TECH: Improve Your Guests’ Turnover Time with Tableside Tech [Sponsored by French’s]
A long guest dwell time is stealing money from restaurant’s pockets. At the same time, trying to flag down a server to put in an order or pay their bill is a huge pain point for guests. It’s not fun for your guest and not great for your business. Why not kill two birds with one stone with tableside technology?
DID YOU KNOWS…
YouPorn vs. Starbucks
Starbucks announced last week that it is banging porn viewing on its free WiFi. The company built a filter that would still allow mature content viewing while blocking porn. In response, YouPorn has announced that it will ban Starbucks in its offices. We can only imagine this leaves a door wide open for Dunkin Donuts to jump on the pro-porn bandwagon.
Housing Prices Soar
Housing affordability in the United States remained at a decade low in Q3 2018, as only 56.4% of new and existing homes sold during the three-month period ending September 30 were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $71,900. That’s according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) released earlier this month. The following chart illustrates the direct link between house prices and affordability.
No Phones? Free Meal!
Frankie & Benny’s in the UK is launching a campaign to encourage diners to place their phones in a “no phone zone” box at the table. They’re hoping to bring families closer together. It’s aimed specifically at kids and teens because apparently adults are never on their phones. *eye roll* In return, however, they get a free kids meal, so sometimes human contact pays off.
DON’T BE INDIGO JOES
Why it matters to you: What is the right mix for a franchisor between company-owned and franchise locations?
Do any of you remember Indigo Joe’s? They were a sports-themed franchise restaurant group that opened a ton of restaurants rapidly in the early 2000s -- and eventually closed them all. I have long observed that the mix of franchise and company restaurants in any system needs to be balanced. It appears there is some justification for that opinion. Just take a peek at McDonald’s and Jack in the Box’s most recent spats with their franchisees; both systems are experiencing the stress of a franchisee-dominant model by losing some measure of control of their own businesses. In the case of McDonald’s, their franchisees took the serious step of creating their own advocacy group, a first for the world’s largest restaurant chain.
Over at Jack in the Box, angry franchisees are demanding a board seat and other concessions. And the thing is, they can. By running an “asset light” approach, these franchisors have exposed themselves, because their franchisees control the bulk of revenue. It’s always about the money, and these franchisees want a say in how they are served by the franchisor and the direction of the company. Whether it’s bucking an enforced remodel, as McDonald’s have been experiencing, or a call for a new CEO, as Jack in the Box franchisees have demanded, franchisees are biting back. Business partnerships can be fraught with confrontations, but giving up control by primarily franchising has its risks.
ARBY’S HAS MORE THAN JUST THE MEATS
Why it matters to you: Leveraging your brand to gain earned media.
You may not realize it, but you really do have a brand. In fact, this brand is among your most powerful assets. We need only take a look at a couple of national chains who are using brand equity to gain free media coverage to illustrate the value of brand. For example, Arby’s did a fun and irreverent promotion offering a free tattoo of an Arby’s sandwich for anyone that showed up to Miguel “Uzi” Montgomery’s shop in Long Beach. 104 people participated. Yet, the only incentive was the tattoo itself. That means 104 people thought highly enough of the brand to get it tattooed on their bodies.
The same is true of a KFC promotion that rewarded the first baby born on September 9th that was named Harland (the Colonel’s DOB and first name, BTW) with $11k towards their college education. Yup, $11k is for the 11 herbs and spices that make up the KFC recipe. The promotion went viral and KFC claims they received nearly $2 billion in free media. Now, we aren’t suggesting you will get hundreds to tattoo your logo on themselves or name their kids after your restaurant, but there is clear value in your brand.
Leveraging that value is the goal of any marketer. So, if affinity is a sufficient incentive on its own for marketing, what can you do to leverage yours? Many of you already do, by selling logoed t-shirts or premium items, but you can do more. Have a fun contest and allow guests to name a menu item or create a philanthropy program that will gain you press attention and get your guests to help out. Then you notify local press and ask them for help covering it. If your goal is good and your guests engaged, then free media is possible and your brand can make that happen.