2018 Restaurant Trends: Innovate at Your Restaurant | ChowNow
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2018 Restaurant Trends: Get Innovative in the New Year

November 30th, 2017 Written by Selena Slavenburg

2018 Restaurant Trends

With the New Year right around the corner, it’s time to hit the ground running with your restaurant to prepare for 2018.

Like most in the restaurant business, it can be hard to focus on the overall picture of success when you’re focused on incoming orders, crisis management, and getting through the weekend rush. But there’s always room for improvement, and no better time to step back and refresh your overall operations.

2018 Restaurant Trends: How to Innovate at Your Restaurant

These 2018 restaurant trends are essential for your restaurant to stay competitive in the new year. So, let’s get improving, shall we?

1. Brand Image

Review your: Overall branding, online presence, customer service tactics.

Overall Branding

Pull up your website and all of your social media accounts at once. Are your logo, restaurant name, and language consistent across these channels?

If basic elements are missing or inconsistent, address this now. And get a second (or third, or fourth) opinion about the changes you make so you can have fresh eyes on your digital properties.

Online Presence

How is the general public responding to your brand? Take a look at your Google, Yelp, and TripAdvisor reviews.

It’s easy for restaurants to dismiss review platforms, but that doesn’t mean potential customers do. These days, 55% of adults use smartphones to read restaurant reviewsTreat this as a necessary exercise. Know that you won’t be able to do much about some reviews, but others could advise your next business decision. Did someone complain about your lack of salad toppings? Introduce more options, and upcharge. 

Customers are more likely to choose your restaurant if it has a branded mobile app.

Customer Service

How are your employees handling communication with customers?

Step into the customer’s shoes and think about their experience from the moment they walk into your restaurant or place an online order. Identify areas where their experience could be improved. Is your staff recommending they download your restaurant’s app? You can also ask a friend to have a meal at your restaurant. Get their honest feedback about the whole experience!

2. Culture

Review your: Company mission statement, employee morale.

2018 Restaurant Trends Customer Service Staff

Company Mission Statement

What is your restaurant’s mission statement? If you don’t have one, make one!

Staff at your restaurant should know your mission statement and it should be displayed for them to read. For inspiration, check out this list of 12 inspiring company mission statements.

Employee Morale

Get a gauge of how your employees are feeling with an anonymous feedback box, or host weekly meetings to check in. Pay attention to their pain points and address them accordingly.

If you’re experiencing high turnover, seek out recommendations from trusted sources or online platforms like Industry, which presents qualified candidates up front.

3. Technology

Review your: Online ordering, internal operations.

2018 Restaurant Trends: Takeout Packaging

Online Ordering

What feedback have you received from customers using your online platform? Have you placed orders yourself to experience the full ordering process?

If you focus on one thing this year, make it improving this facet of your business. Delivery alone is expected to see a 79% increase over the next five years. Be strategic about who you partner with — you should always focus on income from repeat customers and bringing in new business. ChowNow prioritizes your repeat customers by creating your restaurant its own ordering suite (website, apps, Facebook) and showcasing your brand for local customers on eat.chownow.com. And we don’t charge for repeat orders!

Internal Operations

From receiving an order to sending it to the front of house, how smooth are your operations running?

If you’ve been holding out on that printer or have been making excuses to avoid switching POS systems, this is the time to stop and think about how this is affecting your day-to-day business.

4. Social Media

Review your: Social media responsiveness, mobile usability.

2018 Restaurant Trends Technology Food Photo

Social Media Responsiveness

How often are you responding to your customers on social media?

Review the protocol you have in place and take a look at how often you are posting. Tweak your strategy (post more frequently, be more creative) and set check-ins so you don’t leave customers hanging.

Mobile Usability

How does your brand fare when someone on-the-go decides to order from your restaurant?

Take a look at how your website shows up on a mobile device. Pull up your online ordering menu and your Yelp reviews. This is what the customer is seeing when they decide they’re hungry and on-the-go — and it’s a great place to justify making improvements if their experience falls short.

5. Social Responsibility

Review your: Packaging, causes you support.


Are there tweaks you could make to cut waste and minimize your impact?

Think about your customers and how they perceive your restaurant. Are you committed to supporting local farms, or buying organic when possible? Your customers most likely value that as well. Consider this: increasing your prices by 10 cents might scare you, but will not deter your customers from ordering. Especially if they know your commitment to minimize environmental impact.

Causes You Support

How do loyal customers and the local community view your brand?

Consider supporting a local cause and promoting this on your website and in your restaurant. It can be as simple as creating a new menu item, and donating a portion of that revenue to the cause of your choice. Invite customers to make a difference and you’ll be surprised at how much they welcome the opportunity.

If you’re a ChowNow restaurant client and want some feedback on your 2018 restaurant strategy, schedule a call — we’re happy to help. If you don’t already have online ordering at your restaurant, now’s a great time to get started. Get a free ChowNow demo from one of our experts to get started today!

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