Mobile App in Canada Aims to End Lunchtime Lineups

A college student in Toronto created a solution to deal with the long lines he would encounter trying to grab food in between classes. Always a believer in technology and fascinated by the convenience of mobile, Kabir Daswani founded Grabb, the mobile app that is taking the Toronto food app scene by storm. To avoid lines, users can pre-order and pre-pay with the app and they'll receive a notification when their food is ready for pick up. Approximate wait time is available in the app and access to where you are in the "virtual queue", how many people are using the app ahead of you. Currently, the app partners with about 30 Toronto restaurants including both large establishments and smaller local spots. Daswani has had a positive experience securing clients due to restaurant owners openness to technology. In order to stay relevant with Millennials, its not just about the food anymore. Branding and services that can be accessed with smartphones is just as important as what consumers are eating. Read More   

Google Makes Mobile Ordering Even Easier

Consumers no longer have to scramble through the yellow pages or dial 411 on their telephone devices to find the number of a local restaurant. Google continues to evolve their search engine, especially when it comes to finding restaurants. Not only is the search engine integrated with Yelp, now so are multiple mobile ordering platforms.

Six well-known companies are as follows -- Seamless, Grubhub, Eat24, Delivery.com, BeyondMenu and MyPizza.com. What google has done is offer users the ability of tapping on a section called "Place an order." They are then redirected  to the search site and enables them the opportunity of not only seeing their choices of food and restaurants but also the delivery preferences. However, these options will only show up if the user has one of these six apps downloaded on their phone. 

Looking back at 2012 and 2013, $25 million and $46 million were supplied in food ordering companies. But the growth potential for this segment continues to increase– in 2014 a whomping $600 million was invested. Yet, most consumers are still calling in to place their orders. That is sure to change in the next couple of years as we continue in this technological era.  Read More

Using Location-Based Data to Your Advantage and Other Insights from the LSA's 2015 Conference

Mobile phones are so much more than a device to make our lives easier. They are no longer known as cell phones, but rather smartphones and mobile devices because they serve a countless number of functions. According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, 46% of smartphone users say that this device is something "they couldn't live without." This may sound a bit dramatic, but these devices have become merely extensions of ourselves. With that being said– this has created a rather distracted consumer, but it has also created a rather accessible one for brands. 

Because these devices are glued to consumers, this mean brands can track their customer's behaviors and target new customers in the most accurate way possible through location-based data. An effective way to collect this data is through VenueBeacon. These are devices placed near the POS system. Once a customer is within the 2 inches and as far as 200 feet of the beacon, this device can collect valuable information from their mobile devices– such as their search history, purchase history, frequency of visits, and more. 

And even though targeting new customers has become easier, this means brands should be even more careful to push effective and relevant content. The more personalized, the better. Read More 

Twitter Opens Directing Messaging

Once upon a time (well, only about 10 days ago) Twitter would only only allow you to direct message (DM) users who were following your account. That is no longer the case. However, users have to enable this feature in order to allow DMs from anyone. 

Although this has opened another door of communication, this could turn into a "slippery slope" if brands don't respect the user's privacy. Spamming excessive unwanted messages to users (even if they are your target customer) to push your product or brand, will more than likely detour the consumer. But on the flip side, brands and companies should enable these messages on their accounts. This is just another place where their customers can reach out privately and let's face it Twitter is a platform that millions are customers are comfortable with.

Do you think brands will use this feature inappropriately? Will this lead users to not use Twitter as regularly? Read More

How the Restaurant Industry is Harnessing Big Data

Technology continues to invade both the front and back of the house of restaurants. Big data is now being collected from multiple sources, including POS terminals and social media outlets. The analysis of this collected information is not only being used to better understand guests, but also to make operational decisions. For example, the social data collected by Dinner Lab- the "social dining experiment" is used by the chefs that cook at the pop-up dinners. The social data collected after the pop-up event is how they get feedback on their dishes and then incorporate it into their restaurant's menus. Mobile payments and mobile delivery allow for restaurants to keep track of what their loyal following is ordering. For example, Panera customizes their rewards based on what the guest has ordered previously. So if a user repetitively orders their "pick two" menu option, they may potentially get $2 off a pick two in the near future. These personalized rewards are one of the ways that the brand validates their customer.

This data is also being used to measure staff performance– specifically with the data pulled from POS terminals, operators can track which employees are selling the most specials or which receive the highest tips.

We completely understand the power of big data- RSMI has indexed over 225 million consumers globally– making this the largest restaurant data set available. We have analyze over 15,000 foodservice brands globally and have broken the data down in our RSMI reports. This information has provided crucial business intelligence to billion dollar brands to smaller brands with only a few units. 

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Even "Boring" Brands Can Have Social Media Success

It is consistently being proven on Social Media that a company doesn't necessarily have to be "exciting" to gain a following. This just means the brand has to get creative. It's not so much about the actual products or services your company provides, but rather the community you build around the brand. This is what the company 3M is doing and with 121,000 Twitter followers they are crushing the myth that "boring" brands cannot have followers. You may not be familiar with 3M by name but you know its products- Post Its, Ace Bandages, Scotchgard along with a variety of industrial products.

3M uses Twitter as a way to teach their customers about the science and technology behind their products. They've noticed that the more knowledge the consumers have, the more brand loyalty they have. It's not about the products, its about education and science. They consistently engage their followers and ask questions which has given them tremendous success. A simple question of "what does science mean to you" spawned over 200 retweets and 500 favorites. Read More    

The Top Restaurants for First Dates

According to analyzed data from the dating app, Clover, Starbucks is the most popular place for people to meet on first dates. The rest of the data confirmed that most consumers prefer casual establishments in general for first date spots.

While one might expect bars, night clubs, and fine dining restaurants to be more popular in this category, it's the more relaxed environments that come out on top. Specifically, 51% of men prefer to meet at restaurants, while 52% of women prefer coffee shops. On the other side of the spectrum– only 18% of men and 13% of women would choose a bar for a first date.  Here are the top ten and the results may surprise you....

1. Starbucks
2. Chipotle
3. Panera 
4. The Cheesecake Factory
5. Texas Roadhouse
6. Buffalo Wild Wings
7. Olive Garden
8. Chilli's
9. In and Out Burger
10. Applebees

Read More

The Top 100 Leading Digital Brands in the Restaurant Industry and More

We live in a digital world and more and more companies are utilizing big data as a way to gain information about their company and its customers. Harnessing the right information is imperative to the growth and success of any business. But in order to make strategic decisions, the right tools and data analysis must be in place. Luckily, RSMI has taken the guesswork out of data and has compiled all the information you need into one report. The data is presented in a way that is easy to comprehend making it the go to source for brand intelligence in the restaurant industry. RSMI is the largest and most experienced database for everything involving restaurants and hospitality. We examine in detail five core intelligence categories: sentiment, influence, engagement, location-based actions and mobile engagement.  All of our data stems from unsolicited consumer input making it the most accurate representation of the consumer population. 

So what does this report include? 

  • 24 Charts & Rankings
  • 3 Segment Rankings - Casual, QSR, Fast Casual
  • 2 Top 100 Rankings in Overall and Fast Casual
  • 4 Top 25 Rankings in Social and Digital
  • 3 Top 10 Rankings in QSR, Casual and Sentiment
  • First Food & Service Sentiment Scoring in the RSMI (available for the first time)
  • Over 2000 Data Points on leading digital brands
  • 3 Case Studies (Chipotle, Panera Bread and Wendy's)
  • Custom brand specific consumer data reports
  • Mobile, Influencer and Location-based Action Reports

The Marketing Data Tools You Need To Know, If You Don't Already...

  • Google Analytics is the most popular and used website for statistics. It is one of the first analytics websites and has evolved a lot since its early days.  This is a great tool to use to understand traffic and what people are doing on your site. It can track visitors from search engines, social networks, direct visits and referring sites.   
  • Intercom is mostly known for being a tool for conversing with users, sending targeted email, in-app messages and real time messages. It is very easy and user friendly and can provide valuable data insights. You can get a look into the most active users and market to various consumers appropriately.
  • Qualaroo offers non-intrusive on page site surveys which allow businesses to get immediate feedback from their customers. The survey can be set up with any kind of question you want to ask your audience. There are capabilities of targeting certain sections of traffic like frequent visitors or customers who meet certain criteria.  Read More

Why Millennials Are Loving Shake Shack

Shake Shack is a prime example of the rise of fast casual through social media. Millennials have abandoned the traditional fast food stops (McDonald's and Burger King) and are gravitating to the Chipotle's and Panera's. This generation cares about sustainability, health and ethics and they want the places they eat to care too.  

Analysts suggest that Shake Shack's strong social media presence has greatly contributed to the brand's success. In terms of numbers, Shake Shack doesn't have the largest following but it has by far the largest audience for its size. The gourmet burger fast casual has 155,000 followers, while McDonald's has 491,000. But keep in mind that Shake Shack has only 40 stores compared to McDonald's which has 500,000. Through engagement on Twitter, the company is building a loyal fan base. The power of a simple retweet will keep them coming back and gives diners a true sense of loyalty to the brand. Shake Shack is known for consistent engagement, always listening and responding to what their customers have to say. They also have been successful in running various contests and promotions that target the younger demographic. In addition to being at the top of their social media game, they partner with local charities and offer quality food at competitive prices. Read more about why Millennials are loving this fast casual that is setting Wall Street on fire. 

Domino’s Uses Social for Virtual Scavenger Hunt

The well known pizza delivery chain is changing its name. Having previously gone by the name of “Domino’s Pizza”, the company is dropping “pizza” off of its signage and logo. Here’s the fun part: Domino’s is offering prizes to those who snap pictures of the old signs and post them on Instagram (with the appropriate hashtags of course). For those on top of their social media shaming game, a grand prize of free pizza for a year could be on the table.

The chain is using this unconventional method to engage on social media with their massive following which is still less than their competitor, Pizza Hut. Domino's Facebook has less than half the likes of it's rival and on Twitter only 771,000 followers as opposed to Pizza Hut's 1.15 million. Do you think Domino's creative strategy will succeed? Read more about this unusual contest here.

Social Media Errors You Can't Afford to Make

Properly utilized, social media has the power to make a huge positive impact on your business. If not used correctly it can be unnecessarily detrimental.  Here are some mistakes to steer clear of: 

  • Repeating the same content. Stay in tune with your audience by keeping things fresh and not recycling the same information. You don't want your readers to become disinterested and get the impression that you don't care about what is being posted. Provide a variety of relevant and interesting content that will keep your audience engaged.  
  • Shamelessly promoting your products. There is a time and place for everything but don't abuse the platform by constantly sales pitching.  There is a rule that you should limit promoting products to 20% of the time. If you follow this rule you will avoid your platform becoming a commercial. Focus primarily on engaging your audience with quality content.
  • Inconsistency in the frequency and style of posts. Keep a posting schedule to keep track of how often content is being posted. Provide your team with a document that has guidelines as how to respond to negative feedback. An FAQ document that employees can refer to will keep messages consistent. Also have a file with photos and images available that can be accessed.  

Read More

Arizona Fast Food Restaurants Embrace Tech

Looks like Arizona has gotten a restaurant tech-makeover. Digital menu boards, interactive tables and smartphone mobile ordering has hit the state, and boy are they more popular than ever. "As an industry, it's what consumers want, and as an industry, we try to be hospitable to what they want." Chianne Hewer, spokeswoman for the Arizona Restaurant Association. The Phoenix McDonald's has launched interactive tables, play structures and digital menu boards in their store, making the restaurant more attractive to the millennial generation. The loyal customers unfortunately had to go elsewhere during the four-month transition, but it was well worth the wait. Check out more here.

PHOTO CREDIT: AZCENTRAL.COM

PHOTO CREDIT: AZCENTRAL.COM

Location-Based Data: The Power Of Presence

More than 85 iBeacons have been installed in Shaftsbury Square at the entrance of each store. "The idea of using iBeacons stood out to us because we felt there was a need for people to be reached directly for promotions and marketing," says Jamie Loh, head of corporate communications for iKhasas Group. "It offers our tenants the chance to reach out to people who are walking by their stores." With iBeacon technology, location based promotions can be sent to consumers through their mobile device. Not only is the push of promos a benefit, but the ability to track customers that enter the store compared to those that just pass by is also another large plus. "Cellphones emit signal from time to time, which although encrypted, contain a small portion that we can process to tell exactly how many people are passing by outside the store versus how many actually enter it, says Ivan Loh Kah Lun, founder of Tide Analytics. 

But don't worry, your personal information is safe and secured. "We ensure that the data is encrypted and deleted afterwards. Only summary information is passed on to our clients," Says the founder of Tide Analytics. The data is a beneficial and hearty amount of information that could be used for many purposes to ensure profitability and a larger reach. Read more here.

PHOTO CREDIT: THESTAR.COM

PHOTO CREDIT: THESTAR.COM

Android Launches New App: JustEat.In

PHOTO CREDIT: INDIANTELEVISION.COM

PHOTO CREDIT: INDIANTELEVISION.COM

India's leading online food ordering app, JustEat.in has just rolled out with a brand new Android interface. With this new launch, they are offering hAPPy hours deals to all customers that place orders through the app from 4 and 5pm.

The new app gives consumers the ability to place an order with ease, just a few clicks you are able to order faster than calling the restaurant. How convient! CEO Ritesh Dwivedy says "At JustEat.it, we are committed to developing superior technology to enhance user experience and constantly bring in path-breaking innovations in the food ordering industry. With the new app, we aim to further reinforce our market leadership position. The hAPPy hour acts as an invitation for more consumers to come on board and discover the benefits of ordering food conveniently through their mobile device." Read more about the app here.

Top 25 Social Restaurants

With 9 out of 10 restaurants on social media, don't you think this fad is not-so fad anymore? Social media is here to stay, and wake up call restaurants - you need to get with the social media program! Through engagement on social, brands are able to connect with their fans in this highly competitive market. So who's making the best out of their social media tactics? Check it out below, and here.

Top Restaurants Social

The Future Of Restaurants Might Just Rely On Tech

PHOTO CREDIT: COMOHOTELS.COM

PHOTO CREDIT: COMOHOTELS.COM

There's no doubt about it, the future of the restaurant space is relying on what the future of tech has in store for us. Pop culture has dictated that the future of restaurant visits, making the technology-minded entrepreneurs and thinkers the only ones coming out alive. Mobile payments, kiosks, tabletop tablets and the non-existence of servers are slowly seeping into the restaurant scene, and those keeping up with the tech-savvy millennials are taking over the game. Even though the argument about what the future of restaurants is not clear, we do know that it is changing, and rapidly. Read more here.

5 Chains That WILL Outperform Competitors

With Americans eating out on an average of 74 times a year, the restaurant sector is getting crazy competitive. But who will take majority? Those brands that are attracting and maintaining millennials are those that are sure to outperform the competition. But who are they.....

PHOTO CREDIT: BUSINESSINSIDER.COM

PHOTO CREDIT: BUSINESSINSIDER.COM

1. Starbucks. By selling health and lifestyle products, as well as their new mobile payment app, the millennial attraction rate is high, very high.

2. Chipotle. Locally-sourced ingredients wins millennials, everytime.

3. Domino's. Mobile and online technology investments has set this brand to become the world's hottest pizza chain. Who would've thought?

4. Panera Bread. In-store kiosk ordering, pick-up and mobile ordering has changed Panera's strategy, and brought in the dough (no puns).

5. Buffalo Wild Wings. Tablet ordering and payment, oh yeah, and let's not forget B-Dubs radio... What.

Check out the details here.

Zomato Expands Into The European Market With $60M

PHOTO CREDIT: YOURSTORY.COM

PHOTO CREDIT: YOURSTORY.COM

The India-based restaurant discovery app is hitting the European market with a fancy $60 Million. Launching in 2008, the popular app has came to the UK but with the new $60 Million dollar push they are sure to gain some traction. "We're using a large portion of this to cement our growth in Europe and here in the UK, to expand our products and services and even look at potential acquisitions." the UK boss Kimberly Hurd shares. Zomato's goal to being #1 is not going to be easy, with the discovery app market being extremely crowded, but that's not stopping the Zomato team. With 3 million visitors a month in the UK,  globally over 100 cities, 18 countries, 30 million monthly visitors. Read more about Zomato here. 

Restaurants Seek Out Millennial Attention via Tech

PHOTO CREDIT: FOODINSIGHT.ORG

PHOTO CREDIT: FOODINSIGHT.ORG

Bye, bye baby boomers. Hello Millennials! Representing almost one-third of the adult population are forcasted to be 'the most significant non-economic driver of demand for restaurants.' How do you attract this crowd? Bring things they love into the mix... aka TECHNOLOGY. Millennials are the leading spenders of food-away-from-home and this is not a trend that is deemed to end anytime soon, and guess what - Generation Z is up next. The tech-gen is going to be even more tech-savvy, so either get with the program or fall behind. You can decide. Check out more here.