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Restaurant Wars

Wins Come Through Strategy & Tactics

July 18, 2017

Beef Prices May Be Up

But Social Media Is More Disruptive

Social media is a more disruptive influence on restaurants than meat prices, according to William "Willie" Degel, the founder and CEO of Uncle Jack's Steakhouse chain and Jack's Shack all-natural eatery. The former host of "Restaurant Stakeout" on the Food Network says, "Social media has changed the way people eat today."

Identifying food gimmicks like "unicorn, the rainbow colors" and "ooey-gooey, cheesy comfort food" as changing consumer preferences at restaurants, Willie Degel knows social media videos and posts about them will be more likely to go viral.

He credits social media as leading the shift in consumer trends and behaviors, making restaurant owners shift priorities and adapt their business tactics, in turn. His shift includes Free WiFi and bathroom "selfie mirrors".

"It wows you, and you're so enticed to it, you're sharing these videos."

Discussing a $150 - $200 steak he's sure no one would buy, Willie's happy just because "It went viral," on the internet.

This is not to say that neon milkshakes and "break the internet" creations are the restaurant industry's only challenges. As a successful restaurant operator, he knows that beef prices always go up in the summer months, regardless of what global ´┐Żauthorities´┐Ż have to say about meat prices.

People buy more meat for barbecuing and cooking out; cows and every other farm animal lose weight in summer heat (lamb is a great example; up 30% in the first six months of 2017). Less pounds per animal = more $ per pound. That's just economics.

"It's not a restaurant. It's a restaurant business." -Anonymous

Restaurants also have to contend with rising costs of real estate, labor, and ingredients, even in places other than New York, which The New York Times claims is more expensive than in almost any other American city.

Higher costs of doing business = higher prices per plate. Higher prices = less sales. Unless you can increase value.

Again, just economics. That's where strategy and tactics come in.

"Every day's a war." "I'm a general... fighting this war." -Willie Degel

Victory is the goal in any war. Clearly, that includes "restaurant wars".

General Degel uses a proven, if new, strategy: he grasps the power of social proof, displayed through social media. And he understands that Free WiFi is the best tactic to keep that strategy working.

Of course, he could mount that Mother Of All Strategies to a more effective Social WiFi delivery system.

For more precise targeting.

Photos courtesy of Willie Degel; through Jim Capalbo, Jill Schmidt PR. Thanx!
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