In the restaurant industry, finding a space between delivery and full-service in-store experiences remains difficult. Moreover, the idea of delivery as a fast version of take-out with limited menu options is quickly turning the industry upside-down. It’s not enough to simply offer the best experience in the dining room. The full-service restaurant trends now indicate how a dining room is now customers’ homes, businesses, and anywhere else. According to FSR magazine, “In recent years, full-service concepts have largely forged their own individual paths when it comes to off-premises. With a dual emphasis on the top-quality fare and restaurant experience, some restaurants chose to build to-go platforms, while others continued relying solely on in-house sales. Now, restaurants are working with dine-in sales either entirely paused or, in the best-case scenario, bringing in much slimmer margins. Either way, off-premises is no longer a question but rather a necessity.”
And, it’s time for restaurateurs to realize that the full-service restaurant trends are now marching to a different drum—bringing the full-service experience to people everywhere.
Restaurant Goers Want Off-Premises Menus
Today’s customers expect the full experience of a full-service restaurant without necessarily visiting a brick-and-mortar location. Major chains across the globe have started working on expanding menu options to create an over-the-top experience for the customers that have meals delivered, picked up through drive-through, or with curbside options. This is the age of convenience, and as a result, off-premises menus need to be full proof. In other words, proper heating instructions for the meal and small extras, such as free dessert, can be included to create a more proactive experience.
Kiosks Are Changing Considering Recent Developments
The idea of using self-service kiosks was an innovation for the restaurant industry. Obviously, its main deployment focused on fast-casual spaces. However, self-ordering kiosks quickly transformed into tableside kiosks to give everyone the opportunity to order food, play games, and pay for tickets. Unfortunately, the world changed in the spring of 2020. And, customers do not want to touch anything unless it is an absolute necessity. As a result, full-service restaurant trends are moving to give customers this contactless option through the use of mobile order-ahead apps. Essentially, guests use their smart devices as the kiosk, eliminating all the necessary contact and streamlining the whole process.
Dining Experiences Must Go Beyond a Traditional, Individual Meal Option
As customer buying habits change, restaurateurs must evolve the menu to reflect their needs. Even for dine-in customers, saving money is a critical aspect of maintaining economic stability. Unfortunately, the restaurant industry has suffered with years of shrinking profit margins. Therefore, the easy way to keep costs under control and alleviate the concerns of customers lies in developing more family-style menus and options that are less costly to prepare. However, this is specific to in-store experiences. Thus, it stands apart from the first of the full-service restaurant trends listed above.
Dining Room Renovations Are Inevitable
With the need for more contactless options, the other issue restaurateurs face is lost opportunity for increasing the density of customers in the dining room. In other words, maintaining appropriate distancing measures between guest tables is a top priority. In turn, restaurants must evolve. After all, this represents an opportunity to waste space. The solution lies in making the most efficient use of all available space. Obviously, this is not incredibly tech-focused, but it does carry a hint of technology used by leveraging integrated systems to better manage available dining spaces. In addition, self-service kiosk-like vending machines are also in the works to further improve full-service experiences while minimizing contact, reports Fast Casual magazine.
More Emphasis on Customer Loyalty Programs Will Augment Full-Service Restaurant Trends
Loyalty programs and discount options are another necessity in today’s restaurant world. Customers want a bargain, and this is true regardless of whether the restaurant is a top-of-the-line brand or a fast-casual space. A loyalty program is key, and applying data collected from consumer devices and shared data can help restaurateurs understand how to better plan menus, connect with guests, and increase average check sizes. In fact, a past Tacit client noted the importance of using technology to increase average check sizes with respect to the ease and value in using online ordering:
“We have seen a considerable check size lift when you compare our call-in orders to our online orders. We have seen approximately 20% higher check sizes. Digital is clearly the best option for both full service and quick service options.”
Align Your Brand With the Top Full-Service Restaurant Trends by Choosing the Right Technology Partner
Across the board, the restaurant industry is changing. Customers expect an infusion of technology and the ability to have the best experience on the planet regardless of location. It is time for restaurateurs to understand the top trends affecting the space and ensure their brands align accordingly. Visit Tacit online to find out how your restaurant can be part of the digital revolution in full-service experiences today.