Author Archives: Amy Dixon

Don’t Give Them What They Want

A blog post from Restaurant Hospitality magazine last Monday explored consumers’ desire to want what they cannot have:  access to exclusive clubs, tables at restaurants with lengthy waiting lists, limited edition products, etc. When supply doesn’t meet demand, those who demand will pay more for access to the supply.

Sold Out sign

Every restaurant wants a menu item to get this kind of attention!

So, create it!

Limited-supply menu items can be “available” at any price point; there’s no need to go way above what your demographic is willing to pay. Get creative and do some market testing within your own restaurant to see what creates buzz. It can be a simple food idea or an entire concept.

  • Small-batch, chef-created ice creams to polish off summertime meals? Invest in a 4-qt Hamilton Beach Ice Cream Maker and invent a new flavor every day — one batch only!
  • Keep some rich Belgian chocolate on hand and dip only the very best fresh fruit from the day’s market, pair it with espresso for dessert and then package the limited-quantity pairing as a special service for the whole table.
  • One day a week, during a short window, offer afternoon tea for moms (or dads) and kids with lovely but durable Tea Rose tea service. Allow only a few sittings. Serve some small eats that are easy to prep (got leftover ingredients?) and suddenly, it’s an exclusive event!

Out with Cupcakes, In with…

Packnwood eco-friendly wooden macaron box holds 7 cookiesOn Jul. 7, the Manhattan-based chain of cupcake bake shops Crumbs surprised employees and customers alike by suddenly closing all of its locations due to financial difficulties.

News outlets and social media went berserk over the news, calling the cupcake trend officially “dead.” Fortunately, within the week, investors had stepped in to revive the cupcake and reopen Crumbs!

Are they just delaying the inevitable, though? The trend has been well on its way out since Jack Donaghy shared need-to-know information with a NYC tourist on an episode of 30 Rock in 2008, “Let’s see, we’re using credit cards in cabs now. All the galleries have moved to Chelsea, and we’re off cupcakes and back to doughnuts.”

We all know cupcakes will survive at bakeries, coffee shops, grocery stores, and mom’s kitchen for forever, but there will always be new trends. As cupcakes slowly bow out, one thing’s for sure; the macaron is emerging as a national trend!

They’re kind of fancy. They’re colorful. And when they’re traditionally made, they’re gluten free. They‘re also delicate and difficult to make, and that’s why they sell for $1.50 a pop. Or more!

For that price, they deserve very special packaging and Packnwood has an absolutely adorable, eco-friendly, unique macaron box made just for them! Customers will fawn over this box at least as much as the cookie (which means the cost of $2.53 can be easily passed on to them).

Catering Outdoors: Chafers Don’t Have to Be a Challenge

Catering jobs are not for the faint of heart.

Catering jobs outdoors are survived only for the most fearless.

The risks and variables at play in a brick and mortar restaurant are 10 times greater at a catering event. Put that event outside and they’re multiplied even more. From the unpredictable number of guests to the weather, there are few things a caterer can expect to control during an event.

SternoCandleLamp WindGuard Fold Away Frames

Chafers are required equipment for caterers. So, any caterer who’s been at it for a while knows how awkward they are to travel with and how stressful it can be to deal with chafing fuel. It just never fails that at the worst possible time half the chafing fuels won’t light or the wind keeps blowing them out, and then it’s discovered that the extra box was left at the kitchen. Is it possible to prepare for any of that?

Yes! SternoCandleLamp (makers of the original Sterno brand canned heat) developed a solution: the WindGuard™ Fold-Away Chafing Dish Frame. It folds down for easy packing and, once it’s set up, protects Sterno flames from the wind. The protected flame consumes less chafing fuel than an unprotected flame and that extends burn time by 10%! Think of it as getting 2 free 4-hour Sternos with every case of 24 (plus the prevention of some major stress).