OPERATIONS

Mintel: Five trends that will shape restaurant offerings in 2012

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Mintel, a leading global supplier of consumer, product and media intelligence, has identified five trends that will shape how restaurant operators appeal to their customers in 2012.

“Our trends are based on original consumer research, developments among restaurants and trends observed in other industries,” said Eric Giandelone, foodservice director at Mintel. “Our goal with these trend predictions isn’t merely to identify what’s going to happen, but to deliver a roadmap on how to take advantage of these trends."

The trends include:

  • American regionalism: Consumers are not only more aware of global cuisine, they are also more aware and interested in the regional specialties that define American cuisine. Whether it’s Kansas City or Memphis barbecue, New England Chowder or Low Country grits, more consumers and restaurants are looking at the regions and cities in the United States to identify the "Best of" cuisine.
  • Double-sided menus: Menus will continue to feature widely indulgent options, but will be balanced with healthier, better for you options. Additionally, this goes beyond healthy and indulgent to include premium and value pricing. Operators understand it’s not either or, it’s both, so we’ll continue to see both high priced and low priced options on the same menu.
  • Consumer control: Consumers expect that their voice will be heard and that their wants and needs will be met. And the surest way to listen to the customer and ensure their needs are met is to give them the ability to control their dining experience. Customized ordering systems will continue to flourish, as will greater flexibility in menu design. 

  • Slow it down: Quick service restaurants are able to drive margins through their standardized efficiencies, but more and more we are seeing fast food restaurants return to more time-intensive preparation methods. As such, items described as "handmade" or "home style" are popping up on restaurant menus as consumers recognize that they want more from their dining experience than efficiency.
  • Importing ideas: For many restaurant chains, growth lies elsewhere, in international markets. And for those companies already with an international presence, menu concepts and product testing is taking place overseas. From there, good ideas are making their way to the U.S. market, as was the case with McDonald’s recent McBites, which first started in Australia before entering the US market. Given the importance of international markets for growth, this is one trend that will continue to growth beyond this year.

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OPERATIONS

DDR Corp. launches location-based mobile marketing program

BY Staff Writer

Beachwood, Ohio — DDR Corp announced the launch of ValuText, a location-based, mobile marketing service specifically designed to drive sales and productivity at the company’s prime assets. ValuText couples physical retail assets with state-of-the-art, location-based mobile marketing. The program allows shoppers to connect with desired retailers as they enter the shopping center to avail themselves of real-time sales and promotions.

The service will send immediate offers from retailers within a designated shopping center via text message to opted-in shoppers once they enter a "geo-fence," a pre-defined, virtual space established around DDR’s prime assets. Since geo-fence technology is compatible with 92% of U.S. mobile phones, this initiative will allow all DDR tenants to reach the broadest possible audience.

"DDR is committed to ensuring that our retailers have every tool they need to succeed," said John S. Kokinchak, senior executive VP and chief administrative officer of DDR. "ValuText helps our tenants by giving potential customers access to real-time, location-based offers, thereby driving traffic to their stores. In addition, the program creates value for shoppers by providing timely information at the exact point of purchase — the shopping center."

In contrast to existing value-oriented mobile or social media programs, ValuText simplifies usability for both shoppers and retailers. It works on nearly all phone types, and merchandise values are delivered via text message without the burden of downloading or activating a smartphone app, repeatedly checking into a virtual location or printing an actual coupon. Shoppers simply opt-in once.

To create ValuText, DDR has partnered with a pioneer of geo-fence mobile marketing, Placecast. Geo-fence technology has been used today by over six million opted-in consumers through different programs from carriers like AT&T in the United States and Telefonica in Europe, as well as over 75 major consumer and retail brands.

DDR is an owner and manager of 538 value-oriented shopping centers representing 134 million sq. ft. in 41 states, Puerto Rico and Brazil.

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Starbucks mobile transactions exceed 26 million in first year

BY Marianne Wilson

Seattle — Starbucks has racked up 26 million mobile transactions since it launched its mobile payment program in January. Currently, the top five U.S cities for Starbucks mobile app adoption are New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, and San Jose.

In the first nine weeks of the program, there were 3 million transactions and in comparison for the nine week period starting in October, there were 6 million transactions, demonstrating a significant jump in customer adoption and use, the company reported.

Globally, the Starbucks Card program had $2.4 billion loaded onto cards during FY11, and Starbucks Cards are currently used for 1 in 4 transactions in the United States. Since the card launched just over 10 years ago, more than $10 billion has been loaded on Starbucks Cards. On the mobile front, since January 2011, there has been $110.5 million reloaded onto Starbucks Cards directly through the mobile app.

Starbucks took its mobile payment program beyond its nearly 7,000 U.S. company-operated stores and more than 1,000 Target stores to include nearly 1,000 Safeway stores in June.

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