What’s Packing Your Food? Restaurant Delivery Packaging Trends

A restaurant’s packaging is not just a vehicle for carrying food—it’s a statement that informs customers about your business’s brand and values. According to Technomic, a food industry research firm, 64% of consumers consider high quality packaging an important factor in deciding where to order food (1). And as Alicia McCabe, senior director of Food Packaging Category at Georgia-Pacific Professional, stated, “It’s important for consumers to have a good dining experience, even outside of the restaurant. The packaging is important to meet this need” (2).

A research conducted by US Foods reported that the top complaints from ordering customers included, “food was not warm or fresh” and “food got shaken or messed up during delivery” (3). With more consumers using food delivery services, the demand for better food packaging is stronger than ever. Wrong packaging could mean unhappy customers, bad reviews, and fewer repeat orders. On the other hand, restaurants with innovative, sustainable packaging can increase traffic among consumers.

Here are the top 3 considerations we think you should make when choosing your food packaging:

Quality
By quality, we mean that the food packaging should keep foods fresh foods fresh and hot foods hot. It also means that the packaging should allow for easy transport while keeping foods sealed and protected from spills or physical damage. Remember, the goal of food packaging is not just to contain the food that is delivered to your customers, it is to deliver them in a way customers would have gotten had they dined in.

Some basic rules of food packaging are: keeping hot and cold foods separate, placing sauces on the side, and using containers with tight seals (4). Temperature is also a crucial part of ensuring high food quality. With styrofoam losing favor over more environmentally friendly materials, restaurants are turning to new and innovative products like reusable or compostable containers, then relying on insulated bags to keep meal deliveries hot or cold (5).

Even if the risk of contamination or tampering is minimal, packaging experts at Packaging Strategies, suggests that restaurants go the extra mile with packaging so that they can show consumers that your restaurant takes their safety seriously (6). “Attention to detail is vital to protecting your company and your image,” said Chris Bekermeier, the Vice President of Marketing at PacMoore (6). “Food packaging is one of the first things a consumer will notice.”

Presentation
It goes without saying that the food inside the packaging should be clean and organized, as well as compartmentalized with dividers so that they do not mix during transport.

Unfortunately, off-the-shelf packaging doesn’t always fill the bill. According to Sheri Miksa, president and CEO of Tulsa, Okla.-based Mazzio’s Italian Eatery, “Custom packaging may be needed to be sure the product stays as fabulous once delivered, as when served in the restaurant” (7).

Major brands have addressed this concern by undergoing a packaging redesign. IHOP, for example, unveiled their proprietary IHOP ‘N GO packaging which was designed in a way that appeals to aesthetics while allowing the company’s famous pancakes to fit perfectly into the container right above the bottom compartment of other hot items, strategically designed so that they would keep the pancakes warm (8).

Wagamama, the US-based Asian fast-food chain, has also redesigned its takeaway boxes so that the packaging is segmented—perfect for their signature multi-component meals containing rice, proteins, sauces and multiple garnishes (9).

Sustainability
A Nielsen study reported that consumers are increasingly willing to pay more for sustainable brands (10). This probably explains the trend of previously-recycled and reusable packaging. Such packaging helps relay to your customers your restaurant’s values on being more environmentally responsible (11). It also resonates with younger customers, millennials and generation Z, who are more likely to help market your restaurant via social media (12).

In support of this movement, major Brands have already committed to sustainable packaging over these last few years. For instance, KFC pledged all plastic customer packaging recoverable or reusable by 2025 (13). Taco Bell, too, pledged compostable, recyclable packaging by 2025 (14).

Conclusion
Food packaging as the new differentiator, and it’s more than a simple shipping tool—but an important extension of your restaurant.

“Taste and test; taste and test,” stated Sheri Miksa, president and CEO of Tulsa, an Oklahoma based Italian restaurant. “Use your own product to be sure the delivered product is indeed excellent once received” (7).

Reference:
1. https://www.technomic.com/available-studies/consumer-trend-reports/retail-meal-solutions
2. http://www.worldcentric.org/images/aboutus/in-the-press/QSR%20Magazine%20-%20September.pdf
3. https://www.usfoods.com/our-services/business-trends/2019-food-delivery-statistics.html
4. https://get.grubhub.com/blog/the-secrets-of-properly-packed-food-deliveries.html
5. https://www.qsrmagazine.com/sponsored/one-easy-change-solves-delivery-headaches
6. https://www.packagingstrategies.com/articles/88986-the-role-of-packaging-in-food-safety
7. https://www.nrn.com/fast-casual/delivery-world-packaging-matters
8. https://www.fsrmagazine.com/employee-management/packaging-enters-new-frontier-foodservice
9. https://blog.euromonitor.com/delivery-demand-is-creating-a-need-for-better-packaging-in-foodservice/
10. https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/press-releases/2015/consumer-goods-brands-that-demonstrate-commitment-to-sustainability-outperform/
11. https://www.qsrmagazine.com/outside-insights/five-packaging-trends-2016
12. https://www.qsrmagazine.com/sponsored/why-packaging-major-influence-guest-loyalty
13. https://www.qsrmagazine.com/sustainability/kfc-pledges-more-sustainable-packaging-worldwide
14. https://www.restaurantdive.com/news/taco-bell-wants-compostable-recyclable-packaging-by-2025/570298/

About Goliath Consulting Group
Goliath Consulting Group with headquarters in Norcross, Georgia offers a dynamic array of business development solutions, tailored to meet the needs of each individual client – in addition to a full suite of knowledge and tools that help make restaurants more profitable, including strategic planning, menu development, project management, new restaurant development, branding, marketing, franchising, equipment, technology, evaluations, outsourcing, and more. The company also has a management division that manages full-service restaurants. Goliath Consulting enjoys a ten-year track record of creating client success among local, regional and multi-unit national restaurant chains.

Goliath Consulting Group is actively involved in the Foodservice Consultants Society International and is an allied partner of the Georgia Restaurant Association.

Contact: getresults@goliathconsulting.com

 

What’s Next? The Rise of Gen Z Trends

If you’ve been keeping up with our blog posts you’ve probably read what we had to say about millennial food trends in “Our Most Anticipated 2020 Food Trends List.” But what about Gen Z, the so-called digital generation? Born after 1997, research shows that this group will be responsible for up to 40 percent of consumer spending in 2020 (1). In fact, they will be making up more than one-third of the population at some time this year, surpassing both millennials and baby boomers as the largest generation (1).

While Gen Z’s tastes and preferences are often lumped together with those of the millennials, there is no doubt that this generation wants food to reflect their values and innovations of recent times. Gen Z, according to Chicago-based research and consulting firm Technomic Inc, is a generation “on the move that strongly prioritizes speed of service, technology, and having what they want, when they want it” (2). While this is a gross generalization, it is important to note that Gen Z’s priorities as a whole will be setting the trends of the restaurant industry. As Marcie Merriman, a cultural strategist at professional services and accounting firm Ernst & Young says, “The youth within our society have always been the drivers of change and trends. Five years ago, that just happened to be a millennial because that was the generation that was at that point. Now we have Gen Z. … If you can meet their needs, then you’re going to please everybody else” (3).

If you’re not convinced yet, just consider their estimated spending power. It’s been found, that on average, Gen Z spends $1 out of 5 on food, and $29 billion overall (4). That’s why it’s not too early to start marketing to this young audience. Here are some ideas to get started:

Make it convenient

Gen Z diners are going to use phones as part of their dining experience. Because their reliance on technology is stronger than those of the previous generations, we expect there’s going to be more customers digitally splitting checks, previewing the menu on Google, and posting online reviews in real-time (5).

Integration with technology is going to be the key to attracting this generation. Having a solid digital presence and active social media accounts should be your priorities. At the very least, we recommend that you upload your business information and menu on Google and Facebook so that your customers to find you online. It is not uncommon for Gen Z diners to decide to eat at a restaurant solely based on their social media accounts (6).

Other ways to increase convenience in your business are increasing delivery options, allowing online reservations via app, and allowing customers to pay by mobile app. The more convenient it is for Gen Z customers to order food from your restaurant the more likely you will bring in Gen Z customers as well as keep them. “The more knowledge you can give these guests ahead of time, the more it will help with your throughput” (7).

Be open to change and innovation

Generation Z is a generation that has grown up in a multicultural world, and thus around global cuisines. According to research by Mintel, a London-based market research firm, Gen Z consumers are driving the consumption of more emerging international food and drink (8). Research even shows that 36% of US parents of children under age 18 agree that their kids enjoy eating international foods (8). With exposure to international foods starting at an early age, Gen Z diners are more likely to break from tradition and more willing to explore foods however bizarre; they desire gastronomic experiences on top of food that looks and tastes good (3). This is even reflected in the way they shop: according to management consultancy Accenture, less than 38 percent of Gen Z customers frequent a single grocery store, compared with 55 percent of older millennials (9). According to Merriman, Gen Z is “a generation where things have constantly changed around them” (3). She also added that “They’re constantly looking for something different and new and fresh. For these restaurant brands and chains to continue to win them, they’ve got to constantly be giving them something different.”

Be Social. Engage. Offer connections

According to Michelle Tempesta, the head of marketing at Paytronix Systems, Inc, guest engagement programs could be key to winning over Gen Z (1). A well-executed loyalty program has many benefits, as it helps to understand their guests and engage with them on a one-to-one level. It also enables discounts and other promotions that will motivate customers from Gen Z to return to your business.

Tempesta also added that Gen Z wants to feel special (1). One article in the Society for Human Resource Management addressed a slightly different need—to feel connected—as a Gen Z trait (10). That said, engagement is going to be important to Gen Z consumers who rely heavily on social media. Restaurants would benefit from posting daily, offering giveaways and contests. If done well, social media would prove to be an effective marketing strategy, one that will boost the number of customers that post reviews online. Research by Harvard Business School showed that a one-star increase in a restaurant’s Yelp rating can result in as much as a 9 percent increase in revenue (11).

 Be authentic, and build a good brand image

Generation Z customers are looking for food that fits in with their values. According to Technomic Inc.’s Generation Consumer Trend Report, menu words such as locally sourced, sustainable, farm-raised, organic, and free-range have greatly appealed to Gen Z diners (12). Other values that seemed to resonate with this generation are transparency as well as social responsibility. Unlike previous generation diners, Gen Z diners are more invested in not only what they eat but how they are produced. According to a report by the NPD Group, Gen Z places a different perspective on the “value” of food (13). As written in the report, “this generational cohort has set expectations that food and food brands will follow their needs and not the other way around” (13).

As Susie Fogelson, Founder and CEO of Fogelson & Co. said, “The findings suggest ways for food, beverage, hospitality and dining brands to rethink their storytelling strategy” (14). One way to connect with these young consumers may be to first recognize their values, go to the digital platforms they frequent, and then engage them at a personal level.

However, we recommend that you balance engagement with authenticity. According to Desiree Le, cofounder of California-based Cauldron Ice Cream, “If you’re trying to lie to them or thinking about tricking them … they’ll call you out on it right away because they have so much information available to them. They’re loyal if you are honest with them, but in a second they can go to anyone else” (3).

Likewise, “Gen Z just wants you to be honest,” wrote Donald Burns for Foodable Network (15). “That means have strong values that they will identify with. So, know who you are and be authentic about it.”

Conclusion

There is no question that the Generation Z as a whole will leave an indelible mark in the food and dining industry. Marketing to this generation will require change, innovation and technological investments, sure, but these changes will ultimately provide opportunities for your business to grow and adapt to the group of consumers that will soon reign as the majority. It’s as Fogelson says, “Gen Z is really having a lot of fun with food” (14).

So maybe we should, too.

Reference

  1. https://www.qsrmagazine.com/outside-insights/how-restaurants-can-identify-and-engage-generation-z.
  2. https://www.technomic.com/newsroom/technomics-consumer-4sight-group-takes-deep-dive-gen-z-foodservice-usage
  3. https://www.qsrmagazine.com/reports/how-win-gen-z-restaurant-business
  4. https://www.forbes.com/sites/aliciakelso/2019/05/06/gen-z-consumers-are-different-than-millennials-heres-what-that-means-for-restaurants/#55db939a477f
  5. https://www.qsrmagazine.com/outside-insights/why-now-time-restaurants-court-gen-z
  6. https://upserve.com/restaurant-insider/generation-z-new-food-trends/
  7. https://restaurant.org/Articles/Operations/Ready-for-Gen-Z
  8. https://www.mintel.com/press-centre/food-and-drink/generation-z-set-to-impact-the-future-of-food-and-drink-innovation
  9. https://newsroom.accenture.com/news/generation-z-to-switch-the-majority-of-purchases-to-retailers-that-provide-the-newest-digital-tools-and-channels-accenture-research-reveals.htm
  10. https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/news/hr-magazine/1118/pages/a-16-year-old-explains-10-things-you-need-to-know-about-generation-z.aspx
  11. https://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/item.aspx?num=41233
  12. https://www.technomic.com/available-studies/consumer-trend-reports/generational
  13. https://www.prweb.com/releases/2018/01/prweb15126038.htm
  14. https://www.foodabletv.com/blog/the-era-of-the-super-foodie-is-here
  15. https://www.foodabletv.com/blog/2018/5/3/what-will-it-take-to-win-over-generation-z-as-foodies

 

About Goliath Consulting Group
Goliath Consulting Group with headquarters in Norcross, Georgia offers a dynamic array of business development solutions, tailored to meet the needs of each individual client – in addition to a full suite of knowledge and tools that help make restaurants more profitable, including strategic planning, menu development, project management, new restaurant development, branding, marketing, franchising, equipment, technology, evaluations, outsourcing, and more. The company also has a management division that manages full-service restaurants. Goliath Consulting enjoys a ten-year track record of creating client success among local, regional and multi-unit national restaurant chains.

Goliath Consulting Group is actively involved in the Foodservice Consultants Society International and is an allied partner of the Georgia Restaurant Association.

Contact: getresults@goliathconsulting.com

Are you Missing Out?

4 Things to Consider Before Adding Delivery to Your Restaurant

Food delivery is projected to grow 12% per year over the next 3 years1. Aside from the sales opportunity, there are other clear benefits to incorporating food delivery at your restaurant, such as giving the restaurant increased visibility, exposure to new customers and gaining of valuable insights on purchasing trends2,3. That said, incorporating delivery to an existing restaurant isn’t something that happens overnight. Factoring in the new technology, menu development, staff training and additional costs that goes into the whole ordeal, it may be a good idea to first consider these four important aspects of food delivery first:

Menu

Do you have a delivery menu? There are foods that just don’t travel well, like cheesy nachos that are meant to be eaten right away or a raw seafood plate that is sensitive to temperature fluctuations. And while everything is technically deliverable, sometimes it’s not worth the trouble to have to invest in a packaging solution that would let you deliver them. So yes, you can deliver anything, but you shouldn’t try to deliver everything.

A few tips here4 offer solutions to keeping delivery foods fresh, like separating the sauces and separating hot and cold in separate bags. Insider also gives a few examples of foods that don’t travel well, like avocado toast and salads that aren’t packaged properly5.

It also goes without saying that your food won’t be deliverable without proper packaging. A well packaged food is not only durable, but also leak-proof. A badly packaged food can leave you with negative reviews and hurt your restaurant’s reputation for food quality.

Technology

Investing in a POS system that includes delivery function is a must. There are a number of systems you can choose but you need to make sure that your POS system offer apps that will let your customers place orders on their tablets or smartphones6. It should also be able to handle things like delivery, online ordering, customer information and operation control7.

According to an Online Ordering Platform company, Orders2me, one advantage of updating your POS so that it covers online services is that it handles the problem of chain restaurants having issues with poorly integrated and non-uniform POS systems across restaurants. Meanwhile, “online ordering systems are situated above the POS, [so] they can easily integrate themselves into multiple POS providers at once”8.

Don’t want to enter the information from all those delivery tablets? There are solutions including Chowly that integrate those orders into your POS. This helps with labor, speed of service and accuracy and are typically worth the extra cost.

Space and Staff

s there a dedicated staff member who will be in charge of the delivery? You should have an employee who can take care of receiving orders, prep, expediting and checking orders before they leave for delivery9. This is important because delivery orders can negatively influence a restaurant efficiency, especially if this task is added to your front-of-house staffs’ duties. According a Olo’s “Want to Scale Delivery?” report, “once your restaurant is processing 30 or more delivery orders per day you can justify dedicating an employee to this role”10.

Likewise, operators should have extra workspace for preparing and packaging delivery food and storing big bags and boxes11.

Delivery options

You can decide to deliver yourself or leave it to a third-party service like Doordash, UberEats, Grubhub, among many others. The advantage of outsourcing delivery is that smaller, local restaurants can get started quickly12. Restaurants can also take advantage of the software and support they offer and use these popular apps as a way to attract new customers and gain brand recognition13. Sometimes, it’s just the matter of capacity. As Jersey Mike’s president Hoyt Jones said, “It’s hard to manage an in-house business, a carry-out business, and then a delivery business”14.

Still, the problem with third-party delivery companies is the fees ranging from 25 to 30 percent of sales14. More restaurants are developing their own delivery service models instead of struggling with the tight margins15. An in-house delivery route would require you to pay upfront costs to hire drivers to deliver your food, but it may be worth the investment if it will bring higher returns in the long run16, 17.

Reference:

1)         https://www.restaurantbusinessonline.com/consumer-trends/stats-are-consumers-are-upping-restaurant-delivery

2)         https://www.qsrmagazine.com/sponsored/3-ways-delivery-can-increase-your-restaurant-s-profitability

3)         https://www.qsrmagazine.com/ordering/how-restaurants-can-thrive-delivery-economy

4)         https://pos.toasttab.com/blog/online-ordering-menu-food-that-travels-well

5)         https://www.insider.com/foods-not-to-order-for-delivery-2018-9

6)         https://www.qsrmagazine.com/outside-insights/ins-and-outs-online-ordering-and-takeout-pos-systems

7)         https://www.touchdynamic.com/4-must-have-features-for-delivery-point-of-sale/

8)         https://orders2.me/the-five-advantages-of-online-ordering/

9)         https://www.fsrmagazine.com/expert-takes/step-step-guide-adding-delivery-your-restaurant

10)       https://www2.olo.com/hubfs/Olo_Delivery_Ops_Guide.pdf

11)       https://restaurant.org/Articles/Operations/Increase-your-revenue-through-catering

12)       https://www.qsrmagazine.com/sponsored/how-third-party-delivery-helps-brands-drive-sales-growth

13)       https://www.qsrmagazine.com/restaurant-operations/house-versus-third-party-delivery-debate-rages

14)       https://www.qsrmagazine.com/reports/delivery-dilemma-rages-restaurants

15)       https://www.qsrmagazine.com/outside-insights/how-restaurants-can-offer-delivery-and-make-money

16)       https://www.nrn.com/technology/restaurants-are-pushing-back-delivery-players-are-listening

17)       https://www.restaurantdive.com/news/most-diners-order-delivery-through-restaurants-not-third-party-apps/539861/

About Goliath Consulting Group
Goliath Consulting Group with headquarters in Norcross, Georgia offers a dynamic array of business development solutions, tailored to meet the needs of each individual client – in addition to a full suite of knowledge and tools that help make restaurants more profitable, including strategic planning, menu development, project management, new restaurant development, branding, marketing, franchising, equipment, technology, evaluations, outsourcing, and more. The company also has a management division that manages full-service restaurants. Goliath Consulting enjoys a ten-year track record of creating client success among local, regional and multi-unit national restaurant chains.

Goliath Consulting Group is actively involved in the Foodservice Consultants Society International and is an allied partner of the Georgia Restaurant Association.

Contact: getresults@goliathconsulting.com

Incorporating the “New” Snack Trend

Great news! Snacking has become something we do 24/7. According to Skift Restaurant Megatrends of 2019, “customers are eating whatever they want, and whenever they want it” (1). Whether it is midday snacking or late night eating, “the definition of meals, where and when we have them, is becoming more fluid,” said David Portalatin, VP, food industry advisor at NPD Group (2). “People are going to restaurants saying a hamburger, something we would consider lunch or dinner, is just a snack.”

These snacking occasions create perfect opportunities for restaurants expand their menu and to increase traffic and sales. So how should you incorporate this new snack trend into your business? Here are three ideas:

Re-size your menu
QSRs have had great success transforming traditional meals like large appetizers or entrées to a sharable, snack sized portions (3). Dallas-based Chili, for example, repositioned their nachos and baby back ribs into smaller grab-and-go menu items (3). Meanwhile, Firehouse Subs began to offer half sized sandwiches, and Red Robin has offered drink and appetizer specials during their off-peak hours. Re-sizing your menu items to provide snack sized options for your customers allow them to sample multiple dishes and to share. It also appeals to those who want bite sized meals sold at value, as well to customers looking for a lighter fare. To start, try adding mini meals such as sliders and wraps, half sized sandwiches, snack appetizers, and non-alcoholic drinks into your new snack menu.

Offer a Variety
As Bradley Day, Chef of STK, a 13-unit steakhouse based in NYC said, “(snacks) are a little bit about variety and speed” (4). His restaurant lets their customers mix and match and add extra sliders for $5 each with a two-slider minimum. The appeal of a tasting menu, a mix-and-match is only growing (4). It also gives customers a chance to try something new—odd bits of meat like turkey necks, beef tongues or pig feet—while challenging chefs to dish out more inventive nibbles. According to Brian Landry, chef at Borgne at New Orleans, it can also be “a fun way for us to utilize the entire fish” (4).

Up the Health Factor
Datassential’s MenuTrends Keynote Report: Seafood showed that nearly 9 out of 10 consumers have snacked on seafood, such as popcorn shrimp, sushi or calamari in 2017, with popcorn shrimp being the most popular item (5). The rise of seafood snacks seems to linked to the overlapping popularity of snacking and health foods. Healthier and lighter fare such as tuna tartare, edamame and seafood taco trios particularly appeal to a younger customer base seeking health friendly, low calorie options. And according to Amanda Topper, food analyst at Mintel, millennials—that is, customers ages of 21 and 38—are significantly more likely than older consumers to snack frequently (6). Moreover, “they are also more likely than older generations to indicate snacks with added nutrition and flavor variety are important to them.” Adding calorie counts into your snack menu is also a good idea.

While the main appeal of snack foods comes from consumers wanting value, it seems to be a combination of variety, flexibility and portability that make snack foods so popular. But as Noveshen, co-founder of Pacific Catch restaurants in California said, “Trying to serve everyone is probably not the best idea.” Restaurants should aim to find the sweet spot on what and to whom to serve their snacks.
References:
(1) https://table.skift.com/2019/01/22/the-lines-between-meal-times-have-been-erased/
(2) https://www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/home/
(3) https://www.nrn.com/casual-dining/snacking-craze-really-happy-hour-disguise
(4) https://www.nrn.com/food-trends/menus-adapt-appeal-nation-snackers
(5) https://www.nrn.com/seafood-trends/popular-trends-converge-rise-seafood-snacks
(6) https://www.restaurant-hospitality.com/consumer-trends/trendinista-snacking-still-upswing

About Goliath Consulting Group
Goliath Consulting Group with headquarters in Norcross, Georgia offers a dynamic array of business development solutions, tailored to meet the needs of each individual client – in addition to a full suite of knowledge and tools that help make restaurants more profitable, including strategic planning, menu development, project management, new restaurant development, branding, marketing, franchising, equipment, technology, evaluations, outsourcing, and more. The company also has a management division that manages full-service restaurants. Goliath Consulting enjoys a ten-year track record of creating client success among local, regional and multi-unit national restaurant chains.
Goliath Consulting Group is actively involved in the Foodservice Consultants Society International and is an allied partner of the Georgia Restaurant Association.

Contact: getresults@goliathconsulting.com

5 Steps to do Social Media Right

Using Instagram, Facebook or Twitter to grow your restaurant business

By Bora Kang

With more than 79% of the US population now using Facebook, Instagram or Twitter 1 and users projected to increase to 257 million by 2023, restaurants can no longer afford not to invest in their social media presence. Millions of users utilize social media to find and share their favorite restaurants; some browse it just to figure out where and what they want to eat. In fact, more than 63% of restaurants reported to have used social media to market their business in 2018 2. So how should you use social media to promote your restaurant?

Here are our top 5 steps:

Take Great Photos

You know the saying: a picture is worth a thousand words. According to Wansink (2006), the digital presentation of food is thought to influence more than 70% of the food eaten by American households 3. A study published in Brain and Cognition by Spence and his colleagues (2016) reported that our brain is wired to link food with visual cues, that is to say, “we eat with our eyes” 4. A well taken, beautifully staged photo of your restaurant or menu item will visually and emotional appeal to your potential customers, and make them want to come in taste your food. Having professional looking food photography doesn’t necessary mean that you have to break the bank, however. Nation’s Restaurant News offers some great tips on taking food photos on a budget here 5.

Share What’s New and Upcoming

According to CJ Jacobson, chef and partner at Ema, Chicago, social media allows us to “show our possible patrons what we’re working on, new menu items and what we’re excited about” 6. Using social media to tell your customers about limited time items or specials will help generate buzz around your restaurant and help increase foot traffic. Keep in mind, however, to make sure your social media pages include promotional timeframes and are up-to-date on new menu items.

 Open Up

You want social media to be a space where you can communicate and connect with your customers at a more personal level. This can mean posting what’s behind the scenes, spotlighting employees and sharing anecdotes and stories that might come from your vendors. Sharing your vision and goals can have great effect, as Joseph “JJ” Johnson, chef and cookbook author, New York City, said he uses “Instagram as a tool to share my story. Whether it’s food, my new cookbook or my family, Instagram serves as a platform to push forward all the things I’m passionate about and to have a social impact, as an African American chef, on the food industry” 6.

Be Responsive, Engage and Communicate

It helps to be responsive in social media. This can mean answering questions, responding to a review (especially bad ones) or just replying thank you to a comment. Not only do these actions give the impression that you care about your customers, being responsive also allows you to take notice of popular trends. For example, Todd Erickson, chef, Schwan’s Chef Collective, stated that “(social media) gives chefs the ability to see in real time what other chefs are doing anywhere in the world, which ingredients bloggers are going crazy over” 7. And we don’t have to look far for great examples.  Take Burger King’s recent pilot of Impossible Burgers, for instance (or KFC’s Beyond Chicken) and their massive marketing success. They simply took notice of the increasing demand for plant-based meats and answered it 8.

Promote

Give out coupons, do giveaways, host social media contests and post often. The top restaurant brands that dominate the social media universe use all the above methods and more by creating creative and fresh content paired with incentives, products and of course, it never hurts to have a bit of humor.

Reference:

About Goliath Consulting Group

Goliath Consulting Group with headquarters in Norcross, Georgia offers a dynamic array of business development solutions, tailored to meet the needs of each individual client – in addition to a full suite of knowledge and tools that help make restaurants more profitable, including strategic planning, menu development, project management, new restaurant development, branding, marketing, franchising, equipment, technology, evaluations, outsourcing, and more. The company also has a management division that manages full-service restaurants. Goliath Consulting enjoys a ten-year track record of creating client success among local, regional and multi-unit national restaurant chains.

Goliath Consulting Group is actively involved in the Foodservice Consultants Society International and is an allied partner of the Georgia Restaurant Association.

Website:  www.goliathconsulting.com

Contact: getresults@goliathconsulting.com

3 ways to make your holiday cocktails extra special this year

There are quite a number of beverages that come to mind when we think of the holidays. There’s mulled wine and spiced sangria, hot buttered rum, eggnog, and hot chocolate. But if you’re looking to offer something extra special to your customers, here are three ways to craft a cocktail that is sure to spread the Christmas cheer.

Tweak the Classics

Holiday or not, people still order the classics. It’s familiar, it’s tried and true. Best of all they’re year round, and a seasonal twist on the favorites is sometimes all you need to showcase the flavors of the holidays. Take this Holiday Sidecar (1) recipe for example, where a cinnamon sugar rim and a star anise garnish accompany our well-loved classic. Aromatic bitters are also a great addition to any classic cocktail, like in this Winter White Lady (2), and in this Peppermint Bark Mimosa (3), a splash of peppermint schnapps puts a Christmas spin on the classic drink.

Taking advantage of flavored liquor is a must for this season. You can use schnapps or flavor infused simple syrups (4), like this Corduroy Daiquiri (5). Or use flavored spirits, like in this
Ginger Bloody Mary (6) and Butterscotch Martini (7). There are plenty of holiday flavors to get you started: try with cinnamon, clove, ginger, cranberry, orange, pumpkin, butterscotch, salted caramel, peppermint, chocolate and whip cream.

Make it Trendy

The beverage trends of 2019 can certainly be incorporated into your holiday cocktail recipes.
Go plant-based and substitute oat milk for dairy, like this Oat milk Honey Cocktail (8) or in this Last Minute Gift (9). Coconut milk is a terrific substitute in this Coconut White Russian (10) not only because it’s a vegan take on the classic, but because coconut milk imparts that creamy mouthfeel you’ll miss by substituting heavy cream. According to BeverageDaily (11), texture has been a big part of this year’s beverage trends. Carbonation and whipped drinks are still popular, which means that bubbly and creamy are textures that your customers will be eager to try. Use sparkling wine and champagne to top your cocktails like in this Northern Lights Cocktail (12) and Champagne Julep (13). Adding soda water is also a simple way to add bubbles to your drinks, like in this St-Germain Spritz (14). Likewise, the popularity of Coffee drinks has been on the rise these past few years and we expect it to continue. Drinks like espresso martini (15), Hummer (16) and Irish coffee (17) embody both the holiday theme and current trend. Add ice cream to great effect.

Garnish It

Our rule is that if it tastes like Christmas, then it must look like Christmas. It’s important for your customers to feel like they’ve ordered a seasonal—as in, limited time—item. For example, a sprig of thyme and skewered cranberries make this Under the Mistletoe Cocktail (18) extra special. A thick clove-studded strip of orange zest makes Autumn Sweater cocktail (19) a delight to look at. This Peppermintini (20) uses crushed peppermints, and this Sugar Cookie Cocktail (21) uses sugar cookie and vanilla frosting. The possibilities are endless.

From craft cocktail recipes to setting up and running a more profitable bar, Goliath Consulting Group can help you get the results you want. Email us at: getresults@goliathconsulting.com and visit our website at: goliathconsulting.com for a full listing of services provided.

Reference:
(1) https://bevvy.co/cocktail/holiday-sidecar/wary
(2) https://bevvy.co/cocktail/winter-white-lady/mzry
(3) https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/a25128817/peppermint-bark-mimosas-recipe/
(4) https://punchdrink.com/articles/guide-to-syrups-recipes-for-winter-cocktails/
(5) https://punchdrink.com/recipes/corduroy-daiquiri/
(6) https://www.chowhound.com/recipes/ginger-bloody-mary-10804
(7) https://www.livinglocurto.com/butterscotch-martini-recipe/
(8) https://imbibemagazine.com/oat-milk-honey-cocktail/
(9) https://punchdrink.com/recipes/last-minute-gift/
(10) https://drizly.com/Kahlua-Coconut-Milk-White-Russian/r-c2f7c7e40777487b
(11) https://www.beveragedaily.com/Article/2018/12/05/Top-five-predictions-for-2019-beverage-trends
(12) https://imbibemagazine.com/northern-lights-cocktail-recipe/
(13) https://punchdrink.com/recipes/champagne-julep/
(14) https://punchdrink.com/recipes/the-st-germain-cocktail/
(15) https://www.kahlua.com/us/drinks/classic/espresso-martini/
(16) https://punchdrink.com/recipes/hummer/
(17) https://punchdrink.com/recipes/st-john-frizells-irish-coffee/
(18) https://www.liquor.com/recipes/under-the-mistletoe/
(19) https://punchdrink.com/recipes/autumn-sweater/
(20) https://www.delish.com/holiday-recipes/christmas/a25415480/peppermintinis-recipe/
(21) https://www.delish.com/holiday-recipes/christmas/a25362483/sugar-cookie-martinis-recipe/

Our Most Anticipated 2020 Food Trends List

2019 has been fun. We saw the rise of veggie entrees, oat milk, boba tea and new allergy-free foods (1). We saw the growth of veganism, and the amount of sensation the Impossible Burger has generated around plant-based eating. But what comes afterwards? What new food trend would the new year bring?  We’re pitching our predictions into the web-verse. Here they are.

Wellness
It’s a health-conscious world and people now place just as much importance in healthy foods as they do in exercise and other healthy lifestyles2. Veggies are being incorporated into the menu in creative ways (think jackfruit pulled “pork”, veggie rice and pasta), vegan entrees and sandwiches will keep rolling and “gut-friendly” fermented foods such as kimchi and kombucha are making its way into more restaurant menus3. The faux meat craze is just beginning, with chains such as KFC, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Dominos and McDonalds incorporating Impossible Burgers and Beyond Meats into their menus4. Additionally, we expect smaller servings and snack-size portions to become more widespread, as more people turn to read the nutrition labels to see not just the calories they are consuming, but also its carb, protein, saturated fat and sodium content5.

Instagram
Colorful? Big? Over the top? Unique? Photogenic foods have done well and we expect it will continue to do so in 2020 – all thanks to Instagram6. The big and crazy are back, and you’ll be seeing more fried chickens in a Bloody Mary, gigantic shakes and volcano drinks return to restaurants. It’s no coincidence that some of the most trending hashtags on Instagram are #foodporn and #instafood. The popularity of digitally shareable foods is also helping to introduce diverse cuisines into the industry, and fueling the widespread interest of international concepts like Japanese, Lebanese and Mexican cuisines7.

Sustainable
More people are valuing how the food is produced, obtained and packaged. Transparency has also become an important factor, and behind customer awareness of what constitutes a sustainably produced food8. We expect that the demand for local, organic, ugly (imperfect) produce and sustainable seafood will continue to grow in 2020. A recent Nielsen study reported how sustainable products had an 20% increase in sales since 20149. Zero waste has become a buzzworthy term, with restaurants being encouraged to be the vanguard of recycling and to take part of an initiative that is sure to resonate with today’s customers10. Some QSRs are already experimenting, with Starbucks using strawless cups, Pizza hut with round boxes and Dig testing reusable takeout bowls.

Experience
There’s no doubt that people will pay for a one-of-a-kind experience11. When restaurants embrace the task of creating unique, fun and personal memories, their customers return—and often with more friends. One way QSRs have done this in 2019 is offering limited time offers. LTOs can be a new flavor or a simple addition—for example, think Starbuck’s seasonal frappe or KFC’s faux chicken nuggets that was sold out in just 5 hours4. Customization is also good, and we’ve seen a fair number of quick serves introducing customized dishes to give their guests more control over what they eat11. What will most definitely continue to drive sales and build customer base is marketing via social media. Creating visibly exciting content through Instagram, for example, helps to increase awareness about your restaurant and generate engagement. It’s a chance for the business to interact with your customers outside of your restaurant and perhaps one of the easiest ways to determine what’s currently trending.

Online
Convenience is key. The Nielson study reported more people looking for new ways to get things done faster, easier and through a combination of on and offline channels9. Sam Fox, Founder of Fox Restaurant Concepts mentioned how, “Technology helps with speed of service, whether it’s using an app or mobile pay, or looking up calories posted. The more knowledge we can give to guests ahead of time, the more it can help with throughput.”8. Delivery will continue to grow as off-premise eating is becoming more favorable to onsite eating12.

Flavor
Do we need to say more? People are now craving the hottest and spiciest. Nashville’s “spiciest hot chicken” was a viral sensation on social media13; Popeye’s will be returning their spicy chicken sandwich back on their menu. Also, look for unique and non-traditional flavors in 2020. We’re talking sumac, za’atar, Aleppo pepper, nduja, black sesame, chimichurri, guajillo, achiote, furikake and XO sauce 14.

Fundamentals
It’s an exciting time to be in the industry. Technology is changing the way we eat and the momentum for new and innovative foods will challenge how restaurants make of these new opportunities to revamp their business. Nevertheless, consistency, value and quality still play a crucial role in building a successful business15. The fundamentals still are what they’ve always been and it’s the balancing of the new with the familiar that keep your customers coming back.

Now on with 2020.

We hope that helps carry you into 2020 with a wealth of knowledge. If you caught the hidden message, you win the “Thinker’s Award” for 2019 and are poised for success in 2020.

Menu development and understanding market trends are two areas that Goliath Consulting Group assists independent and chain operators. Contact us at getresults@goliathconsulting.com to learn more about our services and how we can get you the results you are looking to achieve.  

Reference
(1) https://www.yelp15.com/ 
(2) https://www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/blog/2019/can-food-be-thy-medicine-many-consumers-say-yes/
(3) https://upserve.com/restaurant-insider/restaurant-menu-trends/ 
(4) https://www.nrn.com/quick-service/look-most-successful-ltos-year-so-far 
(5) https://www.foodengineeringmag.com/articles/98164-who-reads-nutrition-fact-labels 
(6) https://www.restaurantbusinessonline.com/marketing/does-instagram-influence-where-customers-dine-out
(7) https://www.pcma.org/food-beverage-trends-2020-benchmark/ 
(8) https://www.nrn.com/news/restaurant-trends-watch-2020 
(9) https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/article/2019/fresh-trends-tracking-the-four-trends-driving-growth-across-fresh/ 
(10) https://www.nrn.com/marketing/opinion-let-s-change-conversation-around-plastic 
(11) https://www.qsrmagazine.com/customer-experience/10-ways-leverage-experience-economy
(12) https://statistacloudfront.s3.amazonaws.com/download/pdf/OnlineFoodDelivery_Preview.pdf
(13) https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/02/04/the-family-business-that-put-nashville-hot-chicken-on-the-map 
(14) https://www.nrn.com/people/key-lto-success-balance-new-familiar 
(15) https://www.goliathconsulting.com/blog/

Fall Menu Trends: It’s All About the Comfort

Fall themed menus seem to crop up earlier each year¹, what with Dunkin’s launching their pumpkin and apple cider flavors on August 21, and Starbucks heralding the start of Fall with its pumpkin spice latte and other array of seasonal desserts on August 27th, weeks before the official start of the season.

There is no denying the consumer demand for these items—just look at how pumpkin spice has become a $600 million flavor.² Switching to a seasonal menu generates interest and excitement around the new menu items, and taking advantage of a wider sales window for fall-themed foods can therefore mean increased sales and happy customers.

So, what inspires a fall menu? Experts say that it’s all about the comfort³. Fall means going back to the roots, and being nostalgic for childhood traditions. This, in food language, means warm and aromatic spices; it means celebrating natural cooking techniques and creating comfort dishes that are rich, hearty and flavorful.

Here are a few fall menu ideas to include in your menu:

Savory Pumpkin dishes

Many have hinted at the coming of a pumpkin spice fatigue¹¹, but we think that pumpkin is an ingredient that is here to stay. For a new take on America’s favorite gourd, try using it in savory recipes such as adding it to chili, soups, salads, pasta and dips. It can also be incorporated into popular breakfast items such as breakfast sausages, grits and oatmeal.

Nuts and toasted flavors

Nothing says fall like pecans, particularly here in the south. It makes great additions to pies and desserts, and the ingredient is versatile enough that it can be worked into a variety of meat, stew, salad and even cocktail recipes. *A note on the Georgia pecan supply, as farms took at massive hit when Hurricane Michael dealt a loss of about 17% in total acreage¹². The crop is expected to be short this year and it will take years before growers reach the level of pre-storm production. While New Mexico is expected to be producing the majority of the crop this year, Georgia pecan growers are optimistic of a rebound; we may see Georgia back at the No. 1 spot sooner than you think.

Roasted vegetables

As with toasted flavors, roasted vegetables are as comforting as Fall-menus can get. No longer are vegetables reserved for “sides.” More customers are likely to order dishes that feature vegetable as the main. In fact, National Restaurant Association’s research on this year’s top food trends found that 3 of the 15 trending items were plant based¹³. Why not try roasted cauliflower, root vegetables, squash varieties and mushrooms?

Turmeric

Turmeric might not seem like a traditional fall-themed ingredient, but its earthy color and orange-gingery aroma says otherwise. While pungent and bitter, turmeric has become more prevalent in recent years thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties and health benefits. It’s perfect because it fits recent trends of health and well-being. Turmeric is easily incorporated to sauces, marinades and beverages like lattes and juices, but it can also be a great addition to pumpkin desserts as it boosts color and intensifies flavor.

Maple

The list would not be complete without maple, which has been advertised back in 2018 as the ingredient that would dethrone pumpkin spice in the flavor kingdom. It’s sweet, it’s rich, and it pairs splendidly with either dessert or savory recipes such as roasted vegetable, salad dressing, candied nuts and of course—bacon.

Menu development and maintaining a profitable cost of goods are two areas that Goliath Consulting Group assists independent and chain operators. Contact us at getresults@goliathconsulting.com to learn more about our services and how we can get you the results you are looking to achieve.

References:
1. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/yes-pumpkin-spice-season-is-creeping-earlier-every-year-and-this-chart-proves-it-2019-08-21
2. https://www.forbes.com/sites/maggiemcgrath/2018/10/31/inside-the-600-million-pumpkin-spice-industrial-complex/#1507f02d1b95
3. https://www.fsrmagazine.com/menu-innovations/designing-menu-around-flavors-fall
11. https://upserve.com/restaurant-insider/restaurant-marketing-ideas-pumpkin-spice-fall-flavors/
12. https://www.albanyherald.com/multimedia/a-grim-future-awaits-area-pecan-farmers-this-year-and/article_b9251c5c-946a-11e9-8e08-978bf74ca19c.html
13. https://restaurant.org/research/reports/foodtrends

Who’s Eating Out for Thanksgiving

By: Bora Kang

Thanksgiving Day is synonymous to family and lots of good food, but that doesn’t mean that the food has to be made at home. Preparing Thanksgiving dinner can seem like a daunting task for those seeking a relaxing time off from work and quality time with their families. And with people (particularly millennials) cooking less at home, more are turning to restaurants seeking a stress-free solution to their holiday conundrums.

Let’s take a look at the numbers: in 2011, National Restaurant Association’s survey of 1,022 adults showed that about 6% of consumers planned to dine out for a Thanksgiving meal. The same survey conducted in 2017 showed that about 9% planned to enjoy Thanksgiving at a restaurant. NRA also found that 25% of consumers planned to order a full takeout meal from a restaurant, with consumers with children more likely to order full restaurant takeout meals than those without kids. The 2018 census showed that approximately 34 million families have one or more children under 18 living in the household.

And Black Friday? NRA found that 43% planned to shop on those days, with 72% of them expressing that they would eat out while they were out shopping.

With demand ever increasing, more restaurants are opening their doors on Thanksgiving Day to serve special holiday meals for their customers. Those that will open this year include not only the fast food chains such as Burger King, McDonalds, Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts but also restaurant chains such as Applebee’s, TGI Friday’s, Golden Corral, Capital Grille, Legal Sea Foods and Maggiano’s. Even a few Michelin-star establishments such as Eleven Madison Park in NYC and Acadia in Chicago will be open (full list in the reference).

There are, however, important figures to consider when deciding to open your restaurant during the holidays. For example, 31% of NRA’s survey participants said that on Thanksgiving Day they planned to dine at restaurant where they are regulars; 30% opted for restaurants that they considered for “special occasions” and 21% said they would dine at their favorite restaurant. Only 18% said that they would try a new restaurant on Thanksgiving. This means that restaurants have a better chance of higher sales reaching out to their established customer base.

Offering a variety of dining options seems to be another great strategy. Boston Market, for example, announced To-Go Thanksgiving meals back in 2016 and reported increased Thanksgiving sales. The restaurant has also come up with multiple meal package solutions, from Heat & Serve Thanksgiving Meals, Thanksgiving Catering Buffets and a La Carte, which all have been successful.

Deciding whether your restaurant should stay open for the holiday is not easy. And it isn’t for everyone. If you don’t have ample staff members working for you, the restaurant may not have enough employees who are willing to work on a holiday. A Thanksgiving menu might not fit in with the restaurant’s brand, and more planning might be needed in order to make changes and offer specials.

Despite the obstacles, staying open on Thanksgiving is a great opportunity for restaurants to generate more sales, showcase their iteration of favorite holiday dishes and give your customers who already know and love your restaurant something to remember you by.

About:

Goliath Consulting Group is a restaurant consultancy based in Norcross, Georgia. Goliath consults to independent, chain and franchised restaurant concepts across the US. In addition, the company manages and is in partnerships with several metro Atlanta restaurant concepts. For more information go to: www.goliathconsulting.com or email us at: getresults@goliathconsulting.com.

Reference:
https://www.eater.com/2011/11/16/6636269/14-million-people-to-eat-thanksgiving-at-restaurants
https://www.restaurant.org/Articles/News/Batch2/Are-consumers-dining-out-for-Thanksgiving
https://www.restaurant.org/Articles/News/Restaurant-sales-Thanksgiving
https://www.travelandleisure.com/slideshows/best-restaurants-open-on-thanksgiving
https://www.rd.com/food/fun/restaurants-that-are-open-for-thanksgiving/

Why a Bar Consultant is Your Restaurant’s Missing Link

After weeks of time-consuming meetings with local liquor distribution reps, local market research, and decision wavering, you finally feel confident that your bar is set up and ready to go.  You put in your best effort to provide your customers with a great selection at a great value.  You stop by your local corporate chain restaurant to celebrate a job well done and can’t help but to look at their liquor list to compare prices.  Your mouth drops open.  How can they possibly have the same brands you so carefully negotiated for a fraction of the price?  How can they afford a $2 Tequila Tuesday and $3 Whiskey Wednesday?  It seems simple to justify the pricing structure the corporate giants maintain as volume-based deals.  The truth is far more complicated.

Before we dive into how bar consultants work, let’s briefly break down the structure of the liquor industry in America.  Suppliers (Anheuser-Busch, Diageo, Beam Sundatory, E & J Gallo, etc.) own multiple liquor brands across varying types of spirits and beverages.  Diageo, for example, controls beers (Guinness, Smithwick), spirits (Ketel One, Smirnoff, Cîroc), Gin (Tanqueray, Gordon’s), Rum (Captain Morgan, Zacapa), Bulleit bourbon, and much more.  Gallo’s products range from fine wines down to jug wines and well spirit selections.  Each supplier contracts out to local distributors on a brand-by-brand basis causing more confusion.  In order to carry an entire supplier’s product line, a restaurant may have to deal with up to 7 different distributors.  These distributors ultimately control the pricing on the products.  The local distributors deploy sales reps to meet with individual restaurant management to sway them into picking up their offerings.  As these reps are, at their most basic role, salespeople, they are incentivized by their management team to push certain brands and lock in long-term commitments with their accounts.  While distributor reps are a great resource for bar managers, they often have conflicting interests and responsibilities.

Seasoned bar consultants spend years cultivating relationships with distribution management as well as individual suppliers.  These networks enable a consultant to negotiate directly with an agent of the supplier who can, in turn, communicate your proposed deal structure to the local distributor for approval.  Suppliers are aware of a successful consultant’s cumulative portfolio and can unlock custom pricing tiers and promotions typically reserved for the national brands.  They are incentivized by brand exposure across multiple concepts along with a higher representation of their portfolio on each restaurant.  With Diageo, a consultant may promise a higher purchase volume of Bulleit in a bourbon bar concept while simultaneously agreeing to placing Smirnoff Vodka in the well at a sports bar.  E&J Gallo may receive upper tier wine by the glass placements in a fine dining restaurant for Orin Swift while securing house wine pours with Barefoot in a neighborhood grill.

Bar programs, like food menus, thrive most when they are continually updated and maintained.  A consultant will continually connect with suppliers and distributors to discuss upcoming sales opportunities as well as brands primed for national marketing pushes. The best part: the suppliers pay you for the product they are sampling at your menu price!  Suppliers are also investing local, regional, and national marketing dollars into these products, encouraging your guests to ask for them by name.  Using deals negotiated by your bar consultant, you can offer these high-demand brands at lower prices than your competitors.

Goliath Consulting Group offers a bar consulting program with a history of success.  Our portfolio includes sports bars, taverns, chef-driven upscale restaurants, neighborhood grills, and cafes.  Whether you are looking to open your first restaurant or tweak your existing inventory, Goliath can assist your restaurant and optimize your bar program.  Email Getresults@GoliathConsulting.com to schedule a consultation today.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Goliath Consulting Group is a restaurant consultancy based in Norcross, GA. The company offers a wide range of consulting services for independent, chain and franchised restaurants across the US. For more information go to: http://www.goliathconsulting.com

 

 

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