customer expectations vs restaurant offering

May 15, 2019 •

3 min reading

Should Restaurateurs Change Their Offerings For 2030?

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Despite a mostly conservative vision concerning their experience at a restaurant for 2030, Swiss consumers do want to see drastic changes in some areas, mainly related to customization. Are restaurateurs aware and ready to respond to their clients’ expectations? A new study provides insights and recommendations for restaurateurs and F&B professionals.

Based on its 2018 study conducted with over a thousand Swiss residents - customers, restaurateurs and field experts - EHL’s SAVIVA F&B Chair investigated the future of Swiss restaurants. The study reveals significant changes in demand for 2030 and provides recommendations for restaurateurs and F&B professionals. In this article, we look into the new trends that restaurateurs should consider while preparing to upgrade their offering.

Major trend: Personalization

One of the biggest F&B trends revealed from this study is that Swiss consumers would like to be able to customize their meals while dining out at restaurants.

A staggering 88% of the survey’s participants said they would like to order customizable meals by 2030, which means that restaurateurs must find ways to respond to this new market demand.

What can be customized?

Ingredients: according to the study, 40% of Swiss consumers want their meals to be customized when it comes to the ingredients. This trend has arisen due to people’s growing dietary constraints nowadays, but also due to the fact that people are getting used to customization when buying goods and services.

Size: a lower percentage (34% of Swiss consumers) want to be able to select the size of their meal as well. Small, medium and big sizes should become an available option on restaurants’ menus by 2030. This may also enhance restaurants’ waste management.

Preparation: the Swiss would also like to decide how their meal will be prepared, for example, if they would like to have a soup, a salad, a wok or a gratin with the suggested ingredients. This is an interesting option to consider.

The key point for restaurateurs: by 2030, prepare to offer multiple options to clients when it comes to customization of meals, including ingredients, size and preparation. Restaurateurs should focus on one or more areas of customization, while in a few years, meals will be 100% customized to each customer’s nutritional needs and constraints.


Download the FOOD SERVICES IN 2030: SWITZERLAND report


Other trends to consider

Word-of-mouth recommendation is key

Swiss consumers select restaurants primarily based on word-of-mouth and only use tools such as geolocated search or evaluation websites at a secondary level. The main factors influencing the choice of a restaurant over another is primarily the customer’s previous experiences (50% of respondents) and their current mood (36% of respondents).

The key point for restaurateurs: offer a great experience to every customer, be visible on digitalized maps and monitor online reviews.

Pleasure-oriented meal

Swiss go to restaurants to treat themselves with a pleasure-oriented meal which focuses on the sensory experience. In addition, they prefer traditional Swiss cuisine at a restaurant while they are keener on world cuisine for delivery and takeaway.

The key point for restaurateurs: Swiss people select mainly pleasure-oriented meals and prefer traditional cuisine at a restaurant.

Convivial eating

Restaurants remain places of conviviality as the Swiss are mostly accompanied by their significant other, their friends or their families when eating out. On the other hand, business meals are in decline.

The key point for restaurateurs: the atmosphere of a restaurant should be adapted for convivial eating throughout the whole day, including lunchtime.

Ordering and payment at the restaurant

Full and fast casual service at the table remains the popular choice among Swiss consumers who are, however, inclined to use terminals more broadly within the fast food industry by 2030.

Based on the survey, Swiss people prefer fixed pricing over dynamic or free pricing in the F&B industry and they would rather pay at the end of their meal. When it comes to the means of payment, a credit card is their preferred option with cash coming second, while they also show an interest in digital options such as contactless payment and payment through biometrical identification.

The key point for restaurateurs: terminals could be used more broadly in the future, especially within the fast food industry, to cut down on human resources costs but also as a way of integrating upselling or cross-selling suggestions automatically.

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Former coordinator of the Saviva Food and Beverage Chair at EHL