October 18, 2021
Restaurant SmartBrief
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On the Front Burner
Del Taco adjusts prices to cover higher labor, food costs
(Del Taco)
Del Taco Restaurants raised wages in some markets in the third quarter because of the tight labor market, and it also shuttered some units temporarily and trimmed operating hours in others, the company said. The chain is planning menu price increases of 5.5% to offset higher labor costs and an expected 5% Q4 jump in food prices.
Full Story: Restaurant Business (10/15),  Nation's Restaurant News (free registration) (10/15),  QSR (10/15) 
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Restaurant News
Los Angeles-based Amped Kitchen has turned a former Zenith television factory in Chicago into its third facility, with 64 commercial kitchen spaces. While some of the tenants are restaurants looking to grow off-premises sales, most of the space will be used by companies that sell their food through wholesale deals.
Full Story: Restaurant Business (10/15) 
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Supply chain challenges are delaying delivery of coffee, a trend that's expected to keep prices high, industry analysts and traders said during an annual conference last week. Higher prices are expected to boost production outside of Brazil over time in Africa, Colombia and Central America.
Full Story: Reuters (10/15) 
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Leading Voices
Fox Restaurant Concepts founder Sam Fox has been branching out since selling his company to The Cheesecake Factory two years ago. Fox -- who in addition to working for the new owner also has partnered with Justin Timberlake on Nashville's The Twelve Thirty Club and has begun work on a 141-room hotel -- shares plans for the future and talks about continuing to grow despite ongoing supply chain and labor challenges.
Full Story: Restaurant Hospitality online (10/14) 
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Gift card sales are expected to soar this holiday season as ongoing supply chain delays make shopping for goods more challenging, according to research from Blackhawk Network. Dining and restaurant cards are forecast to be the most popular, along with cards for mass merchants, grocers and multi-brand retail.
Full Story: Restaurant Business (10/15) 
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Restaurants in Pennsylvania and around the country, from independent eateries to international chains, have been raising menu prices to offset higher food costs. Menu prices rose 0.8% between June and July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and a separate survey of 24 restaurant chains found the biggest price increases at Taco Bell, McDonald's and Dunkin'.
Full Story: PennLive (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) (10/18) 
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SmartBrief Originals
Although the pandemic pushed many people to drink more alcohol than normal, a counter-trend has emerged as health-conscious consumers start scaling down on their alcohol consumption. New research on the "sober curious" by The Hartman Group shows the trend is being bolstered by a renewed focus on better-for-you products along with a demand for personalization in food and beverage, among other factors.
Full Story: SmartBrief/Food & Travel (10/18) 
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Culinary Spotlight
Fontina cheese is the key ingredient that elevates the spicy baked samosa tart featured in Amisha Dodhia Gurbani's cookbook "Mumbai Modern." The tart, an alternative to traditional fried samosas, is topped with cilantro mint chutney that's made with pureed chile peppers, garlic, cilantro, mint, lemon juice, peanuts and cumin.
Full Story: Bon Appetit (10/14) 
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Aged fruit vinegars are a well-known part of Taiwan's culinary and medicinal history and have long been marketed as health ingredients and as beverages believed to alleviate conditions including cardiovascular issues, fatigue and obesity. Well-aged fruit vinegars can take decades to develop a complex flavor that's both bitter and sweet and, while the taste improves with time, today's producers are finding that even a six-month aging can preserve and accentuate the fruit flavors and provide health benefits.
Full Story: Saveur online (10/13) 
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Movers & Shakers
A book is a friend. You can never have too many.
Gary Paulsen,
writer
1939-2021
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