16 Key Stats from The 2016 NRA’s Restaurant Industry Forecast

The National Restaurant Association’s Industry Forecast is now available.  The 68-page report is full of important information about the industry and the ways that we can expect the business to change over the next year. The NRA believes that the industry is in an era of transformation and growth. We’ve pulled the 16 most important stats for you in six of the major areas of change.

Labor Pool Is Shrinking:

1. As of 2014, only 16.6% of the restaurant workforce is 16-19 years old, a decline of 4.3% since 2007. 

2. The largest growing age group in the restaurant workforce is 65+. This group is projected to grow by 5.1 million from 2014 to 2024.

Diversity in Leadership on The Rise:

3. Women-owned restaurants rose by 40% between 2007 and 2012, in comparison to a 27% rise in the overall economy.

4. Hispanic-owned restaurants increased by 51% between 2007 and 2012.

5. Black- or African-American-owned restaurants grew by 49% from 2007 to 2012.

Moderate Sales Growth:

 6. Sales for restaurants and food services are projected to reach $782.7 billion in 2016, an increase of 5% from 2015.

7. Adjusting for inflation, the NRA projects that sales will increase by 2.1% in 2016.

8. 56% of consumers would rather spend money on an experience such as dining out as opposed to purchasing a product from a store.

Technology Growth Continues:

9. 68% of diners visit a restaurant’s website. Up from 38% in 2005.

10. 65% of diners visit a restaurant’s menu online. Up from 34% in 2005.

11. 36% of consumers use review sites like Yelp or TripAdvisor when choosing a restaurant.

Mobile Gaining Acceptance:

12. 39% of consumers would pay their check with an app, if available.

13. 58% of consumers use mobile devices to look up location, directions, and hours of a restaurant on a monthly basis.

14. 50% of consumers use mobile devices to look up restaurant menus on a monthly basis. 

American Foodie 2.0

15. 90% of restaurateurs believe that their guests know more about food than they did previously.

16. 72% of consumers believe that the food available in restaurants provides tastes and flavors that they can’t replicate at home.

As you can see, the restaurant industry is growing and adapting to not only new technology but to the rebounding economy. For the savvy restaurant owner, there is clear sales growth potential in this field. Click here for more information on how SinglePlatform can help your restaurant leverage the digital age to your greatest benefit.



Spring Your Salon or Spa into Success This Season

As winter becomes a distant memory, so do the cold weather trends that accompanied it. Staying up-to-date on styles, deals, and specials of the spring season will ensure your salon or spa gains the attention your business needs. 

Here are four essential ways to boost your salon or spa’s sales this season:

1.  Promotions, Promotions, Promotions

People love promotions, and that means your salon or spa needs to have them. According to a report by Nielsen, over one-third of people shopping for beauty and personal care products online were solely looking for a deal. Advertising your salon or spa by offering specials on the products or services your clients need the most will entice more customers to visit your business. 

2.  Be Style-Savvy

Keep your employees aware and up-to-date on the latest trends by educating them in weekly meetings on the latest developments in the salon and spa industry. Hairstyles, nail colors, and make-up trends change seasonally, and your clients expect your business to be up to speed and enlightened as to what those are. When your clients feel your employees are not only skilled, but educated as well, they’re more apt to become repeat visitors, meaning more sales for your business. 

3.  Convenience Is Key

While some clients have the time for a day at the spa, many clients are just looking for a quick fix. By implementing express appointments into your salon or spa’s schedule that accommodate a busy professional or a mom on the go, you open the door to new clients who want the benefits of a spa day but don’t have the time for one.

4.  Take on Technology

It’s 2016, and your clients live in a digital age. Long gone are the days when salon or spa clients rely on a receptionist to schedule their appointments. Many businesses have implemented online scheduling, and if your salon or spa hasn’t yet, it’s time to get on board. Clients appreciate when your business makes their lives easier, which in turn will increase their loyalty. Simply by giving your customers the ability to schedule their appointments when, where, and how they want, you make it easy to choose your salon or spa over the competition. 

By implementing these four tips, you ensure your salon or spa a successful spring break season of sales, as well as your clients’ style needs satisfied.

To find out how SinglePlatform can be successful for your salon or spa, click here.

Why SEO Is Important for Small Businesses

With 93% of online searches beginning with using search engine, being active online for any small business is critical in 2016. For small business owners, capitalizing on the overwhelming search traffic is even more crucial. 

SEO Drives traffic to the business

Search engine optimization is the process of affecting the visibility of your business online. Optimizing your website means that your website has strong content, performance, authority, and user experience.  Improving your SEO increases the visibility of your business and helps customers find your business. You’re missing out on valuable traffic if your website isn’t optimized effectively. According to Google, 18% of clicks from users go to the first position (the first link on the page), 10% of clicks go to the second position and 7% of clicks go to the third position. Having your business as close to the first position as possible can help your business catch the eye on new customers.

You can use tools like Google Analytics and Alexa rankings to monitor your traffic. This will ultimately help you make more informed decisions regarding what is working for your business and its strategies. SEO can be an overwhelming strategy for small business owners so focus on the small steps. Update your website regularly and make sure that it functions fast and efficiently.

Overall, SEO is an important facet of your business’s online presence.  You have to make your content easy to read, easy to navigate, easy to find, consistent in layout and design, and also quick to download. By accomplishing that, you will increase your SEO, and increase the chance of your business standing out online.


3 Ways to Improve Your Pizzeria’s Sales in 2016

The pizza business in America is strong.  According to the Smart Flour Foods study, titled Pizza Lovers in America 2015: Unexpected Findings from a Generational Look at Pizza Trends, 35% of Americans go out for pizza and buy grocery-store pizza at least once per month.  These customers are also beginning to defy old stereotypes.  The study found that 63% of pizza lovers are women, and 41% of those women are millennials.  68% of pizza lovers exercise two or more times a week, and 53% are ages 25-44.

What these numbers are telling us is that the typical pizza fan is evolving.  In order to keep up with market tastes, successful pizza restaurants will have to evolve with them.  Here are some ways to do that.

Online Ordering

According to LevelUp, an American mobile payments platform, customers who have placed an online order visit the restaurant 67% more frequently than customers who haven’t.  Major chains have already adapted to this trend, but many independents remain reluctant.  Nationwide, independent operators (those with >10 stores) saw sales drop 5.01% while chain operators (<10 stores) saw an increase of 3.38%.  Chains also added more stores, with a 7.33% increase to a total of 35,888 stores, while independents saw the number of stores drop 1.85% from 2014 to a total of 38,924.  All this data points to a rapidly shrinking market share for independents.  They account for roughly 39% of all pizza sales, to 61% for chains. 

It’s largely speculative, but it’s a safe bet that online ordering is a big factor.  About 50% of all Domino’s sales now come via digital ordering methods, with studies showing that online customers tend to spend more money per order.  Essentially, if you’re an independent pizza restaurant that wants to remain relevant in the market, your customers need to be able to place orders online.

Target “Foodies”

Millennials are a generation of foodies.  A 2013 study by advertising firm BBDO found that close to 50% of millennials consider themselves a gourmand.  These millennial food lovers engage with their food in a much different way than past generations.  According to Smart Flour Foods, 54% of millennial have taken a photo of their pizza and posted it online.  Smart Flour also suggests that millennials are hugely loyal to brands and restaurants to which they feel a connection.  That means that independent pizzerias that move beyond traditional advertising and incorporate online ordering, social media interaction, and mobile technologies into their marketing plan have an opportunity to secure a huge chunk of their potential customer base.

Don’t Be Afraid to Raise Prices

From a menu standpoint, targeting millennials means offering fresh, natural, artisanal, and sometimes exotic ingredients.  Chances are, these are going to be more expensive than the run-of-the-mill pepperoni you’ve been using.  Smart Flour’s study says 77% of pizza lovers said natural ingredients are important to them. 29% avoid meat with added hormones and 28% shun high fructose corn syrup.  Cater to these needs and gradually raise your menu prices accordingly.  Millennial customers have demonstrated a willingness to pay more money per check if it means a better overall product.  Just look at the fast-casual boom!

If you ‘re looking for more news about the Pizza industry, The International Pizza Expo 2016 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, March 7th-10th is a wonderful opportunity. We’ll definitely be there. Check us out at the SinglePlatform booth (#1124) and we can talk about how we can help you.  

How to Write the Best Menu for Your Bar

Here at SinglePlatform, we have bars on our mind as we prepare for The Nightclub and Bar Show 2016. For all the bar owners, we want to provide a few tips on how to best write your menu from a marketing prescriptive. The menu is the first thing that people are handed when they sit down and will be seen by almost everyone who comes in. Pay attention to your menu and make sure that it portrays the right image of your bar. 

You will want to focus on highlighting signature items on your menu. This allows you to create something for the bar to be known by, which can help create repeat customers. For example, if your bar is located in a college town, name an appetizer based off of your school mascot. If that doesn’t appeal to you, another idea would be creating an eating challenge. For example, eat 50 chicken wings and get a free t-shirt and your picture posted on the wall.  

Also you should remember that your menu is more than a list a food. It’s a piece of content marketing. Use memorable and fun names for dishes. You can base names off your location, the history of the bar, or pop culture. These names add to the overall ambiance and can enhance a customer’s experience.  

Word placement within the menu is also important. You want to strategically write out your menu, for example, placing the names of drinks above the descriptions of drinks. This may seem like a small task but it can have an impact on your sales. If the names are easier to see, the drinks are easier to order, which can result in more sales. 

If you liked these tips, make sure to check us out at the Nightclub & Bar Show 2016 March 7th-9th. We will be raffling off a free iPad at booth #1124. Don’t forget to stop by Ron Cates’s Breakout Session: You’re Social, Now What? Take Your Social Media Strategy to the Next Level on March 7th at 10:00am.