With summer right around the corner, things are heating up both outside, and in your favorite restaurants. With the kids soon to be out of school, and more vacations taken at work, quick service restaurants (QSRs) fast casual dining establishments are competing day in and day out for your business. But what’s the “secret sauce” or formula to bring customers into your place over the one next door? The following articles from the likes of QSR Magazine and Fast Casual will offer an in-depth look at marketing, technology, and other topics in the restaurant space.

Is Traditional Mealtime Dead in Quick Service?

Fazoli’s Breadstick Snacks will make their official debut in all markets this summer.

QSR Magazine: As customers increasingly shift to off-premises dining, it’s not just how they’re eating that’s changing. The constantly busy American lifestyle is transforming exactly what—and how much—consumers are eating at any given occasion. This evolution in eating habits has many chains looking at new menu platforms that can attract customers during off-peak dining periods.“The consumer and the whole dining experience in traditional restaurants is changing so rapidly,” says Fazoli’s CEO Carl Howard. “You need to be aware that people are eating differently at different points of time. They don’t always want a heavy meal. We’re working until we go to bed because of phones, so snackable products are definitely important.”

Our Take: As highlighted in our QSR WhitePaper, off-hours promotions are extremely significant and can be a game changer in terms of a restaurant’s bottom line. Often times, you have to grab customers’ attention at just the precise time with a contextually intelligent offer, say for a mid-afternoon drink or a late-evening snack. This means implementing some creative real-time marketing efforts. Real-time marketing uses information and data of new or existing customers, including personal trends and spending history, to send targeted instant offers that will get them in the door and encourage them to purchase more. It can also include external information that can play a role in influencing that consumer.

Click here to read the article from QSR Magazine

How to Survive Value Wars 2.0

The value wars have escalated this year as Taco Bell, Jack in the Box, Wendy’s, CKE, and Subway, among others, have revamped their value menus.

QSR Magazine: For years, Taco Bell has played to the value-minded customer. The brand has layered value-driven items across the menu, with the mainstay combo meals, $5 meal boxes, and a value menu full of cheap, a la carte items. Of course, value means different things to different people. And customers want more than just a bargain basement price; they equally demand decent portions and new, exciting flavors. “It’s not just the price point. It’s the variety, it’s the quantity, and it’s the quality. “Hard-working consumers want to maximize their dollars, so it’s important to see quality menu offerings at the dollar marks to truly feel that value that they’re seeking,” says Jack in the Box CMO Iwona Alter. “They also want more choices in these offers. Historically, many brands had only a few low-price offers. Today, you can see there are many more options to allow customers to tailor their meal to their personal taste buds, while still getting a great deal.” Like the pizza wars of years’ past, this race to the bottom of the menu has some wondering how low prices can go—and how long operators can sustain cut-rate deals.

Our Take: We see the advertisements everywhere from tv commercials to banner ads on our mobile devices, for dollar deals or lunch and dinner combos at low prices. The competition is fierce as many fast food establishments battle for customers’ business by offering value deals, with new and exciting foods and beverages across various contexts. The strategy is by enticing customers with these value deals, they’ll be more inclined to spend money elsewhere at their restaurant and hence bring in business they wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. This method has been particularly useful for millennials and college-aged kids who are always looking to save a few bucks and enjoy the convenience of fast-casual dining.

Click here to read the article from QSR Magazine

What Millennials Want From Restaurants

Fast Casual: Check Instagram or Facebook, and you’ll quickly learn one essential fact about millennials: they really like food. But for restaurants that are competing to stand out in the rapidly transforming food industry, they need deeper insight into the preferences of millennials and the other demographics dining out today. Millennials are not only the largest demographic in the United States, they also make up the largest population of diners. And that’s why they’re so crucial to restaurants. As a highly tech-savvy generation, millennials, more than any other demographic, are looking to combine mobile devices with their dining experience in terms of payments. Almost 72 percent of millennials would prefer to pay at the table or on their mobile device, if available. Millennials also place a higher value on speed than other demographics—47 percent of millennials said the speed of transaction is the most important aspect of restaurant payments, while only 29 percent of Gen X/Y said this and  20 percent of boomers.

Our Take: It is without a doubt that millennials are an important, if not the most important demographic to target for QSRs. They are the largest demographic of diners and eat out frequently. So why not cater to them with simple pieces of technology to make the dining out experience more convenient. Paying at the table on tablets or paying via a mobile device is something that millennials have come to know as a regularity almost in terms of ordering at a drive-thru or grabbing a quite bite inside. It’s all about maximum convenience, the fact that the majority of them do not carry cash, and getting their meals as quickly as possible. Don’t forget that millennials also frequently use social media to leave reviews about restaurants so they can certainly be your best friends even beyond the business they give you in store.

Click here to read the article from Fast Casual

To learn more about how ShopAdvisor provides proximity marketing solutions for fast-casual dining, click here

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