Despite ongoing challenges, many restaurateurs have a positive outlook for the new year and are getting ready to implement changes that will benefit consumers and staff. That’s according to Popmenu’s nationwide study of 466 U.S. restaurant owners and operators in November 2022.
Two-thirds (65%) of restaurant owners and operators say their business has reached or surpassed pre-COVID levels, up from 55% in June 2022. Forty percent say they are very optimistic about business in 2023, up from 30% this time last year, while 54% say they’re cautiously optimistic.
“Restaurant owners and operators are feeling more confident going into 2023 as they capitalize on growing market demand and put strategies into place to weather economic shifts,” said Brendan Sweeney, CEO and Co-founder of Popmenu. “Technology has helped restaurants to mitigate challenges associated with inflation and labor gaps while also creating more revenue opportunities. You’ll see increased investment in both online and on-premise automation and digital marketing outreach in the coming year. You’ll also see a variety of strategies to keep both guests and staff engaged.”
5 Restaurant Trends to Watch in the New Year
1. More Value-Based Menus and Discounts: As grocery bills continue to climb, restaurants are positioning themselves as a more cost-effective option and offering special deals and incentives. This is good news for guests, considering that 40% of consumer food budgets go to restaurants each month, on average.
- 61% of restaurants will increase marketing in 2023; 33% of restaurants will provide more discounts and special offers
- 29% will serve up more value-based meals
2. Fewer Restaurants Raising Menu Prices: After adjusting menu prices in 2022 to combat higher food costs, fewer restaurants anticipate having to do so next year based on current market conditions.
- Although a sizeable percentage of restaurants (72%) still plan to raise menu prices in 2023, this is down significantly from 93% in 2022
- 37% plan to rotate menus to avoid foods that are growing more expensive and, in turn, avoid passing along additional costs to guests
3. More Tech-Enabled Dining Experiences: The pandemic expedited adoption of restaurant technologies that introduced faster, easier and more convenient hospitality experiences for guests and staff. Restaurants are expanding on that investment going forward.
- 55% of restaurants plan to adopt new technologies in the new year
- 60% plan to automate more online functions in 2023, up from 51% last year
- 49% plan to automate more on-premise functions in 2023, up from 41% last year
4. Automated Tipping for All Staff: In the face of an ongoing hospitality labor shortage that is costing two-thirds of restaurants $5,000 or more per month, restaurateurs are increasing pay and tip sharing to attract and keep staff.
- Nearly 1 in 5 say they plan to add an automated surcharge on checks to provide tips for all staff members in 2023
- 69% plan to increase overall compensation for staff
5. No Tolerance for Bad Guest Behavior: With staff retention being a top priority, restaurants are less likely to put up with guests who are not being respectful, regardless of guest status.
- 3 in 10 restaurants say they will have zero tolerance for guests who are rude to staff and will ask them to leave
Popmenu will be releasing its full study of 2023 Restaurant Trends to Watch in January 2023.
Popmenu conducted a nationwide, anonymous survey of 466 U.S. restaurant owners and operators from November 4 to November 18, 2022.
Popmenu specializes in transformative online and on-premise technologies that help restaurants increase brand visibility, guest engagement, revenue and profitability. The company is a leading innovator in digital marketing and ordering technology that works with over 10,000 independent restaurants and hospitality groups. For more information about Popmenu, visit get.popmenu.com.