‘Toast’ing the Sweet Smell of Restaurant Success

The common consensus for 2016? Most restaurants were ready for a fresh start in the new year.

Now we’re a third of the way through 2017, and restaurants seem to be on a better path towards success.

According to Toast’s Restaurant Success in 2017 Industry Report, 92 percent of restaurateurs are optimistic for their sales in 2017, while 86 percent feel in control of their success.

The release covers the plans of more than 400 restaurant owners, managers, and leaders for achieving restaurant success in 2017. Areas covered include marketing & advertising, technology, social media, and more.

Here are some of the key findings from the report. 

Competition is Growing, But Most Aren’t Phased

When asked to describe the restaurant industry in one word, most restaurateurs said it was either “challenging” or “competitive.” Despite this, the vast majority of restaurateurs feel positive about 2017 (92 percent) and in control of their success (86 percent).

The report also goes in depth on the growing presence of technology in restaurants, as well as shifts in advertising spend in 2017. With these more innovative and business-focused decisions, restaurants are seeing a lucrative 2017 despite fierce competition down the street (or even next door).

Fine Dining Restaurants Embrace Technology, Diners Lag

While technology is being utilized by the majority of all restaurants, fine dining establishments are embracing this innovation more than any other concept. As of this year, fine dining restaurants are the most common restaurant type to have a website, keep a customer email database, offer gift cards, and accept online reservations.

On the contrary, diners are the least likely concept to leverage technology to achieve success. They lag in website usage, email lists, loyalty programs, and mobile payment.

When it comes to newer restaurant technology like kiosks and tablets, bars lead the charge as the most likely to leverage these innovative features.

Facebook Remains the King of Social Media

While YouTube and Snapchat will see a surge of growth in restaurants this year, it won’t be enough to tackle Facebook. 92 percent of restaurants use Facebook, with 73 percent of them naming it their most-used social media tool. Balancing text, visuals, and sponsored posts, Facebook was the clear favorite for restaurants.

Only four percent of restaurants report not using social media at all, reinforcing the necessity for restaurants to leverage this tool to compete with other businesses for the attention of restaurant-goers.

Speaking of social media …

Restaurant Social Media to Increase by 20 percent in 2017

Social media has become the advertising method of choice for restaurant owners, with 75 percent of restaurateurs declaring an intention to promote their business on social media this year. This option displaced community/event sponsorship, which is now the second-most popular advertising method of choice for restaurants.

Direct mail and television ads will see a drop in frequency this year in favor of digital and online ads. However, overall ad spend will increase for restaurants in 2017 according to the report.

Restaurant Success in 2017

Restaurants are recovering well and are taking purposeful action to make sure 2017 is a year of growth in technology, sales, and success. Will your restaurant be doing the same this year?

To see the full report, download a copy of the Toast Restaurant Success in 2017 Industry Report for free and learn what other restaurants are doing to make 2017 a successful year.