7 Logistics Trends Restaurant Owners Need to Accommodate
Owning a restaurant has its perks, but when challenges pop up, owners must rise to meet them. The current state of the world can drastically affect how restaurants function.
Just a few years ago, many establishments were pivoting to delivery for the first time ever because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Change is possible, and sometimes, understanding the trends and where a certain establishment falls short can help it recoup its losses and improve business overall.
1. Communication Is Key
From top to bottom, communication is vital in the food service industry. In a kitchen, people typically follow whatever the chef says to minimize confusion in the fast-paced establishment. Doing so keeps the restaurant running smoothly all day.
Outside of the restaurant, communication is equally as important. For example, if someone is getting their food delivered from the restaurant itself, not from a third-party app, they’ll likely want to talk to their driver or communicate if there’s an issue. Giving them the opportunity can help restaurants succeed in their mission to cater to every customer.
2. Supply Chain Automation Sees the Future
The food industry has made a strong case for AI in several areas, including in predicting the future of restaurant trends. Automation in the supply chain can help restaurants anticipate significant changes, not just react to them as they happen. This automation, along with plenty of contingency procedures, can help restaurants plan for shortages and disruptions in their daily business.
3. Make Delivery a Priority
During the COVID-19 pandemic, food delivery services saw a drastic upturn. People love to eat at restaurants — and that fact didn’t change just because they were at home for longer periods. Today, many people love food delivery for several reasons — it’s a great option for people who are sick or otherwise staying at home, and it’s convenient for a busy household.
Nearly a quarter of people who have delivery issues never bother to order from the retailer again, a fact restaurants can apply to their own businesses. Restaurants should be leaning more into the delivery experience and presenting themselves well for delivery and pickup. It could be what gets them repeat customers or drives away patrons entirely.
4. Employees Might Be Difficult to Find
Though wages in food service may be on the rise with inflation, restaurants may still need to worry about high turnover and training for new employees. From there, restaurants will have to see if their employees can work efficiently to keep up with the demands of customers. An employee that fits all the criteria might be difficult to find but worth holding onto.
As a result, restaurants may need to work around being potentially understaffed when possible, while also juggling not throwing too much work onto any one person. If the trend of understaffing continues, restaurants may need to adjust their processes and even reassign duties to certain individuals. They might also provide incentives to keep employees engaged and eager to work at the establishment.
5. Trim Down Menus
Gone are the days of restaurants having several delicious options barely floating above the bottom line. Food waste makes up over 20% of solid material in landfills, making it the largest contributor. If this food can’t be repurposed or given away, the next smartest thing to do would be for restaurants to adjust their menus to offer less specialized dishes that rarely get picked.
Some restaurants may be moving toward the trend of paring down, offering customer favorites on their menus and doing away with the dishes that hardly make any money. This way, restaurants won’t have to waste as much food that is only used for one or two recipes. It also means restaurants may cut costs by buying more ingredients in bulk and altogether avoiding others.
6. AI Is Here to Stay
Artificial intelligence can work with restaurants in several ways, not just by helping them predict models for the future of the supply chain. AI might work directly in restaurants or outside the establishment to further processes without delay. For example, in a restaurant, customers might be able to input their preferences on their devices and have meal options recommended to them.
Over time, AI may even take over the responsibility of delivering food to customers. Self-driving trucks are much safer than truckers who may be anxious on the road, but the job could still exist for people to unload the goods — meaning that AI likely won’t be taking away anyone’s career.
7. Work on Predictable Times
People are used to certain timing for things. If they order grocery delivery, they expect their bags to be at their door between the selected hours they chose. Restaurant customers will likely have a timeframe in mind to expect their food at a place — so when the restaurant doesn’t have a steady time estimate, it might lead to less trust from consumers.
For many patrons, reliability might be more important than the cost of food. Many people opt for higher fees on food delivery service platforms just to have their food delivered to them quicker. The right restaurant can maintain competitive pricing while delivering to customers within a predetermined timeframe.
Follow the Trends to See Where to Grow
Restaurants don’t always have to adhere to every industry trend and change. However, observing what other establishments do in a crisis or as a result of certain news can help individual restaurants better understand how to maximize profit while caring for employees and satisfying customers.
Trends might even encourage restaurants to grow in the right direction. Make sure to give feedback to your favorite restaurants — they may listen and change something for the better.