2013 Restaurant Industry Mid-Year Buzz

So how’s 2013 going?

Around this time of year we reflect on that question by looking back at first six months of the year.  I emphasize the word “reflect” in that first sentence, because rather than projecting for the second half of the year, I’m always more interested in trends “or maybe I should say “the buzz” than statistics.

The hard data

But one of the statistics I routinely come back to is the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Industry Performance Index. This index is based off the NRA’s monthly operator survey and is very easy to understand: a value of below 100 signifies industry contraction and above 100 means the industry is expanding.

The RPI has come in above 100 in five of the first six months of 2013 (and the only month below 100 was February at 99.9). Given the past few tumultuous years, this is a great way to start 2013. Other benchmarks I’ve seen echo this same success.

Generating a “Buzz”

But apparently not everybody in the industry is experiencing this level of success in the first half of 2013. According to an article in Nation’s Restaurant News from a couple weeks ago, the quick service segment lost some buzz in the first half of 2013.

YouGov BrandIndex’s mid-year “buzz score” rankings—which are based off what consumers have heard about a company’s brand in the past two weeks—indicate that the quick service segment’s buzz declined in the first half of 2013 after rapid growth for the past couple years.

This was the first time I had come across buzz scores and I love how it encapsulates so much about a restaurant’s brand. This buzz score is less about sales and more about consumers’ experiences with restaurants—both positive and negative.

I talk a lot about the importance of service, and even though these buzz scores have a lot to do with marketing campaigns and media stories about popular brands, it’s important to think about consumers’ direct experiences with restaurants.

Creating a positive brand—and generating positive buzz—for a restaurant starts with positive experiences in the restaurant itself. And the best way to ensure success—and positive buzz—throughout the second half of 2013 is to ensure positive experiences in your restaurant.

Topics: Company News