Inflation and rising costs of food and labor have been challenging for restaurants, where profit margins are notoriously thin even in the best of times. This issue is impacting establishments at all price points and concept styles. While raising prices is one clear, and often necessary, way of mitigating costs, you can only go so far without negatively affecting guest count or damaging your brand. As consumers cut back on their frequency of eating out, value perception remains critical at all levels of dining. That does not necessarily mean you need to offer a $5 meal or a heavily discounted deal. Value means offering something more than your customers would expect for the given price, and many operators report that their guests are willing to pay more as long as their food, beverage, and service all meet or exceed expectations.
Here are a few creative ways that operators are providing perceived value to help drive traffic amid inflation.
Leith Steel is senior strategist and head of insights Carbonate a brand communications and creative services agency specializing in lifestyle, food, beverage, hospitality, and food technology.