April 17, 2017

What is PIN-Debit?

For decades restaurants have centered their order and payment processes around the POS. Diners sometimes pay with cash, but a majority have migrated to payment using credit and debit cards.  Among payment cards, debit plays an important role, as 68% of all payment cards and 64% of all card payments are made with debit cards. Of course, consumers are familiar with debit cards, using them at the ATM and major […]
March 29, 2017

Trade Restrictions May Impact Restaurants

The Trump Administration has been critical of trade deals, including both the TPP (already scrapped) and NAFTA (with threats to alter or scrap it as well).  Additionally, proposals have been floated to implement a 20% “Border Adjustment Tax”. These moves could have a major impact on the Restaurant Industry given significant agricultural imports from countries such as Mexico (NAFTA, #1 foreign supplier of fruits & vegetables), Chile (TPP, #2 foreign […]
March 27, 2017

Immigration Challenges for Restaurants

In its short tenure, the Trump Administration has adopted an aggressive stance on immigration.  These include two attempts at implementing a “travel ban”, aggressive enforcement actions by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), and stepped up deportations of undocumented residents of the United States. Increased deportations in particular would substantially impact the Restaurant Industry, given an already acute condition with industry staffing and turnover.  The Pew Research Center estimates that an […]
February 22, 2017

Franchise Growth Present Both Challenges & Opportunities

The International Franchise Association and the Franchise Education and Research Foundation jointly released their report in January entitled “Franchise Business Economic Outlook for 2017”.  The report shows the major role played by restaurants in creating franchise and employment opportunities for both business owners and workers. Among the key findings of the report are the expanding economic output of franchise restaurants, and the employment associated with this growth.  In 2017 growth […]
February 7, 2017

Menu Innovation Presents Growth Opportunities

Restaurants seem to be in a funk.  Declining sales are often blamed on the economy.  But are there other factors at work?  Of course, hospitality and ambiance are important, along with other factors (e.g. affordability).  Looking deeper limited menu options may be a major issue.  Visit most restaurants in the United States, especially in the casual segment, and in nearly all cases you’ll be limited to one of the following […]
January 23, 2017

Starbucks Innovates to Continue Growth

Restaurants have been facing an increasingly challenging environment in recent years.  2016 was an especially difficult year, with declining sales for many brands and widespread talk of a “Restaurant Recession”.  Forecasts for 2017 predict much of the same. Typically, the economy gets the blame for falling sales – although 2016 was a solid year for the economy and job growth.  In some cases, the fault for poor results is attributed […]
January 9, 2017

2017 Minimum Wage Increases. WWTD?

Minimum wage increases came with the new year in 20 states, plus the District of Columbia, boosting wages for 4.4 million workers.  Some as a result of ballot initiatives in the 2016 Election, while others had already been slated to occur.  As expected, the restaurant industry is among those most impacted.  What will Trump do (WWTD)? The states have now taken the lead on this issue, as the U.S. Federal […]
December 12, 2016

Retain Top Staff with Technology

Too often the use of technology in restaurants is viewed in simplistic terms.  Some servers view it as a threat.  Something that can eliminate jobs.  In reality, technology is primarily a tool to improve productivity, much like a laptop or a smartphone.  As such it produces a win/win situation for both servers and restaurateurs. Servers benefit, because technology like a tabletop system can allow them to better attend to diners […]
November 28, 2016

Diners Want Control

Technology is a tool that can increase hospitality by giving diners more control.  And it’s a factor that has become more critical as consumers have grown accustomed to using smartphones in their daily lives.  Information at your fingertips.  The ability to purchase anything of interest wherever you are.  Ubiquitous new services like Uber that can summons a ride on demand.  Increasingly, consumers expect to have this sort of control.  All […]
November 21, 2016

Faster EMV is Coming

EMV has met with resistance by consumers, as transaction processing time has been slow compared with the more familiar mag stripe process.  As a result, both consumers and merchants have complained.  Hearing these complaints, the major payment card companies such as Visa and MasterCard have developed new technologies to accelerate transactions.  Or at least create the *perception* among consumers that they have accelerated transactions. Visa has released a technology called […]
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