Technology has fueled a shift in site selection from an art to a data-driven science, writes John Todd, Fiesta Restaurant Group's chief development officer. "The data narrows our 'pins on the map' from large trade areas to neighborhoods -- even street corners -- that contain the customers most receptive to our concept," he writes.
Hot-sauce sales have risen by 150% since 2000, easily the best improvement among condiments. Tabasco, which owns about 18% of the market, is developing new flavors but is struggling to fend off newcomers such as Huy Fong, the dominant Sriracha manufacturer, and Chung Jung One, an up-and-coming Korean sauce-maker. "What we're seeing is that the hot-sauce consumer is becoming more sophisticated," says Tabasco CEO Tony Simmons.
Dollar General will roll out a new store prototype that offers quicker checkout and a larger focus on fresh foods and health and beauty, CEO Todd Vasos said Wednesday. Starting next year, the new format will be incorporated into new stores and remodels, he said.
Half of consumers are more concerned about food safety and quality now than they were five years ago, and less than a quarter of consumers believe that national brands are healthier than private labels, according to a study by Daymon Worldwide. This presents retailers with an opportunity to ease consumer fears about food safety by investing in their private brands, working with suppliers to offer cleaner ingredients and creating clear and concise marketing efforts, writes Janet Oak, Daymon's head of global advisory and custom shopper insights.
A CDC report gave the nation's schools good grades for improving nutrition in student meals but suggested that having more self-service salad bars would help them "meet the requirements for amount and variety of vegetables offered." The 2014 scorecard, published in the agency's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, found 97% of schools offered whole-grain foods daily at breakfast, 79% served at least two nonfried vegetables at lunch and 78% provided at least two types of fruit.
Drinking polyphenol-rich coffee may help improve blood flow and moderate blood glucose levels after meals, according to a study by Kao Corp. in Japan. The researchers noted that the study's small sample size -- 19 men -- means further studies are needed to verify the possible effects of polyphenols.
A chef only needs three knives, according to Chris Morocco of Bon Appetite's test kitchen. An 8-inch chef's knife can slice just about everything, a 4-inch pairing knife can handle delicate work and a 9-inch serrated bread knife can take on various jobs from crusty bread to ripe tomatoes.
Pinot noir has grown in popularity and acreage in the past several years, with winemakers doubling plantings of the grape since 2004. The high-maintenance grape often carries a high price tag for top-quality bottles, but there is a selection of first-rate, domestic pinot noir available for less than $40, writes Lettie Teague. She suggests 2012 Rex Hill Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, 2013 Flowers Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, 2012 La Fenetre A Cote Central Coast Pinot Noir, 2012 Willowbrook Russian River Valley Pinot Noir and 2013 Walter Scott La Combe Verte Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.
The National Labor Relations Board ruled 3-2 on Thursday that Browning-Ferris Industries is considered a "joint employer" with its subcontractors, a ruling likely to send ripples through several industries including restaurants and retail. "The NLRB is already using its new rationale to dismantle the franchisor-franchisee model, which would stifle entrepreneurship and obstruct small businesses' ability to continue to create jobs in an increasingly challenging economic and regulatory environment," said NRA Senior Vice President Angelo Amador.
Fast-casual chain Sharky's Woodfired Mexican Grill launched its latest look with the opening of its newest restaurant, featuring Carrara marble countertops, natural wood finishes and other high-end touches.
"We wanted to have an environment that matched the quality of our food. Environment plays a big role on people's senses," said founder and CEO Steve Paperno.
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