August 2011 Restaurant Trend Tracker


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Restaurant Websites - The Worst of the Worst
Food Twittacle
The King is Dead
Oatmeal - Hot and Now?
and more

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August 2011 Restaurant Trend Tracker

  1. 1. 08/11Restaurant Websites – The Worst of the WorstFood TwittacleThe King Is DeadOatmeal – Hot & Now?And more
  2. 2. 08/11 Restaurant Websites: Not good, bad & ugly When’s the last time you went to a restaurant’s website and came away feeling like you had a good Web experience? There’s a good chance that your answer is never. As consumers, we likely visit a restaurant’s site for only a handful of reasons: to review the menu and prices, make a reservation or confirm telephone High Fives for number/hours of operation/location. Five Guys Culinary curiosity may drive us to the Web for a few other It happens to almost all of us — that craving for reasons, but what we find at most restaurant sites is nothing good. a great burger. You never know when it might These sites are plagued with auto-play music, Flash-based strike, but fortunately there’s probably a Five slideshows, poor navigation and far too often menus with no Guys near you. For the past few years, Zagat prices. and other consumer surveys have consistently A recent article on attempted to root out the cause of ranked Five Guys as having one of the best- this overabundance of poor restaurant websites, and the author tasting burgers around.discovered that chefs and restaurateurs aren’t solely responsible. Some of the fault lieswith the Web designers who attempt - and fail - to somehow recreate the restaurant Therefore, it’s no surprise that in 2010 theexperience online. number of new Five Guys outpaced the number of new McDonald’s by greater than 4:1.It’s important to remember that your website is often a first impression of your brand, anddelivering simple, useful information in a straightforward manner is far more important On the opposite end of the spectrum, let’s hopethan trying to dazzle with fancy pictures and graphics. Besides, if I’m visiting a you don’t constantly crave a Quiznos sub. Therestaurant’s website, there’s a good chance I’m already out and about and surfing from chain closed 600 stores in 2010. Ouch!my iPhone. What good is your Flash-based site to me then? Read the full article here.Read the full article here.Source: Source: consumerist.comFood Twittacle!!! Don’t Stop PedalingDid you know that some restaurants have started Forget trying to put 50 cents into this vendingperforming twittacles (slang for a “Twitter machine. Take a seat and start pedalingmiracle”)? Recently, Peter Shankman, a social instead. California beverage brand Activatemedia entrepreneur with 100,000+ Twitter has created custom vending machines thatfollowers, tweeted before boarding a flight from distribute free drinks when customers spend aTampa to Newark. little time on a stationary bike connected to the machine.The subject of his tweet? Shankman jokinglyhoped for a porterhouse steak from Morton’s Source: Springwise.comSteakhouse awaiting upon his arrival at theNewark airport.Low and behold, Morton’s answered that wish bysending a tuxedo-clad employee to the airportwith a porterhouse steak in tow. The steak andwell-dressed delivery boy greeted Shankman ashe made his way to ground transportation.Talk about a great way to generate PR buzz andalso make an influential customer’s brand loyaltyregister off the charts.Source:
  3. 3. Portion Control Redefines Value 08/11There’s no way to pinpoint the exact time in American culinary history whenexcessive portions somehow came to represent value to the average consumer.However, 2011 or 2012 will perhaps mark the year when Americans finally sayenough is enough. QR Codes NeverA recent research report from The NPD Group found that 43% of Americans Tasted Betterclaimed to have eaten smaller portions all or most of the time in the past year. Ofthe 5,000 adults surveyed, 57% asserted they would like to eat smaller portions in Research is revealing more about the usethe coming year. and users of QR codes, as the consumerWhat does this mean for your brand? engagement technology finds its way intoWell, for starters it means that serving size new promotions by restaurants.will start to play a larger role in thedecisions consumers make while dining Unlike conventional bar codes, a QR codeout. This is especially true for Gen X and stores information vertically andGen Y consumers who tend to value horizontally. When a smartphone cameraportion size/control higher than do Baby captures a code, special software on theBoomers and diners older than 55. phone displays additional information or links the user to a website with data orAs Americans become more and more special conscious and restaurants face potential menu-labeling mandates,downsizing portions seems unavoidable to adhere to ideal caloric intakes. Irvine, Calif.-based Taco Bell is currentlyRestaurants have the ability and also the responsibility to help redefine a serving using such codes to promote its Big Boxsize in the eyes and stomachs of Americans. Remixed meal bundle, and 23-unit fast-Get creative. Offer more options. Find interesting ways to serve up healthier food. casual Boudin Bakery of San FranciscoSmaller doesn’t have to mean less of what really matters. incorporated QR codes into a recent Facebook coupon so smartphone usersSource: NPD Group Survey Image: Nicholas Watts on flickr could quickly access an online store- locator tool. Just how many consumers are using such QR code technology, and where are they using it?The King Is Dead Recent research by digital media measurement company comScore Inc.The newest TV spots from Burger King started appearing on TVs across indicated that in June, 14 millionAmerica toward the end of August. What didn’t appear was the creepy King smartphone and other camera-equippedmascot, made famous by the brand’s ad campaigns in the early 2000s. mobile device users in the United States scanned a QR code. That representedBurger King’s current management transition, creative ad agency, and menu about 6.2 percent of all mobile deviceupdates have all shaped the new direction the brand appears set to take. The users age 13 or advertising will focus on making the product the hero and emphasizingfreshness and quality. Such tactics are being deployed in efforts to win over a Read the full article here.broader demographic of mothers and families (as opposed to the younger maleaudiences previously targeted). Source: Only one new ad has debuted thus far, and it’s promoting the new Enjoy a taste of Luckie by scanning below. avocado-and-bacon-topped California Whopper. Let’s just hope that the burger we order at our local BK looks as good as the food photography in the new spots and isn’t just a Whopper with some green slime on top.Source: NRN News Image: zieak on flickr
  4. 4. Chow Down in Chi-Town 08/11Strange to think that bands such as The Strokes would ever share thestage with the likes of a lobster corn dog, but believe it or not, that’s whathappened at this year’s 20th annual Lollapalooza in Chicago. The three-day concert featured more than 130 bands, and more than 30 localChicago restaurants and vendors came out to feed the masses.Leading the charge to feed festival-goers was well-known celebrity chefand Chicago native Graham Elliot Bowles, who has been dubbed officialLollapalooza “Culinary Director” for the past two years. Calling on otherlocal chefs who enjoy music, Graham has challenged the status quo of Food Trucking 101festival food – typically corn dogs, funnel cakes and various mystery meats Looking to start your own food truckon a stick. business? You’re going to need to know a Given the sampling of dishes served this year, the bar has certainly been raised for festival lot more than how to cook and the Kelley food. (Yes, we’re looking at you Texas. Let’s Blue Book value of that fixer-upper panel see what you can bust out for Austin City Limits van you’ve been eyeing. 2011.) Check out this clip on in which ?uestlove from The Roots takes a tour By the time you’ve done the math, you may of Chow Town and samples a few of Chicago’s decide you’re better off sinking your money culinary treats, including a watermelon and into a good old-fashioned brick and mortar jalapeño popsicle. establishment. On average, kick-starting a Source: Food & Wine Image: mobile restaurant could cost you $30 — $80K, which doesn’t seem too bad compared to the average cost of opening a traditional eatery ($125 — $500K). However, you’ve got to account for the red tape and unexpected expenses of running aOatmeal – Hot & Now? restaurant on wheels. Permits and gas prices play a large role in your operations,Krispy Kreme finally appears to be throwing in the towel against theunrelenting opponent that is consumers’ desire for healthier menu choices. and these costs can vary significantlyHaving recently experienced its best quarterly profits since 2004, the depending on where you plan to hit thecompany hopes to build upon recent success and boost sales by streets. For example, firing up the engineincorporating more health-conscious options. and stove in Colorado Springs will only cost you $115 for a permit, but in a market suchEarlier this summer patrons, could visit a Krispy Kreme for a taste of a as Los Angeles, you could be looking at“Cookies and Kreme” doughnut made from real Oreos. But come this fall, well over $500.they’ll be able to order yogurt, oatmeal and fruit juice to accompany thoselittle circular bundles of deliciousness the company has been making since1937. Additional expenses, both financial and mental, can include parking, turf wars,Following in the footsteps of another doughnut-slinging competitor, Krispy inclement weather, storage issues andKreme also plans to unveil a specialty coffee line in the next year or so. marketing. Learn more and see lots ofCustomers will be able to enjoy this new coffee both in stores and at home, pretty pictures at the original blog postas there are plans to sell the product via retail grocers. here.On a personal note, it was recently Source: newsletterannounced that the iconic KrispyKreme store on McFarland Boulevardin Tuscaloosa, Alabama, will be rebuiltand will reopen after being destroyedin the April 27 tornadoes that sweptacross the state.Crimson Tide fans can rejoice knowingthey will once again be able tocelebrate victories or wallow in defeataccompanied by a dozen hot-and-nowdoughnuts (or a dozen bowls ofoatmeal, if that’s how you roll).Source: Image: isriya on flickr
  5. 5. Previous editions of this newsletter can be downloadedat luckie.comIf you wish to be added to the monthly distribution list for thisnewsletter, please send an email to andinclude Restaurant Trend Tracker in the subject line.For further insight you can follow Luckie on Twitter,