The Daily Rail: Outback Becomes Blackout

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


Today's Specials:


HACK: Improving Your Staff Schedule Through the Cloud [Rail Hack #086]

If you are still puttering around with spreadsheets or using the clipboard method for staff scheduling, you’re costing yourself money. The skies are brighter in the cloud.


SOCIAL MEDIA: Wendy’s Savage Twitter Comebacks

We’ve briefly discussed how sassy Wendy’s Twitter account is with their comebacks before. This week we decided to pull together a 10 of the most savage comebacks from Wendy. Check them out here and learn what good social looks like.




The Champagne of Vending Machines

Despite the obvious appeal of vending machines -- quick service and zero interaction with other humans -- most of the cash-gobbling disappointment machines leave a lot to be desired, to put things nicely. Well, along with the "pizza ATMs" spreading across America, it looks like another type of vending machine that's actually worth a damn has arrived: a champagne vending machine.


In an age of specialized products, it makes perfect sense that a special straw for a special shake would be offered. We give you the Slurping Shamrock Shake Straw.

If you grew up in North America, you understand the joys of maple syrup. Our neighbors to the north actually sell almost $310 million worth of it every year. You won’t be surprised to learn that the US consumes almost 2/3 of that, but you might be to see who else weighs in on the list. Check out the infographic here.

Infographic: To Where the Maple Syrup Flows  | Statista You will find more statistics at Statista



Why it matters to you: Further proof that discounting isn’t the answer

More bad news on the full-service restaurant front as Outback Steakhouse announces they are closing 43 restaurants out of their 1500+. Same story, different chain. Sales and traffic are down, but for Outback it also led to a 4th quarter loss of $4.3 million. Their core brand took the biggest hits, but their CEO Liz Smith claims they are getting back on track, but focusing on their branding and abandoning discounting as a traffic strategy.

The chain has long been pointing to deep discounts as eroding their business performance. This isn’t the first time their CEO has specifically pointed to it during an earnings call. Her point is however well taken. You’re far better off providing value and quality than discounting. People that seek discounts are never comfortable with your full price and don’t see the true value proposition from your business. Focus instead on your points of differentiation and bringing specific value to your guests. That is the marketing that grows a business.



Why it matters to you: an Immigration policy that becomes a disastrous disruption.

As President Obama left office in January, he left almost 2 million undocumented workers were victims of deportation under his administration. That’s why it seems strange to hear such outrage about President Trump’s most recent effort to implement his immigration policies he committed to with his campaign promises. Take the group of restaurants in Buffalo that had 25 staff members arrested last October. Since the raid, only one of the group’s restaurants has been able to reopen.

Immigrants make up over 17% of all Back of the House employees. While this number doesn’t apply uniformly across all restaurants, the impact removing 17% of all kitchen staff via deportation will cause utter and complete chaos in our industry. If you think it’s tough now to get decent dish and kitchen staff, imagine when losing close to 1 in 5 people from the labor pool. Wage rates will rise and staffing deficits will cause operational challenges, all while driving down profit and impacting guest service.