8 Helpful Kitchen and Culinary Tips for Foodservice Pros

Chef Rob Corliss, a 3x James Beard House guest chef and culinary consulting company owner, provides foodservice professionals with helpful kitchen and culinary tips.

ATE's passionate daily goal: connecting people to their food, environment & wellness.
ATE’s passionate daily goal: connecting people to their food, environment & wellness.

The search for predicted food trends, kitchen shortcuts and new sales strategies correlates with the beginning of a New Year. Foodservice professionals never slow down, especially not during the holidays. Now it’s March and possibly you’re ready to start working on efficiency, new recipes, and boosting check averages. We asked Chef Rob Corliss, a 3x James Beard House guest chef, to provide our readers with helpful kitchen and culinary tips.

Tip #1 – Maximize efficiency by organizing dry food storage by categories – menu categories or 5 tastes categories (salt, sour, sweet, bitter, umami) labeling shelves, grouping similar items together, storing goods in the same location every time, storing most used goods in the most accessible area and following FIFO. For safety, place heaviest goods on lowest shelves.

Tip #2 – Versatility coupled by heat with flavor is the real story behind the mega-success of sriracha. Consumers crave bold flavor with complexity and the American palate demands more than just heat. Leverage these attributes and look for savory-sweet-spicy sauces to be the next big thing!

Tip #3 – A focused slimmed down menu, strategically developed and executed, can address and deliver on the growing consumer demand for variety. The key is to creatively optimize SKU’s/flavors across menu categories, creating bold and diversified menu offerings. Incorporating seasonal flavors and/or LTO’s is another menu strategy to bring perpetual “new news.”

Tip #4 – The key to reducing food costs takes a multi-faceted approach and constant attention. Track and address your cost of goods, food storage, inventory management, prep levels, waste & proper food costing. Optimize menu positioning and pricing by evaluating the stars, dogs and workhorses on your menu, then drive sales!

Tip #5 – Health and indulgence can strategically coexist on a menu, as life is about balance and so is menu development. Consumers now expect it! They are driving the trend towards health/wellness to be elevated to deliver quality, authentic, craveable on-trend flavors. Independents and the fast-casual segment are leading this innovation.

Tip #6 – Trends ebb and flow, but classic comfort foods are always in style because they strike a deeper, nostalgic emotional connection with consumers. Menuing a comfort food as is for retro appeal or staying relevant with an updated regional, global or healthy twist can be a recipe for success.

Tip #7 – The guest experience, value and consistent food quality are integral tools for driving check averages. Additional tactics are bundling, educating FOH staff, training on upselling, competitive pricing structures, menu verbiage, variety with menu price points, maximize and feature beverages, leveraging trends and using seasonal LTOs to generate traffic.

Tip #8 – FLAVOR is what everyone craves! Craveability = understanding + executing the art & science of flavor. Flavor = complementary appeal (visual impact of food, actual & expected temperature, texture contrasts, opposing attractions, emotional connections) + aroma (80% of flavor) + taste (balancing sweet, sour, salty, bitter, umami).

Corliss has over 20 years of experience across multi-disciplines that include running world class resort hotels, launching new restaurant concepts, working in top foodservice marketing agencies and currently owning his own culinary consulting company, ATE – All Things Epicurean http://www.7ate9.biz.

It has always been a vivid source of imagination, growth, inquisitiveness and nourishment over a 20+ year career. ATE is the culmination of Rob’s creative spirit, love and appreciation of the culinary arts and the romance of “all things epicurean.”
Rob’s passion in life (aside from his family) is the culinary arts.

What Foodservice Needs To Know About Selling to Millennials

Millennials are one of the most sought-after consumers due to their spending power. A millennial blogger shares her knowledge and offers sales and marketing strategies to help brands reach this generation most effectively.

A guest blog by Hailey, a millennial

First of all, what is a millennial? This generation is comprised of 20 and 30-somethings born during the 1980’s and 90’s. They are one of the largest demographic groups since Baby Boomers. It is reported in a UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School journal article that 36% of the current workforce are millennials and that this population segment is expected to grow to 46% by the year 2020. The foodservice industry needs to find more ways to stay connected and attract this generation. As a fellow millennial, I know something about what it takes to grab their attention. Here are four strategies of how foodservice can appeal to our critical generation.

To start off, brands need to think of what millennials do day-to-day. We are always on social media. All day, every day, we have easy access to brands, which is very important to us. It’s key for a brand to have a social presence, such as Twitter, YouTube and/or Instagram, if you want us to give any consideration to buying your product.

Next, a brand must have a responsive web site; it must be mobile-friendly. We use our cell phones to look everything up rather than a computer. Accessing information easily is what millennials are all about.

Third, a key to advertising and reaching millennials is having someone of similar age do the talking. We like to hear from our own generation because we can relate to them: we have similar interests, viewpoints, and are more likely to trust what they are saying. But what if you are not a millennial? I have a suggestion to overcome this. Remember, we like to do things differently from other generations. Embrace modern methods of communication that are second nature to us like text messaging, video chat, or even email rather than a phone call. If you communicate in a way that is most comfortable to me, you’re more likely to earn a repeat customer because you put me at ease and you get me.

Lastly, when opening a menu what’s the first thing you notice? The picture! It’s the first thing that everyone notices; millennials like things with a modern, clean design not drab and old. Think about this when designing menus, logos or showing us sales information. Does your brand image need to be updated?

Who's dining out?
Technomic reports that Millennials dine out the most when compared to Gen X’s and Boomers.

Technomic’s article, “Understanding the Foodservice Attitudes and Behaviors of Millennials”, emphasizes the size, spending power and high foodservice patronage of this generation when compared to any other generational group. Millennials like information, the challenge is getting the information to appeal to us. We are a generation shaped by technology. And we are influencers.

About our Guest Blogger
Hailey is a college student from Missouri. She just finished her first semester and plans on a career in health or business. We asked her, as a Millennial, to provide perspective on what is important to them and how to be successful in selling to this generation. If you have a question for Hailey, leave a reply below.