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Jeff Hill likely to escape punishment for major wine scam

Wine Industry Insight RSS - 8 hours 47 min ago
Jeffry Hill is the mastermind of one of the largest wine and grape fraud cases to hit Napa Valley but is unlikely ever to face any punishment for his key according to multiple sources at the TTB who have previously expressed their frustration in communications to Wine Industry Insight. The remainder of this article is […]
Categories: Wine Industry News

Older moderate & occasional alcohol consumers live longest: New Study

Wine Industry Insight RSS - 9 hours 27 min ago
Source: Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research (Red annotations added for clarity.)
Categories: Wine Industry News

2016 Victor Hugo Viognier (Paso Robles, California)

Wine Industry Insight RSS - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 23:12
Barrel fermented and aged in Hungarian oak for 6 months. Apricot and toasted almonds, dry at the start and rounding out smoothly by the finish. Nice! Purchased on sale for $13.99 from Hover Crossing Wine & Spirits in Longmont, CO (originally $20). -B
Categories: Wine Industry News

What Does the Future Hold for Hooters and Twin Peaks?

Restaurant Management - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 11:49
What Does the Future Hold for Hooters and Twin Peaks? danny Tue, 09/17/2019 - 11:49

And the once-booming category in general.

September 2019

Historically, chains like Hooters and Twin Peaks, and their scantily clad waitresses, established a niche audience, of mostly men, in the sports-bar restaurant space. But industry consultants suggest that although they’re holding their own, times have changed, and they need to adapt in order to keep pace. 

Showing how challenging the category can be, the Arc Group, which owns Dick’s Wings, acquired 34-unit Tilted Kilt in November of 2018 for $10. That price was low based on Tilted Kilt’s $1.8 million burden of debt and $1.5 million in additional payments due.

Today, standing out means bucking the tide against sexism, updating menus beyond chicken wings, and appealing to more than men in search of sporting events.

Hooters and Twin Peaks have had disparate results in terms of revenue. In a ranking of revenue at the top 500 U.S. restaurants, Hooter’s, the largest of the two with more than 300 locations, saw its revenue fall 1.7 percent in 2018, while Twin Peaks’ 83 locations spiked 7.3 percent. What is Twin Peaks getting right, and what does Hooters need to do bounce back?

Darren Tristano, CEO of Foodservice Results, an Oak Park, Illinois-based food industry research firm, says these chains are still thriving, but they need to make improvements to catch up with “casual dining bar and grills that have contemporized.” He says competitors have enhanced food quality, and now offer local craft beer, as well as improved wine and spirits selections.

Consumers still frequent Hooters, Tristano says, for their “inexpensive and affordable food and that remains a value play.” But millennials are seeking “independent burger bars where they can watch sports and enjoy food and be in the company of each other,” he says.

Twin Peaks has done a solid job of enhancing its menu options. Many of the Twin Peaks locations have outdoor spaces, large settings with ample square footage, and its “food and ice-cold beers are differentiators compared to Hooters,” Tristano says.

These restaurants with sultry waitresses attract 65 percent or higher percentages of men, and that means they’re having a tougher time wooing women and families, Tristano says. He suggests hiring more male servers, which could appeal to a more varied clientele.


Hooters has seen a jump in delivery sales over the last year.

Yet it’s not just restaurant chains in this specific category that are feeling the pinch. So are a host of casual-dining bar and grills, says Roger Lipton, president of Lipton Financial Services, which specializes in the restaurant industry. “It’s a very competitive space, and they’re all battling for market share,” he says.

The alluring waitresses create a mixed message, Lipton says. Some men want to ogle them, but “some guys won’t bring their wives or kids. You lose some customers who are offended,” he says.

Since Hooters was acquired by two private equity firms, Nord Bay Capital and TriArtisan Capital Advisors in January 2019, Tristano expects they will focus on “improving the balance sheet first, and when they’ve made some success at the unit level, they’ll look to invest money for renovation.” Each renovated location usually spikes revenue by 10–15 percent the next year, he adds. Tristano also predicts that under-performing locations will be closed.

Hooters’ concentrating on delivery to spike sales

Recently in the press, Hooters CEO Terry Marks discussed the chain’s need to make some changes. He’s stepped up Hooters delivery, which has been a revenue booster for many chains. 

Marks said Hooters’ delivery revenue has grown by more than 30 percent in one year. The brand has also improved its menu by offering smoked wings and more craft beer options. 

Tristano believes Twin Peaks will continue to expand, grow its market share, and take market share away from Hooters.

Twin Peaks has grown to 83 eateries, located in 26 states, with 28 company-owned units and 55 franchised. It opened two new outlets in 2018 and is slated to debut four locations in 2019.

Twin Peaks knows its clientele: 74 percent are men.

Secret of Twin Peaks’ boosting its revenue

The secret to Twin Peaks’ success, says CEO Joe Hummel, who is based in Lewisville, Texas, outside of Dallas, is, “We understand our DNA and what makes our brand what it is. We’re not everything for everybody, but we understand our demographics.”

And that demographic is very clear: 74 percent of its clientele consists of men. Hummel says Twin Peaks appeals to “all kinds of men from millennials to Baby Boomers and everything in between.” Its audience frequents Twin Peaks, he says, for “bold and craveable food options, bar offerings, sports viewing packages, and a casual setting that includes cigar bars and large communal tables.”

Most locations contain 65–75 TVs and that covers a plethora of sports packages. “We have hockey fans sitting next to football fans, and we want to accommodate both,” Hummel says.

The chain’s menu consists of food items, made from scratch, fresh in the kitchen. Hummel says because of all the food networks on TV, “people have a more sophisticated palette. And you can’t fool the eater the way you could in the 80s.” 

Patrons at Twin Peaks can choose among “spicy ribs, chicken tender basket, hangover burger [burger with eggs over easy, bacon and cheese on top] and smoked chicken wings,” he says.

Asked if there’s been any backlash over the Twin Peak waitresses (it doesn’t hire male servers), Hummel says not at all. He describes Twin Peak girls as “valuable team members that we know are someone’s daughter, girlfriend or wife or sister. We expect our guests to have the utmost respect.” Providing a safe and fun environment at work is critical to its mission.

Women patrons are major sports fans as well and come to Twin Peaks for salmon, ribeye, cobb salad, the hangover burger and great wine, margaritas and mimosas, he says.

The brand is also known for selling the frostiest beer in town, which Hummel says is based on a proprietary approach that includes “the chilling of the beer and the mug and serving it as the right temperature.” 

Since it relies heavily on franchisees, Hummel, who was a former COO of La Cima Partners, Twin Peaks’ largest franchisee, says its selection process “runs deep and wide. We want to ensure that they take the same passion and care as we do.”

Hummel sees growth in Twin Peaks’ future and expects it to reach about 100 locations in the next two years or so.

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Categories: Restaurants

ShipCompliant expands product offerings with License Management and Delivery Experience

Ship Compliant Wine Blog - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 11:35

ShipCompliant announces two product offerings, License Management and Delivery Experience, the latter as a newly unbundled tool. We’ve incorporated customer feedback in developing these standalone solutions—creating more options to cater to emerging and growing organizations of all sizes and budgets.

License Management helps beverage alcohol companies keep track of state licensing requirements and upcoming deadlines by providing visibility into everything needed to obtain and maintain beverage alcohol licenses. Delivery Experience helps wineries extend excellent customer service during the shipping process, provides greater control over shipments and analyzes the fulfillment process to improve delivery rates. Read on for more details.

Organize license data and never get caught with an expired license with License Management

When starting or expanding your business it can be confusing and complex trying to understand where to get licensed, how to maintain licenses, and keeping track of those licenses. Not knowing where to find the correct information, searching websites and calling into state agencies, and trying to keep up with timelines and requirements that vary state by state can begin to eat up a lot of your time — time that could be better spent on revenue generating activities.

ShipCompliant’s License Management tool can help wineries, breweries, and distilleries stay up to date on state requirements and access forms, ensure they have all the information when considering expansion into new states, and make sure renewals are submitted on time to avoid delays, late fees and any lapses that could negatively impact sales.

ShipCompliant License Management offers:

  • A central place to organize and store licenses
  • Alerts when licenses are going to expire
  • Information and links on how to get licensed
  • License renewal management—checklists and links to renewal information

If you’re a beverage alcohol company starting your business or interested in growing your company compliantly, request a demo of License Management today and see how it can streamline and simplify your entire licensing process. 

Exceed customer delivery expectations by extending the white glove treatment to wine shipping with Delivery Experience

Creating a great customer experience throughout the heavily regulated and increasingly complex wine shipping process can be difficult. Often times the customer experience can feel out of a winery’s control once it leaves their warehouse. Exceeding customer expectations of  low cost, fast, and highly visible deliveries can be hard to attain in the extensively regulated direct-to-consumer (DtC) landscape.

The Delivery Experience tool, previously only available as a bundled product, can help wineries of all sizes ship DtC compliantly, while meeting high delivery expectations. This solution gives customers greater control at shipment stages and wineries the ability to analyze the fulfillment process to improve future delivery rates.

ShipCompliant Delivery Experience assists with:

  • Reducing returns
  • Automatic, customized emails sent at key shipment milestones
  • Visibility into entire shipping process
  • All tracking numbers from FedEx, UPS, GSO in a central place — making it easier to see what needs attention

If you’re a winery looking to exceed customer delivery expectations and gain control over the shipping process, request a demo of Delivery Experience. 

Also, check out our blog post further exploring customer expectations, and our recent webinar discussing some best practices for DtC shipping during this busy season. 


Request a Demo of ShipCompliant today.

The post ShipCompliant expands product offerings with License Management and Delivery Experience appeared first on ShipCompliant | The software leader of the beverage alcohol industry.

James Beard Foundation Announces Changes to Best Chef Awards

Restaurant Management - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 11:26
James Beard Foundation Announces Changes to Best Chef Awards rachel Tue, 09/17/2019 - 11:26

The last time the organization expanded the number of regions was in 2007.

September 2019

For the first time since 2012, the James Beard Foundation is changing the regions for its Best Chef Awards. In order to properly represent chefs across different states, the organization is expanding the number of regions from 10 to 12. 

This isn’t the first time the organization has made tweaks. “Every few years, with the help of demographers who analyze current population and hospitality industry data, as well as an ear to the ground about what culinary communities are burgeoning where, we revisit the division of states into regions,” the company said in a statement. 

The last time it expanded the number of regions was 2007, when the number went from 8 to 10. 

“By increasing our regional awards from 10 to 12 we are recognizing the explosion of food and restaurant culture across the country, and we are pleased to share this news with the food and hospitality community and all those who follow our annual Awards,” James Beard Foundation chief strategy officer Mitchell Davis said in a statement. 

Recent analysis of the industry supports the organization's decision to reintroduce stand-alone states as their own regions. With a large growing population and restaurant density to match, Texas is now designated as its own region. California, which previously stood as its own region from 1991–2007, will be removed from the West region to form its own regional category.

Another change comes to the state of New York. Since 1992, the five boroughs of New York City have stood alone. The rest of New York was a part of the New England region. Now, New York City will be a part of the newly established New York State region. 

“While the city’s food culture remains vibrant and dynamic, it is no longer the only or the best gastro game in town,” the organization said in a statement. “To recognize the incredible depth and diversity of dining in cities in other regions across the country, we are beginning to level the playing field.”

Here are a few other changes the Beard Foundation has made concerning the regional categories:

  • The West and Northwest categories will be partially combined into a new Northwest & Pacific category. This region will now consist of Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington.
  • The remaining states from the former Northwest category will join Colorado in the newly minted “Mountain” category, which will consist fully of Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming.
  • The Southwest, having lost Texas and Colorado, will now consist of Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Nevada.
  • The Northeast category remains the same minus New York, and now consists fully of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
  • The regions that remain unchanged are Great Lakes, Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, South, and Southeast.

“The national restaurant scene and the populations that fuel it are constantly shifting,” Davis said in a statement. “We understand that as a Foundation, we must continually adapt to serve our community as fairly as possible.” 

Redistricting is just one of the tools the foundation uses to ensure fairness, inclusivity, and transparency, Davis said. The organization will monitor the evolution of the industry and population data in these new regions to make sure fair and balanced results come from the redistricting.

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Categories: Restaurants

Why Hotel Restaurants Need to Start Thinking Like Independents

Restaurant Management - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 11:16
Why Hotel Restaurants Need to Start Thinking Like Independents danny Tue, 09/17/2019 - 11:16

It's time for operators to catch up.

September 2019

Traditionally, hotels have viewed their restaurants as necessary services instead of potential profit makers. The markup on room and board is more forgiving than the narrow margins of the restaurant industry, and as long as a restaurant provided a full menu, fed the guests and didn’t lose too much money, property owners were content.

Still to this day, you’re more likely to find plenty of staff in a hotel restaurant, no matter its size or the operating hours. This overstaffing is to accommodate guests not only as servers, but also as hotel and city guides. 

Whereas hotel restaurants typically allow 40 percent of an operating budget on labor. For self-sufficient restaurants, the threshold for labor costs is around 30 percent. That’s roughly a 10 percent difference, and in most cases, that’s the margin between profitability and closure.

Things began to change in the early 2010s, when hotels embraced high-end restaurants as a draw during the peak of TV-chef celebrity. These partnerships were a big and often successful trend, but the audience couldn’t sustain all these concepts and some were never appropriate for mid-size or smaller markets.

In mixed-use downtowns, restaurants often occupy the street level, and are more accessible to the general public. More hotels are using a unique and seemingly independent space to attract surrounding residents as well as to serve their guests. After all, the guests want to get a feel for the locals, right?

To a lesser extent, rooftop restaurants can also become local attractions for locals looking for a unique experience. The play for larger audiences is a gateway to profits. The first step is to treat the restaurant as if it were separate and give it a concept.

An in-house restaurant that isn’t beholden to a parent company’s set menu can offer guests local dishes as well as locally crafted beers, spirits or wines. Sampling local fare can elevate the dining experience into a form of entertainment that is likely to encourage more spending. The staff is more likely to be familiar with, and enthusiastic about, local products and spark conversations that include attractions around the hotel and city. By differentiating the dining experience, guests are likely to carry over their impression to the hotel as well.

With a set concept that will attract more than just guests, it should be marketed just like any other restaurant that happens to be located below or adjacent to a hotel.

Internal marketing aimed at guests should be a part of the plan as well. This could include vertical stands on the bedside stand or coupons in the welcome packet. The website and brochures should include the restaurant as a main attraction, perhaps for the “guest who want to go out but stay close to home” or position the restaurant as a gateway to the city.

Through social media, downtown restaurants can target large meetings and conferences that the hotel side is already privy. There’s even an opportunity to entice groups that booked a conference room into the restaurant and bar experience. Blocking off a section for a post-meeting buffet and happy hour is a potential add-on (and upsell) that will get guests out of the same room and break up their day.

Beyond sit-down options, hotels have found success by outsourcing a healthy quick-service restaurant geared toward guests that need lunches on-the-go and don’t want to spend as much during the day. Some travelers prefer a “known” meal and the relatively lower cost a chain can provide for an alternative meal and beverages for guests without competing directly with the hotel’s own food options. Framed another way, why not have a popular coffee or quick-service chain on the premises as yet another of the hotel’s offering rather than watch those same customers walk down the block.

For hotel restaurants to tap into profits without sacrificing service, they need to work together and use its business model to its fullest advantage. Not only can they cross-market one another, they can improve recognition and relations with other businesses in the surrounding area by using the restaurant as a gathering place.

The restaurant and hotel sides of the company also need to aggregate the overlapping data on their guests to gain a better picture of behavior, experience and spending. Point of sale (POS) devices give hotels access to a wealth of data that could provide insight into paring down food waste, scheduling staff more efficiently, but it’s up to management to coordinate it and integrate it into both sides of the business.

The transition into a more open and profitable restaurant isn’t right for every property. The local market may not provide a year-round draw, the kitchen’s size may prohibit adding more customers, etc. Owners still need to crunch those numbers. Yet consumer behavior is moving toward expecting something beyond a restaurant with the same carpet as the lobby, and the mindset within hotels need to catch up.

Chris Rumpf is a 15-year veteran of managed services, focusing on hospitality, restaurant and retail automation. His company, Flyght, pioneers a proven process to unify the tech inside restaurants, retailers and hotels. Chris speaks at national industry events on hospitality and retail managed services, and his knowledge on retail trends.

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Categories: Restaurants


Wine Industry Insight RSS - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 10:08
TOP NEWS Are corporate accountants driving a decrease in new oak usage? CAL/OSHA Enforcement Trends in Agriculture Washington State Department of Agriculture seeks phylloxera sampling volunteers Who is the CBD customer and what are they using it for? What’s at Stake and at Risk in U.S.-Japan Trade Talks Boutique winemakers: Save time and effort this […]
Categories: Wine Industry News

The Crusher 2016 Calif Petite Sirah – Bursting with flavor

Wine Industry Insight RSS - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 09:13
Medium-bodied but bursting with pomegranate and currant fruit balanced by plenty of structured tannins and hints of oak. $13.99 Broadway Market, Sonoma – lp
Categories: Wine Industry News

BevAlc Roundup | The Problem With Wine Tariffs, White Claw’s Very Good Summer, and How to Import Alcohol

Ship Compliant Wine Blog - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 15:18

With September now halfway over (!), we are rapidly moving through the harvest and into the busy holiday shopping season. This can be an extremely hectic time of year, with lots going on, and so we hope you can relax for a little bit and enjoy our Roundup.

This week, we look at Florida, which is moving to permit DtC shipping of wine by retailers; also, are cancer warning labels on alcohol bottles right around the corner?; and California’s best wines may have had their start in a laboratory.

In case you haven’t heard, the 2019 Direct-to-Consumer Wine Shipping Report is available for download. Get your copy today here.

Thanks for reading the Roundup this week. As ever, be sure to check out the rest of the ShipCompliant by Sovos blog for regular updates, and we’ll see you again in another couple of weeks.

Regulatory News and Discussions

TTB Newsletter | This week’s top news includes that we’re about to make some changes to our website, we’re looking for good candidates to fill an auditor position in Tampa, and we’ve resolved a recent case by accepting an offer in compromise. TTB

Out-of-State Wine Shipping Options Expand in Florida | As of August 1, 2019 out-of-state retailers could begin shipping wine direct-to-consumer (DtC) to Florida residents. ShipCompliant by Sovos

Research Shows That Wine Tariffs Are Not Easy; Increasing Them May Be Harder | It seems each year European wines show up on retail shelves in my part of the country costing a little more than the year before, so what would happen if President Trump goes through with his twice-threatened tariff increase on French wines? Forbes

The TTB Crusade Against Small Producers and the “Consignment Sale” Business Model | By now most of the industry knows about the TTB’s crusade against small wineries in California, Oregon and elsewhere that use extended payment terms to provide wine to wholesalers in out-of-state markets. Booze Rules

Court Dismisses Challenge to TTB’s Rejection of Health Claims on Vodka | In 2016, Bellion petitioned TTB to approve eight specific claims related to the NTX-infused vodka. After consulting with the federal Food & Drug Administration (FDA), in 2017 TTB rejected all eight claims. Alcohol Law Advisor

Industry Updates: Market Conditions and Developments

Get Ready for Cancer Warnings on Wine Labels | The volume of the narrative that is attempting to say wine consumption is “just like smoking” is growing and discussions have started regarding changing the warning labels on the back of wine. SVB on Wine

How the Hell Is White Claw Hard Seltzer Outselling Budweiser? | We examine the phenomenal growth of hard seltzer and predict its staying power. Daily Beast

Why X Marks the Spot for Selling Wine | Give the overlooked Gen-X drinkers substance, fun and a story and they’re all yours. Wine-searcher.com

Why Winemakers Should be Fighting Against Herbicide Drift | A grape grower whose vineyards have been damaged speaks out on why it’s a threat to the industry. SevenFifty Daily


How to Enter the U.S. Market With a New Alcohol Brand | A guide to the country’s regulatory system and the options for importing wine, beer, and spirits products. SevenFifty Daily

Some of California’s Most Famous Wines Came From a Science Experiment | Michael Benedict’s research led to his founding the first vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills. Forbes

Wine in Cans Soars in Stores | Research hints at why it’s more than a Millennial movement. North Bay Business Journal


Request a demo of ShipCompliant.

The post BevAlc Roundup | The Problem With Wine Tariffs, White Claw’s Very Good Summer, and How to Import Alcohol appeared first on ShipCompliant | The software leader of the beverage alcohol industry.

Denny's Revitalization Starts with a Full-Sensory Experience

Restaurant Management - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 11:29
Denny's Revitalization Starts with a Full-Sensory Experience danny Mon, 09/16/2019 - 11:29

The legacy's brand remodel program reflects recent progression, explains a franchisee.

September 2019

Denny’s “Heritage” remodel program has anchored its revitalization. The modern, comfortable look is now visible in nearly 85 percent of the brand’s locations, with 40 refreshes completed in the second quarter of fiscal 2019 alone.

How big of a flip has it been? Denny’s chief brand officer previously said updated units were providing mid-single-digital sales lifts over legacy scores, and leading to better guest ratings across all dayparts and rating ticks, from customer experience to food scores. “It even makes the food taste better,” he told FSR.


At Denny’s, the brand revolution continues

At its heart, the Heritage design gives outlets a more old-fashioned-diner feel—something that’s helped open up the dinner daypart. It’s also central to Denny’s more-recent movement aimed at re-introducing customers to the brand. Whether through zany social media or a marketing campaign directed at diversity, not to mention off-premises and digital efforts coupled with a menu overhaul that touched nearly 80 percent of its core entrees, the chain wants to invite guests back to experience improvements. And if the stores themselves don’t reflect that energy, the message and the reality won’t be synched. Simply, it’s hard to convince guests something new is going on if it doesn’t look that way.

For operators, it’s a race to get those aforementioned returns and also just to operate restaurants they feel better about. Conversions have played a role, too. In one example, Mike Rommel turned over four locations in one calendar year. He now operates nine locations across Maryland. In that fleet, one store was once a Uno’s Pizzeria. Another a Ruby Tuesday’s. One restaurant was even a local rib joint. Conversions allowed Rommel to turn each of the spots into a Denny’s within 75 days.

Rommel took some time to chat with FSR about the Heritage remodel program and what’s it’s been like to be a part of Denny’s revamp from the ground level.

We’ve heard a lot about the Heritage remodel program from the corporate level. As a franchisee, what are some of the direct changes that make the biggest impact?

From my perspective, I’d say one of the most impactful benefits to the remodels has been how our employees have responded to the updated look and feel and ultimately, how that passion and excitement for these updated restaurants transcends to our guests—it really does come full circle. The Heritage locations capture the true essence of Denny’s with classic diner elements, but with a contemporary twist.

When our employees are engaged and feel motivated by their workplace and in this case, their workspace, it shows. In my 33 years in the restaurant business, I’ve noticed there’s a direct correlation between happy employees and satisfied customers. Especially now in the competitive foodservice landscape. It’s important that we continue to attain our diner’s attention, which is no simple feat, but offering great food in a restaurant that’s vibrant and full of passionate employees, it certainly helps us to reach that goal.

In stores you’ve remodeled, what features have resonated the most?

As soon as guests walk in, they are completely blown away by the ambiance of the Heritage design. The warm and welcoming modern features truly offer a unique dining experience for both new and returning guests. With Denny’s iconic yellow and red colors incorporated throughout the restaurant, the bright-yellow light fixtures draw the most attention and are a great conversation starter once they are seated in a booth, which is another feature that our diners frequently comment on. The contemporary booths and tables are really tied together with the new updated hardwood floor tiles. When diners eat out, it’s important that we provide a full-sensory experience and our Heritage restaurants deliver on all aspects. And as we already know, consumers like to shop and eat at establishments where they have an emotional connection, so it’s essential for us to establish that when we have the opportunity to show new and returning diners about the progression and revitalization of the Denny’s brand in their own community.


The exterior of Denny's new design for stores.

Talk about the conversion process and why that’s been effective? How did you manage to revamp a store in three months? Renovating four restaurants in one year is no small feat. What are some ways you were able to accomplish this? And how important was it to the store’s future performance?

Good planning and having knowledgeable local partners are extremely vital to having an efficient construction process, no matter what the estimated timeframe for completion is. As a restaurant operator and developer, my recipe for success with undertaking a conversion project involves gathering the right resources and information—this is where enlisting the help from local architects comes into play. Their expertise, vast network and knowledge of the local planning and permitting processes has proven to be instrumental for all of my projects with Denny’s. It’s also important as a business owner to trust your partners throughout the process. In my experience, collaboration and guidance from seasoned construction professionals (both the local and Denny’s corporate teams) will help to ensure the project can be executed in a timely-manner, especially when you’re juggling more than one project at a time. All in all, when a restaurant is closed and under construction for an extended period of time, this means that our loyal customers are of course, prone to dining elsewhere. Knowing and understanding how invaluable loyalists are to the success of your business is a key-driver to any restaurant opening and its overall performance.

What are some ways you’d like to see the remodel program evolve?

Denny’s has a number of competitor strengths as a franchisor and I truly believe that the Denny’s Heritage remodel program is one of them. Our leadership team is highly-knowledgeable and I’m pleased with how the Heritage remodel program has continued to develop since its inception in 2013. The ongoing enhancements to our food and atmosphere continue to receive favorable feedback from guests and from a franchisee standpoint, a positive guest experience and increase in sales is highly viable as a business owner.

What does the return on updated units look like compared to legacy ones?

As a franchisee, the remodel package offers an attractive ROI with mid-single sales increases.

From a broader perspective, what is the ground-level experience like competing in family dining right now? How much is it changing and what are you doing to stay ahead?

Denny’s is uniquely positioned as one of the most iconic “value driven” brands that focuses on hospitality and offers consumers a variety of food options at an affordable price. The brand’s ability to transform our image while keeping the value aspect of our business has been key to motivating our guests to see Denny’s as a relevant brand and satisfying their cravings for diner favorites. Coupled together with other in-restaurant and digital marketing initiatives, like our ‘Denny’s on Demand’ platform, makes for a solid strategy to keep the brand ahead of the game. As long as our guests understand our ongoing commitment to Denny’s food quality, value and how we ultimately share these experiences with them, the brand can continue to thrive in this competitive market.

How has technology changed the way your stores do business?

Absolutely. As a legacy brand, technology advancements have allowed for Denny’s to become a more “modern” brand. Especially now with all generations (Baby Boomers, Millennials and Gen Z) typically consuming some sort of virtual technology on a daily basis, we’re able to leverage this trend to reach a wider audience. Over the past few years, we’ve seen off-premises delivery and mobile ordering becoming more and more popular with consumers, so we had to keep up. As a 24/7 in-restaurant concept, this really meant we had to evolve to expand to also include a 24/7 digital model for ordering online and through your phone or desktop. In 2017, the brand completely revamped our mobile app to offer both takeout and delivery options 24 hours a day, seven days a week and to date, around 79 percent of the domestic system is actively engaged with one or more delivery service options. I believe there’s still a lot of potential to grow within this space.

Lastly, talk about labor. It’s the hot-button issue for restaurants right now. How do you approach the challenge as a franchisee?

Retaining great employees in today’s scarce labor market is the ultimate goal as a franchisee. Dealing with employee-related issues can be seen as one of the greatest challenges in franchising, or really any business model, but at the end of the day, it’s about making sure that all of your employees are taken care of and are treated fairly in their work environment.

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Categories: Restaurants


Wine Industry Insight RSS - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 10:35
TOP NEWS Japan to eliminate tariffs on U.S. wine in trade deal Harvest 2019 Update – Napa and the Finger Lakes SLO County wine harvest points to a ‘killer’ crop Almost half of all Internet Users are using ad blockers to avoid seeing your advertising. Save your $ for ad-blocker-compliant sites. How to Succeed: Coravin […]
Categories: Wine Industry News

Why Your Food's Journey Matters to Customers

Restaurant Management - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 10:11
Why Your Food's Journey Matters to Customers danny Mon, 09/16/2019 - 10:11

September is National Food Education Safety Month and, while safety is an issue that should always be top-of-mind, this month is a good time to focus.

September 2019

As a full-service restaurant operator, you’re likely more concerned about the journey of your meals from the kitchen to the dining room, than from the farm to the kitchen, right? But there are many steps in between farm and fork.

Why should you care?

The simple answer: food safety. That journey is at the core of your trustworthy relationship with your consumers. They have an expectation of fantastic service, a nice environment—and that whatever they order won’t make them sick.

September is National Food Education Safety Month and, while safety is an issue that should always be top-of-mind, this month is a good time to focus on the behind-the-scenes things you should be doing—the things the customer never even thinks about. Namely, monitoring your supply chain. And, surprisingly, sharing just a bit of that information with customers could boost referrals, and profits.

For a moment, let’s follow a salad on the menu through the supply chain. 

If you have RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology, it’s easy to trace the journey of any fresh produce item in your inventory.

When your kitchen staff receives the lettuce, an employee uses an RFID reader to scan the code on the pallet—the date it was harvested and shipped as well as the date you received it. That information is the beginning of the item’s digital footprint, giving staff immediate access to the “use by” date as the lettuce gets placed in the cooler.

Once the items are assessed and unpacked, the RFID labels on the packs are scanned to pull the provenance information for each ingredient from the barcode. For example, for grab-and-go items, the information from all the ingredients, in this case for the salad, are combined and added to any other information the store or restaurant wishes to provide the consumer, including nutritional values, pricing, promotional labeling etc.  In this instance, the RFID system prints a label with a QR code, and the item is ready for the display case. The reduction in inventory is also attached to the digital footprint so you can see what was used that day.

If the chef prepares individual salads to be served in the dining room, the salad likely won’t have a label with a QR code. Still, the attributes of the product itself can be enthusiastically conveyed to guests by the waitstaff to communicate the restaurant’s commitment to freshness: “We just got this arugula in yesterday, sourced from a local farm. It smells delicious. I think you’re going to love this.” Or “I saw this come in yesterday. Chef is so excited we were able to get a limited amount of this watercress.”

Those extra details underscore transparency, building the reputation and the brand of the restaurant and making the consumer feel like they’re “in” on the process. Knowing details about their food inspires confidence about its safety. Knowing about their salad’s journey helps make customers feel like family and inspires loyalty—and word of mouth referrals.  

It’s details like this that help differentiate you from the competition.

Ryan Yost is vice president for the Printer Solutions Division (PSD) for Avery Dennison Corporation. Avery Dennison Printer Solutions responds to the unique challenges of businesses in the food, retail and fulfillment markets. Its solutions are rooted in efficiency, cost savings, food safety and sustainability through intelligent innovations that solve business problems and improve business processes.

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Categories: Restaurants

2017 Altos Las Hormigas Malbec Clásico (Mendoza, Argentina)

Wine Industry Insight RSS - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 01:12
  Violets and red fruits on the nose. Plum, blueberry, raspberry, and grape on the palate. Smooth and fruity. An easy drinking red that could go well with a wide variety of dishes. Purchased on sale for $11 from Hover Crossing Wine & Spirits in Longmont, CO. -B
Categories: Wine Industry News

How to Ensure a Successful Shipping Season When Selling Wine DtC

Ship Compliant Wine Blog - Fri, 09/13/2019 - 11:12

By: Merilee Anderson- Copper Peak Logistics, VP Client Services

Note: Copper Peak Logistics is a Platinum Certified Partner with ShipCompliant. Platinum Certified Partners provide the fastest and easiest integration with users’ ShipCompliant accounts, making compliance easier at every step in the delivery chain.


Right now, growers are in peak harvest time for grapes. It’s also peak time for shipping wine DtC. Heat holds put in place during the summer are being released; wineries are ramping up their holiday marketing campaigns and flash sale events; and consumers themselves are driving up the demand for shipping across the board through October, November, and December (the OND shipping season).

The start of the OND season is especially important for the wine industry. In fact, it is estimated that a full 60% of all DtC wine shipments are sent out between mid-September and December. It has been my experience that, when the high-volume shipping season comes, any inefficiencies or “cracks” in your systems are going to show themselves during this busy time.

And, as anyone who has had to have a windshield replaced knows, it’s much easier to address cracks early on, when they are small—and before they cause a major accident. Fortunately, there are some fairly simple things you can do to proactively shore up your processes, and these will help make your OND shipping season go much more smoothly.

To make thinking about these tips a little easier, I’ve broken them down into three categories: Setting expectations during the order-taking process, marketing, and coordinating with your fulfillment partner.

Set Expectations During the Order-Taking Process

Even though you are acutely aware of how busy this season is, the average consumer is not. In fact, your customers will still expect the same level of service and delivery as they would have at any other time of the year. The whole system of overloaded carriers and busy-as-a-beehive fulfillment centers is invisible to them.

Which is why you need to set expectations, right at the point of order. Start by adding a couple of days to your carrier’s normal time-in-transit commitments. Between possible inclement weather and the inundation of the system, there will be delays during peak holiday season, so you need to build in a buffer when it comes to order arrival times.

After you do this, be sure to post holiday shipping deadlines right on your website. Work backward from popular “ship by” dates (such as the days before Thanksgiving and Christmas) with your new estimates for time to pick, pack, and ship. This way, customers know that if they want a gift delivered by, say, Christmas Eve, they need to place an order by such-and-so date.

And don’t stop at your website, either. Inform your wine club, telesales, and tasting room staff of these key order deadlines as well. Advertise these order dates to wine club members, either via email or direct mail. Make announcements on social media. It might take seeing the message multiple times for a consumer to remember that they need to place orders early.

While you are informing your team of these deadlines, it is a good opportunity to give them refresher training on order flow and shipping guidelines as well. All of your staff should be up to speed on your POS software (including what it is capable of selling in kits and bundles) and compliance software (like ShipCompliant). A good fulfillment partner can help with this, too—for example, here at Copper Peak, our clients frequently benefit from our account managers’ ShipCompliant expertise, specifically when it comes to clearing exceptions.

Refresh and Schedule Your Marketing

The busy season might seem like the worst time to step up your marketing—after all, you’re already busy, right?

Really, though, this season is the perfect time to renew and update. Doing so can save you many headaches down the road. For example, take a look at your marketing collateral (your brochures, your website, your catalogues, etc.) and pay special attention to any contact information in them. Do you have the right people listed? Do you have the right phone numbers and emails listed? You would be surprised how much frustration is created simply because a catalogue lists an old customer service number, or a new wine club manager has been hired.

Also make sure you have enough printed material on hand, and that you have supplied this to your fulfillment partner. This can be catalogues, coupons, flyers, tasting notes, or even non-wine merchandise—whatever you are including with shipments. You don’t want to send shipments out without these components, but you also don’t want to delay a shipment waiting for a printer to create more.

The busy season is also a perfectly fine time to review some of your marketing fundamentals so you can plan for the coming season. This is the time to make a marketing schedule and stick to it! Effective market communications you do now will mean more returning customers next season.

Coordinate with Your Fulfillment Partner

If you truly want to be successful this peak season, the time to talk to your fulfillment partner is now. For your part, you’ll want to know what their capabilities and production schedule requirements are. For their part, your fulfillment partner will want to know things like expected order volume, anticipated club/release drop dates, inventory receiving, kitting requirements, and so on. (If you are a winery in the Napa/Sonoma region and you’re still looking for wine fulfillment companies to potentially partner with, come talk to us here at Copper Peak about getting you set up for more success in 2020!)

Once those details have been shared, you can more easily ensure that your partner has all the inventory and printed materials they need. I highly recommend having someone to manage inventory for each location (including tasting rooms and fulfillment centers). Make sure there is enough stock in each to meet expected demand!

One thing you should be sure to coordinate is how to process weather holds. Your fulfillment partner will want to know in advance if and when you make any large releases. You can’t simply call them out of the blue one day asking them to release all weather holds and expect products to go out in a timely or organized manner. Large releases take planning.

In fact, empowering your fulfillment partner to plan appropriately will have a huge pay-off as the season progresses. For example, I recommend to clients that they submit their orders to us as they are received, even if the ship date is in the future. This way, we have the order in our system and can coordinate when it needs to be picked, packed, and shipped. There’s no reason to “hold on” to the order, as we can coordinate exactly when that order is released.

An OND Checklist for a Smooth Shipping Season

This all might seem like a lot to do. I find it easier to make a short list of action items (after I understand the main ideas and reasoning behind them). So here’s mine that you can print off and use at the start of every busy wine shipping season:

  • Add a couple of days to your carrier’s normal time-in-transit commitments.
  • Post holiday shipping deadlines on…
    • Your website
    • Your social media accounts
    • Emails to club members and other customers
  • Inform tasting room, wine club, and telesales team of holiday shipping schedules
  • Train/refresh all staff on order flow and shipping guidelines
  • Make and keep a marketing schedule
  • Refresh and update marketing collateral
  • Make sure fulfillment partners have enough collateral and non-wine merchandise
  • Coordinate details with your fulfillment partner:
    • Capabilities
    • Production schedules
    • Expected volume
    • Receiving guidelines
  • Work with your fulfillment partner to plan and schedule release of weather holds
  • Plan to submit orders as they come in

Copper Peak Logistics is a Platinum Certified Partner with ShipCompliant and is dedicated to providing superior DtC wine fulfillment services.


ShipCompliant is the beverage alcohol industry’s leading compliance & technology platform. Find out why.

The post How to Ensure a Successful Shipping Season When Selling Wine DtC appeared first on ShipCompliant | The software leader of the beverage alcohol industry.


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Winegrape Growers Affected by Wildfires Can Apply for Assistance Through WHIP+

Wine Industry Insight RSS - Fri, 09/13/2019 - 09:55
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Wine Industry Insight RSS - Fri, 09/13/2019 - 09:19
Source: IWSR via Wall Street Journal
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Wine Industry Insight RSS - Fri, 09/13/2019 - 09:11
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