Food…It’s in our blood

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Vicki & Stella- Mother & Daughter owner combo of Mamagyro

In honor of Women’s History Month, FoodtoEat is proud to highlight some of our women owned & run vendors, who have built businesses that are an integral part of their communities.

Interview with Vicki from Mamagyro:

How’d you get into the restaurant business? Was your initial plan to own a food business? If not, what was your initial desire?

My parents have been in the food business for 30+ years. It’s in our blood.

Six years ago, my mom looked around and didn’t really see anyone doing justice to Greek food and the gyro. She started the restaurant back then, and we haven’t looked back since. Now, we finally see Greek food becoming more popular here in NYC, but we still want to make it a staple in the food world here.

Who is the mastermind behind your recipes?

Stella. My mother. Everything is her creation.

How has being a woman owner of a food business impacted the way you run your shop?

Honestly I don’t feel any differently than if I were a man. I think people have the same level of respect because they know my mother’s expertise and understand her passion. They know she’s dedicated her life to food.

Who or what was your inspiration for your decision in running your own business?

My mother.

What are some of the challenges you have had to overcome, if any?

Find the right staff is always the hard part. As the business owners, my mom and I know we have our images and reputations at stake to really showcase why we started a gyro restaurant in the first place. At the end of the day, the staff goes home, but we need to make them believe as much as we do in what we’re doing. That’s the way we can be successful and hopefully open more restaurants.

What advice would you give to women who are afraid or hesitant to start their own business?

Don’t be afraid. Being a woman doesn’t mean you can’t accomplish as much as a man. People respect passion and dedication. Don’t be afraid to show that – it’ll only take your further towards your goals.

Join us this Saturday for a Lower Manhattan Food Crawl!

Although it’s been more than two weeks since Hurricane sandy hit the Northeast, many small businesses are still feeling the effects of the storm. Restaurants in particular rely on small margins to remain profitable in New York City. By closing their doors even for a few days many restaurants have lost their profits for an entire month or more. This Saturday, November 17th, Foodtoeat.com is holding a fundraising benefit for downtown Manhattan restaurants that lost business during the storm.

Starting at noon, 18 restaurants and bars in lower Manhattan will offer specials until 4 p.m. for all participants of the food crawl. Registration is just $10 and all proceeds from the event will go to participating restaurants. Join the FoodtoEat team beginning at Evelyn Drinkery to pick up a food crawl map, raffle tickets and purchase your registration if you haven’t already. Then follow the map and sample the discounted specials at each restaurant and bar until the final stop at Kafana restaurant. Stick around for the great raffle prizes, entertainment and interact with foodies all afternoon.

Purchase your tickets here and bring your appetite on Saturday! The full list of venues is listed below:

Cocktail Bodega
Continuum Coffee
Evelyn Drinkery
La Lucha
Mercadito
Mezetto
Prohibition Bakery
Proto Pizza
Sons of Essex
Common Ground
Idle Hands Bar
That Burger
Maharlika
Simone Martini Bar
Yaffa Cafe
Culture Fix
Cafecito
Royale Bar
Kafana

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

 

Please Follow These Brief Steps Placing Online Orders from your Favorite Restaurants Today

For our friends on the East coast Hurricane Sandy is currently barreling her way through, affecting local businesses and forcing evacuations. Some people may still be wondering what services are still available to them.

If you are hoping to order food online from FoodtoEat.com in New York or New Jersey, please follow these steps and be patients with your favorite restaurants. We are trying to collect the most accurate information from each restaurant affected by the storm, but statuses are constantly changing at this time, and many restaurants may be understaffed or unable to deliver your orders.

Beginning Monday morning please do the following when ordering from any restaurant or food truck on FoodtoEat.com:

– Call any restaurant you plan to order from before placing the order. Restaurant phone numbers can be found on their respective FoodtoEat ordering pages.

– If a restaurant is closed but they are open on FoodtoEat, please let us know by chatting with us or shooting us a quick email at info@foodtoeat.com

– If the restaurant is opening, enjoy your meal and remember to thank the deliverymen who are traveling out to get your your meal!

We wish you all the best during this ‘Frankenstorm” and hope you are taking all the recommended precautions to stay safe. We’ll keep you updated as best we can throughout the storm!

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

 

Goat Eats Pizza at Midtown Pizzeria

Last week at Famous Famiglia restaurant in Midtown, Manhattan, a goat was spotted eating pizza inside the restaurant. A couple was dining at the restaurant on Wednesday night at around 11pm, and a goat which reportedly belonged to them began eating pizza with them as well, placing its two front hooves on the table, while the woman fed it pizza from her slice which appeared to have spinach on it.

Soon enough a crowd began to gather around the unlikely trio and people passing outside began snapping photos of the unlikely restaurant-guest and its Italian-style meal. The couple continued to feed the goat and paid little attention to the crowd that had gathered around them. The goat was reportedly the size of a large dog, and wore a red leash.

Famous Famiglia Pizza on 50th and Broadway has had famous visitors before, chosen as the location for a “pizza summit” in 2011 with Donald Trump and Sarah Palin. This goat has received it’s fare share of media attention recently, as the subject of several online articles and now with its own twitter account, @pizza_goat.

Famous Famiglia worker Lona Asaneni said “I don’t know who let the goats in because we normally don’t even let dogs in, but it’s big news around the pizza joint”.

Others theorized that the goat may have been a service animal or a “seeing-eye goat”.

Some customers were concerned about the sanity of having a goat eat with them, but most simply appreciated the humor of the situation. Famous Famiglia Pizza is one of New York City’s premiere pizza establishments, and if you would like to eat as well as a goat, you can order online and try their food here. Ordering now gets you 5% off, we like to call it the goat special.

When All Else Fails, Partnership Calls Food Carts an ‘Eyesore’

Food trucks and carts have been given a wide variety of reasons for why they are no longer welcome in Midtown, Manhattan. Most of these reasons relate to an outdated court ruling, or complaints by rent-paying brick and mortar restaurants, but this is the first complaint we’ve heard that has ostracized food carts based upon their physical appearance.

A new campaign by neighborhood business owners and members of the 34th Street Partnership have called out food and street vendors for being rude, obnoxious eyesores that are cluttering the streets. Dan Biederman, who heads the Partnership as well as the Bryant Park Association said “The problem is really simple: the food vendors, with about five exceptions, are the ugliest collection of miserable-looking vehicles we’ve ever seen. The vendors are almost exclusively terrible citizens, they litter with impunity and are generally rude to anyone who asks them to clean up.”

The partnership has taken action by asking city officials to reduce the amount of street vendors in Midtown, and effectively take away licenses and relocate them to ‘better’ places. Biederman claims the street vendor problem has worsened since many vendors began putting flashing signs on their carts. This, in conjunction with excess smoke, odd smells, piles of trash on street corners and the general aesthetic appeal of carts have made the streets in midtown unpleasant for residents, tourists and office workers. The group mentioned that several carts do look physically attractive, such as Wafels & Dinges and the Fruit-n-Juice cart on West 35th and Broadway.

The Street Vendor Project, which helps street vendors identify their rights, has responded to this most recent charge by this campaign. “It’s a little bit crazy to call vendors ugly and take them away from their neighborhood,” said Street Vendor Project attorney, Matthew Shapiro.

Shapiro argues that vendors provide important jobs to immigrants, and offer more affordable food for people who cannot afford the high priced options in Manhattan. “They can’t afford to invest in their business and make them looks better because they’re always getting slammed with fines. When people think of New York, they think of street vendors, they think of the hot dog cart. It’s part of the city.”

Biederman sees city organizations as a means to regulate the food trucks, though they are already heavily regulated by the Department of Consumer Affairs and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. With litter, crime and graffiti disappearing from the city, Biederman now sees food trucks and carts as the single biggest complaint, which the city has a responsibility to address.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

 

Independent Restaurants Struggle to Keep Up with Large Competitors

It’s no secret that the restaurant industry has not been faring so well since the 2008 recession, but not all restaurants have been as bad off as others. Chain restaurants have apparently fared much better than independent restaurants, and actually gained restaurants locations since 2009.

A new study by the NPD Group confirms that from 2008 to 2011, the number of restaurants visits in the United States dropped from 62.7 billion to 60.6 billion. The report went deeper to show that 87% of the loss in restaurants business occurred at independent restaurants, even though before the recession only a little over a quarter of all restaurants visits took place at independent establishments.

To add to the discrepancy, since 2009 restaurant chains now control 61% of the industry, while independent restaurants account for 27% of total restaurant visits. Overall, the number of independent restaurants in the United States decreased by a whopping 7,158. Chain restaurants however increase by 4,511.

The study further showed that higher-end restaurants in large urban areas have continued to fare well throughout the recession, while the smaller restaurants felt the brunt of the recession.

Supporting mom & pop restaurants is more crucial at this time than ever before. While the economy is still recovering, these small restaurants continue to feel the pressure of being squeezed out by chain restaurants and high fees across the board. With events like restaurant week urging consumers to return to local establishments, hopefully small restaurants can rebound and begin to turn the tide against large chains.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

 

Food Trucks Embrace Technology in Keeping with the Times

Food Trucks have recently been exploring alternate methods of business to compete with their brick and mortar rivals. One of the best methods food trucks have been using is integration with innovative technology to manage and maintain their businesses, while attracting new customers with flexible ordering options and modern design.

Food trucks have attracted a key demographic in their marketing techniques, gaining mostly young followers who flock to the trucks for their cheap food and trending designs. By working with new technology food trucks can become more flexible in how they interact with their customers, getting on their level to provide fully functional service.

Square is an application that food trucks throughout the country have begun to use to accept payments on a mobile device. Until the advent of Square, most food trucks only accepted cash from customers, but Square opens up a new realm of possibilities for how customers can pay. The app was created out of frustration with current credit card processing systems, so the founders decided that Square could be used to accept payments on the go, with a small credit card reader than can attach to any smart phone for use. Food trucks no longer have to worry about customers having enough cash to order food, and with no monthly fees or obligations and such an easy to sue interface, Square is quickly catching on in the mobile food industry.

With new gourmet food trucks changing the perception of street food to something for everyone from the previous ‘street meat’ label, incorporating technology is the logical next step. At Foodtoeat.com we have provided food trucks with GPRS printers to wirelessly receive online orders in seconds. Incorporating technology into the way food trucks operate ensures that they are progressing in the way they operate, becoming a permanent fixture in the way we eat.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

Helping Wall Street Vendors Recover Their Business

Since the Occupy Wall Street protests began last year, a wide range of businesses have been affected by the scores of protestors inhabiting the Wall Street area. Food vendors have been among the most negatively affected by the protestors, as local restaurants and café’s have had their restrooms vandalized and local food carts have lost most of their customers who have been deterred by the protestors.

The Occupy Wall Street movement has been great in raising awareness about corporate buyouts and voicing the demands of the ‘99%’, but it has also caused real damage in the areas protestors have flocked to. Sam’s Falafel, a Vendy Award nominated, well-known falafel cart right next to Zucotti Park saw an immediate decline in sales that continued to stagnate until the owner, Yassir, was on the verge of closing the beloved cart altogether.

Through a law firm we work with in the area, our Foodtoeat sales team heard about Sam’s Falafel and approached Yassir about having his cart join our site. Yassir was skeptical at first, but eager for any help he could get in retaining his customers that had been so loyal over the years. With the protestors so close, some customers had been hit by eggs and other items while waiting for their food, accounting for Sam’s loss in business. After talking with Yassir for some time, we decided that a delivery option for his cart would work best. Because most of the cart’s customers work in the offices nearby, many of them no longer wished to venture out to buy lunch from Sam’s. After several weeks of promotion with free samples and $1 off coupons, Sam’s Falafel was ready to relaunch and become our first food cart to offer delivery.

Most of Sam’s Falafel’s customers are located within two to three blocks of the restaurant, so having a coworker deliver nearby was an easy solution. Sam’s has built up enough neighborhood appeal in recent years that customers are willing to pay extra for tips for their favorite falafel. Customers simply order online through Foodtoeat for pickup or delivery, knowing that every order helps Sam’s Falafel get through this taxing time. In the coming months more food trucks and carts will begin to offer delivery options, but to try Sam’s Falafel, click here.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

Offices in Peril, Cannot Order Lunch

Last Friday the ‘premier’ online food ordering website Seamless.com crashed during peak hours, leaving thousands of people stranded without their daily company-funded lunches. Seamless immediately worked to resolve the problem, tweeting up a storm replying to people’s complaints and hurrying to ‘fix a site issue’ and asking their users to ‘follow us and DM us so we can make it up to you’.

The greater problem at hand here is that too many people rely on one website to get access to their food. In today’s world where menus have become largely obsolete and so many people have developed a phone-phobia (speaking on the phone, that is), it’s hard to imagine how to get food delivered to you without Seamless. Particularly in offices where Seamless Corporate Accounts dominate, with the website down how will employees be reimbursed for their meals and what will they do without that handy ‘repeat previous order’ option?

Offices work with multiple firms and clients to ensure that if one sector goes down the others will remain profitable. The same logic should hold true for an office’s dining needs. Large corporations that subject their employees to long hours rely on food ordering services like Seamless to provide an edible perk to keep their employees lively. These employees order the meal of their choice and get it fully refunded through Seamless House Accounts by participating companies. For these participating companies Seamless crashing disrupted their online ordering and will no doubt become a headache for payroll.

One office manager in Midtown, Manhattan preordered pizza a day in advance, and was shocked to find that the pizza arrived early at an unscheduled time. In her case, Seamless’ servers failed to hold the order until the next day, immediately releasing it to the pizzeria and causing an unwanted confrontation between the office manager and the pizzeria owner.

While mistakes can be expected from any service, the current system offices use of relying on only one ordering service is inefficient and potentially costly. For individuals who could not order online, they picked up a menu or used another online ordering service to get their meals. There are currently at least four other online ordering services in New York City which all charge restaurants and companies far less than Seamless. In the coming months, hopefully the current model will change so that the next time Seamless crashes, we’ll be ready.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com