1

Landfill Free by 2025

There is more behind out desserts than fine ingredients. There is a heartfelt commitment to our planet, our community and our people. Adhering to socially responsible purchasing, ensuring our world can flourish for future generations. This is our commitment to our partners and customers.

In 2022, Sweet Street announced the Landfill Free by 2025 initiative. By partnering with sustainable energy plants, the bakery’s waste stream will be converted to biodiesel fuel and all remaining materials will be recycled or used as fuel to generate electricity. 

Biodiesel is a renewable, biodegradable fuel manufactured domestically from vegetable oils, animal fats, or recycled restaurant grease. Biodiesel meets both the biomass-based diesel and overall advanced biofuel requirement of the Renewable Fuel Standard. Renewable diesel, also called “green diesel,” is distinct from biodiesel. (https://afdc.energy.gov)

We recycle cardboard, aluminum, metal, plastics and all paper. Rather than sending waste to a landfill, we either recycle or use it as fuel to generate electricity at a nearby power plant. It also lowers our number of hauls, which conserves gas and reduces emissions. By doing so, we reduced our waste hauling by nearly 1000 tons over 2 years. We are aggressively working toward our goal, being completely landfill free by 2025.

We produce frozen desserts shipped around the world and we must deliver these in the finest condition with zero food safety issues. In addition to meeting food grade standards, over 95% of our plastic packaging is recyclable number 1 or 6. We have reduced the size of our packaging, and our mailing carton is made from recycled material. In fact, 46% of the fiber used to make all of our corrugated packaging is recovered/recycled. Our corrugated packaging suppliers are certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.

Our bakery operates with an energy conservation mindset. We are constantly looking at ways to reduce our environmental footprint. Recent projects have included installing variable frequency drives to reduce fan speeds where possible (electricity reduction), automating cooling tower operation to better control water usage (water reduction) and utilizing heat dissipated by our product cooling system to heat our plant water year round.

Read more about our social and environmental responsibility here.




Menu Hacks: The Psychology Behind Menu Design

Your most valuable piece of marketing as a restaurant owner is a thoughtfully designed menu. It advertises your offerings while increasing your restaurant’s profitability. Menu engineering is the strategic process of designing a menu to maximize profits. It requires analyzing profitable and your most popular menu items. Using menu psychology techniques to highlight these items, restaurants can construct menus in the most effective way.

First, you must analyze menu items to find the most popular and profitable, which is important since you’ll be constructing your menu around these items. Ensure that your menu is priced correctly for maximum profits and understand item popularity using the menu matrix. After analyzing your menu items and pricing them appropriately, the fun can begin with these designing hacks.

Scannability

The first component to consider in menu design is its scannability. Therefore, restaurateurs want to grab guests’ attention with their high profit items. The research shows that customers are likely to order one of the first items that draw their attention. Since guests only spend an average of 109 seconds looking at your menu, it must be designed for guests to easily find key items aka scannable.

You want to avoid crowded layouts, limit item choices, and create a natural flow. Do you ever get overwhelmed at the sight of too many options? This is the psychological theory known as the “paradox of choice,” which assumes that the more options we have, the more anxiety we feel, whereas too little options make consumers feel misrepresented. The golden number for food options is 7 per category. Anything over seven items can ambush customers and lead to confusion, and confusion can cause them to revert to their “usual” by default instead of trying a new menu item. There is no shame in sticking with what you know, but a well-designed menu will entice you to try something different or more expensive.

  • Limit Options.Psychologists suggest that restaurateurs limit options per category to the golden number, around 7 items, based on the theory, “paradox of choice”. Limiting options can increase perceptions that consumers made the right choice, which in turn brings customers back. in an industry where repeat customers account for about 70% of sales, getting diners to return is the ultimate goal. (Mental Floss)
  • Declutter. Avoid crowded layouts and choose easy-to-read fonts and font sizes. Stick with visible dish titles and clear sections.
  • Location, location, location! Psychologists have studied consumer eye patterns and found that our eyes tend to move to the center of the menu first, then move on to the top right corner, followed by the top left corner. This is known as “The Golden Triangle”. Place your most profitable menu items in these prime real estate locations (Webstaurant)
  • Use glossaries if needed. Some patrons may feel intimidated by unfamiliar names and be deterred from ordering fancy-sounding dishes. A glossary can give more context so guests feel confident that they’re making an informed decision and the right choice.

Sensibility

Next, consider the menu’s ability to tap into the customer’s senses. Do the food items catch your eye? Does the menu evoke emotion? According to restaurant consultant Aaron Allen, colors can conjure different types of feelings and “motivate” behavior. For example; blue has a calming effect, while red can stimulate appetite and a sense of urgency, and yellow draws our attention. Entertain the use of borders, shaded boxes, and white space to highlight specific and profitable items. Crowding your menu with photos can cheapen the feel of a menu, but a nice-looking picture alongside a food item can increase sales by 30%.

Another tactic is writing longer, more detailed descriptions that persuade customers they are getting more for their dollar. According to a Cornell study, researchers found that more detailed descriptions sold nearly 30% more food. Customers also rated those items as tasting better. “People taste what you tell them they’re tasting” says menu engineer, Gregg Rapp (Mental Floss). So tell them a story! Detail dishes with verbiage that describes where it’s sourced and how it’s prepared to be effective in increasing the perception of quality in the items.

  • Use color. Choose a color scheme that reflects your sales and marketing objective. People emotionally respond to color, subconsciously, which can influence their behavior. You can use bright colors, which capture attention and trigger appetite, to draw focus to specific arrears of your menu.
  • Use photos. Use professional photography in your menu, but do it sparingly. People respond to images on display like they would if the plate was right in front of them and if you’re hungry the response is “I’ll have that!”
  • It’s all about semantics! Mind the language that you use to describe your dishes and tell a story. Adjectives like “line-caught,” “farm-raised,” or “locally-sourced” are big turn-ons for customers and can increase the perception of quality.
  • Make it nostalgic. Touching past time-periods can trigger happy memories of their childhood, family or traditions. “Grandma’s Chicken Soup” or “Campfire Hot Cocoa” stir feelings of comfort and closeness.

Another trick is to create space around high-profit items by putting them in boxes or otherwise separating them from the rest of the options. “When you put in a pocket of negative space, you pull the eye there,” writes Allen. “Putting negative space around an item can call attention to it and help you sell it” (Mental Floss).

Profitability

Finally, circle back to your menu’s profitability. Perspective is everything when considering menu design. Author of Priceless, William Poundstone, reveals the psychology behind menus, stating ”ultimately, it’s about minimizing the focus on price”. Making price tags as inconspicuous as possible, we can encourage guests to spend more. A Cornell University study found that written-out prices also encourage guests to spend more. Here’s a few more hacks that are designed to increase your menu’s profit potential.

  • Avoid dollar signs. Currency indicators are a pain point that remind customers they are spending money and make them feel like they are spending more than they actually are. Soften the price by eliminating the dollar sign.
  • Avoid price trails. Price trails are dotted lines that connect your menu items to their price and are the cardinal sin of menu design. This takes the focus away from your dish description and straight to the price instead. Try “nested” pricing, prices that are listed discreetly after the meal description in the same font size, so consumer eyes glide right over it (Mental Floss).
  • Avoid price columns. Placing prices in a column will draw focus to the cost of the food, instead of the dish itself, which could lead guests to choose the cheapest items on the menu.
  • Use price decoys. A price “decoy” is a menu item that would seem overly expensive to guests, placed near high profit margin items. This gives the perception, when compared to the decoy, that customers are getting a deal, a “better bang for their buck”.
  • Sandwich your menu items. D Studies show that customers tend to notice and order the top two items or the last item of each section more often than other items. Place your most profitable items at the top of the list and one at the bottom to optimize your menu categories.

Final thoughts

Guests will scan your menu in less than 2 minutes on average, which means you have a small window to set the menu’s tone for customer satisfaction and optimal profit. Using these psychological tactics of menu design, to revamp your menu can greatly improve your restaurant’s profits and guest experience. Our Sweet Street Design Suite provides you with the expertise and tools to sell more.

 

 

Sources: Aaron Allen | WebstauranteStore | Canva | Mental Floss | The Sydney Morning Herald




Spring Time! Dessert Secrets & Inspirations

With Spring just around the corner, we thought we’d welcome in the season by sharing our Spring-time secrets, holiday reminders, and LTO inspiration.

Seasonal LTOs rank #1 in consumer interest. The unique flavors available each season invite experimentation, with plenty of demand: 47% of diners (ages 18 – 34) say their menu preferences change with the seasons. As a result, restaurants can capitalize on the popularity of seasonal flavors and items that make sense. Here are our spring favorites, to help you prepare lively LTO specials. 

Springtime Desserts

Firstly, as Spring and Summer approach, we recommend adding some seasonal flavors to your menu, like citrus and berries. Our Lemon Blueberry Manifesto Cookie is a melt-in-your-mouth sugar cookie, plump with wild Maine blueberries and a burst of citrus flavor. Operators can order them for bakery displays, or for a bright tasting treat, to-go with individually-wrapped options.

For something a little more upscale, try offering the comfort of our Blueberry Cobbler White Chocolate Cheesecake. Surely a crowd pleaser, with moist chunks of vanilla-bean cream cake, sweet swirls of berry compote, and creamy White Chocolate Cheesecake. Topped with blueberries, whipped cream and white chocolate shavings.

 

Keep things fresh by plating this decadent dessert with lemon curd and a drizzle of basil oil (see recipe here).  

 

 

Holiday Reminders

Also, Spring houses some important holidays, like Easter (April 17th) and Mother’s Day (May 8th). To prep your holiday dessert menu with a popular Easter dessert, choose four or six layers of carrot cake. Our Four High Carrot Cake is layer upon layer of moist carrot cake studded with raisins, walnuts and pineapple and then finished with cream cheese icing and a drizzle of white chocolate ganache. Another popular product is our Big Carrot Cake is six layers of moist carrot cake sandwiched with our smooth cream cheese icing all studded with pecans.

 

 

Don’t forget, presentation matters

 

 

Similarly, you’ll want to prep for Mother’s Day. To honor motherhood and celebrate maternal bonds that have made us into who we are, we salute our superheroes. They go by ‘Mom’. Here are some suggestions to make Mother’s Day extra special with dessert! Operators can offer our Raspberry White Chocolate Cheese Brulee on it’s own. A silken smooth white chocolate cheese, with a vibrant red raspberry swirl., hand-fired and glazed in simple elegance. Or layer pieces of the cheesecake with raspberry mousse and sauce, vanilla Chantilly cream with fresh raspberries in this trifle recipe. A beautiful dish with a modern twist!

 

 

Another indulgent option is this rich brownie bowl recipe made with our Honduran Chocolate Manifesto Brownie, but could easily be substituted with our Fabulous Chocolate Chunk Brownie. Top the brownie with Peruvian crème fraiche and ganache, shower with the crunch of Amaretto cookie crumbles, and finish with Amarena cherries. 

 

 

LTO Sprinkle

Finally, almost half of all restaurant consumers find it important for operators to keep menus fresh throughout the year by offering specialty items and LTOs. Read more about that here. Therefore, to make things easier for our customers, we’ve picked out some of our favorite Spring-inspired recipes and ideas. Revive classic desserts that will have your customers craving for more as a result. Reinvent what one sku can do for you with versatile products like our New York Cheesecake and Original Cheesecake Xango®.

 

Contact your sales rep today to get ahead of the Spring time buzz!

 

 

Barsicle Concept Video

Bonus idea! For our stay-at-home consumers, here’s a great idea for a Springtime gathering – barsicle recipes




Fall-ify Menu’s with Limited Time Dessert Offerings

Crisp cool air, crunchy leaves, and spiced aromas are filling the air around us. Autumn is in full swing, which means PSLs are back, sweaters are front and center in our closets, and boots are ready for wearing. Much like the leaves changing colors, our palettes evolve as well, allowing us to explore new foods, new ingredients and new experiences.

Let’s not forget the desserts! It’s the time of year when fall desserts are the star of the show, and your taste buds can delight in the variety of rich after-dinner sweets. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite fall recipes and desserts to add to your fall menu. They’re so good, you might be tempted to skip dinner and head straight for the dessert table.”

Sweet Street Fall Products

Pumpkin Swirl Pullman

Our seasonal moist Pumpkin Swirl cake is spiced up with Chai spices of ginger, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon and clove. GMO free, Free of artificial colors and ingredients with 5 grams of protein, and less than 300 calories. Pair this delicious loaf with a pumpkin spiced latte.

 

Caramel Apple Granny

Buttery caramel and toffee-studded custard hug fresh Granny Smith apples piled high in our melt-in-your-mouth shortbread crust. Reminiscent of Nana’s recipe, one bite will make you feel right at home.

 

Salted Caramel Vanilla Crunch Cake

Light, buttery vanilla-flecked cake has waves of caramel cake, and is layered with salted caramel crunch and a creamy custard layer. There’s something satisfying about a sweet and salty combination and we’re glad it’s cake.

 

 

 

Recipes to Fall-ify:

Iconic flavors that scream FALL are ingredients like: cinnamon, chai, cloves, ginger, pumpkin, pear, salted caramel, Maple bourbon, apple, dark chocolate, orange and cranberry. The sweet and spicy blends will transform your dessert items into Autumn must-haves!

Looking for fall LTO’s while maximizing your current menu? We have easily executable recipes to dress up your Sweet Street favorite for the Fall, while utilizing products readily available.

 

Xango Sushi

Seal autumn flavors into this fall chutney made with golden raisins, craisins, and apricots, spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice, then zested with white wine vinegar. Top this gem-colored chutney on sliced Xangos, our tortilla-wrapped fried cheesecake. The blend of spices and fruit contrasts the creamy cheesecake centers for a beautiful combination.

 

Morrello Cheesecake

Here’s a quick LTO item you can whip up in seconds. This showstopper exhibits a wonderful depth of flavor and texture. Enjoy silky, creamy cheesecake topped with sweet and tart Morello cherries. A mouth-watering combo!

 

Triple Threat Chocolate Torte

We introduced an unrivaled dessert – the Triple Threat Chocolate Torte. This elegant dessert marries three components: a rich flourless chocolate torte, a scoop of creamy chocolate Häagen-Dazs, and topped with rich olive oil ganache. A rich and sweet death by chocolate!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Find more recipes here!




Apples: Fun Facts and Health Benefits

 

 

It’s that time of year again, when the leaves start to turn, sweater bins come down from storage, and spiced fall scents fill the air. Plump orange pumpkins fill our Instagram feeds and the invites for apple-picking at your local farm roll in. And there are a number of reasons why you’ll want to fill up your basket. Here’s a few reasons why the people of America love apples, their top 5 varieties, and ways operators can incorporate apples into their menu.

Benefits

Seasonal or year-round apples penetrate 58.2% of all US menus and there’s various reasons why. Not only do apples taste delicious, but they come loaded with health benefits. Jessica Levinson, a culinary nutrition expert, says that apples have been linked to numerous benefits, including improved gut health and reduced risk of stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and some cancers.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a medium-sized apple is a good source of fiber: It contains 4.4 grams of fiber, covering 16 percent of the daily value (DV). Also, the same apple offers 8.4 milligrams of vitamin C, providing more than 9 percent of your DV, along with other vitamins and minerals.

Heart & Gut Health

High fiber has been shown to improve cholesterol (lowering bad LDL cholesterol and increasing good HDL cholesterol) and according to Harvard Health Publishing, both types of fiber are important to digestive health. Research also shows that those who eat apples are less likely to develop high blood pressure.

Soluble fiber helps slow down digestion, allowing you to feel full, and also slows the digestion of glucose, which helps control your blood sugar. Meanwhile, insoluble fiber can help move food through your system and aid with constipation and regularity, per Harvard.

Healthy Immune System

Who doesn’t want a stronger immune system going into fall? Apples might be an important tool in your immune support. According to research, a diet filled with soluble fiber helped convert immune cells that were pro-inflammatory into anti-inflammatory and immune-supporting ones. In another study, researchers found that a diet high in dietary fiber protected mice against the flu. Whether these effects would be seen in humans is unclear until there are more studies.

Still, there’s reason to believe that apples may bolster immunity, in part because they contain immune-boosting vitamin C. A review published in 2017 in the journal Nutrients found that vitamin C plays many roles in helping the immune system function, such as by strengthening the epithelial (a type of tissue) barrier against pathogens and guarding against environmental oxidative stress, such as pollution to radiation, according to research.

Varieties & Seasonality

There are up to 100 apple varieties available worldwide, but US supermarkets sell a dozen of the country’s favorites. Local farmers may offer more unusual heirloom varieties. Some varieties are better for cooking and baking, while others are enjoyed raw for snacking. Ranging from sweet to tart, apples can produce a hearty crunch or a light crispy bite. Most apple varieties are ready for picking from late July through early November.

The following are America’s top 5 most popular varieties and make up 90% of America’s apple output.

#1 Gala

Coming in at first place, we have the Gala, with its mild, sweet and juicy flesh it’s currently America’s favorite apple according to the U.S. Apple Association. Galas were introduced to the United States in the 1970s and are a cross between Kidd’s Orange Red and Golden Delicious apples.

#2 Red Delicious

For decades the Red Delicious was the most popular American apple. But today’s consumer is looking for apples that are sweeter and crunchier and the market is flooded with plenty of interesting varieties that fit the bill, bumping red delicious down to second best.

#3 Granny Smith

One of our personal favorites and the third most popular apple in America, the Granny Smith is an Australian native with a tart and mildly sweet flavor that makes it a staple for baking. Our Caramel Apple Granny is made with buttery caramel and toffee-studded custard hugging fresh Granny Smith apples piled high in our melt-in-the-mouth shortbread crust.

 

 

#4 Fuji

This popular snacking apple is sweet and juicy and comes in at fourth as America’s favorite apple. In many ways similar to America’s history, apples were some of the earliest crops planted by colonists. Named for Japan’s Mt. Fuji, the Fuji was developed in Japan in the 1930s but didn’t make its way to America until the 1980s. It’s a cross between a Red Delicious and a Ralls Janet, and features a distinctive yellow and red color.

#5 Honeycrisp

Released in 1991, the Honeycrisp is a rising contender for favorite American apple. It has a juicy and frim crisp flesh combined with a sweet and balanced bite. The apples ripen in early fall, but store like a late season variety, keeping for up to 7 months.

 

Menu Additions:

Here’s how you can incorporate apples into your regular menu and specials. Sarah Gold Anzlovar, RDN, the Boston-based owner of Sarah Gold Nutrition, suggests adding them to salads or to a grilled cheese, making baked apples for a healthy dessert, or cooking up some pulled chicken with apples in the slow cooker for an easy lunch or dinner.

Restaurants can add Caramel Apple Granny to their seasonal dessert menu or top an already existing NY Cheesecake with a fall-inspired apple topping.

 

Resources: Harvard | Medical News Today | WebMD | Heatlh Line | Everyday Health | Eating Well




10 Strategies for Your Restaurant’s Next LTO

Almost half of all restaurant consumers find it important for operators to keep menus fresh throughout the year by offering specialty items and LTOs (limited-time offer). This post provides 10 unique strategies to help strengthen your LTO menu and optimize profits.

Editor’s Notes: Favorite desserts in fresh new forms. In today’s environment especially, it can be challenging for restaurants to take menu risks, but safe options can come from reinventing just one SKU.

According to the Technomic study of 2019, 45% of consumers say it’s “important” or “extremely important” to them that restaurants offer new or seasonal menu items throughout the year. Of those consumers, 26% said that they’d be willing to pay MORE for special items. This gives restaurants the opportunity to create limited-time menu offerings, with high profit margins. Furthermore, after consumers experience an enjoyable LTO, 82% will return to order it again, 75% will tell other people about it, and 65% will return to order something else.

Additionally, there are a number of studies that link LTOs to impulse purchases. By letting customers know that there’s a limited availability of that day’s special, restaurants can encourage guests to jump on a special they might otherwise have skipped over, just because there’s a slim window of opportunity to do so.

“Specials can even help your restaurant save money that otherwise would have been wasted. Food waste accounts for a fair amount of expenses in restaurant kitchens, and offering a special that utilizes an ingredient you need to use up is a great way to cut down on waste.”

With careful planning and the right execution, limited-time offers can be a profitable part of your operation. Research suggests that 45% of operators estimate that a strong promotion generates at least a 10% lift in monthly sales compared to a month without an LTO. A powerful LTO doesn’t just add variety to the menu, it offers an experience. However, up to 70% of operators find initiating trendy menu items to be challenging. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of strategies to implement when designing LTOs and suggested recipes to consistently stimulate your menu.

Strategies

Here are ten strategies to make your LTOs work harder to satisfy your guests and improve your bottom line.

1. Brand & Menu alignment

Customers are coming to you to satisfy a craving based on your theme of offerings and brand. It may be tempting to jump on trendy bandwagons, but going too astray with your LTO can be confusing. When developing LTOs make sure it’s something customers would reasonably expect from your operation. It will help define and enhance your brand, not dilute it.

Know your audience! Apply your restaurant data like most-ordered dishes; what demographics order them the most; and busiest time of day; to help with the creation of your LTO.

 

2. The Buzz Timeline

It takes time for the word to get out about special offerings, so most operators run their LTOs for between one and three months. Commit to an LTO for at least one month, to give your advertisements (both paid and word of mouth) enough time to build momentum. The buzz will spread.

As the LTO program winds down, it’s important for operators to remove point of purchase materials and communicate with service personnel on scripting responses and offering alternative items. An end to a brilliant LTO can be disappointing to customers, but it’s the perfect time to excite them about new specials just around the corner.

3. New, yet familiar

Start by putting a twist on your existing menu items. Consumers are looking for one of two things when it comes to LTOs: new products to try or a different take on their old faves. Research shows the most successful LTOs take a dish the customer is familiar with and make it special simply by adding an indulgent ingredient or two. Utilize your menu data to determine which items are the most popular. Then, put a twist on already high-demand foods to energize your bread-and-butter customers.

This approach has multiple benefits. First, by starting with something familiar to your patrons, you can be sure they’ll understand what your LTO is, which eliminates uncertainty. Second, adding something new to an existing menu item can make it easier for your kitchen staff to learn and execute flawlessly.

4. Bank on Trendy

Embrace the fads. Staying on trend is challenging, by the time you figure out what’s “in”, it’s probably already on it’s way out. Social media is a great tool to find inspiration for your next LTO. Make the connection of what’s hot with your customers and it’ll be well worth the effort. Food holidays can be a strategic way to attract new customers, as an example of trendy specials. Use this national food holiday calendar to find marketing opportunities for your restaurant.

5. The Customer’s Always Right

When in doubt, involve your customers in the creation of your next LTO. The development of an LTO is a valuable opportunity to engage guests and get a deeper understanding of the flavors and dishes they’re craving. Willing customers, about 70%, say they want to contribute to the creation of LTOs. By involving your customers in this process and getting feedback right from the source, you reduce the risk of a flop. Increase the prospect of a hot item or the best thing since PSLs (Pumpkin Spiced Lattes).

6. Creativity & Novelty

Thinking outside the box with off-the-wall flavor combinations can get your customers talking. No need to play it safe, try something gutsy, something new, something you’ve thought about before, but never dared to try. It’s a limited-time offer, so if it fails, you can always try something else next time. A successful LTO will have customers driving miles and miles just to get their hands on it. Although many LTOs don’t see a sequel, the potential buzz alone makes them worth the try.

If you’re struggling to come up with new ideas, look to the ones who know your menu best, your team members. Chances are, they’ve had ideas of their own about what LTOs might work.

7. Hit That Replay Button

When you find a hit LTO that patrons love, bring it back on a regular basis. Research suggests that returning LTOs are among the most successful, satisfying customers who already love the item and look forward to ordering it again.

Seasonal LTOs fit this approach perfectly, ranking #1 in terms of consumer interest (78%), followed by value-priced  LTOs (76%). The unique flavors available each season invite experimentation, with plenty of demand: 47% of diners (aged 18 – 34) say their menu preferences change with the seasons. Restaurants can capitalize on the popularity of seasonal flavors and items that make sense for their menus.

8. Choose Your Words Carefully

Take extra care in how you name and describe your LTO. Make saying “yes” easy to say for your guests, by carefully choosing the words to name and describe your offering on the menu. Use words that convey how special and unique your LTO is, but stick to terms that customers will understand to prevent a costly error. Crunchy, chewy, smooth, rich, creamy are great textures to get mouths watering.

9. Eat With Your Eyes

We eat with our eyes first, and this still rings true, especially in the age of social media where engaging visuals act as the modern dollar. Therefore, an appetizing photo of your LTO item is a must. Invest the time and money to get mouth-watering images of your new items and share it through social media, email campaigns, and in-store POS materials like posters or table cards.

If you’re the DIY-type, there are an endless amount of online tutorials that can guide you on how to take delicious photos of food with little more than a phone and natural light.

Here’s a few of our favorites:

 

10. Detail-Oriented

From day one, you’ll want your staff to be educated and prepared to explain your LTOs consistently to guests. Well before the launch, practice executing the item so you can gauge how long it takes to prepare and you can troubleshoot any operational challenges before you invest in the ingredients and launch the product. Allow your service staff to taste the LTO so they can share their personal experience and enthusiasm with customers, and make sure they understand the terminology used to describe it.

 

Limited-time offers can be unpredictable, so your best idea might not land with your customer base, while your last-second idea might be the one that hits it big. Don’t be discouraged. LTOs are your chance to take risks and BE BOLD. Use these tips to build a basic LTO strategy, then try a few things and see what works.

 

Resources: General Mills | QSRAutomations | Simplotfoods | Delaget




Women-Owned Businesses: Growth and Sweet Success

We’re seeing more women-owned businesses, more female investors, and—what’s perhaps even more important—more brands waving their “women-owned and operated” flag, like a badge of honor. And we love to see it!

As of 2019, according to the annual State of Women-Owned Businesses Report commissioned by American Express, there were nearly 13 million women-owned businesses in the U.S. The report also states that women-owned businesses generated $1.9 trillion in revenue for the U.S. economy in 2019. The growth rate of the number of women-owned companies was 3.9% annually, between 2014 and 2019, increasing 21% total. This rate is twice the rate for all businesses. Women-owned businesses only represented 4.6% of all businesses, in 1972 and in 2019 they represented 42% of all U.S. businesses, employing 9.4 million workers.

In the same span of time, the number of businesses owned by women of color increased by 43%, doubling the growth rate of women-owned businesses (21%). As of 2019, women of color made up 50% of all women-owned businesses and generated 23% of total women-owned businesses’ revenue, according to the annual State of Women-Owned Businesses Report commissioned by American Express.

Challenges

Not too different from the challenges of the past, today women-owned businesses are struggling with: access to capital, childcare responsibilities, and the subtle societal prejudice against women entrepreneurs. According to the 2020 report from National Women’s Business Council (NWB), more than 57% of microloans are going to women entrepreneurs, but female founders received only 2.2% of venture capital dollars in 2018.

Growth in funding for women entrepreneurs has not kept pace with the growth of other types of support. While 79% of U.S. women-entrepreneurs feel more empowered now, than they did five years ago, 66% still report difficulty obtaining the funding they need to succeed. What this troubling statistic means is that while women may feel that they have other resources to support their entrepreneurial journey, they’re still not receiving the financial support from investors or VCs needed to get their venture off the ground. According to the 2019 Columbia Business School study, female-led firms are 63% less likely to receive VC funding.

 

“Finally, women business owners are less likely to seek business loans than male business owners. While just a quarter of women business owners seek business financing, a third of male business owners seek business financing. Though this women in business statistic might paint a picture of tighter budgeting, it could also explain why women-owned businesses contributed to just 4.3% of total private sector annual revenue. If more women business owners seek and gain access to business financing for growth opportunities, perhaps their contribution to US revenue will become more proportional.”

Industry Specific

Female food entrepreneurs are on an upward trajectory. Building businesses, raising money, and curating initiatives and organizations to combat the industry boy’s club, and they’re making incredible meals, beverages, and CPG products while they do it.

According to the NRA (National restaurant Association) more than half of the restaurants in the US have women as full owners or co-owners, with women as about 45% of restaurant managers, which is higher than the 38% of female managers in other industries. Women are simply more likely to hold mid to senior leadership roles in the restaurant industry than other industries.

Over 60% of women have worked in the U.S. restaurant industry at some point in their life, but who manages them can make all the difference in their experience and success overall. Without female leadership, the restaurant’s work culture for females is often described as strained, or even toxic at its worst. The need for gender equity in the workforce on all levels is key to ensuring women have the best opportunity for success.

Many female leaders aim to create work environments they wanted to see when they started out. Little by little, female chefs, managers, and owners are helping change the industry’s perceptions of women from the inside out.

Economy Effected

Undoubtedly, women-owned businesses are driving economic growth in the United States. Again, women-owned represents 42% of all businesses (nearly 13 million), employing 9.4 million workers and generating revenue of $1.9 trillion. Yet significant size disparity exists between these businesses and others. Closing the gap benefits everyone, not just women. More goods and services bought and sold grows the economy.

As women and minorities have a combined buying power of around $10 trillion dollars, or about 66% of total US buying power. When women are given the keys to create something great, we know they reward their communities with re-investment. Buying female truly is buying local.

“Realizing the economic potential of women-owned businesses requires changes in policies, business practices and attitudes. Some changes, such as family leave and affordable childcare, impact all working women while others, such as training and access to capital and markets, are specific to particular segments of business owners. Making meaningful change also requires understanding that women-owned businesses are not monolithic. Factors such as gender, race, ethnicity, entrepreneurial motivation, generation and geographic location make meeting their needs more complex.”

Our Story

As a certified women-owned business, we believe in the advancement of women. More than a third of our management positions are held by women, and 60% of our supervisors have been promoted from within the company. We foster a collaborative environment of cultural vibrancy and inclusion, reflective of our beloved city; learning from different experiences and embracing each other’s strengths.

 

“Women, in particular, have a natural tendency towards inclusiveness. We champion big goals early on and drive the mission, because we get it. Women have a passion, they create believers. And that energy makes it flow throughout to their teams and to the company. When it comes to long-term goals, there’s a steadiness there, at the same time as, they get the big idea, it’s an awesome combination. Women are collaborative, they think and plan as a team. They bring these certain skills, inclusiveness and their ability to communicate well, and when they’re smart, we’re unstoppable.” – Sandy Solmon, Founder and CEO of Sweet Street Desserts

We reinvest in our community by championing economic development and access to the arts and education. Sweet Street is involved in Downtown Reading Revitalization by joining Reading CollegeTown, The GoggleWorks, and Jazz Fest. This not only beautifies downtown and expands the communal space, but enriches the lives of our community and creates a lasting impact.

We are passionate about buying local when possible, and being corporately responsible. We’ve initiated sustainability programs with suppliers, supporting women farmers via the Honduras Cocoa collective, facility wide recycling program. All of which ensure our community can flourish for future generations. Investing in women-owned businesses truly is buying local.

COVID-19

It’s no surprise that all businesses were affected during the pandemic. However, the impact was felt more strongly by some. “Women, particularly working mothers and Black moms especially, have taken the brunt of national job loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Raising a family and juggling work responsibilities was challenging before schools closed and day cares limited capacity; tacking on the complexities of the past year only made it harder.”

The NWBC’s report said that the number of women-owned businesses fell by 25% from February to April 2020. Of the over 1.1 million workers, age 20 or older who dropped out of the labor force in September 2020, 80% of them were women.

 

Diversity in all its many forms drives innovation. Women have different perspectives, skills and experiences and therefore solve problems in new and innovative ways. As it turns out, women are often more likely than business owners in general, to see a need in the market and build a company to fulfill it. This bodes well for the U.S. economy, but women face more obstacles when starting and growing their businesses, than entrepreneurs in general. Eliminating barriers that hinder the success of women-owned businesses is an economic necessity that will stimulate innovation and improve productivity, which will create jobs, build wealth and grow the economy.

 

Resources:

Chicago Tribune | Great Business Schools | Big Ideas | Forbes | State of Women-Owned Report | Small Biz Trends | Foodboro | Try Cake | Fundera | Rewards Network




5 Steps & 5 Tips To Make The Best Dessert Charcuterie Board

Rising in popularity are the revived, 15th century-French, meat-and-cheese boards. Charcuterie boards have spiraled into a massive trend on social media. Search for “charcuterie” on Instagram and find nearly one million results dedicated to snack sculptures of mindfully placed sliced cured meat, contrasting cheeses, artfully cut fruits and vegetables, and a scattering of nuts and olives. Everything intricately displayed on wooden boards. On Facebook there are hundreds of public and private groups dedicated to the art form. In this post, we follow this trend from its origins to it’s most modern form, providing a step-by-step guide and tips to make the perfect dessert-charcuterie board.

Brief History:

The word “charcuterie” (pronounced shahr-ku-tuh-ree) derives from the French words “chair” and “cuit”, translating to “cooked flesh”. Charcuterie first rose to prominence in the 1400s in France “to represent storefronts specializing in the preparation of pig and offal, at a time when shop owners weren’t allowed to sell uncooked pork.

“The owners of these shops, known as charcutiers, grew popular for their thoughtful meat preparation that helped establish stylized plates of “cooked flesh” as a part of French gastronomic culture. Over time, breads, cheeses, fruits, and vegetables joined the boards as accoutrements to the succulent meats, forming the charcuterie board as we know it today.”

 

Dessert Charcuterie Trend:

While “charcuterie” can equate to European luxury and sophistication, meat-and-cheese plates are no stranger to American social scenes, fueling party-goers and fending off hunger as restaurant appetizers. Today, social media has converted traditional boards into adaptable meal du-jours. 

It’s no longer about just cured meats and cheeses: Bagel or pancake-topped breakfast charcuterie boards, colorful candy charcuterie boards, and snack-attack charcuterie boards, will be the casual family artisanal DIY-meal.

Restaurants are taking advantage of the concept as an alternative to buffet displays, catering options, appetizers, and to-go menus. Small bite-sized pieces allow for portion control and share-ability, a concept that consumers are starting to get more comfortable with. Therefore, we’re providing some helpful tips on how to build a tasteful and aesthetically pleasing dessert-charcuterie board. 

 

Steps:

The fascination with charcuterie boards has less to do with the specifics of what’s on the plate, and more with the visual appeal of the whole. A satisfying DIY experience, you can tailor to fit any theme, and there is always something for everyone. Learn a few easy techniques on how to put together a well-crafted dessert charcuterie board that’s perfect for sharing with family and friends!

First, let’s start with the basics. Here’s what you’ll be including in your dessert-charcuterie board:

1. The platter – a.k.a. the foundation of your board

2. Selection of desserts – your main attraction

3. Spreads & Sauces – to make each bite unique

4. Fruits & Nuts – something for everyone

5. Garnishes – for visual appeal and to cleanse your palate

 

Tips

Contrasting Flavors

To build a delectable smorgasbord, you’ll want to choose contrasting flavors. This allows for every bite to be individualized and unique. For instance, your board should include sweet, without omitting salty, savory or even umami. Balance the board with citrus, chocolate, cheese, nuts, toffee, and fruity flavors, so there’s something for all taste buds. Try Chili Chocolate Sauce, salted Toffee Blondie bites, spiced pistachios, blueberry compote, cheesecake bites with grilled pear and caramel sauce, for example. Add a side of candied ginger to cleanse the palate.

 

 

Textured

Additionally, it’s a good idea to provide a variety of textures on your board, yielding different sensational experiences. Therefore, to please all the senses, add something crunchy, chewy, smooth, creamy, and crispy. Our dessert-charcuterie board includes chewy options, like a fudgy brownie; something with a crunch, like a toffee blondie; and something smooth, like a velvety cheesecake.

Charcuterie boards are most appealing when they’re perceived as abundant with texture and color. So we suggest filling gaps with fruit and nuts, and adding height and dimension where you can. Stack items in a big pile, but space out similar flavor profiles and colorful items, as to not crowd the dish, generating balance and contrast. 

Balance: Health & Indulgence

Sporting all those rich dessert flavors, you’re going to need fresh healthful items to balance out your board. For example, accent your display with fresh-cut herbs like sage or rosemary; a variety of crunchy nuts, like pistachios and walnuts; and sliced fruit like apples, or a bowl of brightly colored berries. The idea is to choose items that can cut through rich flavors, or cleanse the palate in between bites.

 

Flares of Color & An Empty Pantry:

We eat with our eyes first. That is to say that you’ll want to incorporate an array of colors like red, purple, yellow and green, to contrast the tones of brown in your dessert selection. Have fun and keep your display exciting by using a variety of pigments. In other words, paint with your food!

However, the hidden gem to charcuterie boards, is that they’re also a great way for restaurants to utilize their unused LTO-fixings. Take advantage of left-over ingredients in your pantry. Maybe a specialty sauce used on the drink list, remaining seasonal fruit, or other residual elements in your kitchen can help your board reach the next level. You can be creative, by scattering remnant scraps to create shape and structure within your board.

Find Your Zen

Lastly, don’t forget to bask in the meditative benefits of putting together a carefully crafted charcuterie board. This artistic practice can be an important form of self-care, but with edible results!

 

In conclusion, dessert-charcuterie is here for the long haul. “We expect charcuterie demand will keep growing at a steady pace in 2021, as it remains on trend for high quality, flavorful, convenient meal solutions suitable for snacking, sandwiches, and easy at-home entertaining,” Bigi said. “The range of charcuterie continues to grow from both domestic and imported suppliers, with plenty of snacking and multi-component items entering the market.” Something so fun and exciting in the world of food, that’s ideal for snacking, romantic date nights, and any occasion in between, makes charcuterie the ideal food trend with staying power.

 

Resources:

https://www.mashed.com/263305/the-real-reason-charcuterie-boards-are-so-popular/?utm_campaign=clip 

https://www.businessinsider.com/charcuterie-millennial-social-media-phenomenon-2020-1