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KFC Spices Up the Colonel With Dating Game, Drawing Horror and Delight
Sept. 24, 2019 | WSJ | By Sarah E. Needleman.

KFC pitchman Colonel Sanders is joining the dating scene, in the latest example of how brands are trying to appeal to new generations of consumers.

The real Colonel Harland Sanders, known for sporting browline glasses, a black Western bow tie and snow-white hair, died in 1980 at age 90. The iconic persona of the 67-year-old fast-food chain has lived on in various forms, though, including in a series of ads since 2015 starring a rotating cast of celebrities.

More youthful and fit than ever, he now stars in a new videogame released Tuesday that invites players to try to win his heart.

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In “I Love You, Colonel Sanders! A Finger Lickin’ Good Dating Simulator,” made by New York and Los Angeles studio Psyop Inc., the Colonel is a lanky cartoon chef who could pass for a millennial hipster. Players answer a series of questions that determine their fate as they navigate a virtual kitchen in hopes of impressing him with their chicken-frying savvy.

The project targets fans of both anime and dating simulations, said Jarrod Higgins, creative director of KFC’s advertising agency, Wieden+Kennedy. In April, KFC introduced a computer-generated, chiseled male model inspired by the poultry pitchman in a series of campy Instagram photos.

“We’ve definitely strayed from the original recipe here,” said Adriane Pontecorvo, a 29-year-old radio DJ in Bloomington, Ind., of the chef’s new, sexy persona. “I’m very into it.”

Others aren’t amused. Dianne Klein, who worked at a KFC restaurant in Fair Oaks, Calif., as a teenager in the 1970s, can’t stomach the notion of dating any version of the Colonel. The eatery, at the time, had a large, plastic statue of the elderly entrepreneur outside its doors that reminded her of Santa Claus, she said.

“Obviously this is not my demo they’re going after,” said Ms. Klein, chief of staff at the University of California’s investment arm.

The Colonel isn’t the only mascot to age in reverse. In 2012, Quaker Oats gave its venerable Quaker man “Larry” a shorter haircut and more exposed shoulders to look burlier, though not sexy. Procter & Gamble Co. ’s Mr. Clean and Georgia-Pacific’s Brawny man have also had makeovers to help those brands appeal to younger consumers.

Nailing down the right new look can be challenging. In the early 2000s, Leo Burnett executives spent months studying a refresh of Pillsbury Co.’s famous doughboy Poppin’ Fresh, said Cheryl Berman, former chairman and creative chief at the ad agency, a unit of Publicis Groupe SA . They considered giving the mascot a girlfriend, as well as making him larger and more agile, among other possibilities. Ultimately no changes were made to the decades-old pudgy brand ambassador, Ms. Berman said.

“Research said don’t touch him, so we freshened and evolved his stories, but not him,” said Ms. Berman, now head of Chicago creative firm Unbundled LLC.

The stakes are high. Many people weren’t lovin’ it when McDonald’s Co. gave Ronald McDonald a hip, urban look with cargo pants and a red jacket in 2014. Critics took to social media, calling the iconic clown “Ronald McDouche,” for example, while Esquire at the time said the new look resembled a “serial killer’s church outfit.”

Rolling out new versions of the Colonel is serious business for a chain that is trying to maintain sales growth, while battling competitors like Chick-fil-A Inc. and Restaurant Brands Inc.’s Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. In various ad campaigns over the years, the pitchman has been played by celebrities such as actors Reba McEntire and Ray Liotta.

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“Our strategy has been to find new, interesting and provocative ways to make the Colonel a part of pop culture,” said Andrea Zahumensky, marketing chief for KFC U.S., part of Yum Brands Inc., in a statement. “He’s always our north star.”

Using videogames and social media to reach consumers is a popular method for advertisers since more people, especially younger audiences, are watching less traditional television and aren’t exposed as much to TV commercials, said Allen Adamson, co-founder of Metaforce LLC, a New York marketing agency. But it isn’t a guaranteed recipe for success.

“There isn’t always a direct correlation between getting noticed and selling a product,” Mr. Adamson said. “The question remains, will they sell an extra bucket of chicken or not?”

Tyler LeBeau, a 31-year-old IT worker from Chicago who also wrestles and regularly plays videogames, said KFC’s new dating game isn’t appealing. “It doesn’t spark my fryer,” he said.

Write to Sarah E. Needleman at sarah.needleman@wsj.com
KFC  videogames  restaurants  marketing 
26 days ago by jerryking
Arby’s Parent to Acquire Jimmy John’s
Sept. 25, 2019 | WSJ | By Heather Haddon.

BUSINESS
Arby’s Parent to Acquire Jimmy John’s
Inspire Brands adds to a stable of restaurants that also includes Sonic, Buffalo Wild Wings

Jimmy John’s had $2.15 billion in U.S. sales last year across 2,803 stores. PHOTO: JOHN LOCHER/ASSOCIATED PRESS
By Heather Haddon
Sept. 25, 2019 6:55 am ET
Inspire Brands Inc. is acquiring Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches, the private-equity-backed firm’s latest addition to its stable of restaurant chains.

While competitors focus on either fast-food or casual restaurant formats, Inspire is betting that it can draw in more diners and generate higher sales by owning restaurants that span that spectrum. The company acquired the Sonic burger chain last year after merging Arby’s and Buffalo Wild Wings earlier in the year.

The acquisition of Jimmy John’s will make Inspire the fourth-largest U.S. restaurant company, with more than $14 billion in sales across 11,200 restaurants, according to Inspire. Both companies engaged in an equity-swap transaction for the deal, the exact financial terms of which weren’t disclosed. The transaction is expected to close next month.

Inspire Chief Executive Paul Brown has said he wants to acquire around 10 chains, each with about $4.5 billion in annual sales.

“I’m more confident in our approach to the business today than I was even when I started out on this path,” Mr. Brown said in an interview. He added that he is looking for chains with strong growth potential rather than specific cuisines to add to Inspire’s menu.

Jimmy John’s, based in Champaign, Ill., had $2.15 billion in U.S. sales last year across 2,803 stores, a roughly 50% increase in both sales and locations since 2013, according to market-research firm Technomic Inc.

Roark Capital Group, a private-equity firm that first took a majority stake in Jimmy John’s in 2016, is also the financial backer that created Inspire through the Arby’s and Buffalo Wild Wings merger last year. Jimmy John’s was valued at around $2.3 billion when Roark acquired a stake that included a minority share in the sandwich maker owned by private-equity firm Weston Presidio.

Jimmy John’s is facing competition from newer sandwich chains including Jersey Mike’s Subs, Firehouse Subs and Cousins Submarines Inc. Subway remains the dominant player in the market and has expanded delivery through outside companies. Jimmy John’s has stuck to its own fleet of delivery couriers. Mr. Brown said it was too early to say whether Inspire would open Jimmy John’s to third-party delivery companies.

Jimmy John Liautaud, who opened the chain while he was in college at Eastern Illinois University in 1983, will step down as board chairman and become an adviser to the brand, Inspire and Mr. Liautaud said. Jimmy John’s president, James North, will remain and report to Inspire.

In a letter sent Wednesday to suppliers and vendors, Mr. Liautaud said Inspire’s buying power and technology would make the company more efficient and profitable.

“I created, raised, and nurtured this company to the best of my ability and now it’s time for this brand to soar,” he wrote.

Outside of its holdings in Inspire, Atlanta-based Roark has a large food and restaurant portfolio, with investments in ice-cream maker Carvel, Auntie Anne’s pretzels and burger chain Carl’s Jr. Roark led Wingstop Inc. to a public offering in 2015 after owning a majority of the chain for five years.

Wingstop’s shares were up 36% this year as of Tuesday’s close, roughly in line with share gains this year for some other multibrand restaurant companies, including Yum Brands Inc. and Restaurants Brands International Inc.

Write to Heather Haddon at heather.haddon@wsj.com
brands  fast-food  M&A  mergers_&_acquisitions  restaurants 
26 days ago by jerryking
3 reasons why restaurants need mobile, cloud technology | FastCasual
April 14, 2014

Google: "cloud computing" fast food franchises
digital-first restaurants valuations
cloud_computing  mobile_applications  mobile_phones  restaurants  virtual_restaurants 
5 weeks ago by jerryking
The Rise of the Virtual Restaurant
Aug. 14, 2019 | The New York Times | By Mike Isaac and David Yaffe-Bellany.

Virtual restaurants” exist with no physical storefronts, tables or chairs. They exist only inside a mobile app, like Uber Eats, the on-demand meal delivery service owned by Uber......Food delivery apps like Uber Eats, DoorDash and Grubhub are starting to reshape the $863 billion American restaurant industry. As more people order food to eat at home, and as delivery becomes faster and more convenient, the apps are changing the very essence of what it means to operate a restaurant.

No longer must restaurateurs rent space for a dining room. All they need is a kitchen — or even just part of one. Then they can hang a shingle inside a meal-delivery app and market their food to the app’s customers, without the hassle and expense of hiring waiters or paying for furniture and tablecloths. Diners who order from the apps may have no idea that the restaurant doesn’t physically exist.

The shift has popularized two types of digital culinary establishments. One is “virtual restaurants,” which are attached to real-life restaurants like Mr. Lopez’s Top Round but make different cuisines specifically for the delivery apps. The other is “ghost kitchens,” which have no retail presence and essentially serve as a meal preparation hub for delivery orders.

“Online ordering is not a necessary evil. It’s the most exciting opportunity in the restaurant industry today,”....Many of the delivery-only operations are nascent, but their effect may be far-reaching, potentially accelerating people’s turn toward order-in food over restaurant visits and preparing home-cooked meals.

Uber and other companies are driving the change. Since 2017, the ride-hailing company has helped start 4,000 virtual restaurants with restaurateurs which are exclusive to its Uber Eats app.....Uber Eats analyzes neighborhood sales data to identify unmet demand for particular cuisines (e.g. "there is demand for late-night orders of burgers and ice cream in your area"). Then it approaches restaurants that use the app and encourages them to create a virtual restaurant to meet that demand.....Restaurants that use delivery apps like Uber Eats and Grubhub pay commissions of 15 percent to as much as 30 percent on every order......Delivery apps may also undermine the connection between diner and chef. ....Delivery-only facilities “take away the emotional connection and the creative redemption.”....In Europe, the food-delivery app Deliveroo also started testing ghost kitchens.....Ghost kitchens have also emerged in China, where online food delivery apps are widely used in the country’s densely populated megacities.
brands  DoorDash  commercial_kitchens  emotional_connections  food_delivery  kitchens  mobile_applications  restaurants  Uber_Eats  GrubHub  on-demand  unmet_demand  virtual_restaurants 
7 weeks ago by jerryking
Momofuku’s Secret Sauce: A 30-Year-Old C.E.O.
Aug. 16, 2019 | The New York Times | By Elizabeth G. Dunn.

Momofuku was founded in 2004, with an East Village ramen bar that, after some initial stumbles, wowed diners by combining pristine ingredients and impeccable technique in humble dishes that melded influences from Japan to Korea to the American south. Since then, it has become a private-equity backed company with restaurants from Sydney to Los Angeles; a growing chain of fast-casual chicken sandwich shops; a media production unit churning out television shows and podcasts; and designs on creating a line of sauces and seasonings that could capture supermarket aisles across America. While Mr. Chang is the brand’s lodestar, Ms. Mariscal, 30, is the executive who makes it all work.

Born and raised on the Upper West Side, to the family that founded the specialty foods emporium Zabar’s, Ms. Mariscal began her career at Momofuku in 2011, as a public relations and events intern. Over the years, she quietly became Mr. Chang’s closest collaborator and confidante, a largely unknown force shaping matters as varied as menu design, branding and business development. “She’s the only person I’ve ever felt comfortable giving complete carte blanche to, in terms of what Momofuku looks like and what it should be,” Mr. Chang said. He recalled suggesting to the company’s board that Ms. Mariscal be named C.E.O. almost four years ago, when she was 26. She finally assumed the role in April.

It’s not unusual for a chef like Mr. Chang to parlay cooking talent and charisma into restaurants, cookbooks and television shows — a formula pioneered by the likes of Emeril Lagasse, Bobby Flay and Rick Bayless in the 1990s. But chef-driven food brands of the scope and ambition that Mr. Chang and Ms. Mariscal envision for Momofuku, with dozens of locations and mainstream packaged food products, are harder to pull off.

Adding to the challenge is Momofuku’s particular identity, which revolves less around a distinct culinary tradition than an attitude of restless innovation, boundary pushing and spontaneity. A formulaic chain of steakhouses, Momofuku ain’t. Scaling that ethos requires a tightrope act: Create enough structure and continuity to stave off chaos, without destroying the brand’s animating spirit in the process.
Asian  brands  branding  business_development  CEOs  chefs  commercial_kitchens  David_Cheng  detail_oriented  differentiation  diversification  food  founders  fusion  growth  high-standards  interns  investors  kitchens  leadership  Momofuku  organizational_structure  restauranteurs  restaurants  scaling  special_sauce  women  workaholic 
8 weeks ago by jerryking
Ghost kitchens : the next disruption in the restaurant industry ?
8 Jan, 2018 | intotheminds | Posted By Pierre-Nicolas Schwab.

(1) https://www.restaurant-hospitality.com/operations/ubereats-nudges-operators-toward-virtual-restaurants
(2) https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/oct/28/deliveroo-dark-kitchens-pop-up-feeding-the-city-london#img-3

ghost kitchen make perfect economic sense : margins are thin in the restaurant industry, driven by high employees-related costs, rent, expensive equipment and variability in demand. Setting up a restaurant is a bet with a 5 to 20-year time horizon depending on myriad factors : your positioning, the location, and many exogenous factors out of your control. Eliminating all those risks seems like a logical move :

how to make a restaurant less location-dependent ?
how to adapt quickly to demand ?
how to reduce fixed costs (renting and equipping a place) ?
The bright sides : 3 major advantages of ghost kitchens

**The 3 major advantages of ghost kitchens are their answers to the 3 problems listed above :

the restaurant is not location-dependant anymore. If there is an event likely to generate massive flow of potential customers, you can move
ghost kitchens can adapt quickly to demand : the standardized kitchen unit just has to be multipled, which is not possible with street food vans unless you own several of them (which brings us to the 3rd advantage).
ghost kitchens, because they are rented from online platforms like Uber Eats and Deliveroo, transfom fixed costs into variable ones. This is great to test your idea and is a cheap way to do market research and test traction on a market.

** The dark sides of Uber’s and Deliveroo’s ghost kitchens
1. Why would one still rent a place to operate a restaurant ?
Good question indeed. If all hurdles and risks of operating a brick-and-mortar restaurant can be removed, why would you still want to rent a place (fixed costs), buy the equipment (fixed costs), hire employees (fixed costs) and wait on patrons to come in (variable revenues) ? If a platform like Uber or Deliveroo can provide you with customers’ orders, the need to have a brick-and-mortar place would vanish.
But if every single restaurant owner adopts that posture, how will city centers look like on the long run ?

2. Dependence towards platforms
What happened with the hospitality sector may well happen on the middle-term in the restaurant industry too. Uber eats, Deliveroo have disrupted the way we consume food. This is a new societal change that is most to be felt in Europe (urban Americans use already to get food delivered to their homes, most restaurants in US cities proposing at home delivery) : it has become easier than ever to get food delivered at home.
If enough restaurant owners make a significant percentage of their revenues through those platforms, they will eventually become dependent on them and will struggle like hotels are now struggling with Booking.com. Using platforms is a wise strategy to grow revenues but it can also become a very dangerous one if your dependence to them increases.
beyond_your_control  commercial_kitchens  disruption  fixed_costs  food_delivery  kitchens  platforms  restaurants  variable_costs  Deliveroo  Uber  asset-light  event-driven  experimentation  test_marketing  pop-ups  cold_storage  on-demand  dark_side  virtual_restaurants  bricks-and-mortar 
january 2019 by jerryking
The Golden Age of Restaurants in America
JUN 20, 2017 | The Atlantic | DEREK THOMPSON.

.....But then there’s the middle-class of restaurants, also known as “casual dining”—full-service restaurants where the typical check is between $15 and $25, per person. This is where the pain lives. Same-restaurant sales are falling across most of the sector’s largest chains, including Applebees, Chili’s, and Maggiano’s. Traffic at all casual dining spots fell at the fastest rate since the middle of 2009, when unemployment was screaming past 9 percent.

What’s killing casual dining? Theories range from its core customers’ income stagnation to the restaurants’ staid decor. But there’s another, less-obvious threat: Diners are increasingly buying prepared food at places that aren’t restaurants. They’re going to convenience stores with made-to-order food, like Wawa, or grocers with prepared food, like Whole Foods, college stores, corporate cafes, community centers, and food trucks. In fact, one-third of prepared meals this year won’t come from a typical restaurant or fast-food joint. Americans already buy more food and beverages on college campus than at bars, according to the National Restaurant Association. Prepared food is everywhere, now. That’s a killer for restaurants serving the middle class.
restaurants  food  casual_dining  prepared_meals  golden_age 
november 2018 by jerryking
US fast-food chains struggle as poorer consumers tighten belts
November 11, 2018 | Financial Times | by Alistair Gray in New York.

The robust US economy is failing to boost the fast-food industry as chains grapple with a saturation of retail outlets, consumer demands for deep discounts and declining footfall.

Numbers visiting US fast-food outlets in September dropped 2.6 per cent from a year ago, according to restaurant industry data provider MillerPulse, a steeper decline than the 0.8 per cent year-on-year drop recorded the previous month.

Industry executives and consultants cited a series of factors, including consumer demand for healthier alternatives to burgers and pizzas and lower construction activity, which means fewer building workers are picking up fast food on lunch breaks.

The tough landscape has taken its toll on several operators. Last week, the New England-based owner of Papa Gino’s and D’Angelo Grilled Sandwiches filed for bankruptcy protection.
bankruptcies  fast-food  low-income  QSR  restaurants  store_closings  oversaturation 
november 2018 by jerryking
The rise of chef ‘supergroups’ means more creative and experimental kitchens across the country - The Globe and Mail
Behind the restaurant’s unassuming façade is a powerhouse of some of Canada’s most talented and successful restaurateurs. The team behind the Joe Beef empire, Frédéric Morin, David McMillan, Allison Cunningham, as well as Marc-Olivier Frappier and Vanya Filipovic (Mon Lapin, Vin Papillon), Chris Morgan and James Simpkins (Liverpool House) have teamed up with chef Derek Dammann (Maison Publique) to create a kind of culinary supergroup – the Traveling Wilburys of rotisserie chicken......Somewhat counterintuitively, then, comradery, and perhaps a survivors' bond over having made it in an industry known to chew cooks up and spit them out, is bringing chefs together. McKiernan is just one example of chefs partnering with their would-be competitors to open places where the whole is, hopefully, greater than the sum of its parts......
chefs  collaboration  restaurants  restauranteurs  kitchens  cold_storage  commercial_kitchens  experimentation 
november 2018 by jerryking
The Quarterback of the Kitchen? It’s Not Always the Chef - The New York Times
By Tejal Rao

April 17, 2018

You’re most likely to notice it in the abstract, if you notice it at all. The work of a good expediter is in the pacing of your dinner. It’s in the steadiness of the room. It’s in the sense that everyone in the restaurant is moving to a single, unbreakable rhythm.
cooking  management  restaurants  expediting  data_driven  commercial_kitchens 
may 2018 by jerryking
Toronto restaurant ordered to pay $10,000 after asking black customers to prepay for their meal - The Globe and Mail
DAKSHANA BASCARAMURTY
PUBLISHED 12 HOURS AGO

Mr. Wickham said the experience has made him question the popular narrative that big cities like Toronto are harmonious multicultural havens.

“I feel a lot of Canadians feel like because they don’t say the N-word or they have that black colleague or they like to eat Jamaican food and know about roti and doubles” they think they’re not racist, Mr. Wickham said.

In a 2017 consultation on racial profiling conducted by the Ontario Human Rights Commission, the retail/private business sector was the one in which black respondents reported encountering the highest level of discrimination. About 47 per cent said they’d been profiled in this setting, a rate much higher than all other groups surveyed.

Roger Love, a lawyer with the Human Rights Legal Support Centre who represented Mr. Wickham, said it’s a common misconception that anti-black racism occurs only at the hands of white individuals and that many cases his office handles deal with racialized perpetrators......Toronto lawyer Selwyn Pieters said he doesn’t know how prevalent experiences like Mr. Wickham’s are because though it is widely reported that black people experience profiling, they face many barriers in seeking justice: the human-rights complaints process can be difficult to navigate, lawyers are expensive and cases that deal with race are often very difficult to establish and prove, he said.......“Before the camera on the cellphone became a popular thing...all we had was our word,” he said. “And us calling out how we were treated, our word wasn’t good enough, right?”
restaurants  Toronto  Chinatown  racism  OHRC  racial_discrimination  racial_profiling  prepaid 
april 2018 by jerryking
Caribbean food seems to be the latest cultural commodity available for plunder
October 1, 2017 | The Globe and Mail | ANDRAY DOMISE.

.....Diluted and stripped of its ancestral link to survival and resistance, with "modern twists" added to improve our base and unenlightened cuisine, Caribbean food seems to be the latest cultural commodity available for plunder......Dozens of amazing Caribbean restaurants have lived out their quiet struggle in Toronto for decades, dotting the landscape throughout the inner suburbs in Scarborough, Rexdale, and Eglinton West. There's Rap's, the jerk chicken and patty shop where my mother would take me for lunch after a haircut at Castries barbershop. There's Albert's, a landmark at the corner of St. Clair Avenue and Vaughan Road. And there's the world famous back-ah-yard restaurant The Real Jerk, owned by Ed and Lily Pottinger, who have dealt with the worst of neighbourhood gentrification and real estate discrimination that Toronto has to offer.....But the concept of an "amazing Jamaican restaurant in Toronto," proffered by a restaurateur who has visited my ancestral home a few times, and who intends to package the culture in a fashion true to the brand of a downtown gastro-chain doesn't fill me with hope.
Caribbean  cuisine  cultural_appropriation  Toronto  food  Andray_Domise  exploitation  appreciation  restaurants  restauranteurs  inner_suburbs  parochialism 
october 2017 by jerryking
Is New York’s Best Pizza in New Jersey? - The New York Times
By PETE WELLS SEPT. 12, 2017

Razza NYT Critic’s Pick ★★★
275 Grove Street
(Montgomery Street)
201-356-9348
razzanj.com
pizza  New_Jersey  restaurants 
september 2017 by jerryking
European Mall Landlords Coping With Online Competition Better Than U.S. Owners - WSJ
Sept. 5, 2017 | WSJ | By Esther Fung.

Malls need to shift emphasis away from department stores and toward retailers that are less susceptible to competition from e-commerce........On average, department stores still occupy about 50% of the gross leasable area of shopping malls in the U.S., while similarly beleaguered apparel and accessory retailers take an additional 29%, said the CBRE report. Retail sectors that are growing, include restaurants, beauty and home furnishings, account for only a small percentage of the typical mall.

The traditional mall model, developed seven decades ago, is heavily dependent on categories that are no longer fast-growing or meeting today’s consumer demands,.....“Converting malls’ tenant bases to include more of the categories that in-person shoppers now favor won’t be an easy or quick fix,” ..... “But it is a necessary evolution for the mall industry to maintain its place as a cornerstone of American retail.”

One of potential obstacles is getting the buy-in of department stores, which usually hold contracts that hinder major changes to malls without their consent.

“Many department store chains gradually have become more accepting of change, but it isn’t a given. Those who reject change may do so at their own peril: There is a growing trend of mall owners buying out department store leases and redeveloping the space into restaurants and specialty stores,”
redevelopments  shopping_malls  landlords  Europe  restaurants  anchor_tenants  department_stores  CBRE 
september 2017 by jerryking
To Survive in Tough Times, Restaurants Turn to Data-Mining
AUG. 25, 2017 | The New York Times | By KAREN STABINER.

“Silicon Valley looks at inefficiencies in the world, and they aim to disrupt the food space,” said Erik Oberholtzer, a founder and the chief executive of Tender Greens, a quick-service chain based in Los Angeles that is using data to guide its East Coast expansion.
data  data_mining  hard_times  inefficiencies  restaurants 
august 2017 by jerryking
Shake Shack Looks to Digital for Growth - CIO Journal. - WSJ
By Angus Loten
Jul 10, 2017

Olo, a provider of e-commerce engines for restaurants which developed the ordering platform for Shake Shack’s app, said they worked closely with the chain to ensure users are able to choose an available pickup time, with prep times factored in so that cooked-to-order meals are timed to their arrival....., the app is one piece of abroader technology push, which includes digital tools aimed at improving back-end systems, like inventory, invoicing and other internal processes, she said.

But customer experience is still the most important element, she said.
Shake_Shack  digital_strategies  mobile_applications  fast-food  foot-traffic  upselling  restaurants  customer_experience 
july 2017 by jerryking
Fast-Food Chains, Upscale Restaurants Want to Bring You Lunch - WSJ
By Julie Jargon
Updated June 1, 2017

Restaurants are no longer treating lunchtime delivery as an afterthought.

With online-ordering apps proliferating and many customers cutting down on eating out for lunch, the industry—from fast-food chains to upscale restaurateurs—is looking for ways to bring food to patrons without compromising their eating experience.......“Restaurant delivery is a $100 billion dollar market, and it’s exploding,” ......But enticing customers to order in at lunch, which has been a tough spot for burger chains in particular, remains difficult. McDonald’s Chief Executive Steve Easterbrook told investors on Wednesday that 60% of the chain’s delivery orders come in the evening and late at night. Getting burger delivery right—keeping the patty warm and juicy, while preventing toppings from getting the bun soggy—is notoriously tricky.....Even upscale restaurants are joining the delivery bandwagon. Some are so confident they are even eschewing tables and chairs.......Delivery only accounts for 3% of restaurant purchases nationwide, but it is growing fast. Non-pizza delivery purchases have risen by 30% in the past four years, according to market-research firm NPD Group Inc.....The exponential growth of delivery comes with a new set of challenges. Some restaurants are struggling to figure out how to properly staff their kitchens to handle both in-store demand and delivery orders......Working with third-party delivery services is an expensive proposition, because many of them charge restaurants a hefty fee—usually a share of order sales ranging from 17% to 30%—to participate and the restaurants lose out on high-margin sales like alcohol and soft drinks that people tend to order when they are eating on the premises.......delivery is the future: “As driverless cars and drones become the norm I think we’ll all be emailing Amazon and getting a drone delivering a sandwich.”
restaurants  fast-food  fast-casual  Uber  UberEats  McDonald's  upscale  lunchtime  delivery_services  in-store 
june 2017 by jerryking
What Hospitality Means to Times Restaurant Critic Pete Wells - The New York Times
By PETE WELLSMAY 3, 2017

a guest is somebody who doesn’t pay: When a friend has you over for a beer, you’re a guest; when you eat in a restaurant and surrender your credit card at the end of the night, you are a customer.

It’s a distinction that restaurants do their best to blur. You even hear it when you’re standing in line at Chipotle or some place like it: “May I help the next guest, please?” But at Union Square Cafe, the choice of words has unique resonance........Mr. Meyer eventually settled on a word to sum up that something more and enshrined it in the name of his company, the Union Square Hospitality Group. From there, the notion of hospitality as the prime directive of restaurant service spread through the land, trickling down to your corner burrito chain.....
restaurants  hospitality  dining  Danny_Meyer  restauranteurs 
may 2017 by jerryking
The Data Behind Dining
FEB 7, 2017 | The Atlantic | BOURREE LAM.

Damian Mogavero, a dining-industry consultant, has analyzed the data behind thousands of restaurants—which dishes get ordered, which servers bring in the highest bills, and even what the weather’s like—and found that these metrics can help inform the decisions and practices of restaurateurs.....Mogavero recently wrote a book about analytics called The Underground Culinary Tour—which is also the name of an annual insider retreat he runs, in which he leads restaurateurs from around the nation to what he considers the most innovative restaurants in New York City, with 15 stops in 24 hours.....they really understood the business problem that I understood, as a frustrated restaurateur. There was not accessible information to make really important business decisions.

Lam: Why is it that the restaurant business tends to be more instinct-driven than data-driven?

Mogavero: It is so creative, and it really attracts innovative and creative people who really enjoy the art and the design of the guest experience. When I was a frustrated restaurateur, I would ask my chefs and managers simple questions, such as: Who are your top and bottom servers? Why did your food costs go up? Why did your labor costs go up? And they would give me blank stares, wrong answers, or make up stuff. The thing that really killed me is why so much time gets spent in administrative B.S.

They were frustrated artists in their own way, because all those questions I was posing were buried in a bunch of Excel spreadsheets. What I like to say is, nothing good ever happens at the back office. You can't make customers happy and you can’t cook great food there. That was the business problem that I saw. I assembled a chef, a sommelier, a restaurant manager, and three techies as the founding team of the company. The message was: We’re going to create software, so you can get back to what you love to do with a more profitable operation.......Mogavero: Because information is flowing so quickly, you’re likely to see trends from a big city go to a secondary city more often. But you’ll see regional trends come to the big city as well. It’s all part of this information flow that’s more transparent and faster. The secondary-market awakening is coupled with the fact that it’s really expensive for chefs to live in big cities, and we’re seeing many chefs leaving the big cities.
bullshitake  dining  data  books  restaurants  data_driven  New_York_City  innovation  restauranteurs  analytics  back-office  information_flows  secondary_markets 
may 2017 by jerryking
Dynamic, fashionable Peruvian cuisine makes long-awaited invasion of Toronto - The Globe and Mail
CHRIS JOHNS
SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL
LAST UPDATED: FRIDAY, MAR. 31, 2017

Toronto, for all of its traditional, family-run Peruvian restaurants, such as the venerable Boulevard Cafe on Harbord, St. Clair West’s El Fogon, Paracas and La Cocina de Dona Luz, has been a little slower to embrace the trend.......The Chinese rail workers who immigrated in the 19th century blended their food with Peruvian ingredients to create Chifa. Peru’s Japanese population created Nikkei, one of the world’s most intriguing cuisines......Toronto’s Ritz Carlton...... Peruvian chef Martin Ore’s Mochica, the new Toronto outpost of his popular 12-year-old Montreal restaurant of the same name....chef Steve Gonzales’s sleek new Latin-inspired Baro Restaurant on King West there’s a posh fried rice dish called chaufa, a classic example of the Chinese/Peruvian Chifa hybrid....
restaurants  Toronto  Peru  cuisine  Peruvian  19th_century 
april 2017 by jerryking
McDonald’s Table Service: Fast Food Redefined - WSJ
By JULIE JARGON
Nov. 18, 2016

More McDonald’s Corp. customers across the U.S. will be able to choose table service inside restaurants, in an attempt to provide something beyond what a traditional fast-food chain offers.

It is part of an effort central to revive the burger giant’s sales, which have flagged in recent quarters. Franchisees and analysts have been wondering what else McDonald’s would do to drive interest in a brand that has been struggling to re-establish its relevancy in a market where consumers have more choices than ever to get food, including burgers.

The company that derives nearly 70% of its sales from the drive-through is hoping changes to the restaurants themselves will help lift sales, according to McDonald’s USA President Chris Kempczinski.....If the restaurants aren’t able to keep their stores clean and offer friendly service—two challenges that have plagued the company—having table service isn’t going to enhance the experience, said Darren Tristano, vice president at restaurant consulting firm Technomic Inc.

In addition to table service, the company is also installing free-standing kiosks inside the restaurants, which have proven successful in overseas markets including the U.K., France and Australia, according to the company, which said people tend to order more food when they don’t feel pressured to order at the counter. Customers can pay for their food at the kiosk and indicate whether they want table service.
McDonald's  fast-food  QSR  self-service  drive-throughs  kiosks  restaurants 
january 2017 by jerryking
Why McDonald's Shouldn't Rush Its Digital Platform -- The Motley Fool
Asit Sharma (TMFfinosus) Mar 23, 2016

McDonald's has been late to join quick-service operators in offering a mobile app. Consumers in the U.S. are developing an expectation that they can order, receive affinity (loyalty) points, and interact socially with a brand simultaneously on a mobile device, and McDonald's risks losing millennial customers if it doesn't gradually build its own system.... some risk in relation to a mobile-based affinity program. McDonald's already uses extensive national and regional promotions, through its evolving value menu and limited-time offers. Affinity programs, if not properly implemented, can become simply another discounting mechanism, and McDonald's doesn't need yet another window for passing on discounts. The point of a well-run affinity program is to mine data collected on customers to improve sales or profits, or both. ...an interesting problem that's delaying the introduction of an "order ahead and pay" component to the McDonald's app. Roughly two-thirds of McDonald's U.S. business is transacted at the drive-through. Theoretically, if a customer orders ahead on McDonald's mobile app to pick up food at the drive-through, it's self-defeating for that customer to wait behind other cars in the line.

The company is experimenting with solutions such as designated parking for drive-through customers who order ahead. In this scenario, a customer would wait in his or her car while an employee hand-delivers the order. This is functional, but you can see the implications for McDonald's throughput at peak hours, as employees leave their posts to wade out and make parking-lot deliveries.

McDonald's executives would be loath to admit it, but I'll wager that quandaries like this make them wonder if they really need to inject a digital platform into an operation that's been optimally refined over the course of decades.
McDonald's  digital_strategies  platforms  fast-food  operations  mobile_applications  QSR  drive-throughs  restaurants  millennials  self-defeating 
january 2017 by jerryking
The rise of the instant-delivery lunch - The Globe and Mail
ANN HUI - NATIONAL FOOD REPORTER
The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Apr. 05, 2016

Foodora – a global firm that operates in more than 11 countries but is based in Germany – acquired the Toronto-based Hurrier, and also partners with local restaurants to provide delivery. Foodora itself was acquired last year by Delivery Hero, a food-delivery company valued at more than $3-billion
food  instant_gratification  delivery  UberEats  perishables  time-based  home-delivery  prepared_meals  restaurants  mobile_applications  Foodora  Feast  lunchtime  delivery_services 
april 2016 by jerryking
Jump to the front of the line with this app - The Globe and Mail
JOSH O'KANE
The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015

“The idea at a really high level is, can we make local commerce better if it were way, way faster, and we removed all the friction of waiting and in-store payment?” asks Mr. Reddy, who co-founded Ritual with Robert Kim.

Ritual was designed as a hyper-local service.

....ask yourself whether you’re in the productivity business or convenience business. Or even better, ask your users. This could change the way you think about your business and its future.
neighbourhoods  restaurants  scaling  Ritual  mobile_applications  wait_times  lineups  hyperlocal  frictions  in-store 
december 2015 by jerryking
Pied a Terre restauranteur dips a toe into barbecue chains
October 23, 2015 | Financial Times | Malcolm Moore

Malcolm Moore on a perfectionist adding casual dining to his repertoire

David Moore says he is not a perfectionist but he is fibbing. For 25 ye...
casual_dining  restaurants  restauranteurs  BBQ  London  United_Kingdom 
december 2015 by jerryking
SXSW exclusive: First-timer reflections
MARCH 12, 2014 | RetailingToday.com| BY ANNE MARIE STEPHEN AND DEBORAH WEINSWIG

The keynote speaker at this event was legendary retailer, Richard Marcus. Marcus says tech should have a purpose in impacting the retail customer experience. He says two things matter in retailing, “take care of customers and they come back, take care of merchandise and they don’t.”

The CIO of TGIF Friday’s, Trip Sessions, shared his goal to create a more sticky experience using technology with the aim of creating a 1-1 personalized experience. They use foursquare as a tool allowing waitstaff the ability to connect directly with guests in-store.

We keep hearing that the pace of change is accelerating from retailers and industry experts alike. This conference really epitomized that theme. From CES to NRF to SXSW, the themes have been fairly consistent. Retailers need to increasingly focus on tech and the time is now. There are many tools and resources available, but they can’t afford to wait.
SXSW  LBMA  location_based_services  one-on-one  personalization  retailers  conferences  Austin  restaurants  customer_experience  stickiness  in-store 
november 2015 by jerryking
Recipe: Root-to-Leaf Carrot Pasta - The Globe and Mail
ERIC VELLEND
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Sep. 29, 2015

Getting the most out of your vegetables has always been an economic necessity for restaurants. Today it’s evolved into the root-to-leaf movement, where chefs apply the nose-to-tail ethos in an herbivorous manner. Now leaves, stems and peelings destined for the green bin are ending up on your plate.

At Dirt Candy, a vegetarian temple in Manhattan, Amanda Cohen turns radish tops into a peppery pesto to serve with ricotta and the roots. In Toronto at Buca Yorkville, Rob Gentile takes it a step further flavouring fresh spaghetti with leaves from a tomato plant, an idea he borrowed from his friend Derek Dammann of Maison Publique in Montreal. It creates a verdant pasta al pomodoro and amplifies the sauce.
vegetables  fresh_produce  restaurants  Toronto 
october 2015 by jerryking
Anthony Bourdain’s Food Market Takes Shape - The New York Times
By FLORENCE FABRICANTSEPT. 28, 2015

New York has had an explosion of megamarkets and food halls over the last five years, but this one promises to be different for several reasons, starting with its epic size: 155,000 square feet, dwarfing the city’s other food markets. The project’s ambition and risks are formidable, most notably the task of securing visas for scores of small overseas vendors, then transporting and housing them here.

“It’s going to involve a lot of visas, a big challenge,” Mr. Werther said.

Still, some question whether the city, with its wealth of recent immigrants, and their foods, needs to import new options.
chefs  restaurants  New_York_City  Anthony_Bourdain  real_estate  entrepreneur  farmers'_markets  personal_branding  food  gourmands  communal 
september 2015 by jerryking
Cava: Novelty hasn’t worn at convivial Toronto midtown tapas spot - The Globe and Mail
CHRIS NUTTALL-SMITH
The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Aug. 14, 2015

The “supergilda” pincho here is magnificent, a stacked composition of tomato-smeared toast and of olives wrapped in anchovies, with a whole fat sardine fillet that’s rich and clean and luxuriously fatty, that’s been seared to honeyed sweetness and then pickled overnight.

Cava’s famed fried eggplant, too, delivers as much of a flavour jolt as it ever has. The flesh is deep fried to crisp-sweet and oozy, set in a dish of super-tart tomatillo salsa. It arrives under shavings of dried tuna belly that dance and wave in the rising steam and taste like maritime jerky. The dish isn’t Spanish, exactly: It is also Japanese izakaya food, with assists from South America. Cava is Spanish at heart, but it has always played hard against type.

We had fried, creamy-centred artichokes one night that took me to Rome, except in Rome I didn’t eat fried artichokes anywhere near as good as this. Cava’s ceviche (hello, Peru!) is a masterwork of judgment. The balance, the seasoning, the textures are all exactly right.

And as always, there are simple pleasures to please any crowd: There’s Iberico ham at the bar, and avocado toasts with herring roe, and the signature, twice-cooked papas fritas that come in a paper cone, with a dish of properly smoky paprika aioli.

The soup special recently was a bowl of genius: It was a bisque, made from lobster and white fish, taut with sweet-acid tension and the tastes of anise and herbs and deep-sea minerality. It was French, not Spanish, but you’d be a fool to complain.
restaurants  restaurant_reviews  Chris_Nuttall-Smith  midtown  Spanish  hams  pork  jamón_ibérico  Spain  cured_and_smoked  tapas  Toronto 
august 2015 by jerryking
Tim Choi`s Chinese Food Menu | Order Delivery Online at JUST-EAT.ca
266 Markham Road, Scarborough, One light north of Eglinton.
416.264.2564
416.264.2565
Chinese  restaurants  Toronto  menus  Caribbean 
august 2015 by jerryking
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