The NPD Group, one of the largest marketing research companies in the world that monitors consumer purchase data, has forecasted that there will be little to no growth for restaurants in 2018. It will be exactly the same as last year. However, there will be a few trends for the restaurant industry this year.
This is a no brainer – consumers want to save more time than ever these days. They will turn to food delivery to avoid the trip to the restaurant and the potential time it takes to dine in. They also do not have to think about buying groceries to cook a meal. Customers can order food with a few touches on their smartphone and it could be delivered to wherever they are in as little as 20 minutes.
Most consumers are turning to staying in instead of dining at a restaurant. NPD says that half of dinners purchased are consumed at home and predicts that number is expected to grow this year. People can make their own ambience now. Restaurants have spent years and millions refining dine-in experiences to appeal to customers. Today, customers are redefining where they like to enjoy their meals, whether it be their home, the park or a friend’s house.
Consumers will continue to seek more value when ordering food online. One way we see this is through limited-time offers and another is loyalty programs. Loyalty programs have been ingrained in the Canadian landscape ever since the introduction of Canadian Tire money. Since then, we’ve seen an explosion of loyalty programs. Restaurants will use loyalty programs to build frequency and NPD predicts that we will see more operators turning to using them. Creating a strong customer bond is key for restaurants as customers are loyal to their brands. It’s important for restaurants to maintain that loyalty by staying in constant connection with their customers to engage them and bring them back with personalized deals and real-time promotions.
- Digital ordering
Digital ordering has experienced rapid growth over the past years, and this year proves no different. The most recent data shows that it represents 53% of all delivery orders, up 20% from 2013. More restaurants in more categories have been adding delivery and digital ordering. It has now become something that restaurants must turn to in order to remain competitive in the restaurant industry. It may not be viable for small chains but for big players, it is a must have. It was a huge deal when McDonald’s started offering delivery on UberEats, and many other companies followed suit with their own apps and partnerships with delivery services, such as Denny’s.