MRM Research Roundup: End-of-May-2019 Edition

This edition of Modern Restaurant Management (MRM) magazine's Research Roundup features a survey from Coravin on what wine preferences say about personalities, consumers' perception of single-use foodservice packaging, the desire for sustainable restroom solutions and the value of localized social marketing.

Are You More of a Red or a White?

Red or white? New research revealed our choice of wine can say a lot about our personality.

If you like “Game of Thrones,” consider yourself an introvert and enjoy traveling, results found you’re probably a red wine drinker.

Conducted in advance of National Wine Day on May 25, the survey of 2,000 Americans (aged 21+) looked at the differences in personality traits between those who drink red wine to those who prefer white.

It revealed that white wine drinkers are more likely to be night owls and extroverts, as well as more likely to listen to punk music.

Commissioned by Coravin and conducted by OnePoll, results found white wine drinkers were also more likely to identify as curious, sarcastic and perfectionists.

On the other hand, red wine drinkers were more likely to identify as adventurous, humble and organized.

They were also more likely to identify as early birds, listen to jazz and consider themselves to be “wine aficionados” (45 percent vs. 31 percent).

In addition to looking at the differences in personality, the survey also examined each groups’ knowledge when it came to drinking and wasting wine, as well as hosting or attending events. 

It found that red wine drinkers had the knowledge to back up their claim of “wine aficionado” – they were more likely to know how to correctly hold a wine glass (73 percent vs. 65 percent), know what “tannins” are (53 percent vs. 45 percent) and know how long it takes for wine to oxidize (64 percent vs. 54 percent).

They were also more likely to consider it a turnoff if a date wasn’t knowledgeable about wine (46 percent vs. 40 percent), and were willing to spend slightly more on wine – averaging $40 a bottle.

The average respondent drinks four glasses of wine per week, and the favorite place to drink – regardless of wine preference – was found to be at home (72 percent).

But 62 percent will forego drinking a glass of wine after work or with dinner because they don’t want to open a new bottle.

“Coravin offers wine lovers freedom in the way they drink wine. They can now enjoy a glass without having to finish the bottle and the dispute between picking red vs. white is obsolete, you can have both!” said Fred Levy, CEO of Coravin. “Anyone with a Coravin System can now relax and enjoy any glass of wine, whenever they want, with whoever they want, without wasting a drop.”

In addition to drinking in the comfort of their own home, the survey found that 49 percent of respondents enjoy drinking wine at events or gatherings, preferred over drinking at a bar (43 percent).

While at an event, three-quarters will drink what everyone else is drinking, even if they’d prefer something else.

And after hosting an event, people admit to throwing out an average of three partially-full bottles of wine.

Americans do try to stop the waste, though: The average respondent finishes three bottles of wine a month to stop them from going to waste, but throws out two partially-full bottles that have gone bad.

“Enjoying a glass of whatever wine someone is in the mood for, doesn’t need to be wasteful. There are more amazing wines available now, than ever before. Wine lovers should be able to enjoy the wine they love, in the amount they want, without thinking about when they are going to return to that bottle – Coravin enables that and allows people to change the way they drink and explore wine,” said Greg Lambrecht, Founder and Inventor of Coravin.

Profile of Red Wine Drinkers

  • More likely to be a “wine aficionado”
  • Early bird
  • Introvert
  • Prefer dogs to cats
  • Listen to jazz music
  • More likely to identify as adventurous, humble and organized
  • Willing to spend slightly more per bottle ($40)

Profile of White Wine Drinkers

  • Less likely to be a “wine aficionado”
  • Night owl
  • Extrovert
  • Prefer cats to dogs
  • Listen to punk music
  • More likely to identify as identify as curious, sarcastic and perfectionists
  • Willing to spend slightly less per bottle ($37)


Impact of Third-Party Food Delivery

The impact of third-party food delivery services on the restaurant industry varies, but for many it is not positive. Strategic marketing on the part of Grubhub, DoorDash and Uber Eats for example reduced the same-store sales growth of Domino’s Pizza by more than 50 percent. And Amazon’s latest $575 million investment in food delivery service Deliveroo, shows delivery apps have no sign of slowing. So how are QSRs going to stay competitive when consumers have so many options available?

To remain competitive, QSRs have to understand their customers more than ever. With a better understanding of their customer base, QSR chains can build cohesive marketing strategies and drive customers to their restaurants. 

In Viant’s latest report, “Demystifying Quick Service Restaurant Customers,” they gather insights based on location data, transaction data and machine learning to identify several key customer segments for QSRs. In addition the report analyzes which devices and advertising formats drove the most engagement across each customer segment. 

This report found:  

  • Daily dinner customers respond positively to CTV ads when compared to other segments. They are 40 percent more likely to visit after seeing a CTV ad than a mobile ad.
  • Desktop impressions are twice as likely to drive breakfast consumers to visit a given QSR compared to mobile.
  • Lunchtime consumers visit a given QSR more often when served desktop ads.
  • Desktop video ads resonate the most with weekend customers – they are 50 percent more likely to lead to a visit.
  • When high-frequency diners see a mobile ad, they are almost 3x more likely to stop by in-store.     

The report is available here.

Perception of Single-Use Foodservice Packaging

As the spotlight on single-use foodservice packaging continues to grow, the Foodservice Packaging Institute sought to better understand the general consumer’s use and perception of these items. To discover those consumer perceptions and provide feedback to its members, FPI commissioned a third-party to conduct a survey to find out how frequently people use single-use packaging and their perceptions and behavior choices related to foodservice packaging.

Participants were asked questions about how frequently they use single-use foodservice packaging; their beliefs about the importance of performance attributes in single-use foodservice packaging; benefits and concerns they have about single-use foodservice packaging and their reusable counterparts; their behavior choices related to foodservice packaging; and environmental issues. Each question was analyzed looking for significant differences in responses across different demographic groups and frequency of using single-use foodservice packaging. 

“As we represent the needs of our members, it became apparent that we had to find out what consumers truly think about foodservice packaging. Undertaking this survey assists not only our members, but our industry as a whole, allowing an inside glimpse into the thoughts of consumers and ultimately providing valuable feedback to ensure our industry continues to create the right products,” said Lynn Dyer, president of the Foodservice Packaging Institute.

Based on the results, there are significant differences in perceptions of foodservice packaging based on the frequency of use. Within U.S. respondents, those with the highest income are most likely to use single-use foodservice packaging every day and higher education appears to correlate to higher use. For Canada respondents, the only factor where perceptions differed is frequency of use.

When given a list of seven performance attributes for single-use packaging items, respondents were asked to rate the importance of each attribute. Results show that the most important attributes for single-use packaging for both U.S. and Canadian respondents are the item’s ability to prevent leaks / spills and stopping oil and grease stains. 

“What we found is that when people are given a list of attributes of their foodservice packaging, it comes down to the basics. Consumers want products that are going to allow them to enjoy their foods and beverages on-the-go without worrying about spills or leaks,” said Dyer. 

The survey included input from 800 respondents in the United States and Canada balanced across income, education level, gender and region. This sample provided a statistically representative view of the beliefs of these populations with a 95 percent confidence rate with a plus / minus 5 percent margin of error. 

FPI members received complete survey results. A complimentary executive summary of the report is available on FPI's website.

Restaurant Industry’s Desire for Sustainable Restroom Solutions

A recent survey of 100 restaurant industry professionals conducted at the National Restaurant Association Show, May 18-21, 2019, reveals opinions about restroom paper waste and sustainability efforts in foodservice operations.

Administered by Sofidel, the survey found that 67 percent of respondents believe it’s very important for restaurants to use sustainable restroom solutions like water-saving faucets, dispensers that reduce paper consumption and toilet paper that sanitizes pipes. Another 25 percent believe restroom sustainability is somewhat important.

“While restaurants are increasingly improving kitchen operations through methods like food waste reduction, it’s also important to look at restrooms with an environmental lens,” said Giorgia Giove, Marketing Manager – Away from Home, Sofidel America. “Selecting responsibly sourced paper products and finding ways to limit overuse can help restaurants be more sustainable and realize cost savings.”

The survey also revealed that:

  • Nearly 8 in 10 respondents (78 percent) agree that the majority of restaurant guests use more toilet paper than necessary.
  • 84 percent of respondents believe that customers use more paper towels than necessary in the restroom.
  • 78 percent would be willing to purchase restroom paper products that come from sustainable sources, and an additional 18 percent might consider purchasing these products.

The meaning of sustainability is complex, with 44 percent of respondents selecting two or more of the following when asked to define sustainable restroom paper products: responsible sourcing of raw materials, creating products from recycled paper, using recovered energy during production, implementing water-saving techniques during production. 

Value of Localized Social Marketing

SOCi  released  its Q1 State of the Market Report, Localized Social Marketing:

The Value of Organic AND Paid Social Content which showcases key trends in social content distribution and engagement between Q4 2018 and Q1 2019.  The report also explores how brands are using social marketing to grow as well as best practices for executing a localized social strategy.

Now more than ever, localized social marketing has a major impact on driving consumer behavior– according to Social Media Today,78 percent of purchase decisions are influenced by social content and over 75 percent of the brand engagement on social is happening at the local page level. As a result, a locally focused social media strategy is key in expanding the reach of a brand and creating genuine connections to an engaged base of local consumers.  

According to the report, local ratings and reviews have become essential components of localized social marketing impacting search results and a business’ digital visibility and presence. In fact, ratings and reviews are now a major factor in the consumer purchase decision. Consumers continue to review businesses on platforms like Yelp and Google My Business (GMB), but are increasingly posting recommendations and reviews on social networks like Facebook — blurring the lines between traditional review sites and social media platforms.

“While Google My Business (GMB) and Facebook are still the top platforms in terms of the total volume of reviews, other review sites like Yelp, OpenTable, TripAdvisor, and Expedia have made significant jumps from Q4 to Q1.,” said Monica Ho, CMO, SOCi. “The growth in these networks in just the last quarter emphasizes the need for multi-location marketers to not only be aware of but actively managing any and all review platforms where consumers are actively engaging.” 

Outside of the growth in the sheer volume of reviews, the report findings also highlight a decline in brands average star ratings as well as the time it takes for brands to respond to reviews.  From Q4 to Q1 the overall average star rating across top review sites dropped 0.19 points, from 3.98 to 3.79 – however, should be noted that brands on average are still maintaining a score above the minimum expected star rating of 3.5.  In the same timeframe, multi-location brands have gotten better at engaging with customers in a timely manner but still falling short of thedesired 24-hour response time. The overall response time across all platforms decreased from 11.72 days in Q4 2018 to just 8.61 days in Q1 2019. 

In terms of social engagements, the report found that Facebook is still king with 14x more activity than all other networks combined.  In fact, in the last quarter, alone marketers have made a shift towards focusing on high-value engagements, such as comments, shares and direct messages, instead of low-value engagements, such as likes and other reactions. Why should marketers take note of this? An analysis conducted by SOCi shows that an increase in high-value engagements with your local community leads to an increase in reach for your organic posts.  The report found that organic reach can be as low as < 1 percent of page followers, but as high as 10 percent if posts get high-value engagement from followers. The report shows a 214 percent increase in high-value engagements from Q4 2018 to Q1 2019, showing the power of creating highly relevant local content to engage with consumers in a meaningful way. 

For those marketers who are effective at creating meaningful content for their communities but are looking for increased reach and engagement , the report highlights social boosting as one of the most efficient and effective ways to get more out of the social content that is already created for just pennies on the dollar driving over 2000 percent+ lift in impressions, 600 percent lift in post shares and over 500 percent lift in post comments vs. just your organic post reach alone.  

Overall the latest report findings showcase the ever-evolving state of localized social marketing and the need for marketers to keep abreast of the trends in order to stay competitive.  Click here to download a copy of SOCi’s Q1 State of the Market Report, Localized Social Marketing: The value of Organic AND Paid Social Content.

What Diners Crave and Why

The National Pork Board released its latest findings from the comprehensive Insight to Action research, this time examining trends in consumer behavior related to dining out. With a shifting dining out landscape and multicultural cuisine trends on the rise in the U.S., the Pork Board set out to understand the needs, considerations and motivations that impact out-of-home dining decisions.

The Pork Board’s All About Dining Out: What’s on Trend report uncovers why consumers decide to eat the proteins they do and explores tactics so that foodservice operators can meet those needs, such as exploring new flavors, dishes and menu formats. Similar to the Pork Board’s findings from the previous report, Dinner at Home in America, there is an overarching high level of consumer satisfaction with dishes that feature pork, pointing to opportunity for incorporating pork in new ways on menus.

“With rapidly changing innovations, technology and competition, foodservice providers who truly understand what diners want – and deliver on it – will stand the test of time,” said Steve Rommereim, president of the National Pork Board’s board of directors. “Consumer-driven insights are critical to our mission of increasing demand for pork. We want to spur innovation in collaboration with foodservice leaders and demonstrate that having more pork in more forms on more menus can increase consumer satisfaction and help drive operator profitability.” 

By knowing and understanding these behavior drivers, foodservice operators have an opportunity to develop new menu items and shift consumer experiences to give diners experiences that meet these primary needs. 

“Pork is the number one consumed protein globally, and yet fresh pork is the featured protein in less than 7 percent of entrée options when dining out in the U.S. That seems contradictory,” said Jarrod Sutton, vice president of domestic marketing for the National Pork Board. “With the growing popularity of Asian and Latin cuisines, where pork is a staple and a centerpiece, foodservice operators at every point on the spectrum have the opportunity to provide their customers with more flavorful and authentic options.”

Some of the key consumer insights from the report include:

There are three primary drivers for consumer decisions. When considering where and what to eat when dining out, there are three primary drivers for consumers:

  • Taste
  • Health
  • Convenience

They treat themselves. Consumers seek out menu options they don’t usually make at home. One in four consumers (27 percent) consistently look for something new to eat, and they see dining out as an opportunity to treat themselves and indulge a little bit. As the Pork Board’s research revealed in January, consumers don’t keep pork on hand as often as other proteins. With it not being eaten at home as often, it can easily become that treat/indulgence they are looking for.

Healthy options are still important. While health isn’t the main reason people dine away from home, it’s still important to consumers that menus have healthy options. Restaurants can expand the menu to include healthy pork options – like the pork tenderloin or the pork sirloin chop – in the same set as other healthy proteins, such as chicken and seafood.

When health is the primary driver for a consumer’s dining out decision, roughly six in 10 diners want a food that is “reasonably healthy,” and roughly four in 10 want a food that fits their diet.

Expand their horizons. When asked what pork dishes people crave, 51 percent said they crave Mexican and Latin pork dishes and 45 percent said they crave Asian pork dishes.

Make it easy; make it fast. Convenience was the primary need for consumers in 38 percent of away-from-home dining occasions. Consumers have high expectations for convenience when out to eat, and technology and the proliferation of on-the-go dining options have helped meet that need. 

For more information on the National Pork Board’s Insight to Action research, or to download the full All About Dining Out: What’s on Trend report, click here.

Where to Go for a Big Night Out

OpenTable released its list of the 100 Best Restaurants in America for a Big Night Out. The list features restaurants with not only exceptional food and drinks, but also vibrant bar scenes and lively atmospheres, allowing diners to take advantage of the summer evenings to celebrate life’s big moments with great dining and a night on the town. The Big Night Out list is also great year-round for anyone planning a celebratory evening out, whether it’s a girls’ night, milestone birthday or anniversary.

Featuring restaurants coast-to-coast across 19 states and Washington, D.C., the list is culled from more than 12 million verified diner reviews of over 30,000 U.S. restaurants. From the star-studded crowd and killer cocktails at The Ivy in West Hollywood, Calif., to the outstanding wine program at Maple & Ash in Chicago, to TAO group’s Vandal in New York City, which doubles as a nightclub, the Big Night Out list has plenty of establishments that are the perfect backdrop for any night out.

California leads the list with 18 restaurants, and New York follows with 16. Illinois comes in third with 14 winners with all honorees located in Chicago — the most featured city on the list. Nevada and Pennsylvania follow close behind with 12 and 10 restaurants, respectively. Washington, D.C. has eight establishments, and Florida has seven. Additional cities among the honorees are Las Vegas, New York and Philadelphia. While American and contemporary American cuisine dominate the list with 26 restaurants, an array of international flavors are also highlighted, including Chinese, French, Italian, Japanese, Lebanese, Mediterranean, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Spanish and Vietnamese.

“The list spotlights the restaurants that have all the ingredients for the perfect big night out — upbeat energy, innovative cocktails, robust wine lists, and, of course, outstanding food,” said Caroline Potter, Chief Dining Officer at OpenTable. “Whether your ideal night out is at a bustling bar or a hot spot to see and be seen, you can count on any of these restaurants for a night of fun.”

The 100 Best Restaurants in America for a Big Night Out list is generated solely from diner reviews collected between March 1, 2018 and February 28, 2019. All restaurants with a minimum "overall" score and number of qualifying reviews were included for consideration. Qualifying restaurants were then scored and sorted according to the sum of tags for which "hot spot" was selected as a special feature.

Based on this methodology, the 100 Best Restaurants in America for a Big Night Out according to OpenTable diners, are as follows (in alphabetical order):

100 Best Restaurants for a Big Night Out in America

Aba – Chicago, Illinois

Al Biernat's – Oak Lawn – Dallas, Texas

The Apparatus Room – Detroit, Michigan 

Avra – Multiple Locations         

Balthazar – New York, New York

Bavel – Los Angeles, California

Beauty & Essex – Multiple Locations

Bestia – Los Angeles, California 

The Boathouse – Lake Buena Vista, Florida 

Born & Raised – San Diego, California 

Brewery Bhavana – Raleigh, North Carolina 

Buddakan  – Multiple Locations

Café Ba-Ba-Reeba – Chicago, Illinois 

Carmine's – 44th Street – New York, New York 

Catch – Multiple Locations

Cecconi's Dumbo – Brooklyn, New York 

China Live – San Francisco, California 

Coasterra – San Diego, California

Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant – Multiple Locations

Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse – Multiple Locations

Departure Restaurant and Lounge – Portland, Oregon 

Double Knot – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

Duck Duck Goat – Chicago, Illinois 

Eiffel Tower – Las Vegas, Nevada

El Five – Denver, Colorado

El Vez – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Farmers & Distillers – Washington, D.C.

Farmers Fishers Bakers – Washington, D.C.

Filomena Ristorante – Washington, D.C.

Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck – Dallas, Texas 

Fleetwood's On Front St. – Lahaina, Hawaii 

Flight Restaurant & Wine Bar – Memphis, Tennessee 

Founding Farmers – Multiple Locations

The Gage – Chicago, Illinois

Gallaghers Steakhouse – Manhattan – New York, New York 

Giada – The Cromwell – Las Vegas, Nevada 

Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse – Chicago, Illinois 

Girl & the Goat – Chicago, Illinois

GW Fins – New Orleans, Louisiana

Haywire – Plano, Texas

Hell's Kitchen – Caesars Palace – Las Vegas, Nevada 

Henry's Louisiana Grill – Acworth, Georgia 

Herb & Wood – San Diego, California

House of Cards – Nashville, Tennessee 

House of Prime Rib – San Francisco, California 

Husk – Charleston, South Carolina 

International Smoke – San Francisco, California 

Ivan Ramen – New York, New York

The Ivy – West Hollywood, California 

Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab – Multiple Locations

Juniper & Ivy – San Diego, California 

Le Diplomate – Washington, D.C.

Linger – Denver, Colorado

Little Goat – Chicago, Illinois 

Louie Bossi Ristorante – Fort Lauderdale, Florida 

The Love – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

Mama's Fish House – Paia, Hawaii 

Maple & Ash – Chicago, Illinois

Mariposa – Sedona, Arizona

Mastro's Steakhouse – Houston, Texas 

Meril – New Orleans, Louisiana 

Mesa Grill – Caesars Palace – Las Vegas, Nevada

Momofuku – Las Vegas, Nevada

Mon Ami Gabi – Las Vegas, Nevada

Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman – Multiple Locations

Mustards Grill – Yountville, California 

Nobu Fifty Seven – New York, New York 

The Olde Pink House Restaurant – Savannah, Georgia 

The Optimist – Atlanta, Georgia

Oxford Exchange – Tampa, Florida 

Oyamel – Washington, D.C. 

Parc – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Perch LA – Los Angeles, California

The Pink Door – Seattle, Washington

Poor Calvin's – Atlanta, Georgia

Quartino – Chicago, Illinois

Raglan Road Irish Pub – Lake Buena Vista, Florida 

Republique – Los Angeles, California

RPM Italian – Multiple Locations

RPM Steak – Chicago, Illinois

Sampan – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Slanted Door – San Francisco, California 

The Smith- Lincoln Square – New York, New York 

St. Elmo Steak House – Indianapolis, Indiana 

Steak 44 and Steak 48 – Multiple Locations

STK – The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas – Las Vegas, Nevada 

Sunda – Chicago, Illinois

Suraya – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

Talula’s Garden – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

Tao – Multiple Locations           

Tavern on the Green – New York, New York 

Texas de Brazil – Las Vegas, Nevada 

The Tropicale – Palm Springs, California 

TWO urban licks – Atlanta, Georgia 

Uchi – Multiple Locations

Ulele – Tampa, Florida

Vandal – New York, New York 

Yardbird Southern Table & Bar – Multiple Locations      

Zahav – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

Zaytinya – Washington, D.C.

The complete list may also be viewed  here.