(Reblogged from explore-blog)

Restaurant Industry insights a must read for interested in this domain !

Quick Industry Overview: The US restaurant industry includes 480,000 restaurants with combined revenue of $400 billion. Companies like McDonald’s, YUM Brands (KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell) and Darden restaurants (Olive garden, Red Lobster) are considered as major players. It is highly fragmented. The top 50 largest companies hold just 20% of the market. Demographics, consumer tastes and personal income drive demand. Large companies have advantages of purchasing; finance and marketing while small companies offer superior service or food.  On whole restaurants compete with companies that serve meals or prepared foods, warehouse clubs, delis and convenience stores. In addition they compete with home cooking. 

Restaurant industry’s marketing is simply and clearly based on the following “four Ps as Wikipedia says Product, Price, Promotion and Place”.  All these four Ps are interconnected and determine the outcomes of the rest.  Restaurant industry gets the major chunk of retail food dollar because of the differentiation factor and value added service it provides. The promotional dollars spent in developing, pricing and placing their products separates a restaurant from the rest in terms of brand recognition and quality. 

Digital Impact: Evolution of web2.0 has had a significant impact on the restaurant industry. It has not only increased the reach of a particular restaurant but also has increased the competitor base of the same restaurant beyond its imagination. Customers tend to provide feedback about their experiences in various social platforms and these inputs have become an influencing factor in the decision making process. Yelp.com is the major source of these discussions and plays a major role in promotion or de-promotion of a restaurant.

Every restaurant has to have their presence in Internet; Website, Facebook page and digital marketing especially in Google are compulsory ones. Reaching out via email once in a month or during special circumstances such as new product launch, new branch opening and promotion in the form of deals keeps the customer engaged.  Customer retention increases significantly because of these activities. Living Social Deal and Group On are other deal providers that increase the customer traffic and help in reaching out to new customers.

Key performance indicators of restaurant industry can be identified from the number of visits made directly to the restaurant URL, visits driven from Google, visits done to look for the location of the restaurant, home delivery orders taken from websites such as eat24.com.  Calculating these numbers will depict the clear picture of how traffic is driven and what sort of promotion works for the particular restaurant. The numbers of emails opened and resulted in business are also an indicator that shows the customer interest in particular restaurant’s happenings

    Solving the customer’s indifferent [bad] experiences and getting feedback consistently from them to improve the quality of their experience are the important factors that effect businesses in a positive way. With the evolution of Digital media it is strongly advised for every restaurants to develop their own friends’ circle that actively engage in Internet discussions and spread a good vibe. I do feel that there has to be someone within the restaurant or a consultant who keeps track of the things that are going about the restaurant in the Internet and update their activities such as menu, newsletter, and ambience according to them.

Bottom Line:  Customers happiness comes before everything!

It’ s time for a conversation with Ganesh and Kanna about challenges in web over coming years!


Ganesh:  What is going to be the biggest challenge for web over coming years?

Kanna:  Privacy!

Ganesh:  Really, Do we still have privacy? Didn’t we lose it in early 2000’s after Internet bubble burst!

Kanna: Yes! We did to a certain extent but now we are on the verge of losing it totally. The truth is a behavioral pattern is created about your Internet activities without your knowledge. [We do have options to block but unfortunately 90% of people don’t do it]

Ganesh: Hmmm yes I am going to change my privacy settings today!

Kanna:  You better do it as soon as possible!

Ganesh: Yeah I remember reading an article about Google tracking Safari users data! So what do they do with this “Big Data”?

Kanna:  I would say certainly yes! “Big Data” that is being dumped into Internet has certainly increased three folds every year. In this God speed and potentially with all our data starting from our names, images, locations, credit card information and last but not least the most powerful data from social networking sites. Marketers are highly interested in this big data.    I am glad you referred to that! Actually the core reason behind this tracking is to identify each and every customer and target him or her according to the customer’s taste and needs.

Ganesh: As I understand that 3 days before I spent an hour hunting for running shoes and that’s why I have been flooded with these shoe ads for last 3 days!

Kanna: I am glad you referred to that! Actually the core reason behind this tracking is to identify each and every customer and target him or her according to the customer’s taste and needs.

Ganesh:  What are your thoughts about privacy in future?

Kanna:  I see privacy as the most expensive “Commodity” to exist in future!

Ganesh: If it is about to become a commodity then could you enlighten me how will I protect it in future? 

Kanna:  I strongly believe that in near future there are going to be consultants, offices set up and people setting up appointments and spending big money to be protected.

Ganesh: If we have to pay money why would we be using it?

Kanna:  Unfortunately we have associated web with our day-to-day life to an extent a relationship that can’t be any divorce at all. All that can be done limit our activities on Internet.

Ganesh: Limiting our activities is one option but how about the social networking sites that make us feel connected to the world; what are they going to do make us stay?

Kanna:  Social networking sites have withered our outdoor activities and widened our indoor activities beyond our imagination and it’s either going to remain the same or increase in near future.

Ganesh: It seems like the responsibility rests on every individual rather on the sites.

Kanna: I would say it is distributed equally among both the parties and now it’s time to check my Facebook so I am signing off.

Ganesh: Thank you, same here even I have to go change my privacy settings!     

 

Last five days of my life with Internet!

      I don’t have a sleep pattern, study pattern, food pattern but all I have is a pattern for my Internet activities. The activity report comprises120 hours of my life starting from Saturday [07/07] to Wednesday [11/07] and focuses more on my Internet usage, dependability and how addicted to it?  It was quite astonishing for me to rewind a bit and explore this. Overall in those 120 hours I wasn’t associated with the Internet for 40 hours that is one third of it. But the daunting aspect is those 40 hours includes my sleeping hours for those five days [27 hours], beach outing [8:30 hours] and commute etc. [4:30 hours].  Somehow on average I am associated with the Internet for 18 hours every day and on a given day the longest being 22 hours shortest being 13 hours [courtesy of beach outing]. I guess quite a staggering stat especially for me; thanks in abundance for giving us this task professor. Now I have listed here what were those activities that bonded me with Internet…

        My day generally starts [3- 4 am] with me checking my personal email, school email and dives directly into Facebook sometime gaming sites has overtaken Facebook.  Once I fulfill my commitments for them I start updating my knowledge in sports by exploring Tennis, Cricket and Football scores in three different sites. In this process of updating I get to know about current games, which were going on and if they seem interesting I have ventured into live streaming sites. After all these activities I stop by Hult online to check for updates that I missed and work on them [Tumblr / E-consultancy].  During weekdays I tend to miss live streaming sites and get into working mode bit sooner. While I am in Facebook, Gmail or Skype I tend to oblige to my friends queries by diving into Google and other respective sites that were required to answer them But I have always started with Google only. My next stop seems to be LinkedIn which is a good one considering the fact I am desperately hunting for a job.  When I am doing my internship at max without any distraction [No stops by Social Networking sites/ Gaming sites] I have indulged in Internet research for 2 hours continuously. At the same time I have visited these distracting sites [Social Networking sites/ Gaming sites] more than 20 times during my 20 hours of work per week. Regarding work related activities I have been to numerous business school, entities and university websites [Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Aspen, BCLC etc.] Out of all these sites I found Wharton user-friendlier than the rest especially in terms of usability.  In-between I check emails and updates on Facebook at least 10 times per day. During evenings I jump into YouTube or Movie streaming sites [free] and then escape into job sites to look for any interesting new openings. Post dinner after finishing up my work I have ensured that I don’t go sleep before completing two very important things 1) Wishing “Happy Birthday” in Facebook to my friends [I might have even missed lunch but I have never missed wishing so much love for my friends]

2) Ending a game on a winning note and then signing off  [it seems like I always want to go to bed after winning might be for happy dreams].

Bottom Line: Time to Change!

contemporaryartdaily:

Kaspar Müller at Gasconade

(Reblogged from contemporaryartdaily)
DON’T MAKE ME THINK- A Common Sense Approach To Web Usability
 Grade: A



 Pages: 216 



 Rating out of 5: 5/5



      The book is mainly about answering the following questions how web is used? How websites are constructed? And what it is meant to us?  The “us” refers to the entire eco-system of e-world [Website owner/ Web consumer/ Programmer/ Designer etc.]. Steve Krug, the author has immense experience as web usability consultant and he has worked with companies like Apple, AOL, BarnesandNoble.com, Excite@Home and Circle.com. Krug’s book is full of “simple practical techniques” for developing a user friendly website that doesn’t simply attract users but it makes them attached to it “forever”. The book is very short and crispy by design, which makes it an easy read. The author style of writing made me engaged, entertained and curious about our Internet usage pattern.


    The author starts with a brief narration of why he decided to pen down a second edition and what has changed from the first edition and why it is changed? After passing this info he gets into Krug’s way of defining web usability should be and then lists some websites that has instigated such skins. He states why these attributes make these websites better than the other in the e-world.


   Krug portrays some pictures of websites and describes the features in those websites and while doing so he explains a attribute ‘s specific reasoning as a web designer and how it is perceived by a web user.  The intriguing aspect is designers tend to think that users will access each and every word that’s on the website’s homepage whereas as users just scan and skim it. In the pursuit to find their [user] required data; they tend to spend a lot of time or sometimes they never quit until we find the info but in this process they do follow a specific pattern. He talks about how these patterns are formed and how it influences a user’s mindset in a search.



     One important aspect from the book is Krug maintains a line between what is the correct way and what is the best way to construct a website. At the same time he keeps this to very minimal and focuses more on what are the needs of a user.  He articulates the importance of focus groups and details the role of these focus groups time to time in product development phase. He did touch a bit about office politics involved in the decision making process. He then jumps into the importance of “Home” tab irrespective of which page the user is in, user should always have the option to go to the home page. The book has lot of cartoons then and there which are self-explanatory and at the same time humorous.



    The other identical chapter deals with some example websites and illustrates .the importance of a “search” button. Then he touches upon the best way to design the search tab and with some examples he clearly portrays how it should be done and how it shouldn’t be. One more aspect is the highlighting that is needed to let the user know where they are and if they want to navigate back it’s help to do so.  All these stress the essentiality of a good navigation design and how it creates the emotional connectivity bond between the user and the website.



       One thing Krug has clearly established by the book is he has quashed the myth around conducting usability testing which is always considered as very expensive and not everyone can afford to do it.  In the process of doing this, all we have to spend is $300. He doesn’t stop there and digs in deeper by providing simple steps that you can use to conduct a usability test on your own and what can be expected out of this.



               My professor Dan Weingrod for Digital Marketing recommended this to me; I loved reading this seriously amazing book and a big THANK YOU for my professor. Normally it’s hard to focus on e-book for hours but this book had all the essence that kept me pushing one more chapter. I loved the transition and spacing throughout the whole book with a right mix between pictures and words. Some parts kept me laughing for minutes, some parts made me think how did I miss this difference in these sites that I have been using everyday.  I strongly recommend this book to all web developers at any level because it instills little tidbits of information in your head and changes the perception next time you sit to design and build a web.  All in all, if you are new to web usability and need simple, user-friendly solutions this is the book.  



Bottom Line: Improve the usability tools of your site and it will improve your site overall.

DON’T MAKE ME THINK- A Common Sense Approach To Web Usability

 Grade: A
 Pages: 216 
 Rating out of 5: 5/5
      The book is mainly about answering the following questions how web is used? How websites are constructed? And what it is meant to us?  The “us” refers to the entire eco-system of e-world [Website owner/ Web consumer/ Programmer/ Designer etc.]. Steve Krug, the author has immense experience as web usability consultant and he has worked with companies like Apple, AOL, BarnesandNoble.com, Excite@Home and Circle.com. Krug’s book is full of “simple practical techniques” for developing a user friendly website that doesn’t simply attract users but it makes them attached to it “forever”. The book is very short and crispy by design, which makes it an easy read. The author style of writing made me engaged, entertained and curious about our Internet usage pattern.
    The author starts with a brief narration of why he decided to pen down a second edition and what has changed from the first edition and why it is changed? After passing this info he gets into Krug’s way of defining web usability should be and then lists some websites that has instigated such skins. He states why these attributes make these websites better than the other in the e-world.
   Krug portrays some pictures of websites and describes the features in those websites and while doing so he explains a attribute ‘s specific reasoning as a web designer and how it is perceived by a web user.  The intriguing aspect is designers tend to think that users will access each and every word that’s on the website’s homepage whereas as users just scan and skim it. In the pursuit to find their [user] required data; they tend to spend a lot of time or sometimes they never quit until we find the info but in this process they do follow a specific pattern. He talks about how these patterns are formed and how it influences a user’s mindset in a search.
     One important aspect from the book is Krug maintains a line between what is the correct way and what is the best way to construct a website. At the same time he keeps this to very minimal and focuses more on what are the needs of a user.  He articulates the importance of focus groups and details the role of these focus groups time to time in product development phase. He did touch a bit about office politics involved in the decision making process. He then jumps into the importance of “Home” tab irrespective of which page the user is in, user should always have the option to go to the home page. The book has lot of cartoons then and there which are self-explanatory and at the same time humorous.



    The other identical chapter deals with some example websites and illustrates .the importance of a “search” button. Then he touches upon the best way to design the search tab and with some examples he clearly portrays how it should be done and how it shouldn’t be. One more aspect is the highlighting that is needed to let the user know where they are and if they want to navigate back it’s help to do so.  All these stress the essentiality of a good navigation design and how it creates the emotional connectivity bond between the user and the website.
       One thing Krug has clearly established by the book is he has quashed the myth around conducting usability testing which is always considered as very expensive and not everyone can afford to do it.  In the process of doing this, all we have to spend is $300. He doesn’t stop there and digs in deeper by providing simple steps that you can use to conduct a usability test on your own and what can be expected out of this.
               My professor Dan Weingrod for Digital Marketing recommended this to me; I loved reading this seriously amazing book and a big THANK YOU for my professor. Normally it’s hard to focus on e-book for hours but this book had all the essence that kept me pushing one more chapter. I loved the transition and spacing throughout the whole book with a right mix between pictures and words. Some parts kept me laughing for minutes, some parts made me think how did I miss this difference in these sites that I have been using everyday.  I strongly recommend this book to all web developers at any level because it instills little tidbits of information in your head and changes the perception next time you sit to design and build a web.  All in all, if you are new to web usability and need simple, user-friendly solutions this is the book.  
Bottom Line: Improve the usability tools of your site and it will improve your site overall.

My First Skydiving Experience!

explore-blog:

Steal Like a Writer – the rules from Austin Kleon’s fantastic Steal Like an Artist, adapted to writing.

Original here.

(Reblogged from explore-blog)
(Reblogged from explore-blog)