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Reducing Waste for Restaurant Delivery and Takeout

As a restaurant, it's important to offer convenient options for people on the go. Takeout is becoming increasingly popular, and that's great news for businesses and for consumers. However, it can also lead to increased waste. For this reason, it's important to maintain high sustainability standards. This will not only reduce your costs but will also increase your appeal to many of your customers and contribute to a healthier planet.

WHY DOES IT MATTER?

From a financial perspective, this initiative saves a lot of money for your restaurant. On average, you'll have about $5,091 that you can put towards other expenses, or better yet, profit.

Of course, these practices are also much more sustainable when it comes to preserving our beautiful planet. Litter from take-out orders alone accounts for approximately 269,000 tons of plastic pollution in the earth's oceans. Furthermore, the majority of packaging we use every day goes into our landfills, which significantly increases our carbon emissions. Climate change is a major issue facing our society today, and we must do everything we can to improve our planet for future generations.

Lastly, you'll likely attract more clientele if you participate in initiatives that reduce environmental waste: A staggering 73% of consumers would definitely like to change their habits so that they can reduce their carbon footprint. This could potentially lead to more revenue for your business in the long run.

ASK YOUR CUSTOMERS IF THEY WANT NAPKINS WITH THEIR FOOD

This may seem like a small action, but it makes an enormous difference. Many customers would rather just use their own cloth napkins and reduce their waste. A majority of the paper napkins handed out in to-go bags are never even used. 

USE FOOD DELIVERY APPS THAT OFFER YOUR CUSTOMERS SUSTAINABLE ALTERNATIVES

Food delivery apps such as Postmates, GrubHub, and UberEats allow your customers to indicate whether they'd like utensils or not. This is super convenient for everyone involved and it also reduces your environmental impact significantly.

You can also ask your clients what their preferences are. Perhaps you want to add a feature on your website that gives them the option to opt for no utensils, straws, or condiments. This initiative will help your restaurant reduce its environmental impact significantly.

LIMIT PLASTIC AND PAPER PLATES

Of course, you want your customers to have an amazing experience eating your delicious food, and sometimes that might mean providing them with paper plates. However, a lot of people are trying to reduce their carbon footprint and would rather not use these items unnecessarily. Therefore, it's important to train your employees to ask your clients if they want plates or, better yet, avoid them altogether and save your restaurant some money.

You may want to sell reusable containers on your website or opt for biodegradable takeout boxes. Your customers will probably be attracted to your restaurant as a result.

PRACTICE MINDFULNESS WHEN IT COMES TO BAGGING ITEMS

It's understandable that a lot of restaurants put takeout boxes into plastic bags: They don't want it to spill all over the place because this could lead to dissatisfied customers. However, it's important to ensure that you're only using one bag and ask your customers if they even want it. Many people are becoming increasingly aware of these sorts of things. You may also want to opt for paper bags instead of plastic ones because they are both recyclable and reusable.

Reducing waste isn't easy, but with a little more mindfulness we can all do our part to make the world a better place. These practices also reduce your expenses and attract loyal customers, so implementing them is well worth your time.

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What Hotels and Hospitality Can Expect in a Post-COVID World

The impacts of the current coronavirus pandemic on hotel and hospitality are immense. While some operations and properties have adapted to new ways of doing things, the future remains uncertain. Quarantine, social distancing rules, and restricted travel are still effective in many places, and these uncertainties will shape what the future holds for hotels and other stakeholders.

Let's take a closer look at some issues hotels and hospitality have faced over the last year, how they've adapted, and what the future might look like for the industry.

THE IMPACTS

During the last year, there have been many temporary closures, some, unfortunately, becoming more permanent. Measures such as lockdown, quarantine, social distancing, and travel bans led to the closure of hotels and other hospitality businesses, and many had to change their modes of service delivery. Hotel restaurants were required to serve food through take-outs. Those allowed to serve meals at their premises had to reduce the number of seats and tables to observe social distancing requirements.

This had many financial implications. Hotel bookings and reservations decreased significantly. Profits became minimal, and many hotels became unsustainable, forcing them to either retrench their staff or close temporarily. Hotels became more expensive in almost every part of the world since they had to offer specialized services to fewer customers. However, this was inevitable since the people's safety is a priority.

AN ADAPTING INDUSTRY

Hotels and restaurants had to move from their regular service avenues and adopt sustainable ones amid the coronavirus pandemic. Innovative technologies and new food concepts were key to implementing delivery and takeout programs, with restaurants and hotel foodservice operations taking meals directly to the customer. For hotels, having a built-in room service program already available was a helpful asset. 

So what does the future hold? It will belong to operations that can reinvent their services, and technology will be key. It will be at the core of shaping the future of hotels and the hospitality industry, from utilizing text messages to implementing mobile apps to robots that can deliver food or even clean rooms. This is the future, and some hotels such as Hilton and Marriott are already using robots for some of their services.

Hotel construction designs will also change in the Post-COVID era. Hotels might have to do away with traditional delivery services and adapt to self-service.  Pre-ordered meals and buffets might be a thing of the past. Grab-and-go, individually-wrapped foods could help to reduce the space needed for kitchen and dining areas. Customers are likely to be more cautious about their social interactions, and common areas will be significant in reducing seating areas and upholding social distancing regulations.

THE ROLE OF FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES

Service delivery in hospitality changed due to coronavirus. People are more aware of hygiene. Hotels and restaurants might have to purchase new service trays, carts, sanitary products, and other support products. For instance, disposable towels will be preferable to hand dryers for heightened sanitation. Get the best foodservice equipment to help you pull through the Covid-19 well. 

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The Ghost Kitchen Trend of 2021

Take Out Containers

Living in the digital age definitely comes with a lot of perks, especially when it comes to foodservice and what's known as the "ghost kitchen". In the last five years, apps like GrubHub, UberEats, and DoorDash have taken over the food industry. Offering convenience by taking away the long lines and busy hustle of sitting in a restaurant waiting to order, these apps have provided a simple way to grab breakfast, lunch, or dinner without having to leave the comfort of your office or home. What more could you want?

Well, from an industry perspective, staying on par with the latest trends without having to take a loss to be a part of it is the goal. As consumers further move towards online orders and delivery services, keeping up without going into debt can be difficult for start-ups and older businesses. Fortunately, the ghost kitchen is offering a perfectly balanced solution to help you keep up with consumer's technology-savvy desires.

WHAT IS THE GHOST KITCHEN PHENOMENON?

Simply put, a ghost kitchen is a facility set up for delivery-only meals. It provides space to prepare and produce these meals so that online orders are successful without any snags or troubles along the way. Through ghost kitchen services, foodservice operators are able to expand their areas of service, focus more on seamlessly contactless methods of serving, and cut back on the costs of real estate.

PERKS, CONS, AND MORE

Ghost kitchens are dominating the food industry by honing in on a specific style of food or a particular cuisine. This allows kitchens to focus on multiple brands of an item, making it easy to reach customers looking for a specific dish while also taking advantage of the real estate market. Perks you can be on the lookout for are:

  • Cross utilizing products between brands
  • Quick launch phase
  • Cheaper than opening a brand-new location for each brand
  • Less equipment needed
  • Expand customer reach by taking advantage of a broader delivery area away from your permanent location

With any new business model, there are disadvantages. As ghost kitchens grow and work out all their kinks, here are the cons you might experience:

  • High competition due to an increased virtual food court
  • No walk-in traffic
  • Limits on your delivery service based on where that kitchen is located

As trends change and services such as ghost kitchens continue to rise in popularity, staying on top of the foodservice industry will also change. Ghost kitchens' rise in success comes from their ability to expand business in small increments. They allow you to reach consumers you may not reach otherwise and help you break into the delivery service movement that's taking over.

Following the odd year we had in 2020, consumers will continue taking advantage of online ordering and curbside pick up or delivery services. In 2021, we can expect that the ghost kitchen trend will grow drastically. It only takes somebody 66 days, on average, to form a habit. If we look at that from a delivery perspective, then the habit of utilizing quick service apps is already habitual.

For more information on how you can implement the ghost kitchen into your foodservice operation, contact us at Lakeside today. Our experts focus on manufacturing top of the line foodservice equipment as well as continuously monitor the latest industry trends. We'll be following the ghost kitchen trend through 2021, and we look forward to helping you make the necessary changes to do the same and to further assist in increasing the success of your overall foodservice operation.

Keep up with even more trends by watching our recorded webinar "Top 10 Foodservice Trends of 2021".

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How Digital Tools are Transforming Foodservice

Chef Taking Food Inventory

Are you interested in improving efficiency, increasing output, and reducing food waste in your restaurant or other foodservice business? If you are, it may be time to get technical. That's right, technology is playing an increasingly important role in the foodservice industry.

According to an article in Forbes magazine, we owe many of the improvements in the production, packaging, shelf life, and safety of food to improved technology in the food industry. From drone farmworkers to robotic butchers, technology is impacting all areas of food production and distribution. For example, satellite imagery helps monitor weather patterns that can affect the timing of planting and harvesting. Farm drones pinpoint diseased crops so that pesticides can be applied precisely where they're needed instead of blanket bombing entire fields. Advanced packaging can improve food safety, increase shelf life, and help eliminate waste.

Going Green

Technology can even help your business go green. An app such as Copia can keep track of your food inventory to help you make more informed purchasing decisions. It will also help you reduce food waste by connecting you with local non-profits who can make good use of your surplus food.

After-school programs, shelters, and other programs will benefit from that surplus while you reap the tax benefits of your donations. Not only that, but you'll no longer be contributing to the 40% of American food that gets wasted each year. That's an important point for many customers, especially millennials and generation Z.

Sustainability is a major concern for many of these younger customers. They may even choose a place to eat based on it. Reducing water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions go hand in hand with reducing food waste. So too does sourcing food locally, since it reduces the fuel and emissions associated with long-distance shipping. Not only is improved sustainability beneficial to the planet, but it also benefits your bottom line through lower food costs and an increased customer base.

Managing Inventory and Production Schedules

Use technology to help you with more accurate inventory management so that you always know what to order and when. You can also use it to manage your production schedule in order to improve efficiency and reduce wasteful overproduction. According to the non-profit ReFED organization, you can save thousands of dollars annually just by using technology to track and reduce waste.

Digital tools transforming foodservice is just one trend to look for in 2021. Learn more about the top food and beverage trends of the new year in our recorded webinar, “Top 10 Foodservice Trends of 2021”.

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Food As Medicine – An Intro Guide

Fruit and Medicine Bottles

If there's one thing we learned in the past year, it's that our health is the most important thing we have. And as we know, one of the most important aspects to staying healthy is eating a healthy diet. Yes, food is important because it helps us stay healthy.

Eating a healthy well-balanced diet year-round is key in keeping your immune system healthy. Fresh fruits and vegetables give us many of the vitamins and minerals our body craves and prevents infections. While supplements can be useful, it's better to get what you need from fresh or frozen foods and not a capsule. Hospitals and senior care communities across the country know this, and that's why food is often viewed as medicine — food has the power to heal.

With cold and flu season in full swing, now is the time to do everything necessary to keep our bodies healthy and free from disease. Especially in the age of COVID-19, bodies need these six beneficial vitamins and ingredients:

Vitamin C

Your mother probably told you to drink your orange juice because it was packed with vitamin C, and you should always listen to mom. The simple reason it's so important is that it may increase white blood cell production, which helps to fight viruses, bacteria, and infections.

Foods packed with vitamin C include:

  • Grapefruit
  • Oranges
  • Tangerines
  • Red bell peppers
  • Broccoli

Not only do these foods help boost immunity, but they're also great for maintaining skin and eye health.

Vitamin E

Not always thought of as the most common vitamin when boosting immunity, but vitamin E is a powerhouse. Packed with antioxidants, which help protect cells against free radicals, vitamin E is important for eye, blood, and brain health.

Foods full of vitamin E include:

  • Almonds
  • Peanuts
  • Seeds
  • Avocado
  • Spinach
  • Canola oil
  • Olive oil

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is super important in that it is anti-inflammatory and may help antibodies respond to toxins in the body. It's also fat-soluble, which means it's best to include healthy fats with it to aid in absorption.

Important for vision and cell division and reproduction, here are some common foods packed with vitamin A.

  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Butternut squash
  • Spinach
  • Dairy products
  • Cantaloupe
  • Dark leafy greens

Iron

Iron helps support immune health. It is a key nutrient in helping develop white blood cells and mobilizing their response. Iron is also crucial to blood health and reproductive health.

Need more iron in your diet? Try these foods.

  • Chicken
  • Red meat
  • Turkey
  • Oysters
  • Clams
  • Canned tuna

Zinc

In order to produce new immune system cells, zinc must be present. Unfortunately for us, zinc is a mineral our body doesn't produce, so we need to get it elsewhere. It's typically found in shellfish (oysters, crab, lobster), but eating yogurt or chickpeas will also do the trick.

The thing about zinc is that you need it for healthy immune function, but getting too much of it can have the opposite effect and impair immunity.

Garlic

Garlic isn't used to just season food or give you stinky breath, but it contains a myriad of compounds to support immune system health. It has been shown to reduce stress hormones and increase the production of T-cells. This superstar may also lower blood pressure and cholesterol according to recent clinical trials. Used throughout the ages to treat colds and infections, soldiers even used it in World War II to prevent gangrene.

The concept of "food as medicine" is just one trend to look for in 2021. Learn more about the top food and beverage trends of the new year in our recorded webinar, “Top 10 Foodservice Trends of 2021”.

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Why Restaurants Are Important to Local Economies

Restaurant Open Sign

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants are challenged as patrons shelter in place and local regulations ban many dining rooms from reopening. While restaurants have certainly demonstrated the adaptability required as they've pivoted to curbside service and delivery, there's no doubting the importance of in-person dining to both our community psyche and our local economies.

For starters, consider a recent study that says of all things consumers want to do in a post-pandemic world, going to a restaurant is the top item. In fact, 62 percent of all respondents indicated this is the first thing they'll do. While restaurants are great for our collective psyche, they're also great for the economy. Considering just the independent restaurants -- not chains or other types of operations -- the number of people independent restaurants employ in New York City alone is greater than the number employed by the entire United States aviation industry. The Independent Restaurant Coalition has cited these facts and others as part of their campaign to help local economies.

But why are restaurants so important to local economies? Let's take a closer look.

Employ Locals

When you consider the number of people required to run a full-service restaurant -- from bartenders to dishwashers -- and then you factor in the number of meal services per day, there's no denying the power of foodservice when it comes to employing people. According to the National Restaurant Association, more than half of Americans have worked in foodservice at one point or another, accounting for nearly 16 million people employed by the restaurant industry at any given moment.

This is a great reason to support local restaurants during the current pandemic. Whether it be carryout or delivery, or even in-person dining when available and as consumers become more comfortable, supporting our local restaurants is paramount to supporting our local economies.

The Supply Chain

Many restaurants put money into the local economy. From paying rent or property taxes to utilities, restaurants pump a lot of cash into the local economy. More and more, restaurants are taking advantage of local suppliers to create farm-to-table menus, and this is more cash that flows into the local community.

Restaurants will run to the local grocery store for emergency supplies, and their delivery drivers stop at local convenience stores for gas. Plus, most of the employees that they employ will spend their paychecks locally, pumping even more money into the local economy. Most restaurants use local banks for deposits, and this also helps to keep the economy flourishing. All across the supply chain and in periphery businesses, supporting local restaurants helps support the local economy.

A Sense of Community

Every town in America has that one pizza place where the little league teams go after games or the barbecue joint where all the locals flock to pick up goodies for tailgating before the big game. Most people enjoy going out for a meal with family and friends. It provides a sense of camaraderie and community.

There are always certain restaurants in any town that everyone knows. Not only do they know the place, they know the people who work there or own it. In some ways, the sense of community created makes the restaurant as important to locals as their own kitchens. Some towns are known as foodie havens, and this sense of community comes from all the local and national businesses in the area.

Tourism

Food tourism is a big thing. People will go out of their ways or even plan trips just to try a particular restaurant or dish. You aren't going to go to Atlanta without eating at the Varsity or to San Francisco without dining at the Fog City Cafe. A town with a thriving restaurant culture can become a tourist destination all on its own. Also, when traveling by car, people will choose to stay the night in cities with a lot of good restaurants. You may find that part of the reason a person returns to your local community is that they love eating at a specific restaurant. A good local restaurant can make a huge difference for a town of any size, especially for attracting visitors.

Supporting the local community foodservice establishments will be an important foodservice trend in 2021. Discover more trends in our recorded webinar "Top 10 Foodservice Trends of 2021".

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Why You Should Transform Your School Cafeteria

Creating an inviting atmosphere in your K-12 school cafeteria can have dramatic impacts on student participation levels.

Mealtimes should be positive, and lunchrooms should be inviting places. Lunch should be an enjoyable part of the school day for students, whether they're in kindergarten or high school, and the cafeteria should be a break from the rigors of the school day.

School nutrition programs that embrace this mentality, that transform school cafeterias into places where students can relax, socialize, and become nourished, will enjoy the benefits of higher participation levels and higher performing students, but the question becomes how?

CREATE INVITING ENTRANCES

For starters, consider how the lunchroom experience starts. Even a simple welcome sign can go a long way to establishing ownership and a sense of pride, which will inevitably increase student participation. Welcoming décor isn't that difficult to pull off, either. A quick run to the local hobby store can transform an entryway.

PROVIDE DIRECTION

One of the things students struggle with the most is time. Lunch periods are getting shorter and shorter, and students don't have time to waste on trying to figure out where things are located within the cafeteria. If there's a grill area, identify it. If the line starts here, let students know. Get creative with signs and identifications, too. It's an opportunity to turn a school cafeteria into a space that feels more like a restaurant or food court.

ENHANCE DISPLAYS

How you display foods is almost as important as what foods are displayed. Attracting and enticing students -- and ultimately getting those students to buy meals -- requires products to be merchandised in ways that showcase their freshness and abundance. Clean and tidy displays are preferred over clutter and disorder. Lighting and even tray colors like dark reds and blues can make menu items more appealing. The goal is to make foods as enticing as possible because, first, we eat with our eyes.

What are the benefits of a school cafeteria transformation?

Studies show a school cafeteria environment can have an impact on the general performance of the student body. When the eating environment is pleasant and appealing, students eat more of their lunch, do better in the classroom, and have fewer behavioral problems. This is why proper nourishment is so important.

In terms of participation, though, what can be the true impact? How much does ambiance effect student meal participation? With just some simple transformations including displays, graphics, décor, and design, a high school can experience increases of more than 20 percent on participation levels, resulting in totals of nearly $120,000 in annual revenue.

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Webinar: Top 10 Foodservice Trends of 2021

Webinar: Top 10 Foodservice Trends of 2021

Your world has been dominated by shifts and progressions, forcing the evolution of your operations. So how can you keep up?

After months of surveys, conversations, trainings, and research, we’ve identified 10 foodservice trends to help you rise into the new year.

You’ll learn:

  • The top 10 foodservice trends in 2021
  • How other businesses and industries are adapting
  • How to implement these strategies for yourself

Reserve your spot now!

Recorded Webinar

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2020 Year in Review: Healthcare Foodservice

Healthcare Foodservice 2020 Year in Review

Here are the highlights of our healthcare foodservice blogs from this year.

In the face of a global pandemic, we saw healthcare systems pushed to their limits. As we adapted to this new environment in 2020, we saw a change in how healthcare foodservice is handled, from delivery to sanitation to everything in between. Not only were these new solutions designed to keep patients safe, but healthcare staff safe as well.

Here are the highlights of what we saw transpire in healthcare foodservice this year:

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2020 Year in Review: Senior Care Foodservice

Here are the highlights of our senior care foodservice blogs from this year.

Senior care communities were put on high alert early on during the Coronavirus pandemic. With residents at a higher risk than most, it has been vital for senior care staff to continue to deliver necessary foodservice safely. Meal delivery during COVID-19 has never been as important, and with the right tools, it was being done in a safe, effective manner. The changes we saw over the course of 2020 will no doubt impact how senior care foodservice is handled as we embark on the new year.

Here are the biggest takeaways of the significant changes we witnessed in senior care foodservice in 2020.

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