Press Release: “Restaurant.com Now Open for Restaurant Reservations, Connects Diners to Thousands of Eateries Nationwide” (Jul.2006)

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excerpt:
“Time-strapped diners craving their next meal can now visit Restaurant.com to arrange, confirm or reschedule reservations within seconds at nearly 6,000 independent restaurants across the country.

The no-cost, concierge service positions Restaurant.com as a leading online dining reservations source, and signals the company’s arrival as a total online dining solutions provider, already offering expense-saving dining certificates.

…Diners make reservations requests by visiting Restaurant.com to find a restaurant and to indicate a preferred dining date and time. Visitors choose a restaurant from the listings and click on the reservations icon next to the entry. Diners enter their name, phone number and email address, as well as reservation date, time and party size.”

source: “Restaurant.com Now Open for Restaurant Reservations, Connects Diners to Thousands of Eateries Nationwide” (Restaurant.com, Jul.19,2006)

link: Restaurant.com

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Article: “Restaurant of the future?” (Jul.2006)

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excerpt:
“The buzz was all about the technology. Legal Sea Foods, purveyor of traditional New England fare, was launching the restaurant of the future – or at least of today. Dubbed Legal Test Kitchen, LTK for short, a blustering press release promised “a glimpse into some of the restaurant industry’s most innovative technology.”

Here, diners would surf the Web or watch TV at their tables using portable plasma touchscreens while listening to their iPods via individual speakers. The hassle of ordering and paying would be mitigated by waiters toting hand-held PDAs and portable machines that let you swipe your own credit card.”

source: “Restaurant of the future?” by Teresa Mendez (Christian Science Monitor, Jul.21,2006)

Article: “Suburban dining: First, you wait” (Jul.2006)

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excerpt:
“Family-friendly chain restaurants, particularly the slightly more upscale operations in malls, have redefined what is a tolerable delay, said consultant Ronald Gorodesky, president of Restaurant Advisory Services in Blue Bell.

“We got trained,” Gorodesky said. “Over the last 20 years, and more so the last 10, we have become comfortable with the idea that we often have to wait.”

…Aided by aggressive marketing and kid-friendly menus, chains have become the Goliaths of suburban family dining, Gorodesky said.

At risk of becoming victims of their own success, some national chains are taking measures to mollify diners.

“I think you have to have a wait,” said Ben Novello, president of Outback Steakhouse, which has 782 locations. Patrons like “a busy, happening place.”

source: “Suburban dining: First, you wait” by Adam Fifield (Philadelphia Inquirer, Jul.16,2006)

Web Site: Springwise – Food & Beverage ideas

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excerpt:
“Springwise scans the globe for the most promising business ventures, ideas and concepts ready for regional or international adaptation, expansion, partnering, investments or cooperation. Ferociously tracking more than 400 global offline and online business resources, as well as taking to the streets of world cities, digital cameras at hand.”

link: Springwise – Food & Beverage ideas

sample posts:
Happy Healthy Meals
Dessert-only Restaurants
Indian Fast Food

Web Site: Mobo – order food on the go (gomobo.com)

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excerpt:
“Do you enjoy standing in line, wasting away your precious lunch hour waiting to order food? 20 minutes for a burger is too long for a time-crunched New Yorker! What if you could text message ahead and have your favorite meal paid for and waiting for you at the counter when you arrive – all free of charge? Now available only in New York City, Mobo, http://www.gomobo.com, is here!

Mobo launched its innovative mobile ordering service on May 2 and boasts over 1,000 customers. Restaurants including Ben & Jerry’s, Cosi, Dunkin’ Donuts, Mangia, New York Burger Company, Quiznos, Subway, Tossed and Yummy Sushi are being added daily in NYC hubs including Madison Square Park, Rockefeller Center, Wall Street/Lower Manhattan, Bryant Park and Grand Central.”

source: “Get Your Lunch In A New York Minute With Mobo” (gomobo.com, Jun.26,2006) [PDF, Press Release]

link: Gomobo.com

Research: “Hospitality Industry Self-Service Technology Study – Redefining Customer Service” (2006)

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excerpt:
"The depth and range of self-service solutions in the hospitality industry has grown over the last year. Consumers are more interested and motivated to use self-service kiosks and both hotel and restaurant operators are making significant strides in respect to rolling out solutions. While self-service solutions still have limited availability in hotels and even fewer restaurants, the number of roll outs planned will increase markedly over the next four years.

…While it may not be surprising, it is still significant that the companies driving self-service represent the largest hotel and restaurant companies and that large hotel companies are also playing an important role in driving self-service at their restaurant locations as well. These large operators are poised to play a significant role in shaping the pace and range of self-service solutions in hospitality."

source: "Hospitality Industry Self-Service Technology Study – Redefining Customer Service" (Hospitality Technology, 2006) [pdf, free registration required]

Article: “T.G.I. Friday’s Provides Servers with a Sixth Sense Through ESP” (Jun. 2006)

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excerpt:
"Servers in T.G.I. Friday’s restaurants are soon to have a sixth sense – the ability to know exactly what a customer needs before the server even arrives at the table. This esp-like ability will provided by non other than ESP Systems.

The company’s patented, wireless Guest Customized Service system will be deployed in each of the 12 T.G.I. Friday’s restaurants owned by Northeast Concepts, a licensed T.G.I. Friday’s franchisee."

source: "T.G.I. Friday's Provides Servers with a Sixth Sense Through ESP" by Susan J. Campbell (TMCnet, Jun.7, 2006)

WaiterBell Angle: Major chain restaurants are beginning to recognize the potential and profits from empowering customers and enhancing restaurant service. This is not only a unique differentiation from other independent restaurants and smaller chains that give major chain restaurants another competitive edge, but it shows the restaurant's commitment to the customer.