The muffins were warm and the coffee was flowing; a perfect time to chat with old friends, and, since I'm an editor, pick their brains. At HT's recent Restaurant Executive Summit, I had a chance to connect with many restaurant operators, speakers, and members of our Editorial Advisory Board. Here's a snapshot of some of our conversations.
Many restaurants said they're still working through PCI compliance, but not at the corporate level. The standard has been around long enough that most corporate teams have a plan in place to comply, even if they're still in the throws of the process. The challenge comes from the franchisee community, as many smaller merchants still have apathy towards PCI; they're hoping it will be resolved by the credit card companies through a more secure form of payment, and sooner rather than later. Of course, franchisee apathy puts the corporate brand at risk. Several operators said they're looking at tokenization technology to aid their compliance issues.
On the social media front, many execs are getting into Twitter and quite a few reported that they have at least one staff member who is responsible for Tweeting. Some are using recent college grads as Tweet-masters. They're savvy with the technology, and they've got the lingo down. Next to come is location-based Twitter. Instead of following particular accounts, a user can follow a particular region (such as New York City, or even drill down to Midtown Manhattan). This development opens up a nice opportunity for restaurants to connect with their guests in a highly-targeted and localized way. Taking it a step further, many restaurants are looking for that perfect app that integrates into guests' personal devices for ordering, payment or simply relationship-building.
Whether it's over coffee, lunch, or a phone call, I'm always interested in hearing what you're working on. Drop me a line or send an email. Even better, bring some muffins.