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Category: Blog Posts

Blog PostsCateringLodgingRestaurants

5 Questions with Scott Hoffmire

The commodity market for staples can always impact product costs and hotel operations. At Source1 we suggest alternatives and our volume leverage can maximize availability for our customers.

Blog PostsCateringLodgingRestaurants

Why to have a Chef on your Back Dock- Even Occasionally!

By rejecting products that don’t meet these (among many) standards, a chef sends a message to the supplier that can result in higher quality ingredients being delivered to their location.

Blog PostsLodging

Five Ways PSOs Make Purchasing Easier

Brackins concurs. “Now, myself and company management can concentrate on other aspects of running our hotel operation, particularly ensuring improved quality and an elevated guest experience.”

Blog PostsRestaurants

Bring the Benefits of Shelf Stability to your Kitchen

In the fast-paced, grab-and-go kitchen environment, time is everything. Although some ingredients and recipes are best made from scratch, bringing quality pre-made products into your kitchen can save time and ultimately make for a more efficient atmosphere.

While pre-made ingredients almost always create efficiency in any situation, using shelf-stable products can drive down food preparation time even more. Some foods require refrigeration, or have a certain shelf life time that needs to be carefully monitored—however, shelf stable foods allow you the flexibility to store them in either dry or refrigerated locations without affecting shelf life.

Integrating these types of products, such as shelf stable tortillas, can bring immediate benefits to your kitchen:

Storage flexibility. Shelf-stable means exactly what it sounds like: you can store these types of goods wherever it’s most convenient for you and your kitchen staff.

Less prep. In addition to the flexibility of storage, shelf-stable products are also ready to go right out of the bag, which means there is virtually no prep time—which allows orders to fly out the door even faster. Utilizing the benefits of shelf stability can satisfy customers’ increasing demand for fresher, more authentic food. While guests enjoy these benefits, you and your kitchen staff will benefit from the time and flexibility created by shelf-stable products.

Blog Posts

Menu Trends Everyone Can Use

Menu Trends Everyone Can Use

Top chefs and restaurants are experimenting with many new ideas to spice up their menu. With a little creativity, trends today can be repurposed for almost any scenario or occasions. Here are five ideas on how to incorporate some “hot” trends into menus.

1. Ethnic cuisine won’t go away! — Having menu items that include alternative flavors gives the diner more options. Sometimes an alternative is needed from traditional flavors to spice up a menu, so including ethnic flavors in simple way is a good idea. It keeps a menu current and exciting, while not being operationally too complex. Adding an ethnic item could be as simple as topping a burger with creative ingredients such as a raspberry-chipotle spread, cilantro-pecan pesto or even raspberry-avocado salsa. Cumin, coriander, and garam masala can also be used to add rich flavor to burger patties, giving them a bit of an Indian twist. Then top with a creative sauce and you have created something that is a real alternative to the traditional burger.

2. Exotic fruits allow experimentation — Similar to the idea of ethnic cuisine, having a menu item that incorporates a not-so-common fruit might intrigue a diner. Most often, fruits such as star fruit, guava, and blood orange are incorporated into desserts. According to the February 2015 FoodBytes by Datassential, these exotic fruits can “demonstrate the kitchen’s creativity and more worldly flavor profiles for progressive operators,” meaning that diners are often intrigued and impressed when they see a change from the expected.

3. Small plates let diners taste their way through dinner — Many people today like to try a bit of everything on the menu. This lends itself very well to small plates whereas a group of people can try many different flavors in the course of their meal, rather than just having an entrée to themselves. Luckily, this is not hard to do, as lessening portion size and informing diners that small plates are available is all it takes. That and encouraging them give it a try!

4. Sriracha is just one example of spice — Diners today are really enjoying spicy food. Sriracha sauce is being incorporated into everything from sandwiches to mac and cheese. Heinz has even created a new Sriracha-infused ketchup! Developing a few menu items that appeal to this spicy craze gives diners the option to enjoy a spicy meal, while also leaving plenty of options for those who are less inclined towards spicy foods. Simple executions could include adding a bit of Sriracha sauce to a traditional meatloaf or bowl of tomato soup. The sauce is versatile and can be added to many different menu types of food. This is an ingredient where it is easy to be imaginative

5. Seasonal items are always “in-season” — Seasonal flavors keep a menu from becoming boring, and actually suggest freshness for the establishment. This is especially true with desserts. Most people would not want to be eating pumpkin pie in the middle of the summer, and most people would not choose lemon sorbet off of a dessert menu in the dead of winter. Datassentials reports that “Seasonal special desserts are of particular interest to over half of consumers,” approximately 59%. Any restaurant can put their own spin on seasonal flavors. In the spring and summer, fresh, light, and cold work well for desserts. For example, a chocolate mousse with fresh berries. As the colder months approach, people crave warm desserts and home-y flavors such as cinnamon and nutmeg. Figs, dates, chocolate and butterscotch – think sticky cakes – and even traditional apple pie are all desserts or ingredients that point towards the desire for comfort in the cold weather months.

Blog Posts

Mustard Greens are the new black

Michelin star for two years running.

Mustard greens are often referred to differently across various cuisines,  “Indian mustard,” “Kai Choi” and sometimes “leaf mustard” but regardless of the name, the greens are sure to bring a tangy mustard flavor to a variety of foods.

These greens work well with bacon, onions or garlic and they also can be used to spice up soups, stews or salad dishes. Recently, restaurants have been featuring mustard greens in standalone dishes as a flavorful addition and many “food-forward” operators across the country are now adding this strong flavor to their main menu items. Even Bobby Flay is getting into the act with this recipe.

Operators who want to add zest to their menu and bring a delicious flavor to their guests’ dining experience should consider the promising projection of the mustard greens trend. Source1 Purchasing platform is the perfect way to bring this trend to your customers.

More at these links:
http://www.details.com/blogs/daily-details/2013/05/move-over-kale-why-major-chefs-are-adding-collard-greens-to-their-menus.html


http://www.npr.org/2011/04/18/135412640/foraging-the-weeds-for-wild-healthy-greens

What it is:

The leaves of the mustard plant.

Why it matters:

According to food writer Elizabeth Schneider, there are only a few world cuisines that utilize mustard greens: those in India, China, Africa, and the American South. And though not as widely used as other greens, according to MenuTrends data, mustard greens have increased 55% on restaurant menus from four years ago. Mustard greens are often lumped into the category of “greens” – along with the turnip and collards that are widely used in Southern cuisine. There are many different ways to cook mustard greens. Because of their pungent, bitter mustard flavor, the greens are often added to soups or stews, or cooked down with bacon, onions, or garlic. Mustard greens are also known as gai choy or Indian mustard – pickled mustard is found at many Asian grocers and is often used as a salty, sour side dish. Young mustard greens are often included in mesclun salad mixes, but are now starring in standalone dishes.

Fusia | New York, NY
HONEY GRILLED SHORT RIBS ($18.95)
Served with lime fish sauce, pickled mustard.——————————————————————-
Pho Xe Tang | Chicago, IL
MUSTARD GREEN SOUP ($12.95)
Cooked with chopped shrimp chicken soup, onion,
green onion, cilantro, and ginger.——————————————————————-
Walter’s Cafe| Beverly Hills, CA
GNOCCI ($10.00)
Ricotta gnocchi, mustard greens in an ouzo tomato
cream.
Area Four | Cambridge, MA
SMOKED TROUT SALAD ($14.00)
Cauliflower, mustard greens, roasted red onion,
croutons, capers, and mustard vinaigrette.
——————————————————————-
Cock of the Walk | Nashville, TN
POT-OF-GREENS ($1.95)
Mustard greens seasoned and simmered.——————————————————————-
Gato | New York, NY
DUCK CONFIT ($32.00)
Fregula sarda, delicata squash, mustard greens,
pomegranates.

 

Blog Posts

The New Superfood Flaxseed

Say hello to the new superfood FlaxseedFlaxseed can be added to many different foods as a health supplement without changing the taste of the dish. Restaurants are picking up this trendy nutritional addition to their favorite foods and Flaxseed is a buzzword for health enthusiasts amongst others.

In addition to its name recognition, flaxseed has an impressively high amount of added health benefits. One of the most notable flaxseed benefits is its omega-3 fatty acids. Two tablespoons of these seeds fulfill more than the daily recommendation of omega-3 fatty acids.

Research (http://www.mensfitness.com/nutrition/what-to-eat/6-reasons-to-never-neglect-flax-seed) cited in Men’s Health says that Flaxseed can reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, depression levels, chances of liver disease, and melanoma tumors linked to skin cancer.

The seeds are often added to smoothies, bagels, or yogurt or processed into oil and cooked with main dishes and will be in demand by your customers looking for a healthy boost to menu mainstays.

So it’s packed with health benefits and can be added to all different types of cuisines. With these two qualities, flaxseed is well on its way to becoming a restaurant must-have. Source1 Purchasing wants to ensure that operators will attract more customers and better their business by staying on top of current food trends. Using the Source1 Purchasing platform, restaurants can boast a menu that includes healthy dishes with the new superfood flaxseed.

What it is:

The nutty-flavored, fiber-rich seeds of the flax plant. Also called linseed or simply “flax.”

Why it matters:

The small flaxseed packs a punch of health benefits – two tablespoons supply more than a full day’s worth of recommended omega-3 fatty acids. Because of that, flax is emerging as another superfood, similar to chia seeds or whole grains. While whole flax stays fresh longer, grinding is recommended to aid proper digestion. Ready ground flax, or flaxmeal, is widely available in retail and can be added into breads or bagels to boost nutrition, or if mixed with liquid, can be used as a vegan-friendly egg substitute. Seeds are often blended into smoothies or fresh juices, toasted and sprinkled on top of oatmeal or yogurt, or baked into crispy crackers or whole wheat tortilla wraps. Flaxseed oil can be added to salads or other cold dishes, but due to its low smoke point, should not be heated.

Protein Bar | Chicago, IL (HQ)
BBQ BAR-RITO ($7.29)
All-natural chicken, organic quinoa blend, cheddar,
house-made agave BBQ sauce, super 6 salad mix
wrapped in a whole-wheat flax tortilla.——————————————————————-
Green Symphony | New York, NY
ANYTIME BAR ($2.75)
Oats, flaxseed, banana, raisins, apple, cinnamon, sea
salt, and apple sauce.——————————————————————-
Au Bon Pain | Boston, MA (HQ)
HONEY 9 GRAIN BAGEL ($1.27)
Fresh baked bagel with wheat bran, rye, oats,
flaxseed, barley, granola, and honey.
Brio Tuscan Grille | Columbus, OH (HQ)
SHRIMPTINI ($3.95)
Chilled shrimp served in a martini glass with classic
cocktail sauce and flaxseed cracker.
——————————————————————-
Kale Me Crazy | Atlanta, GA
THE WARRIOR SMOOTHIE ($8.50)
Maca powder, spirulina, goji berries, flax seeds,
banana, spinach, hemp milk, vanilla extract,
and agave.

 

Blog Posts

Doing More with Less: Cut Food Costs While Maintaining Quality

It’s an old adage that is only sometimes true: less is more. In the hospitality business, especially when it comes to food service, the name of the game is often striking the delicate balance between luxury for your guests and cost-effectiveness for your business. Sometimes, less is more; and sometimes, you can even do more with less.

Offering high-end items—whether it be a particular brand of toiletries in bathrooms, certain cuts of beef on the menu, or a specialized  service—is a sought-after practice in many businesses because premium products often translate to happier customers and additional revenue. However, they can come at a price.

When choosing whether to include indulgent products as part of your business practices, one approach to consider is maximizing product applications: the idea that you can do more with less, rather than settle for the idea that less is more. This method can allow you to give your guests the luxury products and services they desire,  while maintaining your bottom line.

Here are some great ways to integrate this practice into your operation:

If you want: steakMountain View

Maximize: value cuts

Beef products are a great example of how to maximize product applications. Although offering meat is a luxury in its own right, using less expensive  cuts, or applying higher end cuts in efficient ways, can allow you to cut food costs while maintaining quality. For example, choosing to offer skirt steak or carne asada rather than strip or sirloin cuts in certain dishes is a great way to keep guests’ meat cravings satisfied all while keeping in line with your budgeted food cost.

If you want: fresh fruit

Maximize: cost effective fruit that’s in season

Like beef, fruit is another commodity that can be considered a premium, depending on what is served, and especially, when it is served. Seasonality is the biggest factor in fruit pricing so knowing when items are in peak season can significantly help lower your cost.  Efficiently using fruit—like in salads, as a garnish or as a side dish—can increase the use and therefore volume, for a single product.

 

If you want: to get creative with breakfast

Maximize: food you already use

Omelets and frittatas are great  examples of places to use surplus ingredients. For these two breakfast menu items, inclusions can be almost anything. Various fresh vegetables, different cheese items, and even specialty meat cuts can all be incorporated into a fantastic breakfast frittata.  Using what is available can also be applied to meals in general. Say you regularly (as many kitchens do) use eggs, flour, sugar and meats in everyday cooking. These commodities can be used to create another meal option entirely — think pot pie — and you have another way to cross utilize ingredients and get the bonus of buying in bulk, which can save you money  while giving your customers another option for a tasty meal.

These are just a small taste of the many ways that product maximization can make your business better for you and your guests. It allows you not to be chained to the idea that less is more, but frees you to do more with less. Using this practice in combination with other Source1 recommendations and strategies will not only allow you to efficiently use what’s already in your kitchen—but grant you access to the most cost-effective prices to those products.

 

Blog Posts

The Difference Between Price and Cost: 3 Things You can do to be Price-aware and Cost-effective

When it comes to price, it’s easy to want the easiest and cheapest option. However, building profits doesn’t necessarily come from just reducing spending.

“Our goal as Source1 is to expose operators to our knowledge base and experience,” said Molly Fierro, VP of programs. “We try to manage overall cost; it’s an expanded way to think about the bottom line.”

The relationship between price and cost can be compared to purchasing more expensive, yet more efficient pre-cut fruit versus cheaper, less-efficient fresh fruit. Despite the lower up-front costs, the fresh fruit will cost more in the long run because it requires the labor of washing, cutting and preparing it.

The negatives involved with low up-front price go beyond simply paying more: labor costs and potential lost time drive the cost of the fruit up. Although this particular option might work for some operators, given their needs and wants, the interaction between price and total cost beyond the initial price tag is an important consideration.

When the scale is something as large as a Foodservice operation, the relationship between price and cost becomes not only important, but vital to the health and efficiency of a business.
Below are 3 things you can do to be price-aware and cost-effective.

1. Have access to options.
Options allow operators to access many different prices and qualities of product. Because no two businesses are the same, the ability to choose different products depending on demand, season and consumer preference is vital. Only you know what you need and what your customers want; having access to multiple options for hospitality products through Source1 means that you don’t just have to choose between low price whole fruit vs higher price pre-cut fruit options—you can choose from anywhere on a spectrum that fits your specific needs.

2. Work to maximize product applications.
This is perhaps the best-kept secret of the relationship between price and cost – the application of products. While some products, such as kitchen utensils and appliances, have one application, many products have unexpected multitasking powers. Through manipulating such products and streamlining purchasing, an operation has the power to drive down costs and better leverage your overall spend. Many foods—meats, for example—can be used in a variety of applications. For example, a cut of chicken can have multiple applications beyond just an entrée; it can be used just as effectively in a salad or stuffed. Although the actual numerical price won’t change no matter what a product is used for, the maximization of its use will eventually drive down costs and price in the long run.

3. Utilize leverage buying.
The ability to not only choose and maximize the products you do have, but to buy those products at the lowest possible price allows for even more room in the budget to expand your business. Leverage buying through Source1 can be a key component of being a price-aware and cost-effective business because it allows you to maximize your overall budget all while obtaining the products that you need for your business and customers.

Blog PostsLodging

Hospitality Industry Beneficial Marketing Tips

What should we be thinking about in the hospitality industry? How do we assure long-term financial viability? Well the answer has not really changed since the dawn of Marketing.
“Long-term financial viability comes when someone–in our case, guests–gladly pay for our offerings.” Wise words from Trevor Stuart-Hill of Revenue Matters. But how do we assure that is the case. Stuart-Hill details 5 effective marketing tips in order to maximize opportunity. Making sure these areas are genuinely customer-centric is the goal.
Let’s take the hospitality marketing list one by one.
1) Policies
2) Pricing Schemes
3) Online Presence
4) Guest Engagement Practices
5) Promotional Activities

1) Policies-
I remember distinctly pulling into a resort hotel at about 6:30 pm after a long day of touring. The idea was to refresh for the evening before heading back out the next day. The pool looked beautiful and so inviting. I couldn’t wait to jump in! But, the pool closed at 7:00 PM. By the time we checked in and changed our clothes, it was too late to take a swim. I was left with disappointment rather than delight.

We get that sometimes budgets are tight and trade-offs need to be made. But, it is in your best interest to make sure your policies support your guest’s needs. In a resort area, it would seem that that patrons might want the pool to be open later than 7:00 PM.

2) Pricing Schemes-
Understanding what guests are willing to pay for is important! This comes down to really understanding your segment, your location and your product offerings. When you can offer something no one else can, and that difference is valued (a hot bar scene, a restaurant attached to a limited service hotel, proximity to a beach or even free parking) your pricing structure can and should reflect your advantage. The key is to communicate that advantage in a way that potential customers see the benefit. But value is key. Walking distance to the beach probably is not super important in Maine in January. But proximity to a ski hill might be!

3) Online Presence-
We have all been there. A beautiful website with amazing pictures and quotes from satisfied customers. You can’t wait to try the restaurant, hotel, casino, whatever! Or the opposite experience – a confusing website where you cannot find what you need or the functionality is just not there! The menu loads slowly or you cannot find the number to ask a question or make a reservation. Or there are not enough pictures and you just cannot figure out whether the property is luxury or mid-scale and whether they are catering to foodies, singles, tourists, families or some other group.

The moral – make sure your website puts your best foot forward! It is the first place a potential customer will go to learn about what makes you different. Make sure they close out their browser with a reservation or at least wanting to learn more.

4) Guest Engagement Practices-
What happens when your guest walks in the door. I remember being in France. In every region from Paris to Nice to Normandy, I was greeted with Bon Jour or Salut the second I crossed the threshold. It was welcoming, it made me believe they wanted me in their store and it made me comfortable to just poke around. And believe it or not, many times that led to a sale. So if you look hard at your establishment, are you making your guests comfortable, from the second they walk in? Do they have help with their luggage? Are they being guided towards check in? Do they have a drink at their table as soon as possible? In general, are you maximizing their guest experience? Something little like saying hello can enhance guest satisfaction which can lead to additional sales, word of mouth and repeat business.

5) Promotional Activities
Are you sending them the messages they want to hear in an environment where they are ready to receive them? There are so many options when it comes to hotel marketing strategies! Newsletters, Google ads, Groupon, email promotions. The guideline here is to make sure your vehicle, offer and brand image are aligned. For example, it may not make sense to put a 5 star hotel offer for a free night in the PennyShopper.

Source1Purchasing is a company that focuses on driving revenue through the purchasing process. If you want to increase revenue and guest satisfaction through best practices and smarter purchasing contact one of our experts.