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Joan M. Lang
Treating produce like meat
As consumers become increasingly interested in veg-centric dishes, chefs are coaxing more flavor out of produce with techniques typically applied to meat.
Restaurants that provide what families want—speedy service, something kids will eat, healthy options to please parents and a willingness to customize—are gaining business as economic doldrums linger.
Juicing is powering up menus. The recession put a squeeze on sales of made-to-order juices, according to the 2014 Juice & Smoothie Bars in the U.S. report by Los Angeles market researcher IBISWorld. But increased consumer demand for healthy beverages and an expansion of juicing into concepts other than smoothie and juice bars are revitalizing the category, the report says.
It’s been done with hamburgers, with cocktails, with Mexican QSR. Take a familiar concept, one with a degree of built-in familiarity and consumer acceptance, and differentiate it—around the ingredients, the menu, the presentation, the service model. Make it unique and craveable, make it stand out from the competition; just don’t make it so strange that customers don’t know what to make of it.
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