THE BIGGEST RESTAURANT INDUSTRY TREND FOR 2022
The restaurant industry experienced one of the biggest shocks due to the pandemic. The following months saw a drastic change in consumer behavior and impacted various archaic norms in the sector.
As the world comes to terms with the new normal, it is natural that the restaurant industry must adapt to changing consumer preferences and alter practices belonging to the pre-pandemic era.
Based on analysis across various techniques such as social listening, data crunching, and pure sentiment analysis, here are the most prominent restaurant industry trends that you should look out for in 2022:
The Conversation Around Restaurants Has Stabilized
One of the biggest trends based on social listening analysis is the budding conversation around restaurants post COVID-19. Consumers are excited to visit restaurants and bars to have a good experience. While the expectations have changed, people are now going out more than in the last few years. The initial hitch once the lockdowns were lifted resulted in opportunities for the restaurants to return to the drawing board and ensure a seamless experience that guarantees customer satisfaction.
Cloud Kitchens Are An Acceptable Format
Gone are the days when consumers preferred restaurants with seating areas; cloud kitchens are now the new norm. Social listening conversations around cloud kitchens have indicated that an increasing number of people are opting to order from there. Therefore, you do not necessarily need a seating area or a physical space for your restaurant to impact the industry. However, the complaints received for home-delivered food are more than a dining out experience.
Restaurants Spark Joy
Most consumers are eager to share positive and negative reviews of their restaurant experience. Unlike any other category where consumers are only venting their anger on social media, in the case of a restaurant, consumers are open to sharing their good experiences among their network, with the main topic of appreciation being food and service. Therefore, if you expect your customers to spread positive news about your establishment, try not to falter in these two departments. A social listening strategy is equally important to capture customer feedback.
Digital Work Models Are Preferred
One of the after-effects of the COVID-19 impact is the digital work models that restaurants are increasingly using. With the digital menu, contactless payment options, analytics, or updated customer service systems, it is expected that restaurants will continue to use technology and digital work models in their daily operations. It is time to upgrade your technology, as consumers increasingly prefer technology-friendly brands and chains.
Plant-Based Foods Are A Hit
Over the past few years, veganism has increased; for instance, nearly 10% of the US population prefers vegan or vegetarian food. As a result, it can be expected that restaurants that meet these requirements have a better chance of success. At the same time, plant-based foods can find more positive mentions than other items on the menu. Be it new vegan restaurants opening in the neighborhood or a winner on the menu, customers are willing to share positive responses that result in better social listening patterns and tremendous popularity.
Live Music Is Back
With customers opening up to restaurants, live music in bars and restaurants is back in demand. Consumers are known to prefer restaurants where their favorite bands are playing, and it is also expected that the trend of live music will continue to attract crowds to restaurants and bars. Depending on the segment, you can hire a relevant band to appeal to your audience and pull more numbers.
The Labor Shortage is a Real Challenge
With The Great Resignation movement and various other issues impacting the restaurant industry's growth, the labor shortage is still a real challenge that needs proper monitoring and timely solutions. The shortage in labor and supply chain challenges have also forced some restaurants to alter their menu. Proactively handling labor shortages can help restaurants work seamlessly.
Time to Diversify Revenue Streams
Now is the right time to diversify revenue streams. Restaurants cannot solely rely on a consistent stream of walk-in customers to build their business. For instance, restaurants adopt tactics like cocktail kits, home delivery, ready-to-eat kits, etc., during the pandemic. At the same time, many restaurants have ventured outside their comfort zone and diversified their revenue streams. There is a need to continue these efforts so that the restaurant industry grows even in the future.
Focus On Direct Orders
There has been a lot of focus on third-party platforms, and many restaurants rely on these platforms to get regular orders. However, the restaurant industry has also realized the growing overreliance on these platforms. As a result, several restaurants have invested in attracting direct orders from consumers. The feedback from social listening also states that people are loyal to medium and not the restaurant in case consumers use the platform regularly to place orders. Therefore, it is in the restaurant's interest to attract direct orders from the consumers rather than relying on third-party platforms for their success.
Restaurant needs to set up a proper social listening strategy to understand the sentiment and feedback people share on major social media platforms. At the same time, an effective social listening strategy can help understand the competitor's strategy and trends in the industry. These trends must be kept in mind while finalizing growth plans for the future.
Social listening can be an effective technique for understanding consumer sentiment and the changes to be made for better results. Since there are a lot of positive and negative reviews regarding restaurants that visitors share regularly, it makes it all the more critical for any restaurant to follow a proper social listening strategy for long-term success.
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