TDn2K is the parent company of People report, Black Box Intelligence and White Box Social Intelligence. Here you will find everything strarting from the creators of People Report & BBI, your one-stop shop for restaurant industry news, restaurant analytics, and a report of the service industry. Keep up to date on industry news as well as monthly restaurant industry statistics.
How Consumer Intelligence Solves Your Competitive Intelligence Questions
If you are already benchmarking your sales and traffic data, you should have a good idea of how you are doing compared to your segment and the industry as a whole. Combining this knowledge with consumer intelligence data allows you to drill down with more granularity into who, specifically, is outperforming you. Not only are you able to see who is outperforming your restaurants, but you will be able to track their performance over a specific time period. This gives you the opportunity to identify strategies they are implementing to drive sales and determine how to apply that knowledge to your own planning.
Why You Need to Understand Your Customer Demographics and Your Competitors
In a world of personalization, psychographic data is what most businesses are after. But you still need to understand demographic data to inform strategy. How you market to a 35-year-old parent with an annual income over $160,000 will differ from how you market to a single, 24-year-old who is self-employed and makes around $50,000 per year.
This knowledge is made even more valuable when you have it for your competitors. For example, the demographic profile of Kroger, a grocery chain, skews toward lower-income shoppers while Trader Joes skews toward higher-income individuals. Armed with this information, Kroger can craft a strategy aimed at capturing consumers with higher incomes to target some of Trader Joe’s customers and increase market share.
Consumer Intelligence Gives You an Edge in Promotional Tracking
Of course, you can track the success of your promotions internally, but with consumer intelligence, you can see what types of customers responded most favorably to your campaigns. By comparing promotions over different periods of time and across multiple geographic regions, you can assess who found your promotions most appealing (or not) and shift strategy accordingly. You will also be able to see if you were able to pull customers away from competitors during a specific promotion. A seafood company, for example, may run a surf-n-turf promotion in hopes of stealing market share from steak restaurants. By first understanding the demographics of customers who dine at steak restaurants nearby, the seafood company can design a promotion aimed at targeting those consumers. Most importantly, they will be able to determine whether or not it worked by closely tracking spend behavior at the steak restaurants.
Learn More About Your Guests With Consumer Intelligence
Knowing the characteristics of your most frequent guests is extremely valuable to understanding loyalty. If you know 20 percent of your customers drive 80 percent of sales, it would be helpful to compare your metric across different competitors to see if you are more dependent on heavy users than they are. For you and your competitors, you can look at the top 20 percent of customers and see their characteristics. Do more of them live in a certain state? Do you see higher loyalty in one market versus another that might have more one-time guests? This knowledge can help you frame your rewards or loyalty program and help you tailor your promotions strategy.
Consumer Intelligence Helps you Meet Your Market Share Goals
In an environment as competitive as the restaurant industry, gaining and maintaining market share is a critical success factor. Access to consumer intelligence data is key to making this happen. First, you will be able to identify your market share compared to direct competitors. This is especially helpful to view by time series (day, week, month, etc.), and determine if your market share is impacted differently during different periods. For example, you might see higher market share on weekends, but your competitor is greater on weekdays. Use this information to help grow your weekend traffic with a new promotion or menu item and track the results.
Our consumer intelligence solution is a best-in-class insights tool driven by robust credit card transaction monitoring.
With gigabytes of data scanned behind the scenes, you will receive answers to your most pressing business questions like ‘where are your guests spending money when they aren’t spending it with you’ in seconds.
There are over one million filter combinations for you to drill deep into consumer behavior. Sound like too much? Let our qualified restaurant analysts help guide you. From market share to brand affinity, there is no shortage of consumer data to give you an edge over your competitors.
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal focused on the increasing role the “Net Promoter Score” has had in corporate earning calls and proxy filings. The article mentions executives from leading brands such as Delta, Best Buy, Target and United Health Care, referencing their score and often citing it as proof that consumers preferred that brand over another.
The Journal describes top CEOs as becoming “obsessed” with net promoter score and using the score for executive compensation, operations initiatives and product development.
The problem, according to both the Journal and our analysts at TDn2K, is that net promoter scores don’t correlate to sales performance or revenue. Additionally, they can be significantly skewed by consumers and employees.
Net Promoter Score (NPS) is typically generated through a one-question survey at check-out in the store, or via email or web site. “On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely are you to recommend the company’s product or service to a friend?”
Of the 150 NPS mentions the Journal tracked on earnings calls, not one executive ever mentioned their NPS score declining. It always went up. The problem with increasing NPS is that there is no proof of any correlation to growth.
“The science behind NPS is bad,” said Timothy Keiningham, a marketing professor at St. John’s University. “When people change their net promoter score, that has almost no relationship to how they divide their spending.”
Finding the right metric
Hence, if NPS is flawed, what can executives use to measure the guest experience and guest feedback against sales performance? Through White Box Social Intelligence, TDn2K has developed a robust metric – called Net Sentiment Score – that can be correlated to sales performance and is currently being used by 32 leading restaurant brands (over 5,500 units) to help drive their strategy.
Net Sentiment Score measures a restaurant brand’s social media comments and reviews and classifies them as positive or negative using a proprietary Natural Language Processing, designed by TDn2K specifically for the restaurant industry. Unlike traditional surveys and net promoter scores, Net Sentiment is not prompted or incentivized. There’s no sweepstakes entry or free appetizer for participating. We’re listening to what your guests are saying online authentically – their unsolicited feedback of your brand and their experience as they share it with their friends and social circle (read Connecting Social Media Mentions to Business Results).
To calculate the Net Sentiment Score, we subtract the percentage of negative online mentions from the percentage of positive online mentions for a brand. These mentions are pulled from major social media channels and review sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and TripAdvisor and can also include feedback gathered from online surveys.
By pairing this social feedback with robust sales and traffic benchmarking data from Black Box Intelligence, TDn2K connects the dots between your guest feedback and your sales and traffic performance.
Truth in Numbers
In 2018, our top performing brands averaged 3.2 percent sales growth and 0.9 percent traffic growth. Those brands also averaged a Net Sentiment Score of +41 for service and more specifically the term “experience” mentioned by their guests.
On the flip side, our bottom quartile performers averaged -4.0 percent sales growth and -6 percent traffic decline. And only a +25 Net sentiment score for Service and Experience. That’s a 16-point difference in guest sentiment and more importantly, a 7.2 percent difference in comp sales and 6.9 percent difference in comp traffic.
This gap continues when we look at Net Sentiment for accuracy, appearance and attentiveness.
Bridge the Gap with Meaningful Metrics
Thankfully, TDn2K has a solution to ensure that no restaurant brand ends up referenced in a Wall Street Journal article about meaningless metrics.
With White Box Social Intelligence, we help you measure your guest feedback and true sentiment about your brand. Then, we show you how to use that data to improve specific areas of your business. Watch your sales follow!
Free Webinar, July 17th: Q3 State of the Industry Webinar
As we near the midpoint of 2019, tune into this webinar to hear the current state of restaurant industry financial trends, labor challenges and consumer behavior. We'll tackle all the data and insights you'll need to know to finish the year strong.
One of my first encounters with meditation was watching Oprah in the early 1990’s. Her guest was John Kabat-Zinn, and they led the audience through a meditation session. Watching an audience sitting quietly with their eyes closed didn’t make for great TV, but it sure helped meditation go mainstream.
Research shows that being in a good mood is really important, especially for leaders. In Primal Leadership, Daniel Goleman discusses how mirror neurons evolved in our brains. Basically, we’re wired for mood contagion. For example, if someone near us is afraid, their brain emits an energy that we can pick up so we can mirror it – and flee to safety.
This explains how an argument can be felt by people who aren’t involved in it, and how you can feel a restaurant with great energy. Although everyone’s mood is contagious, the leader’s mood has a disproportionate influence on the team they’re leading. All of us “leak” energy all the time. The question is, are you leaking negativity or positivity?
Here are a few steps to help you get started with a meditation practice:
Decide how long you want to meditate. Start with five minutes and work up to 20.
Find a suitable environment that is quiet and free from distractions.
Clarify your intentions. Athletes, musicians and actors get “performance-ready.” You can do the same at work and at home, even if it’s in a car before a meeting or by parking down the street for a few minutes before you pull into your driveway.
Position your body by sitting on the edge of your chair and pretending that a string is holding your head up. Don’t meditate lying down as a beginner – you may fall asleep.
Relax your eyes. Don’t close your eyes completely. Instead, look down at a 45-degree angle. But if you’re a newbie, it may help you relax if you close your eyes as you focus on your breath.
All of the “action” is in your breath. It’s your touchstone. Just like an athlete, you always come back to your breath. Breathe in and out of your nose. Feel your body. Notice where your aches are. If you’re sitting upright, is your back sore? Your neck? See it as a part of your meditation, not as a distraction. When you breathe, focus on that part of your body and try to relax it. Remember, you’re trying to get performance ready.
Observe your thoughts. When you have a thought, use it as part of the meditation practice. Your thoughts and feelings are part of the practice. Observe your thoughts, then return to the present moment in your breath. As an example, imagine that you have a really cute puppy. You’re trying to train it. You’re trying to keep the puppy right in front of you, but it keeps running away. So, you’d likely get up, pick it up, set it down and sit down again. This will probably be repeated a few times.
When you catch yourself having thoughts that are undermining your meditation, think of them as a gift for building your meditation muscle. Acknowledge them, bring yourself back to your breathing and begin again.
Meditation isn’t the pursuit of emptiness. Instead, it gives us the opportunity to notice when our thoughts wander and bring our focus back to the present. It helps us notice when we’re angry, distracted and judgmental. It helps us return to a more resourceful, aware self to deal with the challenges at hand. Imagine being able to tap into that during a stressful meeting that’s full of conflict. Remember, your inner state is mirrored by those around you, so a meditation practice isn’t just good for you; it’s also good for your team, friends and family.
Liz D’Aloia is the founder of HR Virtuoso, a mobile recruiting company based in Dallas, TX. She is an HR professional, employment attorney, speaker and blogger. Prior to launching HR Virtuoso, Liz worked at national transportation companies and at a global retailer. Connect with Liz on LinkedIn and follow her at @hrvirtuoso.
Simon Mainwaring, founder and chief executive officer of We First, is a highly sought-after branding expert. He has worked with brands across multiple industries, including the restaurant space, and helped them craft a purpose-driven strategy to lead business and shape culture. He shares some insights for restaurant operators seeking to create movements and advocacy within their organizations.
Can you tell us why it is more important than ever for brands to be thinking about their purpose beyond profits?
It’s now absolutely critical for brands to be thinking about their purpose as well as their profits for several reasons. First, there’s heightened awareness around the compounding social crises we face: issues such as climate change, loss of biodiversity and plastics in our ocean. This is increasing scrutiny on business at large and on the positive or negative role brands are playing. Second, younger demographics, the customers of tomorrow, millennials and Gen-Z are acutely focused on the impact brands have. They look at the world through a values face point of view and want to work for and buy from companies that are doing good. Finally, social technologies are connecting us like never before, including social media, the web and smartphones.
As such, there is nowhere for a brand to hide and the positive and negative effects a brand is having are amplified and shared instantaneously. Those three reasons alone are compelling in terms of why a brand must get very clear about its purpose and what it stands for. But that’s not all. The challenges humanity and the planet are facing are starting to have an ever-greater effect on people’s daily lives all around the world. As such, the context in which business operates is shifting and the need for brands to get very clear about the positive role they’re playing in the world is accelerating too. For that reason, if a brand fails to define its purpose and the positive role it’s playing, it is inviting irrelevance and courting disaster in terms of business growth in its future.
What issues do you see at the forefront of challenges facing businesses today?
I see several issues at the forefront of business today. The first is getting very clear about how to drive business growth at the same time as having a positive impact. For that to happen, you need to authentically commit to your purpose and let it inform all departments of your company. At the same time, there’s the challenge of communicating this effectively. How do you position your brand in a differentiating way, especially in a crowded category like fast casual dining? Third, how do you bring that to life both internally and externally in a way that is both aligned and authentic to your company? All of these issues are absolutely critical because these are the drivers of business growth in our future.
What are the first steps brands can take today, internally, to start addressing these challenges?
A brand must get very clear about its purpose and align its business and leadership goals with that purpose. Without leadership buy-in, employees won’t follow suit and any marketing that you do will be seen as lip service or optics in relation to being purposeful. Second, you must build a culture of purpose by sharing what the company stands for with your organization, and recognizing and rewarding those who engage around it. Third, you must establish traditions and rituals that keep the purpose alive over the long term so that purpose and profit seem to go hand in hand inside the organization.
How can all departments within an organization contribute toward a brand’s purpose and efforts to create advocacy?
One of the big mistakes that we observe in our work with purposeful brands is that they talk about the good work they’re doing in a self-directed way. The first thing all departments must realize is they need to get off themselves and onto others in the sense that they should become a servant leader committed to something larger than itself. With that as context, the next thing all departments must do is recognize that purpose is not something that is reserved for communications or corporate social responsibility. Rather, it impacts all aspects of the company from suppliers to the culture it builds through to its products and innovations through to marketing and, yes, its community impact. Only when purpose is seen to be pervasive through all experts of an organization will you begin to unlock the value to the business because it seems to ring true inside the company with employees and customers.
Can you share any examples of restaurant brands that are building sustainability into their growth plans?
In our experience, several restaurant companies are doing this very effectively. Veggie Grill is a great example that is a leader of the plant-based food movement. Veggie Grill has deep sustainability credentials in terms of how they support their materials, source their supplies and ingredients and the type of meals they prepare. We see similar sustainability credentials across brands such as Tender Greens, which is more chef-driven, and prides itself on working with local suppliers. Folks like Sweetgreen are also demonstrating a deep and consistent sustainability commitment. You can also look at larger companies such as Darden Restaurants who has a variety of brands but whose sustainability leadership extends across its entire portfolio. They do a very effective job of communicating their commitment and the results they achieve each year.
Do you have any tips for larger, more established companies looking to shift the mindset beyond “marketing” and “advertising” to “movement-making” and “advocacy?”
If a company really wants to drive growth through purpose today it must shift its mindset from marketing to movement making. What does that mean? Consumers today don’t want to be sold to, they don’t want more ads in their Facebook feed and they don’t want to be told what to think, do or buy. As the Edelman Trust Barometer reveals, they’re simply too distrustful of marketing and rather look to the opinion of their peers or friends as to what brands to believe in. With that in mind, all companies, especially in the competitive fast-casual dining space, must make sure that they are in the consideration set when someone is ordering food online through a third-party like Postmates, or whenever they are walking past a strip mall and deciding where to eat lunch. To be in their consideration set, a company must demonstrate its commitment to something higher than itself. In order to do that it must get off itself and onto others by articulating its role and bring that to life in authentic and defensible ways.
To do that, it must shift its vision from being a company selling products to being a movement that plays a meaningful role in the world. That is best achieved when the company leverages its communications to define what it stands for and then positions the existence of the company and the products, meals and service experience as a function of that higher order commitment. Only then will a company unlock the bottom line benefits of purpose because all stakeholders from leadership to employees to customers to the media will all work together synergistically to drive awareness and growth for the brand. This is when a brand takes on a life of its own and when, consciously or not, consumers sit down at their computer or walk past your restaurant at lunch and make the choice to choose you over so many other competitors. What’s more, your brand is ensuring its own relevance for the future because as the business landscape becomes more challenged by its many issues that I’ve mentioned, the relevance of the brand and its meaning to its consumers and employees will be firmly established and this will be an ever more important competitive advantage moving forward.
If you have questions about your branding or how to position your company as a high-growth movement, email Simon@WeFirstBranding.com.
Simon Mainwaring is the founder and CEO of We First, a creative consultancy that builds purpose-driven brands. He is a member of the Advisory Council of Conscious Capitalism LA, the Steering Committee of the Business Alliance for the Future and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in London. He contributes to The Guardian, Forbes and Fast Company on purposeful branding and storytelling.
Prior to starting We First, Simon spent 15 years as an award-winning writer, Creative Director, and Worldwide Creative Director at many of the world’s top creative advertising agencies including Saatchi & Saatchi, Wieden & Kennedy and Ogilvy working on brands such as Nike, Coca-Cola, Toyota and Motorola, as well as consulting on dozens of F500 brands for leading advertising, production and digital companies. He was the writer on the U.S. launch of the first three generations of the Toyota Prius, the largest national service campaign for the Entertainment Industry Foundation that brought together all four major TV networks for the first time in U.S. television history, and award-winning campaigns for Nike.
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Do you ever feel that your HR & Marketing departments are siloed and work independently of one another? Marketing plays an important role in generating movements and advocacy while HR influences behavior and strategy from within.
Simon Mainwaring from We First Branding joins forces with Kelli Valade of TDn2K to discuss how to reduce disparities between marketing and HR. With the industry in a state of flux, it is more important than ever to lead with purpose.
First quarter of 2019 will unfortunately be remembered as the quarter that quick service restaurant hourly employee turnover hit historic highs. People Report has tracked this key workforce indicator since 2004; through the Great Recession, the long slow recovery and a steadily dropping unemployment rate. In our most recent Workforce Index, 70 percent of quick service restaurant brands reported that hourly turnover increased. With a median of 158 percent rolling turnover, we have reached a point where this level of churn and disruption to the workplace is simply not sustainable.
Those operating challenges are tough enough, but the external pressures on wages, leave, healthcare coverage and schedules are accelerating at the same time. In case you missed it, last month, a northeastern grocery chain, Stop N Shop, experienced a labor-backed campaign resulting in an 11-day strike by thousands of employees. Ultimately that ended with a contract, and millions of dollars in losses that may never be recouped. The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) claimed victory for workers and focused on the same issues that are lightning rods in restaurants.
We asked our partners at Align Public Strategies for any advice that we can share with operators. Managing Director, Joe Kefauver opines.
It should come as no surprise to anyone that the labor community will have a great deal to say about who will be the eventual Democratic nominee for president. And it should also come as no surprise that the candidates themselves know that same truth all too well. But that is not unusual – the labor community has been strongly aligned with the Democratic party for most of the last century. Candidates at all levels of government have worked hard for labor’s support. In the past, that hard work entailed supporting or opposing current legislative or regulatory proposals either in Congress, state legislatures or city halls – or promising to if elected – essentially validating a candidate’s current or prospective voting record. But the litmus test the labor community uses to determine one’s fidelity to the labor cause and the intensity of their commitment is changing rapidly.
That’s why the recent 11-day strike by 31,000 UFCW-member workers in three New England states is so important for brands to understand. First, the strike was ostensibly about better wages, pushing back against proposed cutbacks in healthcare and protections from the company’s increasing utilization of technology and automation. Those are the exact same issues the labor community uses to attack restaurant and retail employers. That is where the focus lies for the labor community and those industries are directly in their crosshairs. Secondly, outside of the collective bargaining pieces, the political aspects have to be understood. The UFCW essentially leveraged the work stoppage as a political forum for candidates to demonstrate their support of not only the issues the union was fighting for but for the strike itself. In only eleven days, five leading Democratic hopefuls – including Joe Biden – flew to New England and participated in rallies with striking workers. Even Joe Biden, the working man’s hero from Scranton, PA who has a 40-year record of supporting labor’s agenda, had to go to New England and kiss the ring.
What should leading restaurant brands take away from this?
First, the labor community got a big win on a lot of fronts and they will be looking to leverage that momentum into going after other national entry-level brands. That means any labor strife – either real or intentionally manufactured – will be cause for presidential-level attention. Candidates will be looking for ways to boost their labor bona fides, pulling TV cameras and reporters along with them. So, what should brands be doing? Pretty simple. First, be aware. Restaurants need to pay attention to the political process, follow the dialogue and understand how their brand could be potentially pulled into that conversation. Secondly, be prepared. Be ready to instantly communicate when necessary to all appropriate stakeholder audiences. This includes employees, customers, elected officials, opinion leaders and other community entities regarding the positive work environment in their organizations and their commitment to their employees and to the communities they serve. And lastly, if pressed, be candid. One mistake that hurt Stop & Shop was their recitation of nebulous financial claims about wage and benefit levels that didn’t quite meet the laugh test. It hurt their credibility and fueled the charges against their management style. Being engaged, being prepared and being straightforward is the best defense against being the next Stop & Shop.
Scott Hicks leads a panel at TDn2K’s 2015 Summer Brand Camp
TDn2K announced today that Scott Hicks, data strategy professional, joined the Dallas-based team in the newly created position of chief information officer. Hicks has a proven track record of implementing transformation solutions that enable companies to harness their data assets. He will contribute toward strategic planning of business objectives and ensure technology systems and processes drive results aligned with the organization’s initiatives.
“I have partnered with the TDn2K team several times over my career because they offer a level of industry knowledge I couldn’t find elsewhere,” said Scott Hicks. “I’m drawn to companies that leverage data to give their clients a competitive advantage and TDn2K has built a suite of products that provide restaurant operators with a unique level of insight into their performance and their marketplace. I look forward to working with the team to continue their long track record of innovation and growth.”
“Scott brings relevant, crucial expertise and experience to TDn2K. His business background across a range of technology functions makes him a strong and important addition to our leadership team,” said Kelli Valade, president and chief executive officer at TDn2K. “He will be a key player as our team continues to grow, innovate and execute our strategy.”
“Joni and I are delighted that Scott is joining our team as we continue our work to elevate the business practices of the restaurant industry. We have admired his career and contributions for many years,” added Wally Doolin, co-founder and chairman at TDn2K.
Prior to his work as a data strategy consultant, Hicks served as the senior director of data strategy at Snag (previously Snagajob), a platform for hourly work with more than 60 million active job seekers and job opportunities at 300,000 employer locations in the US and Canada. While at Snag, his role evolved from a pure business intelligence function to an enterprise data strategy position. He managed a cross-functional team of DBAs, data architects, data scientists, data engineers, product managers and analysts tasked with driving faster product innovation and decision making throughout the organization.
In his role, he will oversee operations, infrastructure and security, quality assurance and a team of developers. He will play a vital role in the evolution of the success and growth of TDn2K and its products & services.
Monitoring and responding to guest feedback is an essential component of a successful restaurant’s strategy. Thus, selecting a social media vendor you can trust is key to impacting overall performance. The market is saturated with products and solutions centered around social media monitoring and listening. Choosing who to work with is no easy feat. To help you filter through the noise, TDn2K compiled a list of questions for you to ask potential vendors to help you find the best solution for your brand (as well as reasons why you should consider TDn2K’s White Box Social Intelligence).
What social platforms do you get data from and how do you get the data you’ll be providing? Are you scraping data?
Guests have numerous options when it comes to leaving online reviews. Make sure your social media vendor supports all of the networks that are most important to your business. Bonus points if your provider has true partnerships with these social networks, to ensure the integrity of your data.
Are they scraping data? If your social media vendor is scraping data, be warned that this can be deemed as malicious if done without a website owner’s permission, putting you at risk of being cut off from important insights. This process can also be cumbersome in terms of searching and filtering data, especially without an efficient infrastructure in place. And even with an efficient infrastructure, frequent adjustments will be required to keep up with any UI changes made by the website, which we know can happen quite often. This ultimately leads to incomplete data or system crashes.
Pro tip: TDn2K’s White Box Social Intelligence platform has official partnerships and API approval to bring our social insights and all of your important customer feedback to one place without scraping for data.
Can you integrate survey data or outside data into your solution?
While restaurant operators share a lot of common needs, your business is unique. You may need to incorporate other data into your social media solution. Ask your vendor if their tool has the capability to integrate outside data, such as customer surveys.
Customer surveys are a vital source of information, providing key insight into the performance of your restaurant locations. A tool that allows you to integrate this data so you can compare it with your other data sources will save you a lot of time and energy by keeping it all in one place.
Pro tip: TDn2K’s White Box Social Intelligence platform offers the capability to integrate outside data such as your customer surveys and other data sources. It also integrates your sales and traffic data!
Tell me about your Natural Language Processing (NLP).
The nature of the human language is complex, and not easy for computers to automatically understand. A customer review may be nuanced, offering positive, negative and neutral feedback in a single sentence. Natural Language Processing enables computers to utilize algorithms to collect essential language data and extract meaning. Find out what your social media vendor is doing to obtain these key insights into what your customers are truly thinking.
Pro tip: TDn2K’s White Box platform features an NLP library that is five years in the making. Our proprietary NLP technology is the most comprehensive in the restaurant industry.
How often are guest comments and data updated?
A large part of shaping your online reputation requires the ability to respond swiftly to customer feedback, whether positive or negative. But this feedback needs to be considered and evaluated internally first. Sorting through multiple networks and compiling reviews will add a considerable amount of time to your process. Filtering all of your guest comments into a central location in real-time enables any key internal stakeholders the opportunity to assess the feedback. Then you can determine the most appropriate way to respond as quickly and effectively as possible.
Pro tip: TDn2K’s White Box Social Intelligence platform features real-time customer comments and data!
Is your company an expert in the restaurant space? How long have you been working with restaurant brands and who do you work with?
There is no shortage of data solutions, but you need one that knows and understands your space, not just retail, travel, etc. Find out who your provider has worked with and if they are experienced with restaurant brands. Make sure they truly understand the nature of your business and can accommodate your needs.
Pro tip: TDn2K is a leader in the restaurant space, providing key data and insights to the industry for over 20 years.
TDn2K’s White Box Social Intelligence is the first tool created exclusively for restaurants to validate the impact of online guest satisfaction on financial performance. WBSI provides key insight into what your customers are saying about you (and your competitors) to help inform your decision making and shape your strategy.
Top performing brands in 2018 were able to grow their mid-afternoon daypart traffic by 9.9 percent. So far in the first quarter of 2019, the industry is averaging a 2.1 percent increase in comp sales during this nontraditional daypart (not shown in graph).
The restaurant industry is evolving to adapt to the shifting needs of the consumer. Even with sales increases, traffic continues to decline. For operators looking to increase sales to make up for the decline in traffic, many operators are turning to 3PD (third party delivery) and off-premise consumption (read Ride the Industry Wave and Ramp Up Your Off-Premise Sales). Recent research from Gallup indicated that consumers, on average, dine-in or drive-through restaurants twice as often as picking up to-go or using 3PD. While capturing off-premise and delivery sales is essential for many brands seeking to expand their reach outside the walls of their restaurants, there is also an opportunity to get customers in seats by focusing on off-peak dayparts.
TDn2K research revealed that some of the top performing brands stood out from their competition in a number of ways, including the ability to grow traffic between lunch and dinner, when guests are more inclined to “snack.” Quick service brands are no stranger to this daypart, but thanks to the growing need for more convenient options, full-service brands have more opportunity to benefit as well. Check out the infographic below for tips on how to expand your mid-afternoon daypart traffic.
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The 2019 TDn2K Global Best Practices Conference in Dallas, Texas.
Unconscious bias stems from our tendency to categorize and make quick judgments about people and situations. This can be influenced by our background or upbringing, but ultimately is a result of our brains making shortcuts to make sense of the data we are consistently taking in.
James Pogue, Ph. D., an unconscious bias and multi-generational expert, presented The Courage to Lead at the 2019 Global Best Practices Conference. He shared with attendees five of the most common biases in the workplace: affinity bias, the halo effect, perception bias, confirmation bias and groupthink.
Affinity Bias – “I like people who are like me”
The tendency to give preference to people with similar interests is affinity bias. This can be for any reason from sharing a favorite sports team to having a similar fashion sense. Sometimes affinity bias can be mistaken for “culture fit” and can weave its way into hiring practices for an organization. When leaders select team members with similarities and those team members in turn select others like them, diversity is ultimately impacted.
The Halo Effect – “He is nice, so he is also smart”
The halo effect occurs when one characteristic or impressions impacts the overall character assessment. This type of bias can lead to several detrimental effects towards individuals and organizations and set off unfair differences in how employees are treated. For example, if someone is esteemed because of their advanced technical skills, they may not be held to the same standard in other areas. This can mask problems that likely would be addressed with other employees.
Perception Bias – The Sensory Bias
The lens we use to filter our experiences through is perception bias. What we take in impacts our impression of something and we may use this to create simplistic stereotypes about certain groups of people. This is based on sensory responses. For example, you may have had an aunt who was kind and nurturing who wore a particular perfume. When you come across anyone else wearing the same scent, you may assume they are also kind and nurturing.
Confirmation Bias – “Ha, I knew it!”
Being prone to believe what we want to believe is confirmation bias. This tends to be less about people and more toward certain facts and information. When we are acting with confirmation bias, we may accept information that confirms what we already believe and reject information that does not. This may cause us to ignore the data and pursue or limit opportunities based on their own implicit bias, thereby affecting decision-making.
Groupthink – “I agree with the consensus”
Groupthink occurs in a group setting when everyone is thinking collectively, almost as if with one mind. This can blunt creativity and negate individual responsibility, thus affecting diversity in an organization. People who are opposed to an idea or decision may decide to stay quiet when the rest of the group seems set on a particular course of action. Sometimes groupthink can have positive outcomes, leading to quicker results and efficiency, however it is damaging when the suppression of individuals opinions leads to poor decision-making and inefficient problem-solving.
The beauty of unconscious bias is just that, it is unconscious. It is hard to blame somebody for something they don’t know is happening. It’s part of our jobs, those of us further along on our diversity, inclusion and multi-generational intelligence journey, to help bring out the unconscious to the conscious.
James Pogue, Ph.D.
James Pogue, Ph.D., addresses attendees at the HR Pre-conference Summit at the 2019 Global Best Practices Conference
Start the Conversation about Unconscious Bias
Overcoming bias in the workplace requires courage. Talking about issues of diversity, inclusion and bias can make some of us uncomfortable. But it is necessary to face the discomfort in order to reap the benefits of a truly diverse work environment.
We must begin by recognizing that unconscious bias exists and begin opening our minds to new sources of information. Find different news sources, look for different TED Talks or find podcasts about diversity and bias. Engage colleagues with different backgrounds and learn more about their customs and traditions. Become familiar with terminology related to diversity. Understand the diversity we bring in addition to our own background.
Organizationally, look for opportunities to reinforce values around diversity with all employees. Build diverse teams, especially those that conduct interviews. Be willing to hire talented employees who don’t “fit in” because of what they might bring to the table. Beware of Applicant Tracking Systems – they typically focus on traditional career trajectories. Women, minorities and innovators often don’t follow a normal career path.
The restaurant industry is a rapidly changing environment and must continue to innovate in order to gain or maintain market share. Encouraging diversity and recognizing when bias exists will foster an environment more capable of innovating. Regardless of our individual role or position, we must have the courage to lead the conversation, first within ourselves, then to our teams and colleagues.
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