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The Secret Ingredient for Staying Popular & Profitable | FoodPower is a restaurant consulting firm that coaches industry leaders to leverage strengths, create concepts, refine menus & identify opportunities to increase revenue & capatalize on the changes in today's dining out patterns.
Food and menus are the core of any restaurant’s popularity and profitability. Thousands of details must come together to create a menu that can serve as a powerful sales tool for the owners and operators. Keep reading to see how you can leverage your menu to be one of your biggest assets.
This past weekend I had the honor of being a judge in the California Restaurant Association Education Foundation (CRAEF) 2015 California ProStart Cup in Pasadena.   I witnessed 27 high schools from across the state come together with skill and entrepreneurial spirit to present their unique restaurant concepts and corresponding menus. The winners will now move to a national competition for hundreds of culinary scholarships to schools such as the CIA to Cal Poly Pomona.
The winners of BJ's Restaurants Management Cup
  • 1st place - San Diego High School

  • 2nd –Scripps Ranch High School
  • 3rd - Newport Harbor High School
The winners of Boyd's Coffee Culinary Cup:
  • 1st - Newport Harbor High School

  • 2nd - Whitney High School
  • 3rd - Westminster High School
It was a privilege to be surrounded by such incredible energy and young talent. I'm not sure who learned more - them from me, or me from them! If they are the future of hospitality, we've got a lot to look forward to! 

Hot Operators

The menu is one of the strongest marketing tools you've got. While judging the students' clever and creative restaurant concepts, I was reminded of our mantras at FoodPower: Confusion is Costly and Clarity Sells.  Guests are confused when they cannot read the menu, whether on a board for fast casual or on paper for full service. More often than not, font type is way too small, cutesy categories are confusing and unclear, or descriptions become too complicated! They say the devil is in the details… spelling and consistency count, whether on a food or wine menu, and creativity and humor that's  C L E A R  make the menu memorable.

Take In-N-Out, for example. I've posted their menu above. That's it. The entire menu - with the exception of their not-so-secret menu, which is basically this super-simple menu reconfigured. It's pretty genius and completely clear. 

Take another look at your menu? Or better yet, have our fresh eyes take a look at it. Our introductory evaluation is only $500 for newsletter subscribers. We'll come in, take a look, and give you an overview intended to help you become more profitable and popular.
I'll let you in on another secret to clarity: great food photos that can be used in multiple ways to promote the popularity and profitability of a restaurant’s delicious food. It's become better known as #foodporn and these are the droolworthy dishes that can be hung throughout the restaurant, used for all marketing purposes, and can *hopefully* go viral to create a far-reaching buzz. During last weekend's CRAEF competition, one of the high school teams devised a marketing tactic to have guests take a photo of their restaurant's food and tweet it for a 10% discount on their bill! 
Now, we all know that hiring an on-staff photographer may not be realistic, so if you're taking your own #foodporn, here are tips on how to take better photos from talented food photo expert Anne Watson, of Anne Watson Photography:
  • Turn off the flash!
  • Use natural, preferably indirect, soft light on your food - try a shade, or taking shots just inside a window.
  • Less is more: don't just go for straight overhead, full-plate shots. Give "just a taste" and try interesting angles.
  • Forgo the filter; just boost the brightness, contrast & saturation.
 Give it a try and use #foodpower to be sure we see your buzzworthy shots!