The restaurant industry is an ever-changing one as new trends are continually shaping and affecting the customer experience. Brands barely have the capability to control these shifts in the industry, with technologies, health-consciousness and other traits changing what consumers need and expect from them. These are 5 trends in the restaurant industry that are shifting dining preferences in 2016. By understanding these trends and what it means to your brand, you can customize your customer service strategies to ensure you meet your customer’s expectations.
Delivery channels shifting customer service strategies
One of the bigger disrupters of many industries and is also affecting the dining industry is technology. The tech-driven online and mobile ordering apps are making dining in easier and customers are shifting how often they choose to dine out. Excellent customer service doesn’t just involve the face-to-face interaction and ensuring your customer still gets your brand’s experience through these new delivery trends is important.
Heavier focus on making your menu “clean”
Consumers continue to push for healthier alternatives to the chemicals and additives that are in foods at many restaurants. Big restaurants like Chipotle and McDonald’s are making efforts to dump some artificial ingredients and “healthify” their menu’s. Improving customer service starts with listening to consumer expectations, and currently “healthifying” your menu by ridding GMO products, additives, and chemicals is a trend that doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere.
Resurgence in heritage cuisines
Chefs are exploring their roots and cuisines, growing the amount of heritage cuisines in the restaurant industry. Korean, Mexican, Chinese, Middle Eastern fusion and Israeli are just a few of the many cultural dishes that are taking over the industry. Heritage cuisines are important because customers are looking for new experiences rather than the traditional foods. Along with the new food experience, giving your customer a unique customer service experience can enhance your brand.
Vegetables rising and pasta declining
In the last five years, pasta sales have dropped 8% in Australia, 13% in Europe and 6% in America as consumers are looking to shed carbs and consume more proteins. There are even more nutritious alternatives that are still carb-heavy like quinoa, chickpeas, lentils etc. Vegetable spiralizers are selling exceptionally as chefs are using vegetables like zucchini, asparagus, and beets to replace pasta. As beef prices continue to rise and the consumer resentment for hormones, vegetable are becoming more popular than animals, and restaurants are recognizing that buying seasonally reduces food costs and keeps the menu fresh.
Shift in snacking flavours and spice interests
As the sriracha hot sauce continues to grow in popularity, chefs will be looking for the next hot ethnic flavour. This will drive consumer interest in spices from peppers like the ghost pepper from India and harissa from North Africa. Sweet flavors are being replaced by savory and spice and it’s also evident in our snacking habits with the growth in spicy ethnic snacks replacing afternoon meals.
These trends are affecting how customers are expecting their dining experiences, as food tastes are shifting along with expectations of customer service. Although trends like these are important to pay attention to when competing in your industry, remember that customer service is just as important when looking to enhance guest experiences. Using mystery diners to get extensive feedback on your customer’s experience is important when you want to enhance your customer service strategies. Connect with Braymark today and find out how we can help.