The idea of what a restaurant is and should be is changing just as quickly as any other industry. As demand continues to evolve, find out which restaurant industry trends you should be paying most attention to in the New Year.
Changing your approach as a restaurant owner might be vital to keeping up with the competition.
When thinking about the next year as a restaurant owner, you are probably reflecting on all of the things that went well, and also all of the things you might want to change. As people seem to want their food both quicker and healthier, the struggle to balance price, quality, atmosphere, and a personal touch is something we know won’t be easy. Focusing on these restaurant industry trends will help keep your business on track for success.
Restaurant Industry Trends: Healthy, Local Options Are What Many Consumers Want Most
You might be able to attract a few extra visitors into your restaurant with commodities like extravagant deep fried desserts and mondo burgers, but where you really need to focus changes your menu next year is around healthy options. Consumers have every resource they would ever need to find out what is healthy and what isn’t, and when they shop your menu before stopping in they’ll be looking for these options.
One of the best ways you can help your customers feel healthy is by using local foods to fill your menu options.
Even if your options aren’t the healthiest down to the last ingredients, advertising food or beverage menu items with locally sourced ingredients, manufacturers, and suppliers will attract the audience you need. Some people (especially the youngest generations) are so health conscious they’re sometimes embarrassed to eat fast food. Capitalize on this by adding fresh, local options to your menu.
Price Point is Everything
Before you finalize your menu for next year, sit down and run numbers to figure out how you can stay fresh and local, but also keep your price at a good level. People are willing to pay a premium for special occasions, but to capture the every-day consumer’s appetite you will need to have a good average price. Making this choice might depend on the age range of your customers. Take a look at this 20/20 Restaurant vision comparison between a baby boomer and a millennial. Depending on who you are targeting to bring into your doors, you want to structure your pricing and options accordingly.
A great example of this is Spin! Neopolitan Pizza from Kansas City, MO. This rapidly growing pizza chain offers happy hours, local brews and wines, and pizza with local healthy toppings to its customers all at an average price per check of $12. Knowing your audience and balancing your pricing will help you grow and succeed.
Restaurant Industry Trends: Connecting to Your Customer Through a Unique Dining Experience
They say your food tastes better if it looks better; so much so that people will even pay more for it. Well, the same goes for your restaurant’s atmosphere, menu, and personal story. If you haven’t changed up your dining atmosphere or experience in the recent years, it’s time to make that a big part of your plan for next year. These seven reasons people aren’t coming back to your restaurant can all be summed up into one thing: How does your restaurant make people feel? I know it sounds cheesy (no pun intended), but your customers want to feel connected to you before they come back and bring their family and friends. This has never been more true. Great ways to connect with your customers are giving them incentives like coupons and happy hours, but excellent customer service is where it all comes stems from. With the power of the review (literally) in everyone’s pocket these days, it’s important to ensure your customers feel special in 2017.
Technology is Your Friend, Embrace it
It’s no secret that technology should be at the front of the mind of every business owner; tech advances and options are among the top restaurant industry trends for 2017. Restaurant owners, embrace this change evolution. Technology like ‘Siri’ will soon be used in many drive through locations and touch pads with games and pay stations will become the norm. Mobile ordering apps help your customers who want to be on the go or just prefer to have dinner at home but love your food. As always, the most important factor to consider in deploying time and resource-saving tech is how it affects the customer experience and does it jive with customer expectations.
One fast-casual restaurant is full embracing this theme. Eatsa started in California with two locations and now plans to open 12 more within a year.
At this healthy, salad forward restaurant, customers have very little human interaction as they order on iPads and are assigned a “cubby” to pick up their food in when it’s done. You don’t have to automate everything as you don’t want to sacrifice your personal touch, but figure out what piece of technology you can incorporate into your business in the coming year to make life easier not only for your customers, but for yourself.
As you plan for the year ahead, keep these restaurant industry trends in mind. Using technology will not only increase efficiency, but also will make your customers have an easier time. Figuring out what makes your business’ story unique will help you connect with customers, create a memorable experience, and make your menu stand out. After all, going out to eat isn’t just about food anymore.