Having the ability to spot trends is a key factor in keeping your restaurant alive and thriving.  If you can spot  and react quickly to trends in your restaurant, then you will have a marked edge over your competitors.  But you must be able to have good execution in your plans and be willing to change.

Here’s a brief look at some of the trends that are currently going on in the ever-changing restaurant business.

Trend #1) Fewer people are eating out. The job market is not what it was even a year ago.  Those people that do have jobs are working more hours and often give little time for dining out.  This actually creates an opportunity for those restaurants that provide better service.  People are spending their money with care now!

Trend #2)
Guests are complaining less frequently. Unfortunately, they just take their business somewhere else. A smart restaurant owner will take steps to invoke guest feedback.  Then make changes geared toward bringing in those hungry guests.

Trend #3)
Consumers are dining out at a higher rate during three-day holiday weekends. The main reason for this change is that there is more opportunity for both spouses to shop together. Opportunity exists to capitalize on this trend by running promotions to attract guests during these long weekends.

Trend #4)
Consumers are out earlier on Sundays. This can also make for great promotional opportunities for the weekend.

Trend #5)
Guests want bigger!  The bigger your restaurant appears from the outside, the better the consumer will perceive your selection to be on the inside.

Trend #6)
There is a growing tendency for people to want to dine with locally owned restaurants, rather than with the “big boys”, as I call them.  It is also perceived that the small restaurant owner’s salesperson will be more knowledgeable or the owner may personally serve them. America loves an underdog. It’s the David vs. Goliath syndrome.

Every restaurant owner must work diligently to spot trends that can affect his business.  Reacting to trends of any kind is likely to be accompanied by the element of risk.  Although changing the way you run your business may require some risk-taking, there is perhaps an equal or greater danger in remaining too long in the same spot. If you stand still, you’re likely to get burned by your competitors. Surviving restaurant owners do not wince at new trends.

Be a survivor… change with the trends!