Thanks to Everyone for a Great Time Live from Texas!
DMA's customers, distributor members and supplier partners celebrated the spirit
of collaboration earlier this week in Arlington. Industry experts shared industry
forecasts and innovative opportunities, while panels of top operators and distributors
offered best practices to grow partnerships. Highlights will be available to
subscribers each week throughout the rest of the year…click
here to be added to the list.
The DMA family works hard to deliver the best customized distribution solutions
to an amazing group of superior operator partners. Distributor awards were announced
Tuesday night and congratulations go to Gordon Food Service, Ben E. Keith and
Cheney Brothers for their outstanding performance. Thank you to the many DMA
operator partners who voted! Want to know more -follow DMA on LinkedIn to see the award details and ceremony photographs.
Thanks so much to the panelists and sponsors who made this year's Live event
possible - it couldn't happen without you!
Bird Dinner Trend Is Sweeping the Nation
across the country are going out to dinner more often—and much earlier—than
they were before the pandemic. Turns out, being an early bird isn't all that
indicates that fine-dining customers are eating earlier than they did prior to
the pandemic," R.J. Hottovy, Head of Analytical Research at Placer.ai
told The Food Institute.
reviewed visitation trends by hour for some of the larger fine-dining
restaurant chains in the U.S., and generally speaking, we have seen an increase
in the percentage of visitors frequenting a restaurant from 4-7 p.m. and a
decrease in the percentage of visitors who are coming in after 7 p.m.," said
early dinner trend is not just limited to fine dining.
p.m. the new 6 p.m.?
Yelp data, 10% of all diners were seated between 2-5 p.m. in 2023, a
figure which doubled from 5% during the same time period in 2019. Perhaps
restaurant-goers have become more interested in eating at less busy times, as 4
p.m. reservations more than doubled from 2% in 2019 to 5% this year.
data offers even more evidence of the early bird movement. Uber trips to
restaurants during the 4 p.m. hour increased 10% compared to 2019, reported The
Wall Street Journal. And because an early dinner often leads to calling it
an early night, rides after 8 p.m. are down 9%.
have taken notice of the cultural shift. Earlier this month, Danny Meyer,
founder of both Union Square Hospitality Group and Shake Shack, tweeted: "When
did a 6:00 dinner reservation become the new 8:00, most prized table of the
night—and will it last?"
true, 6 p.m. is the most popular reservation time, according to Yelp,
accounting for 20% of daily reservations. Whether or not it will last remains
to be seen—but why is this time slot so coveted right now?
are diners becoming early birds?
flocked to Meyer's tweet to express their theories on the trend and a few
distinct themes emerged. There was much talk of wellness, healthy living,
remote work, the sober movement, and prioritizing sleep.
work-from-home trends have been a major contributor," said Hottovy, for his
part. "With fewer employees commuting to the office, consumers have more
flexibility in their schedules to dine at different times."
theories are plausible explanations for the early bird trend, and each can be
tied together with a single thread: the pandemic changed our priorities and our
dining habits change in other categories coming out of the pandemic, including
an increase in later morning and afternoon coffee visits," explained Hottovy.
And the pandemic will continue to influence our dining habits in a variety of
ways, including when we eat dinner.
unlikely that we'll ever fully return to five-days-a-week in the office for
most employees," said Hottovy, "which should allow diners more flexibility when
they eat." Food
Food Trend Isn't Going Anywhere
Kinser kicked off
the inaugural Latam Food Week with a rather bold statement.
look at the nomadic [nature of] Latin American culinary culture, there's
unlimited sources of flavors," the food industry insider said, as Latam Food
Week 2023 began on Monday. "American consumers are increasingly expecting new
and exciting flavors," she said, "and that's going to continue for years to come."
opportunities abound in America for Latam F&B companies, as Monday's online
event illustrated. Kinser—founder of Vantage Innovation Lab— noted that
there are now 62 million Hispanics in the United States whose buying power is
projected to reach $1.9 trillion by the end of this year.
opportunities that exist are endless" for food companies, the Latam Food Week
moderator said, "creating trends that are getting bigger and bigger every day.
Sixty percent of (America's) Hispanic population is U.S. born; they're going to
evolve into an American demographic. ... That's why this opportunity of
replicating and blending in other industries is going to be so powerful."
Hispanic-American consumers requires specific marketing messages in 2023,
Rosero, a consumer
research analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, noted that Hispanic American
consumers value authenticity from F&B brands. She added that brands can
earn brownie points with that demographic by producing ads that utilize the
Spanish language, for example.
American retailer Stop & Shop has enjoyed success of late by posting
marketing messages tailored to descendants of specific countries, as opposed to
a broad region.
growth of the South American shopper is so profound, (Stop & Shop) is
really drilling down specifically into the countries in terms of the assortment
and promotional items," said Barry Thomas, Senior Global Thought Leader
at Kantar. "They actually have a marketing calendar that's more than
just a generic ‘Latin America' calendar; (they) take more of a granular
number discussed during Monday's presentations: 42% of U.S. consumers have
expressed an interest in fusion cuisine recently. Americans are more receptive
than ever to the big, bold, spicy flavors so prevalent in countries like
Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, and Peru.
foreseeable future, "we're hoping for fusion," said Hernan Morfin, a
representative of Cilantro Taco Grill, which is based in Chicago. "That's one
of the best things you can do—(pair) Mexican food with (Asian) food. Grab
things from all over, because you can put a lot of things in a tortilla."
CPG brands had an overarching message during one of Monday's late-afternoon
sessions: There's a reason that racehorses wear blinders; it's so they stay
focused on the task at hand, and mainly on what lies ahead.
panelists said, is a key to leading an emerging CPG brand to success.
chasing the unicorn (businesses), but the reality of things is, especially in
emerging brands, is we're supposed to be survivors—tardigrades—little
(microscopic) animals that can survive" virtually anything, said Hector
Saldivar, founder of Tia Lupita Foods, including a lack of funding,
or a lack of adequate staffing.
leaders of emerging brands, Saldivar added, it's about "that perseverance, that
patience. ... Patience is a virtue." Food
Dawn Professional Heavy Duty: Work Smarter, Not Harder, says Chef
pride in native cuisine, large vegetarian audience, and shunning of beef, it
might come as a surprise that QSRs present an investment opportunity in India.
Today QSRs are less than 5% of the foodservice market in that country, while
that figure is 20% globally, according to livemint.com.
are expected to grow at a 23% CAGR between 2020 and 2025. Chains such as Pizza
Hut, Dominos, KFC, Subway, Starbucks, and McDonald's
are expected to benefit.
two trends that are making the situation ripe for growth: a growing middle
class and interest in western lifestyles. The country's class structure is
moving from a pyramid to a diamond one. India's middle class is currently 31%
of the population and is expected to be 38% by 2031, according to the Economic
Indians are more likely to live in a nuclear household and be college educated.
Across the country's landscape, interest in western culture is subtle, as
temples and mosques abound. However, if you walk the streets of Bengaluru you
rarely see younger Indian women wearing sarees; instead, they're stepping out
in dresses, jeans, and tunic and pants. For example, "denims are the most
popular casual wear product among women.
to adopting western dress, during my travels in India, I was regularly asked to
take selfies with locals. Cab drivers and tour guides informed us that the
reason behind these photo-ops is that some people are infatuated with western
While 40% of
Indians are vegetarian, there's still a large addressable market open to
omnivore cuisine, according to Pew Research. Fast Food chains present in
India modify their menus to meet local needs by eliminating beef and pork from
menus and instead offer chicken and vegetarian burgers, vegetarian sides, and
I had a
chicken burger from both Burger King and McDonald's during my travels. I
paid 179 rupees (equivalent to $2.17) for my McDonald's chicken burger meal,
which seemed reasonable. However, other western items I purchased were very
expensive (beer or wine as an example), so it's important that new QSRs find a
way to profitably service Indian consumers at reasonable prices.
there's opportunity for U.S. restaurants, India's industry groups are raising
the alarm about the surge of foods high in salt, sugar, and fat.
of consumer advocacy groups led by the Nutrition Advocacy in Public Interest is
advocating tougher restrictions in marketing and packaging of foods. Companies
like Dominos, Pizza Hut, and CPG manufacturers may be impacted by the
legislation. There has already been some progress in this area. India passed
the Consumer Act of 2019 as a step in that direction but enforcement in food
regulation is in the infancy stage. Food
plans to increase
its American royalty fees from 4% to 5%, a 25% increase. Franchisees will be
charged 5% of revenue on new locations or acquisitions of corporate restaurants
in the U.S. and Canada; the previous rate was 4% and hadn't increased in 30 years,
reported Restaurant Business (Sept. 22). Full Story
Barrel debuted its
first loyalty program. Users can earn prizes from heat-and-eat platters to any
hot entrée; points can also be redeemed for goods sold in its retail shops. The
family chain dining restaurant hopes to reverse an ongoing traffic decline
through weak economic conditions and expects to continue to slide through the
end of the fourth quarter, reported Restaurant Business (Sept. 21). Full Story
Brands has acquired Smokey
Bones Bar & Fire Grill for $30 million. The deal by the owner of Twin
Peaks gives the company another casual-dining chain. Full Story
Subway told its franchisees that they must
accept mobile app discounts by December 28; many operators were far from
pleased. Subway has been aggressively pushing mobile discounts for several
months as incremental digital sales are more profitable. The message prompted
immediate (and sometimes vulgar) responses from franchisee owners, reported Restaurant
Business (Sept. 27). Full Story
Mexican Grill is
testing automation for its burrito bowls and salads. The popular chain is
testing a robot at its California-based innovation center that can assemble the
necessary ingredients and would only be used for digital orders, reported CNBC
(Oct 3). Full Story
is preparing to open its Farmesa concept as a standalone kitchen.
Farmesa focuses on healthy bowls. The test unit in Santa Monica, Calif., has
closed and Chipotle moved to its Cultivate Center in Irvine, prompting the next
stage in the to-market process. Details are scarce but the bowls were crafted
by James Beard award-winning chef Nate Appleman, reported Restaurant
Business (Oct. 5). Full
Starbucks recently announced that it has
developed six new varieties of coffee seeds that can withstand the effects of
climate change. Starbucks-developed arabica seeds are cultivated to resist the
leaf rust and tests have been shown to generate a higher yield in a shorter
period, reported The Guardian (Oct. 4). Full
Domino's and Microsoft have partnered
to advance pizza ordering and store operations with generative AI technology
and cloud computing power. Together, the companies will leverage the Microsoft
Cloud and Azure OpenAI Service to personalize the ordering process and simplify
store logistics. Full
Castle has added
ramen sliders to its menu, including Maruchan Ramen, Pork Belly Chicken and
Banh Mi. Full
Global Management Inc. agreed to buy The Restaurant Group Plc, the owner of Wagamama,
after activist shareholders complained about the company's strategy and ailing
stock price, reported Bloomberg (Oct. 12). Full
Taco Bell is testing Crispy Chicken Nuggets in
the Minneapolis market, according to an email sent from the company on
Thursday. This test comes months after fellow Yum Brands chain KFC
launched new nuggets nationwide, reported Nation's Restaurant News (Oct.
Sweetgreen is using salad-shooting robots to
increase efficiency and profits. In May, the fast-casual chain installed its
first proprietary robots that shoot kale, cheese, and other ingredients down
tubes and into bowls while employees add the finishing touches. The system
reduces human employees and the time it takes to make a salad bowl in half,
reported The Wall Street Journal (Oct. 16). Full
Grill is largely
shifting its menu back to its whole-ingredient roots. Meat analogs are still
available, but the plant-based chain is offering more for those seeking protein
from items like tempeh, tofu, beans, and nuts, reported Restaurant Business
(Oct. 10). Full
Pizza Hut is making a play for late-night
customers. According to the chain, thousands of locations are now open until
midnight or later as the brand targets night owls, reported Restaurant
Business (Oct. 17). Full
on the Move:
Red Lobster has promoted general counsel Horace
Dawson to CEO. Dawson had led its legal department since 2014. Full Story
Eataly named Tommaso Bruso its first
North American CEO. Full Story
Kreme will promote
Josh Charlesworth to CEO in January. Current CEO Mike Tattersfield
will remain on the company's board. Full Story
same-store sales growth of 5% in its first quarter, well above estimates of
3.74%. Darden's fine dining segment saw a same-store sales drop of 2.8%,
reported Reuters (Sept. 21). Full Story
SUPPLY CHAIN NEWS
Why Web 3.0 Could Reshape the Food Industry
presentation at a TEDx event a few years ago, Dr. Justin Goldston
issued words of caution to business leaders. Scanning the assembled audience,
the tech expert spoke rather sternly.
don't adjust to your surroundings, you may become MySpace," Goldston
warned, after noting that the social networking service was valued at $12
billion in 2007 but was sold for just $350 million a few years later.
Goldston is nearly as adamant that business leaders should adapt and utilize
the expansive potential of Web 3.0. "Think of Web 3.0 as a more intelligent,
connected, and user-centric web," Goldston—partner, sustainable supply chain at
Environmental Resources Management—recently told The Food Institute.
experts seem to agree that Web 3.0 could revolutionize business practices,
including within the food industry.
terms, Web 3.0 is the next generation of the internet which is largely focused
on decentralization, transparency, token economics, and community empowerment
thanks to blockchain technologies. Prime examples of Web 3.0 include artificial
intelligence and machine learning, along with the Metaverse.
1.0 strictly allowed users to browse information, and Web 2.0 spawned social
media interaction, Web 3.0 features an elaborate, interconnected network that
boasts potential to improve business elements like food logistics.
goes beyond human-to-human connections and aims for an interconnected network
that serves individuals' needs through algorithms, promoting personalized and
data-driven experiences," said Jonathan Prescott, VP of e-commerce at CouponBirds.
Starbucks pioneered food companies' effective
use of Web 3.0 last year, Goldston said, with its Starbucks Odyssey experience
in which the coffee chain sold non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to members. He
expects other food companies to follow suit, offering NFTs to their members to
unlock rewards and exclusive experiences.
City's fledgling Flyfish Club is another prominent example of the food
industry putting Web 3.0 to use. The club markets itself as the world's first
members-only private dining club, where membership is purchased through
blockchain technology as an NFT and owned by the token-holder to gain access to
iteration of the World Wide Web utilizes evolving technology that allows food
to be tracked from farm to table, verifying authenticity.
to track the supply chain of certain foods and verify their provenance can add
lots of value to food companies," said Stefania Barbaglio, CEO of
investor relations firm Cassiopeia. "New food startups can use tokens to
raise funds and launch new products. Web 3 (also) unlocks new forms of
liquidity and funding for SMEs (small and midsize enterprises)."
will undoubtedly use Web 3.0 to personalize their products to individual
coming years," Prescott said, "personalized food marketing will become more
prevalent where companies can target individual preferences and tailor
marketing messages accordingly." Food
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Restaurant Industry Slowdown Becomes Reality
in the restaurant industry may be upon us. Since June, every ensuing month has seen
softer year-over-year same-store sales and traffic growth than the one
proceeding it, according to Black Box Intelligence.
noted August same-store sales were up 1.5% during the month, but comparable
traffic declined 2.9% compared to the prior year.
performing region during the month was New England, with the quick-service
channels and Italian concepts also taking tops for segment and cuisine, respectively.
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