Very few industries were hit as hard as the restaurant industry by the global COVID-19 pandemic. From paying rent on empty storefronts during lockdown to keeping their employees safe to dealing with supply chain issues, restaurant owners definitely had a rough time in 2020 and 2021. Yet, as the world emerges into the “new normal,” the restaurant industry is poised to bounce back stronger than before.
The key to leading the pack as we break into the post-pandemic era is to understand how the restaurant industry has changed. Indeed, it has and much of it for the better. In this blog post, we identify the top five restaurant industry trends you need to watch and put into play. So, keep reading to get ahead of the curve and stay on top of the track. You'll be well-prepared to set new records for your restaurant and food industry business in 2022.
Delivery was already a fast-rising trend before the pandemic. Companies like DoorDash and Uber Eats allowed customers to order complete meals from their favorite restaurants, whether the restaurant offered delivery services at all. Many restaurants found that the only way to survive the last couple of years was to switch to a delivery model. Therefore, the smart ones built up more and more delivery options to entice customers to use their services.
Because delivery is here to stay, savvy restaurant owners may want to provide direct delivery services that cut out the middleman. After all, apps can charge up to 30 percent or more, which takes a major bite out of your profits. Building your own fleet of delivery drivers, offering incentives and specials to customers who use in-house delivery services, and streamlining your kitchen process to fast-track deliveries will help you succeed in this Brave New World of ours. Using your own delivery team also means you're in charge of customer service. As a result, necessities like napkins and sauces will never be forgotten, as with gig drivers looking for fast commissions. Invest in your delivery service and expand its options. You will thank us later.
More and more people are tapping into online maps, review sites, and shared experiences to make dining decisions. Your online presence in 2022 and beyond is a "make it or break it" issue. For one, you want to encourage customers to leave glowing reviews for the world to see (and influence). Also, you should ensure the company website, social media pages, and online affiliations contain as much information as possible. Far too many customers are lost simply because they can't find a dining establishment's complete menu or closing hours. Don’t let that happen to yours!
Make sure your website has booking and online ordering capabilities and is easy to navigate yet full of all relevant information. Your Instagram and Facebook pages should shine with everything from pro-level photos of your best dishes to your most charming dining locations (don’t forget patios and sidewalk seating). Also, keep customers updated with weekly or daily specials and events. If you're thinking about hiring an online marketing person, well, we believe it’s a good idea. It can pay off in spades and put your head and shoulders above much of your competition.
Your point of sale (POS) systems and connected kitchen communication platforms should be as updated and state-of-the-art as possible. This is one of the best ways to stay in the restaurant game of the future. Successful businesses are investing in automated equipment and software that streamlines many of the most basic functions. Digital tickets, automated payroll and timesheets, and other functions run on modern automation systems can save you time and money. It also makes things so much easier when it comes to accounting.
Contactless payments, online orders, and delivery are becoming a large, if not majority, share of your transactions. An automated system integrates all your different sales streams into one place. Likewise, automated kitchen facilities and machines that direct workflow—including automatically prioritized digital tickets and automatic prepping and presentation—will be a standard part of new era restaurants. Invest in automation technology so that your business doesn't get stuck in the Stone Age. Your customers will appreciate it!
The shift to online presence and delivery is making customer loyalty campaigns an even more important part of strategic restaurant operations. Restaurant owners should implement solid methods of gathering customer contact information, so invites and incentives can be sent out to them, bringing them back for multiple rewarding experiences. Branded merchandise (e.g., coffee cup sleeves and stickers containing websites and phone numbers) allows customers to take a bit of your business with them.
Studies show that after just several good experiences with a given restaurant, customers will continue to come back as long as the experience and memory stay fresh in their minds. Customer loyalty campaigns, whether it's an occasional email that keeps them in the loop with what’s new at the restaurant or a reward program that gives them savings within a certain time period for coming in to dine, can help build customer loyalty very quickly. As the world reopens in 2022, diners will be bombarded with marketing campaigns. Make sure yours is grounded in the quality of your kitchen but utilizes all the digital-savvy that's available. That’s a surefire way to succeed in the new restaurant landscape.
Changes to customer ordering and delivery include contactless payments, increased delivery orders and pick-ups, and more powerful POS and other automated services. The way employees pool and distribute tips is also changing rapidly. Not only do you need a system that ensures tips are divided according to protocol, but you need to trace tips back to every employee in real-time.
That’s where TipHaus comes in. Our automated tip distribution software eliminated the headaches of dealing with tipped employees in a transparent, fair, and easy-to-use manner. Ready to save money and time with a completely automated tip distribution system? Then check out our demo and free 14-day trial today. We're confident our system will be trending in 2022 and beyond, giving restaurant owners even more control over their success and growth!