Should your restaurant consider a plant-based menu

What does plant-based mean?

Plant-based restaurants are popping up around the world. Yet many restaurant owners don’t understand the difference between plant-based, vegan and vegetarian. In simple terms vegetarian means meatless. On the contrary, plant-based diets drop all animal products. This includes meat, fish, dairy, eggs, gelatin, other animal by-products and processed food. Vegans also follow plant-based diets. But, the conviction to avoid all animal products and by-products extend to other life aspects. For instance, a vegan would not buy leather products.

Why is it gaining traction?

Diners around the world are switching to plant-based diets for various reasons. From weight and health management to saving money and promoting sustainability. From celebrities to companies like Google, everyone is supporting this movement. Moreover, celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver and Rocco Dispirito encourage plant-based eating.

Studies show that a plant-based diet is good for your body as well as your mind. It lowers the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, provided your diet is rich in vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Millennials are the drivers of this shift to plant-based eating. Millennials and Generation Z are environmentally conscious and promote sustainability. The awareness about animal cruelty is also high amongst this generation. It’s projected this segment will be spending $1.4 trillion annually by 2020 in the US. Thus, it’s important to consider their needs and follow their trends.

What are the current trends regarding plant-based food?

There was a 20% rise in the sale of plant-based food in 2017 states report from Nielsen and Plant-Based Food Association. The number of people identifying themselves as a vegan has increased by 350% in the UK, states research commissioned by Vegan Society in partnership with Vegan Life magazine.

Plant-based diets are becoming popular in Asia. New dietary guidelines by the Chinese government encourage the nation’s 1.3 billion people to reduce their meat consumption by 50%. Plant-based meat, alternatives are gaining popularity. Beyond Meat and Impossible Food, products are in high demand amongst the consumers. Currently, beyond burger is sold in all the 469 outlets of TGI Friday in the US. Same goes for Impossible Food which launched the Impossible Whopper at 300 outlets of Burger King in the US.

Moreover, movies like “Fork Over Knives,” “What The Health!,” and “Earthlings” promote plant-based foods. Meatless Monday a global movement encourages people to cut out meat at least one day a week.

Why should your restaurant consider having a plant-based menu?

The number of people switching to a plant-based diet is growing rapidly. For restaurant owners, there is room to grow their business and tap into a new set of customers. Introducing plant-based food can open up a new stream of revenue for restaurants. The more options you have the better the chances of attracting new customers. Having plant-based options becomes more crucial as a group of people would prefer going to a restaurant which has food options for everyone.

41% of the consumers state they are eating more vegetables than they did a year before according to a 2017 Technomic’s report. A recent report by Technomic on Healthy Eating also states that 86% of restaurants agreed that offering vegetarian dishes has increased sales and traffic. Considering the stats your restaurant might be losing on a huge market if you have limited plant-based or vegan options on the menu.

How beneficial it can be in the long-term?

The plant-based diet is surely here to stay. The Netflix series named ‘Game Changers’ which explores the truth about meat, protein and strength encouraged many to switch to a plant-based diet. Plant-based food is proving to be the future of food. Moreover, countless products from plant-based food manufacturers are already hitting the shelves of supermarkets. For the restaurant industry, it’s about making big changes in the menu and following the growing trend. In the end, the ones who adapt early will benefit the most.

2020 Restaurant Trends

2019 was an excellent year for the hospitality industry. From restaurants with unique concepts to the rise of fast-casual and online food ordering, we saw it all. As we wrap up this year, it’s best to keep in mind about the upcoming trends for 2020, so you can stay at the forefront of your competition.

Here are 5 trends to look for and adapt to in 2020

Taking The Activist Approach

According to Mintel, consumers are heading into a new decade of knowledge abundance about the environmental consequences of dining out. For example, awareness started to rise globally about how plastic straws have become a detriment to sea life. This, in turn, led to most restaurants in the United States and Europe to switch from plastic to paper straws. The change has opened opportunities for companies to become creative with the environment around them; thus initiating a new collective of  Straws made out of seaweed, as well as other perishable items that are eco-friendly as well as inexpensive for businesses to purchase.

In London, the rise of sustainable and eco-friendly restaurants are growing at rapids speeds with the high demands of guest who want to not feel guilty after a nice dinner and a cup of tea. According to the Premier line, sustainability is not just a marketing buzzword in the restaurant industry. It’s a new way of practice, propelling businesses to adjust quickly to the growing demands of consumers.

Recommendations:

Nowadays, most Millennials and Gen Z’s will prefer a brand that is not only conscious of our environmental problems but also advocate for it. An easy way to make the switch would be to look for eco-friendly options for take-out items like straws, plastic knives and forks or even cups. This will increase your brand image in a positive light, thus enticing another niche of the guest to your establishment.

Fast-Casual Restaurants Will Continue To Boom

Restaurant trends in 2019 indicate a trajectory for fast-casual restaurants, with a whopping US$863 billion in total sales. Establishing a small fast-casual restaurant has proven to be a low risk, high reward business with opportunities to rent space in food halls growing in popularity in the United States and throughout Europe.

Opportunities for businesses to move towards fast-casual allows restaurant concepts to expand into embracing organic food, promoting regional cuisines and reinvent classic dishes to reach a much broader audience.

Establishing a fast-casual restaurant, especially for small brands, allows flexibility in marketing, design and messaging. Social media is an excellent ally for reaching out to that niche audience you are targeting.

The Increase In Restaurant Tech

There is no doubt that restaurant technology will continue to grow. From increasing your brand value to controlling your inventory, everything is just a click away. A report by Better Food Ventures shows an increase in technology focused on helping businesses with their back-of-house operations. While technology is readily available for restaurant professionals, many still use the old methods for their everyday activities. Expect to see a change in the new decade.

A report by TechTable Mixingbowl shows a wide range of many different tech platforms that restaurants can choose from. Predictions show that this is not a spark of growth. However, the steady rise of tech-based services will provide plenty of resources to cut cost and allocate funding towards areas that have been a hindrance.

Recommendations:

Restaurant and Bar owners should have an open mind towards tech services that will benefit business all around. Most services offer a free trial, so take advantage of said service to see how much of a difference it makes. Employees responsible for tasks like inventory control or sales generation can now focus their attention on other responsibilities that will increase the overall eco-system of your business.

Here Now, Gone Tomorrow

There have been many innovative marketing campaigns in the restaurant industry. Still, many casual dining restaurants are adapting campaigns utilised by fast-food restaurants for decades. The limited-time-offer strategy. A limited time offer is a unique menu item or set of items available for a clearly defined short period.

This opens doors for restaurants to test different products for patrons, utilising seasonal flavours and different foods. It also enables you to handle various marketing campaigns for your tribe of the loyal guest. You can also attract interest from new patrons that are curious about your brand.

Recommendations:

Appoint a member of your staff that has a background or even a remote interest in marketing to become the point person on all of your social media platforms to promote new dishes and cocktails that will be your LTO’s. Visit local markets to find out which flavours are in and play around with them. Continue to analyse what menu items are working and which ones can be taken off to clear space for other products available.

Developing The Customers Journey

Data-driven customer journey mapping is becoming incredibly valuable in today’s technology-driven world. Restaurant owners can now have insights about what, when and how the customer is ordering food. Customer journeys developed by data allow restaurants to use auto-generated algorithms to target specific markets and test actual customer data. This will enable restaurants to run professional marketing campaigns to reach out to a broader audience.

Recommendations:

As a restaurant owner, look towards consulting companies that specialise in marketing campaigns and brand management to boost your sales in the not too distant future.

How to deal with employee turnover

It’s no secret that employee turnover is one of the major concerns for any restaurant owner. The annual employee turnover rate reached a staggering 75% in early 2019. The growing number of restaurants in the neighbourhood has provided people with ample opportunities to switch multiple jobs. And, this trend is not going to change anytime soon. In fact, 59% of restaurant operators name staffing as a top challenge to success according to ToastTab.

Even a single bad hire will increase your operational cost besides the time and energy wasted in the whole process. According to the Rail, the average cost of replacing an employee in the restaurant industry is $5,864. Employee retention is difficult, but if done correctly, can help restaurants save time and money.

Before jumping into how you can reduce employee turnover, you must understand why employees leave their jobs. One way to understand this is by conducting exit interviews. It will enable you to learn the reason behind your employees discontent and improve or rectify it overtime. You can also look out for common trends in your venue. Many times you might notice that the employee turnover is high in a single department. For instance, the back of the house may have a high turnover ratio compared to the front of the house. Watch out for common answers and rectify the situation at the earliest. Understanding the problem is vital, so you don’t end up repeating the same mistakes.

Here are the common reasons for high employee turnover and how to deal with them:

Growth & Personal Development

Every person has their own unique needs and goals. Most employees switch jobs due to monetary concerns or lack of growth opportunities. Talk to your staff about their long-term and short-term goals. Learn what makes your team happy. Ask them if you could provide them with any assistance to make their work more fun and comfortable. Make them feel valued and genuinely spend some time with your staff. Provide monetary incentives and free training sessions for all your employees. Additionally, you can also run an employee of the month program to keep your employees motivated.

High-Pressure Environment

Mental health is a massive concern among employees in the hospitality industry. The high-pressure environment of most restaurants aggravates this problem. Long working hours with limited breaks and facing discontent of customers every day can break anyone mentally. As a restaurant owner or manager, you have to look out for clues. Is someone reporting late to work constantly or gets frustrated easily. Address the issue sooner than later. Also, appreciate your staff for even the smallest thing they do.

Remember, communication is everything. The more you communicate with your employees, the better equipped you will be to solve their problems. Have an open conversation with each staff member every month. Provide them with enough breaks between work, so they don’t crash under pressure.

No Health Benefits

Health benefits for your employees doesn’t necessarily mean providing an insurance policy. Most insurance policies don’t focus on mental health which is currently a significant issue in the hospitality sector. You can encourage your employees to follow a healthy lifestyle in different ways. For instance, you can have a day dedicated to fitness in your restaurant. A great example of this would be the FitSquad program launched by Seamore’s in NYC. Providing your employees with free access or contributing partly to their well being will make them feel valued.

Work-Life Balance

Most people working in restaurants, especially coffee shops and fast food establishments, are students. So you have to accept the fact that it’s not possible to retain such staff for a long time. Students or not it’s essential all your employees have an excellent work-life balance. If an employee leaves the job, try to fill his/her position immediately, so your staff don’t need to work extra hours for weeks. It’s also essential you respect everyone’s private lives. It’s okay to show some leniency in case someone is struggling at work or wants a day off.

While there is no one way which applies to all the following methods may help overcome the problem. It’s never too late to implement things for the betterment of your establishment and your staff. Though it will take a lot of time and effort, you will be glad you took the first step in the long run.

Are You Killing Your Employees

Mental Health is an undermined issue in most sectors, and the hospitality industry is no different. Long hours, lofty straining work environments and a need to be always on your toes can take a toll on the mental condition of even the most healthy minds! Then, to add to the misery comes the never-ending criteria of customer satisfaction. The 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), states that people working in hospitality and food services have the highest rates of substance abuse disorders, at approximately 17 out of every 100 full-time employees. About 20 per cent of full-time industry employees are involved in illicit drug use. Heavy alcohol use is a prominent issue affecting roughly 12 per cent of employees.

survey of London chefs by the Unite report that 51% claim to suffer from depression due to being overworked, and approx. 27% said they drink alcohol to see them through their shift. Another survey conducted by The Caterer in 2018 revealed alarming statistics. 80% of respondents stated their work was stressful either sometimes or most of the time, while 51% said it was stress-inducing most or all of the time. Furthermore, 59% distinguished themselves as having psychological health problems at the moment, and 71% had encountered negative mental well-being at some point. Of these, 56% of respondents admitted their employer was unaware, corresponding with their finding that 70% feel there is a disgrace around mental health in the industry.

In the same year, a research conducted by The Benevolent established that 40% of hospitality workers had never addressed anyone at work about their mental health issues and 49% believed their organisation had no mental health support in place.

So, as bar managers & restaurant owners, what should you be doing to ensure your employees have the right mindset at work and are not facing any mental health issues?

Red Flags

Keeping an eye out for any signs that may lead to mental health problems is crucial. If you observe any of the following signs its time you address the issue sooner than later and have a personal conversation with your employee:

Tiredness and loss of energy

Complaining of sleeping problems

Loss of self-confidence and self-esteem

Changes in personality

Difficulty concentrating at work

Increase in errors

Not being able to enjoy things that are usually pleasurable or interesting

Avoiding other people

Loss of appetite and weight

Serve As A Model

Long hours of work and below-average salaries will aggregate the problem of mental health amongst your staff. In the worst-case scenario, they will quit leading heavy rotation of staff. Start by improving your staffing. Instead of making them work extra hours hire freelancers in case of absentees. Come up with a standard procedure to follow if anyone wants a day off without creating a fuss about it! Make sure your employees have an excellent work-life balance. Stop underpaying your staff and introduce a performance-based incentive program. There is no harm in having a little healthy competition amongst your team. You can also give yearly bonuses which is a common practice in Asia. Always be the person you would want to work for!

Invest Time In Your Employees

Time spent understanding people is never wasted.” — Cate Huston.

Treat your staff as employees, not workers. The more you communicate with your staff, the better you will be able to understand the problem and help them. Have an open-door policy to build confidence amongst your staff. Encourage them to share a word with you without hesitating. Provide them with appropriate training and use shadowing so the newbies can learn from those with experience. Introduce a mental health training program as a part of the onboarding process. Let your employees know that they can confide in you if they are facing any issues currently.

Additionally, provide them with time off or short breaks between working hours. The restaurant environment is usually loud and strenuous. Providing your staff with time offs and some quiet will help them concentrate on work better and keep your customers happy.

Staff Meals

Most restaurants provide meals prepared by leftover raw materials to their staff to avoid wastage. Though it’s easy on your pockets, providing healthy meals to your staff will make them feel appreciated and bring out an informal vibe to your work culture. Moreover, conducting your staff meetings during or after the meals can be a great way to bond with your staff. Staff meetings don’t have to be boring. Simple things like a funny story can go a long way to set a positive, fun tone for your session.

Treat your staff as your family, ask for their opinions and give your staff the freedom to make customers happy in their own way. Your staff is the first point of contact with your customers. Having an informal environment and letting your staff know that their opinion matters could be vital for their mental well-being and a long-running profitable business for you.

Feedback

Provide your staff with valuable feedback about their work. Remember to start with all the positive things first and be open to getting feedback on things you can improve on. A little appreciation goes a long way to make your staff feel extraordinary. Lastly, treat your employees with respect.

Can fake meat really save the planet

They say ”Nothing Is Impossible”. That’s exactly what ‘‘Impossible Foods” a company in California is here to prove! As the whole world is moving towards a more sustainable way of doing business, some companies are setting a new level of standards for others to follow. We all love to attack that juicy beef burger or pork chops from time to time. But most of us are unaware of the animal cruelty and health consequences that attribute to this. However, is plant-based meat really the answer?

What exactly is plant-based meat and how is it prepared?

In simplest terms, it’s just a meat substitute genetically modified to look and taste like real meat itself. The primary ingredients typically consist of soybeans, wheat gluten, lentils, tofu, yuba, peas, and a variety of nuts. Every company in this sector has a different method of producing their product. Impossible Foods is using cellular agriculture to make Heme, an essential iron molecule found in every living plant and animal which is then used in their plant-based meat products. Beyond Burger uses a different approach using beet juice extract to give it a look and feel of real meat.

Financial Impact

According to Euromonitor International, the meat substitute market will grow to $22.9 billion in 2023 compared to the $19.5 billion in 2018. With the fast-changing consumer trends, multinational corporations like Nestle and Tyson are now moving in to have a share of the growing market. Nestle has formed a partnership with McDonald’s to sell plant-based meat substitutes in Germany and is aggressively marketing its products in Europe. Tyson has come up with its own line of plant-based meat products. However; being a first-mover won’t be enough as it all comes down to taste and price. The very first lab-grown Burger cost a whopping $1.2 million. But the prices have considerably reduced due to the scalability of such companies. Currently, an ”Impossible Whopper’‘ costs just a dollar more at Burger King while Beyond Meat is selling its retail unit at $5.99 (two 4-ounces patties).

Current Trends

Companies indulging in plant-based meat production across the globe are gaining significant attention from the media, consumers as well as investors. Beyond meat is valued at $4.4 billion as the share prices are increasing rapidly. With the growing awareness amongst the consumers about sustainability and animal cruelty, more and more people are switching to veganism. Companies creating plant-based meat alternatives are seeing a massive surge in demand. People are becoming more conscious about what they consume and where it comes from. They are trying to reduce their impact on the planet and live a more sustainable life

On the contrary, the European Union has proposed a regulation to ban meat-free products from using terminology commonly associated with meat. It’sIt’s implemented to avoid confusion amongst the consumers and bring in more transparency in labelling. Experts believe that this may lead to more confusion and a negative effect. Moreover, campaigners like ProVeg are rallying against the proposed regulation. They have even created an online petition which is currently signed by over 68,000 people.

Sustainability

We kill 56 billion animals every year to meet the food requirements of 7.6 billion people. Livestock farming accounts for 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. It also occupies 83% of farmland across the globe. So what do plant-based meat products bring to the table when we talk about sustainability?

study conducted by the University of Michigan’s Center for Sustainable Systems on the life cycle analysis of ‘‘Beyond Burger” states that it generates 90% fewer greenhouse gas emissions, requires 46% less non-renewable energy, has more than 99% less impact on water scarcity and 93% less impact on land use than a quarter pound of US beef. A recent poll also found that 43% of consumers are more likely to try meat alternatives today than just five years ago. While the figures might not be absolute, it can considerably improve the current state of our planet. If companies can provide consumers with products that emulate everything about animal meat without killing billions of animals and leads to a more sustainable future, it’s a no brainer!

Can fake meat really save the planet? The answer depends on the choices we make as a consumer. Will you try the plant-based meat burger or will you stick to the traditional meat? Leave us a comment on what will be your choice!

Tackling Food Waste – Can Governments Change Things?

Food waste is one of the dumbest problems we have created. $1 trillion worth of food gets wasted every year. The issue of global hunger isn’t due to a lack of food. We produce enough food to nourish every person on this planet. The problem is we waste approximately 40% of it. At the end of it, we are left with issues of global warming, water supply, hunger, sustainability and an enormous amount of money atrophied on resources invested in producing that food. 40% of wastage occurs at post-harvest and processing levels in developing countries. In developed countries, the same amount of wastage occurs at retail and consumer levels. Global food waste per year comprises of 30% cereals, 40-50% for root crops, fruits and vegetables, 20% for oilseeds, meat and dairy plus 35% for fish. Here are a few things governments could implement to reduce food waste.

Working with food rescue organisations

Several organisations are working on a local and international level who help rescue food and provide it to the needy. Governments can work alongside NGOs, providing them with monetary support and infrastructure needed to achieve their goals. It will help decrease food waste and address the problem of hunger in countries where the rate of undernourishment is high.

In 2017, the Australian Government decided to invest $1.2 million in food rescue organisations like FoodShare, Secondbite & Food Bank Australia for the next two years to curb food waste. The Government has set a target to reduce food waste by 50% by 2030.

Infrastructure & Support

In 2011, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimated that annual post-harvest losses in Sub-Saharan Africa exceeded 30 per cent of total food production. Governments around the world need to provide farmers with the infrastructure and support to reduce post-harvest food waste. Developing countries need to focus on providing the farmers with technologies to monitor and control their harvest. They can also provide farmers with low-interest loans to build better storage facilities to preserve their produce.

In the meantime, the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) came up with Farm Storage Facility Loan Program providing low-cost loan to farmers building storage facilities.

Creating Better Laws

Most of our food is covered in plastic. The growing amount of food waste generates high amounts of plastic waste which is not recyclable. Governments can introduce various laws to curb food waste, such as:

Ban the use of plastic in the hospitality industry and supermarkets

Mandate recycling in the food and hospitality industry

Ban supermarkets from throwing away unsold food

Incentivise companies and startups helping reduce food waste

E.g., In 2016, the French Government passed a law which no longer allows supermarkets to throw away unsold food. Recycling is also mandatory for all businesses in France.

Power of Media

Government organisations can leverage the power of social media to educate customers on the importance of reducing food waste. Education plays an important role to address the issue of food waste as the highest amount of food waste gets produced by the end consumers. Providing people with global numbers and raising awareness of the environmental effects of food waste can go a long way in generating quick results. It is also important to educate customers on the difference between various dates used in the packaging of food products. A great example of media influence happens in Denmark. The Danish Government actively runs advertising campaigns educating consumers about the difference between ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ dates.

Creating Secondary Markets

Supermarkets reject a fair amount of fruits and vegetables due to their imperfect shapes. Even though more and more supermarkets like TESCO are encouraging the sale of such fruits and vegetables, not everyone is following their footsteps. However, to tackle this issue of post-harvest waste governments can create a secondary farmers market. Consumers can directly buy these products at a lower price. Moreover, it will be easier to promote such outlets as a high number of people are switching to organic and chemical-free products. This will help solve the problem of return on investment for the farmers. It will also provide quality products to consumers at a better price.

Building Recycling Plants & Biogas Plants

Having instant access to recycling plants in the community will generate awareness among consumers. It will also make them more aware of the types of bags or utensils they use in their daily lives. Moreover, recycling waste will also reduce the carbon emission created due to landfills. Governments can set up biogas plants within small local communities, which will also generate electricity. These types of solutions could be extremely useful in developing nations where many of the rural areas have minimal or no access to power at all.

For instance, Singapore launched a pilot project building on-site system to treat food waste near hawker centres. When it comes to recycling Scotland means pure business. Over 80% of the households in Scotland have access to recycling facilities. Although on the contrary, only 55% of the household recycle waste.

NoSpoilers Update: Offline Mode

We are happy to announce that this month No Spoilers mobile applications will get a serious overhaul. We will be adding the offline mode for both iOS and Android platforms.

Let there be light

Inventory control in wine cellars and speakeasy cocktail bars is a necessity. Some of these places don’t even have a proper lighting system, let alone mobile phone reception or wi-fi connection. In some of the latter, mobile devices are frowned upon. Yet, you still need to know, what’s going on in there.

We are addressing the issue of the mobile applications misbehaving in environments with little to none Internet access. You will be able to work much smoother with data being stored on your device locally and then synced with our cloud when you go online.

Can we make it better?

We are excited to roll out this new feature, but we also want to hear your feedback. Do you struggle with inventory control in your cellars or hidden areas? Let us know if you think this functionality will help your business. We will also be probably adding a small functionality to ease the consent management (legal issues/GDPR). Still, it brings no business value, so it’s not worth mentioning.

From Corporate IT to Startup Entrepreneur – Mateusz’s Journey

Neil Gaiman once mentioned in his famous book, The Graveyard; “If you dare nothing, then when the day is over, nothing is all you have gained.” 

Mateusz, Chief Technology Officer for No Spoilers, would be the perfect example of an individual that dares to strive for something more exciting and fulfilling than his previous job working in Corporate IT.

Today we sit down with Mateusz to learn more about his journey so far with No Spoilers!

What has been the biggest takeaway so far working in your own startup compared to working for someone else?

Managing & communication matters. In any company which just starts to introduce own its standardized business processes; you have to be the judge and jury. You need to be clear on what you want to achieve and you’re 110% responsible for it. Learn & teach. Teach & learn. Rinse & repeat. Perfecting this balance provides a level of confidence in my team to execute any task they face and it’s been exciting to see this come to fruition.

What about the Food and Beverage Industry do you like the most?

I don’t know, whether it’s the ever-changing and constantly evolving F&B sector, or I’m changing my sense of taste, but every 5-7 years I could reinvent my favourite menu. The Latin phrase “Quidquid Discis, Tibi Discis” greatly complements the experience. The Food and Beverage industry is an exciting roller coaster ride to witness and to experience yourself. Nothing is ever guaranteed, which to me is very attractive and it presents an opportunity to get out there and be a helping hand for those in need.

Who was your idol growing up? Superhero, family, etc…

Superheroes weren’t my thing, even though I did probably read all the Marvel and DC comics that were released in Poland up to a certain age. Optimus Prime is a different story, but would you idolize a machine? I would say yes! Optimus Prime symbolized courage and conviction. In the 1986 Transformers movie, he sacrificed his life for the safety of his members and most importantly passing the Matrix of Leadership to his fellow member.

It took me a few years to start idolizing them in a way… I got my first computer on 21/12/2001, at the age of 14. I kept the invoice.

What advice do you have for anyone interested in becoming a developer one day?

Don’t. No, seriously. If you’re just interested then don’t become one. But if you do, you might just end up receiving a mug from your girlfriend that says “OMG! He’s in love with a machine!” and it says it all. Jokes aside, if you’re applying for a first job, make sure there’s a decent mentoring programme (or something alike) with a supervisor that will guide you. That could save you even a few years of trials and errors.

Internet is a decent source of knowledge, but you need to learn to distinguish good entries from the bad ones. And, if you ask a fellow developer, he’ll probably have a different opinion. The “it depends” approach is the viable one.

Thank you, Mateusz!

How To Nail Your Restaurant Loyalty Program

Loyalty programs are one of the most tried and tested methods of customer retention. Though its widely popular only a handful of companies manage to execute it perfectly. Restaurant loyalty programs are no different. Over the years only a few have cracked the art of loyalty program. Starbucks is one of them. So today lets dive into how you can create a simple yet effective loyalty program for your restaurant.

Why do you need a loyalty program?

The restaurant industry is highly competitive. To master this business you need to retain your customers. Loyalty programs help you connect with your customers on multiple levels. It gives your customers a reason to visit your restaurant again if done correctly. The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 – 70%. The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20% – Marketing Metrics. Remember the Pareto Principle: 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your customers. As a restaurant owner, you should always thrive to get new diners. But retaining that 20% of customers will keep your business running in the long-run. And what better way to do so than by rewarding them! In fact, Bain & Company found that a five per cent increase in customer retention can increase profitability by 75 per cent.

Keeping It Simple

The common mistake restaurants make is to complicate things to the point where the customers don’t understand how the program works. This results in negative reviews and customers avoiding enrollment due to the complexity of the program. Ensure the process is user-friendly and minimal for anyone to understand. Don’t bring out too many terms and conditions. Signing up for the loyalty program shouldn’t take more than a minute. So, avoid asking for unnecessary information and collect only what’s needed.

Creating Community

Create the essence of a community amongst your customers with your loyalty program. Your customers can turn into brand ambassadors for your restaurants. Provide them with lucrative rewards for every new customer signing up for the program through them. Also, don’t forget to provide a small discount or a complimentary side dish or drink for the new ones when they sign up. Providing your loyalty members with exclusive apparels is one way to do it.

Value Proposition

The most crucial element of a loyalty program is the value it brings to the customer.  Roughly 60– 80% of customers do not return to do business, including customers who had a positive first experience (Bain & Company). Recognition and reward are important. But what’s more important is that it should be granted instantly. Customers are not interested in rewards they will be able to redeem after 3 months. The value proposition doesn’t need to be monetary always as restaurants run on a very small profit margin. You can reward your customers in different ways such as giving them exclusive access to new cuisines or no prior reservations needed to get a table.

Another important element is to keep it personal. Know your customers and provide them with personalised rewards. don’t forget to provide that extra discount or an appetizer or two on special occasions or events like birthdays and valentine’s day.

Digital vs Card-Based

The verdict is out and digital is the way to go. Why? Because the restaurant industry is dominated by Millenials and Generation Z. 56% of Millennials prefer using mobile apps for restaurant loyalty programs, and 50% of Gen Xers agreed, states a report by Oracle Hospitality, 2017. While designing a restaurant loyalty app can be a significant investment it surely is worth it. Again, keep the design and layout of the app minimal and easy to use. Also, be certain to engage your customers on the app on a regular basis. This can be done by sending push-notifications about the exclusive promotions or by running a contest of some sort.

Consistency & Feedback

Consistency and feedback are crucial to growing your business. The problem is customers won’t tell you about a positive experience but they sure will tell you about the negatives. Taking feedback helps you understand what’s working in your restaurant and what needs to be changed or improved so you can design your loyalty program in a better way. Asking feedback on a mobile application on personalized reviews can also help you understand your customer. Lastly, being consistent in your message across all platforms is important to avoid confusions and disappointments on the part of the customer.

Healthy, Wealthy & Wise: How can restaurants benefit from the growing health trend

You are what you eat! That’s exactly what most consumers are following these days. Health & Wellness is a priority for the majority of consumers buying food or dining in a restaurant. Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the ingredients used to prepare a dish due to the growing rate of obesity. Health is no longer measured in the number of calorie intake. Instead, it’s measured by what you eat and its nutritional value. The hospitality industry is catching on to this growing trend by many fast-food chains offering healthy food choices to its customers. Though the heavy hitters are doing all things possible to capture this new market here is how your restaurant can benefit and maximize profits from the growing consumer health trend!

Innovate Your Menu

If you haven’t changed your menu since the time you opened your restaurant now may be the time to reconsider! Introducing food with high nutritional value is a good way to start. Providing your customers with information on calorie intake, nutritional value & ingredients used will enhance your customer dining experience. It’s also crucial to introduce vegan cuisines and plant-based meat alternatives to your menu. According to 2018, Food & Health Survey, 8 in 10 consumers prefer plant-based meat alternative due to a focus on health. Having a diversified menu will help you attract new customers and avoid cancellation of group orders. Lastly, don’t forget to market your new menu on all your social media platforms to reach out to your existing and future customers.   

Farm To Table

Even though this concept is not relatively new now would be a great time to implement it in your restaurant. Consumers strongly believe that fresh and local is the only way to eat. Reports indicate that 4 in 10 consumers are willing to pay 50% more and 1 in 5 would pay 100% more for products with no artificial ingredients. Providing cuisines made from locally produced ingredients will appeal to a larger audience and enhance your brand identity. Locally produced ingredients are fresh, healthy and available throughout the year. Moreover, it can be a great way of marketing your restaurant while reducing your carbon footprint.  

It’s All About Tech

Millennials and Generation Z are all about technology. Ordering those healthy cuisines should also be convenient and introducing technology will help you do just that! Presenting menu on in-house tablets or mobile applications will enhance your customer’s dining experience avoiding the wait for someone to take their order. It also reduces the food wasted due to human errors and simplifies the whole process of ordering the food to the final payment of the bill. For customers with time constraint ordering food online and collecting it on the go can be time-saving. Providing options for tracking ingredients to their source on your digital platform could be appealing to those health-conscious customers.

Micro Dining

Time to bid goodbye to super-size plates. Consumers today focus on quality over quantity. The primary reason attributes to healthy choices but interestingly customers today are willing to try modern distinct cuisines. Serving small portion sizes at an affordable cost enables your customers to try new items increasing your revenue. Restaurants can reduce food waste considerably while saving huge cost on resources. Chefs can create more dishes using the same ingredients. Restaurant owners can also diversify their inventory by investing in premium ingredients. 

Moving ahead with the trend is important for any business and when we talk about Health & Wellness in the hospitality industry it’s surely here to stay! Small changes in your restaurant can have a bigger impact in the long run and help you stay in the game. Leave us a comment on how your restaurant keeps up with the changing trends!