There are 2 Ways to Compete in the Restaurant Industry

There are 2 Ways to Compete in the Restaurant Industry

You finally open up that restaurant of your dreams. You’ve been working in other industries and finally decided to take that leap into restaurant ownership. Or maybe this is your next concept and you’ve seen the success of similar cuisines in your industry. Or maybe you’re a chef who is finally excited to be opening up his or her first restaurant.

You think to yourself, “I can do way better than this person. I could blow them out of the water and they wouldn’t be able to compete with me!”

This mindset is a dangerous one to fall into because there are only two ways to truly compete against another similar concept. Do you know what they are?

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With New CEO and Investment Partners, Mendocino Farms Prepares For Expansion

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Soon we’ll start seeing a whole lot more of Mendocino Farms as the brand gears up for expansion.

Foodable first visited the brand back in 2014 when Judy Han was still Mendo’s executive chef. In an episode for our show Fast Casual Nation, we discussed the restaurant’s approach to gourmet sandwiches, its sourcing practices and the relationships this small chain develops with local farmers in each community it serves.

The Southern California-based, fast casual restaurant chain can be found in 16 locations across Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego. Now, it plans to open more eateries across California and beyond.

The news come as it was announced that a growth equity firm called TPG Growth has acquired a majority stake in Mendocino Farms. Details of the transaction were not disclosed, but what’s for sure is that co-founders Mario Del Pero and Ellen Chen are still the largest individual shareholders of Mendocino Farms.

To support the new expansion efforts the brand is joined by industry veteran Harald Herrmann as Mendocino’s New CEO. In the past, Herrmann served as president of Darden’s Specialty Restaurant Group and co-founder of The Yard House.

“Mario and I have been looking for the right partners to help achieve our mission of growing Mendo, while staying true to the brand’s culture and values. We are thrilled to have Harald and TPG Growth as our new partners,” said Co-Founder Ellen Chen, in a press release.

Learn more at “Business Wire”

How These Female Innovators are Forever Changing the Food Industry

How These Female Innovators are Forever Changing the Food Industry

Similar to our Chef Alliance list, we have compiled the Innovator 50, a list featuring the most inspiring individuals in the industry. 

This list isn't only designated for chefs or restaurateurs either. There are five categories within this special selection of individuals, each celebrating innovators in a different area of expertise.

Even though male chefs earn an average of 28.1% more than female chefs according to Glassdoor, the food industry is no longer a man’s world.

According to the National Restaurant Association, more than half of the restaurants in the U.S. are owned or are co-owned by women. 45% of restaurant managers are women, compared to the 38% of female managers found in other industries.

These numbers prove that women are leading the way. While Carin Stutz of Red Robin and Kat Cole of Cinnabon are reigning in the corporate restaurant world, our Innovators list features some of the other women changing the way America is eating.

Let’s take a closer look at the leading ladies who have helped to create some of the most successful food businesses in the country.

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Social Restaurant Visits Jump Over 5 Million: What Does That Mean for the Industry?

On this episode of “On Foodable Weekly,” host Paul Barron highlights the restaurants that have grown the most in the past month and what that means for the industry as a whole. We will also look at Del Taco’s brand performance and its biggest competitor: Moe’s Southwest Grill.

According to Foodable Labs, the restaurant industry continues to show an increase in growth. This growth is illustrated through the analysis of real-time data signaling a brand’s visibility across social media platforms. One of the big indicators of restaurant industry health is SRV or Social Restaurant Visits. A social restaurant visit is an action a consumer takes, whether it is a mention, photo share, or “check in” on a social media platform, referencing a restaurant’s location either in a post or within the post’s geo-metadata.

“If volume on conversation is up, that gives us a indicator that potentially we could be seeing either sales shifts or traffic in restaurants moving up or down,” Paul Barron said.

Foodable Labs has added another measurement known as Facebook and Twitter Combined Industry Visibility. Are people talking about going out to eat and are they engaging with top brands? Currently, the total industry visibility month-over-month was somewhat flat, with a slight increase in interactions, unique users, and units identified in the month of October over September.

Looking back at June 2016, the industry experienced the lowest number of interactions of the year to date, with numbers of interactions at 54 million and the number of unique users at 31 million. Contrarily, October showed continuous growth, although slow, in the industry with interaction figures reaching 71 million and unique users reaching over 42 million.

Growth Within the Industry

Restaurants showing notable SRV growth in October over September 2016, include:

  1. Tender Greens jumps to the No. 1 spot with an 8.82 percent SRV growth.
  2. Chick-Fil-A steals the No. 2 spot this month with a 5.11 percent SRV growth after not making the Top 10 list back in September.
  3. Arby’s has been consistent in its ranking month over month, staying at the No. 3 spot since August. Its SRV is currently at 4.92 percent.
  4. Shake Shack, which has been on the list before, is now at the No. 4 spot with a 4.87 percent SRV growth.
  5. Freshii drops from the No. 1 spot to No. 5 with just a 4.82 percent. SRV growth month over month
  6. &pizza is a new entry in the Top 10 list, coming in at the No. 9 spot with a 4.27 percent SRV growth.

An important takeaway from this data is total SRVs for the industry jumped up in August, September, and again in October by over 5 million.

Top Performers

Two brands that prove our case are top performers Del Taco and Moe’s.

Here’s what Foodable Labs found:

Del Taco

  • Same store sales growth for 12 quarters
  • New market and new menu item penetration
  • 68.48 percent increase in overall Foodable Labs score

Moe's Southwest Grill 

  • 36.4 percent of Chipotle guest crossovers
  • Overall higher engagement than Chipotle
  • 50.87 percent increase in overall Foodable Labs score

Watch the full episode to learn more!