Some 63% of consumers still say face-to-face word-of-mouth restaurant recommendations are the most trusted, but a growing number are also citing social media sources, according to Zocalo Group’s 2013 Recommendations Study. "The No. 1 most credible source of [online] recommendations is YouTube. But a friend liking a brand page and sharing that is now considered the second-most prominent form of recommendation, and third is online brand reviews," said Zocalo CEO Paul Rand.
Boston's Sebastian's Cafe has seen success with a new type of daily deal program from mobile loyalty program provider LevelUp, which rewards first-time customers with free-food credits. The new model may have advantages over daily deals from Groupon and other providers because it doesn't require customers to pay in advance and doesn't encourage guests to limit purchases to the amount of the deal.
Restaurant consultant Clark Wolf takes issue with Noma chef Rene Redzepi's comment that patrons visit restaurants either to refuel or be challenged; Wolf's list of reasons is much longer and more complex. "I delight, I remember, I grab comfort, I just smile. Food can make me giggle or get me teary, deeply satisfy or stimulate my desire for more. It can calm me the freak down or really rev me up."
Consumers are clamoring for the daily restaurant deals they find at popular group-buying sites such as Groupon, but the surge in customer traffic isn't translating into higher sales and profits for some participating eateries. A recent deal offered by Chicago Bagel Authority sold almost 10,000 Groupons, but netted the shop only $15,000 on $80,000 worth of food. Worse, said restaurant owner Greg Gibbs, the higher profile hasn't resulted in increased revenue.
Traditional Latin-American flavors featured on a new food pyramid show Latinos a healthier way to eat. Maize, quinoa, plantains, mangos and papayas are among the items featured as part of the new pyramid.