8 Restaurant Trends that Will Keep Your Restaurant Ahead of the Curve
Posted: Aug. 12, 2015
1: Tablets Aren’t Just for Entertainment
A full-service restaurant where waiters aren’t necessary? It may sound strange, but recently some big names in the industry have found success using tabletop tablets for ordering and payments. The tablets offer many advantages over the traditional wait staff. For example, patrons can order immediately, play games while waiting for food, and pay without a server. This tech savvy approach in ordering can result in quicker table turnover, less employee ordering errors and increased customer satisfaction. The impact of technology on the restaurant industry is best summarized by restaurant experts Baum+Whiteman who quipped: “ Short of putting food into our mouths, technology is upending the way dining out works.”
2: Marathon Length Brunches & Late Night Eats Rule
Younger generations aren’t just shaping what restaurants serve, but when. The “live-in-the-moment” mentality of millennials has led restaurants to adjust their hours of operation beyond the traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner schedule. “Clockless eating”, as dubbed by FoodableTV, is what the younger generations are demanding. To meet the needs of your younger patrons, consider including marathon-length brunches and serving food late into the evening at your restaurant.
3: Eating Out is a Group Activity
According to Nation’s Restaurant News, the food service industry is experiencing a rise in the popularity of communal dining. Guests are looking for a less formal establishment where they can eat with their friends for longer periods of time. To accommodate this trend, restaurants are designing their establishments around a group-oriented concept: moveable tables, open kitchens, and electrical outlets galore.
4: Plan for Pictures
Now that camera-equipped cell phones are everywhere, restaurants should be prepared for photos. The food must look delicious, which has led many restaurants to choose plates and glassware over the disposable variety. Considering it will be the background for most pictures, the entire restaurant needs to be presentable as well. Quirky artwork and wallpaper make good backgrounds and can be used to drive interest in your establishment.
5: Customization is King
Constantly changing health food trends are every chef’s nightmare version of whack-a-mole. For every gluten-free pasta dish they introduce, another guest wants to know if the cheese came from a free-range, grass fed cow. Allowing the customer to create their own meal assures they receive what they want, and is, one of the reasons why restaurants such as Subway are growing in popularity. Two of the fastest growing restaurants, Chipotle and Panera Bread, offer highly customizable meals and emphasize their healthy, organic, and ethically-sourced ingredients.
6: Pickling Is Cool (Again)
Home canning and jarring pretty much died out when supermarkets began offering fresh produce at affordable prices. Pickling has experienced a resurgence, thanks to the popularity of farm to table ingredients and enables people to eat their favorite locally grown vegetables all year long. It has become a popular flavor trend as well.
7: Indulging Is In
Although health trends are not slowing down, guests still enjoy the occasional treat. And when they do, they go all in. Bacon began trending a few years ago and has yet to slow down. Little Caesars, Panda Express, and LongHorn Steakhouse have all recently added bacon-centric dishes to their menus to appeal to the cravings of their customers. In addition, ice cream and real, no-additive butter dishes also are gaining in popularity across the country.
8: Mixologists Wanted
With the astronomical rise in popularity of local produce and craft beers, it’s no surprise micro-distilled spirits are experiencing increased popularity. The current trend of customizing meals extends to cocktails as well, with customers demanding drinks that are as flavorful and creative as the food they eat. Instead of sticking with classic drinks, bartenders, or skilled mixologists are making their own libations based on a customer’s customization or perfectly paired to a meal.
Posted: Aug. 12, 2015 | Written By: Brad Endres