It’s something restaurant operators have had to prioritize in recent months: making the overall experience they offer feel worthwhile for guests. In a recent episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive,” the consumer strategist Lisa Miller covered how consumers perceive the value of restaurants right now – and her research shows that operators may need to keep working to make their experience feel like a good value to guests. In her monthly surveys of consumers, Miller has found that a growing number of consumers feel their restaurant visits are not worthwhile. What’s more, over half of consumers get sticker shock when they visit quick-service restaurants, where prices have jumped 30 percent since the pandemic. She says operators need to make employee training a priority to help deliver experiences to guests that feel worth the price they’re paying. Still, the math may not work out for some restaurant businesses – or it may simply look better if the business model is somehow reimagined. For example, it may not be a coincidence that more restaurant hybrid business models are emerging right now. In recent weeks, the Chicago-based retailers Foxtrot Market and Dom's Kitchen & Market, which offer both fresh meals and groceries, announced they would be merging to form Outfox Hospitality. It’s among the latest examples of foodservice businesses that are trying to continue to offer what restaurants do best while providing options that can elevate home cooking. As more grocery and convenience stores offer higher-quality foods, restaurants that step into this space may be able to showcase the value they offer while minimizing the overhead of conventional restaurant models.