The restaurant industry is a dynamic, ever-changing one. With new trends in 2022 and practices popping up every day, it’s hard to keep up.
The last two years, especially, have seen the restaurant industry go through more changes than ever before. When the pandemic hit in 2020, the industry was turned upside down, and restaurateurs were forced to think outside the box just to survive. This brought about many new practices like contactless menus and payments, online ordering systems, etc., that are here to stay.
With new changes and trends running at full speed, it’s very easy to fall behind. However, with the increasing competitiveness of the industry, restaurant owners must keep up with these trends and adapt accordingly, or they risk losing it all.
For instance, before the pandemic, contactless menus were a rare restaurant feature. But now, guests expect every restaurant to have one. If your restaurant has not caught up with the trend, guests are likely to be disappointed. In the end, guest expectations are changing rapidly, so make sure your restaurant is changing along with them.
As expected, the new year, 2022, is bringing about more changes. The restaurant industry is going through a guest experience revolution driven by technology. It’s all about the guests and how restaurants can provide them with the best experience that they will remember forever.
Let’s take a look at some of the predicted trends for the restaurant industry in 2022:
5 Restaurant Industry Trends for 2022
1. Personalization helps build better customer relationships
Personalization is not a new term for the restaurant industry. However, it has now become more important than ever. Guest expectations have significantly evolved over the years. They now step into the restaurant expecting a tailored, personalized service every single time, which includes:
- Remembering the guest’s name
- Remembering their dietary preferences
- Knowing their preferred table
- Knowing when they visited last
- Being aware of their usual orders etc.
Gone are the days where a polite greeting or a simple smile would be enough to make guests satisfied. Now, it’s all about knowing your guests and making them feel important by providing them with an experience tailored specifically to their preferences.
Greeting guests by their name, welcoming regular guests “back” to the restaurant, being aware of their seating and food preferences, allergies, etc., based on their past visits help them feel like your restaurant cares about them, which in turn builds a stronger relationship and improves customer loyalty.
Read more about how you can improve guest experience and retention at your restaurant
How to keep up with the trend:
If you’re wondering how your staff can remember the name, history, and preferences of each guest by heart, don’t worry, they don’t have to! Many advanced CRM systems, like Eat App’s, assist restaurants in providing a personalized guest experience by recording guest data like:
- Order history
- Seating preferences,
- Menu preferences
- Number of visits, etc.
This enables restaurant staff to have a comprehensive understanding of their guest as soon as they step into the restaurant.
For example: Let’s say you have a regular, Jane, who asks for the window seat on every visit. Your staff can record this preference in Jane’s profile on the CRM system so that on her next visit, they can greet her with a “Hey Jane, welcome back! Would you like to be seated at your regular table by the window?” This will provide her with instant gratification and set her up for a memorable dining experience.
Read more about how CRM systems can help restaurants provide a better guest experience
2. In 2022, automation is here to stay
Automation has been a trending topic across the world. Now, slowly but surely, it’s proving its potential in the hospitality industry. Restaurateurs have started to realize how automation can help revolutionize their operations across different aspects of their business, from kitchen processes to guest experience, and even marketing.
Things like robot chefs or automated serving machines are all part of automation in the restaurant industry. However, simpler automation tools that optimize daily restaurant operations and help save time and effort are what’s picking up the most pace in the industry.
With each passing day, companies are developing, improving, and perfecting impressive technology to automate daily processes. This in turn brings promises of lower operational costs, more efficient customer service, and an overall boost in productivity.
Marketing automation is perhaps the most important one for the restaurant industry in 2022. It allows restaurants to reach out to guests with the right messaging at the right time, allowing them to build better relationships and improve customer satisfaction and retention.
How to keep up with the trend:
The right automation system allows you to run your restaurant on auto-pilot and save your staff’s time and effort, without compromising on the guest experience. This allows more time to focus on high-level strategies that help drive business, increase revenue and improve operations instead of burning their time & resources on these repetitive tasks.
Investing in advanced automation systems like Eat App will enable your restaurant to do just that by automating your processes without your staff having to lift a finger. For example:
- Collecting guest data
- Tagging guests for better segmentation
- Setting up automated marketing campaigns to provide a hyper-specific and personalized marketing experience, etc.
Identify and assess your restaurant's pain points and processes that could be significantly improved with the help of automation, and find a system that suits those needs best and provides you with an all-in-one solution.
3. Maintaining relationships and building a community is more important than ever
As we mentioned earlier, it’s all about your guests. Your daily visitors are the backbone of your restaurant. Bringing in new guests is no longer enough, but building a relationship with your existing ones and retaining them is the key to long-term success.
Did you know that it costs five times more to attract a new guest than it takes to keep an existing one? Not only that, HBR even found that a 5% increase in regular guests can increase your revenue by up to 90%.
However, retaining them is not as easy as one might think. With the restaurant industry being an absolute horse race, diners are spoiled for choice, and it’s important to ensure that you are providing them with the best guest experience and maintain your restaurant standards to provide them with the same level of experience every single time. Even one bad experience can lead to an unhappy visitor, who will never return again.
How to keep up with the trend:
Always keep guest satisfaction as your restaurant’s top priority, and make sure your staff does not lose track of it over time. An easy way to maintain your customer service over time is to set up restaurant standards that act as benchmarks for your staff. It’s important to train your staff well and provide regular training and assessment to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Like we mentioned earlier, a small misstep by a single employee can cost you a regular customer.
Keeping track of guest feedback is another way of understanding if your guests are happy with your service or if your restaurant standards need to be reassessed and improved.
4. Data is the key to better guest retention
The data revolution has been taking place around the world for a few years now, but the restaurant industry has been slow to adapt to this change. However, the stark changes in customer behavior in recent times have made data one of the most important tools for restaurant success. Restaurants that are still not tracking their data are missing out on useful insights about their customers and performance that can make all the difference.
Keeping track of and analyzing important data points about your guests like their visit history, total spending, preferences, and feedback help restaurant owners unlock a plethora of information and build a deep understanding of their audience.
Having this information in hand enables restaurants to provide a tailored experience based on the guest’s preferences. The better you know your guests, the more personalized the experience can be. For instance, if you know a guest is visiting for his/her birthday celebration, you can offer them a complimentary dessert.
These insights also allow restaurant owners to identify trends and segment customers, enabling you to develop better customer profiles and build strong relationships, which will help further personalize the guest’s dining experience.
This data-led personalization, as we mentioned earlier, is what motivates guests to stay loyal to your brand and improves guest retention, which, as we know, is the goal restaurants should be aiming for in 2022.
How to keep up with the trend:
Data collection can be quite a tedious task, which is why most restaurants have still not started doing it actively. Thankfully, various new systems now exist to help you with the task and automate the data collection process so that your staff does not have to spend hours filling out registers.
It’s a good idea to find a system that can collect guest and performance data for your restaurant all in one place, making it much easier to assess and analyze. For instance, Eat App’s advanced analytics feature collects both guest and performance data like guest history, guest feedback, and preferences, the number of visits, POS spending, etc., and provides useful insights about your diners under one dashboard. Paired with the CRM system, it can help you understand your guests even better with its segmentation and marketing capabilities.
Make sure you select a system that does all the work for you and does not require any manual intervention, you already have plenty to look after!
4. Technology continues to reduce staffing pressure
The rise of digitalization has been taking over the restaurant industry for the past few years, and 2022 is going to be no different. Technology has come to restaurants as a helping hand that enables them to improve their operational efficiency and streamline their processes.
Technologies like table management systems have been enabling restaurants to unlock their fullest potential by providing support on different operational fronts and taking over tedious tasks, improving both efficiency and revenue while lightening the burden of the restaurant staff.
WIth efficiency becoming more and more significant for restaurant success, 2022 will see restaurants move towards technology more than ever before. Whether it be table management systems that help in overall restaurant and reservation management, CRM systems that help build better guest experiences, or contactless systems that help you keep up with the new trends brought about by the pandemic.
It’s important to understand the potential of these advanced technologies this year and capitalize on them to take your restaurant from good to great.
How to keep up with the trend:
When it comes to restaurant technology, there are 100s of options to choose from, such as -
- Online ordering systems
- Table management and reservation systems
- CRM systems
- Guest survey systems, etc.
The best way to pick the right one for your restaurant is to identify your requirements and find one that suits your needs best.
Many systems also provide restaurants with an “all-in-one” solution that includes various features that cater to different requirements. For example, Eat App’s restaurant management solution includes a table management system, a reservation management system, advanced analytics, and CRM system, a contactless dining system, a guest feedback system, and more all under one roof.
Choosing the right technology for your restaurant is crucial, make sure you do a thorough research of the market and pick the right one.
The restaurant industry has been going through some big changes in the last few years, and technology and guest experience are the stars of this revolution.
Gone are the days of pen and paper. Now, it’s all about using the right technology at your restaurant to improve your operational efficiency and give guests the best possible experience. Without focusing on these two aspects, you are likely to fall behind.
For restaurants, 2022 is the year to embrace the change.