The restaurant industry is about to become a new “category killer”,

Two veteran restaurant executives and recent authors provided insight into the future of personalization and digital overlay in the restaurant industry at an event this week in Dallas, saying the industry is on the rise. point of knowing another “category killer”.

Greg Creed, former CEO of Yum Brands, and Meredith Sandland, former COO of Kitchen United, joined Zach Goldstein, CEO and founder of Thanx, the San Francisco-based customer loyalty and engagement platform, at the Henry in Dallas to discuss the future of restaurant marketing.

Creed is the author of “RED Marketing: The Three Ingredients of Leading Brands”, with “RED” referring to relevance, ease and distinctiveness, and Sandland wrote “Delivering the Digital Restaurant: Your Roadmap to the Future of Food”. (Sandland is also a regular contributor to NRN’s Speakerbox contributing author series.)

“We are in a new era,” Goldstein said ahead of the event. “And I’m really, really excited about this new era.”

Click here to stream the full “An Evening with Restaurant Industry Veterans,” hosted by Thanx.

Citing Sandland’s book, Goldstein added that “where digital has become a key part of every restaurant is that data and personalization become much easier because you know more about your customer. You can’t guess.

“We saw that in another part of hospitality with travel. We’ve seen it with e-commerce brands, and we’re going to see it with restaurants,” he said, “where it’s not just about quality or food service and location . Now it’s about understanding how well you understand your customers through data and how you use it to differentiate yourself. It’s really exciting. It’s hard. It’s a new skill to develop, but it’s really exciting for years to come.

The pandemic has accelerated digital adoption, Creed said, noting that “disruption is a wonderful thing.”

“When disruption happens naturally rather than being forced, the big guys need to defend like they never have before,” Creed added. “And the small and medium guys have a chance to disrupt the big guy.”

Everyone is going to have to improve, Creed said. “It’s just such an exciting time because everyone is going to have to really pull themselves together. They’re going to have to be much better at marketing. They are going to be brilliant digitally. You have to be brilliant at everything because otherwise the guys who are tall today won’t exist so the guys who are small and medium now have a fighting chance which I don’t think they had there at 20 years.

Sandland, who admitted using smartphone apps not for rewards but for ease of ordering, said a concept will combine all the elements “into what’s the next killer category.”

The restaurant’s quick service was followed by a casual meal, then a quick casual meal, she said.

“Each of these, in successive waves, took over the restaurant industry,” Sandland said. “And someone is going to figure out how to combine all this consumer data from e-commerce, kitchen electrification, ghost kitchens, delivery, off-premises, new cooking methods [and] direct-to-consumer brands.

“Someone is going to take all of these ingredients and mix them together in an incredible way that becomes the next category killer,” she said.

Creed recently joined Thanx as a board advisor.

Click here to stream the full “An Evening with Restaurant Industry Veterans,” hosted by Thanx.

Want to know more about Creed, Sandland and Goldstein? Stream an interview below.


Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless



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Cecil N. Messick