In the dynamic world of the restaurant industry—restaurant marketing, in particular—staying ahead of trends and adopting innovative strategies are essential for success. From evolving consumer preferences to technological advancements, this blog explores insights, considerations, and marketing tips.
In January, restaurant marketers don’t have to search very far to find the latest trends and predictions to help navigate the culinary landscape. Many are the same “latest” trends we have read over the past few years, such as menu variety, sustainable practices, customization, and dietary preferences. But just like many New Year’s resolutions, we want balance: diet and exercise, work and home life, more time with others and for me. Why, then, do many restaurant marketing strategies overinvest in new products and assume base business will remain as strong?
Yes, consumers are becoming more adventurous with their tastebuds, and there’s a growing demand for diverse and authentic culinary experiences. Embracing culinary diversity and keeping the brand relevant are vital, and expanding the menu is therefore essential. But operations capacity and velocity for what may turn out to be a niche product idea on trend has to balance out the investment.
Customization has been a marketing strategy for restaurants for some time, and there are brands that have made share gains by communicating personalization as a key point of difference. Others hope to train the customer with the ordering process to limit exceptions.
Environmental consciousness continues to grow and adopting sustainable practices is not just a trend but a necessity for restaurants. From sourcing locally grown produce to minimizing food waste and implementing eco-friendly packaging, sustainability resonates with consumers and positively impacts a restaurant’s reputation. Communicating these efforts can build trust and brand regard, but a jump in food cost and/or passing along increases may be resisted internally or externally.
A key challenge in all this is not just balancing trends while keeping your core customers loyal and base business; it’s also about balancing your marketing budget. We are seeing more integration of technology and digital marketing transformation over the last few years, and the conversations include balancing the budget. If we can help you in the process, let us know.