So much has happened in the world at large since our last newsletter. Some events, like the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, were monumental, tragic and have the potential to touch our food supply and impact society for we don’t know how long. Others, like the uprising in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and now the unnerving cry for a third intifada, have all been fueled by the power of social media.

That social media is a very powerful tool. And these recent events simply reinforce what Dushan Zaric of NYC’s Macao Trading Company and Employees Only has been saying for a while now (and I paraphrase)- “A good experience happens and you share it with one or two people, something is bothering you about how you’ve been treated and you are out there telling the world.”

While you contemplate your image and how you’re perceived by the world take a moment to see what you’ve done to create that image. What is your approach? Chase LeBlanc offers up some perspective to managers in his INSIDE F&B debut article Rough Riders

Ride out beyond your immediate environment as you consider what you’re doing to give back to the community. Throughout the past twelve months folks in the F&B industry have continued to extend their hospitality to neighboring communities and those afar afflicted by tragedy, illness, and economic circumstance. There were events like DonQ’s charity concert last summer at Tipitina’s that raised over $10,000 for Gulf Coast Relief and featured Cowboy Mouth and New Orleans’ Rebirth Brass Band; the spirit industry’s Hearts for Haiti benefit in Brooklyn, NY to raise money for that country’s rebuilding efforts; an ad hoc pig roast in a New Orleans park coordinated by a group of caring bartenders intent on providing assistance to the residents of New Orleans who were impacted by Katrina; the recent USBG NY Cocktail Jam that raised about $6,000 for tsunami relief and health care costs for USBG members who may not have coverage, and the chefs who have stepped up with donations of an entire evening or even an entire week’s worth of proceeds going to help those struck by the devastation in Japan. These are just a few of the special opportunities to make a difference. Even when there’s not a specific tragedy to point to the F&B industry is still trying to make a difference. They do this via ongoing contributions from the country’s most accomplished chefs and bartenders who annually support Share Our Strength’s efforts to end hunger in the US and participate in the annual grand tasting event in their city called Taste of the Nation; brands like Partida tequila who commit their executive’s personal time to charities near and dear to their hearts, and hoteliers like Kimpton who have a strong commitment to social action and create ongoing charitable giving programs that involve both guests and employees.

All of this matters, in times of tragedy and prosperity. How do you want to be perceived? How do you want your business to succeed? Give some thought to your image; how to craft it and how to protect it. See the story When Media is the Message pick up some tips on handling a crisis.

Your sales number could be reaching a crisis point if you’re not managing your relationships well. Check out what John Henry is reporting in from the street in March Madness

We think it’s madness that few guests expect healthy food to be great tasting gourmet fare; they’re satisfied with blandness and boredom on their plate. But here’s some inspiration to change that – take a look at Clare Langan’s review of The Simple Art of Eating, one of the James Beard Foundation Award’s nominees for best Healthy Focus book.

Whether your idea of eating healthy is cutting back on servings of caviar, or swapping out regular margaritas for glasses of Beam Global’s newest acquisition – the Skinny Girl Margarita, we hope you have a delicious month ahead.

Thanks for reading INSIDE F&B.