But children today – particularly those under the age of nine – are becoming a rather influential demographic. Believe it or not, those first nine years are the time when long-term dietary habits are established and brand loyalty begins. Marketers are taking advantage of this demographic and the huge impact it has on the $639 billion US food and beverage market.
David Sprinkle, Packaged Facts research directors says, “Today’s kids are more marketing savvy and nutritionally conscious than any previous generation. They have input on the foods and beverages that their parents buy for them. And as any good marketer knows, the way to develop long-term customers is to hook them early in life.”
However, even though kids today are more active in their own choices, marketers still need to capture mom’s attention first.
Because they want to spend more time with their families instead of spending hours running errands, or preparing nightly meals, Millennial moms rely heavily on technology, especially social media, for just about everything from simple purchases to banking; in fact, they are much of the reason for the rapid explosion of sites like Pinterest and Instagram.
Therefore, if marketers want to succeed with this demographic, they need to have a presence in moms’ online world. Once mom is hooked, she will most likely pass that influence down to her kids and that is where the next generation of brand loyalty lies.
News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by QSR, Food News Media, or Journalistic, Inc.
Many Americans are probably unaware of the new menu labeling regulations President Obama is spearheading through his “Obamacare” program – unless you’re part of the foodservice industry.
In an effort to combat rising healthcare costs due to obesity in children and adults, these regulations mandate that restaurants include the calorie count of the items they serve.
While it’s a noble effort, it begs the question: is it really the responsibility of our government to influence our nutritional choices and eating habits?
Obviously, many restaurant owners are less than enthusiastic over the newly proposed regulations – especially those needing to replace their existing menu boards with either new static boards (updated calorie counts included) or digital systems which allow for continual updating. Either way, replacing menu boards can be a costly venture.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which will be implementing these new provisions, estimates that first-year compliance could cost as much as $537 million for businesses regulated under the ruling.
With little to no hard data to substantiate the new regulations, restaurants are leery to comply…and with good reason.
A recent study was conducted on selected adults in Philadelphia, PA, where calorie labeling has already been mandated. The study found there was no change whatsoever in fast-food consumption; in fact, two-thirds of McDonald’s customers didn’t even notice the new labeling was in place. Similar results were obtained from restaurants in New York City, where the same study was conducted by an NYU Medical School professor.
And, according to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, it seems even our own government agencies aren’t completely sold on this idea: “The mixed results of these and other small-scale menu labeling studies suggest it is still too early to tell how restaurant calorie labeling will affect caloric intake.”
On one hand, this change plays to the psychology of the mind. Think about how our brain responds to retail prices reading $99 rather than $100. Somehow the brain actually believes it’s getting a better deal.
Which begs the question, in the absence of calorie counts on menus, is it possible that our brain doesn’t think we’re eating all that bad?
On the other hand, isn’t life all about personal responsibility and choices? Isn’t it the job of an adult to be responsible for him or her own self – and set good examples for their children?
Bottom line: burdening restaurants to include calorie counts on menus is probably not going to stop people from pairing a doughnut with their morning coffee or french fries with their Big Mac.
A new study released by the USDA, and conducted by the Food Surveys Research Group, revealed something that many of us already knew – Americans love pizza.
On any given day in America, 13% of adults eat pizza, and children (ages 2-19) are almost twice as likely to consume it. Additionally, the majority of pizza is consumed at dinner time – though for children it seems split down the middle between lunch and dinner.
The popularity of pizza is the subject of a new study called “Slicing the Pie: Pizza Stats and Trends in the US” conducted by Food Genius – a Chicago based technology and services company who tracks foodservice trends.
The appeal of pizza continues to grow with the introduction of non-traditional sauces (such as barbeque) – earning this popular food option a place on 40% of all restaurant menus across America.
“We’ve noticed in the last few quarters of data that pizza has gotten simpler, with restaurants putting more emphasis on fresh ingredients and new preparation methods,” says Food Genius cofounder Benjamin Stanley. “We’ve seen examples in our data with the rise of Margherita pizzas, as well as with the rising popularity of fast casual pizza chains like Pie Five Pizza Co. and Blaze Pizza.”
And many restaurants are beginning to capitalize on this trend.
There’s been a 1 percent increase, between Q2 and Q4, in the number of chain restaurants that include Margherita pizza on their menu. And pizza itself is the leading gluten-free offering – appearing on 38 percent of all menus throughout the nation.
With the rise and fall of some food trends, it looks like pizza is not only here to stay but getting better (and fresher) as time goes on.
The explosion of technology in virtually every facet of our lives has revolutionized traditional ways of doing things. Today you can store thousands of music files on your car radio, easily pay your bills without ever writing a check and even pause live TV when getting up for a snack.
That being said, it should come as no surprise that the world of technology has infiltrated the foodservice industry – more specifically the realm of menu boards.
Successful menu board design is about more than just colorful design and cool fonts. Menu boards should be designed to:
However, keeping up with changing trends, nutritional information laws, and customer needs can be difficult with static menu boards – which were designed to display fixed visuals with limited (or costly) changeability. While static menu boards have served the industry well for decades, the time has come for change.
QSR and Fast Casual restaurants are facing fierce competition in an oversaturated market. This constant competition, combined with a more sophisticated, more demanding customer, static menu boards are no longer the most beneficial solution.
But not all digital menu board solutions are created equal. Many feature tons of bulky hardware with programming that’s difficult to navigate and operate in the real-world. All at a cost that’s far too excessive for foodservice restaurants to implement, especially in multiple chain locations.
Enter SimplicityTM Mobile. The first of its kind, Simplicity™ Mobile provides the ease of digital menu board technology you can update right from your Smartphone or Tablet. Now the same hand-held technology you use for entertainment, communication, shopping and banking enables you to update your menu boards – saving time, money and some sanity.
With editable fields, pre-loaded templates and a library of stock images, anyone can create professional looking menu boards with just a few swipes on your Smartphone or Tablet.
Additional benefits of this mobile menu board technology include:
Contact Visual Graphic Systems today for a FREE online demonstration!
If there’s one thing Americans hate, it’s waiting in lines.
From grocery stores to baggage claims to retail stores, studies have shown that the American population spends roughly 37 billion hours each year waiting on lines.
Not ideal for a fast-paced, technology-driven society that has gotten used to, and now expects, instant gratification.
Research conducted by Ziv Carmon, a professor of marketing at the business school Insead, and the behavioral economist Daniel Kahneman, have found that there’s a great deal of psychology surrounding our perception of waiting in lines and how waiting can positively or negatively we impact the overall experience.
If a line moves faster than one might expect, the overall experience is often deemed positive. But if consumers are left standing idle well beyond their anticipated threshold…well you get the idea.
Further research on the psychology of waiting has shown that, on average, people overestimate how long they’ve actually waited on line by about 36 percent – based more on their level of impatience rather than reality. So in a nut shell, it’s not really the actual time spent waiting, but a person’s perception of how long they waited.
Regardless, the last thing your business needs is word-of-mouth marketing by disgruntled consumers who may have had to wait a few extra minutes, but have over-exaggerated the actual timing.
To help combat the torture of waiting on lines, businesses have developed clever solutions that play to our psychology – creating distractions from the true wait duration. Mirrors next to elevators for people to check their hair or stare at those passing behind them; magazines and candy at the register; television monitors placed in amusement park lines playing movies and commercials. These solutions are cleverly designed to distract your attention away from the fact that you’re standing in line…waiting.
However, surveys have shown that many people will wait twice as long for fast food – providing restaurants use first-come-first-served, single line ordering systems. Even so, many QSR’s are implementing digital signage systems as a unique way to play to a customer’s psychology.
Because digital signage and digital menu boards help to tell a story to everyone who walks through your door – from frequent visitors who require new stimulation, to first time patrons who are unfamiliar with your brand – customer engagement is paramount.
Digital menu boards capture customers’ attention by utilizing unique design elements, including motion, movies and animation. Day part content, product imagery, calls-to-action and message layering can also help engage and motivate customers, and also help to control perceived wait time.
In short, digital menu boards can provide the same psychological distractions as mirrors next to elevators or monitors in amusement park lines – shaping the perception of customer wait time into a positive one.
Information gathered from “Why Waiting Is Torture” by Alex Stone
Published: August 18, 2012, Sunday New York Times