Advancements in technology and social media are big trends this year in the food industry
Each day like clockwork I arrive at my desk, answer the remaining emails that flowed through my inbox the night before and settle in to skim the Internet for the latest restaurant industry news. During my routine, I came across an interesting article posted by Forbes highlighting this year’s restaurant industry trends that is right on the money in terms of accuracy. Let’s dive a bit deeper into their findings.
The biggest trend that has been evolving for years is of course, technology. Between the genius invention of food delivery apps and the introduction of on-site digital ordering, restaurant owners have less need for employees behind the counter. While both technology advancements have proven (1) that people enjoy the little effort it takes to have a good quality meal delivered to their door and (2) there’s no need to verbally relay your cravings to a human when you can digitally type in your desires into a computer, the trend has continued to grow.
Workers should not hang up their aprons just yet. Many restaurant owners are using the additions of these computerized ordering services to help them focus on training their staff in more important areas. An article from Restaurant Technology News, stressed how the advanced technology has enhanced communication between managers and their employees. Front of house can now allow computers to do the work that doesn’t require a physical human presence, so more time can be spent on tasks that do. For diners, this is an effective strategy as customers spend less time waiting on lines behind restaurant workers that are still trying to learn the ropes, and more time enjoying their meals.
Success of Fast-Casual Dining
Last week, our blog post eased the minds of quick-service restaurateurs with their Spring-time blues as food trucks are beginning to roll in. We stressed that the fast-casual model offers something that you can’t get anywhere else: quality food at a low price in a casual setting and Forbes echoed just that. Grueling schedules and the increasing need for consumers to have what they want immediately as they want it sets the quick-service restaurants high on the list of lunch options. People are most satisfied with the impossible standards of how quickly they can get their hands on something at the best possible quality. Whether it be receiving their impulse Amazon order in perfect condition within 24 hours, or a perfectly crafted burger, tasting just as good as the presentation looks, consumer’s impatience has the restaurant industry trying to keep up to meet every need.
Some of the most popular restaurants in many areas are located in shopping centers, as stated in an article by GlobeSt.com, prompting developers and landlords to make accommodations. Developers are acknowledging the changes in the industry by coming up with concepts including built-in dining areas and dedicated parking for delivery services. And landlords are preparing by ensuring there is plenty of space for parking, takeout and delivery. So, the next time you’re pulling into the designated parking spaces for carry-out service, be grateful that you are not forced to park in the back of the busy lot for a quick pizza pick-up.
Some other more obvious trends consumers have been seeing revolve around social media. Ten or fifteen years ago, the concept of taking a photo of food to publicize to thousands of followers in exchange for likes was not even a thought. Since the birth of Instagram, people have gone to great lengths to get a post-worthy photo, involving lighting placement, the perfect angle and filter to get a mediocre snapshot look like a professionally taken portrait. In the restaurant world especially, this concept became golden. Restaurant owners and chefs began to join in on the increased popularity of the photo-sharing app to boast their food creations, design and even location. The mindless act of scrolling through an Instagram feed and seeing a juicy porterhouse steak, photographed with careful attention to detail, will make anyone want to get off the couch and drive straight to that restaurant.
Every year I check the trends that Forbes has compiled, and technology and social media are usually the driving force. While Facebook used to be the talk-of-the-town when it first debuted, now it seems that Instagram has taken the forefront as a go-to site for information. And when at one time the Internet was first taking off as a huge business boost for restaurateurs, food delivery apps and robot servers not long came into the mix. While I’m sure next year’s trends will still be based around technology and social media, I’m interested to see how far we’ve come and the advancements it will take us.
About the Author: Courtney Ciandella has been the sole Marketing liason for Bielat Santore & Company since 2013. She is also the conductor behind the Who’s Who in the Restaurant Industry and Restaurant Tip of the Month series.