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Starr Douglas, CEO of FrontHouz, Predicts Restaurant Trends for 2024

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As the highly dynamic restaurant industry emerges from an era characterized by disruption and uncertainty, the focus is now redirected toward future opportunities and innovations. Technology and consumer preferences continue to reshape the industry, restaurants need to be poised to experience changes that will radically improve business efficiency, customer experience, and profitability. Starr Douglas, restaurant expert and Founder of FrontHouz, shares six key predictions on how the industry will adapt this year.

Adoption of Gig Workers 

First and foremost, the adoption of gig workers to cover shifts that are short-staffed or when restaurants need more personnel for larger special events will likely be witnessed. Platforms like FrontHouz are set to lead this trend, offering the coveted solution for restaurants that are presently grappling with staffing issues. Hailed as “a must-have tech solution for restaurants that are short-staffed,” FrontHouz transcends the gig economy, allowing restaurants to find and train staff on the menu and floor plan before their shifts. This innovation holds the potential to alleviate the burden of training and talent acquisition costs, paving the way for reduced overhead expenses and enhanced operational efficiency.

Reviving Personal Touch: Moving Away from QR Codes

The second major prediction is the elimination of QR codes from restaurant tables for menu access. Restaurant-goers are increasingly expressing a preference for personal interaction rather than the impersonal interface of QR codes. There is a shared sentiment that restaurant dining should offer a rich experience that combines excellent food, wonderful ambiance, and warm interactions with staff. By ditching QR codes, restaurants can reclaim the personalization of their service, tethering the dining experience to human connections and guest experience.

The Decline of Ghost Kitchens: A Return to Traditional Dining

Furthermore, the prevalent ghost kitchen trend, capitalized on by third-party apps like DoorDash and Uber Eats, is anticipated to taper off. Initially established as a response strategy during the pandemic to keep businesses afloat, ghost kitchens momentarily enjoyed popularity among restaurants. However, as in-person dining rebounds and regains its appeal, people are gravitating back towards enjoying meals amid the buzz and environment of a physical restaurant.

Technological Advancements: Steering Toward Efficient Operations

Starr also forecasts an industry-wide investment into new technologies, catapulting restaurants into a new realm of efficiency. By replacing outdated POS systems with newer, more reliable technology, daily operations can be significantly reformed. Cutting-edge digital solutions can offer impressive proficiency for scheduling, food waste management, POS systems, and other areas of operation. By streamlining these crucial tasks, restaurants can enhance the dining experience while reducing overhead costs.

The Upward Trajectory of Menu Prices

The restaurant industry is bracing for a noticeable uptrend in menu prices, a reflection of the broader economic landscape. Factors such as inflation, the rising cost of ingredients, and a shift towards sustainable and ethically sourced produce are driving this adjustment. Restaurants are weaving these price changes into their narratives, emphasizing quality, sustainability, and the culinary journey. 

Elevating the Dining Experience with Craft Cocktails

Parallel to economic adjustments, the restaurant industry is experiencing a surge in the popularity of craft cocktails (hint: espresso martinis!) This trend elevates the traditional beverage menu, offering a unique blend of artistry, flavor, and presentation. Craft cocktails entice potential guests with vibrant flavors and visual appeal but also with a presentation and incredible execution by skilled mixologists. As they carry higher profit margins, craft cocktails represent both a nod to the sophistication of modern dining and a savvy business strategy. 

Looking ahead, 2024 promises to bring essential growth and transformative opportunities for the restaurant industry. While these predictions paint a picture of change, they also underscore the industry’s resilience and adaptability to meet customers’ needs consistently. Companies like FrontHouz stand ready to usher restaurants into a future where tech-infused efficiency blends seamlessly into anticipated personalized dining experiences. 

Published by: Nelly Chavez

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