Nation’s Restaurant News has begun a wonderful new series of interviews with representatives from the NPD Group, which will explore how the restaurant industry is recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. Our restaurant consultants expect all of this anticipated information to be highly useful for restaurant owners, managers and other operators.
For example, this week, in conversation with David Portalatin, a foodservice industry advisor from NPD, NRN examined new customer psychology and behavior. According to Portalatin, while sales numbers are up within the restaurant industry, matching pre-pandemic numbers, the data is still different from pre-pandemic sales.
According to the article, “Sales were up despite customer visits being down 7% compared with June 2019, he added. He attributes that to the fact that consumer behavior changes during the pandemic have led to more group meal occasions and higher check averages across the industry.”
Understanding how customer behavior is changing is an important part of adjusting to guests’ needs to enhance their experience.
Portalatin notes that another factor in dining-out changes is that consumers learned how to cook at home during the quarantine. “ “If you look at the grocery sales data, for example, grocery sales are still up double digits versus two years ago,” he told NRN.
This suggests a special attention to menu development at your restaurant establishment, offering specialized items that guests would prefer not to prepare on their own. All of our consultants are experts in menu development.
Richard Weil principal of National Restaurant Consultants describes the specific business need in menu development as “a leading way to gain a competitive advantage, attract and retain customers and most important to stay at the top of the minds of consumers now and for the future”.
It is encouraging to see numbers up across the industry, and it is still important to be aware of the challenges that exist. Our restaurant consultants look beyond the initial numbers to understand the data that is out there. We understand what restaurant patrons are looking for, and we can pass that information along to our clients to make sure that your restaurant achieves success, even in this fluctuating environment.