One good indicator that the economy has improved is that consumers are not as concerned with discounts when choosing their restaurant meals. According to research by the NPD Group, people aren’t putting value menus over every other consideration when it comes to dining out now. In fact, for the 12 months ending in August of 2012, non-deal restaurant traffic actually increased 1 percent. For the…
Last week’s Jobs Report, issued by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, echoed news we’ve all grown accustomed to hearing — U.S. job growth is weak.
But is that the whole story?
If you take a moment to study the recent news, there is a silver lining — at least for the restaurant industry. In the month of August, 96,000 jobs were added on a net basis across the nation and more than 28,000 of those jobs were in the restaurant industry. In other words, more than…
As I’ve probably mentioned lately, I’ve recently worked with several clients on debt-raise projects. Based on that experience, as well as others over the years, I’ve begun to identify a malaise among credit providers which I’ll refer to as Lake Wobegon Syndrome.
There are only three ways to increase food & beverage sales.
The economy and unfavorable weather has robbed resort, restaurant, and F&B executives of the simplest method to improve sales. Luckily, two remaining methods still offer opportunity, yet one single F&B Core-Competency Focused Strategy is best for Profit Increases.
There’s good news and bad news regarding the prospects for an economic recovery. This should not be a surprise, especially since the news has to do with the findings of economists, perhaps the only subspecies of humans needing a third hand to settle arguments. (You know the old joke: arguments which often include the phrases 'on the one hand...' and 'On the other hand.....’).…
Every so often, I listen to the podcasts produced by NPR’s Planet Money team, focusing on economic and financial topics in the US and around the world. On their podcast #225, dated 11/2/2010, their guest was Mark Zandi, Chief Economist of Moody’s Analytics and a frequent TV and radio commentator on things economic.…
Two years ago, the Restaurant Finance Conference fell (choice verb?) just after the capital market cataclysm of September 2008. As I’ve noted before, the mood was so unsettled that man suggested Zombie costumes be issued. Last year, their was still considerable uncertainty -- and accompanying gallows humor -- but as one reader noted at the time, “we’re still here”; there was at least a general…
The Fed’s Ben Bernanke and many other market watchers say that the recession has bottomed out. There are small positive signs appearing here and there. I agree with predictions that strong signs of recovery will manifest over the next couple of months. There will still be problems here and there, but in my opinion, the bottom line is that the whole economic climate begins to change when a retail consumer sees the item that they have been looking at for many months, picks it up and buys… Continue
Having just seen (again) Steve Martin’s classic sketch regarding Christmas wishes from an old Saturday Night Live, I’m tempted to follow suit, but will try to resist. Still, if I were granted just one wish this Christmas, ...
I’d wish for confidence. There are hazards remaining between us and a robust recovery, including the still-unresolved issue of commercial real estate defaults across lenders’ (and investors’) portfolios. Still, most economists and analysts believe… Continue
A recent open letter from the National Restaurant Association in Nation's Restaurant News seeks to rally the industry around a proposed campaign to "debate the notions currently going unchallenged in the public forum" - notions suggesting consumers can save significant sums by eating at home.
While it's true that the mass media - TV, talk show hosts, etc. - has promoted this theory, it's not clear how well their message has resonated with consumers. According to NRA, research shows… Continue
As I mentioned in a prior column, I just spoke at the Restaurant Finance and Development Conference, an annual event put forth by the Restaurant Finance Monitor and Franchise Times. As always, it was a quality event; John Hamburger and Mary Jo Larson have done a terrific job of making this a valuable information forum for operators, investors, and lenders, as well as an opportunity for many of us to gather with current, past, and prospective clients and renew a few… Continue
The ‘literati’ amongst you will instantly recognize that I shamelessly ripped off the title of this blog post from two truly epic novels by renowned author Ken Follett and if you’ve read them both, by the time you are finished reading this, you will completely understand why I chose the title I did.
What is ironic to me is that gathering the information and material for this posting was actually easier than figuring out what to title it.
I'd like to share a few articles I read this week that address the changing climate of the restaurant industry and changes in the demographics and habits of diners. Each of these pieces touched on a common theme - that restaurants are going to have work harder to be relevant among a changing -and less loyal- demographic; one that is causing the market to become more competitive and more driven than ever by exceptional customer service.
First, a report released this week from the… Continue
This is not all bad news. The sales drop is (surprisingly for me) is linked to households with children, who cut back their visits to all segments of restaurants. Parties including children, which represent a third of industry traffic, and adults from households with children, have been cutting back on restaurant visits for the last three quarters. Over half of the industry’s decline this past quarter traced to fewer…Continue
On a flight last week, I was sitting next to a boy and a girl who were both in their mid twenties. The girl noticed the “start-up magazine” in my bag, pointed to it and said to the boy, “Hey, have you heard of this magazine?” It was an obvious and awkward moment where I knew she wanted me to ask, “Do you have a start-up? If so, what do you do?” So.. I asked, she enthusiastically said, “YES!“ and then, blushing, said “OK. Here’s my spiel.” Her “partner” winked and gave… Continue
Sales at fast-casual eateries are growing at a pace similar to that of quickservice and sit-down restaurants as young, high-i -More-
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Main Event Entertainment, the fastest-growing family entertainment center in America, is celebrating its new center opening in Pharr, Texas, a suburb near McAllen in the Rio Grande Valley. Doors will open to the public at 9 a.m. on August 6.
Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI) announced that Clarence Otis is stepping down as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Company. Darden's Board of Directors has appointed the Company's current Independent Lead Director, Charles A. Ledsinger, Jr., as Independent Non-Executive Chairman of the Board, effective immediately. The Company also announced that it has amended its corporate governance policies to provide for the separation of the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer roles.
Today the National Restaurant Association issued the following statement regarding the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) decision asserting McDonald’s Corporation is a joint employer of its franchisees:
Rising India, Inc. (OTC: RSII), announces today it will immediately begin work toward the acquisition of up to 5 profitable stores in the popular Quick Serve Pizza Restaurant segment. Current targets are currently earning about $450,000 in revenues per year, per store. Acquisition of targets would provide immediate cash flow identified from profitable longstanding, absentee owner operations with proven model success.
If you are looking for capital to start or grow your restaurant, create the next 501c3, develop and launch the next app for the restaurant industry,or want to help your peers in some meaningful way, we want to know about it.
Inspired by biological design and self-organizing systems, artist Heather Barnett co-creates with physarum polycephalum, a eukaryotic microorganism that lives in cool, moist areas. What can people learn from the semi-intelligent slime mold? Watch this talk to find out.
When he was young, artist Shih Chieh Huang loved taking toys apart and perusing the aisles of night markets in Taiwan for unexpected objects. Today, this TED Fellow creates madcap sculptures that seem to have a life of their own—with eyes that blink, tentacles that unfurl and parts that light up like bioluminescent sea creatures.
Surgeons are required every day to puncture human skin before procedures — with the risk of damaging what's on the other side. In a fascinating talk, find out how mechanical engineer Nikolai Begg is using physics to update an important medical device, called the trocar, and improve one of the most dangerous moments in many common surgeries.