Diners are looking for memorable restaurant experiences

As the foodservice industry continues to evolve, studies show that there has been a long-term shift in what customers are looking for when they dine out. Whether it’s as a result of the pandemic or has more to do with spending dollars wisely amid inflation, diners are looking for meaningful, lasting experiences from restaurants.

Restaurants need to deliver on that expectation, and that means factoring in costs, loyalty, and employee retention to differentiate themselves in today’s especially crowded marketplace.


As inflation continues, some operators worry that if dining is moving away from convenience, that traffic will slow as customers save up for those bigger experiences. In some cases, this will mean making some adjustments to recoup any losses as the industry shifts. From menu engineering to marketing models to regulating price points, restaurants will need to work to stay profitable while ensuring a perceived value to their customers.

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Building loyalty is more important than ever, as operators compete to keep customers coming back. Using your loyalty program to get to know your guests, offering desired rewards, and building your membership is how you can leverage loyalty to help with your profits. McDonald’s reports bringing in 15 per cent more income from its loyalty program, so there is an opportunity to get ahead if you can offer value and get attention for your loyalty program.


In order to deliver an exceptional experience, you need staff you can rely on, so retention is critical for restaurant success. As labour shortages continue, restaurants need to prioritize their teams and look for ways to stand out as a desirable employer to attract and keep top talent. Programs that help staff grow their knowledge and rise up the ladder, providing training on innovation, and offering rewards for attaining performance goals will help differentiate your restaurant for potential candidates and existing team members.

Think about your team as being just as important as your guests, the ambassadors who help you build your brand and customer relationships. Investing in your team and keeping them interested and enthusiastic helps you deliver the dining experience your guests are looking for.

While the foodservice industry has always been about creating an experience for your guests, today’s diners have raised the bar, looking for special, standout experiences that will have them coming back. Restaurants will need to adjust their approach to stand out and develop long-term relationships with their guests that will have them returning for years to come.