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Tasca family lives the 'win on Sunday' philosophy

AutoNews - Mon, 2017-05-22 01:01
The Tasca family of auto dealers claims its founder conceived the slogan "Win on Sunday, sell on Monday." It neatly sums up the business case for why dealers and automakers race.
Categories: Latest News

Darrell Waltrip: From dirt track to fame

AutoNews - Mon, 2017-05-22 01:01
Darrell Waltrip has made himself into a lot of things since he took up dirt-track stock car racing as a teenager in Kentucky back in the early 1960s.
Categories: Latest News

Up close with racing legend and dealer Bobby Rahal

AutoNews - Mon, 2017-05-22 01:01
Bobby Rahal has won the Indianapolis 500 as a driver and a team owner. Today, Rahal, 64, runs Bobby Rahal Automotive Group in Mechanicsburg, Pa., with 10 dealerships selling 10 brands.
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Hendrick credits racing for his Hollywood connections

AutoNews - Mon, 2017-05-22 01:01
In the 1990 movie Days of Thunder, a car salesman convinces a retired crew chief to work with a cocky young driver. It's based on real-life NASCAR champion team owner and dealer Rick Hendrick, his late driver Tim Richmond and crew chief Harry Hyde.
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In the pits with Hendrick Motorsports

AutoNews - Mon, 2017-05-22 01:01
Athleticism, strength, an ability to work as a synchronized team and competitive drive are required to make the pit crew for Hendrick Motorsports. Here's a look inside the training regimen.
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Bob Carter and the car that's now a couch

AutoNews - Mon, 2017-05-22 01:01
In his youth, Toyota executive Bob Carter would visit the short tracks of western Pennsylvania on Saturday nights with his brother, soaking up the local racing culture.
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Mazda's Davis sees racing as a test of character

AutoNews - Mon, 2017-05-22 01:01
A lifetime around racetracks has taught Mazda's Robert Davis that if you can trust someone at a track, you can trust that person anywhere.
Categories: Latest News

From tossed beer to popped champagne: Toyota's NASCAR journey

AutoNews - Mon, 2017-05-22 01:01
Ed Laukes, Toyota Division's marketing chief, was one of the few people in the stands wearing the brand's logo a decade ago at Toyota's first NASCAR race in Michigan.
Categories: Latest News

India exit puts GM in 'right markets'

AutoNews - Mon, 2017-05-22 01:01
GM CEO Mary Barra signaled that GM isn't planning any more major reductions to its geographic profile. Still, she said the company would aggressively pare costs everywhere it can.
Categories: Latest News

Lexus patient with fixed-price program

AutoNews - Mon, 2017-05-22 01:01
A year into the Lexus Plus no-haggle pricing program, the expected waves of dealers joining are only ripples. But brand executives say a slow and steady pace has its benefits.
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What's the succession plan at AutoNation?

AutoNews - Mon, 2017-05-22 01:01
A series of high-level executive departures at AutoNation -- highlighted by COO Bill Berman's abrupt departure last week -- has raised questions about the succession plan for CEO Mike Jackson, 68.
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Wrangler-esque hauler spotted

AutoNews - Mon, 2017-05-22 01:01
Jeep's first pickup in a generation was spotted in Michigan by spy photographers.
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2017 Fast Casual Top 100

FastCasual.com - Mon, 2017-05-22 00:00
This year’s list of Fast Casual Top 100 Movers & Shakers recognizes 76 brands and 24 industry executives.

Retail Roundup—E-commerce boosts Walmart's sales, Ahold to shutter Martin's

Store Front Talk Back - Sun, 2017-05-21 23:35
E-commerce raises Walmart's quarterly sales, Ahold prepares to close Martin's Food Market, retailers oppose the consumption tax, plus more need-to-know news from the world of retail.

InstantScan boosts app engagement in Starbucks test

Store Front Talk Back - Sun, 2017-05-21 22:52
Raheel Hasan, CEO and founder of 1App, recognized the challenges that retailers have in getting their apps downloaded by shoppers. His company developed InstantScan, the first on-demand app experience that does not require any downloading.

Industry celebrates culinary creativity at MenuMasters Awards

Nation's Restaurant News - Sun, 2017-05-21 19:45

This is part of NRN’s special coverage of the 2017 NRA Show, being held in Chicago, May 20-23. Visit NRN.com for the latest coverage from the show, plus follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

“I had duck tongue and pancakes not two feet from each other. How amazing is that?” said Billy Dec as he welcomed guests to the 20th annual MenuMasters Awards, presented by Nation’s Restaurant News and sponsored by Ventura Foods.

Dec, founder and CEO of Chicago-based hospitality company Rockit Ranch Productions, was master of ceremonies for the celebration, which recognizes culinary innovation in foodservice, from quick service to fine dining.

MenuMasters Innovator of the Year Stephanie Izard, a Chicago-based chef and restaurateur, served crispy duck tongues with tuna poke, paired with a Parker Station Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara, Calif.

Her station at the party was between Denny’s, which won the award for Best Menu Revamp for its buttermilk pancakes — topped with salted caramel and bananas, and paired with Veuve du Vernay, a French sparkling rosé — and that of Stephan Pyles, this year’s inductee into the MenuMasters Hall of Fame. Pyles served lobster tamale pie paired with Rodney Strong Chalk Hill Chardonnay from California’s Sonoma Coast. 

“MenuMasters is something that Ventura holds so dear because it fits our company,” Ventura Foods CEO Chris Furman told the crowd at The Drake Hotel in Chicago, noting that the company focuses on developing custom products for foodservice operators. 

Pyles, accepting his induction into the hall of fame, reflected on the past 20 years and the inductees who came before him — including Wolfgang Puck, Paul Prudhomme, José Andrés and Norman Van Aken. He said the honor was on par with winning a James Beard Award.

“I am incredibly honored to receive this award tonight,” he said, noting that his predecessors “absolutely changed the essence of our way of cooking.”

Pyles, who is credited with spearheading the development of Southwestern Cuisine in the 1980s, thanked his staff over the years “for making me maybe better than I really am, and I’m okay with that.”

He also had high praise for NRN, citing the publication’s reporting for helping him to innovate.

In accepting her award as innovator of the year, Izard said the city where she operates helps spur innovation.  

“We kind of think Chicago is the jam for restaurants,” she said, adding that she was lucky to be in a city where guests challenge them, “and we do the same to them.”

The award for Best New Menu Item went to Shake Shack, for its Chick’n Shack, the fast-casual chain’s new fried chicken sandwich, which was paired with Blue Moon beer.

“I think in the end we just made what we wanted to eat,” said Gillian Ortiz, Shake Shack’s manager of culinary development and R&D.

Panera Bread was honored in the Healthful Innovation category for its 100-percent clean menu, which has no artificial ingredients. The bakery-café chain served a watermelon and feta salad over grains, including freekeh and daikon seeds, paired with two of its own beverages, prickly pear hibiscus fresca and blood orange lemonade.

In accepting the award, John Taylor, Panera’s director of concept development, said that for a restaurant to succeed, it has to be relevant. Offering an additive-free menu is one way that Panera strives to do that.

“We call that food as it should be,” he said, adding that he and his team sought to make a positive impact on the entire food system.

By Chloe, the New York-based vegan chain, was named Trendsetter of the Year. The fast-casual concept served its guacamole burger, paired with a Lagunitas IPA.

“We think we are on the cutting edge of what the next generation of restaurants will be,” senior vice president of development David Selinger told the crowd, adding that although the chain has just six locations, he expects it to be in every city in the country.

In accepting the award for Best Menu Revamp, Sharon Lykins, Denny’s senior director of product innovation, said the refurbished menu “was truly a definition of collaboration,” from CEO John Miller to the unit-level team members who prepared the food every day 

P. F. Chang’s won the award for Best Limited-Time Offer for its Local Favorites Menu, which allowed unit-level operators to select specials that they thought their customers would like best. The casual-dining chain served spicy Flaming Red Wontons, paired with Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon, from California’s Sonoma Coast. 

Yuji Iwasa, P.F. Chang’s director of culinary innovation, praised his team, as well as the “awesome people” of Chicago who welcomed him and his team to the city.

“Inspiration is what drives innovation,” he said 

Brigham Young University won the award for Best Line Extension for its Aloha Plate, a traditional Hawaiian plate lunch comprised of two scoops of rice, one scoop of macaroni salad and a choice of protein — at the party, that protein was shoyu chicken — paired with Borgo Conventi Pinot Grigio from Friuli-Venezia Giulia in Italy. The dish is priced at $5.95, and the university has sold more than $900,000 of the meals since the offer began last year.

Dean Wright, BYU’s director of dining services, said students want both value and authenticity, and the Aloha Plate delivers.

Rounding out the ceremony was Laura Viscusi, vice president and group publisher of Nation’s Restaurant News, as well as sister publications Food Management, Restaurant Hospitality and Supermarket News.

She thanked Ventura senior vice president Jim Goggin for his creativity in developing the MenuMasters program and presented him with a still-wet painting of the night’s festivities that artist Lothar Speer made during the celebration.

Contact Bret Thorn at bret.thorn@penton.com

Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary

3 tech trends in training

Nation's Restaurant News - Sun, 2017-05-21 15:31

This is part of NRN’s special coverage of the 2017 NRA Show, being held in Chicago, May 20-23. Visit NRN.com for the latest coverage from the show, plus follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Training younger, tech-savvy workers requires keeping up with the latest tech-based education tools, said Donna Herbel, vice president of training and culture development at Perkins & Marie Callender’s LLC. 

At an NRA Show session on Saturday, titled “Trends in Training,” Herbel outlined three training tools that can open up a world of opportunity for restaurants. 

1. Micro-learning: Sometimes also referred to as “chunking,” micro-learning involves training employees in short bursts to model a specific skill, behavior or event at the point of question.

Herbel pointed to Yummly videos as an example. The three- to four-minute videos demonstrate how to do specific tasks, like mincing garlic.

2. Gamification: Applying game theory to training.

Many loyalty programs have a gaming component, such as buy five, get the sixth free offers, Herbel said. They don’t have to involve technology.

But game apps like Cooking Dash or Diner Dash also provide a simple format for competitive educational games, she said.

Game designers can help trainers build simple games. Herbel said they don’t have to be tech-enabled, but can be simply about participation in some way.

Kahoot, for example, is a free educational resource that allows trainers to design and develop any kind of quiz or interaction on a smartphone.

Such games works best when they offer a leaderboard that introduces a competitive element, allowing participants to earn points and become champions for learning, she said.

3. Augmented reality: This technology overlays virtual information onto the real world.

 

Yelp, for example, has an augmented reality app that allows users to point their camera down a street and read reviews of restaurants in the neighborhood.

Herbel said similar technology could be used to train workers about new menu items, she said.

Perkins has a printed binder with recipes, but those pages also have a Zapcode, or a code that can be read with the Zappar app, which makes the information come to life as a 3D image, rather than a one-dimensional photo. The technology is used more commonly in other countries, often for marketing. 

“We’re late adopters,” Herbel said.

About three years ago, McDonald’s in Australia had a “Track My Maccas” campaign that let customers click an augmented reality code on their burger box to see the story of the item’s ingredients and where they came from.

 

They key to such tools is that they motivate participation and build loyalty, Herbel said.

“And people can start and stop on their own time and set the pace for their own learning,” she said.

Contact Lisa Jennings at lisa.jennings@penton.com

Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout

How restaurant operators can implement sustainability programs

Nation's Restaurant News - Sun, 2017-05-21 15:10

This is part of NRN’s special coverage of the 2017 NRA Show, being held in Chicago, May 20-23. Visit NRN.com for the latest coverage from the show, plus follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Sustainability, whether sourcing food responsibly or cutting down waste, is top-of-mind for many consumers. National Restaurant Association officials outlined steps operators can take and how to communicate what they’re doing to customers.

In a presentation at the NRA Show on Saturday, Laura Abshire, the association’s director of sustainability policy and government affairs, and Jeff Clark, director of the association’s Conserve Program, outlined survey results finding that issues around local sourcing and responsibly sourced fish were important both to chefs and their customers.

Abshire said the NRA’s annual What’s Hot survey found that chefs ranked hyper-local sourcing, environmental sustainability and locally sourced produce and seafood among the top 10 food trends in the industry. Additionally, food waste reduction was ranked seventh.

“Until about three years ago, we never saw that at all,” she said. 

Sourcing fresh ingredients and responsibly sourced fish also ranked highly among consumers, Clark said, who additionally wanted restaurants to have animal welfare-related policies around issues such as treatment of animals with hormones and the living conditions of the hens laying the eggs they were buying.

“Knowing and stating where your food is coming from … is going to be a larger and larger factor for your bottom line,” he said.

Clark pointed to local Chicago operators such as Goose Island Brewery, which had customer-facing initiatives like using reclaimed wood in their tasting rooms, as well as bigger-picture issues, such as protecting the local ecosystem “to keep the water clean and healthy,” since high-quality water is necessary to make high-quality beer.

“Knowing some of these stories and being able to tell them to your customers is going to be really, really important,” he said. 

When it came to sourcing seafood, he suggested moving away from mainstream fish such as salmon and tuna and offering lesser-known varieties such as the Chilipepper Rockfish, which is abundant on the West Coast. He said using such underutilized fish would allow more fisheries of more popular fish to replenish themselves.

Although such fish are harder to sell, Clark said it provided operators with the opportunity to engage with their customers and tell their restaurant’s story better.

Clark also advocated getting to know local farmers and ranchers and working with them to produce the items that you want to sell in your restaurants and, if you have the skilled staff to do so, buying and butchering whole animals, both to reduce waste and to save money while finding uses for non-center-of-the-plate cuts.

Abshire said food waste was now a priority for the NRA. Noting that up to 40 percent of the food produced in the United States goes uneaten, making food waste the largest component of municipal solid waste, she said that new regulations in some coastal communities no longer allowed food waste to be transported to landfills. Similar laws were likely to be passed elsewhere in the country, she noted, and would require operators to find new uses for food that they used to throw away. That could mean composting or finding new uses for food, such as donating it to hunger relief organizations or other charities. 

Twenty-two percent of restaurants currently donate food and about 14 percent compost, she said.

“While that’s a small number, there really is a ton of room to grow in the composting space,” Abshire said.

However, 39 percent of operators said they don’t have composting facilities near them, she said. However some perceived barriers to food donation weren’t real. For example, restaurants don’t need to be concerned about liability issues if beneficiaries of their donations end up getting sick, she said. The 1996 Good Samaritan Food Donation Act indemnified operators from liability, and Abshire added that to date there hasn’t been a single case of liability stemming from food donations.

Plus, food donations don’t just help the community and spread good will, but can also have tax benefits. 

She advised restaurateurs to find an enthusiastic champion on their staff to spearhead reduction of food waste, put that person in charge of tracking waste and start a donation program.

Contact Bret Thorn at bret.thorn@penton.com

Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary

How restaurant operators can implement sustainability programs

Nation's Restaurant News - Sun, 2017-05-21 15:10

This is part of NRN’s special coverage of the 2017 NRA Show, being held in Chicago, May 20-23. Visit NRN.com for the latest coverage from the show, plus follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Sustainability, whether sourcing food responsibly or cutting down waste, is top-of-mind for many consumers. National Restaurant Association officials outlined steps operators can take and how to communicate what they’re doing to customers.

In a presentation at the NRA Show on Saturday, Laura Abshire, the association’s director of sustainability policy and government affairs, and Jeff Clark, director of the association’s Conserve Program, outlined survey results finding that issues around local sourcing and responsibly sourced fish were important both to chefs and their customers.

Abshire said the NRA’s annual What’s Hot survey found that chefs ranked hyper-local sourcing, environmental sustainability and locally sourced produce and seafood among the top 10 food trends in the industry. Additionally, food waste reduction was ranked seventh.

“Until about three years ago, we never saw that at all,” she said. 

Sourcing fresh ingredients and responsibly sourced fish also ranked highly among consumers, Clark said, who additionally wanted restaurants to have animal welfare-related policies around issues such as treatment of animals with hormones and the living conditions of the hens laying the eggs they were buying.

“Knowing and stating where your food is coming from … is going to be a larger and larger factor for your bottom line,” he said.

Clark pointed to local Chicago operators such as Goose Island Brewery, which had customer-facing initiatives like using reclaimed wood in their tasting rooms, as well as bigger-picture issues, such as protecting the local ecosystem “to keep the water clean and healthy,” since high-quality water is necessary to make high-quality beer.

“Knowing some of these stories and being able to tell them to your customers is going to be really, really important,” he said. 

When it came to sourcing seafood, he suggested moving away from mainstream fish such as salmon and tuna and offering lesser-known varieties such as the Chilipepper Rockfish, which is abundant on the West Coast. He said using such underutilized fish would allow more fisheries of more popular fish to replenish themselves.

Although such fish are harder to sell, Clark said it provided operators with the opportunity to engage with their customers and tell their restaurant’s story better.

Clark also advocated getting to know local farmers and ranchers and working with them to produce the items that you want to sell in your restaurants and, if you have the skilled staff to do so, buying and butchering whole animals, both to reduce waste and to save money while finding uses for non-center-of-the-plate cuts.

Abshire said food waste was now a priority for the NRA. Noting that up to 40 percent of the food produced in the United States goes uneaten, making food waste the largest component of municipal solid waste, she said that new regulations in some coastal communities no longer allowed food waste to be transported to landfills. Similar laws were likely to be passed elsewhere in the country, she noted, and would require operators to find new uses for food that they used to throw away. That could mean composting or finding new uses for food, such as donating it to hunger relief organizations or other charities. 

Twenty-two percent of restaurants currently donate food and about 14 percent compost, she said.

“While that’s a small number, there really is a ton of room to grow in the composting space,” Abshire said.

However, 39 percent of operators said they don’t have composting facilities near them, she said. However some perceived barriers to food donation weren’t real. For example, restaurants don’t need to be concerned about liability issues if beneficiaries of their donations end up getting sick, she said. The 1996 Good Samaritan Food Donation Act indemnified operators from liability, and Abshire added that to date there hasn’t been a single case of liability stemming from food donations.

Plus, food donations don’t just help the community and spread good will, but can also have tax benefits. 

She advised restaurateurs to find an enthusiastic champion on their staff to spearhead reduction of food waste, put that person in charge of tracking waste and start a donation program.

Contact Bret Thorn at bret.thorn@penton.com

Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary

What Gen Z restaurant consumers want

Nation's Restaurant News - Sun, 2017-05-21 14:34

This is part of NRN’s special coverage of the 2017 NRA Show, being held in Chicago, May 20-23. Visit NRN.com for the latest coverage from the show, plus follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

The next generation of restaurant consumers, who are now in their teens, will demand the non-negotiables of good value, a unique experience and superb food safety, according to an NRA Show panel on Saturday. 

“Gen Z will have a huge impact on the global markets and the foodservice industry,” said Abhijeet Jadhav, senior manager of marketing strategy for Georgia-Pacific Professional and moderator of a panel titled “Introducing Generation: The World’s Newest Influential Decision Maker.”

With about 80 million members, mostly in their teens, Gen Z is on the cusp of being the restaurant industry’s major consumer market, Jadhav said.

“These folks are not just Millennial 2.0,” Jadhav told a packed audience that spilled well into the NRA Show’s exhibit hall.

Born between 1995 and the mid- to late-2000s, Gen Z customers have values that are very different from Millennials, he said. They spend a lot of time online and tend to have shorter attention spans, Jadhav said. And because they consume a lot of information, they tend to make decisions quickly.

Early research on Gen Z consumers indicates that they want good value and quality from restaurants, like the food found in fast casual. They also want inviting service and a welcoming ambience that makes them feel valued, Jadhav said. Additionally, they demand cleanliness and the highest standards of food safety.

Adam Millman, senior director of Yale Dining in New Haven, Conn., said Gen Z covers a lot of college students, and that requires approaching them with information. 

“We’re telling a story,” Millman said. “This generation wants to know why we are doing things. And we’re telling that story through technology, which is their major form of communication.” 

Yale uses its foodservice smartphone app to detail food sources, which farms ingredients are from, and when the products were harvested. The university offers supply-chain transparency from farm to plate, he said.

In addition, Gen Z customers don’t want to wait, so Yale allows students to order through the app and have the food ready when they arrive.

Digital nativism is a trait unique to Gen Z, as opposed to Millennials, said Jill Ahern, senior director for insights and design packaging at Havi. Technology has been available to Gen Z consumers for their entire lives, she said.

“That really shapes how they interact with the world,” Ahern said. “It allows them to get ratings and do crowdsourcing for places where they might want to eat or where they might want to work.”

Millman said Yale has adapted worker scheduling to accommodate digital nativism, allowing them to work when they want to work. Short videos are also used for training and available on smartphones or iPads, he said. 

Gen Z student Jackie Mendez said one of her favorite restaurants is Buffalo Wild Wings because it offers tabletop tablet ordering, which also occupies her younger sister. Plus, restaurants have televisions for watching sports. 

“This generation is really about the experience,” Millman of Yale said. “They are willing to wait two hours to go to a place that has the technology behind it, versus the brand they are comfortable with.”

Gen Z customer Christopher Chavez of Chicago said he likes to seek out restaurants that have been suggested on social media in order to get new experiences.

Technology also gives the Gen Z customers the ability to find and compare new places, Ahern said. 

“Another hallmark of this generation is that it is a very diverse generation and very open-minded compared to earlier generations,” she said. “They are very adventuresome. They are very open to new tastes that you don’t typically associate with teenagers.

“If you are looking for trends with this group, you are probably too late with this group,” she added. “You really need to be challenging them and giving them new things. Give them something to talk about.”

Contact Ron Ruggless at Ronald.Ruggless@Penton.com

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless