Tablesetters Lead, Diners Follow

Consumers choose full-service restaurants based on exceptional dining experiences.

Setting America’s Table.

This is the brand that you built.

We start the New Year with this new message in our logo as tribute to the vitality and leadership of full-service restaurants.

The FSR brand is a reflection of who’s reading our magazine, and whether you’re a chef with your own restaurant, the owner/operator of a restaurant group with multiple concepts, or an executive in a fast-growing chain: You’re first and foremost an entrepreneur dedicated to hospitality.

FSR readers are Setting America’s Table—with originality and innovation. Following the trends is not your game; you’re the tablesetters who drive and influence the market.

You know food, beverage, and service—but you’re always hungry to know more. Especially about what other leaders in the full-service industry are doing, or what makes diners choose one eating experience over another.

For instance, a recent report from the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association and Datasssential shed interesting perspective on why consumers make certain choices about eating out.

The 2013/2014 Foodservice Landscape report, released in late November, indicates that the top reasons diners choose to eat in full-service restaurants are to celebrate special occasions, enjoy a romantic meal, and engage in a social gathering. Family meals, casual dinners, and, yes, even formal dinners, were high on the list of motivators for seeking a full-service restaurant. Basically, it boils down to guests’ desires for exceptional dining experiences. Conversely, the reasons consumers choose limited-service restaurants—all our friends in the quick-service and fast-casual space—come down to convenience and cost.

A couple of nuances that emerged from the report were somewhat surprising: There’s a slight gender bias, make that opportunity, for full-service restaurants. Turns out, full-service restaurants are much more likely to be the choice for a girl’s night out than for a guy’s night out. Take that one to the bank, guys: Girls just want to have fun, and be waited on in the process.

Also somewhat unexpected was the preference for full-service dining when it comes to choosing a weekend breakfast respite, which speaks to the continued growth in that daypart.

While we learn from research and consumer data, the most meaningful stories are those told by chefs and operators who continue to raise the standards for full-service tablesetters.

In this issue you’ll find the knowledgeable and entertaining voice of Brock Radke, food editor of Las Vegas Weekly, who brings the latest from celebrity chefs opening glitzy Vegas concepts, with insights into why this desert oasis has become a serious food city and a sure bet for chefs gambling on innovation and entertainment.

Brock also shares Chef Hubert Keller’s reflections on closing his iconic San Francisco restaurant and elevating Fleur in Vegas, proof that a brand built to last will transcend geographies and evolve with the times.

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