An increased focus on delivery, the elevation of vegetarian and vegan concepts, embracing automation and finding ways to operate in smaller areas are just a few predictions from several executives leading fast casual brands. Jenelle Brown, VP of operations and training, Uncle Maddio’s Predictions:
As the demands of the consumer continue to support off-premise you will continue to see operators make adjustments in current models as well as the ideation phase of new design. I would also predict brands will focus on value-engineering their build-out to maximize space and minimize square feet as most fast casual concepts are competing for the same real estate. Technology will continue to play an amplified role in driving sales and traffic. This will be at the forefront of loyalty programs and social media strategies as they remain a primary sales tactic and will allow for consistent communication to guest databases, segmentation and benchmark the ROI of campaigns. Integration into POS systems with arching technology, such as third-party delivery, mobile apps, digital gift cards and reward redemption. While everyone looks to keep their COGS in line or below industry standards while simplifying operations and the guest experience menu trends will shift. Cross utilizing skus , extending the promotion of LTOs and celebrating current menu items will become more prevalent. For example, Uncle Maddio’s Pizza recently launched calzones. This is a great way to celebrate our house-made dough and fresh ingredients in an exciting way.