The impact consumers have on the environment is astonishing. There are an estimated 728,000 tons of trash disposed of daily in the United States. Smart companies are aware of this and are putting forth the effort to provide recycled and recyclable products in their restaurants—but it’s not stopping there. Growing their own foods, building LEED certified buildings, and offering meatless menu options are all ways to reduce the carbon footprint, which is a key concern of Generation Z. Taco Bell just announced a rollout of its vegetarian menu, making it easier for vegetarians to order meatless options without having to work out a completely customized order. McDonald’s has announced plans to produce 100 percent renewable, recycled or certified packaging by 2025. The chain has alsoits tested the use of paper straws in lieu of plastic as a way to reduce the amount that end up in landfills and the ocean. For the future of consumers, green is the new black.
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Limited Time Offers
Taco Bell released its Nacho Fries for the first time in early 2018. The release was so successful, they brought it back for another round in early 2019. The idea that the item was only available for a short window entices people to “get it while it lasts”—and of course, it helped that the Nacho Fries were a crispy, spicy, cheesy, and cost-effective treat. Another brand constantly evolving its menu to offer the limited time items is Pizza Hut and its selection of crust options including Ultimate Cheesy Crust and the Pretzel Crust pizza. The limited-time offer generates excitement and impulsion.
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Whether they are using a third-party delivery service or upping their internal game to get their food to the customer, restaurants are seeing the need to offer more delivery options as consumer trends move away from the everyday dining in and more toward the need for food to be delivered to their door in a timely manner. Jimmy John’s has vowed to remain in control of its delivery practices in order to avoid the additional cost and time accrued by third-party delivery companies such as Grubhub or Uber Eats. Companies like Starbucks, however, are leveraging their partnership with Uber Eats to more easily offer delivery options to many of their stores in the U.S. as well as other countries. No matter how the food gets there, consumers like the fact that they don’t have to go to the store to pick it up.
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With a thriving economy, the restaurant world needs to up their game on technology now more than ever just to keep up. Most of the technological improvements are consumer-facing, while some investments are being made to improve production and point of sale logistics. McDonald’s seems to be leading the charge as it purchases tech companies and introduces improved technologies to all locations. The brand isn't the only one acquiring brands to help accelerate growth; companies like Pizza Hut are purchasing online ordering software and devoting a larger portion of its profits to the implementation of technology.
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Happier Employees equal Happier Customers
How do you keep your employee happy? By investing in them. Companies like Chick-fil-A are offering benefits beyond base pay. Scholarship funds and continued learning opportunities are one big perk they are offering over its competition. Additionally, 401K plans, life insurance plans and other paid medical benefits leave employees feeling appreciated. The culture surrounding the employees ties right back to how they serve the customers. If the employees are happy, then the customers are likely well cared for too and there’s less turnover and loss of productivity.
Kara Demmien is a project manager with LDG’s national Retail Design Division. The group serves clients with more than 450 stores nationwide. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org