HAPPY THANKSGIVING 2023
How Consumers And Restaurants Are Changing Thanksgiving This Year
How will Turkey Day 2023 shape up? The Thanksgiving data started coming in as soon as trick-or-treaters collected their last piece of candy. Market research firms, including Restaurant Business sister company Technomic, were busy polling consumers and restaurant operators to forecast how Thanksgiving 2023 will shape up. We’ve collected the stats and compiled this quick snapshot. Despite the rising cost of restaurant food, Technomic found that 23% of consumers are likely to purchase a complete, ready-made Thanksgiving meal for pickup from a restaurant, while 22% may roast the bird themselves but will rely on restaurants for the trimmings. However, those percentages are down from 2022 numbers, when 29% of respondents said they would buy both the full meal and some of the trimmings from a restaurant. It’s actually cheaper to cook Thanksgiving at home this year compared to last. RB’s sister publication, Winsight Grocery Business, reported that the cost of a dinner for 10 is down 4.5%, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. Turkeys are less expensive, which is pushing down that cost. Data and tech company Numerator conducted a survey of 4,500 consumers to gauge their 2023 holiday plans. Over 90% plan to celebrate Thanksgiving and more consumers will be cooking and baking this year compared to last—61% versus 54%. Turkey tops the list, with 59% of respondents choosing to cook turkey or turkey breast. On the drinks side, 33% of consumers plan to buy alcohol for Thanksgiving. Most are opting for wine (70%), followed by beer (57%) and spirits (28%).
Bielat Santore & Company – Restaurant Industry Alert
“For over 40 years, October through May have been our busiest times. Buyers are actively looking for restaurant real estate and businesses to buy. The goal is to be open for business by Memorial Day,” says Richard Santore, Vice President and Broker of Bielat Santore & Company.
Bielat Santore & Company is an established commercial real estate firm headquartered in Allenhurst, Monmouth County, NJ. The company’s expertise lies chiefly within the restaurant and hospitality industry, specializing in the sale of restaurants and other food and beverage real estate and businesses. Since 1978, the principals of Bielat Santore & Company, Barry Bielat and Richard Santore, have sold more restaurants and similar type properties in New Jersey than any other real estate company. Furthermore, the firm has secured more than $500,000,000 in financing to facilitate these transactions.
If you are considering the sale of your restaurant, call Bielat Santore & Company first. The firm is currently working with multi-unit restaurant groups that are internally funded, have established banking relationships, are corporately managed and can move expeditiously toward closing on the right locations.
Contact Richard Santore, 732.531-4200, for a free consultation.
We invite you to visit our website, where you will find all our current listing inventory, a library of helpful industry resources and a collection of client testimonials expressing their assessments of our work and our service within the restaurant industry.
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How to Prepare and Protect Restaurants for Drinksgiving
Undercapitalization can be the death knell to any business. The cultural phenomenon of Drinksgiving (or Blackout Wednesday) continues to grow in popularity for the restaurant industry, especially as sales continue to rebound from the pandemic. Data shows that alcohol sales typically increase between 270-658 percent on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, compared to weekdays prior. Higher alcohol sales typically connect to higher volume of alcohol consumption, which unfortunately leads to higher risk of harmful consumer behavior after leaving the restaurant – especially behind the wheel. According to Money Geek, Drinksgiving is the deadliest day to drive in the US, averaging 114 car accidents per year. If an intoxicated customer leaves a restaurant and causes injury to someone while driving, it could be tied back to the restaurant that served them. For any restaurant owners that serve alcohol, there are several unknown liabilities that many still aren’t aware of. Liquor Liability Insurance protects a small business that manufactures, sells, or serves alcohol. Small business owners are protected from claims that occur when a customer drinks too much and injures himself or someone else. Without Liquor Liability Insurance, owners of restaurants that serve alcohol could end up footing the bill for damages made by a drunk customer. Most insurance experts recommend around $1M in coverage to protect against this high risk for restaurants serving high volumes of alcohol. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 43 states today have laws that hold businesses liable for serving alcohol to someone who later causes injury or death. This includes property damage or even assault and battery.
How Emerging Restaurant Brands Can Secure Investment to Grow
Undercapitalization can be the death knell to any business. Emerging operators have plenty of incentive to grow their business now as the industry starts to normalize after three years of tumult and as consumer demand remains high. Of course, the challenge is they need capital to grow, and capital is more expensive than it’s been in a long time. This presents a bit of a pickle; consider that most businesses that fail do so because they’re undercapitalized, said Lauren Fernandez, founder and CEO of investment and development group Full Course. “Undercapitalization of your business past that first unit could be the death knell,” Fernandez said during Nation’s Restaurant News’ recent CREATE: The Experience event in Palm Springs, Calif. There are workarounds and there are solutions for small and emerging brands. Before examining your options, however, experts say it’s important that you have your house in order. Do you have the right culture and leadership? Are your finances humming along? Are your margins high enough to provide a cushion? Andrew K. Smith, managing director of private equity firm Savory Fund, said his company focuses on funding businesses that have a long-term vision to build something special. “If you’re just focused on getting in, making as much money as you can, and then getting out, that’s going to be a short conversation for us,” he said. Smith also cautions against growing for growth’s sake and noted it’s more important to focus on building the economics and traffic within your four walls. In addition to culture and economics, Fernadez’s Full Course also looks at the simplicity of the business. “Not every investment can be a super heavy lift, so operational efficiency is what we’re looking for if a brand is wanting to scale,” she said.
Top 10 Trends to Watch for 2024
2024’S culinary trends are driven by consumer cravings for comfort and community. As the weather is getting chillier and we’re inching closer to the turn of a new year, soups and stews are checking all the boxes for comfort food-driven customers. They’re also a low-risk way for consumers to try new ingredients and unique flavors, which gives chefs some wiggle room to experiment and add a fresh take to old favorites like upscale ramen, Chicken Tom Kha, Laksa, Salmorejo. That’s one of the largest upcoming trends heading into 2024, according to the National Restaurant Association’s 2024 What’s Hot Culinary Forecast report. From TikTok to rising beverage innovations like hard coffees and functional waters, the NRA talked to 1,500 leaders in the culinary world in October to get the scoop on the hottest dishes, ingredients, and flavors to integrate onto your menus, plus rising macro trends to watch. Old favorites like BBQ are taking on new flavors and social sharing is influencing the spread of regional fares like Nashville Hot. Even the chicken competition is going global on local menus. Without further ado, here are the top overall trends for 2024, according to 1,500 culinary professionals:
Expect More Restaurant Acquisitions in 2024
After two slow years, activity is beginning to pick up. The market for mergers and acquisitions has improved in the past few months and is gaining momentum towards the end of the year, potentially setting up for a more robust 2024. That at least was according to speakers at the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference in Las Vegas last week. Buyers and sellers are coming together on valuations as the business readjusts to higher interest rates and lower profit margins. “There’s momentum building in the market,” said Josh Benn, managing director with the investment banking firm Kroll. “There’s a lot of additional activity.” But that market won’t be equal. “It’s a very selective market,” he said. “There’s a flight to quality.” Buyers want brands that have shown strong performance in recent years, particularly when it comes to traffic. “It’s difficult to sell a business when traffic is negative,” Benn said. The M&A market was as active as any in recent memory in the second half of 2021. As fast-food restaurants recovered more quickly than anybody expected, and profitability improved, valuations soared. Companies, including chains and franchisees, were selling for historically high multiples. That came to a screeching halt toward the end of the year as inflation picked up steam and the U.S. Federal Reserve started raising interest rates to get it under control. Deals for restaurants slowed to a crawl as interest rates increased. The fourth quarter of 2022 “was among the quietest periods of time I can remember,” Benn said. That slow market continued in the first half of 2023. That follows overall M&A trends. M&A value declined 44% in the first six months of the year, according to Bain & Co., which cited the macroeconomic environment and interest rate uncertainty for the slowdown.
Restaurant Brands Tap Into the Cultural Moment that is ‘Swelce
Taylor Swift/Travis Kelce romance narrative that has garnered much attention. You have to be living under a rock to not know by now that music megastar Taylor Swift is dating NFL megastar Travis Kelce. The – ahem – swift relationship has created quite the buzz on social media and elsewhere and, in fact, a survey from Play Ohio finds that 20% of NFL fans say their loved ones are more interested in this football season versus previous seasons because of the megastars’ romance. The survey also found that more than 50% of this added attention is “good” for the NFL. It’s certainly garnering more interest and eyeballs. While Kelce (and his two Super Bowl rings) has always been among the NFL’s most popular players, sales of his jersey have experienced a 400% increase since Swelce became public. And consider some eyepopping metrics on social media. The NFL’s official Instagram account posted Swift’s reaction to a Kelce touchdown early in the romance, which has since generated thousands of comments, hundreds of thousands of likes, and over 10 million views. The league’s official X (formerly Twitter) and TikTok accounts have also jumped in, with bio changes that have included “Taylor was here” and “NFL (Taylor’s Version).” It’s clear by the numbers that a cultural moment is upon us, the American consumers who have been beaten down by a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic and then by debilitating inflation. We have found a delightful distraction and hope in a storybook romance featuring two rather unproblematic icons. So, what else are savvy marketers to do than capture this lightning-in-a-bottle honeymoon phase and inject themselves effortlessly into the conversation?
Did You Know?
Energy efficiency tips for restaurants. In the highly competitive restaurant industry, where profit margins are often razor-thin, every penny saved, and every green initiative adopted can have a profound impact on the bottom line. In recent years, the food service industry has witnessed a growing emphasis on sustainability and energy efficiency, making it imperative for restaurant owners and managers to seek out energy consumption curtailment strategies while ensuring a pleasant and comfortable atmosphere for their patrons and staff. This article will shed light on a range of restaurant-specific energy efficiency tactics and explore several recommendations—from low-to-no-cost actions that require minimal investment to more substantial and strategic approaches that promise a significant return on efficiency-related expenditure.
Invest in employees with affordable health care. Lack of health insurance isn’t considered one of the major reasons the hospitality industry has, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a churn rate north of 70 percent. A recent survey found that low pay, lack of recognition and bad management are three of the major variables. But let’s dig a little deeper into “lack of recognition.” To me, that says employees aren’t feeling valued by the owners and managers of their restaurants. In the current hiring climate, restaurants can’t afford to lose good employees because they feel unappreciated.