles to offer our restaurant consulting food & beverage clients – here are some great seasonal, fall flavor ideas from our kitchens to yours. Savory Muffins & Biscuits. In seeking new flavors to speak to our clients’ guest’s seemingly endless… read more

Standout on Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday is November 28 this year. And, if your business has at least one but no more than 25 locations, than you’re already a participating member. We gathered some background information on gaining support for your small business, tips to make your business stand out, and how to participate. What is Small Business Saturday? A national program started in 2010 by American Express which focuses on supporting and promoting local small business owners and their businesses – on not only Small Business Saturday, but throughout the year. In the years since, the ‘Shop Small’ notion has gained such… read more

Gain Local Exposure, One New Homeowner at a Time

How do you best promote your business’s local exposure? By partnering with your area Chamber of Commerce. As defined by Merriam Webster, your local Chamber of Commerce is: An association of businesspeople to promote commercial and industrial interests in the community. Hence, the perfect platform to maximizing your customer outreach and your local exposure. After joining your local Chamber, many invite member access to any business discounts/special services they offer as well as events calendars, educational services, and networking contacts. Make the most of this access and add real value to your business by developing restaurant marketing concepts according to… read more

VSAG Client News: Farmers Restaurant Group to Open Next Location

Our restaurant consulting and development teams have been busy working on another concept for longtime client, Farmers Restaurant Group (FRG). FRG has announced plans to open the fourth installment of the successful Founding Farmers brand of farm-inspired restaurants. Working closely with the good people of Founding Farmers’ owners North Dakota Farmers Union, who represent the true heart of the brand’s vision and concept – the American family farmer – has been the inspiration for all the Founding Farmers restaurants. We welcome Founding Farmers Reston to the fold! Expected to open in late 2016/early 2017, Founding Farmers Reston will serve as… read more

The Art of Successful Negotiation

Our negotiation tactics start young. Negotiating with our parents that if we eat our vegetables, we then get dessert. Negotiating with our teachers that if we fail an assignment, we should then be able to complete an additional assignment for extra credit. It only increases with age as daily negotiations with coworkers and superiors (& spouses!) can prove taxing. In our business, we negotiate all the time: better prices with vendors, delivery timetables with purveyors, contracts with developers, work schedules with staff, and the like. And no matter how often we poise ourselves to make our point, there is an… read more

Global Food Trends: Ethnic Cuisine Making its Mark

What does our restaurant consulting team do for fun? Besides gathering to eat the best foods we can find – we find joy in seeking out trends and advising our clients on how to translate them into effective, long-term business strategies. One such trend we’ve been watching: Ethnic Cuisine. Sure, Americans have their traditional favorites (i.e. Italian, Chinese, Mexican), but we see the market going global. With four out of five people surveyed saying they eat at least one type of ethnic cuisine every month and 84% preferring to eat ethnic cuisine at restaurants that focus specifically on that type… read more

VSAG Client News: Unity Plaza Set to Open

Ah, we love when a comprehensive project with lots of moving parts turns out better than we’d hoped! Kudos to our consulting team for maintaining their focus, passion, and dedication (even through tough days!) in order to bring our client’s vision to reality. As we highlighted our creative partnership in a Unity Plaza news post a few months back, today we’re excited to announce that this project, which we’ve worked tirelessly on with a remarkable team of dedicated development professionals, is moving to the next phase as … Unity Plaza, the dynamic Jacksonville, Fla. non profit, community-based campus, located at… read more

VSAG on Watch: Protecting Against Credit Card Skimming

As seasoned restaurant consultants, our team has learned (sometimes the hard way) that if attention isn’t paid to, and proven business methods are not implemented in, the back office –there can be no front of house to welcome guests. Enter: Lara Hardcastle. Our smart, savvy Vice President who makes it her business to keep our business, and our client’s businesses, running smoothly from technology perspective. Case in Point. Taking note of recent warnings issued by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI) re: a projected increase of restaurant industry cashiers and servers with credit card skimmers. “Theft is a… read more