Posts Tagged ‘restaurant news’

Technology in the Restaurant

March 15, 2013

In our day and age, a business can’t survive long without adapting to the ever changing technology that barrages it. While you might think that food should remain relatively unaffected by the latest gadgets on the market, many restaurant owners have found that creative leveraging of new technology has significantly boosted their bottom line. Here are the highlights of some of the most interesting technological uses in the restaurant.

Mobile Payment Platforms for the Restaurant

It is estimated that the worldwide value of mobile-payment transactions will nearly quadruple over the course of the next three years as more and more consumers utilize their phones and tablets to pay their bills. The forecast is that the mobile payment market will be worth around $617 billion with a total of 448 million users by 2016.  This represents a huge demographic that, as a restaurant owner, would be wise not to ignore.

Unfortunately, there is not, as yet, a one-size-fits-all mobile payment platform. Different establishments are experimenting with a variety of different platforms to find the one that is best suited to the restaurant industry. The three biggest platforms in use right now are Square, Isis Mobile Wallet, and MCX.

Several restaurants have seen increased enrollment in their loyalty clubs when they adopt the use of mobile apps. These same institutions report vastly improved data gathering as well.  Integrating your brand with mobile payment platforms allows you to consolidate your mobile payments and mobile loyalty programs into one easily accessible platform.

Tablet PCs for Digital Ordering and Loyalty Rewards

Tablet PCs have become increasingly popular for a variety of uses in the restaurant. Some establishments hand them out in place of menus to allow digital ordering and at-table payment. Others are using them to give customers digital rewards tied to their loyalty programs when ordering certain items in-house. Several restaurants have found that the use of a tablet menu increases their sales of food and wine and has dramatically increased the use of ‘mix and match’ promotions for menu items.

Of course, tablet PCs have also found wide use as a tool for servers and hostesses to increase and efficiently deliver orders, track reservations, and increase consumer satisfaction with customer service.

Wi-Fi Bars, iPad Jukeboxes and Other Tech Amenities in the Restaurant

While the preceding technologies were used more for function rather than entertainment, these technological advances are equally important to meet consumer entertainment satisfaction requirements as well. Having Wi-Fi Internet available is particularly important, and some restaurants have gone so far as to create ‘Wi-Fi’ bars to encourage customers to linger in their establishments longer. Having outlets available to allow consumers to re-charge their devices is also particularly popular.

Having both plugs and Wi-Fi available can drastically increase the flow of traffic through the doors of the business. Other restaurant owners have employed technology in a more entertaining way – by providing iPads that will play personalized jukebox stations while you dine, or by using those same tablets to run a quiz bowl or other fun game that diners can play while they eat.

There are numerous choices a person could make when selecting the right technology to integrate with a business establishment like a restaurant. It’s smart to analyze the trends and figure out how to integrate technology that is both efficient to install and beneficial to customers to use.

Restaurant News Snippets

October 11, 2011

Today’s news includes new Dickey’s Barbecue news (they are growing!), reports of how Tropical Storm Irene impacted the restaurant business (and how we helped storm victims), and how FEMA uses a certain chain restaurant to help it figure out the state of things in disaster areas.


Country Musician New Owner of Dickey’s Barbecue Pit


Country singer Guy New recently opened a new Dickey’s Barbeque Pit store in Texas. The chain originated in that state, and now has 171 locations in 38 states. The franchise cites its modest goal of having 200 total stores by year’s end. The first Dickey’s opened in 1941.


“Dickey’s Barbecue serves quality barbecue at a great price and really strives to make a difference in the community. The decision to open my own Dickey’s franchise was simple,” says New, who is opening the store in Rowlett, TX. The new location will be the second Dickey’s franchise in that town.


“We are excited about expanding in our home state,” says DBRI President Roland Dickey, Jr. “It’s important to always remember where you came from and where it all started.”


East Coast Eateries Help Flood Victims, Show Good Numbers


A number of east coast restaurants provided more than just food for those affective by Irene earlier this year. While it’s true that patrons came in for food that they often couldn’t cook at home (due to power outages, etc.), they also came in for another reason:  to stay close to family and friends.


Many patrons whose home Internet connections were out came to the restaurants specifically to access their email and social media. Quite often, it was the only way they could let out-of-town family know they were doing well.


Many operators reported doing Friday-night numbers on Monday afternoons! Others reported holiday-type traffic in the days after the storm hit.


FEMA Uses “Waffle House Index” to Judge Disaster Severity


Did you know that FEMA uses Waffle House to help it determine just how bad a disaster really is? It’s true!


When locations of the franchise in affected areas serve the full menu, the index is green. The index is pushed to yellow when Waffle House offers a reduced menu–usually a sign of using power generators and/or dwindling food supplies. When Waffle House locations are closed in an area, then the index is bumped to red. Strange as it may sound, the “Waffle House Index” is probably a very good practical indicator of conditions in an area.

Restaurant News Snippets for September

September 29, 2011

Here are a couple of recent news items. It’s interesting to see the different places the industry is heading.


6 George Webb Restaurants Turn Into Gridders


George Webb is losing six of its locations – five in Milwaukee, and one in Menomonee Falls (WI). Instead of renewing their franchise licenses for the next year, they are instead taking on a new name – Gridders.


The five Milwaukee restaurants are located in the southern part of town; they are owned by Rob and Don Hensiak. The Menomonee Falls location is owned by Diane Neavins, who has entered into a licensing agreement with the Hensiaks.


The new Gridders restaurants “will try and tweak…better or at least match the quality of Webb’s.” The Hensiaks have been Webb’s franchisees for 20 years. They were unhappy with last year’s agreement, which required big changes in management, advertising and royalties, they said.


A total of eight restaurants have left the George Webb chain in the past year – including one in Appleton and one in Burlington. Vice President Ryan Stamm claims the changes were minor, and meant to improve cleanliness, food consistency, and management.


These “defections” leave the George Webb chain with 28 restaurants – although there is a new one planned for Kenosha, WI in the near future. There is no word yet on whether the other two remaining former Webb’s restaurants will join the Gridders chain.


Cosi Loses CEO


Premium convenience restaurant company Cosi, Inc. recently announced it has appointed board chairman Mark Demilio as interim CEO. This move replaces James Hyatt, who is leaving the company because of family considerations.


Hyatt will stay on as a company employee until late September in order to aid the transition process. The board of directors has created a search committee to search for a new chief executive.


“I continue to believe in the direction and future of Cosi,” said Hyatt. Hyatt is leaving the company to spend more time with his family in Atlanta. Cosi corporate offices are located in Deerfield, IL.