2018 Restaurant Trends to Monitor & Embrace
What can the hospitality industry expect in 2018? As some major trends have popped up in 2017, it’s looking like they are here to stay for the new year. Savvy restaurant operators are looking for clever ways to stay competitive, improve their bottom line and ultimately – make smarter business decisions and improve the guest experience. Here are our predictions for the trends that are here to stay:
1. More Farm-to-Table and Healthy Eating
Diners are increasingly becoming more and more aware of their health and specifically what they are eating. They want to know where their food is coming from and are willing to pay for fresher, healthier options. We’ll see a continued increase in restaurant operators investing in farm-to-table food providers and natural ingredients in 2018. Restaurants who will cater to diners that are conscientious of these things will win their loyalty and business.
2. Upgrading POS Terminals, Specifically Going to Cloud Versions
According to Hospitality Tech’s latest 2018 POS Software Trends Report, 49% of restaurant operators plan to add new functionality and features to their POS software in 2018 and 61% say a cloud upgrade ranks as the top feature for those upgrades. Moving to a cloud versions allows operators to have the ability to grow their business with minimal costs, provides for a secure place for all of their data and a way to access their data from anywhere.
3. Off-Premise Dining Strategies
Off-premise is one trend that is here to stay. As consumers continue to opt out of traditional in-store dining, operators are having to adapt their operations and drive sales in other ways. With a variety of entry points for a diner’s order to come from, whether it’s investing in a third-party delivery partner, creating a curbside pickup and/or takeout station or implementing delivery from in-house, off-premise dining can and will be a strategy that restaurants can’t ignore. In 2018, we can expect to see even the large chains joining the off-premise dining game.
4. Data, Data, Data.
The demand for anything that can be measured and automated has led to an onslaught of technological advances and integrated systems. Operators have the opportunity to gather data from every angle of the guest’s dining journey and create a more personalized experience from the moment they make contact with a diner to well after they’ve left their restaurant. Data can provide operators the ability to execute on smarter marketing campaigns, identify areas for improvement, and ultimately cut costs and save money. Operators are going to focus on kitchen data in 2018 specifically. As delivery becomes more and more important to driving sales, investing in a KDS that provides real time data such as speed of service and order status updates will be a game changer!
5. Location Based Marketing Efforts
Facebook, Foursquare and Instagram have defined the use of beacon locating technology with their “check in” functionality and consumers have not only embraced it but expect it. Consumers expect their favorite brands to creatively use data gathered from their previous experiences and use it to engage with them in a personalized way. With beacon technology, operators will know when diners are near their establishments and send targeted marketing messages to them to drive traffic. This will help build customer loyalty quickly and help operators have meaningful conversations with diners.
6. More Automation
As with any business, automating processes helps streamline operations and executes on new business strategies. In the restaurant industry, operators are looking to invest in technologies that automate parts of their operations to fine-tune their dining experience. Automation in the restaurant can be anything from kiosks, touch screens, online ordering, and BOH and FOH software systems – just to name a few. All of these serve a different purpose in providing a memorable dining experience and are important to the diner.
Integrations are so important for executing on almost every trend we’ve already covered. A well-connected restaurant can’t happen with multiple pieces of technology that don’t speak to one another. We’re going to see operators making decisions about which technology to invest in based on integrations and if the technology will communicate with other systems already in place.
Add these new technologies, strategies and activities into your operations– they could ultimately impact your bottom line and guest experience this year.
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About the Author
Amber Mullaney led all things marketing for QSR. A proud Texan native, she graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in Public Relations and spent her career in the healthcare industry before making the switch to QSR and beyond, saying she loves a good challenge. Amber has a long list of things she loves, including tacos (especially tacos), sweet tea, Texas, the outdoors, and traveling with her husband and two daughters.