Restaurants constantly go through changes, leading to new trends, workflows, and ways of servicing customers. In light of the 2020 pandemic and massive restaurant industry recessions (financially), new trends have emerged that will change the way restaurant business is conducted in years moving forward. If you’re a restaurant owner or potential investor, take notes and if you are thinking about selling / buying / upgrading a restaurant business, please visit our home page for a breakdown of how our team can help yours.
1. The Importance of Delivery Options
This restaurant trend is the elephant in the room- establishments that are able to offer delivery options or; at the very least, takeout, were able to endure much of the hardships of 2020. From the customer perspective, ordering food is much more enticing than risking exposure to sickness inside a restaurant. There were also many governments that restricted in-dining options, which added more pressure to those establishments that didn’t accommodate takeout or delivery. As companies like Amazon and Facebook encourage ongoing work from home guidelines, there is indication that home-dining will continue to be relevant. With the right management of overhead, it can actually reduce costs for restaurants as well.
2. Prioritizing Technology Investments
What started as a niche method of payment, contactless options like Apple Pay are now mandatory in many restaurants around the country, with cleanliness guidelines encouraging its adoption faster. Technology is becoming more and more powerful, and more people are familiar with how to use tools like virtual menus, instead of those unwashed parchments that most restaurants give out. At BizPappa, we’ve been developing mobile website menus for restaurants that can be accessed directly from a customer’s phone. Other technologies include loyalty program apps, electronic gift cards, and pay-at-your-table solutions.
3. Understanding Customer Lifestyle Changes
As more companies encourage work-from-home, more people will be encouraged to partake in meal options that don’t follow the traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner model. Instead, snacks will become more popular, as apps like Go Puff and Postmates boast large snack sections. Though arguably the margins may be tighter, these smaller food item options have been the backbone for some food providers and; if work from home guidelines continue as expected, we can expect this trend to continue as well. Additionally, side entrees are becoming more popular, with many restaurants segmenting their items in a build-it-yourself style (think Panda Express). Of course, this doesn’t mean that fast food is the only dining category that has long term potential, but it’s model does present value.
4. Increase of At Home Cooking
The experience of cooking a meal at home will continue to be desired and; with health risks associated with going out in public around people, the name of the game seems to be to stock up. Grocery stores are encouraging stricter health guidelines, even going so far as to limit the number of people in the building at a time. Inversely, services like Amazon Fresh have swept up the market of deliverable groceries, and this trend poses potential for restaurants as well. Some restaurants like traditional Vietnemese eateries, offer take-home ingredients where you can then create your own Pho bowl, or save the ingredients for later. Depending on the style of restaurant, there may be value in offering DIY meal solutions, at home.
5. The Battle of Digital Marketing Exposure
It’s a non negotiable truth that digital marketing is necessary in today’s world, but is especially important in the restaurant industry, where customers are actively browsing their devices and seeing advertisements for multiple food providers. The easiest way to battle through the noise is to get hyper local and study the behaviours of local customers, then provide them value based on the issues they currently are experiencing (distance of food options, which ones are available, etc). Of course, there is a lot more that goes into digital marketing, but the fact is that more and more users are relying on their digital devices for (literally) everything, and without physically driving past a restaurant sign, there are few other ways to get their attention.