In North America we've been really good at taking uniqueness and enthusiasm and scaling it over a large number of units. Starbucks has done this really well, and any QSR chain that's a household word has excelled at it too. It's always difficult to bring about original brand value over a large number of units. It's not just a matter of economies of scale. It's also a matter of driving entrepreneurial spirit and brand value.
To start with, there has to be something of special value in… Continue
A deal is a deal. 'Fair' is the deal point in a consensual arrangement. When it is violated - and we've all had this happen - something must be done. Or not.
Sometimes, the customer unilaterally changes a deal you worked hard on. This is almost always unnerving, and usually feels like a violation. It can come in many forms - in a restaurant, the customer for no good reason refuses to pay a tab, or just pays part of it. Or dines and dashes. Does the manager leave the busy restaurant… Continue
We’re in a great industry: no matter what, people have a great love for food. And their love for food is like the air in a balloon – you can crush it on one end, but it comes up somewhere else. Which can be good news.
People are dining out less in many restaurant segments; in others, the growth has slowed to a crawl.
No use whining about it. The love of food is showing up in other areas, and if we follow where people are going, and… Continue
Burgerville, the 39 unit Oregon based QSR chain, supplies food that is home on the range. Local, seasonal and organic food options like theirs can be considered a supply for a small niche of regional demand. But it could be part of something bigger.
To reduce food costs, many of us have applied, in some form or other, the breakthroughs by Wal*Mart in global-sourced supply chain management and optimizing… Continue
Added by Erle Dardick on July 7, 2009 at 11:30am —
Gone are the days when you could put up a site with stock photos and pretend you’re a billion dollar, multi billion dollar enterprise.
I don’t know if this ever worked, anyway. But now it really doesn't work. People know better.
We're all for transparency, as long as we look good. It seems to me that we just have to get better. As fellow Canadian, business writer Dan Tapscott says: in an age of transparency, "you'd better be buff."
To my mind, the Kogi truck story ( see video below) is one of the most exciting movements in the restaurant industry in months. Why? Because 1) it’s a winning, dynamic story about the restaurant industry and the society it serves that is in extreme change and 2) Kigo’s success has been about delivering to the new imperatives of social media.
In this economy, food companies have to continuously find the wave, ride it, and find another one. Because consumers really are in… Continue
"So often, you are not the customer for your product. Yet you market it as if you were. Showing up in your world (or the board's world your staff's world) is not nearly as important as showing up in the world of the person you're actually trying to reach."
- Seth Godin
We met so many quality individuals in Chicago last week. It was really, really encouraging. Attendance seemed down at the NRA, but that simply gave us more time to spend… Continue
a) The business you're in - the market category - is worthwhile, and
b) Your company has a worthwhile offering in that category
We all promote our businesses. But let's talk about promoting the category. It's not only when you're a pioneer that you need to promote the category. When the marketing category is threatened, category promotion can be just as vital. Because relationships and alliances precede sales and…Continue
Added by Erle Dardick on May 12, 2009 at 12:00pm —
If networking is about wearing a nice shirt, keeping secrets, pushing a business card and hard selling, it gets tired pretty fast. And in a connected world, it’s unsustainable, because reputation matters more than ever.
“We no longer care what you say. We care a great deal about what you do…If you network to get, and not to give…. Then we already know who you are” - from Seth Godin's “… Continue
There have been so many good posts here from FOH experts that focus on delivering over-the-top good experience. These posts are important. It’s the hospitality business, after all, and being remarkably helpful to people is what it’s about.That has to be the full and honest intent of your business. It also just happens to make your company’s story spread.
Good service IS marketing, of course. But there is a lot of the standard marketing stuff we do from the marketing department.… Continue
Beneficial investments that can be made, should be made. For instance, if an ad will bring in revenue that more than pays for itself – and it can be done – it should be done. Because it’s a net positive investment. That's what business is all about.
The same applies to staff. As a business owner, right now I can say, “Supply and demand are on my side, when it comes to hiring.” But if employees only have a negative incentive, i.e. they get to keep their jobs if they work hard, the… Continue
‘Whenever a trade association raises the barricades and tries to lobby their way into maintaining the status quo, they are doing their members a disservice. Instead of spending time and insight and effort reinventing what they do and organizing for a better future, the members are lulled into a sense of security that somehow, somehow, the future will be just like today.’
For the past few years, you've invested a considerable amount of time and energy building your retail clientèle. You're still around, meaning you've been able to deliver a consistent and predictable experience. And you have nailed down the service, quality and experience equation. You've got some customer retention and have built up your brand equity.
Especially in these times, it's good to characterize your… Continue
Added by Erle Dardick on February 17, 2009 at 9:29am —
Change is something you have to work at. It takes a strong commitment to create and set off on a new direction. I don’t have to suggest to anyone here that taking on a new direction takes a lot of fortitude, and a little luck as well. But as a career entrepreneur, I've come to realize that it also takes a sustained commitment to looking at things differently in order to develop the aptitude to change the game. And this aptitude doesn't fall out of the sky: you have to train for… Continue
We’ve been in San Francisco this week, visiting the Fancy Food Show. Fancy food manufacturing is a potentially lucrative activity for restaurant brand extension. We’ve seen this at the enterprise level. For instance, Wolfgang Puck, The Cheesecake Factory and the California Pizza Kitchen all make products for resale in supermarkets.
Now we're seeing the same phenomenon among mid level and small businesses.
Last post, I began to talk about catering as a potential new sales… Continue
Wahlburgers has signed a franchise agreement with Hingham Associates, LLC that will bring five Wahlburgers to the metropolitan Philadelphia area over the next several years. The franchise group is actively looking at sites and is targeting a late 2014-early 2015 opening for its first restaurant.
Luna Grill, the San Diego-based Mediterranean restaurant chain, is welcoming retail real estate industry veteran Greg Thorburn to its leadership team. Thorburn has been brought on board to fill the newly created position of Vice-President of Real Estate.
Rita's Italian Ice has awarded franchise and area development agreements for Kansas and the Kansas City area, which extends to the Missouri side of the city, to franchisees and local residents Jay Miller, Jeff Miller and Pat Reilly.
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.
Pick up a book, magazine or screen, and more than likely you'll come across some typography designed by Matthew Carter. In this charming talk, the man behind typefaces such as Verdana, Georgia and Bell Centennial (designed just for phone books -- remember them?), takes us on a spin through a career focused on the very last pixel of each letter of a font.
Astronomers believe that every star in the galaxy has a planet, one fifth of which might harbor life. Only we haven't seen any of them -- yet. Jeremy Kasdin and his team are looking to change that with the design and engineering of an extraordinary piece of equipment: a flower petal-shaped "starshade" that allows a telescope to photograph planets from 50,000 kilometers away. It is, he says, the "coolest possible science."
Puberty is an awkward time for just about everybody, but for transgender teens it can be a nightmare, as they grow overnight into bodies they aren't comfortable with. In a heartfelt talk, endocrinologist Norman Spack tells a personal story of how he became one of the few doctors in the US to treat minors with hormone replacement therapy. By staving off the effects of puberty, Spack gives trans teens the time they need. (Filmed at TEDxBeaconStreet.)
The parenting section of the bookstore is overwhelming—it's "a giant, candy-colored monument to our collective panic," as writer Jennifer Senior puts it. Why is parenthood filled with so much anxiety? Because the goal of modern, middle-class parents—to raise happy children—is so elusive. In this honest talk, she offers some kinder and more achievable aims.