A new year is a natural time to evaluate your operation, analyzing what has worked well and which areas need improvement. Each year also brings a new set of industry trends to consider, and it can be difficult to tell which ones have staying power.
What changes should you make to adapt to diner demands and differentiate yourself from your competition? What should you keep the same based on past success? These factors can help you decide.
- It’s important to continue to use proven strategies for drawing attention to menu favorites, retaining reliable employees and more. Loyal customers will appreciate the opportunity to place their usual order and see familiar faces.
- When you’re reacting to a trend, early adoption is key. If a certain flavor or menu item is becoming more popular, incorporate it into your offerings before it becomes overwhelmingly prevalent to stay ahead of the curve.
- Be an innovator, not a follower. Instead of duplicating what you see elsewhere, use those ideas as a starting point and customize them to make them work for your style. Find unexpected ways to serve your guests through unique recipes, courteous and helpful staff, and a user-friendly website and mobile app.
- Practice safe experimentation. Most people are more likely to try a new cuisine if you present it in a relatable format. Any additions or updates to your menu or company policies should serve a purpose and be within the realm of your establishment’s core identity.
- Seek feedback from your staff and your patrons to learn more about why certain elements of your business are or are not working. Sales tell only part of the story. The more you know about these groups’ preferences, the better you will be able to develop solutions that fulfill their needs.
Dixon, Alex. Restaurant Innovations for the New Year, FSR, January 2017.
Berman, Jim. Finding the Balance Between Menu Innovation and Comfort Food, Foodable, April 2016.