Restaurant Trends to Prepare you for 2019
It’s that time of year, when everyone is thinking of the future. It’s when we make resolutions to make improvements, and resolve to fortify our strengths. For restaurant operators, this is just as true, though you don’t necessarily need a crystal ball to forecast it. In fact, by analyzing some of the year’s significant restaurant industry trends, operators can prepare for a successful 2019.
Restaurant Food Trends
As has been the case for the past few years, a desire for options, a general consciousness, and convenience (which we’ll get to in a bit) drives most modern restaurant trends. Today’s restaurant consumers understand that they have options, from newer meatless alternatives to probiotics. Guests want to know the source of their food, as well as the intended health benefits it’ll bring. Operators can appeal to this with more menu transparency and an emphasis on providing options. Whether they meatless, gluten-free, or a low fat, consumers appreciate alternatives.
Modern consumers have more access to information than ever before, which means that if you don’t provide a particular option, they’ll seek out a restaurant that does. By delivering these healthy alternatives, as well as transparency in your sourcing, you’ll be perfectly on-trend for 2019!
Restaurant Menu Trends
With consumers’ drive for transparency comes a responsibility for restaurant operators to assist in decision-making. One primary way operators can appeal to this need is through a polished menu. Most modern consumers prefer experience over a product. This means unique illustrations and designs, instead of walls of text, go a long way.
Operators can use their menus to identify sourcing for their food, calories counts, and other options for those with more limited diets. Furthermore, the need for simplicity in a world overrun with notifications means consumers will appreciate an easily scannable, well-designed menu.
Another strategy for an operator is to utilize menu engineering to truly optimize their menu by keeping valuable items and ditching those that cost the restaurant more money than they generate. Additionally, providing a simple lunch menu that features only 4-5 essential items. It may seem counterproductive to thin out your product offering, but you simplify a guest’s choice-making. It also means you can drill down on your efficiency. You don’t have to go all out with an artistic statement, especially if it’s not part of your brand. However, the goal for the modern operator is to make your information easy to read and laid out so that a guest can find what they need with minimal effort.
Restaurant Technology Trends
Nowadays, consumers are free and comfortable with the idea of technology being a part of their dining experience. As a result, convenient, tech-driven options continue to drive modern restaurant trends.
Off-premise dining continues in its upward trajectory with Food and Wine identifying the millennial restaurant audience and their propensity to eat off-premise one to five times a week. Consumers expect it in their restaurants and will choose another option if they can’t get it in yours. Furthermore, third-party vendors like GrubHub and UberEats continue to make off-premise options a viable dining option (and revenue stream!) for restaurants of all sizes and concepts. Whether or not you choose to handle your delivery in-house, or through one of these services depends on your bandwidth and finances, but you’ve got options!
For off-premise dining to work, technological integrations are essential in connecting the various stations of the restaurant. Integrations between the point-of-sale system and the KDS, or joining the guest management (front-of-house) system to the kitchen (back-of-house) will ensure that your off-premise dining strategy is seamless. With an integration, you can accommodate both walk-in and online orders smoothly, without one disrupting the other. It will also make your order quoting more accurate, as these various devices collect their data from the kitchen. They’re not making arbitrary estimations.
Data and restaurant analytics will continue as a focus for operators looking to make improvements in their restaurants. Using data from devices like their kitchen display system, management can obtain metrics like the speed of service times, average party size, and revenue. With this technology in full integration, operators can access even more of this data. From there, they can highlight problems or chokepoints in their operations.
Restaurant Service Trends
Finally, we will continue to see futuristic, cutting-edge developments creep into the restaurant experience. Mobile POS and “pay at the table” movements help simplify things for your customers. It’s easier for them to complete their meal and for you to turn more tables. They also help cut costs. As of now, virtually 41% of restaurants are using some form of pay at the table, with these numbers expected to grow.
AI and artificial intelligence will continue making waves in the fields of hospitality and commerce, with the emergence of online chatbots for ordering. Many operators have employed these to give those customers ordering online a memorable, more attentive user experience.
Finally, ordering Kiosks, equipped with technology to store and “recall” a customer’s previous orders helps offset a diminishing workforce and keeps things moving in your lobby. It also just makes things fun and proactive for guests, as they receive a tailored service.
The only constant in any industry is that change is inevitable. There will always be new trends and developments to sort through. Some will last, and some will not. By taking honest stock of how you can utilize these trends, and how they can improve your restaurant, will keep you ahead of the curve in the years to come.
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About the Author
Dylan Chadwick is a Content Marketing Specialist at QSR Automations. He graduated from Brigham Young University with an English degree and journalism focus and loves to write about technology. When left to his own devices, he enjoys loud music, adorable dogs and documentaries about the aforementioned.