After years of decline in restaurant sales, soda makers are responding with new technology, new flavors, and even new craft sodas in hopes of regaining lost market share. Both Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have new state-of-the-art machines that offer dozens of flavors and can provide customers with the opportunity to create their own concoctions, such as peach and vanilla drinks. Starbucks, meanwhile, offers patrons a means to control the amount of carbonation in their drinks, while other beverage companies are upping their game with higher quality ingredients and carbonated teas. While soft drinks continue to make up the largest sellers in the drink segment, the NPD Group found that sales have slipped some 3% since 2012... largely because of major publicity against the sugary drinks.
Testing Food For Pathogens A Growing Concern For Restaurants
While the FDA will now hold food companies accountable for preventing contamination, an increasing number of restaurants are looking for food producers who can offer products that are pre-tested for food pathogens and purity. Several companies already offer quick porcine tests for kosher and Halal foods, dairy and oil adulteration, while others provide traceability with real-time monitoring or next-day test results for pathogens such as Listeria, Food Quality & Safety reports.
Want To Buy A Restaurant Empire… On Your iPad?
A Texas company recently introduced a new game that lets you test your skills in building a restaurant empire, QSRweb reports. Called Restaurant Bigwig 2.0, the game has a five-star rating in the Apple App Store and is already played in 32 countries. You get to compete against others or against robots at different skill levels, from fine dining to fast-food restaurants. While it certainly will not make you the next Tim Horton, it may allow you to put your restaurant chops on display and provide some valuable educational pointers as well. The game is available to the end of the year at the Apple App store for $2.99. After that, the price increases to $7.99.
McDonald’s Shrinks Menu… Maybe You Should Too
We have all heard the old saying “It is impossible to be all things to all people.” So why do we keep trying to do it? Even McDonald’s is changing its menu after a rude wake-up call cost the company a 30% drop in revenue in the third quarter and another bad showing to end up the year. "McDonald's Experience of the Future" will offer a simplified, more local menu. Customers will have the chance to customize their order and even use the new iPad pay feature to cover the tab. What is the bottom line of McDonald’s changes? Stay in touch with your customers.
Snack Dining Continues To Grow
Forget those multi-course sit-down dinners. Packaged Facts, a research publisher, recently found that a majority of American diners prefer to snack throughout the day rather than sit down to a big meal. More than 66% of Americans say they often snack between meals, up 5% in a decade. So why do we do it? Snacks are considered healthier, cost less, are quick to prepare, and are something customers feel they can eat any time of the day. If you are in the foodservice world and do not already do so, break out those snack foods and see your profits soar.
Top Five Foods
According to a survey conducted by Nation’s Restaurants News, the top five foods of the decade are:
5. Mexican Foods, up 8.3%
4. Poultry Sandwiches, up 8.3%
3. Pizza, up 9.6%
2. Bottled Water, up 10.7%
1. Yogurt, up 12.5%
The next five most popular foods are: fruits, energy bars, frozen ice cream bars, chips, and pancakes.
What Makes A Website Great
Thanks to our friends at American Express for this infographic on the makings of a great website:
Think you offer great customer service? How about a little test. Answer no to any of the five questions and it is time to do a bit of tidying up on the service end of the business. Not to worry. Only you will know how you will answer. But on the outside chance you want some expert advice on customer retention, you can always call Team Four Foods. We’re always here to help. Okay, so here’s the quiz:
1.) Do you see customer service as a line-item cost?
2.) Are you spending more time bringing new customers in instead of keeping the customers you have? 3.) Do you provide ongoing staff training?
4.) Do you differentiate your restaurant from the competition?
5.) Do you really value loyal customers? How?
If you hesitated on any of the above questions, it may be time for some outside help. Remember, you may serve food, but you are really in the people business.
Holiday Parties Are Back. Are You In?
Hopefully, you have booked your share of holiday parties this season. If you haven’t, you are doing something wrong. According to the Los Angeles Times, holiday parties are up 22% over last year. In fact, nearly 90% of companies plan holiday parties, up big time in just a few years. Most of those events require catering, so if you were caught empty handed this year, better not let it happen again… because that is lost revenue ending up in your competitors’ pockets.
Restaurant Jobs To Grow By 400,000 in Next Decade
The National Restaurant Association says that its sector is about to explode. Predicting more than 400,000 new jobs, NRA predicts that 53% will be servers and the rest will be chefs and frontline supervisors. That sounds great for the aspiring Wolfgang Pucks of the world, but it may also spell trouble for restaurants vying for talented help. The key is to plan ahead, the NRA says. Some restaurants are already paying valued wait staff and kitchen personnel more money, but they say it is well worth it. Nearly 70% of staff say they plan to spend their careers where they are because it offers opportunities that can span their entire professional lives. Bottom line: Treat your staff well. They are the name, face, voice, and soul of your business.