Today’s restaurant industry has become more competitive than ever, and it’s important to understand why. Technology continues to advance, and with that advancement comes consumers who are used to a certain level of convenience. If a restaurant doesn’t have the right level of service, they’ll typically take their business elsewhere. It is essential now more than ever to do the research into current market trends and make some investments to remain competitive. Here are just four major trends that you should be aware of and consider implementing into your own restaurant.
Specialty Menu Items
In today’s consumer market, it seems like you can find as many diets as there are dieters. While some of it comes from trends and fads, it’s also important to realize that people are becoming more and more aware of allergies and intolerances that they have to various ingredients. Whether it’s for health reasons, ethical reasons, or even just to copy their favorite celebrity, however, it’s important that you are aware of the rising need for flexible menus. The very least a restaurant of today should be able to do is inform customers of potential allergens in their menus. Providing carb estimates for those with diabetes can also show your customers that you are concerned for their health and wellbeing. Where possible, try to find ways to customize menu items to fit the dietary restrictions that may come your way.
Another major change in the modern habits of consumers is that everyone is becoming incredibly busier and less social. Because of this, more and more restaurants are offering take-out options or even delivery. While delivery isn’t possible for everyone, it will increase your patronage if you can offer to-go plates that your customers can use to take their meal home. You can make this easier on your staff by identifying entrees and sides that are quick and easy to assemble, then offering the option of take-home plates for those.
Food is a lot more enticing when you can see it, and having displays of some of your more decorative dishes can be a great way to draw in newcomers. Deserts, in particular, are a common favorite to display. To combine two solutions in one, try offering deserts as to-go items and place them on display in a three-door commercial display cooler or other display refrigerator. A customer’s eyes are often bigger than their stomach, or so the saying goes, so chances are they may decide to take a take-home desert with them on the way out if they can see it sitting there waiting for them.
Order-Through/ Pay-Through App Options
Mobile apps have changed so many industries. The restaurant industry is no different. Nowadays, you can order a drink or food from your favorite coffeehouse or restaurant and pay for it before you’ve even left the house. Offering this kind of service, plus a convenient pick-up option, can help draw in customers who are in a rush or want to avoid long waits. This also helps to prevent long lines that may turn away customers during rush times. If you feel like your orders could become backed-up this way, consider implementing a tracker on your app that tells them how long it’s estimated for their food to choose a pick-up time based upon how many people are ahead in a queue. This will also allow people to order their food long in advance, giving you plenty of time to prepare it and eliminating the chance of them waiting in a line.
Restaurant managers who want to increase their sales need to know how to take advantage of modern technology. As the market becomes more competitive and startup restaurants rise and fall, it’s important to stay on top of the best industry trends. Even if you don’t have a major budget for new services, take a look at what you do have and find ways to cater to the new convenience and customization needs of the modern consumer.
Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.