Even with all of the CoVid related closures, the restaurant sector remains a highly competitive one. It is really difficult to make an impact and get enough customers to be able to stay open.
Something that is borne out by the fact that 17% of them close within a year of opening. The median lifespan of a restaurant is 4.5 years. So, restaurant owners need to be constantly vigilant and very adaptable to be able to stay open and continue to make a good profit.
One of the key ways to do this is to stay up to date with what is going on in the industry. Especially when it comes to being aware of what customers want. As well as adopting new technology that enables the restaurant to serve diners better, while lowering overheads.
Here is an overview of the main 2022 restaurant trends. In particular, those that will help you to work more efficiently and offer your customers something a little different and better than your competitors.
The fact that many restaurants are struggling to recruit enough staff means that many are looking for ways to save labor. According to the Lightspeed 2021 Global State of Hospitality Industry Report, 50% of US restaurant owners are planning to implement some sort of automation, within the next 3 years.
They are looking at the following types of technology:
Kiosk ordering at the door or in the foyer
At table ordering tablets
Allowing customers to help themselves to drinks
Pre-ordering via an app
Using robots to prep certain types of foods e.g., salads
Digital menus and digital advertising
Making it clear to customers what you have on offer is a big part of selling more and turning it into a profit. And this is why digital advertising is important. Put simply, it is a form of marketing and advertising which uses the internet to promote products and services to the wider community, and with the help of dynamic creative solutions and other digital marketing strategies, your business can achieve any marketing goals that it sets.
It is also equally as important that you create special dishes and promotions that are tailored to suit the tastes of the people that you feed. Using digital menus makes it far easier to do this. So, it is not surprising that Digital signage trends indicate a phenomenal uptake within the restaurant sector. Even small restaurants, bars, and cafes are starting to use them.
They are a fantastic advertising tool and can also speed up service. Something many modern diners appreciate. They can come in, sit down, look across at the digital menu, decide what they want, and order it as soon as their server arrives at the table.
Digital signage screens can also be used to tempt diners with promotions. It is possible to mount them on sandwich boards. Where they catch the eye of a passerby. What is being advertised can be changed instantly. So, in the morning breakfast dishes can be used and at lunchtime, the promotion can feature special meal deals. Digital signage advertising is a highly effective way to increase sales.
Ingredient swapping to keep dish prices down
One of the biggest challenges facing the industry is that the cost of raw ingredients is going up at a phenomenal rate. According to Hudson Riehle, who is the senior vice president of research of the National Restaurant Association of the USA, the wholesale cost of protein items like beef, eggs, and chicken has virtually doubled. So, understandably, a lot of restaurants are minimizing how much of these products they use. They know that customers will not pay much more for their meals, so as you can see from this article they are having to innovate and drastically change what they serve.
More plant-based dishes
The rising cost of animal protein is naturally leading to restaurants offering more plant-based dishes. Coupled with increasing demand from consumers who want to eat in a healthier, more eco-friendly, way.
More food hall dining
People love choice. Especially younger diners, who like nothing better than eating out while socializing with friends. For them and family groups, food halls are increasingly becoming the preferred option. Everyone can choose where they buy their food. Then, sit down to enjoy it together.
This is good news for the restaurants too because people come to the counter to order and collect their own food. Currently, it is mainly fast food that is consumed this way. But some innovators are now offering individually cooked restaurant-style meals for consumption in food halls. Something that is going down especially well with consumers who do not want to eat out of plastic packaging.
Don t simply jump in
All of the above are sound suggestions. But, before you rush out and buy the equipment you need to implement them, pause, and do a bit more research. What works well in New York is not necessarily going to be a good move for your small-town restaurant. Brainstorm ideas with your staff when it is appropriate to do so. Then, identify the implementation costs (time and money) and work out if picking on that particular trend is going to generate a good return on your investment.