Consumer Trends in the Restaurant Industry: What do your Guests Really Want?
I see articles all the time about the latest trends influencing the habits of restaurant guests. Regardless of the trend of the week, the message is the same. Your guests’ wants, needs, and expectations drive their restaurant choices, and capitalizing on trends early helps restaurant companies compete in this challenging business.
The last decade has seen restaurants scaling back and closing doors. A struggling economy has caught too many ill prepared. To flourish in this environment, restaurant operators have had to pay close attention to consumer trends.
Here are five trends influencing how your guests choose where they dine today, and how you can cater to them.
Technology. A few weeks ago, I wrote about how technology can help you deliver better customer service. Technology offers much more to diners than it used to: from line-busting self-service to mobile ordering to digital menu boards. Busy consumers expect a new level of speed of service, and your guests are looking at you to keep up with demand.
Comfort & Accessibility. Diners are less interested in the newest, trendiest place to eat. Today, more of your guests are looking for a comfortable place that makes it easy to dine in, bring their kids, or carry out. For more on this, see Battling the Fast Food Epidemic: Make your Restaurant Kid Friendly.
Value. With less disposable income, consumers are choosier about where they spend their dining dollars. Value sells. You can add value in the mind of your customers and grow your repeat business, without sacrificing anything from your bottom line. Download a free guide to higher ticket averages through package deals: Selling Value Raising Sales.
Convenience & Demand. Your guests want to do business with you on their own terms. Last year we posted Restaurant Trends: 5 Ways Technology Can Keep you Ahead of the Pack, which highlighted ways to use online ordering, social media, and mobile apps to drive sales by making it easier and more convenient for guests to do business with you.
Variety. With consumers seeking out healthier options, adding variety to your menu can attract a wider demographic—and potentially more meal occasions. Analyze your point of sale data to identify slow moving menu items, and replace them with healthier, appetizing options that offer new choices for your guests.
Consumer trends determine the way you do business, so keeping up to date on what your customers want is critical to building market share. How do you keep in touch with what your guests are looking for?