Very Important Beverage Professionals Chain Beverage Buzz: March 3, 2014

Technomic BlogMaking the Most of Happy Hour
Here’s a stat for bars and restaurants to be happy about: Nearly 70% of adult beverage consumers say they order happy-hour drinks at least once in a while. That’s according to Technomic’s fourth-quarter 2013 Consumer Brand Metrics Consumer Update report, which looks at (among other topics) several facets of consumers’ away-from-home alcohol beverage consumption, including consumption location and occasion and drinks ordered. MORE>>

MarchRestaurant Marketing Ideas for March
The luck of the Irish is with restaurant owners and operators in need of a marketing angle during March.  St. Patrick’s Day, of course, is a prominent eating and drinking day which offers up a hot restaurant marketing opportunity. If green beer, corned beef and cabbage, shepherd’s pie, Irish stew and soda bread aren’t enough, March also includes special days for Artichoke Hearts, Baked Scallops, Banana Cream Pie, Black Forest Cake, Blueberry Popovers, Cereal, Chips and Dip, Chocolate Caramel MORE>>

NRAShould Restaurants Adopt a Page From Airlines' Playbook?
As consumers’ pent-up demand for restaurant services remains elevated, restaurant operators continue to look for additional ways to nudge those consumers into stores. In addition to leveraging traditional loyalty and rewards strategies, National Restaurant Association research shows that more novel tactics also register interest among consumers. “Restaurants are experimenting with a number of ideas to drive traffic and build loyalty, including building on established practices of other industries, like airlines and lodging,” said NRA’s Senior Vice President of Research Hudson Riehle. MORE>>

Outback SteakhouseOutback Steakhouse to Close 22 Units in 1Q
Bloomin’ Brands Inc. said on Tuesday that it would close about 22 underperforming Outback Steakhouse units by the end of the first quarter of 2014 in a move aimed at paving the way for new growth. The planned closures will target locations with moderately negative sales that are not good candidates for relocation, said Dave Deno, executive vice president and chief financial and administrative officer for Tampa, Fla.-based Bloomin’ Brands. MORE>>

ApplebeesApplebee's President Steps Down and a New Leader is Appointed
Applebee’s, which struggled over the past year to boost sales in the hotly competitive casual dining market, has a new president.  DineEquity Inc., the parent company of Kansas City-based Applebee’s, announced that Michael Archer has stepped down and has been replaced by Steven Layt, previously Applebee’s senior vice president of operations. MORE>>

TechnomicNew Technomic White Paper Reveals Link Between Restaurant Ambiance and Guest Satisfaction
Quality, service, convenience and value are the cornerstones of a positive restaurant dining experience, but a recent white paper using data from Technomic's Consumer Brand Metrics (CBM) tool reveals that ambiance plays a critical role as well. The white paper, titled "Setting the Stage: Consumer Assessments of Décor, Music and Atmosphere at Leading Restaurant Chains," finds that although ambiance can be easily overlooked because of its intangible nature, it can also be an important factor in a consumer's decision to visit a restaurant. MORE>>

TGI FridaysBuyout Firm Launches Joint Bid For TGI Fridays
Four months after putting its TGI Fridays restaurant chain on the block, hospitality group Carlson may have found a buyer. Buyout firms TriArtisan Capital Partners and Sentinel Capital Partners have launched a joint bid for Fridays and are currently negotiating final terms with Carlson, according to Reuters. The restaurant chain has previously been valued at $800-$900 million. MORE>>

5 Ways Restaurants Can Embrace Sustainable Packaging
Managing a restaurant invites a host of challenges, ranging from hiring and ordering supplies to running operations and fostering profitability. To add to the mix, increasing consumer demand for cost effective, sustainably sourced materials is challenging restaurant owners and managers to identify and source such material or face loss of customers. When hearing the word "sustainability," many restaurant owners and managers might initially think of the farm-to-table menus sweeping the country. MORE>>

MoneyMultiple States See Minimum Wages Ballot Drives
Minimum wage is already a hot issue in state legislatures, with 30 states currently considering proposals to raise their state wage. But it looks as if minimum wage, and the minimum cash wage for tipped employees, could also be a top ballot issue in a number of states. Two states—Alaska and South Dakota—have already agreed to place minimum wage increases on the ballot. Five others—Arkansas, Idaho, Massachusetts, Michigan and Missouri—are home to petition drives to place the issue on the 2014 ballots MORE>>

EaterGoogle Launches Restaurant Menus in Search Results
Google is providing menus in search results, kind of. According to the official Google blog, menus are popping up for select US restaurants. Of the four restaurants Eater tried to find menus for — Husk Charleston, Au Cheval in Chicago, Osteria Mozza in Los Angeles, and Prime Meats in Brooklyn — only one actually had an embedded menu. In order to get the menu to appear, you have to search for "prime meats menu"; it doesn't just show up when you search for the restaurant name. So let's call it a work in progress? MORE>>


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