Consumer preferences and wants in regards to their restaurant dining options have gone through a significant transformation. These changing preferences have impacted food culture in such a way that the wise restaurateur has to re-assess how their brand is being presented to the world as well as re-evaluate their menu items.
Here we go over the current trends in the food world and link them to what you can do to attract customers and patrons to your establishment.
Consider these tips in your next strategy meeting.Nutrition Rules Supreme
Once low-calorie, low-sodium, low-fat were the go to terms for healthy eating. But in recent times there has been a sophisticated and nuanced shift in what consumers see as healthy and what they are looking for in their healthy eating options when dining out. They want freshly prepared meals high on what they perceive to be nutritional value via local, organic ingredients. But do not rush to eliminate all your less-than-healthy options. Consumers still want to indulge, however the key is that they want to feel that they are adapting a healthy lifestyle overall.
As such 44% of all consumers, and 51% of female consumers state that in the past week they always or mostly considered ordering healthy options while eating out. At the same time only 35% of all consumers and 42% of female consumers indicated that they actually ended up purchasing a healthy option.
While 21% of consumers in 2014 stated that their food purchase was healthy or very healthy about 67% of consumers ordered a somewhat healthy meal suggesting that most consumers have a moderate approach to healthy eating, wanting to prioritize health and wellness while still indulging.
An example of a restaurant concept adapting to healthy eating are traditional fast-food restaurants serving salads such as Wendy’s here:
Value over Splurging
As global markets exit one of the worst recessions in recent history, value has emerged as a major factor for consumers when dining out. Take note that younger diners and those with children are the most price-conscious and as such will be most responsive to promotions or deals you offer. (Loyalty programs are also a good way to target cost-conscious consumers and foster repeat visits).
In fact 35% of consumers stated that a mailed or paper coupon influenced their choice of location while dining out. Also 52% of consumers stated that they ‘often’ or ‘sometimes’ changed their behavior due to restaurants’ emailed coupons.
Also consider the most consumers will actively engage with your social media/digital channels to look for your deals and promotions which are exclusive to these channels.
Consider this Kelsey’s Facebook promotion.
The Popularity of Online Ordering
Offering an online ordering option that is available via mobile device/smart-phone is a smart move. 69% of consumers order food online using a mobile device. In fact 50% of consumers have downloaded a restaurant-branded app on a mobile device. Consumers now also want to be able to order for pick up , particularly during the busy lunch-time hours during the weekdays. Also note that pizza is the most popular food to order online via a mobile device, with 72% of consumers stating they did this. The second favorite food items to get via online ordering on a mobile device are burgers and Chinese food. You may even want to consider a POS with built-in online ordering. This would allow you to get integrated reports and eliminate hassle of processing orders. (Try Givex's Vexilor POS).
Major food brands (like Starbucks seen below) and smaller establishments alike have been rapidly been adapting to this evolving consumer preferences to order their meals online.
Transparency in Food Preparation
Increasingly consumers want to know about where the ingredients in their food come from and how their meals are made. Restaurants that are not open about how they prepare food will be perceived as untrustworthy with negative impact on their brand to follow. Consumers want to feel good not only about the way their meal is prepared but also about what the brand they eat at stands for, wanting this to align with their personal values and health and wellness focused lifestyle.
A perfect example of this is Chipotle’s ‘Food with Integrity’ campaign. The campaign positioned Chipotle a leader in honest and open food preparation, providing nutritional food options. While the campaign increased their visibility and attracted consumers to their brand they were also criticized for not having facts and behaviors which closely aligned with their claims, further highlighting the importance of honesty and transparency for food brands.
In today’s evolving food culture it is important for both established and emerging restaurant brands and concepts to adapt to new developments and consumer preferences. If a loyalty program whereby you can get more data on customer spending patterns across multiple locations is on your mind then contact Givex.