Building a household-brand restaurant chain is a tough gig.
Just ask Jamie’s Italian or some of the household name casual-dining brands that have pulled out of UK highstreets in a bid to scale down and bring things back into focus.
Significant startup capital, high rents for coveted footfall hotspots, plus, food critic diners spoilt for choice with an itchy ‘reviews’ finger.
Those with grand plans for a ‘cult brand’ chain need to factor in multiple variables in a ‘snakes-and-ladders’ industry prone to emergent threats that come into view unexpectedly.
So who’s hogging the magic wand that keeps those feet falling?
Finding the bucks in the trend
You can google “latest restaurant trends” every six months to find out what’s hot, though this can commit you to chasing ghosts and create brand ambiguity.
In 2019, the emerging pattern in restaurant trends has been around digital transformation, health-factors and elaborate concepts and themes.
All well and good if you want to build an app-driven, Willy Wonka health-food restaurant as your model, though not every restaurateur wants to reinvent the wheel—and they shouldn’t have to.
Upserve.com’s Restaurant Insider identifies the following trends for 2019.
Experience experimentation: Creating a quirky vibe means going all-in for a brand overhaul—so it’s expensive, disruptive and high-risk with few guarantees.
Conscious consumers: All well and good if your target demographic cares enough about environmental and social issues like worker pay, though paying your teams what they deserve and supporting local trade alone isn’t going to keep the calendar full.
Wellness & Health: This one impacts menu—and not all menus are that flexible. What if you’re launching a burger & grill bar? Your customers book because they want to treat themselves to something a little naughty.
Culture cultivation: The 9-5 office world has been been on top of creating positive ‘culture’ as a means to drive positive outcomes, the restaurant industry is only just realising the virtues of cultivating a sense of belonging, empowerment, togetherness and purpose within teams as a way of generating memorable customer experiences.
And finally, restaurant tech or ‘res-tech’ as it’s referred to by those in-the-know.
Of these trends, which would you say are achievable for most restaurants? Let’s find out.
Of the 5 cited trends, culture cultivation and ‘res-tech’ these are the two that restaurants in every corner of the hospitality sector can and should embrace to trigger a transformation in footfall.
“Culture drives great results…” — Jack Welch (General Electric CEO ‘81 – 2001)
OK, so building a sustainable, productive culture that teams feel a part of is a slow burn and requires time investment; however, the right approach and a little patience can bring multiple domino-effect perks to morale, labour turnover and overall productive output.
And what of restaurant tech?
The tech layer of a restaurant setup plays into the culture and can be seen as one of the cultural building blocks within a broader cultural infrastructure.
“Technology is best when it brings people together…” — Matt Mullenweng (Founder of WordPress)
Division within a restaurant workforce is the ice in the cracks that slowly expands to become rifts that destroy team communication and dynamic.
Customers often pick up on the frustrations of their servers—waiter attitude is something frequently commented on in reviews as a telltale sign of a culture neglectful of its teams. Not exactly conducive to increasing footfall.
So what solutions do restaurants turn to, to close the chasms and bring teams together to synchronise and deliver the value that keeps people walking in the door?
Let’s ask Restaurant Insider.
“As restaurants strive to provide a frictionless experience for consumers, restaurant technology companies are aiming to do the same for restaurant operators”
VoCoVo is one such technology company that is already helping household name restaurant chains release the magic of a motivated, agile and integrated team supercharged with flawless communication anywhere in the restaurant.
A team equipped with VoCoVo’s smart headsets can achieve…
Zero missed phone bookings: VoCoVo headset telephony means on-the-go call pickup and a restaurant that doesn’t miss telephone bookings—a missed call booking isn’t just lost revenue, it’s someone that may never come back.
A huge team morale increase: By keeping teams connected and in-the-loop, you bring a sense of inclusion and purpose. Your team will respond with smiling, effortless service that truly represents brand and is sensitive to customer needs.
FOH + BOH efficiency: A silent team is an inefficient one prone to error. Connect your kitchen with your FOH with the power of voice, and suddenly your whole operation comes to life with efficiency that delivers what customers expect.
Your restaurant is a VoCoVo install away from efficiency increase, waste-reduction, missed-call elimination and a team delivering 5-star service with the kind of viral appeal people talk about.
When you make investments into the quality of communication as part of the culture you’re trying to build, you’ll develop a workforce that has the brand-pride, consistency of delivery and logistical efficiency that can really put your restaurant on the map and on the tips of people’s tongues.
The footfall will follow.