As young restaurateurs pave the way for the future of the restaurant sector, they are keen to adapt to their customers’ and markets’ needs and are ready to make F&B an innovative and experience-centered industry. How ready are they to take on tomorrow’s challenges, such as adapting their business models to new delivery channels, digitalization or engaging in sustainability practices?
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. We've rounded up key takeaways from the study.
How young restaurateurs are adapting to new market’s and customers’ needs
Overall, young restaurateurs – below 45 years old – appear to be adapting to their clients’ expectations and to the projected shifts within the F&B industry. They show more intentions of modernization, as well as a better understanding of future restaurant industry trends.
They are open to change
Unsurprisingly, young restaurateurs indicated being more open to change with respect to their business model, which proves critical for the future, as demand for restaurant outlets leans towards diversification. Indeed, young restaurateurs are more likely than older restaurateurs to make their concept evolve towards food, service, technology and mobile (delivery and take-aways), which is one of the trends for 2030 confirmed by the study.
They understand new demand dynamics in F&B
Young restaurateurs aren’t only open to change, they know what to change. They appear to be closer to their market’s needs and expectations. For example, they know that meals are rarely taken in a family setting when delivered and that traditional dishes are a no go for delivery.
They also understand the importance of incorporating sustainable practices into their operations, such as using locally-grown and seasonal products, using non-polluting delivery means; such as bikes, or offering compostable or reusable doggy bags. Communicating about all those measures also helps customers make an informed choice and might bring a competitive advantage.
Another trend that young restaurateurs are aware of: weekday lunches. As people eat outside during working hours, they need an adapted, flexible offer around lunch time, which can notably increase revenues.
With regard to communication, young restaurateurs grasped that phone-based interactions are limited. Instead, they rather bet on digitalized communication tools: website, social media, etc. which have more impact on purchasing intention.
Areas of improvement
Customization: One area that still lags behind is linked to size customization, or addressing customers’ expectations to get more personalized offerings, including size and ingredients. Older restaurateurs are more likely to formally offer size personalization to their customers before 2030.
Food offer: Very few restaurateurs are considering offering customization for ingredients, which is one of the major forecasted changes in demand. Along the same lines, adaptation of the type of food (e.g. traditional food vs. on-the-go dishes) for new delivery channels becoming increasingly popular (take-out, home-delivery) or varying the offer to new types of cuisine, such as world cuisine should be taken into consideration more carefully by young restaurateurs when defining their business models. Restaurateurs also still believe in “business lunches”, when clients clearly state that they won’t eat out with clients. They also think family outings are as frequent as friend’s reunion at restaurants, but data suggests they aren’t.
Marketing: Websites and social channels have become ubiquitous to attract restaurant customers. Moreover, online reviews are now a staple in how restaurant goers evaluate a business. Beyond simply managing online reviews, restaurateurs could consider reward or loyalty-type programs tied to online reviews to trigger venues.
Click below to download the study booklet