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Restaurant Technologies answers three questions that determine if your back-of-house meets modern standards.

By Mike Baker, National Sales Executive Retail Grocery, Restaurant Technologies

Grocery retailers never saw themselves as the primary provider of home meal replacements (HMRs). Technology improvements have been typically geared toward the customer, focused on the center aisle but not so much toward the employee – until now. Today, retailers are concentrating on delivering more options and higher quality grab-and-go meals, pushing them to transform their people, process and technology. It’s a modern back-of-house (BOH) that delivers a successful front-of-house.

“The old, traditional grocery-store mentality of grocery making up 50 percent of the business or more is changing,” says John Mazzacco, director of foodservice at Price Chopper. “For example, we now have the largest living generation [millennials], who demand convenient and high-quality meal choices.”                      

But how can grocery operators quickly assess where and how to empower their employees with solutions to deliver a better food experience to customers? Consider asking three questions that center on three main pillars of a modernized BOH: labor, process and safety.



By Ronen Yehoshua

While more and more people shop from the comfort of their own home, online sales still count for less than ten percent of total retail sales according to the latest U.S. Department of Commerce census. Most consumers spend their money the old-fashioned way -- at retail, hospitality and services establishments, which, in turn, usually involves a point-of-sale (POS) terminal. 

Until a few years ago, retailers and consumers thought their biggest cybersecurity risks came from their online activities. The notorious Home Depot and Target mega-breaches changed all that. In fact, point-of-sale malware has become one of the biggest sources of stolen payment cards for cybercriminals. POS malware comes in hundreds of variants and POS malware kits are easily available through underground cyber crime forums. The malware steals payment card information by screen capturing, keylogging or by scanning the system's memory as the payment application in the POS terminal processes the transaction (RAM scraping). Stolen data is then exfiltrated to command and control (C&C) servers controlled by criminals and from there usually sold on the black market.

The fallout from such attacks can be substantial – Home Depot’s net breach expenses stand at $163 million, with an additional $100 million borne by its insurer. Not to mention the tens of millions of inconvenienced and disgruntled customers. Payment card theft is not the only risk. Imagine hackers hired to commit industrial sabotage by hitting all of a merchant’s POS systems with a ransomware or DDOS attack during key shopping days. The scenario is not that far-fetched – a survey by Kasperksy Labs and B2B International found that 12 percent of businesses that experienced a DDOS attack were confident it was initiated by their competition, while another 52 percent remained uncertain about the perpetrator’s identity.

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By Mike Grimes, CRO at Mobee

Retail’s BIG Show did not disappoint with the newest in artificial intelligence, connected devices and augmented and virtual reality. These cutting-edge technologies hold unbridled promise for the retail industry. We will no doubt see and hear more about drone delivery, interactive dressing rooms, the endless aisle 2.0 on in-store mobile devices and even virtual retail locations in your living room.

Yet amid the buzz and excitement of new technologies are gloomier headlines about the demise of brick-and-mortar staples. Macy’s, Sears and The Limited all announced store closures in the new year, citing a decline in shopper traffic and the rise of e-commerce. Footprints are shrinking and so are store sizes, yet shoppers are demanding the same or expanded inventory.

As noted by Carrie Ask of Levi Strauss & CO and published on NRF, “Retail store traffic may be declining, but purchase intent is rising since people don’t ‘have to’ go to a physical store anymore. That makes the accuracy of shelf-level inventory in-stocks more important than ever.” Add that the value of omnichannel customers increases with the number of channels they use, and an optimized offline presence becomes even more important.

The takeaway? Omni-channel retailers need to do a better job with the limited physical space they have. Technology can help—when deployed correctly. Before tacking on new and innovative features, retailers should use solutions like mobile crowdsourcing, RFID tags and mounted sensors to improve the basics of store-level experience.

Here are three places to start:



Develop and encourage customer loyalty in six key ways.

By John Findlay

Customer loyalty has been on the decline for years. “Must have” brand loyalty has decreased in three out of four packaged goods categories and member satisfaction in loyalty programs sits at less than half for most product categories.We’ve been quick to blame the rapid decline on fickle millennials, but the truth is millennials are one of the most brand-loyal generations. Sixty percent say they are often or always loyal to brands.

So, what’s going on? Some people suggest the decline in customer loyalty results in part from a discrepancy between how consumers think about loyalty and how brands operate their loyalty programs.

Loyalty is an emotional response. It’s a feeling. Brands, however, often treat their loyalty programs as coupon dispensaries, handing out discounts for purchases. Not only does this breed bargain hunting and put you at risk of a price-slashing war with your competition, but it also misses the emotional side of loyalty.

If we want to create sustainable brand loyalty, we need to stop looking at it from a sole purchase perspective. Instead, loyalty programs should be an extension of the customer experience, showing members that they are appreciated and offering exclusive rewards – not only making purchases but for engaging with the brand.

Here are six ways you can improve your loyalty program and boost brand loyalty.

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When it comes to purchasing decisions, millennials know exactly what they want.
By Kevin Cundiff, VP of Retail for Fortegra

Millennials: they truly are the in-the-know generation. They do their research to educate themselves on their potential purchases — and by the time they actually get to making that purchase, they know exactly what they want.

And, many times, they’re making those purchases online instead of heading to a brick-and-mortar location to chat it out with the sales associate. Even if they’re not purchasing online, they’re doing research online beforehand. According to CMO.com, 72 percent of millennials research their options online before going to a store to make a purchase.

So, when a salesperson encounters a millennial who has done their digging beforehand, what should they do? Here are a few ideas:


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