We look forward to seeing everyone at the Restaurant Finance and Development Conference in Las Vegas November 13-15
Stop by the Wray Executive Search booth #504
Building an Impressive Customer Experience Strategy
by Bob Gershberg, CEO & Managing Partner, Wray Executive Search
Winning customers in today’s competitive environment starts with a strong customer experience strategy.
Whether you’re running a large chain or an emerging independent, even small changes to customer experience can make a big difference for bottom-line profit. Customer experience refers to the ongoing relationship between your business and its patrons. The restaurant customer experience involves every interaction that goes on between your establishment and diners–from your digital ads targeting new customers, to your menus and mobile ordering, to your loyalty programs.
Building a customer experience strategy for a restaurant chain is crucial for ensuring customer satisfaction and loyalty. Begin by researching and understanding your target audience. Analyze their demographics, preferences, and behaviors to tailor your strategy to their needs. Determine what sets your restaurant chain apart from the competition. Your unique value proposition should be the foundation of your customer experience strategy. Ensure that your staff is well-trained in providing excellent customer service. Invest in ongoing training to equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge.
by John Gordon, Principal and Founder, Pacific Management Consulting Group
Q3 Earnings Season has almost kicked off, with Domino’s (DPZ) reporting last week. Their revenue was a tad soft (US SSS minus .6%, but costs were lower and both corporate store, supply chain, and franchisee margins were higher. Thank you CEO Russ Weiner for reporting US franchisee EBITDA, up to $155K from $139K. DPZ is also introducing new products as they should (pepperoni cheesy bread, for example).
Current business conditions are unfortunately not better. We got a very good jobs report in September, which ordinarily is great for consumer discretionary segments such as us, but a negative, depressed consumer mood is present. Student loan repayments have begun, the auto worker strikes have not been resolved, and the US House Speaker situation/government funding situation looms in about 30 days. Restaurant softness via credit card reporting portals (hat tip, Sara Senatore, Bank of America) has been evident for some time. The softness in the upper-end steakhouse segment (STKS and the upper-end Darden (DRI) brands is also evident.
“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
Navigating the Minimum Wage Dilemma: Labor Costs vs. Labor-Saving Technologies in the Restaurant Industry
by Ray Kelley, SVP & Partner, Wray Executive Search
The restaurant industry finds itself caught between the growing calls for higher minimum wages, and the financial incentives for restaurant owners to invest in labor-saving technologies. As demands for increased wages intensify, the industry is navigating a delicate balance between meeting labor costs and embracing automation and innovation. Are there solutions to bridge the gap between these two seemingly conflicting forces?
The Push for Higher Minimum Wages
Living Wage Advocates: Supporters of raising the minimum wage argue that it is a matter of economic justice. They contend that no one should be expected to work full-time and still live in poverty.
Cost of Living: Proponents argue that the current federal minimum wage does not align with the rising cost of living, especially in major cities, making it challenging for restaurant workers to make ends meet.
Employee Well-Being: Advocates stress that a higher minimum wage can lead to improved living conditions, better health, and greater overall well-being for restaurant employees.
We’ve documented changes in restaurant consumer behaviors since the pandemic, including and especially the sharp shift toward digital adoption, which has clearly impacted everything from real estate formats to promotional activity.
Read the latest on restaurant industry job growth from the National Restaurant Association
Restaurants surpassed pre-pandemic employment peak in September
Even with restaurant employment levels surpassing pre-pandemic readings, the workforce expansion likely has more room to run.
More than three years after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. that resulted in millions of restaurant employees being laid off or furloughed, the size of the industry’s workforce finally returned to pre-pandemic levels.
Eating and drinking places* added a net 60,700 jobs in September on a seasonally-adjusted basis, according to preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).