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  • Fast-Casual Branding - Food and Drink International
    Rather than hiding behind clever names and shapes the New Fast Food actually highlights ingredients and practices as part of the brand story These restaurants are embracing the ideas of transparency and responsibility recognizing that people care more and more about not just how their food tastes but where it comes from and how it s sourced Chipotle talks about Food with Integrity promoting its support whenever possible of naturally raised animals family farms local ingredients and sustainable practices Starbucks has been a pioneer in social consciousness working to source coffee ethically while it reduces its own environmental footprint Organic is no longer just a buzzword in specialty markets or cafes and restaurant brands are discovering that just because they have multiple locations doesn t mean they re off the hook if anything they have a greater responsibility because their impact is that much larger When a brand is open about what goes on behind the scenes in a tone that is both honest and humble it creates a deeper relationship with customers This kind of transparency enables customers to feel good about what they re eating in terms of their health and the planet not just regarding cost or convenience 2 Show Some Personality In the past it seemed that chain restaurants were all branded to meet the lowest common denominator of design palatable inoffensive all things to all people and therefore nothing to really anyone But the New Fast Food isn t afraid to take some risks and understands the value of a core audience of intensely loyal fans Through both design and copy restaurants are creating stronger personalities that might turn off some but build a stronger con nection with a key group of customers who will then spread the word and propel growth When we were establishing a tone of voice for GRK a new fast casual restaurant serving authentic Greek food we weren t afraid to incorporate some quirky humor into the messaging knowing it s more important to win the hearts of some than try to appeal to all Offbeat humor is a great way to signal that there are people behind the brand versus a faceless corporation Same goes for the use of unexpected design elements clever icons cool patterns unusual colors and more authentic materials such as wood versus plastic Anything to signify that humans and not algorithms are behind the choices of the brand 3 Be Immersive The most important lesson from the New Fast Food is to recognize that the entire experience creates the brand from the logo and menu to the layout of the space and people working behind the counter Shake Shack in New York has done an incredible job of building a chain that doesn t feel at all like a typical get in get out fast food restaurant The people working there are friendly Their spaces are clean and bright And they aren t concerned with being THAT fast guests are given a beeper that buzzes

    Original URL path: http://www.fooddrink-magazine.com/sections/columns/1218-fast-casual-branding (2016-04-27)
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  • Play With Your Food - Food and Drink International
    or an Oreo cookie large enough to serve as a raft floating in a glass of milk That s OK he says But I hope the deeper effect is to compel the viewer to look more closely at the world around them and to consider deeper truths about our relationship to that which sustains us but also which we crave for comfort One lesson to be drawn from his work is to be careful about what you wish for I ve heard people see these images and say I wish I could live in a world with oversized patisserie he says But the truth is that excess overwhelms us and turns us against what we think we love Consider an exercise in which we re presented with the scenario of being on a deserted island and having to choose just one of your favorite foods to eat for the rest of your life In most cases the thing we would name would be something of which we would tire quickly Boffoli s Big Appetites series has been exhibited around the world most recently this summer at Winston Wachter Fine Art in Chelsea New York City We thought you d enjoy

    Original URL path: http://www.fooddrink-magazine.com/sections/columns/1217-play-with-your-food (2016-04-27)
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  • In The Safe Zone - Food and Drink International
    payouts like these to defend their brands and their reputations 250 000 to 2 million for crisis management consultants and associated legal costs 250 000 to 2 5 million for notification retrieval and destruction of returned products 250 000 to 6 million for replacement costs to a company s commercial customers 250 000 to 2 5 million for additional post recall claims issues 500 000 to 10 million for future lost profits from terminated commercial contracts Stevens estimates that the total costs associated with product recalls can run from 1 5 million to 23 million and that s only for pre litigation What an incredible price to pay for training failures that could easily have been avoided had a thorough and documentable training program and process been put into place One of the major reasons for training deficiencies is that many companies follow a policy of one and done In other words the employee receives training in a particular food safety topic one time may or may not be adequately tested and is presumed to fully understand the concept simply because a signature attests to it That s simply not enough The flaw is evident in the assumption of comprehension always a concern particularly in the food industry where English may be a second language for many employees Another area where training falls short is confusion by employees who misinterpret production goals as more important than food safety procedures due to constant emphasis on operational expectations by supervisors An auditor for a global firm reported an unsettling example at a U S food processing plant where coated bulbs were no longer in use despite a company policy mandating them When questioning the maintenance manager the auditor confirmed that glass shards could be found throughout the receiving dock including on product cases after a standard bulb had been shattered by a forklift The auditor asked why the company s policy had not been followed They told us to cut our budget by 15 percent so no more coated bulbs the maintenance manager replied A properly trained employee and or supervisor would have readily recognized the danger to health and food safety and reacted accordingly The company was found in non compliance but the auditor might have saved the firm from a far worse fate that would have rendered its competitive advantages meaningless and damaged its brand reputation Training is Imperative This year FDA will issue preventive controls in line with the Food Safety Modernization Act and it s conceivable that one of those controls will center on training FDA has recognized that comprehensive training is imperative if companies hope to make employees aware of the potential safety and health consequences of negative behaviors on the plant floor In addition the agency has authorized its inspectors to look more closely at results of the training process and establish whether employees fully understand the concepts and actually implement them on the job Many companies well aware of the increasing scrutiny have become proactive

    Original URL path: http://www.fooddrink-magazine.com/sections/columns/1216-in-the-safe-zone (2016-04-27)
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  • Say Goodbye to Ghastly Guests - Food and Drink International
    signs of sawdust and droppings underneath crawlspaces if they have infested your place Costly structural damage can occur from housing carpenter ants Close the Roach Motel Cockroach infestations can be determined by spotting their nests How ever they are usually hidden inside walls and other unnoticeable areas A sure sign that roaches are planning to make your business their new home is when you see groups of them on consecutive days Aside from being a major public health code violation roach infestations make for an unsanitary environment and are a disturbing sight to your employees and visitors Make sure your staff is aware of signs of pest infestations so there are continual roach inspections during operating business hours DIY Pest Control If a pest infestation is present in your restaurant or store you will want to take immediate action to remedy the problem Calling a professional pest control company or scanning the Web pun intended for useful information to tackle the pest problem yourself are probably the most common responses Do it yourself techniques can be effective but chemicals should be carefully distributed and correctly enforced to avoid danger to food staff and customers You can use physical and chemical pest control methods to eliminate your pest population Although physical pest control products are the preferred choice in the food industry they are not the most effective However you will significantly reduce the danger imposed to the people working and dining in your establishment with physical pest control products Physical pest control products include rodent traps glue boards bird screens electric pest strips and pheromone traps Physical pest control products generally kill the rodents on the spot keeping these devices away from places where food is packaged or stored can prevent food contamination Baits such as peanut butter on the rodent traps will effectively attract rodents Unfortunately heavy infestations will not be cured by physical pest control mechanisms Chemical pest control products such as pesticides insecticides rodenticides and fumigates will need to be put in place to wipe out larger pest problems Please use caution when broadcasting pest control chemicals in a restaurant or a store Consulting a professional pest control technician before you distribute chemicals will significantly help to reduce the risk of food contamination and poisonings to your staff and guests Always on the Lookout Whichever route you take in implementing pest control products it is still the responsibility of everybody to maintain a flawless pest management program The program should be enforced every workday since a pest invasion is possible at any time However rodents are more likely to invade a building during colder months Your pest management program should be a part of your daily routine to ensure that the daily operations of your business are not attracting and inviting pest rodents into your building Following these seven procedures in conjunction with physical or chemical pest control products will optimize your overall pest control program Keep all food secure When storing food make sure it is

    Original URL path: http://www.fooddrink-magazine.com/sections/columns/721-say-goodbye-to-ghastly-guests (2016-04-27)
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  • Savvy Shopper - Food and Drink International
    continue playing the field There are myriad options available in the marketplace and nobody knows that better than the consumer As columnist Carolyn Hadlock notes on page 8 Smartphones have created unlimited access to food information This in turn has spawned a nation of foodies Today s consumers are difficult to impress so companies must think of more creative ways to win their affections she says The advent of social media has created new marketing tools to attract consumer interest Companies can now reach a vast audience on a one on one level However as columnist Pete VonDerLinn warns on page 10 unless they identify the value exchange between the consumer and their brand their attempts to woo the consumer will be unsuccessful As consumers infatuation with the food industry grows they are exposed to information that could ruin companies reputations Tell all books targeting consumer audiences have raised public concern about the quality of our food and viability of our food system A few examples are provided on pages 18 and 184 Whether you agree or disagree with the topics at hand it is important to stay informed Why Because when consumers are unhappy companies are in for a

    Original URL path: http://www.fooddrink-magazine.com/sections/columns/643-savvy-shopper (2016-04-27)
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  • Social Media 101 - Food and Drink International
    one level Most importantly it s the ultimate platform for advertising s most powerful weapon word of mouth Are consumers going to trust the restaurant critic more than they trust your ad Of course Because the critic is an objective person with taste buds and you are a brand with an agenda Consumers natural inclination to trust their peers more than advertisers is an obvious barrier but one that can be overcome by focusing on the value exchange instead of the tactic of the day Over time as demonstrated by brands that have mastered this concept consumers perception of the brand messaging moves away from faceless marketer and more toward trusted peer Exploring Value Exchanges Let s focus on three popular value exchanges information money and entertainment and how food and beverage brands can use them to build their brands first in social media then offline at key touch points such as in store at shelf Food is a high involvement category that requires a lot of rich information For instance consumers searched for recipes 6 1 billion times on Google in 2010 As consumer interest in food grows which is inevitable as food related media and celebrity becomes more pervasive marketers have a great opportunity to provide a richer information exchange Not just at home but right there at the point of purchase via mobile device If you re managing a consumer packaged good s brand the ability to deliver the right information to consumers at this critical time is priceless The golden value exchange in this area provides bookmark worthy information something consumers keep tabs on for frequent use A prime example would be savvy food truck owners who tap into real time platforms like Twitter to deliver the daily specials and what time loyal patrons can expect lunch to roll up outside their offices Another value exchange on smart marketers radar is money Wallets are feeling lighter these days and consumers value their money now more than ever So it s no surprise that coupons are en vogue The darling of online couponing is Groupon a company that provides highly discounted area specific deals to registered users A 50 percent or more discount is a compelling value exchange to most consumers Groupon deals are commonly shared via social networks It s a costly way to drive traffic and product trial but when consumers like your offer that s a lot of free eyeballs Many brands are also rewarding consumers for being brand advocates in social media through loyalty rewards Restaurants and bars have started providing discounts to those consumers who oust their peers to become mayor of the property on Foursquare This value exchange seems heavily biased toward the consumer all he has to do is check in but the marketer is increasing traffic and trial at minimal cost while saturating social media with brand messaging It s a win win A third variation of the monetary value exchange cause related programs can offer brands a smart

    Original URL path: http://www.fooddrink-magazine.com/sections/columns/642-social-media-101 (2016-04-27)
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  • Consumer Trends - Food and Drink International
    after it was put in the public spotlight In 2010 the Corn Refiners Association petitioned the USDA for a name change to corn sugar The move came as brands such as Sara Lee Gatorade Snapple and Hunts Ketchup made the switch to sugar to combat consumer label scrutiny Eating fresh is a lifestyle Farmers markets have become staples of Sat urday mornings all across America Since 2000 the number of farmers markets has tripled In addition consumers are adopting the European habit of making small grocery trips more frequently in order to incorporate fresh ingredients into their daily meals This new behavior has created opportunities for brands to help consumers find easy ways to upgrade their meals Staple packaged goods can benefit by ensuring fresh ingredients are integrated into recipes on their packaging The brand of couscous that calls for fresh cilantro almonds feta cheese and dried apricots will win in the aisle More brands should consider teaming up with each other in stores as a way to turn boring dishes into culinary experiences Harnessing Demand As 44 percent of consumers continue entertaining family and friends at home instead of going out according to Food Product Design marketers should consider the role their brands play in the planning shopping cooking and sharing process The brands that best harness technology to curate the culinary experience will rise to the top It s not a stretch to think about someone in the produce aisle seeing cherries on sale and looking up recipes for cherry pie on their mobile Ready made piecrusts could easily show up in their search Add into the search how an egg wash could turn an ordinary pie into a gourmet dessert This is a captive audience hungry for culinary cues that remains relatively untapped Penzey s Spices is an example of a brand riding the wave of eating well It has capitalized on consumers desire to replace fat with flavor The brand caters to a more gourmet audience with its Indian Curry and Taste of Mexico kits Imagine if Penzey s Spices integrated the culture of adventure it has created into all the stages in the culinary process for consumers Sophisticated Palates When consumers do eat out they are looking for restaurants that offer fresh real food that pleases the palette Indie restaurants have filled this niche in the past but mainstream restaurants are getting in the game Seasons 52 in Orlando Fla is one example The brand currently has 17 restaurants and is in aggressive growth mode Its menu changes with the seasons and everything is under 475 calories However Seasons 52 is savvy enough to know you can t lead with health Instead it leads with freshness and taste Eating out is an inherently social experience and restaurants need to understand that the conversation extends well beyond the walls of the restaurant itself Even camping has gone culinary Where we once relied on hot dogs and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as standard camping fare we

    Original URL path: http://www.fooddrink-magazine.com/sections/columns/641-a-nation-of-foodies (2016-04-27)
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  • Strengthening Brands - Food and Drink International
    Especially at its peak everything it did pertained to its brand of providing a refined cultural experience It certainly had consistency in look and color palette but everything also reflected the idea that a Starbucks space was an experience for the cultured person in all of us Therefore it invented a new language of coffee and spent money to educate the target audience on how to order a grande mocha or a short latte They had a dignified system of ordering even waiting for the barista to finish making your coffee felt like you were getting something special not just java poured in a cup The décor was stylish and subtle The employees were young often educated and looked a little arty They were also trained to assist in the education of consumers The seating areas were designed so that people can stay all day if they d like It was not an in and out burger joint Starbucks even included Wi Fi to encourage customers to hang around Everything from the message to the look to the operation to the individual tactics within the space made up the brand which means the brand began with and followed a business plan from CEO Howard Schultz Most importantly by the brand presiding in the office of the CEO it ensured stringent consistency across the entire brand and a buy in from everybody involved including the customers who saw themselves in the experienced cultured brand Downward Spiral The failings of the brand also fall to the CEO which is another reason why the brand belongs in the C suite In the case of Starbucks it devalued its brand by stepping away from the cultured experience in ways that seemed tiny but added up to a less believable and less important brand Starbucks opened drive thru windows It started selling its own branded coffee in grocery stores It even introduced instant coffee Those were CEO decisions and negative or not these decisions affected the brand All in fact were damaging to the brand Drive thru windows are not about an experience Its own branded coffee goes against the grain that at Starbucks you could get a coffee you never have before from a region you ve never visited And instant coffee do I need to say more The success or failure of a brand resides completely with the leaders of the company itself That means if you own a restaurant the success or failure of the brand does not reside with the advertising agency you just hired It resides with you That also means that you must buy into the brand because the rest of the organization will look to you for how much they should embrace it The power of driving the brand comes from the leader so you must remain enthusiastic decisive and supportive Otherwise the rest of the company will think of it as the flavor of the month which it assuredly is not Helpful Tips All great brands start

    Original URL path: http://www.fooddrink-magazine.com/sections/columns/640-strengthening-brands (2016-04-27)
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