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3 Restaurant Industry Trends to Watch in 2020

In the middle of the madness of running a restaurant, one of the last things some busy owners and managers have time to think about is industry trends. In the ever-evolving world of restaurants, staying up to date with the latest food, operations, and staffing trends are vital to staying successful for years to come.

While some aspects of the industry are evergreen, new trends are always on the horizon, and the most successful restaurants seek out ways to stay ahead of the competition. By keeping up with new and emerging trends, restaurateurs have the opportunity to offer their regulars a unique experience and attract new diners looking for adventure.

We highlighted the top three trends that will make an impression on the restaurant industry in 2019.

1. The Rise of Online Ordering

According to the National Restaurant Association, 60 percent of U.S. consumers order delivery or takeout at least once a week.

Online ordering sales could rise an annual average of more than 20 percent to $365 billion worldwide by 2030, from $35 billion according to investment bank UBS. A recent study conducted by CHD Expert shows that restaurants will see this revenue from a variety of venues:

  • Pick-up is projected to generate $124 billion in sales this year.
  • Direct delivery from a restaurant: $32 billion.
  • Delivery from a third-party delivery company: $13 billion.

While direct delivery from restaurants still reigns supreme, the crowded third-party app space is getting creative with their approach to attract new diners to their platforms. According to Restaurant Business, subscription models will emerge to present a more precise value proposition for consumers.

2. Experimenting with Dining Experiences

The quality of food and service has been at the center of the restaurant industry, but with so many establishments making great food and providing exceptional service—there is a question restaurateurs must ask themselves: What are we doing to set ourselves apart?

In 2019, the industry will continue to adapt to restaurant trends and move toward out-of-the-box experiences for consumers. Long gone are the days of typical two-for-one meals and happy hours—restaurants are now pushed to ask themselves what they can do to offer diners an experience that they’ll never forget.

In response to the typical restaurant week that diners have grown tired of year after year, reservation company Resy has partnered with Capital One to create Off Menu Week. This new program will take place in six major U.S. cities—Los Angeles, Washington D.C., San Francisco, New York City, Chicago, and Austin—and will offer customers a unique, behind-the-scenes experience at their favorite restaurants.

“Restaurant Week is dated, it lacks passion, it lacks authenticity,” Ben Leventhal, co-founder, and CEO of Resy, told Bloomberg. “If we say to our customers, ‘We got you a good deal,’ it’s not interesting or exciting to them. Zillions of places are doing that. Off Menu Week will let customers get the backstage experience, the one everyone covets.”

3. Keeping an Eye on Food Cost

As restaurateurs strive to get the most out of the money they’re spending, they are re-evaluating one of the biggest—yet necessary—costs for restaurants: food.

With food cost accounting for up to a third of expenses for restaurants, they are a natural place for restaurateurs to look for relief. According to RestaurantReport.com, a successful restaurant typically generates a 28 to 35 percent food cost. Regularly monitoring restaurant food cost will help determine when restaurant owners need to make adjustments to menu prices or switch up the types of ingredients or quantity of items you’re purchasing. It can also help gauge if there’s a discrepancy is between food cost percentage and what your actual food cost is.

Restaurant point of sale, inventory, and food costing software management platforms can do all of the math heavy-lifting for you. Restaurant management platforms like Upserve can help restaurateurs optimize inventory, keep track of purchases, and calculate food costs.

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