7 Strategies for Building a More Effective Beverage Program

7 Strategies for Building a More Effective Beverage Program

Every drop counts! Beverages arguably play a larger role in the industry today than they ever did before! 

You could try and make everyone happy by offering dozens of options at your restaurant, cafe, or bar, but we all know that’s likely not going to happen. An establishment needs to carefully consider their beverage menu, whether alcohol-focused or not, and offer one that is balanced, targeted, and one that fits their concept.

Many operators continue to face a challenge, however, when it comes to developing an effective beverage strategy. As with its food counter-part, consumers are more educated today about beer, cocktails, wine, coffees, sodas, and even a variety of waters. They understand retail prices and flavor profiles because they’ve become (or think they’ve become) a barista, mixologist, and/or wine & beer connoisseur at home. When they’re dining out or visiting a bar now, they crave something that’s ‘differentiated.’ 

How can restaurants, cafes, and bars take advantage of this segment and develop a memorable, consistent, and profitable beverage strategy that creates differentiation? Here are some tips to review when creating or re-engineering your next beverage menu. 

Read More

Starbucks Aims to Improve Speed of Service by Increasing Drive-Thru Lanes by 80 Percent

Starbucks Aims to Improve Speed of Service by Increasing Drive-Thru Lanes by 80 Percent

To a guest, there is no worse way to start their day than making what’s supposed to be a quick visit at a drive-thru and instead, waiting on a line that feels like it lasts forever.

For Starbucks customers, that wait time is about to get much shorter. The company recently announced they will be adding a drive-thru lane to 80 percent of their new locations.

Why the sudden change? After various location shutdowns, the decision to include more drive-thrus is in an attempt to prevent their customers from making the switch to competitors.

Though this addition to the coffee-shop chain differs from the sit-down culture they have cultivated, in-the-car service and increasing the speed of service fosters more sales.    An average visit to the Starbucks drive-thru has been reported to take about four and a half minutes, according to “Bloomberg.” While the brand’s direct competitor Dunkin’ Donuts’ average is about three minutes.

Read More

How to Improve Line Flow, Increase Speed of Service

How to Improve Line Flow, Increase Speed of Service

By Juan Martinez, PhD, PE, FCSI and Principal at Profitality® 

To Queue or Not to Queue…that is the question. If you think about it, you already have an answer when you consider that your life is but a series of queues throughout your day, made up of activities and waits. Perhaps you might want to process-map yourself through the day to help you understand this concept. This exercise may even give you a base knowledge to help you run your life better, or maybe just more efficiently.

Just like in life, running a restaurant is a set of queues. If you want to run it right, make sure you accept this, understand it, and manage it. How do you improve line flow and optimize the way you manage queues in your restaurant concept? It could be a queue that a customer experiences, a production queue in the back of house, or a queue in equipment usage, among many others.

In a service system, the total time is made up of smaller time segments and queues. If you think about the total change or impact that you want to achieve — in customer wait time, for example — you might think it’s not doable. But when you attack it in terms of components, the story and complication may be quite different.

The following are examples of what I’m talking about, and how looking at the queuing components and the theory of constraints can help with this quandary. Both of these are Industrial Engineering techniques that we use constantly to help drive impact in line flow and queuing management for foodservice concepts.

Read More

Preview: Speed of Service Report [FREE]

Preview: Speed of Service Report [FREE]

Speed of service has always been a prevalent, foundational element for restaurants. Timeliness directly affects a customer’s perception of a good or bad experience with a brand, whether they consciously correlate it or not. This could be the differentiating factor of whether a customer chooses to return to a restaurant or not. And as we become a culture even more evolved within the spectrum of tech progression, this element will only become more apparent. 

Foodable Labs’ most recent report on Speed of Service, brought to you by LRS, breaks down everything you need to know about speed of service and includes proprietary data on consumer behavior and sentiment from the Restaurant Social Media Index (RSMI). The report includes the Top 10 RSMI Brands for Speed, how a restaurant operator can shift a consumer’s perception of speed (and, in turn, their perception of value), what service expectation times are for each restaurant category, how to make operations more efficient and faster without decreasing performance in other areas, and more. 

Read More

McDonald's Pushes Drive-Thru Speed to the Limit with New Test in Miami

We recently pulled data for a Foodable Labs report (coming soon!) on Speed of Service in restaurants. There were a lot of interesting bits in there you’ll be surprised to see, including consumer sentiment toward mobile ordering. We have covered the topic of mobile ordering quite a bit, as it has become a formula most brands have struggled with. Most recently, Starbucks planted a seed that we might see mobile ordering and mobile payments come together at the coffee chain on a national scale within the next year or so, and McDonald’s recently announced a mobile ordering kiosk of sorts that’s currently being tested in a small market.

In the Miami market, McDonald’s is taking a different route to test speed. During weekday lunch hours (noon to 1 p.m.), drive-thru customers will receive a timer set for 60 seconds and are promised their orders will be ready by the time the buzzer goes off. If not, the guest will receive a coupon for a free meal on their next visit. But, while there are certainly perks to this test campaign (sensational buzz, for starters), could this actually hurt the brand’s sentiment in this market in relation to speed? Is there a benchmark where fast food becomes too fast, to the point where customers question the quality of the food? And how will this affect customer service? 

With incentive of free food, Time makes the point that perhaps diners will actually be hoping service is slower than a minute. With an eye on a prize, will this throw off consumer perception of speed by giving them something to focus on during order preparation? Read More