Luxury Travel, Lifestyle and Marketing Trends

Bread and Marketing

Bread and marketing? Yes. Bread has served not only as a mark of a restaurant’s quality, but also as a generator of press coverage. For many years in New York the bread to have at the best restaurants was Tom Cat’s sourdough. Peter Lugar’s onion rolls are legendary, and most recently in Miami, bread by Zak is the one that gets a mention on menus.  And when the bread is really good, don’t you find yourself mentioning that to friends? Butter, too, gets noticed by foodies —peel off butter packets, others you unwrap on the low end ,and  the top of the line being soft, unsalted tub butter from France.  And speaking about generating press, one of the selling points of a new restaurant, art gallery and lounge opening early next year in Wynwood, Miami will be their baguette oven imported from Strasbourg.

Given all this, I find it  short sighted to charge for bread. One could make an argument to diners for serving bread only on request which some restaurants are doing — that it saves waste and eliminates temptation for those on a diet.  But charging, especially if a lunch of broiled salmon, baby vegetables and a glass of wine with tip is $50 a person? That was my experience at a recent lunch at an upscale food hall in New York City.  It’s a buzzy, exciting place and the food is quite good but to charge for a piece of baguette and butter? Time to relook that policy.

Clever Idea to Build Customer Loyalty

Blackboard from Miami's Tinta y Cafe

Blackboard from Miami’s Tinta y Cafe

Sometimes the simplest ideas and ones that cost next to nothing are also the best ideas. And so it is with a blackboard posted at Tinta y Cafe, a coffee bar and casual eatery on Miami’s Calle Ocho. To acknowledge loyal customers, Tinta y Cafe hung a blackboard with the name of the “customer of the week”, hometown, occupation, favorite dishes, and the number of years s/he has been a customer. The blackboard is right next to the entrance so everyone sees it coming and going. The response? The owner says guests are fighting over the “real estate” (friendly fights of course). They also post their twitter handle  in a prominent position which encourages patrons to tweet . Smart.

Mobile food scene is going places this year

Building on a trend that’s already going full force in big cities, 2012 might just be the year of the moveable feast. From New York to Los Angeles, mobile kitchens dish out not just classic American street foods but gourmet fare, ethnic specialties and fusions of bolder flavors and spices. Top mobile food industry trends in 2012 will include: