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Brief is currently available to customers and members with proprietary insights
from industry leaders such as Technomic, Datassential, Placer.ai and others
Chain Headlines are also distributed weekly to customers and members covering
supply chain issues across sectors beyond restaurants
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Shed Light on
Ineffective Cleaning and Sanitizing
Is There a Better Way
Are you still using a red bucket and reusable cloths in your establishment? This may not be as effective as you may think. At GOJO Industries, we conducted a series of demonstrations to visualize the limitations of this traditional cleaning method. Check out “The Milkshake Demo” and see for yourself why it may be time to reevaluate this outdated approach to turning tables. Revealing UV light photography shows an icky reality: streaky residue left behind on surfaces that were supposed to be clean.
Shows Gen Z Welcomes Loyalty Programs, Sharing Data
Gen Z and
millennials may be coming into their own, but those aged 18-43 differ markedly
from both Gen Xers and baby boomers when it comes to restaurant habits, and
attitudes toward loyalty programs.
survey of 2,000 adults conducted by OnePoll indicates 41% of Gen Zers
and millennials suffer "menu anxiety" when ordering from a restaurant compared
to 15% of Gen Xer and baby boomers.
Meanwhile, an incogni survey of
1,000 adults indicates Gen Zers are more into loyalty programs than their
elders, believing they save significantly through such offers.
Z's Unique Characteristics
Quarterly noted Gen
Z will make up more than a quarter of the global workforce by 2025 and members
of this cohort have different ideas about compensation, career development,
workplace flexibility and purpose than employers encountered with earlier
Gen Z is far
more concerned about hostile work environments, mental health, access to
transportation, physical health, the inability to show who they truly are and
an easy commute. They also don't want to just fit in, willing to spend on
luxury items if that will make them stand out. The cohort puts much more stock
in social media than other types of influence even though it has taken a toll
on mental health.
Talker.news noted that OnePoll's survey found
nearly half of younger Americans (47%) often wait for others to place their
restaurant orders so they can see what the meal looks like and nearly a quarter
(24%) said they always check the menu before going to a restaurant.
cost were the most important factors in meal selection, followed by time needed
for preparation, whether the meal would be messy and the environmental impact,
the last of major concern to a fifth of Gen Z and millennials. The "vegan" and
"vegetarian" labels were a big draw for younger Americans (39% and 34%,
respectively) compared to 15% and 17% of Gen X and baby boomers.
Some 90% of
businesses currently offer loyalty programs and reap the benefits of gathering
user data, which then is sold to third parties, incogni noted. Of three of the
12 loyalty programs examined — McDonald's, Starbucks and H&M
– McDonald's was the best deal for consumers, offering a 20% return, while
Starbucks returned 4.6 cents for every dollar spent and H&M returned $2.50
in store credit.
however, is everything.
to be a disconnect between how much people think they save versus how much they
actually do. The bottom line: Consumers think they save $56 [average] but would
really have to spend hundreds — sometimes thousands — of dollars a month to
reach such savings," incogni said in a blog post.
estimates you would need to spend $1,200 at Starbucks and $281 at McDonald's to
save $56 a month. Gen Z respondents thought they saved $58.90 a month while
millennials thought they saved $57.10.
Gen Z and
millennials were most comfortable with sharing their personal data, including
sensitive personal information, geolocation, biometrics, electronic network
activity and identifiers. Food Institute Focus
Up: Burritos and Hot Chicken Are on Fire
chains specializing in spicy offerings are gathering steam in 2023.
point: Dave's Hot Chicken, which grew from two locations to 118 over the
past few years, saw May 2023 visits increase 126.6% year over year. Bubbakoo's
Burritos, a New Jersey-based Tex-Mex chain, saw its May 2023 visits grow
nearly 8% year over year.
chains like Bubbakoo's Burritos and Dave's Hot Chicken are winning over
customers by leveraging the addicting nature of spiciness," Stephan Peng,
CEO of hot sauce company Redbloom, told The Food Institute. "As
the world becomes more interconnected, people are becoming more adventurous and
exploring global cuisines that are inherently spicy."
Thai, Sichuan, and Mexican appear to be as popular as ever, judging by data
from Placer.ai's recent report on five fast-growing dining chains.
Bubbakoo's Burritos, which blends Asian and Mexican flavors, proves as much.
The nearly 15-year-old chain, which is enjoying continued expansion on
America's East Coast, has seen its foot traffic increase in a year-over-year
comparison every month of 2023 so far.
of Dave's Hot Chicken has been nothing short of meteoric. Its founders started
the chain in a California parking lot in 2017 with little more than $900,
according to Placer.ai. One of the chain's backers includes accomplished
Hollywood producer John Davis (of Dr. Dolittle and Predator 2 fame). Seizing on
consumers' growing demand for spicy chicken, Dave's has 70 new locations
planned for this year.
listed among the fast-growing chains included Cooper's Hawk Winery &
Restaurant, Killer Burger, and Jinya Ramen Bar. But, above
all else, Placer.ai's research showed that America's desire for spicy dishes
shows no signs of slowing.
eat spicy food, your body responds to the heat caused by capsaicin – the
compound that makes peppers hot," Peng said. "This prompts the brain to release
endorphins, which are natural painkillers that give us feelings of pleasure.
This endorphin rush can be addictive, leading people to seek out the experience
again and again." Food Institute Focus
Analysis: Are "Virtual Brands" at Death's Door?
struggles of MrBeast Burger – currently available at more than 2,000
restaurants – could be an ominous sign for all virtual brands.
YouTuber MrBeast, aka Jimmy Donaldson, wrote multiple statements
in frustration late last week, claiming he is "moving on" from MrBeast Burger,
the delivery-only restaurant brand he created with Virtual Dining Concepts.
with virtual brands, and ghost kitchens specifically, is that it's harder to
keep a level of consistency with the quality of the product across multiple
sites," Kay Gowrinath, CEO at Xquisite Productions, told The
posted on Twitter that he'd prefer to focus more on his snack brand,
Feastables, as noted by Restaurant Business. The statements appear to
leave MrBeast Burger with a rather murky outlook. The virtual brand launched in
2020, promptly went viral thanks to MrBeast's millions of online followers, and
made $100 million in revenue from its inception in December 2020 through July
2022. Yet, MrBeast Burger often suffered from negative reviews that complained
of salty, overcooked, or soggy food, reported nrn.com.
Donaldson said he'd like to shut down MrBeast Burger "but the company I
partnered with won't let me stop even though it's terrible for my brand."
kitchens like MrBeast Burger have caused significant disruptions in the
traditional restaurant industry by leveraging technology and delivery platforms
to create virtual-only brands operating out of shared commercial kitchen
spaces," Gowrinath noted. "Virtual brands cater to evolving [consumer] demands
by providing a wide variety of food options, affordable pricing, and quick
Burger is distributed by several different restaurants that are licensed to
cook and sell its food for delivery or pickup only. The concept allows those
restaurants to use the additional online storefront to generate extra revenue,
as noted by Restaurant Business.
control (along with waning consumer demand for delivery) has become worrisome
for virtual brands. Nextbite, one of the leaders of delivery-only
concepts, sold itself earlier this month, shortly after laying off many of its
staff, according to multiple reports.
downfall of virtual-only brands," Gowrinath said, "is logistical difficulties –
and for virtual brands that rely on physical product delivery, logistics can
pose a significant challenge.
online platforms, logistics, order fulfillment, and customer service in the
digital realm requires efficient systems and processes," the branding and
marketing expert added, "meaning virtual brands need to invest in robust
technology infrastructure, customer support capabilities, and effective supply
chain management to ensure smooth operations." Food Institute Focus
Dawn Professional Heavy Duty: The 5-Star Reviews Are In!
P&G Professional's newest
addition, Dawn Professional Heavy Duty Manual Pot & Pat detergent, is our
strongest pot and pan detergent yet, and commercial kitchen dishwashers love
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Dawn Professional Heavy Duty is
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P&G Professional is committed to developing innovations that help you
achieve a high standard of clean. See the new Dawn Professional Heavy Duty
memorable meltdown, Ample Hills Creamery plans to rise again. The
Brooklyn-based ice cream chain once boomed with the help of Oprah and Disney,
then went bust. But the couple behind it are opening new shops and thinking
smaller, reported The New York Times (June 16). Full Story
Starbird has revamped its chicken sandwich
line with the 4-oz. "Starbird 2.0" sandwich, a new Seoul Star sandwich
(Korean), and the Cali Bacon Sandwich with thicker bacon and a larger fillet,
reported Restaurant Business (June 21). Full Story
Starbucks is creating a sustainability and
innovation lab. The lab is being built in Costa Rica near its old research and
development headquarters and is designed to help develop sustainable product
practices, reported Restaurant Business (June 22). Full Story
As it nears
sale, Subway is touting its robust international recovery. Over the past
two years, the sandwich juggernaut has signed deals for more than 9,000 new
units, helping fuel a turnaround once thought impossible, reported Restaurant
Business (June 30). Full Story
& Straw, a Portland, Oregon-based ice cream chain, previously wasted
food is transformed into unique upcycled flavors. Shops from the Pacific
Northwest to Miami now feature flavors like "Cacao Pulp & Chocolate
Stracciatella Gelato," which is made from leftover cacao pulp from chocolate
production that otherwise would have gone to waste, reported ABC News. Full Story
Brands is going to
start collecting more data on customers. The owner of KFC, Pizza Hut,
and Taco Bell is working with data platform Treasure Data to garner a
more centralized view of customer data across all brands to improve diners'
digital experiences and encourage more frequent return customers, reported Restaurant
Business. Full Story
the MOD Pizza chain claim that eliminating background checks for
entry-level jobs has helped it significantly eliminate barriers to employment.
The decision is part of the QSR's effort to have an inclusive culture that
includes working with justice-involved individuals and those with intellectual
and developmental disabilities, reported HR Brew (May 5). Full Story
Subs has opened its
first location outside of North America, in Zurich. Plus, the chain has a
development deal in Mexico, reported Restaurant Business (June 22). Full Story
Taco Bell, the country's fourth-largest
fast-food chain, believes there's "no reason" it can't grow as large as McDonald's.
Robust unit development and rising in-store sales motivate Chris Turner, CFO of
parent company Yum Brands, who cited Taco Bell's 196 new locations in
2022 (2.8% unit growth), reported Restaurant Business (June 27). Full Story
Chipotle is testing a pilot program for robots
named AutoCado that can make guacamole faster. It takes almost an hour
for the chain to prep its guac while the larger industry struggles to find
reliable workers amid rising labor costs. Chipotle announced its $50 million
venture arm, Cultivate Next, is investing in Vebu, the company
making the robots, reported CNBC (July 12). Full Story
Chipotle has signed an agreement with Kuwait-based Alshaya Group, its
first-ever franchise partner, to open Chipotle sites in the Middle East next
year. CEO Brian Niccol said the initial plan calls for two locations each in
Kuwait and Dubai, reported CNBC (July 18). Full Story
raised over $43 million in its IPO. The operator of Gen Korean BBQ priced
its shares at the high end of their range ($12) and the company's stock soared
more than 40% in early trading on June 28. Gen Korean is a regional chain with
34 units in seven states in the western U.S., reported Restaurant Business
(June 28).Full Story
Del Taco and Carl's Jr. are the latest
fast-food restaurants to test out drive-thru AI chatbots. Presto Automation
Inc., which makes the drive-thru chatbot, said the system uses artificial
intelligence to improve the responses over time, reported Bloomberg
(July 10). Full Story
Pizza partnered with
Uber to allow customers to order Domino's products through the Uber food
delivery ecosystem. In April, Domino's warned of a slowdown in its delivery
business as customers turned towards cooking cheaper meals at home, reported Reuters
(July 12). Full Story
Pizza is launching a
pizza vending machine. The chain and its sister companies Agape Automation
and the Grote Co. are working together with robotics firm Appetronix to
create a fully autonomous restaurant that will debut in Donatos' hometown of
Columbus, Ohio. An opening date has not been set, reported Restaurant
Business (July 13). Full Story
Restaurants beat its
fourth-quarter earning estimates. Fueled by strong LongHorn Steakhouse
sales, the above-expected results do not even account for its acquisition of Ruth's
Chris Steak House, reported CNBC (June 22). Full Story
on the Move:
DMA announced recently that President and
CEO Pat Mulhern will leave the company later this year. Mulhern is leaving to
re-engage in strategy, advisory, and investment work.
Bros has named Tana
Davila as its chief marketing officer. Davila comes to Dutch Bros from her
role as top marketing executive at CKE Restaurant Holdings. Full Story
Tresvant will take
over as Taco Bell's CEO on January 1. The chain's chief brand and
strategy officer will take over the top job for Mark King. Full Story
SUPPLY CHAIN NEWS
AI Poised to be Business Boon
quite hit the promise of HAL in "2001," but generative artificial intelligence
is poised to revolutionize nearly all aspects of business, including the food
report from McKinsey & Co. predicts major increases in productivity
and threats to the livelihoods of workers in 850 occupations, including
customer operations, marketing and sales, software engineering, and research and
development, Bloomberg recently reported.
estimates coming advances will be worth $4.4 trillion, or 4.4% of the global
In the food
industry, these changes are expected to streamline everything from the way food
is produced on the farm to the way it is presented in the grocery store and
delivered to restaurant diners.
news for those whose jobs are impacted is that unlike earlier waves of
automation, workers likely will find themselves shifted into different
functions or different professions.
found middle managers at the most risk of displacement by AI. The McKinsey
generative AI and other technologies have the potential to automate work
activities that absorb 60% to 70% of employees' time today."
also noted that "the acceleration in the potential for technical automation is
largely due to generative AI's increased ability to understand natural
language, which is required for work activities that account for 25% of total
Max Zats, chief technology officer of Craftable,
told The Food Institute AI will be incorporated into everything from
automating invoicing to business intelligence solutions.
seeing how we're able to do some incredibly complex functionality and deliver
it in a simple way: creating optimal schedules, real-time staffing and shift
changes, and powerful budgeting and sales forecasting tools," Zats said.
experts told The Food Institute farm operations will be incorporating
robots for planting and monitoring growing conditions, as well as optimizing
water and fertilizer use. From there smart labeling and packaging is expected
to allow consumers to better judge the freshness and safety of products. AI
also can estimate consumer demand, optimize inventory management and minimize
losses, as well as create personalized diet plans.
As much as
35% of the multibillion-dollar restaurant industry goes to labor costs.
Talebi of Butcher's
Tale expects to see food vending machines and robots replacing people
manning the counters and doing the cooking in the fast-food sector and
employee will only show up [at QSRs] for maintenance or repair," Talebi said,
adding, it's unlikely, however, that will spread to casual dining.
Buzzetta, CEO of
tech company G TIER, said the shift toward AI may force some small
companies out, unable to compete on a cost basis with their larger competitors
that can afford the technology investment.
Yee, a senior
partner at McKinsey and chair of technology, said in the report business
leaders "need to understand which activities can be changed and how they want
to rethink that. That is a leadership choice, and it's also execution." Food Institute Focus
sales rose 1.9% in May when compared to the prior year as comparable traffic
slowed by 3.5%, according to GuestXM by Black Box Intelligence. The group noted
a softening in sales tracing back to January.
comparison to Q1 performance is tricky because the favorable Omicron lap
created unusually strong growth rates during the first months of this year. But
what is clear is restaurant sales growth is not as strong as it was during the
last months of last year, immediately before the Omicron boost came into
effect. As a comparison, restaurant same-store sales growth averaged 4.4% for
the months included in Q4 2022," the report read. Full Story
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