Valentine’s Day Means Big Business

As Valentine’s Day is huge business for the restaurant industry, we’ve got some great ideas to help fill your seats on this busy holiday. In fact, according to the National Restaurant Association, Valentine’s Day is traditionally the second most popular holiday for dining out, only bested by Mother’s Day. So, as the millions of Americans make their plans this Valentine’s Day, your restaurant concept development needs to be special enough for guests to choose your establishment to celebrate. Love for the Ages. Create a marketing campaign promoting your Valentine’s restaurant specials and prix fixe menus on your website and in-store… read more


Cabbage: Winter’s Super Star

Cabbage is quickly becoming this winter’s menu super star. The versatility, the health benefits, and the hearty consistency make it the perfect highlight of soups, stews, salads, pastas, and more. As winter foods and ingredients can tend to leave guests feeling full, adding a cruciferous, winter vegetable like cabbage to your seasonal menu can offer just the right amount of balance to any dish. With less than 20 calories per half cup cooked, cabbage health benefits serve up a great nutritional, and cost effective, ingredient for guests. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database*, other health benefits of cabbage, include:… read more

VSAG on Watch: Going From Restaurant Employee to Owner & Operator

Going from restaurant employee to owner & operator may seem like an insurmountable feat, but our Principal Dan Simons has done just that and is sharing his top three steps here, on how to become a restaurant owner and hence, a successful, bona fide restaurateur. 1) What kind of leader do you want to be? Write a one-page, detailed description of the kind of leader and restaurant owner you envision yourself as, for example: How you will treat staff How you will handle guests (even if they feel they’ve had a negative experience at your restaurant) How you will handle vendors… read more

Winter Foods & Beverages Trends to Watch

We’ve been tracking winter foods and winter menu ideas for sometime. Compiling information from our very own corporate chefs kitchen, tracking industry research, listening to our client needs, and keeping tabs on what’s trending on restaurant social media sites. Here are a few Winter Foods & Beverages Trends we think will carry us through this season, and beyond. The Next Step in Bar Innovations. We’ve seen industry trends for craft beers and craft sodas take flight, now we’re watching as the season takes winter cocktails to the next level of bar program innovation: in-house distilleries. As the restaurant industry is… read more

Why Restaurants Fail, And How To Prevent It

Developing and opening a new restaurant is exciting, often the culmination of a personal dream or a company strategy. Regardless of concept, brand, cuisine and design, there is one thing that these projects always have in common: the founders strongly believe that the venture will be a success. Unfortunately most have fatal flaws that caused the restaurant to fail. It’s not that the idea wasn’t great, or the food wasn’t yummy. It’s not that the service was bad, or that the interior design was lame. The flaws are hidden in the disconnects between each element of the project. All the… read more

Embracing Failure: Sure, You Can!

$709.2 billion. Now, that’s a number! As reported by the National Restaurant Association, $709.2 billion is the amount of U.S. restaurant industry sales we’ve seen this year. It seems as though that number represents an amazing quantifier of restaurant success in the U.S., right? Well for as much success as our industry has, there are most likely just as many (if not more) failures. You may ask yourself: with a number in the billions, why didn’t my last venture work? Why did my restaurant not survive more than a year? Why did my restaurant fail? What did I do wrong? We’re here… read more

Growing Your Business: Dan Simons Talks Successful Partnerships

Over the years Principal, Dan Simons has learned the restaurant business from the ground up. From his front of house-service start to transitioning to a seasoned restaurant consultant and ultimately as concept developer and operator, Dan has learned the value of a great partnership and what they can do to propel the growth of a restaurant concept. Recently, Dan was asked to talk to his experience in a lively radio interview on KFGO radio, out of our client Farmers Restaurant Group’s partner North Dakota Farmers Union territory of Fargo-Moorhead, North Dakota. He was happy to tell his story and that… read more

8 Tectonic Shifts and Challenges Facing Restaurant Owners and Operators in 2016

The excitement of working in the restaurant industry lies heavily in the constant state of activity, the constant challenge to execute consistently and the relentless need to stay ahead of the curve. From servers dodging oncoming trays and knife-wielding kitchen staff prepping for a busy dinner service to the ever-changing industry regulations, trends, and technologies, there are always new things to learn, improvements to be made, and tactics to apply to generate more success. As restaurant consultants, it’s our job to navigate change by researching, analyzing, strategizing, and forecasting … and in the end – always keeping our clients’ best… read more

VSAG On Watch: The Great Tipping Debate. Where Do You Stand?

To tip or not to tip? That is the restaurant industry question du jour. So, we ask you: can we decide the following in this one conversation … Will service suffer if we eradicate tipping? Is tipping fair or does it perpetuate inequality among restaurant workers? Will guests welcome a menu pricing increase in order to forgo the extra steps (& a math problem) at the end of their meal? Why don’t restaurants pay servers and bartenders just like other employees get paid? The short answer is “No” we can’t solve all this in one short conversation. But, we’re aiming… read more

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