"Stocking The Pond" has been a tactic for many restaurants when it comes to online reviews in the past, but you should think twice before going down that road. Yelp has recently come down on embattled franchise Burgerim.
Yelp caught Burgerim buying fake reviews, and rather than removing the reviews they have added a "consumer alert" on their pages letting users know they were caught offering incentives for reviews. Yelp has also added similar alerts to pages with suspicious review activity, like multiple reviews from the same IP address.
Nothing beats a genuine review - often times the fake reviews read just like that and are easy to spot, however, a lot of users simply look at the overall rating and base their decision off that. Fake reviews can have a negative impact on operators who are going about it the right way, and Yelp is looking to even that playing field.
Although they have come under fire in recent years for their business practices and fallen out of favor by many restauranteurs, Yelp is making a positive step in combating deceitful review practices. ... See MoreSee Less
This innovative concept may be too little too late for WeWork, depending on how their future plays out, but they have created a unique model that will inspire innovation in the food and beverage industry. This unique concept opens up opportunities for those who may not have had the same access to the network, facilities, or knowledge base that WeWork is opening up.
This could be a great opportunity to develop and innovate if it survives the WeWork stumbles has recently suffered. ... See MoreSee Less
WeWork today celebrates the launch of the WeWork Food Labs New York flagship, dedicated to providing food-focused entrepreneurs and companies with collaborative and flexible workspace, custom programm...
Is the Influencer marketing machine, about to grind to a halt? New regulations coming, Influencers being outed for fake followers and manufactured posts, influencer campaigns failing to produce any engagement or ROI...are operators becoming savvy and coming to the conclusion that not all Influencers have influence or 'Klout'? ... See MoreSee Less
Influencer marketing has played an important part in the digital strategy of many hospitality groups over the past few years. Our team has been at the forefront of working with our clients to develop and execute major influencer events, micro-influencer strategies, and everything in between. We have seen the impact a successful campaign can have, and the potential pitfalls within the influencer marketing world.
The FTC is reviewing the current influencer landscape, with potential new restrictions and regulations being put in place. This could lead to major changes in how brands and influencers work together, and more importantly, provide transparency for the end-user.
Influencer marketing is a murky area, for most hospitality companies. It is difficult to determine the ROI on an influencer campaign, especially when the primary revenue source comes from a physical visit to a location, it is not as simple as click-and-purchase. Determining the right group of influencers is a challenge as well, you need to be sure they have an engaged audience, an audience that suits your brand, are trusting, and real, not littered with fake accounts or purchased likes.
It will be interesting to learn what the FTC finds from their review, and what action will be taken from it. Platforms like Instagram already have policies in place, and self-police, but federal regulations with actual monetary penalties will have a major impact on the influencers and brands alike. Online influencers will still be a valuable tool for hospitality, but how they are used will continue to evolve, both through regulation and a more educated and discerning audience. ... See MoreSee Less
There are some interesting opinions in this viewpoint panel from Hospitality Net. The topic - what matters more for customer experience, people or technology?
Technology brings conveniences for guests, like digital room keys, self check-ins, restaurant reservations, online ordering and more. We firmly believe technology is there to complement the human aspect of hospitality. When technology fails, guests are left to talk to an actual person, and how that interaction goes will have a larger impact on how they perceive their overall experience than any technical failure. A live person has the opportunity to make it right for the guest, where technology can't make those judgment calls, yet.
Technology and people are both important in hospitality, don't forgo one for the other. ... See MoreSee Less
The last few years have forced companies to adapt more quickly than ever to changing customer expectations in terms of technology. Hospitality is no exception, from mobile room keys to automated notif...
We have long been advocates for ensuring you are where the eyeballs are. Google continues to grow its audience through several different features, many of which have a huge impact on the hospitality industry. From search to reviews to directions, Google commands the digital landscape. They are rolling out a revamped Google Maps, with a new look, and new features.
Take a moment and think about how the decision-making process has evolved for guests in the last 20 years, from having their go-to place that was always consistent to having reviews, menus, and directions to every restaurant in their hands. What a time to be alive!
Ensuring all your Google listings are not only populated and current, but the language and photography are compelling. Google and Google Maps are how new guests are discovering you. If you need proof, take a look at the #1 search term related to restaurants, "Restaurants Near Me" --> www.wordstream.com/popular-keywords/restaurants-keywords . You'll be on the list, but will you stand out? ... See MoreSee Less
Doom, disruption, or opportunity? There is prolific change taking place in the industry but does it speak to an industry that is beginning to evolve and catch pace with other sectors or is it a 'restaurant doomsday', that some industry experts are predicting? ... See MoreSee Less
Look who managed to sneak his way onto the red carpet? Travis participating in the exclusive and intimate event at Spin 350 Creative Studios featuring rising star, Louie Bello along with some of Boston's most talented musicians and voices. ... See MoreSee Less
Hospitality serves every age and demographic imaginable. Hotels to restaurants all have their target demographic, and for some, that includes kids.
If your target audience includes kids, have you implemented any strategies aimed at Gen-Z and Gen Alpha? Our team can speak from experience, their children are a big part of their decision-making process when it comes to dining out, travel, and tourism. If you're a restaurant with a kids menu or a hotel with family-friendly amenities, it's worth investing time to learn how you can help become a must-visit for these young guests - if they're happy, their parents will be happy. We are not suggesting you need to become a Chuck-E-Cheese, but if you have an offering for those ages, make it right, it will pay off in the long run.
As they grow up in a digital age, their influence amongst each other will grow, and they're forming opinions of brands at much younger ages, make sure you are prepared and not left behind! ... See MoreSee Less
With recruitment being a hot topic throughout the industry, all areas of the business face unique challenges. This article from Rachael Pittman at FSR touches on a challenge that has been present for a long time on the culinary side, but equally important in all roles.
Personal well-being has a massive impact on retention. Burn-out has been an issue with young chefs and we always encourage our clients to consider creating programs and initiatives that will help their teams with personal well being and encouraging a healthy lifestyle. This contributes to improved retention and helps foster a positive culture in the organization. ... See MoreSee Less
I know a celebrity chef who went on a pretty well-crafted rant the other day, saying that burnout isn't necessarily just an industry evil, but rather, demonstrates a lack of IQ and EQ by managers.
He made the argument that if everyone were human beings interacting with human beings, they should be able to clue in as to when team members are becoming fatigued, require a time out, or are deserving of some TLC. And, made the point that if we actually nurtured a culture of common sense and consideration...and learn to properly write a schedule, we likely wouldn't be burning people out.
My mentor Roger used to say, "The entire business is built upon a proper schedule."
Google ads were once the go-to digital marketing platform. They are still right up there, but their effectiveness has wained in recent years as users have become more aware of what paid results vs organic results.
Google recently rolled out a design change to their sign that blurs the line between ads and organic results. The new change mirrors what is available on mobile, with a paid result having "Ad" before the page name, and organic results having the favicon (the little icon that appears on your browser tab) of the site leading it, making it harder to differentiate.
Google has backtracked somewhat, saying it is now just an experiment. Wherever they land it will always be important to define your goals for search, and if it is the best platform to invest your marketing dollars. ... See MoreSee Less
Rudeness. We see it all the time in the hospitality industry, and it is tough for some of the front line staff to be the better person in some situations. In this digital age, it is even more important that those front line staffs are armed with the tools to help them deal with rude customers. We all know that rude guests will most likely turn out to be the 1-star reviewer on Google and Facebook.
Small gestures can go a long way, one of our go-to's is buying a round of drinks, it has a low-cost to the business and a high perceived value to the guest. Having a few tools available in this situations is great, but the teams need the ability to quickly make that decision, have a manager or supervisor who can authorize it, and get it to the guest, be it a drink, a discount, a gift card, or just a table touch from the manager.
That guest might just be having a bad day, but it allows us to help turn their day around and create a memorable, positive experience. ... See MoreSee Less
Additional fees are popping up everywhere, from fuel surcharges to resort fees. We haven't seen it hit the restaurant industry until recently. Restaurants in British Columbia have added a fee to cover additional medical coverage costs, some operators in San Francisco have added a surcharge to fight climate change.
This can be a fine line to walk when adding fees to a guest's bill, especially when they are unexpected. We have found the majority of guests would prefer to have those costs built into the menu pricing.
Committing the time to carefully engineering your menu and pricing, you will not only be able to cover the additional costs you are covering with the added fees, but you will also increase your bottom line and not end your guest's experience with an unexpected add-on to their bill. ... See MoreSee Less
One of the biggest concerns restauranteurs have across North America, in both large operations and small, is recruitment and retention. This article from Restaurant Dive, offers some insights from 6 brands when it comes to their tactics. From the old-school sweat-equity to a 4-day work week, there are some interesting approaches.
It is time to get creative when it comes to hiring and creating a desirable situation for your staff and potential staff. ... See MoreSee Less
The book (Rebellion Marketing: The Most Human Company Wins) looks like a great read, especially if you are self-performing your own marketing. In reading the LinkedIn article and the Amazon book introduction/description, there are lots of great insights and quotes as to why this is relevant content. We also liked the Marketing Manifesto. Great advice for all hospitality operators. ... See MoreSee Less
Winter weather can have a huge impact on the bottom line, both positive and negative. We love seeing the snowfall on our ski resort clients throughout North America, creating ideal conditions for their business to flourish. The flip side to that, we have clients from casinos to retail who struggle when winter weather hits and their guests are not venturing out as often, or as far as they usually would.
Busch Beer is running a timely promotion in select markets, cutting the price of their beer based on the snowfall amounts. It's a relevant promotion, designed to drive sales of their product, but it will also benefit the retailers and even their competitors with increased retail traffic, who undoubtedly will be purchasing more than just Busch Beer.
In the digital age, being timely and relevant in your promotions is a must if you want to stay ahead. We always recommend our clients have promotions 'on the shelf' ready to pull out and execute quickly when needed, just like in the event of some unexpected snow! ... See MoreSee Less
Our team loves this article. Not only exceptionally well-written, but we recognize and appreciate how focusing on the front line and investing in personalities, drives the bottom-line, and positively shapes the guest experience.
Check your local listings for today's episode of Restaurant Impossible, our lead consultant Tbone Talbot was part of the team that transformed Miss. Rossini's Cucina Italiana in Ridgeland, Mississippi!
Didn't have a robust gift program prior to Christmas? Well, there is still plenty of time to take advantage of consumers 'appetites' for gift certificates. An aggressive GC promotion can run right into the new year and be a key driver in creating awareness and visitation.
Do you have a gift card strategy? Gift cards are one of the most popular holiday gifts and one that restaurants love because a large number are never redeemed. Although it remains an outstanding liability,
This story from Peter Romeo highlights how gift card sales dropped after Black Friday, with the hit attributed to snowstorms in parts of the continent. We often advise our clients to implement an online gift card program for a variety of reasons, including eliminating the impact of weather - have you added an online option for your program? ... See MoreSee Less
As Popeyes continues to throw jabs and keep the chicken sandwich wars 'alive and well', the whole fast food industry is benefitting from the battle.
For years, our lead consultant Travis Talbot has been asserting, "Stop merely being competition defined by location, genre, or category. Want to grow your business? Go pick a fight! The best competitive advantage and brand-building comes via a very visible dust-up." ... See MoreSee Less
As social media continues to overtake traditional media as a leading marketing tool for an ever-growing number of hospitality operators, we are inundated with a huge number of tools.
It can be difficult to get your arms around which tool is right for your business, what options do you need, will it be scalable for you, will it fit your budget - all common questions.
This post from Ian Anderson Gray is one of the most in-depth looks at the best social management tools available. We have worked with a number of the tools on the list, and highly recommend both AgoraPulse and Sendible, but take a moment to read through the entire document and find what is right for you.