Three Ways to Keep Your Restaurant From Failing

The economic forecast for the restaurant industry is discouraging—restaurant markets have become oversaturated, labor and food costs are rising, overall sales look weak, consumers are constantly searching for something new and maintain unpredictable loyalties, and banks and investors are not eager to invest.

For current and aspiring restaurant operators, having a game plan is key. As Paul Barron discusses in the above video, there are three key strategies for ensuring that your restaurant succeeds: Cross Competitive Marketing, Multi-Platform Retargeting, and Content Marketing & Execution.

Cross competitive analysis is all about covertly acquiring your competitors’ customers. Tools like Sprout Social are essential for the survival of opening or struggling restaurants. Sprout Social uses digital customer relationship management (CRM) to build lists of the types of customers and influencers your competition is catering to—all to ultimately determine what those customers are looking for in a restaurant.

According to Barron, operators tend to make the same mistake. “They do blanket advertising on digital and think they’ve checked the box,” says Barron. “That’s not how you do digital marketing.” List building and targeting, social conquesting, and studying browser behavior is paramount.

Another helpful tip? Geo seeking. Cell phones are constantly sending data from the apps consumers use to a data provider—and that data provider subsequently sells the data to companies trying to target those consumers.

Operators who choose to acquire that data can target their marketing by geo location, competitors, lookalikes, or influence. Advertisements can even be dependent on a customer’s browser behavior.

“Don’t think about your competition as just competition,” adds Barron. “Think about your competition as their customers.”

To learn more about the value of bounce back cards, training a SEAL team of employees, and the importance of having a story, check out the video above!

Produced by:

Paul Barron

Paul Barron

Editor-in-Chief/Executive Producer


VIEW BIO

Top Financial Tools For Your Restaurant - Bench Accounting Software

Successful restaurant operators recognize that tracking expenses is absolutely essential. However, orchestrating the process can be difficult, expensive, and time-consuming.

There are a number of different expense trackers on the market that can make the tracking process simple and straightforward for businesses. Excel, FreshBooks, QuickBooks, Expensify, Mint, Bench Accounting, and SAP Concur are just a few of the most popular trackers available today.

Bench is the expense tracker we use and highly recommend here at Foodable. Composed of a passionate team of small business bookkeepers, Bench is best for businesses looking for a hands-off approach: all of your bookkeeping and expense importing, reviewing, and categorizing is managed by Bench.

Bench can be used in both a more “robust” form on your desktop and in an intuitive, streamlined app. “If you are a very mobile app user,” adds Barron, “this is the product to use.”

Thoughtfully organized financial reports are delivered to you monthly, and there are no storage limits for business receipts. A helpful search tool allows you to easily locate any of your checks and expenditures. Bench bookkeepers are also happy to work with your accountant during tax season.

For companies that do not yet have a CFO, apps like Bench can be a lifesaver. “Every small business—whether you’re a restaurant operator or a big brand or emerging—you need that kind of support,” says Barron. “These will be your new CFOs.”

For restaurant businesses, the pricing program with Bench depends upon your annual revenue. A restaurant that enjoys a higher revenue will pay more than a smaller or emerging business.

This post is brought to you by Bench Accounting Software. Learn more about their bookkeeping services and enjoy 20 percent off.

VinePair on the Latest Wine and Beverage Trends

Hosted annually by the Specialty Food Association (SFA) in New York City, The Summer Fancy Food Show is the largest specialty food and beverage event in North America. The New York City event showcases hundreds of future-focused restaurants, organizations, and innovators dedicated to crafting unique menus and products that meet the ever-changing needs of consumers today.

Host Paul Barron chatted with a number of trendsetters and up-and-comers in the industry this year. Adam Teeter is the CEO and co-founder of VinePair, a publication committed to providing cutting-edge wine, beer, and cocktail content that is both informative and entertaining. Teeter shares his thoughts on current beverage trends, as well as what he sees coming next for drinks.

The former director of business and audience development at Tablet Magazine, and a frequent speaker at a number of renowned food and beverage conferences throughout the United States, Teeter has always been passionate about making drinks accessible.

“We don’t have as much of a consumer base who only drinks one drink,” says Teeter. Millennials tend to be more experimental with eating and drinking when compared with older generations. “It’s fun for the industry, as it allows for lots of growth. It’s also really hard for the industry, because you now have the Budweisers of the world being like, ‘wait, these used to be really loyal consumers and now they’re not?’ It’s challenging, but there’s a lot of opportunity.”

Teeter notes that low- and non-alcoholic wines, cocktails, and beers represent a growing trend. Consumers are looking for drinks that taste as though they are drinking alcohol, but still fit into a weekday healthy lifestyle. Prosecco, rosé, and craft beer continue to be popular, and millennials and members of Generation Z love to try wines from unfamiliar countries and styles.

Wine is especially growing in popularity, as it is perceived—somewhat erroneously—as healthier than beer and cocktails, and helps consumers feel part of a larger culture.

“The idea of single serve is becoming really popular,” adds Teeter. “We are a demographic that unfortunately has commitment fears. We want to try before we buy.” And, according to Teeter, trying is often more important than buying. “We want to be experts, but to be an expert is just knowing a little more than someone else. You just want to say you’ve had it before—it doesn’t have to be the whole bottle.”

Check out the video above to hear Teeter’s thoughts on the possibilities for canned cocktails and purchasing alcohol online—or even one day ordering a glass of wine through UberEats!

How Global Trends Are Influencing Our Food Habits

Current market assessments strongly suggest that seafood consumption will rise year over year. According to Foodable Labs, food influencers have increased their references to seafood by 24.7 percent—a surge larger than any other protein.  Consumers under the age of 40 now constitute almost 40 percent of the United States, and they are searching for new types of protein that are nutritious, responsibly sourced, and carefully prepared.

At the last Foodable.io event in Seattle, Paul Barron hosted a panel discussing the latest seafood trends with three rising chefs in the industry: Keith Brunell, corporate chef at retail and food and beverage giant Nordstrom, Derek Simcik, the executive chef at rooftop bar Scout and The Nest (part of the boutique hotel Thompson Seattle), and Lionel Uddipa, the chef de cuisine for new American restaurant Salt in Juneau, Alaska.

Sustainability is no longer a trend: for many restaurants, it is becoming a necessity and an integral part of day-to-day operations. More and more customers want to know where products come from and how they are sourced and handled—and they want to keep the flavor compositions simple and truly taste the fish itself. Customization and accommodation options also popular to ensure that every consumer receives a dish that meets the needs of their preferred diet.

“As far as the cooking technique, we don’t do a lot. We try to serve the dish in its most purest form,” says Uddipa. “We’ve learned that if you have a story associated with the dish, the customer tends to pinpoint that. They understand and are amazed by the vision and the creation that went into the dish.”

To learn more about the latest trends and educating both consumers and cooks regarding seafood preparation, listen to the full episode of the podcast above.

Summer Fancy Food Show Highlights Plant-Based The Little Beet

The Specialty Food Association (SFA) annually hosts the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City. The largest specialty food and beverage event in North America, the Summer Fancy Food Show features a growing number of restaurants and organizations focused on providing innovative menus and products.

This year, host Paul Barron interviewed a number of leaders in the industry. Becky Mulligan, a former Starbucks executive and the new CEO of The Little Beet, offered her perspective on the growing consumer demand for plant-based products.

After spending sixteen years overseeing thousands of Starbucks units, Becky Mulligan switched gears in 2018 and joined The Little Beet team.

The fast casual veggie restaurant chain just seemed like a perfect fit. “It was perfect for my lifestyle,” says Mulligan. “I was drawn to the concept immediately.”

The Little Beet recently expanded its offerings to a full service gluten-free restaurant: The Little Beet Table. According to Mulligan, the two branches work in tandem: customers continue to go to The Little Beet for a quick, healthy breakfasts and lunches, and they go to The Little Beet Table for dinner, drinks, and special occasions.

“People are becoming more educated about what they consume,” notes Mulligan. “It’s helped us to have a broader platform to talk about why it’s good to have a plant-based diet.” While she emphasizes that plant-based foods should make up the bulk of your diet, balance rather than guilt is ultimately the goal. “We want consumers to have accessible food that is good for you—and that you want to eat.”

All food at both The Little Beet and The Little Beet Table is made fresh everyday. All vegetables and ingredients are prepared from scratch, and the company avoids added sugars and non-blended oils. These prerequisites can be challenging for staff in terms of ensuring everyone is served in a timely fashion, but rewarding for the brand and customers alike.

The Little Beet currently consists of ten units, and there are four The Little Beet Table locations. Mulligan says the company hopes to double those numbers by next year. The chain is also developing a beverage platform.

Check out the video above to learn more about the future of The Little Beet and the company’s plant-based mission.