Disrupt or be disrupted. That is the theme of the 2016 Restaurant Leadership Conference – and it’s what so many in the restaurant industry are looking to achieve this year. Why? The primary reason is many of the channels these outlets typically use to engage their customers are becoming less effective and they are looking to new mediums and new technologies to propel their marketing and customer engagement to the next level. As a result, restaurants are looking for those next generation experience differentiators – and interest is growing around using data and segmentation to better understand customers. Naturally, this leads to a conversation about personalization and taking customer insights to a level that the restaurant industry has never seen before. Technologies like Plexure that provide customer experience differentiation are receiving lots of attention and interest at the show.
A secondary theme that was really big at the event is the increasing growth of franchise operation ownership and how it fits in with the industry. Larger franchise groups may now include 300-400 locations under a single operation, which makes it challenging for these groups to stand out from their competitors in the same area. At Plexure, we’re observing that a lot of these groups are as large as some small restaurant chains, with their own internal marketing and digital capabilities that rival the biggest and best brands. This is causing the demand for technologies and differentiated services that allow these franchises to compete more effectively.
I’ve learned a lot at the Restaurant Leadership Conference – and want to give a special shout-out to everyone who attended my session “Reinventing customer experience in restaurants and food service with mobile.” Looking forward to answering questions and staying in touch!