Turns out taste is just one of the five senses that diners are hoping to satisfy when they go out to eat. From Game of Thrones-inspired pop-ups to dining in darkness, more and more customers are getting excited about the unique experiences available when they dine out.
Which begs the question: How can you take full advantage of this demographic shift in what customers want? Will it require a major effort to what you’re already doing or are there ways to include more experiential elements into what you’re already doing? Let’s start by looking closer at what’s working and why.
Who’s doing what well. Not surprisingly, succeeding at experiential dining isn’t as simple as changing decor to replicate the set of a popular show or flipping off the light switch. Instead, it’s fueled by an uncanny ability to uncover what customers want most. Here’s what’s hot in experiential dining today.
Out-of-society experiences: Some restaurants have successfully implemented a strictly enforced no-phones policy that appeals to diners who want to take five from their 24/7 worlds. Is there a similar “out-of-society experience” that could be easily implemented in your world?
Feeling good about eating well: From open kitchens to meals that share educational details about the farmers who supply the food, many restaurants are looking to instill a sense of pride that eating out was the right thing to do.
Look where we’re eating: Food trucks, pop-ups and the dome dining trend give diners a sense that memorable dining experiences can happen anywhere and everywhere. Is there a “look where we’re eating” experience that would work for you?
Decor as experiential driver: While it has always mattered, restaurants are paying more attention to how decor can add to the overall dining experience, including creating dedicated spaces that are “Instagrammable.” If you don’t have these already, we’ll bet you’re thinking of how you could create some of these spaces at your restaurant now.
These are truly exciting times for experiential dining, mostly because the times aren’t showing signs of ending anytime soon. In fact, a quick look at how today’s consumers want to live their lives shows that experiential dining might very well be here to stay.
Why experiential dining is more than just a trend. It’s tempting to view this move as nothing more than another here-today-gone-tomorrow fad. And some of the concepts currently in favor will certainly be replaced by others.
But there appears to be an underlying demographic shift that’s making all this something much more lasting and a greater long-term opportunity for you.
According to this EventBrite research, millennials are much more likely to value experiences over things than previous generations. Which means it might be time to think long and hard about how experiential dining can work for you.
Making new experiences part of your current dining experience. Turning an experiential dining idea into a success story starts by asking yourself two simple, but important, questions: “What if?” and “why not?”
During this brainstorming stage, no ideas are too crazy to consider. Conversely, don’t overlook others which could be incorporated with relatively little effort on your part. Like taking advantage of these menu-planning ideas for adventurous diners or adopting one of the year’s top pizza trends.
In fact, one of your epiphanies might be as simple as sourcing equipment that helps you cook food in truly customer-satisfying ways. The Ovention Shuttle® 2000 has a twofold, experience-enhancing mission: Help you cook food perfectly and quickly. Who knows, when you see the Shuttle® 2000 in action, it might even make some of your wilder brainstorms seem that much more doable.
Of course, after you’ve arrived at your list of “pie in the sky” and “there for the taking” ideas, another important step is to look before you leap. And you can do that by listening to advice from some of the most successful business leaders out there.
We love thinking about how experience-focused products like the Ovention Shuttle® 2000 that can help you succeed.
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