[Latest Research] Cost of Living and Changing Consumer Behavior

How has consumer behavior changed in 2022, and what does this mean for brands?

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Published June 1st 2022

The Biggest Restaurant Industry Trends for 2022

How has the restaurant industry changed this year? We found six key insights to help you stay ahead.

We took a deep dive into how consumers rate their experience of restaurants and bars based on online conversations.

Here are the trends to look out for in the restaurant industry this year.

Note: Data covers mentions in public forums and social media platforms between 1 January 2022 and 30 April 2022. 

1. The conversation has stabilized

After a turbulent start to 2022, the conversation about the food and beverage (F&B) industry has steadied. The highs and lows are much less choppy, and consumers are consistently showing similar levels of interest in restaurants and bars.

This lack of volatility suggests lockdowns and local restrictions are no longer having as much of an impact, and things are somewhat back to ‘normal’. Consumers are finding going out to eat less of a novelty, which is good news for the restaurant industry who can start to capture regular custom.

2. The downside to takeout

While takeout boomed during the pandemic, the increased interest hasn’t come without its difficulties. In our latest report, we found that takeout customers were twice as likely to have a negative experience than those choosing to dine in at a restaurant.

There is a substantial difference between the two, which is promising for restaurants who rely on customers dining in rather than taking away.

This difference might be explained by customers taking to social media to voice disappointment if something is wrong with their online order.

We offer suggestions on how businesses can act based on stats like this in our report on consumer trends in the hospitality industry.

3. Restaurants spark joy

Nearly half of emotion-categorized online mentions on going out to eat are positive, showing just how much food sparks joy for customers. From leaving a positive review to sharing photos of their experience, consumers love to share their latest outings.

The most common topics among customers are great food and great service. They are also quick to recommend restaurants which they love. Brands can jump on this by encouraging customers to share positive experiences online.

4. Monday is brunch day

Sunday brunch has nothing on Mondays. While you might expect the most popular day of the week to chat about brunch to be over the weekend, Monday takes the top spot. In fact, conversations on a Monday topped Sunday’s mentions by a huge 25%. The most popular time of day for these conversations is, unsurprisingly, midday.

This might suggest that consumers don’t always discuss their restaurant plans on the day they happen. While the most footfall might come on Saturdays and Sundays, keeping your brand's social media active throughout the weekend and into Monday is a great way to maximize consumer engagement.

5. Plant-based foods stay on top

Veganism is more popular than ever. With 10% of the US population now choosing to follow plant-based and vegetarian diets, restaurants which cater to these dietary requirements have an advantage over the competition.

An overwhelming 70% of emotion-categorized mentions about plant-based foods were joyful. From conversations about a new vegan restaurant opening up locally, to a tasty item on a menu, consumers are quick to share content on the subject. Brands will benefit from experimenting with options on the menu for those with different dietary requirements.

6. Live music is thriving

The nightlife industry is back. When looking at the conversation surrounding bars, live music was a trending topic. It seems like consumers are eager to see their favorite artists again, and bars are the place to do it.

Music makes or breaks the atmosphere in a bar, and customers know it. Advertising local bands playing at your establishment, or even offering open mic nights, could be a brilliant way to attract a new crowd and get them discussing your brand online.

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Hotels, Restaurants, and Travel: Consumer Trends Around Hospitality

How is conversation around the hospitality industry changing in 2022?.

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