Looking back on 2017, the Toast restaurant community has a lot to celebrate. 21,028,863 pizzas and 14,325,884 burgers later, they have strong momentum heading into the new year. This thriving group of restaurants also gives us insights into trends and data that can impact everyone in food service.
Here’s a preview of the key insights pulled from the Toast restaurant community.
Boston & Los Angeles are the Best Tipping Cities
While labor costs are rising dramatically in some major cities, hiring and maintaining talented staff are top concerns for restaurateurs across the country. The Restaurant Technology in 2017 Report found that “labor and hiring” was the top concern for restaurateurs. It comes as no surprise that tipping is a major factor in the satisfaction and retention of staff.
According to the data collected from Toast customers in 2017, restaurants in Boston and Los Angeles have some leverage in this tough job market.
Boston topped out as the highest tipping city, averaging 16.3% in full service restaurants. Click to Tweet
Los Angeles is the city most likely to include a tip on a bill. 80% of all orders had a tip applied in 2017.Click to Tweet
Tips, along with a fair wage and strong restaurant culture, will ultimately drive retention.
"Employee morale was consistently identified as the biggest challenge according to over a dozen interviews we conducted with restaurant managers in multiple locations across North America. And it goes without saying that fair wages and tipping can go a long way in improving staff retention and morale. There is a direct correlation. Getting employees who fit into your culture and are excited about growing to stick around - not only helps your bottom line – but helps with customer service and employee morale."
Budweiser, Miller & Coors are the Most Popular Beers
While local brews have increased in popularity over the years in recent years, the large beer companies continue to be top dog.
The top ten beers sold in 2017 were:
1) Budweiser 2) Miller 3) Coors 4) Corona 5) Michelob 6) Blue Moon 7) Stella Artois 8) Sam Adams 9) Yuengling 10) Modelo
This data is corroborated by analysis done by the liquor inventory software, BevSpot.
"It's indicative of the extent to which AB InBev (Budweiser + Michelob + Stella Artois), MillerCoors (Miller + Coors + Blue Moon), and Corona have consolidated the mass-market part of the beer industry, and will continue to consolidate in other segments of the industry.”
Data suggests that if your restaurant is utilizing online ordering, it’s imperative that the site be mobile friendly. Consumers use their mobile devices for everything from watching Netflix to banking.
Web traffic from mobile devices contributed to a significant portion of revenue for Toast restaurants in 2017.
In 2017, 40% of online orders were placed on mobile devices. Click to Tweet
“Consumer expectations have shifted towards mobile over traditional web-based platforms across all sectors, and F&B is no exception. People want to use the same device that they're using to text, send emails, and look at Facebook, to order and pay for their favorite menu items. Mobile is increasingly becoming the preferred way for customers to place transactions, and the merchants that understand this trend will realize the benefits of higher average ticket sizes, increased throughput, strengthened customer engagement and frequency, and a superior guest experience."
As margins in food service continue to get squeezed with higher rent and increasing minimum wage, restaurants are taking a hard look at food costs. Gone are the days where restaurateurs could get by with wishy-washy data and careless inventory tracking.
This free tool automatically calculates menu prices based on desired margins and compares them to other restaurants within a region.
“Costs are, predictably, always all over the place. Labor cost can be up, food cost can be down. Rent always seems to be up. Product cost is always suspect, so employing tools like Food Cost Calculator makes sense. Everybody is taking harder looks at labor [using analysis tools like Hot Schedules] and other controllable expenses, as well. Margins are shrinking, so it makes sense that food cost is an imperative target on which to set sights...
Going into 2018, the use of data and analysis tools will not only be part of marketing and demographics, but will be one more element for smarter back-of-the house operations.”
- Jim Berman, Chef & Restaurant Connisseur
Running a restaurant may still be a tough job in 2018, but we can count on new tools and even more data at our disposal than ever before. Armed with the right technology, staff, and product mix, restaurant operators have much to look forward to in the coming year.
Congratulations to the thriving Toast restaurant community, who had a record-breaking year in 2017. We're looking forward to our continued partnership with you in 2018 and beyond.
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