This Brand CMO Predicts the Technologies that Will Reign at Restaurants in 2019

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Technology has changed everything and will only continue to do so. When it comes to food, there's so much potential for technology to help make a positive impact.

So what does the future hold for the restaurant industry? How will technology help to enhance operations or the guest experience?

Nabeel Alamgir, the chief marketing officer at Bareburger made some predictions in a recent opinion piece for "Forbes" where he said that augmented reality is expected to take the dining experience to the next level.

"If your customer finishes their drink, the technology recognizes this and prompts their server for a refill. Additionally, augmented reality allows your customers to see a 360-degree, digital rendition of each menu item right in front of them," writes Alamgir.

Although Alamgir predicts that augmented reality will become more mainstream, he also thinks that table-top kiosks will continue to pop-up at restaurants.

This technology can be a waiter's best friend. It enables guests to order or ask for a drink refill without being asked by a server. They can even pay on the tablet.

"Kiosks have the potential to improve your turnover rate and keep your company on trend, assuming the initial growing pains are overcome," writes Alamgir.

Plant-based proteins are rooted in science and technology. In 2019, these innovations are only going to become more popular, especially as consumers gravitate away from traditional meat.

"Meat alternatives often work for everyone’s diet, religion and beliefs, so there’s no reason not to offer them as options for your customers.," writes Alamgir.

What other technology and food trends does this marketer think will take over the restaurant industry come 2019? Read more at "Forbes" now.

On a recent episode of The Barron Report, Host Paul Barron gave his own predictions about what the future holds for the restaurant industry. Six out of his eight predictions were spot-on. Watch the video to see what Barron thinks will take off this year.

Chipotle Launches New Mentorship Program for Start-Ups

10 years ago, Chipotle emerged as the darling of the fast casual segment. Other concepts in the segment were all striving to be the Chipotle of their category. But ever since Chipotle's food safety crisis back in 2015, the chain has been on a long road to recovery.

However, with the hire of former Taco Bell executive Brian Niccol and new menu additions, the restaurant's stock has gradually climbed in the last year. Analyst Andy Barish recently predicted that investing in the chain is a smart move in 2019.

The chain has announced its latest move to change the future of food, it will be partnering with the non-profit Uncharted to launch the Chipotle Aluminaries Project, a program that will help food start-ups grow.

"Since our founding, Chipotle has been committed to cultivating a better world, and we believe the best way to lead the future of food is to inspire others to come along with us on the journey and be a force for good in our industry," said Brian Niccol, Chipotle CEO in a statement.

Eight food companies have been selected based on innovation.

Some of the start-ups include-

American Ostrich Farms: an ostrich meat producer. This meat makes much less of an ecological impact.

Grubtubs Inc.: a company that makes animal feed made from food waste.

Sophie's Kitchen Plant-Based Seafood: a plant-based seafood producer.

AgVoice: a mobile voice-interaction service designed for food and agriculture professionals that helps them tracks animal and plant production.

The eight companies selected to participate will attend a 5-day boot camp where they will get insights and advice from industry leaders like some Chipotle executives and the entrepreneur Kimbal Musk.

The participants will also be meeting with their mentors one-on-one to get investor training and guidance on their business.

"At Chipotle, we feel we have a responsibility and opportunity to forge a path to a more sustainable food future," said Caitlin Leibert, Chipotle's Director of Sustainability.

Read more about the new program at "Forbes" now.

On a recent episode of The Barron Report, Host Paul Barron explains why he thinks the chain's recent introduction of its Lifestyle Bowls was a slamdunk. Watch the video below to learn more about Chipotle's latest move to not only appeal to health-conscious eaters but to reclaim its top spot in the fast casual market.

Blue Apron's New Retail Line is Now Available on Jet.com's City Grocery Service

Blue Apron meal-kits from Jet.com |   Blue Apron

Blue Apron meal-kits from Jet.com | Blue Apron

Ever since the Blue Apron partnership with Walmart's Jet.com was announced late last year, the company’s meal-kits have been available on the retailer's online marketplace.

Jet.com became the first online retailer to sell the Blue Apron meal-kits, but Blue Apron tested a new product line dubbed "Knick Knacks" at Costco last May.

"We've completed our national retail pilot with Costco, which was our first opportunity to gain learnings and build competencies in expanding our product in the retail environment," said a spokeswoman for Blue Apron to "Grocery Dive." "Through our pilot with Costco we created our retail product which we were able to use as an entry point onto Jet's platform, and we also applied learnings from the Costco pilot to create our newest product, Knick Knacks."

The line has an extended shelf life and "bundles sauces, grains, dairy, spices and step-by-step recipes that customers then pair with their choice of a retailer's produce or protein."

However, the company paused the Costco test right before the holidays last year and has announced that this "national retail pilot" has come to an end.

Now, the meal-kit company is focusing more on online retail and the Knick Knacks product line is now available on Jet's City Grocery platform.

It's priced below most retail meal-kits at $7.99 for a two-person serving.

Although Blue Apron has made a play to increase its availability by partnering with other retailers, the company has struggled to gain subscribers and increase sales over the last year.

Blue Apron saw a 25 percent drop in subscribers last December compared to the year before.

Learn more about the company's new product line at "Grocery Dive" now.

Will Blue Apron ultimately make it in today's saturated market? Check out this past On Foodable: Industry Pulse episode about meal-kits as we explore whether or not this category will survive in the current state of the industry.

Getting to Know Chef Jim Berman The Host Behind New Foodable Podcast—Chef AF

“I am, quite honestly, a very unintentional cook,” says Chef Jim Berman.

In this episode of The Barron Report, host Paul Barron sits down with Chef Jim Berman, a longtime Foodable expert contributor, whose currently working as a corporate chef for a regional group that has six operating properties.

“I was a private school wonder-kid if you will in that I went to a fancy private school and I was going to be an investment banker because my dad said ‘You’re going to be an investment banker!’ …and I found that in between semester of going to school being a cook was a pretty easy way to find work and it was pretty rewarding and the lifestyle was certainly an adventure,” says Berman. “And then a few years into it, I thought maybe this is something I’m going to do for real.”

Berman is the host of Foodable’s newest podcast show—Chef AF, It’s All Food!

“So, boiled down, reduced. [Chef AF] really is about real, relevant, almost gritty insight about best practices, worse practices...,” says Berman. “You know, one of the things I came up with when we were conceiving the show is cues and miscues. I think bad missteps we can learn from…”

Listen to the podcast to learn more about how Chef Berman thinks about food and get a sneak peek into what to expect from the first season of Chef AF!


Show Notes:

  • 1:43 - How Jim Berman got into the restaurant industy

  • 3:28 - Chef Jim Berman’s current role

  • 6:01 - What kind of content do you look for as a foodservice professional?

  • 8:07 - What to expect from Chef AF

  • 15:05 - What Chef AF will mean to operators?

  • 20:25 - Role of Social Media today

  • 29:53 - What Chef AF could mean to listeners and possibly guests

 
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Foodable's 2019 Predictions for the Restaurant Industry

Predictions are always a love-hate thing for me each year, it means I have to look deep into the industry and into my past 20+ years of reporting, indexing and analyzing with the leading foodservice operators in the world. Sometimes this analysis reveals the good times to come for the industry and sometimes it does not.

Last year, six out of eight of my predictions were right, most of which were easy to consider, but if you think about the timing in 2017 to detect these market shifts you have to be somewhat of a fortune teller and very lucky to get these right.

I was right on with plant-based menu items taking off, coffee trends ramping up infusions and even the beverage industry taking a hit in spirits, wine, and beer, the most troubling was the 8 percent overall drop in the industry prediction that turned out to be pretty accurate at 7.8 percent, according to our Foodable Labs data.  

2017 was not a great year for many, but the few emerging brands that excel did so in double-digit fashion.  

Unfortunately, I don't think this can continue. The bigger concern I have for 2019 is the overall health of our industry. Closings will continue like always but we will see some closures of brands we may have thought to be bulletproof just a few years ago.

Without further ado, let’s move on to my 2019 Predictions

Check the video above for more of my commentary on these predictions, but this will give a quick read on where I think the restaurant industry is going in 2019.

Plant-based is on a maverick of a wave that I don't see slowing down anytime soon, in fact, my recommendation to any protein producer is diversification and to double down on quality and animal welfare.

Facebook is in real trouble with the foodservice and foodie crowd with continued falling engagement levels to that of 2014. I don't see this turning around for the platform at all and the move to Instagram ads and destroying that platform may be their only hope before the feds scoop in with regulation.

I fear the ultimate breach will occur with foodservice, If I were Starbucks, I would Fort Knox that mobile app before we see a big hit on what could affect as many as 1 billion consumers. Big tech will continue to get pushback from consumers and though 2019 won't be the year for deregulation 2020 will be a campaign trail mantra for sure.

Airbnb, Amazon, and Uber will all reach a new level of innovation in food, and not in the ways you might think.

Amazon will take a new role as a ghost restaurant operator, Airbnb will take up restaurant reservations, and Uber will have to go head to head with the industry to win out in the delivery game

The emerging 150 brands will continue their trek on obliviating the competition. Watch out for a few of them that will dominate in the regional game like never before.

And unfortunately, the small craft beer makers will start to fall with a downturn in drinking trends and craft beer consumption falling. We will instead see a new landscape of how craft brewers will go to market, let the brew mergers begin.

Like every year, some of my predictions are outside the box and thinking in ways that others don't. What I have found is that if you follow consumer science, technology, and food you have some insights to a crossover matrix that starts to provide early indicators to trends that go unnoticed even in today's always on social media barrage of information.

If you're in the business, this will either be your best or worst year in the last decade. Think of it like this– to quote one of my favorite sayings by Louis Pasteur, “Chance favors the prepared mind” see ya on the backside.