Author Archives: tbl

Secret Weapon

A while ago I was in LA on a Discovery Tour and visited a haute hotdog concept called Slaw Dogs. The line-up of builds was impressive. They had dozens of variations from a Hotdog Rueben to a Breakfast Dog, but most impressive was when they brought out their ‘Secret Menu’ for two women who were […]

What’s in a Name?

Recently, I participated in an interview for an LA Times article on menu names. Here are my top ten thoughts on, ‘What’s in a name?’ 1. Do you consider menu naming serious business? Naming is really important for two main reasons, first, to encourage ordering of menu items, and second to set the right expectation about the […]

Which Half is Which?

Advertising: Which Half is Which? By now everyone has heard the saying, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” Most people attribute it to a friend or business associate, but the comment was originally made by retailer John Wanamaker, a marketing pioneer in the early […]

Value is in the Eye of the Beholder

I recently had a columnist interview me about value. Her assumptions were purely financial…getting value by avoiding high mark-up menu items that are low-cost to the restaurant. Frankly, I don’t buy that paradigm. I think that value is in the eye of the beholder. By that I mean, a simplistic view of menu item prices […]

What Can We Learn from the Bronx Cobra?

A 20-inch baby cobra escaped from the reptile house of the Bronx Zoo about a month ago and became an instant news story. OK, it was probably a slow news day, being that it preceded Donald Trump’s presidential aspirations and the capture of Bin Laden, but that only half explains why this event became such […]

Summer Vacation

Summer Vacation Years ago, I taught high school. To this day, what I miss most about it is Summer Vacation. Think about it. Summer vacation is way better than regular vacation. When you go on regular vacation, the work doesn’t stop, you just get farther and farther behind the longer you’re gone. Not so with […]

Urban Renewal

I had dinner with a friend last night at a great new little Mexican restaurant, Cabo Cucina. When I met him for dinner a year or so ago, we ate at the same restaurant…well, not actually the same restaurant. It was the same building but a different concept—it was a great little Italian restaurant (the […]

Drive By

I was on a conference call the other day where we discussed whether we needed valet parking for a new project that was a little thin on dedicated parking spaces. The price tag for valet parking is a little daunting when number crunching an initial pro forma, so it sometimes falls by the wayside when […]

It’s About the Ingredients

There was a time when I used to cook a lot and I loved it. Now I eat out a lot…and love it. For some reason this spring, I’ve been cooking a lot, and the more I cook, the more I realize why I love restaurants.

‘Tis the Season

It’s April, and the spring party season is here. Last weekend, I had a party for my nephew and his wife, who were in town on spring break, and what started as a quiet dinner grew into quite a party that included his high school buddies, old neighbors, friends and family. Along the way, I […]