In the past four decades, the U.S. has experienced six recessions – but only two of them precipitated a decline for the foodservice industry. While the industry is facing strains, a restaurant downturn is far from certain. As a recent Technomic report indicated, the foodservice industry has some built-in resilience because of the segments of the population it serves (education and healthcare, for example) and because it is designed to offer convenience and experiences – benefits that consumers will seek in both good times and bad. What’s more, consumers are not finding less expensive meals at grocery stores right now, so why not skip the at-home food prep and get a more interesting dining experience from a restaurant? Still, steady sales aren’t a given for restaurants in this environment and value will continue to be of high importance to consumers. Expect guests to scrutinize any unexpected fees on the bill. Delivered food may feel like an extravagance, so provide offers that make curb-side pickup or onsite dining convenient and appealing. Look at your menu and roster of limited-time offers and make sure you’re offering something memorable and different. Double down on your menu cost analysis so every item is profitable but doesn’t feel overpriced to the consumer.
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