the Restaurateur The Latest Trends in the Restaurant Industry December 28, 2015 Restaurants in 2016 will face some unique issues and opportunities including increased use of technology and no-tip policies. Restaurants in 2016 might face some changes regarding menus, delivery service, and tipping policies. In these last months of 2015, restaurant owners should make sure they are prepared for the impending changes in the New Year. In a highly dynamic environment such as the restaurant industry, it is crucial that restaurant employers are aware of the opportunities and challenges ahead of them as business continues to grow. 5 Trends for 2016 Ordering and paying through a computer/smartphone- Of the moment ordering and paying, requiring no human contact at all, is growing in popularity. The convenience of being able to order from your computer or smartphone may mean that people will be less inclined to dine out. To attract patrons to the restaurant, owners need to focus their attention on the “in store” experience—What makes your restaurant a destination? Have you created an ambiance that is part of the dining experience? Some consumers are content with the standard menu options every time they visit your restaurant, but consumers may be inclined to order food online if dining at your establishment offers nothing new. Attracting millennials- As with all industries in this day and age, it has become increasingly important to target and attract millennials (ages 21 to 38) - the fastest growing customer segment in the hospitality industry. The need for a fast-paced, tech-savvy environment has never been more important for the industry. Clean, healthy eating- There is a bigger push nowadays for clean, healthy eating. Customers are now looking for all natural ingredients, and are more likely to go to a restaurant that serves food free of GMOs and artificial ingredients. Many restaurants are participating in local or sustainable programs like traceandtrust.com. Use of vegetables has similarly increased. Adding a different flair to menu items by using seasonal vegetables, or putting a different spin on the “typical” use of a vegetable, perhaps offering an entrée featuring vegetable protein rather than meat. Attention to allergies and dietary restrictions- This trend has grown within the past few years; so if you haven’t expanded your menu for gluten-free, vegetarian/vegan, etc., customers, you are missing out on valuable business! No tipping policies- Read our recent blog, “NYC Restaurateur Danny Meyer Bans Tips—A Step in the Right Direction?” Is this the beginning of no-tipping policies at many restaurants? Stay tuned for more updates on what’s in store for the restaurant industry for 2016. Questions? Contact any member of our Hospitality Services Group.