These days, it’s not only about the food in a restaurant — it’s all about the experience that comes with it! Demands have only increased since the pandemic, with the switch from in-person dining to take-out, customers want options that will keep them coming back. So, how can you ensure the full experience you want your customers to have while making sure to ensure profitability for your business? By basing your business on a theme or concept, you can keep everyone wanting more. Check out some of these trendy restaurant concepts and tips you can apply to your business:
Customers don’t want to be handed a simple piece of paper that lists their options, show them that they’re here for a good time right from the start. Carefully planning your menu design can improve everything from your customer’s experience to your brand identity. The menu itself should be changing and intriguing, ensuring your customers have options that they can stick to, switch up, or even pair with other menu items. Utilize seasonal or limited items that aren’t overwhelming, especially if they want to stick to something familiar.
Color, accessibility, and platforms are three things to think about when designing your menu. Color can be expressed with vivid descriptions of the food or even literally with the color of the text, imagery, or background of the menu. If you opt for an online menu for ordering ahead or take out, making sure that items remain readable and up to date for check out, while remaining compatible with your point-of-sale platform, is key.
Making your space feel inviting and unique is an important part of making sure that your restaurant remains profitable. By making people feel safe and comfortable, you can attract new customers while retaining current ones. If you have the capacity or space, try to extend dining options by adding an outdoor patio or even a bar area. Depending on the vibe that you want your restaurant wants to give off, you may opt for a less-cluttered look — simple lighting on tables, a QR code menu, and some artistic or simple seating.
Customers love to feel included in their service. If you have the means, opt for a viewable kitchen where they can see their meal being prepped or keep a key element of the kitchen in view like a wood fire stove or decorative bar. This can also help to open up the space and keep a smaller restaurant space feeling a bit more open.
Having an overall theme like cantina, tiki, or even a more artistic-centered design can help make customers want to stop by. Adding large artwork or unique pieces to the space ties into the restaurant’s atmosphere. Attention to detail goes a long way, so even designing for smaller spots of the restaurant such as the waiting area or hallways to the restroom, helps enforce the theme you’re going for and keeps it interesting for customers. Keeping a fresh and interesting set of décor can give you more exposure on social media — translating to more public interest and increased profitability.
Building a fast-causal concept can offer a more upscale but classic dining option for customers with less time in their schedule. With more diverse menu options, while offering a counter service model where customers can place their orders, this is the perfect option for customers to get their fill of a favorable menu with moderate prices, no wait seating, convenience, and quality.
Do your customers hate a long commute or have a short lunch break? Or are you looking to take your food to brand-new audiences, cater large events, or just want to try something new that doesn’t have a permanent location yet? A Food truck may be the perfect choice for you!
Mostly set up in outdoor spaces, food trucks have massively grown in popularity over the last decade as they offer diverse food options in any concept from tacos to ice cream or even fusion food. Being able to reach your clientele anywhere is great for increased profitably.
Although they may lack a consistent location at times and compete more directly with competitors’ food trucks, they still create an amazing buzz socially or by word of mouth to really attract and retain customers.
Bar or Pub Offerings
This concept has stood the test of time. Whether you’re looking to create a nostalgic space for your customers, be there for the memories, or even act as a quick pit stop, bars or pubs can have a lot of variety that will keep customers coming back. Cocktail bars, wine bars, dive bars, and specialty bars with themes can significantly help to set you apart from the competition. Bars and pubs see the most profitability during the evenings and into the night.
By being that haven for night owls searching for entertainment or a bite to eat, you can count on customers willing to spend for that greasy or salty bite paired with a specialty cocktail.
Pop-ups are another big trend that is growing in the restaurant industry. They are a low-cost way to test out new restaurant concepts and menu ideas. Pop-ups can be hosted in various spaces — maybe in an art gallery, taking over a neighborhood restaurant, or even in a local outdoor market. They can build partnerships in the industry, local community, or even create a buzz before investing in a restaurant. Pop-ups also allow you to play with different themes before you commit to full operation and act as the perfect way to be both lightweight and trendy.
“So What’s the Best Option for Me?”
That all depends on what you want for the outcome of your restaurant! You don’t have to be committed to one theme, especially if you are new to the scene and want to venture into food trucks or pop-up options to keep it versatile and cost-effective. Knowing the best practices for your industry and restaurant while willing to make changes over time will position you to ensure profitability.