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…)

It is no surprise that women are behind a good deal of spending dollars. Women account for more than 70% of global purchasing decisions, according to Gallup, and as of last year, women control up to $15 trillion of spending power, Nielsen reported. But while marketers are making great strides when it comes to targeting female consumers, there is still a segment of the female population that marketers are missing, especially in the consumer packaged goods space — women at work.

According to a recent report by WorkPlace Impact, nearly half of women stop at the grocery store on their way home from work or during their lunch breaks, and a whopping 84% of women edit their shopping lists while they’re at work. Because of this, many CPG marketers are not reaching out to female consumers when they are making many of their purchasing decisions, according to Tara Peters, director of marketing at WorkPlace Impact. (read more…)

As the holiday season approaches, food banks will see a huge uptick in donations of canned goods and other foods. Generous donations at this time of year help needy families put food on their holiday table, but hunger is a daily problem for the 49 million Americans who live in food-insecure households, according to government data. With its nationwide network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs, Feeding America helps feed residents of all 50 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico.

With such a large operation — Feeding America provided more than 3 billion meals last year — food safety is paramount. Feeding America partnered with the National Restaurant Association to create a comprehensive food handling training guide for its network of food bank employees, agency staff and volunteers. The NRA’s ServSafe team surveyed Feeding America employees, conducted focus group and toured food banks to create the “ServSafe Food Handler Guide for Food Banking,” which provides training on maintaining good personal hygiene, cleaning and sanitizing food properly as well as receiving, storing, evaluating, repacking and transporting food safely. (read more…)

In an increasingly digital age, in-store signage might not come to the top of retailers’ minds when it comes to communicating with shoppers. Retailers and brands alike are always thinking of ways to innovate on mobile applications or social media platforms, but some are keeping an eye in the store and finding new ways to engage shoppers through in-store signage.

Whole Foods’ new Georgia flagship comes to mind as an example of a retailer innovating in the realm of in-store signage. The specialty retailer teamed with SapientNitro to incorporate digital signage to provide shoppers with information about where the foods they buy come from. From digital screens to touchscreens, Whole Foods shows shoppers information including an Instagram feed of produce being grown by local farmers and recommendations for products containing vitamins and protein.

“We wanted to bring in some cool digital elements, but we didn’t want that to detract from the shopping experience,” Whole Foods’ Social and Digital Media Specialist Matt Courtoy told Adweek. (read more…)

“Now, it’s loading the menu and pricing for this location.”

My guide was walking me through a top QSR brand’s soon-to-be-released iPhone ordering application. Meanwhile, the clock ticked as an animated pinwheel churned away for an eternity (ok, it was just a few seconds — but an eternity in mobile time).

I waited but it is much more likely that a customer would lose patience, bail out and decide to eat somewhere else right about the moment the guide said, “now.”

Here’s the simple fact as we approach the end of 2014: Customers want to order and engage with your brand through an app on their smartphones. At the same time, they’re increasingly selective about what mobile apps they keep on their devices. Only highly controlled experiences that are intuitive, fast, and provide true convenience stand a chance.

Brands can no longer compromise between a beautifully designed interface, smart user flow, and snappy performance – they are all essential to keep customers repeatedly using an app and recommending it to others. (read more…)