Kelly Killian's Consumer Beat

Kelly Killian mines recent research for insights on consumer trends
Kelly Killian
Editor
Restaurant Business Magazine

Kelly Smith Killian is Editor of Restaurant Business. This role marks a return to the foodservice industry for Kelly who previously was editor-in-chief of Restaurants & Institutions magazine, a former industry publication that won American Business Media’s Jesse H. Neal award for business journalism.

Kelly has extensive experience writing and editing content that is compelling, visual and audience-focused. She’s covered everything from real estate to weddings, having helped launch Four Seasons Weddings as editorial consultant and served as editor of Martha Stewart Weddings for four years.  She also brings to Restaurant Business a finance background that she picked up during her seven years with Money Magazine (including three as assistant bureau chief in Washington, D.C.).

Kelly studied English at the University of California, Berkeley. She also completed the Radcliffe Publishing Course at Harvard (now at Columbia University).

Kelly lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her husband, two sons and dog Sadie.

When one of our editors caught a glimpse of the ahi-tuna salad photograph in the May issue, she said it made her hungry. When a colleague told her it was from Newk’s Eatery, her reaction was exactly the expression I’ll bet the brand was going for: “That’s from a fast casual?” We talk a lot around here about how the lines between foodservice segments and categories are blurring. As part of a media company whose umbrella of products includes c-stores, noncommercial operations (hospitals, colleges...
Please resist the urge to too-quickly agree with me when I tell you, I am not a millennial. So, I understand that I’m not necessarily the target demographic of the recent movement in the restaurant industry toward frictionless service. What’s that, you say? It’s the hospitality model—better yet, phenomenon—by which every step of the foodservice transaction is designed to be fast, seamless and essentially free of human contact. (If you’re not familiar, I implore you to read our story for a...
fast food kid eating cheeseburger
New research out last week found that the number of American kids eating fast food declined between 2003 and 2010. Over a decade ago, some 39 percent of kids ate fast food on a given day. Seven years later, the number was less than 33 percent. According to coauthor Colin Rehm of Tufts University, whether due to consumers’ shifting preferences or restaurants’ efforts, the report shows that “changes can be made.” Rehm cited nutritional awareness and restaurant menu and portion adjustments as...
Food, music and technology converged at this week’s South by Southwest conference in Austin. Judging from the tweets, blog posts and Instagram photos chronicling the indie event, it wasn’t just the place to rub shoulders with the cool kids—some real business insights about the future of foodservice seeped out between the f-bombs, hip-hop tracks and food-truck lines. Even in a year when the SXSW planners included a full-fledged, food-focused “SouthBites” program (three days, 30-plus sessions)...
There’s that saying from “To Kill a Mockingbird” that you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family. We’re luckier than most: For this issue of Restaurant Business, we got to choose our families, too. In this case, the families we chose are the 20 most powerful clans in restaurants today . Turns out, when brainstorming candidates for the RB Power 20 we were spoiled for choice. That’s a great problem to have considering how many family businesses—not to mention restaurants—fizzle...
After 90 minutes, too-many-to-count video montages, a lesson in pronouncing “aluminum” (according to the narrator of the Apple Watch Sport video, it’s “al-loo-MIN-um”) and … model/mom Christy Turlington, Apple released the details of its Apple Watch at a live-streaming presentation Monday afternoon. The early read from the people who handicap this kind of thing for a living: We heard not much new information on the smartwatch beyond what we learned from a preview last September , but Apple’s...
Not to brag, but I’ve been getting a lot of compliments on my new glasses. (Although, often, it’s followed by a request to take on some additional work: “You look marvelous. Can you help me with this?”) My response to the praise is one companies dream of: More than just a simple “Thank you,” I can’t help but gush about the experience I enjoyed shopping for the frames, exchanging information with customer service and, ultimately, purchasing them. It was the breeziest experience I’ve had buying...
The life cycle of a restaurant might better be measured in dog years. The accepted wisdom says something like 90 percent of eateries close in the first year of operation; and around three-fourths of the survivors won’t make it past year five. So actually, maybe mouse years is more accurate. That’s why it’s always astounding to me when I’m reminded that Chipotle—the subject of our cover story and the veritable poster child for fast casuals, the focus of much of the issue —is over 20 years old...

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