Restaurant Industry News Roundup: June 2019
As the weather heats up, so does restaurant industry news. This month’s roundup includes a proposal to ban ‘meaty’ names in the EU, free fries in Ontario, and a Taco Bell hotel experience. It’s heating up, so throw some food on the grill and dig into the smoky flavor of June’s news.
UK Parliament Debates EU Proposal to Ban ‘Meaty’ Names
The EU recently proposed to ban words including ‘sausage’ and ‘burger’ as descriptors of vegan and vegetarian products. The House of Lords is debating whether this proposal is in the interests of UK consumers. The EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee gathered in a roundtable discussion to analyze the consequences of the proposal on consumers, the food industry and food retailers. The European Parliament’s Committee on Agricultural and Rural Development created the proposal to ban meat-related words to describe plant-based options earlier this year after France’s decision to ban meat and dairy wording from plant-based packaging.
The consensus among sub-committee members was that people understand what ‘burgers’ and ‘sausages’ are, whether they are meat-based or plant-based. Both sides are arguing whether changing the wording on the packaging would confuse customers or the use of meat-based adjectives can mislead consumers. When asked about the proposal’s future, Lord Teverson doesn’t think the “whole thing will be delivered as the agricultural committee would want”. He does “suspect there might be some areas when it comes down to the pure cut of meat descriptions.”
Digital Order-Ahead Beating Delivery on Restaurant Mobile Payments Front
In a report issued by The NPD Group, it was found that delivery in restaurants isn’t as much of a powerhouse compared to order-ahead. Accounting for three percent of industry traffic, delivery is still a growing market; however, digital orders will make up eight percent of industry traffic by next year. Over the past four years, restaurant digital orders have increased by 23 percent. NPD predicts the order-ahead segment to continue to grow steadily through 2020, along with carry-out, on-premise, and delivery.
Factors affecting these gains include convenience, reduced wait times, and paying ahead. Mobile apps allow customers to customize orders and contribute to getting awards from loyalty programs. When delivery and order-ahead are compared directly, availability could be the reason the growth difference is so large. Delivery is not available everywhere, but order-ahead is available anywhere. On the business side, order-ahead is cheaper than delivery options.
79% of Diners Interested in Personalized Menu Recommendations, Report Finds
According to PSFK, customers expect to have similar on-demand experiences at restaurants that they would experience at Uber and Airbnb. The majority of consumers want various ways to order their food. Meanwhile, 35% prefer to order through a mobile app. An indicative factor from the report shows 80% of consumers want to receive personalized menu recommendations stemming from their order history. As younger generations are increasingly gaining spending power, it’s suggested that restaurants continue to keep up with evolving expectations and demands.
For example, McDonald’s has made investments in its mobile app, self-service kiosks, digital signage, and data collection software. Restaurant Business says that McDonald’s same-store sales growth has beat its competitors in the space, illustrated in a 4.5% jump in Q1. Drive-thru, mobile apps, and delivery are also factors to consider. However, Restaurant Dive warns that in-store dining shouldn’t be neglected because research also shows consumer preference to improved dine-in experiences through restaurant designs.
McDonald’s Is Bleeding Free Fries After Historic Toronto Raptors Run
A year ago, McDonald’s and the Raptors signed a deal in which McDonald’s will give away medium fries in Ontario whenever the Raptors scores twelve 3-pointers in a game. During the regular season, the Raptors had 44 games with over 12 3-pointers. During the playoffs, there were 10 games over 12 3-pointers. This resulted in McDonald’s spending about $5.8 million in free fries.
Ontario customers can get their free medium fries by downloading the McDonald’s app and redeeming the offer. They can redeem the offer the day after a Raptors game. According to the Financial Post, McDonald’s had been concerned that the giveaway was spiraling out of control and whether franchisees had the ability to handle the demand. However, McDonald’s is expecting to see a rise in customers using and downloading the app throughout and after the giveaway’s run.
The Taco Bell Hotel is Real and for $169 You Can Reserve a Room
On June 27, the Taco Bell hotel will allow people to make reservations at the Palm Springs location. The hotel will be open from August 8 through August 12. The hotel will offer 70 rooms and pricing will start at $169 per night. Events that will be held during the time the hotel is open including a Freeze Lounge, “dive in movies”, live performances from artists on Taco Bell’s Feed the Beat list, a salon with “taco-inspired nail art”, along with other events that have yet to be announced.