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Official blog of Cardoona

Do Restaurants Really Win During Restaurant Week?

Do Restaurants Really Win During Restaurant Week?

Posted by Colin Robertson on Thursday, February 6th 2014

Well, another Restaurant Week has come and gone. The time that restaurants all across major cities put out specials to help drive new customers to come out and experience what their unique restaurant has to offer.

But was this citywide marketing push really an advantage to restaurateurs? Several restaurateurs have voiced their opinions about whether they believe that the twice-a-year tradition really helps.

We wanted to share some of the benefits and disadvantages from the opinions of real chefs outside of our native Chicago, so we summarized the opinions of two different chefs on Restaurant Week: Chef Josh Lewin of Beacon Hill Bistro who was asked his opinion in this Eater article and Chef Geoff Tracy in Washington D.C. who shared his point of view in this article.

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Should Your Restaurant Accept Bitcoins?

Should Your Restaurant Accept Bitcoins?

Posted by Colin Robertson on Friday, January 18th 2014

It’s a beautiful winter morning in Los Angeles, California. The birds are chirping, the traffic is horrible, and it is a typical day for many Californians going about their normal business.

Except for perhaps those who decided to stop by Le Petit Jardin.

For them, customers are coming through the doors who had never before heard of the small bistro. These customers may not have even come strictly for the French fare or to spruce up their floral arrangements. Instead, many of them have come because five months ago, the bistro started accepting bitcoins.

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How Will The Minimum Wage Laws Affect My Restaurant? (In Simple Terms)

How Will The Minimum Wage Laws Affect My Restaurant? (In Simple Terms)

Posted by Colin Robertson on Friday, January 10th 2014

“They work their tails off and are still barely above poverty”

President Barrack Obama uttered those words to the nation as he was lobbying congress to increase the federal minimum wage.

If you’re a restaurant owner, you’ve been following this story for some time now. In downtown Chicago, the protests by fast-food workers were seen throughout summer as a movement known as Fight for 15 fought for an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15/hour.

Since this is such a big topic, we wanted to spell out in plain terms what exactly is going on with the minimum wage laws, and how it may affect your restaurant.

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Starting a Restaurant? Don't Make These Mistakes

Starting a Restaurant? Don't Make These Mistakes

Posted by Colin Robertson on Saturday, January 4th 2014

“I always wanted to start a restaurant”

Whether you’re an aspiring chef, a foodie, or…pretty much anyone else, chances are that you’ve uttered this phrase at least once in your life.

It seems there’s something special about the prospect of owning a restaurant. A place where you can create great food, a place where you can invite friends and family and, of course, a place where you can eat for free!

The craziest thing about this prospect, though, is that everyone knows that the likelihood of owning a successful restaurant are slim to none!

Well, for all you dreamers out there that are willing to do battle with the odds, we have 3 tips that will help you keep your doors open.

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3 Reasons To Love 2014 Commodity Prices

3 Reasons To Love 2014 Commodity Prices

Posted by Colin Robertson on Tuesday, December 31st 2013

There is no denying it. 2013 was a tough year for restaurant food costs.

Last year around this time we were reading about the fact that commodity costs keep rising, that commodities are in crisis, and it was all due to the drought in the summer of 2012.

One of the biggest droughts in history occurred that summer, and it led to less and less feed for livestock across the country. Which, of course, led to higher prices of meat, and higher food costs for restaurateurs. All while customers were continuing to tighten their belts and eat out less. Ouch.

At Cardoona, though, we love being the bearers of good news! And we have 3 reasons to feel better about the commodity food prices in 2014.

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8 Food Trends to Look Forward to in 2014

8 Food Trends to Look Forward to in 2014

Posted by Colin Robertson on Friday, December 6th 2013

As we look to turn the page on 2013, we thought we would take a quick peek at what 2014 may have in store for the restaurant industry.

Restaurant consultants Baum and Whiteman were happy to provide us with their insights in a comprehensive report, and we wanted to share a couple of their findings with you.

Here’s what we can look forward to in 2014:

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Meet Ismet Deletioglu: A Former Restaurateur With A Generous Thanksgiving Tradition

Meet Ismet Deletioglu: A Former Restaurateur With A Generous Thanksgiving Tradition

Posted by Jeffrey Harrington on Wednesday, November 27th 2013

I met Ismet “Matt” Deletioglu over a year ago at a very unexpected place: the gym.

He was using one of the two pull-up bars and, by my body language, could tell that I was hoping to use one once somebody finished. He waved me over with a big smile and said, “It’s all yours”, giving up his spot so I could continue my workout. Little did I know at that time that this generosity was a tiny clue of who I had just met.

We quickly became friends and I learned that Matt Deletioglu was a former restaurateur here in Chicago; owning and operating 3 restaurants on the north side of Chicago including the French Port in Lincoln Park.

It was at the French Port that Matt established a tradition that not only made him famous in Chicago but also helped nourish and improve the lives of many members of his community.

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5 Ways To Reduce Food Waste At Your Restaurant

5 Ways To Reduce Food Waste At Your Restaurant

Posted by Colin Robertson on Saturday, November 23rd 2013

Food waste is a huge problem nation-wide. According to the EPA, discarded food now fills landfills and incinerators more than anything else, and restaurants have played a big role in that.

Between 4-10% of the food a restaurant buys is thrown out before ever reaching a plate.

That means that if your food costs are at 30% and your restaurant does $1million In sales for the year, you could have thrown out as much as $30,000 in food.

For restaurants interested in saving some green (whether that be money or the environment) we have 5 suggestions that you can do to reduce the wasted food at your restaurant.

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3 Ways To Stop Product Theft (Before It Hits Your Bottom Line)

Farm-To-Table: Fad or Future?

Posted by Colin Robertson on Tuesday, November 20th 2013

Have you seen the Chipotle Scarecrow Video yet?

Over 7 million people have. And, although it got a lot of criticism from people in the industry, the fact that over 7 million potential restaurant customers chose to watch a company’s advertisement should tell us all something about the market today:

Customers believe in the farm-to-table movement.

The big question that’s on the mind of restaurateurs, both large and small, is whether or not it will last. It doesn’t seem that long ago that the market wanted imported European delicacies – basically the exact opposite of the local movement.

Whether or not farm-to-table is here to stay, right now the demand for it is big. We have met with many types of restaurateurs: some of which sourced strictly from local farms, some who sourced locally for select ingredients, and some who didn’t source locally at all. In our discussions, we have been able to see some of the pros and cons of the farm-to-table movement for restaurateurs...

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3 Ways To Stop Product Theft (Before It Hits Your Bottom Line)

3 Ways To Stop Product Theft (Before It Hits Your Bottom Line)

Posted by Colin Robertson on Tuesday, November 12th 2013

It seems like there’s no end to the creativity that some restaurant employees have when it comes to stealing.

Slipping free drinks and food to friends and family, not ringing up items and pocketing the cash, even hiding a bottle of liquor by the dumpster as they take out the trash.

For anyone who has experienced this – whether as an owner, manager or employee – here are 3 things you can do to prevent theft at your restaurant.

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4 Food Costs Trends You Need To Be Aware Of This Holiday Season

4 Food Costs Trends You Need To Be Aware Of This Holiday Season

Posted by Colin Robertson on Tuesday, November 12th 2013

Ah, the holidays.

When families get together, people indulge in food and wine, and restaurants are happy to be their hosts.

As you prepare your restaurant for what may be your busiest 6 weeks of the year, here are 4 major food cost trends you should know about.

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Reduce your food costs

3 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Food Costs

Posted by Colin Robertson on Friday, November 8th 2013

You've heard it - the cost of food is rising. Since January, beef is up 3.2%, chicken is up 6.1%, fruit is up 4.6%, and vegetables are up 2.2%.

If you're one of the restaurants who doesn't sell any of the above - congratulations! I don't know what you sell at your restaurant, but you dodged a bullet.

To the rest, this story is starting to get old…

There is a silver-lining in all things, however, and for restaurants it is learning the simple ways to reduce food costs regardless of the commodity prices. Here are 3 things we have found that can help any restaurant save money:

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What Does Obamacare Mean For My Restaurant?

What Does Obamacare Mean For My Restaurant?

Posted by Colin Robertson on Tuesday, November 5th 2013

That question has been on the minds of restaurateurs, franchisees, executives and employees since the first mention of the Affordable Care Act.

The answer has been the cause of a lot of heated debate and ridicule as big named executives from Darden Restaurant Group, Wendy’s, Burger King, and the nation’s fastest growing restaurant chain, Firehouse Subs, have already said that the bill will force them to cut back on employee expenses.

Obviously, this is a heated topic with various arguments on both sides. Despite the arguments, though, restaurants need to be prepared. So we've put together a collection of the facts that you need to know for your business.

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Meet Dan Salls: Chef & Owner of The Salsa Truck & The Garage

Meet Dan Salls: Chef & Owner of The Salsa Truck & The Garage

Posted by Maggie Keen & Paige Hall on Friday, November 1st 2013

We recently sat down with financial-adviser-turned-chef, Dan Salls, who owns and operates The Salsa Truck and The Garage, here in Chicago. The Salsa Truck is Chicago’s first licensed mobile food preparer, serving a variety of specialty salsas, guacamoles, and hot sauces paired with tacos and quesadillas.

The Garage, located in Chicago’s West Loop, is a home base for The Salsa Truck as well as its companions. With room to accommodate six trucks in addition to a lunch counter, it’s the only of its kind here in Chicago. Everyday, The Salsa Truck is joined by trucks from all over the city, and serves up Dan’s signature Mexican fare along with themed daily menus, where you can expect to see everything from BBQ to Asian dumplings.

The Garage also serves as a retail shop featuring vinyl records and all of their favorite bottled salsas and hot sauces. Read on to learn more about Dan’s take on Chicago’s growing food truck scene, and his unique view as a pioneer in this space.

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Are You Leaving Cash On The Shelves?

Is There Cash Hiding In Your Inventory?

Posted by Colin Robertson on Tuesday, October 29th 2013

Cash is king. That saying could not be truer for restaurants these days as the cost of food continues to rise, and margins continue to tighten.

So it’s more important than ever for restaurants to manage their cash well in order to pay their bills, make payroll and ultimately stay in business.

And where are there gobs of hidden cash at your restaurant?

Sitting right on your shelves.

Inventory is cash. Cash that you can’t pay your bills with, and cash that can ultimately be stolen, used incorrectly, or thrown away if you’re not managing your inventory correctly.

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What Robert Irvine Thinks You Need To Do Right Now

What Robert Irvine Thinks You Need To Do Right Now

Posted by Colin Robertson on Friday, October 25th 2013

We all know he can do the impossible. But now Chef Robert Irvine is taking the impossible to the next level:

Trying to get restaurateurs to invest in technology.

“The way things are looking in the restaurant business, it’s more like technology impossible,” said Irvine.

In a video interview he did with the Houston Business Journal, Irvine attributed part of his 82% success rate with restaurants that go through the Restaurant Impossible program to the technology that he implements.

If you’re not quite ready to call up Apple to get your new iPad menus, don’t panic just yet. Robert has two suggestions that every restaurant can do to get started.

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How to Calculate Your Food Costs

How to Calculate Your Food Costs

Posted by Colin Robertson on Tuesday, October 22st 2013

“Back in my day, milk only cost a dime at Pop’s general store.” – Every person born before 1960

You read that right. At some point every person born in the middle to early part of the 20th century has expressed how much cheaper food used to be “back in his or her day.” The price, food item, and store location may be different but the sentiment is always the same.

Food used to be cheaper, a lot cheaper.

To put it in some real perspective, in 1913 milk prices were about $0.35/gallon, and that’s in 2013 dollars! Thanks to 100 years of gradual increases in the cost of fuel, labor and land, that price has gone up significantly – and they’re not slowing down now.

We have good news though! Setting a food cost goal, monitoring your purchasing and calculating your food costs will help you save money on this major restaurant expense.

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3 Tips To Compare Prices Across Vendors

3 Tips To Compare Prices Across Vendors

Posted by Colin Robertson on Friday, October 18th 2013

It’s Monday morning; your vendors are dropping off the food that you ordered for the week, your prep cooks are working away and your staff is setting things up for the lunch rush. Meanwhile, you’re getting some back office work done before…BAM! Your cook just dropped off the invoices from your food vendors. “Did all these fish become endangered all of the sudden? When did these prices skyrocket?!”

You’re not alone. Prices of food have been creeping up and affecting the bottom lines of restaurants all across the country. For those of you who see this at your restaurant, we have good news! There is one practice that can help you keep your food costs low despite the rising tide – compare prices across vendors.

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