As editor at Food News Media, Danny Klein has a 30,000-foot view of everything that's going on in our industry. So from curbside pickup to QR codes, to the labor shortage to loyalty, Danny has a ton of thoughts to share. It's an episode that's just packed with breakdowns, some hot takes, and knowledge bombs that you can take back to your teams.
In this episode, we cover:
- The different challenges facing both major brands and independents after the pandemic
- What advantages that independents have right now
- Emerging trends like the “next-gen casual” restaurant
- Pandemic trends that will last—and what won't (hint: QR codes)
Meet Danny Klein
Danny Klein is the Editorial Director at Food News Media, publisher of QSR and FSR magazines. A graduate of the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications, Danny spent more than a decade covering high school, college, and professional sports throughout Florida before joining Food News Media as the associate editor of FSR magazine in 2015.
There is a ton of opportunity for independent diners to leverage loyalty programs
“How can you create a community of loyal diners, who you're giving them a reason to come back. And for independents, that opportunity is as big, or if not greater than it is for quick service, because you tend to have really loyal, guests, you have people who I've talked to, people who go to the same local place three or four times a week and have been doing it for years. It's generational and they've passed it down.
Maybe it's a texting program, maybe it's an email program, but just what are ways that you can offer that person something to join where you're constantly communicating with them, letting them know what's happening, giving them options to support you. And so I think there's a there's a lot of white space there.”
“Next-gen Casual” restaurants are an emerging trend
“So what this essentially is, is a combination of those two worlds, because you have a section of chains, basically in the full service space.
They operate in and live the world of being an independent restaurant and how they look inside the type of food that they offer yet. They are mid-size and they're growing. So they kind of are able to handle what's happening yet at the same time. Give the consumer what they want, and also deliver on some convenience and tech things that are out of reach for a lot of independence from a financial standpoint.”
Examples of next-gen casual restaurants mentioned are Walk-On's Sports Bistreax and Agave & Rye.
The brands that make employee experience better will surge to the forefront
“If you could tell [employees], ‘you can work, pick your hours, you could be flexible. You have the ability to work whatever shifts you want to work around whatever you're doing outside of working here.' [Or,] ‘we understand it's a one-stop for you,' or, ‘Hey, look, if you work here for a year, we'll give you this, and then you can become a GM, and you'd be making six figures.' All that kind of stuff I think is sort of surging to the forefront.”
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