Center of the Plate Blog

Industry Musings

Archive for August, 2011


Right Here…Right Now…

That’s the theme of this season’s upcoming AGAR Fall Food Shows. Why? Because you need to be at these shows for the latest in deals, hot specials and money-making products to build your business. Whether you are an existing AGAR customer or a foodservice business that needs some new ideas, you’ll be welcome here and surprised at what you find when you get to these shows coming this September.

Once again we point out that it’s no secret that many in the food industry are struggling. We saw a recent market survey that stated that there are 8,000 less independently-run restaurants in operation over last year; a disturbing trend to say the least.

While there may be a number of reasons out of their control such as bad debt, location, etc…, there are also equally a number of reasons why they should still be in business. Many of those solutions can be found at our food shows and a visit to our Test Kitchen with our own Chef Merry.

When you come to an AGAR food show, there are countless experts ready to help you build your business by offering great deals, new menu ideas, show day deals on products you already carry and specials on holiday bookings. Come talk to our experts, tell them your challenges and let them create solutions for you.

If you’re unsure of where to take your business next, this is the place for you. Come to one show or both. You will walk away with new ideas, tools to save AND make you money and a renewed energy to bring your business to the next level. Register by going to our website;

Here are the shows below and please take a look at the video below to get you ready for two great shows coming up.

September 13, 2011; Twin River Casino

100 Twin River Rd, Lincoln, RI 

September 20, 2011; Crowne Plaza

50 Ferncroft Rd. Danvers, MA 

Leave a Comment


Building a Gluten-Free Menu

Gluten-free selections can be found in most bakeries, pizza parlors and even at breweries. This growing trend appeals to many not only due to its health benefits but also in part to the recognition it is receiving for other health benefits. Gluten-free choices first began appearing in the food industry to accommodate those with celiac disease, an autoimmune response to gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye. Below are a few ways to incorporate gluten-free items into menus.

Set the bar high: A system that guarantees gluten safety coupled with a kitchen complete with contact barriers makes a business more attractive to gluten-free eaters. Kitchen stations that avoid cross contamination and designated areas of preparation for gluten-free foods can help meet dietary needs and standards set by gluten-free eaters while also improving the overall effectiveness of kitchen operations.

Provide information: Keeping your customers and wait staff informed provides knowledge regarding the benefits of eating gluten-free which also imparts patience to something new to most. Those who have recently been told to eat gluten-free or others looking to partake in the latest craze may not be properly informed. A small take away card with frequently asked questions about eating gluten-free will help inform customers with questions. Also, take time to arm wait staff with tools to impart accurate information about menu items that are gluten-free and steps your establishment takes to provide a safe atmosphere for gluten-free eaters.

Offer variety: There are many different ways to incorporate gluten-free menu items and specials into your restaurant’s fare. Use a bit of creativity and take a little time to research alternatives. Also look for fresh ingredients and spices to make your menu options taste great. A gluten-free menu can be diverse and appetizing to all diners.

Spread the word: Let those in the community know you are a gluten-free establishment in your advertising, postings in your restaurant, on your menu, on your website and social network sites and also be sure you are listed in gluten-free restaurant guide and websites.

AGAR has years of experience in the food industry and has helped provide fresh, quality food and ingredients to successful gluten-free establishments over recent years. Let this wholesale food distributor help you make the right choices.

Leave a Comment


Good Food that Tastes Great

The secret is out…eating food that is good for you can taste great. Eating healthy foods certainly is not a new trend however eating healthy food that tastes good is a new craze in eating establishments. Today restaurants are providing delicious menu items featuring fresh, quality fruits and vegetables that appeal to diners with discriminating tastes.

Healthy portions: Nothing is worse than anxiously awaiting your meal only to be served a portion that would only satisfy a hamster. Diners want to eat healthfully but they also want to fulfill their appetites. A small meal portion can sometimes seem punitive; especially when you are hungry. A meal full of flavor is always better if it is served in a healthy portion. Creativity and a little thoughtfulness make it possible to serve larger meal portions when lean meat, poultry and fish dishes are paired with large servings of fresh vegetables and produce.

Distribute Data: Inform your customers of the steps you are taking to provide them with the best meal. Use your website, social network sites, menu and postings in-house to inform diners of nutritional information and organic items featured in your establishment. Many feel that nutritional data helps direct then to the healthiest foods and enjoy knowing nutritional information about dishes they are considering.

Get Fresh: In their quest for new and exciting flavors, diners are looking for the freshest ingredients and spices. Fresh equals delicious and the quality of produce greatly enhances the overall taste of food and dishes, especially when they are not masked by fat, calories and salt. Take time to research distributors who provide the best ingredients to make healthy eating taste good in your restaurant.

Seek out the best quality produce, ingredients and spices to provide diners with flavorful dishes that taste good and are good for them. Customers will return for great taste that leaves them feeling great. AGAR has been in the food industry for over 70 years. We have seen food trends come and go and know the best way to provide delicious meals is through fresh, quality ingredients.

Leave a Comment


Get Cultured With Your Yogurt…

When yogurt was first commercially introduced in the United States in 1929, it was not well received until the 1960s and was primarily enjoyed with fruits and sugar infused into the thick, tart matter. Recently, Americans have become smitten by plain, slightly bitter, traditional European-style yogurt. There are great ways to incorporate this tasty stuff into sweet and savory preparations so it may be featured in nearly every aspect of your menu. Below are a few suggestions on how to keep up on this popular trend:

Appetizers and side dishes: Since yogurt provides a great foundation to dips, sauces and soups, it’s ideal in appetizers and sides. Herbed yogurt soup is a flavorful side dish which will compliment nearly any entrée choice where artichokes with yogurt mustard can be enjoyed as an appetizer or as an entrée for those looking for a meatless dish. Larger groups may enjoy starting their meal with a light appetizer of avocado yogurt dip served with a crudités platter.

Entrees: Yogurt is an excellent compliment to savory dishes which enhances additional flavors and textures. It is perfect as a sauce additive or as a base for a vinaigrette dressing. Patrons looking for hearty meat dishes will enjoy a boned leg of lamb with yogurt or spice-rubbed lamb skewers with herb-yogurt sauce. Those with a hearty appetite but in search of a healthier alternative may enjoy yogurt marinated grilled chicken, classic tandoori chicken marinated in yogurt and lemon juice or sesame tofu wedges served with a tangy spinach raita.

Desserts: Yogurt has made great strides in the culinary arena, especially in the dessert category where it is traditionally enjoyed frozen or in a smoothie. Diners will fancy finishing off a great meal with a slice of chocolate yogurt cake or a wedge of kiwi frozen yogurt pie. Those looking for something sweet and rich but not loaded with calories will delight in a sweet, creamy yogurt dip served with fresh seasonal fruit.

Are you looking to set a new trend? Let this wholesale food distributor help you. Give us a call and come visit our Test Kitchen.

Leave a Comment