Today, we continue our tribute to the trends that are changing the focus with the next two, extremely important, chapters: labor issues and new values in consumer meals.
In 2017, 37% of NRA (National Restaurant Association) members stated that their biggest problem was finding, training and hiring staff, which had increased by 15% compared to two years earlier. As labor inflation increased, we saw undeclared work, unpaid workers and increased costs that eventually led to the closure of businesses. To all this, if we add the huge weakness, worldwide, to find and retain talent, the focus has become a huge stock market of employees.
The very small profit margins make it difficult to increase wages, but also to differentiate labor from the competition, at the same time as employees demand better quality terms of reward. Last year, the United States faced one of the worst crises when catering workers from 50 states took to the streets in unison to demand a minimum hourly wage and the possibility of joining a union.
These pressures have created further pressure on landlords, who also have to deal with increases in business rents. The consequences were mainly in reshaping the business model of the restaurant, simplifying procedures and way of serving.
When it’s difficult to find the job you want, you need to find other, more creative ways, whether it’s a pay rise, benefits or offers that are more appealing to the employee. Digital innovation may play a role as sales move away from conventional service to other value-added propositions to optimize consumer satisfaction.
Employee reward models seem to form large chains with new benefits for expectant and new working mothers and full coverage of their salaries, care for employees’ children and health coverage.
New values in meals from consumers
As catering values shift to what consumers find most convenient, affordable and flexible in the way of serving-experience-experience, restaurants are evolving their menus to accommodate the new conditions.
We are going to see large fast food chains continue their positive course in a difficult time and market, just because they listened quickly and invested in the above values in their menus.
More than 37% of customers are looking for value-added meals, according to a study by Technomic’s Value & Pricing report. Millennials, in particular, are “thirsty” for offers, with 46% of this demographic market increasingly looking for offers. Especially the focus pieces that invest in this category of customers need to move fast and smart, since the changes we see are rapid.
And while the chains are the players who quickly discover the trends, however it is the small autonomous companies that will indicate what the customer does not want in his menus in 2019-2020. As well as the first samples of innovation starting from here, from the creative class of chefs, who are experimenting more and more with the gastronomic experience, generously giving their ideas to the rest of the market. Victory is definitely for the customer, as he is the recipient of all these changes that happen to him.
According to the NPD group, one of the biggest demands on modern menus that ultimately determine the market is the variety of home meals. This trend seems to be on the rise, a value that a restaurant can take advantage of by offering part of its menu as a packaged meal for the home. Many chains in the US, in fact, in order to enable the consumer to feel that he created the meal himself, offer meal kits, along with their classic menu.