The Top Takeaways From 2022 National Restaurant Show
The National Restaurant Association Show came to an exciting conclusion in the past few weeks. This memorable event brought with it a major focus on various ways to improve the foodservice industry.
During the show, owners of restaurants and other attendees had up to four days of immersive learning and acquainting themselves with new products. Some had enough time to interact with innovative new pieces of technology, and create business connections with stakeholders and key suppliers. Others had the opportunity to make invaluable peer-to-peer networking connections and access expert-led education sessions. Below are the seven most important talking points during this must-attend event of the 2022 Show:
1- Menu Price Inflation
Menu price inflation is one of the key talking points during the National Restaurant Association Show of 2022. The rise in the menu price is attributed to the high inflation, which consequently compels restaurants to increase the food price. This sudden inflation is linked to supply chain challenges in addition to factors such as higher labor costs, taxes, and the rising cost of basic commodities.
As a result, the Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) brands like Burger King, KFC, McDonald’s, and others had no choice but to raise their respective menu prices by around 7% to 8%. The question is, what is the impact of higher prices menu or menu price inflation on the current restaurant industry business? Here are the possible answers:
Menu price inflammation has caused a sharp decline in the number of guests vising restaurants in various cities across the country. For instance, the period between 2021 and 2022 has seen less than 37% of customers visiting restaurants than the pre-pandemic period
Regular customers are making less frequent visits to their favorite restaurants
Restaurants’ strategy to curb the rising menu price inflation:
Serving a relatively smaller menu
Adjusting to smaller portions of the menu items
Use of aggressive loyalty programs
Providing more specials on the menu, offering Happy hour, and introducing value offers on the lower-cost items
2- Labor Shortage
Another talking point during the National Restaurant Association Show is the shrinking labor market. Restaurants’ labor shortage is happening because quite a number of workers have changed their minds about going back to their previous jobs after the Covid-19 pandemic. Most of them have realized that they are not getting what they deserve from their employers. Therefore, a huge percentage of them are looking for better opportunities elsewhere away from the foodservice industry.
What is the effect of the labor shortage on the food industry business?
Losing existing customers
Cutting operation hours
Less customer satisfaction
Increased labor cost
Restaurants’ strategy to survive the labor shortage:
Good incentives for workers
Higher pay and better benefits for the workers
Replacing labor with robots in the back of the house
Use of more automation in the front of the house including online ordering, 3rd party apps for pickup and delivery, and automated ordering by customers connected directly to the kitchen.
Read more about how to handle the labor shortage in your restaurant
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3- Ghost Kitchen and Virtual Brands
The trend is still popular among different restaurant owners who are looking to save on the overall costs of running their restaurant business.
How the Ghost Kitchen affects the food industry business
Loss the human contact
Offering services to the customers without a smile
A big cost-saver
works well with a special menu for pickup and delivery
Restaurants’ strategy for virtual brands and ghost kitchens
Aggressive digital and online marketing to build the brand
High-end food delivery packaging to popularize the brand
Setting trustworthy and secure website for placing orders and making payments
Consistent and reliable food delivery services
Read more about Ghost kitchens
4- An Increase in the Futuristic Restaurants
At the helm of the National Restaurant Association Show, attendees noted that about 60% of operators are increasing their Tech. budget in the next 2 years. Unfortunately, many restaurant operators have thinner margins than they did during the first show in 2019. This implies that they have meager financial resources to invest in these new technologies.
For those who have the financial means, their expenditure on technology is directed toward the following key areas:
Point of sale (POS) systems
Supply chain systems
5- To-Go drink Sales are Growing Consistently
While the National Restaurant Association Show was still going on, attendees noted that the to-go drink sales are increasing in popularity day-in-day-out. This new trend is one of the post-pandemic factors that have changed the operational ability of restaurants almost everywhere.
As a matter of fact, the trend is still growing as more people easily order takeout instead of visiting restaurants. This is a new consumer behavior that restaurant owners need to take note and work on it.
Innovation in different types of beverages has been massive as well. That is why companies are offering countless options for alcohol-free cocktails, which is a good idea, generally.
Read more about how to improve sales for alcohol drinks delivery
6- Responsibility and Sustainability
One of the most crucial trends at the National Restaurant Show is responsibility and sustainability. In this sense, these trends encourage the use of environmentally friendly products such as to-go boxes and straws, sustainable food partners, and composting options. Improving labor policies is an additional trend as per the just concluded show.
The most widespread solution for sustainability and responsibility is packaging for delivery and carryout. So, your restaurant has the option to use recyclable and biodegradable takeaway containers. Sustainable packing is ideal for reducing carbon footprints as well as becoming heightened expectations for restaurant operators to be socially responsible in reflecting their personal values.
7- Plant-based and Alternative Protein Products
As the National Restaurant Association Show progressed, exhibitors in the pavilion seized this opportunity to showcase their plant-based offerings. Some of these offerings included fish, meat, and different categories of dairy products such as cream cheese, milk, and ice cream among others.
Providing alternative protein for consumers with dietary restrictions was considered to be a great benefit of plant-based foods. The exhibition of these products served as a new message for product sustainability and how operators can take advantage of these products to mitigate supply chain and menu inflation challenges. Plus, plant-based proteins were positioned as premium products for improved quality and taste.
Overall, the restaurant industry is on the verge of shrinking, especially during this post-Covid-19 pandemic period. The most affected, however, is the full-service brands. Regardless of this gradual shift in restaurant trends, the National Restaurant Association Show assured attendees that there is still a promising future for the foodservice industry.
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