Different threats and risks seem to be invading the offices of the main leaders in the restaurant industry sector in the US, as an interesting study made by the consultant L.E.K. Consulting.
Increasing labor costs, rising food prices, he increased competition through retail and selling food online, They appear to be the major concern of the great industry leaders. These affect the margins of their companies and the future viability of their business.
The consultancy surveyed 230 Leaders of the main operators of restaurants and food services to measure the pulse of the sector in the US.
They detected the existence of a concern on the part of these leaders that threatened the continued growth achieved during a decade by the restaurant industry. This even led to the sector from March of 2015 to grow above the supermarket industry or retail sales in the US.
Despite the general optimism, since three-quarters of respondents expects growth professional increase the next three years compared with the previous three, recognize that They will face new strategies and new competitors costs for growth to continue.
The 5 main challenges of the restaurant industry:
1.- Increase in the cost of raw materials or food
He 40% leaders said the rising food prices is the main risk facing the sector, They expect these to increase over the 2% annually over the next three years.
2.- Rising labor costs
He 38% He said the increased labor costs It was also a major concern for industry growth in the coming years, which has caused many traders are decreasing full-time contracts and the number of hours employees.
3.- Increased competition
A 21% of respondents see a major threat in the prepared food that customers can buy in supermarkets and grocery stores, mainly because the cost of food in restaurants have grown 2,7% at 2016. Conversely, in shops and supermarkets they are in a deflationary process if it continues the next few years can generate a competitive disadvantage for the very important sector.
4.- Threat of new digital consumer trends
The online food stores, the new trend of orders at home and buying food kits over the Internet They will be a threat to their business over the next three years. Of particular concern is the incursion in the field of technology companies such as the example of Amazon Fresh.
5.- Increased demands for food security
Another area of particular concern to large operators is the resource burden of maintaining the past food standards, imposed to prevent events like those that occurred by outbreaks of E.coli bacteria in Chiplote. These changes require them to adapt many procedures to ensure the highest quality ingredients and ensure the perfect preservation of the entire supply chain.
Solutions to be competitive in the restaurant industry
Faced with these five major challenges for the next three years, solutions recommended by the top leaders to remain competitive respondents are the following:
- More innovation in menus:
The clientele is increasingly demanding ingredients with letters and restaurant menus. Traders see it an opportunity to offer those products that claim to improve your experience and the loyalty of new customers. In fact, the 44% They said they see in the incorporation of healthy and nutritious food an important way to increase sales over the next three years and the 36% He said it would particularly focus on local ingredients.
- Increased innovation processes:
Through research and implement new processes to achieve reduce costs that are likely to grow in coming years. Some are re-negotiating contracts with suppliers to seek more favorable terms or even international partners that allow them to be more efficient, others are relying on food companies to better control prices, buying food in a preparation phase after saving them labor costs in handling thereof.
- Customizing dishes:
Find new niche markets that allow operators to reduce their raw material costs and improve the customer experience. We came in the era of ultra-personalization where customers will be able to build your own dish, that allows them to adapt to their nutritional needs and avoid food waste.
- The Foodservice increasingly become closer to the retail:
With the growth of retail concepts that will invade food sale to consumers, restaurant operators will have to consider the possibility of approaching sales techniques in this sector, completing its traditional offering with labeled with the quality of your brand but packaged for a quick sale that allows them to increase their income and subtract consumer customers of retail food products.
It seems that no doubt we face a complex scenario in the coming years where new competitors are taking significant positions in the sector, customers have increased and outsourced their moments of consumption and emergence of new forms of access to food, where the digital processing allows customers now are those who put the context of the place and how they want to consume foods.
maybe We began a new era where a large percentage of the daily diet of the population in developed countries no longer passes through cooking, understood from the classical or traditional concept, if not access the multiple options that this environment offers us today to get feed differently.