Change is scary. It’s comforting to stick to what you know. It’s easy and there’s less risk involved. But change happens, whether or not you’re willing to go along with it.

In the restaurant industry (or really any industry at all), it’s important to stay adaptable. You need to be prepared for change in whatever form it might take. Change isn’t always something you can control, but it’s something you’ve got to be ready for.

Here’s five ways to keep your restaurant adaptable in the dynamic food industry.

Changing Trends. Just because your restaurant is committed to a specific type of cuisine doesn’t mean you can rest on your laurels with what you’ve been serving for years. Yes, an Italian restaurant is probably always going to be serving spaghetti and meatballs. You’ll always be able to order a cheeseburger at an American diner. Mexican restaurants aren’t going to stop serving tacos.

But it’s not always the type of cuisine that changes. It’s how you serve it. What’s in it? Where does it come from? Can you customize it? These answers are dictated by the trends. And if you want to keep your old staples relevant, you need to monitor them closely.

For instance, as I said, cheeseburgers aren’t going away. But what’s in that cheeseburger is bound to change. Plant-based meat alternatives are hotter than ever. Calorie counters might want to enjoy lettuce wraps or wheat bread instead of a traditional bun. The list goes on.

Changing Expectations. As 2020 approaches, we’re on the precipice of a unique period. Gen Z, the youngest generation, commands more spending power than ever before. And that power is only growing. Catering to their expectations will help keep your restaurant relevant for years to come.

Generational expectations are not the only factor you’ll need to keep an eye on though. As the industry morphs and changes, what’s expected of restaurants only becomes more ubiquitous. For example, takeout and delivery services are increasingly prevalent, and customers are expecting these processes to be effortless and affordable.

Changing Customers. On a smaller scale, arguably more important than keeping track of widespread industry changes, is the task of watching the changes happening within your very own restaurant. After all, these are the customers that you’re dealing with on a daily basis. You need to keep them happy if you want to stay in business. That means engaging with your customers to discover what they want most out of your restaurant experience.

Changing Competition. Watching your competitors is essential work too. What they’re doing has a direct impact on your customers and how your restaurant is perceived. If a new competitor pops up nearby with comparable food and good prices, then suddenly, you’re put into sticky position.

You need to react somehow. But to what extent? It’s a difficult question to answer. React too heavily and you may risk losing sight of what makes your restaurant special in the first place. Do too much (or cut prices too drastically) and you risk losing profitability. In situations such as these, I find that the best way to react is by doubling down on what makes your restaurant different. No two restaurants are the same.

Changing Technology. As time marches on so, too, does technology. And in the restaurant business, technology has become a key component of keeping yourself adaptable.

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What has your restaurant had to do to keep itself adaptable? Let us know in the comments!