Trends always come and go, but restaurants operate in a particularly cyclical environment. For restaurants to stay competitive, it’s imperative to keep up-to-date on the trends affecting customer expectations, buying behaviors and other changes that are shaping the fundamentals of the industry as a whole.
While there is no secret recipe to figure out which trends will become industry mainstays, by keeping on top of what’s happening in the industry and what’s attracting customers, you can learn how to adapt your restaurant’s operations and business strategy to meet the needs of the evolving market.
In this article, we discuss the five restaurant industry trends to watch:
- Fast casual dining
Fast casual restaurants have seen significant growth in recent years, with sales growth outpacing that of the restaurant industry as a whole and the quick service restaurant (QSR) segment. This trend seems like a potential gold mine of repeat business – and with the right concept, this could be true.
- Concepts outside of QSR, fast casual and fine dining
New dining concepts are appearing in cities across the country, offering consumers a new dining experience as well as local restauranteurs a unique way to reach them. Some of these concepts include food halls, pop up restaurants and flex casual restaurants.
- Technology in the industry
Restaurants are looking to implement ways to improve the ordering experience. Phone apps and online ordering are obvious directions to pursue, but we’re seeing an increase in other technologies like digital kiosks, digital menus on tablets and ordering through platforms like Google Home or Amazon Echo.
- Food delivery
Whether done in-house or through a third party, the delivery business is booming. Some restaurant owners are using delivery services as a way to reach customers they wouldn’t otherwise reach on a particular night, while others see third party delivery services as a necessary evil to stay in front of the changing customer landscape.
- Conscious consumers
Consumers are becoming more aware of how their purchasing behavior affects the environment and many are taking this knowledge to mealtimes as well— from reducing plastic straw use to meat alternatives.
For more information on this topic, or to learn how Baker Tilly specialists can help, contact our team.