Smartphone-toting consumers are always looking for ways to make their lives easier, and it seems like mobile payments could be another thing for restaurants and other businesses to consider when they are looking to draw new customers and keep loyal ones coming back.

But there is an issue outside of convenience that arises with the subject of mobile payments — data security. The retail industry has accounted for more than 36% of data breaches so far in 2014, the Wall Street Journal reported, and restaurants are not immune to such statistics. For example, P.F. Chang‘s was the victim of a highly publicized breach, and for restaurants that are considering adopting mobile payments, data security is a significant concern.

The introduction of Apple Pay and other mobile payment systems has the potential to change the face of mobile payments. So what should restaurants keep in mind when considering mobile payment systems? (read more…)

As consumer expectations continue to evolve, brick and mortar retailers are elevating experience. Clearly. They are not only fighting for your attention and your dollars. They’re also fighting for your stomach.

Retailers understand that they have to offer more than just goods and services in order to thrive. Consumers are perfectly comfortable skipping trips to the store, and ordering online has become common behavior. To combat this, some retailers are adding entertainment value as a means to draw consumers in. Increasingly, however, retailers are adding some form of strategic foodservice in order to attract and retain customers and keep them satisfied. What’s that old saying about a way to a man’s heart?

There are three reasons to add foodservice to a store:

1. To increase foot traffic

Seems obvious, but foodservice can give customers a reason to walk in, and a reason to stay longer. Barnes & Noble Cafes featuring Starbucks beverages are a great example. (read more…)

When it comes to healthy foods, knowledgeable consumers are now the norm. Food manufacturers are making efforts to communicate nutritional benefits and most recently, protein has been gaining attention as a health trend with more consumers seeking out innovative new products that will keep them satisfied and healthy. One doctor who saw the potential of protein as far back as the 1970s is Robert Atkins, who founded the Atkins Diet, which though controversial, rose in popularity in the early 2000s. We talked to Joe Scalzo, president and CEO of Atkins Nutritionals, Inc., about current health and wellness trends in grocery and how the industry is — or isn’t — addressing those trends.

What are the three biggest trends you’re seeing right now as far as consumer demand and the health and wellness category go?

The health and wellness landscape has been rapidly changing over the past few years. Bestselling books like Nina Teicholz’s “The Big Fat Surprise” and Dr. (read more…)

As restaurant brands deploy digital ordering, the stakes are high. Done well, digital ordering enables a brand to foster greater customer loyalty, grow sales and create a win-win-win for customers, operators/franchisees and the brand itself. Done poorly, digital ordering can damage valuable customer relationships and result in operators/franchisees losing trust in the brand.

In my experience as the Founder & CEO of over the past nine-and-a-half years, I’ve had the pleasure of working with more than 150 brands to operate digital ordering programs that today serve more than 7 million customers. In that time, I’ve learned that there are many critical components to a successful digital ordering program. Here are my top 10 tips for a successful digital ordering implementation:

1. Make sure that all key departments are in the boat before you set sail. Digital ordering requires participation from IT, operations, marketing, and training, as well as executive buy-in from the c-suite. (read more…)

In the tech industry, the term “disruption,” referring to the drastic alteration of an industry or market, is practically a cliché. Everyone wants to “disrupt” a traditional business, often referencing an attempt to become the next “Uber” of a particular industry, referring to the private car service that has upended the taxi industry. These startups are looking to outsource the daily chores and nuisances that take up consumers’ time and energy, from laundry (Washio) to mailing packages (Shyp) to storage (MakeSpace). And now a new group of tech-savvy entrepreneurs have set their sights on disrupting the food industry.

For our recent Creative Concepts TrendSpotting Report on meal delivery services, Datassential looked at a number of these companies, from the ingredients, dishes and flavors you’ll find on the delivery menu to the ways they are using technology to set themselves apart. We also surveyed consumers for their opinions, from their interest in and experience using these services to the factors that are most important to them. (read more…)