3 Big Changes in the Restaurant Industry to Keep an Eye On

3 Big Changes in the Restaurant Industry to Keep an Eye On - Chef Works

Author: Kit Kilroy  

Recently, the restaurant industry has undergone some profound changes.
With increased competition, the scene has shifted dramatically. New attitudes, trends and habits are emerging all the time.

Keeping up with these changes is essential to running a successful venue. Everyone who owns a smartphone is now a critic, so staying ahead of the curve will help you steer clear from scrutiny.  

Ready to make some changes? Keep scrolling to see a list of the most significant shifts the restaurant industry has experienced over the past decade. 

Notable Changes in the Restaurant Industry

Technological Changes

Man using iPad at restaurant

  • Online Delivery Services: With sites like UberEats and Deliveroo, any restaurant can deliver. From a burger to a gourmet steak, there’s nothing customers can’t get. What’s more, they like eating this way.

    According to Restaurant Dive, “Gen Z’s growing influence will mean restaurants need to make sure they offer more frictionless experiences and easy ways to order digitally.” Ensuring you have delivery systems set up is one way to guarantee that you stay ahead of the competition. 

  • Increased Technology in Restaurants: Digital sales systems, high-tech kitchens, predictive ordering: Just a few examples. You might not need high-tech tools, but knowing which ones could benefit your business is a good idea. 

  • Online Reviews: With reviewing sites, everyone is now a critic. Zomato, FourSquare and Yelp can make or break you. While this might be good for encouraging consistency and creativity, online reviews can tarnish a business if not dealt with smartly. 

  • Social Media: Just like the rise of online reviews, the increased use of social media has allowed the everyday customer to share their experience with thousands of people at once. If used well, Facebook and Instagram can help spread the word and create hype around your restaurant.

How your restaurant can adapt:

  • integrate new technologies into your operations
  • consider joining a food-delivery service like Uber Eats or Deliveroo
  • make sure your sales are digitised and that your staff are trained on POS systems
  • stay up-to-date on social media
  • monitor negative reviews online and on social media in order to improve
  • follow up any complaints posted online by getting in touch

Consumer Demands

Stylish plate of food

  • More Dietary Requirements: Restaurants used to be a bad idea if you were on any diet. Now, however, restaurants are expected to cater to a vast range of requests. Menus have everything from gluten-free to raw vegan options. While it can be frustrating to cater to picky diners, it’s great to be able to give those with allergies or special requirements a chance to be a part of social dining in a way that was impossible in the past. 

  • Educated Customers: Thanks to the internet, guests know more about dining and food in general. You can expect customers to have a sense of what to expect, but you’ll also have to try even harder to blow them out of the water. 

  • Better Drinks: It’s easier than ever to order an Uber or taxi after eating out, allowing guests to indulge in a glass of wine (or two) over a meal. If you’re smart about it, this seemingly small change can translate to a lot of bar sales. Alongside the ever-popular classics (G&T anyone?), having a decent craft beer, wine list and a good selection of cocktails is probably a smart call.

How your restaurant can adapt:

  • ensure you have options for guests with strict dietary requirements
  • stay up-to-date with food and drinks trends
  • make sure your staff is educated to interact with knowledgeable guests
  • curate an impressive drinks list, getting help from an experienced bartender or sommelier if need be
  • take measures to impress guests (e.g. with local ingredients or impressive new flavours)

Dining Trends

Customers dining at restaurant

  • Fast-Fine Dining: Customers want good food, fine wines, and a full experience; and they want it all in less than two hours. The concept of fast-casual dining is now standard, with countless options in every neighbourhood. Much the same, fast fine dining is also increasing in popularity, taking the idea one step further. Good for patrons and businesses alike, this model reduces costs on both sides while maintaining high-quality food and service. 

  • Urban Chic Aesthetic: Everything about dining is becoming more stylish. Open kitchens mean that equipment must look clean and efficient. On the floor, waiter uniforms tie together the whole look. If your restaurant isn’t visually-pleasing, it won’t get far in 2020, so spending a little extra time and money on the “vibe” is a smart move. 

  • Experiential Dining: People aren’t just paying for food anymore. They’re paying for experiences. By offering special events or unique set-menus, restaurants can create one-of-a-kind experiences. When loved by guests (and shared in the media and on socials), these occasions can skyrocket a venue’s popularity. Guest speakers, special meals, and holiday celebrations are just a few of many ways to incorporate experiential dining into your restaurant. 

    How your restaurant can adapt:

    • aim for quick, efficient service and train staff accordingly
    • make sure that every aspect of the restaurant is aesthetically pleasing, paying particular attention to small details
    • host special events so that your guests can have a full experience, rather than a typical dinner
    • try to create a formal feel, without all the stuffiness
    • don't be afraid to invest in atmospheric elements like music and lighting

At Chef Works, we are driven by those who are inspired by all things culinary. Fueled by the belief that every culinary professional deserves the right apparel and tools to enhance the work they do. We understand that the recipe for excellence goes far beyond simple ingredients.

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