Restaurant Industry Journalists –
Here are a few story ideas for your consideration…
We are seeing dozens of very interesting restaurant industry trends shaping up which would make for fascinating feature articles. Here are a few bullet points of ideas. Please let me know if any catch your interest:
1. Middle East Growth – Currently 1% of the GDP of Saudi Arabia comes from the restaurant industry. That is expected to multiply to 5% of GDP within less than a decade. By comparison, the US market is currently around 4% and was at 1% in the 1950′s. In other words, Saudi Arabia will grow in 10 years to the level it took our market 50 years to get to. Staggering growth which presents equally impressive opportunities and challenges.
2. Small Boxes – The techniques that were applied to manufacturing over the years after the Industrial Age to make it more efficient are being applied to the restaurant industry. Essentially, a restaurant manufactures food. Industrial engineering is being applied and one resulting trend is “shrinking the box” – making a restaurant more efficient through compression of size, staff and menu focus.
4. Foreign Invasions - The Dollar is on a discount right now and foreign restaurant companies are seeking their piece of the American restaurant pie. The US is by far the worlds largest restaurant market (we do more in restaurant revenues than some G20 nations have total GDP). Restaurant companies from the UK, Italy, Philippines, Africa, etc are planting flags on our soil with plans to grow in to top national chains here.
5. Who’s Running Social Media – It used to be that an angry customer would tell 10 people. Today, that same customer can Tweet 10,000+ people from their table! Social Media is growing at staggering rates and our industry seems ill-equipped to handle it. While some restaurant organizations are embracing social media as a means of promotion, they are caught flat-footed when complaints and short-comings go viral. Many chains have put interns in charge of social media; a move they would never consider for other more traditional media such as their advertising or public relations efforts. This is a fundamentally flawed approach.
6. “Fresh” is Industry’s Most Bankable Word – Fresh is a magic word in restaurant marketing today. It conjures the most positive associations for consumers. American’s are not yet ready to eat “healthy”, but they will eat foods that are perceived as “healthful”. Foods that are fresh are implied to be more healthful. This concept ties in to a number of other emerging trends such as the locavore movement, organic, raw foods diet, etc. Subway has built a highly successful marketing program around its “Eat Fresh” campaign. Wendy’s recently launched a $75m campaign around ‘fresh’. Season’s 52, a Darden Restaurants concept, learned early on that ‘healthy’ food was rejected by mainstream consumers, but fresh was lovingly embraced. As it stands today, “fresh” is one of the most bankable words in restaurant marketing.
7. Authenticity – The world’s most valuable brand, Coca-Cola, is The Real Thing. Genuine. Or, in other words, “authentic”. The rise of programs such as Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations are paving the way for more authenticity in food. In fact, today’s average consumer is far more educated than any previous generation when it comes to food and food culture. Tex-Mex has declined while authentic Mexican food has grown. Examples of this are found in the birth of chains such as Rosa Mexicana or the increasing fame and following of Rick Bayless. To highlight the shift that has occurred, one could point to the rise in popularity of sushi. In the 1970′s few would have predicted that raw fish would catch on in middle America and micropolitan markets. Today, nearly every town in America has a popular sushi joint. Sushi started and remained “authentic”. Now, consumers are seeking out more adventurous, educated and likely to seek out authentic offerings.
8. Intellectual Property – The legal war of the future for the restaurant industry will be in the genre of Intellectual Property. Moving beyond trademarks for logos, battles will spring up over infringement of recipes, menu item names, trade secrets, and more. An industry that has long allowed copycats to get away with infringements will start to fight and protect more than ever before. Intellectual Property is one of the fastest growing areas of law and is influencing sweeping changes in nearly every industry. Intellectual Property laws and practices will soon greatly alter how the restaurant industry conceives and protects its ideas and other non-tangible assets.
Having represented thousands of restaurants in dozens of countries spread across six continents, we have seen a lot. We keep our finger on the pulse of the restaurant industry. The above story ideas are only a few of the important trends we see shaping up in the restaurant industry. If you are interested in any of the above story ideas or are looking for a source for another upcoming assignment, it would be our pleasure to help you. We will provide you sources not limited to ourselves or our clients but help you in any way possible to get the story you are after. It is our goal to become a trusted and go-to resource for you for years to come.
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To schedule an interview, please contact Kristin Thistle at 407-668-5352 or email@example.com