5 restaurant trends you can’t ignore after the pandemic

Ask any restauranteur and they’ll tell you the same thing. The industry is changing – and changing fast. Good food and friendly service will always be cornerstones in the foodservice industry, but it’s just not enough anymore.

The global outbreak of the virus COVID-19 has had an immense effect on society. And for the foodservice business, more than anything it has sped up the pace of change that was already underway. We’ve combined our many years of experience in the hospitality industry with advice from experts in the global and European restaurant industry. Here are the most important trends you need to know to survive and prosper in this new and exciting climate.

We’ve combined our many years of experience in the hospitality industry with advice from experts in the global and European restaurant industry. Here are the most important trends you need to know to survive and prosper in this new and changing environment.

Trend 1: Health and safety for people and the planet

Customers want healthier and more eco-friendly options. As far as general health, one of the biggest emerging trends to watch is meatless protein satisfying consumer demands both in terms of personal health and environmental consciousness.

But customers are also no longer content to just accept the restaurant’s claims of healthy and eco-friendly options – they are now demanding proof. According to Datassential, half of consumers today think it’s important to consume food made with “clean label ingredients” and two-thirds also support menu labelling. The companies that will take the lead in the coming years will be those that take conscious consumption to the next level.

Green goes mainstream

Trend 2: Make your food accessible

Convenience continues to drive purchasing decisions. Today’s consumers are time-strapped, tech-savvy and value-conscious. They are accustomed to using technology to simplify their lives and they want their dining solutions to be just as fast, flexible and convenient as the rest of their purchasing decisions. Convenience is so important, in fact, that it was listed as a top dining-out concern by a full 82% of consumers surveyed in Mintel’s Global Food and Drink Trends 2019 report.

And of course, one of the best ways to offer customers convenience is through delivery or pick-up service. According to Restaurant Business Online, 86% of consumers use off-premises dining services at least monthly. Though still a small portion of total foodservice sales, delivery’s 7% annual growth rate over the last five years makes it clear that this is a trend no restaurant hoping to survive the future can ignore.

Trend 3: Use available innovations

Digital services will continue to expand. According to Restaurant Insider, in 2020, digital ordering and delivery have grown 300% faster than dine-in traffic since 2014.

One of the easiest ways to incorporate technology into a restaurant is through the possibility of using mobile devices for ordering- and payment. You can also make it easier for the staff by providing digital tools that facilitate their everyday life. Read more about Digital Kitchen Display Systems and Mobile Devices for tableside ordering.

Technical solutions, such as online ordering and mobile ordering system, is becoming more and more popular. Deloitte reports that customer spend increases by 20% and repeat business by 6% when customers can use technology to place an order. Apps and online solutions also help your restaurant to attract new customers and increase the selling through personalized offers.

 

Trend 4: Bridge the generation gap

Millennials and Generation Z, that is, people currently under 35 years old, will represent six out of ten people on the planet in 2020. Understanding who they are and how they differ from previous generations is absolutely essential to any restaurant that wants to survive the coming decades.

The younger generations are hyperconnected and see technology not just as a means to simplify their lives, but as an integral part of their existence. Not only will they use technology to find a restaurant online, but they will also expect to be able to place their order via an app or POS system, arrange delivery through a third-party provider, and pay using their phone.

The restaurant they choose will also have a strong social media presence, and they will likely contribute to that presence by rating or uploading pictures and descriptions of their own dining experiences.

Millennials and Gen Z are healthier, more environmentally conscious, and more socially aware than previous generations – or at least they want their purchases to portray that image. Natural ingredients, less meat and, most of all, non-alcoholic beverage alternatives are key to bringing in younger consumers, who drink significantly less than previous generations.

Group of friends sitting together in a cafe looking at mobile phone and smiling. Young guy showing something to his friends on his smart phone.

Trend 5: Digitize to survive- Innovation in digital services will continue to grow

In a world increasingly dominated by digital screens, foodservice is one of the few industries left that can offer unique and memorable real-world experiences. And that is exactly what today’s consumers are looking for in their restaurants. Outstanding staff, innovative food and concepts, DIY options, and a balance between personalized service and technology will be the things that make-or-break restaurants in the future.

A recent survey by Datassential reports that more than a third of consumers choose restaurants based on “new and interesting foods.” And while exotic spices and creative dishes continue to drive sales, especially among younger diners, innovative food just isn’t enough anymore. Restaurants today are much more than a place where people eat.

Enter the age of restaurantainment – restaurants with entertainment venues and concepts that promote a certain theme or lifestyle. A café geared at gamers, a nightclub that is only open during the day, and a secret-agent-themed restaurant where you have to have a password to get in are all examples of ways foodservice operators today are catering to consumer demand for unique and customized experiences.

If you are interested to download a free copy of the complete Trend Report, you find it here.