The Millennial Generation

The Millennial Generation is now the largest population group in the United States, comprised of  over 80 million people ages 18 to 34. To put that into perspective, Millennials have already spent $247 billion on dining out, and will quickly surpass the total by the Baby Boomer Generation. Looking at these numbers, the Millennial Generation is now THE generation that restaurants need to cater to.

So how do you position your restaurant to be successful in attracting this generation? Technology, dining trends, and community involvement.

Modern technology is essential to reaching Millennials. Always plugged in, Millennials want to feel connected to their peers and the businesses they frequent, through social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. This means that having a good social media presence is a must, but it doesn’t end there.

Roughly one-quarter of consumers say technology options are important features that factor into their decision to choose a restaurant. These options include loyalty, online ordering, digital menus, and tableside ordering/payment. Incorporating any of these items can be the deciding factor that makes a Millennial select your restaurant for a meal.

There are many ways to cater to Millennial dining trends. When it comes to their food, Millennials love choice, health, and adventure, but at an affordable price. The stats below show the breakdown of Millennial dining trends:

  • 55% of Millennials like communal dining
  • 40% order something different every time they eat out (options are necessary)
  • 30% seek organic food (compared to 21% of Gen X and 15% of Boomers)
  • 80% want to know where their food is coming from
  • 72% are more likely to visit a restaurant that offers healthy menu items

Lastly, community involvement is very important to the Millennial Generation. They want to know how your restaurant is helping to make the community a better place- beyond recycling (that is an expectation nowadays). Does your restaurant support local farms? Do you purchase from local businesses? Do you work with local charities? The bottom line is, Millennials expect more from businesses.

Adding these elements to your business can help better position your restaurant with the Millennial Generation, and in return, provide great ROI!

The Future of Payments

Traditionally, restaurants have had three ways to accept payments: cash, credit card, and debit card. Changes are coming to the payment industry through the creation of mobile payment methods such as Apple Pay, Google Wallet, PayPal, NFC, 1D and 2D barcodes; not to mention the new integrated circuit cards  (IC cards or “chip cards”) for use with EMV.

EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa, a global standard for inter-operation of IC cards and IC card capable POS terminals & ATMs for authenticating credit and debit card transactions.

Chip cards are quickly becoming the new form of credit card, already in use throughout Europe, Canada, Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa. Issuers are shifting from magnetic swipe cards to chip cards to increase security and reduce fraud resulting from counterfeit and lost & stolen cards, thus lowering the annual $5 billion loss in credit card fraud.  The supposed increased protection from fraud has allowed banks and credit card issuers to push through a ‘liability shift’ such that merchants will now be liable for any fraud that results from transactions on systems that are not EMV capable.

The credit card issuing giants (MasterCard, Visa, American Express, and Discover) have given October 15, 2015 as the deadline for U.S. businesses to switch to EMV compliant POS terminals, or else be liable for the losses via fraud.  Additionally, no-cost mini-card readers like Square will need to be replaced (for a fee), to read the new EMV encrypted cards. Restaurants need to be prepared to accept these new credit cards.

Meanwhile, the recent hype about other new ways to pay through a smartphone such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet has introduced Near Field Communications (NFC), in other words, contactless communication between devices like smartphones and tablets.  The payment application residing on the mobile device is in many cases an enhanced version of a market-proven payment application residing on millions of EMV cards today. Although still gaining traction, more consumers are adopting these NFC technologies.

Changes to the payment world are fast approaching.  Restaurants who take a wait and see attitude will fall behind. But more at risk is potential loss merchants face if/when any fraudulent transaction comes to their establishment and they are unable or unwilling to process EMV transactions correctly.

The best way for restaurants to be ready for all the upcoming changes is to  “Future Proof” their payment processing and ensure they are ready to accept these new payments as well as be prepared for any new compliance mandates and technologies that enter the marketplace.  Restaurants should work with their local POS Dealer to discuss having the right software in place like Restaurant Manager’s NETePay Gateway. Also, you local dealer are now offering these services with  “Enhanced Service Plans”, which ensure that restaurants are ready for  whatever any type of payment consumers what to utilize.

Broders’ capitalizes on Compeat Advantage Interfaced with Restaurant Manager POS

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Since 2012, Broders’ Cucina Italiana has been utilizing Compeat Advantage for their back office and accounting in their restaurant, deli, and catering operation along with Restaurant Manager for their POS System.  According to the owners, “Communication is reliable between Compeat and Restaurant Manager POS.  We have never had a glitch.”  Read more about their experience here.

RM Monitor Helps Watch Over Killarney’s

Killarney‘s Publick House in Hamilton, NJ provides a perfect spot to watch a game and enjoy a pint while dining on traditional Irish fare. That kind of atmosphere keeps the crowd coming in, the staff hopping and the management focused on ensuring smooth operations. For owner Jack Manousos, this task has been made a great deal easier thanks to Restaurant Manager‘s RM Monitor.

RM Monitor is a powerful service that allows owners and managers to gain real-time visibility into key operational and management data from any smart phone. Through access to information such as sales data, labor and cost ratios, and employee hours worked, as well as the ability to receive key alerts on items like overtime hours worked, voids and deletions, management can stay on top of costly issues at any time, from anywhere.

“It‘s the most used app on my iPhone,” said Jack. “No matter where I am simply pulling out my iPhone and launching RM Monitor gives me instant access to the information that lets me know exactly what‘s going on back at the restaurant while reducing my calls to the manager on duty.”

Click here to read the full case study.

Heartbleed Bug May Impact Your Restaurant

Restaurant owners are busy people who don’t always have time to keep up with news from the technology sector. But restaurants that do ANY social media marketing could be affected by the Heartbleed Bug that’s been in the news lately.

If your restaurant does social media marketing, be sure to change the password you use to access any of the social media sites listed on this Heartbleed Hit List. Failure to do so leaves you open to hackers intent of making malicious changes to your account or using your email to send spam.

Tracy Fifer, owner of Fifer’s Seafood in Annapolis, MD didn’t think much about it when he heard first the news about the so-called Heartbleed Bug. “Even though Facebook and Foursquare are an important part of our marketing strategy, it didn’t occur to me that some bug in SSL software would affect my restaurant,” said Fifer. “Fortunately, I work with a terrific POS provider who helps me stay on top of all these technologies and within a few hours of hearing the news, he’d gotten all our passwords updated and our business secure. In this day and age, I couldn’t operate my business without a technology advisor like Technology Marketing!!”

If your not sure what the Heartbleed Bug might mean for your business, contact your POS provider TODAY.

Fifer’s Seafood trades on family tradition with a modern twist

Managing a fresh seafood market and restaurant near the Chesapeake Bay is no easy task for Tracy Fifer, a third-generation Marylander whose grandfather opened a seafood carryout in the heart of Baltimore in 1950. After learning the trade from their father, Tracy and his two younger brothers opened the door to Fifer’s Seafood in 2001, a casual dining restaurant situated in a small shopping plaza in Pasadena, Maryland.

Fifer’s has grown and expanded a few times since their opening, but this popular seafood restaurant and market hasn’t always been on the cutting edge when it comes to using technology in the restaurant. “We were doing it the old-fashioned way with pencil and paper, but that came at a steep price. During a busy weekend we would lose between $300 and $500 due to ticket mistakes and delays. The wrong food would be cooked because the kitchen staff couldn’t read the tickets, the wait staff would forget to add a second or third drink order, and a carry-out order would create chaos because no one knew how to schedule it. I knew it was time to make a change,” stated Tracy.

After receiving a sales call from Dan Youngblood at Technology Marketing, a full-service distributor of ASI’s Restaurant Manager POS, Tracy was excited to see how much time and money he would save by installing a computerized POS system, to help manage the dine-in, carry-out, and delivery aspects of his restaurant. The popularity of Fifer’s carry-out crabs continued to grow and Tracy kept adding phone lines to handle the rush during weekends, especially during the popular summer months when Maryland crabs are in high demand. To streamline this process even more, Tracy decided to try out Restaurant Manager’s new integrated Online Ordering service, which processes orders from the web and sends them directly to Fifer’s kitchen. The weekend rushes were soon more manageable as Fifer’s “trained” their customers to order online and save 10% on their orders. Customers began to flock to the new online ordering service resulting in a 40% increase in online sales. “It seems like almost overnight, we went from zero online sales to having months in excess of $10,000 or more just in online seafood sales,” said Tracy.

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US Foods Mobile Kitchen uses Restaurant Manager iPad POS at Indianapolis Colts Touchdown Town

As the only POS System in the US Foods Resource Advantage Program, Restaurant Manager POS has been chosen as the iPad POS solution for the US Foods Mobile Kitchen at the Indianapolis Colts American Family Insurance Touchdown Town, the Colts premier pre-game party.

“We wanted to do this right all the way around which meant choosing a quality point of sale system with state of the art mobile options,” says Rob Tackett, Director of Sales Support for the US Foods Indianapolis Division, who is overseeing the project. Rob turned to ThinkSmart POS, the local Restaurant Manager reseller, who recommended Restaurant Manager’s iPad POS.

Armed with three iPad POS stations running the full Restaurant Manager POS software, the US Foods Mobile Kitchen team is able to mobilize the order taking process. Cashiers walk the crowds taking orders and credit card payments that are sent directly to the truck; cutting lines and wait times while getting food to hungry fans faster. The easy to use interface also cuts down training times, “We give everyone a 10 minute training class before they start and they pick it right up,” says Rob.

“Restaurant Manager is an amazing system,” he goes on, “it’s so simple to use but behind the scenes it’s doing so much,” Rob and his team particularly love the interface between Restaurant Manager and the US Foods Proprietary Menu Profit Builder Pro Online software. This tool allows them to easily manage food costs, quickly set the right price for specials and new menu items, and accurately predict inventory needs.

The US Foods Mobile Kitchen will be serving delicious, modern takes on tailgate classics for all Colts home games during the regular season. If the Colts make the play-offs their run could be extended.

Learn more about the US Foods Mobile Kitchen and their Restaurant Manager iPad POS system.