Posts Tagged ‘trends’

The Future of Restaurant Menus

October 25, 2013

The digital age has already had quite an effect on the restaurant industry. Consumers can now locate and order from dining establishments, read reviews and see pictures from other customers, and interact with their favorite brands online at the drop of a hat. As smartphone, tablet, and app use continues to surge and this effect will only multiply. What customers will expect from restaurant menus will change as well.

Digital Restaurant Menus are the Wave of the Future

While there will always be a place for a good old-fashioned printed menu, you can expect digital menus to be become the norm of the future. Consumers are already accustomed to reading menus online but as the digital revolution continues, they will also come to expect to electronically place their orders and be able to sort menus according to nutritional information, specific ingredients, special dietary requirements, and price.

A tap of the finger will also give them more detailed information about what they’re ordering, including a description of the food, more detailed information about the origin of the food, and whether or not it came from a local supplier. This may seem far-fetched, but don’t be fooled. There are restaurants that are already doing this in-house and a number of apps that already allow such customization as well – and these services will only get more prevalent as time goes on.

How Digitized Restaurant Menus will Change the Way You do Business

Digitized menus will have several effects on your restaurant’s business. For one, as restaurant goers get more accustomed to having a multitude of customization options, it’s likely that center-of-the-plate items will be discarded in favor of a` la carte ordering. They will also change the way customers receive service as patrons will now be able to place their orders at their convenience rather than waiting for the server to come around.

Rising costs of real estate, labor, and food will also create smaller, more cuisine-focused restaurants with a number of stock-keeping units used for a variety of preparations. The cost of goods will continue to fluctuate but unlike with paper menus, you can adjust the prices of your food in real time – changing prices daily, hourly, or even by the penny if you like.

Steps to Take To Prepare Your Restaurant for the Digital Age

While you may not yet be in a position to create a fully digital, interactive menu for your restaurant, there are a few steps you can take to make the transition easier when the time comes. First and foremost you’ll want to at least list your menu items and prices online, if they’re not there already. Start gathering nutritional information and making it available to your customers. Create sections for people with dietary restrictions and start writing up little descriptions of your menu items, including where you sourced the ingredients and even where the idea for the dish came from in the first place.

While there may come a day when you are able to hand customers digital menus when they walk in the door, if you’re ready to start the digital transition, you can first begin by developing an app that people can download on their mobile devices. This will give you a ‘beta test’ of sorts that will help you determine the features that people find most useful. Above all else, do not ignore the digital revolution – it’s here to stay!

Building Burgers

October 19, 2012

Hamburgers have been an important part of the American restaurant industry for many years. Usually, they are equated with fast food restaurants where they dominate menus. However, hamburgers can be found at almost any price point, including some specialty burgers made with premium ingredients which can cost literally hundreds of dollars. (These are usually made with Wagyu beef and lots of truffles.)

In 2009, 39% of people surveyed said that they ate a burger at least once a week. Today, that number has climbed to 48%. In order to meet this demand (and in turn, fuel it), restaurants are stepping up their game when it comes to creating new and exciting choices for their burger aficionados.

The Meat

The most important part of the hamburger, most people will tell you, is the meat. It should bring the most flavor to the dish, and everything else should complement the texture and taste of the meat. No longer will consumers settle for questionable meat products – they want fresh ground, quality beef, and that is exactly what many restaurants are offering.

If you walk into a casual dining establishment with a burger on the menu, you are likely to find a patty made with a special, top secret blend of chuck and spices. That blend usually makes the difference between a mediocre recipe and an award winning hamburger. Whatever the outcome of the rest of the burger, the meat has to be perfectly seasoned and cooked.

The Toppings

Because hamburgers are enjoyed by so many different people, you are sure to find some disagreement about what a hamburger should hold. The most widely favored toppings are probably the classics: American cheese, tomato, lettuce, and maybe some onion and pickles.

However, some more exciting flavors are showing up on burger menus across the country and consumers are taking notice. Avocado, for instance, is a popular new burger topping, and adding a fried egg is an option that many find enjoyable. Also, many restaurants have developed their own sauce to replace traditional condiments like mayonnaise and mustard.

Essentially, the more choices there are for guests to pile on their burgers, the better. (Some burgers that seem to have been created just to beat the record for “most expensive burger” have toppings like lobster, caviar, and cheese melted with champagne steam.)

Whether customers want their burgers topped with classics like bacon and cheese or smothered in caramelized onions and mushrooms, restaurants are stepping up to the plate with exciting, creative options.

The Bun

While the meat and the toppings are definitely the stars of the show, the bun holds it all together and should be able to stand up next to the rest of the burger with pride. This is why many restaurants have begun baking their own buns and advertising them aggressively. Customers are drawn to the “homemade” feel, and the more unique a brand can make their burger, the better. Even some of those who do not make their buns in-house have bread delivered fresh daily from a local bakery, so guests still appreciate the handmade quality of the product.