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Patricia Cobe

Senior Editor

Articles by
Patricia Cobe

Page 75

Sourcing challenges: As demand rises, so do seafood prices

Aweakened dollar, high commodity costs and increased global demand for seafood are combining to push up prices this season. Fernando Navas, corporate chef for the six-location SushiSamba, names “price” as his number one sourcing challenge.

Financing

Summer picks: A bounty of fresh produce

August is a dream month for sourcing local fruits and vegetables all over the U.S.

David Prokupek, CEO and chairman of Denver-based Smashburger, found a way to tailor Groupon, the popular couponing service, to make it work best for his...

Table salt was the go-to seasoning, but now chefs (and diners) are using crystals of different sizes, textures, colors and flavors.

"I lost my cool—at the wrong person."— Kat Cole, President, CinnabonAccording to a business fable that’s made the rounds, a mid-level executive...

Recent research from the National Restaurant Association reveals that nearly 50 percent of restaurants are now owned by women. The impact of this stat was in full view on Wednesday, June 29, when several renowned female chef-owners gathered with a group of illustrious women in the culinary field for lunch at Millesime in New York City. I was privileged to take part in this delicious and lively experience, in which we dined on an expertly prepared multi-course lunch accompanied by spirited conversation on breaking the barriers to success in the restaurant industry.

High prices and spotty supply are not the only challenges restaurants face when purchasing seafood. The seafood supply chain has a reputation for being fragmented and inefficient.

The only way I got through the long, icy winter we recently endured was by dreaming about sunny summer beach days. The beaches in the Northeast are some of the most beautiful in the world. And for sunbathers looking for great eats, close to the sand and waves are shacks, stands and restaurants serving up the best lobster rolls in the world.

When Christopher Cramer took over as executive chef at the Sonesta Bayfront in the Coconut Grove area of Miami, the restaurant was a cookie-cutter dining venue geared to hotel guests. A menu of standard-issue steaks, burgers and salads didn’t do much to excite local residents and workers.

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.

I always approach the aisles of the National Restaurant Show with a plan: hit my favorite coffee places first for a cup of extra-bold java or a latte, then snack on samples of bacon, cheese and bread so I can have “breakfast” before the big graze begins. This year started out the same, as I walked the floor at Chicago’s massive McCormick Place, but I soon got caught up in a feeding frenzy, elbowed by the thousands of attendees all vying to taste the latest and greatest of 2011.

Restaurant Business sat down with Peter Backman, managing director with Horizons, a London-based foodservice consultancy, to compare restaurant trends in the U.S. and the U.K.

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