The new year has brought along some quite unexpected trends for the restaurant business, mainly improvements on the previous standards. While managers are struggling to keep up, the new technologies are improving the overall functionality of restaurants. The following 9 are some of the currently popular novelties that are slowly starting to become a must-have.
1. Full online presence
People like to have a general idea of what the restaurant that they’re considering visiting has to offer. To do this, they rely on the Internet, which is why most of the restaurants have started creating their own websites, with full menus, images, special offers, etc. This gives them the opportunity to attract potential guests with special dishes, theme nights, and other innovations that they wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else.
2. Restaurant reservation software & table management system
Automating the whole reservation process makes managing the restaurant a whole lot easier. Although this had to be done manually in the past, EatApp brought a completely reimagined mechanism to it.
First, this app allows guests to leave a reservation online, including choosing how many seats they need and immediately provides feedback if there are available spots. Second, managers have a graphical overlay of their restaurant, which helps them easily see empty tables, reserved spots, etc. This helps them make any necessary modifications and optimisations in order to improve their efficacy.
3. Digital ordering
Instead of having guests wait for someone to take their order, restaurants have started implementing tablet ordering systems and digital waiters. Once a person arrives and sits at their table, they have a complete menu right in front of them and they can take however much time they want until they order something. This improves customer engagement and most importantly minimises interpersonal contact, which is crucial during the current health hazards.
4. Instagram accounts
A picture is worth a thousand words, especially if it’s a picture of food that the person’s going to be eating. When a restaurant has a social media presence (especially on a platform such as Instagram) more people are bound to notice it. Attractive shots of dishes taken from good angles can be more than enough to attract a bunch of new guests. However, it can take a bit of effort and time until the results are noticeable.
5. Strong, fast WiFi hotspots
Over 70% of customers will ask waiters for a WiFi password if there are any hotspots available nearby. For this reason, restaurants that want to maximise their success have started implementing their own locked hotspots exclusively for guests.
As an example, the big coffee chain Starbucks offers a WiFi connection speed of over 50Mbps. While that may be a bit too expensive for a local restaurant, it’s still better to have anything than let your guests leave unsatisfied.
6. Various payment methods
As technology advances, cash payments are slowly starting to become a thing of the past. Even though debit and credit cards are likely to remain the most popular way to pay in the close future, certain restaurants are adding support for other payment methods. This includes phone payment, PayPal, CashApp, PayPass, etc. The costs associated with these systems are not high, and they can be quite beneficial in the long run.
7. Delivery & takeaway
There are a lot of busy people that don’t have time to spend sitting down at a restaurant but would gladly enjoy restaurant-made food at home. As a reason, delivery has become a massively popular trend with many standalone companies such as Uber Eats, Glovo, Hermes, etc. With them, restaurants don’t have to waste money implementing their own delivery systems and employing drivers – they simply have to sign a partnership. Also, takeaway is another simple, cost-free way to increase profit and customer satisfaction.
8. Hygiene measures during pandemic
A year has passed since the global pandemic struck out and the mandatory mask-wearing, hand sanitizing, and social distancing still remains. The widespread hygiene measures have become a standard without which restaurants aren’t able to work. Employees also have to follow certain procedures that include disinfecting regularly used equipment. Even though it was somewhat of an unexpected trend, it’s bound to remain for at least months to come.
9. Various menu options
One type of menu isn’t going to cut it, especially since there are a lot of people that either have some kind of allergy to a certain ingredient or are prone to specific food preferences.
Also, those who are dieting are going to be looking for lean foods, no meat, and even dishes without any carbs in them. Menus require a fair bit of creativity and knowledge, but they could attract various customer groups.