F&B InsightsRestaurant Trends

Igniting Passion: Restaurants Incorporate Greenery Producing More of the Green Stuff

Have you ever stopped for a moment, looked around, and wondered, “How did I get here?” It’s a common human phenomenon, one driven by our fast-paced lifestyle. We go on autopilot to accomplish the many tasks in a day and, before you know it, days have turned into weeks that encompass years. 

While this mental framework helps to get things done, it can leave passion in its wake. The ordinary takes hold, and you forget what ignited your drive in the first place. One of the best approaches to rekindling your excitement is change. Of course, some people take this to the extreme with a new location, an entirely new menu, or a new concept. 

You can, however, take smaller, incremental steps that can add energy and vitality to your restaurant and you. Let’s explore some of the possibilities, and the latest trends shaping the restaurant industry that can relight the spark.

The Biophilic Restaurant Design

While the concept of biophilic design started almost 40 years ago, it’s currently gaining traction across restaurants, along with sustainable practices. In essence, the biophilic design incorporates nature. It includes more plants, vertical gardens or living walls, and the use of skylights and large windows to maximize natural light. 

Some incorporate the latest high-performance LED lights that mimic sunlight, transitioning throughout the day as they mirror the changing light of the world outside. Much of the design incorporates natural elements, such as wood, earth (rock), water, metal, and fire.

At Tac/Quila, a restaurant in Palm Springs, a living wall brings cascading ferns, flowers, and grasses to this hip Mexican eatery. Other restaurants grow vertical gardens from which they gather greens and herbs.

Improving Margins

If anything can excite the senses, it’s improving margins and reducing costs! BJ’s Restaurants Q4 report and conference call revealed ways the brand has identified cost-saving opportunities. In 2022, the brand developed a margin improvement initiative that is working. Their goal is to return their margins to 16%, a worthy goal.

Some of their cost-reducing strategies include improving employee retention. This one act cuts costs in training and overtime while improving their net promoter scores. In Q4, retention of both hourly staff members and managers improved compared to last year.

One of their keys to improving retention lies in menu simplification. This act enhances labor efficiency and makes for a happier BOH. They removed non-core menu items that increased the complexity of preparation, serving, and inventory. Their “three-year” culinary strategy is to upgrade half of their menu in a manner that provides a visual wow factor for their guests. 

They also realize the importance of ambiance to their guests’ experience, remodeling 36 units and looking at 130 additional partial remodels. As with many casual dining concepts, BJ’s is experiencing a softening consumer in Q4, with a slowdown in both onsite and off-premise dining. They remain focused on upgrading their dining and bar area experience through their remodeling process and other targeted areas, believing this strategy creates an affinity for their brand.

BJ’s Restaurants unlocked over $35 million of cost savings annually by reducing food, labor, operating, and occupational costs. Impressive. 


Why have I lost motivation for my restaurant?

Sometimes, the day-to-day challenges and tasks can lead to burnout and losing sight of why you started your restaurant in the first place. Was it a love of meals shared, creating an incredible experience, or the simple joy of cooking? Remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing, and then focus on the aspects you really love. 

A common denominator among entrepreneurs is holding on to the reigns too tightly. A restaurant’s success is a group endeavor. Find people you trust to perform the tasks that leave you drained. Then, focus on the aspects of the business that bring you joy. 

As Will Rodgers said, “Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” 

What is the number one reason restaurants fail?

According to a study by Cornell University some years ago, one main reason restaurants fail is because of lack of a clear vision. In a restaurant, almost every aspect revolves around that pinpoint clarity, including your concept, menu, service, design, and marketing.

As BJ’s Restaurants noted, much of their vision revolves around their menu, including simplifying and creating items that provide a wow factor for guests. Are you wondering about some of the strategies other restaurants across the nation are taking as they redesign their menus? 

F&B Insights offers an opportunity to look at thousands of nationwide menus, all on one platform. Check out pricing, menu strategies, and layouts, and receive alerts when restaurants in your area make changes. To learn more about F&B Insights, including menu pricing, monetization, and education, sign up for the free 15-day trial!

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