• Family chain gets lesson in local sourcing
• Partnering with a celebrity doesn't always work
• Julia Child's tips on entrepreneurialism
• A closer look at cider, craft beer trends
• Constructing a 150-pound calzone
When it comes to farm-to-table, one larger restaurant chain has learned what many independents already know—Mother Nature is not the most reliable business partner.
Eat’n Park, a Midwestern diner chain that has been buying from area farmers for the past 12 years, recently decided to take the concept a step further by developing menu items that can be made with local vegetables, according to a report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The first challenge the company ran into was with tomatoes, a vegetable that symbolized local produce based on its flavor and texture, but farmers in the region who grew tomatoes for retailers were too large for Eat’n Park. So a local farmer is now planting a slightly smaller variety of tomatoes for the diners, but a construction problem with a greenhouse this year killed the prospect of early tomatoes.
Later, Eat’n Park ran into issues with its pickled pepper steak sandwich made with a variety of sweet peppers that it planned to buy locally, until weather issues forced them to look to California while waiting for the local peppers to ripen.
Well-known sports figures and broadcast journalists are investing in restaurants and providing them a boost, but it doesn’t always work, according to a story in Crain’s New York Business.
For example, New York Knicks legends John Starks and Anthony Mason, and CNN news anchor Chris Cuomo—kid brother of New York's governor—have brought fame and fortune to Custom Fuel pizza shop in Harlem.
Over the years, there has been no shortage of flameouts. Pop star Britney Spears had a short-lived association in 2002 with now-defunct Nyla restaurant in the Dylan Hotel, and in 2013, Siro's of Manhattan, a steakhouse on Second Avenue, closed after less than a year despite having high-profile backers like Mariano Rivera and Entourage actors Kevin Connolly and Kevin Dillon.
Inc. magazine recently published some lessons on entrepreneurism gleaned from Julia Child’s autobiography, My Life in France.
An abbreviated list of lessons Child learned, and then shared, through her career:
• Accept criticism with a pinch of salt.
• It's OK to muddle through.
• Anticipate the agendas of others.
• Rely on others for support.
Craft beer and hard cider are on the fast track in restaurants and bars today, but there are many misconceptions about the two beverages, according to Technomic's recent On-Premise Craft Beer & Cider study.
Here are a few of those misconceptions:
• More craft beer and cider is purchased at retail than in restaurants and bars
• Only women drink cider
• Hispanic consumers don't drink craft beer
• Cider consumers are primarily switching from white wine
Rulli’s Italian Restaurant in Middlebury, IN, will attempt to break an 11-year-standing record when it serves a 150-pound calzone on Saturday.
The event, which will be filmed and sent to Guinness World Records, will consist of the prep work, cooking and eating of a calzone that will be made of 80 to 100 pounds of pizza dough, 5 gallons of pizza sauce, 25 pounds of pepperoni and 30 pounds of cheese.