|The AllergyEats table.|
|The line-up of speakers and the day's panel discussions.|
The question asked over and over by savvy businesspeople is: “What is the ROI?” (return on investment) on any given new program or idea. For many restaurants unaccustomed to serving guests with severe, possibly life threatening food allergies they ask themselves that question about us.
At The Inaugural Food Allergy Conference for Restaurateurs: What Every Restaurant Should Know About Food Allergies To Ensure Safety & Maximize Customer Engagement, Loyalty, and Revenue presented by Paul Antico of AllergyEats*, he laid out very clearly what the ROI is and this was one of the most compelling pieces of information during the half day long conference.
In short, for a little as a $1000 initial investment (for items like colored plates, separate sauté pans and cutting boards, knifes labeled for specific meals only and an allergy friendly kit like the kind San Jamar makes), a restaurant could se a 10-15% increase in revenue annually (and that number is a low estimate). For restaurants that means thousands of dollars in profit.
Via email, Paul Antico of AllergyEats clarified it thusly:
“…the investment is closer to $1000, once training for the whole staff is added in. Then, within a few years, giving time for word to get out and customer loyalty to develop, yes I think the empirical and anecdotal data suggests a restaurant’s sales could go up by 10+%...that number would mean not thousands of dollars in profit, but tens of thousands of dollars in annual profit! The beauty of this whole argument is that if I am wrong by a factor of five and sales only go up 2%, that’s still a 5% increase in profits, which is still (in an average sized restaurant equal to a $15,000 increase in profits, or a ROI of 1500%. Even if the restaurant spends that $1000 each year over three years and only gets the 2% increase, that’s again still a 500% ROI.”
A very enticing ROI. And a great ending argument to a much-needed conference additional to food allergy awareness.
Looking forward to next year AllergyEats!
*About Allergyeats.com from their press release: AllergyEats, a free website and smartphone app, provides valuable, peer-based ratings and feedback about how well (or poorly) restaurants have accommodated food-allergic customers, allowing the food allergy community to make more informed decisions about where to dine. AllergyEats lists well over 575,000 restaurants nationwide, which food-allergic diners can rate. The site also offers information on restaurants’ menus (including gluten-free menus), allergen lists, nutrition information, certifications, web links, directions and more.
*Nice article from a foodservice magazine, Nation's Restaurant News.