With 2011 just starting to get underway, it is fairly obvious that it is going to be a year filled with challenges AND opportunities. Commodity costs continue to be a challenge (who would have ever thought brisket would be going for $2.50 per lb…if you can find it!) and keeping guest counts consistent during the tough economy will require thinking outside of the box.
Doing the same ‘ole things won’t cut it in this new operating environment. What is required at all senior levels of a restaurant organization will be laser focused attention on value, innovation, operations and points of differentiation to the guest. New technology and marketing channels are just being discovered by chefs and restaurateurs. Social Media Marketing is finally becoming accepted and embraced by the C-Suite of restaurant companies and early adapters are being rewarded as the public continues to incorporate this into their dining out decisions.
It’s almost become a blur of food concepts in the marketplace. What I mean is that there is such commonality in restaurant offerings that one could almost close their eyes when dining out and have a hard time telling what establishment they are in. A “herd mentality” sometimes exists in the marketing and corporate R&D departments of most major chains, so much so that they all tend to introduce similar LTO’s or meal bundles. Compounding this effect is the fact the most purchasing departments are all chasing similar commodities and ingredients.
Not a recipe for innovation or creativeness.
However, Nations Restaurant News, recently highlighted a group of individuals that are ahead of the curve and have shown consistent breakthrough innovation with craveable menu items, unique branding and great customer service. (what a concept!)
A couple of friends and colleagues appear on this list and I am very proud of them.
Keep Rockin’ In The Kitchen,