Like any industry, the restaurant business needs to constantly find new ways to adapt and stay relevant. The pandemic also drastically changed the way consumers engage with the restaurants they choose, and so restaurateurs really need to be alert to the way consumer trends are changing in order to inform how they do business. So which trends are here to stay and what factors need to be taken into consideration in order to run a successful eatery?

Pricing and inflation

Food inflation in South Africa has been significant over the last few years and this was further complicated by disruptions in the food chain during Covid-19. Add the rising fuel and grain prices to the mix, and we really begin to appreciate how much more customers are going to be paying for food and dining out. This dynamic has seriously affected how customers are choosing to spend their hard-earned cash, and so restaurateurs need to be innovative in how they choose to attract and retain diners. This could take the form of loyalty programs, value adds or other in-store experiences. Essentially restaurants need to make sure that what they are doing is working well, and if not, then they need to reevaluate this strategy, sooner rather than later.

Value meals on the rise

As customers eat out less and less due to financial constraints, restaurants are shifting to offer more affordable options for their customers. The hope is that this will then entice them to eat out more. So now is the time for eateries to come up with more cost-effective meals while continuing to offer the high-quality selection that their existing customers have come to expect. This goes hand in hand with promotional activities that offer value to customers, including meal sharing options, half portions, specials and promotions.

Customers are eco-conscious 

More and more, customers are looking to support environmentally conscious businesses. If your restaurant has take-away options it is essential to reconsider your packaging and its sustainability. Further to this make sure your produce is ethically sourced, and that you have vegan-friendly meal options to accommodate customers who don’t eat animal products. This is particularly important for a younger generation who rank sustainability high up in their decision-making process. 

Tech shifts

Lockdown and social distancing facilitated a huge shift towards tech reliance. It also shifted the way restaurants did business over that time like forcing all restaurants to introduce take-away options or in-home dining options. Post-Pandemic, this has continued to be relevant and restaurants are now using these additional aspects of their businesses to sustain themselves as they transition into this new era. This can be seen in new in-store additions like new touch screen terminals, self-order kiosks and simplified menus with tech integration. 

The bottom line

The restaurant industry is changing all the time but these core trends are not going anywhere soon. So best you adapt and incorporate these key trends into your establishment, and if you require fast funding to streamline and modernise your eatery’s offering, contact Merchant Capital today. 

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