The “better burger” has made headlines as a fast casual burger trend in 2013. Umami’s $75 burger may have just introduced the “best burger” trend in the fast casual market. This carnivorous indulgence comes with dry-aged bryan flattery wagyu beef, vintage port reduction, freshly shaved white truffles and foie gras.
In last week’s Enterprise Insight we discussed the benefits of assembly lines. On that note, the LA-based restaurant group that founded Umami burger announced their newest project 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria, making its way to New York in the near future. The model will be a “build-your-own” assembly-line-style fast-casual restaurant serving $5-$7 pizzas. The minds behind Umami burger know how to cater to customers’ fast-paced schedules; each pizza only take 1 minute to cook.
As of October, both the frequency and the check average of business meals has increased. Casual and Fine Dining restaurants have become the targets of diners eating out for business-related meals, according to a survey by Consumer Edge Insight.
David Decker, president of Consumer Edge Insight remarked, ”A higher-spending business meal customer is a very welcome development for the high-end but also the middle tier of the restaurant industry. For fine-dining restaurants, one of their core customer segments is starting to visit restaurants more often and is more likely to be trading up to fine-dining than a year ago. While this is a smaller customer segment for most casual-dining restaurants in terms of traffic, the higher average spending among this group makes them an important segment to understand and target as much as possible given your brand.”
So what does this mean for limited-service concepts?
Limited-service restaurants wanting to target business diners should seek ways to overcome obstacles to being perceived as less desireable for business-meal occasions. One idea is to promote catering.
The Parks Department’s private conservancy board is cracking down on the appearance of Washington Square Park’s food vendors. Apparently the hot dog carts are too “unsightly,” and they therefore no longer have a home in the Park. Mario Batali’s Otto gelato cart and the popular N.Y. Dosas cart still have license to stay, and Melt will soon join them, selling gourmet ice-cream sandwiches. We’ll miss hot dogs in the Park!
TaraPaige Group hopes you had a happy and healthy Thanksgiving! Now that it’s the day after, many of us still have food on our mind— specifically in the context of how to lose that post-Turkey bloat. Studies from Bloomberg show that healthful tips printed on fast-food receipts actually influence consumers’ decisions. In contrast, consumers have reacted indifferently to caloric content posted next to food items on fast-food menus. Consumers can also personalize the types of messages they receive on their receipts, similar to the customization offered on Netflix. This is in thanks to Nutricate receipts, a program in which the chain Burgerville already witnessed improvements in consumer choices.
Chicago will welcome Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich’s gargantuan Italian market, Eataly, on December 2nd. Not only is this Eataly 30% larger than the original New York location, but it will also feature a Nutella bar to sate customers’ “spuntino,” or snack, cravings and a white tablecloth restaurant, “Baffo,” set to open December 10th, that will serve higher-end delicacies including fresh pastas and salumi.
The first Whynot Coffee premiered in May in the West Village, and the successful coffee shop most recently expanded to 75 Orchard Street in the Lower East Side. Each location will have a theme emblematic with its surrounding neighborhood; the West Village venue is reminiscent of sixties Paris and the upcoming East Village retailer will be entrenched in tattoo culture. The 75 Orchard Street outpost highlights art from a wide selection of artists and offers free WiFi. This location also serves blue bottle coffee and pastries from Mille-Feuille. Because, why not?
Not too long ago, high-school aged employees reigned the fast-casual world. It was one of the only realms that would accept those with very little to no work experience and offered the flexibility to work around their school schedules. Presently, the average age of fast-casual employees is twenty-seven, and there’s notable advantages to hiring more senior staff. Sometimes education is directly correlated with age, and having more life experience and a work background can lead employees to the management track quickly and portend longevity in the company. High turnover is inevitable with teenagers; pay is low and once their financial needs are met for the short term, there’s often little incentive to stay. It pays off to pay more upfront to train employees with higher education and work backgrounds, who usually happen to be older, as opposed to frequently hiring much younger staff and enduring constant turnovers. One of the disadvantages of hiring older employees is the pressure to meet their expectations for higher pay.
Starbucks’ productivity, loosely defined as its “transactions per labor hour,” has increased almost 50% since 2008. One reason for the surge in efficiency is the improved speed and aptitude of the baristas. Another key player is Starbucks’ recent $100 million acquisition of the San Francisco bakery La Boulange, which in turn lures customers at all times of the day, not just breakfast.
Hale & Hearty will feature celebrity chef-created soups from mid-January until mid-March of 2014. Chefs Geoffrey Zakarian, Andrew Carmellini, John DeLucie and Marc Murphy have been confirmed for now. A portion of the proceeds from each soup sold will be donated to charity.