by Margaux Salcedo | October 15, 2017
What does it take to be a successful restaurateur in this new world full of tech-savvy, well-traveled families? Not just a good menu, apparently.
Chef RJ Ungco, a graduate of the esteemed culinary institute Les Roches in Switzerland, is a restaurant consultant who gives advice on anything and everything you need to know about starting a restaurant, managing a restaurant, even saving a restaurant.
His company assists restaurateurs in everything from conceptualization to branding, developing a chef’s menu, constructing a restaurateur’s dream restaurant, and streamlining day-to-day operations, helping in hiring and training staff as well as marketing.
He has worked with restaurants on the brink of closing. He looked at their sales and price trends, studied their target market, and then advised them on how to tweak the concepts to make them become money machines.
He has worked with restaurants such as Casa Roces, Cafe Enye, Peri-Peri Charcoal Chicken, Parmigiano at Resorts World, Toni & Sergio, Shrimp Bucket, Spatzle at Shangri-la Plaza, Rue Bourbon, Poke Shack and Ponzo’s beside the St. Alphonsus di Ligouri Church in Magallanes. Out of town, he has consulted for The Nest in El Nido, Palawan, Chateau de Busay in Cebu, Chateau by the Sea in Mactan, and Flotsam & Jetsam in La Union.
I picked his brain on what it takes to be a successful restaurateur in today’s world, given that there is so much competition.
His answer revealed something about today’s customers: It’s no longer just about the food; a lot has to do with marketing.
“Having delicious food is a given,” RJ explained. “But these days, it’s not enough. Customers are more sophisticated or at least try to be.”
This reminds me of the Madrid Fusion 2015 ad showing a young working girl engrossed in her thoughts about the dish before her: “The seasoning is spot on, nice acidity. Noodles al dente … and I love the scallions. It’s just missing something … something smokey.” Then the camera pans down and it turns out to be a simple bowl of mami. Or the artsy young man, wincing in what almost appears to be sympathy for the pastry chef who almost perfected her dessert: “So close, she almost got it perfect … It’s sweet, nutty, creamy all at the same time … but a pinch of sea salt would have nailed it just to set off the caramel.” Then the camera pans down and it’s just leche flan.
People no longer just eat; they want to experience a meal
Also, everyone is now a food expert, thanks in large part to social media, especially Instagram.
But food must not only be Instagram-worthy. “Use of textures and colors is important but the restaurateur should try to tickle all five senses of the customer. Aside from addressing a customer’s sense of taste and smell through the food, he should also activate hearing with good music, sight with great design, touch with interactive food items. This gives the customer a better overall experience at your resto,” he advises.
Beyond that, you must also tug at sentiment. “A lot of customers now are well-traveled so use your ingredients to bring out a bit of nostalgia, like remind them of their trip to Morocco with the plates that you use or a cooking class they saw of Marco Pierre White with the technique used for your chicken,” he suggests.
I guess he means a chef must bring out that moment in Ratatouille where Anton Ego, the fierce restaurant critic, remembered his childhood with the cooking of Remy the rat-chef—that take-me-back moment that brings the eater to a place of wonderful memories.
Just like in any other business, however, no matter how good your food is, if no one knows about it, it won’t translate to income for your restaurant. So RJ advises to invest in marketing.
“It’s a marketing-driven industry now, so a restaurant should spend on marketing the equivalent of 10-15 percent of bimonthly costs,” RJ says. “This may not immediately translate to an increase in sales but it’s important so that the restaurant get its message across. Awareness alone about a restaurant plays a big role in its success.”
He also acknowledges the importance today of “influencers” or “tastemakers” or social media personalities who allow marketing strategists to use them as subtle advertising platforms.
He admits, however, “Social media is both a blessing and a curse for restaurateurs.”
Marketing agencies now send these people to restaurants “so that enough influencers would say that your products are okay.”
Admittedly, this is also the reason why there are a lot of restaurants today that seem to be hyped up by influencers or tastemakers but when you visit, the food is just so-so or pretty but not tasty. This applies internationally as well.
One must not necessarily have a unique concept to make it in the market today. Instead, RJ emphasizes you must understand what your target market wants. Or if you are stuck in a certain location, know what the market in that area demands.
“Don’t insist on selling steak and fries in Binondo,” he says.
You must know the behavior of your market. Is your location near a church? In a condo building? Do you cater to families or single persons? What are their habits? What are they willing to pay for? Then look for angles to penetrate the market.
He cites himself as an example. “I’m a chef but there are already so many chefs, so since I have a business background and am very creative, I focused on consultancy instead.”
After understanding the market, a restaurateur must be open to change. RJ has acted as consultant for restaurants that needed fresh eyes to see why they were not making money.
He shares the hardest clients are those who are not open to change and those who are only concerned about income without having any passion for the very things that make the restaurant come alive.
Most important, though, is the restaurant owner’s dedication. The owner must commit to the restaurant or else, no matter what he or she does, the restaurant will not be a success. “The key is day-in and day-out consistency in everything you do.”
The restaurant must always be on its toes. “There must be constant innovation not just in the food but in all aspects of the restaurant. The staff must always be one to two steps ahead of customers so it is important to take good care of your human resources as well because they are your brand ambassadors.”
“A restaurant business is not all glam,” he stresses. “It’s really a lot of hard work.”
by Annie Pilon |Oct 14, 2017
New technology, trends and techniques are likely to have an impact on how you do business in 2018. These changes can vary depending on your business or industry. But members of the online small business community have lots of experience updating their online marketing and other operations. Here are some tips to help your small business do the same.
Pay Attention to the Key Drivers of the Coming Digital TransformationTechnology is constantly transforming the methods businesses use to run their everyday operations. So if you want to keep up, you have to pay attention to the factors that drive that change. This post by Blair Evan Ball of Prepare 1 includes a rundown of some of those key drivers.
Don’t Believe These Myths About Video Social Media MarketingVideo has become a huge part of the social media strategy for a lot of businesses. But you can’t believe everything you hear about video social media marketing. In this Marketing Land post, Jordan Kasteler debunks some common myths about using video on social media.
Learn These Trends Regarding the Future of Content and SEOContent marketing and SEO are two concepts that constantly change due to evolving trends, tools and technology. To learn more about the trends that could impact the future of content and SEO, check out this Content Marketing Institute post by Andy Betts.
Use These Techniques to Grow Your Business in 2018Looking forward to 2018, you’ll need to grow your business in ways that are going to resonate with modern consumers. This post by Valentine Belonwu on Just Money Web includes some key tips for growing a business in 2018. And BizSugar members share thoughts on the post too.
Steer Clear of These Content Marketing Best PracticesThere are some common tips and best practices for content marketers that might actually do more harm to your business than good. To avoid any negative impact from those marketing myths, check out the list and explanations in this post by Neil Patel.
Remember These Three Essentials for New WebsitesA website is an essential part of any online marketing strategy. And there are some essential ingredients that go into making an effective website, as Ivan Widjaya of Noobpreneur reviews in this post.
Keep Your Core Values in MindAs technology and trends change, your methods are likely to change as well. But one thing that shouldn’t change is your business’s core values. This Strella Social Media post by Rachel Strella includes a discussionon seeking clarity regarding those values. And members of the BizSugar community chime in here.
Improve Page Speed for More Traffic and ConversionsNo matter what kind of fancy online marketing methods you use, all of your efforts can be derailed if your site loads too slowly. That’s why improving page speed can lead to more traffic and conversions for your small business. Jeremy Knauff elaborates in this Search Engine Journal post.
Follow This Legal Guide for BloggersThere’s more to blogging than just throwing a few quick posts together. You need to consider legal issues like copyright and fair use images. This Process Street post by Ben Mulholland includes a guide you can use to navigate these legal issues for bloggers.
Use These Business Tools for EntrepreneursThe tools you use to run your business can make a big difference in how you reach customers. The tools listed in this post by Vartika Kashyap on Onaplatterofgold.com can go a long way for your business. You can also see commentary on the post over on BizSugar.
by KIM LACHANCE SHANDROW, FREE ENTERPRISE | OCT 13, 2017
Tech startups are the small but mighty heroes of the innovation revolution. They create jobs, stimulate the economy and bring bold, often life-changing new ideas and inventions to the fore. Reflecting this rising trend, cities all across America are home to an ever-growing crop of transformative startups - and the next generation of skilled tech talent propelling them forward.
To better understand the U.S. cities driving the digital revolution - and to highlight exemplary patterns within their startup ecosystems that entrepreneurs and civic leaders can learn from to bolster their region's competitive edge - 1776 , the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation , the U.S. Chamber Technology Engagement Center and FreeEnterprise.com developed the Innovation That Matters (ITM) report .
Drawing off of survey data collected from local tech startup founders and public and private sector leaders, the annual extensive research project, now in its third year, ranks 25 American cities' readiness to capitalize on the shift to the digital economy.The 413 entrepreneurs and business influencers polled (via an 18-point questionnaire) are working to solve problems in the healthcare, energy, education and smart cities sectors through technology and innovation. The information and feedback they provided centered around six key areas - startup capital, connectivity, culture, density, industry specialization and talent - was used to rank the various metropolitan areas.
"We're in the midst of a digital revolution has the potential to make winners of some cities and leave others behind," said J.D. Harrison, senior director of strategic communications at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "The cities that embrace this shift to a digital economy and actively support technology startups will be best positioned to unleash the power of high-impact innovation and cultivate vibrant, thriving communities."
Of the many tech hubs examined, 10 rose to the top as the hottest American cities to launch a tech startup from right now. They are:
Boston, home to a wealth of bleeding-edge health– and education-tech startups (and the world-class universities and hospitals that often feed into them in one way or another), has laid claim to the Number One spot on the ITM report for two consecutive years. The bustling seaside biotech hub led the rankings for its exceptional startup density, which fell far above the report average. This thanks to an exceptionally large tech entrepreneur population and for the city’s prevalence of next-wave technology startups.
2. San Francisco Bay Area
Situated in Silicon Valley’s big backyard by the sea, the San Francisco Bay Area capped the ITM rankings, holding the Number Two spot for a second year in a row. Once again leading for its remarkably high startup density, the Bay Area rose to the top of the list due to its continued eminence in the three following areas: talent, capital and industry specialization. On the whole, the densely populated region boasts an exceptionally large number of well-established and rising tech startups. The early dominance of many widely recognized early innovators has precipitated a surge in seed funding in the area, as well as a particularly robust startup community support system.
One of the most notable upward movers on this latest ITM report, the City of Brotherly Love moved up five places, to 3rd from 8th in overall ranking last year. The city saw marked improvements in startup culture and connectivity, and in availability of skilled tech talent. More specifically, Philadelphia, known to some as “Philicon Alley,” saw a 5.5 percent increase in receptivity to innovative ideas and a 6.6 increase in the business-friendliness of its regional regulatory environment.
4. San Diego
Sunny San Diego, a Southern California tourism hot-spot that attracts approximately 30 million visitors per year, inched up one place to 4th this year from 5th on last year’s ITM report. The seaside city, home to fast-growing tech sectors such as cybersecurity, Big Data analytics, robotics and software development, saw notable increases in startup connectivity and capital, despite significant losses in startup culture and access to skilled tech talent.
Austin, which has become a haven for tech-savvy millennials seeking good-paying job opportunities from the more than 5,500 innovative startups in the area, jumped from 6th to 5th in overall rankings on the ITM report this year. Driving the Texas tech hub’s ascent is its considerable availability of skilled workforce members, as well as a particularly large startup density. The city — increasingly known as “Silicon Hills” and widely recognized for its business-friendly regulatory climate and relatively affordable cost-of-living — is also attractive to young software developers and other technology workers angling to break into large tech firms, such as Google, Facebook, Apple and HomeAway, that have set up shop in the trendy town.
Driven in large part by a surge in financial tech, education tech and health tech startups, Atlanta clinched the “most improved” city designation on this year’s ITM report, rocketing up more than 15 places since last year’s analysis. Georgia’s capital city, home to The Advanced Technology Development Center at Georgia Tech and Microsoft Technology Center, dramatically improved in its rankings mainly due to strong performances in the areas of startup connectivity and culture. Unlike most markets, where connectivity was on the decline over the last year, Atlanta, increasingly known in local techie circles as “Silicon Peach,” saw a 33.3 percent improvement in corporate-to-small-business connections, as well as an 11.5 percent improvement in connections with startup advisors and mentors.
Dallas, the Lone Star State’s fourth most populous metropolitan area, soared upward 12 places on the ITM report this year, claiming the 7th spot from the 19th the year before. Fueling its ascent is a marked improvement in startup connectivity, in which it bumped up 10 places this year. The city, known for its large and diverse pool of skilled workers, also clocked noticeable gains in citizen engagement (which increased by 13.3 percent) and access to startup ecosystem cheerleaders (which jumped by 15.5 percent).
Seattle, increasingly known as “Silicon Canal,” climbed from 11th on the ITM report to 8th this year in the overall rankings. Washington state’s largest metropolis — home to Amazon.com and several other prominent tech firms, with Microsoft headquartered out of nearby Redmond — saw a 7-place improvement in startup density, a 3-place improvement in access to talent and a 1-place improvement in venture capital.
9. New York City
Coming in at 9th in this year’s ITM report, New York City’s technology ecosystem, sometimes called “Silicon Alley,” is home to just about every startup niche imaginable, with notable sectors including education tech, health tech and financial tech playing a big role. Specifically, over the past year, the largest East Coast technology hub saw a 10-place increase in availability of skilled tech talent and a 10-place increase in startup culture.
10. Portland, Ore.
Nicknamed “Silicon Forest” and home to a booming green tech sector, Portland jumped up two spots in the overall ITM report rankings this year to nab the 10th spot. This ascent is mainly due to significant gains in startup density. Additionally, the city saw a two-place improvement in startup culture, as well as a one-place upward jump in availability of skilled talent.
by Annie Pilon | October 14, 2017
The federal government is awarding more contracts to women owned small businesses than ever before. There’s still a long way to go. But for women who haven’t ever considered doing business with the federal government, it might be a good time to reconsider.
Federal Contract Tips for Women Owned BusinessesIn fact, there are some opportunities for government contracts that are meant specifically for women owned small businesses. Here are some tips for women business owners looking to navigate the world of government contracting.
Consider if the Federal Government Would Be an Ideal CustomerGovernment contracting isn’t for everyone. But that doesn’t mean you should dismiss the opportunity without at least exploring whether your products or services might work for some government agencies. Every government agency needs to purchase all of its supplies, materials and services from somewhere. So consider if what your business sells could be a good fit for any of those agencies or offices.
Lourdes Martin-Rosa, President of Government Business Solutions and American Express OPEN Advisor for Government Contracting said in a phone interview with Small Business Trends, “The only thing the federal government really manufactures is money. So if they’re going to purchase anything, whether it’s zippers or furniture, it’s going to come from a private entity. And hopefully in most cases that’s a U.S. business.”
Register with the System for Award ManagementBefore you’re able to apply for any government contracts, you need to register your business. To do that, visit the System for Award Management and create a profile for your small business. Complete the entire process so that government agencies can find your business when looking for contractors to do business with.
See if Your Business Qualifies for Set-AsidesThere are also set-asides in select areas where women owned small businesses are supposed to get priority. But it’s not in every industry. You can see the list of set-asides for women owned small businesses online to see if your business might qualify in one of these areas. If it does, it could give you an advantage when applying for contracts in that area.
Self Certify as a Woman Owned Small Business with the SBAIf your business does qualify for any of these set-asides, you’ll need to register as a women-owned small business. This is a self-certification process that you can complete online through a portal provided by the SBA.
Receive Bid NotificationsFrom there, you have to actually bid on contracts. Those bids come up for different agencies at different times. So you’ll want to constantly be on the lookout for anything that might be relevant to your business. You can also sign up for notifications so you’ll be the first to know when new bids come up in your industry.
Study Procurement ForecastsBut you don’t have to wait until each bid is actually posted in order to get your business ready. Each federal agency provides something called a procurement forecast on its website. This is basically a list of products and services that it plans on utilizing in the near future. So you can look up those procurement forecasts for the agencies you’d like to gain contracts with to give your business a better chance of being ready when those bids are posted.
Attend Government Contracting EventsAs with basically any aspect of growing a business, education and networking can go a long way when it comes to government contracting. And there are plenty of events out there that can help. OPEN Forum, for instance, hosts educational events for small businesses looking to make the most of government contracting. Through these events, you can access valuable resources to learn more about getting government contracts, as well as network with others in your industry and meet actual government buyers.
Find a Strategic Teaming PartnerEven if your business is in an industry that sets aside a portion of its government contracts to women owned small businesses, those contracts only have to actually go to women owned businesses if there are at least two such businesses that apply. So if you apply for contracts where you’re the only one, those set-asides won’t benefit your business. But Martin-Rosa recommends networking with other women in your industry who are interested in government contracts so you can apply for some of the same ones in order to help each other’s chances of securing those contracts.
Research the Agency’s MissionEach government agency has its own mission and goals. So when applying for contracts, it helps to tailor your bid to the specific agency, rather than utilizing a one-size-fits-all approach. Before submitting a bid, do some research on the agency’s mission so you can make it as appealing as possible.
Keep At ItGovernment contracting isn’t an easy process. The government is supposed to allocate about a quarter of its contracts to small businesses in the U.S. And about 5 percent is meant to go to women owned small businesses. But the government doesn’t always meet those goals. So it’s important to keep going and improve your strategy over time.
by Jonathan Shieber | Oct 13, 2017
Influencer marketing is the “in” thing right now that all the hip brands are using to stay relevant with their even hipper young audiences.
While it used to be the province of big brands cutting big deals with big influencers, there’s a second or third tier to the influencer market — one that’s more targeted to specific niches — and one that’s been hard for small and medium-sized businesses to crack.
Well, Unity Influence believes it has a low-cost, machine-learning-enabled solution to connect these micro-influencers with the small businesses who want to use their targeted reach for marketing purposes … and open up a new category to the benefits of influencer pitches. And the company just launched from its private beta to take on new customers.
The company, currently working out of offices in South San Francisco and Los Angeles, was founded by Jacobo Lumbreras, who previously worked for the employee assessment service Yoi Corp., and Patrick Ip, who previously ran small and medium-sized business retention for Google’s AdWords business.
The two men are members of the Kairos Society, and first met at StartingBloc, a fellowship and training program for social entrepreneurs.
Both had been mulling how to build an influencer marketing engine that would be more accessible to small businesses… and arguably more successful than the standard AdWords campaigns and Facebook ads that are the typical ways that small businesses drive traffic online.
Despite the lack of transparency or data on the efficacy of influencer marketing, Ip and Lumbreras see an opportunity to expand the existing market and bring some technological efficiency to the process.
That’s not to say there aren’t already companies trying to carve out space. Companies like Nuvi, SocialToaster, Izea, Scrunch, and Babblebox all tout influencer marketing solutions.
Brands spent around $570 million on influencer marketing, according to an eMarketer survey cited by Digiday. The same article broke down some other numbers and found the price range per post for influencers with between 500,000 and 1 million followers falls between $5,000 and $10,000.
What Lumbreras and Ip say they offer is a system that is more automated than their competitors, which the two said act more like traditional advertising agency shops.
Most startups in the influencer advertising world require manual searches for influencers and manual approval of contracts. That creates additional costs and friction in the buying process, that Ip argues Unity alleviates.
“At Google I worked on advertiser retention. And one of the things we wrestled with was high churn with small business customers,” Ip said.
The lesson was to make the process as simple as possible. So the company has users fill out a single form for the business they’re in and the types of audience they want to reach. Unity dos the rest and charges only $200 for a campaign.
“For us, our focus is on what we call micro-influencers,” said Ip. “If you get a big influencer their engagement rate is 2% to 3%. With micro-influencers it’s 6% and for our power users it’s 10% to 12%.”
The influencer marketing world will only gain ground, according to Ip, because organic reach is “getting killed”.
For the company, the categories that are most active right now are food and fitness. Brands in each category are always looking to find new ways to reach an audience and gain that critical first foothold in their market. Often, an influencer endorsement can help.
The argument was strong enough to attract 9 angel investors to back the company.
“We’re trying to build this third way,” between native advertising and traditional targeting, says Ip. “We’re trying to do human advertising and human content, but do it at internet scale.”
Source : https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/13/bringing-influencer-marketing-to-small-businesses-unity-influence-raises-1-million/
by Alex Spencer | October 13 2007
Facebook has launched food ordering within its core product, enabling users to buy a takeaway without having to leave the social network.
“People already go to Facebook to figure out what to eat by reading about nearby restaurants, and seeing what their friends say about them,” said Alex Himel, VP of local at Facebook. “So, we’re making it even easier.”
Users can search for a specific restaurant or browse the 'Order Food' section to see nearby restaurants. To help them pick, reviews are pulled from the business' Facebook page, and listings can be filtered by cuisine, price and opening time – with a dedicated section for any restaurants the user has previously favourited.
Once they've picked, the user is connected to the relevant delivery service, where they can order and pay. As long as they already have an account with that service, this is all done within the Facebook app or site.
It's yet another play by Facebook to monopolise user's time, bringing content traditionally found on the wider web beneath its own umbrella – just like it's already done with Instant Articles.
This feature has been undergoing testing for the past year, but is now rolling out across the US. The launch is supported by partnerships with food delivery services including Delivery.com, DoorDash and ChowNow, as well as individual restaurant chains like Papa John’s, Denny’s and Five Guys.
Source : http://mobilemarketingmagazine.com/facebook-launches-food-ordering-within-its-app
by Alana Chargualaf | The Guam Daily Post | Oct 15, 2017
The number of Japanese tourists coming to Guam continues to decline, and local restaurants aren’t passing it by.
Jamaican Grill, an island favorite that is usually packed with customers, is seeing a slowdown at their Tumon location, according to co-owner Frank Kenney.
“We all know the real reason why they’re cutting back: The tourists are not coming because of what’s going on with North Korea. It’s sad. I guess that’s just how things work,” said Ray Shinohara, owner of In-and-Out BBQ.
However, Meskla, a local restaurant that caters to tourists daily, had adjusted long before United and Delta airlines announced their withdrawals of flights between Guam and Japan.
Leonard Campos, general manager of Meskla Enterprises LLC, noticed the decline six months ago and said the announcement was not a surprise, but he added that it is disappointing.
Campos said Meskla adjusted its marketing strategy four months ago in anticipation of reduced tourist arrivals from Japan.
“Our change in how we market to visitors really helped us. When we first started, 80 percent of our visitors were Japanese. That’s a big market. Now it’s less than the Korean visitors,” Campos said.
Meskla has begun targeting Guam’s Korean market by sending advertisement coupons and flyers before the tourists leave their country.
“That makes a big difference,” Campos said. "That way it’s hopefully a designation they already plan to make before they arrive.”
Campos explained that it can be difficult competing with other businesses who do a lot of marketing on the island and that Meskla Enterprises continues to jump ahead and catch the tourists before they depart for Guam.
To help gauge their marketing efforts, the restaurant keeps tab when tourists turn in their coupons. And according to Campos, business has been "very good."
Meskla has also put its marketing focus on Guam’s military patrons.
Flexibility and diligence
As far as marketing and advertising go, Campos encourages flexibility and diligence in tracking visitors’ numbers, if not weekly, then monthly, to get ahead in the game. The business sets an annual budget and allocates certain funds to their different marketing plans.
“If things get worse, you would have to almost look at increasing your marketing budget to try to compete with what’s out there,” Campos said. "As a business, we have to be concerned with what’s happening in North Korea. It’s probably going to get worse before it gets better.”
“We started doing the marketing outside of Guam and making sure the customers come in," said Faith Anitol, Meskla’s marketing manager. "It is a challenge, but it is also fun. We are trying our best. I think we speak for most of the restaurants here on Guam. Do the adjustments at the right time with the right people.”
Delta Airlines recently decided to halt flights between Guam and Japan beginning January 2018, and United Airlines recently announced its decision to reduce its flights for travelers coming from Japan and Manila. The Guam-Sapporo route will be discontinued after Jan. 15, 2018.
And how to recover them
Catch up on my current posts along with industry articles