The COVID-19 pandemic has made customers think more about their overall health.
As the years change, the trends customers look for also change when choosing their favorite restaurants, bars and eateries. To stay in the customer’s eye and be successful, a restaurateur must be aware of current trends in order to adapt their establishment accordingly.
Here’s a list of some of the emerging customer behavior trends in 2022 and ways restaurateurs can implement these changes to stay relevant.
Understand customer behaviors
When customers determine their favorite restaurants and where to spend their hard-earned cash, they’re not just picking a name from a hat. Instead, several factors go into their decision, including their attitudes and beliefs, their perception of how your products look and taste, and even economic factors. After all, if a customer knows they can’t afford your food, they’ll likely avoid your restaurant.
Marketing agencies survey people throughout the year so they can learn their current behaviors and then turn those feelings into trends for the year. As the world changes, and so do the feelings of potential customers, restaurateurs need to stay tuned to stay ahead of the game. While many trends will relate to food and service, there are also other areas that a restaurant will need to consider.
For example, new studies show that customers prefer a hassle-free online shopping experience. Since the pandemic, more and more people are choosing to order online, so it’s wise for restaurants to develop their websites for maximum efficiency so that customers can easily order online and pick up their food with as little hassle as possible. . Customers also want to be sure that their data is safe when ordering online, which is why hiring a cybersecurity expert is also essential in 2022.
In the new year, a growing trend will have customers seeking healthier foods from pure, local sources. Specifically, there is a growing desire for more vegan food options. In 2017, about 6% of people said they were vegan, so a restaurant that doesn’t offer these options may lose out on potential profits. To appeal to these customers, a restaurant doesn’t need to change its entire menu, but having multiple options will make a big difference. Examples of vegan dishes include a mushroom burger, tofu tacos, and sweet and sour tempeh. Many fast food restaurants have had success with vegan menus, including McDonald’s, Burger King, and even Taco Bell.
The COVID-19 pandemic has really made customers think more about their overall health and how they can protect themselves against illness. For this reason, it makes sense that another customer behavioral trend is toward immune-boosting foods, especially menu items that offer vitamin A, C, and D, as well as those high in protein. Many common ingredients like citrus fruits, peppers, and garlic are known for their immune system boosting properties, so incorporate them into your menu when possible. Smoothie King is a great example of a restaurant offering immune-boosting options. They launched their Immune Builder Smoothie line in 2020 and customers love the options.
When customers start thinking about healthier foods, they’ll also want to avoid ingredients that aren’t so good for their bodies. So it makes sense that another upcoming trend that customers are considering is low sodium and low sugar foods. Sodium can give food a boost, but it’s notoriously bad for our bodies because excessive amounts can lead to blood pressure issues or an increased risk of stroke or heart attack. A restaurant that can find a way to reduce sodium and sugar in its dishes and market its efforts could see its customer base increase in the new year.
Health and security
As mentioned, the pandemic has dramatically changed the way we think about life and health, and for customers, it doesn’t stop at what they eat. Customers also want to know that they are going to a restaurant that cares about them and the health of the community. People want to know that their restaurant sources food and ingredients from local farms instead of requiring gas-guzzling trucks to haul supplies from across the country. In addition to reducing pollution, buying local also helps neighborhood businesses and will result in fresher ingredients overall.
As customers care about their health, recent trends also show that they care more about the planet in general than in the past. People like to know they’re making a difference by buying and eating from businesses that prioritize sustainability, so a restaurant that tries to make a difference in that regard is likely to receive positive reviews. To become a more environmentally friendly business, a restaurant can use less energy and reduce utility costs by installing solar panels or striving to use less water when preparing meals and dishes.
Include these sustainable practices in your marketing materials and customers might call you. It works well in places like Austin, where restaurants like Cafe Bon Appetit stay eco-friendly every day by using recyclable containers while serving sustainable food.
Another trend that’s becoming important to customers in the new year is physical safety, especially for older customers who want to visit their favorite restaurant in this uncertain COVID era. Restaurants can implement many safety processes for seniors, including opening an hour earlier so they can eat without dealing with large crowds or ensuring the restaurant has plenty of sanitizing stations. hands.
The restaurant industry is still trying to recover from COVID shutdowns, so owners need to think about how they can get as many people through as possible.