Chicago restaurant owners see correction, a lot more closings, coming in 2018 – Chicago Tribune

2017 may be remembered as one of Chicago’s worst dining years…”

“…That is, unless 2018 proves to be even more challenging.”

“It’s the trickiest landscape we’ve ever seen out there,” said Rob Katz, who with Kevin Boehm heads up the Boka Restaurant Group, which owns such highly successful restaurants as Boka, GT Fish & Oyster, Girl & the Goat and many more, including the recently opened Somerset and Bellmore. “We do think it’s going to be a bumpy couple of years.”

“If I were starting today, rather than in 1971, God, it would have been a lot harder,” said Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises founder Rich Melman. “It’s different now. I feel bad for people starting out.”

Chick-fil-A is beating every competitor by training workers to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ – BI

The secret to Chick-fil-A’s success is as simple as saying “please” and “thank you.”

“The chicken chain is statistically the most polite chain in the restaurant business, according to a QSR Magazine’s annual drive-thru report released in October. Employees at Chick-fil-A were the most likely of the 15 chains surveyed to say “please” and “thank you,” and to smile at drive-thru customers. Chick-fil-A workers were also as the second most likely to have a “pleasant demeanor,” only topped by the up-and-coming fast-food chain PDQ.”

Darden’s ‘Back-to-Basics’ Approach is Beating the Competition

“In the second quarter, Darden’s total sales boomed 14.6 percent, year-over-year, to $1.88 billion…[even as] BDO’s latest edition of The Counter, an industry benchmarking update that collects data from publicly traded restaurant companies, showed that sales at casual and upscale casual restaurants fell 0.9 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively, across the board, in the past quarter.”

“The 500-unit LongHorn has reduced its menu by nearly 30 percent over the past couple of years. The change has led to higher level of execution, Lee said. It’s also allowed LongHorn to focus on quality, guest experience, and service.”

Report: Fast Casual Sales Hit Hardest in 3Q – QSR Magazine

“As tough as the climate was in general, it was noticeably difficult for fast casual. The segment experienced the largest change of any, reporting an overall 2.1 percent decrease…”

“As companies work to cater to consumers’ demands for high quality and freshness, restaurants will have to get creative with menu engineering to satisfy these cravings while managing somewhat unpredictable costs,” BDO said.”

Soil Power! The Dirty Way to a Green Planet

"The last great hope of avoiding catastrophic climate change may lie in a substance so commonplace that we typically ignore it or else walk all over it: the soil beneath our feet."

"The earth possesses five major pools of carbon. Of those pools, the atmosphere is already overloaded with the stuff; the oceans are turning acidic as they become saturated with it; the forests are diminishing; and underground fossil fuel reserves are being emptied. That leaves soil as the most likely repository for immense quantities of carbon."