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Survey: Consumers open to restaurant technologies

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Chicago — Survey results released Tuesday by Technomic found that restaurant goers are increasingly open to trying new technologies in the dining environment.

According to the survey, a majority of consumers expect to use technology to order food at restaurants more often in the coming year, and very few (just 3%) expect to use it less than they currently do.

Consumers expressed the most interest in tableside touchscreen devices that enable them to self-order and pay, iPad/tablet menus and digital rewards tied to loyalty programs.

"Technology can be used as a point of differentiation within the restaurant industry…especially with Millennials," said Technomic executive VP Darren Tristano. "Operators who stay ahead of the curve, in an increasingly competitive market, will need to evaluate the best use for the latest tech trends and decide how to integrate them into their operations in a way that’s efficient and beneficial to consumers.”

Other key survey findings include:

  • More than half (51%) consider it important for restaurants to integrate technology into their ordering capabilities.
  • Technologies related to ordering, coupons or special offers sent via email or text message have the highest usage rates. Nearly 60% of panelists say they use these at least once a month.
  • Among technologies designed to entertain restaurant-goers, Wi-Fi access and LCD flat-screen TVs are used the most.
  • Out of all restaurant segments and types of retail stores, consumers are most receptive to technology-based orders at casual-dining restaurants.
  • In general, younger consumers are more interested in technology at restaurants than older diners. Consumers from 18–44 years old are far more likely than those over 45 to say they might connect to their favorite restaurants via a mobile app and order using a touchscreen kiosk. Interest is highest among 25- to 34-year-old Millennials.

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Kellogg donates $500K to hurricane relief efforts

BY CSA STAFF

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — Kellogg has donated $500,000 to support Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. The donation includes a $250,000 cash contribution from Kellogg’s Corporate Citizenship Fund (KCCF) to the American Red Cross and $250,000 in food to Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief charity.

"Our thoughts are with all those impacted by Hurricane Sandy as they manage through this difficult time," said Kris Charles, VP global communications and philanthropy for Kellogg. "The Red Cross and Feeding America will be providing critical aid over the coming weeks and we want the organizations, and those affected most, to know they can count on Kellogg for help."

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Claire’s expands in South America

BY CSA STAFF

CHICAGO— Claire’s Stores has opened its first locations in Venezuela and Panama.

The Venezuelan store opened on Oct. 12 and is located in the Sambil Paraguna Mall in Punto Fijo. The Panamanian store opened on Oct. 27 and is located in the Metro Mall in the city of Panama. Both Claire’s stores are the first of their kind in each country. Claire’s Stores Inc. has partnered with Grupo David Enterprises headquartered in Panama as the single franchisee across 16 countries in Latin America. Over time, Claire’s Stores Inc. and Grupo David Enterprises expect these countries to present a minimum 100 stores market opportunity.

Claire’s Stores Inc. CEO Jim Fielding stated, "The two recent store openings in Venezuela and Panama expand our global reach to 36 countries. We look forward to opening additional stores while entering more markets with our partners at Grupo David."

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