Fro-Yo Tries to Stay Competitive

Photo Credit: Creative Loafing

Photo Credit: Creative Loafing

In an effort to make sure that the "fro-yo" trend, or the frozen yogurt trend, won't expire, many brand operators are working to build a more diverse concept for a long-term sustainability.  While some brands are redoing their menus to include a more varied set of menu choices, such as smoothies, coffee, juice and a range of other food items, other brands are taking a 360 and repurposing their stores to accommodate a more self-serve atmosphere.  Orange Leaf, the popular franchise based in Oklahoma City, has added self-serve smoothies into their menus.  Three smoothie flavors have been launched, and so far, the initiative has been looking good.  Read more

Posted on July 31, 2014 .

Turn & Burn: The Future of Digital Signage [VIDEO]

In this episode of Turn & Burn, brought to you by the Foodable WebTV Network, we are diving into digital signage with Cineplex. Nick Prigioniero, President at Cineplex Digital Networks, joins us to discuss some of the advancements that are out there for restaurants — LCD technologies like digital interactive tabletop games, for example; the future of mobile technology in relation to redemption and loyalty; and key products that Prigioniero foresees will take us into the future of the restaurant space.
 

Burger King Leverages the Power of Millennials

Blomberg Businessweek 

Blomberg Businessweek 

Last summer a trim guy with wavy brown hair, high cheekbones, and a broad smile could be found making Whoppers, working the drive-through window, and scrubbing bathrooms at a Burger King in Miami. His name was Daniel Schwartz. He learned to make a Whopper in less than 35 seconds and blended in well with his fellow employees, except for the fact that Schwartz had a guy with a video camera trailing him. “I cleaned about 15 toilets in the past two days,” he boasted at one point, as if he’d just completed a marathon.

Schwartz was justifiably pumped. That June he’d been named Burger King’s(BKW) chief executive officer, with a $700,000 annual salary and a potential cash bonus of twice that. There was another reason for Schwartz to be exuberant: He was only 32 and well on his way to becoming a star in the fast-food industry. Read More

Posted on July 25, 2014 and filed under The Chipotle Effect.

How Quiznos Uses Gamification to Strengthen Loyalty Connections

Photo Credit: Mobile Commerce Daily 

Photo Credit: Mobile Commerce Daily 

A recent Quiznos campaign exemplifies how mobile games paired with rewards can drive meaningful engagement for brands, with 8,599 coupons downloaded, 14,651 store locator searches performed and 4,200 signups for its Q-Club program.

Quiznos engaged with office workers by asking for their participation in a game which rewarded the hungriest players with a catered lunch, generating 21, 285 impressions. The “Feed Us, Quiznos!” campaign developed by Dailybreak Media, enticed workers to freshen up their office fare by participating in an interactive mobile trivia quiz which tested their knowledge of catering dos and don’ts, and asked them to upload photos of their office teams demonstrating why their hunger level could only be satisfied with catering by Quiznos. Read More

Posted on July 22, 2014 and filed under The Chipotle Effect.

Domino's Turns Phones Off to Drive Online Sales

Photo Credit: utsandiego.com

Photo Credit: utsandiego.com

For the customers who still just don't "get it" when it comes to ordering pizza online, Domino's in La Jolla is about to force some to figure it out.

The store at 3211 Holiday Court says it is turning off its phones for one day this Friday, July 18, and offering a half-off discount for all menu-priced pizza purchased online to encourage people to order using digital channels.

This will be the first Domino's store in the U.S. to go all-digital. Online orders account for about 40 percent of the company's sales, and that percentage is significantly higher in La Jolla, Domino's said, putting it among the top five stores in the country for digital sales. Read More

Posted on July 18, 2014 and filed under The Chipotle Effect.

How Food Data is Personalizing the Feedback Loop

This article originally appeared in Food + Tech Connect and is a guest article by Taryn Fixel and Eris Stassi, Co-Founders, Ingredient1

We’ve all done this: Pick up a package in a grocery store, farmers market or pass by a restaurant menu. Pause.  Read the label.  Mentally calculate interest based on flavors, ingredients, nutrition and countless other claims like local, organic, and non-GMO.  Then either walk away or place the item back on the shelf.

What happened in that 30 seconds of personalized decision-making that isn’t being captured for your future benefit?

People are picky. We have emotional and physical responses to food that are influenced by our genes, taste memory, environment and bio-individual dietary preferences.

If a food triggers an allergy, doesn’t taste good to us or lacks preferred nutritional content – there’s a low barrier to just walk away and look for another product.  Though we are fortunate to have an abundance of food choices, understanding what motivates selection can be a problem for food creators trying to cater to the market.

When we place an item back on a shelf or cycle through four different places before sitting down for lunch – we’re making important decisions that food creators can use to improve their offerings.  Let’s put that information to work! Read More

Posted on July 15, 2014 and filed under Food Tech.

How Guest Management Systems Can Streamline Operations

Photo Credit: Restaurant-hospotality.com

Photo Credit: Restaurant-hospotality.com

When the restaurant industry used to talk about guest management systems, that typically meant paper waitlists and buzzer devices designed to systematically track potential diners. While these methods were somewhat effective, they were static in their approach and failed to capture key business metrics based on diner loyalty, order history or the amount of in-store dollars spent.

Today, guest management systems have evolved to software applications that can run on several operating systems and interact and engage with restaurant guests on a much deeper level. This two-way interaction means guests wait less and, depending on the technology, are tracked throughout their dining experience based on their phone number. Read More

Noah Glass Makes A Valid Argument For The Future Of POS And Mobile Behavior

We talk about restaurant technology a lot — and for good reason. It’s undoubtedly the future of any sustainable business, and according to recent research, the restaurant industry is allegedly where the highest conversion rates are for consumers in terms of smartphone impact (compared to entertainment, automotive and telecom). The truly successful leaders of any industry, especially in the restaurant business, approach the subject with a What could be? mentality, rather than a What has to be? one. If you’re in the latter group, you’re probably already late to the game.

In a recent writeup by Noah Glass, Founder & CEO of mobile platform Olo, he challenges industry leaders to consider the future of restaurant technology, specifically mobile payments competing with POS. Read More

Posted on July 8, 2014 and filed under The Chipotle Effect.

13 Best Practices for Restaurants on Facebook

Photo Credit: Mashable.com

Photo Credit: Mashable.com

Everyone has to eat, and 700 million of those people are also on Facebook.

Naturally, there are a lot of restaurants on the world's largest social network, though there could be a lot more, and many of the ones that do have Facebook Pages could be better. To that end, Mashable spoke with social media stars from the hospitality industry about some best practices when it comes to Facebooking food.

"We never want to delete any negative reviews," says Ashley Tyson, social media manager at4Food. In fact, 4Food streams all @-mentions on a 240-square-foot media wall inside the restaurant. "Nobody expects a restaurant to always be perfect, but an honest response and quick offer to resolve the situation is what differentiates a good restaurant from a bad one." Above, you'll see that when Judy complained about a wrong order at her local Jimmy John's, the company showed initiative and replied with an email address and a willingness to work hard to regain trust. Read More

Posted on July 3, 2014 and filed under Restaurant Marketing.

The 7 Biggest Issues Keeping CMOs Up At Night

Photo Credit: Prophet.com

Photo Credit: Prophet.com

What do marketing professionals really care about? What’s on their wish list? The Marketing Science Institute (MSI) is a consortium of over 75 major firms from all industries that provide an interface between practitioners and academics. Every other year, the MSI goes through a process to identify the priority issues marketing practitioners are facing in order to provide guidance to academic research. The 2014 results are out.

There are two tier one issues, five tier two issues, and four tier three issues.

TIER ONE

Understanding customers and the customer experience

What behaviors have emerged in the multi-media, multi-screen and multi-channel world? How has social and digital changed the customer experience and path to purchase? How should customer engagement be defined and measured? How does social media create engagement? What methods provide insight?

Big data and analytics

What analytical skills will be necessary in a data-rich environment? What new marketing mix and predictive modeling will emerge? How can they be evaluated? How can social data be harnessed to provide insights? How should individual data be used? How can real-time decisions be influenced by big data? Read More

Posted on July 1, 2014 and filed under The Chipotle Effect.

The Restaurant Industry has Become a Burgeoning Frontier for Useful New Technologies

Photo Credit: Inc.com

Photo Credit: Inc.com

There was a time when a common conception of 'the future' involved images of The Jetsons: Judy's gravity-defying ponytail, for instance, or Rosie the dutiful robot maid. Today's world isn't quite so outlandish--and no family I know lives on a spaceship, not yet--but entrepreneurs are still turning to technology to make our lives nearly as convenient. 

Restaurants are a good example of a business that's beginning to undergo a tech-based makeover. With hungry customers helping the restaurant industry generate $3.4 billion so far this year, according to the National Restaurant Association, it's imperative for owners to keep them happy. And with the advent of tools such as the Presto, a touchscreen food ordering system, it's becoming ever easier to fulfill their exacting preferences. Here's a look at some trends reshaping the industry. Read More

Posted on June 27, 2014 and filed under Technology.

Panera and Chili’s Turn to Tablets to Streamline Service

Photo Credit: The New York Times

Photo Credit: The New York Times

An idea came to Ronald M. Shaich, the chief executive of Panera Bread, as he was driving his children to school about four years ago: What if everyone could order lunch the way he did?

The Shaich household’s morning routine included a call to the manager of the nearest Panera location to order lunch for Mr. Shaich’s son (Asian sesame chicken salad with half the normal amount of chicken and twice the won ton strips) and daughter (various salads but with dressing on the side).

The family then hopped in the car, stopping on the way to school to pick up the lunches. “It suddenly occurred to me that this was a wonderful system for the C.E.O., but what about the other eight million people who order from Panera?” Mr. Shaich said. Read More

Posted on June 25, 2014 and filed under The Chipotle Effect.

Chipotle’s New Packaging Initiative Covers Cups, Bags with Creative Content

Photo Credit: QSRMagazine.com 

Photo Credit: QSRMagazine.com 

This article originally appeared in QSRMagazine.com

Michael Lewis’s thoughts on managing time. A George Saunders note to the future. Barn raising with Malcolm Gladwell. These aren’t part of a short story anthology or panels at a literary conference; they’re what is now plastered on the side of a Chipotle cup.

What started as an idea from writer Jonathan Safran Foer has turned into Chipotle’s newest food packaging initiative, “Cultivating Thought,” which is leveraging creative content to catch customers’ attention.

“As part of our effort to change the way people think about and eat fast food, we often produce programs that are designed to make people more curious about their food and where it comes from. Here, we’ve simply extended that beyond food and wanted to produce content that would entertain and make people think about things that they might not have thought about before,” says Danielle Winslow, Chipotle spokeswoman, in an email to QSR. Read More

Posted on June 20, 2014 and filed under The Chipotle Effect.

Domino's Is Making It That Much Easier To Order A Pizza

Photo Credit: Huffington Post

Photo Credit: Huffington Post

Domino's is introducing its own version of Siri.

The pizza delivery chain on Monday is introducing a function on its mobile app that lets customers place orders by speaking with a computer-generated voice named "Dom." The rollout is part of an ongoing push by Domino's to take business away from rivals and smaller pizza shops by offering more convenient ways to order.

The company, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, says the updated app for iPhones and Android devices will deliver a "human-like, conversational" experience, but notes that it will take some time to work out the kinks in the technology.

"It is not perfect," Domino's CEO Patrick Doyle said in an interview. "This is the sort of thing, like any other really new technology launch, you're going to learn, you're going to get better." Read More

Posted on June 17, 2014 and filed under The Chipotle Effect.

Starbucks to Let Customers Charge Phones Without Power Cord

Photo Credit: Bloomberg.com

Photo Credit: Bloomberg.com

Starbucks customers will soon find it easier to energize their devices while they get a jolt of caffeine.

The world’s largest coffee chain is teaming up with Duracell Powermat to let customers recharge mobile devices wirelessly, instead of hunting for available wall outlets. Customers can place their compatible devices atop so-called Powermat Spots on counters and tables to recharge them, Seattle-based Starbucks said today in a statement.

While shops in Boston and San JoseCalifornia, already offer the Powermat service, a national rollout begins today in Starbucks’ company-operated stores and Teavana outlets. The company, which has more than 20,500 locations worldwide, plans pilot programs in Europe and Asia within a year. Read More

Subway Sponsors Another Original WebTV Series, Proving the Power of Branded Entertainment for Restaurants

It was recently announced that Subway will be sponsoring a new, original WebTV series. The show, called “Summer with Cimorelli,” will feature the pop music girl group, six singing sisters that have risen to fame through YouTube. While Subway will not actually produce it, the sandwich brand will use it as a launchpad through sponsorship for branded entertainment — or, as some might call it, native advertising. For example, Subway products will be shown throughout the series, and the brand will make its way into the plot line at least once to produce top-of-mind promo to viewers. This will be Subway’s second go-around with original web show content, the first being a series called “The 4 to 9ers,” a web comedy that revolves around day shift workers at Subway. Read More

Posted on June 11, 2014 .

How Canadian Tire Got into Its Social Groove

Photo Credit: www.canadiantire.ca/

Photo Credit: www.canadiantire.ca/

A mass market retailer might not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of social media innovation. But Canadian Tire Corp., a family of businesses that includes multiple banners, has been on a roll lately. Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg cited it as a leader in digital advertising for converting its sporting goods retail chain Sport Chek’s print flyer to digital. Last winter, a viral video by the Canadian Tire banner topped 1.3 million views on YouTube. It has a new Digital Innovation Centre that will serve as a digital hub for the company.

“If you have to be world class in digital, you’ll never get there if you let people outside do it for you,” said Duncan Fulton, svp of communications and corporate affairs. Here, he talks about the challenges of digital transformation by a multi-category retailer. Read More

Posted on June 5, 2014 and filed under The Chipotle Effect.

The Future of Technology in Foodservice

In this On foodable Executive Insight Series, brought to you by the Foodable WebTV Network, we are speaking with Rob Grimes, CEO & President at IFBTA, at the NRA Show in Chicago. Watch the full episode to gain a deeper understanding of how technology in restaurant operations is moving away from a hardware mentality into a softer one, and what new technologies operators should be aware of moving forward. Grimes and Barron also talk about weeding out tech fads from trends, and offer their opinions on the future of mobile payments.

Posted on June 3, 2014 and filed under On foodable.

Facebook Integrates Restaurant Menus for Easy Browsing

Photo Credit: Social Media & Marketing Daily

Photo Credit: Social Media & Marketing Daily

As a more than $600 billion business, everyone — from Google to TripAdvisor and now Facebook — wants to take a bite of the restaurant industry. 

In recent buzz, Facebook is officially launching the integration of restaurant menus to its platform through SinglePlatform. To our knowledge, this has been in the works for quite some time now.

In the past two years, Facebook has really taken control of its mobile platform, constantly fine-tuning the User Experience by adding new features, tweaking layouts, and adjusting its privacy controls. The mobile experience is super important because that’s where consumers — especially Millennials — are spending most of their time. In addition, consumers are becoming more self-aware and demand instantaneous information about new experiences, like dining. If consumers are already in the Facebook app, this one-stop-shop mentality certainly makes sense for menu browsing, which, according to the Restaurant Social Media Index and Foodable’s Mobile Social Consumer Report, is one of the top actions found in mobile restaurant consumers. Read More

Posted on May 30, 2014 and filed under Restaurant Social Media.

Why You Should Be Treating Your Restaurant Like A Data Company

Operators: Stop Being Afraid of Mobile & Tech

FOODABLE WEBTV NETWORK

FOODABLE WEBTV NETWORK

Remember that time you thought building brand presence on social media platforms was optional? A lot has changed in the past three years regarding the way we approach business, proving that brands need to have presence in the socialsphere in order to remain relevant.

At the 3rd Annual Fast Casual Trends & Directions Conference in Chicago, hosted by the NRA in partnership with Technomic and DigitalCoCo, leaders in the fast casual space took the stage at the Ritz-Carlton to provide insight on their expertise.

Paul Barron, Founder and CEO of DigitalCoCo and Foodable WebTV Network, and author of The Chipotle Effect, took the stage to solidify that social media, mobile and technology in restaurants isn’t optional. Research pulled from DigitalCoCo’s proprietaryRestaurant Social Media Index (RSMI) shows that consumer social engagement with a fast casual brand has doubled in the past three years. And for those wanting to put a price tag on social ROI, annual revenue attributed to social consumers in 2013 was estimated at $750 billion (yes, with a ‘b’). Read More