Deep dive into internet trends and how it may impact your restaurant business

For many years, I led the investor relations program for Wendy’s, managing the restaurant company’s relationship with Wall Street. That part of my job seemed like 24x7 with the myriad of responsibilities for a publicly traded firm – earnings reports, SEC filings, roadshows, hedge funds, analyst reports, stock price, board meetings, etc.


Financial Analyst Mary Meeker

During many of those years “tech” ruled Wall Street and no one commanded more attention than Financial Analyst Mary Meeker. She helped Morgan Stanley snare major IPOs such as Google, Netscape and Priceline. She recommended bonanzas like Dell, Amazon and AOL. After the internet boom went bust, some other analysts were hit with penalties for promoting stocks they privately disliked. What a disaster.

Meeker, however, remained clean. Even after the crash, she kept that faith and insisted on the value of some tech stocks when investors had lost heart. Those who followed her advice and stuck with juggernauts like Amazon profited handsomely.

A few weeks ago, her legendary annual report on Internet Trends was published. It’s always fascinating. The presentation is a voluminous 355 slides full of insights. Meeker, a Kleiner Perkins executive, provides a perspective on the key aspects of internet use. She provides a look into which firms are winning. She looks at what’s growing, who is using tech tools and how. She also studies geographic and social data.

For those of us in the restaurant and foodservice business, understanding this sea change is imperative. Technology and innovation are rapidly changing how consumers use grocery stores, restaurants, food trucks and delivery in ways we could hardly imagine just 10 years ago.

And, speaking of Amazon, its acquisition of Whole Foods will accelerate that change. In just two days after the announcement, Whole Foods competitor Kroger, our Cincinnati-based grocery giant, lost $7 billion in market value. Wall Street fears grocery chains and other retailers are going to feel tremendous pressure from Amazon. Read more about this here.

Click this link to view the full Meeker report and note the following stats:

  • Internet usage per person is now 5.6 hours a day, including 3.1 hours on mobile devices.

  • Slide #13 highlights the time spent with the internet versus advertising spend.

  • Slide #25 highlights geo-targeted ads.

  • Slide #28 shows how Uber and Foursquare are working an alliance.

  • Slide #29 focuses on hyper-local targeting and slide #38 showcases effective social media.

  • Slide #54-58 illustrates how social media requires brand accountability and how the most engaged brands are driving sales.

For more insight, be sure to attend ORA's Idea Factory events that are spread throughout the state. Our next event is set for Wednesday, August 23 in Dublin. ORA members and the general public are invited to the event, which will feature Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption President and CEO Rita Soronen and Hudson Riehle from the National Restaurant Association. Register here.