3 Restaurant Industry Trends to Watch in 2014

Another year has come and gone and the restaurant industry has seen its fourth year of positive, albeit modest, growth. The sentiment is that things are generally headed in the right direction, but that it’s also going to take both shrewdness and creativity for restaurateurs to succeed in 2014 and beyond. Here are three of the bigger trends on which to keep your eye.

Restaurants Getting Tech Savvy With Yield Management 

With all the shifts in demand, competition and the price of inventory over the last couple of years, there’s been a lot of talk about whether or not the restaurant industry should shift to a ‘yield management’ strategy. The airline and hotel industries have been utilizing it for years. There are a lot of advantages to being able to have up-to-the-minute price adjustments, and today’s technology makes it easier to do than ever before.

Restaurants Build Consumer Confidence and Broaden the Scope of Competition

Despite overall positive growth in the restaurant industry, consumer confidence is still down. Only about 13% of consumer spending is on food, and this figure has been steadily edging downward over the last few years as consumers have changed their spending habits. Restaurant operators are going to need to look for more creative ways to nudge patrons through the door––a task made no easier by an increasingly robust competitive environment.  

With consumers delegating more of their funds to other spending categories, restaurant operators are also going to have to broaden their viewpoint of competition to include a more holistic perspective. To be truly competitive, operators should take a note from the grocery store playbook and be proactive about offering discounts relevant to other consumer spending needs––such as discounts on gas, apparel or entertainment. Offering these kinds of discounts can often open a gateway of mutually beneficial networking with other businesses in your area as well; you scratch their backs, they scratch yours, and the competition in spending is turned into a cooperative effort that helps everybody.  

2014 Sees a Growing Appetite for Better-For-You, Luxury and Specialty Dining

In spite of a somewhat sluggish economy, there are a few restaurant sectors that are rolling into the mainstream with full steam. Better-for-you dining is a big one. From salad restaurants, to the addition of pricey vegetables, to upscale tasting menus, better-for-you dining is a trend that is only going to get bigger in 2014 and beyond. People increasingly want to eat local, healthy fare and what’s more, they want evidence that what they are eating is good for them. 

Restaurants that specialize in luxury or specialty items and/or experiences are the other niche that is growing rapidly. While the public at large still doesn’t have a lot of money to throw around, there is a certain segment that is increasingly spending wads of cash on upscale food halls, spare-no-expense tabletops, costly tasting menus and chicken priced like steak. There is even an increasing demand for what is termed ‘eatertainment’, where luxury is expanded into the neurosensory area and diners come more for the sensory experience than the food itself.

Whichever route you plan to take your restaurant this year, take to heart these two main messages: things are looking up, and the restaurants that come out on top in the coming years will be those who take a creative and savvy approach to cost management and growth.

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One Response to “3 Restaurant Industry Trends to Watch in 2014”

  1. lyndaybaker Says:

    If I knew how, I’d tweet this.

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