MERGE Insights

Revamping the Restaurant Experience: Predicting the future of quick service and casual dining

BY: Nicole Turner | Executive Vice President, Client Service

PUBLISHED: 5/12/2023

The food service industry is in the midst of a "restaurant experience reset,” providing brands with an opportunity to reassess which restaurant models and approaches will keep hold as trends and which will lose relevance as short-lived fads. Below, we take a closer look at a handful of in-store/onsite and digital customer experiences that are likely to stay, along with those we predict will fade away.

 

Here to Stay: Trends we expect to stand the test of time

Smaller dining footprints, scannable technology, app usage, personalized data, and third-party operator (3PO) delivery are trends that are expected to stay. The reason? These trends help restaurant brands increase speed of service, simplify operations, strengthen brand loyalty beyond the meal, offer personalized promotions and rewards, create seamless customer experiences, and adapt to changing consumer habits in a more agile manner.

 

Will Fade Away: Recent fads on the way out 

Some restaurant brands began toying with the concept of "mega" drive-thrus, placing too much emphasis and square footage against what would be feasible system-wide. With that, things like double-decker drive-thrus may fade away or be confined to experience stores or test concepts. The rise of QR code menus also figures to be a trend that diminishes with time. Though they arrived on the scene in a fever rush, QR code menus ultimately take away from the traditional dining event where physical menus remain a cornerstone of that experience. Brands are also facing obstacles with personalized data, despite being data-rich, as they often lack the proper insights to tell a cohesive, meaningful story with the information at their disposal. Additionally, 3PO delivery companies, while firmly established as a component of the food service industry moving forward, will be pushed to level up customer service and adapt their fee structures to restaurant brands.

 

Hungry for more?

From dining footprints to QR codes, see which food service trends are here to stay, and which will fade away. Tune in to our on-demand webinar featuring top industry veterans to learn more.