Knowing the trends in fast-casual dining must be a top priority for restaurateurs. As the fast-casual space evolved over recent decades, the fast-casual restaurant digital ordering empire is now connected, digital, and reliant on sustainability. To stay successful, restaurateurs should take the top trends in this space and how they will impact their strategies into consideration.
Fast Casual Restaurants Must Focus More on the Guest Experience
Guest experiences have traditionally centered around food. But, in today’s era, the trends in fast-casual dining experiences allude to much more than a simple dining area. It’s a place where corporate meetings occur, and it’s a space where people congregate. Modern restaurants should invest in technologies to create a conducive, enjoyable space, which may include tableside tablets with games, kiosks for ordering, and of course, free Wi-Fi.
Fast Casual Delivery Is Essential
Delivery is also changing the game when it comes to fast-casual dining. All restaurants need a delivery strategy. However, this strategy must also include a slew of providers—such as Grubhub, UberEats, and Favor. Failure to work with third-party delivery services will leave money on the table.
Mobile Order Ahead Continues to Grow in Demand
More customers also expect mobile order-ahead capabilities. This is especially true in today’s climate where touching menus and sharing items between guests is downright blasphemous. Mobile order-ahead is the only way to go. Additionally, it reduces the overhead of producing and maintaining physical menus, giving customers access to the menu from the safety and security of their mobile devices.
Sustainable Materials Are a New Standard
Modern customers also want to visit places that engage in fair trade and sustainable food sourcing practices. As explained by Rachel Jenkins of Webstaurant Store Blog:
“Increasingly, consumers want to know where their food is coming from and the ethical impact it has on the environment and labor around the world. Fast-casual restaurants can expect consumers to demand food transparency on their menus. This includes where the food was sourced from, calorie counts, and allergen warnings. Products deemed “fair trade” have been bought from producers at a fair price, often in developing countries. Common fair-trade food items include bananas, honey, coffee, and tea.”
Incentivized Digital Ordering Is Mission Critical to Increasing Average Check Size
Incentivized digital food ordering includes the use of social media and the company’s online footprint to give customers a reason to reorder. Such tactics inevitably contribute to higher check sizes and encourage repeat visits—chief trends in fast-casual dining. As reiterated by a past Tacit client:
“Digital investment opportunities sold us pretty heavily in the fact that if you can get a consumer to not order through a phone, ordering through a digital device instead, you will see a higher check size. And we have. We’ve seen a considerable check size lift when you compare our call-in orders to our online orders. Furthermore, the one big trend is that digital ordering is still growing. All the time it’s growing, and here to stay. It’s on the up every month, every year. The percentage grows and the numbers grow, building a better case for reaching the digital consumer.”
Protein Alternatives & Shorter Food Prep Times Retain Customers
Today’s customers also expect alternative options, especially when it comes to meat. Restaurateurs must offer online meat alternative options, and they need to do it faster. In other words, they need to cut the food prep and cooking time to a fraction of its current time. In fact, the timeliness of food is now more important than value and quality. Meanwhile, contactless ordering and delivery have reshaped the standards—creating a center of food only and minimal human contact between patrons and staff.
Align Your Restaurant With the Trends in Fast Casual Dining With the Right Technology Partner
The top trends in fast-casual ordering reflect a fluidic balance between traditionally fast-casual experiences and the sit-down and dine-in restaurant powered by digital food ordering capabilities. Fast-casual spaces are meeting venues and opportunities to connect with others. When restaurateurs finally realize these facts and align their brands to the trends in fast-casual dining, profitability will grow. Visit Tacit online to get started.