Time moves fast and so do the trends in the foodservice industry. 2020 continues to expound on sustainability, advanced technology and convenience. It’s imperative for your establishment to stay on top of all the innovative services and products to remain top of mind for your customers.
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Plant Based Meals
Tastes like Chicken?
As we have seen with a couple fast-food establishments, restaurants are starting to offer classic items with a plant-based spin. Many operations are trying to offer a green alternative that doesn’t skimp on flavor. These meals are often healthier and less damaging to our ecosystem. Keep your eyes open for a huge influx of these items on menus in 2020.
Single Use Plastic
Straws Were Just the Start
Single use plastic is not a new concept, and many businesses have taken small steps to limit those supplies. In 2020, we could see a major overhaul and crackdown on more single use items such as napkins, takeaway containers and plastic utensils. These items may be going by the wayside in favor of reusable and multi-use varieties.
Healthy Kids Menu Options
The Parents will be Happy
Sadly, for kids, the days of chicken fingers, ‘mac & cheese’ and cheeseburgers on the child menu are numbered. Today, there is greater emphasis on healthy options for children with items that include: whole grain, quinoa and vegetables. The aim is to encourage healthy eating habits for the young generation, while keeping meals tasty and simple.
Short and Sweet
Gone are the days of 5-page menus with an array of choices and different cuisines. Restaurants will have to make decisions about which items to keep on the menu based on customer interest and profitability. Limiting menu items will decrease wait time for guests and allow chefs to better prepare food for the day. This also gives the restaurant an opportunity to focus on serving meals that have a greater emphasis on bold flavor profiles.
The Choice is Yours!
Not everyone is ready to go vegan. Committing to veganism can be a difficult lifestyle change. However, a simplified version, which is easier to adhere to, is to eat plant-based foods more regularly while still indulging in animal-based products occasionally. Expect to see more of your friends following this style of eating as society leans to the greens in 2020.
Cocktails without the Funny Feeling
Reports suggest that less people are consuming alcohol. These people are growing in numbers and are influencing restaurants to expand their drink menus to included creative mocktails that present wild flavor profiles without alcohol. Mocktails will still offer guests an enjoyable night out without the risk of overindulging.
A “Greener” Kitchen
As climate change rears its ugly head, all industries will look to make more environment conscious decisions. For restaurants, one way to do this will be limiting the amount of food waste they produce. Some establishments may look to enforce a surcharge on meals if they deem that a guest has over ordered. Another less intrusive solution that many restaurants are getting behind is using leftover materials for farming compost, creating a full circle use of food.
Removing the Middleman
In 2019, a lot of fast-food and fast-casual dining establishments introduced kiosks or tablets to the frontends of their business. Their hopes are to offer a faster and more efficient ordering process that lets customers order without the human interaction and have those employees focus more on getting the food ready. For 2020, we can expect to see this more commonly used in traditional restaurant settings. With the demand for higher minimum wage, wait staff could see their jobs replaced by kiosks and tablets.
Not as Spooky as It Sounds
These kitchens are not inhabited by ghost, but they will not be hosting any dining guests, making it feel like a ghost town. These kitchens will be larger spaces dedicated to preparing fixed menu items that customers can select for pick up or delivery. The idea is that you can enjoy a high-end meal from the comfort of your home.
A Meal & Show
Millennials especially, are looking to infuse more of their day-to-day tasks into events; one of those events is dining out. Offering an experience with a meal will make eating out a way to connect with others and an experience that is one of kind. What makes eating out an event is limited run or one-off items, experimental ideas and themed nights.
Green Growing Cabinets
Bring the Garden to Your Space
Say goodbye to the days where you need a local garden to serve fresh, organic micro greens. Now, foodservice establishments such as restaurants, schools, healthcare facilities, hotels and corporate test kitchens (hello – TriMark Innovation Center!) have installed growing cabinets. These give businesses the ability to monitor the growth of their own greens by regulating the lighting and quality of water while also maximizing nutrition and flavor by serving immediately.
Delivery Option Expansion
Skip the Drive & Stay on The Couch
Companies like Uber Eats, DoorDash and Grubhub are making their mark on the restaurant industry. Partnering up with these businesses will help expand your reach and draw in new customers, boost your sales and take delivery staff training off your hands. Moving away from phone orders and offering an online menu will not only eliminate potential order issues but also provide the flexibility of modifying your menu at any moment.
Sources: restaurantdive.com, insider.com, delish.com, restaurant.org, financesonline.com, sandiegomagazine.com, fcsi.org