8 Restaurant Trends to Help Boost Sales

Are you looking for ways to boost your restaurant sales? There are many popular trends happening right now that offer easy ways to connect with more customers. From incorporating fresh, local foods and farm-to-table ingredients, to understanding the millennial customer, to making sure your employees are happy there are many simple yet trendy ways to improve your restaurant. 

Farmer's Markets and Local Foods

Woman selling local produce at a farmer's market.
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Local foods have dominated the annual Culinary Forecast, published by the National Restaurant Association. People associate better value and healthy choices to local foods. Restaurants can add value to their menu by using local food vendors. This has helped the rise of Farm to Table in restaurants, as well. 

Healthy Meal Options

Healthy meal of rice and veggies in a bowl on a table.
Enrique Díaz / 7cero / Getty Images

Along with local foods, healthy food options, including right-sized portions, is another area of growing importance among customers. Does that mean you should cut French fries and onion rings off your pub menu? No. But you should consider adding low-fat, low-calorie options like lean cuts of meat and poultry, fish, and smaller portion sizes (at smaller prices).

Artisan Cocktails

Bartender working behind a fancy bar.

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Handcrafted, barrel-aged, locally sourced...all of these terms are popping up on drink menus across the country. In the race to be the trendiest bar in town, mixologists are creating new cocktails based on classic drinks. With low overhead and great food cost, cocktails, beer, and wine are a great way to boost restaurant sales. 

Fermented Foods

Tofu with Kimchi in a dish on a table.

KFoodaddict / Flickr

One of the most popular food trends at the moment is fermenting. This ancient food preparation technique offers a salty-savory flavor that compliments many different dishes. Popular worldwide, fermenting is used to make everything from cheese​ to bread, to sauerkraut. A bonus of fermented foods is that they are typically inexpensive, ideal for keeping food costs down and profits up. 

Smaller Menus

Small cut of chicken plated artfully on a dining table.

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 Bigger isn't always better when it comes to a restaurant menu. In an effort to control costs, many big chains have cut down the number of items on their menu and dropped items that don't fit with their brand. Olive Garden and McDonald's have both trimmed menus in an effort to save money and improve service. As an independent restaurant, the same principles apply.

Happy Employees

Happy chef smelling fresh herbs.

Restaurant Nuovo Antica Roma / Pixabay

Great customer service starts with happy, engaged employees. Are you a good restaurant owner or manager? Do your employees enjoy coming to work? Do everything you can to create a happy workplace that is both fun and profitable. 

Millennial Diners

Millennial man taking a picture of his food before eating it at a restaurant.

Hinterhaus Productions / Getty Images 

The Millennial generation (those born between 1980-2000ish) is the largest US demographic. Comprised of people in their late teens to their early thirties, the Millennials are reshaping American business. For the restaurant industry, Millennials have their own distinct dining preferences. From the type of food they eat to how to market to them, Millennial dining trends are changing the way we eat out.

Restaurant Food Trucks

Foodtruck selling hot dogs parked on the street.

stu_spivack / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Food trucks are often an alternative to starting a traditional brick-and-mortar restaurant. However, many restaurants are rolling out their own food trucks as a way to reach more customers. If you have the resources and infrastructure to run a restaurant and a food truck, this is a great way to bring your food to the people. 

Restaurants in Review

2019 saw several important trends in dining grow even bigger. Farm to table, local foods, and the Millennial customer are three areas that can build restaurant success. Other areas to look at include restaurant food trucks, right-sized menus, and employee engagement. Some trends are timeless, others are bit more of a fad, but all are important right now.