Food Service Matters | Food and Beverage Trends and News
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Robots are coming to a burger joint near you

By Lora Kolodny

Grilling burgers may be fun on the Fourth of July, but less so if hot grease is your daily grind.

Enter Miso Robotics. The southern California start-up has built a robotic “kitchen assistant” called Flippy to do the hot, greasy and repetitive work of a fry cook. Flippy employs machine learning and computer vision to identify patties on a grill, track them as they cook, flip and then place them on a bun when they’re done.

Miso is part of a budding kitchen automation industry. Its peers include Zume Pizza, Cafe X, Makr Shakr, Frobot and Sally, which are developing robots to help commercial kitchens churn out pizzas, lattes, cocktails, frozen yogurt, and salads.READ MORE

How One Family is Pulling Saltwater Taffy Back into Local Food Culture

By Liz Miller  Photos Judd Demaline

The King family has ruled concessions at state and county fairs far and wide for the past 30 years.

The sights and sounds at HerrinFesta Italiana, an annual town fair held in Herrin, Illinois, are familiar and exhilarating: the skid and wallop of bumper cars colliding, the blue and yellow neon lights of the Tilt-A-Whirl illuminating neighboring carnival games, Ferris wheel cars climbing upward and glittering against the softly setting sun. The air is perfumed with deep-fried dough and freshly spun sugar, and the aroma of buttery popcorn is so thick you can almost taste it.READ MORE

The Importance of Secret Diners

By Doug Radkey, Foodable Industry Expert

Traditional comment cards and now online reviews play a large role in this industry, but only a very small percentage of guests actually fill out the forms and/or leave a review. Plus, it doesn’t always provide a measurable result. To get a truly unbiased, outside perspective, a secret shopper or ‘diner’ in this case, is the best option.

For a minimal investment, a true secret diner program can become a profitable training and development platform for owners, operators, and managers. A secret diner also provides a different perspective: one that speaks from the eyes of a customer and not from the eyes of an owner, manager, employee, friend, or family member. READ MORE

What It Actually Costs to Open a Restaurant in San Francisco

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By Stefanie Tuder  Photos Pork Belly Studio

Dollar for dollar, a comprehensive look at the agony of building a business

For chef Adam Tortosa, opening a restaurant is more than just a pipe dream — it’s about proving something. Tortosa, a fair, lanky 31-year-old from San Diego, was first introduced to the Bay Area when he opened 1760 with the Acquerello team in 2013. Four months later, he was slammed by a mediocre review from Michael Bauer. He quickly “resigned.”READ MORE