Want to stay on-trend with the new retro crowd? Then consider returning to your roots in the restaurant scene. Keeping in line with the Time Travel™ wave, many of America’s operators are shifting backwards – to a time when life seemed simpler, friendlier – and it’s quickly taking people back to comfort.
People feel more connected when they experience a level of comfort reminiscent of a less-connected world – electronically speaking, anyway. They are so accustomed to being plugged-in these days, though, that they can’t seem to stop the electronic surge that is stifling togetherness. It is for that reason restaurant operators are cashing in on making their customers feel comfortable and connected.
In a twist of nostalgic with modern, restaurants are providing the stage for customers to relive some of their childhood memories while still experiencing the new addiction of this digital age, and they are combining it all with great food. For example, Grace Restaurant in Toronto features a TV tray night. Customers can eat their meals from trays that evoke memories of togetherness and happy times. In the background, they are still wired into the world electronically, though, as the restaurant plays episodes of 60s- and 70s-era television shows.
In another showing of new and old mixology, Denny’s has launched an ad campaign labeling the restaurants as diners. The commercials feature patrons at the counter interacting with one another and the serving staff. Designed to evoke feelings of comfort and friendliness, the ads also embrace the social interaction of today. While people are normally communicating with strangers online, they are portrayed in the Denny’s spots as communicating face to face – a nostalgic concept.
Chefs are taking a step back in time, too. In an effort to bring yesterday’s tastes to today’s palates, some chefs are creating new dishes with meats they remember eating as kids. Innovative menus are found in all types of restaurants, from down home to trendy, with items including ingredients such as Spam and bologna.
Operators who stay ahead of the times will fare better in the future. To keep up with today’s consumers, they should offer a bit of time-tested comfort with new creative menus.