Restaurant Industry News Roundup: March 2019
In this month’s installment of the restaurant news roundup, we’ve seen an emphasis on brand distinctiveness, the guest experience, and platforms with innovative long-term goals. Artificial technology, a growing trend in the industry workforce, is becoming a less frightening concept as well. As we approach the season of patio dining, bask in the sunshine with a fresh salad and March’s industry news roundup!
Waitr Wants to Be the Single Tech Platform for Independent Restaurants
Single or small multi-unit operators are often overlooked by top tech vendors or are too small to get deals from tech partners. In the quarter since Waitr went public and acquired Bite Squad, their competitor, their plans for future growth include delivery. Eventually, the company wishes to cover five digital components: the delivery service, the payment processor that handles in-restaurant card transactions, loyalty programs, a reservations and waitlisting, and POS.
“Waitr wants to be a one-stop shop for independent restaurants in all five areas,” according to CEO Christopher Meaux.
Currently, there are approximately 2 million active users on both platforms. Both brands will continue to be operated separately and will consider moving to one brand entity sometime in the future.
Why Brand Distinctiveness Makes All the Difference
The factors that are usually considered for ranking restaurant performance are survey data and hard data. OC&C Strategy Consulting surveyed over 40,000 diners based on the “fundex”, or the brands that connect with audiences on the most basic of levels. Essentially, customers answered yes to whether they had fun while dining at a certain restaurant.
What does it take to impress guests? Customers value brand distinctiveness in crowded markets, Associate Partner at OC&C, John Franklin reports. The report concludes that the highest rated brands, including the likes of Chick-fil-A, have reached a certain fame within the industry for the experience associated with the company. According to this QSR Magazine article, these tips help restaurants accomplish their goals when it comes to customer experience:
- Avoiding “fun killers”
- keep brand appeal broad
- Be distinctive and authentic
- Convenience reigns
- Create return customers
- Find the balance between being generally accessible and audience specific
Why AI Can Be a Traditional Restaurant’s Secret Sauce
Ghost restaurants, pop-ups and food trucks have changed the competitive restaurant industry landscape for traditional restaurants. Operators are faced with both an opportunity and a challenge. The opportunity would be to become a part of the $800 billion in U.S. restaurant sales, and the challenge would be to keep up with dynamic trends and the evolution of diners’ preferences.
How can traditional restaurateurs do both? AI can be the solution by giving operators insight to the wants of their diners and allow them to anticipate guest demands, deliver a great customer experience, and improve their operations. As more restaurants continue to embrace artificial intelligence, traditional restaurants are pushed to move quickly as restaurants have a lot of data and it can be overwhelming. By incorporating AI, restaurants will be able to innovate efficiently. Artificial intelligence also helps develop a better guest experience and helps restaurants make service a priority. Through the adoption of artificial intelligence, traditional restaurants can become more competitive in an ever-evolving and crowded industry.
Getting Millennial Guests in the Door…and Staying Longer
How do restaurateurs get their guests to hang out in their restaurant? Hosting events such as live music or meetups can only guarantee customers hanging out for that singular event. “Eatertainment”, which is activities offered alongside serving food and beverages, may be the solution. Dave & Busters and Punch Bowl Social are examples of eatertainment venues.
Modern Restaurant Management reports that millennials are the most likely to seek out eatertainment venues because they are looking for an experience when they dine out. At these venues millennials are more likely to hang out, have fun and order more food. Restaurateurs need to remember that successful eatertainment establishments offer a combination of an awesome food selection and cocktails. For example, 89 percent of the revenue at Punch Bowl Social comes from the menu.
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About the Author
Devyn Nance is the Marketing Coordinator at QSR Automations. She graduated from the University of Louisville with a bachelor’s degree in Communication and from Loyola University Chicago with a master’s degree in Global Strategic Communication. She considers herself an (amateur) profiler – trained solely from watching every episode of Criminal Minds. Outside of work, Devyn loves to shop, travel, hang out with friends and family, read, and watch shows on various streaming platforms.