The restaurant industry experiences frequent changes and shifts in market demographics, and reports have found new ways that operators are responding. Restaurants would do well to approach both their menus and their Internet presence in the context of what their customers want.

Menus becoming more specialized
The Huffington Post noted that in recent years, a growing number of diner demands have been changing how restaurants present their menus. A new explosion of vegan and gluten-free trends, to name just a few, is guiding new ingredient and recipe changes for a number of different businesses. The most popular trend comes from the build-a-meal creation process increasingly adopted by businesses like Chipotle and Panera Bread.

To meet diner demands, which include dietary changes made necessary by allergies and more selective tastes, attempts at new levels of customization can pay off in the long run. However, the news source noted that businesses following this trend should keep an eye on not overwhelming their customers. Research has shown that when customers get too many options for shopping, they are less likely to enjoy their meal and more likely to go to another restaurant.

Internet reputation can go both ways
Many restaurants in the modern day are concerned about the quality of their online reputations and reviews. As such, some focus too much on keeping their Yelp reviews high-quality. However, there's another way that websites can improve their reputations.

According to Digital Trends, some restaurants have started looking up their diners on the Internet after they make reservations but before they come into the building. In some cases, they can find information about guests' birthdays and anniversaries. Other situations find them matching guests with servers from their original home state.

Even when they don't have time to search for their customers' reputations, businesses can also implement customer service plans that can give them better information. These situations can range from email lists to frequent buyers' clubs, and they have the additional benefit of collecting information. This means an automated system can aggregate information like birthdays and send special offers to these customers when the time is right.

Hospitality and restaurant industry piece brought to you by Marlin Equipment Finance, leaders in food service equipment financing. Marlin is a nationwide provider of equipment financing solutions supporting equipment suppliers and manufacturers in the security, food services, healthcare, information technology, office technology and telecommunications sectors.