BUSINESS CENTS

(Aug. 12) There’s little need for mass advertising for your restaurant, says Tom Feltenstein of Tom Feltenstein’s Neighborhood Marketing Institute, West Palm Beach, Fla. Conduct at least 60% of your marketing within your restaurant — on the menu, through internal merchandising, through data capture or through direct contact with your customers.

Take the money you would have spent on print ads and develop a policy to pick up the tab for one table once a week and don’t tell customers which night it will be. “Expect double-digit sales increases never spending money outside the four walls,” he says.

FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH

  • Total annual per capita expenditures on food away from home are the highest in the Northeast ($958) and lowest in the South ($755), perhaps reflecting regional differences in cost of living, general economic conditions and cultural differences.

  • Blacks, Hispanics, residents of the South and employed female heads of households are more likely than average to consume commercially prepared meals.

  • Almost 60 percent of individuals consume a commercially prepared lunch at least once a week. Close to one-quarter consume a commercially prepared lunch five or more times per week.

  • Spending on food away from home and the proportion of the food dollar allocated to food away from home rises across all age categories as household income increases.

Source: National Restaurant Association

BABY ALERT

Make plans to add a little attitude to your fall menu with baby kiwi. Use it as a garnish, salad ingredient or in tarts. The bright green grape-size kiwi is juicy and a bit sweeter than the larger varieties and baby kiwis have a smooth, edible skin. That means no peeling.

These are available mid-September through October from Hurst’s Berry Farms Inc., Sheridan, Ore, and from. Frieda’s Inc., Los Alamitos, Calif.

FOR CORN SAKE

Get all you can off the cob during the summer sweet corn banner months. Perhaps you didn’t know.

  • Florida is the top sweet corn-producing state, followed by California and Georgia.

  • One small to medium ear of corn yields about 1/2 cup of kernels.

  • For the sweetest corn, ask your supplier for the yellow supersweet variety. Nearly all the Florida crop is a form of supersweet.

  • White corn looks interesting, but it costs more since it’s not as widely planted.

  • Bicolored corn is about 80% yellow and 20% white.

  • Steam-grill corn by soaking the ear with the husk on and placing it on the grill for six to eight minutes.

  • For spicy corn, brush the cob with chili-flavored butter.

  • Boil cobs to make a corn stock for corn chowder.