Trend: Today’s Consumers value mastering a moment, particularly when it involves the unexpected. Nearly 70% say it is extremely/very important that others see them as someone who takes things in stride; 47% give their skills at handling whatever life throws their way very high marks.
Opportunity: Restaurants that can respond to consumers’ curve balls – a table of four becoming six; an unexpected announcement of food allergies; last-minute reservations or late arrivals, etc. – will have a competitive advantage. Put contingencies in place – tables that are easily converted or combined, a real-time table inventory available online, bar seating for walk-ins, relationships with nearby restaurants to manage overflow, etc., and ensure efficient communications throughout the front and back of the house. Providing a safety net for the unexpected extends off-premise – be the go-to resource for meals with great take-out systems, dishes available for last-minute gatherings, etc.
Caution: Make sure you are prepared for internal curve balls. Customer counts expand and contract, but so can staff, so consider cross-training people to step in and/or an on-call system. Above all, empower staff to think on their feet and reward resourcefulness in finding on-demand solutions.