As the final days of 2010 dwindle, it is the perfect opportunity to analyze future trends in restaurant growth and development. Just about every food related website, magazine, and firm have compiled lists highlighting their predictions for 2011. Some of the trends can be easily incorporated into your existing business, while others may require a bit of creativity to do so.
Here, I present a limited list of all of those predictions and how you can incorporate them into your existing business:
1- Pies: You heard right, the prediction is that pies will make a big splash in the entrepreneurial world, in the same way that cupcake shops have for the last few years. For example, Hill Country Chicken in New York introduced a “Pie Hour” where they showcase a variety of pies. Dig up your family recipes and start introducing pies at your restaurant or cafe. Do your family and friends rave about your homemade pies? Consider taking that plunge and opening a storefront bakery specializing in pies. Fresh and innovative ingredients, reliable equipment, and great publicity are a surefire recipe for success! Because come on, everyone loves pie!
2- Mom and Pop Shops- These are the kind of shops that you go to and you see the family working everyday. While it can be time-consuming and exhausting, your constant presence helps to build a rapport with your customers that make them want to come back not only to experience your great food, but to see you. Not to mention, when your working at your business, it means you do not have to pay for another employee. Many restaurants and cafes around the country survive as well as excel on this principle.
3- One Ingredient Recipes- Take an ingredient: hot dogs, pizza dough, or whatever you love and take it to the next level. Get creative with one ingredient and discover how many different ways you can serve it up! Think Food Network’s Iron Chef America. One ingredient, Five dishes.
4- Multi-Purpose Spaces- It is expected that many owners will incorporate shopping into their restaurants. Do you have a large restaurant with open space? Encourage a small business, that compliments your business to set up shop inside your store. Do you know an online boutique owner? By collaborating, you can both take advantage of one location (including it’s operating costs) and each other’s customers. Open a small Asian market in your sushi restaurant, or Latin market in your Latino restaurant. Those are just two examples of multi-purposing your business. Think creative!!
5- Fried Vegetables- Everyone knows that Americans struggle to eat their vegetables- except one- FRENCH FRIES! Put a potato on a plate, and it can be just another bland vegetable, but deep fry it and now you’re talking! Why just stop there? If your company already has a deep fryer, add cauliflour, zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, onions, green beans…. to your menu (Don’t have a deep fryer? Check out burkett.com for current promotions on commercial fryers.
6- Value Dining- We’ve all seen the ads on TV and in our local paper,
Two Meals+One Appetizer=$20 and people are frequenting these restaurants in exceedingly high numbers. This trend can be easily incorporated at your restaurant. Pick 4-5 appetizers and 4-5 entrees that people can combine for an affordable price.
7- Children’s Nutrition- Fried Food, microwaved pasta, thawed pizza seem to be the featured foods on just about every restaurant’s children’s menu. Simply stated- It’s junk food that you would never order for yourself, but order it for your kids. Offer more healthy options!
8- Social Media and Technology- Social media has become one of the most effective and easiest ways to reach a broad range of customers instantly. Not tech-savvy? Get in touch with a social media agency that can offer inexpensive service for your business. Look for an agency that knows and understands your target customers and who will give you one-on-one in person attention. A Social Media Agency could acquire a 1000 followers for your local restaurant, but if they all live in Timbuktoo, what was the point of your social media campaign? Your failure to innovate with social media, could be your business’s biggest blunder this year.
9- Smaller Portions for Smaller Prices- This is my favorite one. Have you ever gone to a pasta restaurant and for about $16, you get enough pasta to feed a family of four? Yet, this serving is for one person. Cut your portions in half, your customers pocketbook, and waistline will appreciate it! I guarantee, your half portion is still more than enough to feed one diner. No one goes to a restaurant, thinking, Great! I’m going to visit ABC Restaurant because they offer HUGE portions.
10- Locally grown produce- Okay, this can be a bit pricey if not done right, so combine it with Trend #9. Have you ever tasted a fresh grown tomato? Not the kind of tomato that was picked on Monday, packaged on Tuesday and delivered to your business on Thursday. I’m talking about picked on Monday, packaged on Monday, and delivered to you on Monday. This fresh taste can not be duplicated. Serve half the portion of pasta for $5 less and use fresh locally grown tomatoes. Plant cucumbers and tomatoes in your backyard and herbs in pots on your window sill. An easier option, drive down the country road on a summer day and load up on locally produced fruit and vegetables or link up with a local farm for fresh eggs. Remember, it’s quality over quantity.
Have you always thought of opening your own business but don’t know where to start? 2011 is clearly the year of taking that leap. The recession has left many creative people with real culinary ability without jobs. Are you one of those people? Or are you just sick of your mundane 9 to 5? While it can be a thrilling, it is a scary experience, but the staff here at Burkett Restaurant Equipment have the knowledge, experience, and desire to help you launch that dream and see it succeed.
Read more 2011 Trends: Top Ten Restaurant Trends of 2011