In today’s world, food customization has become a buzzword in the restaurant industry. And, restaurants are finding ways to cater to customers’ needs and preferences.
Technomic estimates 46% of restaurants and foodservice chains understand the increasing customers need to customize the order, 72% of costumers expect customization.
Furthermore, these findings also indicate that only 61% of quick-service restaurants and 52% of full-service restaurant operators are open to adapting plates to meet individual tastes.
So, as a restaurateur, you need to work on this trend and give ways to your customers to customize their meal. But, first, you need to make your establishment ready for the current trend.
How to prepare your restaurant to meet the food customization option?
Let’s start with some examples. Chipotle started this trend by encouraging diners to pick up their burrito ingredients from employees behind the counter. In 2014, it increased its sales in the U.S 11.6%, to 1755.
Since then, many restaurants have stepped up. McDonald’s started giving its customers multiple sauces options so that they can have more control over their menu items.
From Burger King to McDonald’s, many eateries have adapted the concept “Have it your way.”
What types of food can be customized?
You need to figure out what types of food can be customized. For instance, things like salads, pizzas, sandwiches, burgers, burritos, and tacos can be easily customized by changing a few ingredients.
So, give your customers options like the “design- your- own pizza or make your burger”, etc.
These “build-your-own” concepts offer more variety, and the same ingredients can be used for multiple menu items.
Here are some tips that can help you to implement the food customization option:
1. Get equipped
Optimize your customization process by providing your establishment with the necessary equipment that might be required for fulfilling customized meals. You might be thinking that you need to prepare different types of food items for a single category. But, if you work smarter, then you can make it happen.
Since customization requires you to stock up fresh ingredients and meal components. You might need to purchase additional equipment and ingredients to ease your work.
For instance, if you deal in the dough, you might need to buy two sets of equipment and supplies. One for normal customers and others for gluten-free customers.
Choose equipment that saves you time. Conveyors’ ovens are great for customizable pizza and sandwiches. It saves you time and labor.
2. Set up an assembly line
For foot, visitors consider setting an assembly line so that they can pick and choose from the items in front of them. You can experiment with salads as there are many ways to mix and match. It can also work with other restaurant cuisines too. For diners who are not so adventurous, you can have a set menu with the suggested dishes and nutritional information handy.
3. Switch things up
Try switching your ingredients on a regular basis, so that you can always bring something new to the table. Keep your customers favorite on the menu, but try rotating the list of ingredients and specials. And this way, you can make them come for more surprises.
4. Introduce technology for customization
Hand over the iPad or your tablet menu to the guests and let them choose from the day’s offering or let them control ingredients quantities, and eliminate allergens from using a series of sliders.
5. Online platforms to customize restaurant food
People these days avoid taking over the phone and look for the online ordering platforms to save time. And, trust me these online food ordering platforms works wonders for the restaurant businesses too. If you have your own restaurant ordering system it’s great. Just in case if you don’t have one try creating an app for your restaurant business to take food customization option to the next level.
With a restaurant ordering system or app, you can use virtual food customization options/tools with which customers can easily design their dishes.
If you need any help in creating a restaurant app then we are here to help you. Drop us your queries at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have a team of professionals who can create a restaurant app that can help you further in the customization process.
Give your diners the privilege to customize their orders through online portals or creating their own dishes. This will satisfy your customers, but also help your staff to deliver exactly what your customer wants.
6. Food ordering via Kiosks
Consider adding kiosk and digital menus to your restaurant so that dine-in customers can easily customize their orders. Apart from these, provide your customers with several ways to customize food online.
For instance, Dunkin Donuts offers its customers an interactive donut designer where they can design their own donut. Choose shape, fillings, toppings, etc. customers name and share their creation.
Dunkin Donuts host design contests featuring the one having the best design. Their first design contest was held in 2009 which generated nearly 130,000 donut submissions.
Here are a few examples of leading food industry giants that help you to understand the concept of food customization.
Starbucks the coffee giant is not behind. They offer customers a create-your-own drink experience at Frapuccino.com. Here, visitors can customize a Frappuccino and post it to a gallery or their Facebook profile. People can choose their ingredients, flavors and even swap out lifestyle images and graphics with a virtual scrapbooking tool. So, for the Starbucks Fracppucino.com gallery has over 72,000 customer creations.
Dominos offers a visual product configurator that helps customers to build their own pizza online. As they select the topping they can see the topping getting sprinkled across the pizza. This way customers select their ingredients and order the same.
Other eateries like Chipotle Mexican Grill & 4Food Hamburger in New York offer interactive customization processes that are visual and gratifying. Once you have finished designing your sandwich then you can eat it shortly.
Furthermore, there are many other brands offer virtual food creation experience to encourage people to interact with the brand. As a restaurateur, you can take the leverage of these virtual tools and let your guests design their own meals and drinks.
What are the things that people enjoy about food customization?
Millennial generation usually likes to customize their meal as they get to choose from a variety of ingredients, sauces, toppings, crust, flavors and more. Customizing food is more like an adventure for them. There are several things that they adore about this build-your-own concept.
Fresh vegetables, herbs, spices, condiments that are prepared in-house speaks for their quality. Often people think that the meal that is being showcased with all these things have been prepared with care and curated especially for them. This delights them and invigorates their senses and they tend to order.
They will feel highly satisfied that the meal is being prepared right in front of them rather than back in the kitchen. Interacting with a friendly and knowledgeable food service employee can help them to make better choices and have great restaurant experience.
They get adored by the sight of dried oregano that was crushed and sprinkled by hand over their pizza before it was handed at the counter. The visual sight of seeing a whole herb being hand-selected activates their taste buds even before having a bite.
People these days have become diet conscious and look for a variety of diet-friendly options. For instance, they like to choose a gluten-free crust, sugar-free dessert, a low carb burrito, a slice of fat-free cheese and more. They can even ask the counter to use less olive oil or mayo dressing on their salads and even provide specific directions. This way they can regulate their portion size and ingredients.
We hope the above information will help you to make a powerful impact in the restaurant industry and speed up your customization process. With the internet, you can ace up your food customization game. So, create an innovative restaurant online mobile food ordering system to serve your customers as per their preferences.