FDA’s New Rules for Restaurants

Considering people consume 33% of their calories away from home, the FDA has rolled out a new set of guidelines that require restaurants or similar food retailers with 20 or more locations to clearly display calorie and nutrition information next to items on their menu wherever they can be seen or purchased. Changes will go into effect on May 5, 2017.

Whether it’s a meal at a sit-down restaurant, food purchased at a drive-thru, or a pastry on display at a coffee shop, the calories in an item must be distinctly shown next to the price of the item on the menu or menu board. While these guidelines won’t affect restaurants with less than 20 locations, customers may start to expect nutrition information to be available everywhere they’re dining.

In a study of more than 3,000 people, researchers found that when presented with nutrition information, diners were three times more likely to use this information when ordering their meal than diners who were not presented with nutritional information.  Therefore, when diners have the tools to make more informed decisions about what they’re eating, they are more likely to make health-conscious decisions. Giving these tools to your customers could make your restaurant friendlier to health-conscious eaters.

This is not the first time that the FDA has pushed an initiative that promotes public health via restaurant regulation. The FDA announced a ban on trans fat in June of 2015 as trans fats have been linked to 50,000 fatal heart attacks a year. Make sure that your restaurant is making strides to create a healthy experience for your diners, not only will it help you be FDA compliant but it also may inspire more loyalty amongst your diners.

Learn more about how SinglePlatform can help your menu and business information get discovered.

SinglePlatform’s Customer Success Stories

Here at SinglePlatform, we are so proud to help local businesses grow, and we are inspired by the passionate individuals who make them run. From neighborhood cafes and restaurant groups to local pet groomers and niche fitness studio, SinglePlatform helps all kinds of businesses stand out everywhere it matters online. We’ve created a customer success story center on our website to share the stories of some of our impressive customers, from a spa that was able to expand through the recession to a dry cleaner’s that has adapted to a casual-Friday culture and many more.

 

 

Has your business benefitted from SinglePlatform? Do you want to share how you’ve used your online presence to make your business thrive? We want to hear from you! Current customers interested in becoming one of our customer success stories, please fill out the below form.

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The End of UberEats Instant Delivery in NYC

With technology continuously advancing, consumers are constantly searching for newer and quicker ways to receive their deliveries as we described in our previous post. With this demand from consumers, there has been an influx of new online ordering and food delivery services estimated to have over one billion dollars in investments since 2014. Companies like Seamless, Grubhub, Postmates, Door-dash, and Caviar are emerging in the food delivery market, and restaurant owners are feeling a greater pressure to partner with them One of the newest online ordering companies now available is called UberEats.

As you may know, UberEats is a mobile app that debuted in March with a promise that ordering and “receiving great food from restaurants would be as easy as requesting a ride.” The app had two different services, one where people could browse the menu of dozens of different restaurants, order their selected meal and Uber would deliver the food. The second option was an upgraded “instant delivery” menu option with a pre-fix rotating lunch menu that could be delivered in as little as ten minutes. The instant delivery option was the focus for UberEats in order to differentiate its company amongst their vast and already existing NYC competition. Despite the emphasis on instant delivery, just one month into launching the app UberEats announced on April 18 that the instant delivery option will no longer be an available in the NYC marketplace.

Right now, it is unclear the exact reason why UberEats has discontinued the instant delivery option, and only time will tell if this will have a greater impact on the delivery industry. While partnering with one of these companies could potentially increase sales for your restaurant, it is yet to be seen if these companies have staying power or if the growth in this industry is sustainable.

At SinglePlatform, we are here to help restaurant owners stand out everywhere that matters online. Learn more tips, tricks, and trends on our Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

SinglePlatform on Instagram

Our Instagram followers have probably noticed that we’ve upped our game recently. Following a major rebranding in February, we’ve overhauled our social media to match. SinglePlatform’s goal is to help local businesses, and now our social media will be doing just that. We’re bringing local business owners new content that they want to see with three new and informative hashtags.

#SPinsights

This hashtag will be used on posts that provide local business owners information that will help them successfully run and grow their businesses. You can expect marketing tips, key stats, industry trends and much more. Consider this the hashtag to use if you want to be kept up-to-date in local business best practices for marketing and growth.

#SPstories

#SPstories will be the place for you to learn more about how SinglePlatform has helped businesses like yours save time, stay informed, and stand out everywhere it matters online. These are the business owners who have invested in their business by using SinglePlatform and we are giving them a place to tell you their story about how we’ve helped their business and simplified their lives.

#SPfeature

We here at SinglePlatform are blown away by how savvy local business owners market their business and use their social media channels. #SPfeature will be the place where we highlight companies who are doing it right. If you want to be featured on our social media accounts, engage with us—comment, like, follow—and you might be picked by our team as an #SPfeature. 

Follow SinglePlatform on Instagram to see these hashtags in action. Prefer a different social media platform? You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Want to see for yourself how SinglePlatform can help your online presence? Request a demo today.

SPstories: 3rd Coast Cafe

SinglePlatform is thrilled to work with a wide variety of local business owners who all have their own unique backgrounds and experiences. Recently, we caught up with Janet Thomas, co-owner of The 3rd Coast Cafe. Nestled in the heart of Chicago’s Gold Coast, The 3rd Coast has been serving fresh-to-order dishes to locals and tourists for over 30 years, cementing its status as a neighborhood institution.

The 3rd Coast originally opened in 1985. In those days, Janet’s current business partner, Chris, and his sister were servers at the cafe.  At the time, the cafe only served coffee, wine, and small plates. This was a time before Starbucks and the cafe was the only coffee shop in the area.

 Via @3rdcoastcafe on instagram Via @3rdcoastcafe on instagram

Fast-forward to 1998 when the 3rd Coast Cafe’s business faltered and the property ended up in bankruptcy. Chris, who was now a chef, got a call. Did he want to buy the 3rd Coast Cafe, the coffee shop he had worked at years prior? Chris decided to ask his business-savvy girlfriend about it. Janet recalls, “I said I think we should get married and buy the business. So, we bought the business and then we called our wedding off three weeks before the wedding.” Although the romance fizzled, Janet and Chris have co-owned The 3rd Coast Cafe since 1998 and remain the best of friends.

Janet explained to us her simple philosophy for success: “Build a really strong team and have great food at a great price with awesome service.” Over the years, Janet and her staff have expanded the menu to a full all-day menu with a dinner menu that changes on a daily basis.

Like many business owners, Janet has had to grapple with the changing digital environment of the business. Janet says they were managing their online presence “poorly.” She explains, “I used to update everything by hand but now it would be impossible for me to know all the places where my menu pops up.” Janet decided to try SinglePlatform to help her keep up. Learn more about how SinglePlatform helped Janet in our latest Success Story. She says “I would recommend SinglePlatform to anyone. I couldn’t run the business I have today without SinglePlatform.”

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.

 

 

Food for Thought: FDA Announces Ban on Trans Fat

As consumer groups and political figures continue to lobby for increased awareness about the ingredients and nutrition facts of foods sold to the public for consumption, a long-fought battle has just been won: the FDA officially announced on Tuesday that the food industry has until 2018 to phase out trans fat from their products.
Linked to heart disease and the occurrence of fatal heart attacks, partially hydrogenated oils, the source of trans fat, were initially deemed unsafe for consumption by the FDA in 2013. Found in processed food products like bakery items, frozen foods, microwave popcorn, and pizza, trans fat is responsible for 50,000 fatal heart attacks every year.

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In an effort to reduce the number of fatalities caused by trans fat and promote a healthier lifestyle in the United States, Susan Mayne, the Director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, says that the ban on trans fat “goes hand in hand with other FDA initiatives to improve the health of Americans.”

The food industry has three years to completely rid food products of trans fat, or petition for permission from the FDA to use it in foods in small amounts.

The ban on trans fat isn’t the only health initiative the FDA is taking to improve the American lifestyle. They plan to roll out a regulation that requires chain restaurants to list the nutrition facts of their menu items in December of 2015.

By complying with the new regulations sooner, rather than later, the food industry can do Americans the favor of good food, and even better health.

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