Horseshoe Lounge Austin Wed, 29 Jun 2022 09:05:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Horseshoe Lounge Austin 32 32 GERMAN DONER KEBAB CONTINUES NORTH AMERICAN EXPANSION WITH HIRING OF KEY EXECUTIVES Wed, 29 Jun 2022 09:05:00 +0000

New franchisees set to launch multiple restaurants across the US for the UK’s fastest growing restaurant group

NEW YORK, June 29, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — As part of an aggressive expansion plan to North America, German Doner Kebab United States (GDK UNITED STATES) announced today that it has hired Robert Bray as Director of Operations and Marc Treptov as Director of Franchise Development, as well as recent hires Georgina Cavendishfinancial director and Darren Cooke as Marketing Director. GDK, with locations around the world since 1989, is known for its fresh kebab menu, savory store-prepared sauces and grilled homemade waffle bread.

The original German Doner Kebab.

Report to Nigel Belton, Managing Director of GDK North America, Bray has over 20 years of operations experience with YUM! Brands and was most recently senior regional franchise manager at Church’s Chicken. Treptow has franchised several emerging restaurant concepts such as Five Guys Burgers, Freshii and The Halal Guys into major national and international brands. Recent UK transplant Cavendish joins Island Poké – a division of parent company GDK Hero Brands – to support the brand and franchisees across North America. Cooke joins the team after holding international marketing positions for well-known brands such as Kroger, Virgin, Adidas, Starbucks and Google.

“As the global industry leader, GDK is revolutionizing the doner kebab experience, and we’re excited to bring our fresh, high-quality taste sensation to North Americans looking for a burger and sandwich alternative,” Belton said. “We have assembled a team of exceptional leaders with extensive experience in the food and beverage industry, and we are excited to use their expertise to help drive our continued growth.”

With its global headquarters in Glasgow, Scotland, GDK, is focused on providing its customers with fresh, premium quality ingredients at affordable prices. As the fastest growing fast food group in the UK, GDK has over 125 restaurants in the UK, Europethe Middle Eastand is now growing rapidly in the United States and Canada. GDK opened its first US site in from New Jersey American Dream Mall in 2021. In Canada, three locations are currently open; one in British Columbia and two in Ontario.

“It’s exciting to have the opportunity to shape the creation of processes, behaviors and relationships with our franchisees to help GDK grow in North America“As we continue our quest to bring the doner kebab feel to people, I look forward to creating a customer experience that will keep them coming back again and again for our fresh food and great service.”

The North American operation has ambitious growth plans for the United States as it prepares to open ten locations in 2022, including its first two in the United States. Houston Region, sugar country and Houston Heights, the company also announced. Clyde Foods has engaged as a multi-unit developer in Houstonan agreement that includes 15 restaurants over the next ten years and five establishments to open by 2025. In the dallas region, a franchisee signed a multi-unit agreement to develop five restaurants in dallas and its northern suburbs.

GDK New York franchisee has signed an agreement to develop 25 restaurants over 15 years, with six openings by the end of 2022. These strategic sites include Midtown Manhattan, brooklynand Astoria in Queens. In Canada, research is underway for additional sites in Mississauga, ON and Surrey, British Columbia.

German Doner Kebab is a fast and casual brand that is revolutionizing the market, providing customers with an upscale, high quality, and elevated dining experience compared to traditional kebabs. GDK has over 125 restaurants worldwide and is the fastest growing international restaurant

kebab brand in the world. GDK opened its first restaurant in Berlin in 1989 and spent the next decade developing its products and recipes, creating its own unique blend of spices, innovating its signature sauces, and perfecting its distinctive “doner kebab” handmade waffle toast. GDK’s gourmet kebabs are made from premium ingredients, succulent lean meats and locally produced fresh vegetables that are delivered and prepared daily with our handmade bread. With its global headquarters in Glasgow, Scotlandthe brand has grown at a breakneck pace in the UK, Europeand the Middle East and now expanding in the United States, Canada, Saudi Arabiaand Ireland. GDK is a subsidiary of the Hero Brands group. For more information, please visit

German Doner Kebab (GDK)

German Doner Kebab (GDK)



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Fusion BBQ Restaurants to Try in Texas Tue, 28 Jun 2022 18:41:47 +0000

The brisket bento at Kemuri Tatsu-ya in Austin | Photo by Jane Yun

The brisket bento at Kemuri Tatsu-ya in Austin | Photo by Jane Yun

Texas is huge, like, boring. If you live in central Texas, it takes forever to cross state lines. But the sheer size of the state also means that a plot people live here, which makes it incredibly diverse – despite the cowboy stereotype. Luckily for those of us who love to eat, there’s been an exciting new wave of legit Texas barbecues serving up smoldering culinary crossovers and masterful mashups that are bursting with global inspiration and cultural pride. Prepare to taste tender ribs that fall off the bone and a juicy brisket that melts in your mouth with the vibrant, punchy flavors of Mexico, Asia and the Caribbean as these pitmasters and chefs bring a barbecue experience sizzle that you’ll only find in Texas.

We’ll start by saying that the 225° barbecue is officially out of control. A look at the truck’s Instagram page reveals an impressive mix of solid Central Texas barbecue, Jalisco-style birria tacos, Tex-Mex specialties and street sides like elote topped with ground brisket and crunchy corn puffs. Then owner/pitmaster Rene Ramirez takes it to another level with over-the-top creations like “baseballs” — bacon-wrapped chicken thighs stuffed with brisket, jalapeños, and cream cheese — and dino ribs. of gargantuan beef served to pop out of the birria ramen like a cartoon baguette in a grocery bag. The joy behind 225° BBQ’s eclectic offerings is obvious and well, that’s what we’re here for.

Courtesy of Khoi

At Khói Barbecue, Don and Theo Nguyen blend traditional Texas barbecue with flavors inspired by their Asian heritage as well as Houston’s diverse dining scene. You can get in on the action in one of Khói’s monthly pop-ups – dates are announced on the duo PageInstagram as well as incredible eye-catching images like the bún bò huế brisket, a scintillating bowl of smoked lemongrass prime rib broth and shrimp paste filled with vermicelli and a skillfully smoked slice of brisket. Or, bánh xèo, a savory crepe that serves as the perfect vessel for smoked brisket, prime rib and barbacoa, punctuated with aromatic greens and sweet and sour nước mắm. (Pssst, a brick and mortar location is in the works!)

Excuse the pun, but Blood Bros. BBQ is on fire. The killer barbecue combined with the creative fervor has earned the restaurant both praise from top culinary publications and a legion of loyal fans. Owner/pitmaster Quy Hoang, fellow owners Terry and Robin Wong, and their staff post a lengthy daily menu (with a few twists) of everything from pork belly banh mi to gochujang glazed ribs to a crispy gordita with cheese. And the Sunday specials, or should we say “Especiales de Domingo”, are largely Tex-Mex and Mexican. How do we even decide? You can do it eeny-meeny-miny-moe or stick to the classics which, unsurprisingly, Blood Bros. BBQ also nail. Smoked brisket, ribs and homemade sausages are available daily.

Photo by Jane Yun

Take the informal after-work vibe of a Japanese izakaya and sprinkle in a little Texan flair – it’s Kemuri Tatsu-ya. The barbecue served in this fun and funky mashup, from the folks behind Austin’s Ramen Tatsu-ya, is a welcome departure from typical Texas barbecue joints. Try the Berkshire pork ribs with a carrot-ginger glaze and tangy yuzu cream, and (BBQ purists, look away) the beef brisket with a sesame-pecan miso and serrano limón. Of course, it wouldn’t be an izakaya without yakitori and kushiyaki, and here the meat and vegetable skewers are grilled over binchotan charcoal and Texas wood. Try the beefy mushrooms made with dry-aged ribeye and black pearl mushrooms marinated in koji butter.

Courtesy of Willie Meshack

North Texas just got a little hotter, thanks to the addition of Willie Meshack’s barbecue to Plano’s dining scene. At the family restaurant, Robert Plaza serves up a solid selection of well-executed Texan barbecue, including pork and brisket ribs, smoked jerk chicken, sauces and sides inspired by wife Yolande’s Trinidadian roots. Try meat by the pound or sandwiched between fluffy fried bread with a side of fried plantains.

Courtesy of Valentina

Valentina’s brand of barbecue is often considered a mashup or “the best of both worlds,” but for those who grew up in South Texas, it’s just what we ate growing up. Pitmaster/owner and San Antonio native Miguel Vidal delivers this regional amalgam like no one else, as evidenced by the ever-growing line. Smoked mesquite brisket, pulled pork and chicken, fajitas, sausages and ribs are fantastic and worth devouring a la carte or in a hearty sandwich with smoky barbecue sauce, pickles or coleslaw. But we love the warm handmade flour tortillas and homemade salsas from the trailer’s “Mex” menu. Try the smoked brisket taco with lime-sea-salt guacamole and tomato serrano salsa, or the delicious Real Deal Holyfield breakfast taco of fried eggs, potatoes, refried beans and bacon with the possibility of adding smoked meat.

Photo by Hai Hospitality

Loro is the culinary collaboration between Austin’s James Beard Award-winning chefs Aaron Franklin (Franklin Barbecue) and Tyson Cole (Uchi, Uchiko). Grilled and smoked meats with flavors borrowed from Southeast Asian and Japanese cuisines take pride of place at this casual Asian smokehouse. The smoked flank steak (ground steak with shishito salsa and pickled onions) is a popular choice, as is the smoked brisket with gastric chili and Thai herbs, which is available after 4 p.m. And while meat takes center stage on the menu, don’t miss the snacks and veggies – or boozy slushies for that matter. Bonus: Loro has expanded to include locations in Dallas and Houston, with more on the way.

Courtesy of Curry Boys

San Antonio
Deciding to paint your restaurant a shade of pink somewhere between bubblegum and salmon is a bold move, but hey, what else would you expect from the guys serving Southeast Asian curries with a Texas barbecue? Curry Boys BBQ is a joint effort between Andrew Ho and Sean Wen (of Pinch Boil House) and Andrew Samia (of South BBQ). The most popular dish is the brisket smoke show – an oak-smoked Prime beef brisket served with succulent green curry – but The Missing Link, Penang curried smoked pork sausage, is a can’t-miss sleeper.

Courtesy of Eaker

Fredericksburg, best known for its small-town charm and rich German heritage, is now home to the Korean-inspired Eaker BBQ. Owner/pitmaster Lance Eaker was serving barbecue from a truck in Houston before his wife Boo joined the operation and the couple moved to Fredericksburg. Boo’s Korean heritage has inspired many of the flavors now found on the menu, such as mesquite-smoked gochujang pork ribs that are seared just before serving. Brilliant kimchi and a refreshing Korean cucumber salad are the perfect accompaniments to fattier meats like delicious Prime beef brisket and pulled pork. Don’t forget to try the kimchi fried rice!

Eat and drink essentials in Prosper, Melissa and Anna, TX Mon, 27 Jun 2022 19:00:00 +0000

With so many people moving to northern Collin County, you’re probably wondering what’s up there besides the sprawling real estate developments. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of the restaurants that are now open, organized by each city.


Photo: Crow’s Country Cafe | Official site

Claiming to be home to the best local fried chicken steak, Crow’s Country Cafe’s home cooking is sure to tempt any Texan’s palette. Order one of their signature steaks and shrimp, build burgers yourself, or even get a dirty crow’s nest. Sign up for their email newsletter to discover new menu items and specials throughout the week, and find them on Fourth Street every day except Monday.

Photo: Lihoudies | Official site

Enjoy the best the Mediterranean has to offer in Lihoudies at Anna. They serve fresh Greek cuisine and baked goods sourced from Texas markets to ensure that everything on their table is the freshest in season. They have everything from platters of hummus, tzatziki, gyro and babaganoush salads with pita bread. Enjoy their on-site food or specially packaged take-out offerings.

Photo: SushiGo | Facebook

Casual sushi isn’t out of reach in the northernmost corners of North Texas, so check out Sushi Go on White Street in Anna. They have a variety of rolls such as fuji mountain, caterpillar, crab lover, fire dragon, and crazy shrimp. Find them between Walmart and Brookshires for dine-in or take-out.

Image: Spurlock Malting.

Featuring the first neon sign ever erected in Anna, Spurlock’s Malt Shop has been a local favorite since 1959. Featuring a simplistic menu featuring burgers and hot dogs, Spurlocks is a nearly seventy-year tradition off the coast of Highway 5. Step back in time with their outdated storefront and pressboard menu. To find out more, see Local Profileprevious cover.

Photo: Sunview Cafe | Facebook

Founded in 2016, Sunview is rapidly spreading across North DFW with locations in The Colony, Lewisville, Allen, Anna and Melissa. Have your brunch, breakfast, or lunch at any of these locations between 7 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.


Photo: Cardinal Nutrition | Facebook

Are smoothies and juices your jam? Do you want to drink healthy and good for you drinks or do you want a morning treat before your work day? Stop by Cardinal Nutrition and try one of their power smoothies or a (nutritious!) cookie dough shake. Order online or stop by their location at 121 in Melissa.

Photo: George’s Cafe | Facebook

Conveniently located just off 121, George’s Coffee offers an extensive menu with every syrup flavor imaginable – your drinks are fully customizable and pair best with one of their on-the-go snacks. You can always keep it simple by ordering one of their signature drinks, like George’s Mocha Caramel, Seasonal, or a Mango Peach Smoothie. Book their meeting room to study or meet colleagues while enjoying your drinks.

Photo: Sugar Babes Donuts & Deli | Facebook

With over twenty varieties of donuts, ten different sandwiches, and a build-your-own burger option, you can eat at Sugar Babes for breakfast and lunch and never get bored of the options. Everything is always fresh and made to order every day. You can even place orders for customizable decorated donuts.

Photo: The red feather | Official site

Ever wanted a wine bar with a carefully crafted menu that pairs well with the drinks? La Plume Rouge is made for you. With live music on the weekends and a variety of charcuterie boards, salads, flatbreads, paninis and entrees, this will quickly become your favorite place to hang out in Melissa. You can find them off Sentinel Way and online to check out their weekly specials and happy hour deals!


Photo: The brass faucet | Facebook

With over 150 craft beers on tap, this is the perfect place for you or a beer-obsessed family member or friend. With bingo and quiz nights galore, there’s always something different going on at the Brass Tap. You can also check out their menu which includes sandwiches, wraps, burgers, tacos, salads and even three different types of gourmet grilled cheese.

Photo: Honeylu Coffee | Facebook

Boasting Prosper’s finest artisanal coffee, Honeylu’s takes it back to basics with its signature drip, single-origin, pour-over, and cold-brew that’s sure to please any pretentious coffee lover. For the less demanding or the most gourmet, they also offer iced coffees and a variety of homemade syrups. You can even book their Speedy Bean coffee truck for your next event, or book a tasting or coffee 101 class where you’ll learn about history, flavor profiles, and grind settings.

Photo: Sabaidee | Facebook

The name is like the food: a Lao and Thai combination or phrase, meaning “happy” and “good,” which is the feeling this restaurant hopes its food gives you. Try one of their favorites such as their pad thai, basil fried rice, nam khao or basil stir fry. Featured in publications such as enjoy your food, their location on South Preston Road is one of several located in DFW. There is also one in California.

Smoothies + Coffee

Photo: Sarah Hornstein | Local Profile

In naming Smoothies and Coffee, the owner simply smiled and said he “wanted customers to know exactly what we were talking about.” With fully customizable smoothies and coffee drinks, customers can add everything from protein powder to electrolytes to extra espressos. This family-friendly spot is easy to spot from Highway 380 and also has a drive-thru for even faster pickup. Stop by today and check them out on Instagram.


Photo: Big Spray Brewery | Facebook

Half pub, half restaurant, all relaxed. In addition to hosting live music and events, Big Spray Brewing frequently tries new food items (deviled eggs on pizza, anyone?). Go out to watch your favorite team or catch up with friends old and new.

Picture: Restaurant Jocy | Facebook

The best in American comfort food can be found at Jocy’s in Princeton. Try one of their half pound burgers, sandwiches or salads at the restaurant or from their new online ordering program. All of their food is made to order from scratch with only fresh ingredients. Check them out on West Princeton Road.

In case you missed it, check out Local Profilelist of must-visit restaurants in downtown McKinney.

]]> Drip Pricing Hiding in Your Receipts: What Are Those Sneaky Charges? Sun, 26 Jun 2022 20:10:29 +0000

This story is part So Money (subscribe here)an online community dedicated to financial empowerment and advice, led by CNET Editor at Large and So Money podcast host Farnoosh Torabi.

What is happening

As businesses grapple with inflation, some are passing on rising costs to consumers with new fees at checkout.

why is it important

With inflation rising at 8.6% a year, the latest round of merchant fees adds to the woes of consumers’ wallets.

What this means for you

Knowing these fees can help you manage your budget and make better purchasing decisions.

Higher prices for food, fuel and other daily essentials that keep increasing aren’t the only shopping expenses plaguing Americans. Additional or increased merchant fees are also added to your purchase prior to payment. These charges are called drip pricing and you might not even notice them until you get your receipt.

Across the United States, companies are tackling new fees allegedly to offset the burden of inflation and supply chain shortages. These extra fees add a layer of financial shock at a time when inflation is already costing the average household $311 more each month, depending economists at Moody’s Analytics.

“Most of the time we find out about these fees at checkout, not before,” said Ashley Feinstein Gerstley, author of Financial adult, told me by e-mail. “Because these fees really run the gamut, you never really know what you’re going to get.”

photo of a restaurant ticket with 4% circled:

Watch out for surcharges like these on your restaurant bills.

Courtney Johnston/CNET

I asked my instagram followers of these new and surprising expenses, and they gave me lots of anecdotes. From restaurants to doctor’s offices to ride-sharing services, here’s a look at some more recent (or just surprising) charges I’ve uncovered. And I’ll offer tips on how to handle those unexpected surcharges.

Restaurants charge more, and not just for food

Many restaurants are still reeling from a tax slump in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, with rising food and labor costs, restaurants continue to struggle. “Small commercial restaurants operate on very tight margins of around 3-5% pre-tax,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of research at National Restaurant Association. “The typical restaurant business model is not designed to cope with this sustained and accelerating cost of food and labor, which is placing extraordinary pressure on operators, and it looks like it will continue. ”

Here are some of the new charges you might see on your restaurant bill:

Credit card surcharges

Earlier this spring, major credit card companies like Mastercard and Visa increase in interchange fees, which is what merchants pay card issuers each time a customer uses a credit card. Also known as “swipe fees”, they cost businesses 1.5 to 3% per operation. They’re harder on smaller establishments like restaurants, and some pass that expense on to customers as a percentage of their total bill.

When Feinstein Gerstley dined with her family last summer in Sapphire, North Carolina, the restaurant charged a credit card processing fee that she says wasn’t mentioned until the woman arrived. bill: “We were a party of 15 who had drinks, apps, dinner and dessert so the charge was substantial, over $100.” Many states allow businesses to pass their card swipe fees on to customers, but they must properly disclose surcharges on visible signage and their websites. The customer’s charges also cannot exceed what the business pays to the credit card companies.

Increased labor costs

In April, Sarah Morisson saw an extra $5 when the bill for her enchiladas arrived at a restaurant in Alpharetta, Georgia. The reason? “Rising labor costs. This may also be referred to as a “Kitchen Appreciation Fee” in some restaurants and comes as an additional $3 to $5.

Health care costs

Restaurants compete for workers and offer more benefits as a draw. This additional cost may appear on your receipt the next time you eat out. In Chicago last month, Rema Shamon noticed a few dollars had been added to his restaurant bill titled “staff health care.” Similarly, in West Hollywood, Calif., Claudia Scott was charged 3% more for “employee health insurance” at a local restaurant.

Supplements for staff who do not receive tips

At a sandwich shop in Portland, Maine a few weeks ago, Jennifer Steralacci and a friend paid a $4 “untipped staff” fee — and that was on top of the tip. “I don’t recall seeing anything on the menu that said that charge,” Steralacci told me.

Carpooling and food delivery apps charge more for gas

Costs were already going up because of the pandemic, but as ride-sharing companies compete to hire drivers, they entice them with connection bonuses and higher wages. This is another reason why your rideshare total seems more expensive than ever. Additionally, in March, Uber and Uber Eats announced a new fuel charge to help drivers cover the cost of rising energy prices.

It will cost an additional $0.45 or $0.55 on each Uber trip and $0.35 or $0.45 on each Uber Eats food order, depending on location. Uber says 100% of those fees go to the drivers. Rival ride-sharing company Lyft also announced a 55 cents gasoline overload. Grocery delivery app Instacart says it’s tackling a new one 40 cent fuel costs too.

Fees at doctors’ surgeries also add to the shock

Increased costs for supplies and materials

Keep an eye on the cost of this item at your next medical visit, which varies in price. In Dallas, Texas, Kelsie Whittington was hit with an unusual $18 “supply fee” after her son’s routine visit to the pediatrician in May. The doctor’s office explained that it involved bedspreads, needles, gauze and other more expensive equipment.

With insurance companies slow to issue reimbursements, the clinic was charging patients. “I was a little shocked at first, then empathetic. I needed to pay for my son’s health,” Whittington said.

Administration fees

Although doctors’ offices have been charging facility fees since before the pandemic, patients may not be notified until they receive an itemized bill. According consumer reportsset-up costs, which usually cover the cost of maintaining a doctor’s office, urgent care center or hospital-owned clinic can add hundreds of dollars to a bill…and insurance may only partially cover it.

What can you do about all the extra hidden charges?

To minimize the blow of these new fees and surcharges, we need to gather the facts and be prepared to defend our interests. Here are four tips:

1. Ask about fees: We may feel uncomfortable or embarrassed asking about new and unusual charges. But if a company isn’t upfront and hasn’t disclosed its fees up front, we have every right to understand and ask questions. We can learn that the fees are justified and that we are in fact happy to pay them and continue to be patronizing. In other cases, it may deter us from returning.

2. Ask for a discount: Like many gas stations, some restaurants offer cash back to help minimize their credit card processing costs. For example, at The fifth season restaurant in Port Washington, New York, diners who pay cash receive a 3.5% discount on their bill through its cashback program promoted on the restaurant’s website.

Even if it’s not advertised, ask if a company will offer you a discount, a win-win situation for you and the merchant. I have also used this trick successfully in small independent shops.

3. Think twice before using third-party delivery apps: Delivery apps are convenient, but they can quickly double the cost of your pizza order after fees, taxes, and the suggested 25% tip. Ordering takeout the old-fashioned way by calling the restaurant directly could result in substantial savings. Some restaurants may require you to pick up the food, but others may offer their own free delivery – just be sure to tip the driver. If you want to stick with third-party providers, MealMe helps identify the lowest options by comparing prices across the board.

4. Vote with your feet: It’s our choice where and how to spend, and if paying extra is too much to bear, we have the right to opt out and go to a different company next time. When a restaurant manager refused to remove the surprise credit card surcharge, Feinstein Gerstley said a family member present shared the experience on Yelp. “We definitely didn’t go back to the restaurant,” she said.

If a charge is not accompanied by adequate disclosure, the merchant may be in violation of state laws, so consumer advocates recommend file a complaint with your credit card issuer and the state attorney general. According to Riehle, “The restaurant industry is very competitive and operators know that if a consumer’s latest experience does not meet their expectations, they are likely to vote with their feet.”

Lake Houston set for fourth celebrations Sun, 26 Jun 2022 17:10:35 +0000 After forgoing some public 4th of July celebrations due to the COVID pandemic in previous years, the Lake Houston area will have several public and private options this year to celebrate the nations independence.

Many homeowners associations and homeowners associations hold their own fireworks or 4th of July festivals, but are private and restricted to their owners and guests. For more information about these celebrations, contact your individual HOA or POA.

Here is a roundup of celebrations in the region that the public is invited to participate in and attend:



Valley Ranch 4th Fest is back and bigger than ever! They will celebrate on Sunday July 3 with several musical acts and will end by lighting up the sky with a long fireworks show.

Doors open at 1 p.m. and concerts on the main stage begin at 2:30 p.m. with Jason Cassidy followed by Ian Munsick at 4:15 p.m. and William Clark Green at 6 p.m.

Payton Howie will take the side stage at 1:45 p.m. and at 3 p.m. an anonymous performer will follow. At 5:15 p.m., Trent Cowie will close the stage performances.

At 7:15 p.m. on the main stage, there will be a guitar auction followed by country star and multi-platinum artist Gary Allan.

Following his concert, around 9:40 p.m., the pyrotechnic show begins.

The festival will also host a petting zoo, food trucks, a children’s zone and numerous vendors.

To purchase tickets and for more information, visit their website at The Hill at Valley Ranch is located at 21562 Valley Ranch Pkwy in New Caney.


For those looking to get out of the area for a party, take a US 90 country road to Liberty, TX in Liberty County and watch the fireworks from Liberty City Park. Leave early enough to enjoy a leisurely stroll and eat at one of Liberty’s restaurants. Take a tour of the city and admire some of the charming houses or the quadrangle with the county courthouse before heading to the park.

The fireworks begin at 9:30 p.m. and the park is located at 501 RE Vinson Drive in Liberty, Texas.



After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID pandemic, the Kingwood Civic Association is back and will hold its annual July 4 parade at 10 a.m., beginning at Creekwood Middle School and ending at Kingwood High School.

“Our Grand Marshal this year will be Richard Abram, who has done so many good works for the residents of Kingwood and deserves to be honored this year,” said club treasurer Steve Noack.

Noack said Abram is a resident of Kingwood and the person responsible for “Kingwood Kindness”.

“Richard is a vital asset to the community of Kingwood, especially after the floods. When storms arrive, he can be seen watching the area, ready to respond and help anyone in need. He always helps anyone in need. Because of his actions in the community and his ‘Kingwood Kindness’ campaign, the Kingwood Civic Club is proud to have him as Grand Marshal of the 2022 Kingwood Civic Club 4th of July Parade,” said Noack.

There are other activities associated with the parade.

The Fishing Rodeo takes place from 6:00 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. and is held at Foster’s Mill Ponds, at the corner of Kingwood Drive and Forest Garden. Children 15 and under are welcome to bring their fishing gear to the ponds and compete for trophies in different categories. No registration is required.

In addition to the Fishing Rodeo, the club also sponsors a 9 a.m. Bike Rodeo in the Kingwood Bible Church parking lot at the corner of Oakwood Forest and Lake Houston Parkway, across from Creekwood Middle School. Children are invited to bring their decorated bikes to compete for the trophies and then participate in the parade afterwards.

The line up for the parade begins at the corner of Rivers Edge and Sandy Forks Drive (enter Feather Lakes Way through the post office) at 7 a.m. Once this street is full, the line will continue onto Haven Brook and Sandy Forks Drive (enter Rustic Woods).

The judging of the floats will begin at 9 a.m. and the parade will begin at 10 a.m. from Creekwood Middle School on Sandy Forks.

For more information, please email


Join the downtown team for the annual 4th of July celebration which this year takes place on a Monday starting at 3 p.m. and ending at 9 p.m.

“We will be offering a variety of family-friendly games and entertainment,” said Tony Austin, park manager. “We plan to have a free Kid Zone with a bouncy house and slide as well as two giant Jengas, two regulation Cornhole courts and two Giant Connect 4 games.”

At 6 p.m., they will host a live band, the Continental House Band, from Kingwood.

They will end the show around 9 p.m. with their very first laser show.

“They’re blowing smoke over the park and putting on a spectacular patriotic laser show,” Austin said. It lasts about 20 minutes with patriotic music.

“There will be plenty to keep the family busy,” Austin said. “We’ll be posting details of the in-game challenges soon, so start building your teams.”

The list of food vendors includes Chachi’s, HLB Foods, Kona Ice of West Kingwood SnoCones, Lita’s Catering, Uncle Louie’s Gourmet Ice, and S&J Kettle Corn.

Craft vendors, at the time of printing, include Avon of Tammyl, Ayahuasca with South American Crafts, Coldwell Banker Realty, Keep Kingwood Green, Light UpToys, Shandi’s Face Painting and Glitter Tattoos and Anderson’s Renewal .

All events are free to the public.

The park is located at 8 North Main Street in Kingwood. For more questions or information, email or call or text him at 346-600-2366.

10 of Austin’s Best Bars: Looking for a new place to drink, dance or eat? We have you. – Food Sat, 25 Jun 2022 14:01:28 +0000

Whether you’re in the mood to dance the night away, catch up with friends over chili fries, or sip wine in the fresh air of an outdoor patio, here are some award-winning Best of Austin bars for your vibe. research.

Best booze blast in the past: Nickel City

Nickel City proves that some pleasures are best kept simple. Voted best dive bar by Austin Chronicle readers in 2022, this retro East Austin bar offers a relaxed drinking experience compared to the wildness of Sixth Street. Consider Nickel City for its American-style food truck offerings, ranging from Chili Cheese Fries to Coney Dogs, and an extensive drinks menu including local drafts, mixed drinks, Boilermakers and playful limited-run specialty cocktails like the All My Exes Live in Texas, made with Longbranch bourbon, Dr Pepper reduction, and Bittercube Cherry Bark vanilla bitters. Reader Tyler Lofgren sums it up: “Good vibes and good drinks.”

More dive bars worth your penny: Back Lot, Barfly’s, The Grackle, Lala’s Little Nugget

Photo by John Anderson

Best Tropical Oasis: Tiki Tatsu-ya

Austin Chronicle readers voted Tatsu Aikawa’s upscale Tiki Bar as Austin’s Best Cocktail Bar in 2022. Opening Fall 2021, this two-story island-themed paradise pays homage to Tiki culture with a retro menu inspired by Trader Vic’s and Don the Surfing Wave. Says reader Danny Riha, “[Tiki Tatsu-ya] feels like a fully immersive adult Disneyland where you’ve abandoned ship Boredom and been stranded on a fantasy mystery island. It’s crazy how detail-oriented and interactive it is.

More cocktail bars we like: Drink.Well, Here nor There, Roosevelt Room, Whisler’s

Best New Beer Bar: Burnet Go To

Beer bars – do you remember them? They were like mainstream media aggregators of the craft beer industry of the early 2010s, keeping only the most interesting foggy beers and sweet stouts all under one roof! Now everyone mostly flocks to the source of the action, the Brewery Tavern, out of sheer convenience. But Burnet Go To changes the narrative from exploratory booze back to the well-constructed beer wall, bringing lagers and hard-to-reach ales by brands like Southern Heights, ABGB and Family Business to North Austin. They’re also keen to show frequent football games (with sound!), and they have great interior lighting and an all-day cafe to boot.

More beer bars to tap into: Batch Craft Beer & Kolaches, Black Star Co-op Pub & Brewery, Craft Pride, Crown & Anchor Pub, Draft House Pub & Brewery

Best neighborhood bar that never gets too crowded: The Aristocrat

Photo by Zeke Barbaro

Looking for a bar to take your mom to? A discreet first date? Cheap drinks without sacrificing ambiance? A place where you’re unlikely to see anyone you know on the weekends? Rare is the bar that encompasses all of these moods and more, but the Aristocrat delivers on its promise. Off the beaten path in a huge lot on Burnet that has housed the iconic Poodle Dog Lounge for nearly 50 years, the Aristocrat offers spotless mood lighting, comfortable cabins, two generally accessible pool tables, plenty of seating outside and a food truck parked outside. Devoid of everything that makes bars less noisy – pretentiousness, crowds, no parking – the Aristocrat offers the ineffable atmosphere that one seeks, no doubt, in every dive bar: comfort, fun, escape.

More bars with a story: Driskill Bar, Dumont’s Down Low, Little Longhorn Saloon, Scholz Garten

Best Baby Sister Bar: Little Drinks Lounge

Photo by Jana Birchum

It takes a bit of moxie to open a business in the middle of a global pandemic, but the co-owners of hangout zone Eastside Drinks Lounge have teamed up with longtime bar maven Sabrina Brochu to do just that in 2021. The team’s combined decades of experience and determination has spawned a winning formula in what they call “Drinks’ little sister,” tucked away beneath the Davis SoCo apartments. Baby sis echoes her brother’s laid-back vibe but with a dash of girl gang energy, serving up creative cocktails, affordable beers and tasty pizzas to a laid-back Southern crowd who call it a home away from home. at their home.

More neighborhood bars: Cosmic Coffee + Beer Garden, G&S Lounge, Kinda Tropical, Skylark Lounge

Best place to watch the game: Haymaker

Photo by John Anderson

For a neighborhood pub with a relaxed atmosphere and live sports coverage, look no further than Haymaker, voted Austin’s best sports bar by Austin Chronicle readers in 2018, 2019 and 2022. Grab a cold one from their wide range of local beers and sample one of their regionally inspired sandwiches. Reader Rebecca Row keeps her Haymaker recommendation short and sweet: “Putin.”

More sports bars to dive into: Black Sheep Lodge, Lavaca Street Bar, Little Woodrow’s, The Tavern

Best bar if you’re feeling frisky: Cheer Up Charlies

Photo by Jana Birchum

Austin’s unofficial queer community hub, Cheer Up Charlies is the place the Chronicle readers go there when they’re feeling in love, having continually voted the laid-back Red River club the best singles bar since 2018 and the best LGBTQIA club since 2016. From vegan mixed drinks to kombucha on tap, there’s something for everyone the likes at Cheer Up Charlies. Reader Lani Oglewood says, “No one is ever made comfortable here…unless they make someone else feel uncomfortable.”

More gay community hangouts: Highland Lounge, Iron Bear, Neon Grotto, Oilcan Harry’s, Rain on 4th

Best excuse for a drink: Loro

Photo by John Anderson

What do you get when the minds behind Uchi and Franklin Barbecue join forces? Loro, an Asian smokehouse and bar on par with its famous parent restaurants. Voted Best Happy Hour by readers in 2021 and 2022, Loro invites you to treat yourself to guilty pleasures like sake and brisket tostadas at a not-so-guilty price on weekdays from 2-5 p.m. Reader Sarah Pendley says, “You can’t go wrong with Aaron Franklin and Tyson Cole’s love child.”

More bars with the best happy hours: Honey Moon Spirit Lounge, Sin, Salty Sow, Uchi, Uchiko

Photo by John Anderson

Best bops, burgers and bops: Casino el Camino

Voted Best Jukebox in Austin 25 times by the Chronicle readers, Casino el Camino is a Sixth Street staple, not just for its killer music selection, but also for its burgers. Indeed, no less than Guy Fieri christened the dive bar as having “the best burger in town”. Unpretentious and enduring, Casino is a rare thing: a bar on Dirty Sixth where the locals actually go. Reader Heather White said it all: “All hail jukebox king CASINO EL CAMINO!

More bars with Jukebox Bangers: Barfly’s, Buddy’s Place, Deep Eddy Cabaret, The Golden Goose

Best meeting place around natural wine: LoLo

Tucked away in the former Gypsy Lounge building nestled next to the Vegas Hotel, this Eastside hangout — Austin’s first-ever natural wine bar and bottle shop — has provided ideal informal cool since opening in early 2020. Choose between a huge outdoor patio and a cozy indoor space, warmed by light wood and luminous globes. Along with natural, long-lasting pours, the menu includes beers, spritzes, and hearty snacks like a crispy baguette or canned fish. Find food pop-ups and frequent DJs, including Survive’s Kyle Dixon, spinning in the take-out bottle corner. Parking and occasional celebrity sightings don’t hurt either.

More wine bars: Aviary Wine & Kitchen, House Wine, June’s All Day, Wanderlust Wine Co.

Used cooking oil from Orlando restaurants fuels passenger planes Fri, 24 Jun 2022 21:00:00 +0000

ORLANDO, Florida. – Used cooking oil collected from restaurants near Orlando-area attractions is collected and converted into a fuel that can help keep tourists flying there.

“We say we’re saving the world one drop of used oil at a time,” said Dave Kimball.

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Kimball is the CEO of Mahoney Environmentwhich is a company collecting used cooking oil in the Orlando area.

He said restaurants used to pay companies to dispose of their used cooking oil. Now he said his company is paying restaurants for the opportunity.

News 6 accompanied one of Mahoney’s technicians, Alex Rivero, near the Orlando amusement area.

He said his work day usually starts before sunrise to ensure he is done by the lunch rush. He said he visited about 20 restaurants, where he vacuumed about 80 gallons of used cooking oil from a custom outlet installed outside the restaurants.

He does this five days a week.

“Miami will process the oil, which means we’ll remove all the solids, we’ll do the separation,” Kimball said. “We end up with a pure oil, and then that oil will be shipped to another place to turn into renewable diesel or sustainable jet fuel.”

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The final step in this process is carried out by Mahoney’s parent company, Neste.

Mahoney Environmental technician Alex Rivero prepares to remove used cooking oil from an Orlando-area restaurant to turn it into sustainable aviation fuel. (Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando – All rights reserved.)

According to studies, sustainable aviation fuel, or SAF, burns about 20-50% cleaner than jet fuel refined from petroleum – sometimes even cleaner than that.

Kimball said it could be used in any existing jet.

The downside of SAF is the cost needed to convert the oil into fuel – estimated to be six times higher than refining traditional jet fuel.

“I don’t think the long-term issue is cost,” Kimball said. “I think the problem is going to be how can we produce enough of it.”

Neste’s fuel is already used at major airports, such as Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

A spokesperson for Orlando International Airport told News 6 that not only are workers not using it, but they also have no plans to.

“Our fueling system is not like many airports where trucks bring fuel to specific airlines and planes,” OIA spokesman Rod Johnson said. “We have a hydrant system, where all the airlines share the fuel supply, so it’s not as practical for one airline to use recycled fuel as all the others would also have to agree to use recycled fuel. use such a fuel supply.”

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News 6 checked with Melbourne Orlando International Airport, Daytona Beach International Airport and Orlando-Sanford International Airport.

None of them use SAF either.

“Wherever you have fries, you’ve used cooking oil,” said Dr Puneet Dwivedi.

Dwivedi is an associate professor at the University of Georgia, and he has published studies on the use of recycled cooking oil as jet fuel.

“Used cooking oil contains all the fatty acids that can be easily converted into biodiesel or sustainable aviation fuel these days,” he said. “It depends on the demand or who is giving what kind of money, but the technology is there, and it’s very proven technology.”

He said demand is increasing.

In the Atlanta area, for example, Dwivedi said it’s very difficult to source used cooking oil because most of it will be used to make diesel.

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“The airlines are behind this,” he said. “That’s why there’s so much action on sustainable aviation fuel, not just with airlines in this country, but around the world.”

Kimball said his company is also feeling the increase in demand.

He said the company is currently looking for locations to build a new facility in the Orlando area.

Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando – All Rights Reserved.

Houston bar owner to host fundraiser and philanthropic efforts highlighting abortion rights following Roe v. wade Fri, 24 Jun 2022 20:32:51 +0000

Following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, some restaurateurs have begun exploring ways to advocate for the importance of abortion rights and help others access care. Among the first of these, Houston bar Angel Share HTX will spotlight the American Civil Liberties Unionor the ACLU, as well as the national Planned parenthood organization, which provides reproductive health care, like its featured charities.

From July 1, customers will be able to order items from a special menu to ‘vote’ for which the charity will receive the full proceeds.

Bar owner Mary Ellen Angel says she was inspired to pitch the charities after hearing the news on Friday morning, which left her shaking with rage.

“I just have a stomach ache,” Angel said Friday, his body shaking with rage. “It’s just this endless battle, and it’s a crazy concept to me that these people that I’ve never met in my life literally have control over my body.”

Erin Smith, co-owner of Feges BBQ and co-founder of the nonprofit I will have what she hassaid she felt like she had been punched.

“I wasn’t shocked. I’ve been prepared for this news for months now, which I think most of us have been. But I still felt the wind coming out of me because it became a reality,” Smith says.

“The implications of the decision are huge – how much this is going to affect our communities and our families, especially in this industry, and I’m not at a loss that it will have very serious impacts,” Smith said.

Smith, who has been outspoken on women’s rights, particularly those relating to abortion rights and health care, says she continues to stand up and defend the rights she has always stood for. beaten. And while Smith knows some people are more private, she’s confident others within the restaurant industry will follow suit by being more vocal.

“I know we just have to process what happened,” Smith says. “Now is not the time to just bow down.”

Houston‘s restaurant scene has been particularly active this year in philanthropic and social justice causes. Several restaurants have raised thousands of dollars to help provide assistance to Ukraine amid attacks from Russia, and Pride Month has sparked a series of fundraisers and special promotions, much of the proceeds being donated to organizations that help the LGTBQ community and its youth.

Now, with the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade and overturned abortion rights in nearly half the country, Houston bar owner and philanthropist Mary Ellen Angel predicts Houston will see a similar outpouring from the restaurant scene — but this time the ground is much bigger. tricky, Angel said.

“I’m sure people will mean well…and it’s in my nature to do something about it, but laws change,” Angel says, noting that the impending criminalization of abortion will soon make any donations to charity funds equally illegal abortion in several places. Several abortion funds across Texas have already closed and clinics ceased services hours after the ruling. “You have to be careful where you give money. People have to interpret the law. … That’s a lot to navigate right now.

This includes the Angel Bar HTX Angel Sharing, who has donated money to abortion funds in the past. But like Angel, others in the local food and hospitality industry are motivated and ready to act, she says.

But Angel says she’s comforted that the people of Texas have time to act.

“The best thing is for people to vote up and stand up to this affront to bodily autonomy,” Angel says. “All we can control is who we put up in this state.”

In the meantime, Angel says she’s “always trying to come up with a strategy for getting the health care we need,” explaining that for many other women and people who can give birth, abortion is a medical procedure that should be part of health care. .

“I don’t think people understand the repercussions of that. It’s long drawn out. People are going to die (because of) this,” Angel says. But “if we all come together, maybe it will give us a goal or a hope”.

This article will be updated.

Cindy Crawford and husband Rande Gerber dine at her Malibu restaurant Cafe Habana Thu, 23 Jun 2022 16:34:40 +0000

Meaningful Beauty founder Cindy Crawford and her second husband, Rande Gerber, dined at her Malibu restaurant, Café Habana, on Wednesday night.

For her date night, the 56-year-old 90s supermodel was dressed in a simple black blouse tucked into faded gray skinny jeans and black sandals.

Cindy’s 60-year-old husband – who also co-owns Nate’n Al’s in Beverly Hills – teamed up with original owner Sean Meenan to open the Cuban restaurant in the Malibu Lumberyard in 2010.

A romantic date! Meaningful Beauty founder Cindy Crawford and her second husband, Rande Gerber, dined at her Malibu restaurant, Café Habana, on Wednesday night.

Crawford and Gerber celebrated their 24th wedding anniversary on May 29, and she exclaimed, “Another year together. I couldn’t have chosen a better partner – through it all, I’m grateful for your strength, loyalty and playfulness.

On Monday, The Spirit Business announced that Casamigos – co-founded by Rande, two-time Oscar winner George Clooney and property developer Mike Meldman – has won the 2022 Supreme Brand Champion title.

In 2013, the trio founded the tequila and mezcal company – which is distilled in Jalisco, Mexico – but they sold it to Diageo in a deal worth up to $1 billion. dollars four years later.

“When you have the best product, the best marketing is word of mouth. That’s why Casamigos has become such a big hit around the world,” the Long Island native explained to The Spirit Business.

Dressed casually: The 90s model, 56, was dressed in a simple black blouse tucked into faded gray skinny jeans and black sandals

Dressed casually: The 90s model, 56, was dressed in a simple black blouse tucked into faded gray skinny jeans and black sandals

Boss man: Cindy's 60-year-old husband - who is also co-owner of Nate'n Al's in Beverly Hills - teamed up with original owner Sean Meenan to open the Cuban restaurant in the Malibu Lumberyard in 2010

Boss man: Cindy’s 60-year-old husband – who is also co-owner of Nate’n Al’s in Beverly Hills – teamed up with original owner Sean Meenan to open the Cuban restaurant in the Malibu Lumberyard in 2010

Crawford and Gerber celebrated their 24th wedding anniversary on May 29, and she exclaimed, “Another year together.  I couldn't have chosen a better partner - through it all, I'm grateful for your strength, loyalty and playfulness' (pictured June 12)

Crawford and Gerber celebrated their 24th wedding anniversary on May 29, and she exclaimed, “Another year together. I couldn’t have chosen a better partner – through it all, I’m grateful for your strength, loyalty and playfulness’ (pictured June 12)

“Casamigos is brought to you by those who drink it. It’s not a celebrity brand. We did it to drink, not to build a business. People appreciate the authenticity of our story. George, Mike and I created it, own it, drink it, run the business and live the lifestyle.

“We are just three guys who know what we love and want to share it, one of us happens to be a celebrity. The many awards and accolades Casamigos has received are the result of the spirit itself .

On July 2, Rande and the Friends Reunion guest star will celebrate the 23rd birthday of their son Presley Walker, a self-proclaimed “entrepreneur” who laser-erased his “misunderstood” face tattoo last year.

The couple’s daughter Kaia Jordan – who is dating Elvis star Austin Butler – just landed a recurring role as a manicurist called Mitzi on Tate Taylor’s 10-episode comedy series Mrs. American Pie for Apple TV+.

'Thanks!'  On Monday, The Spirit Business reported that Casamigos - co-founded by Rande, two-time Oscar winner George Clooney and property developer Mike Meldman - had won the brand's Supreme Champion title for 2022.

‘Thanks!’ On Monday, The Spirit Business reported that Casamigos – co-founded by Rande, two-time Oscar winner George Clooney and property developer Mike Meldman – had won the brand’s Supreme Champion title for 2022.

‘When you have the best product, the best marketing is word of mouth’: In 2013 the trio founded the tequila and mezcal company – which is distilled in Jalisco, Mexico – but they sold it to Diageo in deal worth up to B$1 just four years later

The Long Island native explained to The Spirit Business:

The Long Island native explained to The Spirit Business: “It’s not a celebrity brand. We did it to drink, not to start a business. People appreciate the authenticity of our story. George, Mike and I created it, own it, drink it, run the business and live the lifestyle. We’re just three guys who know what we like and want to share it, one of us happens to be being a celebrity The many awards and accolades that Casamigos has received are the result of the spirit itself.

‘Damn moly!’ exclaimed the 20-year-old DNA model on June 13.

“Humbled to be able to work alongside some of my crying (happy) heroes!”

Mrs. American Pie – based on Juliet McDaniel’s 2018 novel – also stars Carol Burnett, Laura Dern, Kristen Wiig, Ricky Martin, Allison Janney, Josh Lucas, Leslie Bibb and Mindy Cohn.

'The next level is up!'  On July 2, Rande and the Friends Reunion guest star will celebrate the 23rd birthday of their son Presley Walker, a

‘The next level is up!’ On July 2, Rande and the Friends Reunion guest star will celebrate the 23rd birthday of their son Presley Walker, a self-proclaimed ‘entrepreneur’ who laser-erased his ‘misunderstood’ face tattoo last year (pictured June 14)

Cindy's mini-me: The couple's daughter Kaia Jordan - who is dating Elvis star <a class=Austin Butler – has just landed a recurring role as a manicurist called Mitzi on Tate Taylor’s 10-episode comedy series Mrs. American Pie for Apple TV+ (pictured May 25)” class=”blkBorder img-share” style=”max-width:100%” />

Cindy’s mini-me: The couple’s daughter Kaia Jordan – who is dating Elvis star Austin Butler – has just landed a recurring role as a manicurist called Mitzi on Tate Taylor’s 10-episode comedy series Mrs. American Pie for Apple TV+ (pictured May 25)

The 20-year-old DNA model exclaimed on June 13:

The 20-year-old DNA model exclaimed on June 13, “Holy moly!” Humbled to get to work alongside some of my crying (happy) heroes!’

6 positive (and permanent) changes to get out of the COVID-19 pandemic Thu, 23 Jun 2022 10:22:36 +0000
Dallas Henderson

6 positive (and permanent) changes to get out of the COVID-19 pandemicby Dallas Henderson, Account Manager at RizePoint

Our world – and our industry – has changed dramatically due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Before March 2020, masking was something our kids did on Halloween. We worked side by side without keeping a distance of 6′. Our dining rooms were packed and there was often a crowd waiting at the bar.

Many of the changes we have experienced have been difficult. It is now difficult (and expensive) to obtain the products we need. We have implemented a whole new set of COVID protocols. We continue to face staffing shortages and intense competition for talent. But some of the changes that will emerge from the pandemic are positive – and will likely be permanent.

Let’s celebrate these six positive and permanent changes:

  1. Our way of working. We’ll probably never go back to exclusively dine-in options, so it’s wise to “diversify” your offerings to maximize sales and profits. Many operators now offer dine-in, take-out, delivery, curbside pickup and/or drive-thru options in addition to on-site dining. As demand for takeout and delivery increased, some operators shifted to shadow kitchens, focusing on takeout and delivery offerings rather than on-site dining. Some savvy operators have launched (or expanded) online stores, selling branded products, such as shirts, hats, beer, sauces and other products, to increase their revenue streams. While a growing number of consumers are returning to dine in restaurants, others are still avoiding in-person experiences due to COVID concerns. It makes sense to expand your offerings to meet changing consumer needs and maximize revenue.
  1. The way we evaluate. Before COVID, restaurants brought third-party auditors onsite and inspected their facilities once or twice a year. Turns out that wasn’t an ideal solution. Traditional audits only provided a snapshot at a time, where it was impossible to determine if issues were resolved quickly or properly after the inspection. Auditors only reported issues, but did not work with brands to resolve issues or educate employees on how to prevent risks. Employees often dreaded audits, fearing punishment for any problems discovered. When pandemic restrictions halted in-person inspections, restaurants turned to virtual audits, where inspectors worked in conjunction with employees to inspect facilities. Employees were encouraged to ask questions, learn about the process, and feel empowered to resolve any issues. Brands have also adopted more frequent self-inspections to continuously monitor quality. This combined approach – onsite, virtual and self-audits – offers the best of all worlds, with continuous monitoring, greater oversight, increased employee engagement and faster issue resolution.
  1. The tools we use. Fortunately, restoration technology is now affordable and accessible to businesses of all sizes. Operators use integrated digital tools to optimize all facets of their business and make more informed decisions. These tools allow brands to improve safety and quality management, manage (or reduce) costs, and improve line checks, inspections, inventory, scheduling, and ordering. Critical tasks are much faster, easier and more accurate for employees compared to outdated manual processes or disjointed technology stacks. Using technology to access and analyze data is a great way to boost transparency and other key metrics.
  1. Data transparency. Mastering data is more important than ever as operators strive to address risk, employ smarter, reduce costs and increase efficiency. As supplies remain expensive — and difficult to acquire — leaders need to plan better to avoid food waste. Operators also need to staff smarter, so they aren’t overstaffed or understaffed for a given shift, and they don’t overuse employees to the point of burnout. In the past, many operators relied on their instincts to run their business, but as prices rise, margins shrink and employees become scarcer, this approach is no longer realistic. Using data to run your restaurant — and make critical decisions — is a much smarter way to go.
  1. Our security protocols. Before the pandemic, restaurants focused on “behind the scenes” food safety and customers didn’t think much about the protocols being followed. The pandemic has changed that, with consumers becoming hyper-aware that restaurant workers routinely sanitize high-touch areas, wash their hands, socially distance, and don’t work when sick. While food safety practices — like avoiding cross-contamination and cooking foods to appropriate temperatures — remain essential, there’s also high demand for new COVID-era protocols. Be upfront about how you prioritize safety, communicate your commitment through on-site signage, your website content, and social media posts. Recognize that customers and employees want constant reassurance that restaurants are doing everything possible to keep them safe in our new normal – a trend that will likely continue for the long term.
  1. Our culture. The culture of the food industry is changing towards more collaboration, which is a positive development. Restaurant brands are investing wisely in enterprise quality, helping their teams succeed by conducting more frequent and collaborative audits, identifying (and remediating) risks, and improving safety and quality protocols. New security models rely on employee participation, which makes teams feel more invested in and responsible for these efforts. Employees feel engaged and empowered when they are given responsibility for their restaurant’s successes rather than being blamed for its mistakes. Building a collaborative, supportive and respectful culture helps strengthen safety, while increasing employee satisfaction, loyalty and retention.

Many COVID-related changes have been difficult, such as quarantines, disrupted supply chains, inflation, and staff shortages. But these six positive changes provide some much-needed reassurance about the future. We’ve had to adapt out of necessity – transitioning our business models and auditing processes, for example – but these changes will stand us in good stead moving forward. Becoming more collaborative, adopting technology solutions, creating new revenue streams, using data, and prioritizing security protocols will improve the health and safety of our businesses, employees, and guests.

Dallas Henderson, a 25-year veteran of the service industry, is Account Manager at RizePoint. RizePoint disrupts traditional market software with its innovative new product platform Ignite™ Supplier Certification Management, which helps small and medium-sized businesses simplify the supplier certification and maintenance process. To discuss RizePoint solutions, please contact Dallas at