Archive | May, 2012

The Impact of Fast Food on America – InfoGraphic of the new (AB)Normal

29 May

Fast food portion sizes have increased since 1950s and companies like McDonalds do not want to admit that they might be part of the problem. Last week, McDonald’s Corp. voted down a proposal to assess its impact on public health, particularly childhood obesity. Do you think that fast food has contributed to the problem?

The Center for Disease Control came out with a new infographic that is jaw dropping – but not in a good way. The May 23rd Daily News article titled, “Fast food burgers have tripled in size since the 1950s: CDC graphic,” reports the latest in a recent onslaught of news highlighting out-of-control portion sizes and weight problems in America.

According to the recent CDC study, in the 1950s typical fast-food burger weighed just 3.9 ounces. Now, it’s 12 ounces, which is three times larger today then it was 50 years ago. Another great stat that the CDC discovered is that an average order of fries has grown from 2.4 ounces to 6.7 ounces. Shocking right? But, the biggest shocker of the study is centered around sodas. The study reported that today, people drink 42-ounce sodas, which is up from the comparatively skimpy 7-ounce soda pours people got at fast-food restaurants in the ’50s. Now, that data has quite an impact!

Check out the new infograpich below. And be sure to check back for more foodservice industry news updates.

CDC The New (Ab)normal


Burger and a Beer – The Chicago Way of Life is More Than Just Pizza

18 May

When one thinks of the Chicago dining scene, pizza comes to mind. After all, Chicago is proclaimed the pizza capitol of the nation.

While Chicago has more than its share of pizza places, the fact is that the predominant full service restaurant in the metropolitan area is the local bar and grill. Nearly 12% of all full service Chicago area restaurants are classified as a “bar and grill”, meaning that they generate a significant portion of their revenue from the sale of alcoholic beverages. The Chicago area is dotted with sports bars, microbreweries, and pubs; boasting a much higher percentage of them than New York or LA (3.5% and 2.5%, respectively). Chicagoans spent almost $550 million in bar and grill establishments last year .

These establishments, as a rule, are quite small. About 78% of Chicago area bars and grills have annual revenues of less than $500,000. But being small hasn’t meant much to their survival. Nearly 80% of Chicago’s area bar and grills have been in business for more than five years.

Why Chicagoans prefer their local pub n’ grub to other restaurant types is subject to speculation.  Certainly, the allure of a bar and grill establishment is probably more about the beverages than the food. It is likely that many patrons’ frequent places that are close to home or work. The atmosphere of your local pub can definitely be more relaxing than other establishments. In many cases, a bond with a particular employee or the owner of an establishment results in frequent visits due to camaraderie and loyalty. It is not at all unusual for patrons to stop in virtually every day.

At any rate, what better way to watch the game or enjoy times with friends than having a beverage and a sandwich on your favorite bar stool? In the Chicago area, it is the thing to do.

Because of the preponderance and diversity of the bar and grill market in the Chicago area, marketing to them can be challenging. Cathy Kearns of CHD Expert, a Chicago based food service marketing firm, noted “Our clients are always looking for ways to reach the Chicago area sports bars and pubs. They are spread out and usually small in size but they represent a large part of the Chicago market, so you really need to get to them somehow”.

The Problem With Fragmented Data in the Foodservice Industry

15 May

As most of you know, data is a very important resource for many businesses. Whether organizations have an internal database or purchase external lists, one of the main things that businesses need to be wary of is having fragmented data. Time and time again, you hear stories about companies that have wasted money as a result of an ineffective direct marketing campaign. The culprit: bad data. Today, businesses are still using this “spray and pray” approach, essentially blanketing a specific geographic area using off-the-shelf and untargeted industry data. This has two major problems:

• Low ROI
• High operating costs

The use of incomplete and fragmented data creates a cyclical effect that negatively impacts marketing costs and lead-generation opportunities. This results in lower sales revenue and profitability. Foodservice providers that continue to use the spray-and-pray method for their industry sales and marketing campaigns also experience one or more of the following outcomes:

1. A Failure to Track Industry: Turnover — The inability to track industry turnover means that lead/
contact information does not reflect new or closed vendor locations and ownership changes, resulting in an inaccurate assessment of overall market penetration.

2. A Lack of Segmentation — The inability to gain access to segmented market data causes an inability to drill down and filter that data to find highly targeted prospects and construct more effective sales and marketing campaigns.

3. An Incomplete Census — Incomplete or inaccurate market data also translates into an inability to fully comprehend the entire lead-prospect
population. Today the majority of food industry marketers can accurately identify only about 10 percent of their entire target market.

4. Fragmented Data — The use of fragmented and incomplete data across multiple information sources
means that foodservice industry providers are unable to generate a single, complete, and uniform database to
effectively produce programs that will lead to higher sales and greater bottom-line profitability.

The result is operational ineffectiveness that increases operating costs, creates unproductive sales and marketing staffs, and misses important business opportunities that could have led to higher revenues. To learn more about the challenges with foodservice industry data, download our white paper, “Overcoming the Business Challenges Associated With Inadequate Foodservice Industry Data.” Click here.

2012 National Restaurant Association Show Recap

11 May
Enterning the NRA Show

The entrance to the NRA Show

Just like in years past, the 2012 NRA show was a huge success and we are glad to have been able to network with thousands of foodservice operators from around the globe. Like many things in life the show came and went fast and it’s a good thing we gathered business cards and took notes.

As our CHD Expert team is full of NRA Show veterans, we wanted to do a recap of some of the observations that we noticed about this years show, and how the 2012 NRA show differed from those of years past.

First thing we noticed upon entry was that this year’s show was PACKED! Of course the NRA Show always has a good attendance, but in 2012 it appears that all booths were sold, which isn’t always the case. So not only were there more attendees but also more exhibitors.

Speaking of the exhibitors, the companies who were exhibiting this year were much more diversified than those of years past. Of course we always expect to see traditional manufacturing companies, consumer packaged good brands, restaurant groups, etc. But this year there was a much larger presence of technology companies and international companies.

Whether it was a company offering different apps or a social media agencies, the tech industry was ever-present at this years show.  Additionally there was a noticeable amount of exhibitors from different parts of Europe, Asia and Latin America, which goes to show that the NRA Show is truly a global attraction.

We also noticed a change in the attendee demographic as well, which was also much more diverse. In addition to all of the professionals from different parts of the world, this year’s show was also attended by a lot of food service industry wannabes. Be it culinary students looking to learn about the industry or foodies looking to sample their favorite foods, there were a lot of people from the general public who weren’t dressed like making business contacts was their main priority.

One additional thing that we were glad to see was how the NRA restructured some of the logistics of the show. It appeared that they grouped like industries consolidating all of the coffee companies, manufacturing companies, tech companies, etc. While this made more logistical sense for the attendees, it likely created a higher sense of urgency between competitors.

However, having competitors battle over consumers’ attention is ultimately good for innovation and the economy, so we welcome the change. Additionally, we at CHD Expert are still the only company who collects and manages data specifically for the away from home foodservice industry and we are proud to stand alone in this segment of the industry.

If you too attended the 2012 NRA Show and have any other observations you would like to share, please leave it in the comments section below. Or if you didn’t have the opportunity to attend the show, feel free to get in touch with us and we will gladly provide you an update about foodservice marketing.

Foodservice Data Management Solutions: Getting The Most Out Of Your Customer Database

2 May

Is your customer database a mess? We know how difficult it can be to target the right audience with the right message at the right time. We’ve identified the four common challenges that we see foodservice professionals face when it comes to being able to effectively target the foodservice industry:

  1. The foodservice industry is fragmented (there are multiple sources in multiple formats)
  2. There is constant turn over in market (Openings and closing, and change of ownership)
  3. It’s difficult to reach the right target audience (because the industry is fragmented and there is constant turn over in the market)
  4. It’s hard to get good data (because it’s hard to reach the right target audience)

Clients turn to us to help clean up their data and their database. Through our data management services, we offer data de-duplication, data matching, data appending and more. And, to get even more insights from your data, we offer a product called, FINDsweeper. FINDsweeper can cleanse and match your current database to the CHD FIND database. This means that you can learn more about your current customers and obtain new prospects within the foodservice industry. Wouldn’t this be great for your sales and marketing team? This will allow them to target the right prospects at the right time.

To get more information about our data management offerings, check our our video, “Optimizing Data in the Foodservice Industry.” Or, if you want to set up some time with one of our experts, send us an email. Please contact Brad Bloom at

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