Los Dos Potrillos Opens Brewery in Parker

National Restaurant Consultants client opens fourth location, first brewery

By Sarah Ann Noel - January 14, 2019

A big congratulations to our restaurant client Los Dos Potrillos, who recently opened their fourth location in Parker, Colorado. With three other establishments in Littleton, Centennial, and Highlands Ranch, the Parker location is the first Los Dos Potrillos with an on-site brewery. 

If you have the chance, swing into the Parker location for great authentic Mexican food and a cold, house-brewed beer. Felicidades, Los Dos!

Want to open or expand your own restaurant? Contact a restaurant consultant today!

The Denver Milk Market

National Restaurant Consultants explores the new open-concept market for food and shopping

By Sarah Ann Noel - January 9, 2019

Some of our restaurant consultants enjoyed exploring Denver's Milk Market this past week. Larger urban areas like Denver, Nashville, and Austin are seeing these collaborative, open markets pop-up with great options in local food and shopping.

Milk Market, on the Dairy Block, features 16 different restaurants and bars, as well as pop-up shopping areas in a hallway shared with The Maven Hotel, with the Poka Lola Social Club.

These collaborative concepts show the success found in shared spaces and publicity, and it's something to consider as you're looking for a new restaurant location. Our restaurant consultants can help explore these trending options for your restaurant. Contact us today!

Tokyo Cafe Staffs Disabled Robot Controllers

New precedents set for both technology and inclusive employment

By Sarah Ann Noel - January 3, 2019

National Restaurant Consultants wanted to start off your new year with some good news, yes, in the restaurant industry, but also good on a broader plane. According to Fast Company, a new cafe has opened in Tokyo, fully staffed by robots.

The reason this is good news is that the robots are controlled by individuals with severe disabilities, such as paralysis or ALS, that would otherwise prohibit them from finding employement. The controllers work from their homes, where video and audio feeds transmit to tablets used to control the robots actions. The robots are designed Ory Labs, and the cafe was created in collaboration with the Nippon Foundation.

"The idea was to help get people stuck at home back into the workforce, offering part-time jobs and minimum wage (1,000 yen per hour) and some independence, too. It’s not much money-wise, but the hope is that it will give people traditionally sidelined from the workforce a way to be involved or at least give them something a little different to do in their spare time," explained the Fast Company article. (Read the full article here.)


Merry Christmas

And a happy new year!

By David Kincheloe - December 18, 2018

From all of us at National Restaurant Consultants, we want to wish you a very merry Christmas and Happy New Year. May the true meaning of this holiday season be on our hearts and minds, and may you start 2019 with the hope that comes from those holiday promises.

Soon our restaurant consultants will be releasing our Top Trends for 2019, but until then, enjoy time with friends and loved ones. 

Photo by Walter Chávez on Unsplash

Jovanina's Broken Italian

National Restaurant Consultants visits a new LoDo Italian restaurant

By Sarah Ann Noel - December 17, 2018

Our restaurant consultants love to keep up on the newest spots in Denver, a city which is really making a name for itself as a food town. New in the Italian food scene, Jovanina's is inspiring diners with its "broken Italian" dishes, a modern spin on high-end Italian cuisine.

Situated right on Blake Street in the heart of LoDo, Jovanina's serves up veggie-forward dishes, classic meat entrees, an impressive wine list and house-made cocktails, and desserts that are to die for. The interior is not distracting, rather enhances the experience, and the staff is talented and knowledgable. Overall, the ambiance is simple, trendy, but warm, making it an ideal night-out stop for foodies wanting a hip take on something warm and homey.

National Restaurant Consultants likes making a note of what catches our eye, not just because we love dining out but because it adds to our expertise in helping our clients. From menu development to interior design, our consultants can tell what is working for a place--and what isn't--and apply that experience and observation to all of our client projects. Contact a restaurant consultant today, and let's make your restaurant a place that will receive a rave review too.

Ice Cream Parlour Open at Beaver Creek

National Restaurant Consultants opens new concept at prime location with Vail Resorts

By Sarah Ann Noel- December 11, 2018

Congratulations to Vail Resorts on the opening of Beaver Creek's new Ice Cream Parlour. A once under-utilized space has been transformed into a Western-themed, old-fashioned soda fountain, open to the general public and serving hot sandwiches, soups, and a daily chili, with customized ice cream dishes for dessert. (Be sure to try the shop specialty, a Cookie Time Shake!)

National Restaurant Consultants has specialized in unique new concepts in partnership with Vail Resorts to enhance the guest experience and to make sure every space is efficiently and creatively used. It's a win-win for skiers at Vail and for the resort business alike.

The Ice Cream Parlour opened last week and will celebrate a grand opening this weekend. We're excited to see this vision come to life and offering a fun, unique experience.

Make sure that you're making your restaurant business the best it can be too. Contact a restaurant consultant today!

Defining Plant-Based Proteins

Consumers and industry professionals are calling on the FDA to more closely regulate plant-based options

By Sarah Ann Noel - December 5, 2018

"Plant based proteins are being utilized in nearly every mid-scale to up-scale and family restaurant. Independent restaurants and chains alike are listening to the consumer's needs, wants and desires for alternative plant based protein options," says National Restaurant Consultant's Denver-based senior consultant, Richard Weil.

According to Nation's Restaurant News, our consultants are right in line with this trend. "Nearly 40 percent of Americans are 'actively trying to incorporate more plant-based foods into their diets,' [says] a report by consumer and market research firm Nielsen, and 23 percent wanted to see more plant-based proteins." (Demand for Plant-Based Protein Beefs up by Bret Thorn)

With almost half of the population turning toward plant-based food items for at least a portion of their diets, phrases like "veggie burger" or "coconut milk" or "almond ricotta cheese" are becoming more and more commonplace. Because of this, the outcry from industry professionals and some consumers is, are these phrases accurate?

FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb recently released a statement at the Politico Pro Summit saying, “Plant-based milk products like almond milk, soy milk, and even their less-hyped cousin tiger-nut milk, will no longer be able to market themselves as 'milk',” reasoning that "an almond doesn't lactate."

A lot of this regulation around alternative milks is driven by the dairy industry, which has seen it's animal milk sales decline while nut-milk sales are on the rise. But according to National Milk Producers Federation spokesperson Chris Galen, it's not only a business concern, rather "the word 'milk' is being used as a marketing phrase when it’s in fact defined by the FDA according to scientific criteria that nuts simply can’t fulfill.” This refers to the FDA regulation that now to be termed "milk" a product must contain lactose.

And what does all of this mean for the restaurant industry? 

"Chefs and restauranteurs must keep in mind the most important thing is to meet the basic marketing needs of the consumers," Weil says. "The demand [for plant-based proteins] is evidenced by the huge growth of many plant-based producing food companies."  

This is becoming increasinly true of not just milk substitutes, but also options for meat replacement.  

Weil says, "Three years ago, large food distributors may have carried a meatless burger or hot dog at less than 5-10 items in their inventory. Today multiples of products are now warehoused."

While FDA compliance is an industry essential, so is meeting the needs of consumers and restaurant guests. With FDA regulations built around these new vegan- and vegetarian-friendly options, it's not a matter of whether or not to offer them. The advice there is clear: Your restaurant should cater to these needs. Meeting new regulations will instead be a matter of marketing and menu development. 

"The bottom line as always is to remain at the top of the mind of all guests when they choose where to spend their dining dollars. Having alternative plant based protein items on your menu can not only stimulate sales to increase customers, but most importantly retain customers as well," says Weil.

Our restaurant consultants are experts in menu development and incorporating top food trends. Make sure that your menu is meeting the needs of both your guests and the FDA requirements. Contact a consultant today for help with your menu. 

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

FDA to Regulate Cell-Based Meats

National Restaurant Consultants President David Kincheloe anticipates integration to restaurant industry

By Sarah Ann Noel - November 28, 2018

Last week, the FDA and the Department of Agriculture agreed to jointly outline regulations surrounding cell-based meats. A growing trend and feat of science, the development was initially a response to present practices of raising and farming animals for meat. The hope was that lab-raised meats created from animal cells would yield a more affordable, humanitarian product. But with cell-based meats yet to hit stores or restaurants, now industry leaders are wondering if and how these products will be received by consumers.

National Restaurant Consultants president David Kincheloe agrees that this is a valid concern. "The trend is toward a more natural, simple lifestyle," he says. "And the idea of meat made in a science lab doesn't exactly give you that feeling."

Despite uncertainty around mainstream acceptance, the technologies are developing and all related industries are preparing. Trying to get out in front, this is why the FDA and other regulatory agencies are working to create the correct terminology and rules around the creation of cell-based meats and how they will be integrated into food strores and restaurants. This, according to Forbes, comes in light of some cell-based protein companies preparing to launch by next year.

Kincheloe says it will hit the restaurant industry, though perhaps on a longer timeline. "Within the next five to ten years, we will see these products in restaurants," Kincheloe says, noting that FDA regulations are necessary. "We would hope that the FDA regulations would include rules about how restaurants will be required to list these products on their menus."

He added that while some may see cell-based proteins as a humanitarian ploy, what it will actually come down to is cost. "We really anticipate seeing cell-based meats showing up in quick-serve restaurants where low cost options are always a factor."

With questions of when and how still up in the air, this certainly is a trend to follow and stay on top of. Our restaurant consultants keep a close eye on all of the leading trends in the restaurant industry. To work with a restaurant consultant, contact us today.

Photo by Louis Reed on Unsplash

The Best Cocktail for 2018 Holidays

National Restaurant Consultants tracks down the throwback drink bartenders are loving for the holiday season

By Sarah Ann Noel - November 19, 2018

These days, it seems like all the trends are nodding backwards--from vintage-inspired furniture and floral patterns to 80s and 90s pop-culture references, influencers are find what's good in what used to be. Speaking of 90s throwbacks, our restaurant consultants chatted with some of our favorite Denver bartenders this weekend about the go-to drink for the holiday season. 

We all remember Jeff Bridges iconic role as The Dude, and what was his drink of choice? That's right: A White Russian. The mixologists at Racine's reported a trend back to this drink made popular by the loafer in an oversized sweater; but we think it makes sense all the same. A White Russian is a simple drink, traditionally made from just three ingredients, so it lends itself to the more minimal trends we're seeing in pop-culture. (Liquor.com has the verified traditional recipe here.) As for its holiday resurgence, it's an indulgent treat, creamy and sweet, perfect for an end-of-year celebration. 

Our restaurant consultants see it as a trending win for your restaurant business: There's no learning curve, nothing fancy required, but you can really dress it up on your happy hour menus and for marketing purposes. What do we mean? Well, Saveur has 6 Must-Try Variations on the White Russian, BuzzFeed found 11 Twists. Better yet, follow the trends, but it in your own way: SuperCall has 7 drinks to love that are like a White Russian.

All of those recipes are great jumping-off points; but let's not forget that our bar experts are calling it the drink of the holiday season. So, you could go the traditional route (which is a fine bet--people like traditional at the holidays). Or you could really capitalize on the themes of the season! Try a Peppermint White Russian! A Gingerbread White Russian! Get crazy with an Egg Nog White Russian! Better yet, offer all three and make it a special. If Starbucks can have 15 different holiday drinks, you can have three holiday White Russians.

The point is this: pay attention to trends, and pay closer attention to how and when to use them. Seems like a lot to keep track of? Contact our restaurant consultants--they're experts at it.

Photo by Dio Septian on Unsplash

10 Must-Try Restaurant Bathroom Ideas

National Restaurant Consultants President David Kincheloe shares expert advice on restaurant bathrooms to win over your guests

By David Kincheloe - November 12, 2018

Building out a restaurant is a large undertaking, and it can be made so much easier with the guidance of a restaurant consultant. Restaurant consultants are skilled in big picture visions, but they know about the details that can other times go overlooked. Details are tied to a whole experience, and when guests visit your restaurant, that's what they're looking for. They don't just want to be fed; they want a whole dining experience.

One expected place where this is so evident: the bathroom. From a big picture standpoint, a restaurant bathroom seems necessary, needs to be functional, and should be tended to once in awhile. This week, National Restaurant Consultants president was interviewed on the Dumpsters.com blog to expand on the idea of a restaurant bathroom. Why? Because it's important to get it right so as not to detract from the restaurant experience.

You can read all 10 Must-Try Restaurant Bathroom Ideas here. The points where Kincheloe is quoted brings together exactly what a restaurant consultant is good at. Yes, a bathroom needs to be functional, which is the big picture; but there are important nuances to get exactly right, because the details matter. 

Whether you're moving into an existing restaurant space or beginning from scratch, it's important that you get all of your details right in a functional, efficient, and affordable way. Our restaurant consultants can make a plan to do exactly that. Contact us today.