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  • Peter Bouloukos

Bozeman Restaurant Secrets and Trends to Watch!

Bozeman Restaurant Secrets and Trends to Watch!

March 19, 2015


Peter Dean Bouloukos

Moving to Bozeman, Montana was an interesting journey for my family. We quite literally lived on a mile long stretch of pristine beachfront in Southern California one year and the next we were immersed in a frozen tundra from early November to the middle of April in Southwestern Montana.

We immediately met some of the most wonderful people and incredible families in Bozeman. My daughters and I tend to dine at a variety of local restaurants always in support of small business owners and have become friends with many servers and bartenders too. My daughters are pretty well known at certain locations as they carry positive, kind and fun spirit everywhere we go! We are treated the best at a Sports Bar with great pizza but it's designed for college students not for families. I recommend trying the Crazy Ivan Pizza at Spectator's near the MSU Fieldhouse.

Bozeman is a college town surrounded by some of the best outdoor pursuits found anywhere on the planet to include World Class lift serviced skiing at Big Sky Resort and Bridger Bowl. Fly Fishing at a number of rivers of choice. Incredible hiking, wildlife and single track mountain biking. You can go for a run and be attacked by a six foot wide Bald Eagle one day and come across a Grizzly Bear while riding your bike the next. It's fun and keeps you on your toes too!

As a community with great schools and neighborhoods, it blows me away how many fail to pay attention to family dining and I am not talking about Tater Tots and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.

Bozeman is way behind the culinary and industry times.

The market is absolutely wide-open for any savvy investor or current operation ready to grow!!!

First, what parent wouldn't want a place where they can sit down and enjoy a glass of wine or a cold craft beer while the kids are happy and enjoying the "dining" experience too???

Bozeman, Montana does not have a creative, forward-thinking family friendly restaurant to match a demand for activity, fun, whole food options and farm-to-table support. Guess who makes the majority of dining decisions in the United States? Mom! Impress mom, show her you care and provide families with a true culinary experience! Remember, in a point & click world Mom and kids will communicate happiness in a matter of seconds online.

Pay attention...

Children’s menus should draw more attention from chefs and restaurant operators. Gone are the days when kids’ menus were nothing but hot dogs and things shaped like cartoon characters and dinosaurs. This is the era of gourmet kids’ dishes adapted from adult menu items with more adventurous flavor profiles than traditional children’s options. Growing in parallel are healthy versions of those gourmet kids’ items, featuring whole grains, vegetables, oven-baked items and entrée salads. Learn to use "gadgets" to get kids and Mom's on your team too...ask me how!

Other Smart Concepts Bozeman Families Would Love???

Waste Not, Want Not: Environmental sustainability remains among the hottest menu trends in the United States. As with most maturing trends, sub-trends emerge over time; in 2015, food waste reduction and management is at the forefront of restaurant operations. Composting, recycling and donating are all tactics of food waste strategies tying into both sustainability and social responsibility. Do your best to stay away from frozen foods as simple thawing techniques can waste hundreds of gallons of water and with Foodie's all over the marketplace today...people will taste the difference.

Our House: As the local sourcing trend continues at full speed today, so does the hyper-local sub-trend. Beyond restaurant gardens, hyper-local is extending more fully into house-made, farm-branded and artisan items. From ice cream to cheese, pickles to bacon, lemonade to beer, restaurants are producing their own signature menu items from scratch. If Bozeman area restaurants do this while featuring local farm raised bacon while pairing it with a Montana Craft Beer they no doubt will champion love and support from the people who matter most. Further, if you adhere to quality control points and firm sanitation standards, your staff will respect and share this integrity with their friends and family building a firm local reputation.

In a Pickle: Borrowing terminology from social media, pickles are the Throwback Thursday of food trends. Common preparation methods for millennia, pickling and fermenting are making a comeback big time – but with a modern twist. Restaurants are exploring house-made pickles, ethnic flavors and specialty vinegars, small-batch producers with less traditional vegetable varieties, and fermented flavor profiles in a variety of dishes. Pickle to create signature bloody mary's, pickle and showcase it on a menu item. Montana families know what "jarring" and "pickling" is all about!

Going Global: An evolving trend over the past fifteen years? Ethnic cuisine! As American palates become more sophisticated and adventurous, so do restaurant offerings. Micro-trending in this category is fusion cuisines, as well as authentic and regional, underscoring the depth of flavors being explored. Also, ethnic ingredients, including cheeses, flour and condiments, are increasingly finding their way into non-ethnic dishes. In a point and click global economy and the trend for sharing Food Pictures, creativity drives "word of mouth" marketing more than ever.

Want to know a universal secret?

Develop great people. Hire the best and be clear about expectations. More specifically in Bozeman, people talk. It's a small town surrounded by beautiful landscapes, rivers, moutains and farm communities. The talent base is incredible in Southwestern Montana with Montana State University and kids raised on ranches and farms. The term "integrity" is not just management speak in this region, it's taught on the homefront where kids respect hard work and operate with incredible morale authority and personal character too! Remember, the human element is the biggest asset any operation can have.

Learn how to hire and develop great people and watch what happens all around you.

Simply stated: Bozeman, Montana and Gallatin Valley are growing leaps and bounds, more competition will enter the market and it's time for smart business owners to prepare.

Yours in Success, Peter Dean Bouloukos

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