One of the most affected establishments during the COVID-19 pandemic is restaurants. Because of some business restrictions, they were forced to shift to off-premises channels and focus on food deliveries. Even certain services are made online, such as catering to customer orders and preferences and accepting payments.
According to a report by the National Restaurant Association, it would be a year or more before restaurant business conditions return to normal. Moreover, 51% of customers admit they aren’t eating at restaurants as often as they like now compared to pre-pandemic. These uncommon circumstances require innovative technologies to fight covid-19. With these facts and statistics, the question lies: what are the challenges for restaurant owners?
If you’re looking to start a fine dining restaurant and keep your business going this year, scan through these biggest challenges facing restaurant industry 2022. Before everything make sure you have the best restaurant management system to back you up.
1. Going Digital
With local business restrictions ongoing and more people turning digital for their needs, establishments must strive to increase their online presence. When starting a fine dining restaurant, make sure you have an active and accessible website displaying all your products and services. You should also be visible on top social media sites like Facebook and Instagram.
Some businesses do affiliate marketing where another person or affiliate will promote and sell your products for a wider reach. Influencer collaborations can be possible, but make sure you select the most suited creators. Lastly, restaurant owners should maintain good online reviews whether on third-party sites or on their website and social media pages.
Going digital doesn’t only mean your restaurant business is visible and accessible online. It should also have an effective digital marketing strategy to reach the right people and provide a seamless customer experience.
2. Keeping Up with Health and Sanitation Requirements
The COVID-19 pandemic has led people to be more aware of health and sanitation. With this, restaurant businesses are also expected to abide by government-imposed health and sanitation requirements and certain restrictions.
For example, a restaurant can’t operate without proper ventilation and disinfectants. There should also be regular cleaning and inspection of kitchen areas, dining areas, and restrooms. Moreover, employees are required to maintain good personal hygiene, such as frequent hand-washing, changing uniforms after every shift, and wearing proper headgears and face masks.
Moreover, you can opt for a restaurant management system like a franchise management solution or a simple point of sale software ( Restaurant POS SOFTWARE) like Billberry that provides you the feature of having a QR Code based menu to enable contactless food ordering system. Take the opportunity to entice your customers by providing them a safer dining experience.
3. Emphasizing on Takeout and Delivery
Familiar with Swiggy, Zomato Order, Uber Eats, and Foodpanda? These are all food delivery services that are continuing to rise in 2022. As mentioned above, customers nowadays prefer a contactless delivery than dine-in physically at restaurant establishments. Sure, the actual dining experience would be lovely, but COVID-19 has changed the scheme.
Hence, it’s essential for restaurants to shift their services to takeout and delivery. Aside from being present on food delivery apps, you must also have an active hotline so customers can contact you anytime. You may also assign your staff to manage all social media and website inquiries and orders. The best franchise software could help aligning such operations.
With this, you’ll be more likely to engage with your customers on all platforms. Doing so will increase your sales and revenue and will impose a positive impression on your customers.
4. Meeting New Customer Demands, Preferences, and Expectations
Consumers aren’t only expecting restaurant businesses to be available online, but they’re also seeking variety and new types of food choices. This customer behavior is mostly influenced by social media—what with all the innovative and exotic dishes introduced on Instagram, YouTube, or Pinterest. Using the best CRM tools can help you understand your customers better, which you can integrate to your restaurant management tools.
Food bloggers have also influenced the tastes and preferences of customers. For example, most teenagers fancy South Korea’s samgyeopsal. Meanwhile, millennials look for different coffee or milk tea flavors. The older generations also prefer healthy dishes, such as foods with organic, vegan, or gluten-free options.
If you want your restaurant business to stand out, you must explore new and creative dishes. Make them as exotic as you can while promoting health and wellness. Also make sure that your restaurant billing software allows you to add add-ons and variations according to customer preferences to your menu items. You may focus on a particular cuisine depending on your target market, or it can be a mixture of signature dishes across different continents to add more variety to your menu.
5. Generating Enough Revenue
One of the top challenges in opening a restaurant is generating enough revenue. With this, restaurant owners should ensure that there’s accurate and profitable menu planning and pricing and that there should be balancing costs of providing delivery with profitability. Inventories should also be managed well to prevent spoilages and product depletions.
Most importantly, restaurant businesses should stick with an efficient digital marketing strategy. Determine your target market well and promote your products and services on the right platforms. Adjusting to increasing food costs can also be helpful to manage your overall finances and make sure you get good sales and revenue.
6. Recruiting, Training, and Retaining Employees
Restaurant businesses may be going digital, but employees are still valuable to the company’s overall success. Hence, you should provide proper training to your employees and help improve their customer service by investing in the best restaurant management software. Defining “best” isn’t what’s the most popular or most expensive, but what matches your needs best. With this, your restaurant operations will be automated and more convenient.
Investing in your employees can be a risk, but when done right, you can recruit and retain the best ones. A well-trained team matched with the right tools and software can improve your restaurant workflow and will take your business to the next level.
Facing the Challenges and Opportunities in the Restaurant Industry
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to problems. However, by looking forward to 2022 and staying ahead of operational challenges, your restaurant business can still be successful and profitable by the end of the year and in the coming years. Just stay updated with the best tips and trends and pin your restaurant on the brand new map of business and economy.