Economic growth remains positive, but modest, and people are continuing to spend on the dining-out experience. Still, operators face myriad challenges to succeed in business. Rising labor costs, increased regulation, ever-changing consumer demand and upgraded technology are just some of our industry’s daily dish.
This year, our State of the Industry report analyzes those issues and more. We’re holding a special webinar for our members to discuss the report in greater depth, but here’s what you should know now:
1. It’s a challenging business environment.
Though operators are generally optimistic about the future of business, a range of challenges may damper some of that enthusiasm through the rest of this year. Rising labor costs, plus a complex legislative and regulatory landscape on the federal, state and local levels, are not only adding pressure to business performance, but also to bottom lines.
2. No matter how you cut it, recruiting is tough.
Recruitment and retention of employees continues to be a top challenge for restaurants. With the economy continuing to grow and employment levels rising, there’s more competition for qualified employees to fill vacant positions.
3. They want to dine out, but will they, really?
Consumers’ pent-up demand for dining out remains high, but Americans are still relatively cautious about their spending. To combat this, operators are engaging in social media marketing and other innovative tactics that highlight quality, service and value to nudge them into action.
4. Technology … you’ve got to be in it to win it.
Technology adoption will keep on growing, but the process is not without its challenges. Cost remains a significant barrier for operators. And even though consumers are embracing more common types of restaurant technology – like online ordering, kiosks and mobile payment – not everyone is on board with some of the more advanced technologies.
5. What a concept. Food focus is on sourcing and production.
Consumers are more engaged and discerning than ever when it comes to dining out. Not only are they more knowledgeable about food, but they have also come to expect menu options to fit their dietary needs. Because of this shift, food trends are becoming more concept- rather than ingredient-based, with an evolving focus on production, sourcing and preparation.
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