News Feature | September 25, 2013

Restaurant and Hospitality IT News For VARs — Sept. 25, 2013

By Anna Rose Welch, associate editor

BSM-Restaurant Table

Business Solutions searched recent headlines for news of interest to VARs serving clients in the restaurant and hospitality market.

“Opportunist” Eating Challenges Traditional Dining

Information Resources, Inc. recently released the results of its study, “How America Eats: Capturing Growth with Food on the Run.” According to the study, 79 percent of Americans were found to be planners, eating three meals a day, while 21 percent — 66 million people — are “opportunists” eaters. Opportunists tend to eat throughout the day without considering whether the food is a meal or a snack. This percentage of the population values low prices, coupons/discounts, and is generally less concerned with exercise and nutrition. The study compares opportunists and planners, enabling marketers to create approaches to appeal to this $90 billion dollar “opportunist” market.

To Be — Or Not To Be — Aggressive With Social Media

The Nation’s Restaurant News “Social 200” for August reveals restaurants that updated social media pages regularly with discount offers or product pictures saw index scores improve. Similarly, if a restaurant increased the frequency at which they posted, their social-engagement scores rose. However, this posting needed to remain consistent, otherwise engagement scores slumped to even lower levels.

QSR And Casual/Fine Dining Performance Gap Remains

According to the Nation’s Restaurant News MillerPulse Survey, restaurant industry same-store sales for August rose 0.9 percent, up from July’s 0.8 percent increase. Quick service restaurant sales increased 1.5 percent. Causal dining restaurants, whose same store sales declined 0.4 percent for August, continue to underperform quick service restaurants. Larry Miller, chief executive of MillerPulse, claims operators attribute this performance gap to an improved price-value offering in quick-service restaurants. A pessimistic operator sales outlook led the 2013 industry forecast that the market would decrease by 40 basis points to 1.3 percent, according to Miller.

Restaurant Market Overview Reveals Challenges, Trends

CIT,  a corporate finance company for retail and restaurants released an interview with CIT managing director Bob Bielinski. The interview includes factors impacting industry restaurant sales — including the Affordable Care Act — current trends, and financing difficulties.

“Not Much Has Changed From Grandma’s Table”

Benchmark Hospitality International recently released its list of the top five dining trends for 2013. The list — compiled by hotel chefs and culinary experts — reveals that customers value chef-crafted meals and insist on knowing the specific origins of their food. Healthier options for children, quinoa, and smoked foods are the three remaining trends.

Restaurant And Hospitality IT Talking Points

April Revake for Castleford Media discusses the importance of using social media in the hospitality area. According to an infographic by Besthospitalitydegrees.com, 85 percent of travelers use smartphones while traveling and 46 percent claim they use technology to check in to a location. Revake claims that the hospitality industry should keep travellers’ social media habits in mind in order to provide assistance and good customer service.

Mukesh Gupta, writer for Business2Community, highlights the differences between two separate loyalty programs: “Bought Loyalty” (relies on points) and “Earned Loyalty” (makes customers relate emotionally). Gupta argues that in order to use customer loyalty as a competitive advantage, businesses must be skilled with both types of programs.

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