Communication among restaurant franchisees is often problematic. When loosely connected franchisees in different locations try to communicate, many obstacles get in the way, including company firewalls, different time zones, technology issues and a silo mentality. However, every day, virtually every restaurant team learns something that could potentially benefit other teams and the brand in general. Unfortunately, at the end of each day most restaurant brands suffer from information evaporation where this collective knowledge disappears never to be thought about or used again.

The good news is the social web provides a compelling solution.

Within restaurant franchise groups, each franchisee has specialized knowledge that if shared effectively would be useful to others. Examples of this knowledge could be expertise in operations, marketing, finance, real estate or community relations.

Under a pre-social web communications model, if I am a franchisee and have say an operations question, I would either call corporate or my field marketing manager. (read more…)

Make sure to practice your best Instagram pose and get those tweets ready — there’s a new awards ceremony in town! The RIZMY Awards, or RIZMYs for short, will showcase the best social and digital brands in the Restaurant & Hospitality industry. Think of it as the Emmys of the foodservice industry (but without the awkwardly long speeches and stiff dress codes).

The RIZMY carpet rolls out on September 24th in Scottsdale, Ariz., at the first annual Foodservice Digital Marketing Summit (FDMS), which will take place in conjunction with tech conference FSTEC NexGen. In proper fashion, the awards ceremony will include live performances, envelopes, appetizers and cocktails.

This is the first time the Restaurant Social Media Index (RSMI) will consider nominees from every segment in the industry — from fast food and QSR, to fast casual and fine dining — altogether in the same mix for each of the eight awards. (read more…)

As farm to table dining becomes more popular, it’s not uncommon to see ingredients’ origins printed on a menu. Knowing which farm grew the heirloom tomatoes in their salad or where the chicken on their plate was raised gives many diners confidence in their food choices. Still, knowing the exact journey food takes from farm to fork is rare, but advances in technology are making the supply chain safer and more transparent than ever before.

Imagine opening a menu at a national chain restaurant and being able to scan a code on each item to see not only where it was grown, but its nutritional information and whether it passed through any facilities where it may have come into contact with allergens. Traceability at the individual restaurant level could be a game-changer for diners with food allergies and restaurant operators who need to react quickly in the face of a recall. (read more…)

Some days it seems the promise of Big Data to revolutionize marketers’ understanding of our customers is as huge as the petabytes piling up at our servers. Each day countless observations, measurements, and transactions of all kinds are being appended to what we think we know about our customers. No doubt there is more to learn; insight that we will be able to extract from Big Data. But what else can we learn from the information we already have?

If you are responsible for managing a branded food or beverage business, have you fully tapped your brand’s archive of product innovation ideas and research? Have you checked your product launch assumptions against what has really happened with launches at your company before? I don’t think most of us have. There is a lot of Dormant Data that can help guide marketing decisions lurking in common drives, on desktops and stored in filing cabinet folders and videotapes. (read more…)