Article contributed by Lianna Arakelyan
There are constant changes that are happening in the restaurant industry that its stakeholders should be concerned about. This industry cannot stop the trends that are shaping its future.
Last year, this industry has raked in around $863 billion, up from $825 billion it grossed in 2018. If the restaurant industry wants to continue this positive trend, it must consider the following marketing concepts and trends that are expected in 2020.
1. The influence of Gen Z will continue to increase
There are an increasing number of consumers born between 1996 and 2010 who are patronizing restaurants regularly. They are popularly known as Gen Z. There is a tendency among consumers to eat in restaurants when they are in their late twenties or in their early thirties. As Gen Z is about to enter this stage, their influence in the industry is expected to be felt.
Restaurants will get a boost from the patronage of this generation. It is expected that each year, starting in 2020, and all throughout the next 10 years, Gen Z will be eating their meals more and more in restaurants as they did in 2019. Some of them have already graduated and started on their first jobs, while others are already driving their first cars. Restaurant owners and chains should be thinking on how they can attract these Gen Z consumers with their menus and their meal prices.
2. Ghost kitchens will increase and mature
Ghost kitchens have made decent money last year. They are small restaurants that have no dining spaces but only operate out of their kitchens. That means they are not overburdened by overhead costs. They don’t have many utilities to maintain, and they don’t have many numbers of service staff. These ghost kitchens operate on the basis of deliver-only ordering.
Their main investment is the development of a website to attract their target market. They are focused on developing a strong online presence. This year, they will be focused on expanding their dining spaces and their partnerships with other investors. They will also grow their food delivery operations.
Many ghost kitchens are now relying on delivery service companies for the delivery of their meals. But their customers are beginning to complain about the delivery services, not about their meals. So, this year, ghost kitchens will be looking to improve their delivery services, even to the point of operating their own delivery service.
3. Marketing success will be determined by lifestyle campaigns and LTOs
In 2019, a growing number of restaurants tried to position themselves in the market as “lifestyle brands.” They have invested in strange but cute merchandise to attract customers. Some of the restaurants that performed this type of marketing campaign are KFC with its Colonel Sanders faux bearskin rug and Popeyes’ with its “ugly” Christmas sweater.
This trend will continue in 2020 because this marketing model does not need too many dynamic and elaborate in-store involvements. Deeper customer engagement and commitment is the main objective of this type of lifestyle marketing campaigns.
Restaurants offering LTOs or limited time offers will also increase in 2020 since they have proven that this is one of the best ways to attract customers who are looking to save money.
4. Demand for healthy meals will continue to increase
In 2019, the restaurant industry experienced a change in the meal preferences of their customers. An increasing number of restaurant diners are opting for healthier meals. Diners are now focused not just on tasty meals but healthier meals as well.
Pizza industry stats in 2019 showed that pizzas brought in total revenue of $47 billion in the United States alone. Healthy pizzas that contain natural ingredients are surely included in this statistics.
It seems that more and more diners are willing to pay more if they can eat foods that are organically grown, all natural and GMO-free. And they can also see right through restaurant gimmicks that use food ingredients that are over-refined and are high in fructose. Expect this healthy trend to increase even more in 2020.
5. Micro chains will continue to innovate meals
Small chains or micro chains which only operate from three to 19 outlets are the innovators in the restaurant industry. It is principally the chef who is driving these chains. And since the driver is the chef, we can expect them to go on innovating the meals that they offer their customers in 2020.
As the creative class in the restaurant industry, these chefs will attract investors and grow the fast casual, quick-service restaurants this year. Fast casual chains could be the next big thing in 2020.
6. Faster and more innovative delivery options
The restaurants’ need for high tech will further increase because of the increasing frustration with third party delivery aggregators. High tech is already here with autonomous and driverless cars, robot-enabled kitchens and AI-outfitted drive through.
Restaurants now have several delivery options that can bypass the conventional delivery system that is often associated with human-related issues. With the infusion of high-tech, it is projected that delivery sales of restaurants will rise in the next four years. This trend will even be more of a possibility if third party deliverers do not change their unreasonable terms of services.
If you want to get more people on your door, you need to consider these 2020 restaurant industry trends. Be sure that when diners knock on your door, your staff is ready to give them good food with quality service.