Restaurant traffic increased a bit in the U.S., Canada and other developed countries during the first quarter, with the exception of Australia and several European countries, including Germany, Italy and Spain, according to NPD Group. The picture was a bit brighter when it came to the average check, which was up in all 10 countries measured, except Spain and the U.K.
“While a recovery of the global foodservice industry seemed possible at the end of 2011, lack of consumer confidence and economic uncertainty entering into the new year may have put the recovery on hold for the time being,” NPD’s Bob O’Brien said.
As restaurant chains become increasingly global and look overseas for growth, international traffic and sales patterns become more important, as a guide to potential lucrative markets and as an indicator of whether there will be enough upside in some markets to offset downward trends in others.
Measuring brand love is a sophisticated romance between art and science, and while the technology involved has a lot of moving parts, the premise boils down to one simple fact: people describe how they feel about this or that, including brands, and these descriptions can be coded, aggregated, and analyzed to measure sentiment.
Before social media, these descriptions were shared directly among family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors. If I own a restaurant, for example, I might stroll around chatting with customers, asking how they are enjoying their meal. Outside of the establishment, I might run into my third cousin at the grocery store and she might say “I just had a great lunch at XYZ Café.” I don’t need complicated software to recognize the word ‘great’ and infer that she enjoyed her experience at XYZ. If I hear much the same thing from others in my circle, I have my own home-made sentiment analysis — people I know like XYZ Café. (read more…)
Workers might hold onto a job that isn’t working for them longer during an economic downturn, when other options are slim to none. Staffers who fall into the talented-and-dissatisfied category are typically the first to bolt when things improve, leaving employers in the position of having to scramble to replace key people.
The jury might still be out on where the economy is headed, but restaurants are seeing employment and recruiting difficulty increase this year, according to the People Report Workforce Index. Eateries are expected to continue feeling pressure in recruitment through year-end, as Nation’s Restaurant News reported.
There are ways to lessen the stress and avoid the high cost associated with replacing workers, and they largely involve ongoing programs, practices and perks that keep employees engaged from the start. Restaurant Management reported on ways to boost business by treating your staff well, with proven employee-retention techniques and advice from Lucien Gunter, chief operating officer of Acme Oyster House, a five-restaurant Louisiana chain with about 500 employees. (read more…)
Michele Southall is implementation director at GS1 US. In this guest post, she explains how the Food Safety Modernization Act is driving traceability and helping to increase food safety in all areas of the foodservice industry.
With foodborne illnesses affecting 48 million people every year, food safety is of paramount importance to consumers and companies in the food industry — whether that be a farm, fishery, ranch, food manufacturer, processor, distributor, logistics provider, retailer or restaurant.
The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), signed into law by President Barack Obama on Jan. 4, 2011, has become the primary driver for improved traceability in the food industry, and touches all sectors of the industry. By focusing on the importance of unique identification of products and the sharing of key data, supply-chain partners can begin to establish a foundation for traceability to meet the anticipated FSMA requirements.
FSMA affirms the Bioterrorism Act of 2002, which requires anyone playing a role in the food supply chain to identify from where the product was received, and to where the product was shipped, so that in case of a food-safety event, public health can be better protected. Regardless of upcoming FDA regulations, all sectors in the food industry are already actively establishing or implementing traceability processes to improve their own performance and food-safety procedures. (read more…)