1. Predictive ordering
Futuristic technology was on full display at the NRA Show, but the shiny object restaurateurs would most like to get their hands on is predictive ordering. Anticipating what customers want before they order could be a game changer, the NRA’s Hudson Riehle suggested. And past purchasing behavior won’t be the only cue. Weather forecasting is among the tea leaves that may be integrated into next-gen predictive applications—which is relevant given that inclement weather has been proven to be a drag on restaurant sales.
2. Luxe casual
As restaurant concepts try to write their page in the double-digit fast-casual growth story, they’re stretching the definitions of traditional foodservice segments. QSR-plus (coined by researcher Technomic) and polished casual quickly are becoming widely accepted terminology, describing higher quality but still relaxed, convenient or affordable offerings.
Now California-based restaurant chain Luna Grill is using the term “luxe casual” to describe its better-than-fast-casual proposition. At the 26-unit concept, customers order from the counter; but after they sit down, servers come by to offer guests soda refills, another beer or other upsell opportunities. The owners of the limited-service restaurant call it luxe casual because it claims some of the same amenities as full-service restaurants.
The growth of delivery services and proliferation of inexpensive, accessible restaurants means that noncommercial foodservice increasingly is finding itself competing to hold the interest of its once-captive clientele. “Newcom” is a term that may better describe those noncom strategies that address that reality with rapid growth initiatives and innovation within the segment.