Translating Trends into Opportunities

Translating Restaurant Trends into Opportunities

At the upcoming VIBE Conference, one of the most awaited sessions is the annual presentation by the team from Technomic on on-premise beverage trends, this year given by Darren Tristano and Donna Hood Crecca. Called "Translating Trends into Opportunities," the presentation looks at emerging trends, crucial to succeed in today’s take-share environment. With growth expected to remain slow throughout 2015, unique and exciting beverage programs can be the differentiating factor for restaurants looking to build incremental sales opportunities. Technomic adult beverage experts Tristano and Hood Crecca will share current market and consumer insights, outlining forward-thinking strategies to spark increases in drink sales and profits and improve guest satisfaction. We spoke with Hood Crecca about the seminar.

What's different about how you will be sharing up to date info about on-premise behavior this year?

We'll be compiling from lots of sources - our end of year numbers for 2014, sharpened 2015 projections based on those figures as well as total market volume and on- and off-premise performance, the various consumer surveys we conduct and our bartender survey as well as Menu Monitor, and we'll connect all those dots. We'll probably from that be able to present five or six general trends that we see as influencing the on-premise market in 2015 and beyond and put operators on a new path to profitability. We're trying to get more into what the numbers really tell us and what trends will emerge from them. It might be category trends or more toward occasion dynamics, actual consumer behaviors and beverage trend concept.

This is something we put together just as the conference nears; in fact, some of it will be based on some things we learn after our "State of the Industry" webinar, which is just before the conference, so it will be up to the minute information and analyses.

Can you share one example?

One of the things we are already looking into as I mentioned is occasion dynamics - what determines where someone decides to go for a particular drinking occasion, and how do they decide, or what they're going to drink at that occasion, and even through out that occasion. The later is important because we find increasingly with Millennials that they don't simply go out and, say, drink beer throughout the evening; they change what they drink throughout the occasion and we want to identify some of the triggers for those decisions. A number of the big points of differentiation for the operator is how do you tap into the dynamics of the occasion?

Millennials are known to want very broad chooses.

They definitely want more choices at lower cost. Cost is constantly a lead factor in drink choice for the past couple years but we do see that interest among many consumers in exploring constantly, especially with wine. That whole issue of balancing your selection and variety while maintaining margin control and keeping it manageable will be one of the challenges coming out of these occasion dynamics.

Anything else leaping out at you?

We don't want to give away the store but we really want to look at what triggers the consumer to select a particular type of drink over another; that's a lot of where our focus will be, and it's a fascinating way to examine the data we have.