If you scan through your bank statement and find you’re spending a lot on dining out, you’re not alone. In fact, more people are dining out now than ever before – to the tune of more than $3,100 per person each year.
While the growing consumer craving to eat out is good news for restaurateurs with an appetite for profitability, some of this year’s broader dining trends and consumer preferences could mean bad business for certain concepts.
Fortunately for Angry Crab Shack, current and ongoing consumer tastes for affordable seafood and unique dining experiences will continue driving the masses through our doors in 2019 and beyond.
Here are three of this year’s restaurant industry trends, and why our unique seafood franchise stands to gain from this shifting current:
1. The Next Wave for the Meatless Consumer
From pescetarianism to the Mediterranean diet, alternative diets that favor seafood over meat and other protein sources have been increasingly defining consumer eating habits and taking the restaurant industry by storm.
While this poses a threat to traditional steakhouses and other meat-heavy concepts, seafood destinations like Angry Crab Shack have only seen the upside of this widespread shift. In fact, in the last five years, we’ve seen seafood consumption reach an all-time high.
By offering guests all the freshly-caught seafood they’d ever want – from shrimp to snow and king crab, Dungeness, lobster, clams, mussels and crawfish in a variety of Cajun-style sauces and spices – we’re fulfilling the vast restaurant industry void for high quality, affordable seafood-centric fare. When it comes to menu variety and food quality, there is truly no concept out there like ours.
2. Quality of Dining Experiences Continue to Turn the Tide
Nearly three in four Americans prioritize experiences over products – a figure that only becomes more impressive when you look toward younger, up-and-coming consumer groups’ experience-driven buying habits. Of course, at restaurants, high-quality food will never go out of style, and is understandably the main attraction for consumers dining out. But, when the increasingly convenience-oriented, time-crunched and on-the-go consumer takes the time for a sit-down meal over takeout or a drive-thru meal, they expect an experience.
And when it comes to a second-to-none sit-down experience, Angry Crab Shack delivers. Our authentic ambiance contributes to our reputation as a fun dining destination, so when guests want a quaint, real, from-scratch seafood boil, they instantly think of our brand. From our picnic-reminiscent dining room to our no-frills menu and literal hands-on dining experience (no silverware required!), guests can’t wait to dig into their meal at our down-home seafood boil.
Not only can our guests document their unique Instagram-worthy dining experience via social media, we encourage them to commemorate their time here by adding in their two-cents by signing our walls. Whether it’s a birthday, or just a fun night out with friends, guests are able to tag our restaurant walls and become part of our story, for another interesting twist to their dining experience.
3. Good News for the Penny Pincher
With recent reports citing consumers’ willingness to pay more for healthier foods, restaurant concepts across the board have been scrambling to adjust their menu accordingly and capture the wallet share of health-conscious consumers. Nevertheless, convenience and value continue to be main drivers behind consumers’ food preferences as well.
But these days, consumers’ affinity for value is not synonymous with a menu item’s cheapness. Instead, they want more bang for their buck, and look for greater value in their food – whether they find that in an unparalleled sit-down experience, higher-quality ingredients or yes, healthier food at an affordable price point.
At Angry Crab Shack, affordability has been one of our brand pillars from the very start. Not only are our priced-by-the-pound menu items affordable for patrons, our second-generation real estate and other franchise development strategies make our franchise investment incredibly cost-effective for franchise owners. In other words, we live and breathe strong value and ROI, and we have incorporated it into our brand at every level.
American consumers now shell out 94 percent more on restaurant food than they did just 15 years ago. Approaching $800 billion in annual spending, the growth of the U.S. restaurant industry shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.
While changing tastes could mean impending strategy shifts for many restaurants, at Angry Crab Shack, we’re looking forward to continuing to serve great food with an attitude, deliver unique experiences to guests and offer them the better-for-you, higher-value meals they increasingly crave.