Restaurant Industry 2017 – Predictions for the New Year

The beginning of the year is a good time to look at industry trends and predictions. Smart foodservice operators know that constantly reading consumers and adjusting strategies is the key to build a long-term business.

The Sugar Foods marketing team wants to help you identify the trends that face the restaurant industry so you can position yourself for success. The restaurant industry saw sales decline last year… how to turn momentum around? Here are some predictions for 2017:

  1. Restaurant sales remain stagnant – The research group NPD, predicts that “limited-service restaurant category that includes QSR and fast casual… will counter the overall restaurant industry’s predicted growth and see 1 percent growth is overall traffic.” NPD Group’s restaurant industry analyst, Bonnie Riggs, said in a news release. “In the year ahead, it will be critical to stay relevant in consumers’ minds, focusing on innovative products, unique promotions, competitive pricing, stating the benefits of eating at restaurants vs. home, and delivering an enjoyable experience.
  2. Millennials rule – The influence of younger consumers continues strong, forcing innovations in experiences that are new and unusual while eating out.
  3. Worker’s rights – Minimum wage questions are on the forefront and will add to a year of consumer concerns over how restaurant employees are treated. Millennials want to know, how are people treated who work for this restaurant?
  4. Delivery rules – Third-party delivery services, like Grubhub, Amazon, and Door Dash, are fighting it out for dominance.
  5. Customization – The fast-casual boom is booming. Keep customers coming back for more. Offer plenty of choices, including multi-colored sweeteners.
  6. Drive-thru – Fast casual chains, like Panera Bread, are testing drive-thru. Combine mobile ordering and curb service to support more at-home dining.
  7. Mobile food ordering – Technology that makes it easy and quick to order food will drive sales. 2017 will be the year it explodes into hyperspace, says restaurant consultant Michael Whiteman, president of Baum + Whiteman. As dozens of food delivery specialists take shape in an app- and tech-driven world, the delivery revolution will “uberize” the limited-service industry.
  8. Food fusion – “Mash-ups” that combine ethnic flavors are growing rapidly.
  9. All-day breakfast – Fast food chains are in a war for breakfast dollars.
  10. Restaurant Loyalty Programs – Restaurant operators will develop loyalty programs to entice customers to visit their restaurants.

The new year will continue to bring challenges to the restaurant industry. A new administration in Washington, D.C. promises to cut regulation and lower taxes. These are great initiatives for small business operators. Sugar Foods wishes you a successful 2017 and is available to keep your customers happy and coming back for more.


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