As restaurants continue to struggle with operating during a pandemic, they need to be consistently monitoring emerging trends to help their bottom line. Broad societal and cultural shifts have an impact on every industry. And the coronavirus has been no different.

Even if your restaurant is faring well at the moment, everything could change at a moment’s notice. It’s in your best interest to be forward thinking. Successful restaurants are always keeping up with the trends, whether there’s a pandemic or not. Here’s three to be aware of during the new normal.

Healthier choices. Considering the nature of the pandemic, it’s no surprise that there are plenty of people thinking about how they can keep themselves as healthy as possible. In order to better protect themselves from a potential infection, people are looking to boost their immune systems. And what’s one of the best ways to do that? Consuming healthier food. According to a Datassential report cited by the National Restaurant Association, nearly half of all consumers (44%) have responded to COVID-19 by deciding to eat healthier.

Savvy restaurant owners should be looking to meet the rising demand for healthier choices. To start with, the National Restaurant Association article (linked above) recommends integrating more fruits and vegetables into your offerings. From toppings to entire entrees, there’s no shortage of ways to integrate fruits and vegetables into your menu. For further advice, click here to check out our quick breakdown of restaurant health trends.

Plant-based menu. In your effort to create a healthier menu, you may be able to kill two birds with one stone. As meat shortages continue to impact the supply chain, leading to rising prices, many restaurants are turning to plant-based alternatives. Alternatives that were already exploding in popularity prior to the pandemic.

An article from Business Insider shared data from a Nielsen report highlighting how this is already coming to fruition. The report found that demand for fresh meat alternatives was up 272.2% over the same four-week period (ending on April 11) from the previous year. With surging meat prices, plant-based choices have never been more attractive for restaurants.

Operational adjustments. Without a clear timeframe for when the pandemic will be firmly behind us, restaurants need to be agile in their decision making, and prepare for the long haul. An article from the Harvard Business Review highlights a few ways how successful restaurants will respond to behavioral trends as a result of COVID-19.

  • Ubiquitous drive-throughs. HBR details that drive-throughs may become ubiquitous for everything from fast food to sit-down restaurants. While not every restaurant is in a position to build a drive-through, it would be wise to explore other options such as curbside pickup. Anything that doesn’t force customers to enter the building.
  • Profitable delivery. While the profitability of delivery is often scrutinized, we’re in a scenario where restaurants need to find ways to make it work.
  • Restaurant grocers. “Smart restaurants may even become mini-grocers,” the article says. Indeed, restaurants like Panera Bread have already started pursuing this trend. It just might be worth exploring for your restaurant.

Thrive With CoGoBuzz

As you move forward, we want to help make sure your restaurant stays open. With CoGoBuzz, we’re here to foster your success. Our state-of-the-art digital marketing service can help your restaurant build and maintain a strong base of loyal customers, which will ultimately help your restaurant survive.

Our service directly promotes your services to customer mobile devices. Leveraging advanced WiFi, SMS, and Email solutions, CoGoBuzz promotes your restaurant both in-store and out. It comes packed with a fully digital, text-based loyalty program, allowing you to let your customers know what services you’re offering – all with just a simple text. Click here to learn more about CoGoBuzz.

Whether you’re one of our current customers, or you’re interested in joining the CoGoBuzz family, we’re committed to helping businesses affected by COVID-19.

For current customers, we’re providing free text message service, allowing you to send a link to order online, purchase gift cards, and/or notify customers of new hours.

For new customers, we’re offering our hardware at cost, donating our services, time, and covering shipping costs. Prepare for the future with CoGoWiFi Free to collect your customers’ phone numbers. There are no contracts or monthly fees, and we offer unlimited customer data storage.

Message from our CEO

“From pricing to packaging, our mission has always been to provide customers with unbeatable value. That’s why, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, we are seeking to provide the most aggressive offers to help suffering restaurants survive. We believe that half of small restaurants will fail in the year after operations return to normal. The restaurants that survive and thrive will be the ones that win loyalty and focus on bringing customers back over the following year.”

– Steve Gould, CEO

Click here for more details on how we’re handling the crisis.

Is your restaurant watching any of these trends? Let us know in the comments.