Mirus is happy to report that our clients, as measured by the Mirus Index each day, are outperforming both the industry averages, and the government's numbers in the 3rd quarter.
On The Rise
Discounting in restaurants is on the rise, as measured by Mirus Index, and is about 30% higher than a year ago. Examining this trend, it looks like discounting started climbing in 2015 but was up and down until mid-2016. Since then the trend has been a steady increase in discounting, except for the traditional holiday spike in November and December.
The strategy of discounting is often debated among industry experts with some saying it is always a bad idea while others taking a more nuanced position that says discounting can be useful to achieve goals in specific situations.
We had noticed that Average Check has been increasing as well as Discounts. If you overlay the trend for Average Check against the Discount trend, you see that while discounts have gone up about 50% since the start of 2017, so has the Average Check, about 25%. Could the increase in discounts be related to the strategy of increasing prices?
What do you think will be the most popular restaurant business trends for 2019? I recently had the privilege to sit down with FSR Magazine to briefly discuss this topic.
We discuss four prevailing predictions:
Analyzing Customer Grain Details?
For the most part, restaurants in the past have operated knowing very little about their loyal customers. There are some exceptions, such as pizza delivery concepts, where they have been collecting detailed grains like customer's full name and home addresses.
However, today with the increased competitiveness and shifting preferences of a new generation, it's imperative the restaurants understand all they can about their customers. If the goal is to keep current customers while also trying to attract new customers, you have to leverage the data your restaurants are producing. That way you can understand what's working and what's not.
Customer grain details in restaurant reporting can help you do just that. Watch the presentation below to learn more about customer grain and how your restaurant leadership can use the information to make better business decisions.
Topics: Restaurant Marketing
According to a recent article, the top 10 oldest restaurants in America are:
- McGillin's OldeLouis' Lunch (1895) New Haven, Conn.
- Buckhorn Exchange (1893) Denver
- McGillin’s Olde Ale House (1860) Philadelphia
- Breitbach’s Country Dining (1852) Balltown, Iowa
- Tadich Grill (1849) San Francisco
- Antione’s Restaurant (1840) New Orleans
- Union Oyster House (1826) Boston
- Griswold Inn (1776) Essex, Conn.
- Fraunces Tavern (1762) New York City
- White Horse Tavern (1673) Newport, R.I.
To me, it is fascinating that these establishments are still going!
Most likely, today's restaurants evolved out of the Tavern where travelers could get a bed and a meal on their journey. I am sure that in the 18th and early 19th centuries most people would not think of paying someone to cook a meal for them. It required discretionary income and the 'middle class' would not evolve until later during the industrial revolution.
This year we are pleased to be hosting the Mirus User Conference in our home town of Houston, and Everyone is invited! This conference is the best way to see how Mirus provides a powerful advantage to our clients for building customer satisfaction, increasing sales, and getting to the action plan quicker than is possible with spreadsheets or static reporting.
Topics: Restaurant Custom Reporting
Is Food Delievery Right For Your Restaurant Business?
No topic is hotter in the restaurant space than delivery today. An amazing shift is taking place where customers want their favorite food, and not just pizza, delivered wherever and whenever. For me, delivery became a new reality and not just a fad when I saw McDonald's advertising during the recent World Cup matches that they would now be delivering food. This was no longer a test in a few US markets but now ready for prime time by a heavy hitter in the QSR realm.
There are people projecting that delivery will do to restaurants what Amazon did to retail. I think it is too early to tell for sure, and caution is wise. Nonetheless, I am seeing many restaurant companies testing delivery in select markets and many more are discussing it. However, before you make the decision to plunge into this new channel, there are a few questions you should ask yourself.
Whose Customer Is It?
How are your customers going to request a delivery? Will you hire your own drivers and create your own e-commerce website, or will you use a third-party delivery service? The first option will take more time and money before you can start comparing to a 3rd party option. But, which alternative do your customers prefer?
Examples of restaurants who have built their own platforms include Panera and Domino's, and both efforts are considered successful, albeit expensive. It's simple, the customer goes to the brand website and orders. An upside to this approach is your customer sees only what you want them to see and their experience is directly connected to your brand. Another plus for this option is the ability to add other programs and services beyond ordering, such as loyalty and payment.
Treating Customers Right
Restaurant operators are great customers; however, there are some Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) vendors that are notorious for not treating them well. Change is accelerating in the restaurant business, as well as in the software solutions used by restaurants. Over the past decade, the way operators buy and access their software has changed.
Previously, a perpetual license model was used where the operator paid upfront for the software and had to keep it up and running themselves. Today, a subscription model is used where the software is hosted in the cloud and the operator pays one monthly fee for both the access to the software and the costs for keeping it running.
Topics: Restaurant IT
As we head towards the end of the second quarter, it appears that restaurant sales are moving in a positive direction. Unless something dramatic occurs in the next two weeks, June will finish the first half of the year with 5 months of positive sales growth - only February has been negative this year. The current year to date Same Store Sales, as measured by the Mirus Index, is up 0.62%. Not huge, but at least positive, and the trend is improving. Same Store Sales for Q2 is up 0.82% so far and is up 1.8% for the first twelve days in June.
Menu changes occur all the time in the restaurant business. You might add an item or two, change the price of existing items, run a promotion, or limited time offer. All of these actions generate, hopefully, the consequences you intended. But, most of the time those actions cause other changes you did not expect. These are the unintended consequences. In this post, we give you three important things to consider when evaluating the effectiveness of a promotion.
Topics: Restaurant Performance