There’s no denying it, 2023 was a difficult year for restaurants and bars. Consumer spending slowed down, interest rates were much higher than the previous few years, the costs of food and beverage stock increased, and staff were difficult to both find and retain.
While the start of 2024 may signal some similar feelings, the economic outlook will likely look better as we move through the year. Here in Canada, BDC is predicting that interest rates will start to drop by summer 2024 - which has been the driving force behind a global economic slowdown.
Despite the challenges that are thrown our way, the hospitality industry has shown time and time again that it is resilient. Even during times of hardship, successful restaurants and bars can implement new strategies and processes that give them a competitive edge in the market.
That’s why, in this blog, we highlight some key trends in 2024 that can help your business grow.
This blog is a summary of our guide, Top Hospitality Trends Impacting Restaurants and Bars in 2024. Interested in reading any of these trends in more detail? Click the button below and download your free version of the guide today!
1. Automation is Becoming Critical for Efficiency
Automation offers bars and restaurants the opportunity to augment their existing teams so that they are more productive, effective and accurate. The result for your business is:
- Enhanced efficiency and productivity
- Reduced errors and improved accuracy
- Cost savings
- An improved customer experience
- Data-driven decision making
Examples of automation for your restaurant or bar include the use of technologies such as an inventory management system, kitchen display system, online reservation system or employee scheduling software.
2. Inventory is an Investment into a Profitable Business
We’re sure you’re already aware that tracking your inventory is crucial when it comes to running a successful bar or restaurant. But are you doing everything you can to ensure your inventory management strategy is making your business more profitable?
Since unused inventory is lost profits, we expect restaurants and bars to put renewed importance on inventory management in 2024.
3. In-Person Support Frees Up Time for Your Team to Focus on the Important Stuff
Running a business is time-consuming, and even doubly so when that business is a restaurant or bar. Restaurant and bar owners/managers often struggle to find the time and resources required to streamline their processes.
Third-party expertise - such as the inventory support offered by Sculpture Hospitality - can help you not only access expert help that improves business profitability, but also frees up time and resources for you to focus on other important aspects of your business - like delighting your customers.
4. Reducing Food Waste is Crucial as Costs Rise
The current economy is experiencing inflation, and that means stocking your kitchen and bar is more expensive than in previous years. Cutting down on food waste could be a huge differentiator for restaurants in 2024.
Some tips to achieve reduce waste include:
- Be flexible with your menu
- Train staff on portion control
- Build relationships with your vendors and try to get more flexible ordering options
5. Inventory Management Systems and Point-of-Sale are not Competitors
While both inventory management systems and point of sale (POS) systems are integral to the smooth functioning of restaurants and bars, there's a common misconception that these two systems compete with each other.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. An inventory management system focuses on what's in stock, and a POS emphasizes what's sold - these systems are most powerful when they work in tandem. The inventory management system that you invest in should be able to integrate with your restaurant’s POS system, and vice versa.
6. AI is Beginning to Make Waves in Hospitality
Are you sick of hearing about artificial intelligence (AI)? While it was the biggest talking point in 2023, we see no reason why that would stop in 2024. In fact, AI has a wide range of applications in the hospitality industry, including:
- Menu optimization
- Personalized menu recommendations
- Enhanced customer service
- Predictive maintenance of equipment
- Food safety monitoring
- And so much more!
7. More Must be Done to Mitigate Lost Business During Extreme Weather Events
There has been a “staggering rise” in the number of extreme weather events over the past 20 years, driven largely by rising global temperatures and other climatic changes, according to a report from the United Nations.
From 2000 to 2019, there were 7,348 major natural disasters around the world. By comparison, the previous 20-year period - 1980-1999 - had 4,212 natural disasters.
Continuing to operate safely during unpredictable weather conditions must now be an important strategy for any bar or restaurant owner.
8. The Declining Customer Experience in Hospitality Represents an Opportunity
A majority of diners report diminishing guest experience because of labour shortages at restaurants, according to a recent consumer survey from HungerRush. This, however, opens up an opportunity for savvy restaurateurs to focus on the customer experience as a differentiator.
By putting additional emphasis on delighting customers, restaurants and bars have a real opportunity to reverse the decline in customer experience and set new industry standards that put their business a step ahead of the competition.
Want to read about these bar and restaurant trends in more detail? Download your free copy of Top Hospitality Trends Impacting Restaurants and Bars in 2024 today. Alternatively, reach out to the Sculpture Hospitality team of experts today, we would love to help your business become more profitable.