In the previous episode, we’ve reviewed some of the big trends that are affecting the restaurant industry, the other industries around it, and our customers. We also started looking at some of the trends as we see them, based on the big trends that are occurring and what we’re seeing in restaurants from other parts of the world.
Here’s the next set of trends we are to expect in the restaurant industry all over the world and if you’re looking for sustainability and profitability, these could be of great help:
Now, we’re gonna lead into mission-focused restaurants, something I think we’re gonna see a lot of this year. Restaurants where their mission is a fundamental part of what they do.
Mission-focused restaurants are those that operate to fulfill a mission, mostly an ode to their cultural background or their beliefs.
Almost all restaurant owners cook some sort of cuisine because of cultural background or beliefs and those who stick by their mission and focus on it actually tend to be quite successful. The alignment of their values, vision, and mission for their restaurant gives them the clarity they need to successfully market their business to their target audience.
Just take a vegetarian restaurant for example. Last weekend, I walked past one and they had a sign that said, “Animals are our friends and we shouldn’t eat our friends.”. This is great marketing because that message will clearly resonate with anyone who is vegetarian and it’ll likely make them want to go in, because they know they’re on friendly territory. They are in a place that shares their values, vision, and mission.
Aligning your values, mission, and vision with your business
Aligning your business with your personal values, vision, and mission is critical to your success. You want people to come to your restaurant for what it is, not for what it claims to be.
If your values, vision, and mission isn’t aligned with your business, there will be a certain amount of inconsistency. Your marketing will not be as authentic and genuine.
Labor management benefits for mission-focused restaurants
If you can get staff to work with you who share the same values, vision, and mission, that can be really powerful.
Going back to the vegetarian restaurant example, if you employ vegetarians to work in your restaurant too, your customers will get the best experience. They’re not gonna feel like they’re getting second-best because the food you’re going to serve will be prepared by people who know what the food should taste like and what’s going to appeal to other vegetarians as well.
On another note, if you’ve got people who share the same values, vision, and mission as you, they are much more likely to stay with your restaurant than move. It creates a beautiful triad of your people, your mission, and your customers that makes for a sustainable and profitable business.
Rebranding and rethinking culture, values, vision, and mission
I think we’re gonna be seeing a lot more of these mission-focused restaurants in 2022 and the trend is also a great sign for other restaurant owners to consider rebranding and rethinking their culture, values, vision, and mission.
More customers will want to dine in places where they feel safe because of the shared values, vision, and mission, and it will drive profitability up by a huge lot.
Raising your prices and wages
This year, there are a lot of factors that will drive your prices and wages up, including inflation. You have to be prepared to make these changes if you want to remain profitable throughout the year.
If you’re raising your wages, you gotta punch those prices up, and a lot of people are already expecting that. Be conscious of what the effect of your price hikes will be on your customers, but don’t be afraid to do it.
It’s easy to think that if you do raise your prices, your customers are gonna leave, but that simply isn’t true. It’s not gonna happen, no matter what kind of business you’re operating. Usually, when prices go up, the ones that do leave are the ones that do not appreciate the services you’re giving.
When you put your prices up 10%, the impact of these prices on your customers overall is a lot bigger in the mind of the restaurant owner than it is in the customer. You have to think about that. You can give your staff the 8% and you keep the 2% left and it’s still going to be good for your business, because you get to retain your staff.
The name of the game this year is hiring and retaining great staff, so anything and everything you can do to make that easier is going to be critical. We’re gonna be seeing a lot of restaurants pivoting towards focusing on their staff more because of the crisis in labor management from 2021.
Delivery has been a big part of some restaurants 2 years ago and it became a much bigger part in the last year alone, because dining has been banned in so many places around the world. It became the only way to get food to customers and it is now an essential service for restaurants to have.
It’s still gonna be a thing in 2022 and it’s a vastly different product than take out. It provides a lot more convenience to the customers so it’s an important service to think about in your restaurant too.
A lot of restaurants, however, are struggling to get food delivered to their customers on time because of labor shortage. Since there are more jobs opening up in the market, the people who used to ride through the rain, cold, and heat to get food delivered to your customers are now working in the restaurants themselves.
Independent contractors versus Employees
Over the last 2 years, there’s been a decrease in the amount of effort to answer the question whether delivery riders are independent contractors or employees. I think that this is really important because at the end of the day, the only real innovation they have is the ability to pay independent wages.
As employees, delivery riders are entitled to a minimum number of hours, a minimum wage, and other benefits like sick leave or increased pay to make up for the lack of it. As independent contractors, effectively, what Uber and other aggregators say is that they aren’t responsible if there aren’t many deliveries on certain days and they don’t earn as much.
I think we’re gonna see more of this European type legislation where they will be classified more as employees. This is going to significantly impact the profitability of businesses and some of those aggregators will go out of business.
There will also be a lot of price increases due to this because if the riders start to become classified as employees, restaurant owners will need to pay more. These costs are probably going to hurt because this is supposed to be the year that we need to be putting some profitability into the bank to repay some of the horror of the last 2 years.
Bringing deliveries in-house through job share
Normally, we would say that this is a big opportunity to bring delivery in-house to cut out the hideous margins and increase the profitability of your restaurant, particularly if the role will be job shared. If someone can work front of house, back of house, and deliver a few orders, that’s a good recipe for profitability.
If that isn’t possible, you need to consider pick-up only services too. There’s a subset of people who prefer pick-up only services over deliveries, but that subset can be quite large too. If the food is good, people will go out of their way to pick them up from your restaurant because it’s not completely convenient, but it’s not far-off very inconvenient either.
Managing your costs
The key thing is managing your costs and I think that using delivery aggregators to introduce your services to new customers can work, then you can give them a flyer that gives them the option to order directly or pick up the food straight from your restaurant. They will see the difference in prices and will be encouraged to come by and pick up food for a lot less of the cost of getting it delivered.
Drive people to pick up so you can drive your profitability up. You don’t have to lose profit from delivery aggregators who charge double or even triple the prices in your restaurant.
Sourcing ingredients and supplies
Lots of businesses had their exports cut traumatically, but this year, it looks like they’re coming back. Restaurants, however, are seeing two things when it comes to sourcing – an inability to source key ingredients for their dishes and price increases. These price increases are driven by all of the things we talked about in the last episode, mainly by the shortage of labor.
Because of these problems, there will be more restaurants focusing on local sourcing opportunities that they have and that will be great for marketing too. You can tell the story behind the locally sourced ingredients and since people love supporting local businesses, it can drive customers to your restaurant.
It kinda ties back to being a mission-focused restaurant because as you support these local businesses, customers who believe in supporting local businesses will be drawn to your restaurant even more because of the shared values.
More than the marketing aspect of locally sourcing your ingredients, it’s also the better way to secure your supply. Considering everything that’s causing the supply chain issues, getting your ingredients around the corner will be so much easier and affordable than having it shipped interstate or worse, across country borders.
Along with the issues we’ve been experiencing in the supply chain over the past year or two, a lot of restaurant owners are now talking about growing their own ingredients too – particularly herbs. Herbs are more of a niche and can be hard to get and growing their own kills two birds with one stone. It’ll be easier to secure and it will cost much less too.
Customer experience engineering
There’s people out there with money to spend on great experiences, so a lot more experience engineering is going to be a big thing in 2022. You need to think about coming up with ways to get the customers what they want in a more exciting way and it could be anything, depending on your local demographic.
There’s a subset of people who are willing to pay for the experience and there’s also a subset that’s looking for budget dining. The key is to find a way to bring both to the customers – a great experience that works with the budget of the people you want to attract.
We want to be able to go out and just forget about the horrors of the previous years. We just wanna go back to a time when we were happy and comfort foods can get people that experience.
Think about what kind of products you can add to your menu that allows people that moment of freedom from the chaos going on with COVID and everything else. Take them on a trip down memory lane and give them the satisfaction and comfort that triggers good memories.
We have been seeing a lot of people putting up their personal stories too, along with discounts for certain subsets of people, such as front liners and medical professionals. They will talk about their personal experiences or their family members’ and as a way of giving thanks, they offer specials for the people who helped them.
This is going to work perfectly for your restaurant, especially if you’re located near hospitals. This virus has been the hardest on them and they will be looking for all the opportunities to unwind and restore their souls, and you can be the one to give them that.
Your marketing strategy
All of these trends are tied into your marketing strategy. You need to be able to tell the world about all the amazing changes and experiences you can give your customers, or else it will all go to waste.
You don’t wanna be the best restaurant nobody’s ever heard about, you don’t want to have the best responses to all these challenges of 2022 without people knowing. Use social media to your advantage and put everything there. It’s a key competing requirement for 2022.
As a restaurant owner, you need to step your game up in 2022 because aside from COVID-19, there are so many other factors that will affect your profitability if you do not. There’s inflation, the labor shortage, and the sudden inability for most customers to pay for what they’re paying for last year.
A lot of people need to rethink their value proposition because they might end up having products that people can’t afford in their area. Make sure that your value proposition to new employees and customers is really out there, whether it’s through word-of-mouth or social media.
You have to be thinking about your personal goals, values, vision, and mission, and you have to be prepared for the changes that come with aligning them with your business.
Your Checklist for 2022:
1. Review your business plan
2. Revisit your personal and professional goals
3. Figure out if they are aligned with one another
4. Review your prices and your menu
5. Review your marketing budget
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