Coyle Hits the NRA Show: Day 2 Highlights

Coyle Hospitality Group attended the National Restaurant Association Show this weekend in Chicago at McCormick Place. Our team members–including our President, Managing Director, and Restaurant Specialist–spent the weekend getting the scoop on the newest innovations, hottest trends, and upcoming strategies in the restaurant industry. In the second part of this three-part series, Coyle will summarize and highlight key takeaways from day two of the event.

It was another jam-packed day of the National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel show (“NRA Show”) as Coyle continues to take in the massive size of the venue, crowds, and vendors. The second day did not disappoint  and was just as astounding as the first. Coyle filled the day learning about various topics that all restaurant operators will find valuable –  no matter the type or scale of the restaurant – and we bring you all the highlights right here so don’t worry about missing out.

One of the most exciting and highly anticipated sessions of the day, was the keynote speech from former President Bill Clinton. Despite a late start and a little weather trouble, President Clinton made it to the show in fashionable time and took the stage by storm addressing the eager and lively audience filled with attendees and exhibitors alike. President Clinton addressed the packed room and urged cooperation and collaboration between all members of the food service industry – from restaurateurs, to food service suppliers, to chefs, and restaurant operators – as a way to address the challenges facing the nation. The former President Clinton also raised awareness of the National Restaurant Association’s Kids LiveWell program, as a key example of such a collaboration that helps promote healthy kids menu options across the nation. President Clinton notes his optimism about the nation’s future and praised the restaurant industry’s strives to make a difference in fighting childhood obesity.

Healthy menu options has been a trend in the restaurant industry for a few years now, as President Clinton noted, obesity is on the rise and everyone has become more aware of the need for healthy food choices. But what are the other trends in the restaurant industry today? With social media constantly buzzing, sometimes it can be hard to keep up with what it is your guests want. With today’s sessions, Coyle has identified steps you can take to help you further understand your guest, identify trends, and successfully use your guest to help you tell your brand’s stories.

In the session with Dana Arnold and Dave Florin, of Hiebing, and David Stidham of Culver Franchising System, Inc. we look into Closing the Gap by Connecting Social Media with Traditional Marketing Touchpoints. The first step – is to know and understand your guest. Everyone is using social media, your guests are writing reviews on yelp, posting on food blogs, and commenting on open table. Understand why your guest are writing and they they are writing about. What makes a great story for them to tell and how can you repeat this over and over again? The ingredients to this success is laid out in four steps:

How do restaurateurs best utilize social media to further add value to the business? In the series with James Lux of Boloco, BJ Emerson of Tasti-D-lite, and Rohit Verma from Cornell, we address the issue of social touchpoints and how you cannot afford to not engage in social media. Social media grew exponentially in 2011, with Facebook growing to over 800 million users worldwide. However, in a globally connected world, companies should still act local. Restaurants need to use social media both internally and externally – to listen and understand your guests and to talk to and engage your guests. How do organizations become a social media butterfly?

Use social media to engage with your guests around topics they care about and deliver the message of what differentiates your restaurant from your competitors. You try to “surprise” and “delight” your guests when they are dining in your restaurant, so why not implement this online? Surprise your guests with special promotions and brand advocacy campaigns, and make sure each campaign is specifically tailored to-their needs. Be a creator and curator of stories and experiences, invite guests to listen to them, and capture these stories and reward and recognize your guests for recirculating them. Let the guest tell your story.

Coyle will be back tomorrow with a final recap of the last day of the show. Also look forward to the Top 10 Take-Aways and Trends from the show!

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