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Millennials and Gen-Z are driving Adult Beverage Sales

 

            We’re hospitality people and as our passion for food and all things culinary is highly focused so too is it equally attracted to the adult beverages so many of our clients rely upon for revenues.  We understand the need to anticipate our clients and their guests’ needs so we look beyond the food and drink menus to better understand what’s driving the consumer purchasing trends, guess what, its demographics!  It’s not enough to be a great cook or mix the classic cocktail, in today’s hospitality mix operators must maintain diligence toward a better understanding or who is moving the marketplace forward, so we’re going to offer a helping hand.

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What we’ll eat and how we’ll eat it in 2018!

 

            Every year at this time the prophets of produce, prognosticators of protein and seers of service put on their visionary eye-wear to forecast the behaviors and trends of the consumer dining public.  We’re not here to jump in with both feet; however, our approach is to take a step back and attempt a broader view of what’s driving consumption in the food service industry.  We’ll share our point-of-view from those with a crystal ball on what’s going down in 2018.

Craft vs. Corp, Beer Drinkers will drive the industry’s future!

           

I recall frequenting a couple of craft beer bars in northern Virginia in the early ‘90’s which both used the phrase, “No Bud, No Coors, No Miller, No Crap on Tap!” as a marketing and positioning statement.  So that’s where we’re going with this post, a look into the evolution of craft beer appreciation AND how “Big Beer” is attempting to influence how consumers approach their craft beer favorites. 

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Leveraging Adult Beverage Trends to build your Brand

             As its football season allow me to be a “pigskin pundit” and begin with a football analogy.  The famous Ohio State Coach Woody Hayes once said that he didn’t like to pass the ball since of the three possible results there was only one positive outcome.  Those of us who understand the game get it, if you’re in any type of business you’ll understand that being successful only 33% of the time may not move you toward the goal post.

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Less is More, for Menus

           

I recall one of my experiences in culinary school when my Food Prep 101 professor told our class, “There will always be a demand for quality and an audience willing to pay for it.”  The Chef went on to say as future operators we will need to focus on the needs of our guests and continually use the feedback we receive as a compass directing the menu items, the level and style of service to remain relevant in a highly competitive business.  As this is also a ‘busy’ industry with a multitude of details it’s easy to allow our focus to wander when dealing with the demands of each day.

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“Gentlemen, this is a Football”

 

            If you’re a football fan of a certain age or if you’ve read a biography of the “Hall of Fame” football coach, Vince Lombardi, you’ll recognize the iconic statement in our title.  A little back-story if you’re not familiar, Lombardi took the head coaching position with the Green Bay Packers at a low point (winnings-wise) of the franchise’ history.  He discovered a team that he believed needed to embrace the fundamentals of the game. 

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What will Millennials “Kill” next?

 

            If you’re one of the 76+ million Millennials living in the U.S. no worries, we’re not suggesting you are to blame for current changes in the retail landscape.  Lately the Millennial cohort has been taking a lot of heat for driving changes in retail due to the size of their demographic as they currently outnumber “boomers”.  Believe it or not we’ll discuss how this affects the growth of wine sales in the U.S. via a circuitous route through seemingly unrelated territory.

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Beer Good, Sales Bad!

 

            Please don’t allow the title to confuse you, we are BIG advocates for beer and their other malt-kindred and in fact I used to home-brew throughout my college and graduate school years.  As my taste in beers have changed over the years I must assume I’m not alone as we have experienced a rise in micro-brewery openings and the new Renaissance of craft beer even in the smallest of burgs.  The issue our title suggests is the challenge to the mega-brewery brands and how we have arrived at this point in time.

        The Casual Dining Operators “Survival Guide”  

I admit I have a warm place in my heart for casual dining chain restaurants; however, as their sales continue to slip it appears my fellow Americans may not have their hearts in the same place.  We’re not going to berate the “casual dining set” as they appear to need all the support they can garner.  We’ll point out some differences between the chain-operators versus the independent operators through consumer feedback and attempt to offer some suggestions for the chains attempting a “come back” tour.

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Cause and Effect: Higher Wages vs. Restaurant Closures

 

            Our position is to advocate for operators to review their current business model and evaluate the options regarding wages to determine the “best fit” for their business.  To that point we’ll offer some suggestions and attempt to start the conversation as this issue affects both the business owner and their most important asset, the people who bring their concept to life on a daily basis.

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Casual Dining can be Fixed!

             Okay “spoiler alert” we’ll be discussing the casual dining segment this month but we won’t be “beating up” on them as some industry observers have over the past year.  What we will do is review how the segment came to be and what has changed historically from that point to the present.  Along with way we hope to offer some observations of our own and suggestions on opportunities to move forward for the segment.

Using “Wine Culture” to Drive Margin Gain

 

            As the title might suggest we’ll be speaking to the wine portion of our audience today.  Wine holds a special place in the fabric of our lives, we often drink some form of it in a toast for weddings, anniversaries, job promotions and retirement events. Wine is also used for sacramental purposes such as wedding ceremonies (not just the reception), baptisms and of course communions.

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          An attorney friend of mine once shared with me a general attitude they believe the public holds toward their profession and summed it up as, “An attorney is the most useless thing in the world, until you need one!” I was a younger then and at the time I had never heard the remark but with time have come to understand its’ general acceptance among the public.  So why discuss the benefits of legal counsel in a hospitality forum, the point to make here is about seeking professional advice and experience.

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Forecasts, Projections and Trends, Oh My!

             This is the time of year when industry observers and pundits traditionally offer up their respective vision or spin on the direction of the hospitality industry for the next twelve months.  We don’t claim to have a crystal ball but instead offer up our version of what might befall restaurant operators given industry facts alongside a healthy dose of human nature.

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For the Want of a Third-Party Opinion

             Independent restaurant operators have always been the backbone and life blood of the hospitality industry.  They bring a passion for food and service in the belief their concept is the answer to a void in the food and beverage offerings within their community.  This independent spirit is common among restaurant operators regardless if they intend to open just one unit or potentially thousands.  The premise is “build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door” and of course a healthy helping of ego may be involved as well.

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Casual Dining’s Death Spiral?

 

            Another month and another round of Medical Examiner Reports for the Casual Dining segment of the restaurant industry.  As interested and invested industry observers we trail-along to learn where the industry is trending regardless of the segment; however, casual dining has recently been examined by more than one publication for a preliminary post-mortem.  It wouldn’t be “business as usual” if we didn’t chip in our two-bits as well.

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Location, Location, Location

 

            That’s the answer to the classic question of what it takes to be successful in the restaurant business.  Of course that’s over simplified as industry veterans know and understand that while a good location is helpful, especially for high volume – low margin operations, it isn’t the “cure all” for restaurant success.  Many other elements affect an operator’s bottom line; however, as advertised we will ruminate oh how local geography contributes to the bottom line.

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Is the “demise” of Casual Dining premature?

             I just read another industry trade article regarding the decent of the fortunes of the casual dining segment, http://nrn.com/casual-dining/casual-dining-fights-survival, and there were some fairly gloomy statistics about its’ current state of affairs.  I’m not going to “pile on” any criticism or profess to have all the answers but will offer my personal view based upon a lifetime working within the food service industry and benefit of multiple hospitality degrees. 

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Is Casual Dining so “Yesterday?”

 

            I came up through the fine-dining segment of the restaurant industry and witnessed casual dining operations in their infancy and learning to walk.  Clearly casual operators did an excellent job of learning how to walk and then run away with growth for several decades.  Now it appears those same casual dining operators are feeling the pinch of the demographic changes that are driving so many other aspects of current society experiences.

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Are you a “Late Adopter?”

 

            If you keep up with current events in either the news or any trade journal you may have heard the term “early adopter” when the author speaks of the use or review of any form of technology intended to increase an efficiency or task common to a specific industry.  This begs a question of food service operators, if you could use technology (usually in the form of software) that could shorten your daily management tasks allowing you more contact time with guests and the opportunity to support your staff would you “adopt” and use that technology?