What to Expect This Year – Dining Trends for 2013

“Customer loyalty defines great organizations. The New Year will see brands using more advanced technology to communicate with and reward customers. Brands that develop streamlined communication with their customers, listen to what is being said, and reward loyalty will rise to the top.”

 –Hoyt Jones, president, Jersey Mike’s Subs

With the best of 2012 rolling over into 2013, healthier living trends and rising technology adoption are what developed businesses in all industries must watch for in order to maintain and increase profits and accelerate their growth.

The National Restaurant Association surveyed 1800 professional chefs of the American Culinary Federation to forecast what food and dining trends will prevail in 2013. As dining reflects general consumer sentiment these trends are worth watching for all business owners.

Main Trends

Healthier living trends manifest in three ways when it comes to dining
(You can read more here: Technomic makes 2013 restaurant trend predictions)

Snacking and Small Bites
Consumers want to be enjoying smaller portions and more variety in the New Year, as trends such as food trucks foods, tapas, mezze, mini burgers, wraps, cupcakes, frozen yogurt, small plates, and more are favored over the larger entrees. The trend could stem from a rise in sharing culture, an attempt to control costs or a desire to eat less. Either way, seems that it’s here to stay.

Vegetables dishes are the new first course
As vegetarian and vegan dishes are preferred amongst a growing population of consumers, restaurant owners are recommended to add a few more fun vegetable dishes to their menus! Health cautious foodies are obsessing over Brussels sprouts, kale, and carrots.  Whether it’s a result of health or ethical reasons, businesses should listen and oblige.

Gluten-Free Foods

No longer an esoteric trend. Labels and menus that note gluten-free items are going to win this year! Food lovers are searching the web for special gluten-free recipes, which hints to chefs and restaurant owners to accommodate to this trend by adding gluten-free items to their menus! Sides such as quinoa, millet, wild rice, amaranth, corn, oats and buckwheat provide a good gluten-free base to work with. Jump on this opportunity to differentiate your restaurant. At our parent restaurant, Oren’s Hummus Shop, we added gluten free markings to the menu after customers requested it and commented on it using the OwnerListens app. It’s been a huge success.

Technology Adoption

Table-side Technology
With mobile technology use accelerating, restaurant and dining technology adoption is going to be the BIGGEST trend of the New Year. The following usage statistics are predicted by The National Restaurant Association (You can find the full report here):
·       27% tablet computers for menus and wine lists
·       25% smartphone apps for consumers.  For example: the OwnerListens customer feedback
mobile application.
·       19% mobile payment processing such as “Square”
·       11% smartphone app usage for restaurateurs/chef

In correspondence to increased technology integration, we encourage business owners to use OwnerListens to:

– Provide a private and anonymous feedback channel via smartphone mobile application.  It’s time to retire those paper feedback cards.

– Increase direct & effective communication between business owners and customers. Customers expect you to be there and if you aren’t they’re going public

– Mitigate negative business reviews on public sites such as yelp. A customer with a grievance would rather get a solution from you the owner, but that customer needs to know a channel to you exists

– Signal to employees that customer service is of the utmost importance to you so they provide good service and comply with your instructions even when you’re not there.

Which of these trends are you most excited about for 2013? Is there something not on the list? Let us know here!

Business Owner? Sign up for OwnerListens


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