What's New in the Restaurant and Bar Scene

By: Corien de Jong

As the new generations begin to increase their impact on businesses, owners are forced to adapt to the changing preferences of consumers and new styles of running a restaurant.

Restaurants and bars are entering a new era in which innovation, convenience, and social consciousness lead the way. Here are five new trends you can easily incorporate you’re your restaurant.

Photogenic Food and Cocktails

Social media is paramount to marketing and the restaurant industry is no exception. A Zagat study found that 53 percent of consumers browse food photos regularly, and those photos lead 75 percent of those people to dining decisions. Many restaurants are even putting in lighting that accentuates photo-taking and plating dishes or creating cocktails with artistic flair – every photo shared is free advertising from a trusted friend or family member.

In other words, new customers might have never visited you online or even heard your name, but based on their friend's photos of your food and drinks alone, they might pop in for a bite.

Partner with a Food Delivery Service

According to Toast's Restaurant Technology Industry Report, 81 percent of diners have used a restaurant's website to place an online order. Outsourcing this task to a reliable third-party company that offers pay-as-you-go services can provide complete transparency and ZERO overhead, taking out the guesswork in making delivery  profitable. Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Grubhub are a few options to explore so you can focus on great food and service.

The Intersection of "Fine Dining" and Counter-Service

Many restaurants are reducing their menu options, creating innovative seasonal plates, and switching to counter-service as opposed to full table-service. A great example of this can be found in celebrity chef Richard Blais’ creation, “The Crack Shack,” that sits next store to his better known fine-dining spot Juniper & Ivy in San Diego. It offers American comfort food with a twist, along with counter-service and outdoor picnic-table seating.

Millennials who grew up on fast food want healthier and tastier options without the hassle of hosts, servers, long menus, high prices and tips for full-service.

Transparency and Sustainability

There is a new generation of customers that are more socially conscious than previous generations. These days, customers want to know exactly what they are eating, where it came from, and that your restaurant or bar is taking steps to reduce waste.

Here are some steps you can take to create food transparency:

  • Farm-to-shaker: When crafting cocktails, use locally sourced fruits and vegetables to make innovative drinks with memorable names that become staples that sell your brand.
  • Hyper-local sourcing: Make your own seasonings and condiments, tonics, sodas, bitters, and garnishes, and infuse your beverages with ingredients pulled from a garden in your location’s backyard or back patio.
  • Be exact: Customers are becoming more sensitive to exactly what is going in their body so be transparent by telling them the exact ingredients on your menus. However,  ensure your ingredients are on the healthy side and contain zero artificial flavors or preservatives.
  • Root-to-stem and nose-to-tail: It’s important to figure out inventive ways to use most or all of the product you purchase. When there is waste, compost your food scraps instead of filling trash bins with leftovers.

Use an Open-Book Management Style

Owning a restaurant is great, but you are more likely to have a loyal and empowered crew if you build them up and prepare them for future successes. Open your books to your employees, teach them how your restaurant operates, and create goals that align with your revenue objectives and your staff's career aspirations. Everyone at your bar or restaurant should know how to run it properly from the dishwashers to the chefs to the mixologists.

By implementing these trends, you can ensure customers, staff, and your bottom line all benefit in this new era for restaurants and bars.

About Butts in Seats!

When it comes to restaurant trends and marketing, IMM knows what they are talking about. Gina Lee De Freiitas, President of IMM, and Corien de Jong, SVP Executive Creative Director, have more than 25 years of experience in the vertical. So when they talk about the tools, tips and resources your restaurant needs to succeed, rest assured they’ve got it covered.

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