January 5, 2017

There's a Massive Restaurant Industry Bubble, and It's About to Burst

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America's Golden Age of Restaurants is coming to an end. Rising labor costs, rent increases, a pandemic of similar restaurants, demanding customers unwilling to come to terms with higher prices -- it's the Perfect Restaurant Industry Storm. Customers are no longer impressed by local, farm-sourced, and handmade -- it's expected. Those elevated expectations extend to delivery. And the rising food delivery apps promising local, higher-quality foods at cheap prices are replacing fast-dining.

 

The next phase of the gentrification of food.

December 15, 2016

It's All Part of the Packaging: How Marketing Can Solve the Problems Food and Drink Brands Face

Screen Shot 2016-12-15 at 11.20.53 AM.pngThe food and drink industry faces criticism from every angle. From government regulations on the advertisement of alcohol, society’s pressures to keep trim and slim and ‘Lean In Fifteen’, to the impact of waste and resource on the world’s rising temperature; food and drink brands have to cater for any possible criticism.

How sweet it can be.

December 15, 2016

Here’s Why LaCroix is So Addictive

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The internet was going crazy for this stuff and soon, so were we. It quickly took up more space in our fridge than actual food and filled our recycling bins to the top, even after we crushed them one by one. At some point, I started to wonder: What’s actually in this stuff? And why is it so incredibly addicting?

LaCroix's allure.

December 14, 2016

The Undoing and Redoing of Food

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The nation’s largest food companies now face competitive pressure from two different directions. From one side, there is a movement toward simplicity — simpler recipes, fewer ingredients, less processing. A nice way to label this shift toward simpler foods is “the undoing of food.” At the same time, and from the opposite direction, there is the “re-doing of food” — a process whereby entrepreneurs take on existing categories and seek to reinvent them in a way that improves on the incumbent.

Unfeed me.

December 8, 2016

The Rhythm of Food

Screen Shot 2016-12-08 at 1.27.51 PM.pngHow do we search for food? Google search interest can reveal key food trends over the years. From the rise and fall of recipes over diets and drinks to cooking trends and regional cuisines. What can we learn about food culture by analyzing the yearly cycles in search interest for food, dishes, ingredients, and recipes?

The many facets of food.

November 29, 2016

The Real Story Behind McDonald’s Mysterious 'Gold Card' — The Ticket to Unlimited Free Fast Food That Bill Gates and Warren Buffett Have in Their Wallets

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When Rob Lowe appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live with a golden McDonald’s card last year, one big question remained: How could the Average Joe get his own card that granted him access to unlimited McDonald's? Not easily, a little sleuthing revealed.

Not a piece of hotcake.

November 17, 2016

Chick-fil-A Rehatches Its Website to Better Reach Fans

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Today, Chick-fil-A has launched a redesigned website with feature stories, recipes, GIFs, videos and other content as it tries to strengthen their connection with fans. The menu is now programmed to show the proper items for the time of day whenever someone logs on. So if it is before 10:30 a.m., the viewer will see the breakfast menu, while later in the afternoon they could be tempted by treats such as ice cream, cookies and milkshakes.

What will they show on Sundays?

November 15, 2016

Taco Bell's New Logo Coincides With Vegas Strip Debut

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Taco Bell is ringing in the new week with a new look and a new address. The fast-food chain is updating its logo for the first time in more than 20 years. The new look coincides with Monday's opening of its first flagship store, located on the Las Vegas Strip. The revamped look and sexy location are the latest ways Taco Bell is trying to connect with young, hip diners.

Out with the old, in with the new.

November 7, 2016

You Will Soon Be Able to Order McDonald's From Your Smartphone

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McDonald's has long been a leader in the fast food industry, but it has fallen behind its competitors in one big way: it hasn’t provided customers with a way to order and pay for their meals via smartphone or other mobile device. Now, the company is getting ready to roll out mobile order-and-pay technology.

McApp coming your way.

January 26, 2011

R2D2 Goes Out to Dinner

You may have noticed the abundance of QR Codes lately ' it seems you can't go shopping, open a catalogue, or even eat a box of cereal without the square, black checkered box begging you to scan it.

While many big brands are starting to incorporate these everywhere, they can also be created by individuals for personal or professional use. I've seen them on resumes that link to an online profile of the candidate, and I've also seen them on my local Mom and Pop takeout menu providing a web address to order online, but I was pleasantly shocked to find that one of my restaurant neighbors in Boston's North End has started incorporating QR Codes on plates.

Chef Jose Duarte at Taranta learned about the technique five years ago while in Japan, and since then chefs have been using the technique all over Asia and certain European countries. It appears as though Duarte is using it to help diners learn more about their meals.

'Imagine being invited to a sustainable seafood dinner where each plate had a QR code made with calamari ink. The codes could link to websites that educated the diners about the origins of the food they were eating.'? (Quote taken from BostInnovation article)

It's a pretty great concept with endless possibilities. Restaurants started incorporating QR codes on menus last year to enhance the dining experience by adding detail to menu items, like how a dish is prepared or where a certain bottle of wine is from, but this has been the first time I have seen the chefs themselves actually incorporating the technology in the their dishes. Most chefs, while adventurous in their own separate ways, will not take many outlandish steps to compromise the integrity of their plates, taking full ownership for what they present. That said, I can imagine a chef like Wylie Dufresne placing a QR code to show which molecular gastronomy techniques were employed, or Jamie Oliver linking to the health benefits of an ingredient, or even one of my favorite zany chefs Martin Picard showing a video of the butchering process for what you're about to consume.

While I am excited about these new advances, it is certain to raise some issues within the 'foodie'? community. A restaurant is supposed to be a relaxing atmosphere where diners are distracted only by their taste buds, not by the screens of their cell phones. I can imagine my father saying, 'Can't you take a few minutes to turn that thing off and enjoy your meal?'?

It is inarguable that this interesting new technological integration has the potential to revolutionize the dining experience, but whether or not it's a good idea is up to you.

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