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Every business comes with its share of uncertainties and variables and it is no different for restaurants. Whether you’re just starting out or have a well established market presence, it is of key importance to recognize these shifts beforehand and use them to your advantage.
Let’s look at some changes in the restaurant industry today and how they can affect your business:
1. In a post-pandemic world, consumers are shifting towards a healthier lifestyle and diet choices.
The industry had already seen a significant shift towards healthier lifestyles and alternatives such as veganism, ketogenic diets and more. However, the pandemic has accelerated the onset of this trend. Customers today are more conscious and aware of their dietary choices and consumption.
The way you can address this shift is by adopting a clean and green brand approach. Apart from simply making aesthetic changes to the brand to convey a superficially healthy image, make actual changes to adopt the same. Ensure that your raw materials that you source are organic and sustainably produced. Highlight this to customers and share the fact that your food is prepared using the same. Give customers alternative preparations of your bestsellers, for example non-dairy or gluten free options. Instill a sense of trust in the quality of your food.
2. Increased importance of your brand’s social media presence and online reviews.
The lockdowns made it evident that social media channels are a great platform for you to showcase your brand to your customers. It isn’t an option but a necessity to maintain a strong presence online to stay relevant in the minds of your customers.
Genuine content around your food and restaurant will invite and attract new customers and also help you retain existing ones.
Create a social media moment with your food, packaging or ambience and invite customers to share images and write about their experiences. Engage with customer generated content and express gratitude towards positive reviews by thanking them or even sending secret offer codes.
In case of negative reviews, firstly empathize and second take the conversation private. Figure out the reason for the bad experience and fix what went wrong. Lastly, apologize and refund the customer for their order if necessary and request a second chance - send a free item or offer a healthy discount to win them back.
3. Need for an efficient online ordering system for customers to order directly from
Customers are more aware today, and prefer ordering from you directly instead of via aggregators. Ensure you implement a robust direct online ordering system available for customers to browse and order from.
Further, learn from the data that you gather double down on well performing items and improve on the ones that aren’t moving.
Create long lasting meaningful relationships with customers by introducing a loyalty program, and giving them points or rewards on their purchases at your restaurant.
Setup a feedback system to directly gather reviews on your food, delivery, service and more. Don’t lose a customer ever!
Lastly, take advantage of the available data on your customers and personalize their experience.
4. The expectation of an elevated delivery and service experience.
With the competition today, simple or traditional will not help you cut the noise or rise above the crowd. You have to take your food, delivery and service experience up a notch.
Invest in your packaging, apart from ensuring it holds your food well, ensure it conveys your brand’s identity and story as well.
Establish processes at your restaurant, train your staff and invest in the right technology to ensure the service and customer experience is unparalleled. Nobody likes delayed orders, or long waiting times for food, out of stock favourites or subpar staff interaction.
5. Specializing in niche marketing
There’s a new restaurant venture that is launched everyday, and they compete directly with you. Unless you have something unique to offer.
If customers can’t differentiate between your brand and the rest, you can forget about repeat business. It is important to identify a gap in the market, or your niche for that matter and specifically target to emerge at the top of the same.
Now you may wonder what your specialty should be? The answer is the thing you do best or uniquely. It can be anything, from theatrical food presentation, to an authentic local cuisine, interactive packaging, special dining experience or something else!
Once you identify your niche, take it and go to town with it. It should be the focus of your marketing, such that it becomes your customers’ aspiration to try or experience the same.
These are just a few of the many changes that we see in the restaurant industry. They aren’t any to be daunted of, but to be recognized and leveraged.
We hope you find the aforementioned information of help and use!