What prompts consumers to order a glass of wine with dinner? Two recent consumer surveys conducted for American Express MarketBriefing and Technomic offer the following insights: 

• Forty percent of consumers say specials or deals could prompt them to order wine more often.
• Once consumers commit to ordering wine, personal recommendations are a bigger influence than price. Around one-third of consumers say a staff recommendation (36%) or a recommendation from someone in their dining party (32%) influences their decision of which wine to order.
• Nearly three-fifths of consumers say it’s important or extremely important that a bartender/server be knowledgeable about the wine available.
• The maximum price that a plurality of wine consumers would pay for a glass of wine in a restaurant or bar is $7.50 to $10.

Yelp mobile app users can now add three- to 12-second videos to restaurant reviews, according to the restaurant review site’s blog. The videos are supposed to "better capture those details that photos alone can't," such as a restaurant's ambiance, and are not supposed to be "video reviews.”

The new feature could fuel the already growing backlash from chefs, many of whom have banned food photography and mobile phones altogether. The video feature is currently available on iPhones only, but will be available on Android soon.

Are heirloom tomatoes really worth more than double the cost of the traditional variety?

Serious Eats decided to explore claims that heirloom tomatoes yield a better, more unique flavor. The short answer: "heirloom" is simply a botanical classification. No one denies the superior flavor of locally grown, seasonal produce, but buying an heirloom tomato doesn't guarantee you'll get that flavor upgrade.

In open-pollinated plants, like heirlooms, pollination happens naturally, by birds, insects, or wind etc. In cross-pollinated plants, like hybrids, pollen is intentionally delivered from one plant to another, often by hand, so the offspring carry the best traits of the two parents.

Big brother is coming to the restaurant industry and there’s no telling the amount of information he’s trying to collect.

German restaurateur Christian Mook, owner of five high-end restaurants, is testing an application using Apple’s iBeacon technology, which tracks customers in his restaurants. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the app clocks the time guests spend in the restaurant and uses a ranking system to reward them for their loyalty. Mook says it later hopes to track indoor location, items ordered and the amount customers pay—all with an eye toward offering new services and improving existing ones. 

The app’s iBeacon component, which was rolled out by Apple last year, uses low-energy Bluetooth technology to pinpoint a user’s indoor location to within 5 to 10 inches. The tracking works through beacon pods, installed on site, which interact with the user’s device as soon as the client is in range of the restaurant. For the app to work, users have to download it, but don’t need to activate it to allow tracking to begin.

Consumers who gobble ketchup or ranch dressing by the spoonful are likely the target demographic for KFC Romania’s new Dipping Fries.

Dipping Fries are essentially hollowed out french fries that deliver more sauce than potato. According to a Brand Eating article, KFCs in Romania will offer garlic sauce, ketchup, curry, salsa, sweet & sour and barbecue sauces to accompany the fries.