3 Restaurant Trends for 2023 (By an Accountant)
As a restaurant owner, staying ahead of the curve and adapting to change is crucial for success.
And while it’s not necessary to follow every passing trend, it’s important to embrace those that can attract more customers and boost your business.
In today’s blog, we’re diving into three restaurant trends that we’re seeing across our clients this year that are worth adopting in your business.
By being aware of these trends and incorporating them strategically into your business, you can position yourself for growth and stand out from the competition.
Let’s dive in.
Restaurant Trend#1: Increase Your Pricing
If you haven’t picked up your pricing to cover inflation losses in 2023, now is the time to do so.
With food inflation still on the rise in 2023, it’s a good time to take a look at your restaurant’s food prices.
Are your appetizers still $8.00? Are your entrees $13.99?
If so, it’s likely that you aren’t making much of a profit these days. If any, for that matter.
We wrote a whole blog on how to increase your food pricing, which you can read here.
In a nutshell, we strongly checking out how your competitors are pricing their meals. It’s likely that they’ve already raised their prices (hence, why it’s a trend!) and that you’ll face little resistance doing the same.
When adopting this trend, make sure you change up your food slightly along with the price increases. Whether it’s a different sauce or presentation, a little bit of improvement can make customers feel that they are paying for an improved meal.
Restaurant Trend #2: Advance Your Tech*
*Updated June 15, 2023
One popular trend we see across our restaurant clients is increasing investment in technology.
Whether it’s switching your bookkeeping software (we recommend Xero!), or upgrading your restaurant management software (we recommend MarginEdge!), more and more restaurant owners are seeing the value in having really great tools to run your business.
In fact, in 2023, we’re seeing larger food networks take it one step farther to invest heavily in automation and AI tools to help operations run smoother.
One week after we wrote this original article, SpotOn POS came out with its first-ever “order while you wait” feature.
The first-of-its-kind feature, known as Seat and Send, allows guests to pre-order food or drinks that will be fired to the kitchen immediately after the guest is seated. The new advancement promises faster service, enhanced guest satisfaction, and improved operational efficiency for restaurants.
How does it work?
Seat & Send brings together the power of SpotOn Restaurant, SpotOn Reserve, and SpotOn Order to allow guests to jump-start their orders while waiting for their table. Guests with a reservation or added to the waitlist will automatically receive a digital ordering link from the restaurant so they can explore and order the restaurant’s menu using SpotOn Order.
To pre-order, guests select their preferred items, customize their order, indicate dietary preferences or allergens, and confirm the order. Once the guest is seated, their order is sent to the kitchen and delivered seamlessly. Guests can continue to add to their order throughout their experience and even pay with the same link.
If you run a crowded, often busy, restaurant, imagine the faster turnover and additional covers you can get by having a feature such as this!
And speaking of new tech features, they aren’t the only ones with new innovation.
It was recently announced that all Sweetgreen chains will be automated within 5 years!
The first test of the robotic makeline opened in Naperville, Ill., in May. At this unit, humans prep all the food, just as they would any Sweetgreen, but ingredients are loaded into the automated makeline, which assembles bowls to order.
Now the restaurant chain prepares to make the switch at all of its units before 2028.
One thing to remember when adopting tech trends is to ensure that all of your new tech tools talk to each other.
There is no point in having really cool tech tools to run your business that don’t actually integrate or connect with one another.
Disconnected tools will only end in disaster, with manual entries, human errors, and unreliable financials and numbers.
Keep this in mind when exploring new technology to make your restaurants run smoother, more efficiently, and more profitable.
Restaurant Trend #3: Skip the Service Charge
The last trend on our list is actually one that we want you to buck.
Get rid of the service charge!
Since COVID-19, more and more restaurants have adopted the infamous “service charge”.
You know, that arbitrary charge added to the end of a bill that nobody really knows what it’s for?
Your customers are wondering, especially!
So, whether it is a charge for using a credit card vs cash, covering employee benefits, or just a miscellaneous charge, GET RID OF IT!
Your customers don’t like it, and frankly, there’s just no need for it. If you need to add a service charge to your bill in order to stay profitable, something has gone wrong elsewhere in your financials.
Which Restaurant Trends Are You Adopting in 2023?
As experienced restaurant accountants, we see a lot of trends come and go.
And while it’s important to stay adaptable and open to change, we don’t necessarily think you should “jump” every time a new trend comes along.
However, increasing your pricing, advancing your technology, and ditching the service charge are all trends that we can get onboard with.
They’ll all three go a long way in help increase your bottom line. And that’s why we’re all here, isn’t it!
What restaurant trends are you seeing in 2023? We’d love to hear about them.
Until next time!