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5 ideas from Trends & Directions

Technomics’ 2013 Trends & Directions conference abounded in business-building ideas. Here’s a sampling.

  1. Don’t underestimate the selling power of cleavage. Frozen-yogurt concepts abound, but an upstart called Cups is blazing a growth path with its frosty twist on Hooters. The name Cups may refer as much to the crucial workings of a bra as it does to a food container, as the logo strongly suggests. And employees tend to be healthy young women in tight pink tops. “This surprises me because I think of yogurt as appealing to women 16 to 35,” quipped Technomic’s Darren Tristano. “Maybe they figure women will like it so much that they’ll want to work there.” He pegged the 10-unit chain’s sales at $3.5 million.
  1. The Egg & I, one of the burgeoning crop of breakfast-and-lunch concepts, has found another way to bolster its morning business. The 69-unit chain rents its party rooms for breakfast business meetings, complete with WiFi service. A business that books the space can buy all the attendees a country-style breakfast.
  1. If you want your bar operation to be a hit with Millennials, stock Irish whiskey. Many bars and restaurants are finding the spirit to be the gateway whiskey for youngsters looking to try a more adult libation. The mentions of Irish whiskey on menus has soared 42 percent, according to Technomic beverage specialist Donna Hood Grecka.
  1. If Gen X-ers are a target market, pay careful attention to the comfort level of your dining rooms. Membes of that generation are more appreciative than older consumers of a comfortable restaurant setting.
  1. Millennials, on the other hand, are drawn by bargains. In part, they’re far from their prime earning potential, so dollars are tight. In addition, they regrd deals as a means to dine out more often. Technomic’s data suggested that Millennials may be the most frequent users of restaurants the business has ever seen.

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