According to the National Restaurant Association (NRA), food service sales are expected to hit a record $660B this year! Consumers are spending money in all areas of food service, which is great news if you’re a traditional restaurant owner, quick-service restaurant operator, caterer or bar and tavern owner. The food service industry will not only be serving up delicious food for consumers to enjoy the NRA also predicts the food service industry will outpace the overall economy job growth.
Consumers Are Looking for Technology
Quick-service restaurants and caterers will fuel much of the commercial restaurant sector, and bars and taverns will follow a close second. Restaurants are always looking to satisfy the needs of consumers, and leveraging new technologies, including mobile order ability, mobile reservations and mobile payments, are on the top of consumers’ minds when choosing a place to dine.
Culinary Trends Driving Consumer Spending
In addition to technology, culinary trends will also drive consumer decision making when it comes to choosing a restaurant. Locally sourced meats, seafood and produce are – once again – on the list of top culinary trends predicted by chefs of the NRA. Kids nutrition also remains a priority as restaurants act to take a role in stemming the tide of childhood obesity. Gluten-free and allergy conscious menus are hot this year – with more and more consumers becoming educated on what they eat. Along the lines of locally sourced foods, environmental sustainability placed 4th on the ‘What’s Hot in 2013’ forecast.
Beverage experts in the food service industry predict barrel-aged drinks, food pairings with cocktail or liquor and ‘culinary’ cocktails featuring fresh ingredients will drive growth. Locally produced spirits and micro-distilled liquors are also expected to be popular in 2013.
As the economy continues to recover, consumers are starting to spend more money, but they are becoming more and more clear on what they want from their dining experience. They may be hungry or ready to go out on the town, but they are also very aware that they can make a choice where they want to spend that money. Creativity, innovation and a technology driven mindset will attract new and (help keep) existing consumers.
It is up to your restaurant to make the change to peak their interest – are you ready?