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Poultry: Bird watching

Poultry is the number one protein buy for a majority of qsr and casual operators.

A distributor chef with muscle

If your impression of a distributor chef leans more toward a salesman in a chef’s coat, you’ve not met Daryl Shular.

Dairy prices seem to be going up faster than cream rises to the top of a vat of milk. While relative bargains were available when cheese prices crashed in January 2009, there's been a surge upward since then. To ease the pain, some operators can cut down on the number of cheesy appetizers and entrees they serve, but concepts that focus on pizza, cheeseburgers, enchiladas and quesadillas simply can't do without it.

While not exactly rolling in dough, the pizza category is experiencing modest growth, according to a 2011 report from Mintel. Pizza is affordable, convenient and a canvas for variety—three favorable factors in today's challenging economy.

What makes the sale for restaurant patrons? According to the NPD Group’s Crest foodservice market research, consumers are less enthused by combo-meals and dollar menus of the past. “On-a-deal” spending decreased for the second year in a row since 2008.

For the strongest inkling of what will unfold for restaurants in 2014, consider some of the sleeper trends of late 2013.

Price may not even be the most important factor

Menu engineering techniques boost sales of high profit menu items. Here are two techniques always lead to higher profits.

There’s still enough of the warm-weather season left to refresh your menu with Asian-inspired salad rolls.

Q&A with Ron Savenor

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