Healthy Eating Habits: Messages in Receipts

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.

Eataly Chicago Opens Next Week

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.

Whynot Coffee Now Open in Lower East Side

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?

Advantages of an Aging Workforce

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.

Staffing Assembly Lines

Establishments where employees have specific roles and function in an assembly line fashion perform with maximized efficiency. Creating specific roles for staff not only avoids the inevitable confusion that comes with the unnecessary overlap of job responsibilities, but it also creates a more pleasant and seamless experience for the customer.

Chipotle is a prime example of a fast casual restaurant that operates in an assembly-line fashion. Whether it’s your first time or you’re a weekly regular, at Chipotle, there’s never any confusion about where to wait on line. Because food is being prepared in front of the customer, not only does this prevent any possible miscommunications from occurring, but it also consolidates the queue. There’s only one line to order, pay and pick up food.

The seamless assembly line ordering process is not Chipotle’s only advantage— there’s a specific formula each time. It’s consistent. You know when you enter Chipotle (or maybe you don’t, if you’ve never been) that one employee is in charge of asking whether you’d like a bowl, salad, burrito or tacos, another employee is assigned to certain additions (type of protein, what kind of beans etc.), and a separate employee is responsible for another group of additions (sour cream, cheese, guacamole, etc.), and finally a fourth employee manages the payment transaction. Ordering and paying in one line and divvying separate tasks amongst employees diminish the frequency of incorrect orders. It also eliminates the confusion and frustration guests feel when they aren’t sure where to order verses where to wait and pay.

Similarly, Just Salad administers specific roles to employees. There’s the official “order taker” who repeats back everything the customer requested, and then the written order is delivered to salad/wrap preparer number one, and so on. Once again, one employee is assigned a specific task; the order taker doesn’t also handle the payment transaction.

Assigning specific roles to each employee is crucial to maximizing efficiency, especially in fast-casual restaurants. If you want to avoid confusion, chaos and miscommunications that could easily develop from multiple employees unknowingly performing the same task, you may want to consider assigning specific roles for each employee. Assembly lines are one of the easiest methods to achieving higher efficiency. Increased efficiency leads to decreased expenses and greater profitability!

Happy assembling and Happy Thanksgiving…TaraPaige Group.

Starbucks’ Productivity Increases by 46%

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.

Fast Casual Restaurants Face Pressure Post-Recession

The fast casual industry is one of the most successful sectors in the entire restaurant industry, however it’s facing subtle pressure as the economy has bounced back from the recession. Now that consumers have more disposable income, their options have broadened, bringing more appeal to the regular outing at casual and fine dining restaurants. The majority of consumers are “smart spenders” and will continue to apply their savvy spending and saving skills they picked up during the economic downturn. High quality service and value will be the main attractors to maintaining a loyal consumer base amongst fast casual restaurants and overcoming the post-recession pressure.