2017 has been quite a ride so far for the restaurant industry.
New trends are constantly developing. As a restaurant owner, it’s a challenge stay up-to-date and well informed on issues affecting your business. Fierce grocery store competition and their deflating prices is an example of one of the negative trends impacting restaurant guest traffic. These trends, will in turn have effects on restaurant traffic. So... what is simply “the new trend”, and what can restaurant owners expect to see moving into 2018.
Time is a major factor in the decision to eat away from home. At home meal kits are growing in popularity. The at home meal kits movement is now a $2.2 billion industry and just beginning to take off. Amazon is hoping to accomplish something similar with their purchase of Whole Foods. The grocery industry is also moving towards better quality prepared foods, with Whole Foods as one of the leaders. These options allow the consumer to get restaurant quality meals on the go to take back to the office or home.
With competition between grocers increasing due to deflating produce prices, consumers are reaping the benefits. In response to the appealing low prices on groceries, the food-at-home index is up 0.4%. Considering the low prices and rising food-at-home index, the food-away-from-home index has still found a way to thrive, rising 2.4% in the last year according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Food halls are becoming a bigger player in cities across the country. The number of food halls has grown upwards of 37% since 2016 with over 100 across the country. This number is expected to double by 2019 according to the Wall Street Journal. Food halls are beginning to make their way into the south as their popularity continues to grow. The impact of food halls to neighboring restaurants can have a negative impact of 12 to 24 months. It’s not just one restaurant – but eight or more – that open. The results can be significant.
Are there too many restaurants?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more than 620,000 eating and drinking locations in the United States—that is a 13% increase since 2010. New eating and drinking locations are growing at a rate almost twice as fast as the US population. Due to this, the biggest obstacle that many restaurants are facing is over-saturation. Customers are still spending money dining out; however, the money is spread across more restaurants, this is resulting in flat to negative sales and guest traffic counts in restaurants across the country. As 2018 approaches, the issue of restaurant over-saturation doesn’t seem to be letting up any time soon.
The constant shift in restaurant trends is an ever-changing game. 2017 has brought expansion of food halls, home meal kits, and other alternative food-away from home dining experiences that challenge restaurant owners. Alongside these trends, the deflating grocery prices and over-saturation of restaurants will be factors as restaurant owners plan for 2018.
Blog post contributed by Katie Alteri, Fora Financial for Goliath Consulting Group.
Katie Alteri is the content marketing coordinator at Fora Financial, a company that provides small business loans to businesses across the U.S. Fora Financial can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.
Kitchens use more energy per square foot than just about any type of commercial space. And energy costs have increased over 40 percent in the lasts five years. Atlanta has the highest water cost in the country! Now is the time to invest in energy efficient equipment and systems. Remember, every dollar you save, goes directly to your bottom line.
First, audit your current operations for opportunities to save energy. This includes equipment, the building shell, and operational uses of your equipment. Next, target changes that have the fastest return on investment. Typically, 6 months or less. For example, if you change out a dishroom pre-rinse spay nozzle, it should pay for itself within six months. Based on our review of many kitchens; there is a huge opportunity to reap immediate savings.
You will be amazed at how much money you save when you select energy efficient equipment. And higher-end energy efficient equipment typically lasts longer and has opportunities to add labor saving features; such as automatic basket lifts on a fryer. Another hidden fact is that energy efficient equipment typically has a greater throughput of foods, read: faster cook times!
New technological trends here to stay include heat recovery systems. Heat that is generated by cooking is captured and used to heat building hot water systems. Heat from hot water discharged from dishwashers is used the same way. And cooking exhaust systems that adjust based on the amount of cooking at any given times, allow for great reduction in building HVAC costs. These examples are all systems that have fast ROI’s and are here to stay.
Now is the time to create a comprehensive energy savings plan. Goliath Consulting Group partners with Kip Serfozo’s team at Camacho Consulting to audit and create best equipment practices. Kip Serfozo is a LEED Accredited Professional (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design). He has worked on many LEED Gold and Platinum hospitality buildings around the country. He is an expert in kitchen design and operational analysis.
res· tau· rant tech· nol· o· gy - (noun)
Any piece of software or computerized tool used in foodservice establishments or to aid in overall operations.
Examples included, but are not limited to, point of sale, inventory, reservations, etc.
If you look back 20 years, that term would be used to describe now archaic point of sale systems. The clunky old machines that, at the time, were cutting edge and would save your servers time and reduce the manual errors your staff would make using hand written receipts and knuckle busters. In those days, you had approximately 7 options to choose from. Flash forward to 2017 and at last count we are at 487. On top of the industry nearing 500 POS options, it’s advanced into inventory systems, reservation management
platforms, analytic tools, onboarding, HR, training, branded apps, online ordering, delivery, food safety, geofencing, marketing and social media platforms, diner demographics.... the list goes on. While these tools were all developed to make your lives easier, you now face a new set of problems.
Unfortunately, most account reps you meet with these various brands will tell you that their product is perfect for you. To be fair, their job is to sell you on all of the benefits of their offering and help you see why their system is the best. Enter Break Bread Consulting. Born from the ever-growing need for clarity in an otherwise jumbled field, our technology consultants work with your brand to understand your specific needs, research appropriate tools and products, ensure fully integrated solutions, and negotiate fair rates. Consider us interim IT Directors. We act as a member of your team to ensure you are set up for success and can implement technology and use it for the reason it was built...to make your life easier.
At Break Bread Consulting, we believe that there is no one size fits all and that each restaurant has very specific needs and goals that need to be considered when looking at new technology. Because of that, we work with our clients one on one with a fully customized and individually catered program to help them reach their unique goals. While the end goal of each individual or group may vary, we strive to create fully integrated systems and work off of a holistic view of your business.
As our industry changes, you must adapt. And we’re here to help.
For more information go to: www.breakbreadconsulting.com/contact
About Break Bread Consulting
Break Bread Consulting was founded in 2014 by industry lifer Brianne Lane. With the restaurant industry finally catching up with modern technology trends a new problem arose. So many new options flooding the restaurant market on a daily basis make it incredibly difficult for restaurant owners to sort through the various point of sale systems, analytic tools, etc and find the best option for their concept.
Break Bread acts as your dedicated IT Specialist. We research products, attend demos, obtain price quotes and even negotiate with software companies to ensure you're getting the best possible price.
We're excited to announce that Chef Britt Cloud has joined the Goliath Consulting Group as Consulting Chef. Chef Britt will head up menu development and food safety services including teaching ServSafe classes.
Britt is an accomplished, formally trained chef with twenty-five years of experience in the restaurant industry covering all facets of cooking and management. Special skills include opening new restaurants—five to date—from quick serve to fine dining.
Before attending the Culinary Institute of America for his AOS in Culinary Arts, Britt honed his restaurant management skills in a popular bakery café chain in Washington, DC. He transferred that knowledge into the kitchen, where he has managed teams of 25+ staff and ensured consistency and efficiency to meet customer expectations.
Britt brings to Goliath a solid background and interest in menu development, including wine pairing and integration of beer, wine, and spirits to enhance the dining experience. His culinary creativity is matched by his strengths in operational proficiencies, including managing P&L statements, production statistics, staff schedules, food waste logs, purchasing and inventory, and accounts receivable.
Most recently, Britt served as executive chef for two sister restaurants, creating seasonal menus in scratch kitchens based on a farm-to-table concept. At Goliath, he provides his back-of-the-house expertise to help clients achieve their restaurant visions.
Cyberattacks are on the rise as the world economy has shifted to the digital age. For the restaurant industry, hackers aren’t just focused on payment card data, but now collect information on entire businesses and their operations. The customers, employees, reputation, and brand of a business are all at risk with today’s data breaches. Cyber criminals recognize the technological advancements made in the restaurant industry and are beginning to use these advancements as pathways to more profitable cyber-attacks. As these cyber-attacks evolve, so must the strategies for restaurant owners. Cybersecurity is no longer about playing defense; it is about planning offensively. It is crucial that restaurant owners take proper precautions to ensure cybersecurity.
The National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) Cybersecurity 101 Toolkit lays out the most common ways data
breaches cost restauranteurs and what they can do to better prepare.
Often following a major restaurant cyber-attack, the greatest concern is the loss of customer information. As harmful as this loss may be to a restaurant, it is not the only looming issue that the business faces. Along with customer, employee information is also vulnerable. Valuable personal data including Social Security numbers and sensitive financial information can be obtained by cyber criminals through data breaches.
A data breach is also damaging to a restaurant’s bottom line. For example, the smallest suspicion of a breach can lead to a forensic investigation which can cost anywhere from $12,000 to $100,000. After investigations, if a breach has been detected it is estimated that the average small business may pay $36,000 to $50,000. Lawsuits related to security breaches can be as damaging to brand reputations as they are to the bottom line of a business. Once a breach has been detected, a business has a legal obligation to inform the media. This can lead to costly litigation fees.
Litigation and investigation fees are often only the beginning of the costs to a restaurant’s bottom line. Once a breach has occurred, there are unavoidable damages to a restaurant’s reputation and brand. Research has shown that 15 percent of consumers would cease doing business with a restaurant if there was evidence of a data breach. Harm to a restaurants brand name and reputation can prove to be the most expensive cost incurred by businesses that have suffered a data breach.
Fortunately, there are safety measures that can help reduce the risks of cyber-attacks. However, restaurant owners must take a proactive approach towards cybersecurity if they wish to reduce the risk of a breach. Heartland Payment Systems provides six bullet points to help with cybersecurity:
• Follow the PCI DSS Standards. https://www.pcisecuritystandards.org/pci_security/maintaining_payment_security
• Use a PCI compliance vendor program to complete PCI compliance attestation such as Heartland’s Merchant Protection Program.
• Leverage secure products such as Heartland Secure P2PE devices to minimize data.
• Educate and empower employees to identify issues first.
• Understand your risk and perform risk assessments to find vulnerabilities and gaps.
• Prepare for a breach by implementing an incident response process.
Predictions reveal that losses from cyber-attacks will grow from $460 billion in 2016 to greater than $6 trillion in 2021. As technology continues to advance, cyber-attacks will become an even more pressing issue. Being proactive with cybersecurity is vitally important with the skills of today’s hackers.
For more information on what steps can be made to better secure your restaurant and training for your staff, contact Goliath Consulting Group at firstname.lastname@example.org
Heartland Payment Systems: https://www.heartlandpaymentsystems.com/blog/2017/04/14/data-breach-2017
National Restaurant Association: http://www.restaurant.org/Cybersecurity
The goal behind the creation of any restaurant is to earn the maximum returns by providing a superior experience to the customers. However, in this world of increased competition, the restaurant brands need to come up with exciting new ways to enhance their sales and be in the top runner spot.
With the increase in the number of restaurants and prepared food points including grocery stores and convenience stores, the customers now have plenty of options at their disposal; hence, the restaurant brands need to incorporate new strategies to be the top preference of the consumer. Restaurant brands need to reach consumers and give them different opportunities to get their food apart from the traditional dine-in option.
In today’s restaurant business environment, 20% or more of sales for restaurants without a drive-thru are due to delivery, catering and take-out options. Most of the people who are running out of time to visit the restaurant of their choice, and instead opt for delivery and take-out options. If you are not offering any such option; you may lose out on sales as your customers will move to better options.
Most of the restaurants have now started to use technological tools for growth of their business and to reach out to maximum customers. Brands have now partnered with various companies, like UberEATS, Food.ee, Amazon and other companies that offer delivery services. These companies are helping both the restaurants and the customers by acting as intermediaries. While many restaurants are offering delivery services, partnering with a delivery company enables them to reach out to those areas where they may not be able to provide delivery services otherwise.
Technology has brought various opportunities for restaurant brands to reach more consumers. One such option is to go with online ordering. Online ordering through a website portal developed for your restaurant will allow users to order directly from it. Furthermore, you can also get a dedicated mobile app for your restaurant to reach your customer on their mobile device.
The basic formula for success, without any doubt, depends on the quality of food and service. However, the consumer is looking for more options on how to purchase your food. To grow your sales, you must find ways to make your food more convenient to purchase in a way the consumer wants to interact with your brand.
In summary, the success of a restaurant depends on a blend of various factors. The restaurant industry is feeling pressure from grocery stores and other points of distribution. Combined with the saturation of restaurants in many markets, restaurant brands are feeling the pressure on their top and bottom lines. If you are a restaurant brand and want to enhance your sales beyond the regular dine-in options; you need to think out of the box for coming up with effective strategies to provide your customers an easy and hassle-free way to reach you.
When restaurants face nagging problems or about to enter a new stage of growth, it is time to consider a consultant. Operating costs, menu execution, customer service, marketing, supply chain or profitability have been troublesome or concerning without any sight of improvement it may be time to consider that assistance. In the long run, the ROI of a hiring a consultant can quite high by helping you resolve profitability issues and operational problem or avoid a costly mistake in the startup or expansion.
The consultant, being an objective outsider, can recognize issues more clearly. Then suggest and assist with implementing solutions more effectively than you, managers and your staff. When you’re close to a situation there is a tendency to being mired in the details and not be able to come up with a solid strategy and corresponding tactics to overcome the problems with the business. Consultants provide an objective point of view that is based on facts of the situation and the business.
A consultant brings to your business ideas and solutions that have been successful in other operations. Consultants have specialized knowledge, skills and experience to assist the operator with a combination of problem-solving, planning or implementation services depending on what the situation dictates.
Here are areas where a restaurant consultant will help you:
At Goliath Consulting Group, in most cases, we start with an operational assessment to provide you with insights on the underlying problems affecting performance as well as recommendations for solutions and the effect it is having on your business. Other engagements tackle a specific need: build a marketing plan, update the menu, develop a business plan for growth etc. We have the skills and experience to help you improve the situation you are facing.
Technology has radically altered the way we do business and live our lives. A lot of tasks have been automated and others, which still require human input, have been greatly simplified making life easier for the entire human race. The process has just begun but it has already affected all areas of our lives so the restaurant business is no exception. From the onset, it appears that the restaurant business has a model which is heavily dependent on people, starting from the chef to the waiter who delivers the food so the question which naturally comes to mind is how is the restaurant industry getting benefits from the incorporation of technology in its business? Let us show you how.
Ordering on the go. Smartphones have radically altered the process of takeaway for many popular fast food chains. Customers can simply open up the app of their favorite fast food chain on their smartphones and order anything from the entire menu to their liking. The app will tell them the approximate time it’ll take their order to be prepared. Once it is prepared, they can simply collect it from the counter or drive-thru. This saves the time customers had to spend in long queues when they ordered after getting to the restaurant. Also, it reduces the pressure on the kitchen staff as by giving them some space as the orders are not constantly pouring in.
Tabletop check-outs. Nobody likes it when the waiter takes away our credit card for what seems like an eternity, it makes us deeply uncomfortable as we’ve all heard stories of credit card fraud and identity theft after paying in a restaurant through our credit card. Some entrepreneurs have developed solutions for self-checkouts right on your dinner table. The device is essentially a tablet running a proprietary software which displays your bill and gives options to order other things before you leave. It saves a lot of time for the restaurant, allowing them to service more diners in the same night and the customers don’t get uneasy as the credit card doesn’t get out of their sight while the online payment process is protected by encryption.
Create your own food. Technology has really changed the food industry to the point where it has started to define how food is prepared and how customers too can participate in the process. The choices have also been significantly increased. One ice cream machine by the vendor MooBella can deliver a mind-boggling total of 96 variants pf ice cream using a standard set of ingredients and any of these flavors can be had in less than a minute. It reduces the need for staff and saves time in the delivery of ice cream, many cafeterias, and fast food restaurants have shown an interest in this.
Restaurant Management Systems. An important aspect of running of any restaurant is the proper utilization of its resources and for this many software solutions have been developed which can be easily installed on your tab and can give detailed views of all information related to tables, inventory, orders etc. in real time.
The question for most restaurant owners is “Where do we begin?” That’s where the Goliath Consulting Group team can help by sifting through all the technology available, choose the solutions that best fit your organization and develop an implementation plan to get you up and running.
As restaurant managers, operators or owners, we like to think that we can never fall victim to an outbreak of food-borne illness. As consumers, we like to assume that we cannot contract a food-borne disease while dining at a restaurant. While everyone likes to think that they are taking all the precautions to prevent food-borne diseases, the fact remains that these diseases occur way too often. A report published by CDC in 2015 cited that food-borne diseases are on the rise. As such, it’s now more important than ever before for food establishments to re-evaluate their food safety practices to reduce the risk of food-borne illnesses.
Ever wonder how these pathogens end up in restaurants? Unfortunately, there are several ways pathogens can find their way into restaurants including guests coming with them, the food supply etc. If a restaurant doesn’t adhere to safe food preparation protocols, these pathogens are likely to survive and with time, gain the ability to cause harm to guests. So how are restaurants doing when it comes to food safety? Believe it or not, CDC studies have found that restaurants are the most common sources of food-borne diseases. There’s a lot of room for improvement and a number of precautions that restaurants can take to reduce the risk of food borne diseases.
The food service industry and medical professionals are increasingly becoming concerned about the increased number of microbes that are now resistant to food preparation methods, antibiotics and storage methods. It’s even more unfortunate that few consumers hardly view their own food safety practices as potential hazards.
Other factors that contribute to increased incidents of food safety issues include change in consumer lifestyles and demographics, change in the food system where the lines between food service operators, retail grocers and food process are fading as well as advancements in science and technology have allowed for better methods of detecting disease causing pathogens.
Many restaurant owners and consumers begin to worry about effective food safety measures when an outbreak occurs. They somehow forget that prevention is better than the outcome of dealing with a food-borne illness outbreak that can have quite a negative impact on the public and the brand.
Types of food-borne diseases that impact the industry
There are more than 250 food-borne diseases caused by prions, metals, toxins, parasites, bacteria and viruses. The most common ones that affect the food service industry that also pose a dire threat to humans include norovirus, listeria, E. coli, hepatitis A and salmonella.
E. coli: Even when ingested in small amounts, these bacteria can cause damage to the intestines. Effects of the bacteria include violent vomiting, mild discomfort and in extreme
cases, death. It spreads by a fecal-to-oral route where contamination can occur at the farm and if not cleaned properly, the guests at a restaurant can easily ingest it.
Listeria: Unlike other bacteria that need high temperatures to thrive, listeria can survive on lower temperatures. It spreads through cross contamination in food and can be quite dangerous especially for individuals who aren’t immunized. For pregnant women, listeria can cause infant mortality.
Norovirus: Frequent outbreaks of norovirus have compounded a concern for food safety especially in the restaurant industry. The virus is highly contagious and often spreads through human-to-food-to-human contact especially as a result of poor hygiene practices in food service environments. And whether or not they show symptoms, humans can still transfer the virus.
Building the foundation of an effective food safety program
Having an effective food safety program in place is important for protecting the public and the employees in a restaurant. Considering that the CDC has attributed more than 1300 deaths, almost 56,000 hospitalizations and 9.4 million illnesses to food-related pathogens, the issue of food safety in restaurants is a matter of urgency. The success of a food safety program is highly dependent on several factors including ensuring that employees are trained and understand the importance of food safety.
A good food safety program should have a few essential characteristics some of which include:
• Identify the hazards and determine the risks involved
• Implement systems that can help combat the risks
• Prohibit your workers from coming to work while ill
• Follow the proper cooking instructions such as internal temperatures
• Provide an alcohol-based hand sanitizer for guests to use when they come into the restaurant
• Wash hands frequently, when preparing food or after visiting the washrooms
• Implement processes to prevent cross-contamination
Monitoring food preparation and service during every shift keenly is important if restaurant owners, managers and operators wish to minimize the risk of food-borne disease. Working with and not against local food safety departments is also a big step. All shift managers should also consider enrolling for ServSafe classes offered by Goliath Consulting Group or through your local restaurant association and the National Restaurant Association.
For more information on Food Safety in Restaurants, contact us at email@example.com
It is vital for restaurants to manage and monitor their reputation online for very obvious reasons. If you have a great restaurant, people will rave about you offline because of your amazing food you serve to them and the wonderful experience that they enjoy at your place. If you have a poor online reputation management strategy, or you have no strategy at all, you miss out on the chance to enhance your brand’s image. Measuring your brand’s online presence is of great importance.
The Importance of Social Listening Applications
You need to know what is being said about your restaurant’s brand on the internet. A strong online presence is a vital element of your marketing and should be part of your action plan. This is regardless of how small or large your business is and regardless of which industry your business belongs to. Outbound marketing will reinforce your brand and a web presence will help you represent the reasons why your restaurant is so great. Thus identifying and evaluating conversations about your brand, your services and your competition become vital.
Social Media Platforms to Monitor
Numerous social media platforms have come up in the recent past and it is necessary to monitor conversation on such platforms. There is Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn and Pinterest for example. There is no doubt that it can be quite hectic to monitor all these social media platforms. There are tools available that can help you keep track of conversation that centers on your restaurant. Google Alerts is a great tool because you will get notifications through email anytime appear somewhere on the web. You also get links to reference sites and you are able to recognize what is being said.
Importance of Determining Your Traffic Sources
Google analytics will help you determine your traffic source and you can develop advanced segments for your website as well as for your social media platforms. Google Analytics helps you track website visitors and also helps you determine which social media platforms to use to drive traffic to your website. Generally, numerous online platforms promote interaction among users regarding a specific product or service. Evaluating the influence of your restaurant online will assist you in understanding the influence of your brand online. Finding out how your brand exhibits itself to its audience and how its online reputation is perceived will enable you to create a favorable brand impression.
How Restaurants Can Handle Social Media Effectively
While many restaurants might be using social media, not many are using it productively. Some restaurant businesses have not made plans to use social media effectively and as a result, they are not getting good reaction online. The benefits of social media might not be seen instantly but raising online brand awareness will have a long term benefit and will increase the bottom line. A good presence online can have dramatic effects and bring about great success for restaurants. One approach to having a great online presence would be to have online competitions and to have insightful topical issues on food and nutrition. This can have a dramatic increase in your restaurant’s online presence. With more people talking about your restaurant online, this active engagement can bring about more customers walking into your doors. If you position your restaurant business online as a brand with healthy food for example, people will want to be associated with your business.
The Importance of Online Reputation Intelligence
To manage your online presence, you must control what appears when people Google the name of your restaurant. But this is not enough. You should essentially analyze the negative sentiments that appear online about your restaurant and you ought to address them. A majority of customers will probably read online reviews before making a decision to walk into your restaurant. What they read might determine if they want to do business with you or not. The simplicity of reputation management is that businesses learn what customers are talking about with regards to their experience with the specific business. Reputation monitoring will locate comments and observations from new sites, blogs and social networks and help you get the full picture of what people talk about your restaurant. Positive word of mouth will propel foot traffic into your restaurant. Negative word of mouth will on the other hand destroy your restaurant business. Knowing what is negative about your business can help you make key changes.
Dealing with Social Media Correctly
When you monitor social media, you will get information that you must respond to. Such information can be negative at times. You must respond to negative social media in an appropriate manner. Never try to justify yourself because that might hurt your brand. Everyone else reads comments both negative and positive. Never blame the person who commented and try to be balanced and professional in your responses. Always be brief and do not go on for too long or you will reveal too much. When you keep it simple, the customer might be encouraged to approach you directly and this might resolve a matter amicably. Comments should be treated as consumer research and this will help your restaurant. It is always important to think like the customer and put yourself in their shoes before making any replies. Social media can help your restaurant business but can also destroy you.