It’s obvious that prices have increased quite a bit over the last several months. A few weeks back in our Navigating Inflation article, we gave some insight on ways to successfully run your restaurant and turn a profit amid rising costs. This week we will take a look at how customers are responding to these higher prices and what that means for your restaurant.
During the pandemic, we saw the number of customers who were dining in or ordering takeout rise and fall as different variances of the virus came and went. Numbers were on the rise in 2022 as people began to really feel a sense of safety and the overwhelming need to get out and socialize. Then inflation hits and we saw numbers begin to fall in November and December of last year.
Here is where some good news comes in. The U.S. Census Bureau showed a spike in sales volume in January and it seems that people value a meal outside the home and will adjust their budget accordingly. Of course it took some time for customers to observe how inflation was going to impact their home, but it appears that dining out is a priority and inflation is not slowing customers down. So with the last three years of numbers going up and down, we are now in the 3rd year and it seems dining out or ordering to-go is going to stick around.
Restaurants have done a great job of recognizing the impact of inflation and have come up with ways to best serve their customers, such as offering loyalty programs through apps or other special promotions to keep customers coming back. So what does this mean for restaurants if customers have accepted inflation costs and have come to terms that prices will not go down? Should they stop offering all of the promos and loyalty rewards? Not at all. These are great ways to keep customers coming back, build relationships and show that you care. Continue to serve your customers well, so when they want to eat out, they will choose your restaurant. Spring and summer are on the horizon which means many people who have been cooped up this winter will be ready to get out, enjoy the sunshine and dine out, even with the rising prices!