1. ‘[Fill-in-the-blank] fast casual’
Restaurateurs aiming to differentiate their limited-service concepts with premium ingredients, upscale tableware and a higher level of service are also grasping for a new label to describe these fancier-than-fast-casual operations. Among the descriptors angling for a spot in the industry lexicon: “elevated fast casual” and “polished fast casual,” among other variations.
As the big tent of better-for-you food enthusiasts gets bigger, new terms are being invented to describe yet another clique showing up to crash the party. For consideration: reductionarians—a term dropped during a presentation on menu trends by industry watcher Nancy Kruse. It describes consumers who are not vegetarians nor vegans, but who are eating less meat and more plant-forward dishes because it’s better for their health and the planet.
3. ‘Come as you are'
Red Robin may not be the first chain to let staffers flaunt their individuality even while in uniform—but they may be the first to attach a label to the policy. “Come as you are” is how the burger chain describes its new policy of allowing employees to display their piercings and tattoos rather than requiring that they be covered up.
Starbucks instituted a similar policy a few years ago, allowing “finishing touches” such as visible tattoos—as long as they’re not offensive and not on the face or throat—and piercings, including small ear gauges.
Many operators think of millennial workers and customers as “tech-saavy.” However, that’s missing the point. “Tech-dependent” may be a more relevant description of millennials’ relationship to tech, asserted Jason Dorsey, co-founder and chief strategy officer of the Center for Generational Kinetics.
That doesn’t necessarily mean millennials want tech that tries to do too much. Dorsey went on to say that millennials, like other consumers, are drawn to simple, easy-to-use apps and ordering systems. Tech that is confusing or hard to maneuver is just as frustrating to them as to older customers.
5. ‘I didn’t get hit'
The reach of recent cybersecurity threats and attacks suggests that it’s more a matter of when a company will face a breach than if. That perceived inevitability explains why the metric for success in cybersecurity today may merely be “I didn’t get hit,” as Todd Thibodeaux, CEO of IT association CompTIA, told the audience in a session on the topic.
Some of the more senior members of the team smile at the junior staff who are excited to uncover an interesting trend in “eatertainment” or the latest single-ingredient concept. We try not to be condescending when we suggest they do some research by looking at past issues of Restaurant Business or old Technomic top chain reports before calling it the next big thing.