Ithaca, NY, July 17, 2013 – Future strategies for restaurant system operation and ownership and new approaches for brand management were highlighted in two recent Cornell hospitality roundtables, as detailed in recently released proceedings. Key topics in the Branding Roundtable included maintaining a brand’s points of difference, while the roundtable on Emerging Trends in Restaurant Ownership and Management addressed new ownership structures. Both roundtables dug into the implications of social media for brand management. The proceedings are available at no charge from the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) at the School of Hotel Administration, which organizes the roundtables.

Cornell Roundtable Focuses on Concepts for Powerful Branding

Brand management has become a steadily growing challenge given demanding customers, intensifying competition, and the increasing influence of social media. Participants at the recent Brand Management Roundtable discussed ideas to help focus and distinguish brands, including identifying and maintaining points of difference and applying “sticky ideas.” The roundtable proceedings are now available at no charge from the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research.

“Our roundtable participants discussed many promising branding concepts,” said Cornell Professor Chekitan Dev, who chaired the roundtable. “Some of the most effective ideas are relatively simple, but the key insight is for these ideas to be ‘sticky,’ so that customers remember the brand. We also discussed innovating brand attributes across industry boundaries, safeguarding brand reputation, and configuring the proper relationship between the parent brand and its portfolio extensions.”

Recurring themes at the roundtable were the use of an overarching brand element, such as a brand mantra or loyalty program, to spur creativity and innovation, maintain brand edge, manage brand architecture, and provide a unifying principle for brands’ portfolios to bond customers to the parent brand.

Cornell Roundtable Examines Future of Restaurant Industry

The U.S. restaurant industry is experiencing a remarkable volume of change, although the changes are not readily apparent. Those changes were the topic of the recent Emerging Trends in Restaurant Ownership and Management Roundtable, held at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration. The roundtable’s proceedings are now available at no charge from the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research.

“Our discussions were organized around some of the macro changes that are taking place in the restaurant industry, including the increasing role of private equity ownership and social media management,” said Ben Lawrence, an assistant professor at Cornell who chaired the roundtable. “In the midst of the many changes, we saw two important themes emerge-one around the idea of creating and maintaining a community-oriented brand and the second about the tension between growth and the maintenance of brand values and corporate culture.”

In addition to the role of private equity in restaurant ownership and social media, roundtable participants examined changes in facilities and design, human resource management, and the complexities surrounding restaurant chain growth.