Restaurateurs plan 2017 tech spending, more plan local food programs: Survey

An American Express report indicates restaurateurs will spend more on tech. According to the 2017 American Express Restaurant Trade Survey, 65 percent of them plan spending on restaurant tech in the next 12 months. Twenty six percent of restaurant owners plan on adopting self-service customer technology, including kiosks and digital ordering devices. A significant 26-percent share of consumers overall would use customer-facing technology if offered at a restaurant, and an even greater share of Millennials show a desire to do so (39 percent).

There is much buzz in the restaurant industry regarding consumers embracing local foods. Beyond an interest in supporting their own regions, “People feel they’re doing right when they support companies that are connected to locally sourced ingredients, donations to charities, sustainable environmental practices, and animal welfare practices,” research firm NPD said this year

Consumers are looking to align themselves with companies that share their values. Local foods are a manifestation of these desires.

Rockville, Md.-based research firm Packaged Facts estimates in a report that sales of local foods could generate $19B in sales by 2019. The firm estimated local foods produced more than $12B in sales in 2014. Forty four percent of restaurateurs are offering foods containing locally-sourced ingredients. An additional 15 percent plan to include those ingredients on menus and 24 percent are currently considering offering them.

Consumers are also supporting food waste reduction, and restaurateurs are responding, notes American Express in its survey. Approximately 60 percent of restaurant owners assess inventory or train staff for the purposes of waste reduction.

he Riggsby, a classic American dining destination at the Kimpton Hotel in Dupont Circle

Jay Caputo tapped as chef de cuisine at The Riggsby in DC

Award-winning chef joins The Riggsby team

The Riggsby, a classic American dining destination at the Kimpton Carlyle Hotel in Dupont Circle, Washington DC, has a new chef de cuisine. Jay Caputo, who has been under restaurateur Michael Schlow’s wing in previous stints in Boston, including at Radius, joins the restaurant. Caputo also operated Espuma Restaurant and Martini Bar and CABO Modern Mexican Tequila Bar, both in Rehoboth Beach, De., and has a more-than-20-year culinary career.

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Restaurant Tech Adoption by Consumers - Photo J. Street

Restaurant tech adoption, consumer preferences ambiguous, but opportunities abound

A study by New York-based corporate advisory firm AlixPartners finds tech is not a clear enticement to draw in customers to restaurants . The study, conducted in February and released in April, notes that 42 percent of Millennials see tech as influential in deciding whether to patronize a restaurant, compared to 18 percent of Baby Boomers, representing a significant generational gap. The top two technologies influential as a draw to restaurants are online ordering and Wi-Fi, selected by 40 percent and 35 percent of respondents, respectively.

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In this interview with RAMW President and CEO Kathy E. Hollinger, she discusses the challenges and opportunities of the industry

QA: Catching up with RAMW President, CEO Kathy Hollinger

The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) has grown its restaurant industry membership base to nearly 1,000. As it approaches a century of its work, RAMW team members are at their busiest, providing advocacy, networking and business support to the area’s restaurateurs, and preparing for the annual RAMMY awards gala this July, which celebrates the best of what the local industry has to offer.

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