News & Press
Extraordinary Museum Restaurants "Once considered more of a refueling pit stop between exhibits than an actual culinary destination, museum restaurants have finally arrived. With more establishments utilizing fresh local ingredients and offering housemade and innovative menu items, it should come as no surprise that foodies are flocking to savor something other than art or history." Read more about museums offering innovative destination dining experiences in the article Extraordinary Museum Restaurants originally published in Departures magazine
Serving Museum Patrons Something More "'Museums are like sports stadiums, hotels and hospitals: they are in the category of captive-audience dining,' said Danny Meyer, the global restaurateur who opened the Modern at the Museum of Modern Art in 2004. 'The old idea was that ‘we need to have food here because people need to eat something — so we can actually get away with the lowest common denominator, and charge whatever we want.’" Read more about the increasing focus on fine dining as part of the museum experience in the article Serving Museum Patrons Something More originally published in the The New York Times
Cultural Institutions Have Upped Their Culinary Games Article: A More Cultured Taste "It used to be that going to a museum for the food was like going to Wrigley Field for the baseball. They offered a version of the thing in question, sure, but you were pretty likely to be disappointed. But these days, most Chicago cultural institutions have upped their culinary games. Now, while your kids dine on the inevitable mac-and-cheese and chicken nuggets, you can often get something you actually want to eat, rather than some sad compromise between hunger and availability." Originally published in The Chicago Tribune
Food Can Be A Major Draw For Ambivalent Visitors Article: Food for Thought: Visitor Services as Catalysts for Cultural Engagement "Food is only one method of engaging people in heritage, but it is arguably the most crucial and the one that has the most impact on visitation. Although intended to encourage longer stays and to satisfy basic needs, it can be a major draw for ambivalent visitors. Food connects people and it has the capacity to connect people to the past. If made accessible to the public within the site or museum, restaurants can be a catalyst for cultural connection. Some people may not want to attend an hour long tour or the latest exhibit, but almost everyone loves a cup of tea and a slice of pie." Originally published in the Canadian Blog Past Perfect
Determine Whether It'll Pay to Take on a Big Client "Also, will you be expected to use company facilities exclusively, or can you prepare some of the food at your existing kitchen? This is a particularly important point, says Arthur Manask, president and chief executive of The Manask Hospitality Group. 'As a caterer, you have an advantage, possibly over more traditional food service contractors, in that you can provide food production support for some menu items that do not need to be cooked or prepared to order...this reduces your back-of-house culinary staff because you can just do assembly and cook-to-order at the café, reducing your staffing, which makes your bottom line much better." Read the entire article originally published in Businessweek
Disney’s $1 Billion Experiment In Crowd Control, Data Collection, and Wearable Technology That Could Change the Way People Play
—and Spend
Article: Disney Bets $1 Billion on Technology to Track Theme-Park Visitors "Jason McInerney and his wife, Melissa, recently tapped their lunch orders onto a touchscreen at the entrance to the Be Our Guest restaurant at Florida’s Walt Disney World Resort and were told to take any open seat. Moments later a food server appeared at their table with their croque-monsieur and carved turkey sandwiches. Asks McInerney, a once-a-year visitor to Disney theme parks: “How did they know where we were sitting?” The answer was on the electronic bands the couple wore on their wrists. That’s the magic of the MyMagic+, Walt Disney’s (DIS) $1 billion experiment in crowd control, data collection, and wearable technology that could change the way people play—and spend—at the Most Magical Place on Earth." Originally published in Businessweek
MUSEUM STORE GARAGE SALE UNDER WAY AT ST. LOUIS ZOO "A few hundred bargain hunters already have browsed marked-down items from a dozen St. Louis area attractions at the annual St. Louis Museum Stores Garage Sale. The sale is organized by the St. Louis Museum Stores. Organizers say it gives local attraction gift shops a chance to make some money while clearing out some of their inventory." Read the entire article originally published in St. Louis Today
Historic Home Creates New Earned Income from Catering Services Article: Beverly Hills Mansion Open Doors to History "The mysterious old house on the hills just opened its doors. Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills, famous as the setting of the opening of Raymond Chandler's 'The Big Sleep' and the bowling alley murder in the movie 'There Will Be Blood' will now host corporate parties." Originally published in the Los Angeles Business Journal
Museum Unveils New Café as Part of Expansion Article: Boston's Café G Moves to a New Level "There was a time, many years ago, when restaurants in museums were nothing special, they were merely designed to offer a place for art lovers to take a break and grab coffee and a snack. Today, museum restaurants and cafés strive to reach a higher ground, many of them becoming destinations in their own right. At the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, Café G is part of Renzo Piano Building Workshop's stunning new wing..." Originally published in the FCSI The Americas Quarterly
Art Museum's Restaurant in NYC Connects Art Collection & Dining Experience Article: Flow, Harmony, Salad At the Art Museum "At the helm of Serai, the new restaurant at the Rubin Museum of Art, chef Ali Loukzada doesn't have to look far for culinary inspiration. He draws on the museum's Himalayan art collection to create 'flow and harmony in the food,' he says." Originally published in The Wall Street Journal
Art Museum Foodservice Paints a Brighter Picture for Visitors "'Museum foodservice today has a much more dramatic presence than years ago. A lot of cultural institutions today do fine dining. Our new American Café has been very successful with around 500 covers a day.' Museum foodservice, [Fontecchio] believes, is moving in the direction of being more like mainstream establishments. 'Specialty restaurants meet the needs of higher end clients and we're staying on that same track.'" Originally published in Foodservice East
A Strategy for Increasing Revenue in a Recession "Understanding your potential customer has never been more important, and is the basic tool in developing retail strategies and tactics for maintaining and increasing income in a recession. After absorbing your institutional reason for being and purpose, a non-profit merchandiser must be able to forecast sales potential from various customer segments, including their interests, age, gender, values, activities, buying patterns, and personal styles." Originally published in The Manask Report 2009
Is Your Gift Shop Operation Truly Green? Article: Retail and Social Responsibility "Every time you ask a vendor for an environmental statement, an item made from organic cotton, product made from post recycled waste, a factory environmental certification, to add an additional green product to their line, or a green alternative to your "must have" items, you leverage improvements to our industry and help increase green product alternatives." Originally presented by Manask & Associates principal Marjorie Sheldon at the 2009 Museum Store Association Annual Convention
Understand How Your Gift Shop Can Manage Markdowns Article: Managing Markdowns "Sale is a four letter word to the independent retailer. Markdowns mean less profit margin and lower profits are never healthy for any business. So how does a retailer manage markdowns without jeopardizing overall profitability? First you need to understand the types of markdowns and their respective role in a retail operation." Originally written by Manask & Associates principal Joan Doyle for the Museum Store Association
Tips on How Your Gift Shop Can Promote Your Institution's Brand and Separate Your Store from Other Retailers Article: Product Development Primer "When museum visitors have had a positive experience there is a strong desire to keep that memory through a purchase. Custom developed merchandise promotes your institution's brand, increases institution visibility and separates your cultural commerce store from general commercial retailers. Done well it will become some of the best-selling merchandise your store offers. Done poorly or without careful planning it can tie up your fiscal resources and quickly hurt the bottom line profitability." Originally written by Manask & Associates principal Joan Doyle for the Museum Store Association
How Can Earned Income Support My Museum's Operating Budget? "The financial success of a restaurant is dependent upon museum attendance, location within the museum, after-hours access, accessibility to convenient parking, brand power from affiliation with a known local chef or popular local restaurant concept. If your restaurant boasts any of these assets, your chances of profitability and receiving a commission or rent in return increase." Read the entire article originally published in the American Association of Museums' Museum News
Financial Hardships: Renegotiate Or Not? "Operators typically ask solely for financial relief rather than devise plans to increase customer count/transactions, improve service and experience, increase participation (percent of your visitors, staff, volunteers and members using the gift shop, or café/restaurant), and being more aggressive in supporting the Garden with facility rental sales and group tours. Garden management should ask: What can your operator (with institutional support) do to improve the effectiveness of their advertising, promotions, and marketing? What plans do they have to generate visitor excitement and perception about the gift shop and/or café/restaurant?" Read more about renegotiating foodservice contracts in the article Financial Hardships: Renegotiate Or Not originally published in the American Public Gardens Association Newsletter
Monet & Montrachet: Museums With Great Wine "Happily, I've found some exceptions to this good art/bad wine rule as increasing numbers of museum directors are focusing more on culinary-minded visitors and less on bus tours...It's a trend that Arthur Manask, a longtime restaurant adviser to cultural institutions like the National Gallery of Art and the Saint Louis Art Museum, believes began about 10 years ago with Wolfgang Puck's restaurant in Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art; after that, more museums began to focus on fine dining, he said." Read more about the intersection of great art and great wine in the article Monet & Montrachet: Museums With Great Wine originally published in The Wall Street Journal
Artful Epicureans: Upper Crust Food Fight? "'Historically, museum eateries were considered pretty much just places to grab a bite, not...unique destinations,' says Arthur Manask, president of the Burbank, Calif.-based Manask & Associates, an operational and financial consultant to museums and other nonprofit institutions. But now, a kind of 'food arms race' is taking place, Manask said, as museums battle for membership. 'Since the mid-1990s, museum officials have seen that better food makes a better impression on visitors, and that leads to more memberships,' he says, adding that museums are more than recovering the cost of high-priced chefs." Read more of the article Artful Epicureans: Upper Crust Food Fight? originally published in Barrons
Gourmet Dining In Museums "'We've seen a revolution coast-to-coast in every institution with restaurateur chefs being brought in to run these destination restaurants,' says Arthur M. Manask, author of The Complete Guide to Foodservice in Cultural Institutions and president and CEO of Manask & Associates, a Burbank, CA-based museum restaurant consulting firm." Read more about museum-driven gourmet dining in the article Gourmet Dining In Museums originally published in The Cultural Traveler
Best Museum Restaurants "The fact that MoMA's bounty of priceless art is often mentioned in the same breathless manner as Kreuther's culinary élan doesn't surprise Arthur M. Manask, author of "The Complete Guide to Foodservice in Cultural Institutions" and president and CEO of his eponymous Burbank, California-based consulting firm. 'What I hear from museum directors is they want their restaurants to become an attraction, a draw and they want their restaurants to be an integral part of the guests and visitor experience,' he says." Read more of Art Manask's observations in the article Best Museum Restaurants originally published in Forbes Traveler
Curating the Café "At the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Portola Café, fish has always been on the menu. Despite the dilemma of serving on the plate what visitors come to enjoy behind glass, the cafe has successfully incorporated and advanced the museum's mission 'to inspire conservation of the oceans.' When the aquarium developed Seafood Watch, a program "designed to raise consumer awareness about the importance of buying seafood from sustainable sources," the Portola Cafe strictly followed the guidelines, which include prohibitions on serving any species that are over-fished or cultivated with farming techniques that damage the environment. In turn, the cafe's parent foodservice company, Bon Appetit Management, adopted Seafood Watch for all of its properties. "The broad adoption of these guidelines by zoos, aquariums and major seafood buyers," notes George Leonard, senior science manager for Seafood Watch, 'is a critical first step in ensuring the health of the oceans.'" Read more about our client, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and other cultural institutions in the article Curating the Cafe originally published in Museum News
The State of Museum Dining: Former Washington Post Restaurant Critic Phyllis Richmond Chews the Fat "In the last, I don't know, maybe 20 years, I've seen museums want to draw people in for the food. And, also, consider it appropriate that some institution devoted to art could carry its art into every part of life that it's involved with." Read more of Phyllis Richmond's observations in the article The State of Museum Dining: Former Washington Post Restaurant Critic Phyllis Richmond Chews the Fat originally published in Museum News
Museums and Destination Dining "'What I hear from museum directors is they want their restaurants to become . . . an attraction, a draw,' says Arthur Manask, president and CEO of Arthur M. Manask and Associates, which consults on foodservice in cultural institutions. 'The reality is that if a percentage of customers are coming because of the restaurant, some percentage are coming to museums that wouldn't otherwise come and be exposed to your collection.'" Read more of the article Museums and Destination Dining originally published in Museum News
Museums Pieces: Tips on Staging Special Events in Cultural Institutions "'Cultural institutions host two types of events, internal and external,' Manask says. 'Internal events–those sponsored and paid for by the institution–range from small meetings to major black-tie fundraisers. The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, for example, does about 900 events a year. Internal events always take priority over external events. Event planners need to recognize that they are competing with internal events for dates. So, if you want a hot institution, start planning as early as possible.'" Read more tips from Art Manask in the article Museum Pieces originally published in Special Events Magazine
Managing a New Construction Project "Regardless of whether clients self-operate or outsource foodservice operations (restaurant and catering), we recommend that they identify a project team to be involved in the process from start to finish. This project team should include: a project architect, a project manager (who usually acts as the owner's representative for the overall project); an owner representative (there should be one primary owner representative, but others who have a stake or interest in the foodservice operation might also be involved at various points during the planning process); a food service facility designer (one who has specific experience within the industry/market); an interior designer; the operator (the client's on-site foodservice general manager or, if foodservice is outsourced, a district or area representative from the foodservice contractor); and a management advisory services (MAS) consultant who has background and operational experience with the type of client involved (college/university, corporate dining, museum, zoo, arena, and the like)." Read more from Art Manask about structuring your next project and team in the article Managing a New Construction Project originally published in Foodservice Equipment & Supplies Magazine
Art On A Plate "The Garden Café [at the Norton Simon Museum] overlooks a tranquil sculpture garden and a pond of water lilies–a scene straight out of an Impressionist painting.  Designed by landscape designer Nancy Goslee Power, the 79,000-square-foot garden area–which features Australian tea trees, lavender plants, Japanese sedge, and hundreds of other plant and tree species–was indeed inspired by Monet's home in Giverny France.  Operated by chef Joachim Splichal's Patina Restaurant Group, the restaurant is casual and affordable, with a tasty selection of sandwiches, salads, and soup of the day...Whether you want to eat, sip, or just relax, the Garden Café's lush, serene setting offers a quiet respite." Read more about our clients including The Norton Simon Museum, San Diego Museum of Art, and Long Beach Museum of Art in the article Art On A Plate originally published in Westways Magazine