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The Changing Dynamics of Restaurants

Posted by Dave Bennett on 11/29/18 9:49 AM

The Past

According to a recent article, the top 10 oldest restaurants in America are:

  1. McGillin's OldeLouis' Lunch (1895) New Haven, Conn.
  2. Buckhorn Exchange (1893) Denver
  3. McGillin’s Olde Ale House (1860) Philadelphia
  4. Breitbach’s Country Dining (1852) Balltown, Iowa
  5. Tadich Grill (1849) San Francisco
  6. Antione’s Restaurant (1840) New Orleans
  7. Union Oyster House (1826) Boston
  8. Griswold Inn (1776) Essex, Conn.
  9. Fraunces Tavern (1762) New York City
  10. 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.

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Topics: Restaurant Operations, Restaurant Performance

Questions To Ask Before Implementing Food Delivery

Posted by Dave Bennett on 8/2/18 11:18 AM

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.

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Topics: Restaurant Operations, Restaurant Profit

Fast Casual Operations: 2 Areas That Affect Restaurant Profits

Posted by Frank on 2/8/18 2:14 PM

FastCasualProfits.jpg

The ordering experience at a fast-casual restaurant can be overwhelming for some guests. Take a second and imagine this scenario with me: You walk into a fast-casual restaurant with a friend. Let's say this is one of those new pizza concepts where you go through the line picking toppings, making your pizza similar to a Subway line.

It's lunchtime, the place is fairly busy. You have a handful of customers behind you as you stare at the menu board above. But it's ok, they are also staring, trying to decide how they should begin their journey. For some, the ordering experience can even cause anxiety. To make the process go smoothly and put guests at ease there are two things fast-casual operators can do. Focusing on these two areas will help fast casual operations increase profits.

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Topics: Performance, Restaurant Operations

Restaurant Sales & Traffic pick up momentum

Posted by Dave Bennett on 12/13/17 9:05 AM

Much has been written over the past two years about the dismal pattern of same store sales and traffic for restaurants. Traffic has been negative throughout this period, and sales have rarely been positive, and then only when restaurants increase prices.

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Topics: Mirus Updates, Restaurant Operations, Restaurant Performance, Restaurant Profit

Restaurant Sales continue slump in August

Posted by Dave Bennett on 8/15/17 10:40 AM

The official numbers for July are now out and it was a bad month for restaurants sales, down by -4.7% according to TD2NK. I thought it would be good to take a mid-month check on the Mirus Index to see if August could be the month to turn things around. Based on the first 14 days of the month, the sales slump continues in August.

Same Store Sales in Mirus Index were positive in both Q1 and Q2 of 2017, and you can see the trail end of that in the chart above. The positive gains were declining in June, and July 4th was a great weekend, but by the middle of July the month to date numbers were negative and they haven't budged much.

All of this is focused on sales, but what about traffic? Q3 will be the seventh quarter in a row of negative customer traffic into restaurants. TD2NK measures that traffic fell -8.7% from July 2015 to July 2017. The Mirus Index has traffic down -2.7% at the mid-way point of Q3 2017. You can manipulate same store sales, but you can't manipulate customer traffic.

We will keep an eye on things, and keep you informed. If you would like to learn more about how you can get the Mirus Index every day, click on the button below.

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Topics: Restaurant Performance, Restaurant Profit, Restaurant Operations

Restaurants extend declines in July

Posted by Dave Bennett on 8/1/17 11:30 AM

Restaurant sales and customer traffic have been in decline for months, and July didn't help. While the results were not the worst in recent history, July extends several streaks that started at the start of 2016. Same store sales for July fell (1.2%) on (2.6%) less traffic. July was the first month this year that recorded negative growth in both numbers.

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Topics: Restaurant Performance, Restaurant Profit, Restaurant Operations

POS Reporting VS Above Store Reporting

Posted by Kira on 5/18/17 3:05 PM

In the Beginning

All restaurants, big or small, depend on a Point of Sale (POS) system to keep track of their business financials. A POS system can generate reports based on sales and customer information and trends that allow the restaurant operators to examine sales data along different thresholds and create promotions based on popular items or slower day parts. POS systems provide useful information to executives as their restaurant business develops.

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Topics: Restaurant Data Warehouse, Restaurant Performance, Restaurant Operations

Restaurant Customer Satisfaction - What Exactly Makes Your Guest Come Back?

Posted by Chuck Bartlett on 5/3/17 3:04 PM

What's CX?

According to Wikipedia, Customer Experience (CX) is the product of an interaction between an organization and a customer over the duration of their relationship. This interaction is made up of three parts:

  1. The customer's journey.
  2. The brand touchpoints the customer interacts with.
  3. The environments the customer experiences (including digital environment) during their experience.

In addition to the focus on hiring and retaining staff, labor and food costs, customer engagement technology and winning the guest / customer through exceptional service are among the top priorities for restaurant companies that want to win the wallet and mind of the customer.

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Topics: Restaurant Operations

Locked In: The Dilemma of the Restaurant CEO

Posted by Kira on 4/4/17 11:04 AM

The Need for More Advanced Technology

As restaurant businesses continue to grow and expand, there comes a point when restaurant executives become frustrated with spreadsheets and spending time piecing together information. It is also challenging for the executive to what is really happening in their business. Restaurant CEOs and owners task their leadership team to find a comprehensive analytic solution to get greater insight into their restaurant data.

Enter the restaurant software companies that provide a variety of tools which can help arm these businesses with the right solutions. As you enter into new relationships with vendors (whether a POS system, a Back Office solution or an Above Store Reporting Tool) be aware that there are a variety of agreement designs that can work both for or against you.

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Topics: Restaurant Operations

Restaurants sell more using Mirus

Posted by Dave Bennett on 3/17/17 8:25 AM


Measuring success or failure of a system that improves decision making is challenging in many respects. But, the Same Store Sales (SSS) metric can be useful, especially when applied to a long period of time, and across thousands of restaurants. SSS is caluclated as a percentage change from last year to this year, and only uses locations that are open for both years.

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Topics: Performance, Restaurant Finance, Restaurant Profit, Restaurant Performance, Restaurant Marketing, Restaurant Operations

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