The UAE restaurant industry is facing a tricky recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the aftermath of which has revolutionized not only the way restaurants operate but also the eating patterns and habits of consumers. A recovering economy, saturated retail market, and introduction of VAT have made people price and health-conscious. Given the situation, the UAE restaurants that keep up with the following consumer trends can expect to stay afloat amidst the pandemic and recover smoothly in 2021.
Top Consumer Trends In The UAE Restaurant Industry
The UAE restaurant industry has been making efforts to re-align itself with the rapidly changing consumer habits. Here are some of the key consumer trends prevalent in the UAE restaurant industry which the restaurateurs should check out!
1. Customers Have Become More Health Conscious
The advent of COVID-19 has brought many changes in customer behavior. Customers have now shifted to healthier diets to boost their immunity and overall well-being. The pool of customers adopting health-conscious diets is constantly expanding. The restaurant operators say that 57 percent of diners opt for healthier meals in restaurants today.
People have started choosing natural and organic food over popular delicacies. For example, gluten-free food and beverages or combinations of vegan and gluten-free food are gaining traction amongst customers.
2. Online Ordering Preferred Over Dining Out
Online ordering is easily the most popular trend to have emerged in the restaurant industry after the arrival of COVID-19. The UAE PRIME report states that 66 percent of the people prefer online food ordering over dining out, keeping in mind the coronavirus’s extreme effects.
The only viable option that restaurants could actually rely on to keep their sales going in case of enforced lockdowns is online order deliveries. This trend has now gained popularity and is likely to persist in the near future. Restaurateurs can make the most of this trend by keeping their online customer base satisfied by adding discounts, combos, and specials to their menu. Efficient food packaging, introducing digital loyalty programs, and fast delivery services are a plus.
3. Effective Customer Service In Demand
Effective customer service is a priority area that restaurants should focus on. The spread of COVID-19 has made customers skeptical about dining in restaurants. Therefore, the least a customer expects from a restaurant is good food quality, value for money, appropriate sanitation measures, both of their premises and staff, as well as safe home delivery.
The UAE edition of the POSist PRIME Report suggests that more than one-third of customers are particular about the service they receive and demand high-quality service. Adding healthy dishes to the menu, providing full-time customer support, and offering discounts to dissatisfied customers are some of the best practices that can be used to cater to customers effectively.
4. Influence Of Feedback And Word Of Mouth
Customer reviews spread like wildfire, especially negative ones. Existing customers recommending new restaurants to their friends and colleagues is the best possible marketing a restaurant can get. Our report highlights that 27 percent of customers are influenced by feedback and word of mouth.
It should be noted that effective customer service and feedback go hand in hand. The restaurants can benefit from it by identifying the loopholes in their service and making ongoing efforts to resolve customer grievances. Furthermore, positive feedback only enhances the restaurants’ online ratings which, in turn, will attract more customers.
The COVID-19 pandemic has spawned a lot of new challenges along with exacerbating the old ones. Follow these customer trends and plan your operations accordingly to gain the upper hand over your competitors.