Restaurant Challenges in 2019

The time has come, believe it or not, when we look back at the challenges and triumphs we faced in 2018 and prepare for the coming new year—a fresh start filled with unlimited potential. As restaurant operators, now is the time to take a look at what worked for your establishment this last year and what areas you know could be improved. Let’s look at a few of this industry’s greatest upcoming challenges and how restaurants are addressing them.

Toast’s 2018 Restaurant Success Report revealed the following statistics:

  1. 66% of American consumers say they are more likely to visit a restaurant that offers locally sourced food items.

Finding alternative sources for raw product can be challenging. Educated consumers know, however, that farm-fresh and locally sourced food means nutritious food with fresh flavors that have not had to travel 1500 miles from field to market. Check out farmer’s markets, talk to local growers and farmers, and find out if there is a Restaurant Supported Agriculture (RSA) group in your area.

  1. The top three food trends at full service restaurants are new cuts of meat, street food-inspired dishes, and healthy kids’ meals.

Those in the restaurant industry that embrace innovation and stay out in front of the minute-by-minute changes have the best chance at continued success. Consider which of these three food trends you may be able to implement with relative ease, and then make the change.

  1. 58% of diners sometimes or always use mobile pay at a restaurant, but only 22% of restaurants offer mobile pay or payment through an app.

Mobile payment apps not only speed up the payment process, they also allow you to set up a rewards program. For those with security concerns, mobile payments using the near field communication (NFC) chip technology offers a high level of security because no card information is exchanged.

  1. When placing an online order, a guest is more likely to use a restaurant’s website than a third-party site.

Partnering with a third-party online ordering and delivery company such as GrubHub can be expensive. For a sponsored listing site, commissions can be as high as 20% or more. Delivery may add on another 10%. On the other hand, creating a branded ordering experience on your website is easy to integrate, far less expensive, and appeals to the masses. Businesses such as MenuDrive and iMenu360 will build an interactive online menu that includes payment plans that connect to your POS system.

  1. The most common platform for restaurant advertising was social media. 92% of restaurants used Facebook while only 10% of restaurants took advantage of YouTube.

Whether due to privacy issues or expanded content on other sites, consumers are shifting away from Facebook and turning to sites such as Instagram and YouTube. While you may have a page on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, if you’re not posting engaging content on a consistent basis, you’re really not doing your social media marketing campaign justice. In fact, it may be best for you to return to email.  

If the thought of posting photos, recipes, and experiences on a daily basis leaves you breathless, take a second look at that great staff of yours. I can pretty much guarantee that there lurks a social media whiz underneath the guise of a server, host, or prep-cook. They’ll enjoy the extra bonus and you’ll be thrilled at handing over one more tedious task. If you need some help getting started check out our previous article Social Media 101 for Restaurants

2019 is just around the corner. What changes can you implement that will make this year your best yet? Now is the time to begin.


  • Subscribe to our latest insights

Are you capital raise ready?