COVID-19 has changed the way restaurants operate in a big way. In some states, they still aren’t fully operating, which leaves restaurants thinking outside the box longer than they ever thought necessary.
2021 looks like it will shape up much how 2020 ended, which means restaurant owners must continue being creative and figuring out ways to make the most of their business as it is right now.
Top Restaurant Trends for 2021
Focusing on Take-Out, Delivery, and Contactless Payments
No one knows when restaurants will open again (for indoor seating). This means all business owners must rely on take-out and delivery. Anything they can make contactless (including payments) is what will bring in the customers. Curbside delivery, online payments, and as little contact as possible are what will bring the business.
Creating a Brand for Themselves
Restaurants shouldn’t rely on just the food that they serve, but on the brand, they want to create. Think about what audience you serve. What are their pain points? What do you offer that helps them? That’s the brand you want to focus on and portray to your audience to bring in more business.
Providing Healthy Foods
Everyone loves to eat out (or order in), but today’s consumer is health conscious. You’ll still have those who love their favorite comfort foods, but including at least a few healthy foods on the menu will cater to a larger crowd.
Pop-Ups and Special Menus
Restaurants today are getting with the times and realizing many of their services may be short-lived. For example, if they can open for in-person dining, it may be for a short period. So instead, they think outside the box and have specials and limited opportunity pop-ups that bring a sense of urgency and excitement.
Today consumers have to make reservations for just about everything, including any type of dining. The days of popping into a restaurant when you feel like are gone. Merchants need to adopt an easy reservation method, of which online reservations is the easiest. Whether you have a mobile app or just a website, enabling customers to reserve their time easily brings in more business.
Provide Quick Dining Opportunities
Anything you can do to make the diner’s experience contactless will take you far in 2021. Diners want to get in and get out. This includes when they’re taking the food to go. Self-service kiosks and contactless payments (online) let customers come in, get their food, and leave with little to no contact with others.
2021 is all about staying healthy. From serving healthy foods, ensuring the utmost safety precautions, and offering contactless opportunities for ordering, paying, and picking up food is important.
No one knows when the pandemic will end, but restaurants can stay strong by implementing the trends consumers want to see and that makes them feel safe. As we continue to navigate our new normal, it’s time to adapt to what’s in front of you and give your audience what they need to remain loyal.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can restaurants adapt to the demand for contactless dining experiences?
To meet the demand for contactless dining experiences, restaurants can implement various strategies. This includes adopting digital menus accessible via QR codes or mobile apps, allowing customers to browse offerings on their own devices. Implementing online ordering systems with curbside pickup or delivery options is also crucial.
Restaurants can offer contactless payment options such as mobile payments or online transactions. Moreover, investing in technology like tableside ordering tablets or self-service kiosks can further enhance the contactless experience and streamline operations.
What steps can restaurants take to incorporate sustainable and locally sourced ingredients?
Restaurants can incorporate sustainable and locally sourced ingredients by building relationships with local farmers, growers, and suppliers. This involves researching and partnering with those who follow ethical and eco-friendly practices. Highlighting these partnerships and ingredient sources on menus can appeal to environmentally-conscious customers.
Additionally, implementing seasonal menus that showcase locally available products can be an effective strategy. Restaurants can also reduce food waste by implementing portion control measures, offering customizable dishes, and repurposing leftovers creatively, thus minimizing their environmental impact.
How can restaurants leverage the concept of ghost kitchens and delivery-only models?
Restaurants can leverage the concept of ghost kitchens and delivery-only models by expanding their reach and reducing overhead costs. They can establish virtual brands or delivery-only concepts that operate solely through third-party delivery platforms. This allows restaurants to tap into new markets, test innovative concepts, and cater to the growing demand for delivery and takeout.
By focusing on efficient delivery logistics, optimizing packaging, and ensuring high-quality food, restaurants can excel in this space. Collaboration with third-party delivery platforms and investing in robust online ordering systems are key steps to success.
How important is customer engagement in the restaurant industry, and how can it be enhanced?
Customer engagement is crucial for restaurants as it fosters loyalty, drives repeat business and generates positive word-of-mouth. Enhancing customer engagement can be achieved through various strategies, such as active social media presence and engagement. Restaurants should create compelling and shareable content, respond to customer reviews and comments promptly, and run engaging campaigns or contests. Personalized experiences, such as personalized recommendations based on previous orders or special occasion offers, can also strengthen customer relationships. Additionally, implementing loyalty programs that reward customers for their patronage can incentivize repeat visits and create a sense of exclusivity.