Chili's has created a social video campaign to promote its slimmed down menu, including one spot dubbed "In Menumoriam" that says goodbye to a slew of departing dishes in a format familiar to Academy Award show watchers. The chain has also put recipes on Pinterest for around 20 menu items that are being eliminated.
Pumpkin is a perennially popular fall flavor, and its use on restaurant menus has risen more than 21%. Still, eateries are experimenting with different taste profiles for autumn, including Asian and Hispanic flavors, bold flavor profiles and warm spices in hot drinks like Starbuck's Chile Mocha Cocoa.
In the days following Hurricane Irma, chefs and restaurants were inundated with calls for support from search and rescue workers and survivors who had no access to food. Restaurants and cafes have risen to the challenge by turning their kitchens into mass-producing machines, sending out meals and beverages to those still reeling from the storm.
Fortified wines have a long history, but some bars are making them fresh again, especially as cocktail ingredients. Wallflower in New York City has established a reputation for successfully using sherry in cocktails, while BlackTail is using such fortified wines as Madeira and fino sherry in the Parkeroo and other cocktails.
A new app called Chirpify is helping restaurants support brand advocacy by rewarding customers who engage with them on Twitter, Facebook and other social media. Chirpify "listens" to the desired channels and automatically responds when a user posts about the restaurant by offering loyalty points, special deals, a simple "thank you" and more.
Clam juice is a good ingredient to keep on hand for its simplicity and potency; unlike other stock equivalents, it is literally just clam juice, salt and a little bit of water. Even in small amounts, clam juice can add a shot of umami to soups, sauces and even cocktails.
Attorney April Richardson joined a struggling Maryland bake shop in 2013, helping transform what is now DC Sweet Potato Cake into a $1 million business with distribution in stores such as Wegmans and Safeway. In addition, the company won a deal with Walmart last month after participating in its Open Call pitch, and its cakes will appear on shelves at 250 Walmart locations in 2018.
The Culinary Institute of America recently took a group of students to visit Japan, in part to learn about traditional Japanese food, also referred to as "washoku." "We wanted them to see the sense of purpose, the attention to detail, the quality, beauty, flavors and ingredients and even more -- the sensibilities, the focus on seasonality and the overarching theme of hospitality," said Cathy Jorin of CIA's Food Business School.
Colorado-based chai tea brand Bhakti has raised $5.1 million in Series B funding, led by Cleveland Avenue. The company, which sells ready-to-drink teas in stores such as Target and Whole Foods, will use the funds for product innovation, staffing and distribution.
Anthony Bourdain's "Wasted! The Story of Food Waste" documentary will spotlight well-known chefs such as Dan Barber as they discuss how to tackle food waste. Barber points to dishes such as bouillabaisse as evidence that chefs have historically been able to use food scraps to make delicious cuisine.