If there was ever a doubt who is in charge, there isn’t now. Consumers today are deciding what they want and when they want it. From the build-your-own-anything craze to customized and flexible menus, consumers are king.
The Custom Revolution is here! We are all the supreme beings in our own lives. We like to live our way and by our rules—eating what we want and buying what we design, so that it’s perfect. This is not only a trend, but a way of life. And it’s growing. The trick is to figure out how to increase the ability to customize without increasing costs.
While on the outside, this development looks pretty exciting, on the inside it can be logistically challenging. For restaurants, everything from placing orders to installing kitchen equipment has become more difficult.
Customers don’t want to order off of a set menu, they want to be able to mix and match to make their own creations. Some restaurants are offering iPads for ordering. These devices do the work of offering wine pairings, making menu changes and providing made-to-order selections an easier option. Starbucks is now letting consumers order custom frappuccinos. Subway now offers made-to-order breakfast sandwiches.
Front-of-the-house solutions to make the customer happy often make for back-of-the-house challenges. If you are a chef working in a world of customization, everything from prepping for day-of operation to setting up your kitchen space can be difficult. Many operators and chefs are learning to adapt with new technology. New equipment with a smaller footprint allows kitchens to include more, and the equipment they do have is becoming more functional. Accelerated Cooking Technology assists in quick customization, speeding up the cooking process. Touch-screen technology allows operators to manage inventory and operational procedures within the equipment. Multi-purpose technology is one of the leaders in this story helping to create great flexibility.
Operators are learning they must drive this customization frenzy or be left behind by those who are. Operators who stay on trend are the ones who thrive in the pursuit of growth and efficiency.