Restaurant Marketing Ideas

hello october

Inspiration for your October restaurant specials and marketing! These US-based and international celebration days help you showcase your versatility and creativity via your favourite seasonal ingredients. Monday, 14th of October is National Hero’s Day in The Bahamas, which is a national holiday and the perfect time to celebrate all things Bahamian.

October is National Seafood Month, National Pizza Month, National Chili Month, and includes such special days as Mother-in-Law Day, World Food Day, National Chocolate Day and culminates in that spooky sweet day, Halloween.

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Weather Related Quality Issues

September 24, 2019
 We are seeing some challenges in quality due to very warm and rainy weather in our growing regions.  Humid weather is causing seeder/high core in iceberg, as well as premature pinking in color. In romaine we are experiencing fringe burn and high core; growers are doing their best to trim this in order to mitigate some of this issue. In addition to iceberg and romaine, tender leaf product is showing small signs of mildew. Lastly, we may see some discoloration with cauliflower. On a lighter note, kale seems to be holding up the best and quality looks good.  
 
Please be prepared to see some of these weather related quality issues. 

Recycle Your Florida Crystals Sugar Containers

florida crystals

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repurpose!

There is no better time to start helping the environment than now. Building awareness about sustainability is a passion of Florida Crystals and reducing, reusing and recycling are just a few small ways you can have a major impact when it comes to preserving the quality of our planet.

Keep your pantry organized by storing everything from cereal to pasta in your reusable Florida Crystal Jugs.

Recycle Your Florida Crystals Sugar Containers

BRAND: Florida Crystals

Florida Crystals website

Housing Succulents

As a fun DIY project that will add style and sophistication to any room in your house, try this idea of converting your Florida Crystal Jug into a pot for housing succulents.

Dog Food Container

Keep your dog’s kibble fresh and help save the planet at the same time with this sustainable idea to reuse your Florida Crystal Jug as a homemade dog food container.

Laundry Detergent Container

Make your laundry room look like straight off of Pinterest by reusing your Florida Crystal Jug as a stylish laundry detergent container. It’s easily refillable and perfect for pouring.

Pantry Storage Container

Keep your pantry organized by storing everything from cereal to pretzels in your reusable Florida Crystal Jugs.

Watering Can

Make watering your plants a breeze by converting your Florida Crystal Jug into a convenient, DIY watering can.

Why You Should Take Portion Control Seriously

salad portions

Quality control is critical to any restaurant operation, but proper quality control requires a lot of thought as to how it is accomplished. You must factor in labor cost, skill of the person doing the portioning, the equipment being used, and so much more.
Portion control, in theory, provides the operator with consistency, and consistency would seem to result in standards that your customers would appreciate, as well as food costs that always meet your budget.

However, portion control may not be that simple. Portion control as we know it means we put everything into a portion bag and believe it will be consistent all the time.

But, here are a few questions to consider:

  • How much labor goes into the portioning of all these products?
  • Is your executive chef doing the portioning? If not, how consistent are the weights of the portions? Is the scale accurate?
  • Are the dates on the portion bags accurate and what is the shelf life?
  • Are you rotating your portions?
  • Do the products going into portion bags deteriorate because they should not be in plastic?

The answers to these questions could help you determine whether you need to review your methods of portion control. The key is to evaluate your menu and all the products that go into it.

To do this properly, you need an analysis of each item. For example, is it worth buying a 40-pound block of cheddar, shredding it, portioning it, cleaning the equipment, and paying for the labor associated with it? Or, should you be buying shredded cheddar and using a utensil like a spoodle to give you a consistent portioned weight every time? The answer depends on how you are using shredded cheddar and whether it can be distributed in a more profitable manner.

Portion cups and portion spoons have been in kitchens for many years. They are a critical element of portion control and are still used in every kitchen for recipes. Essentially, anything can be used as a portion device. You simply have to find the right vessel and make sure when filled to the top, it weighs what you have allocated in your recipe. By doing the work up front and training your staff accordingly, you will save money.

Another great portion control utensil is a scoop. Using the right sized scoop that is color-coded will provide great portion control, as well as speed of service. Surely, you can portion your tuna salad and other similar items into plastic soufflés to ensure portion control. But, you need to consider how much is left in the soufflé? How much labor was used? What was the cost of the soufflé?

You also need to be sure that the utensils that your staff members are using are working well and that you have back-ups. Your staff can’t follow the guidelines if they do not have the proper tools.

Deli meats and cheeses are items that in many cases should be sliced and portioned in your kitchen. You must have a quality slicer with a sharp blade. The trained employee must understand what the weight per slice is and what the overall portion is. Yes, pre-sliced product can and should be used where consistent portions are needed, and you do not have the skilled labor or equipment to slice in your kitchen.

One other key focus to be consistent and mindful of is to have multiple uses for as many of your products as possible. For instance, if you are cutting 8-ounce fish portions or 6-ounce chicken portions and there is leftover trim, you need another use for these products. It could be in kababs, stir fry, soups and so much more. If there is not another use, it is likely going to result in over portioning or waste. If you are not going to use some of these products for a secondary use, it is best to purchase the product “clean.” Yes, you will pay more per pound for the “clean” 6-ounce breast, but you will eliminate the waste and other components of cost.

Without question, portion control is not just for condiments, but it also requires some serious forward thinking to make sure you are buying the right products based upon the labor you have, the size of your kitchen and storage space, as well as the applications of the products. Spend time evaluating your products beyond just creating a menu and set your staff up for success with the right equipment and portioning tools, and you will have greater consistency on your products and your food cost.

Produce Updates

AVOCADOS Arrivals have increased to prepare for Cinco de Mayo. Volumes are likely to return to normal by mid-May. In California, volumes have increased. Peru is expected to contribute to increasing volume by the end of May; however, due to increased global demand we expect the market to remain active over the next three weeks.

BANANAS Demand on this item remains firm; however, prices will continue to ease. Quality will remain inconsistent due to weather that has impacted the growing regions in Guatemala, Mexico, and Costa Rica. This only further complicates an already short banana market across the country due to virus impacts. Due to improving inventories, we should no longer see ripening issues.

PINEAPPLES Demand remains firm, and quality and supplies are gradually improving. FOB quotes at the port are mostly unchanged.

GRAPES Good quality continues on the offshore programs, and pricing is normal for this time of year for premium sizing and deals being made on small fruit. Quality continues to be good. Pearlettes out of Mexico should begin crossing mid-May with the desert to follow. Thompsons are now available. Other varieties that are available include: Crimsons, Globes, and Autumn Royals. Projected start dates for Mexico are late April to early May. We are expecting overall volume to be down from last year.

KIWI California supplies are very limited; lighter supplies are also expected on Italian fruit coming through the East Coast. Markets continue to firm up.

BLUEBERRIES Availability is good, Georgia blues will start up soon adding more availability to this commodity.

BLACKBERRIES The market is steady, and quality is good.

RASPBERRIES We are seeing some shortages in supply in this market, quality is good.

STRAWBERRIES The market has improved showing better quality and steady supplies.

CALIFORNIA-ARIZONA CITRUS

Demand on lemons has improved; however, it is still a lower yield than in years past. Upcoming issues with weather may potentially create issues with supply and quality. We will keep you posted. The demand for CA navels has far exceeded supply. Markets will remain high until domestic Valencia market kicks in.

GRAPEFRUIT Texas grapefruit is available. Florida Star Ruby/Red is available. California grapefruit has started.

LEMONS This is a very active market. Prices are still higher than normal, but quality is good. Imports start in June.

LIMES (PERSIAN) ESCALATED This market remains high and although supplies are still very tight, they are improving weekly.

ORANGES EXTREME We are still seeing a shortage in supply and higher prices. This market may become even shorter in supply and will last until the domestic Valencia market takes over.

Specialties:

  • Pink Lemons are available
  • Gold Nugget mandarins are available
  • Ojai Pixie Tangerines are available
  • Only a few Minneola’s are left
  • Domestic Blood oranges and Cara Caras are available showing good quality
  •  New Zealand Meyers are available.

CALIFORNIA LETTUCE

GREEN & RED LEAF Quality is good and supplies are normal.
BUTTER Supplies are normal and quality is average.
ICEBERG LETTUCE Supplies are lighter due to cooler weather, but quality is excellent. This market is active.
ROMAINE Produce Alliance continues to purchase CA product only. Supplies continue to be light.
ROMAINE HEARTS ESCALATED Supplies are normal. Demand and quality are good.
EASTERN & WESTERN VEGETABLES Coachella is expected to begin production first week of April. Squash and eggplant will start the season followed by green bells, beans, red bells and corn.

PEPPERS

  • Green Bell Pepper: Supplies out of Florida are good; however, there are some early signs of quality issues due to the colder temps. Overall quality in the East is good despite some reports of lighter colored fruit in the fields. There is an abundant supply from Nogales and the desert overlapping. Quality is great and FOB prices are expected to remain steady.
  • Red Bell Pepper: Supplies are limited, FOB’s are steady, and quality is good.
  • Yellow Pepper: Production is light and is pushing the market higher. Quality is still very nice.
  • Mini Sweet Pepper: Markets remain mixed by region. Good supplies are available in the East and supplies are winding down through Nogales. We should see new crop crossing through Otay late next week.

EGGPLANT Warmer weather continues to improve availability on both coasts; FOB prices are unchanged this week and quality is very nice.

CUCUMBERS Select cucumbers have triggered on the East Coast programs. Florida production continues and Georgia is close to starting; however, we are seeing lower volume across the region as cooler temps have
slowed the plants down. FOB prices are getting active showing ticks upward across the category in
the East. Quality remains very nice. West coast supplies are experiencing the same circumstances as the East,with cooler than normal temps slowing production down and driving prices up. Quality remains great.

ENGLISH CUCUMBERS (EURO) There are excellent supplies crossing through Nogales and McAllen.

GREEN BEANS There are excellent growing conditions currently in the East. Markets are steady and quality is good. In the West, volume is winding down through Mexico and prices are ticking upwards. We expect the desert to start in the next 7 to 10 days. Overall quality is outstanding.

ZUCCHINI AND YELLOW SQUASH WATCH LIST Markets are up in the East because of struggling quality. Cool nights and high winds are affecting product in the West. Supply has dropped and quality is a major struggle. FOB prices are also up in the West.

• Halos and Cuties are available.

ACORN, BUTTERNUT & SPAGHETTI SQUASH Now available, good quality and good supply.

MANGOES Good supply and good availability.

MELONS

Cantaloupe: The cantaloupe market is mostly stable with continued arrivals from Guatemala and Honduras. We are being told the sizes are shifting form mostly large to majority 12/15 ct. Promotional volume is available going into the first week of May. Quality is outstanding right now as we are seeing optimal production, brix levels (11-14%) with occasional higher levels.

Honeydew: Good demand has kept the market steady. There has also been a swing back to larger sized fruit (4/5) ct. Quality has been clean with brix levels mostly in the 11-13% range. Our growers anticipate an active market for the next three weeks.

WATERMELONS Seedless watermelons remain steady with a decent demand on larger sizes
(4/5s). Movement on smaller sizes has been limited. Growers of seedless melons from Central America are
done for the season.

HERBS

LAVENDER: Local frost has affected this crop and we will be out for several weeks.
OPAL BASIL: This commodity is back and there should be a steady supply now as a result.
ROSEMARY: Local supplies are average.
SAVORY: Supplies should improve this week as local supplies ramp up.
OREGANO: This commodity started to flower early this year.
All other herbs are steady in supply and quality.

ARTICHOKES We are seeing improvement in this market. Quality is better.

ARUGULA Quality has improved and supplies are good.

ASPARAGUS Expect a shortage in the next week due to Mexico finishing up and Peru not harvesting all fields. There are also limited flights due to flowers taking priority for Mother’s Day.

BOK CHOY Quality is average and we are seeing some higher quotes on WGA cartons.

BROCCOLI / BROCCOLI FLORETS Supplies are steady and quality has improved.

BRUSSEL SPROUTS Supplies are light and quality is average. Prices are higher.

CARROTS We are seeing both good quality and volume.

CAULIFLOWER Supplies are steady, demand is fair, and quality is good.

CELERY This market is steady showing good quality.

CORN Good volume continues on yellow and bi-color. The desert should ramp up in the next 7 to 10 days.

CILANTRO Supplies are good and quality is fair due to the colder weather.

FENNEL Supplies for the week will be good and quality is good.

GARLIC: EXTREME We are about 50% done with the 2017 crop. Supplies will remain tight between now and July. Prices remain high.

GINGER Chinese ginger markets are mixed, but quality is good. Also, product is available at higher costs from Brazil, Costa Rica and Honduras and Peru with no major quality issues being reported.

GREEN CABBAGE Supplies have improved in the southeast as well as in the West. FOB calls are down and quality remains very nice.

GREEN ONIONS Market is steady with good supply, though we are seeing some slight insect damage.
JICAMA Markets remain firm due to ongoing short supplies and will continue to see some quality and shelf
life issues.

KALE (GREEN) Quality and supplies are good.

MACHE Availability is adequate.

MUSHROOMS ESCALATED Mushroom growers are still recovering from the severe damage in the South and Southeast, as well as Puerto Rico. Hurricane Harvey and Irma have resulted in a tightening market, and the American Mushroom Institute has said it expects supply to be affected for several months. We are starting to see some improvement of supply and will keep you informed of any changes.

NAPA Supplies are lower and demand is steady.

RAPINI Supplies have improved and markets are down. Quality has improved.

PARSLEY (CURLY, ITALIAN) Quality is fair and supplies are good.

RADISHES Supplies are steady and quality is good shipping through Arizona and Florida.

RED CABBAGE Quality has been hit and miss while sizing remains good. We are seeing some external quality and color issues causing markets to remain firm in the East as well as Texas. West Coast volume is improving.

SNOW & SUGAR SNAP PEAS Snow and sugar snap peas supplies are steady through Miami.

BABY SPINACH Baby and clipped spinach supplies are good and quality has improved.

BUNCHED SPINACH Quality has improved and product is available.

SPRING MIX Supplies and quality are good.

ONIONS The overall market as a whole has experienced an increase in price due to Northwest growers
finishing up, fewer Mexican supplies crossing, and very limited production in Imperial Valley, California thus far. Idaho/Oregon and Washington regions are close to finishing up their crop entirely. What is left in the Northwest is susceptible to sprouting and some internal issues shortly after arrival. Texas onions have
continued to ramp up production over the last several weeks. Colossals and Supers are becoming a bit short
as of late, with more availability on Medium Yellows. We are seeing reds that are much heavier than jumbos
and mediums being fairly tight. The Imperial Valley, CA started this week in a small way with yellows only. We expect production to increase in the Imperial Valley significantly next week. Yields are showing to be above average so there should be plenty of onions in this region, which will help keep pricing down during the transitions. Red onions are becoming more plentiful and white onions will ramp up there towards the end of next week.

POTATOES (IDAHO) The market remains stable on all size cartons and consumer packs. There is good
availability and no transportation issues right now. The Norkotah supply is about finished and most growers
will be running exclusively Burbanks over the next few weeks.

TOMATOES

TOMATOES – EAST

  • Rounds: Weather and overall growing conditions have been outstanding keeping quality excellent.
    Expecting a smooth spring crop for the next 3-4 weeks.
  • Romas: Roma’s are fairly steady this week. Expect a smooth spring crop for the next 3-4 weeks.
  • Grapes: There should be excellent supply for the next 3 weeks. FOBs remain steady and quality is
    excellent.
  • Cherries: Supply is steady and volume looks good for the next 3-4 weeks. Quality is excellent.

TOMATOES – WEST AND MEXICO

  • Rounds: Mexico is winding down, supply will be available for the next 2-3 weeks. Transition to Baja and the desert is expected to be smooth. Quality is mostly excellent.
  • Romas: Volume and quality are outstanding as spring production is now in full swing.
  • Grapes: Supply will remain steady for the next two weeks. Quality is declining.
  • Cherries: Mexico quality is poor, and demand is shifting to Florida crop.

WASHINGTON APPLES, PEARS, TREE FRUIT, AND STONE FRUIT

Apples: We will continue to have good supply of the major varieties of apples through the spring and
summer. We have finished packing some varieties of apples for the season so the emphasis for balance
during the season will be on the six or seven remaining varieties. The quality, condition, and color on almost
all varieties looks very good, and since we normally harvest the late storage apples first in the season I expect
the condition on the remaining production to be very good.

Pears: Both Anjou and Gold Bosc pears are available especially on the larger (70’s to 100’s) sizes, but they are beginning to wind down for the season. Most of the supply that is left in the Northwest will either come from the Hood River Oregon area or from the Wenatchee area in Washington.

Stone fruit: These will be starting up shortly with apricots around April 20th 2018. The week of April 23 there should be some yellow nectarines and white peaches in low volumes to start. The week of April 30th we will start to see white nectarines and yellow peaches. Red and black plums will start mid to end of May.

Produce Market Alerts

CUCUMBERS – ESCALATED Select cucumbers have triggered on the East Coast programs. Florida production continues and Georgia is close to starting; however, we are seeing lower volume across the region as cooler temps have slowed the plants down. FOB prices are getting active showing ticks upward of $2-$3 across the category in the East. Quality remains very nice. West coast supplies are experiencing the same circumstances as the East, with cooler than normal temps slowing production down and driving FOB prices up. Quality remains great.

LIMES – ESCALATED This market remains high and although supplies are still very tight, they are improving weekly.

MUSHROOM – ESCALATED Mushroom growers have suffered damage in the South and Southeast, as well as Puerto Rico. Hurricane Harvey and Irma have resulted in a tightening market, and the American Mushroom Institute said it expects supply to be affected for several months.

ORANGES – EXTREME We are still seeing a shortage in supply and higher prices. This market may become even shorter in supply and will last until the domestic Valencia market takes over.

ROMAINE HEARTS – ESCALATED Supplies are normal. Demand and quality are good.

Pork Belly

A few notes on cooking pork belly:

  • It should be roasted on a rack in an oven low and slow, with a deep drip pan that will collect the massive amount of oil.
  • Pork belly can also be braised in a pan.
  • English: Sous-vide Red-braised Pork Belly 中文: 紅燒肉
    English: Sous-vide Red-braised Pork Belly 中文: 紅燒肉 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    The skin is best when crispy, so after slow-cooking the meat should rest and then it can be seared or pan fried for ultimate texture and taste.

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The Cold Chain

bahamas food services a sysco company

WHAT IS a Cold Chain? The cold chain is the deciding factor that determines if your case of lettuce lasts until you use the last leaf, or if that rock-bottom price you got on a warm case of lettuce will come back to haunt you when half the case goes bad in a day. The cold chain describes the process of events that brings the raw product from harvest to the end recipient, including packaging, storage, transportation, shipping, handling, warehousing, distributing and delivery.

"Reefer" refrigerated containers preparing to be shipped across the waters.
“Reefer” refrigerated containers preparing to be shipped across the waters.

An unbroken cold chain gives you milk that lasts until (and past) the expiration date, meat that stays bright and fresh, celery that stays crisp and fruits that are brought in unblemished and firm. Fresh produce and dairy products will last one (1) day less for every one (1) hour that they stay out below their optimal cooling temperature. This means that pack of berries or gallon of milk left out of a closed refrigerator, will be rotten one day earlier for every hour it sits on a warm table. A guarantee of an unbroken cold chain is of high importance when transporting frozen and cooler foods, medicines and vaccines, expensive film and chemicals.
From wikipedia.com:

A cold chain is a temperature-controlled supply chain. An unbroken cold chain is an uninterrupted series of storage and distribution activities which maintain a given temperature range. It is used to help extend and ensure the shelf life of products such as fresh agricultural produce,[1] seafood, frozen food, photographic film, chemicals and pharmaceutical drugs.[2] Such products, during transport and when in transient storage, are called cool cargo.[3] Unlike other goods or merchandise, cold chain goods are perishable and always en route towards end use or destination, even when held temporarily in cold stores and hence commonly referred to as cargo during its entire logistics cycle.

Bahamas Food Services (BFS) ensures an unbroken cold chain from the supplier to our facilities in Nassau to your receiving door or to the mail boat, guaranteeing the freshest possible imported produce and perishables. A commitment to providing businesses in The Bahamas with the best possible quality includes BFS partnering with reputable suppliers who guarantee an unbroken cold chain from farm to your door. A prime example is Fresh Point, North America’s largest fresh produce provider which provides specialty and exotic fruits and vegetables, cheeses, mushrooms, baby and organic veggies as well as peeled & cut vegetables.

BFS believes that due to the constantly increasing costs involved in growing, shipping, loading, storing, transporting, documenting and so on of perishables, the necessity of a strong consistent cold chain is a requirement and not an option in today’s modern foodservice and retail grocery industries.

Avian Flu Causes Huge Increase in Egg Prices

“The price of eggs is rising like a souffle”, says the New York Post, in response to the concerns over recent egg prices that have soared to 50%-90%+ increase on whole eggs (150%+ for liquid eggs) over just a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, the price of whole chicken eggs, liquid eggs and products containing eggs will continue to rise as more birds die and eggs become more scarce. Until new healthy flocks can grow up to replace the egg-bearing birds, there is an ongoing shortage that affects consumers in the US and in countries importing eggs and egg products – including The Bahamas. Local Bahamian egg producers have not been affected to date, but are unlikely to be able to supply the entire country.

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