Aaron Allen is one of the smartest strategic thinkers for the restaurant industry, in the US and worldwide. He researches the reasons behind the trends we're experiencing in hospitality, right now and coming up in the next 5 years.

Here are some of his 10 Questions for Sleepless Restaurant Executives - some are important for large chains, and most are applicable to the single operator and those who supply them.

Crisis Communication is #1 - are operators prepared to handle a major drama, like food poisoning, wage issues, crazy comments from the CEO or mass feedback over a customer upset?

Communication with customers should also be top of mind - is it modern and fit-for-purpose, outperforming competitors and delighting your guests? This applies to the whole range of marketing activities - just when you think it's settled, a new channel appears and a familiar one falls out of favour.

How well have you engineered convenience for customers? How they order, pay, consume and share information - is it as frictionless as possible?

How good are your planning processes - quick and nimble, or dependent on old-fashioned methods and layers of decision-making?

Do you have the right tools and technology, to support speedy systems and give you the best data about performance? What do you invest in, and how will you test it?

>> Read the whole article, and share it with your team - lots to discuss at the next planning meeting...