Restaurant Owners Maintain a Positive Outlook in 2017

Coming into this year, many restaurants were struggling to grow their sales following a rough time for the industry.

Now, however, it appears restauratuers’ outlook on the industry is unphased by past sales slumps. A new report from Toast POS found that 92% of restaurant owners are optimistic for their sales and success in 2017.

The report delves into which actions restaurant owners are taking to achieve that success, specifically in the realms of marketing, social media, and technology. Of the hundreds of restaurants surveyed, the majority intend to:

  • Increase or maintain their spend on restaurant advertising.
  • Increase usage of social media and search engine ads.
  • Adopt more innovative technology for their business.

Here are some of the most noteworthy takeaways from the Toast Restaurant Success in 2017 Industry Report.

Perceived Optimism and Control

58% of restaurants report feeling optimistic for their sales in 2017, while an additional 34% are very optimistic, meaning more than 9 in 10 restaurateurs maintain a positive outlook for their sales this year. Only 6% are pessimistic, and just 2% are very pessimistic.

Part of this could be due to the level of control restaurateurs’ feel over their success. The same report found that 87% of restaurateurs say they have direct control over the success or failure of their restaurant business.

Loyalty and Online Ordering Set to Rise in Usage

24% of restaurants will start utilizing a loyalty program in 2017, and another 24% will offer online ordering this year.

Loyalty has been proven to boost customer retention and spending amounts, while customized online ordering can lead to higher check sizes compared to in-store purchases.

Perhaps the usage of these profit-generating tools are why restaurant owners feel so positive and in control this year!

Diners Lack in Innovative Tech

Compared to other restaurant concepts, diners seem to be reluctant to introduce technology into their business. Diners are the least likely restaurant concept to:

  • Operate a website
  • Leverage an email database
  • Offer a loyalty program
  • Accept mobile payment

However, some plan to turn this behavior around. Diners are the most likely concept to introduce a website and an online ordering program in 2017.

Not All Social Media is Created Equal

Restaurants love their social media. Only 4% don’t use it in any capacity. However, restaurants definitely play favorites with their social media sites.

Far and away – Facebook is the most popular social media site for restaurants. 92% of restaurants use Facebook, with 73% naming it their social media channel of choice.

The less-loved social media channels include Snapchat and YouTube. While YouTube is slated to grow the most is usage by restaurants in 2017, less than half of restaurants will be using the video-sharing site by the end of the year.

Even less adopted is Snapchat, which was not selected by any surveyed restaurant as their preferred social media channel for their restaurant business.

Goodbye to Direct Mail Ads

While direct mail ads aren’t gone for good, they’re becoming less and less popular. Less than one-third of restaurants plan in engaging in direct mail ad campaigns in 2017, representing a 6% drop compared to historical numbers.

Newspaper/Magazine advertisement is seeing a similar drop in popularity and will decrease 31% in usage this year.

Taking its place are search engine ads and social media ads, which will see 36% and 20% increase in restaurants using these methods, respectively.

Takeaways for Restaurants

As technology gains more importance in the restaurant industry – both inside of the location and online – restaurants should evaluate their current technology systems, advertisement methods, and social media strategy.

In ever-changing times, mastering all three of these systems is imperative for restaurant success.

For more details on what restaurants are doing in 2017 to achieve success, read the full Restaurant Success in 2017 Industry Report.

AJ Beltis is a Content Marketer and Blogger for Toast POS in Boston. AJ and the content team at Toast spend their time compiling resources for those in the restaurant industry dedicated to improving their business and increasing their sales.