22 of the Latest Bar and Restaurant Marketing Trends in 2022

How to Market Your Local Business Ahead of the Competition

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, the hospitality industry has faced significant adversity. Two years later, the industry is still making a comeback from the long-term effects, and there is one thing most businesses can relate to – the challenge to find labor. This commonality across the industry cannonballed businesses toward automation solutions. In 2022, we can expect to see more operators turn to tech to increase efficiency and decrease costs.

On September 15, 2021, The National Restaurant Association released its 2021 State of the Restaurant Industry Mid-Year Update. While not shocking, here are a couple of key takeaways:

  • 3 in 4 operators say recruitment and retention is their toughest challenge despite employment gains.
  • Menu prices are increasing due to sharply higher food, labor, and fuel costs.

Although labor remains a struggle, here are some positive findings:

  • Food and beverage sales are projected to total $789 billion in 2021, a 19.7% increase from 2020. 
  • In the first 7 months of 2021, food and beverage establishments added 1.3 million jobs, bringing the sector within 1 million of returning to pre-pandemic employment levels.

These findings show that while the industry still faces challenges surrounding staffing, supply chain issues, and food pricing, restaurants are adapting to survive and we’re slowly getting back to pre-pandemic numbers. 

Below, we’ll take a look at 22 of the latest trends expected to emerge in 2022, so you can draw customers through your doors and keep them engaged. And here, we have 28 tips for you to use when creating a strategy for your establishment in the post-pandemic world.

As a smart operator, don’t fall behind this year. Read the following article to stay ahead of this year’s restaurant marketing trends.

2022 Restaurant Trends

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Restaurant Technology Trends

How To Embrace Technology in 2022

1. Inventory Management

2022 is a year of efficiency, and as we are all aware, business owners are looking for solutions to help increase operational efficiency. One of the top trends we predict to see this year is the use of automated inventory management software. Designed to track everything from stock levels, purchase orders, recipes, and menu costs, this software will help you run your operations more efficiently.

The software creates detailed reports and forecasts. You can make better decisions on inventory orders to reduce food waste and staff schedules to help you save on labor costs.

2. Virtual Reality

As restaurants shift to automation and think outside the box to create more virtual experiences due to the pandemic, many are looking into virtual reality. In fact, HubSpot predicts augmented reality to be one of the top trends in 2022, with expected market revenue of $209 billion.

There are several ways restaurants are implementing virtual reality to increase automation efforts. Many are creating virtual experiences that allow guests to tour their restaurant, see the back-of-house, and more! Some are even using virtual reality to show restaurant guests the menu items and how they’re made. 

So, get creative with it! If you can offer a unique experience that allows guests to interact with your brand virtually, you’ll increase foot traffic to your doors and your site.

3. Text Message Marketing

As establishments in the industry shift towards automation, many are adding text message marketing to their operations. It proves to be the fastest and easiest way to communicate with customers, which is crucial during these post-pandemic times when you need to update guests on new regulations/offerings. 

Adding text messages as an opt-in for guests will allow you to send out texts on upcoming events, promotions, and reminders on their upcoming reservations. Plus, it helps your brand stay in the minds of customers!

If you choose to add text message marketing to your operations, you must follow the rules put in place by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act to protect customers from receiving spam.

4. Put Self-Serve to Use

With the industry trying to recover, most, if not all, businesses have had to rethink their operations. Many are turning to self-serve kiosks as the answer. McDonald’s and several other big-name fast-food brands have added self-serve ordering kiosks to their operations in an attempt to accelerate their self-serve initiatives.

In 2019, the majority of restaurant chains dedicated 25% of in-store labor to taking orders at the counter. So implementing new and innovative ways for customers to order can significantly reduce the cost of staffing and provide solutions for many suffering from the labor shortage.

BRING A SELF-SERVE BEVERAGE WALL INTO PLAY!

Self-serve beverage walls are the perfect solution for overcoming the labor shortage. Self-pour technology allows operators to reduce the number of staff needed to operate while increasing beverages sold, which saves operators time, money, and headaches.

To learn how self-pour beverage technology can help you boost efficiency and increase profitability without needing extra staff, download our case study below!

Malcolm Yards pouring at self-pour wall

And self-serve walls provide great benefits for guests too! Customers can approach the beverage wall whenever suits them and pour as much or as little as they’d like! Besides saving your guests’ time by not waiting in lines, self-pour systems also decrease product waste from around 25% to as little as 3% and typically increase your beverage sales by 45% or more!

The more your customers drink, the higher your profit from beverages! Having a self-serve wall can help you stand out in today’s highly competitive restaurant market. A self-pour system does particularly well if you offer a variety of wines, cocktails, or craft beers.  

Beer enthusiasts love having the choice to sample and taste new craft beers before committing to an entire pint or glass! With a self-serve beer wall, customers can pour just a few ounces of an interesting beer, then pour themselves a whole pint or glass of their favorite!

A self-serve system is a unique experience that your patrons will love to share, helping you get more exposure in front of a broader market! We also have a great article for operators looking to sell more drinks, which you can check out right here!

any questions?

We have thrown a lot of information your way already! If you have any questions or want to know how we can help you increase your beverage sales, contact us below!

Off-Premise Trends

How to Develop Your Off-Premise Offerings

5. Don’t Let Ghost Restaurants Eat Up All the Profit

Ghost restaurants are unique because they don’t serve food on-premises and focus exclusively on serving customers through food delivery. This gives restaurants facing physical limitations the option to keep up with takeout orders without opening a second full location. Ghost restaurants became a popular method of food service in 2019. They continued to grow in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the necessity and means to survive, and they show no signs of slowing in growth. 

Now, these specific business models are starting to overtake big cities. They target the busy workforce audience who long to eat in their homes. It looks as if this method of operation will continue well beyond 2022. If you haven’t done so yet, there is a significant opportunity to grow your market by adding an off-premises component to your business.

6. Delivery Turns to Automation Solutions With Robots and Drones

As we all know, delivery services have grown exponentially since 2020, with a large increase in demand influenced by the pandemic. With delivery orders taking off, getting an order to the customer has become reliant on drivers, and with the current labor shortage, it has proven to be a challenging task. To meet the increased demand, restaurant owners must reevaluate for future growth, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. 

With this comes the opportunity for automation and technology to step in. Some major cities are already testing and some are even using robots for delivery, such as Los Angeles, Denver, and Austin. Insert Coin, a PourMyBeer family member in Washington, implemented a robot server named RALF to increase efficiency and create a unique dining experience. While already the norm in parts of Asia and India, it is expected that by the end of 2022 these robot delivery services will begin to emerge first in bigger cities and college towns, then make their way all over the U.S. 

insert coin robot
insert coin robot

In 2021, the drone delivery market evolved quickly, and for good reason. Trials prove them to be more efficient than vehicle delivery – cutting delivery time by up to 70%. Drones can make up to 15 deliveries per hour whereas vehicle delivery is around 3 per hour. With drone delivery, you can get your order in lightning-fast time, with no traffic to slow down your order. 

Customer Dining Experience Trends

7. Pop-up Restaurants Create Buzz

With customers’ constant need for bigger and better, restaurant owners need to adapt and change to stand out from the rest. A study by Eventbrite showed that 75% of customers said they would spend more on a unique dining experience. One way restaurants can set themselves apart from the rest of the crowd is with pop-ups that offer fresh menus with local ingredients. Pop-ups have proven to be a trendy and effective way to test out new restaurant concepts and menu ideas. They are temporary restaurants hosted in various spaces, such as existing restaurants, bars, arcades, festivals, or parks.

8. Restaurants Rethink Their Outdoor Dining Structures

As safety is still a concern among diners, many customers have fallen in love with outdoor dining. Several restaurants are taking the outdoor dining concept to the next level by putting a fun spin on things and creating little “igloos.” Not only are they a fun experience, but they also minimize contact with other restaurant guests. Igloos allow customers to enjoy a unique and intimate dining experience with friends and family while making guests feel comfortable. Igloos are a great choice for restaurants or bars in cities where it gets cold in the winter months!

Online Search Trends for Restaurants

How to Improve Your Online Search

9. Local SEO

First things first, what does SEO stand for? SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization, which focuses on improving your site’s ranking on the search engine results pages. As you can probably guess, showing up higher in the rankings will significantly help your business drive more traffic to your website and your doors. You want to ensure that your site shows up when people in your area search for food and drinks near them! 

This is where local SEO comes into play. Local SEO will allow your establishment to boost online visibility and bring targeted traffic to your doors. If you haven’t already, the first step in developing your local SEO strategy is to create your Google My Business profile. Having a profile on Google My Business will allow your establishment to add information about your venue, hours, contact information, reviews, and so much more! This will significantly increase the chances of bringing more local traffic to your doors 

Not only do local businesses today need a strong SEO strategy, but they also need to focus on local SEO elements such as local content, online directory listings, and more.

10. Optimizing for Voice Search

Over the last year, we have seen a rise in convenience, and what is more convenient than talking to your devices? With the acceleration in technology to create easy, safe, and more convenient experiences for consumers comes a rise in voice search.

Technologies like Google Assistant, Siri, Alexa, and Google Home, have created more accessible ways for consumers to search. While web search is still the top feature used on phones, voice search is not far behind in second place. In 2021, 39.4% of US interest users conducted voice searches once a month, and by 2023, there will be 8 billion devices with voice assistants. These statistics show that voice search is only getting started. 

Consider hiring someone to help with voice search optimization, or start educating yourself on SEO to adjust to this rising trend.

11. Geofencing

Geofencing is a powerful tool that can help you increase brand awareness and increase foot traffic. It is a trend that will be crucial in 2022 due to its ability to limit face-to-face interactions. So what exactly is geofencing? Geofencing is a facet of paid advertising, which creates a virtual boundary around a physical location for creating a list of users to target.

You can use geofencing to get exposure in front of the target audience that is most relevant to your business by tying it to specific events, competitors’ locations, and more! With pinpoint accuracy, your brand exposure will increase, and you can communicate your business’s message at the most appropriate time.

12. Local PPC

If you don’t appear on the first page among organic search results (results of your successful SEO), you may consider paid search advertising. Check out your Google Analytics to see where your traffic is coming from. 

Local pay-per-click advertising (PPC) helps you get hyper-specific on things like location, keywords, and time of day at which you’re advertising. Another big benefit? You only pay if or when someone clicks on your ad. 

PourMyBeer Tip: Google Ads allow for very detailed customization so you can get the most out of your bid by not only bidding on location but also specific times of day – lunch, happy hour, dinner, late-night – whatever it is that makes the most sense for your business.

Online Visibility Trends

How to Boost Your Establishment’s Visibility

13. Untappd - Get Your Menu More Love Online!

If your bar or restaurant offers beer beyond Bud Light and Coors Light, you cannot skip the opportunity to be on Untappd. Untappd, in a nutshell, is Yelp for beer, especially craft beer

This massive beer database has over 9.3 million beer users and includes information about 2.6 million beers! Untappd gives you information about the beer’s style, IBU, ABV, and tasting notes described by the users. It provides users with an opportunity to rate the beers they try and search for beers in their area. 

The most crucial part of Untappd is its social aspect. Millennials and Generation Zers are leading the craft beer boom. If this is the crowd you’re looking to reach, you must take advantage of this platform. By encouraging customers to check in the beer that they’re trying at your establishment, you can gain exposure in front of other users with similar tastes!

Most commonly, Untappd’s beer board is displayed above PourMyBeer’s beverage wall!

Ready to learn how Untappd can boost your beverage sales? Watch our webinar recording where we speak with two Untappd experts on improving your beverage menu and attracting customers.

FIll out the form below to watch the recording!

14. Loyalty Rewards programs

Since the pandemic, restaurants have been trying to come up with creative ways to increase consumer engagement and keep customers coming back. One way to incentivize consumers to return time after time is to create a loyalty program. Many big chain establishments such as Starbucks and Panera have been capitalizing on this for years. Last year, 41% of restaurateurs added or improved their customer loyalty programs and incentives. This trend is predicted to grow even further in 2022.

Not only do these programs provide customers with a great experience that keeps them invested in their relationship with your establishment, but they can also greatly benefit your business by providing insight into the needs and preferences of customers. Building a strong loyalty program creates personal, meaningful relationships with your customers, who will ultimately become powerful brand advocates and bring more business to your establishment.

15. Engaging & consistent online content

In 2021 alone, Statista found 3.78 billion people were using social media and it is predicted that by 2025 there will be 4.41 billion active. And given the industry you’re involved in, you should be utilizing these highly visual online platforms to reach a larger audience. 

If you have not done so already, 2022 is the year to step up your content calendar game. If done properly and consistently, it can help increase your brand awareness. 

PourMyBeer Tip: Spice up your social media game with online contests and videos. Host giveaways on social media and offer $50-100 gift cards to 3 random winners. This will increase engagement and create buzz for your brand online. Your followers will tag their friends, and you’ll get more exposure in front of a broader audience! 

PourMyBeer RFID card & git card at Hop Thief Taphouse & Kitchen
PourMyBeer RFID card

In 2022, videos are the king of all content as they’re the best way to create engaging and captivating content in a matter of seconds. And you can easily create high-quality videos for just a few hundred bucks. Use videos to boost your social media engagement and add a new visual component to your website. 

According to a study done by Cisco, videos will account for over 82% of traffic in 2022. So there’s no better time than now to give your audience great, engaging videos to watch!

PourMyBeer Tip: If something fun/newsworthy is happening in your business, don’t hesitate to grab your phone and stream a live video! They are the most inexpensive content you can create as they don’t require any editing, and your followers will love that these are natural and truly show your business’ personality.

Lifestyle trends seen in restaurants

How to Embrace Lifestyle Trends in Your Establishment

16. Wellness

In recent years, many people have been looking to reduce their environmental impact or become healthier in general. Many reports show that consumers are placing more importance on health when choosing food than ever before. This created a boom in the plant-based market that was a big trend in 2021 and will continue to grow moving forward into 2022. 

And with Veganism becoming a popular dietary lifestyle in the past decade or so, it only makes sense to offer plant-based options to those with dietary restrictions. Dietary restrictions like this, gluten allergies being another example, are becoming a fact of life for many people, either by choice or for health reasons. These increased restrictions will also create the need for management and employees to broaden their skillset and ensure proper training to prepare for any adjustments that need to be made.

Many establishments offer several items that are friendly to various dietary restrictions. To ensure you appeal to a wide demographic of customers, it is good practice to do the same. It requires some extra effort and flexibility, but it can be worth it if it means acquiring more customers and a more diverse clientele overall.

food in restaurant

17. Sustainability

Increased sustainability was one of the most notable trends of the past few years, and it’s undoubtedly going to be just as big, if not bigger, throughout 2022. For that reason, recycling is not enough to call your business green.

Sustainability is a special approach, focusing on reducing waste to a minimum for every aspect of your business. If you have a strong sustainability strategy in place, you may want to make it known to your customers, especially if your main customer base consists of millennials, as they are known to care for a green approach.

Following Starbucks and other big-name brands, the trend of eliminating unnecessary plastic, such as straws, will continue. If you want to keep up and position your establishment as “green” or an eco-friendly business, organize a staff meeting this week and have a brainstorming session on where your business can reduce waste (and potentially cost).

PourMyBeer Tip: This is where a self-pour beverage system could come into play. Rather than having hundreds of bottles and cans stored in your establishment, keep track of just a few kegs. The use of self-pour tech eliminates waste to as little as 3% and allows for a more sustainable method of beverage dispensing compared to a traditional staff-pour method.

18. Radical Transparency

In a similar vein, customers also highly value transparency, and it’s one of the primary influencers of consumer behavior. It’s become an increasing consumer trend across many industries and has naturally made its way into the restaurant and hospitality industry. If you own a restaurant in 2021, you should make sure to take advantage of that fact.

Make your menu transparent by providing a detailed description of ingredients for customers who may need it. Alternatively, you can create a different menu listing menu items by dietary restriction, clearly labeled. This can be separate from the main menu you give to guests upon entry.

The more transparent you are, the more likely you are to give every customer a pleasant and stress-free experience at your restaurant, making them much more likely to come for return visits.

19. Viral food

Driven by both the pandemic and the rise of the creator economy throughout social media, we’ve seen an increase in consumers with ever-changing tastes and desire for new food. Similar to the health and wellness trends in food, consumers are seeking out new types of food involving anything from global cuisine to unusual ingredients.

Social media, TikTok specifically, has been a significant influence, exposing people to new food ideas and spreading diversity. New ideas and trends spread even faster due to the connectivity of people from around the world, and food is no exception. Some of the top viral food trends from this year include an easy Feta Pasta and the tortilla hack. 

These viral food trends can be a great way to attract new customers who are eager to try the food they’ve been obsessing over online. By keeping a close eye on current social media food trends, you can stay up to date on what will draw in new consumers and keep them coming back for more!

Data trends in bars and restaurants

How to Use Data to Your Advantage

20. Analyze Your Data to Cut Operational Costs

Consider the data accumulated from your business regarding which hours you are busiest and how late customers tend to stay at your establishment. If your license allows the bar to remain open until 3 AM, that does not mean your bar has to stay open late. Look at your sales data and carefully evaluate if it pays off to stay open late – is the business even profitable? The same goes for staffing needs. Consider how many staff you need to schedule per shift or whether you want to pay for staff to work later hours.

PourMyBeer Tip: Track your busiest hours as they tend to vary from day to day. This will help you avoid overstaffing, which leads to high operation costs. Check out the video below to hear from Jim Wright, a smart operator running four self-serve establishments across the country.

21. Pay Attention to Customer Demands

Once you have gathered data regarding your consumers’ behavior, you can use these insights to inform how you serve them in the future. For example, data can show you which menu items are the most and least popular. With this information, you can potentially investigate through direct interaction why certain items work better than others and make adjustments to the less popular items to increase demand. You can also run promotions on certain items to generate more awareness and increase demand overall.

22. Data-Driven Marketing

It’s tough to deny that using highly generalizable marketing campaigns and reaching a larger segment of customers is an easy route to pursue. But taking the extra step to target and segment your marketing campaigns can go far. In the age of The Internet, digital marketing is the most common modus operandi, but you need to be strategic. 

Maybe most of your customers use Facebook instead of Twitter. Maybe visits to your website aren’t getting people to become consumers. These are all questions you will want answers to if you want your marketing efforts to be productive and value-driving.

The best way to get started with this is to use analytics platforms to track your marketing campaigns and consumer behavior. Google Analytics is a widely used platform, as are Crazy Egg and Heap Analytics. These tools let you analyze how users behave in response to your website and online presence.

You can use insights from the data you find from these analytics platforms to fine-tune your marketing strategies. With the use of advanced tools, you can change website behavior based on whether a user has bounced several times on your home page or stayed on for a while before exiting. There are several strategies you can employ to get the most of your leads, and it all begins with the data.

We would love to hear from you! Let us know what other trends you think we should add to our list and which ones you plan to embrace this year. Feel free to share your ideas with us at cheers@pourmybeer.com, and don’t forget to share this list of new trends to look out for in 2022 with your friends on social media!

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We hope you have found these 22 tips helpful! Check out the post below to learn what key performance indicators you should measure to gauge your establishment’s success.

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