The Daily Rail: As Gas Prices Rise After Harvey, Will Consumer Spending Drop?

Wednesday, September 6, 2017


Today's Specials:


SPORTS: What the Mayweather-McGregor Fight Tells Us About Sports Live Streaming

It is estimated that around 100 million folks tuned in to see the biggest fight ever on PPV — and a lot of them were live streaming. Except that many of those who tuned in experienced significant technical issues, both with the in-line broadcast delivery and streaming options.




Oktoberfest Beer Kicks

The German shenanigans that are Oktoberfest are coming up, and Adidas is ready. To prepare for the world’s biggest beer festival, Adidas is introducing beer-proof shoes to match your lederhosen. The Oktoberfest shoes will be specialized for drinking beer and won’t stain when stomping through spilled beer. And don’t worry, they’re also puke-proof.


Facial Payments  

A KFC restaurant in China is testing a new facial recognition payment system that allows customers to pay for their meal by smiling at a camera. “Smile to Pay” takes two seconds to scan someone’s face with a 3D camera. After ordering, users enter their phone number and the meal is essentially deducted from their bank account after recognizing their face.


Eating Sky High

A new popup restaurant in the UK lets guests dine at 100 feet in the air above the Bristol Harbor side. Guests are fastened into their seats on a platform then raised into the sky by a crane to dine in the clouds. The restaurant includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and night-time cocktail options from September 7-12.   



Why it matters to you: A restaurant is under fire for refusing service to a pregnant woman based on how she was dressed.

Many restaurants enforce a dress code policy for their employees and guests to maintain a level of atmosphere and to make all guests comfortable. We’ve discussed before how restaurants have been scrutinized for turning away certain guests based on how they’re dressed or where they have tattoos on their body.

A restaurant in Washington is under fire after a server asked a pregnant guest to leave based on the way she was dressed. In the initial interaction, the server explained a “no shoes, no shirt, no service” policy that is linked to health code regulations and said the pregnant woman’s crop top did not abide by the dress code policy.

The guest, who is seven-and-a-half months pregnant, posted a photo of herself wearing the shirt and called out the restaurant, claiming they would have allowed the shirt on non-pregnant guests. Her post on social media has generated hundreds of shares with a mostly positive response. This situation can be viewed a variety of ways, and if handled properly, wouldn’t have escalated as it has. Had the server approached management and didn’t ask the customer to leave so abrasively, there most likely wouldn’t have been an issue. Since the interaction, the restaurant has issued an apology for the misunderstanding and has pledged to “cover with all staff how to not overly enforce a rule that is intended to make all guests feel comfortable.”



Why it matters to you: As gas prices rise, will consumer spending drop?

Some estimate the cost of damage from Hurricane Harvey could top $180 billion. Not factored into those projections are the costs to an economy that depends on the production of fuel that flows from those storm ravaged areas. In the immediate wake of the storm, we have already seen a significant jump in prices at the pump. The question is, what does this mean for restaurant spending? Most mid- to low-scale restaurants are already seeing a slowing of traffic prior to the storm, which can’t be good news. In the end, consumers have a finite amount of money available for extras like dining out; increased fuel prices will cut into an already burdened demand.

All signs from Houston indicate the various delivery systems for petrol-based products are intact. It may be that this price spike is just that, a spike, and prices will return to pre-storm levels. If so, then no one can blame the storm for their softened volume. Being aware of these types of economic effects is an important strategy in managing your business. If we see prolonged gas price increases, you may want to consider a variety of actions. Certainly, food prices will also increase with rising carriage costs, alongside the sales declines as people have less money to spend. If you start thinking now about how to respond, you’ll be more likely to weather the storm (so to speak).

Hero image courtesy of CNN Money