The coming year looks to be another healthy one for the restaurant industry. People are spending more and more at restaurants, although not all of it is dining in. There’s a huge uptick in carry out and delivery that has the industry pulling ahead of the growth rate of grocery store spending1. Consumers are living busier lifestyles than ever, and more often than not, they would rather not cook for themselves. They also have more restaurant options available, so smart owners and managers need to stay on top of the restaurant industry trends in order to draw (and keep) customers. Whether you operate a full service, fast casual, or quick service restaurant, take note of these 2020 restaurant trends for the latest insights into what your customers really want this year.
New diets and eating trends are on the rise and ever changing—either for health reasons or taste preferences and/or mindfulness about ecological impact and sustainability. Customers have always preferred customizable menu options in general, and now they’re looking for more healthy choices such as gluten-free, dairy-free, Paleo-friendly options, and plant-based proteins. They want to be able to make swaps such as a plant-based patty instead of a beef burger, or a gluten-free bun instead of a regular one.
Therefore, it’s important to have a restaurant point of sale (POS) system where you can easily customize and accommodate all of the options you have available for each dish. Your staff should be able to quickly and easily make swaps or substitutions and add modifiers for menu item customization in the point of sale system. And when you want to add new menu items to meet the ever changing customer demand, having a centralized menu management tool from within the POS system will save you time and make changes consistently across locations and in your online ordering system.
Multiple Ordering Channels
While restaurant spending has outpaced grocery spending, an increasing percentage of that restaurant money is being spent outside of the restaurant. It’s projected that in 2020, more than half of restaurant spending will be “off-premise”—i.e., drive-thru, carryout, or delivery, rather than a sit-down, dine-in experience. With customers craving convenience more than ever, a major 2020 restaurant trend is the need to have an omnichannel selling approach to capture the widest audience possible. Make sure that along with in-store orders, you can also accept orders via phone, website, and mobile app—and if you can, offer delivery (either your own, or through integration within your POS system partnership with a third-party provider such as DoorDash). All ordering channels are necessary to maximize your reach and sales, but 70% of customers prefer to order directly from a restaurant, so keep that in mind when implementing your online ordering strategy.
To maximize these options, it’s crucial to have integrated online ordering and delivery support with your restaurant POS. This way, you can keep track of all your tickets in the order they come in, subsequently reducing customer wait times. An integrated system will also allow you to better collect and manage customer data for improved loyalty programs and marketing that will strengthen customer relationships and optimize the customer experience.
Next-Level Customer Experiences
Today’s customers are becoming immune to traditional methods of advertising. Instead, restaurants are focusing on creating personalized marketing messages and promos to attract past customers back; and your restaurant POS will play a large role in creating these messages. For example, restaurants can use customer purchasing histories to send targeted offers for similar items your customers might like.
Fast and Accurate Ordering
To improve the in-store experience, restaurants are stepping up their game to provide faster and more accurate service than ever, with the help of innovative technology such as the use of a tablet POS.
A Loyalty Program Accessible from Any Location and Ordering Channel
Finally, an advanced loyalty program can help restaurants provide a more enriched, efficient, and personalized experience. By creating the loyalty program within your restaurant point of sale system, your customers can earn points and rewards without carrying a physical card with them. Plus their rewards will be earned and tracked across multiple locations and even when ordering online.
Expansion of Restaurant Mobile Apps
Another 2020 restaurant trend is enhanced mobile app online ordering. Apps are easy for customers to download and use, and can provide several enticing benefits for them, including:
- Mobile ordering capabilities
- Information about menu items and nutrition facts
- Visibility into current specials and deals
- Personalized promotions
- Upselling and cross-selling opportunities (which benefit you as well)
Restaurants should look for a branded app that includes the following:
- Integration capabilities: Your restaurant’s app should connect with your restaurant point of sale so that you have one comprehensive system to store data. Integration also allows you to update the app with new menu or pricing information in real time as necessary, for a consistent ordering experience across all platforms.
- Intuitive ordering: Make it easy for your customers to place orders and to save their information (such as contact details and previous orders for simple, fast ordering).
- Security: You don’t want your customers to feel uneasy about paying with their credit or debit cards within your app, so make sure you choose a solution that is PCI compliant.
More Limited-Time Offers (LTOs)
With so many dining options available, it’s hard to capture the attention of customers. To increase interest and foot traffic in 2020, restaurants will be offering more dynamic limited-time offers. LTOs generate a sense of urgency and excitement, playing on consumers’ fear of missing out on a special exclusive. Offers such as new menu items, dine-in-only deals, and “buy one, get one free” promos can all help to boost your bottom line and keep customers coming back for more. According to Steve Jackson, CEO of Hungry Howie’s, key factors for successful LTOs include “unique ingredients, a novelty factor, and the right price.”
Another critical factor for the success of this strategy is equipping your restaurant with a POS system that enables you to send marketing messages via email, text, and/or in-app notifications, so you can easily get the word out when you launch a new LTO. Then, restaurants can track the effectiveness of these campaigns by pulling sales reports and comparing benchmarks. It’s also essential to have a menu management system that can quickly and easily make edits and customizations, so you can effortlessly update offers as you please.
Staying Ahead in 2020
Keeping informed about the latest restaurant industry trends is crucial to thrive in today’s highly competitive environment. Even more important is choosing the right restaurant technology equipped with the features and flexibility to allow you to meet and exceed shifting consumer demands.
HungerRush provides comprehensive, integrated restaurant point of sale solutions for help with online ordering, mobile apps, delivery support, loyalty programs, and more. We offer the features restaurants need to stay current with restaurant industry trends in 2020 and beyond. To find out more, with HungerRush today.