During the pandemic, restaurants had to adapt quickly to new practices to make it through. Some changes implemented during that time are here to stay. But, other industry trends that experienced a decline during COVID are regaining popularity and have come back to improve the restaurant experience.
Traditional dining has made a triumphant return, with neatly 70% of diners reporting they’d prefer to eat meals in a restaurant setting. As reports indicate, diners purchase food from restaurants as much as ten times per month. Here are some trends to revisit to meet guest needs while boosting traffic.
Play It Again
Put the spotlight on live music, or other in-person entertainment, for an experience that’s unique to your brand and atmosphere. Interactive elements add to the overall feel of your place, generating buzz and word-of-mouth marketing. Research shows that diners are more apt to make return visits to restaurants where live entertainment and music are part of the ambiance.
Sharing Is Caring
Shared plates foster a sense of togetherness and help play up the social dining element. As the shift to individual portions and spaced-out seating arrangements occurred, patrons lost that sense of community. Lean into that feeling of being together by offering deals that encourage communal bites. Breaded, comfort apps from brands like Luigi® could be a great place to start.
Offering unique culinary experiences can mean a break from your customers’ usual routines. Whether it's a wine-and-dine evening, a unique cultural night, or a themed pop-up, fun event nights provide a sense of novelty and adventure that diners continue to crave.
Interactive experiences like hibachi grills, teppanyaki, or chef's table presentations continue to grow in popularity. They enable diners to engage with the culinary process and their fellow patrons, creating a memorable night out. Present your guests with an opportunity to interact with the culinary arts and your chefs up close.
Better Late Than Never
Many restaurants thrive in the late-night hours, known as popular hangout spots for diners looking to extend their evenings. Now, late-night dining and vibrant bar scenes are making a comeback. Consumers are soaking in the nightlife, and it's an excellent way for your restaurant to cash in outside of the typical dayparts.
Out and About
While outdoor dining was already popular, the pandemic dramatically increased its significance. Many restaurants expanded or initiated outdoor spaces to accommodate safety measures and maintain customer flow, even in the colder months. Take advantage of all those design changes: Expanding your outdoor options year-round increases your capacity size and revenue.