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The Trend

In the Restaurant of the Future 6.0 report (2021), a US-based management consultancy operating in the food industry, Kinetic12, outlines 10 factors it believes will influence future success

Partner in the firm, Bruce Reinstein, advises that the food, the service, and the experience need to be differentiated and exceed consumer expectations to build loyalty. Having the flexibility to adjust through the current volatile conditions will set operators up for success when stability returns.

In this article, we focus on two areas of differentiation that will contribute to defining the future success for restaurant brands (Reinstein, 2021):

Providing True Value. Being Different is More Compelling

1. Providing True Value. Being Different is More Compelling Than Simply Being Better.

Value to some may be ‘less expensive’ or providing enormous portions, but to many consumers it is about getting something they can’t easily get elsewhere.

In our new hyper-competitive environment, being unique is even more important than ever.

Convenience is important, but consumers say they now look for restaurants that can provide something different. They want a memorable experience which can truly impact their day.

Customer Collaboration. Staying Connected to the Customer in Real Time

2. Customer Collaboration. Staying Connected to the Customer in Real Time

When Kinetic12 began looking at the Restaurant of the Future, it highlighted consumer behaviour as the first element that would dictate restaurants’ changes.

Operators would pick up on changes, followed by suppliers and other strategic partners who would support the operators. In the restaurant of the future, Reinstein (2021) sees this going a step further. The consumer can now be part of the restaurant’s insight team.

Differentiation will drive new and repeat business, and the consumer will be a big part of defining what makes a restaurant different. There are more moving parts than ever before including food, service, safety, hygiene, experience, and flexibility.

Customers want to be part of the process to help define the direction of their favourite restaurants. Consumers have become more engaged in cooking at home and being innovative in what they are now eating. Getting food at or from a restaurant has become an important part of the life of a consumer. Reinstein (2021) says that It is time to embrace consumers and truly make them part of the team.

Your Business Application

To stimulate your thinking, we have combined these two areas and added some local flavour. 

Consider the possibilities of collaborating with consumers to achieve the differentiation, which makes the business truly stand out. Consumers will have opinions and advice on many aspects of the operation, but, when it comes to local food, they know best.

South Africans have demonstrated their enthusiasm for being involved in developing new products. In 2010, the chip brand, Simba, launched a consumer competition, ‘What’s Your Lekker Flavour?’ which attracted over 187 000 entries (

We also have unique taste preferences. This played out more recently, in 2020, coincidentally also in the chip market, when Lay’s announced that it was pulling its salt and vinegar flavour due to weak sales. According to the world’s biggest chips brand, the rest of the world generally prefers cheesier flavours, whereas South Africans have a clear preference for spicy chips (Business Insider, 2020).

Combining two trendy SA brands, Pringles and Aromat, Kellogg’s and Unilever collaborated to launch a uniquely local Chicken Salt Flavoured chip in 2019. (

South Africans are keen collaborators and clearly have peculiar tastes. There are many local foods which could provide a key differentiator and an opportunity to collaborate with consumers.

Your Business Application

Local Foods

In response to an American interpretation of some of South Africa’s favourite local foods, (Buzzfeed, 2015), EatOut, an authority on local food and where to find it, published an extensive food and dish list, (EatOut, 2018).

From traditional Xhosa, to Mala and Afrikaans, desserts, snacks and wholesome dishes, a selection is listed below. Some might have potential in your market segment.

  • Amagwinya/vetkoek
  • Biltong
  • Bobotie
  • Boerewors
  • Braaibroodjies
  • Bredie
  • Denningvleis
  • Gatsby
  • Mogodu with ting
  • Pap en sous
  • Potjiekos
  • Smiley
  • Umngqusho
  • Umphokoqo
Local Foods

Final Thoughts

In the future, being different scores higher with consumers than being better. Consumers can also be pulled into brands’ insight teams, getting their input earlier. Combine local inspiration with these two trends, and the results could be explosive.


Reinstein, Bruce (2021 ). The Restaurant of the Future 6.0: Differentiation for a Brighter 2021. Retrieved at

Eat Out. (2018) The ultimate guide to South Africa’s most iconic foods. Retrieved at

BuzzFeed (2015). Americans Try South African Snacks. Retrieved at