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Restaurant Critic & Food Blogger
Food Companies for Dummies!
When food companies started filling supermarket shelfs with products, they took advantage of the food process by automating everything to make more product in less time. They took advantage of all the chemicals that would help them save monies, increase shelf life and make their products taste so good.
They were banking the generations to just buy their product based on heavy marketing and repeat buyer ship.
Initially, it worked, and they were making monies that way. Cut expenses where possible when producing product and maximizing profits. They figured putting more products out there will give the consumer more selections to choose from, thereby increasing the use of more chemicals to allow these products to have more shelf life.
Well, sometimes if you don't change, consumers taste change, there's more information on the internet and trends develop pro and against the current standard.
Do your research companies.
This is what we want:
1. Narrow down the products based on sales threshold. Anything under discontinue. There is way too much to choose from.
2. Focus in on the best sellers and research how can you make it better without any artificial chemicals, preservatives, additives, nitrite, nitrates, high Fructose and any other ingredients that are bad bd bad.
3. If you do this, then your less likely to worry about shelf life because the item will sell quickly in a short period of time. I think you'd rather know that the customer wants the product.
4. Marketing, should not be deceptive and fancy packaging adds cost. Just develop a simple package no nonsense to keep cost down.
5. Fancy pictures professionally done is deceptive.
Health, nutritional value, taste should be natural, therefore using the highest quality of ingredients creates more taste. Cost, don't worry, consumers will pay higher prices if they are getting better value.
6. For those consumers struggling with higher food prices, reduce the quantity and therby lowering the price. Instead of buying 8 hot dog package, maybe offer 4 package at 1/2 the cost.
7. Give the consumer what they want and you'll be surprised that they will be d evoted to your brand. If you continue to cover every corner of the food business, then consumers will be confused as to what to buy. You want to avoid confusion.
8. Focus on those products that can be made well, appealing to consumers and reduce the remainder of your product portfolio.
I teach Asian cooking class at the local college and the general consensus is they want to avoid buying products with all the bad stuff in it, just tired of being ripped off. They prefer to learn how to eat better, using natural ingredients, light sauces that don't overwhelm the flavor.
Chef Woo Can
YouTube: Chef Woo Can
Amazon Books: Search: Chef Woo Can or The You Can Do It Asian Cookbook
Meal Prices Are Crazy!
I know inflation has taken a chunk of profit from business and yes, they have to work twice as hard to make what they made pre pandemic but lately prices being charged at restaurants is crazy!
The mind set of management is to compensate for high prices is to charge higher prices to the customer. In theory it sounds ok, but when you go out to eat recently, look at what you're paying? It's not gradual increase but a sticker shock increase.
On top of that they are requiring a mandatory gratuity charge and the cost of soda and coffee is a hefty increase. I see what management has to do, trying to cover price increase in their supply chain. BUT, is that the right way to approach this problem? Yes, the pandemic killed all merchants and even put some out of business and when it was all over, there was an opportunity to get back to making money but then inflation hit so overall it was a slow start, a double whammy!!!!!
But the real victims are the customers who frequent these establishments that take the brunt of all the hits! Today they're getting less and paying more. It's not worth it but if you're going out to eat to socialize maybe its ok.
So, what are merchants doing. They're substituting ingredients that are cheaper, glamourizing their health benefits while maximizing profits.
The customer is saying, I know these ingredients being used for the dish and are doubly amazed at the price for the dish. Soda is $ 3.00? Coffee, $3.00? You got to be kidding. My view is this. Maintain a modest price increase that's fair. You might not make as much profit, but you'll get the volume of customers. The more customers, the more profit, however small it is growing. You get a steady customer base and through time with a little increase your customer base is growing. As for the vendors who supplies the ingredients. If the vendor is not helping you and all you hear from them is well, the supplier I'm getting it from is charging higher, so I have to do the same, remember there are lots of vendors out there. Choose one that is willing to work with your business.
The other avenues out there, shipping food companies only has a fraction of the public interested. Yes, convenience is key but the overall food quality if fair and the price being paid is so, with next day service prices ridiculous.
Frozen dinners? Other than the front picture, they're terrible. It's whatever excess surplus the food manufacturers have and try to sell it to make some kind of concoction of a dish.
So, what happens, more and more people are enrolling in food classes, learning the ins and out of the food business and realizing that they are not so concerned with your health but the bottom line growing, and you'll return to buy their products again. High preservatives, additives, nitrates, sugar, sodium, any chemical that will make their dish delicious. I see it in my classes. My students are learning to eat better, more nutritious methods and ingredients and they see the difference. They admit that it's a 360-degree lifestyle change but mixed with exercise blood pressure down, blood sugar down, cholesterol down, more energy, feel good, positive, less stress. I can go on and on, these are testimonials that I get from my students. Eating a different way but only if you want to.
Chef Woo Can
YouTube: Chef Woo Can
Amazon Boks: Search Chef Woo Can or The You Can Do It Asian Cookbook
We're Hiring? How Serious Are You?
We've seen this all over the place. Corporations are short on staffing. They post signs on their premises, advertise on social media and even using recruiting services to hire potential candidates. But nowhere is this being done more so in the food service business. Now, let's analyze this correctly by asking why? It seems a lot of problems are the result of not addressing the why factor?
I'll surmise that the food service business is a tough business since you're dealing with potential customers and as we all know customers are very unique in their own way.
They're tough, very emotional, darn right violet and can be verbally abusive if they don't get what they want right away.
Who would want to work at a food service place. Unless your immunity system that's tough as nails, no one can especially teenagers working parttime or a summer job. They do not want to put up with that but with all the good jobs gone, they have no other option that to take one of these jobs. Yes, the minimum wage has increased depending on what state you're in but still, is it worth it?
So, a corporation needs to fill the position because it will provide the service the customer needs, so if you can talk, walk & read, you got the job. BUT you have the worst personality, terrible attitude and unable to prepare to deal with difficult people. There's argumentative without understanding the customer is always right and literally vindictive and harsh to the customer.
That's what's happening right now but management is happy they got a body to fill the position.
This idea of customer hot line to complain about service is bogus. It's this illusion that the company wants the customer to know that they care. Right! They are only concerned with increasing sales whether the customer comes back or not. It's the numbers stupid! Never customer satisfaction!!!!!!!
So, as a parent or individual that is busy with work driving around all over the place, and we want to take a break, we stop in at a local fast food, and all hell breaks loose or go to the Drive in and the order is wrong and when addressed, common sense is lacking on the part of the customer clerk, it's a nightmare break!
So, corporations continue to function and turn a blind eye with poor customer service, revenues reported are slowly declining to the point that its now being addressed. Solution at the local level, they need to hire more staff, they do and no follow-up because with more staff, most customers can be served and revenues are back up, but the quality of personnel is compromised, high turnover, more training, more mistakes if not trained properly. Hire more unqualified personnel, deal with high turnover, it's a vicious cycle. But rather than revamp the policy of hiring and developing a program, the problem will never be addressed.
Customers like me will no longer frequent an establishment that is rude, impolite and brash.
Corporations think that customers frequent their establishment for the food. In part that is slightly true but how they are treated is the defining moment. Really!!!!!
If there is no incentive that motivates a candidate, they why in the hell would they subject themselves to an environment that's naturally toxic?
It's the nature of the beast food service. Either love it or hate it.
Higher wages? maybe must represent the ideal worker in customer service in the worst-case scenario.
Corporations are losing money hiring, rehiring, quitting staff, training cost, time does impact companies. They look at iit as an expense, rther then look at it as building the foundation. Their position is we spend to train, then they leave. But if you hire the right people, the % of leaving is much less.
Chef Woo Can
YouTube: Chef Woo Can
Amazon Books: Search "Chef Woo Can or The You Can Do It Asian Cookbook"
Do really care to know what your customers want?
They all know you make millions of dollars in profits whenever food is being served whether it be fast food or family style food establishments. Yes, there was a whole bunch of restaurants and take out places that were established in the 80's and I guess success has a funny way to say, if it isn't broken why change. The result is these places are losing business and most will close, because customers are just tired of the same ole thing, microwaved cheese laden food.
These days its not what you offer but its now keeping with different trends from different generations. The 80's restaurant chains were based on the Baby Boom Generation but today, the Baby Generation doesn't count today. We're lucky to go for a Happy Meal at McDonald's to survive these days.
Corporations needs to find out the latest or develop the latest trends but that's a high risk task. They'll looking for a sure thing but I have to say is what is a corportion that makes money is a corporation that takes risks. Today the word "Risk" is a dirty word. Not willing to spend the money in research as to making various creations and see how the lublic reacts. ut they are willing to invest millions of dollars in upgrading the restaurant atmosphere with new furniture and provide a modern theme as if that will make the customer comfortable and then they can enjoy their meal in a relaxed atmosphere?
So in the long run corporations are willing to close a location and layoff workers then invest in new trends and market new innovations. That's what it seems to me or more importantly, trying to fill positions with anyone that can walk and talk but has the worst personality and treat the customers with rude and obnoxious behavior. Is it too much to ask of them to treat customers with respect. It seems to me they are just going after the mighty dollar at any cost.
There is one fast food establishment that defies the odds. They are a chicken place and their name is Chick Fil A. Good food, interesting new products, excellent customer service and professionalism is exhibited to the T. Why are they doing it right. Well, any weekday lunch hour or during the rush hour, the Chick Fil A in Bel Air, is jammed pack with cars entering and leaving. Take out delivery is packed with orders. and on Saturday during lunch hour and dinner, its packed.
They got it right. Today I was reading n article that they are "Experimenting" with establishing a kitchen over their drive ins to accommodate faster service to many more customers driving in. They experiment, tweak analyze and evaluate and make changes.
With all the supermarkets out there, why is a foreign supermarket taking over as the low prices store on the block? Aldi, obviously there are some products not worth purchasing or are just kinda expensive but compared to others overall, they provide lower prices to most staple foods we seek out. In the beginning the stores had trouble keeping up with servicing they fruits and veggies, but trial and error they finally have addressed the issues. What's interesting is that in the frozen food section, they rotate their selection of foods which provides a variety of frozen foods and not just seeing the same things. They always have interesting frozen foods, from Pup cups, to Ben & Jerry's ice cream to Asian food, to pizza to Gyros. Why is the cost so much cheaper than the average supermarket. It's simple, they provide less and therefore charge less for the most part. They portions aren't huge when sold. They're moderate in size and quantity. I just know that the non name brand products are so much cheaper.
But the funny thing is Aldi is the new kid on the block, why do they know that most Western supermarkets don't? I don't think you have to be a rocket scientist to figue that out.
Chef Woo Can
Amazon Books, search Chef Woo Can or The You Can Do It Asian Cookbook
YouTube: Chef Woo Can
Give Small Business A Break For Cryin Out Loud!
Our government is to serve our citizens the best way possible according to what we want. The Republican party is supposed to represent big and small business but that all depends on how much money they have in terms of buying influence with the politicians.
If small business is the back bone of America, then the government should make it easier for those that want to open a small business to do so.
Let's see, by helping small business to flourish, your creating jobs in the community, growing, help prosper entrepreneurs, creating buying power, attracting business to the community, paying taxes to the local, county and federal government to stimulate growth in real estate, improve public works. I guess I don't see a downturn and there is, wait and see what kind of guidelines can be implemented to entice hiring and job careers?
Everything must start at the State level. Bureaucratic red tape with regulations and rules must be eliminated. What do I mean? Premises must be in compliance with cleanliness and sanitary conditions may be in place. Temperature control of refrigerated or frozen ingredients must be adhered to. Utilities must be updated and checked on a monthly basis. All entrepreneurs must go through a series of classes emphasizing the above requirements and a fee is charged.
A review board at the State level will require review of type of business being offered.
Each entrepreneur must offer to their employees, profit sharing, meaning they will get a share of the business. This is an incentive to motivate employees to feel that they efforts contribute to the success of the business, reduce turnover, and create high morale because their performance impacts business based on professionalism.
Wholesale vendors are strongly encouraged to offer their clients reduced rates on products. By reducing the rates of ingredients, creates lower prices for consumers and the more likelihood of customers coming back for best value for the money.
The mandatory seminars will be all areas covered and is a contractual agreement.
Landlord leasing properties is based on the square footage of the business with the lowest rate set for the 1st 3 years. If after the 3-year period which the business should be able to breakeven, if it doesn't business must close unless the owner offers a different plan or approach. If the business breaks even, then the lease will renew with a slight increase. Landlord shouldn't be greedy, the alternative for them is to pay the lease without any revenues generated. So, it's in the best interest of the landlord to lease out space as compared to food trucks as alternatives for the brick-and-mortar store front.
The types of occupants that a landlord offers must create continuous traffic. For example, a hair stylist, a food establishment, dessert place or bakery. Each merchant will be assigned a grading similar to like in NYC to incite or encourage patronage.
Cost, regulations weigh heavily on small business.
Enforcement will guide business to identify concerns. The mission is to encite more business growth.
Landlords, food vendors by providing relief to entrepreneurs will receive tax relief.
Building zones will be reviewed based on impact on community, potential traffic congestion and environmental impact.
The counties should develop areas for small business zones for food carts and for food trucks.
Owners of small business will be required to rotate their personnel so everyone will be exposed to all aspects of the business operation with potential for upward mobility. It's better to have a tenured employee given more responsibility and motivation than to be stuck in a position for years. State incentives will promote English language classes and further education.
Being familiar with the business operation and speaking English enables workers the ability to move forward with their own business.
Chef Woo Can
YouTube: Chef Woo Can
Amazon Books: Search: Chef Woo Can, or The You Can Do It Asian Cookbook
Naughty Dogs Restaurant Pub Grill
2306 E. Churchville Rd, Bel Air, MD 21015
With small business trying to make a comeback in a unfriendly environment in 2023, some businesses fail while other struggle and other try their best to cut corners just to make a slight profit competing with inflation, customer demands and hiring the right help.
Well, its seldom that I go out to eat because knowing what business does to cut corners, it's just not worth my hard earn dollars. I'll go out with friends to socialize, get together and shoot the breeze and food is the last thing I want to consider but there is one place that I've been going to and it's the Naughty Dog Restaurant Pub & Grill. It seems like I've tried these pub restaurants and they do their food right.
The Naughty Dog restaurant is a bar and restaurant area. The first thing I noticed is its so clean, tabletops shine. They have weekly day specials which is interesting, and their menu features the special of the day along with a simple 1-page menu both sides. This has been my 4th time. You need to know that if I visit a place as many times, it gotta be good. One time I had the fish and chips, crunchy, good value for the money. Most times when you get fish and chips, the crust is kind of soggy sitting on a bed of lettuce and the moisture just killed the crunch on one side. Another time I had the fish tacos, you can either have the rockfish or blackened and you get a nice portion of tacos (3) large filled to the brim with goodies and just yesterday I had the King Dog, it was a humongous hotdog in a bun with chili, onion and melted cheese. It was presented well and Monday's there was a $ 1.00 discount. Another time I had their salad, great portion, very fresh and delicious. All these dishes were at lunch time or brunch time on the weekend.
Service was fantastic, always smiling, very accommodating and just had a great personality.
You gotta go try this place, it's worth your time to relax in a comforting environment and you get great value.
On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being excellent. I give this place a 100, it's that good.
Chef Woo Can
Amazon Books: Search: "Chef Woo Can" or "The You Can Do It Asian Cookbook"
YouTube: Chef Woo Can, click and subscribe!
Route 24 Ale House
Bel Air South Parkway
Bel Air, MD 21015
Every once in a while, I find a hidden food gem establishment where the best hamburger can be found. This place is the Holy Grail for their fantastic hamburger.
Their burgers are not only moist but flavorful, never dry. The hamburger was so tender, juicy and for me a little greasy with flavor and texture. My hamburger didn't come with lettuce, tomato, but I wanted only a slice of cheese, a raw onion slice and a pickle. I didn't have to add any salt or pepper just maybe a little mayo.
The burger stood out very flavorful whether it had a dose of salt and pepper before it was made, that's neither here nor there. It was the tastiest hamburger I've ever had. Yes, it was greasy, but a little grease only adds flavor with each bite. It was easy to handle but it was so enjoyable to eat a hamburger that was really tender and most of all tasty. And to boot it was reasonably priced!
You may say a hamburger is just a meat pattie grilled or smashed but the well-done burger is not indicative of a good hamburger.
Retail establishment chains load up a basic hamburger with lettuce tomato, onion, onion rings, mushroom, tons of cheese and a very salty sweet sauce to hide the lack of flavor of the beef and make it look so fancy, it's a great value.
I'll say some places don't really emphasize the burger but put more emphasis on the fries? What's the story there?
Route 24 Ale House, although a very bar atmosphere is basic with flat TV's all over the place is a great place to enjoy a good hamburger for a fair price.
On my scale of 1-10 with 10 being excellent in my opinion, I give this plce a 50!
You gotta try it. I ate the hangover burger that includes an egg on top!
#Route24alehouse, #terrificburgers, #chefwoocanreview, #hamburgerreview, #tastyandtenderhamburgers,
Chef Woo Can
Amazon Book: Search: "Chef Woo Can", or "The You Can Do It Asian Cookbook"
Do What's Right!
The last couple of years have tested food merchants. Covid Pandemic shut down alot of restaurants and only until recently, there are signs they are slowly making a comeback. But they are now being tested with inflation is driving up food prices, so what is a merchant to do? Instinctly, they need to reduce expenses, and offer less quantity but charge more. This seems to be the prevailing way business is being done.
Just to let you know, since business is slowly coming back, they need the clientele to come back, repeat customers but that doesn't seem like it working. Yes, there are customer that will eat out for social purposes and just don't feel like cooking. They may not be very happy witnessing cut back on quantity but paying more. The majority of customers say, "What the hell" and won't be returning back as a regular customer. So, the result is revenues are on a downward spiral, layoff of employees, but prices are still going up but no pool of steady customers supporting them.
The end result is they are forced to close with all that investment wasted due to poor decisions.
The right way to conduct business is to raise prices accordingly, don't compromise on portions, you will able to make money and keep a steady clientele. Don't underestimate your breadwinners, they know when they are getting ripped off. If your concerned with customers saying "Oh, it's so expensive" they need to have a wakeup call and realize that going out to eat is expensive. Unless, you can improvise your dishes without compromising the main ingredients, customers will pay if they know they are getting a valued product.
It's a very simple approach but its time consuming to enact or scared to go into this direction and assume no one will come in to patronize their restaurant. The bigger food chains can handle tough times but its the little guy that suffers the most.
Chef Woo can
Amazon Books: Search "Chef Woo Can" or "The You Can Do It Asian Cookbook"
312 S. Main St, Bel Air, MD 21014
It's been a while since I've been to Looney's but it was the weekend and my buddy asked me to go to lunch. We wanted to eat outdoors since it was a bright sunny day. Getting a parking space on this Saturday was a little challenging but heard there may have been a marathon run earlier. Either way we were seated a quickly given our place setting and drinks were ordered. Our waitress welcomed us and was very upbeat and pleasant. I ordered a Chicken Salad BLT. Now, I have rarely been successful when it comes to a club sandwich. My only experience that has prevented me from ordering a club sandwich was at Double T diner. Too much lettuce and tomato, huge portion of chicken salad, and overcooked bacon jammed into 3 slices of bread. A complete mess.
However, at Looney's Pub the club sandwich was proportioned correctly with lettuce and tomato and bacon with just enough chicken salad without jamming it into 3 slices of toast, it was manageable and a pleasure to enjoy.
For me it was a pleasure to enjoy my club and I would visit Looney's again because of it.
On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being excellent, I give Looney a 10. It was that good, and tasty. The toast didn't fall apart when trying to eat the club sandwich.
Chef Woo Can
Amazon Books: Search "Chef Woo Can or "The You Can Do It Asian Cookbook"
Lib's Grill Bel Air
1204 Angora Dr., Bel Air, MD 21014
It's been a while since I've dined out. What I've been seeing is food establishments are cutting back on quantity but charging you more. It's getting ridiculous, but I always have my eyes out for new restaurants and Lib's Grill Bel Air reading their reviews. Most curious of their reviews was how delicious and fresh their raw oysters are. I decided to check at lunchtime, a true test to see how fresh their raw oysters were. I went with my friend there, outdoor dining. I choose a dozen Chicoteague Oysters and asked the waitress if they are shucked at time of order and she said absolutely "freshly shucked." I also ordered for my lunch the Grilled Salmon BLT (whole grain ciabatta, bacon, lettuce, tomato, basil aioli and hand cut fries).
First, most restaurants that offer oysters, shuck their oysters in advance, don't know why but I can tell you that Lib's Grill shucks their raw oysters the minute the order comes through. They were so fresh, that the oysters were sitting in their own liquid brine which never happens. Included was horseradish cocktail sauce and Mignonette sauce. It was a pleasure sipping that natural brine oyster juice and adding condiments just highlighted the overall flavor of the raw oysters. It was simply fabulous.
Now, I am not a cooked salmon fan, I usually love salmon sushi style, raw. So having a BLT Salmon sandwich was a true test of how the salmon was prepared. Most times, its over cooked and chalky, I decided to give it a shot and I was pleasantly surprised. The salmon was so tender flaky, on a ciabatta bread with all the fixings, made the sandwich very tasty and great value.
Overall, Chef Woo Can gives Lib's Grill Bel Air a 10, on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being excellent. I highly recommend this place. I will visit them again.
Considering everything is going up in price, Lib's Grill Bel Air, doesn't compromise the quality of the food but I feel the price is very fair. The oysters were $ 3.00/piece but well worth it.
Chef Woo Can
Amazon Books: Search "Chef Woo Can" and "The You Can Do It Asian Cookbook"