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From the Editor: Running a Restaurant cam be paper, rock, scissors

I know the foodservice industry is going through some challenging times right now and may not want to hear this, but I really don’t like paper straws. I don’t like that they have a taste and a weird mouth feel, I don’t like that they get slimy and don’t hold their shape and that they make sucking harder.

But I also know that plastic straws are bad for the environment and I don’t want to be one of those people who are only civic minded when it benefits them. But in my defense,  I am a frequent straw user. 

I also don’t like metal straws—they kind of creep me out. Mostly this is because when I was a kid my paternal grandmother gave me a sterling silver straw to sip milk through. (I would have preferred to have been born with a silver spoon in my mouth, but no, I got a silver straw.) The problem with sterling silver is that it has a metallic taste when it needs polishing and a silver polish taste after it’s been polished. Plus I didn’t like milk. 

The straw controversy is just one of the concerns—or perhaps distractions is a better word—that restaurateurs have on their plates: There’s a higher minimum wage in the pipeline, labor shortages, robots who want a job (see cartoon above), the expense of delivery services, the expense of not doing delivery services, finding qualified line cooks, standing out in a crowded field, the list goes on. 

That’s one of the reasons this issue of Foodservice News is chocked full of tips from the pros, starting with our cover story and ending with Events Editor Laura Michaels’ coverage of the Reinhart food show. 

In the past we may have strolled a bit far from our B2B roots. And while we won’t be giving  up our coverage of top chefs—in fact we have a whole booklet on that subject that will be polybagged to the December issue—we do plan to do more stories on the issues that impact the foodservice industry, plus give ideas to help business owners make better decisions and choices. 

A good example is the story by freelancer Mecca Bos on casino dining. It was fascinating to learn about the quantities that casinos buy and the loss-leaders they cook up in order to supplement the business’s true revenue stream—gambling. And while our cover PR duo stresses quality over quantity when it comes to social media, at the casinos the chefs are dealing with quantity while making quality food, even if the occasional diner smothers it in gravy. There’s a lesson  their story.

Part of our new strategy is to also post more stories on our website via our blog. This is not where we put our minor stories, we’re using these posts to get the news out faster and to highlight stories that sometimes come in after deadline. We’ll also be sending out weekly reminders to check out that content.

And while improvement is on my mind, so is excellence, which is my segue into the Charlie Awards. Mid-month we’ll be releasing the list of finalists and introducing them to you and to the public thanks to a new partnership with Minnesota Monthly. 

And while I’m editing this edition, I’m also sipping my strawless beverage. But on a positive note, at least I can’t suck. 

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