restaurant trends

Top 4 Restaurant Trends in 2016

Businesses have to continue to evolve if they expect to stay relevant. Advances in technology and app integration are no longer bonus features — they’re necessities.

Restaurants are not immune from these advancements either. Just like other businesses, they have to adapt and grow to continue to bring in new business. Some of the latest trends hitting restaurants involve mobile technology integration and adoption, which impact the front end of a restaurant, while others are back-end and out of sight, like energy efficiency upgrades.

1. Ordering and prepaying for food
One of the biggest inconveniences for customers about sit-down restaurants is the wait time, which can cause customers who want to stay and enjoy a restaurant’s atmosphere to skip and go for a quicker solution. Apps like Allset help customers evaluate wait times and make reservations. While on the surface, Allset might look like just another reservation app, there is much more there once you pop up the hood.

One of the added benefits of Allset is that it allows a restaurant to serve the food when the customer arrives. This tidy feature not only improves the customer experience, it also allows a restaurant owner to more effectively manage the flow of customers throughout busy service periods.

Since its launch three months ago, Allset has signed more than 100 restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area. Restaurants seem to be excited about working with Allset and seeing the app bring in new customers, speed up table turnover and increase lunch sales by 30%.

2. Energy efficient appliances
Energy-intensive kitchen appliances and equipment are often running nonstop throughout large portions of the day, which can run up your gas and electric bills. For example, a gas deep fat fryer uses more than 1,560 therms a year, while the average U.S. household uses about 375 therms annually.1 Upgrading to energy efficient appliances can help a business owner not only reduce energy use and associated utility costs, it can also improve the cooking process by shortening cook times. Learn more about available energy efficient appliances and the rebates and financing options that make such upgrades possible by downloading the eBook “PG&E’s Quick-Service Restaurant Rebates Guide.”

3. Quicker, easier payments
Payment apps gained huge publicity in 2015, and they’re only expected to grow in 2016. Finding easier ways to pay for things has become an obsession, and the restaurant industry is no exception. Apps like Cover want to make paying for bills quick and simple for customers.

The app is simple to use. Customers simply check in when they arrive at a restaurant that accepts Cover and notify wait staff. Cover accepts Apple Pay or credit cards, and whenever customers are ready to leave, they can pay for the meal through the app. It will even calculate the tip for customers or add a fixed amount for the tip, making tipping wait staff even easier.

Splitting a meal has been a bane of diners’ experiences for years, and that should become easier in 2016 as well. With apps like Cover, customers can easily split the bill among friends, even if they don’t have the app. Thanks to the increasing popularity of bill-pay apps, wait staff are able to reduce time spent separating and printing out checks for large parties and spend more time creating a positive customer experience.

4. Computers replacing servers?
While this can be a controversial issue, there has been a huge growth with tablets and computers in the restaurant industry. It can only be assumed that it will continue to gain traction in 2016. While there will never be a true replacement for human experience, many casual dining spots can see benefits from going the way of the tablet.

There are many times when a tablet can be of great use. Scheduling serving staff during non-peak hours can result in a restaurant full of workers looking for something to do, and having tablets take orders during these slow times can be a great way to alleviate some of those costs. Tablets at the table also give restaurant goers a way to pay for their food and leave if they are crunched for time.

In an age where attention spans are about five minutes max, tablets can have some additional perks. Things like games on the table’s tablet give diners something to do while waiting for their meal. Restaurant owners can even include fun perks with these games, including small discounts or half-off appetizers.

Restaurant owners looking to update their business for 2016 and beyond can learn more about available appliance upgrades and the rebates for making these cost-cutting purchases more affordable by downloading the eBook PG&E’s Quick-Service Restaurant Rebates Guide.

This article was originally published on: Entrepreneur. Content may have been edited from original posting.

  1. U.S. Department of Energy

Top 4 Restaurant Trends in 2016

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