McDonalds Sales Struggle To Fast Casual, Taking A Plunge



Chipotle is swimming in cash while McDonalds is .... doing better? 

Even with the plethora of consumers switching to fast casual restaurants due to health-related decisions, McDonalds still is #1 on the leaderboard for quick service restaurants, making more than Chipotle. But what about new beginnings?

McDonalds is struggling in the store opening department, dropping 3.7% in august and the third-quarter earnings are not looking that hot either.The reason for this failure?  CEO Don Thompson states that "sluggish industry growth in a highly competitive marketplace" is what is holding McDonalds back from its usual glory. Read more about McDonalds struggle here.

Posted on September 17, 2014 and filed under Fast Casual.

Fast Casual Chinese Restaurant Coming to San Francisco





With 2014 quickly coming to an end, as well as fast casual trends at a steady incline, we can almost guarantee that we will be seeing more and more fast casuals popping up within the next year. Saison's very own Josh Skenes, will be launching 'Fat Noodle' in San Francisco in early 2015 or late 2014. A menu consisting of West Chinese flavors and noodles, this fast casual concept is sure to be a hot commodity in the city. 

Partnering with Umami Burger's Adam Fleischman, Fat Noodle seems to be an idea sparked quite some time ago. Fleischman enjoyed Skenes meals so much that he began pondering the ability to create a dining experience specifically for him. Learn more about

Posted on September 15, 2014 and filed under Fast Casual.

'Build Your Own Burger' at McDonalds? What?



You heard us right, Ronald McDonald is currently testing the San Diego area with their new state-of-the-art (and customer friendly might we add) Build Your Own Burger concept. This new effort to win the hearts of not only the millenials, but as well as the young, and tech-obsessed generation Z by creating a whole new line of toppings and sauces to play with, as well as providing table-side service. Even though McDonalds is behind other top restaurant chains on a service similar to this concept, it still seems to be making waves. Can we see this in our local McDonalds worldwide in 2015? Read more here.

Posted on September 12, 2014 and filed under Technology.

Blaze Pizza Announces Yet Another Michigan Fast Casual Build-Your-Own-Pizza Location



Kalamazoo, Michigan! Blaze Pizza is coming for you!

The grand opening of Blaze Pizza's third Michigan location will be this Thursday, September 11th at 5015 West Main Street. Through the influence of social media, Blaze will be offering free pizzas at their new location for those that connect with their social accounts. Why is this fast casual chain on the rise to fame? The innovation behind this fast casual concept is very unique compared to others, offering an interactive assembly-line that gives customers the ability to create their own pizza for under the small price of $7.

Not only are these pizzas at the lower end of the fast casual cost scale, but the speed of service has gained much attention. With a record breaking 180-seconds from order placement to table delivery, Blaze has pleased their customers in more ways than one (yes, vegan and gluten-free friendly!) Read more here

Posted on September 10, 2014 and filed under Fast Casual Nation, Fast Casual.

Why Generation Z Is Ready To Be The Next Target Market



All of this time that we have been studying the effects of targeting our marketing skills to the Millennial generation, the world has not stood still. Generation Z has been growing up reaching adulthood and American consumerism throughout our quest to reach Millennials. So who's our next victim? In the mind of a marketer, we think 'fresh meat.' 

Digital and social media marketing are growing at alarming rates due to this new generation of consumers that never lived without a smartphone. Heck, they don't even know that phones used to be in black and white! Tending to this group of new consumers with fresh cash (or debit cards I should say... like they carry cash... sheesh) in their pockets, the most successful marketers reach them through the use of multi-channel social media marketing. Gen Z is ready for us, but are we ready for them? Read more here. 

Posted on September 8, 2014 and filed under Millennial Marketing, Mobile, Technology.

6 International QSRs Adopting Fast Casual

Fast casual restaurant demand is on the rise, and now trending globally. With the American on-the-go lifestyles we possess, fast casual dining seems to fit perfectly into our busy schedules. But what about across the globe? Fast casual dining exists across the world, giving international consumers the ability to experience the American fast paced culture. A few examples include:



MAX Burgers - Sweden

The Flying Pan - Middle East

The Crepe Cafe - Middle East

Chez Ashton - Canada

MOS Burger - Asia

Nando's - UK 

To read more about global fast casual dining click here.

Posted on September 5, 2014 and filed under Fast Casual.

Restaurants Take On The Selfie To Engage Millennials




But first, let me take a #selfie.


The Chainsmokers hit the nail on the head when they released their hit single #selfie this year. The 'selfie' has become one of the hottest trends among millennials filling timelines, newsfeeds, and photo albums. Not only has your grandmother jumped on the selfie train, but restaurants have decided to keep up with this growing social trend.

How can restaurants use their selfies to their advantage you ask? Engaging their millennial consumers through social media platforms, Dunkin' Donuts and Taco Bell have been able to get a high following due to their recent customer selfie campaigns. Encouragement to share photos and locations of their food, Dunkin & Taco Bell has been able to connect with their social followers creating heavier traffic to all social outlets. Read more.  


Fast Casual Gaining Market Share By The Minute

Fast casual dining restaurants are growing at a rapid rate with no end in sight, and the market shares have the proof to show it. We all know that McDonald's has held the worldwide fast food restaurant sales trophy for quite some time now, but, fast casual icon Chipotle is not too far behind. 

According to research, sales for fast casual restaurants has grown by 11% and store count has grew by 8%. Even though Chipotle's revenue is at a low $3.2 billion (compared to McDonald's) a 20% yearly increase is gaining Chipotle, as well as all other fast-casuals, significant market share. Read more here.



Posted on September 1, 2014 and filed under Fast Casual.

Chefs Predict Healthy Fast Casual Dining As The Next Big Thing



With health-obsessed foodies growing by the day, what can current fast casual restaurants do to tailor to this large group of consumers? At a recent conference in Buckhead, Georgia, chefs believe that healthy, superfood focused fast casual restaurants are on the way, and that they will be taking over the fast casual nation at alarming rates. With nutritional knowledge on the rise, this new trend shouldn't come to us as much of a shock. Now, the question still remains: will this health craze have an effect on the other not-so-healthy fast casual options? Will foodies overlook the 'Chipotles' of the fast casual industry and look for organic and vegan-fed options? Read more here. 

Posted on August 29, 2014 .

Now Entering The Fast Casual Ring: Buffalo Wild Wings

Jump on the fast casual train before it leaves the station! Buffalo Wild Wings is entering the mix with the recent stake purchase in Rusty Taco's fast casual restaurants. With nine locations in Dallas, Denver and Minneapolis, the fresh-styled taco creators snagged the attention of BDubs who has also recently obtained a large chunk of PizzaRev's stock, which is a personalized pizza creation joint. 

Do I see a pizza, tacos and wings collab in the near future? Guess we will just have to wait and see! Read more about BDubs generous investment here.



Posted on August 27, 2014 .

Walk In Like You Own The Place With Panera 2.0






Panera Bread is revamping the customer service experience. Following the lead of Chili's Bar & Grill tabletop waiter, Panera is introducing iPad kiosks at their cafes, cutting down on the lunchtime rush. With the implementation of these kiosks, customers are able to order without a cashier present, creating shorter waits and bigger smiles. 

Panera is also giving it's loyal customers the ability to place their orders online from their computers or mobile devices, giving them the ability to pick up their orders without wait for those on-the-go days. CEO Ron Shaich shares the experience behind his Panera 2.0 creation here.

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:

Photo Credit:

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:

Photo Credit:

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:

Photo Credit:

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.