29 May A 7-Course Meal of Restaurant Trends (To Consume in 2 Minutes)
Published: May 29, 2019
Highlights from the National Restaurant Association Show
Just as your guests use their mobile devices to search for that next great meal, the MomentFeed team searched for business-building trends for multi-location restaurants at the 100th Annual National Restaurant Association Show.
Here’s how you can apply some of what we’ve learned to ensure your restaurant or other food service business thrives and remains one step ahead.
1. Portability and integration are top-of-mind for POS systems in 2019.
POS systems abound and your own system is critical to capturing and analyzing guest data. Mobile/tablet POS systems are now standard and more than 60k self-service terminals have been installed throughout the U.S. The information you collect can help you understand what people are eating, evaluate performance at a micro-level (by location, by server, and even by minute) and when. These systems can even make your staffing more cost-efficient. (See #5.)
2. What’s expected by today’s new food consumer?
Gluten-free is almost yesterday’s news. CBD-infused dishes, Middle Eastern cuisine, and mushrooms and kimchee are among trending menu items. When you add new and unique selections to your own menus, be sure to keep them up-to-date online, as guests will be searching for specific keywords when they’re hungry.
3. The next generation of diners will be plant-centric, digital, and mobile.
You may love burgers and bacon, but if you don’t have plant-based proteins on your menu, you’re being left behind by competitors. Meat hasn’t vanished and plant-based options are on the upswing. Sales topped $3.3B in 2018 and new brands and choices are emerging and giving consumers compelling reasons to try different restaurants. White Castle presented their case study on how they launched their meatless Impossible sliders using a wide range of digital media.
“Sustainability” was also a keyword throughout the exhibits. Alternatives to plastic straws and paper menus are plentiful. Menuative has enhanced digital menus with photos and nutrition data and feedback from diners has been positive.
4. Robots and restaurant workers are becoming friendly co-workers.
Robots are now making nuggets and tots (Flippy), cocktails (Barsys) salads and bowls (Sally), and pizza at record speeds. Little Caesars just got a patent on a start-to-finish pizza-making robot. Robots (like Penny) assist servers and carry trays through crowded spaces. Even health standards are being upheld with machine assistance. We even had our hands germ-scanned by a state-of-the-art cleanliness screener from Path Spot Technologies.
5. Apps for staffing and scheduling are now commonplace and their functionality has expanded to training and profitability/compliance management.
Deputy, Harri, 7Shifts, and Restaurant365 are just a few of the many solution providers. The best-in-class apps provide data that enable operators to more easily comply with local overtime and minimum wage laws. What’s also new is the use of mobile apps for staff training, like this one from Spiffy. As the workforce becomes more digital, smart operators are using mobile to attract, retain, and educate their teams and individuals. A whopping 87 percent of today’s restaurant employees value training and education.
6. You must bring food – fast – to your fans 24/7!
Delivery and off-premise service are critical to your restaurant’s success. Whether you use one of the many third-party delivery options or build your own system, you need to get food to consumers when and where they want it. Apps like ShiftPixy are focusing on hospitality staffing with an emphasis on delivery people and Phat Scooters has designed a state-of-the-art vehicle for food transport.
7. Awareness PLUS local is a recipe for success.
Big multi-location brands like Jersey Mike’s, Mellow Mushroom, and Pita Pit continue to attract new diners through creative promotions, conventional and digital media, and mobile marketing. TV, radio, print, and large-scale web campaigns are still driving awareness. However, local efforts are more important than ever because they can impact diner behavior at the exact moment they’re hungry or planning a meal out.
Searches and reviews are essential to restaurant success – both at a national brand level and a location level. Yelp has amassed 1.8 billion searches for “restaurant” and their presentation stressed that people are getting more specific than ever before in their searches. Reviews can also make or break a location’s reputation. As award-winning Chicago restauranteur Donnie Madia says, “Today you have to assume that everyone is an influencer and you need to be ready from the second the door opens.”
MomentFeed’s Director of Demand Generation Michelle Gerson shares why local mobile marketing is the future of restaurant technology in Toast’s video.
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