The F&B industry is constantly in flux. Between the latest health craze, new trendy diets, or the latest Tiktok videos – businesses always need to be in the know of the latest news to keep up with what’s hot.
The Top New Year’s Resolutions for 2022 are to exercise more, eat healthier, lose weight, spend more time with family/friends, and live more economically… Zero surprises here. Though resolutions don’t change much year after year, seasonal changes do have an impact on restaurant businesses. It isn’t a shock that restaurants feel a heavy burden in trying to fill their seats in the first quarter. But responding in a panic can cause confusion and misalignment in overall brand strategy, setting a rough jumpstart to hitting those KPIs/annual objectives.
Nevertheless, people do introduce new improvements in their way of living without completely overhauling their personality. Restaurants should do the same. Why not support your guests by embracing these resolutions and integrating them into your marketing and experience strategies?
But which ones are really worthwhile to your brand personality?
Here are a few ways restaurants have been delivering on top new year’s resolutions and which of these trends will continue through the year…
McDonalds introduced a new initiative at several locations for Drive Thru, or rather “Ride Thru”, as a response to an increased use of bikes through the pandemic. This encourages physical activity and creates an easy and comfortable stop for lunch with the crew. With an outdoor bike rack topped with a table, you can comfortably enjoy a quick bite mid-ride. We also saw McDonalds create special McBike packaging for an easy takeaway option that hangs from the handle bars. Convenience, ease, and exercise. Although this was a direct initiative in countries that already had significant bike traffic, inspiration can be taken on how to adapt your service to new hobbies and lifestyles that are popping up locally. What can your brand offer to motivate people to get up and move – for some food?
Eat healthier – and why not, drink healthier too
“Dry January” was trending all of January and this isn’t the last we’ll hear about this new move toward less alcohol consumption. A Morning Consult poll estimated that 19% of Americans are partaking in Dry January this year, up 6% from 2021. Although guests will most definitely return to enjoying a casual drink with their meals, we can expect that the orders will be less than we’re used to. As beverage sales tend to be a revenue generator, this may spark concern for owners. However, just because guests are opt-ing for reducing their alcohol intake doesn’t mean that restaurants and bars should feel astray. Instead, why not encourage your bartenders to approach zero-proof drinks with the same creativity they do with full-proof? Regardless of alcohol or no alcohol, guests are still looking for a place to spend time with family and friends. Creating an experience around drinks makes the environment more inclusive for everyone. To add, incorporating some healthy drinks trends into the mix can support the healthier lifestyle goals of your guests. Check out the Mocktail Project for some inspiration on alcohol-free mixes and be sure to dive into the health trend sweeping through drinks.
“Veganuary” was a newer term on our radar, but we don’t see a “Carnivortober” in the works. The concept of eating healthier is not just for personal health, but also for planetary health. The task here is clear: have more vegan and vegetarian options on your menu. Where might brands make a mistake? When these offerings are seen as forced add-ons and don’t integrate well with the rest of your menu. Your guests can tell when a vegan option is stamped on the menu just to check the box. Show your guests that you respect their preferences by putting care into your plant-based options. This change in eating lighter and more plant-based is no longer a targeted audience, but is becoming a majority of guests. Go for being a restaurant with a vegan/vegetarian menu, and not just vegan/vegetarian substitutes.
Spend more time with family/friends
Spending more quality time with loved ones isn’t just a “trend”, it’s a necessity. Restaurants are natural gathering places for quality time and shared experiences. But why not offer something more? Special events, pop-ups, and/or unique shared menus can elevate your dining experience and create something new and special for your guests to do together. Marketing Desks also suggests reaching out to local professionals, alumni organizations, consultants etc. to host events at your restaurant and we couldn’t agree more. It’s a great opportunity to get more people familiar with your restaurant while also turning covers and creating a new stream of revenue. Take a look through these 21 restaurant event ideas for some inspiration and ask yourself, “if my brand was a person, what would they be most likely to do?” Don’t go overboard with something that excites you, if it doesn’t work with your brand.
Live more economically
Who doesn’t want to be better at managing their own budget? With so many factors affecting our account balance these days, usually “eating out” is on top of the list of things to cut. How can restaurants navigate this? This one is tricky and can be where many businesses tend to steer off brand identity in an effort to fill more seats. Some F&B locations can create promotional specials or monetize off of coupons and targeted marketing. Subway took advantage of this sale opportunity as they promoted 30% off their BBQ Chicken menu and Rodilla created a 2 for 1 breakfast menu that encourages bringing a friend with you for your next morning coffee. However, for others this type of promotion isn’t in line with their brand and can actually cause confusion in terms of consistency in brand messaging. Another option? Think about how people interact with each other. Alongside spending more time together, they can also share the meal – and the bill. Can your menu be optimized for easy sharing? Or perhaps relooking at your menu in search of ingredients that can be highlighted across plates?
Slow seasons are a great season for playing in the sandbox and trying new things, be it a new menu item or a new method of ordering and payment. Just be sure that your team is ready for the high season because introducing new processes can add unnecessary stress when traffic is non-stop.