Are Restaurant Loyalty Programs Worth It for Full-Service Establishments?
The short answer is yes, but with the caveat that they are executed correctly. For years, quick-service restaurants have leveraged loyalty rewards programs to entice customers back through their doors and to spend more money. And, for the most part, they have been wildly successful. Partly, because consumers love a good deal. But more importantly, because it gives people a way to connect with their favorite restaurants on a deeper level. Instead of just being a guest, they are now a member. Rather than making a purchase, they are earning points towards some kind of incentive—a discount, freebie, or unique experience. And every time they engage with a loyalty program, they can show their dedication to their favorite establishments. In other words, they can prove their loyalty. But can a loyalty program spark the same emotional response from guests of full-service establishments? The short answer is “absolutely.” As long as it’s implemented in a way that’s easy to use and reflects your restaurant’s brand. Full-service restaurants are in the business of creating memorable experiences through signature culinary styles, exceptional approaches to hospitality, and a distinct atmosphere. The fact that your guests choose you over other restaurants shows they support your unique vision. Having a branded loyalty program not only lets them be a part of that vision but also makes them feel important. For a loyalty program to be successful, though, it must express your restaurant’s brand that your guests have come to know and love. On top of that, it should be set up in a way that not only makes it easy for guests to earn and spend points but also for your servers to sign in guests and apply rewards. In short, how you implement a rewards program in your full-service restaurant could mean the difference between a loyal following and a confused customer base.
Half of Restaurants Have Stopped Hiring
Because of labor costs, study finds. The small-business survey from Alignable.com also found that 9% of operators are laying off workers because they fear the economy is worsening. About 9% of restaurants are laying off workers and another 55% are suspending recruitment efforts because of soaring costs, softening revenues and fears the economy is weakening, according to new research. A canvass of 5,618 restaurants and other small businesses by the online resource site Alignable.com found a sharp acceleration this month of an employer retrenchment that seemed unimaginable six months ago. Just in the restaurant sector, the tally of places halting their hunt for new hires has jumped by 17 percentage points, Alignable found. Other industries stomped even harder on the brakes. Across all trades, 63% of small businesses, or SMBs, have stopped looking for workers to hire. About 10% reported that they’d cut cuts. “It’s hard to imagine after struggling for so long to find help that these particular SMBs are now forced to cut workers loose, but that shows just how devastating the economy has been for these small businesses so far this year,” Alignable commented. The only businesses stepping up their recruitment efforts are gyms and trucking companies, Alignable found.
Killer in the Kitchen
Restaurants face an evolving epidemic of addiction. The nation’s restaurants have long been havens for drinking and drug use. But the influx of dangerous new drugs like fentanyl, coupled with the stress from the pandemic and its impacts, have made matters far more deadly. Foodservice workers have a rate of death from overdoses that is nearly three times higher than the national average. Only construction have it worse. Throughout the country, restaurants and bars are such common places for overdose deaths among customers that advocates are training bartenders and servers to administer Narcan, a medication used to treat opioid overdoses. They are also becoming sources for fentanyl test strips so customers can see if the drugs they’re taking are laced with the powerful drug. Solutions can be as simple as nixing shift drinks or as hands-on as learning how to treat an overdose. Drug and alcohol abuse is a deeply rooted American problem, but the restaurant industry is uncomfortably close to the heart of it. A 2015 survey by the federal government found that 16.9% of hospitality workers abused drugs or alcohol, the highest rate of any industry. The reasons for that are complicated and varied, encompassing stigma associated with addiction, the wider availability of dangerous drugs such as opioids, and an entrenched restaurant culture where heavy partying is often viewed as part of the job.
Dine-In Customers Rank Food Quality a Top Priority
When choosing a restaurant. Despite the boom in takeout and delivery during the pandemic, restaurant goers still prefer the elevated experience of dining in, according to a new report. Meals-to-go surged during the pandemic, but now customers are returning to restaurants for dine-in experiences. And when they choose their dining destination, the quality of the food is a top priority. That’s one of the findings revealed in the TouchBistro 2022 Diner Trends Report released Wednesday. Of the 2,600 diners surveyed for the report, 68% rank food quality as the most important factor when deciding where to dine. Location, customer service and price follow close behind, at 66%, 64% and 62% respectively. Eating at local and independent restaurants is also a priority; 63% of respondents prefer them over chains and franchises. Restaurant decision-making is also influenced by cravings—no matter what the diner’s demographics. The research found that three-quarters of Millennials, Gen Xers and Boomers choose a restaurant based on the type of food they want to eat. But Gen Z is more likely to be swayed by social media and Instagram influencers; 39% of respondents in this group say they’ve tried a new restaurant based solely on the recommendation of an influencer. While Instagram still reigns supreme, TikTok is on the rise—21% of Gen Zers check out this platform before dining out. Posting a tempting menu online is definitely a plus for all generations, as 84% of diners browse the menu ahead of time and 79% look at a restaurant’s website before they visit.
The California’s FAST Recovery Act Could Affect The Entire Restaurant Industry
The bill is designed to spread to multiple states. While the recently passed FAST Recovery Act has been drumming up controversy in California, the legislation — which could raise the state minimum wage to $22 an hour — is more wide-reaching than most people realize. “Anybody thinking this is just isolated to California would be naive, especially looking at what happened with the Fight for 15 movement,” Riley Lagesen, an attorney at Greenberg Traurig, told Nation’s Restaurant News. “Once something like this catches on in one state, there are other likely candidates where similar laws could be passed in New York, Illinois or Washington. It’s a lot easier now in the age of social media to generate campaign moments.” As a quick refresher, the FAST Recovery Act or Assembly Bill 257, was signed into law by California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Labor Day and was designed to give fast-food employees a seat at the table. The Governor will eventually create a 10-person council that would set standard wages, working hours and conditions for employees of quick-service chains with 100 or more locations nationally. The bill was widely criticized by the restaurant industry as unfairly targeting restaurants and punishing some small businesses (franchisees of large chains) but not others. Following the passage of the bill, an advocacy group called Protect Neighborhood Restaurants filed a proposed referendum with the California Attorney General to require the legislation to be voted on by Californians before it goes into effect.
Yes, Your Restaurant Needs To Be On TikTok
You need to be on TikTok if you’re a restaurant owner. PERIOD. Undoubtedly, Facebook and Instagram have played a pivotal role in building brand awareness and creating an impactful relationship with your customers in the past – but the “game” has changed, and it’s time your social media plan does too. This article will explore why your restaurant needs to be on the TikTok platform, the unrivaled opportunity, and some unique content ideas to promote your brand. Let’s dive in! TikTok is the fastest-growing social media channel on the planet, with more than 1 Billion monthly active users. During the pandemic, TikTokers and restaurants found each other, fell in love, and the content has taken the world by storm. Food and cooking-related videos consistently rank amongst the top 10 content categories on the platform. Some creators have even launched new careers and concepts – making TikTok perfect for restaurants, bars, caterers, food trucks, and coffee shops to attract their core audience and generate new business. And let’s be clear – TikTok isn’t just for kids. The most recent data shows that the platform continues to age up, with the fastest growing segment being users ages 40 and up. Short-form videos (15-60secs), with customizable filters and effects, paired with trending sounds or music – allow you to get creative. Plus, unlike other platforms, TikTok’s algorithm still has a significant organic reach, meaning a wider audience will see your video without spending any money.
Using Live Video
To showcase your restaurant (infographic) In today’s world of continuous distraction, it’s important to be able to find strategies for your restaurant that stand out from the noise. Many restaurants have spent a great deal of thoughtfulness and money on carefully preparing their aesthetic both on location and online, but what is the next frontier? Given that we are in a picture-perfect Instagram age, many restaurant connoisseurs and foodies crave a deeper experience – enter the world of live video. Video is an effective communications tool when used correctly. In the past, carefully staged video may have been enough, but consumers are interested in more authentic live video. While live video may have had its challenges in the past, technologies are emerging to help change the game for creators and restaurant owners alike.
Restaurant Gap with Grocery Prices Remains Wide
And new tech is making it a reality. The price gap between restaurants and retail groceries remained at 5.5 percentage points in August, tying the July chasm, which was the largest in favor of restaurants in 40 years, according to the August consumer price index. U.S. overall inflation rose 0.1% in August, posting an 8.3% annual rate, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report. The CPI for August showed prices for food away from home, or restaurants, rose by 8% year-over-year in August, up from July’s 7.6%, the consumer price index report noted Tuesday, adding that he food-at-home index saw its largest increase since the period ending March 1979. “This 8% number compares with prices for food-at-home (groceries and supermarkets) that increased by +13.5% year-over-year in August (sequentially up by +40 basis points from July’s +13.1%),” said analyst Mark Kalinowski, president and CEO of New Jersey-based Kalinowski Equity Research LLC, in a note Tuesday, adding that the food-at-home increase of 13.5% was “easily a 40-plus year high.
Did You Know?
Robert Thompson plans rollout of Camp Pickle pickleball concept. Robert Thompson, best known as the founder of the Punch Bowl Social eatertainment concept, is preparing to launch a chain of dining-and-games venues focused on the surging pickleball trend. Camp Pickle will feature a nostalgic “1940s national park/summer camp” motif, with a food and beverage menu designed to match, Thompson told Nation’s Restaurant News. The indoor/outdoor locations are expected to measure 55,000-75,000 square feet, with 10-14 pickleball courts, plus other “old school” games such as duckpin bowling and darts.
Restaurants find the secret to a healthier workplace is already on the payroll. Training workers to notice warning signs and be a proactive peer resource is gaining steam post-pandemic. But modeling healthy behavior may be the best place to start. For many 18- to 25-year-olds, restaurants are the gateway to the world of work. And that gate can be a portal to a host of temptations. “Young employees quickly learn how easy it is to access alcohol and drugs, especially in full-service restaurants with bars,” said Dr. Joel Bennett, CEO of Organizational Wellness & Learning Systems (OWLS), an enterprise that provides training programs for the hospitality industry. “At that age, there’s a strong tendency to be a risk taker.” Providing mental health training for managers and building peer-to-peer support are keys to reaching that “emerging adult server population,” Bennett said.
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