Overall, it's shaping up to be an exciting year for the industry, with advancements in technology and new trends emerging.

The restaurant industry has faced numerous challenges in recent years, including the COVID-19 pandemic, labor shortages, and inflation. These challenges have forced many restaurants to make significant changes in order to remain profitable. As we enter 2023, there are several trends that restaurant owners should be aware of.

One of the most significant trends in the industry is the easing of labor pressure. While labor shortages are likely to continue to be a concern for restaurant operators, the U.S. labor market has shifted, making it easier for restaurants to hire workers. This could help prevent closures due to a lack of staff and make it easier for restaurant owners to find and hire teams for individual locations. This is a welcome change for many operators, who have struggled with finding and retaining staff in recent years.

Technology Advancement

Another trend to watch for in 2023 is the expansion of in-house delivery services. With the number of people using online food delivery services expected to reach 185 million by 2025, many restaurants will want to take control of the delivery experience to ensure quality and customer satisfaction, as well as to avoid third-party costs.

In-house delivery allows restaurants to maintain control over the delivery process and ensures that the food arrives at the customer’s doorstep in the best possible condition. It also allows restaurants to build a direct relationship with their customers, rather than relying on a third-party service. As a result, we can expect to see many brands expanding their in-house delivery services in 2023.

In addition, there will be continued growth in restaurant technology acquisitions, as operators look for comprehensive, integrated tech solutions. The restaurant industry hasn’t always been quick to adopt new technologies, but this has been changing. Technology can help restaurants streamline their operations, reduce costs, and improve customer experiences. Some examples of technologies that are likely to see increased adoption in 2023 include POS systems, back-of-house solutions, inventory management systems, and customer relationship management software.

There is also a growing demand for automation in restaurants, as technology solutions evolve to meet changing customer needs. Automation can help restaurants reduce labor costs, improve efficiency, and increase accuracy. Some examples of automation technologies that are likely to see increased adoption in 2023 include automated order-taking, robotic kitchen assistants, and automated cleaning systems.

Franchisors will also increasingly move to a technology fee for their franchisees, as they recognize the importance of staying current with technology in order to remain competitive. Franchisees will likely be required to pay a fee for access to the franchisor’s technology systems, which will help ensure that all locations are using the latest and most effective technologies.

Customer Experience Focus

One potential challenge for restaurants in 2023 is the possibility of a recession. While the economy has been rocky, many experts predict a recession is likely. A recession could lead to increased competition among restaurants as they seek to attract customers with fewer dollars to spend. In this environment, customer experience and loyalty will be more important than ever, as consumers become more mindful of their dining-out expenses. Restaurant operators will need to focus on providing value and delighting customers in order to turn them into loyal brand advocates.

There are several ways that restaurants can improve customer experiences and increase loyalty in 2023. One strategy is to offer promotions and discounts to encourage repeat business. This could include loyalty programs, happy hour specials, or limited time offers. Another strategy is to focus on delivering excellent customer service. This includes things like promptly addressing customer concerns or complaints, providing a clean and welcoming atmosphere, and offering personalized recommendations or suggestions.

Another way to increase customer loyalty is to focus on innovation. This could involve introducing new menu items, offering unique dining experiences, or using technology to improve the customer experience. For example, restaurants could use mobile ordering promotions or in-store-only rewards.

Overall, 2023 is shaping up to be an exciting year for the restaurant industry, with advancements in technology and new trends emerging. While there may be challenges ahead, there are also opportunities for restaurant owners to adapt and succeed in the face of changing conditions.

As always, it will be important for restaurants to stay attuned to the needs and preferences of their customers, and to continually innovate to remain competitive and profitable. As technology advances to meet up with current restaurant needs and demands, and new trends emerge, we’re excited to see how restaurateurs emerge in 2023. What tactics are your restaurants trying in 2023? We’d love to hear from you.

Greg Staley is the CEO of SynergySuite, a back-of-house restaurant management platform. Greg focuses on facilitating better visibility and increased profitability for restaurant chains through the use of intelligent, integrated back-of-house technology. For more information, please contact Greg at greg@synergysuite.com.

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