In the last couple of years, COVID- 19 pandemic has affected each and every life existing on this planet. Each and every business got hugely impacted by this but still tried to get on their backs and stand up again, with some bit of changes on their side. The restaurant industry trends have been incredibly adaptive amidst all the chaos.
Consumer preferences, as well as current economic situations, contribute to long-lasting trends and strategies.
As a result, restaurants are open to finding the most appropriate methods to engage with their guests, whether it is through contactless payment strategies such as a QR Code menu, experimenting with online ordering, or finding ways to connect to their local communities.
According to the National Restaurant Association, $659 billion of restaurant industry sales in 2020, down $240 billion from expected levels.
So that means the pandemic has affected the restaurant industry negatively. So, if you are a forthcoming restaurateur, then this blog is essentially for you.
Keep reading to know more!
Are Restaurants Profitable In 2021?
The restaurant business is usually a popular business since client demand is always high, investment capital is small, but the earnings are tremendously appealing.
However, there are questions such as ‘will running a restaurant business be profitable enough in the setting of the COVID-19 pandemic? And what is the current state of the catering and restaurant services industry?
I’ll be answering all such questions you might be having in your mind regarding your imminent restaurant business.
Some of these trends could help eateries increase sales even in a volatile market climate. For restaurants lacking drive-thrus, QR code menus will become a valuable digital tool.
Restaurants are becoming more interested in white label arrangements with third-party aggregators as a method to keep consumer data, and some are considering smaller locations and ghost kitchens to meet off-premise demand.
Restaurants are one of the few types of businesses that catch people’s attention. The majority of the highest-grossing independent restaurants are located in tourist-friendly cities. And most of them apply the policy of providing rewards.
With a rewards program, you can show your appreciation to your loyal consumers. This can take numerous forms, but the most common are prizes or points for money spent in the restaurant. Points can be redeemed for free products or cash rewards.
Customers are more likely to return to your establishment if you have a rewards program in place. This could be one way to achieve profits if you are a restaurateur and would like to be in the market in the long run!
What Are The Current Trends In The Restaurant Industry?
Before diving deep into the trends, let me tell you what changes I have observed so far while dining out with my folks. By the way, I hardly go out to eat, since the pandemic is still prevailing and the government has advised the public not to go out unnecessarily.
Most of the time, I sort my cravings by ordering food from Zomato whenever I feel like having a fine dining experience.
Okay, putting that aside, I went to a very fine dining restaurant and saw a humongous change in the overall ambiance.
The entrance of the restaurant had people who were checking the temperature of the visitors, using a non-contact infrared thermometer as well as making sure that they are well sanitized.
The tables were set drifting far apart from each other, the staff members were scattered. The visuals were surely not what we were used to seeing in the pre-pandemic situation. But it was actually what was working to maintain good public health.
Furthermore, all the tables had a sticker with a QR code design, which allowed us to scan and easily go through the order after scanning it from our phones. The QR code menu facilitated us to access the digital menu card. And take our own time to order, without anyone pestering us above our heads.
The dining experience I had post-pandemic and lockdown restrictions, was a surreal experience since we were used to providing our food orders to humans but now we’d have to order it by scanning the QR code menu.
Let’s now get to know the current trends in the restaurant industry:
Contactless Ordering And Delivery
Cashless ordering and payment methods, such as touchless payments and digital and QR code menus, will gain popularity.
In 2021, over three-quarters of restaurateurs (76 percent) want to provide contactless technology, including contactless on-site payment. Such restaurant industry trends are here to stay for sure!
Restaurateurs are investing in digital technology to improve back-of-house procedures. With 91 percent reporting investments in kitchen automation technology that they have undertaken.
Amidst all this, streamlining the restaurant kitchen becomes critical as restaurants are experimenting with new menus, specials, and channels in order to efficiently deliver a consistent customer experience.
Also, it provides more efficiency across all channels, allowing restaurateurs the confidence and freedom to experiment with new ideas.
Drive-Thru and Mobile application
Consumers also prefer to avoid any sort of middle man. 67 percent of visitors prefer to use a restaurant’s own website or app for meal delivery rather than a third-party app. Their main motivation is to directly support the eatery.
Businesses will have more control over client engagement if they accept more direct orders. They will have access to centralized customer data, which will allow them to provide better marketing and loyalty programs.
In every community, restaurants play an important role. Many major life events take place there, including first dates, reunions, and business meetings or casual hangouts.
Strong community links lead to greater connections with customers, which is why many restaurants want to increase their efforts to serve their customers.
In 2021, 92% of restaurateurs intend to perform the greater customer-based engagement. Such as cooking for community service providers, donating food or money to community organizations, and supporting minority-owned companies in their communities.
The safety and well-being of the visitors have always been a primary concern in the restaurant sector. But it has become even more critical during the pandemic.
Contactless technology such as QR Code usage will be a crucial investment in 2021. As restaurants seek ways to improve the customer experience while adhering to evolving safety regulations.
Prior to the pandemic, delivery contributed to only around 8% of industry sales, so there is lots of room to increase this channel on the other side of COVID-19.
Free delivery offers are likely to remain a marketing tactic for these offers, especially because sales tend to increase long after the deal expires as awareness rises and customers continue to order delivery.
Digital And QR Code Menus
Technology has enabled customers to access online menus in this contactless eating era, ensuring the safety of both diners and personnel.
This technology, which does not require the installation of an app, has also been critical in assisting restaurants in reopening their doors during the pandemic.
Digital or QR code menu order has reduced the number of times servers spend interacting with clients.
While also reducing contact with physical menu cards or surfaces. Contactless dining technology will be a must-have for restaurants in 2021, offering a number of simple features at a reasonable cost.
If you are a restaurateur, and finding a way to get a QR Code generator for your restaurant tables, then you are safe my friend! WeCodeFuture’s QR code builder provides a huge variety of QR Code templates and QR Code designs to go with. Also, a first-class dining experience for your visitors amidst the COVID 19 pandemic.
Every few years, it appears that pop-up restaurants and food trucks switch places as a major trend. Pop-up restaurants provide a unique dining experience that many diners cannot find elsewhere. This tendency is aligning with the resurgence of popular fan bases like Friends.
Restaurants can charge significantly more for a few specific items, or even a fixed menu, than they would usually. The strategy to use a pop-up restaurant to drive traffic back to your stature restaurant works well for some.
Although the definition, scope, and expectation of ghost kitchens are changing, it is easy to operate one in less densely populated places.
The term “ghost kitchens” is used to describe eateries that only use third-party delivery services.
The notion of a ghost kitchen is expanding to encompass restaurants with a tiny pick-up section where customers can get their meals themselves.
Restaurants that use ghost kitchens can either distribute themselves or use delivery services.
The way restaurant and dining industry trends are changing as a result of these factors. Restaurants are now required to tackle customer service and brand management without ever meeting the customer.
The New York Times reported in August 2019 on the convenience of operating a restaurant without having to rent a facility or engage serving staff. As well as the convenience of having meals delivered to their door at the touch of an app for consumers.
The use of the internet to place orders is not a necessary evil. It’s the most exciting opportunity now available in the restaurant sector. You don’t exist if you don’t use mobile food delivery applications.
Ordering food for delivery has become the new norm. Where we used to take comfort in a restaurant, we now seek it within our own four walls. But with someone else cooking for us.
Bonus Tip: Read this guide that includes a Step by Step Process To Launch Virtual Restaurant
Raised Environmental Concern
Choosing environmentally friendly options is a great way to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Host a gathering or a little celebration when you make the change to reduce your effect. Spread the word about how you’re helping to solve the problem.
You might also make an effort to reduce restaurant food waste. People are questioning the necessity of restaurant basics such as plastic straws, cups, and lids, as well as take-home bags.
The answer isn’t to stop eating takeout or using disposable tiny items. It’s about finding a more environmentally friendly option.
For example, McDonald’s has already announced that by 2025, they vowed to use entirely renewable or recyclable materials in all of their guest packaging. They now use environmentally friendly materials including QR code menu scanners and amazing menu printing.
Apart from all the trends, there are some restaurant industry trends I wish could be a THING! Also, you could take a start-up idea if you want to do something unique:
- Use Of Robotics while serving
- Drone Deliveries
- Robo Chefs
- A restaurant providing healthy alternatives to all our favorites
- A restaurant that allows pre-ordering before arrival (of course to trusted customers).
By the way, with individuals still hesitant to dine out, the emphasis in the next months will move from appearance or ingredients to simplicity of cooking and eating. Long drives and picnics in open settings will be preferred over dining in a restaurant.
The picnic concept will catch on. Both stand-alone restaurants and hotels are anticipated to sell pre-packaged menus that consumers can simply pick up on their way to a drive or an outing. So I guess, the restaurant industry will be having a bright future in the times ahead.
Whatever trend you choose to follow intently, remember…SANITIZATION IS THE KEY!
Make sure to integrate QR Menu code delivering and ordering systems. That is like the bare minimum you could do amidst the pandemic.
Also, according to some industry insiders, people will eat out less frequently in the near future, and only for special occasions. As a result, diners will seek novel experiences rather than the same old menus.
Many fine dining restaurants have been changing their menus periodically for years to keep guests interested. And this trend will continue globally. As diners ease themselves out of this socially disconnected era, small-scale private dining options in intimate venues will appeal more to the customers.
Recovering from the setback in 2021 will necessitate restaurateurs to re-evaluate all strategies of their businesses and implement significant adjustments at both the strategic and operational levels.
Identify the restaurant industry trends that are likely to have an impact on your business model such as a QR Code menu and constantly remember to adjust your restaurant to the ever-changing social and economic situation!
The restaurant industry is a little complicated, I agree! but WeCodeFuture provides all of the tools a small business requires to run smoothly and professionally.