How Restaurants Can Benefit from the EV Charging and Dining Trend

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How Restaurants Can Benefit from the EV Charging and Dining Trend

As most EV owners charge their vehicles at home, the need for on-the-go charging options still arises, similar to gas car drivers needing a fill-up. To meet this need, EV charging stations are popping up in various locations, including parking lots of medical offices and cinemas. However, a new trend is emerging: charging while dining.

Restaurants, from fine dining to casual eateries, are installing electric vehicle charging stations. Upscale restaurants, which often attract Tesla owners, are becoming hotspots for superchargers. Casual dining spots, perfect for longer visits, are opting for Level 2 chargers as a valuable amenity for their customers. Even fast food and fast-casual restaurants near highways are adding Level 2 chargers, offering EV drivers a quick way to recharge before hitting the road again.

Do People Really Hang Around Long Enough to Use a Restaurant’s EV Charger?

Charging technology has come a long way, making it quicker and more efficient than ever. The era of slow, Level 1 charging is behind us. Nowadays, drivers often seek just enough power to reach their next destination—whether it’s home, the supermarket, daycare, or a meeting elsewhere in the city. They’re not looking to spend the whole day tethered to a charger. Restaurants offering charging facilities can meet this need with ease.

But do customers really linger long enough for a meaningful charge? It’s likely. According to a 2002 study from Cornell University, most Americans dine out more than once weekly, finding around an hour the perfect meal duration. This suggests that the average restaurant visit aligns well with the time needed for a significant electric vehicle charge. Furthermore, there’s evidence to suggest that customers might spend more time and money at an establishment when they can charge their vehicle, making EV chargers an attractive proposition for both diners and restaurants alike.

Advantages of Installing EV Chargers for Restaurants

Smart Car predicts a 50% increase in electric vehicle (EV) sales over the next seven years, signaling a surge in demand for charging stations. This trend presents a unique opportunity for restaurants, especially those looking to cater to customers who don’t have personal garage space or are constantly on the move. Installing EV charging stations can attract not only a larger number of patrons but also a demographic that is younger and more affluent, without the need for expensive upgrades.

Why would a diner prefer one restaurant over another if the food and prices are comparable? Offering EV charging provides a compelling answer. It’s not just about the convenience; it’s about aligning with the values of customers who prioritize environmental sustainability and support businesses that cater to the needs of EV owners. Restaurants that already focus on healthy options or reducing their carbon footprint find that EV charging stations complement their brand message effectively.

Moreover, EV charging stations can draw in people who might not have planned to dine at a restaurant but need a charge. The chance they’ll decide to grab a meal or a drink while waiting is high, potentially turning them into regular customers. Even if it seems like few current patrons drive EVs, having a charger could still boost business. Joining a network that includes your restaurant on EV charger maps, accessible via smartphones, enhances your visibility. This not only attracts EV drivers but can also put your establishment on the radar of a broader audience.

Additionally, by charging a fee for the use of EV chargers, restaurants can open up an alternative revenue stream. This strategy not only meets the immediate needs of EV drivers but also positions the restaurant as a forward-thinking, eco-friendly choice in the dining market.

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