Photo by Juliana Kozoski on Unsplash

The Restaurant Economic Model is Broken — Technology Can Fix It

As the country starts to emerge from over a year of Covid hibernation, the size, shape and dynamics of the restaurant industry looks rather different from what went into the crisis. Some restaurants are quickly discovering that reopening their doors and playing by the pre-pandemic game plan is simply not a formula for success. Restaurants have always been shaped by the ever-changing demands of fickle consumers, and constrained by a dismal legacy box-economic model on the locations where they were built. But a year of isolation has created some fundamental changes to the industry and the consumer that will endure…

A Retrospective View from the Top of the Hype Cycle

Data transformation is not keeping pace with data creation and dissemination, which stifles knowledge proliferation
Data transformation is not keeping pace with data creation and dissemination, which stifles knowledge proliferation
Image by Samuele Porta

While doing some research the other day I stumbled across a modified copy of a presentation I did at a Restaurant Marketing Executives conference right when “Big Data” was at the peak of Gartner’s Hype Cycle. It’s hard to believe that was 7 years ago, and it’s been 5 years since Gartner stopped tracking “Big Data” altogether. Buzz words are a funny, fickle thing, especially when they suddenly overrun an industry that was previously inhabited by geeks and introverts. Within a matter of a few years we got a title upgrade from ‘data geeks’ to ‘data scientists’, then in an…

Photo by Sydney Liao on Unsplash

It’s time to reshape the economics of a historically unprofitable industry

Even before Covid-19 wrought havoc on the Restaurant industry there was a simmering struggle across the industry over the increasingly difficult unit-level economics that operators were facing. With an average profit margin of just 5% every blip of operating cost pressure needed to be offset, either through price increases or other cost decreases. However, decades of new unit expansion lead to overbuilding and saturated markets — making competition for customers and employees ever harder. For customers, this meant better choices, higher quality and great prices. For restaurants it meant…

Carson, California Food Line — April 18, 2020

Headline economic numbers aren’t capturing the distortions and depth of pain in the economy.

An Uneven Recovery for Businesses and Consumers

The new spate of headline economic numbers released in the past week show mostly improving numbers, but a deeper look reminds us why ‘averages’ are misleading when evaluating performance metrics. The uneven recovery and distortions we are seeing in the public markets are driven by stimulus packages shaped by ideology rather than problem solving pragmatism. The massive fiscal and monetary stimulus injected into the economy throughout the pandemic was spectacularly successful at adding fuel to large companies with access…


The Misinformation Epidemic is Funded by Brands we Trust Most

Misinformation is destabilizing our democracy and last week people who have become radicalized by it attempted a violent overthrow of the government and continue to plot terrorist acts against their fellow Americans. This did not happen in a vacuum, and it’s not solely due to irresponsible politicians . Corporate America has made the business of misinformation into a multi-billion dollar industry, sometimes due to their willful ignorance and other times with wide-eyed complicity. …

mbolingrn instagram


According to PEW research a little more than 1/2 of Americans have heard of Q-Anon as of December ‘20, but that has probably increased since Jan 6th when they became a driving force behind the takeover of the US Capitol. While 74% of American adults think Q-Anon is ‘bad’, 41% of Republicans view them as net ‘good’. This is despite the FBI having labeled the group a domestic terror threat earlier in 2020.

Edwin Hooper — Unsplash

DOL Reports 11M unemployed but 21M claims were filed in October

The massive shock that the pandemic had on the economy starting last spring also had a big impact on government agencies’ ability to process data accurately. The official unemployment ‘headline’ numbers come from a survey that asks people about their employment status. Early in the pandemic the ambiguity of ‘furloughed’ employees and parameters around government assistance to businesses that required them to maintain employees in order to receive funds led to misclassifications that were quickly identified as a 3.1m allocation error but was never adjusted for. That 3.1 million, however, is a far cry from accounting for the additional 10…

What If Republicans prove more loyal to Trump than Democracy?

After 4+ years the media and politicians continue to underestimate Donald Trump and his ability to tear down the fabric of democratic process and convention. His refusal to concede was not a surprise, but it’s a mistake to think that he will stay within the rules or respect any constitutional or legal norms. If it were the President alone who was ready to toss American democracy to the gutter in order to stay in power, then perhaps the media would be justified in trivializing it. However, he has convinced millions that it was his opponents who toppled democracy, falsely accusing…

Every administration faces unique challenges but all are measured by the same yardsticks

Average GDP Growth by Administration from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (Chart by InDataTruth)

While this election cycle feels different on many levels, one thing that isn’t different is that politicians always try to take credit for the great things that happened during their watch and disavow responsibility for anything bad that happened. Economic conditions during a President’s term has been one of the biggest deciding factor in elections, but how much control does a President really have over the economy? …

Spikes in Non-Covid Deaths During Virus Peaks Nullifies Conspiracists’ Over-count Assertions

There is a pervasive conspiracy fallacy (I don’t give them the validation of calling them theories) in the US that the official tally of Covid deaths is being artificially inflated because crooked officials in hospitals and morgues across the country are falsifying documents and putting the cause of death as Covid-19 rather than the true cause of death. Yes, everything from car accidents to falling off a ladder is being attributed to Covid and of course all flu and pneumonia deaths regardless of whether they had additional Covid symptoms or not — or so the conspiracy fallacy goes. I had…

Michael Lukianoff

Data Science Entrepreneur, Inventor, Dad, New Yorker

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