Category: Food for Thought

14- Jun2021
Posted By: John Franzini

How To Reinforce Your Museum Brand Through Retail

To reinforce your museum brand through retail, consider the following pro tips to objectively analyze your museum store’s strengths and weaknesses.

  1. When the museum visitors walk through the store, do they make a connection between the merchandise being sold and the experience they just had in the exhibitions?
  2. When the museum visitors walk through the store, are they compelled to make a purchase because the products are so unique, promote the mission and reinforce the brand promise?
  3. Do the products tell a story with informational signage and provide additional education that ties back to the museum’s mission?
  4. Are the sales associates able to explain and promote items being sold in the store as an extension of the overall museum experience?
  5. Do the packaging supplies (bags & boxes), hang tags and hangers all bear the museum logo as reinforcement of the brand?
  6. Is the merchandise an assortment of items that have logos on them that are not relevant to the museum at all?
  7. Do visitors to the museum walk through the shop but fail to make a purchase, resulting in a low conversion rate?
  8. Is the on-line store experience an extension of the in-museum store encounter?


Whether a retail operation is self-operated or outsourced, there is a formulaic process for researching products, selecting and approving the merchandise, marketing, creating the interpretive signage, training the sales associates and reinforcing the brand through hang tags, bags and hangers.

The following tips will help ensure all guests have a cohesive and enriching museum experience; one that will inspire visitors to make purchases based on an emotional connection to something they either learned or felt as a result of an exhibition. The museum experience should not end just because the patron leaves the physical property, the store offers guests the opportunity to take a piece of the museum encounter home with them!

Check out the following four elements for creating an effective retail operation in a museum:


Product selection and development should all start with the retail and the museum teams (curatorial, visitor experience, etc.) making the visitor journey through the museum; be sure they understand the guest experience from start to finish.

What are the touchpoints?

  • The collections (exhibitions)
  • The people (any persons associated with the history of the museum)
  • The architectural details of the building

Products selected or developed should be linked to one of the three touch-points above to tell the story. There should be a process in place for merchandise review and approval. Merchandise that is not relevant should not be approved.


You must be able to tell the story of the merchandise and educate guests, so they understand the significance of the product as it relates to the museum experience. Signage and hang tags are an ideal way to help combine exhibit content and the shopping experience.


Ongoing sales associate training is imperative. Your staff must be expertly trained on the merchandise and its attributes. Museum shop associates should consider themselves docents; they should be able to convey compelling stories, always linking the products to the overall museum experience.


Hang tags, hangers, bags and boxes should all be branded with the museum logo. Believe it or not, the cost to logo these items are minimal compared to generic supplies, and it really brings the retail experience to another level.

Museum guests visit museum shops to enhance their museum experience. If you focus on these strategies, you will increase sales and your visitor satisfaction scores!

Contact JGL for more information about how to develop a stronger retail experience that effectively communicates the mission of your institution.



14- Jun2021
Posted By: Tracy Lawler

Why We’re Expanding Into Retail

Over the years many museum clients have asked whether JGL provides retail consultation. It makes sense – after all both are sources of important earned income, both increase the length of stay, and both engage visitors and deepen their connection to the museum. Furthermore, some museums want a single vendor providing retail and food services and there is an increasing number of vendors capable of providing both. Finally, these enterprises frequently report up to the same person- making a one stop shop appealing.

We have in fact managed two retail RFP’s in our history but generally we remained focused on visitor food and catered events. As of June 2021, I am excited to tell you that is changing. Why now? Well, first of all we are increasingly getting the question from our clients. Our goal is to meet our clients’ needs so the increasing volume of requests led us to re-examine the market. Secondly, we predict that more art museums, who frequently avoided contract operation, will consider contract operations as they focus on emerging from the pandemic and strengthening their financial positions. Recent conversions to contract operation include the Guggenheim in NY and the National Gallery in DC. Thirdly, JGL is known for fair, balanced and transparent RFP processes and we want to bring our selection expertise and systems to the retail world. Finally, we have acquired a trove of knowledge and aligned with John Franzini, a retail professional with 30 + years of experience at some of the leading players in museum retail today.

Our retail services will mirror JGL’s core services namely assessments/evaluations, feasibility studies, and RFP processes. Whether food services or retail our motto remains intact – “Our clients can expect optimized financial results, enhanced guest experience and improved operational efficiencies.”

We are anticipating the burning question many of you have – is your name going to change? The answer is probably yes but we are taking our time with that and may even do some polls on the subject in the near future. In the meantime give us a call or send us an email – we will be happy to discuss your food service AND retail needs!

07- Jun2021
Posted By: Tracy Lawler

Effective Ways to Deepen Campus and Community Engagement

(This following article by Tracy Lawler, President of JGL Foodservice Consultants was printed in the National Association of College and University Food Services Campus Dining – Spring 2021 issue)

What are some of the top trending methods to generate campus and community engagement with an on-site dining operation? Students today are seeking shared values, authenticity, and transparency. Campus dining can support these efforts and forge a deeper connection within the community. We all know breaking bread together is powerful. A well-designed and operated campus dining program that reflects the student body interests can enhance student life as well as the institutional reputation among prospective students, alumni, and donors.

As food service consultants who manage multiple RFP processes annually on behalf of our clients, we are often struck by the differing decision-making processes we encounter across sectors. Higher education accounts, in the last five to ten years, have increasingly valued campus and community engagement initiatives as a factor when choosing a food service vendor. Self-operated accounts are, of course, judged by the same criteria and should be incorporating campus and community engagement efforts into their ongoing operations as well.

If student values, goals, and concerns with regards to engagement are not considered, higher education institutions may find themselves in a position with negative student press, protests, or even sit-outs. Hot button topics such as food insecurity, local participation, sustainability, food recovery, social justice, and engaging students on multiple levels need to be addressed in an operation seeking to create campus and community engagement. Below we detail some of the most resonant efforts to create campus and community engagement from recent client work.


This has emerged as one of the most important elements to student populations in the last few years. In 2019, the Hope Center issued a study1 estimating 48 percent of community college students and 41 percent of four- year university students who responded to the center’s survey were food insecure. Creative and sensitive solutions are needed as some food insecure students do not want to be identified as such.

The most effective and resonant solutions we have seen are programs that allow students to donate swipes, points, or dining dollars to a food insecurity fund managed by a university department. the higher education institution must contribute as well to ensure adequate funds, and those grappling with food insecurity can create an account and download access to the funds or simply access swipes at point of service.

Finally, food pantries offering non-perishable pantry and grocery items have become a standard on many campuses. there are no existing key performance indicators we are aware of to measure the success of such initiatives. We recommend institutions develop a tracking methodology that seeks to improve upon usage and engagement semester over semester. A client in the northeast, as an example, reported to us that in the fall of 2018 their emergency food swipe program had 137 swipes. By the following semester, usage had increased to 538 swipes—almost a 300 percent increase.


Contributing to the elimination of food insecurity, reducing waste, and benefiting the environment, food recovery efforts are an important campus and community initiative. Food Recovery Network, with more than 230 chapters in 46 states and Washington d.C., is a leading grassroots developed nonprofit addressing campus food recovery efforts. Communication of an individual campus’s contribution to the efforts via newsletter, website, email blast, or text message is an effective way to generate more student interest and anticipation. the creation of a food recovery program on a campus is a great way to develop community between student volunteers and the onsite dining staff.


We believe diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion (DEAI) is poised to become very important in campus dining communities. In the last year, there has been a tremendous increase and focus on DEAI initiatives across all sectors of business. In recent RFP processes we have managed, students have wanted documented details of prospective vendors’ social justice and DEAI efforts. We believe self-operators will increasingly be tasked with demonstrating their initiatives separate and apart from the institutional initiatives on the whole.


The origin of our food continues to be of great interest in dining operations across all sectors. Purchasing locally is increasingly becoming a standard of operation. Most operations implementing local purchasing start with a minimum goal of 20 percent. We recommend ongoing efforts to increase that percentage every year. Local purchasing efforts can be combined with campus-wide events such as farmers markets featuring local purveyors to stimulate student interest in the offerings. Another great method to generate student engagement is to create a method for students to suggest local farmers and other vendors for consideration. Featuring the inclusion of such vendors as a student-initiated relationship will contribute to community building efforts.


For those institutions with acreage or even a roof suitable for a garden, the development of a community garden that mixes “town and gown,” can be a great community building effort. the community garden can utilize student and community volunteers and serve to build a bridge between the institution and its local community. One institution we know of in the northeast successfully launched a Community Supported Agriculture program with over 600 community members.


Virtually every higher education institution has deeply rooted events involving food. Midnight Madness during finals week, pajama breakfasts, and the like create ongoing opportunities to connect with students, alumni, and donors. the combination of traditions and food continues to be an enduring and powerful force.

The six efforts we detail above are meant to spark creative thinking among self-operators and vendor environments alike. Student engagement and participation in all of these efforts is the beginning point for creating successful initiatives that foster campus and community engagement.

20- May2021

What Our Clients Are Up To!


In person events are finally starting up again. We wanted to highlight some of JGL’s clients and the exciting exhibits that are now on view! The New York Botanical Garden, the de Young Museum in San Francisco and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta are currently presenting great exhibits that are worth checking out if you are in the local area.

New York Botanical Garden (NYBG)

Don’t miss out on the Kusama: Cosmic Nature exhibit! Contemporary Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama is one of the most popular artists in the world, drawing millions to experience her immersive installations. This NYBG exclusive exhibit will be showing until October 31st.

To visit New York Botanical Garden’s website, click here.

de Young Museum

From June 8 – June 13 the de Young Museum will be showing the Bouquets to Art 2021 exhibit. This year will be the celebration of the summer season in its 37th year with a new palette of fresh flowers. Inspired by works of art in the de Young Museum’s galleries, the weeklong display of floral installations offers new ways of seeing the permanent collection.

To visit the de Young Museum website, click here.

High Museum of Art

For nearly all of photography’s one hundred eighty-year history, women have shaped the development of the art form and experimented with every aspect of the medium. This exhibition showcases more than one hundred photographs from the High’s collection, many of them never before on view, and charts the medium’s history from the dawn of the modern period to the present through the work of women photographers. Visit this exhibition now through August 1st!

To visit the High Museum of Art’s website, click here.

19- May2021

Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions


With over 35 years of experience, we’ve heard just about every question possible! Our team has compiled the most commonly asked questions by cultural institutions as they pertain to on-site food services. If you are thinking about starting an on-site food service operation or already have one in place, we hope you find this information useful.

1. Is there a minimum attendance level required for a museum café?

We believe that some kind of visitor food option can be developed for most institutions. Visitor food can enhance the visitor experience, deepen ties to the institution, increase the length of stay, and may stimulate gift shop sales. Smaller institutions can consider a simple kiosk or mobile cart that is weekend or seasonally programmed.

2. We want to develop a museum café but we do not have room for a full kitchen. What do you recommend?

A large number of museum café operations are supplied from outside kitchens (called commissaries). This allows the museum to preserve valuable space for museum collections and generally negates the need for a hood and fire suppression system in the smaller onsite support kitchen.

3. Where is the best location for a museum café?

The best location is one the visitor sees upon entry to the museum, ideally near the gift shop. This is not possible in many facilities. If the café is not highly visible, be sure to have good directional signage with-in the museum and feature it prominently on the museum website, all maps, and collateral material.

4. We know our museum café will not be profitable but we cannot afford to subsidize it. Are there options?

Catering operations are much more profitable than café operations. Consider a short preferred caterer list or an exclusive caterer. You can also bundle the liquor rights with the catering operation or guarantee a certain volume of internal catering. The more catering opportunities an Operator can capture, the more likely they are to support an amenity project on behalf of the institution.

5. Our trustees are convinced a “destination restaurant” will generate sizable profits and be a draw to the institution. Do you agree?

The number of financially successful true “destination restaurants” within a museum environment are few and far between. Many more fail than succeed. A destination restaurant requires a separate outside entrance, heavy street traffic, and full control over hours, menu, and price points. It also helps to be in an area where there are other successful restaurants. Tread carefully here because the failure of a destination restaurant within the museum will be considered a failure of the museum.

6. Our caterer wants to take over event sales. What do you recommend?

It may not be a bad idea. Catering sales staff are generally much more sales driven than museum event staff. Consider all options. If you do hand the sales function over you should still retain control of the calendar unless the rental space is a dedicated event space.

7. Can we get our caterer to pay for new kitchen equipment or other investments?

Maybe. It depends upon the sales potential, the term of the contract, and the amount of the investment. Generally an investment is only possible in an exclusive relationship.

8. What is the optimal contract length?

It depends upon whether there is an investment requirement, the start-up cost, and the volume of sales activity. A contract with no investment might be as short as 3 years. The average in our practice is 5-7 years. A contract with significant investment might be 10 years plus. Regardless of the length of the contract, it is critical the museum have the right to terminate without cause at any time.

9. Is an exclusive relationship or a preferred caterers list the better choice?

It depends upon the norms in your market and the goals of the food service program. We do not generally advise developing an exclusive relationship if the rest of the market has a long preferred list because that will create a negative differentiation. Below is a chart that highlights the commonly accepted advantages and disadvantages of each:

10. What is the average percentage or fee paid to museums by their caterers?

For catering the starting commission nationwide is 10% on food and beverage and the current average is 13%. Commission terms are based on sales volume; sometimes an Operator will present a sliding scale that will include increased commissions (well above the national average) once catering sales pass a specific threshold. Catering commission may be reduced if there is a requirement to run a visitor food operation, a significant investment, or a short-term contract.

19- May2021

10 Tips for Hosting A Successful Virtual Tasting

At this point, just about every type of event has been taken virtual! From trade shows to performances, conferences and everything in between, live-streaming and virtual platforms have kept people connected and entertained. At JGL Foodservice Consultants, we never want a client to feel they have to select a food service provider without tasting the food first. Over the past year, we developed a formula for creating virtual tastings! Check out our ten tips for planning a successful virtual tasting:

1. Develop Clear Instructions

Operators should be provided with clear instructions prior to the tasting. Food service providers will often ask the following questions, so be prepared to address these points in your instructions:

  • Should beverages be included in the tasting box?
  • Should disposable ware be provided?
  • What types of meals are you hoping to see? Lunch entrees? Grab and go items?
  • Is the packaging of the food items relevant to the decision-making process?
  • Should typed menus be included (with information regarding allergens)?
  • Are all of the tasting participants local?

2. Plan Your Temperatures

Our team recommends that Operators plan an entirely room temperature tasting so that the food can be delivered on the day of the tasting and be immediately consumed. This will ease concerns about preparation time, safety, and storage.

3. Provide Proper Planning Time

Virtual tasting events take a lot of time to plan! We’ve found that three weeks is the minimum amount of time needed to prepare properly. This gives Operator’s time for menu development, packing and sourcing, and figuring out the logistics for shipping and delivery.

4. Watch the Weather

Keep an eye on the weather! Delivery and shipping can get tricky if the weather becomes an obstacle. We encourage clients and Operators to be open to discussing alternative dates or back-up delivery plans in case of extenuating circumstances.

5. Check Your Calendars

Overnighting cold packaged perishable boxes can typically only be sent Monday through Friday. We find it best to stay away from scheduling tastings on a Monday to alleviate any potential shipping issues!

6. Share Information

All tasting participants should receive the instructions that were shared with Operators prior to the scheduled tasting time. This is crucial to make sure everyone understands exactly what was asked of the Operator.

7. Allow Timely Access

Operators should be allowed to log into the virtual platform (we prefer Zoom) where the tasting will take place at least ten minutes prior to their scheduled tasting. This allows the Operator a few minutes to acclimate themselves and their team before “show time!” (Utilizing virtual breakout rooms for the client group or selection committee prior to the tasting is a good idea if possible.)

8. Schedule Meeting Times

The selection committee should schedule short (15 minutes) meetings after each tasting. This provides the opportunity to quickly recap and discuss initial thoughts focused on one Operator at a time. After more than two tastings, it can get confusing to keep the details straight!

9. Stay Flexible

There is no perfect science or one right way to manage this type of virtual event. It is important to work with the Operators and allow them the opportunity to talk through their challenges or concerns. If you are too rigid, you won’t be getting the Operator’s best, and that doesn’t help your process. Encourage the Operators to get creative and think outside of the box! Gently pushing a potential Operator out of their comfort zone is a great way to see how they deal with new situations.

10. Clear Out Your Refrigerator

Hello leftovers! A JGL Foodservice Consultant pro tip is to clean out your fridge ahead of time to make room for all those delicious leftovers! Also, don’t forget to come prepared with an appetite!

If you’re considering embarking on a selection process, contact JGL Foodservice Consultants today! Our team is ready to help however we can, in person or virtually!

13- Apr2021

Technology and Events in a Post-Pandemic World

Unique event venues such as Museums and Performing Arts Centers are well positioned to be leaders in the post-pandemic event industry. Throughout the pandemic, many cultural institutions have found creative ways to remain open, connect with constituents virtually, and utilize their resources in a variety of new ways. The staff that have been able to remain working at these institutions have developed invaluable knowledge and expertise in producing a new wave of special events.

JGL Foodservice Consultants had the opportunity to speak with some of the leaders in this new space. We started by speaking with John Hess, Event Sales and Business Manager and Brook Nichols, Technical Director at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Like all other organizations, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) was forced to pivot because of the pandemic. In addition to a variety of performance spaces, DCPA operates the Seawell Ballroom – a dedicated event space at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

Event-technology                                       Denver Center for the Performing Arts

We strive to be a turnkey experience with a 100% live event success rate with no equipment failures. (Loud knock on wood.)” – Brook Nichols, Technical Director at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts

The Pivot to Virtual

The DCPA production, sales and events teams collaborated to quickly develop a new program for the Seawell Ballroom – a 10,000 square foot virtual production studio. The DCPA launched a full-scale digital events package in July and have booked 30 external events to date. As a result of the team’s amazing success, the DCPA will soon begin to utilize their in-house production studio to broadcast a wide range of internal programs. The greatest challenge John and Brook are facing now is figuring out how to manage their space so that they can accommodate live, hybrid and virtual only events. The creation of the production studio has opened an entirely new revenue stream for the DCPA external event business.

In-House Production Elements that Contribute to DCPA’s Virtual Success

Lighting – This basic element is the key to studio success for its ability to create the mood and atmosphere for the intended audience.

Vimeo– DCPA’s dedicated streaming platform is Vimeo. This ensures content won’t be removed, which can sometimes happen on platforms such as Facebook Live and YouTube.

Network Lines – DCPA dedicated two of their network lines just for streaming. They also purchased a dedicated hardware-based encoder to ensure stability while streaming.

Production Team – The in-house team works full-time to ensure clients don’t have to worry about coordinating technology from a third-party vendor.

Cross-Trained Crew – DCPA’s production crew consists of four full-time employees who are all cross-trained, but who each have a specialty in either lighting, audio or video.

Take a virtual tour of the digital studio here:

We are confident that there will be some element of virtual broadcast or interaction in events for a long time after COVID-19.” – John Hess, Event Sales & Business Manager at Denver Center for the Performing Arts

Bridging the Gap Between In-Person & Virtual Events


New-York Historical Society

JGL spoke with Karen Roshevsky, Director of Special Events at the New-York Historical Society, to receive her insight into what she has been experiencing from a museum venue sales and management perspective.

Karen is involved with both internal and external events that take place at the New-York Historical Society in New York City. The day before our conversation, Karen was filming pre-recorded segments at the Museum in preparation for an upcoming Museum Gala. The Historical Society has developed a successful formula for utilizing both pre-recorded and live content for their internal virtual events.

Karen quickly recognized that she needed additional support to help bridge the technology gap between the in-house IT department and the events department to execute a seamless virtual experience for their guests. (Unlike DCPA, the Museum does not have an in-house production crew.) Karen explained that creating a virtual event requires a full production team to not only organize and edit the content, but also to add creative direction to ensure an engaging and impactful experience. For this type of expertise, the New-York Historical Society has partnered with Eventique, (Eventique | Award Winning Event Planning) for the majority of their virtual productions.

Hosting a Hybrid Event at a Museum

Museums as event venues are in a unique position. Many museums have been open to the public (at a limited capacity) during the pandemic, therefore hosting an event in the space does not require much gearing up from an operational standpoint.

Museum event planners, like Karen, have been working on creating engaging virtual experiences for internal events throughout the pandemic. Clients that come to museums to plan an upcoming hybrid event receive the benefit of working with someone who can help guide them towards the best current practices both in the space and with virtual production. Hybrid events will be here to stay for our foreseeable future!

“I truly believe that cultural institutions will be best positioned to spring back into hosting client events, as we have weathered this storm with buildings that reopened this past summer.  Our teams have navigated how to operate safely throughout the pandemic, and so that will encompass all of the necessary tools to welcome guests safely back to events.” – Karen Roshevsky, Director of Special Events at the New-York Historical Society

JGL Foodservice Consultants & Events Moving Forward

Cultural venues around the globe have been working tirelessly to keep existing patrons and new visitors interested in their missions. The doors to these great institutions have remained open (virtually) while the physical world has been shut down. JGL applauds the creativity and tenacity that so many venues have demonstrated during this chaotic time. We are energized by the new ways in which cultural venues will be utilized moving forward to service an even wider variety of events by unlocking the world of virtual entertainment. JGL is closely monitoring the marketing, earned income potential and industry response to cultural venues that have been successful in creating hybrid event experiences. Contact JGL for more information on how your organization can offer the best of both worlds!





24- Mar2021
Posted By: Tracy Lawler

The Guide to Food Service Contract Renegotiations

When we are hired to develop a food service operation for a museum restaurant, corporate café, or any other cultural institution, we often encounter a time where it is necessary to renegotiate original contracts that our clients have signed. This process can be overwhelming, but with our teams 35 years of experience, we are skilled with assisting in any renegotiation that comes to fruition. Here’s a few tips to keep in mind when it comes to the renegotiation process and how our team can help your institution along the way.


Starting a Food Service Contract Renegotiation

Many food service vendors seek to insert a contract clause regarding their right to renegotiate if economic conditions change. As JGL clients know, we always argue against that. The fact is, if a vendor is suffering financially, they will approach their client to renegotiate regardless of whether the right exists. The pandemic and resulting financial distress have proved that in spades. Currently, at JGL Foodservice Consultants, we are receiving calls weekly from clients and others asking for advice on food service contract renegotiation. While we can’t address all possible scenarios, here are a few of the main situations we’ve encountered.

The Types of Contract Renegotiations

P&L Contract – Simple Term Extension

For a P&L contract, a simple term extension can allow the vendor more time to earn profits. Assuming the vendor is well aligned, that may be an easy fix.

P&L Contract – Deferral

In a P&L contract, if the vendor is obligated to fund upcoming capital expenditures or percentage-based funds, solutions have included deferral, defrayment, or short-term elimination of these requirements.

P&L Contracts with Flat Rent – Reduction

For a P&L contract with minimums or flat rent, we have seen reductions, deferrals, and eliminations of part or all minimums or rent.

Management Fee Contracts

For management fee contracts, we have seen reductions and elimination of management or administration fees for a prescribed period.

Much like P&L environments, we have also seen the elimination or deferral of capital expenditures or contributions to funds such as marketing, equipment repair, and maintenance or utilities in management fee contracts.

For all contracts, changes to the required service levels can provide immediate relief; think about the number of outlets, required operating hours, and service methods.

It may be worth considering whether the use of or conversion to a ghost kitchen could be of help.

The Keys to a Successful Renegotiation

The key to a successful renegotiation is for both parties to address their pain points and detail solutions that would assist. While food service vendors have suffered financially, so too have their clients, and neither party should be bearing the brunt of the pain.

A larger multinational food service company will likely have different concerns than a smaller local entity. We know of several contracts that have terminated over failed renegotiation efforts. While this might indicate the relationship was not worth saving, consider the time and effort necessary to identify a replacement. If a renegotiation is considered, make sure the parties document in writing the length of any remediation, the trigger point for when they revert, and the measurement methodology for such trigger points. And if you find yourself stuck, give JGL a call. We are always happy to guide clients and non-clients alike.


foodservice consultants USA
02- Mar2021

It’s Virtual Tasting Season!

When going through an RFP process during a global pandemic, how do you select a food service operator without tasting the food? JGL found an answer…you have a virtual tasting! Here are the 4 steps to how we hosted our very first virtual tasting!

JGL worked with a client who is in the midst of an RFP process to develop a tasting guide that included detailed instructions for each bidder and the types of items the client was interested in seeing at specific price points. Each bidder was tasked with getting a tasting box to committee members on the day of their scheduled presentation. JGL worked with bidders to coordinate deliveries to committee members located in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Georgia! (The challenge was enhanced by navigating blizzard like weather conditions on multiple days!) The JGL team and the RFP selection committee were blown away by each presentation. This experience highlighted that nothing can stop the hospitality industry from being hospitable.


Interested in working with JGL Foodservice Consultants on your next RFP process? Contact us today!


10 Museum Restaurants to Visit after pandemic
24- Feb2021
Posted By: Tracy Lawler

10 Museum Restaurants I look Forward to Visiting.

Pre-pandemic, I traveled several times a month at a minimum. One of the things I love about my work is visiting museum restaurants nationwide for clients and non-clients alike. Like many of us, I have been dreaming of traveling again so I thought I’d make a list of ten museum restaurants I can’t wait to visit, in no particular order.

Marisol at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Marisol is the name of a Venezuelan-American sculptor from Paris who served as the inspiration for the restaurant. Marisol was the first donor to the Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago by gifting her sculpture, Six Women. You can even find items on the menu based on her favorite dishes! Inside the Marisol, you will be immersed in the art of Chris Ofili, a Turner Prize-winning artist. Then you may be delighted by Chef Jason Hammel’s seasonal cuisine. I’m yearning for more sunflower hummus on flaxseed crackers. Delish!


Esker Grove at the Walker Art Center

New American Fare inspired by seasonal ingredients led to Dough Flicker’s restaurant concept named Esker Grove, where you can dine artfully surrounded and by nature. Esker Grove is located across from the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden at the entrance to the Walker Art Center. Absolutely nothing beats sipping a cocktail and eating a beautifully composed salad al fresco in the summer.


Off the Rez at the Burke Museum

Off The Rez is Seattle’s first native food truck, cafe, and catering company. It is owned by Mark McConnel and Cecilia Rikard, who decided to embark on the endeavor to bring Native American cultural food to Seattle. Inspired by his mother’s traditional cooking, he decided to share the delectable Blackfeet frybread recipes and Indian tacos with the public. Tacos and sweet potato salad anyone? I can’t wait to visit this relatively new outpost to the Seattle dining scene.


The Restaurant at the Norton

Let’s see! It is in Florida, check. It is in a Foster & Partners designed building, check. The menu is so appealing, check. Enough said. But really, the Restaurant at the Norton offers garden views, a casual setting, and light, modern-American fare influenced by the coast. What’s not to love?


In Situ at SFMOMA

When dining at In Situ, do not expect it to be an ordinary meal! Situ features a menu of dishes by over 90 chefs from around the globe to create a unique fine-dining experience. Eating at In Situ is essentially eating exquisite foreign meals without a passport. I love the concept of recreating dishes from famous chefs worldwide. And I never turn down an opportunity to go to San Francisco!


FIKA at the American Swedish Institute

The American Swedish Institute is a vibrant arts and cultural organization that engages locally and connects globally. The cafe at ASI offers gravlax, smoked trout spread, award winning sandwiches and more! Yum! If you are looking for an easy and delicious way to feed the whole family, then a family meatball dinner to-go is just what you need. From Christmas markets to traditional Swedish feasts and community discussions, there’s always something to see, learn and experience at ASI.


Verde at the Perez

Verde at the Perez, led by Executive Chef Hedy Goldsmith, offers a menu that is locally inspired, featuring dishes prepared with fresh, seasonal ingredients and her signature pastries. Located in Pérez Art Museum Miami with sweeping views of Biscayne Bay, Verde is a modern, casual restaurant with limited indoor seating and socially-distanced outdoor seating on the expansive terrace. A must visit when in Miami – particularly on Thursday nights!


Café Contemporary at Oklahoma Contemporary

Avery Cannon’s vision of a café where art can be enjoyed in many forms comes to light here at Café Contemporary. They offer a full coffee service, beer, wine, soups, salads, sandwiches, and pasta plates. All the proof one needs that a small museum café can deliver an interesting and creative menu! Mushroom Reuben anyone?


Sweet Home Café at the National Museum of African American History & Culture

Sweet Home Café showcases the rich culture and history of African Americans with traditional, authentic offerings as well as current-day food traditions. This is a great example of a museum café that lives and breathes the institution’s mission and collection. From BBQ pork, to gumbo, to buttermilk fried chicken, this menu is filled with mouthwatering dishes. It is without a doubt a must visit when in DC!


Flora Bar at the Met Breuer

Now I know to visit this restaurant, I would have to be a time traveler… but I have to give a shout-out to Flora Bar as it was such a great addition to the museum dining scene and the Upper East Side restaurant stock. In 2016, Flora was named one of the city’s best new restaurants by the New York Times, and New York Magazine called it the best restaurant on the Upper East Side. Unfortunately, the Flora Bar will no longer be open at the Met Breuer.