Keep Up With These Seven Restaurant Trends in 2021
Trends play a massive part in the success of businesses, especially restaurants. As technology progresses, more and more innovations emerge that make the lives of both employees and guests a lot easier. These seven points outline some of the most popular trends in from 2020 and how they’ll shape 2021.
1. Strong Online Presence
If you ask anyone what they do before visiting a restaurant, the chances are high that they check out menus, ratings, and websites online and compare them. Knowing this about your customers, operators should present all the necessary information on a restaurant’s website in a way that’s clear and immediate. When guests can’t find what you’re offering quickly and easily, they probably won’t even consider you.
Another critical aspect of a successful online presence is an excellent restaurant social media marketing strategy. You need to choose which platforms you’ll focus on and how you plan to attract attention. Many owners mistake this process as simple, but it’s quite the contrary. You need to form a strategy and the exact approach that you’ll take while keeping the necessary budgeting information in mind. Use restaurant bloggers and influencers to your advantage to get a headstart, especially in the beginning.
2. Online Restaurant Reservation System
In-person restaurant reservations are a thing of the past. In a COVID-19 era, people tend to make reservations online. Many owners implement restaurant reservation software that automatically keeps track of the remaining spots, integrates payment processing, and even captures customer feedback. This technology gives employees more time for crucial things, such as making food and offering good service.
Seek a high-quality restaurant reservation system that can integrate with your back-of-house software.
3. Digital Orders
Some of the industry’s largest restaurant chains have already implemented an ordering system relying on individual tablets on each table. When guests arrive, they can place a direct order using the GUI installed on the device. This approach has shown significant cost reductions, higher efficiency from the employees, and more satisfied customers. One of its most considerable advantages is that guests can order when they’re ready without waiting for the server — minimizing contact between parties.
The digital ordering system can help restaurants acquire precious customer data regarding their buying habits and preferences. An operator can connect orders to a database that tracks how many times customers order each dish. Owners can then decide if they should remove a less popular item or replace it with something more profitable (a process called menu engineering).
4. Instagram Account
When you connect your business to social media, the potential reach is limitless. You can acquire dozens, hundreds, even thousands of followers if you’re persistent enough. It’s also one of the best ways to show the atmosphere and what your restaurant offers to visitors. Pictures are worth a thousand words, especially when food is in question, and creating a restaurant Instagram can help you share those posts. Platforms like Instagram help build trust and a loyal following when people see positive feedback in the comments. Plus, Instagram posts from former guests are a form of free advertisement, social proof, far more powerful than the traditional methods.
The best thing about social media is that it’s completely free. By creating an account, you open the doors to a whole world of possibilities, connecting to influencers, and getting your content in front of hungry diners.
5. 24/7 Available Delivery
A day-and-night delivery concept can be very hit or miss, depending on the situation. Restaurants that offer this service 24/7 are usually dealing with great demand regardless of the time. The total value of orders has to exceed the salary paid to the workers making the food and doing the deliveries. These costs include gas for the vehicle and other expenses. Fortunately, restaurants don’t have to plan out the whole strategy by themselves. Using a third-party or handling deliveries in-house is up to the operator’s discretion. Off-premise order aggregators can help make this strategy more feasible for any operation.
The best way to test out if this approach will work for your restaurant is to implement it and regularly monitor the results. If the costs exceed the profit, it’s best to stay away from it.
6. Modern Payment Systems
Cash and cards are slowly starting to decrease in popularity. Other payment methods (primarily online services such as PayPal) have started taking their place. People love the convenience that comes with not carrying an additional card, having everything available right from their phone. Some restaurants have begun printing QR codes on the bills to quickly pay by scanning the code with their phone’s camera.
Large tech companies have developed their own digital wallet platforms like Google and Apple Pay alongside these methods. While they present a revolutionary payment system that is well-worth implementing, countries still in development will need some time to catch up here.
7. COVID-19 Measures
With the pandemic raging everywhere globally, restaurants have been quite creative in their attempts to prevent the spread. Many have limited their menus to only the most requested meals to reduce the number of workers that need to be in the restaurant at the same time. In case there’s a surplus of food, some owners have opted to donate it to those in need – health-care workers, the elderly, people with low living standards, etc. Those more courageous have started implementing extra hours to curb the number of visitors at any particular moment.
Of course, delivery has become exponentially more popular since the rise of the pandemic. Many people avoid coming out of their homes unless necessary, so they instead opt to have their food delivered. So, if you’re experiencing a reduced number of customers, try to implement some of these methods.
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About the Author
Valerie Malecha is a content marketing manager for EatApp restaurant reservation software. She has experience in marketing, traveling, business, and the customer development sphere.