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3 Restaurant Trends You Should Stay On Top Of

Here’s what the latest dining research says. 

Staying on top of trends is essential for restaurants to remain relevant.

Square, a financial services platform, partnered with Wakefield Research to study 500 restaurant owners and 2,000 consumers to explain the current state of the restaurant industry.

With the changing landscape of consumer behavior and the seeming unpredictability of the economy, businesses are adapting. Last year, around half of restaurant owners added new products or services to their businesses outside their usual food service. In 2023, Square expects that number to jump to 88%. But for many restaurants, the move toward multiple income streams isn’t just for survival in an uncertain economy — it’s a way to differentiate their businesses to bring in and keep new customers.

Remaining relevant and appealing is crucial for restaurants, which is why staying current with trends is so important. The changing preferences of consumers significantly influence what they expect from their dining experiences. Restaurants that adjust to emerging trends, whether related to cooking methods, dietary requirements, or technology, improve their ability to draw in and keep customers. It’s crucial to get on board if you haven’t already, given the many restaurant owners already adjusting their business models.

Here are a few trends researchers think you should be aware of.

1. Customer connections

In the current landscape, maintaining a consistent presence in customers’ minds is an important area to focus on, and what’s even more crucial is meeting their desire for communication. Eighty percent of customers said they want to have a greater connection to the businesses they support. There are so many paths for communication, especially with the wide scope social media can provide. But that wide scope can actually be part of the problem.

About 60 percent of consumers indicated that email was their preferred communication method rather than generalized social media posts.

2. New revenue streams

As mentioned earlier, the restaurant landscape is growing past its traditional scope and taking a step into retail-oriented options. About half of restaurant owners diversified their revenue by offering new products or services and that number is projected to grow significantly.

Diversification can be a key aspect for long-term success. Depending solely on your menu can make it hard to keep up with changing customer wants and needs. New paths can provide some cushion in any unexpected economic events and create more sustainable tactics. One method to consider is meal kits. Or, meal plans. One of my favorite restaurants has a weekly option for customers to pay ahead for the week or month and come by to pick up a meal to-go every day. It was a great way to meal plan without the cooking, and because of the restaurant deal, I saved money at the same time. It’s just one way to guarantee a weekly set of clients.

3. Embrace technology

According to Square, 31 percent of restaurants have been understaffed for two years. Automation can help relieve the pressure for you and your employees during a staffing shortage.

Nearly 40 percent are already adopting automotive technology to improve their business practices, so it might be time for you to jump on board if it works for your situation. Using technology to help with the ordering process and minimize mistakes. Digital menus can also help with these errors and increase efficiency. There’s technology out there that can also help with inventory. Automated systems can track stock levels, preventing overstocking or shortages, and lowering costs.