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August 1, 2012
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On the Front Burner 
  • Restaurant industry shows growth for eighth month in a row
    The National Restaurant Association's Restaurant Performance Index remained at 101.4 in June, the same as the previous month, as restaurant owners reported improving same-store sales and more customer traffic. It marks the eight consecutive month the RPI has held above 100, meaning that the industry is expanding. Fifty percent of restaurant operators said they expect to have higher sales in six months. Restaurant Management online (7/31) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
Celebrate the 100th birthday of OREO by serving up fun desserts like the Happy Birthday Shake. For more festive recipes made with OREO, visit
Restaurant News 
  • Combo-meal purchases down as customers seek more flexibility
    Purchases of combo meals are down 12% from 2007, a total of about a billion fewer meals per year, according to market research from the NPD Group. A consumer survey showed that while value menus and price concerns drove much of the decline, lapsed buyers are also interested in a combo meal with more flexible side items. "Operators can increase combo meal orders by enabling consumers to pick and choose side items and by offering more side options or rotating the meal options on a regular basis," said NPD restaurant industry analyst Bonnie Riggs. Restaurant Management online (7/31) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
  • Online orders are more expensive, caloric
    People ordering food online tend to purchase more food with higher calorie counts than they do compared to purchases made in traditional ways that require interaction with others, according to a researcher from University of Rochester's Simon Graduate School of Business. Ryan McDevitt studied 160,000 orders from a North Carolina pizza chain and discovered that people ordered more complex food that was 4% more expensive and had 6% more calories when ordering online. McDevitt theorizes that consumers feel less inhibited when ordering online because they can carry out the transaction anonymously. National Public Radio (7/23) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
  • Familiar faces McDonald's, Subway lead top fast food brands this year
    McDonald's, Subway and Starbucks topped this year's QSR list of the 50 best food brands in the U.S. McDonald's boasted $2 billion in sales growth over the previous year thanks to new menu offerings and a focus on improving kids' meals with the addition of apple slices. Subway continued its explosive unit growth on the strength of demand from customers hankering for healthy meals, and Starbucks drew more lunch customers with its new Bistro Boxes. Also high on the list were Burger King, Wendy's and Taco Bell. QSR Magazine (8/2012) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
Leading Voices 
  • Music branding rises as restaurants seek perfect playlists
    As more restaurant managers recognize the importance of music selection as part of a diner's overall experience, music-sensory branding firms such as Prescriptive Music are creating highly-tailored, carefully planned playlists that fit the restaurant's mood and theme and help drive sales. "As more restaurants are seeking to evoke all five of their customers’ senses, the right music is critical to provide a complete, elevated dining experience," said Prescriptive Music founder Allen Klevens. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Food & Beverage (8/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
  • Pros and cons of renovating versus buying failed restaurant space
    Startup restaurateurs may find that purchasing a failed restaurant location complete with equipment, health permit and liquor license can help them get off the ground faster than the lengthy and costly process of renovating a space, writes Forbes restaurant columnist Jerry Prendergast. However, many condos built during the downturn continue to look for restaurant tenants to add value to their buildings and may offer help or incentives in building out a new space. Forbes (7/31) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
Spotlight on Global Flavors 
  • How blueberries took over the world -- a lesson in good food marketing
     Zester logo
    One hundred years ago, no domesticated blueberries were sold anywhere in the world simply because they did not exist. Today, the market for farm-grown berries is worth more than $810 million annually and covers the globe, from New Jersey to Nova Scotia, Argentina to Australia, Chile to China. How did the humble blueberry become such a phenom? Good marketing helped, as did the increasing body of evidence that blueberries are a versatile, nutritional super food. Read more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
Culinary Spotlight 
  • French president fights for foie gras
    French president Francois Hollande has said he will fight for the right to keep exporting foie gras after worries surfaced that more U.S. states will follow California's lead by banning the delicacy made by force-feeding geese and ducks. "Foie gras is a great French product which honors the farmers who devote their lives to it," he says. "I will not allow any challenge to foie gras exports, from certain countries or from certain American states." The Independent (London) (7/30) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
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Food for Thought 
By working faithfully eight hours a day, you may eventually get to be a boss and work 12 hours a day."
--Robert Frost,
American poet

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