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Chefs' Night Off Indy

“Goonies Never Say Die” Chefs’ Night Off Indy June 2015

Chefs’ Night Off Indy held their June 2015 event on Monday June 22 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at The Sinking Ship in Broad Ripple, Ind. The theme “Goonies Never Say Die” had an unprecedented menu that certainly did not disappoint.

This ongoing series of “pop up” dinners is organized by RJ Wall, bar manager of The Hi-Fi, and Andrew Whitmoyer, executive chef of Thunderbird, and put on by well-respected restaurants in Indiana. The goal is to give culinary experts creative freedom and enable them to cultivate the food scene and community. So whether you are a Hoosier chef, line cook or foodie, getting tickets to an upcoming Chefs’ Night Off should be on your radar.

Chefs' Night Off Indy menuThe exceptional team of chefs involved with June’s event included:

The dinner was paired with beer from Scarlet Lane Brewing Company.

This communal style event began with an amuse consisting of smoked and confit peanuts. Shortly after, the first course began with “Walk the Plank” chicken hearts served on a wooden plank, topped with pesto and paired with a boiler maker consisting of a Sailor Jerry Rum shot and Lenore pale ale.

The second course, sword fish collars, was served with cous cous, kimchi, hummus and a spicy yogurt dip.

The final course included deep fried suckling pig with green tomato salsa verde, mustard slaw, chow chow, hot pickled relish, house fermented hot sauce, creme fraiche and corn bread.

As for dessert? “White Trash” twinkie tiramisu was served, which consisted of twinkies soaked in Jack Daniels whiskey then topped with cocoa powder and chocolate syrup.

RJ Wall Chefs' Night Off IndyPrior to each course, each of the chefs shared what the item was and other details about their vision for it.

Everyone involved in this Chefs’ Night Off Indy, from the organizers and incredibly talented chefs to The Sinking Ship staff, were incredibly hospitable. The event was enjoyed by all.

Proceeds from the event go to support Project Endure.

Chefs’ Night Off Indy is a great chance for culinary artists to work together and share ideas. The unique menus presented at each of these events are inspiring and gives others ideas for their own restaurants.

The meals are not fine dining and all food is as locally sourced as possible, with only a few exceptions when absolutely necessary.

Details about upcoming events can be found on the Chefs’ Night Off Indy Facebook page.

Foodservice Industry Week in Brief: 1/27

Looking for some of the week’s top information? Here are five stories from the foodservice industry for Jan. 23-27.

Progress with School Nutrition
From USDA, Read Blog

Image: jdurham/MorgueFile

There’s been much buzz over school nutrition over the past few years, especially though the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.  This week more progress was made when the USDA announced the new standards for school nutrition.  Some of the changes include more fruits and vegetables, only only offering fat-free or low-fat milk and basing calorie counts on a child’s age  so they get the accurate portion size.  For the full report, read the USDA’s blog.

Restaurants Adding To Menus

This week seems to have had quite a bit of news with restaurants adding to their menus.  Here are few of the places mentioned:

  • Starbucks: Beer, wine and additional food items (i.e. hot flatbread)
  • Taco Bell: Breakfast with items such as egg or sausage burritos, hash browns, Cinnabon and coffee
  • McDonalds: Chicken McBites

Vancouver Restaurant Sells One Expensive Hot Dog
From The Canadian Press, Read Article

Image: alvimann/MorgueFile

Depending where your restaurant is, what the occasion is etc., a typical price for the standard hot dog can be anywhere from $1 to $3. Sometimes you might hit an event where it’s more expensive. However one Vancouver restaurant has developed a hot dog that really has stepped it up–in both toppings and price.  According to a HuffPost Food article from The Canadian Press, DougieDog Hot Dogs has created “The Dragon Dog” which consists of items on the hot dog such as cognac, Kobe beef and lobster. All at a pretty penny, of course… it’s only $100. There’s much more to this hot dog, visit Huff Post Food to read all about it.

Restaurant Super Bowl Deals Out
From Nation’s Restaurant News, Read Article

Image: kahanaboy/MorgueFile

There are certain events the restaurant industry can benefit from and the Super Bowl is definitely one of them.  According to the National Restaurant Association, approximately 48 million Americans will order takeout or delivery while watching the big game and 12 million will go out to a restaurant. NRN went into some detail looking into some of the special deals going on.  Be sure to let us know what your restaurant is doing below!  Read more on the NRN website.

Indianapolis Foodservice Impacted by the Super Bowl
From Central Restaurant Products, Read Blog

Image: Indianapolis Super Bowl Press Center

For most cities across the U.S., Super Bowl Sunday is a big day.  But for Indianapolis, they’re actually getting 10 big days!  This year Central’s hometown of Indianapolis is hosting Super Bowl 46.

There’s a lot that takes place in a city when a Super Bowl is coming to down and it dramatically affects all businesses–foodservice industry especially.  Central talked to different restaurants, food trucks and other organizations to get the scoop and a behind the scenes look on what it takes to prepare for the big game (and all that comes with it).

10 Creative Ways to Use QR Codes at Your Restaurant

There are many statistics on the number of smartphone users in the United States.  So if we estimate at least half of the population owns a smartphone, which is a number that continues to increase, that says a lot about the direction of the QR code.

QR code stands for “quick response,” and is a convenient way for smartphone users to get information.  All one needs is a QR code reader application, such as Kaywa or Neoreader, then can just take a picture which scans the barcode and redirects them to a link of virtually anything.

At one point, QR codes were just looked at as cool and fun.  But now, they are proving to be reliable way to share information.  For a quick QR code 101, check out this Social Media Examiner article. Once you’re ready, here are 10 creative ways your restaurant can use QR codes and potentially boost sales.

1. Front Door or Host/Hostess Area: Many times, especially during peak hours, customers will have to wait to be seated. Put a QR code in the area with a link to your website or menu to keep them busy.

2. Foursquare: It’s free and easy to get your restaurant on Foursquare—and upon claiming your restaurant, you get a free window cling to encourage people to check-in. Take it a step further to make it even easier for your customers and have a QR code at the entrance with a link to your venue on Foursquare.

3. Menus: Stick a QR code right in the menu. It could direct them to information on how certain products are made, pictures, videos of the chef cooking up an entrée or nutritional and allergy information.

4. Pagers or Coasters: People find it interesting to find a QR code in an unusual place. It’s almost like unlocking a secret. Put a QR code on your pagers or coasters that link out to drink-related things such as specials or a video of the bartender making a drink to shows off their skills.

5. Table Roll Stands: While the menu usually goes with the wait staff upon taking an order, many restaurants have table roll stands with appetizers, drinks and desserts on the table. Use a QR code on your roll stands to link to these items as an added effort for an impulse buy, whether it be a creative video, pictures, positive customer comments or additional information.

6. Bathrooms: Typically, guests take a trip to the bathroom while they are waiting for their food or their check. Place a QR code on the side of the door that exits the bathroom (so they’ve washed their hands!) that links out to appetizers and desserts to get them thinking.

7. Table or Signage: Similar to the first idea about keeping people busy while they wait, sometimes customers can be waiting for quite a bit on their food, especially during peak hours.  Put a QR code on the table or on created signage that links to all kinds of things such as your Facebook, Twitter, website, videos, etc. to keep them busy. Many times, using a phone at the table is rude to the other guest, so perhaps you could use the QR code in a way for multiple guests to interact such as trivia, games, etc.

8. Check Holders: It’s always great to get feedback about a customer’s experience and many places put a survey on the receipt.  Unfortunately, people get home and forget all about it or throw it away.  Put a QR code on your check holder to encourage customers to immediately leave their feedback and possibly even give an incentive for them to come back.

9. To-Go Cups or Packaging: You always want your customers to be thinking of you and when they will come back next.  Put a QR code on your To-Go packaging that links to a special “thank you for visiting” message, or even a special offer for them to print off and bring in for their next visit.

10. Advertising: When buying advertising space, using a lot can get expensive or it may just not be an option.  Give prospective customers more information and incentives to stop in with a QR code that links to information about your restaurant, current specials, top picks and more.

Even in all this smartphone-user talk, there are still many non-smartphone users and it may seem unfair to exclude them from specials and deals just because of their phone.  To help keep things balanced, Central usually puts the link under or around a QR code.  It is just much easier for those with smartphones to quickly scan it and be redirected immediately.  And after all, it may just put a little more money into your pocket too.

What interesting ways do you use QR codes at your restaurant?

Vending Machines and Menus Will Be Getting a Makeover

The health care reform legislation was signed into law on March 23, 2010 by President Obama. Section 4205 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 will change the way menu boards, vending machines and menus look.

Part of this act requires food service establishments with 20 or more locations to list calorie content for standard menu items. Other nutritional information will need to be available upon request.

Vending machine operators who own or operate 20 or more vending machines will also need to disclose calorie content for certain items.

The FDA wants to hear from you. The deadline for proposed regulations is March 23, 2011 and the FDA wants to know how you think the labeling requirements should be implemented.

To share your opinion visit the FDA website and follow the instructions. It’s simple and in just a few steps your opinion will be heard.