Italian Restaurants

Of the hundreds of types of ethnic restaurants in the United States, Italian restaurants, including pizza chains, boast the largest number. They also offer an array of opportunities for would-be franchisees and entrepreneurs and the possibility of coming up with a concept modification. Italian restaurants owe their origins largely to poor immigrants from southern Italy, entrepreneurs who started small grocery stores, bars, and restaurants in Italian neighborhoods in the Northeast. The restaurants began serving their ethnic neighbors robustly flavored, familiar foods in large portions at low prices.

The foods were based on home cooking, including pasta, a paste or dough item made of wheat flour and water (plus eggs in northern Italy). Spaghetti, from the word spago, meaning ”string,” is a typical pasta. Macaroni, another pasta, is tubular in form. In the north of Italy, ravioli pasta is stuffed with cheese or meat; in the south, it may be served in a tomato sauce without meat. Pastas take various shapes, each with its own name. Pizza is native to Naples, and it was there that many American soldiers, during World War II, learned to enjoy it.

Pizza eventually made John Schnatter a millionaire; his Papa John’s chain has made hundreds of small businesspeople wealthy. Although independent Italian restaurant owners typify the Italian restaurant business, chain operators are spreading the pasta concept nationwide and selling franchises to those qualified by experience and credit rating. The range of Italian-style restaurants available for franchise is wide, from stand-in-line food service to high-style restaurants where the guest is greeted by a maitre d’hotel, seated in a plush chair, and served with polished silver.

A Romano’s Macaroni Grill costs upward of $3.5 million to build, equip, and open. As is true in upscale Roman restaurants, guests get to review fresh seafood, produce, and other menu items as they enter the restaurant. An extensive menu lists more than 30 items, including breads and pizza baked in a wood-burning oven. The Olive Garden chain, with more than 547 units, is by far the largest of the Italian restaurant chains. As might be guessed, many Italian-style restaurants feature pizza and might be properly called stepped-up pizzerias.

Pasta House Co. sells a trademarked pizza called Pizza Luna in the shape of a half moon. An appetizer labeled Portobello Frito features mushrooms, as does the portobello fettuccine. Spaghetti Warehouses are located in rehabilitated downtown warehouses and, more recently, in city suburbs. Paul and Bill’s (neither owner is Italian) sells antipasto, salads, and sandwiches for lunch, then changes the menu for dinner. The sandwiches are replaced by such items as veal scallopini with artichokes and mushrooms in a Madeira sauce. Osso bucco (veal shank) is another choice. Potato chips are homemade, and a wood-fired oven adds glamour to the baked breads and pizza. Fazoli’s, a Lexington, Kentucky, chain, describes itself as fast casual dining.

Guests place their orders at a counter, then seat themselves. A restaurant hostess strolls about offering unlimited complimentary bread sticks that have just been baked. The menu lists spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, chicken Parmesan, shrimp and scallop fettuccini, and baked ziti (a medium-size tubular pasta). The sandwiches, called Submarinos, come in seven varieties. Thirty percent of sales come via a drive-through window. The chain franchise has some 400 units and is growing. Italian restaurants based on northern Italian food are likely to offer green spinach noodles served with butter and grated Parmesan cheese. Gnocchi are dumplings made of semolina flour (a coarser grain of wheat).

Saltimbocca (”jumps in the mouth”) is made of thin slices of veal rolled with ham and fontina cheese and cooked in butter and Marsala wine. Mozzarella cheese is made from the milk of water buffalo. Risotto, which makes use of the rice grown around Milan, is cooked in butter and chicken stock and flavored with Parmesan cheese and saffron.

Hotel Supplies and Amenities 101 – Influencing the Guest Review

Expectations are high among members of the traveling public, especially when a hotel stay is part of their trip. Exceptional guest services, competitive room rates and comfortable, inviting guest rooms are among the highest of expectations. These are just a few aspects of a hotel stay that guests will comment on when they pen a guest review. There are standard, quality hotel supplies that people anticipate being in their hotel room. Absorbent bath towels and comfortable furniture are among the hotel supplies travelers expect to find in their rooms. When booking a guest room, people expect that it, along with the common areas, will be outfitted with a variety of basic hotel supplies.

Family reunions, conferences, weddings and business trips are among the dozens of reasons why someone might stay at a hotel. Often different reasons for a stay demand different hotel supplies, business centers, free internet access and swimming pools to name but a few. People traveling for business typically have their accommodations booked for them so they have no say in where they stay or which hotel supplies and amenities are available. Families and vacationers on the other hand usually choose their hotel based, in part, on the amenities and hotel supplies available or on the location relative to points of interest. The common denominator is, no matter where they’re staying, all hotels want to please their guest and will make every effort to please guests.

Just as different people have different reasons for staying at hotels, we’re all impressed by different aspects of a hotel. Some of us are impressed by doors the simplest things, such as doors that open automatically while others of us aren’t impressed by anything less than telephones in bathrooms and other fantastic amenities. Hotels also make a great impression when they exceed expectations by providing superb guest services, going above and beyond the norm or providing better than expected hotel supplies. When guests write reviews about their hotel stays, they write about what impresses them and what has disappointed them.

So what constitutes a memorable, share worthy hotel stay? The people, the hotel supplies or the room itself? When guests are greeted warmly and attended to quickly, they remember it. Hotels whose entrances are clean and inviting make great impressions on guests. When common areas are open and light it makes a great impressions on guests. When guest rooms are furnished with helpful amenities that do double duty as d├ęcor pieces, they usually leave guests impressed. Inviting rooms that exude warmth and relaxation make just about everybody feel appreciated and pampered. Sometimes the simplest hotel supplies will please guests and make their stay a pleasure.

In a world where everybody has an opinion, hotel guests are no exception. Once it was the verbal word of mouth about the service or hotel supplies that won or lost a hotel or business new or repeat guests. Today guest reviews on a variety of travel sites praise and pan hotels but now they reach a much broader audience. Amenities are an important parts every hotel stay. They also influence and inform guest reviews which also play a role informing potential guests about real life experiences at the hotels they might potentially book. Overall, every aspect of a hotel stay, including the hotel supplies, has the potential to influence guest reviews and, therefore, future business.

Working With Your Dog’s Food Allergy

There are many signs that your dog could have a food allergy. The list is almost endless, but the main culprits are itchy skin, a dull and/or frizzy coat, inflamed ears, excessive licking of certain areas (paws for example), lethargy, diarrhea (even projectile stools), blood, mucous or both in the stool, gas and possibly even vomiting. These, coupled with horror stories of owners coming home from work to find their living rooms sprayed with sick-dog diarrhea can all be symptoms of dog food allergies. Some symptoms can be a lot more dangerous, like seizures or negative behavior changes. When dealing with your dog’s food allergies you need to understand, change and monitor the dog’s diet and reactions.

A dog owner should keep in mind that most reputable dog foods don’t contain corn, soy or wheat. Another part of the understanding of a dog’s allergies is to comprehend the grains used to make dog food. If your dog’s food does contain any of those “filler grains” it might be wise to continue looking for a different food. Corn, soy and wheat are grains that pet food companies fortify their food with because they are relatively cheap products. But not only that, these three grains are regular allergy culprits.

If you have changed your dog’s food in the recent past, this is a telltale reason as to why your dog may be acting sick. A general rule of thumb when changing a dog’s diet is to gradually introduce new food into his diet. 25% percent at a time over the period of ten days. This basically breaks down to a 25% increase in the new food and a 25% decrease in the old food every 2 to 3 days. Some dogs adjust well, and some dogs need a more gradual shift. The main point here is that sometimes what looks like an allergic reaction is simply your dog having an upset stomach while re-calibrating his intestines to a different diet.

In order to get your dog back on track if he is indeed suffering from a food allergy is to completely monitor his food intake. This means a “reloading” of his entire diet. Tackling your dog’s food allergy starts with changing what your dog consumes while assessing what he has been consuming. This also means that there can be no cheating and that the diet needs to be strict. Look for hypoallergenic foods. Follow the above principle of a 25% shift in food every few days. Things get complicated at this point however, because the words “hypoallergenic” don’t necessarily mean that your dog won’t be allergic to the food. An example of this is lamb. Lamb is what used to be considered as the “ultimate” hypoallergenic meat. Lamb allergies while not common, are possible as well. So whatever exclusive diet you decide upon for your dog it should fit whatever your dog works with. This could take some trial and error, or it could work nicely and immediately.

Corn, soy and wheat may not be the best grains to fortify your dog’s diet with, but brown rice and potatoes are both starches that receive more respect, and have a better track record as far as dog allergies go. Let’s assume that you choose a chicken and rice diet. You could prepare the chicken and boil the rice. This way you will know what your dog is consuming, how it was prepared, etc, etc. Hopefully, you will notice an immediate improvement. Most people queried on this subject for this article were very secure with the fact that the determination of a food allergy is started with home cooking your dog’s meals. What this betrays is a general mistrust in store-bought dog food. But we also have to be realistic here, some of us simply don’t have the time or patience to boil copious amounts of chicken breasts and brown rice. If that is indeed your case, then another method is to scrutinize the dog food that is on the market and find that which seems the simplest, healthiest, and most suited for your dog.

Dog food allergies are unpredictable, much like human allergies. An example of this is that most people are born drinking milk. They drink it through their adolescence but then as adults, they develop a lactose intolerance. Dogs are similar in the fact that they might eat the same thing their entire life and then suddenly a latent allergy kicks in.

As I researched this article, I found that the most heartening fact is that if your dog isn’t allergic to the food that you settle on, the positive change can be immediate. When working with your dog’s food allergies you need to comprehend, adjust and watch your dog’s demeanor as well as his food. A dog is a resilient creature, and when you find the proper diet for your pet, he will bounce back quickly.