No restaurateur can deny the fact that the restaurant industry is changing – and the changes are rapid. Outstanding customer service, restaurant business loans, and delectable dishes will always be the foundation of a successful restaurant. But the reality is, you need to think outside the box in order to truly stand out from the competition.
The good news is that more and more people are dining out. In fact, the average American eats out four to five times every week. It’s also important to note that millennial’s are one of the biggest markets for restaurateurs. Millennials spend 42% of their budget on dining out and this percentage is expected to increase by 14% next year. To drive more customers and increase sales, here are four trends every restaurant owner cannot afford to ignore.
1. Increasing Demand for Healthy Options
The demand for healthier food options has drastically increased over the years and this reality continues to affect restaurants. Thanks to the aging population and diseases that stem from obesity, diabetes, etc. millennial’s and generation z persons are more conscious about their health. Many people prefer fresh and healthy food options when dining out.
While many diners opt for sugarless and ‘free form’ options, the most popular trend today is vegan or vegetarian meals that feature meatless proteins. Studies show that plant-based protein will continue to increase in popularity over the next years.
At the end of the day, investing in providing healthy meals is a smart business decision. According to a study conducted by Technomic, 40% of consumers would choose restaurants that offer healthy options, even though that is not what they end up ordering.
2. Food Order and Delivery through Online Apps
Apps like Postmates and UberEats have also changed how consumers order food. In fact, 43% of orders in 2017 were made through online delivery. Nowadays, online delivery doesn’t only apply to fast food chains. Regardless of what a customer wants to order, whether it’s an Angus steak or a simple burger and fries, consumers want it delivered.
While online deliveries are convenient for consumers, the same cannot be said for restaurant owners. If you decide to offer online deliveries, you need to prepare for an increased volume of orders. You may also have to deal with third-party vendors if you choose to work with apps like UberEats. When working with third-party vendors, you may not be able to control the quality of service offered. This makes it more challenging for you to present the best brand image for your business.
Despite these hurdles, restaurant owners should overcome these challenges because the delivery market is expected to grow by 32% over the course of the next two years.
3. Improve Overall Customer Experience
According to a HuffPost, 69% of millennials snap photos of their food prior to eating it. Dining out is now associated with posting on social media sites, of which notably is Instagram.
Overall, restaurant owners are making the effort to remodel their establishments and improve overall customer experience. From interior design to food preparation, restaurant owners need to consider more than just providing sumptuous meals.
Having said that, it’s not necessary you renovate your entire place in order to improve customer service, however, improving your customer’s experience can be as simple as providing a better and more personalized service. In order to boost the overall experience, it’s essential you know who your customers are as it relates to their wants, needs, and preferences.
4. Adapt to the Ever-Changing Technology
Technology has made a huge impact in various business industries, and restaurants are not an exception to these changes. Small restaurants are still far from using robots to serve food, but there are basic technological advancements that restaurant owners need to adopt. For example, you can purchase a new POS system or add Wi-Fi for your customers.
The right technology can immensely improve your business. Doing so can result in a high rating on TripAdvisor, which can influence potential customers to choose your restaurant over others. Studies show that even a one-star increase in ratings can boost your revenue by 5% to 9%.
It’s evident that technology is essential to the success of your restaurant. But you don’t have to invest in the latest, most expensive technology. You should only invest in a technology that matches your restaurant’s goals and mission. At the end of the day, the technology you’re looking to purchase should complement your business.
Restaurant Business Loans for Your Restaurant
Restaurant business owners know that change doesn’t come easy, nor does it come cheap. Don’t let financial issues be the reason you get left behind! Applying for restaurant business loans is a viable option for companies looking to keep up with the latest trends in the industry. All you have to do is talk to a reputable financial expert who can fill you in on all the details about small business loan programs.