6 of the Latest Trends in Restaurant Operations
Black Box Intelligence (BBI) is one of the best when it comes to monitoring the shifts and changes that take place in the restaurant industry. One such area is restaurant operations.
The company has just put together a list of six general trends reflected in the current state of restaurant operations and based on the company’s insights gathered from its various restaurant intelligence tools.
1. Increased Average Check Size
Restaurant operations across the board have seen an increase in check size, which means that on average, restaurant customers are spending more money per trip.
This extra spending per check has a lot to do with restaurants increasing their prices because of supply chain challenges and the general economic hardships brought on by Covid-19. BBI’s data is still showing that these high prices are affecting customer’s average checks.
BBI has been able to track this trend using its Financial Intelligence tool, which monitors metrics like sales, traffic, sales per labor hour, dine-in, to-go, restaurant catering, and more. The tool helps restaurants to know whether or not what they experience in trends is because of the industry as a whole, or just the way their restaurant is handling things.
2. Drops in Traffic
BBI data is still showing a general drop in traffic that began during Covid. Although traffic has increased since the beginning of the pandemic, it has not returned to normal traffic levels.
This, alongside the increase in average check size, is concerning because the higher average check size could be contributing to the drop in traffic, as customers see eating at restaurants not worth the cost it now has become.
3. Focuses on Specialty Items and Promotions
In order to combat the drops in traffic and sentiment surrounding the value of eating at restaurants, restaurant operators have and should continue to focus on creating an experience that will bring value to customers, even with the increase in average check.
BBI has seen this manifest in restaurant operations with branches featuring specialty menu items and promotions in the hopes that it will bring more diners in the door.
4. Low Staffing Levels
This restaurant operations trend probably comes as no surprise to anyone: The staffing levels in restaurants, both full-service and limited-service, are lower than they were pre-Covid. BBI has seen an additional restaurant operations trend of higher wages across the board for all restaurants to act as an incentive for more people to work in the industry.
Limited-service restaurant brands are attempting to fill this gap in service workers by hiring more individuals to fill managerial positions, whereas full-service restaurants are operating with lower staffing levels for both hourly and management positions.
5. Flipped Restaurant Layouts
Another current trend in restaurant operations is adopting a flipped square footage restaurant layout. It is becoming more common to allocate more space in a restaurant to the kitchen rather than the seating area.
This change in restaurant layout has occurred to meet the rise in the popularity of to-go orders. Since fewer customers are sitting down and ordering food, altering the restaurant layout to match this change makes sense.
Restaurants have also begun to hire more off-premise and to-go staff members to meet this shift in consumer habits.
6. Less Fussy Fine Dining
This trend in restaurant operations speaks to a shift of sentiment of new generations. While high-end dining isn’t going away completely, it will be less formal going forward.
Fine dining and upscale casual establishments have seen the most sales growth in the last month out of all of the segments because of younger diners wanting to go to more casual but still high-quality establishments. These establishments have a more relaxed dress code and are more focused on crafting a top-notch guest experience.
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