GUESTS: How to Get Local Groups to Become Your Regulars
The big obstacle in the way of getting regulars is just finding the right people for it. But instead of waiting for your guests’ version of Prince Charming to come walking through the door, operators & marketers might find more luck in being proactive and hunting for their own regulars. One way of finding regulars is by courting local groups that meet regularly in your area to make your place their unofficial headquarters.
DID YOU KNOWS…
America’s Favorite Brands
Among the twelve most revered companies in the 400-brand ranking were an equal amount of service providers, mainly internet and software companies, and manufacturers. While Americans felt most attached to U.S. companies, Japanese car maker Toyota and Swedish streaming service Spotify also made the cut.
Amazon Paid $0 in Fed Taxes Last Year
Far from paying the statutory 21 percent income tax rate last year, Amazon actually reported a federal income tax rebate of $129 million. That works out at a tax rate of -1.2 percent. The company also earned a tax rebate of $140 million on its 2017 earnings, meaning the tax rate was -2.5 percent. All this despite doubling its profits in 2018. Oof. Must be nice, right?
RIP Stealth Starbucks
Did you know Starbucks had a fake-independent coffee shop it operated on Capitol Hill? It was called Roy Street Coffee and Tea and has been in business for over a decade. It’s one of a few “stealth Starbucks”, coffee shops owned and operated by Starbucks but made to look like a regular ol’ indie shop that blends into the neighborhood. While many potential customers don’t like the deception, it has given Starbucks a sandbox to try out new ideas before deploying across their obvious Starbucks locations.
STRAIGHT DOLLAR BILLS, Y’ALL
Why it matters to you: You may want to rethink going cashless – if you even were to begin with.
The modern economy is quickly becoming a cashless economy, thanks to the internet business boom and uptick in mobile apps use. Some brick-and-mortar businesses have also tried going cashless, but local governments are fighting back. The Philadelphia City Council has voted in favor of bill that would ban most stores from going cashless, in a 12-4 vote. Proponents of the bill said that cashless retail is an unjust and discriminatory business practice in a city with a 26% poverty rate and where many low-income residents only use cash. Opponents to the law said it could hurt the job market if cashless businesses decide to go elsewhere; others argued the city should help lower income citizens transition to a “cashless economy.” New Jersey has passed similar legislature.
For most operators, these laws probably won’t affect things much. Our industry lives off hard cash more than perhaps any other US industry. It doesn’t mean some of us haven’t tried. Last year, Shake Shack abandoned their cash-free experiment due to a mix of tech confusion and guests wanting to use cash. That’s far from the norm, especially for indies. The bill will hit restaurants like Sweetgreen who only accept payment via mobile apps or debit/credit cards. So if you’re a cashless restaurant or have considered going cash-free, you may want to reconsider the move or at least have a contingency plan should similar laws pass in your area.
Nonetheless, it is amusing to see these law pass when a little over a year ago Visa was offering $10,000 to select restaurants to upgrade their payment systems and go cashless.
[SOURCE: Philly Voice]
Why it matters to you: Can’t find quality staff? Blame the strong economy.
When we think about increased labor costs, we tend to think about Fight for $15 movement and the push to raise the minimum wage requirements. But another culprit is also putting the squeeze on restaurants – a robust economy and tighter job market. That’s what Austin-area restaurants are noticing, according to a KUT News story. Austin’s enjoying a strong economy with near full employment figures. Because of this, costs across the board are rising, including labor costs.
It’s a double-edge sword, right? A strong economy means more people have more money to spend at our restaurants, but it also means it’s a tougher labor market. Add to that the cost of living in the area and it’s a vicious circle. There are just fewer people in the job pool to pull from to begin and those that are looking for a new gig can’t afford to live off peanuts. One operator talked about dishwasher applicants leaving interviews as soon as they hear what the starting pay is. Another said his labor costs have increased 20% over the last two years but he’s unable to increase his menu prices by 20% to offset that cost.
And therein lies the rub. While every cost and expense around us continues to increase, we keep our menu prices idle. It’s understandable. Anytime we raise prices, our guests get up in arms of having to spend more. So, we keep prices stagnant. But it’s not a very sustainable business practice. At the same time, we can’t stay in business and run successfully if we can’t afford quality talent, but we can’t afford quality talent if don’t have the budget for them. Something has to give.
[SOURCE: KUT News]