Why Data Ownership Should Be Key When It Comes to Tech in Foodservice

According to the National Restaurant Association’s State of the Industry 2019 report, “more than 8 in 10 restaurant operators agree that the use of technology in a restaurant provides a competitive advantage, and many are planning to ramp up their investments in technology in 2019.

This is great news for consumers but with so many choices in the technology sector, operators can be left feeling overwhelmed.

What’s important to remember is whichever tech advancement— whether it's their POS, online ordering, smartphone app, mobile payment, or loyalty program— operators decide to prioritize, it must make sense for their type of business and unique customer needs.

Watch the video above to learn how BurgerFi accurately figured out what tech advancements make sense for their business to get a proper ROI and how data ownership must be a priority in this day and age!

Produced and Researched by:

Vanessa Rodriguez

Vanessa Rodriguez

Writter & Producer


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Third Party Delivery Life or Death for the Restaurant Operator

The conversation surrounding food delivery continues to be a major concern for today’s restaurant operators as they wade through a number of new technologies providing third-party delivery solutions.

GrubHub is up by over 38 percent in sales. The online delivery marketplace has also acquired Tapingo, Eat24, and LevelUp, and recently partnered with Dunkin’. However, not far behind, DoorDash just overtook GrubHub in U.S. monthly food delivery sales. The ever-popular Uber maintains a steady 91 million monthly active users in over 20 countries and provides food delivery for 50 percent of the U.S. population.

Nevertheless, our research here at Foodable Labs shows that there are some beginning signs of fatigue in both the operator and the consumer in terms of sentiment toward third-party delivery. An analysis of over one million conversations about third-party delivery reveals a few key areas that consistently problematize the companies’ claims to convenience.

Top 10 Third-Party By Sentiment Rating

Source: Foodable Labs

The Fees hit both the operator and the consumer. Operators typically pay third-party companies 20 to 30 percent of the base cost of the ordered food. Depending on the delivery service, consumers may pay a yearly fee or pay fees for delivery from certain restaurants. In just this past quarter, there has been a sentiment drop of 3.6 points on the consumer side across the top ten delivery services. On the operator side, the drop is even direr: sentiment fell by 5.8 points.

The Data represents a constant battle between the operator and the delivery service: who owns a guest’s information, order habits, items, and frequency of purchase? The restaurants believe the guests’ data belongs to them because the customer is their guest eating their food, whereas delivery services want to leverage the data to the max with deals, app notifications, and constant marketing.

The Brand is a key area that hits home for every restaurant business. Because the restaurant loses control of the delivery, brand continuity often comes into question. Food safety and new packaging is a constant concern for restaurants to ensure they maintain each customer’s business and overall enjoyment of the restaurant.

The Jimmy John’s sandwich chain, one of the first restaurants to embrace delivery services, has refused since its beginnings to deal with third-party companies due to these issues. “We’ve been researching … what is best for our customers and our brand,” says Jimmy John’s Chief Marketing Officer John Shea. “In our exploration, we came to the conclusion that we do it better.”

The question still remains whether food delivery companies like GrubHub and UberEats can come up with a program to solve these issues. My take is that the industry is incredibly complex: businesses range from independent to franchises to emerging chains to Titans of QSR, and each business has different needs and complaints regarding the current model of third-party food delivery.

Some members of the industry are seeking the bottom line of profit, while others are looking for top-line sales and incremental lift. The brand also comes into play, and profit is always a factor. The guest connection could also change the entire landscape of food delivery over the course of the next few years.

A few brands are taking matters into their own hands. Third party delivery can deeply cut profits, so fast-casual restaurants like Modern Market and Panera Bread are investing in their own ordering and delivery platforms. This move is risky, as it could limit the company’s competitive potential. But the choice ensures that the restaurant can maintain brand continuity and better address customer concerns regarding the food delivery process.

Third party delivery providers have a fiduciary responsibility to grow the business and create stockholder value. And history shows that pushback from the community can be a deterrence to the growth of these companies. The real difference here is that the dynamics of the restaurant industry does not fare well for third-party deliverers. The real future for the third-party delivery companies lies in the development of their own foodservice brands —whether they are cloud and virtual kitchens, or full on commissary systems that can meet massive demand. In my video report from last November, I break down the idea of how third-party restaurant brand development is the real gold rush for likes of Uber and GrubHub.

How The World's First OatMeals Cafe Has Reimagined The Use of The Traditional Grain

“I really believe that if you start your day with oatmeal you normally make better decisions throughout the rest of your day… So, this brand has a lot of legs in today’s world,” says Stephens.


On this episode of Emerging Brands, Samantha Stephens, chef and founder of OatMeals shares with Foodable the origins of her single-ingredient fast casual concept and how she built it from the ground up.

OatMeals is the world’s first oatmeal cafe located in Greenwich Village, a neighborhood in New York known for its brownstones buildings. Stephens believes her brand in very on-trend right now especially with the rise of the health movement and all the benefits and versatility that oats have to offer.

What sets this concept apart is the fact that not only it is a business concept that revolves around oats, but also the fact that it aims to evaluate the way traditional breakfast meals involving oats have been regarded for decades.

“So, it’s a build-your-own toppings bar. We’re sort of putting a non-traditional twist on old-fashioned oatmeals...,” says Stephens. “The more and more I ate oatmeal the more I realized it’s very similar to risotto or rice… You could really think about it as like a savory side dish. It’s so versatile! It sort of adapts well to any kind of topping you put on it…”

Stephens went on to explain how she experimented with the grain by adding parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese, truffle oil, goat cheese, eggs, and bacon. She offers savory oatmeals as well as the traditional breakfast and sweet oatmeal offerings.

Listen to the podcast above to learn about how Samantha Stephens gained the confidence to build this business, the challenges she faces when figuring out a reasonable price point for her menu items, and how her concept aims to stay relevant in the food world in terms of trends.

To learn more about the Shark Tank-backed concept—OatMeals— check out the The Barron Report Live video interview below!

How Will These Business Trends Impact the Restaurant Industry?

Shutterstock

Shutterstock

2018 was a good year for the economy, which is always a great thing for the restaurant industry.

But what will 2019 bring?

The U.S. Federal Reserve predicts that the gross domestic product will grow by 2.5 percent. The unemployment rate is expected to continue to drop too.

But when it comes to labor, this means the labor pool will only be more shallow. However, this is a good thing for restaurants in the sense that more consumers will have a deposable income to spend.

That just means it’s time to take your business to the next level. In a recent “Entrepreneur” report, it outlined five business trends expected to reign in 2019. One of which is that there will be more personalized experiences because these resonate with customers.  

“Next year, take a page from Dunkin’ Donuts. The breakfast brand recently reported a 3.6 percent redemption rate for a mobile coupon campaign aimed at a competitor’s customers in Rhode Island. What’s more, ten times the number of redeemers took a secondary action, such as mentioning it on social media,” writes “Entrepreneur.” 

In 2018, data privacy became a hot topic, especially after the Facebook data breach.

In a recent episode of The Barron Report, host Paul Barron breaks out the Cambridge Analytica scandal and how it may be affecting your restaurant. Listen below to see how users are engaging with your Facebook content and how this data debacle has been impacting your restaurant sales.

With a series of data breaches being revealed in 2018, customers have become much more weary to share their information and for good reason.  

“In the coming year, avoid purchasing data or otherwise acquiring it without consumers’ consent. Not only is regulatory pressure increasing on companies that do so, but Deloitte reports that 71 percent of purchased data is inaccurate,” writes “Entrepreneur.” 

Instead, interactive content is a great way to collect guest data. Whether it be offering free Wi-Fi, collecting guest info for a waitlist, etc. With these methods, guests are willing to share their data for convenience.  

Although meal-kit subscription services struggled in 2018, “Entrepreneur” predicts that other subscription-based companies will continue to flourish.

See what the other business trends are that are going gain momentum come 2019 at “Entrepreneur” now.

Facebook Makes Quick Rebuttal to the Latest Accusatory NYT Article

Mark Zuckerberg |   Shuttershock

Mark Zuckerberg | Shuttershock

At the end of March, Facebook's Cambridge Analytica scandal hit the media.

Soon the hashtag #DeleteFacebook was trending on Twitter.

“According to Facebook, data from about 300,000 users was originally collected by a Cambridge lecturer named Aleksandr Kogan in 2013 for a personality quiz app. But given the way Facebook worked at the time, Kogan was able to access data from "tens of millions" of friends of those users, Zuckerberg said. While Kogan collected the data legitimately, he then violated Facebook's terms by passing the information to Cambridge Analytica,” writes "CNET."

Facebook tried to keep the error hidden from the public because it eventually was revealed that the social network was aware of the infraction in 2015. Facebook, instead, demanded that Cambridge Analytica destroy the information immediately. As reported by "The Guardian" and "The New York Times," not all data had been deleted, according to information provided by the former data scientist for the firm and whistleblower, Chris Wylie.

Listen to the podcast below to learn more about the Facebook data debacle and it’s impact on restaurants.

While the social network was dealing with this backlash, another scandal was getting media attention– its lack of response to the Russian interference during the 2016 election.

In October of 2017, the "NYT" reported that at least 126 million American Facebook users were reached by Russian propaganda.

Late last week, the "NYT" released an in-depth article about how poorly Facebook handled the crisis. A day later, Facebook released a rebuttal via blog post to point out some of the inaccuracies.

Facebook defended how to reacted to the Russian activity and included a quote from Mark Zuckerberg's, Facebook CEO and founder, hearing to Congress.

“Leading up to Election Day in November 2016, we detected and dealt with several threats with ties to Russia … [including] a group called APT28 … we also saw some new behavior when APT28-related accounts, under the banner of DC Leaks, created fake personas that were used to seed stolen information to journalists. We shut these accounts down for violating our policies," said Zuckerberg.

Besides Facebook issuing a quick response to the "NYT's" claims, the social network had a press call to cover how the community is being enforced. This report will now be released quarterly. The company will be reporting on specifically how many cases of bullying and harassment and child exploitation were found and the number of fake accounts deleted by moderators.

Zuckerberg also said that Facebook is ramping up its content moderation to reduce sensationalist content and will “train AI systems to detect borderline content so we can distribute that content less.”

But will this be enough to win users back?

According to Foodable Labs data, there has been a 70 percent decrease in food influencers using Facebook over the past year. 40 percent of restaurants aren't using the platform currently.

Read more about the Facebook scandal at "The Verge" now.