The Daily Rail: Has the Heyday of Casual Dining Come & Gone?

GUESTS: What Operators Need to Know about eSports Fans & Gamers

While you’ll find eSports fans across the age spectrum, it’s the younger generations – Millennials and Gen Z – that have really embraced this “alternative” sports category. In fact, the very future of the modern sports bar may depend on catering to eSports fans. Data shows that nontraditional sports, like eSports, are far more interesting to Millennials with 56% favoring them, and only 44% saying the same for traditional sports. Bottom line: If you’re not trying to get eSports fans into your establishment, you’re likely dooming your business.


Arby’s Answer to Meatless Meat

With every movement or trend comes its binary opposite – whether the world asked for it or not. Such is the case with the growing meatless meat trend which has taken hold as people look for more eco-friendly dining options. Well, Arby’s got an answer to meatless meat – “megetables” aka meat-based veggies. Arby’s has no immediate plans for selling the “marrot” (a meat-carrot) or other “megetables” but while the company’s blog post reads a bit like satire, their spokesperson says it’s “not a joke at all.” Only time will tell.

Dem’s Q2 Fundraising

Once a fundraising leader among Democratic presidential candidates, former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke only managed to collect $3.6 million during the second quarter of the year, which saw him tumble behind his competitors. During the first 18 days of his presidential campaign, O'Rourke raised an impressive $9.4 million. His weak fundraising performance in Q2 is in line with his tumbling polling.

Infographic: Beto O'Rourke Falters In Q2 Fundraising | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

ACC Network Launch

The ACC Network is close to launch but with no Comcast/Dish/Charter deals in place. Their current deal with carriers like DirecTV, Verizon, Altice and Hulu only covers about 20 million homes and most of that is due to DirecTV. ESPN and Disney are confident that they’ll be able to land those other major carriage carriers, but some in the ACC aren’t as optimistic.


Why it matters to you: The EPA has been busy de-regulating chemicals that are devastating the honey bee population.

Last week we received an email in response to a daily blog we wrote discussing the impact of climate change on our industry. Given that over 95% of climate-related scientists believe climate change to be real, exacerbated by human behavior, and an urgent challenge to our species, we felt it was particularly relevant to our readers. But, the subscriber admonished me to “stay in my lane” and only talk about sports.

While the subscriber was right that we regularly focus on how sports impacts the world of restaurant operators, we also avidly discuss the issues that affect our overall industry. We believe that issues of climate are central to our long-term sustainability as an industry and EVERY thoughtful operator should pay heed. Which is precisely why we are highlighting this important post on Mother Jones about the plight of the honey bee.

Just this past Friday the EPA announced they were expanding the exceptions for use of a chemical called sulfoxaflor originally created by Dow and now believed to be negatively affecting the best know insect pollinators. The crops in question make up over 190 million acres of farmland, almost twice the size of California. The post continues on to show other de-regulatory steps by the EPA that will cause outsized issues with the honey bee population and therein lies the raison d’etre for us commenting. One cannot believe that our food supply and safety isn’t dependent on the health and welfare of the insect population.

The numbers simply don’t support that specious belief. And, in fact, that coupled with a growing trend to reduce crop diversity and our industry could see catastrophic results on our produce supply and costs. We are all business owners and prefer to eschew onerous regulation, but at what cost? We would argue that a little regulation here could potentially maintain the sustainability of our industry in the long term. If you concur or disagree, we’d love to hear your opinion.

[Source: Mother Jones]


Why it matters to you: Has the heyday of casual dining come and gone?

You might remember the debacle that was 2015 for Chipotle. Well, those woes seem to have abated as they are just about to recover from their total decline caused by the food borne illness. They have experienced a 75% increase in their stock value, followed closely by Shake Shack (65%) and Wing Stop (52%). Meanwhile the casual-dining segment (most full-service restaurants) have seen far lower growth and in many cases value drops. They certainly have experience real traffic losses over the past year. We have often observed that there is too much stock in the full-service restaurant segment of the industry which is contributing to the declines we have endured. But, we think this may portend an even more fundamental problem for casual-themed restaurant operators: People aren’t that in you.

Not to beat the dead horse too much, but there is clear evidence that our industry is at a crossroads. The demographics, financial circumstances of the current consumer class, and industry trends all point to the role of restaurants changing in the lives of your guests. Where there were only full-service restaurants and fast food just 20 years ago, the landscape has dramatically tilted towards the newly propagated fast casual segment.

Of course, exceptions like Texas Roadhouse are leveraging several strategies to overcome this sea change in their segment. They have focused themselves both the guest experience and facilitating off-premise dining. The reality is, you don’t have to be a victim of these changes. However, you can be a victim, if you don’t address those fundamental changes before they do change your circumstances. If we provide any service, we hope it’s to alert you to the changes that are far enough away that you can actually respond to their impact and ultimately sustain your business.

[Source: Restaurant Business Online]