That’s Entertainment

Providing the right audio or video programming for your customers can go a long way. With the staggering number of entertainment choices available today, it’s easy to find one tailored to your operation and your budget.

There’s music in the air
For small restaurants, plugging in an iPod system or CD player might seem like a simple and convenient way to play music. By doing that, however, you run the risk of tangling with the major music licensing organizations (ASCAP, BMI and SESAC), which protect copyrights. To avoid getting involved with licensing, it makes sense to go with a music programming service. These days, almost all major services are based around digital delivery. Sirius, the company behind satellite radio in your home and car, is also the main business player. The company offers a selection of 70 channels of commercial-free music for around $30 a month; purchase of a basic equipment package (starting at $99) is required. MUSICbox from PCM Technologies is a PC-based delivery system that lets subscribers create their own playlists on demand, selecting from a variety of music categories. The playlists are then streamed to your PC from the Internet. For example, you could program 30 minutes of Motown followed by 30 minutes of Rolling Stones. A subscription runs about $60 per month, after a startup fee.

The most sophisticated preprogrammed music services, such as DMX and Muzak, deliver music by satellite but can also provide it on CD or by Internet. Analysts can make specific programming recommendations based on a restaurant’s ambience and clientele. The individualized nature of these services tends to make them more costly; fees cover payment to music licensing organizations.

What’s on TV?
When choosing television entertainment for your restaurant, it all comes down to one question: satellite or cable? Since there’s a lot of overlap in the channels they offer, it pays to shop around to see who will give you the best deal. But there are some basic points to remember.

•Know the channels or services to which you want to subscribe. If the deal you’re considering offers too high a ratio of usable-to-unusable channels, you may need to look into a different package. DirecTV offers a basic “Commercial Choice” package of more than 120 channels for $50 per month. However, that doesn’t include ESPN—a necessity for a sports-minded clientele.

•Read the fine print on the offer. Is there an extra charge for the sports package you want? Will additional receivers cost you more? Are there access fees? Are high-definition channels included? Those extras can raise your monthly bill.

•See if a bundle makes sense. Ask if your cable provider will bundle additional services, such as digital music, Internet or phone, at a discount. Time Warner Cable in Los Angeles, for example, offers a TV and music package for $55 per month.

•Find out if you’re locked into a contract. Some providers will waive the installation or setup fee if you sign a two- or three-year contract. Comcast has an installation fee of $250 on a one-year contract, but that drops to $125 on a two-year deal and is waived on a three-year contract.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

This semester, the East Quad dining team at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is taking steps to offer more authentic global cuisine , Michigan Daily reports.

The team has partnered with the Office of Student Life to start a conversation with students on how best to create and serve Middle Eastern and North African cuisine. Additionally, the university invited chefs from Japan and India to campus to help its chefs create more authentic recipes.

The school’s push for more accurate global cuisine was partially inspired by an international food event that got cancelled...

Industry News & Opinion
Madison food truck

The Madison Metropolitan School District in Madison, Wis., has partnered with a local organization to debut a food truck that will serve healthy, locally sourced lunch options for Madison high school students, according to The Capital Times .

The truck, which was donated by the Emmi Roth Cheese Co., will visit four high schools Tuesday through Friday, spending a day at each campus. Students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch can use the food truck as they would the school cafeteria for no-cost or discounted meals.

Members of MMSD and partner organization REAP Food...

Industry News & Opinion

Identifying prospective employees may be less challenging for foodservice operators than getting would-be recruits to complete the hiring process , according to a new study of why job applicants bail.

The report shows that nearly three out of fours applicants (74%) will drop their effort to be hired if they suspect management is racist, and two out of three (62%) will flee if they learn of sexual harassment allegations. Roughly the same proportion (65%) will halt their pursuit if they encounter indications of a gender gap in pay.

About half (45%) of candidates won’t show...

Menu Development
zoodles

Here’s how two operations are spotlighting produce this season.

Oodles of zoodles

Binghamton University underscored its growing focus on plant-based options with a recent zoodle pop-up on campus. The pop-up, which served vegetable noodle bowls in vegan and vegetarian varieties, sold out of the dishes in four hours. The Binghamton, N.Y., school aims to add zoodles to its regular menu in the fall.

A buffet boost

The dining team at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, recently re-evaluated its buffet offerings with an eye toward adding healthy options. It updated the fruit and...

FSD Resources