6 customer insights that are driving food trendsAuthor: Ben Luxon
Food and restaurant trends are continuously changing alongside more general consumer habits. Restaurants that are able to evolve with customer demands will see an increase in popularity as diners come back time and time again.
We aren’t just talking about trends in cuisine, but the overall experience that customers want. This covers everything from the speed of service, to decor, to the food itself. In this article, we take a look at six current trends in the food industry which are driving change in the way restaurants operate.
1. Health conscious
Today’s consumers are increasingly aware of their own personal health and well-being. This means that, while yes, burgers are always going to be a bestseller people want to have healthy options. If all you offer is a selection of incredible burgers then your restaurant is in danger of being relegated to an occasional treat. But if you do salads or healthy burger options as well then people will be more willing to visit your restaurant (or order take-out) multiple times a week.
2. Sustainability focused
Sustainability extends from sustainably sourced and organic food to eco-friendly take-away packaging. There is growing acknowledgement of the negative impact that we as a species are having on the planet. The death of plastic straws over the last fews years is a key example of this. Little things like a plant based take-away container can show that you care too. And as no customer wants to feel guilty when they eat your food by making sustainability a key focus you can improve the overall customer experience.
3. Money conscious
Paradoxically, these health conscious earth friendly consumers are also very aware of their spending ability. They want good value for money – especially if they’re going to order food regularly or visit for lunch.
Often though they are willing to pay a little more if the food is sourced sustainably and the offering is as healthy as it is delicious.
4. Everyone’s online
This means a few things. One, it means you also have to be online. You restaurant or branches need a strong online presence. Additionally, you need to offer an online ordering service as at least 67% of people order more often from restaurants that do take-away.
What is more, COVID-19 has accelerated the need for restaurants to adopt online ordering. Offering delivery or curbside pick-up has been essential for the survival of restaurants during this difficult period. As, or when things return to normal, those venues which can successfully operate an e-commerce restaurant as well as satisfy in-store customers will see improved profitability.
5. Experience seekers
Dining out, back in the day, was all about special occasions. As time has progressed eating out has become more affordable and people have gained more disposable income. This has made it less exciting, less of an experience, and often it’s actually a case of practicality.
Restaurants now have the opportunity to bring back some of the magic and turn their venue from affordable eating to an Instagram-able experience.
Making it an experience could be something as simple as the music choice, or as complex as employing teppanyaki chefs. Whatever you do to add a little excitement to the restaurant ensure it fits and compliments your offering.
6. Multi-channel ordering
We’ve talked about the importance of having a good online ordering service. However, it shouldn’t stop there. Technology offers new and improved ways to increase operational efficiency. Implementing things like table ordering or kiosk ordering will speed up service, remove human error and improve customer experience. These strategies are already being used by top brands setting an expectation which customers are actively looking for.
Times are changing and millennials are now the largest generation with the most disposable income and eat out 30% more often than older people. Millennials care about the earth, health and supporting local business. They also love technology, it’s been part of their everyday life since they were young. They’ve witnessed the change from cassette and floppy disk to smartphones and the cloud and they’re looking forward to the next technological advancement. These same traits though are even more pronounced in Gen Z, the first of whom are now beginning to get jobs, earn money and go to restaurants.
By understanding these consumer demands and adapting to fulfil them restaurants can create great customer loyalty, increase sales, and build a strong positive brand.
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