Tuesday, April 28, 2015

NoWait/No Connections?

Chili’s Grill & Bar has selected NoWait mobile network to help their guests minimize waiting time in line.  According to their technology spokesperson, “we are always looking to enhance the guest experience both inside and outside our restaurants.”  Will all the new mobile technology really enhance our restaurant experiences?

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Chili’s new NoWait app feature will rollout nationwide this summer.  It will enable its guests to check out availability/wait time to be seated at their local locations so they can punctually (?) show up for their scheduled table.  “We are putting convenience and speed at our guests’ fingertips before they even walk through our doors.” 

Their new app feature makes me think about two things: A.) What will people actually do with all the wait time nanoseconds they save; and B.) What did we do before mobile restaurant apps?  Personally, if a table was not available, I would head straight to the bar and have a libation or two.  As a result, over the years I engaged with people.  Sometimes I either made new friends or resourceful business connections which added to my overall restaurant experience.  Consequently, without apps, when it came to dining out, I got by just the same.

NoWait/no connections?  Why the rush?  You might miss an opportunity.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Wine Gap

Yesterday I was perusing Sherry Lehmann’s spring wine catalogue and discovered some high end French Red Bordeaux’s at over $1,000 per bottle; over $15,000 per case.  Table wine for the wealthy?
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Earlier this year I posted about the Richey Rich – Part I and Part II.  I concluded billionaires are the new millionaires.  Observing some of the prices in the wine catalogue, I was reminded of Pew Research Center’s data on the wealth gap in America.  It is currently the greatest it has been in three decades.  The median household net worth of upper-income families is $639,400; 6.6 times greater than middle-income families ($96,500).  Their median wealth level is 70 times that of lower-income families ($9,300).

As our economy continues to rebound, wealth inequality will continue to grow.  So will the Wine gap!  A select few will experience a bottle of a 2010 Lafite-Rothschild (Pauillac) this weekend with their grilled Certified Angus Beef® porterhouse steak.  Other grill masters will savor a glass of an award winning Bandit varietal poured from an eco-smart carton with their grilled hot dogs.

Enjoy your table wine of choice this weekend.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Malls USA

During the holiday season of 2014, I wrote a post titled Buried Alive that reported the robust growth of online shopping.  As a result, I assumed that eCommerce was slowly beginning to replace malls in America.  Poor assumption!  Malls USA are alive and healthy.  

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According to new data released back in March by ICSC (International Council of Shopping Centers), the occupancy rate for the mall segment (super-regional and regional malls) was 94.2% at the end of 2014.  This occupancy rate was the highest it has been since the end of 1987.  That’s right 1987!  Other metrics that reveal malls are alive and healthy are as follows:

·   Sales per square foot have been growing steadily since 2009 when they were reported at $383.  In 2014 they closed at $475 per square foot.

·         NOI (net operating income), a metric that was first introduced in 2000, revealed a 17.5% increase in the fourth quarter (holiday season) of 2014 versus the fourth quarter of 2013.  Note: The fifth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth.   

Despite the rise of eCommerce, ICSC data clearly validates that malls USA are far from extinction.

Malls USA – Visit your local mall this weekend.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Take Me Out To The Ballpark

Major league baseball swings into action this week.  While baseball players are deciding on their weapon of choice, the iconic Louisville slugger or a Marucci bat, paramedics are making their decisions on how many defibrillators to have on hand due to the overabundance of ballpark foods on steroids.   

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For starters, the Phillies will be offering the jaw opener The Wayback Triple Triple Cheeseburger, a nine patty cheeseburger; approximately 2,200 calories and 61 grams of saturated fat.  Below is a list of some of the leading ballpark foods on steroids.

·         Texas Poutine Potato Chip Nachos – Fresh fried, home-made potato chips topped with Texas-style cream gravy, bacon, shredded cheddar cheese with a choice of brisket or southwestern-style chicken.  Don’t forget to ask for some jalapenos.

·         D-Bat Dog – For only $25 at Arizona Diamondback games, baseball fans can now indulge on an 18-inch corn dog stuffed with cheese, jalapenos and bacon with a side of fries.

·         PPP – Pulled Pork Parfait at Milwaukee’s Miller Park.  Looks like a dessert, but is a parfait consisting of pulled pork, mashed potatoes and pork gravy.  Tweet @MillerParkPork. 

·         Three Pound Banana Split – 5,000 calories plus!  Twelve scoops of ice cream, bananas and all your favorite sundae toppings at U.S. Cellular Field (White Sox).  I forgot to mention, the $17 treat is served in a full size batting helmet.

·         The Closer – Available at Pittsburgh Pirates games, a grilled cheese sandwich made with nine cheeses and candied bacon, topped with a healthy apple compote spread. 

Who do you predict will win this year’s MLB’s MVP – Most Valuable Paramedic?  

Friday, April 3, 2015

Frequent Fliers

I am not referencing the Star Alliance, the leading global airline network.  I am reporting America’s impulse eating behavior is now all about Eating on the Fly!

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Leading foodservice research firm Technomic recently released some data on consumer eating occasions tracked over a one year period.  Bottomline: 53% of all eating-out occasions (unplanned or decided on impulse) accounts for more than twice as many routine occasions (25%) or special occasions (22%).

Are you always eating on the fly?  Welcome to the food-away-from-home frequent flier club.