The restaurant and foodservice industry is constantly evolving to become bigger, better, and bolder. Partnerships, acquisitions, and IPOs have certainly been ramping up and show no signs of slowing down. And in a technology- and social-driven business landscape, data has become vital to make better decisions.
In more recent news, it was announced yesterday that Technomic, a leading resource in the foodservice industry for market trends and strategic insights, has been acquired for an undisclosed amount by Winsight, LLC, a business-to-business foodservice industry media company formerly known as CSP Business Media.
Technomic will still go by its official name and the firm’s three Executive Vice Presidents, Darren Tristano, Gary Karp, and Bob Goldin, will continue to steer the Technomic ship in their respective roles, says the official Winsight press release. However, Ron Paul, Technomic’s founder, CEO, and President, will be stepping down to spend more time with his family and to pursue other things.
What’s to come from this acquisition? For Winsight, “Technomic will serve as Winsight’s information and advisory services platform.” Currently, Winsight’s portfolio includes a variety of products, with four well-known industry publications under its umbrella, including CSP and Restaurant Business, as well as e-newsletters, events, webinars, and the like. With this acquisition, Winsight will also add to its portfolio Technomic products including, but not limited to, a Digital Resource Library, MenuMonitor, and Distributor Intelligence Reports, on top of Technomic’s research capabilities. For Technomic, the acquisition will help to expand the firm’s offerings, helping clients to be more successful with more resources.
Other data companies driving awareness to foodservice trends and insights include a slightly different breed. newBrandAnalytics, Nuvi, and Foodable sister company DigitalCoCo’s proprietary Restaurant Social Media Index, are investing more in social intelligence and unstructured data.
What separates these companies apart is not only what type of information they pull, but how they pull it. While some companies use structured data based off of surveys and what consumers tell companies, others, like the three above, pull unstructured data based off of social intelligence, with consumers unintentionally contributing to the conversation based on their social media activity. This can include what they talk about with their friends, what they say in their posts and statuses, and how they are engaging with brands, determining a limitless data set, including analyses around sentiment, influence, and engagement.
In a 2014 article published on Convenience Store Decisions, Susan Ganeshan, former CMO at newBrandAnalytics, said, “Any business that still thinks it can ignore online feedback will have to think again in 2014.” That was more than a year ago. Think about how much the playing field has changed since then. Ganeshan also notes how important the timeliness of social media is when listening to customers and what they want so that a quick solution can take place immediately, rather than waiting for survey results or customer feedback cards to come back.