Business: Digital and Dietary Health

Business: Digital and Dietary Health

How to Build a Better Digital Mouse Trap

Dave McCue of SubscriberMail listens as Pastry Chef Shuna Lydon shares here cyber secrets in "How to Build a Better Digital Mouse Trap"

Dave McCue of SubscriberMail listens as Pastry Chef Shuna Lydon shares here cyber secrets in "How to Build a Better Digital Mouse Trap"

From the onslaught of instant online reviews to new food-tech innovations popping up every day, it’s clear the digital age will continue to shape the diners experience, and the restaurateur’s approach. In the first business seminar of the day, Regina Varolli of Huffington Post led a discussion on tech-savvy approaches to marketing techniques. “Email is not going away anytime soon,” assured SubscriberMail’s David McCue, who encouraged restaurateurs to reach out to consumers personally, rather than sending out “blast messages.” To engage the crowd, McCue suggested asking for birthdays, then congratulating guests on these occasions. Amanda Hesser of Food52.com, commented that email is strong, but the construction of the message is even more important. StarChefs.com Editor-in-Chief Antoinette Bruno stressed the importance of a bold subject title in e-mail. And “behind the scenes nuggets are super valuable,” said Hesser in regards to Twitter and other instant update social media tools. As for websites, here are some don’ts: large images, flash media, PDFs, poor-quality photos, out-dated contact information, and cheesy music. Overall, the best way to become marketable is to keep current online content up-to-date and to stay savvy on the most current forms of communication.

Real Food for Health: Feeding Guests on Restrictive Diets

Michelle Tampakis, Franklin Becker, Daniel Ahern, Shauna Ahern, and Corby Kummer

Michelle Tampakis, Franklin Becker, Daniel Ahern, Shauna Ahern, and Corby Kummer

Discussing both customer and chef frustrations when trying to follow the lines of “safe-cooking” when it comes to allergies, the second panel discussion of the day focused on the particularities of restrictive diets. “Make it comfortable for them so they know it’s safe,” exclaimed diabetic Chef Franklin Becker of Abe and Arthur’s. Shauna Ahern of GlutenFreeGirl.com and her husband, Daniel Ahern, talked about their experience with Shauna having Celiac disease. Pointing out that the gluten-free diet has gained more attention, Shauna explained it is not a “mere trend.” Pastry Chef Michele Tampakis of the Institute of Culinary Education also has Celiac disease and described the symptoms: headaches, redness, a “fogged brain,” stomach aches and cramps (to name a few). Chefs should pay attention to buzzwords like “gluten, shellfish, and dairy,” explained Corby Kummer of The Atlantic, who recently covered the wheat-free diet for the magazine. The panel concluded that not only do customers with allergies need to make their servers aware of their needs, but the kitchen staff also needs to be educated in how to cook for those guests.

By Giulianna Galiano and Blayre Miller