Food and Beverage News

The Check Out: Weekly Restaurant News April 28th

Here is the week’s top restaurant and beverage industry news. These are the stories and opinions that had us buzzing. Check out the must read stories from April 22nd – April 28th. 

Food News

Mexican Food Migrates Onto More Menus

Despite the fever dreams of politicians and news pundits, there will be no wall built between Americans and their love of Mexican food. According to reports from Datassential, chilaquiles, the ever popular Mexican breakfast dish, now appears on more US restaurant menus than ever before. With a 24 percent growth in menu listings from four years ago, the dish joins tortas and tacos, with a growth in menu listings of 19 percent and 16 percent. American eaters are also now seeing the diversity of Mexican cuisine, as regional dishes are crossing the border and taking up permanent residence on US menus and in the stomachs of good-food loving American eaters.

Reservations about Fast Food?

The masters of Adult Swim-style stoner marketing, Taco Bell, is now taking cues from fine dining. They’re now taking reservation on for chef’s table style dinner experiences. Yep. Taco Bell is working with OpenTable to take reservations for a limited number of diners to have a meal at the T Bell test kitchen at the company’s headquarters in Irvine, California. It’s a take on the chef’s table concept popular with foodies who book seats in a restaurants kitchen area and see how top tier professional kitchen’s work. Look to score a table on May 5th, aka, Cinco de Mayo.

Pork Dorks

The National Pork Board put on their the 2017 rendition of the Pork Summit recently. The summit honors pork and pleads that it’s not “the other white meat,” but is deserving of distinction all on it’s own. Pork ain’t playing the side dish.

Some highlights: The price of live pork dropped to a 10-year low in 2016, with a growth in supply. In other words, pork is a cheap meat for your restaurant, and it will give you great cost margins on dishes.

Also, a pork chop is not a pork chop is not a pork chop. The pork board breaks down the different types of chops that butchers can make from the pig. Take a look at these cuts, which the Pork Board says should be treated with the same importance that diners have for steak cuts.

Restaurant News

The Applebee’s Retirement Plan 

A report from the National Restaurant Association cites data  showing “the number of adults 55 or older working in the restaurant industry jumped 51 percent between 2007 and 2016, an increase of 290,000 individuals.” While the number of older adults working in the restaurant industry grew, the number of teens in the labor force shrank. The article hints that older adults may continue to grow as a key sector in the restaurant workforce, with individuals aged 65-plus offering the greatest opportunity for growth. It should be noted that 2007 was the year prior to the financial collapse in the US. It’s not surprising that older workers have entered the service industry in such large numbers. It is however, a grim reality where workers at the age of 65 (the traditional age for retirement and eligibility for full benefits) are not entering retirement but entering the food service workforce.

Teen Workers 

Despite everything you just read above, teens are returning as workers in the restaurant service industry. The aforementioned economic recession took its toll on teen labor, which saw its percentage of the restaurant industry labor force drop to 16 percent in 2010. In 2007, 21 percent of the restaurant work force was represented by teens, ages 16-19. In 2016, teenagers accounted for 17.4 percent of the restaurant workforce.

Opening Hype

Take a look at some of the biggest restaurant openings of the year with a photo tour of new restaurants from around the country.

Food Criticism

Paid in Food

Do you want to eat at the world’s best restaurants for a living? You can! If you have the right resume. Michelin is hiring restaurant inspectors for their Michelin restaurant rating list. According to CNN, Michelin inspectors eat up to 275 restaurant meals a year, and are consistently traveling. It’s a nomadic life of seeking out small triumphs in dining, a life of culinary pilgrimage. Read the interview with a bonafide Michelin inspector and learn about the job before you apply.

Cooked Books

The James Beard Foundation handed out their media award winners for the best in food publishing. Winners include Naomi Duguid for the top international cookbook award for her book, Taste of Persia: A Cook’s Travels Through Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, and Kurdistan. Chris Court won for his photography in Taste & Technique: Recipes to Elevate Your Home Cooking. Winners range from cookbooks and cocktail books to podcasts, documentaries, and food personalities.

Kyle Thacker