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Hamilton Beach Commercial Blog


Secrets of Successful Digital Loyalty Programs

Customer loyalty programs aren’t just for big business. Any size company, from a small café to a regional chain, can employ a cost-effective digital loyalty program to encourage customers to keep coming back. A repeat customer spends 67 percent more on a single purchase than a new customer does, a Manta and BIA/Kelsey report found; and, as Entrepreneur notes, “they should be rewarded for this action, as retaining customers is less costly than acquiring new ones.”

But how can a company ensure its loyalty program investment will pay off? Hamilton Beach Commercial spoke with Jenny Beightol, Director of Words & Reputations for Belly. With more than 12,000 clients and 6 million members, Chicago-based Belly is the leading digital loyalty solution for businesses. Here are six strategies for making your digital loyalty program a success.

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Topics: Trends, Featured, Restaurants, Digital Loyalty Programs

Strategies for Sourcing Locally While Reducing Costs

In April 2016, Tampa Bay Times food critic Laura Reiley rocked the culinary world with an investigation into restaurants’ local sourcing claims. In the piece, titled “Farm to Fable,” Reiley found that dozens of local restaurants — many of which she had lavishly praised in past reviews — were misleading customers about the provenance of food. “Florida quail” was from Wyoming. “Florida shrimp” came from India. Local Zellwood corn… wasn’t.  

It’s not that every restaurateur was actively practicing deception. Many said they had neglected to update the menu, or that they simply couldn’t source everything locally all the time. Seasons change, prices go up, farms go out of business, and it gets complicated.

Does everything really have to be local? And how can restaurants can prioritize farm-to-table sourcing while also managing costs?

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Topics: Locavores, Featured, Restaurants, Farm to Table

Diners’ expectations vary widely from casual to luxury

Food, service, and atmosphere are the three main components in any dining experience, but which matters most and how is “good” defined? Coyle Hospitality studied data from nearly 2,500 diners worldwide and found that diners’ views varied according to how much they were spending.

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Topics: Waitstaff, Dining environment, Atmosphere, Restaurant management, Research, Featured, Food, Restaurants

How South American food won a city in the American South

When Jessica and Josh Bufford opened Estilo in the suburbs of Richmond, Virginia, the most common question they heard from guests was, “Is this just fancy Mexican food?”

The restaurant opened in August 2013, and in January 2014 it won the “Best New Restaurant” award from Richmond Magazine. Now the mesa Latina is packed for lunch and dinner nearly every day of the week. Clearly the Buffords are doing more than a few things right, including riding the waves of two key trends—Latin American food and gluten-free kitchens—and managing the restaurant with the perfect balance of art and science.

Estilo's signature dish, Duck Confit Pozole (right).

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Topics: Gluten-free, Latin America, Peru, Restaurant management, Brazil, Featured, Feature, Food, Restaurants

From local to hyperlocal: getting started with a restaurant garden

When it comes to produce, the farmer's market is good — but the backyard is better. Local sourcing was the top culinary trend in 2014, according to chefs polled by the National Restaurant Association. The next step for chefs, especially those who can't always find the ultra-fresh produce they want, is growing it themselves.

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Topics: Trends, Locavores, Local sourcing, Produce-infused cocktails, Featured, Food, Vegetables, Restaurants

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