So, you're not sure what will happen with the restaurant industry for the remainder of 2022?
In this article, we will tell you some trend predictions of the industry that should come true in the rest of the year. Take these predictions with a grain of salt — of course, no one can foresee the future. With that being said, thanks to our experience, we can tell you that the industry sometimes behaves in a recognizable way.
The trends you will see listed here will help you prepare your restaurant so it’s in line with the way the industry evolves. Hopefully, this will help you keep your restaurant relevant, keep bringing in new patrons, and keep generating money at a sustainable pace. Let's begin!
1. Eating Out Will Be Back in Full Strength
As in past years we haven't been able to eat at a restaurant comfortably this seems like a fever dream. But it's not far from the truth. People want to go back to their normal lives previous to covid.
Even though people might seem to be afraid, they are willing to go back to normal even though it might be risky. That's why restaurants will keep adapting their service to satisfy the needs of their customers and bring back good old nights out. By December of this year, most restaurants will be able to run at full capacity as they used to before covid stroke. Of course, this doesn't come without sacrifices.
People will need to adhere to certain measures to keep themselves safe. This will also require the cooperation of restaurants. If you want to be able to offer exceptional service, you'll have to be prepared to offer certain safety measures to every patron that enters through your door. Hand washing stations, keep tables separated by a safe distance, and train your waiters to offer a contactless service.
In that sense, restaurants will become more private, which is also beneficial for reservation-based restaurants. This is something that even entrepreneurs should take notes on. If you’re opening a new restaurant, you should consider adding these amenities to your opening costs. Now, safety is a big factor when it comes to securing and retaining customers.
2. Delivery Apps Are Going Bye-Bye Soon Enough
Delivery apps have been a very interesting addition to the restaurant industry in recent years. They have been the saviors of many different businesses that have been able to thrive by adapting their service to provide takeout and delivery options. However, their time has come. Yes, delivery apps are no longer as necessary as they were two years prior.
Not because people don't like them; in fact, people love them. However, they are affecting the industry negatively by charging impressive percentages per delivered order. Some of them even charge up to 30% in fees, which is significant considering many restaurants are dealing with high production costs already.
That's why restaurants must also adapt and overcome this challenge either by creating their own delivery service or by eliminating this option in their restaurant — though the former is a better idea. People will adapt again to eating out, so delivery apps won't be missed. What will be necessary is outdoor arrangements so people can eat outside without being in contact with other tables. That might be the next big satellite business to the restaurant industry, just like when delivery apps got started.
3. Restaurants Will Focus on Resource Efficiency (Even More)
There are many challenges to come in the following years for the restaurant industry. Right now the industry is facing several challenges at the same time. Let’s just name a few:
- Staff shortages all over the world.
- Supply chain issues.
- The same issue with delivery apps being incredibly expensive.
- Rising costs of payroll.
- And more.
That's exactly why restaurants need to focus a lot more on efficiency. The restaurant industry is long overdue for an overhaul, and this is where it should start. Restaurant owners cannot improvise regarding restaurant processes anymore. That's because improvising it's not heroic, it’s a fool’s errand.
Optimizing all the different processes in your restaurant is vital to achieving operational and resource efficiency. This will be challenging for owners because it’s hard to find the right place to start optimizing — you can’t optimize costs without optimizing processes, and you can’t optimize either if your staff is not in line with your business. Many restaurants have had to cut their best dishes out of their menus because they can’t afford to sell the dishes anymore. Or they have had to lay off the least vital workers. Sadly, anything that isn’t vital for the restaurant to run must go. So, if you’re thinking of opening a restaurant, think also about the ways you can make it run more smoothly and efficiently. That can save others from the pain of being fired due to bad management.
4. Go Green or Go Home
Do you know “The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask”? Remember the creepy moon? That’s climate change. We have to take action, and this will affect every single industry that humans control — including restaurants.
You might think, “why is it even important?”. Well, even though it wasn’t important at all for many years, people are not the same in 2022. We are more concerned about climate change and the way it’s starting to affect us. Now, the weather is extreme and hard to predict. If we want a real change, then we have to do something about it — and if you won’t do it out of love for the world, people will force you to do it anyway out of love for your business. You can:
- Buy local ingredients and support local farmers and other businesses.
- Bet heavily on long-term sustainability.
- Apply as many strategies as you can think of to reduce the waste of food.
- Donate food before it expires, compost, and even plant your own ingredients.
- You can incentivize the use of reusable to-go containers, metal straws, boxed water instead of bottled water, and little-to-no plastic among your customers.
Humanity should be able to apply those very small changes to the way we live — the greater good is the safety of the coming generations! Even though we might not like it, the wokewave is in charge of saving humanity. If canceling a few stubborn businesses to get it done is what it takes, you better move out of that list!
5. “Do We Really Need Waiters?”. Yes, You Do.
Numbers-only business owners have been asking themselves this question for years. Their cries might have been somewhat heard. In a world where covid was — or is — a thing, customers are now preferring trained, specialized waiters. Trained waiters are:
- Those who understand the new rules of contactless service.
- Those who are trained to handle themselves correctly at all times.
- Those who are not either annoying or insensitive.
- And those who have real service vocation and skills.
So, in a way, those restaurant owners and managers who think they don’t need their “inadequate waiters” are either:
- Being harsh with their new hires.
- They’re not providing any training.
- Or they’re hiring the least capable people to save money.
In my country, we call that spitting upwards. If there’s something we learned in the past years is empathy — at least a big percentage of people learned this lesson. That’s why the restaurant industry cannot be filled with people who don’t want to serve anymore. Waiters are not a necessity if they won’t provide an outstanding service.
Taking them out of the equation is something that you can only think of if it’s in line with your restaurant’s concept. Otherwise, yes, they are necessary, and yes, you must put a lot of effort into their training!
6. Entrepreneurship Rise in the Industry and Friendly Competition
If you read our article about light-asset food businesses, you already know that this is happening right now. Opening a business is now easier than ever before — succeeding is as hard as always, but that’s not the point. Entrepreneurship has always been a big factor in competitive industries such as restaurants. That’s why, even though we’re just coming out of the pandemic, the number of food businesses is rising.
Another thing that changed is the intent behind the competition. Businesses are not so much trying to obliterate their competitors and, instead, are looking for ways to collaborate. This is a very smart approach to business. After all, there are always jobs, people, and families that earn from a single business. Collaboration has helped the industry recover faster from the chaos left behind by the pandemic.
If you have a restaurant, you should start supporting new, starting businesses in your local area. If you want to start, look for the help of other restaurant owners that might be open to collaborating. Sometimes we forget that humanity has made it so far thanks to our ability to work together, so that’s a skill that might save your business, and inspire others to grow theirs. In the end, we all grow together.
What Do You Think Will Happen?
Yes, that’s a real question. What do you think will happen? We believe that, by the end of this year, the industry will be stronger than ever. There’s no doubt that the industry is still competitive. But now, it’s “survival of the fittest ecosystem”. Are you ready to be a team player in the industry? Are you getting started in it with the right mindset? If all this sounds hippy-ish to you, then your business might not make the cut!