Friday Fry #11

by Jeanne

Before Dream On     Do you have dreams of opening a restaurant?  New York Observor attended the two-day seminar entitled "How to Open a Restaurant … and Make It Last" in New York and gives some highlights.  Tidbits like the 4x markup on wine by the glass vs. a bottle of wine at 2-2 1/2x the retail cost.  Or the industry statistic that roughly 60,000 restaurants will open in 2004, (165 a day) and about 25 percent will close before their first anniversary. 

Nutty Hot     The 2005 Scovie Award winners have been announced.  And for the third year running McGinn’s Pistachio Tree Ranch Atomic Hot Chili Pistachio Brittle has taken a prize back to the ranch.  Also Southwestern specialty foods catalog winner, Salsa Express whose catalog features picante sauce, corn tostada chips, chile rellenos and of course, a variety of salsas.  There’s also a (sorry) ‘kicked-up’ Blazin’ Bloody Mary recipe that will make your next brunch a bash.

Heat is On      At one time Chef’s Catalog was the leading catalog retailer of top-quality cooking equipment at a good value, both for home chefs and culinary professionals. In 1998 Neiman-Marcus acquired the cataloger.  Today the catalog operation is being sold to a private equity group who has had success with catalogs for Peet’s, Design Within Reach and Bare Escentuals.  The problem I think is more than what Needless Markup suggests–competition in the space (that’s the easy way out).  In my view it’s a lack of brand direction and a direct marketing focus–the list, the list and the list.  That and a bit of catalog page analysis and merchandising might realize a better return.

Water Water     The nearly 100-year-old Hetch Hetchy water delivery system, (ie.O’Shaughnessy Dam) delivers water to the San Francisco Bay Area.  Located near Yosemite there are a lot of enivronmentalists that are aiming for restoration of the valley.   Now, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s resource secretary has commissioned a study for the possible restoration of the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park, giving an unexpected official boost to the controversial idea of dismantling the dam that has been integral to the Bay Area’s water supply for more than 80 years. The dam built by the City of San Francisco provides high-quality water and electricity to 2.4 million Bay Area dwellers.  If you’ve never had the opportunity to visit Yosemite, well it’s epic.  It’s one of my favorite places in the great outdoors.  The next best thing would be for you to take a virtual tour of it’s sister valley.  What the balance should be between the ecosytems of the river and the demands of river users will be a long debate.  Particularly here, one of the greenest communities in the U.S.

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